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Title: Heart and Soul by Maveric Post
Author: Mapes, Victor, 1870-1943
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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  Copyright, 1921, by


This book was not written with any idea of being published, but simply
because I could not help it.

I got thinking about various things, in the lives of people about me,
and in my own life, and, after a while, I found that my thoughts would
not let me alone. They kept coming back, to trouble and haunt me, until
finally I realized that the only way I could be rid of them and have a
little peace, was to set them down on paper.

After that, I had the indiscretion to read parts of them to one or two
who are near to me. These seemed to think that they might prove helpful
to others who felt the same way and urged me to publish them.

I cannot be blamed very much for conceiving a hope that this might prove
true. And, in that hope, I have followed their advice.



  CHAPTER                                   PAGE

  I    DIAGNOSIS                               3

  II   THE UP-TO-DATE PRINCIPLE               43

  III  REASON AND EXPERIENCE                  59

  IV   AFFECTION                              83

  V    FAITH                                 109

  VI   SCIENCE AND THE INTELLECT             167

  VII  HOPE                                  221

  VIII HEART AND SOUL                        234

       APPENDIX                              317





Many of us, to-day, are disturbed and alarmed by the point of view and
the behavior of people about us--especially the younger generation.
Girls of good family are seen on all sides, who smoke and gamble and
drink and paint their faces and laugh with scorn at the traditions and
conventions which their grand-parents regarded with almost sacred
reverence. The young men are worse, if anything, and as for the married
people of the new era, what they are doing to the sanctity of the home
and the bonds of matrimony might seem like a weird travesty of the
teachings of the past.

What is the world coming to? Are things going on indefinitely, this
way,--or more so? If not, who, or what, is to stop the movement and turn
it in another direction? What is the meaning of it all? What is to be
done about it?

Before attempting to speculate on these questions, it might be a good
idea to consider for a moment the main, fundamental influences which
have always been at work, to a greater or less extent, in determining
the conduct of human beings.

First come the material instincts. Each individual is born with a large
number of desires, appetites, feelings, impulses, tastes. There is also
a natural wish to gratify these and the process of doing so brings with
it a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. So that if these natural
instincts were the only things to be considered, the problem of humanity
in a general way would resolve itself into preserving life and getting
as much pleasure out of it as possible. Why not follow the lead of our
instincts, accept all opportunities as they come, and make the most of

Is not this point of view, however briefly and crudely expressed, the
first principle of existence as it confronts each individual to-day, as
it has confronted them in the past, and as it will continue to confront
them always?

Is it not, in its essence, the starting point--the ever-present raw
material--which must be recognized and dealt with somehow in any scheme
of philosophy or morality?

The next consideration, which follows closely after, is that certain
wishes cannot be gratified, certain pleasures are forbidden, certain
instincts must be repressed or controlled.


For various reasons. The first being force and might. Some one stronger
interferes and prevents.

Every child comes in contact with this principle at an early stage. It
cannot have what it wants, it cannot do as it wills--because the nurse
or the mother says "no."

A little later, if it undertakes to gratify a certain wish which has
been forbidden, if it gives free play to an instinct for pleasure,
against orders, it is slapped and scolded. It is made to feel that it
has done wrong. And when one does wrong, punishment follows--one must
learn to expect that.

This same principle confronts the individual in later years,--all
through life. First the nurse and mother; then the father and other
members of the family; then the neighbors and people at large; the
police and the laws. All these embody the same principle, they represent
greater force, without the individual, which interferes with its
instincts, its pleasures, its wishes, which forbids certain
things--declares they are wrong--and punishes, if they are done.

On top of this comes the church and religion. In a more exalted way,
appealing to the imagination and the inner spirit, they nevertheless
apply the same principle. Certain things are sinful and wicked, certain
instincts and desires are temptations, contrived by an evil spirit. If
temptations are yielded to, if evil is committed, punishment is sure to
follow, if not in this world, then in another, a world beyond.

In this connection, it is not a question of any particular church, or
creed, or any particular religion, but simply of the fundamental idea of
all churches and all religions,--the idea that somewhere, somehow, in a
spiritual world of some sort, good will be rewarded and evil punished.

Crudely and briefly stated, it is the same fundamental principle that
begins with the child and nursemaid, and runs up through the highest
forms of church and religious appeal. This is good, you are allowed and
urged to do it, and it will bring reward; that is bad, you are commanded
to resist it, and if you yield, it will bring punishment.

This, then, is what we have called the second consideration in the
problem of life.

There is another consideration, of a different order, which exerts an
influence on the acts of an individual; which causes it to repress
certain appetites and desires, on the one hand, and urges it, on the
other hand, to do certain things against its instincts and inclination.

This third consideration is the influence of reason and experience.

A crude example will suffice to illustrate the principle. A certain
individual eats a plate of sliced cucumbers. Their taste is delicious
and the sensation most enjoyable. An acute indigestion follows, however,
with great discomfort and distress. On a later occasion, another plate
of fresh cucumbers is so tempting that the experiment is tried again,
with the same results.

Before long, this individual will refuse to eat a cucumber, no matter
how fresh and tempting it looks. There is no question of right or wrong
here involved. There is no outside force or command, to restrain him. It
is his own reason, based on experience, which determines him to give up
a present pleasure for the sake of avoiding a future pain.

In a reverse way, a certain individual who is tired and sleepy and
yearns to go to bed, will force himself to sit up and work over annoying
papers, in order to be free for a game of golf, the following day. He
deliberately denies his desires and accepts present discomfort for the
sake of future enjoyment.

This principle, if we look into it carefully and follow it through its
ramifications and side lights, is an active and important factor in the
conduct of nearly everybody. In its essence, it is personal, its force
springs from within the individual--and in that respect, at least, it is
quite different from the orders of parents, or the commandments of
religion, which are issued from without and which the individual is
called upon to accept and obey, irrespective of his own notions or

There is still another main consideration in this question of conduct.
It is a very great factor in the lives of many people, and in some cases
its force and influence are overwhelming. And it is totally different in
its very essence and tendency from the other principles we have noted.

This is the influence of love and affection.

A mother will give up any pleasure, she will accept any pain for the
sake of her sick child. She does not do it because any one has ordered
her, or because of any commandment of any religion, or because of any
reward or punishment in this world, or another. There is no selfish
motive of any kind involved in her thought. Any sacrifice of self, she
is ready to make without the slightest hesitation. What she does, and
what she is willing to do is for her child alone--because she loves it
and, for the time being, its little life seems of more importance than
everything else in the world put together.

Now, if we pause right here a moment and reflect we can hardly fail to
realize that we are in the presence of something strange and wonderful.
It appears to be the very contrary and contradiction of all that has
gone before. The life of the individual, as it unfolds from the first
principle, is a question of self-preservation, self-gratification,
appetites, desires, pleasures, as full a measure of enjoyment as it is
possible to obtain. This is interfered with by outside force and
considerations of reason and experience; certain desires have to be
controlled by the idea of good and bad, reward and punishment; certain
pleasures and pains have to be balanced against each other to determine
a choice. But from beginning to end, it is all concerned in
considerations of advantage--what is best for self, at the time being,
or in the long run--in this world or the next. Why do this, that, or the
other? because you will gain most by it, in the end. At bottom, the
motive is taken for granted, whether openly admitted or more or less
thinly disguised--self, self-interest, selfishness.

Then we turn and look upon a mother and her child--and we find that all
thought of personal advantage can be transferred to another.
Self-interest can be controlled and obliterated by a new and mysterious
principle--the principle of love.

There are various kinds and degrees of feeling that go under the name of
love and nothing in life is more interesting or more vitally important
to study and understand. But in this preliminary summary it is enough to
signal its existence as one of the factors in the problem of life.

It may be just as well to note, in passing, that mothers are to be found
whose love for their children is not so completely unselfish. Mothers
are to be found who care very little about their children. Mothers are
to be found who regard children as a nuisance and a disadvantage and
prefer to be without them. That will be found to be one of the curious
side-lights of the problem when time comes to discuss it.

It does not alter the fact, however, that love exists, that the true
mother's love of her child is the most complete and universal
illustration of it.

Also in many other forms of love and affection, it is easy to recognize
this same tendency toward unselfishness--a readiness to sacrifice one's
personal pleasures and inclinations for the joy of another. A father may
have this feeling for his son, or his brother, just as he may have it
for his wife, or his mother. A man, or a woman, may have it for a dear
and intimate friend, and be willing to make real sacrifices in order to
benefit them.

This, then, is the fourth consideration--a fourth factor in the problem
of life--and to avoid misunderstanding and confusion of ideas, we will
call it affection--the influence of affection.

There remains one more consideration--one further class and kind of
influence--which has its bearing on conduct. This may be summed up, in a
general way, as love of an ideal, or an idea. Although it is less
wide-spread and less potent in most lives than affection for fellow
beings, yet it is, in varying degrees, a real factor that cannot be left

A sense of duty exists, to greater or less extent, in nearly all people.
In people of breeding and good family it may become pride of
race--_noblesse oblige_. A certain individual may have a strong
affection for his home town, the little community with which he has been
identified as a boy and man. Another is devoted to a cause, a political
party, a Red Cross movement; while others have a strong feeling of
patriotism, they love their country, their flag, and they are ready, at
any time, to give up something for the good cause.

Broadly speaking, and for lack of a better name, we may call this fifth
principle in the problem of life--devotion to an ideal.

As a result of these influences, the character of an individual is
formed, his conduct is determined. At any given time, in the presence of
any given question as to what he will, or will not do, the answer will
depend on the relative force, or sway, of the conflicting

This is merely stating an application of a general law--that all effects
must have their causes. Only in the conduct of an individual, the causes
at work are often very subtle and complicated.

If the average individual at the present time is behaving differently
from the way he used to act, it is obviously because of some change in
the influences. Certain motives and considerations which used to be
decisive have now ceased to dominate. Other considerations have
superseded them. So much is fairly obvious, and very little reflection
is needed to locate these in a general way. They lie in the second group
of our summary--the control of desires from without, enforced by rewards
and punishments.

In the life of the average individual, this influence has become weaker
all along the line. It is probably less dominating and decisive to-day,
than it has ever been before in any period of civilization, ancient or
modern. And the weakening of the influence begins in the earliest
childhood, with the punishments of nurse and parents and extends right
on to the end, through neighbors and public opinion, the police and the
laws, and finally to the church and religion, with their everlasting
retribution, heaven and hell.

There has been no great apparent change in the other considerations of
our summary. People are still influenced by experience and reason, as
heretofore. They still are moved by their affections; and there are the
same class of people who will fight for their country and make
sacrifices for an ideal.

It may be that the change of character which results from the weakening
influences under our second heading, has an appreciable effect on the
force of other influences, also. But that is a delicate and subtle
subject, which will be discussed later on.

For the time being, we may stop at this point: that the startling
changes which have occurred recently in moral standards and
point-of-view are directly traceable to a corresponding weakening of an
influence that has been one of the strongest in human lives.

The nature and extent of this process are worth considering in detail,
because it is at the very root of the problem and the consequences are

And before we begin to analyze it, let us be careful to avoid a hasty
and easy conclusion. Because the changes in people's views and behavior
seem startling and alarming to those of the old school--that does not
necessarily mean that the new tendency is bad and wrong. Any change in
fundamentals is apt to be upsetting, for the time being. The new way, in
the end, may really be better than the old, and represent progress. Or
it may mean deterioration and decline. It will be time enough to discuss
that phase of the question, after we have made sure that we thoroughly
understand what it is, that has been going on.

Let us take one thing at a time and start with the simplest and most

A human life begins, with possibilities of development in all sorts of
different directions. The child is taken care of from the
cradle--guided, educated. In due time, it reaches an age where it is
left to decide for itself and its actions are determined by its nature
and what it has been taught.

"As the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." This is an old adage of the
English language and the principle it expresses has been generally
accepted throughout the world. "Spare the rod and spoil the child"--is
another old adage which has been almost as universally accepted. Still
another adage, expresses a fundamental principle: "Children should be
seen, not heard."

These adages are sufficient to indicate the basic theory that governed
the bringing up of children for countless generations. What do they

Obedience, discipline, respect--respect for parents, respect for others,
respect for traditions and laws--and with it a reverence and fear of
God. The aim was to turn out law-abiding, God-fearing citizens; and the
method, as expressed in the adages, was unquestioned for centuries and
generally adhered to.

It has always been usual and natural among various peoples at various
times, to inculcate in children from an early age those qualities which
are considered worthy and admirable.

Among the American Indians, a true brave was he who presented an
unflinching countenance to the enemy, even in torture. Consequently, boy
children were pricked and burned by their parents, until they were
schooled to accept any kind of pain without a whimper.

In China, tiny feet were considered desirable in a woman--so girl
children's feet were tightly bound and kept so, for long periods, with
great suffering, in order to attain the worthy object.

In these and similar cases in European civilization, the stern methods
employed cannot be taken to mean that parents loved their children any
the less--rather the contrary. Because they loved them, they did not
hesitate to do what was necessary, according to their lights, to make
them grow up as fine specimens as possible.

That was the old school. What, now, of the new?

It is obvious that, in recent years, there has been a vast change in the
attitude of parents toward children, and perhaps an even greater change
in the attitude of children toward parents.

The rod is used very sparingly, nowadays. In America, at least, it may
be said to be no longer used at all. Among families of education and
refinement, a child may still be spanked by the mother or father, but
not very often. The significance of the proceeding is not very great,
and half the time the spanking is occasioned by the irritable nervous
condition of the parent rather than the act of the child.

A child may sometimes be slapped by a nurse, usually when the nurse is
cross and ill-humored. But in nearly all cases, if a nurse dared to whip
a child, or cause it real pain, the child would only have to tell its
parents and the nurse would be discharged.

And such trifling chastisements as do occur to-day, are confined to a
very early age of the child. A boy or girl of twelve or fifteen has no
fear of a beating from father, or mother, or governess, or
school-teacher. School-masters are no longer allowed to whip their
pupils, or even to cuff them.

The old adage is no longer in force--it has been thrown into the
discard. "Spare the rod--" yes, the rod _is_ spared, but it remains to
be seen whether on that account the child is necessarily spoiled.

"Children should be seen, not heard"--that idea, is also in the discard.
Boys and girls have as much right to their say as anybody else. At the
family table, in the home circle, the tendency is rather for their ideas
and their affairs to usurp the conversation. Their impressions are
fresher and more animated, and they are more abreast of the latest
up-to-date topics. An attitude of respect and reverence for the opinions
and notions of their parents, or grand-parents, would hardly be expected
of them. So many of the things to be talked about--motors, wireless,
airplanes, new wrinkles and changed conditions--are better understood by
them than the old people. It is easy for them to get the feeling that
the old people's ideas are rather moth-eaten and of not much account. It
is for the rising generation to tell and explain what's doing now and
for the setting generation to listen and make the most of it.

Of course, this is not meant to imply that children have ceased to have
any respect for their parents. In any particular case, it is a question
of degree, depending upon the quality of the children, the quality of
the parents, the various conditions and influences of the family life.
It is the general tendency we are looking for--the underlying
principle--which makes itself felt to a greater or less extent,
according to circumstances.

It is unquestionably true that the average child to-day is less often
and less severely punished than the child of the past. If it disobeys,
it has less fear of the consequences, so the importance of obedience
becomes a dwindling factor in its mental attitude and its behavior.

It learns to take orders with a grain of salt and as often as may be, it
disregards them, because they are not what it likes. That is the
beginning of a tendency--the first bending of a twig.

As the twig goes on growing with this slant, and the horizon of the boy
and girl opens out beyond the family circle to a larger world, existing
conditions are such as to encourage a continuation of the same tendency.
The selfish instincts and desires of the individual are opposed by the
same kind of influences and restraints that have been in force since
the beginning of civilization, but less effectively. And let us bear
clearly in mind that, for the time being, we are confining our attention
to the forces which act on the individual from without. That is the
thread we are following--the second consideration in our summary.

The influences and restraints which act on the boy or girl, as they go
forth from the home circle, are of various forms and kinds, but they may
be grouped in a few simple classes.

First: The school with its teachers and teachings.

Second: The influence of example and imitation--what others of their age
and kind are doing.

Third: The influence of public opinion, of tradition and customs--what
everybody seems to think is all right and approves, on the one hand, and
what is considered wrong and unworthy, on the other.

Fourth: Laws and regulations of constituted authorities.

Fifth: Sunday school and church--the religious influence with its
standards of wickedness and goodness.

If we consider these in order, we are not impressed by any striking
change in the school influence. In many respects, no doubt, schools are
better planned and more intelligently managed than they ever were
before. More attention is paid to ventilation, hygiene, recreation, on
the one hand; and on the other the methods employed in imparting book
knowledge are probably more enlightened.

As regards the question we are discussing--obedience, discipline,
respect for authority--on the whole, there has probably been no great
change. In the class-room and throughout the school régime, strict
obedience is still maintained as an essential requisite, just as it has
always been. The punishments and penalties for disobedience are perhaps
a little less severe and drastic, but without any real difference in

The only question worth raising in this connection is how far
school-teachers and school-rules are taken to heart by the average boy
or girl--how far they are made to apply to their notions and motives,
when school is left behind. School-books, school-teachers and
school-discipline are so apt to be bunched together and relegated to a
special corner of the mind.

Our second group--the influence of example and imitation--has probably
always been a more important factor in shaping conduct and character.
What the older boys, just above you, do and believe, makes a lot of
difference to you, if you are a boy.

It is no question here of old-fashioned precepts or theories, handed
down by parents, grandmothers or school-teachers, to be taken with a
grain of salt. It is something living and vital, which concerns you
directly. You look up to the older boys: you want to be like them; and
approved of by them. What they think and do may be at variance with the
ideas of nurse, mother and school-master, but if it is good enough for
them, it is good enough for you. It is a practical standard which you
can't help being judged by. If you fail to live up to it, or refuse to
accept it and try to act differently, there is a sure penalty. You will
be sneered at, disliked, looked down upon, or laughed at.

If you are a girl, the same principle applies. There is nothing new
about the principle. It is as old as the hills and universal.

Is the effect of it to-day on the forming character any different from
what it has been, in the past? Undoubtedly. A moment's reflection will
show why and how this must be so.

Whatever the nature and influence of the family bringing-up may have
been, in any particular case, the general tendency toward lack of
discipline and disregard for authority can hardly fail to be reflected
in the prevailing standards of the boys and girls to be found at any
school. They have no connection with school regulations or school
penalties. It is the fundamental question of instincts, desires, and
notions--the attitude toward themselves and toward life outside the
school-room which they are going to take with them where-ever they go.

The tendency begun at home finds reinforcement and further development
in the boy or girl by example and contact with others, who are headed
the same way.

Next comes the third group: The influence of public opinion--of
tradition and customs.

There is no mistaking the fact that in the present generation there have
been many striking changes in the prevailing customs, as they apply to
the behavior and conduct of individuals. The growing boys and girls see
these changes taking place on every hand.

When mother and father were young, Sunday was a day set aside for
church-going and dull and decorous behavior. Games and fun of all kinds
were laid away, everybody put on their best clothes and sat around and
talked, or took quiet walks with an overhanging air of seemly propriety.
To-day there are tennis and golf and baseball games and dinner-parties
and gambling at the bridge-table, in which mother and father
participate along with the rest.

It used to be considered improper for a girl of good family to go out at
night to any kind of party without being accompanied by a chaperon.
Nowadays, the girl who is obliged to take a chaperon with her wherever
she goes, is liable to be laughed at by her up-to-date friends.

It was not so long ago that in any respectable community, a woman who
painted her face, smoked cigarettes, drank cocktails and gambled with
the men, would have been considered a shocking spectacle of depravity
that no self-respecting wife, or mother, could accept or tolerate.

Nowadays, the growing boy and girl have only to open their eyes to see
women doing such things everywhere--as likely as not their aunts and
cousins, or their own mothers.

Examples of this nature could be given in great variety, but enough has
been suggested to show the trend. In another connection it will be
interesting to discuss these manifestations in greater detail and
reflect on their cause and meaning.

For the present, it is sufficient to indicate that the social customs
have changed and are changing very materially. Under such conditions, it
would not be natural for young people to be unduly impressed by them.
Such standards are so unstable and they differ so much to-day from what
they were yesterday, and they differ so much in different circles and
even in different families, that their force and importance are not very
compelling. The authority of past customs has undergone a process of
confusion and weakening, much the same as parental authority. There is
less respect for it on the part of the new generation.

The same thing is true of traditions and public opinion. Traditions have
been modified and lost sight of in the new movement, and public opinion
on many questions is to-day so confused and indefinite as hardly to

Some people still think that divorce and re-marriage is shocking. Other
people thoroughly approve of divorce, and believe that when a marriage
has proved unsatisfactory and objectionable, it is right and best to
call it off and look for something better.

Some people think it wrong for young people to run to the picture-shows
and see baby vampires and demoralizing examples of licence and
misconduct; others are enthusiastic about the educational value of the
movies and encourage their children to go as often as they like.

Some people disapprove violently of the way young people dance together
and of the present attitude of girls and boys toward one another; while
others accept it as a part of the new era of emancipation and
enlightenment which is all in the way of progress.

There is practically no real public opinion to-day on these, and many
other similar questions. A diversity of individual opinions and notions
has taken its place, which young people are more or less free to follow
or ignore, as circumstances may determine.

Yet it is not so long ago that public opinion in most communities was a
firmly established, vital force. It was generally recognized and
carefully respected by anybody, who wished to be considered respectable.
Certain acts, certain kinds of conduct, were considered immoral, or
shocking, or in bad taste and those who defied public opinion were made
to pay the penalty. They were given the cold shoulder, cut off the
visiting-list and made to feel the stigma of disapproval.

If a girl sneaked off alone with boys in the dark, or was caught smoking
cigarettes--if a married man was seen consorting with a divorcee--if a
woman drank highballs and gambled and broke up a happy home--if any
member of the community did any one of a number of things which were
considered improper, or unworthy, or immoral, or dishonorable, public
opinion was sternly in evidence, unquestioned and unquestionable, to
judge and to sentence.

Young people learned to take account of this consideration, just as
their mothers and fathers did. They grew up with respect for it. In the
new generation the thing itself has lost greatly in consistency and
force, and the young people see no reason to be much concerned about it.

In the fourth group, are included the laws and regulations of
constituted authorities. For the most part these find their chief
representative in the policeman, with the jail and law-court, as a
background behind him. About the only change in this influence lies in
the mental attitude of the average individual.

A generation ago, people who got arrested were usually thieves, or
drunkards, or crooks and criminals of some kind. To be a law-breaker and
in the clutches of the police was something that a reputable citizen
shuddered at. The police were the guardians of all good people,
majestic, respected and a little awe-inspiring.

Nowadays, people of all sorts and kinds are constantly getting into
trouble with the police, and getting arrested, and being hauled to court
and fined before the same bar of justice as the crooks and drunkards. It
is usually in connection with automobile driving. They are
law-breakers--they know it and are caught at it.

And since the prohibition laws have gone into effect, another crop of
law-breakers has sprung up on every hand. Deliberately and defiantly
they disregard the law and scoff at it.

In addition to this matter of the police, there is a growing tendency on
the part of the average person to question the worthiness and integrity
of officials and representatives of government, all along the line.
Aldermen, commissioners, mayors of cities--even senators of the United
States--are frequent objects of mistrust, of sneering disrespect.
Political scandals and corrupt deals in high places are commonplace
topics in any community.

So young people, looking about and absorbing ideas, under these
conditions, are inclined to have a lessened respect for constituted
authorities and the laws.

Above and beyond this, having a deeper significance and effects that are
more intimate and constant and far-reaching, is the change which has
been taking place in the influences of the fifth and last group--Sunday
school and church--the force of religion.

This is such a delicate subject, so close to the hearts of so many
people and having so many variations and degrees in different
individuals, in different families, in different communities, in
different churches, that it is extremely difficult to discuss. It is
largely a matter of private sentiment, of vague personal feelings for
which the average person is unable to find adequate expression. No
sooner is the subject broached than the individual mind takes refuge in
a defensive attitude. As it does not intend to be disturbed in its own
spiritual attitude and beliefs, it is ready to seize the first
opportunity to raise objections.

Let me reassure such minds by saying that I am quite willing to agree
with them concerning the good that is in their minister, or their
church, or any other church, or religion they may be interested in. To
the best of my knowledge and belief, the purpose and influence of all
churches and all religions has always been in the direction of higher
thoughts and more exalted motives of conduct. This is no less so to-day
than it has been in the past.

The change that has occurred is in the attitude of the new generation
toward the teachings of the church and the consequent weakening of its

Not much reflection or observation is required to arrive at a general
idea of the nature and extent of this tendency.

In most Christian homes it has been the custom to teach children to say
their prayers every night before going to bed. And in teaching them to
pray, the idea has been instilled in their minds that the all-wise Lord
is listening to them and watching over them. Mothers and Fathers have
accustomed them to the belief that no act of theirs--no matter how
carefully they may conceal it from the human beings about them--can ever
escape the all-seeing eye of the Lord.

Children have believed this from time immemorial and the Sunday school
and church have encouraged and strengthened this belief, at all stages
of their growth. And along with this, as we have observed, went the idea
of divine, everlasting justice and retribution--the punishment of evil
and the regard of good, if not in this world, then surely in the greater
world beyond. Heaven and hell have for centuries been pictured as
awe-inspiring realities, established by the Bible, expounded and
thundered from pulpits.

Children found, as they grew up, that the idea was accepted and shared
by mothers, fathers, neighbors--everybody in the community entitled to
respect or consideration. In trouble or sickness, they turned to the
Lord for comfort and help and those who yielded to temptation and
ignored His commandments were in danger of eternal damnation.

When people believe such a doctrine, when it is a living conviction in
their hearts and souls, no greater influence could be imagined for
controlling their material instincts and desires. We have only to refer
back to the days of the martyrs and saints to realize what the principle
is capable of when it is fully applied. As compared to eternal salvation
and everlasting bliss--how petty and unimportant are the temporary
experiences of the body.

The great mass of normal human beings, while accepting and believing the
doctrine, have never deemed it necessary, or practical, to carry it too
far. But always in the past, so far as we know, the average individual
has been influenced to a very considerable extent by his religious
beliefs. The more deeply and intensely he _believed_ in the teachings,
the greater their influence in controlling his acts.

If we turn to the present generation, we find on all sides, evidences of
a growing notion that many of the statements contained in the Bible will
no longer hold water, when put to the test of scientific enlightenment.
A minister of the gospel in this church, and another in that, announces
from the pulpit that it is no longer possible for him to accept the
doctrines of hell's fire and eternal damnation. Others follow their
example and preach sermons, accordingly, to justify this stand. Next the
question of heaven is brought into question by a conscientious divine,
who expounds the conviction that it should be accepted in an allegorical
meaning, not literally--that instead of being a paradise inhabited by
the souls of the elect, it should be considered rather a state of mind
of living mortals who behave rightly.

Heaven and hell, a jealous and all-mighty Being, seated on a majestic
throne, watching and judging each act of mortal man, punishing and
rewarding, through all eternity--these and many other biblical
teachings, which for centuries awed the imagination and possessed the
souls of humble men and women, have gradually been brought into

Some people are inclined to lay blame for this on the churches and the
ministers. But that is superficial thinking. The causes for the change
were not within the churches, but outside, and the ministers of the
gospel, though human beings like the rest of us, were among the very
last to take cognizance of them.

The doubts and questions and misgivings evidently began, some time ago,
among practical, thoughtful minds of scientific training. Certain
statements in the Bible, in the light of modern investigation, were
found to be inaccurate. If parts of it were founded on the ignorance of
men of more or less primitive instruction, it is easy to see where this
line of reasoning was bound to lead. In addition to the statements of
fact, many of the ideas and assumptions set forth in the Bible seemed
crude, narrow, cruel--as primitive as the lives of those early peoples
among whom it came into existence.

The moral code contained in it--the essence of its religious
significance--was undoubtedly sound and eternally true and very possibly
inspired from on high, but the details, the images, the formal
conceptions were decidedly antiquated and unimpressive to the
enlightened spirit of our advanced civilization.

This growing point-of-view began to express itself quite noticeably in
the past generation, at least in America. Thoughtful men, when they
arrived at it, were inclined to keep it to themselves. They did not care
to disturb the simple, whole-souled faith of their wives and mothers and
children. But when these men went to church with the family, and had to
listen to the literal, orthodox expoundings of antiquated dogmas, they
were apt to feel mildly bored and annoyed. They began to beg off from
going to church. Then, little by little, in the various church
congregations, there was a disquieting falling off in the attendance of

Then some of these men began to exchange their views quietly with
others, who felt the same way. Articles were written, here and there,
calling certain dogmas into question--and women were sometimes led to
take part in the discussions and face the conclusions.

Women, as has been observed from time immemorial, are by nature more
conservative than men, more inclined to accept existing conventions and
be governed by traditions. They are also more impressionable and the
outward forms of church service mean more to them. Religious stimulant
can come to them through their feelings and imagination without greatly
involving the intellect. The same is true of children.

So it has happened that while the men questioned, lost faith and balked
at church-going, the women and children kept on dutifully, for the most
part content to accept things as they had always been.

But the contagion of advanced thought was in the air, spreading among
progressive men, reacting to a certain extent among women, and it was
probably not until this had been going on for some time that it began to
be taken into account by the clergy. Sooner or later it had to be, if
the church was to preserve any harmony with the thoughts of its

At the present time, things have reached a point where if you ask any of
the younger women, of average intelligence and education, her sentiments
concerning hell's fire and heaven's glories, and the jealous on-looking
God who demands to be worshipped, the chances are she will answer with a
shrug that those things are no longer preached by progressive ministers.
She believes in the Bible, certainly, and considers herself a good
Christian, but certain portions of the divine word, certain conceptions
of the past, are no longer acceptable--they have gone into the discard.

And these women, holding such a view, have no hesitancy in expressing it
in the presence of their children, if it so happens that they are old
enough to be sitting by, listening to the conversation.

In the light of all this, when we come to consider the force of religion
as a restraining influence in the growing lives of the new generation,
the nature and extent of the changes is fairly obvious.

Let us suppose that to-day the average little children still have the
beginnings of their religious training in much the same way as it has
always been. And a large proportion of them undoubtedly do, because
that is one of the family traditions which almost any mother would be
loath to change.

The children, then, are taught to say their daily prayer--they are told
that God hears them and sees them--that God is all-wise and
all-powerful--that He loves good people and rewards them, while people,
who do wrong, anger Him and cannot escape His punishment. And this
teaching is continued and developed in the Sunday school, as soon as the
children are old enough to go there.

The child mind absorbs all this, accepts it with the same simple faith
with which it has accepted Santa Claus.

If we consider the period of early childhood carefully, we find that
these two beliefs, so to speak, go hand in hand--and there is much
similarity between them. Most children are also taught about Santa Claus
from the earliest days. He becomes very real and wonderfully important
in the child imagination. He, too, has a mysterious way of knowing
whether people are good or bad; he, too, loves the good ones and rewards
them by bringing them beautiful presents--and if the bad ones are too
bad, he is liable to punish them by giving them no presents at all.
Instead of praying to him at night, you can write him letters which he
has a way of getting from the chimney, so that he, too, can understand
the innermost wishes of your heart.

Sooner or later, however, the time must come when the existence of Santa
Claus is called into doubt. The doubt usually begins with some remark
made by an older boy or girl. But even if older boys and girls kept
their mouths shut, the time would surely come when a growing mind would
begin puzzling, reasoning, doubting, and by putting two and two
together, would be forced to the conclusion that this pretty idea was
only a make-believe, a myth, a humbug. A little further reflection might
tell it that the myth must have been invented by some one, long ago, and
was kept alive and carried on by people, generation after generation, on
account of the value and influence it was found to have in bringing up

Even after a child has become too wise to believe any longer in Santa
Claus, when the first reaction of feeling fooled and cheated is over, it
is perfectly willing to go on pretending for the sake of little brother
and sister, and when it grows up and has children of its own, it will go
on pretending for them.

In the present generation, what is happening in the case of many people
with regard to religious beliefs, is only one step removed. At a little
later period of development, no doubt, but almost as inevitably, the
moment arrives when the childhood teachings and conceptions begin to be
called into question.

Is there really an all-wise Lord, looking on and listening when you say
your evening prayers? How many ears and eyes He must have, when so many
people are doing the same thing at the same time--hundreds, thousands,
millions--all talking to Him at once--in different languages and about
different things!

It was the same way about Santa Claus. How could he be bringing so many
presents to so many people, all over the world, and delivering them
personally, on the same Christmas eve? It would have taken him years to
get through with all the houses in New York City alone--without thinking
of London and Paris and all the other places.

In the past, when such a question came to mind and found expression, the
answer was comparatively simple and direct. Religion is a matter of
faith, not argument; the ways of the Lord surpass the human
understanding: the Bible and the church are the authority, what they
teach and ordain is to be accepted and obeyed. To doubt, or question, or
disbelieve is the beginning of sin, and the consequences may be

When the individual was trained to the habit of obedience--when the
attitude of the spirit within was one of respect and reverence for
established authority and established traditions--that was one thing. If
mothers and fathers and neighbors and wiser heads everywhere accepted
this great mystery unqualifiedly, on faith, as the guiding light of
their lives, was it not enough for their sons and daughters to follow
their example and do likewise?

But in the new generation, as we have seen, the twig has already been
bent in a different direction. Before the time comes for the young
person to be bothered with thoughts about religion, he or she has
already acquired the notion that the example of mother and father does
not need to be followed in many things. Some of their ideas and
traditions have become antiquated and more or less ridiculous in the
light of the new movement. When one begins to make enquiries about this
question of the Bible, enough has been said and heard to indicate that
certain of its assumptions, at least, will no longer hold water and have
been discarded by the ministers, themselves. So, say many of the new
generation, when you come down to it, what is there to prove that these
religious beliefs may not, after all, be only a legend, something like
the one about Santa Claus, evolved in the distant past, kept alive and
adhered to, generation after generation, for the same sort of reason?

A far greater number find it more convenient to refrain from expressing
themselves. They may even go to church, occasionally, and they observe a
superficial deference for the established forms of religion. But they
are very little concerned in the sayings of the Bible, or the sermons of
the ministers; they don't ask, or expect, any help from the Lord--nor do
they live in fear of His punishment.

It is not to be inferred that any large proportion of the new generation
have consciously or definitely followed out the chain of reasoning which
we have indicated. Most of them don't bother their heads to think very
far about such a serious subject. Their attitude, on this question, as
on many others, is apt to be arrived at, in a more or less subconscious

If a growing nature has not been schooled to obedience; if it has
learned to question and often disregard the ideas of its parents and
elders and has formed the habit of laughing at old-fashioned traditions
and conventions, there is nothing to be wondered at, if, when the time
comes, it is prepared to take a more or less similar view of Bible and

That, undoubtedly, is the present tendency.

Now it is more than likely that such thoughts as these seem
objectionable to many good Christians, because they consider that every
well-intentioned person should strive to uphold the church and to
refrain from the expression of ideas that might tend to unsettle faith.

Let me assure such people that my intentions are really of the best and
I am as deeply concerned as they can be about the influences which
appear to be undermining the spiritual welfare of my fellow beings.

But for the present, my aim is to look facts in the face, and to
endeavor, patiently and simply, to understand and explain. When we have
done our best in this direction, it will be time enough to hazard
opinions and offer suggestions.

Also, let us bear in mind that in this question of religion, as in the
other questions we have touched upon, it is only a tendency which we
have been considering--a fairly general tendency, to be sure, but still
only a tendency. In some communities, in some families, in some sects,
it may be hardly noticeable.

At the moment I write these lines, the newspapers are full of a new
movement undertaken by leading church societies of various denominations
to have laws enacted, enforcing the observance of the Sabbath. They aim
to bring about by this means, a return to the habits of church-going and
Bible reading, as they were in the days of our forefathers. The very
existence of such a movement is sufficient evidence of the tendency they
seek to combat. Whether any law could be counted on to accomplish their
purpose is another question, which need not concern us for the time

If we go back to our main thread of enquiry and draw together the
results of our observations, they seem to offer a comparatively simple
diagnosis of this supposedly mysterious disease which has gotten hold of
our young people. We have located the seat of the trouble and indicated
the nature of the developments which have, so to speak, thrown the
motives of conduct out of their accustomed balance.

Obedience, discipline, respect for authority and traditions,
consideration for others, fear of punishment, fear of consequences, fear
of God,--these great check-weights to self-interest, self-seeking, have
lost in weight and substance to such an extent that they no longer turn
the scales and point the way. If our diagnosis is on the whole correct,
we have finished with the first part of the problem.

    _N.Y. Times_, July 5, 1921.--Says lax parents make boy felons.
    Judge Talley analyzes youthful crime. Defiance begins at home.

    Judge Alfred J. Talley of the Court of General Sessions told
    several thousand persons gathered in the Mall in Central Park
    for an Independence Day celebration by the Knights of Columbus
    yesterday afternoon that modern American children are not
    brought up with the proper respect for their parents, law and
    order, or constituted authority, and that the fault lies with
    their elders. Judge Talley described the situation as a
    "cancer on the body politic." He drew a distinction between
    liberty and license and said that his experience in the
    criminal courts of New York had brought one great American
    failing very strongly home to him.

    "The one thing the American people lack to-day," he said, "is
    a proper method for bringing up their children. I see the
    results of this every day. The hardened criminals turn out to
    be youths of 19 and 20 years who first thrust themselves
    against law and order at 16 and 17 years, and who at 14 told
    their fathers that they were leaving school--and left.

    "Behind this hardened criminal stands the sullen drab figure
    of a girl who tries to show how loyal she is to the vagabond
    in the hands of the law. It all began with a misguided idea of
    liberty. The youth is the one who told his father he had had
    all the education he needed and promptly became a street
    corner type, and the girl, she who silenced her mother when
    bound for a dance by tossing aside criticism of the indecent
    dress she wore.

    "In our schools to-day the child stands defiant and the
    teacher is unable to use the only kind of discipline that
    would do any good. The parent at home fails to understand
    disciplinary methods, and so we have the picture of the father
    obeying the son instead of the son the father; and the mother
    obeys the daughter."

    To support his contention, Judge Talley said that statistics
    supplied a few weeks ago by the New York State Prison
    Commission showed the average age of penitentiary inmates to
    be 19 years. "This means that they began their criminal
    careers at 16 and 17, an age at which no Judge sends them to
    State prison. What is to be done to stem this tide of youthful
    depravity? There is only one way--we must encourage morality
    in public and in private, which means that we must bring back
    to our American life high standards and high ideals."



In the eyes of some good folks, the behavior of the girls and boys and
young married people to-day appears totally unprincipled; and the good
folks throw up their hands and declare "they can't understand it." As a
matter of fact, they haven't tried to understand it and most of them are
very far from understanding it.

There are nearly always two sides to a question--to any question--and no
matter how strongly your personal views may incline you to take one
side, before passing judgment, it is no more than common fairness to
give the other side a chance to explain and justify its attitude. There
is certainly very little chance of convincing your opponents that they
are wrong, unless you have a fairly clear notion of what it is they have
in mind.

It is quite natural for a grandmother to regard as "unprincipled," the
conduct of this new generation. It is obviously not controlled by the
same principles that she has lived by. She is impressed and disturbed
by the disappearance of her principles and the shocking effects. The
"impossible notions" that have apparently taken their place are beyond
her comprehension, but she certainly would not dignify them by the name
of principles.

But if these "impossible notions" are all that the new generation has to
go by, and if they represent its spirit and attitude toward the problem
of life, it makes little difference whether they be called principles or
not, a principle of some sort is involved in them.

The first thing to do, therefore, is to arrive at as clear an
understanding as possible as to what this principle is and what it

Very little observation is needed to arrive at the conclusion that the
essence of this new principle is the right of the individual nature to
its fullest expression, to its most untrammelled development.

A large proportion of the new generation may not be consciously aware of
this doctrine, or of their adhesion to it. But it is in the air and they
absorb it; it grows up within them, as an unconscious product of other
influences; it is present in those about them, and the "herd instinct"
causes them to adopt it.

There are also a number who have given thought to the subject and are
convinced of the soundness and progress of the new principle. They are
prepared to defend it and proclaim it with a touch of superiority. Here
and there, in magazine articles and newspapers, it is finding more or
less authoritative expression and endorsement.

The following quotations, for instance, are from an article which
appeared recently on the editorial page of the Hearst Newspapers. They
represent some views on education by a leading exponent of advanced

    One great end of education that ought forever to be in mind is
    that the greatest enemy of attainment, as it is indeed of life
    itself, is Fear.

    No man or woman can ever do good work, in the world, whatever
    be the task, until he has stricken from his hands and head and
    his heart the chains of Fear.

    The very first lesson to teach a baby is to be unafraid.

    Instead of that, fear is constantly resorted to in the family
    and in the school-room. We bribe, we threaten, we wheedle, we
    bull-doze. And by every such act, we do the child irreparable

    You ought to be much more thankful to God that your child
    defies you, than that he cringes before you.

    It should always be kept in mind that what you are after with
    your child is not that he should learn obedience, but that he
    should learn how to govern himself.

    The road to obedience is short, easy and nasty. All you need
    is a big stick. If you can be cruel and brutal enough, the
    little one will quickly learn to jump when you speak to him.

This is a part of the new principle, forcibly and typically expressed.

Is it any wonder that grandmother, brought up under the "Spare the rod,
and spoil the child" and "Children should be seen, not heard"
convictions, should find herself bewildered by such notions--that she
should deem them "impossible."

Another article of a somewhat different kind which appeared recently in
the Atlantic Monthly, was written by an Englishman, a moralist of the
modern school. His lesson is addressed to women and the main point of
it, developed in a most interesting and reassuring way, is that they are
too much afraid of conventional ideas, of public opinion. They should
not permit their aspirations and inclinations to be stifled by such
considerations, but have the courage to give freer rein to their inner

He refers, in his article, to the fact that American women are said to
be far more advanced in this respect than their English cousins and
approves of their example.

These, of course, are only scattered specimens of the many articles
which have appeared and will continue to appear in support of the new

And in this connection a rather curious side-light has come to my
attention repeatedly, within the past few years. Among a certain class
of people, especially those who pride themselves on superior
intelligence and advanced thought, there has been a pronounced revival
of interest and admiration for the free verse and freer morals of Walt
Whitman. He has been, so to speak, re-discovered and embraced as a guide
and a prophet. His creed of life, so exuberantly and defiantly
expressed, was the exalted importance of his own ego. Wherever his
desires led him, wherever joy for himself was to be found, there would
he go, unabashed and inconsiderate.

With these indications in mind, we may proceed to consider some actual
examples which will serve to illustrate.

A certain young woman is well-born and well-bred, occupying a prominent
social position, decidedly intelligent--and good-looking, to boot. She
has a husband of her own class and kind, who has always been devoted to
her, and three lovely children, two boys and a girl.

She has apparently given considerable thought to the problem of life,
and the point-of-view she arrived at finally would seem to be a typical
product of modern ideas.

She believes first and foremost in the absolute right of the individual
soul to recognize no master but itself--to follow out its desires and
aspirations to the fullest extent. She has a feeling of scorn and
contempt for conventions and conventional people. If you pay any
attention to them, or their narrow, sheep-like opinions, or allow them
to interfere in any way with your freedom of action, you are belittling
yourself and your self-respect.

You must never be afraid to obey your own impulses. They come from
within you, they are a part of your nature--your self--and that is where
your true duty lies. It is better that you should be true to yourself,
even at the expense of others, than that you should be afraid and

The very fact that a desire, or an impulse, makes itself felt within you
is the main point. It is not really the things you _do_ that matter so
much, as your _wish_ to do them. If you wish to do a thing, and hold
back out of cowardice, or fear of the consequences, that doesn't make
you any better--only weaker and worse. You can't deny that the wish was
there--without lying to yourself--so what's the use?

It is finer and braver to go on with it and attain at least the
satisfaction of a wish fulfilled.

"But," some one objects, "how about your obligations to others? Suppose
by doing the thing you wish, you will harm them?"

This little lady's answer to such an objection is usually accompanied by
a shrug and a mildly condescending expression.

"If you are going to keep bothering your head about the effect of your
actions on other people, might as well give up at the start and be a
nice little sheep. The game isn't worth the candle.

"Besides, there's more humbug in that than any of the other bromides,
weak natures prate about. Most people in this world have got to look out
for themselves. You can't hope to be anything, or do anything worth
while without occasionally treading on some one's toes. It has always
been that way and if you're honest with yourself, you may as well
recognize the fact and accept it philosophically.

"In most cases the harm that you do is much less than you imagine. That
usually takes care of itself, somehow."

If people bore her, she doesn't believe in pretending that they interest
her. She will not invite them to her house, or accept their invitations.

If she has agreed to go somewhere, where she expects to amuse herself
and then, at the last moment, no longer feels in the mood for it, she
calls it off. Or if in the meantime, something else turns up that she
would prefer to do, she does not hesitate to switch to the thing she

If people don't like that, it is their affair. She has no intention of
cramping her freedom, denying her desires, on their account. What she
does means more to her than it does to anybody else. There is no good
reason for her to pretend to be any different from what she is.

Moreover, in this particular case, there can be very little doubt, among
those who know her, that she practices what she preaches. This, too, is
something which occurs more frequently in the new generation than it did
in the past. There is no great trouble in accommodating practice to
theory--or rather the theory accommodates itself very readily to the
kind of conduct which persons of this kind are ready to practice.

For instance, the lady in question wanted to visit Chinatown in one of
the large cities and arranged with a professional guide to be taken
there at night, alone with a girl friend. Among other things, they saw a
Chinaman smoking opium and this gave rise to a desire on her part to
experience the sensation for herself. The guide was prevailed upon, for
a consideration, to procure her an outfit and a supply of opium; and
that very night in her room she took a try at an opium dream. Why not?

At another time, at a cabaret party, she was introduced to a somewhat
notorious young man of the Bohemian world. He was obviously dissolute,
but talented and interesting. She danced with him, gave him
encouragement, invited him to her home and was not afraid to be seen
going about with him frequently on terms of intimacy. Among other
things, he was addicted to the cocaine habit--he sniffed the powder from
the back of his hand--and in due time he talked to her about it. He
presented her with a bottle of the drug and after that, she always had a
supply in reserve which she used when the impulse came. Why not?

If her husband had any objection to things that she did, he soon learned
to keep them to himself. She could not and would not tolerate any
interference with the rights of an individual soul. She must have the
same freedom that she conceded to him. The kind of thing he chose to do,
apart from her, was a matter for him to decide in accordance with his
nature. The same rule must apply to her. The days of slavery had passed.
Marriage was an arrangement between equals.

In due course of time, the husband had to leave her and the children for
war service. While he was away, she fell in with another talented and
dissipated Bohemian--a romantic-looking musician very much in the public
eye. Very quickly their infatuation for each other was a matter of open
comment on the part of the veriest on-looker. As he had the same idea
that she had about the rights of the individual, and the same contempt
for conventions and conventional people, there was no pretense of
concealment, no need of observing the proprieties.

When the husband returned from overseas, she informed him, with the
utmost candor of what had taken place. There was no shame and no
remorse. Why should there be? A simple statement of fact--the forces of
human nature in operation. She had found some one who appealed to her
impulses more strongly than he. That was a truth which had to be
accepted. The simplest way was to allow her to get a divorce.

But what of the children?

A very simple answer. Whether they went with their father or stayed with
their mother--or were taken by the grandparents--anything was really
better for children than being brought up in an atmosphere where all was
pretense and whence love had flown. Of course she loved her children and
always would, but if they grew up to be the right sort, they would
understand her motives and admire her the more for being true to

This case embodies the practical working of the new principle, carried
to an extreme.

Here is another example of a different order: Two pretty girls of
eighteen or twenty were talking together in the seat in front of me, in
a trolley car. They turned out to be telephone operators at central
switchboards. They were talking over their plans, which contemplated a
visit to the movies with two young men--a supper and dance afterwards.
The young men were still to be heard from and as the girls were going to
separate places of employment the question was how to let each other
know about final arrangements. For reasons best known to themselves, it
wouldn't be wise to attempt that over the 'phone--they had better meet
somewhere. Whereupon one of the girls suggested a place convenient to
them both, where they could slip out and meet each other--at four
o'clock. She would "plug in" all the terminals on her switchboard, so
that all the lines in that central would be reported "busy" when people
called up, and the other girl could do the same. Then they could talk
things over quietly. "Nothing to be afraid of." And so they agreed. Why

Here is another symptom:

A married woman of my acquaintance is decidedly old-fashioned in her
respect for conventions and moral standards. She has a sweet and rather
shy daughter, who has been brought up closely under the mother's wing,
and has never lost the habit of asking and telling her mother
everything. She is seventeen.

One summer evening, recently, the daughter was called up on the 'phone
by one of her girl friends and asked to make one of the party, who were
arranging an impromptu dance at a private house. The girl friend and her
brother would stop for her in their car and bring her home afterwards.

When the invitation was referred to mother, after a moment of hesitation
and worry about the propriety of the proceeding, she gave her consent.
Shortly after, the friend and her brother stopped at the house and took
the daughter with them.

When she got back home, after midnight, she went to her mother's room
and told her, at her bed-side, what had happened.

After they got to the house where the dance was to be and the others had
all gathered there, it was decided for some reason to adjourn to another
house. To get to this other house, the daughter was put into an
automobile with a girl and two young men. She sat in front, beside the
young man who was driving. She knew him only slightly, had danced with
him a few times and thought him rather nice.

On the way, after chatting and joking, this young man stopped the car,
then suddenly kissed her and took her in his arms. She didn't know what
to do. When she looked around, she found that the same thing was going
on in the back seat between the other boy and girl.

The young man beside her wouldn't listen to her objections. They seemed
to take it for granted. If you liked each other, why shouldn't you? He
said he liked her.

The occurrence is fairly typical of up-to-date standards--except in one
particular. Most girls refrain from mentioning it to mother.

Here is another symptom, of slightly different complexion which applies
to married life and suggests the extent to which the new principle is
bearing fruit, in society circles.

It was brought to my notice, last summer, that in one colony on Long
Island where I happened to be, there were fourteen different houses
where the wife had deserted the family and the husband was keeping house
alone with the children. This was among members of the fashionable set.
In each of these cases, of course, the wife had come across some man
who, for the time being at least, appealed to her more than her husband
and a divorce had been obtained in some convenient way, or was in the
process of obtaining.

It usually happens when a discussion takes place concerning the
immorality of the present day, that some member of the party will
advance the opinion in a more or less authoritative way that the
tendency in question is confined almost entirely to the so-called upper
crust of society and is consequently not entitled to the significance
which is being attributed to it. The great mass of the people, in their
simple homes and simple communities, are not in the least contaminated
or disturbed by it. They are just as moral and clean-minded as they ever
were, probably more so. Among the rich and idle upper classes, there has
always been a lot of dissipation and immorality in all countries, at all
times. If America is getting a little more than usual of it, at present,
that is nothing to get excited about.

In the face of such sentiments, cheerily and forcibly expressed, the
average gossip and fault-finder is usually willing to acquiesce with a
shrug. And so the discussion ends with a feeling that an attempt has
been made to exaggerate the importance of a restricted and
unrepresentative class.

As a matter of fact, this kind of talk would appear to be founded on
neither accurate information nor sound reasoning.

As regards the lower and middle classes--including those in small
communities--especially those in small communities--it has been called
to my attention repeatedly by those in a position to know that the
change in standards, the so-called demoralization, has been quite as
extreme as among the upper crust. And this view is in accord with my own

Two important agents of the new movement are the automobile and the
moving picture show. The mechanic's daughter, the store-keeper's
daughter, the farmer's daughter like to go to the movies. It may be at
first the mother, or father, took care to find out who the daughter was
going with and how. A girl friend and her brother. How are they going?
In the friend's automobile. Another time the father runs the daughter
over to the friend's house in the Ford car. Another time the daughter
runs herself over to the friend's house in the Ford car. It is only a
short way. Or again, it is the friend's brother who stops for her, on
his way to get the sister. After a while, this going to the movies has
become such a frequent occurrence, that it is accepted as a matter of
course, without bother or comment. If perchance the daughter comes home,
some night, later than usual and the mother feels uneasy, the
explanation is very simple. Instead of going to the nearby theatre, the
daughter and her friend went over to a neighboring town where a more
interesting picture was showing. In the end the daughter goes off about
when she pleases and comes back in the same way.

Very often the stories she sees on the screen are largely seasoned with
material that stirs the imagination and emotions in a hectic sexual way.
If the girl and a young man get into a Ford car together to go home by
moonlight, is it to be wondered at that the car comes to a stop on the
lonely road and they forget old-fashioned proprieties?

The extent to which this sort of thing has been going on in many of the
small town communities, according to the information I have received, is
far too serious to be glossed over with easy optimism. In one relatively
small and primitive district I happened to know of, more than one-half
of the families with marriageable daughters have within the last three
years had to bear the shame of illegitimate off-spring.

In the cities and larger towns, the same tendency appears to be in full
swing among the shop-girls, stenographers, and daughters in the humbler
walks of life.



In any case, from the examples and indications which we have cited and
countless others of a similar kind which come within the experience of
almost every one, nowadays, there can be little room for doubt that the
new principle of conduct is very much in evidence throughout the length
and breadth of our land. Consciously or unconsciously, it is affecting
the character and determining the point-of-view of vast numbers in the
new generation.

If you attempt to reason with them and they are willing and intelligent
enough to express themselves frankly, their answer and justification for
the way they are going sums up about as follows:

"Why shouldn't I think of myself and do what I like and want, as often
as I get the chance?

"As long as I steer clear of the law and avoid breaking my neck, what
other consequences are there that I need to keep worrying about?

"Why shouldn't I be a pleasure-seeker and a pleasure-lover? Why
shouldn't I follow my inclinations and do what I like, whenever and
wherever I get the chance?"

Why not?

If you expect them to act contrary to their inclinations, to deny
themselves the pleasures that they want, and to do things they do not
feel like doing, there ought to be a good and sufficient reason. It
ought to be so clear and convincing that it can be accepted with a whole
heart and a settled resolve to abide by it.

The young people of to-day are made of exactly the same stuff as the
young people of any other day. They have the same sort of instincts and
the same underlying aspiration to get the most and the best out of life.
Owing to altered conditions, for reasons which we have outlined, they
are being left to go about it very largely in their own way, with less
coercion from without, than young people have probably ever known before
in the history of civilization.

How far will you get by telling them that the way they are going is
immoral and sinful? They can answer by saying "If I choose to be immoral
and satisfy myself, why shouldn't I? I'm not afraid of being sinful, or
any of those old-fashioned scare-crows."

How far will you get by advising that the rod be taken out again and
that they be beaten into submission to forms of authority which they no
longer believe in or respect? This might result in teaching them
duplicity and cunning and resentment, but probably nothing more
beneficial to their spiritual health.

It seems to me more sensible to be patient with them and talk matters
over with them and try to answer their question in exactly the same
spirit in which it is asked.

The question is "Why shouldn't I go ahead and gratify my inclinations in
any way that suits myself."

There are many reasons, some of which ought not to be very difficult for
any one to understand. Broadly speaking, they are of three different
kinds--First, experience; second, affection; third, faith.

Let us examine them in order, in a simple, leisurely way, and try to
make clear the essence of each.

What does the question of experience lead to and imply?

First, there is one's own experience; then there is the experience of
other people.

Our own experience teaches us very quickly that we often have impulses
which it would be a mistake to obey. If you feel like pulling a strange
dog's tail and the dog turns on you and bites your hand and the wound
has to be cauterized, and you have to go through a lot of pain and
trouble and fear of hydrophobia, one lesson will probably be enough for

Suppose you are overheated and feel like sitting in a draft and letting
the cool air blow on you, and this is followed by a heavy cold which
lays you up for a week or two?

Or suppose you are on top of a tall building and feel a strong impulse
to jump out and go sailing through the air? Many people have this
impulse, but they have previously had enough experience to know what
happens to people who fall from high places.

The number of such examples might be multiplied indefinitely, but enough
has been suggested to indicate the principle. It is quite obvious and
childishly simple--the lessons taught to each and every one of us by our
own experience.

Now let us follow this path a step further. It is quite possible for you
to have impulses and inclinations to do things which might cause you
irreparable harm. The consequences of these things are not something
that you can remember and foresee, because in your own experience they
have not occurred before. If you stick to your idea of obeying no one
but yourself and of being unafraid to do what you want, the lesson in
store for you may come too late.

Certain impulses of yours, if followed, may cause death. Others may
cause permanent injury to yourself, or irreparable harm to others.

A little boy seeing an automobile coming along the road sometimes has an
impulse to run across the road in front of the automobile, for the fun
and excitement of it. If you are a boy and feel like it, why shouldn't

You have never tripped and fallen in front of an automobile--you have
never misjudged the speed of it and been struck and killed that way.

You have never seen any other boy killed that way. There is nothing in
your own experience to deter you.

If the automobile happens to hit you, you will have acquired experience
that might be useful to you, but the cost is too great. If you are not
dead, you may be crippled for life.

If you are convalescing from typhoid fever, you are likely to have a
ravenous appetite. You feel very well and you derive considerable
pleasure from the milk-toast and soft-boiled eggs you have been getting,
but they do not begin to satisfy you. Every instinct within you calls
for a big piece of juicy beef-steak and fried potatoes. There is no
reason in your experience why you should not gratify your desire--you
may have been told by the doctor that it isn't time for that yet and you
must be content with what is ordered for you. But if you believe in
doing what you feel like and the doctor is out of the way, why not have
your beef-steak? I happen to know of two separate cases where this
occurred--friends of mine. The doctor in each case apparently took too
much for granted and failed to impress upon their minds forcibly enough
the need of obeying his orders rather than their own inclinations. The
experience came too late--because it brought death with it.

Or suppose you are in some out-of-the-way place and are hot and tired
and very thirsty and the only water available comes from a supply which
is not fit to drink? You may have been told this by some one who knows
more about it than you do, but if you believe in ignoring other people's
opinions and thinking only of yourself--and the water is cool and clear
and you feel like drinking it, why shouldn't you? Suppose it turns out
that clear, cool water may be polluted with cholera, or yellow fever, or
other deadly germs? You may never recover from the effects of it.

These are crude, haphazard illustrations of a principle which is
constantly at work in human lives in a great variety of ways. The
obvious meaning of it is that your experience, or your own lack of
experience, in many questions and emergencies may not be enough for you
to go by, or depend upon.

Most young people have had very little experience of many things that
are liable to have a vital bearing on their own lives, their own selves,
their own hope of happiness.

As a matter of fact it must be evident to any one who will reflect a
moment, that no one individual, however long he may have lived, or
however full and varied his life may have been, can possibly have had in
his own personal experience more than a small fraction of the things
that may occur and do keep occurring in the world of humanity.

If he has led a clean, healthy, vigorous life, he cannot have
experienced the feelings and problems of a drunkard and dope-fiend
slowly submerging in dissipation and vice. If he married young and has
known the joy of entire devotion to a loyal and loving helpmate, he
cannot have had the experience of a profligate who has been divorced
four times and is about to take another chance with a dashing
grass-widow. Hundreds and thousands of situations that other human
beings are called upon to face, he cannot have gone through on his own

But if we are able to find out and bear in mind the experience of other
people, we can make use of it, as a warning and a guide, in much the
same way as if it had happened to ourselves. If I have seen a boy try to
run across the road in front of an automobile and stumble and get
killed, it is not necessary for me to get killed in order to appreciate
the danger of the experiment. You may never have seen this happen, but
if I have and I tell you about it, you can use the information you get
from me and still save yourself the necessity of risking your neck.

This principle is not at all difficult to understand. It has always been
applied, to greater or less extent, in the lives of all human beings,
everywhere. It is no more than common sense to profit by the experiences
of others, and try to avoid their mistakes.

It seems strange that such a universal principle should be overlooked by
the up-to-date minds of the new generation. Yet the least little glimmer
of light from it would in itself seem to be a sufficient answer to their

"Why shouldn't I go ahead and gratify all my impulses?"

Because although your own limited experience may be insufficient to
warn you and guide you, the experience of other people has shown
repeatedly that such and such impulses usually lead to such and such
consequences which would be very harmful to you.

In the long run the results of others' experience are a better guide to
follow than your selfish impulses. You wish to be intelligent and
reasonable, don't you? Well, if you lack experience and understanding,
it is neither intelligent nor reasonable to imagine that you are the
best judge of the consequences.

Of course, the examples we have cited so far--the strange dog that
bites, the boy and the automobile, typhoid fever and polluted water--are
very elementary. Also the questions they involve--the harmful
consequences of certain impulses--are direct and immediate and entirely
material. They serve well enough to answer a question and illustrate a
principle and that is all they were intended for. The principle is worth
bearing in mind, because its application extends to all sorts of
complicated questions of conduct. One reason that the young people of
to-day are so confused in their moral ideas is just because they have
been allowed to overlook this simple, fundamental principle.

It frequently happens that the most important consequences of the thing
you do, or fail to do, are not direct and immediate but fairly remote
and obscure. An individual without much experience or knowledge of the
world may easily neglect to consider them.

For instance, I have known several cases where young men of good family
forged their fathers' names. They were up-to-date young men, of course.
But even so, how could they come to do such a thing?

By gratifying their inclinations, in the first place, in accordance with
the up-to-date idea. One natural consequence of this is that, in order
to gratify a new inclination, or as a result of having gratified the
last one, it becomes necessary to have more money. That is one of the
annoyances of civilization, which even the most advanced of the new
generation haven't yet been able to change. Many of their pet impulses
cannot be indulged without money. It is an old-fashioned convention and
very irksome, but for the time being, at least, it has to be made the
best of.

The young men in question eventually found themselves faced with this
problem. They had to have money. How could they get it? Not by asking
their mother, or father, for it. That source of supply had been used up
to the last drop, with the help of all sorts of pretexts, subterfuges
and broken promises. There was no longer any available friend or
relative to borrow from. That resource had also been used up. They had
no jewelry left to pawn--that had been used up, too.

So finally, for the want of a better way, they arrived at this scheme of
signing their fathers' names to checks.

After all, looking at it from their point-of-view, and bearing in mind
the freedom of the individual, why shouldn't they?

It would do no great harm to their fathers--no real harm at all. They
had plenty of money in the bank.

But it would constitute forgery--a serious offense, against the law.
"What of that? So is speeding an automobile against the law. Who's
afraid of breaking the law--if you have the nerve?"

Is there no such thing as right and wrong? Don't you know in your heart
that this would be wrong--very wrong?

"I've been fed up with that kind of talk all my life. What other people
think about such things is their affair. I believe in deciding for
myself and doing as I like.

"The main thing I've got to consider is my chance of getting away with
it and what is liable to happen if I don't. I am sure I can make a good
enough imitation of my father's signature to get the check cashed at one
of the stores the family deals with. If it goes to the bank along with
other checks and the amount is not large, there is small chance of any
attention being paid to it. If it once gets into father's account at the
bank, as likely as not it will never be discovered. And even if it
should be, at some future date, no father would bring a charge against
his own son. So the worst that can happen is another one of those family
scenes which I have gone through before.

"The most important thing of all is that I need the money--I've got to
have it--and this is the least objectionable way I can think of to get

This is presumably the process of reasoning the young men in question
went through. In each case the immediate consequence of the act was
apparently harmless and quite satisfactory to them. They got the money
they wanted, the checks were taken in at the bank, time passed and no
one knew the difference.

The indirect and remote consequences of this kind of conduct, however,
came eventually. They nearly always do. The forgeries in each case were
repeated--why shouldn't they be? And the day finally arrived when they
were brought to light. In each of the cases the suffering and
heart-break of the mothers and fathers was pitiful and beyond recovery
in this world. That was one of the indirect consequences.

One of the young men, whom I had known as a bright, attractive
collegian, was sent to prison, eventually, in spite of all his family
could do. Another died in an institution for incurables. All forfeited
their birthright of home, family, decent associations and ended up in
degradation and wreckage.

That was one of the remote consequences.

Let us take a more usual example, much less extreme--the young man who
steps on the throttle of his automobile because he feels like going

As far as his own experience is concerned, where is the reason for him
to deny his impulse?

If a traffic cop happens to see him, he might get "pinched" and fined.
That's about the only thing worth considering. But if he keeps his eyes
open and his companions in the back seat watch out behind, there's not
much chance of that. And after all, suppose he does happen to "get
pinched," what of it? There are plenty of others. His father will have
to pay a fine and there will be a little scolding and unpleasantness in
the family, at the worst.

As for the danger, who's afraid of that? It only makes it more exciting
and more fun.

The result is logical enough, if you start with the premise that each
individual is free to follow his inclinations and decide for himself.

Very few young men have sufficient experience of their own, or
sufficient reflection and wisdom, to give due weight to the indirect and
remote consequences which may come from such conduct.

Let us pause and imagine a few of them.

In the first place, an automobile skimming along the road at the rate of
sixty or seventy miles an hour has in it elements of danger which are
entitled to some consideration. The danger is not only for those who are
in the car, but also for others who may wish to use the same road. An
accumulated mass of experience has amply demonstrated this. That is the
underlying reason for the speed laws--not that young men may be
"pinched" by "traffic cops" and fathers be made to pay fines.

If the young man driving the car were the only one concerned in the
danger, it might be different. He could claim the right to risk his own
neck when he felt like it, and it might be conceded to him. But such is
not the case--such is never the case--other people cannot help being
affected by his conduct. His companions in the car, their families, his
own family, other people on the road and all their families, may be
very much concerned in a possible accident caused by his recklessness.

If he kills a little girl, or a boy on a bicycle, or a lady coming out
of a cross-road, or if the damage is merely the injury of a few people
and the wrecking of a car, there are sure to be unpleasant consequences
for the young man himself.

So much for the question of accident or danger of accident, but there is
another question of another sort involved.

Suppose the young man has promised his mother and father that he would
not drive fast--never above thirty miles an hour--suppose it was on this
distinct understanding that their anxiety was allayed and he was trusted
to take the car by himself wherever he liked?

Does it make any difference to him whether he breaks a promise--to his
mother and father?

He can say to himself that it is only a natural fussiness on their part,
and as they are not in the car, they won't know anything about it.

But sooner or later they do know about it; such things nearly always
have a way of coming to light. It is an old saying which has been very
generally confirmed that, in the long run, "the truth will out." One of
the girls in the car tells somebody how fast they went and that somebody
refers to it before others until it gets to the boy's mother and
father. What harm to the boy? A little scolding, perhaps, and a
repetition of the warning and the promise?

That's only the superficial consequence. There is a deeper and more
remote one. The parents' confidence in their boy receives a shock. The
boy can't always be trusted to keep his word. Also he is inclined to be
reckless and irresponsible.

The parents have always idolized the boy; the father has never ceased
looking forward to the day when he could turn over to his son a big
share of his responsibilities and see him carry on the name and prestige
of the family. It is the most natural and fondest hope that fathers

This hope begins to be undermined when the boy does something which
shows that he cannot be trusted. If he will break his word and take a
reckless chance, merely for the sake of gratifying a trivial
inclination, what is to keep him from doing so, on other occasions for
the same reason? The same spirit and the same point-of-view are certain
to find repeated opportunities for the same sort of irresponsible

When, in the course of time, the realization of this finally comes home
to the mother and father, the consequences, although remote, are apt to
be extremely serious for all concerned--including the boy.

His character is irresponsible and untrustworthy. His word, or promise,
is of no account--he cannot be counted on to keep it. That has been
proved by his conduct--unmistakably.

What the harm is to an individual of developing a character of this
kind--or a lack of character--is a big and fairly complicated subject
which is apparently not much considered by up-to-date young people, who
are satisfied to judge things from the point-of-view of selfishness and
personal experience. It may be left for discussion later on.

The harm to mother and father and members of the family is also a matter
which they incline to imagine is no concern of theirs. According to the
new principle, the main consideration is one's own ego and its right to
freedom. This question, too, may be left for later discussion.

But there still remains a harm and a loss of a practical, material kind,
which in due course is pretty sure to come to the young man, himself. As
it has a direct bearing on his pleasures and inclinations, even the most
selfish individual should find it worth considering.

If you do things that are reckless and irresponsible, if you break your
word and fail to keep your promise, the people who cease to trust you,
those who have most to do with you, will treat you accordingly. Those
who have it in their power to contribute largely to your enjoyment, and
to your opportunities, will refrain from doing so. Invitations,
friendships, relationships of various kinds that might have been at your
disposal, will be withheld from you.

To get the most out of life, even from an entirely material and selfish
point-of-view, you need a lot of help from other people. First and
foremost you need it from your own family, in countless ways.

Suppose your own father, as a result of your irresponsibility, refuses
to let you have an automobile to break the speed laws with? Suppose he
is forced by experience to realize that you can't be trusted with money,
any more than you can be trusted with an automobile? This realization is
sure to be a source of great disappointment and sorrow to him, but he
has to accept it. He must abandon his hope of turning over his
responsibilities to you. If money is placed at your disposal, you may be
expected to gamble with it on the stock exchange, or the race-track, or
to squander it in gratifications of an unworthy and demoralizing kind. A
young man who thinks only of gratifying his inclinations, who is not
afraid to be reckless and inconsiderate of others, and who fails to keep
his word, is hardly a fit person to be placed in control of money. It
frequently happens that a father feels it a duty, when he makes his
will, to tie up the family inheritance in such a way that it will be
beyond the reach of an untrustworthy son.

So that the remote and indirect consequences of this kind of conduct may
be more harmful to a young man than his lack of experience and
understanding makes him aware of, at the time being.

How about the young woman of superior intellect and breeding, who had an
inclination to smoke opium, on one occasion, and to sniff cocaine, on

Suppose she had been better informed on the subject than she apparently
was. Suppose she happened to have a friend, who had been connected with
one of the state institutions for drug addicts, and this friend had told
her about the inmates--how hopeless and pitiful their degradation
was--how abject their slavery to the drug sensation for which they
continually yearned. No way has been found to cure them, because they
have no will to be cured. And the beginnings of the habit are so often
accidental and trivial--curiosity, or bravado, or carelessness on the
part of a practitioner. A Harvard college student, of good family, for
instance, was on a spree in Boston, with some friends--they went to an
opium joint and thought it would be fun to try the sensation. This
particular boy remained in the den twenty-four hours, under the
influence. That was the beginning--and the end. He went there again--he
got himself a lay-out--and is now a hopeless wreck in the state
institution, twenty-one years old. Another is a society woman who was
given a dose of heroin and that one dose proved sufficient for her
undoing. The craving for it came and she wanted more and more.

Or suppose some one had told her about a very remarkable case which came
to my attention, a number of years ago. Four young physicians were
associates on the staff of one of our leading medical institutions. A
considerable part of their time was devoted to research work and among
other things they started experimenting with the effects of cocaine,
which was a comparatively recent discovery. They were brilliant young
men of unusual character and promise, but all four succumbed to the
cocaine habit. The last of them died in pitiful degradation, within five
years of their first experiment.

Experience has shown that just as there are certain poisons which the
bodily functions are unable to resist, so there are certain drugs which
have the effect of sapping the will and distorting the judgment. The
craving which they leave in their wake may very easily become so
compelling that human nature cannot resist it.

So that if any society woman has sufficient understanding of the
subject, there is plenty of reason why she should dismiss an inclination
to try opium-smoking, or cocaine sniffing. The impulse is mere whim,
silly curiosity--the consequences may be degrading, terrible.

But if she believes in paying no heed to the conventional ideas of other
people, and is lacking in experience and knowledge of her own, she may
be very well pleased with herself for her daring. "Fools rush in where
angels fear to tread"--that is an old saying which suggests that
ignorant people, defying the counsels of experience, were known to exist
before now--only in the past they were called "fools," whereas to-day
they prefer to be considered "exponents of advanced thought," with a
superior point-of-view, inaugurating a new era of "emancipation."

It is not my purpose here to go on multiplying examples. I merely wished
to indicate as simply and clearly as possible an underlying, fundamental
principle. It is at work in countless ways, in everybody's life, nearly
all the time. Personal impulses and inclinations may be very
short-sighted, very unlovely, very unworthy. Greed, murder, arson, lust,
theft, lying, betrayal--are only a few samples of the variety of
impulses which may come and do come frequently to various individuals
upon occasion.

Our own limited experience and a little reason may be a sufficient guide
in many cases. They teach us to overrule certain inclinations, whose
consequences we understand and which we deem contrary to our interests.

In many other cases, the consequences may be just as contrary to our
interests, though they lie beyond our own experience and present
understanding. For that reason people have been taught throughout the
centuries to accept and be guided by the accumulated experience and
wisdom of those who have gone before. This accumulated experience has
been preserved and made available to each new generation, in many
ways--traditions, conventions, customs, familiar quotations, standard
books, the schools and the Bible. Most of all, it has been the special
care and function of parents to instill it into their children. For the
first ten or fifteen years of life, children are constantly being told
what to do and what not to do, in all sorts of contingencies. And what
they are told is the result of accumulated experience in crystallized
practical form.

In the days of obedience, discipline and fear of punishment, children
accepted and respected this guidance, as authoritative. They formed the
habit of doing not what they felt like, but what was considered right
and best for them. Very often the true reasons, the complicated motives
and remote consequences, involved in a question of conduct were not
comprehended by the young people, and only vaguely sensed by their
parents. They were traditional ideas, generally approved by right-minded
people and passed along. Their origin, in nearly all cases, was the
accumulated experience and wisdom of people who did comprehend.

So it happens that a young woman, or a young man, of the new school,
without respect for old-fashioned teachings, and with insufficient
experience, or knowledge of their own, can fall into the error of
imagining that their selfish interests are best served by gratifying
each passing inclination.

Their first shallow mistake, as I have tried to show, is in overlooking
the lessons of others' experience.

This whole point-of-view, of course, is absolutely selfish and for the
time being, I have been content to meet them on their own ground and
answer them in terms of absolute selfishness. Even on the assumption
that a human being is a kind of animal, which feels no need of
consideration for others' welfare, and is devoid of any higher
aspirations than a full measure of selfish enjoyment--even then, purely
as a question of intelligence, a matter of policy, there are excellent
reasons why various impulses and inclinations should be resisted and
denied. The nature of these reasons I have attempted to suggest and make
clear by some haphazard examples and as previously noted, the basis of
them all is Experience.



There remain two other sets of reasons why our selfish inclinations
should often be denied--affection and faith. They are of a higher and
finer order. We will take them one at a time.

The conscious life of a human being is by no means limited to the
perception of sensations and the exercise of reason. These are important
functions, but they are not all. A human being is also provided with a
heart, which is capable of feeling sympathy for other human beings--for
all living things. This sympathetic feeling may cover a wide
range--pity, commiseration, friendship, admiration, devotion, adoration.

It is not the nature of mankind to live an isolated existence, in
loneliness. Boys and girls, men and women, from the beginning of life to
the end, yearn for the companionship of others with whom they can share
their thoughts and feelings, their pleasures and their pains. Through
association with others come affectionate feelings for certain ones. We
attach ourselves to them with bonds of sympathy, understanding, love.

The feeling of affection is such a normal and essential part of human
life that it seeks to find expression at every opportunity. A
warm-hearted child will lavish it on a kitten, or a rag doll; or will
show it for a mongrel dog. If the kitten, or the dog is hurt, or sick,
or even hungry, the girl or boy will be distressed by its trouble and
want to help it.

This is a primitive form of the feeling; carried to its full development
in the heart of a sensitive, noble nature it becomes one of the most
beautiful and vital of human attributes.

As we share our thoughts and feelings with another and are allowed to
share his in return, our centre of interest expands, as it were, and the
essence of life within us enriches itself by this sympathetic mingling
with the essence of the other. His thoughts, his feelings, his welfare
are no longer a matter of indifference to us. As our sympathy and
attachment grow, we become more and more concerned in this other's
interests; they become a part of our existence, in a strange and lovely
way, just as real and just as dear to us as if they were our own. Any
pleasure, or good fortune, becomes doubly grateful, if we may share it
with him; no pleasure is worth considering, if in order to obtain it, we
would be obliged to cause him a deprivation. We cannot forget his
welfare, or his happiness, we do not wish to forget his welfare or his
happiness, because through our sympathy and affection, the essence of
another life has become inexpressively near and dear to us.

To a greater or less degree, this capacity for affection is inherent in
human kind, from the lowest to the highest. It is a most precious human
quality and it opens the gates of life to a sort of satisfaction that is
infinitely bigger and finer and more lasting than anything that can be
obtained from the mere gratification of selfish and material impulses.

Now, while it is true that practically everybody is aware of this
feeling and has a need for affection and sympathy, not all people by any
means have big enough hearts, or fine enough natures, to respond to the
need very deeply. Cold, superficial, self-centered people may go through
life giving a very small modicum of sympathy or affection to anybody and
receiving very little in return. Many a man is incapable and unworthy of
being a real true friend to anybody. He may have brains and breeding and
plenty of animal desires, but in his heart there is no understanding of
what it means to be devoted to a welfare not his own. The same is true
no doubt of a great many women, those whose characters are too fickle
and unstable to permit of any deep and lasting attachment. Fortunately,
even in the case of such men and women, if they marry and have children,
some of the joy and meaning of this heart-life is still vouchsafed them.
They feel it for their sons and daughters.

If they have no children and are unmarried, there are mothers and
fathers, brothers and sisters to keep alive some measure of sympathy and
endearment. A human being who is totally bereft of such attachments,
without any feeling that comes from the heart for any one, is such a
rare exception that he need not be considered. Such lives, if they do
exist, would appear to normal beings as very pitiful.

As a usual thing, for most of us, the affections are constantly in
operation. Certain people who are near and dear to us are never really
out of our lives at all. Consciously or subconsciously, we carry them
with us wherever we go, tucked away in our hearts, ready to rise up at
the slightest provocation and take a vital part in our innermost

A little boy or girl of the right sort, with the right kind of loving
parents, grows up naturally with this feeling for them. In all sorts of
new experiences and questions of conduct, the thought comes
spontaneously: "What will mother think about this?" "She'll be terribly
surprised when I tell her that." "Father will be pleased and proud when
he knows what I've done." "I don't think she'd approve of that." "He'll
laugh at me, when he hears this." And so forth and so on, countless
times, in countless connections.

Mothers and fathers carry around a similar feeling with regard to their
children. Things that they see, things that they hear, things that they
read, plans and projects of all kinds, are spontaneously colored by the
consideration of their effect on the son or daughter--surprise,
pleasure, disappointment, good or ill.

The same thing takes place to a remarkable extent between a man and a
woman who love each other deeply. Nothing of importance can happen to
one, without an immediate reflection of the effect and bearing it will
have on the other. A frequent result of this is that, in order to give
pleasure to the other, one will act contrary to his own selfish
inclination. And the anticipation of this pleasure to be given to the
other can be strong enough to transform this denial and deprivation of
self into a sweeter and finer form of satisfaction.

This same order of feeling, based on sympathy and affection, springing
from the heart, extends and ramifies and attaches itself in a great
variety of ways, in the life of a human being, as we have already

While instances of complete devotion of one nature to another are
comparatively rare, in any walk of life, and while most individuals are
lacking in the bigness of heart and depth of feeling to be capable of
it, under any circumstances, the importance of affection comes home to
nearly everybody, to greater or less extent, and is treasured up as one
of the essentials of life.

As a result of this human sympathy and affection, it would seem only
natural and obvious that there should come to everyone a realization of
the fact that in many of the things we do, for our own good or ill,
other people besides ourselves can't help being concerned. We may, by
thinking only of our own inclinations and seeking to gain our selfish
ends, be doing great harm and injustice to them. If other people are
affected by what we do, and they have feelings of the same sort as ours,
are not they, too, entitled to some consideration?

This idea seems so simple and evident that any thinking person might be
expected to admit it and understand it. Yet, as we have seen repeatedly
in discussing the attitude of the new generation, it is one of the
questions about which there prevails the greatest misconception and
confusion of mind. Up-to-date young people, absorbed in the habit of
doing what they like and deciding for themselves, very easily fall into
the way of overlooking this consideration almost entirely. They fail to
grasp the importance of the part that sympathy and affection have been
assigned to play in their own natures; and at the same time they lose
sight of the feelings and interests of others who must be affected by
the consequences of their acts. Lack of consideration for others has
come to be spoken of currently as one of the marked characteristics of
this new generation.

For this reason, if for no other, it may be just as well to linger on
the subject and make explanations doubly plain, rather than leave any
possible ground for a continuation of the confusion and

Suppose you were walking along a country road and you came upon a nice
little boy, named Harry, one of your neighbor's sons, and Harry was
sitting hunched up on a stump, sniffling and sobbing, with tears
streaming down his cheeks. Upon enquiring the cause of his trouble, you
learn that a bigger boy, Jake, had taken away Harry's apple. Strictly
speaking, the apple didn't belong to either of them, but Harry had
spied it on the tree and after a great deal of determined effort had
managed to climb out on the branch and shake it down. Then Jake came
along and took it.

Now, to see a little fellow sobbing with disappointment, deprived of
something his heart was set on and which he had worked hard to get, is
enough to arouse a feeling of sympathy in any normal and kindly person.
You feel sorry for Harry and you'd like to do something for him.

Suppose you happen to look along the road, just then, and you spy Jake
seated on a fence rail with an air of contentment, proceeding to eat the
apple--what would you feel like doing and saying to him? Suppose you
controlled yourself and asked him quietly why he took that apple away
from Harry, and he replied, with a defiant grin "Because I wanted it. I
like apples, and this is a fine big one!" If you continue to talk
quietly to Jake, and show him Harry sobbing on the stump, and make him
realize the situation, as like as not it will end up by Jake's saying:
"All right--if he feels as bad as that, let him have it. I didn't know
he was that kind of a cry baby." And he will pass up his own
inclination, rather than cause that much harm to another.

That is a very primitive example which illustrates the principle in its
simplest form. In the first place you are moved by sympathy and
consideration for another, when you feel sorry for Harry and want to
help him, and so is Jake when he is willing to forego his own desire for
Harry's sake--although he lacked consideration in the first place, in
taking something on which another's heart was set.

Here is another example:

A boy, George, is an only son and very dear to his parents, who have
watched over him always with loving care. During the summer vacation,
George has been invited to make a week's visit at the home of a
school-mate which is in another state. The trip is a longer and more
complicated one than George has ever undertaken by himself, and his
mother cannot help feeling apprehensive and anxious at the thought of
possible accidents and emergencies which may occur. It involves a night
run on a steamboat, a railroad journey and a long automobile ride
through mountainous country. The mother, not wishing to stand in the way
of her boy's pleasure, gives a reluctant consent. She makes no attempt
to disguise the anxiety she will feel while he is on the way, and
impresses on his mind the importance of sending her a telegram, as soon
as he has arrived safely at his destination. George laughs at her fears,
boy-fashion, and promises to do as she wishes.

No sooner has he started on his way, than the mother's heart enters upon
a period of increasing perturbation. Suppose something should happen to
the steamer--that it should break down, or catch fire, or run on a
reef--or that there should be a railroad accident--or that George should
lose his ticket, or be robbed of his money and find himself in some
far-away spot, not knowing what to do with no one to go to? Then that
long motor ride through deserted country--suppose it should be raining
and the roads slippery and they should try to make it too fast? So many
things are among the possibilities, and one can never be sure until it
is over.

Some people might feel inclined to smile at this account of a mother's
apprehension, but it is only a natural attribute of devoted love,
ineffably sweet and beautiful. While the precious child is exposed to
possible dangers, she cannot help feeling thus. She talks to the father
about it, wanting the comfort of his reassurance; and she lies awake
that night imagining things and counting the hours that must separate
her from the telegram announcing George's safety.

At last the time comes when, according to schedule, she may expect the
message. She waits about, in momentary suspense, for the telephone ring
from Western Union.

Now suppose the minutes pass and then the hours, until the mother's
apprehension grows into feverish and unreasoning alarm. She gets word to
her husband and communicates her alarm to him. As more time passes, the
conviction comes that something has happened to their son, and something
must be done. They attempt to get a long distance telephone connection
with the home of George's friend, but after a long delay and various
appeals, the report comes that there is a break-down on the line
somewhere, in the mountain section. They get in communication with the
steamboat offices and the railroad station, and after interminable
efforts finally ascertain that there has been no accident on either
line. There remains the motor trip--or the possibility of a personal
mishap to George at some stage of the journey--and no way of telling. In
the end, they send a telegram to the mother of George's friend, and
resign themselves to wait, in an agony of suspense for the answer.

Individuals who are phlegmatic, matter-of-fact, and not very intense in
their feelings might be inclined to ridicule this anxiety and suffering
on the part of the parents, for so slight a cause; they would fail to
understand it. But any mother with children of her own would understand
perfectly and be moved to genuine and heart-felt sympathy.

The condition of George's mother would naturally evoke the same sort of
compassion as the spectacle of Harry on the tree stump, sobbing for his

But what of the Jake, in this case--the prime factor of the problem? The
Jake in this case, of course, is no other than our only son, George. No
trouble of any sort was experienced by him in the various stages of his
journey. Upon his arrival, there were a number of new people to meet and
various elements of interest in the new surroundings to occupy his
attention. For the time being, he forgot to think of the mother he had
left behind.

Hours later, as they are starting a game of tennis, it suddenly occurs
to him that he has not yet sent his telegram home, but as it would be a
bother to go back to the house now and he feels like going ahead with
the tennis game, he makes a mental note and puts it off. It is not until
dinner time that he thinks of it again and when he finds that the
telephone is out of order and he would have to motor in to the telegraph
office, its doesn't seem worth the trouble. He has allowed so much time
to go by already that he decides the most satisfactory way out of it is
to wait until he finds time to write a letter and explain, as an excuse
for not keeping his promise, that the telephone wasn't working.

Before he has an opportunity to write his letter, the telegram arrives
from home disclosing his mother's anxiety--whereupon he feels ashamed
and sorry, and hurries to the telegraph office to send a reply.

This is a more or less typical example of a great many cases where lack
of consideration for others is not necessarily due to a lack of
affection or sympathy, but comes from a lack of thoughtfulness and
understanding. George may love his mother very much and he would not
voluntarily hurt her feelings, or be the cause of her suffering. The
sight of his mother in tears would cause him unhappiness and he would
gladly make a real sacrifice in order to comfort her. But the sight of
his mother's suffering, or the thought of his mother's suffering, is not
before him--it does not enter into his calculations or motives of
conduct. In order for this to take place, a certain amount of reflection
and imagination is required on his part.

In the case of Harry and Jake and the apple, we assumed that some one
came along and called Jake's attention to the unhappiness of Harry.
When Jake was made to see and realize, he responded with a feeling of

But in the case of George and the vast majority of cases where this
question is involved, no one comes along to explain to you. If the
pleasure or pain of others is involved in what you do, the thought of
that must come from yourself. Very often those others are not present at
the time and the consequences may not be immediately and superficially
apparent. Imagination, reflection, and a habit of mind, may be needed to
realize the effect upon them.

Suppose you have a friend named Brown whom you have known many years and
have a good deal of affection for. An unexpected opportunity offers for
you to get a week's hunting in the South and you think how fine it would
be, if you can get the right sort of companion to share it with you. You
see Brown, tell him about it, invite him and he accepts. You immediately
start in making plans and arrangements--dogs, guns, food,
drinks--leaving nothing undone to make it a bang-up affair and give
Brown and yourself the time of your lives. Now suppose when you have
fixed up everything and are waiting in joyful anticipation for the hour
to arrive, you receive word from Brown, with apologies and a lame
excuse, that he must deprive himself of the pleasure of going with you?
And suppose you discover later, in an accidental way, that the real
reason Brown left you flat was because something else turned up that
appealed to him more and he was thinking only of himself?

Suppose, now, you are a society lady, or a society man, and you have
accepted an invitation from a woman friend to motor out to her country
place and dine and spend the night--and suppose when the day arrives,
you are offered a box at the opera, that night, to hear Caruso? As this
appeals to you much more than the other, you send a wire to the country
at the last minute, pretending an indisposition, and go to the opera.
What of the woman friend--who had made special efforts and invited
certain people on your account, and had counted on you as a main
consideration in her whole affair? Your absence upsets her completely,
spoils her party, and robs her of something on which she had spent a
good deal of time and effort and on which her heart was set.

If she ever discovers or suspects the true reason for your desertion,
you will have inflicted a wound in her feelings that few friendships can
survive and the loss of a friend in this world is hardly to be regarded
as a trifling matter.

These few examples which we have cited and a countless multitude of
others, of a more or less similar nature, which might be drawn from the
everyday experiences of any human being, tend to make plain the palpable
truth--that very often other people besides ourselves are concerned in
our actions and we do violence to our better feelings and theirs, if we
leave them out of consideration. Even up-to-date young people of the
most selfish order can hardly fail to recognize that and admit it, in
certain instances--when the others are before their eyes, or the effect
upon them is so direct and immediate that it cannot escape their
attention. In such instances they respond instinctively to the finer
side of their natures, where sympathy and affection are found. But just
as soon as an effort of reflection and imagination is required to
realize this same effect on others, there is no longer the same
response. The will and the faculty to do this appear, somehow, to be
lacking; so that they lose sight of this consideration very easily, and
leave it out of account as a controlling influence. Some one else has to
direct their attention, do the thinking for them and appeal to their
feelings, in order to restore the equilibrium.

This difficulty of voluntary reflection and understanding on their part
is still greater when it comes to another phase of the question, which
is one degree more complicated, but no less vital in its bearing on the
affections. You cannot do evil things, or act in such a way as will
bring harmful consequences upon yourself, without causing suffering to
those who love you. If your mother is very sweet and gentle and loves
you devotedly and you have a good deal of tender affection for her, you
would not think of striking her a blow on the face with your clenched
fist. No impulse within you, however selfish, could make you do that.
Yet the pain from such a blow would be as nothing compared to the
suffering you might cause her by smoking opium or sniffing cocaine or
doing something dishonorable, like forging your father's signature.

None of these things affect her directly or personally, but
sympathetically, through her love for you.

So it is in the case of the boy who, after promising not to drive over
thirty miles an hour, goes speeding on the highway and gets arrested.
The fine which has to be paid by father is an infinitesimal part of the
harm and hurt which is caused the parents.

You cannot sit in a draft and catch a heavy cold, without causing a
certain amount of anxiety and distress to your sister, or your wife, who
are devoted to you--if it runs into pneumonia, the hurt to them is
greater; and if you happen to die of it, that may release you from
further suffering, only to make theirs heaviest of all.

I went to a dance, last summer, at the home of a young married couple in
a fashionable community. The hostess was rather an extreme example of
the up-to-date school, with the well formed habit of looking at things
from the point-of-view of her own inclinations.

After the dancing had been going on a short while, she found she was not
in the humor for it; the men who asked her to dance didn't interest her,
and she felt like going to bed. Being a firm believer in individualism
and thinking only of herself, she quietly withdrew and went to bed.

A number of her guests had not yet arrived. When they did and sought to
greet their hostess, inquiries were made and in the end everybody was
apprised of her behavior. She imagined that it concerned only herself,
whereas the sympathy, affection, the kindly attitude which all those
people were disposed to have for her suffered a shock. A touch of
resentment and antipathy was left behind which would make itself felt in
future relations. The sympathy and affection of those about us is a part
of life too precious and necessary to our well-being to be lightly cast
aside. The loss to us and to them, however trifling in any one
instance, may in the course of time involve lasting consequences.

In the various examples we have cited so far, it has been a question of
hurting or depriving others, through lack of consideration. A similar
motive comes into play in prompting us to bestow pleasure upon others.
Human sympathy causes us to delight in the joy of those we love, just as
their sorrow saddens us. We like to give them presents, prepare
surprises for them, devise ways and means of adding to their happiness.
Such acts on our part are usually accompanied by a very sweet and lovely
feeling of sentiment. Our hearts are warmed by the thought and sight of
this good that is coming to those we love. Some cynical and shallow
reasoners like to argue that such acts are only a disguised form of
selfishness because, as we have a sympathetic share in the pleasure, we
benefit by it, ourselves. Any such argument is usually found to be no
more than a quibble on words and a pretense of cleverness. Nevertheless,
as this sort of talk is liable to crop up at any time, in connection
with human motives, and cause a confusion of idea, it may be just as
well to pause for a moment and dispose of it.

If you find our little friend Harry sobbing on a tree stump because he
has lost his apple, you feel sorry for him--because you understand and
sympathize. If you had an apple in your pocket, you would give it to
him. You are not thinking of yourself--you are thinking of him. If Jake
comes along and restores the apple and Harry stops crying and offers
Jake half, the feeling of gladness that comes to you has nothing selfish
in it at all. There is no motive or calculation of self-gratification in
the sentiments you have experienced. They are inspired, not by the
thought of your own welfare, but the welfare of another. The essence of
them is sympathy and affection.

So it is with countless acts of kindness which frequently involve the
need of denying our selfish inclinations--depriving ourselves of
personal gratifications--for the sake of helping others who are in
trouble, or bringing pleasure to those we love. The first
consideration--the true determining motive--is not any thought of the
benefit to ourselves, but the benefit to them. In every-day language the
word used to characterize such acts and feelings is generosity--and this
is properly and popularly considered the exact opposite of selfishness.

Now because it has been observed by thoughtful people that acts of
generosity are frequently accompanied by a feeling of satisfaction and
gladness, this fact has been seized upon by a certain order of
cold-blooded individuals as a pretext for distorting the truth. They
argue that this feeling of satisfaction with yourself which comes from
generosity is such a desirable thing in your eyes that you want it for
yourself--consequently when you show kindness and sympathy for others
you are obeying the same motive as the cynic, himself, who having small
sympathy for others, prefers the frank gratification of his own ego.
This, of course, is pure sophistry. But if any mind is so kinked that it
must reason that way, there is a simple answer which will suffice to
bring it through the question to the main point. Whenever the pleasure
to be derived by an individual comes to him through sympathy and
affection and consideration for the feelings of another--that sort of
pleasure is so different in its origin and its essence from the pleasure
which comes from the gratification of personal appetites and desires
that the mass of mankind has recognized the difference since the
beginning of civilization.

One kind of pleasure flows from acts of sentiment for others' sake; the
other kind is rooted in the indulgence of personal desires. The essence
of one is usually characterized as generosity; the other, selfishness.
If the cynic will promise to keep the distinction clear in his head and
stop confusing himself with quibbles or words, he may call the motives
any names he likes.

This question of consideration for others is so important and
far-reaching in its effect on human lives that no pains should be spared
to keep it from being lost sight of or misunderstood. And yet, as we
have observed, at the present time, among up-to-date individuals, it is
apparently being lost sight of, more and more. In a general way, it is
being bunched with those other old-fashioned notions and conventions
that were wont to interfere with the freedom of the individual. Why
should an emancipated ego, brought up in the modern way, be constantly
bothered by the thought of others?

If we pause and examine this attitude of mind, dispassionately, from
another angle, a possible explanation suggests itself. There may be two
reasons, of a distinct and different sort why any given person might
fail to feel the significance of so vital a part of life.

In the first place, some natures may be rather lacking in the qualities
of affection and sympathy. All people are not alike, in this respect, by
any means. Some are instinctively warm-hearted and intense in their
feelings--others are naturally inclined to coldness and indifference. To
a cold nature, the woes or pleasures of others are of comparatively
minor consequence. There is no rush of heart-felt sympathy, if the
supply is so thin and weak that it hardly suffices for the needs of

That is one explanation of how certain natures, if left to their own
resources, can be lacking in consideration.

But if we are right in assuming that the general run of human nature is
much the same to-day as it has always been, there ought to be the same
instincts of sympathy and affection, the same kind of warm-hearts among
our new generation, as there were in the time of our grandmothers. As
consideration for others is founded on these, there must be some other
explanation for the lack of consideration which is a growing tendency,
obvious to all.

The truth of the matter seems to be that consideration for others is not
a primitive instinct like hunger or thirst; nor is it a simple, inborn
quality or impulse, like affection or sympathy. It requires a certain
amount of thoughtfulness, reflection and control of self, in order to
transfer one's attention from one's own inclination and interest to the
welfare of another, especially when that other is not at hand to offer a
reminder or make an appeal.

But under proper guidance, through enlightenment and constant exercise,
this faculty is susceptible of such development that it may in time
permeate the mind, become an essential part of the character, a sort of
second nature, just as real and solid, and infinitely more lovely than
the instincts which it dominates.

The capacity and capability necessary for this development are present
to a greater or less extent in all human natures. But through neglect
and mismanagement and lack of enlightenment and exercise, they may
shrivel and fade and contribute very little to beauty of character, or
the joy of living.

In the light of the foregoing observations, there is nothing in the
attitude of the new generation toward this whole question which remains
incomprehensible, or even very puzzling. Their advanced ideas, when
sifted down, would seem to signify no more than insufficient development
of the finer and better side of their natures, and a lack of
understanding concerning the important rôle which affection and sympathy
are capable of playing in the search for happiness. This part of their
training and education has been neglected, somehow, in the confusion
arising from lost traditions and standards. An essential and beautiful
part of their humanity has been allowed to shrivel away until it has
been lost sight of in their calculations.

In all the past periods of our civilization, when obedience and
discipline held sway, no such over-sight was likely to occur. One of the
first lessons repeatedly and forcibly impressed upon every growing
individual was the necessity of considering other people's wishes. There
were three people at least, who had always to be considered--mother,
father and God. Consideration of these would be rewarded and lack of
consideration, sooner or later, was sure to bring punishment.

In this old-fashioned way--crudely, if you will, but nevertheless with
relative effectiveness--a habit of mind, was established, involving
self-control, which readily became second nature. It became almost
instinctive to pause in the presence of temptation or selfish
inclination, and consider the effect upon others. Once this habit was
formed, the teachings of mother and father, of Sunday school, church and
Bible all tended to develop it and extend its application--love your
fellows, let your sympathy and affection flow out to them, consider
their welfare, in all that you do, and you will be blessed and happy.

How is that habit of mind--that second nature--being acquired to-day and
how will it be acquired in the future, among people who have ceased to
respect the traditions of the past and are pleased to accept the idea of
the freedom of the individual, the right to gratify yourself and every
inclination, without fear or favor?

Must there be a return to the old-fashioned methods and beliefs? Nothing
is more unlikely. As a reaction against the present tendency, there may
be efforts on the part of some well-intentioned people to return to the
régime of obedience, discipline and the fear of God. But such reactions
do not usually last very long. The next step that will help toward the
real solution of the problem must be forward, not backward. The
underlying reason why the old formulas have been losing their prestige
is probably because there were fallacies and crudities contained in them
which humanity has outgrown.

You might look back with longing to the happy state you were in when you
believed in Santa Claus, but after you have reached a certain age, all
the king's horses and all the king's men cannot bring Santa Claus back
to you again.



If the life of man were confined to the exercise of his senses and
material instincts, there would be no problems of conduct. There would
be perceptions and sensations,--some pleasant, others disagreeable.
Appetites and desires would make themselves felt and he would seek to
satisfy them.

The underlying motive of all his acts would be to prolong life, go
toward pleasure and away from pain.

All about us are living things--plants, fish, animals--whose existence,
as far as we know, seems limited to these simple considerations. They
form part of man's life--one side of his nature--the animal side.

If, in addition to this life of the senses, we concede to man a brain, a
thinking apparatus, which enables him to remember, compare, calculate,
the question of his conduct at any given time is apt to become more
complicated, through considerations of reason. As we have seen in our
previous discussions, his brain may decide him to forego a present
pleasure, in order to escape a future pain; or to endure a present pain,
for the sake of a future pleasure.

Still, the mere addition of a reasoning mind, would in no way alter the
nature of the underlying motive. The considerations would still remain
purely animal--prolonging life, getting the greatest sum of pleasure,
avoiding the greatest sum of pain.

It is not until we begin to take note of the sympathies, affections,
generous emotions of which man is capable, that we recognize another and
inner nature, which may be concerned and moved by considerations that
don't depend upon sensations, or selfish instincts and are not, in their
very essence, animal at all. In every day language, this is the heart
and the heart-life of man. It is as far removed from the brain, as it is
from the senses. The brainiest people may be the least affectionate and
the least generous--just as the most sensual people may so be.

We have seen, in discussing this side of human nature, the bearing it
has on the conduct of the individual. More delicate and more complicated
motives and considerations are introduced into the problem through its
influence. Its essence is sweeter, finer, less obvious and more
elevating than the instincts which the brute beasts share with us.

But sensations, calculations and sympathetic emotions are still not
enough to explain some of the most important questions and decisions
that enter into the life of man. Above and beyond all these, deeper,
vaguer, more complicated and more inspiring, is another function or
quality--another side of his nature--which distinguishes him completely
from all the other earthly creatures. This is the spiritual side, the
soul,--the home of conscience, honor, responsibility, idealism.

Let us begin with some simple examples:

If a big bully kicks a little boy; or a man deserts his friend in the
hour of need; or an innocent person is sent to prison;--a feeling of
protest arises within me. It tells me such things ought not to be. They
are not right, they are wrong.

My self-interest has nothing to do with it. As far as I am personally
concerned, none of these things makes the slightest difference.

If I turn to my intellect, that offers me no explanation. It tells me
that the bully is only obeying his natural instincts, in the same way a
cat does when it springs on a mouse. It is logical and proper for each
and every living thing to act in accordance with its impulses. As for
the man who deserts his friend, he is merely looking out for himself--a
perfectly reasonable thing for any one to do. When we come to the third
case, my intellect tells me that the person sent to prison was given a
fair trial in accordance with the laws--the evidence was against
him--and he was adjudged guilty. Because I happen to know that he was
innocent, does that make the occurrence any less reasonable? As I was
not concerned in it, I cannot be held accountable, so what difference
does it make to me?

My affections give me the same negative response as my self-interest and
my reason. The bully, the small boy; the man and his friend; the
innocent person--they are strangers to me; no personal attachment
applies to any of them.

And yet the feeling within me is unmistakable. Where does it come from?
That other side of my nature, where dwells the sense of right and wrong.

It is just as vague and mysterious, but just as real as another kind of
sense to which it may be compared. This other sense also baffles the
intellect, but it is none the less generally recognized and accepted.

Certain kinds of music, sunsets, moonlight nights, paintings, arouse in
me a delicate feeling of pleasure, mixed with admiration. It is not
only my physical sensations which are involved--my eyes and my ears--but
something deeper within me which seems to be quite apart from reason or

Also my interest and attention are by no means confined to the
sensations which I am experiencing; I consider the things themselves and
call them beautiful. Certain other sounds and sights strike me as
discordant, or unpleasant, and I call them ugly. And the faculty within
me which determines this, I call a sense of Beauty.

In the same way, this other sense within me is appealed to by certain
deeds and qualities of men. That which is fine, just, generous, noble, I
call right; another sort of thing, of a contrary tendency, I call wrong.
And the faculty, itself, I call a sense of right and wrong.

Suppose an individual walking along a road, wondering how he is going to
raise fifty dollars which he needs very badly, comes upon an automobile
standing in a lonely spot; and then sees a lady who has been picking
wild-flowers, get into the automobile and after fussing with her
flowers, her wrap, her hand-bag and handkerchief, let drop some small
object to the ground, before driving away. He strolls up to the spot and
picks up the object, which proves to be a purse containing eighty
dollars in bank-notes. There is no one in sight, and after a moment's
hesitation, obeying an impulse of self-interest, he pockets the money,
throws the purse into the bushes and turns his steps another way.

As far as his self-interest and his intellect are concerned, they agree
in telling him he is very lucky. He has obtained the money which he
wanted, he has broken no law, and there is not the slightest risk or
danger of any sort involved in his conduct. He can pay his debt and have
money to spare, with every reason to feel happy over his good fortune.

But if the spiritual side of his nature is at all developed, he is apt
to be tormented by a vague, persistent feeling of another kind. It tells
him he has done something unworthy of his better self. In every day
language, we say he is troubled by his conscience.

It not infrequently happens that individuals who have done wrong are so
affected by this feeling that they make restitution and confession when
they are safely beyond the reach of detection.

Neither the intellect nor self-interest plays any part in such conduct,
which is contrary to the advice of both. It is inspired uniquely by this
soul-feeling, called conscience.

Slightly different from this, but belonging to the same family, is the
sentiment of honor.

A number of years ago, a young man whom I knew, happened to go to a
notorious gambling house in New York, with a couple of companions. One
of these young men was a member of a wealthy family and had been
frequently to this place, where he was always most welcome. My friend
held a clerical position in a financial institution, was making his own
living, and at the time had about fifteen hundred dollars in the bank,
which represented his entire worldly assets. It was late at night, the
young men had been to a party and were in rather a hilarious and
reckless mood when they started playing roulette. After they used up the
money they had with them, they were allowed to continue playing on
credit, chips being supplied to them as called for. My friend, after
losing more than he could afford, was urged by desperation to keep on
trying to recoup, and when he finally left the house, in the early hours
of the morning, he had lost ten thousand dollars. That was the situation
which faced him in his sober senses, the next day.

A gambling debt has no standing in law. No legal claim of any kind could
be made against him and he was perfectly aware of the fact. The
proprietor of the establishment was a thoroughly unscrupulous
individual with a shady record, and the games played there were open to
a suspicion of crookedness. My friend had previously been told that. He
had only to let the loss go unpaid and ignore the whole incident,
without the slightest fear of consequences, so far as honest people were

But this young man felt that such conduct would not be honorable. So he
went to the place again, explained to the proprietor his financial
situation and promised to pay off as much as he could, year by year,
until the debt was cancelled. It took him five years to accomplish this,
and during that time, he stuck faithfully to a resolve not to touch a
card or gamble in any way. Later on the young man became vice-president
of one of the largest financial institutions in America, a position
which he still holds. He had then, and still has a sense of honor.

Many a gentleman of good breeding and fine feelings has told deliberate
lies and perjured himself under oath, in order to shield the reputation
of a lady. Even though he may be under no personal obligation to the
lady in question, but merely an accidental witness of some occurrence, a
certain kind of man feels compelled by his sense of honor to protect
her. It is not honest to tell a lie, it is a legal offense to perjure
one's self; there is no reason of the intellect to make you bear false
witness and defeat the ends of justice for the sake of an individual,
who may have done wrong and be deserving of punishment.

Yet so it is and among those who share this sense there is a beauty and
nobility about such conduct which is akin to that of a sunset or moonlit

Let us take an example of a more commonplace kind in the business world.
Suppose a certain individual, Jones, living in a small community has a
coal yard. When the autumn comes, Jones's bins are piled high and in
addition to this, Jones has several carloads of coal on a siding, and
numerous other carloads in transit. Jones's brother, who is interested
in a coal mine, has advised Jones that as there is prospect of a miner's
strike, he had better get his full winter's supply in advance, with a
little extra and this has been so arranged. The strike takes place as
predicted and then owing to war conditions in Europe, there comes a coal
shortage throughout the land.

With the arrival of the first touch of winter various people in the
community begin sending orders to Jones. In the meantime, he has been
doing a little thinking. His customers have got to have coal and they've
got to buy it from him. Under existing conditions, there is no other
way for them to procure it, at any price. So to speak, he holds them in
the hollow of his hand.

His entire supply has cost him five dollars a ton and he had figured to
sell it at six, which would allow him his usual satisfactory profit. But
now it dawns upon him that if he refuses to sell a single ton of it for
less than twenty dollars, his people will have to pay that, or freeze,
and he will make more profit in this one winter than all the rest of the
years put together.

So he makes up his mind to put up his price to twenty dollars and to
meet all complaints by replying with a shrug that he is not asking any
one to buy--they are free to get their coal elsewhere.

Is not Jones perfectly honest? Would any business man of the present day
blame him? Is he not entitled to make all the money he can, in
accordance with the laws? Is there not every reason for his intellect to
approve of his shrewdness in taking advantage of his opportunity?

But suppose Jones's mother is a sweet, old-fashioned lady whom he has
always loved and revered; and suppose upon learning of the situation,
she calls her son to her side, takes his hand in hers and talks to him
in this wise:

"My son, these people are all dependent upon you, to keep from
freezing. They are entirely at your mercy. To take advantage of helpless
people and fleece them of their savings, because unexpected
circumstances have placed them in your power, is not the kind of thing I
could bear to see you do. It does not seem to me quite worthy or

I have imagined it to be Jones's mother speaking thus; but if Jones's
father happened to be an old-fashioned gentleman of a certain type, or
an artist, a poet, a musician, he might be moved by the same feeling--a
matter, not of honesty, but of honor.

Jones, however, being a typical business man of the present day, is not
conscious of any such feeling. If by chance, an idea of this kind did
creep into his head, he would dismiss it as quixotic, not practical. He
believes that "business is business." If you ask him whether Shylock was
right and justified in demanding his pound of flesh, he might hesitate a
moment, but after thinking it over, he would probably reply:

"If Shylock had a proper contract calling for such a penalty and had
lent his money on those conditions, he was entirely within his rights.
If the other parties weren't prepared to live up to the terms of the
agreement, they had no business to sign their names to it. That was
their lookout. Their only recourse is to show something irregular or
illegal in the way it was drawn up and quash it on that count, or else
settle up in accordance with its stipulations. Shylock had performed his
part of the agreement and he demanded that the other party should do the

If you questioned Jones further about himself, you might learn that he
had always believed and practiced the principle that "Honesty is the
best policy," and nothing could swerve him from it. This has nothing to
do with that inner feeling called a sentiment of honor. It is of a
different essence entirely. When sifted down, it is found to consist of
reason, experience and a matter-of-fact calculation of self-interest. If
you don't cheat, or break the laws, and establish a reputation for
honest dealing, you will gain more by it in the long run than you lose.
Nothing very inspired or inspiring about that, or very different in kind
from the principle of the crook who says: "If I take care to avoid
detection, but pay no attention to right and wrong, I will gain more in
the long run than I lose."

The detail of the calculation is different, but the motive and object
are the same--self-interest and self-advantage. The soul, the
conscience, the sentiment of honor are not involved in either.

During the late war, tens of thousands of individuals and corporations
followed Jones's example and chuckled with glee as the undreamed-of
profits rolled in. They took advantage of the situation and became what
is known as profiteers. The brain and self-interest were acting over
time, but the spiritual nature was slumbering.

Suppose you are making a visit to a business friend and he leaves you
alone in his office for a few minutes, while he is called out by some
emergency--and suppose he has left on his desk an envelope containing
business secrets which you could profit by--and suppose you take
advantage of your opportunity, open the envelope, glance at the papers,
get the information and later on make good use of it?

An individual who is capable of doing that must be rather lacking in the
sense of honor.

If a business man happened to tell his wife something of a confidential
nature, as some husbands do, and the wife were indiscreet enough to
mention it to your wife, without realizing its full import, and your
wife repeated it to you, and you thereupon proceeded to communicate it
to the business man's competitor--you might not break any law, or do
anything dishonest, and your intellect might tell you there was profit
for yourself to be gained by it--and many another person in your place
might jump at the chance--but for all that, there ought to be a feeling
within you to prevent you doing it, because it would not be honorable.

In the world of politics, some people might feel that it is not
honorable to use a position of public trust for private ends.

Suppose you have it in your power to make an appointment which might
prove very lucrative to a certain type of individual who has no scruples
about graft. Among your political henchmen there is just such an
individual and he wants the appointment. There is another man whom you
might appoint, if you chose to, a high-minded, public-spirited man,
fitter and better for it in every way; but the political henchman was an
important factor in obtaining for you the office which you now occupy;
his good will and influence may be very helpful in your future
campaigns, whereas the other man has done nothing for you and is without
political influence. If you gave him the appointment, you would make an
enemy of your henchman and his followers. Your self-interest and your
intellect combine in showing you what a mistake that would be.

Usually a politician, by the time he has been selected by other
politicians as a candidate for office, has become amenable to reason and
may be counted on to avoid such a mistake. But occasionally a gentleman
of another sort finds himself in this position and he refuses to do the
usual thing, because it goes counter to an inner feeling--his sense of

So it is with countless other questions of conduct, which at various
times, in various communities, with various individuals, involve this
feeling. In some people it is highly developed and frequently determines
the motive of conduct, in a fine, noble, compelling way which is
directly opposed to material considerations of self-interest. In other
people, it is so feeble, and crude that its wee small voice is seldom
heeded or heard in the calculations and decisions of their practical

In addition to the sentiments of honor and conscience and right and
wrong, there are various other fine and noble feelings to which the soul
of man is susceptible, to a greater or less extent, according to the
individual nature. Self-respect, loyalty, gratitude, responsibility,
self-sacrifice may be cited, by way of suggestion.

Now, while there can be no doubt that human nature is capable of all
these feelings and that individuals have been found to possess them, in
different communities, at different times, it is equally obvious that
among vast numbers of other individuals they find little or no

There have been periods in the history of certain peoples when nearly
all the nobler sentiments seem to have shrivelled up. The Roman Empire,
when it was in its decay; the upper classes of England, after the
Restoration; France, during the period which preceded the
Revolution--are examples of such a condition. The leading citizens
appear to have thrown conscience to the winds and let themselves go,
without restraint, to a life of dissipation, corruption, and the
indulgence of the senses.

Also in our country, among certain classes, in certain communities, it
is quite apparent that the finer feelings, the moral standards, of the
average individual are at a lower ebb, than they seem to be in certain
other sections.

In view of these observations, it is fairly safe to conclude that the
spiritual feelings of man are subject to alteration, through an
influence or influences of some sort. The same sort of influence that
shows its general effect in a given class or community may be presumed
to be at work on the nature or character of the individuals who compose
that community.

If the sentiment of honor, for instance, is a vital compelling force in
one individual, and is so weak or deficient in another as to be a
negligible quantity, what is the explanation of this difference? What
influence has developed the sentiment in one, and retarded or
eliminated it in the other? On what does it depend? What causes it to
come to life in the human soul? What good is it, when it does come?

The same questions apply to conscience, loyalty, responsibility, right
and wrong. Whence do they come--and what are they good for?

These questions are simple to ask--but when one attempts to answer them
in a simple, convincing way, they are found to be full of hidden depths
and complexities.

Down below them, is another question which is included in them all and
which sooner or later must be faced by each and every one of us: "Why am
I here on earth? Has my life any purpose in the great, everlasting
scheme of things? What is that purpose?"

Until we have arrived at some sort of an answer to that question, we
cannot make much headway in answering the others.

If there were no purpose at all to an individual life, what difference
would it make whether he had a conscience or not?

If his purpose is to get as much satisfaction out of life as he can,
between his birth and his death, why shouldn't he go about it in any old
way that suits himself? What real difference does it make whether he
chooses to indulge in alcohol, opium, and other dissipations for a
short while, or prefers to prolong his span by sticking to wheat,
potatoes and sobriety? Purely a matter of personal taste, to be decided
by each individual for himself.

Suppose on account of his affections and sympathies for other
individuals, the idea occurs to him that he was meant to serve them,
also? What real difference would that make if their lives had no other
purpose, either? They will all be dead very soon, anyhow, whether you
join with them in a mutual serving society, or not. If there is no other
end in view for each and every one, but to live and die, what boots it?

But suppose it might be that after death their spirits could live on, in
an unknown world? Even so, any service you happened to do for them,
here, would hardly be counted in their favor, over there.

But mightn't it be counted in your favor--over there? Isn't it possible
that every kind and helpful thing you do for your fellow men in your
life on earth might be to the advantage of your spirit in the other

Suppose it could be proved that this were the true purpose of life--to
win benefit and glory for your spirit in the world beyond?

"Well," you might reply, "--if that is the way things stand, it would be
putting a big premium on canny foresight. A cold-blooded, utterly
selfish individual could make his calculations accordingly and feather
his future nest at every opportunity, while the rest of us poor devils
who couldn't calculate so well would be piling up future trouble.

"Is that what is meant by soul and conscience and honor? Does the
'spiritual side of man's nature,' when stripped of its camouflage, mean
a shrewd calculation which seeks to gain a lasting reward for the
spirit, after the body is used up?"

In the face of such a question, of such a line of thought, there is
something within us which revolts. If we can find words to express the
cause and nature of this revolt, so much the better; but even if we
cannot, a vague but unshakable feeling persists within us that any views
of this sort are superficial, inadequate and uncomprehending.

Just as we found, in connection with human sympathy and affection, that
cold reason might make the mistake of trying to explain them in terms of
selfishness, so we find that when reason undertakes to penetrate into
the human soul, it is apt to emerge with a distortion which lacks the
essence of the whole thing.

In the first place, so far as reason goes, after countless generations
of man on earth, what evidence has yet been discovered to prove
conclusively that when a man dies, the spirit of him disengages itself
from the dead body and goes on to an unknown world to continue life

When a dog dies, does the spirit of him do the same thing? A bird? A
spider? A germ? A flower? They all have the spirit of life within
them--a wonderful complex life--and a struggle for existence on
earth--of much the same sort as man's.

I was talking to a charming lady, the other day, who said she firmly
believes that the spirits of them all go on to a better world, along
with man's.

But whether they do, or whether they don't, what means has any intellect
been able to find in all these centuries to settle the question and
prove it scientifically, without fear of contradiction?

Even if the intellect were satisfied to take so much for granted, at a
guess, for the sake of having something to go by, there still remains
the same element of uncertainty surrounding the question: "Why am I
here? If my spirit is the only part of me that is destined to live on,
what was the need of chaining it for this short space of time to animal
instincts and a perishable body?"

All sorts of theories have been advanced, in the search for a plausible
explanation, but again, in all the ages of civilization, no conclusive
proof has been found that any one of them is the right one.

In ancient times the theory seemed to be that the purpose of life was to
develop the body to its highest state of prowess and beauty and to make
liberal sacrifices to the gods, in order to gain and retain their favor.
The idea seems to have been current for many centuries that when the
spirit mounted to another world, it somehow carried the shape and
characteristics of the earthly body along with it. Reason enough to make
the body strong and beautiful, if the spirit were to continue tied up to
it eternally.

Even in Shakespeare's time and all through the Middle Ages, whenever
departed spirits were supposed to come back to earth to communicate with
mortals, they always appeared in the same bodily form they had had on

On this assumption, if one individual happened to die when his body was
young and strong and handsome, his spirit would have an advantage over
another individual, who lasted on earth until his body was old, decrepit
and ugly.

It may be that the unfairness of this thought had something to do with
the eventual discarding of the belief. It may also be that in the course
of time and accumulated experience, the more advanced intellects arrived
at the conclusion that sacrifices made to the gods had little
perceptible effect on the course of events. In any case European
civilization appears to have arrived at a stage where it was ripe and
ready for another sort of conception.

This other conception was the unimportance and unworthiness of the body
and all material things. The spirit was the only thing that signified
and that was to be dedicated to the service of the Lord, as announced in
divine commandments. Sacrifices on the altar or gifts to the priests
would avail nothing, if the spirit were undutiful. The Lord was to be
worshipped and addressed in prayer--and He was at all times prepared to
mete out rewards and punishments in strict accordance to the deserts of
the spirit. Good and worshipful spirits would be blessed with
everlasting life in paradise, while those who disobeyed the
commandments, or neglected to be baptized and worship in the ordained
way would be consigned to eternal torture and damnation.

This theory was accepted by many millions of people and for a long time
held an awe-inspiring sway over their imaginations.

At the same time, in different parts of the world, India, China, Mexico,
Egypt and various countries, a number of other theories concerning the
spirit and the body were advanced as the basis of religious beliefs;
and these were accepted by countless other millions of people with the
same awe-inspiring credulity.

One feature of these various religions which appears to apply to them
all, is worth noting. Each professed the belief that their God or gods
ruled in supreme control of the entire universe, eternally, and that all
other so-called gods and so-called religions of other peoples which
interfered with this idea must necessarily be false and spurious.

In this respect, our own Christian view is like the others. In pursuance
of it, immense sums of money, untiring effort and many lives have been
spent by devout believers to convince remote peoples of the error of
their doctrines and the truth of ours.

But if an unbiased and impartial intellect were permitted to go about
among all the different religious sects on earth, and found each and
every one proclaiming with the same fervid conviction the unique and
everlasting truth of their doctrine and the error of all others, how far
could it get in the way of a reasonable conclusion?

There is a sort of conclusion, which appears fairly obvious.

If any one of the doctrines should in truth be all that is claimed for
it--the divine revelation, or the divine inspiration, of an Almighty
Providence--then all the other doctrines can be no more than theories,
more or less ingenious, more or less erroneous, mere products of man's
imagination. Then countless millions of people for countless generations
have been left to lead their lives without a right understanding of life
or death, the body or the soul, or the real purpose or design for which
they were created and by which they will be judged? Only the few lucky
ones who happened to be born and brought up in the one true belief can
have the advantage of grasping the situation. To an impartial intellect,
there would seem to be something about such an arrangement hardly fair
or just to all the other countless millions.

But even so, and admitting what is apparently obvious, how could any
amount of reasoning arrive at a decision in the matter?

There is nothing to prove that _all_ the theories and doctrines may be
any more than guesses, bolstered up with impressive formalities and
imagery, according to the needs and temperament, of the races for whom
they were made. Taken as a whole, they suggest a great confusion of
ideas and many curious contradictions concerning the purpose of man's
earthly life and the destiny of his soul.

Has man really a soul, at all? In what part of his body is it located?
What ground is there for imagining that it is any more immortal than his
heart or his eye? We can study the eye and dissect it and arrive at a
fairly accurate idea of how it works. We know that it can be
blinded--put out; also we know that if anything stops the heart from
beating, the eye, the brain and our other functions cease to operate and
become transfixed in death. Why should this not apply as well to the
soul, if there is a function in man which goes by that name?

Enough has been said to indicate a few of the difficulties which stand
in the way, when we approach the consideration of man's spiritual
nature. A study of the various religions and spiritualistic beliefs
which are current in the world to-day would be a tedious task for the
average mind and would probably be of little practical use or help to
any one.

The same may be said about the scientific theory of evolution. That is
essentially an effort of the intellect, focusing the attention on
details, processes and stages of development in living things and
arriving no nearer to a solution of the unexplainable than we were in
the beginning.

Suppose I happen to be impressed by the beauty and wonder of an orange
tree, with its golden, luscious fruit, its delicately tinted and
deliciously scented blossoms, its graceful leaves and branches, its
symmetrical trunk so firmly rooted in the ground? Merely as a piece of
machinery, as a little factory, designed to manufacture a certain kind
of edible product, it is far more ingenious, economical and generally
marvellous than anything the combined brains of mankind have been able
to design throughout the centuries. It is automatic, self-lubricating,
self-repairing and goes on, year after year, in fair weather or foul,
turning out its brand of juicy pulp, done up charmingly in little yellow
packages. How does it operate? How does it always manage to get the
necessary raw materials from the earth and the air? How do the roots and
the leaves and the sap ever contrive to convert these into perfume and
blossoms and pulp and pigment?

Now suppose a scientific intellect comes along and, after investigating,
dissecting, analyzing, eventually holds out before my eyes a tiny white
seed which it has located in the centre of the yellow package--and says:

"This is the explanation of the whole thing. That orange tree is merely
the result, by a process of natural development and evolution, of this
seed. We have studied it all out, step by step. If you will give us one
of these seeds to start with and some ground to put it in, there is no
mystery about it at all. We can show you how the whole thing happens. Of
course, it takes considerable time--but time is nothing to Nature. In
this case, only four or five years are required for the seed to become
transformed into a fruit-bearing orange tree."

"But," say I, "your investigations and explanations only add to my
amazement. The design and formation of that little seed is even more
wonderful and incomprehensible than the full-grown orange tree. Within
its tiny compass, it not only contains all the complicated miraculous
processes which convert earth and air and water into fragrant blossoms,
juicy pulp and golden oranges, but it contains in addition to that,
other miraculous powers which enable it to develop and transform itself
into a special kind of beautiful tree, with roots and branches and
leaves. As compared to this one little seed, all the greatest inventions
and achievements of man seem like the crudest bungling."

"Tut, tut," replies the scientific intellect, "this is only one sort of
seed. There are hundreds, thousands of others, some so small that they
look like grains of dust. Each one of these is a complete manufacturing
plant, perfect in every detail, each designed to turn out a special
kind of product, different from all the others. One of the most
remarkable points about them is that they require no special
materials--each and every one of them makes use of the same common
ingredients, earth, air, light, water. From those ingredients, this
little machine, for instance, working automatically, can turn out a
giant red-wood tree, which will last for centuries. This other little
one, next to it, working in the same way, will produce thousands upon
thousands of roses, of a certain beautiful shade of color and a certain
delicate fragrance. And so it is with all these other little machines,
which we call seeds,--however amazing the difference in the kind of
product, it is due entirely to certain subtle differences in their

"But," say I, "what sublime intelligence conceived the plan of those
machines, and what kind of sublimely skilful craftsman was able to
fashion them?"

"They were made automatically by the various trees and plants."

"But who conceived the plan of the trees and plants?"

"The trees and plants were produced automatically by other little seeds,
like these."

"But the first one of these seeds, or the first one of these trees--who
conceived and executed that?"

"Oh, that," says the scientific intellect, "came about through a process
of evolution, which extends way back thousands of centuries. We have
studied it carefully and reasoned it all out to our entire satisfaction.

"These plant seeds are only one part of it. There are also all the
animals and animalculae, including man. There are thousands of different
kinds of living creatures and each kind has a distinct design from all
the rest, which appears to have been determined by the special purpose
for which it was intended.

"As a matter of fact, they are nothing more or less than the results of
evolution, natural selection and the survival of the fittest. All we
require for the demonstration of our theory, is a little bit of
protoplasm at the beginning of things and a mass of elemental matter in
an unformed state."

"But," say I, "are you sure you are not trying to befuddle me and
befuddle yourself by the use of obscure words? You use the word
"protoplasm"--but if you mean by that a kind of machine, like the orange
pit or the red-wood seed, your evolution theory and your scientific
chain of reasoning and all your big words merely bring us back to the
point where we started and really explain nothing at all. The orange
seed, if left to itself in the midst of elemental matter will produce a
certain kind of tree and countless oranges. A bit of protoplasm, if left
to itself in the midst of elemental matter, will not only produce an
orange tree and a red-wood tree, but an elephant, a spider, a human
being--all the countless species of living things to be found in the
universe. It may take the protoplasm a longer time to turn all this out,
but it is a bigger job and time is of small account in such a

"All I can say is that I prostrate myself in abject and bewildered
admiration before that bit of protoplasm. If anything could be more
wonderful than the orange seed with which we started, your protoplasm is
certainly it. It is a miracle of a million miracles.

"But there is one thing you forgot to tell me--the only thing of any
real interest or importance to the average mind in such a theory. What
sublime intelligence conceived the plan of that bit of protoplasm--and
what kind of sublimely skilful craftsman was able to fashion it?"

"Oh that," says the scientific intellect--"that just happens to be one
point which our chain of reasoning has not yet been able to demonstrate
in a logical and satisfactory way. We have left that out of our theory."

"Well then," say I, "here are trees and flowers and animals and mankind,
each perfectly adapted for the special function on earth for which they
were apparently designed. The plan of them appears to have been
determined, somewhere, somehow, by a sublime intelligence which
surpasses understanding, for some sublime purpose, apparently, which I
am yearning to know. All the details, complications and assumptions of
your theory when boiled down to simple terms seem more or less of a
quibble on words and meanings.

"Your conclusions are of much the same sort as those of the intellectual
cynic whom we quoted in connection with sympathy and affection. He
undertook to prove with a chain of reasoning that I obey only motives of
selfishness when I shed tears of grief because my friend has lost his
only son."

Here we are living together on earth to-day, and here were our fathers
and forefathers living, in the same general way with the same general
instincts and feelings, as far back as we have any record of; and here
presumably will our children and their descendants continue to be
living, as far as our imagination can carry us. Whether the process of
our creation involved a bit of protoplasm in the midst of chaos, or
whether we were evolved from a thought and a breath of an Almighty God,
is of very slight consequence as a human consideration.

In view of the wonderful harmony and fitness of the countless processes
and things which we see everywhere about us in nature, it is not strange
that mankind seems always to have taken it for granted that a supremely
wise and a supremely resourceful intelligence of some sort is
responsible for it all. The beginning, the end, the scheme and purpose
of so many miracles, extend into the beyond, the unknown, the
incomprehensible. What the Supreme Being is like--how or why He came
into existence--where matter or life first came from--or even what the
connection is between the creatures of this world and the countless
stars and planets which may be other worlds--all this is shrouded in the
mystery of mysteries.

If we get to thinking very much about it, one of the effects is to make
the affairs of man and the like of man seem tiny and unimportant in
comparison to the whole--one kind of little creatures on one little
globe, when we know there are thousands upon thousands of bigger globes
in the firmament and possibly millions and billions of larger and more
exalted creatures on many of them.

But it is only man's intellect that gets tangled up and discouraged by
that kind of reasoning. Another side of man's nature comes to the fore
and disposes of this tangle with more inspiring sentiments. These
sentiments tell us that a marvellous scheme of life is at work in our
world, every detail of which from the lowest to the highest appears to
have received exactly the same sort of sublime consideration--and that
of this entire scheme, the spirit of man has been constituted the leader
and master. On this earth at least man is a kind of divine lieutenant,
the captain, the commander, the generalissimo of all living things.
Somehow, somewhere, there must be a sublime purpose to it all, because
it is dominated throughout by a sublime intelligence, an apparently
all-wise Providence. Somehow, somewhere, the spirit of man has a never
ending responsibility and an awe-inspiring, exalted destiny.

Whether this be true or not, and however, the scientific intellect may
be inclined to quibble with arguments and conclusions, there is
something inside of each and every one of us to a greater or less
extent, which makes us feel that this is so. This something within us,
which responds to such a feeling, is a function quite apart from the
intellect--the most highly developed intellects often have the least of
it; it is equally removed from the loves and hates, sympathies and
antipathies of our heart life; and equally far away from the perceptions
and appetites of our senses. It is the side of man's nature which for
the want of a better name, we call the soul. And the feeling of the soul
that there is somewhere an all-wise Providence, sublime purpose in
everything, an exalted destiny for man--irrespective of proof, or
science, or calculation or demonstrations of any sort--that feeling in
its simplest essence is what we call faith.

"In God We Trust"--that is the motto which appears on American coins.
Without great exaggeration, it might be called the motto of humanity,
everywhere, at all times. It is a soul feeling; an expression of
fundamental faith.

Now as this feeling is not dependent on the reasoning faculty, there
should be nothing amazing in the fact that it has been found susceptible
of being developed and led far afield in the direction of credulity. All
sorts of fairy-tales have been invented by man's imagination, in
different countries, at different periods, and imposed upon the simple
faith of the masses in order that they might be guided and controlled in
a manner that the leading spirits considered best for them. Idols,
divine revelations, oracles, prayers, sacrifices, confessionals,
priests, prophets, medicine men, sacred dances and prostrations,
awe-inspiring rites and ceremonies of almost every conceivable kind have
been resorted to, in order to attain results which were considered

In nearly every case, it is safe to say the effort was inspired by an
intense soul feeling on the part of an individual, however much it may
have been seasoned with shrewdness and calculation and understanding of
the people for whose good it was intended.

It is generally admitted that the age in which we live is a scientific
age. Scientific investigations, scientific explanations, scientific
inventions, scientific methods and theories, are dominant factors in the
progress to which modern civilization has been devoting so much of its
energy. In our schools, and colleges and text-books, the growing mind is
being taught to approach all subjects and questions from a reasonable,
practical and scientific point-of-view.

One of the first principles of all science is to take as little as
possible for granted, but to investigate and prove everything, without
prejudice, in strict accordance with the facts. This is the typical
attitude of to-day, encouraged and absorbed on every side and becoming
more wide-spread with each passing year.

Suppose a young man or woman, trained in this way, in school and
college, by books of science, magazine articles, newspapers and
discussions of one sort or another connected with modern progress, is
prompted one fine day to turn his attention to this question of religion
and undertake an enquiry into that? Sooner or later, this is very apt to
happen to any one, because the churches and ceremonies are all about;
and when an individual mind reaches a stage where it wants to think for
itself, it can hardly escape from arriving at some conclusion concerning

A modern person so trained, is apt to perceive very quickly that many of
the statements and assumptions made in the name of any particular
religion are unscientific and inaccurate and not much more reasonable
than Aladdin and his wonderful lamp, or Jack and the Beanstalk. They
pre-suppose an amount of childlike credulity and ignorance on the part
of the worshipper, which can only be explained to his mind by the
primitive state of the people for whom they were originally intended.

In view of this, the natural tendency for a practical scientific mind of
the present generation is to regard the church question as a rather
curious and perplexing survival which, for family and personal reasons,
it might be just as well to leave alone.

As science cannot discover how the first protoplasm was created, and as
the preaching of the various religions is interwoven with fanciful and
unsound assumptions, the most logical solution is to cease bothering
one's head about it.

One trouble with this is, that the soul is an important part of man's
life and it has need of faith of some sort. To a great extent,
civilization depends upon it. If all the people about us had no soul and
no faith, it is hard to imagine what the world would be like.

We can imagine, in a way, by turning our attention to the criminal
classes. Consider for a moment the make-up of a typical crook--a thief,
a burglar, a kidnapper, a hold-up man--a so-called "enemy of the law."
What is the underlying difference between him and a worthy citizen? Is
it simply that one breaks the law, while the other does not? That is
only an apparent, superficial difference, based on results. A worthy man
might break the law repeatedly, without becoming in the least a crook; a
crook might stay within the law, most carefully and cautiously, without
altering in the slightest degree, the essence of his crookedness.

The real significant difference lies deeper down, in his nature and
attitude--attitude toward his fellow men, toward himself, toward the
mystery of life. A crook usually has the same sort of appetites and
desires as anybody else. He may have the keenest perceptions and
excellent taste in matters of beauty and other pleasure-giving
refinements. As far as the sensations of life go, and the development of
the senses, he may be far above the average, and many of them
undoubtedly are.

As for brains, many crooks of the higher order are remarkably quick and
resourceful, while not a few have had superior education and book

It is also undoubtedly true that they may have warm hearts and loving
natures, and be capable of an unusual amount of loyalty and devotion to
their pals.

In addition to that, they are frequently very patient, self-controlled
and fearless.

But there is just one quality, one side of their natures, that is
deficient--the soul, with its faith. They have no feeling of
responsibility within them toward an unknown but holy purpose, toward an
all-wise Being, who created the world and entrusted to man a spirit
capable of leading it.

Without this feeling, there is no real meaning to the words right and
wrong; and that is the essential mark of a crook. Outside of a few
intimates whom he is attached to, the rest of mankind with its laws and
aspirations, represents nothing more than a hostile force to be preyed
upon and gotten the best of. Provided he can avoid punishment, a crook
feels no objection to cheating, stealing, or cutting a throat.

This appears to be the natural principle of life among wild animals, the
fish in the sea, the spider and the fly; and it would presumably be the
same among men, if man were without a soul and devoid of faith.

There is no feeling of right and wrong among animals, when left to
themselves. They merely try to get what they want, by any means at their
disposal. In doing this, their only concern is to save their own skins
and to avoid a mix-up with another animal or animals stronger than

In the case of crooks and criminals, these other animals which concern
them are usually the representatives of the law.

Certain kinds of animals--dogs, horses, pets--may be tamed and trained
by man into an imitation notion of right and wrong. But it is only a
superficial imitation, essentially different in composition from the
genuine article.

A dog may learn in time that if he chases the pet cat, his master will
give him a beating. After learning this lesson, he may still
occasionally give himself the satisfaction of chasing the cat up a tree,
but after he has done so, he will show his training by looking guilty,
hanging his tail and sneaking off into the bushes. He knows he has done
wrong. In this case, however, it simply means that he is anticipating
and seeking to mitigate an expected beating. The pain of a beating is
bad; a lump of sugar is good, any animal can grasp that, and some
animals may be trained to connect the cause and effect.

But that is not at all the same kind of thing as the conception of right
and wrong that grows up in man and finds its true explanation in a soul

This vague, but fundamental, feeling of faith in a divine purpose of
some sort for the life of each individual is not dependent upon any
particular religion, or creed, or doctrine. It appears to have found
expression at all stages of civilization in all countries of which we
have any record.

It was found to exist among the savage American Indians and the Aztec
Mexicans, as it existed in the earliest mummy age of ancient Egypt, and
among the earlier warriors of Europe, as depicted by Homer. Among the
yellow races of China and Japan, the recognition of this same faith
extends back to the farther-most records of time.

Whether it evolved from a protoplasm, or was implanted in man by the
Creator, it may be regarded as an essential part of the all-wise
scheme--which is, which was, and which presumably always will be.

By some such process of observation and reasoning as we have been going
through, it is possible to arrive at a relatively safe and satisfactory
conclusion to the first soul question: "Has my life any purpose in the
great, everlasting scheme of things?"

The answer is: "Undoubtedly. A feeling to that effect is to be found
universally among mankind. The intention of the Creator, which surpasses
understanding, in this one respect, at least, appears to be

Attached to this conclusion is the second part of the question, to which
an answer may be found by a similar process of observation and

"Granted that I am assured by an inner feeling that my life has some
purpose--what is that purpose?"

It is not difficult to discern a general and practically uniform purpose
in normal human beings. First, of course, is the primal instinct of
self-preservation, a feeling that life itself is precious and must be
held on to as long as possible. Along with this, goes another primal
instinct--to create new life and protect that--and thus continue your
race and kind on earth indefinitely.

It is easy enough to see that if these two instincts were lacking, or if
any other considerations were allowed to impair their force, the scheme
of the world would come to an end. Whatever the purpose of a human life
might be, that purpose would be futile, if there were no human lives to
accomplish it. So that these two instincts are necessary conditions of
any other plan or design. They are the first and foremost considerations
in all life, in all civilizations. Not only are they instinctive
impulses of man's animal nature, which he shares with brute beings, but
they also appeal to his innermost soul with the strongest feelings of
which he is capable.

It is right for him to protect himself; it is right for him to protect
his wife and children; it is right for him to protect his relatives and
friends and fellows from any and all enemies. In order to do this he
will kill other human beings, if necessary, in case of war, or attack;
and his conscience will not reproach him; it will tell him he has done

This feeling has been implanted in all normal human beings--it has
always been and presumably always will be. It may be regarded as part of
the divine intention. It is also an unmistakable purpose for each
individual--to preserve his own life and strive for its continuation in
his off-spring.

That is the first and foremost thing for you to live for. Why? Because
the strongest feelings of your whole nature, in accord with your
conscience, tell you so.

If we consider woman as distinct from man, we find her strongest
instinct and deepest inner feelings impel her to care for and protect
her off-spring; but that instead of an impulse to go out and fight
against the enemy, she feels in her conscience that it is right and
natural for her to rely upon the husband and father to do that. It is
for her to stick close to the babies and pray for his success.

That is the only difference--a fundamental difference in the innermost
feeling of the male and the female--which appears to have existed
always, and may therefore be regarded as a part of the divine intention.

Now, after the continuation of life on earth is safeguarded in this way,
is there any other deep and general feeling of man's inner nature which
might furnish an indication of a further purpose for his life?

Is there not in each and every one of us a deep-rooted desire, which is
wholly in accord with conscience, to make good in the rôle which has
been assigned to us in the mystery of creation? Does not each individual
feel moved to accomplish something beyond the mere continuation of life?
Is there not within us a vague aspiration to do well and be something
good and fine, according to our means and tastes? Do we not want to be a
success rather than a failure, both for our own sake and for the sake of
those we love, who also love us, and cannot help being affected by what
we do?

If by any chance you are deficient in this feeling yourself, or confused
about it, you have only to look about any where, at any time, and you
will find it in evidence among normal individuals from the days of early

A little girl likes to be pretty, to dance well, to sew neatly, to be
helpful to her mother, to be petted, loved, approved.

A little boy wants to be a fast runner, a fine swimmer, a good
fighter--he wants to be strong and brave and self-reliant and many other
things, besides. He admires these qualities in other boys; a feeling of
his inner nature, in accord with his conscience, tells him he would
like to be that kind of a boy, himself. He feels it is the kind that
every one ought to want to be.

And if he is a normal, healthy boy, this feeling arises within him just
as naturally and spontaneously as the feeling which comes to a sensitive
soul in the presence of a sunset, or musical harmonies and tells it they
are beautiful. It is quite apart from any far-sighted calculations of
the intellect concerning the practical use which those qualities may, or
may not, have in after life.

The same thing is true of the little girl and what she admires and
aspires to.

As the youngsters grow up to be men and women, they are still
susceptible to the same sort of feeling, in spite of the fact that many
other more practical and material considerations are liable to creep in
and confuse it, alter it, distort it.

Somewhere, in the inner nature of almost everybody, there persists a
feeling of admiration for the fine and noble qualities of mankind. Some
of those qualities, experience may have demonstrated, are beyond our
personal strength and reach--others may have practical disadvantages,
which our self-interest and our reason over-rule, but as long as the
feeling is there, it keeps whispering to us, however faintly, that we
ought to try to live up to the best that is in us and not be satisfied
with less.

Let us take care to note that this differs completely from another sort
of feeling which cold-blooded cynics are apt to confuse it with. This
other feeling is inspired by greed and controlled by selfish
calculation, and tells certain individuals that by closing their eyes to
what is beautiful and admirable in human nature, and by taking advantage
of any and every opportunity, they may obtain a greater portion of
worldly goods and material pleasures.

This latter feeling is not in touch with conscience and neither to
ourselves, nor to others, does it inspire ennobling sentiments. A proper
name for it is ambition--a selfish quality, whose essence bears no
relation to the aspiration of boy and girl, man and woman, toward what
is finest and best.

This feeling of aspiration, which exists in the soul and appears to be
innate in human beings everywhere, offers a clear and indisputable
revelation of a purpose for man's life, above and beyond the mere
continuation of it. It is one very solid answer to the second part of
the great question: What is the purpose of my life? To strive toward
betterment and excellence, in accordance with your lights and
conscience. Why? Because, just as a feeling within you tells you that a
sunset is beautiful, so there is this other feeling within you, which
tells you this is fine and right.

Those are fundamental feelings, planted in all mankind, not accidental
exceptions. They are surely a part of the all-wise design, an essential
part of your purpose in being here.

The finest types of men, the leading spirits of humanity, in all ages
and climes, from the earliest savages to the most advanced civilization,
have always had that kind of feeling and responded to it. It is a
fundamental fact of the soul life, which leaves no room for doubt.

Is there any other feeling of this sort which appears to be so
fundamental and world-wide that it may be regarded as an innate and
essential part of human nature, independent of climate, or race, or
intellectual development?

Is there not a sentiment deep down in all mothers and fathers, to want
their children to be finer, better, more nearly perfect than they
themselves have been? Has not this sentiment something in it which is
quite apart from self-interest, or reason, or the impulses of affection?

Suppose a normal mother is on her death-bed, with but an hour to live?
As far as she is concerned, all considerations of self-interest in this
world are at an end. After one hour, nothing that happens can make any
difference to her, personally. Her children are in an adjoining room and
her thoughts and feelings are full of them. That is only natural--almost

What is the essence of her feelings? Love, in the first place. They are
inexpressibly dear to her and she feels glad and thankful that all is
well with them. What next? A prayerful hope that they will be happy and
successful and live to a ripe old age. For her sake? No, for theirs.

Does she wish them to be liars and cheats and ingrates, dissipated and
corrupt, if by so doing they can have most pleasure and satisfy
themselves? Oh no--not that. Why not? Because there is something within
her which wants them to be fine and good and worthy of their birthright.
She wants them to cling fast to the best that is in them, not the worst;
to do right and be right, whether it serves their pleasure or not.

If a mother would naturally feel this way on her death-bed, so might a
father, or a grandmother or a grand-father, in any country--in almost
any state of civilization--irrespective of any particular creed or
doctrine, to which they might subscribe.

This is not to be taken as saying that all mothers or fathers would be
conscious of this feeling--or would have this feeling in them to any
appreciable extent--or that all individuals may be said to have any of
the fundamental soul feelings to which we have referred.

Throughout all nature, and in human life as well, there are to be found
individual deficiencies and perversions. Since this is as true to-day,
as it has been always, in all departments of creation, we can be content
to regard it as part of the all-wise but mysterious scheme.

To the best of our knowledge and belief, in practically all communities
of human beings of which there is any record, these few self-same
feelings of man's innermost nature have become plainly, unmistakably,
evident. They appear to be inborn fundamentals of the human soul. As far
as they go, they may be safely and confidently accepted as indications
of man's purpose here on earth: the preservation of life, the
continuation of life, an aspiration in one's own development toward what
is admirable and right, and an equally great aspiration to inculcate and
develop in one's children the essence of what is best in oneself.

In the face of any such conclusion, a question naturally arises, which a
cynical and selfish mind is not slow to make the most of. "If this is
the palpable intention and design of an all-wise Creator, how does it
happen that so many human beings fail to carry out the purpose? How
does it happen that so many are relatively deficient, or totally
unconscious of the feelings themselves? If the general aim and
aspiration is toward constant betterment and an ideal of perfection,
why, after all these centuries of endeavor, haven't we arrived somewhere
near the goal? Why do we find among the individuals of to-day in our
country less aspirations toward what is fine and right and honorable
than were felt a hundred years ago? Why, when these feelings reached so
high a standard in the classic days of Greece, did they decline and
shrivel and give way to barbarism? Why did the same thing happen in
Rome? If the divine intention is toward progress and betterment and an
ideal of right, why has the intention failed so miserably and repeatedly
to be carried out? Why haven't I just as much reason to assume that the
divine intention, if there be any, is the gradual corruption, decay and
disintegration of the human being? Were the motives and behavior of the
average man ever more corrupt, immoral and baser than they are
to-day--all over the world? If we consider the results, where is the
evidence of a constant betterment in man's spiritual nature? My
observations and judgment tell me there are no grounds for any such
assumption and there probably never was any such divine intention."

The answer to such objections is fairly simple:

"You are attempting to pass judgment, by means of the reasoning
processes of the intellect, on questions which man's intellect is
incapable of understanding. As we found to be the case when considering
the affections, the result of such an endeavor is a misconception and

"Although you are well aware that neither reason nor science can offer
the faintest glimmer of an explanation as to how, or why, the first
essence of life came into existence, or the first elemental matter, or
as to what is the ultimate intention or end of a single thing in this
world, or any other, yet you have the presumption to criticize the means
and methods being employed for the attainment of those ends by an
all-wise Creator, who presumably did know, and does know, what they are.

"Underlying your questions and comments is a complete misunderstanding.
In considering man's purpose in life, I had no thought of determining
God's purpose in creating man, or in creating life, or in creating the
world in which the life of man is to be found. That surpasses my
understanding. That there is an all-wise design and purpose of some
sort, behind and above it all, I have no doubt. This conviction comes
principally from a feeling of my innermost nature, which has been found
among mankind, in all ages--faith. It is confirmed and strengthened by
the evidence of my perceptions and intellect--the beauty and wonder and
fitness in all the processes of creation.

"But even in the simplest facts of nature all about us, there are
countless principles at work whose intention cannot be penetrated by
human reason. Why were wolves permitted and urged by their instincts to
devour innocent lambs? Why were the germs of disease and corruption
created with the same bewildering perfection of design and the same
mysterious, vital force as the good and beautiful creatures which they
infest? Why were exquisite flowers and fruit-bearing trees allowed to be
overcome by foul fungus and poisonous weeds?

"If our reason is unable to discern the underlying intention in such
simple, every-day occurrences as these, by what right does it pretend to
pass judgment on the great complexities and developments of human

What good is accomplished by the rise and fall of an empire? Or by the
rise and fall of a human individual? What all-wise intention is
fulfilled in the deterioration and decay of any thing which has once
seemed admirable and worthy? The human intellect cannot tell.

As long as the intellect cannot grasp the beginning of creation, or the
end, the original cause of man's existence, or the final result--how can
it presume to criticize and doubt, without getting out of its element
and beyond its depth?

God's purpose for man, from the point-of-view of God, is an entirely
different thing from an individual's purpose in life, from man's
point-of-view. As this difference is something which appears to give
rise to a certain amount of confusion in some people's minds, it is
worth clearing up by a simple illustration.

Suppose a commanding general, in the midst of a campaign, gives orders
for a brigade to occupy a certain ridge and defend it at all costs?
Suppose these orders are carried out and, after a heroic defence lasting
several days, the entire brigade is wiped out by the enemy?

In such a case, when an order comes, what is, and ought to be, the
purpose of each individual soldier composing the brigade? To obey
orders, do his duty as well and bravely as he can, and hope for the
best--which may be victory, glory and promotion.

What, now, was the purpose of the general, in issuing the orders? Was it
to enable those individual soldiers to win victory and gain promotion?
Quite the contrary. His purpose was to delay the enemy advance at that
point for forty-eight hours, for reasons of high strategy.

What was the purpose of God in designing mankind in such a way that
millions of fine individuals should go forth to maim and exterminate
each other, to the accompaniment of untold suffering and misery?

Because the private does not know the purpose of the general; and
because neither the private, nor the general, knows the purpose of God,
is that a reason to conclude, or imagine, that there is no purpose?

Is that a reason to conclude, or imagine, that the private cannot have
and know a purpose of his own--a fine and worthy purpose of which his
conscience approves? Does not that same observation apply to the general
and to all other individuals, high or low?

Because certain individuals are born blind or deaf, does that imply that
mankind was not designed to see or hear? Because certain individuals,
through the effects of disease or abuse, lose their sight, does that
disprove a purpose for the eye? Because certain communities, or certain
civilizations, decline and decay, through corruption, does that prove
anything with regard to the intention and design of the Creator--except
that such happenings are apparently a part of the mysterious plan?

It may be that in that plan the soul life of a single individual has
more lasting significance than the rise and fall of an empire. Such a
conception is apt to strike a matter-of-fact intellect as the height of
absurdity. But even in the material world, when it was first suggested
that the earth was round, that conception also struck the matter-of-fact
intellect as the height of absurdity. So did the idea of Columbus--that
he might set sail from Spain, going West, and arrive back at Spain,
coming from the East. Nearly all the great discoveries and conceptions
of genius have struck the matter-of-fact intellect as the height of
absurdity. They dealt with an unknown principle which was different from
accepted notions.

But the meaning of a human soul in the eternal plan, or of a certain
phase of civilization in the unknown plan, are also unknown principles
and the opinions of the intellect concerning them are purely guess-work.

If, however, we feel inclined to use our imaginations, there is a line
of thought which might seem to have a remote bearing on this part of the

In the material world, and the intellectual world, and the esthetic
world of art and beauty, we may form a matter-of-fact opinion concerning
things of which we do know something. We can see the effects of certain
occurrences and judge of their relative importance, from man's

Which was more significant and important for the good of
civilization--that countless millions of men and women, for countless
generations, in Mexico and in Persia, talked and thought and exchanged
ideas--or that one single individual, named William Shakespeare, had
some ideas which it occurred to him to put on paper?

The brain effort of a single individual more significant for future
humanity than the rise and fall of an empire! That kind of
conception--dealing with something we know about--does not strike the
matter-of-fact intellect as the height of absurdity.

Was a single painting, the Mona Lisa, of a single individual, Leonardo
da Vinci, less important than the millions of paintings made during
countless generations throughout the entire empire of China?

Do we measure the achievements of a Napoleon, an Alexander, a
Washington, by the manner of their decline and death?

It seems simple enough to us that one short life may have more meaning
for the rest of humanity in this world, than millions of other lives. We
can see and understand and measure the effects of such occurrences as
these, with the intellect.

But in regard to man's inner feelings, the soul life, because the
achievement may not be visible--because its record is not written on
paper--because its true significance is entirely shrouded in the
mysterious intention of creation, how can the intellect know that the
conscientious effort of one short life on earth, however humble, may not
have a bigger meaning and a more lasting value in the divine scheme than
the accomplishments--material, intellectual, artistic--of millions?

The spiritual side appears undoubtedly to be the highest and finest part
of man's nature--why then is it not possible that the spiritual struggle
of each and every single soul, however inconspicuous in a worldly way,
may be the thing that counts most in the everlasting scheme?

This is a question, we repeat, which all the science of all the wise men
of all the generations is completely incapable of deciding. No amount of
reasoning can disprove it, any more than it can prove it. That is the
special point I have been trying to make clear. Because the cold
processes of the intellect are inclined to dismiss as absurd all kinds
of beliefs and conceptions which they cannot verify, they need not be
abandoned on that account.



No amount of reasoning can alter the fact that certain spontaneous and
fundamental feelings of man's inner nature inspire him to conscientious
effort and, as they presumably owe their origin to an all-wise Creator,
they may be safely relied on to indicate his part and responsibility in
the mysterious scheme.

It seems to me that nothing in the whole problem of life is more
important than a thorough realization of this undoubted truth--that the
big fundamental feelings of man's better nature are absolutely
independent and apart from the working of his intellect, or any
calculation of self-interest, conscious or implied, just as they are
independent of his material appetites and instincts. A clear
understanding of this truth will answer many of the questions which are
so apt to confuse the reason and trouble the peace of mind of the
average much instructed person.

If a scientific doubter asks us how we can be sure of this, we can
answer without hesitation that the evidence of our own inner feelings is
unmistakable proof of it. The only proof of a feeling is the feeling
itself. We have it--we are conscious of it--it is, as far as we are
concerned, and it is futile for any outsider to deny it.

If any one is so constituted that he cannot get the force of this, we
may make the understanding of it easier by turning his attention to the
feelings of man's esthetic nature, which operate in a somewhat similar
way. We have already had occasion to refer to them, but we may be
permitted to do so again, with added emphasis. They are an illustration
and a confirmation of the vitally important principle which we have just
been stating.

If a setting sun, or a harmony, or musical notes, appeal to my sense of
beauty and give rise to a vague but delicious emotion of my inner
nature, all the arguments of all the intellects on earth are powerless
to alter the essence and meaning of that feeling, so far as my nature is
concerned. To me that feeling of beauty is a fact, and it would remain
just as much a fact, even if no other person in the world shared it with
me; and every other person in the world undertook to deny its existence.
The only proof I have of it, the only proof I need for it, is that I
feel it.

Now when the intellect takes upon itself to meddle with such things, a
learned professor may explain that a certain musical note is composed of
vibrations--so many thousand per second--which are communicated to
particles of matter in suspension in the air and carried by them to the
tympanum of the ear, which acts thus-and-so upon the various components
of the hearing apparatus, and finally arrives through a system of
ganglia to a certain nerve centre, located somewhere in a brain cell, or
the spinal column. He may use a great many other big words and display
various kinds of scientific devices for measuring sound waves and
calculating vibrations, but when he has finished, all his science will
not enable him to compose a touching melody, or feel the beauty and
inspiration of it. A little child, or a negro mammy, with a soul for
music, will feel and give out something, whose very essence has nothing
to do with the intellect and which the most formidable intellect is
powerless to grasp.

The same thing is true of painting and poetry and sculpture. The
feelings which inspire them and the feelings which they arouse in
receptive souls are totally independent of the intellect.

The reason may argue that as one leg of the Venus de Milo is found by
measurement to be considerably shorter than the other, it is absurd to
call that a beautiful figure of a woman--or that it should excite as
much admiration as a scientifically constructed statue in which all the
proportions would be in accord with carefully tabulated statistics.

As a photograph of a young and healthy girl is more accurate and more
pleasing in subject than a painting of an old woman, what reason is
there for it to arouse less esthetic feeling than an immortal portrait
by Rembrandt?

If a description of a small water course, drawn up by a surveyor and a
lawyer, is exact and comprehensive, why should it not appeal to the
imagination and sense of beauty more satisfactorily than a poem by
Tennyson, entitled "The Brook?"

The obvious answer is that in all such questions the intellect is out of
its element, trying to lay hands on something which has no tangible

If this point-of-view is not enough to give your intellect food for
thought and suggest its very decided limitations in the life of man, you
may turn its light upon the simplest and most material sensations and
feelings which belong to the animal nature and are common to all

What reason is there for my brother to dote on fried onions, while I
cannot endure them? Why does my uncle like pig's feet and eels and
snails, while my wife is made almost ill at the sight of them? Your
intellect may tell you that you ought to like the taste of castor oil,
because it is good for you; but all the intellect in the world cannot
make you like the taste of castor oil.

The taste, the savor, the feel of things--whether it be in the material
world, or the esthetic world, or the spiritual world--is a part of life
in which the intellect is forever condemned to remain an outsider. It
may be very much interested in what is going on, it may reason with the
causes and effects and characteristics of what it sees; it may make
suggestions to the will-power and argue against the impulses which are
prompted by the feelings; but it cannot prevent the feelings, or the
impulses, from being there and having their say.

The life and say of the feelings mean much to the welfare of each
individual. Let us suppose that the circumstances of my life were such
that I could truthfully express myself as follows:

"I _feel_ well and strong; I _feel_ that I love my wife devotedly and my
wife returns that love; I _feel_ immense affection for my children; I
_feel_ I would make any and every sacrifice to protect them and my wife
from harm; I _feel_ very hopeful about the future, both for my family
and myself; I _feel_ I have done my best, in accordance with my ability;
I have a feeling of loyalty to my friends and a feeling of honor in my
dealings with my fellow men; I _feel_ content with my lot, in
particular, and the way of the world, in general; and whether my life
was evolved from a monkey and a protoplasm, or came into being as a
divine and perfect conception, I _feel_ an abiding faith in an all-wise
but mysterious purpose for everything."

There are no material considerations, or calculations of self-interest,
or reasoning processes, in this kind of summary. It is made up
exclusively of fundamental and spontaneous feelings which are in
existence, to a greater or less extent, among all sorts and manners of
individuals, in any known stage of civilization. A peasant living in a
hut, in a vineyard in Sicily, is just as capable of having them, as a
millionaire living in a city palace, or a scientist presiding over an
academy of learning. A native Patagonian, or a Swede, or a Chinaman, may
be just as susceptible to them as a French artist, or an American steel
king. As they come from the inner nature, and as all men have an inner
nature, it is possible for them to be experienced by all men.

There are, of course, countless other beautiful and inspired feelings
that may come to life in the inner nature of an individual, but the few
simple ones which we have suggested are sufficient for an illustration.

Now let us imagine, for a moment, another illustration. Let us imagine
that a modern intellect, scientifically trained and enlightened,
undertook to investigate, analyze, dissect, in a methodical and accurate
way, the facts which gave rise to my feelings, or are implied by them,
in an effort to determine the reason and reasonableness of such
interesting phenomena.

I _feel_ well and strong. "But," says he, "that does not necessarily
prove that you are well or strong. It may be merely an assumption
founded on ignorance of scientific facts." The proper way to determine
how well and strong I am is to have my health and strength tested and
rated in an expert way. According to the report of such an expert, my
state of health is only 63 per cent normal and my strength is less than
50 per cent of standard for my weight and age.

Strictly speaking, I am neither well _nor_ strong, and my feeling in
that respect may be dismissed as unwarranted by the facts and
consequently unreasonable.

"I _feel_ that I love my wife devotedly and that my wife returns that

"But," says the intellect, "those are only words. As a matter of fact,
how severe and accurate a test have either of those devotions been
submitted to? Have you ever been thrown into contact, alone and
undisturbed, with a woman who is more beautiful and more appealing than
your wife--who yearns for you and invites you with abandoned intensity?
Has your wife's devotion been subjected to a corresponding test? Until
that has been done, it is only reasonable to assume that there may be a
good deal of exaggeration and self-delusion in the conclusions which you
have arrived at. As there are certain prejudices and difficulties in the
way of having these tests made, and as neither you nor your wife appear
willing for the other to try them, any satisfactory estimate of your
reciprocal devotions must remain in abeyance. Our statistics show,
however, that in 87 per cent. of the cases where a mutual and
unalterable devotion is supposed to exist, the determining factor on one
side or the other, is the accidental absence of a sufficiently appealing
opportunity. The evidence of the divorce courts offers a valuable source
of information on this phase of the subject. Purely as a matter of
averages, the conjecture may be hazarded that your assumption in this
regard, as in the other, may be founded on a misconception."

In the same way, the intellect may introduce reasons and deductions in
criticism of my hopes for my children, and the fallacies which may have
crept into my theories of loyalty and honor and aspiration.

Finally, he might say: "Permit me to observe that you made a curious and
somewhat amazing statement, just now, in reference to faith and an
all-wise purpose. Is it possible that you are still under the influence
of an out-grown mediaeval superstition? The only reasonable assumption
with regard to man's place in the universe has been quite clearly and
scientifically established by the modern theory of evolution. It appears
from that, that you and I are descended from an ape, which in turn is a
second-cousin-once-removed, so to speak, of the bat, the spider, and the
shark. We are all animals together, slowly passing through different
phases of evolution, and man owes his existence entirely to the
accidental results of natural selection and survival of the fittest.
Man's tribe happens to be more numerous than that of the elephant, or
the whale, which are larger animals; but less numerous than that of the
ant, which is almost his equal in intelligence and decidedly more
industrious, though it is so much smaller than man. Millions of ants
come into existence and go out of existence, every day, without making
any appreciable difference in the gradual processes of evolution. The
same thing may be said of man--or bats and whales. Surely it is high
time that a well-educated person of the twentieth century should
consider such things from a reasonable, scientific point-of-view."

When he has finished with this, if I am still in a receptive mood, he
may condescend to explain to me that self-interest and enlightened
reason supply the true and underlying motives for all conduct; and that
this is the only conception of life which is susceptible of intelligent

As a matter of fact, although this illustration is entirely fanciful, I
was given a book to read, the other day, a modern book on morals, in
which this was the gist of the argument throughout--enlightened
self-interest, or selfishness, as the only sound and sufficient motive
for everything we do. The friend who gave it to me had accepted it as
scientific and authoritative and was thoroughly in accord with its
conclusions. I may add that this particular "friend," as far as I have
been able to observe, is the quintessence of selfishness.

My purpose, in imagining these illustrations, was to render obvious and
palpable the limitations of the intellect, when it attempts to translate
feelings into terms of reason, or when it attempts to substitute
scientific calculations for spontaneous emotions. The essence of one is
feeling; the essence of the other is logic; and the idea of replacing
the former by the latter is about as incongruous as an attempt to paint
the perfume of a violet with an adding machine.

In the heart and soul and even in the esthetic nature of every
individual is that mysterious element, which goes back to the beginning
of creation. In many of the finest and most important acts of man, it
may supply either the determining cause, or the principal effect. It
cannot be explained in terms of material self-interest, or enlightened
reason, because its essence is neither material nor reasonable. It has
in it a touch of the ideal and divine, which was implanted in man, or
has evolved in man, in accordance with the all-wise intention.

When we have succeeded in arriving at a clear realization of this
fundamental truth, and imagine we have put man's intellect back in the
place where it properly belongs, we must pause a moment to make equally
clear that we must not under-estimate the wonder and importance of that
same intellect, in the life of every individual and the life of mankind
in general.

In this age of science, the attention and interest of the universe have
been largely focussed on the marvellous achievements of the human
intellect. Discoveries, inventions, advanced methods and great strides
of progress in countless directions are the boast and pride of modern
times. There is no disputing this, nor is there any doubt but that a
great wave of scientific accomplishment, which was somewhat slow in
developing, has, within the last two generations, suddenly assumed the
most stupendous and bewildering proportions. The railroad and the
automobile; the telephone and electric light; the airplane, phonograph,
moving picture; anti-septic surgery and the germ theory of disease; the
dreadnought, the submarine and wireless telegraphy;--these are but a few
striking examples of the hundreds and thousands of achievements which
the intellect has been able to accomplish in a comparatively short space
of time.

No wonder that we hear and read on all sides such constant and confident
reference to the "advancement of science," the "progress of humanity,"
and the bewildering resourcefulness of man's brain.

All those achievements are objective and impersonal; they concern the
comforts and welfare, of each and every one of us, to a greater or less
extent, but in a purely material and general way.

When we turn to the personal life of the individual and consider his
acts and motives, subjectively, we find that the rôle played by the
intellect is almost equally important.

As we have seen in our previous discussions, the intellect has a say in
nearly everything we do or think of doing. It enquires into the cause,
and considers the effect, and passes judgment, for or against, in
accordance with the dictates of its reason. If a certain instinct within
us, which may be purely animal, has a need for food or water, the
intellect recognizes and approves the need; but if the food and water
set before us is poisonous or unfit, it is the intellect which
determines that and overrules the instinct. If another instinct, or
impulse, prompts us to set fire to a house, or jump out of a window, the
intellect decides that such an act would be unreasonable and forbids us
to do so.

It frequently happens that two or more of our instincts, inclinations,
desires, are opposed to each other. I want to eat my apple now; I want
to keep it to eat at the ball-game; and I want to trade it for Tim's
lignum-vitæ top. In such a case, it is the intellect which considers the
advantages and disadvantages of each and announces its decision. If it
is a healthy intellect, in good control, it will enforce its decision,
too; but even if it isn't, and an unruly impulse proves too strong to be
denied, that won't prevent the intellect from pointing out the mistake
that is being made and keeping it in memory for future reference.

It is not necessary to go over all this ground again. We have already
examined it with sufficient care in connection with the first answer
which we gave to the up-to-date youth who wanted to know why he
shouldn't follow his every inclination. The various examples which we
cited to illustrate the significance of reason and experience are enough
to establish the point we are now making.

As far as the material things of this world are concerned, and the
material needs of the individual, the intellect is generally and
properly acknowledged as the sovereign master. The rule of reason in
private life; and the rule of science in civilization have become more
and more the accepted standards of the world in which we live.

If an instinct or a desire is unreasonable, it should not be allowed to
prevail; if a tradition or a convention of the past is unscientific, it
should be discarded and ridiculed as something out-of-date. That is the
conclusion which advanced intellects have reached through scientific
methods of enlightenment; it is the message they have been
communicating, the example which they have been setting, until the
wide-spread results are becoming increasingly apparent among all
classes and in nearly all places, where modern science and civilization
have penetrated.

It ought not to be very difficult for any one to recognize and
understand why the methods of science and the rule of reason occupy such
a dominant place in public estimation as they undoubtedly do to-day. The
only natural question is why they have not always, in by-gone
generations, occupied just as high a place. The answer to this question
is very simple, though some people's attention may not have been called
to it. The scientific method of investigation, as we know it to-day, is
a comparatively recent product of the human intellect. There was no
science of any such kind when Homer wrote the Iliad, or when the
Christian religion was founded, or when Leonardo da Vinci painted the
Mona Lisa and Shakespeare wrote his masterpieces. Even at the time our
great American republic was put into operation, modern science was still
in its swaddling clothes. It is only in the last two generations that it
may be said to have reached its true form and begun turning out in rapid
succession the multitude of discoveries and inventions which have had
such an immense effect in the daily life of civilization.

It also takes a certain amount of time for great changes to permeate,
and become absorbed by masses of people, so that it should not seem
strange if many of the indirect results have only begun to be noticeable
within the past few years.

And now if we look about and pause to reflect on these triumphs of
modern science, as they affect the life and ideas and feelings of the
average individual, a very curious and somewhat startling question is
liable to suggest itself.

Is it possible that right here may be the main and underlying cause of
the so-called "demoralization" of the present generation? Is it possible
that the "impossible notions" and the equally "impossible conduct" of
the up-to-date young people which grandmother finds so shocking are
traceable to this source? Is it possible that faith, honor, loyalty and
other ideals and aspirations of man's better nature, are being neglected
and corrupted by the methods of modern science and the rule of reason?

The very idea of such a possibility, when it first dawned upon me,
seemed like such a palpable absurdity that I put it aside, yet as I
followed the other trains of thought which have been under discussion,
this idea kept recurring with greater and greater persistency. If it
happened to be true, the lesson to be derived from it might prove so
important and helpful to struggling humanity, that it appears to me,
now, entitled to careful consideration.

Let us begin with a general commentary and ask ourselves--How comes it,
while scientific methods have achieved such amazing results in the
material world, they have not succeeded equally well in improving the
inner nature of man? How comes it that science, with all its
investigations and accurately reasoned conclusions, cannot show the
individuals of the present day how to make better paintings than Raphael
or Titian? Or better statues than Michael Angelo? Or better music than
Chopin or Wagner? Or better literature than Moliere or Shakespeare?

It can show him how to make a hundred times better ship, or factory, or
surgical operation; but when it comes to this other kind of thing, it
appears to have made no improvement at all. Those artists we have named
and hundreds of others in past centuries, who made immortal
masterpieces, had no intellects enlightened by modern science, nor any
of the benefits of modern education and progress. If we may judge at all
by results (which is the modern, enlightened way), the only effect of
science in teaching people how to get an inspiration and find a
beautiful expression for it, has been a detriment rather than a help.

If you take a boy to-day, who has a natural bent for poetry, or
painting, how much will you help him by filling his mind with scientific
methods and theories, rules and exceptions, deductions and compilations,
of the various elements which should logically determine the value of
the finished product? By giving his intellect a thorough course in
scientific training, which may occupy his time and absorb his energy for
many years, is it not possible that you will turn out in the end a
plodding hack, instead of the inspired artist who might have been?

Did anybody ever feel the poetic beauty of a rose with greater intensity
for having examined its petals through a microscope, and learned to
classify it scientifically, both as to species and variety?

Did anybody ever learn by scientific rules of grammar and classified
tables of words, to speak a foreign language with the ease and charm of
a child, who picks it up from a stupid governess in one-tenth the time?
The childlike, natural way to learn a language is to absorb it into the
system, almost without effort, until it becomes a part of second
nature--in much the same way that we absorb tunes. Without the slightest
conscious effort, we are absorbing and retaining countless bars of
music, all through our lives--yet can anybody imagine an enlightened
intellect, undertaking to analyze and classify with scientific method
the use of sharps and flats in different kinds of bars, and attempting
to learn them in that form?

Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Æneid are generally regarded as great
masterpieces of literature. They are full of poetic feeling,
imagination, charm and inspiring sentiments. They are still being read
by thousands of boys and girls, every year, but they are being read to
the accompaniment of grammars, lexicons, and the commentary of learned
professors, upon roots, derivatives and obsolete usages. A vast amount
of time and energy is devoted to this undertaking, which is usually
justified on the ground that it affords excellent training for the
intellect. But how about the feelings of admiration and enthusiasm which
works of such great beauty were intended to inspire? Are they exercised
to the same extent? Or is the tendency rather to trammel and divert them
by so much laborious and irrelevant interference?

When we turn to the more personal feelings of the individual, in his
intimate relations with other beings, is not the situation much the
same? Has scientific thought discovered, or devised, any means of
increasing the warmth and tenderness of the human heart? Has the rule
of reason made husbands and wives any more devoted to each other, or to
their friends? It has succeeded in providing a great many people with a
telephone and an automobile, but has it succeeded equally well in
providing them with generous feelings of self-denial and consideration
for others? Or has its tendency, on the contrary, been rather to
interfere with the spontaneous development of such feelings, by
attempting to replace them by an analysis of human motives in which
calculations of self-interest are made the prime factor?

But it is only when we come to the spiritual feelings that the really
radical effects of science upon man's nature are encountered. And the
method of these changes is so eminently "reasonable," as to be almost

First is the question of religion, which in all countries and at all
times has been such an important influence in the conduct of mankind.
For the time being, let us be content to confine our attention to our
own country and our own Christian religion, and ask ourselves frankly
what conclusions the modern methods of scientific investigation and the
modern rule of reason might be expected to arrive at in regard to that?
What about all the miracles so devoutly recorded in the Bible? Through
investigation and reason, science to-day considers itself in a position
to pronounce them totally unscientific; and the rule of reason concludes
that they were presumably founded on the imagination, credulity and
ignorance which prevailed in an unenlightened period. What about the
angels with the flaming swords, and the voices from on high, the golden
thrones of heaven, the raging fires of hell, and the childlike account
of the world's creation? With the same complacent assurance, modern
science and reason are pleased to brush them aside as concoctions of
ignorance and credulity. And so with countless other ideas set down in
this same holy book--the motives of jealousy and vanity attributed to
the all-wise Ruler--His insistence upon formalities in the manner of
worship and baptism and christening--His threats concerning other
alleged gods and unbelievers, who dare to dispute His sovereignty. All
such ideas, when subjected to the acid test of scientifically
enlightened reason, are shown in the colors of absurdity and ridicule.

The general conclusion arrived at by this kind of investigation is
considered by scientific minds entirely logical and inevitable. As this
so-called holy book is found to contain so many errors, inaccuracies,
false statements and absurdities, the notion, or claim, of its being a
"revelation," communicated, or inspired, from a supernatural source, is
unreasonable and untenable. An all-wise Creator could not be ignorant,
or inaccurate. This particular book, like many other similar and rival
ones to be found in other parts of the world, may be scientifically
assumed to be no more than a typical and very creditable product of the
unenlightened civilization which gave it birth.

This tendency and effect of modern science is so direct and obvious that
he who runs may read. How far it has already spread and acted upon the
great numbers of people who compose our population is not possible to
determine. Nor is it of any great importance. As we observed before, it
takes considerable time for great changes of this sort to permeate to
and become absorbed by the masses. But the evidence is only too plain,
on all sides, that this operation is now in full swing and gaining
ground rapidly. Among the up-to-date people of the new generation, the
religious beliefs of a very large proportion have become so confused and
unsettled by it, that they are no longer quite sure in their own hearts
whether they have any at all. If you have any doubts about this matter,
or have overlooked it, a very little enquiry among the people you meet
every day, of all classes and kinds, will suffice to bring it home to

Of course, there are still in every community a considerable number of
people who cling bravely to the traditions of the past, who deplore and
combat with indignation the up-to-date and demoralizing tendencies; who
still believe in their religion as firmly as ever, who still regard the
Bible as a divine revelation; and who still display the same fervid
attachment to the various forms and ceremonies of their particular

There are also probably a few who, for private reasons, although they
have really ceased to believe, are still to be found sitting in church

But when we consider that modern scientific methods are of comparatively
recent origin, the wonder should be, not that so many people have
resisted their tendencies in the matter of religion and still cling to
their beliefs, but that such great numbers have been affected by them in
so short a time.

It seems only too plain and palpable that this is the inevitable
tendency of modern science, when brought to bear upon traditional
doctrines. It eats them away, bit by bit, and step by step, until there
is nothing left but a crumbling residue.

But this is only one side of it--the negative side--which applies to
what science has been taking down. There is also a positive side, which
applies to what science has undertaken to set up in its place.

As we have had occasion to note, the fundamental feelings of faith and
aspiration are not dependent upon any particular form of religion. Faith
has been found to subsist and flourish under various creeds and all
manners of worship, in all stages of civilization. All that it wants is
something to shelter and sustain and encourage it, in its struggles
against the baser instincts. Any religion which does this, by appealing
to the imagination and inspiring whole-souled belief, might be
considered satisfactory in any given community.

The next question, therefore, which we are entitled to ask ourselves is

After science has succeeded in eating into and breaking down the
particular temple in which our fundamental faith had found a refuge,
what fitting substitute has it been able to discover or devise, in order
to meet this universal requirement?

The nearest approach to a scientific answer appears to be the theory of
evolution, which informs man that, instead of being a special and
majestic creation of an all-wise Almighty, as he had so foolishly and
ignorantly imagined, he can consider himself a remote and more or less
accidental, development of a protoplasm; and more immediately, the
lineal descendant of the ape, to whom he still bears a close
resemblance, in a scientific way.

As there is nothing about an ape, or a protoplasm to be accepted as a
haven of refuge, science points to another conclusion. (And in quoting
science, here or elsewhere, let it be borne in mind that I make no claim
of speaking as a scientific expert, but am merely attempting to give the
general gist and point-of-view as it affects the average intelligence.
In such a general way, this, then, is what science says:)

"If you must worship something, instead of taking a figment of the
imagination, why not pick out something real and established, about
whose insistence there can be no doubt--the most logical and admirable
thing on earth--your own self and your scientifically enlightened
intellect? If you need a creed of some sort, to take the place of the
antiquated one which science has broken down, why not accept a pleasing
and simple creed which is entirely logical? Let your conduct be governed
at all times by your own self-interest and the rule of reason. For
everything that happens in this world, there must be a cause; and for
every act of a living thing, there must be a motive, either conscious or
unconscious. These are universal facts which have been adequately
established by scientific research. In the case of an individual man,
the only logical and sufficient motive which can be arrived at in a
scientific way, to explain his conduct, under any and all circumstances,
is the principle of self-interest, which he shares, with all other
animals. This may be conscious or unconscious, more or less enlightened,
or more or less deluded by ignorance and instinct; but that in no way
affects the application of the principle."

This is the only practical substitute which science has to offer for the
religious structures which it has been slowly, but surely, destroying.
But as this also is no haven of refuge for the vague feelings of faith
and aspiration, where are they to go? In the process of demolition, they
appear to have been left groping about, more dead than alive, under the

With an upheaval of this kind, spreading in the souls of great numbers
of people, and their fundamental faith groping in confusion, is there
anything strange in the fact that we hear and see constant references to
"the spirit of unrest," which has become so prevalent among all classes
at the present time?

In the relations of capital and labor, in the political world and the
business world; in the divorce courts and domestic life, the deportment
of women and the bringing up of children; in various other forms and
directions, both public and private, no less than in church
circles--there has been rapidly accumulating evidence of a mysterious
influence of some sort, with a tendency to confuse and unsettle the
standards and conduct of mankind.

This state of affairs is not confined to our own country. It appears to
be equally evident in England, if we may believe the testimony of those
who pretend to know. In confirmation of this, it may be worth while to
give a few quotations from a more or less authoritative and much
discussed English book which was published recently. In the concluding
chapter of his work, the author refers more particularly to the
aristocracy of England, a privileged class of men who in the past have
generally been considered a bulwark of traditional and lofty standards.

At the present time, the author says:

    We are a nation without standards, kept in health rather by
    memories which are fading than by examples which are
    compelling.... We still march to the dying music of great
    traditions, but there is no captain of civilization at the
    head of our ranks. We have indeed almost ceased to be an army
    marching with confidence towards the enemy, and have become a
    mob breaking impatiently loose from the discipline and ideals
    of our past.

    ... Aristocracy has lost its respect for learning, it has
    grown careless of manners, it has abandoned faith in its duty,
    it is conscious of no solemn obligations, but it still
    remains for the multitude a true aristocracy, and looking up
    at that aristocracy, for its standards, the multitude has
    become materialistic, throwing Puritanism to the dogs, and
    pushing as heartily forward to the trough as any full-fed
    glutton in the middle or the upper ranks of life.

    ... There is no example of modesty, restraint, thrift, duty,
    or culture. Everything is sensual and ostentatious, and
    shamefacedly sensual and ostentatious.

    ... It is a grievous thing to corrupt the minds of the simple.
    The poor have always believed in heartiness and cheerfulness.
    All their proverbs spring out of a keen sense of virtue. All
    their games are of a manly character. To materialize this
    glorious people, to commercialize and mamonize it, to make it
    think of economics, instead of life, to make it bitter,
    discontented and tyrannous, this is to strike at the very
    heart of England.

The author of this book has a very clear idea, very forcibly expressed,
that the example of the upper classes, the leading citizens in the
community, exerts a great influence on the others. That is a universal
principle which applies, in greater or less degree, to all other
countries, including America. It furnishes a simple explanation of how
comparatively stupid people, who do very little thinking of any kind,
may be found putting into effect motives and points-of-view which owe
their origin to the enlightened reason of a few superior intellects.

Also it may be observed that while the author appears to recognize and
affirm with conviction a general demoralization of standards among the
aristocracy, he does not attempt to suggest any visible cause for it. It
may be gathered, in a way, that he takes for granted that, somehow, it
is a consequence of the World War. This notion, as we have seen, is so
apt to be fallen back on as a convenient excuse for anything and
everything that is now taking place.

But to the best of my knowledge and belief, confirmed by all manner of
testimony and information, the tendencies in England which the author
refers to, no less than the similar tendencies in America, were plainly
in evidence and rapidly gathering momentum before the beginning of war.

For tendencies which appear to be world-wide, it is fair to assume that
there must be some cause, or causes, which are world-wide also. The
spread of modern science complies with that. Our English author refers
to the declining influence and lack of vitality of the English church,
without hazarding an opinion as to the cause. The idea which we have
gotten hold of affords a clue to that part of it, at least.

If it is also a clue to all the rest, as I suggest it may be, then, by
following its lead in different directions, we ought to unearth lucid
explanations for the various phenomena which are disturbing and
perplexing so many people.

Let us go on a little further and see just what we do find.

Let us imagine, for a moment, that I am a workman, a mechanic, of the
average intelligence to be found among the great run of so-called common
people. I have heard enough about modern science to be lost in wonder of
it and I received a good modern education at the high school. I gave up
going to church because it didn't appeal to me--a lot of the Bible
preaching seemed out-of-date, unreasonable and unpractical. I've heard a
little about this theory of evolution--man descended from an ape--and as
modern science is said to have proved it, I guess it must be so. The
main thing that concerns me is that I'm here, on the job, with a living
to make. There are a lot of other men around me, about the same as I am.
We're reasonable and practical and believe in getting all we can,
honestly. We think we're about as good as anybody else and we believe in
the rule of the majority.

When I look about at the people born luckier than I am, with more of the
world's goods, I can't see that they're any different from the rest of
us. They're trying to get all they can, too, only they've managed to get
a blame sight more than the rest of us. Take my boss, for instance. Is
there any reason for him to be living in a big house with eight
servants, and riding around in a limousine car, when all I can afford is
a flivver? Does he work any harder than I do? Is he any better man? or
any smarter? I haven't seen any proof of it. But just because he
happened to have a rich father before him, he's allowed to get the
lion's share of all we make. Is that reasonable? We all want the good
things of life, as much as he does, and if we're in the majority, why
shouldn't we have our share?

He didn't make the capital that's in this business, and he didn't have
anything to do with making his rich father; and the money his father
made, when you come down to it, was squeezed from men like us. If the
world is supposed to be run by reason, and reason says the majority
ought to rule, why shouldn't each one of us have an equal share with

I'm thinking of myself, of course, the same as everybody else--first,
last and all the time--and in that way I'd be a lot better off, but that
doesn't prevent what I want from being reasonable.

Without saying it, in so many words, is it not plain that I am merely
following in a way that an ordinary mind might understand, the creed
which science has recommended as the underlying motive for all
conduct--self-interest and the rule of reason.

Doubtless a very highly developed scientific intellect might declare
that my reason is not sufficiently enlightened; but it has received a
high school education, and looked about at what other people are doing,
and formed the scientific habit of sticking to the facts. Isn't that
about as much as Enlightened Reason could expect of me?

       *        *       *       *       *

Now if you happen to be another type of workman, less affected by the
modern scientific conclusions concerning life, you might reply as

"I feel very contented and humbly grateful to the Lord for all the
benefits he has given us. I am well and strong, I have a better home,
and better wages, and squarer treatment than workmen ever received in
any country in the world. I can make enough to provide modestly and
comfortably for my wife and children, which after all is the main thing
for my happiness. It is not for me to pass judgment on the life of our
employer, or his inheritance, or the life of his father before him, or
the great scheme of human existence which is behind and beyond it all.
It is enough for me to accept such things, as the wish of an all-wise

Of these two opposing points of view, which appears to be the one that
has been spreading and gaining in the world to-day--in America and
England, Italy, France, Spain and other countries? Which one is
dependent upon the fundamental feelings of faith and aspiration, which
have always found shelter in a religion of some sort--and which one may
be traced, almost directly, to a crude interpretation of the progress
and dictates of modern science?

And let it be noted that in this field, also, before the world war
began, this movement of self-interest and reason was already in evidence
and well on its way.

If we examine the Labor Union and the Closed Shop, and Strikes and
Socialism and Bolshevism, and all those other kindred isms, we can see,
readily enough, that the under side of them all is tarred with the same
brush--self-interest, selfishness, greed, individual and collective, and
reason, argument, excuse, more or less distorted and perverted, but more
or less enlightened by the principles of modern Science, as they appear
to the average intellect. The fundamental and innate spiritual feelings
of man's better nature have been so covered over by the energy of this
brush that, for the most part, they are only rarely and intermittently

Suppose we now follow our clue in another direction--into the home and
family and private life of the average up-to-date woman. And it is
permitted us to imagine, if we choose, that I am such a woman, while you
are my well-meaning, but rather out-of-date, husband.

I have received my education at a typical school of the present day,
organized on thoroughly modern and scientific principles. In my studies
and my general instruction, I have learned to consider everything from a
strictly rational point-of-view--hygiene, psychology, economics, the
equal rights of the individual, the expediency of the laws, the need of
judges to interpret them and of police to enforce them--and a variety of
other school subjects which are regarded as an excellent training for
the intellect. Among other things which I learned very quickly, both
outside and inside of school, is that most pompous and impressive
preachers don't practise what they preach. It's so unpractical and
unreasonable that it appears to be a sort of pretence and convention for
the benefit of the young and gullible. I find it more sensible to be
guided by what other intelligent people around you are actually doing
and learn in that way what they really think.

This is the era of woman's emancipation and the most intellectual and
leading women of to-day believe that woman is the equal of man; and has
as much right as he to the privileges and freedom of action, in every
direction, which he was able so long and so unfairly to reserve for
himself. As other women think that way about it and it's much more
satisfactory to me, I thoroughly agree with them. Marriage is an
agreement between equals, a partnership for mutual convenience and
happiness, and exactly the same obligations apply to one, as the other.
If men find pleasure in smoking and drinking and gambling and flirting
with pretty women, why shouldn't I smoke and drink and gamble and flirt
with attractive men? If other women paint their faces, or dye their
hair, or wear short skirts to show their silk stockings, or low-necked
and low-backed gowns, to make themselves more attractive, why shouldn't

In regard to my children, I love them, of course, and I believe in
bringing them up in accordance with modern, enlightened ideas. First of
all, I want their love and affection--the pleasure of having them run to
me and throw their arms about me, when I come into the room. If I scold
them and spank them and keep interfering with their natural instincts, I
might end up by making them afraid of me--as they are of their father. I
don't want that. I much prefer to pet them and spoil them and find
excuses for them.

I have so many interests and engagements of my own to attend
to,--social, civic, musical, charitable--that I haven't much time or
nerves left, to devote to my children. An up-to-date emancipated woman
could hardly be expected to subject herself to that kind of hum-drum
strain, in any case. My nervous system is very highly organized and
their restless activity makes me irritable. I couldn't stand very much
of it--even if I didn't have my own affairs to occupy most of my time. I
always try to make it a point, however, to see them and kiss them and
have them throw their arms about me, before going to bed. I get the best
nurse I can for them--the present one is a Swede, the last one,
Irish--but they seem to be such stupid, cranky things! However, one
thing I insist upon--they are not to slap the children, and are to let
them have their own way, as far as possible. And I make it equally plain
to the children that if they have any grievance, they needn't mind about
their father--all they have to do is come to me, and throw their arms
about my neck, and I will do the best to straighten it out for them.
That does a great deal to help me keep their affection.

If I get tired of my husband and cease to love him (or find some other
man whom I love more), or if my husband neglects and humiliates me and I
find him involved in an affair with another woman; or for any other
reason which seems sufficient to me; I consider it only proper that I
should have the right to go to a divorce court and dissolve the
partnership. As it is an arrangement between equals, for mutual
convenience and happiness, when it ceases to be convenient or agreeable
to me, it is perfectly reasonable that I should withdraw. That is to my
self-interest guided by reason. Thousands upon thousands of other women
are doing it, and no up-to-date enlightened person thinks any the worse
of them--so why shouldn't I?

You, my well meaning, but out-of-date husband, may be imagined as
replying to this briefly as follows:

"What has become of all the deep and beautiful feelings of faith and
devotion and self-sacrifice, which throughout the ages have given a
heavenly significance to the ideal of motherhood and wife-hood? Woman
was not made in the same mold as man and such was evidently not the
intention of the all-wise Creator. But in man's imagination and in his
better nature, the essence of woman's purpose and greatness has appeared
to consist in being a sort of guardian angel of the home and family. Her
crown was made of purity, chastity, modesty, infinite tenderness and
patience and underlying fidelity to her sacred cause. It is to her in
this capacity, with such a crown upon her head, that the noblest of men
have been willing to bow down, in humbleness and submission, not as to
an equal, or a rival in worldly prowess, but as to a superior and more
exquisite soul.

"That is the birthright of woman, the glory of her creation, yet between
your petty motives of self-interest and the up-to-date enlightenment of
your intellect, you are trying to argue it off the face of the earth.
You have exchanged a spiritual ideal of womanhood for a material mess of

       *        *       *       *       *

There have been plenty of vain and selfish women, in the past, just as
there have been profligate women and immoral men; but in the communities
of the past, where faith and aspiration were wont to flourish and be
sustained and encouraged by religion, such selfishness was not to be
avowed or imitated. In the light of finer and more spiritual feelings,
it appeared as a deficiency and corruption of character. But in the
up-to-date rule of reason, backed by the analysis and conclusions of
science, there is no need to conceal it, or excuse it. It is the strong
minds, not the weak ones, which set the example; the enlightened,
scientific, matter-of-fact intellects, which proclaim the principle and
encourage the timid and less advanced to follow in their wake.

As regards the training of children, up-to-date considerations of
self-interest on the part of the parents, mixed in with instinctive
love, as I have suggested by my illustration, would naturally result in
giving them an early start on the broad highway of calculating

All the imposing school houses which dot the length and breadth of our
land--public-schools, private-schools, boarding-schools--are constructed
and administered in accordance with modern principles. In them no effort
is spared to educate and enlighten the youthful intellect. It is trained
in scientific information, and scientific methods, and scientific habits
of thought. Rewards of one kind or another--diplomas, marks, privileges,
prizes--are designed to operate as a stimulant for intellectual endeavor
and excellence. Also considerable effort is expended, to care for health
and develop the body, in accordance with scientific principles. In the
gymnasium and on the athletic field, prizes are given to stimulate
excellence in this branch of endeavor.

But where, in all these institutions, are scientific professors devoting
an equal amount of energy to the care and development of the feelings
and sentiments of the spiritual nature? Where are the teachers of
modesty and self-denial? Of cheerfulness and sympathy and consideration
for others? Of sincerity, honor, fidelity,--conscience, aspiration, and
faith in a mysterious, all-wise destiny? Where are the prizes and marks
to stimulate endeavor in these? What eloquent and inspiring assurance
does this science give to the youthful soul that its delicate feelings
are of more importance in the life of man than any excellence of the
body, or the intellect?

A simple, old-fashioned mother, who loved her children with her whole
soul, might go a long way toward supplying this need. With no thought of
self-interest, but with a feeling of deepest devotion to them and their
welfare, she was usually more than willing, to do all that seemed best
for their spiritual growth, with the help of God. In this inspired
cause, she had no thought of sparing herself, or them, from self-denial
or self-sacrifice. Such an undertaking on the part of motherhood has
generally been regarded as a beautiful thing, the most beautiful and
sublime on earth--perhaps for the very reason that it calls for so much
self-denial and is so completely devoid of selfishness.

But an up-to-date mother, reasonably persuaded that she is the equal and
rival of her husband in worldly pursuits, could hardly be expected to
handicap herself in any such way. In accordance with the principle of
self-interest and the rule of reason, she can make a much more
convenient and agreeable arrangement. The money which her husband
provides can be used to hire nurses and governesses, who will take the
children off her hands; and at an early age they can be sent away to a
first-class school and so relieve her of all bother and responsibility.
After that, comes college and then, of course, the rest is their affair.

While they are little, she can kiss them good-night and feel their
little arms about her neck and dote on their tender affection; and
later, when they come back from school for their vacations, she can make
a great fuss about them and let everybody admire the fond and foolish
demonstrations of a mother's love.

With due regard for the variations and differences of degree which occur
in specific cases, does this not represent, both with regard to
up-to-date women and the training of up-to-date children, the general
underlying tendency which is causing so much comment? It can hardly by
any stretch of the imagination, be attributed to the world war,
especially as it was already in evidence before the war. But, as we have
tried to make plain, it can be traced very simply and almost directly to
the influences and effects of the modern scientific movement, and the
matter-of-fact habit of mind engendered by it, which accepts as a
logical conclusion, the principle of self-interest and the rule of

If we continue to follow our clue in other directions, wherever the
up-to-date principles, or lack of principle, have been causing comment,
disturbing traditions, or appearing as a spirit of unrest, we find them
susceptible of the same general observations and the same general

A distinctly modern idea, that the nations of the world, as well as the
individuals, should forever remain at peace; and that all differences
between them should be settled by arbitration, is a typical product of
the modern and scientific intellect. It has been much talked of lately
and widely endorsed by logical persons. It is perfectly in accord with
the principle of self-interest and the rule of reason. There is no
rational justification for the immense loss of life, suffering,
destruction and devastation caused by war. The only trouble about the
principle is that, as it deals with human beings, there is with this, as
with other questions of conduct, that same unknown factor--the spiritual
side of man's nature. One of the most fundamental feelings of
manhood--true for a nation, as it is for an individual--is that it is
right, sublimely and everlastingly right, for a man to fight for his
wife and children, to fight for his home and native land, to fight for
honor and to fight for right, as his conscience points to it.

It was in obedience to such a feeling that countless devout Christians,
in the Middle Ages, fought and killed to uphold their religion. Their
consciences did not reprove them, it inspired them--notwithstanding the
curious fact that one of the doctrines of their Bible was "to resist not
evil" and to "turn the other cheek." But the fundamental feelings within
them, of right and wrong, of faith and aspiration, were stronger than a

The same thing was true of one of the wisest and most spiritual men who
ever lived--Abraham Lincoln. In his conscience, he felt it was right for
slaves to be freed and for the integrity of our nation to be preserved,
no matter how great the cost of life and suffering and devastation.

The decisions of a board of arbitration, of cold intellects, basing
their decisions on reasons of expediency, or abstract and scientific
principles of a worldly kind, could not satisfy such feelings, or be
permitted to override them. Lincoln would not, and could not, have felt
justified in abandoning his cause to the opinion of European intellects,
any more than the militant Christians could have their faith regulated
by the decisions of Chinese and Persians.

It is in recognition of this principle, that up to the present time
questions which may affect the honor of a nation have not been
considered a fit subject for arbitration. As long as faith and
aspiration and their kindred feelings are in the ascendant, conscience
will tell the individual, as it will tell the nation, that certain
things cannot and must not be abandoned, even at the cost of life.

If through the influence of the rule of reason, such a conception may be
overlooked by the enlightened intellects of W.J. Bryan and Woodrow
Wilson, and a host of other well-educated people, that fact in itself
may be regarded as an additional symptom of the extent to which modern
scientific training has spread confusion in the sentiments of the
present generation.

Countless people are to be met with every day whose strongest inner
feelings are not strong enough to revolt at the thought of being passed
upon, or decided against, by the matter-of-fact arbitration of reason.

    I could not love thee, dear, so well
    Loved I not honor more.

The meaning of those inspired words, to the average up-to-date mind, is
so lacking in common-sense and self-interest, as to appear simple

The other day, I was talking to a friend about the bringing up of our
boys and, in the course of our conversation, he expressed a sentiment
which struck me as profoundly significant. He said: "I would rather have
my boy _be_ something fine, even if he got nowhere by it, than to see
him receive recognition and reward for doing something not so fine--and
I would rather have my boy feel that way about it, too."

By way of illustration, if a bully were kicking a little tot, my friend
would rather have his boy fight the bully and get licked and rolled in
the dust, than to see his boy win first prize and much applause, for
out-boxing a boy smaller than himself.

Of course that is quite contrary to up-to-date principles and scientific
enlightenment. There is no course in any of the high schools which
teaches that sentiment, and the whole tendency of scientific training is
to judge things by their tangible results. Moreover, the rule of reason
would decide that your boy is not justified in resorting to a fight,
under any circumstances. He might get hurt, or hurt somebody else. The
propriety and right of the bully to do his kicking, should be settled by
arbitration. An impartial investigation might determine that the little
tot had done something to irritate the bully to such an extent that his
display of anger and brutality was but a natural reaction.

Again and again, we arrive at the same underlying observation and
explanation. The intellect, scientifically enlightened, would argue away
and take the place of innate, inspired feelings, whose faith has been
correspondingly impaired and shaken by the breaking down of religious
shelter and sustenance.

The relative passing away of honor in the business affairs of man, and
its replacement by technical and hair-splitting calculations of
legality, which pass for honesty; the system of graft and pull and
private benefit, which appears to have permeated and fastened itself
upon most of the political machines in most of the cities of our land;
the personal immorality, or unmorality, and practical cynicism, which
are so much in evidence, even among the best educated and most
enlightened--especially among the best educated and most enlightened--in
public and in private, in their own homes and in their neighbors' homes,
as well as in the divorce courts; the conduct of the up-to-date young
men, turned out by our most progressive schools--those of the leading
families, no less than those in humbler walks of life--their increasing
readiness to treat every pretty girl they meet as a proper field of
endeavor and a possible instrument of pleasure; and the corresponding
attitude among thoroughly educated and up-to-date girls, in accepting
and welcoming such treatment; all these characteristic symptoms of the
modern spirit, of the so-called "unrest," need not be referred, in any
but a secondary and accessory way, to the after effects of a war, which
did not begin until their line of progress was already plainly

Instead of that, with all these symptoms in mind, let us sum up the
logical effect upon the average individual of our progressive methods
and training.

Does he not say to himself, and should he not be expected to say to

"This is a wonderful age we live in, with the automobile, telephone,
moving picture, victrola, and all the other inventions. Modern science
is the greatest thing ever. And one of the biggest things it has done
was to puncture a lot of old-fashioned superstitions and conventions, so
that nowadays no sensible person need believe in them. Each person can
run his own life in his own way, in accordance with the dictates of his
own reason. Of course, there are the laws--but barring prohibition,
which everybody breaks,--there's nothing in the others that a reasonable
person need have trouble with."

The obvious tendency of this is toward unmorality, rather than
immorality--what is good for self, in the eyes of self, without
reference to religion, tradition or convention. The fundamental feelings
of faith and aspiration which found protection and expression in those
forms have been obscured and disregarded in the confusion of the
break-down. Also the practical wisdom and accumulated experience of
ages, which were crystallized in them, has gone by the board in the same
way. Modern science has scuttled the ships which carried them. The
material desires of each individual, left to the judgment of the
individual intellect, are apt to be treated with a certain amount of
indulgence--even when the intellect has received the full benefit of
modern scientific enlightenment. Unmorality, lack of restraint, lack of
faith and aspiration, self-indulgence and pleasure seeking in all its
forms--this is the natural and inevitable consequence of the kind of
progress which modern science is accomplishing, in connection with the
conduct of the individual.

Is not this a perfectly plausible explanation for the condition of
affairs which the English author describes so concisely, without
apparently comprehending?

"We are a nation without standards, kept in health rather by memories
which are fading than by examples which are compelling.... We have
become a mob breaking impatiently loose from the discipline and ideals
of our past.... Everything is sensual and ostentatious."

In our own country, among people of my class and kind, I may add the
testimony of first-hand information, that a large proportion of them,
at the present time, have come to regard passing pleasure and acts of
immediate self-interest as the chief object and motive of their lives.
It is the pleasure of eating and drinking which concerns them and not
the needs of hunger or thirst; the appeal of sex solely as a source of
pleasure, far removed from any thought or aspiration to create new life
and care for it; the pursuit of money for the pleasure of gain, and the
pleasure of out-witting others, and the gratification of vanities and
luxuries, far removed from essential needs; meaningless distractions and
entertainments, which tickle the wit and nerves of the material senses,
but by which neither the heart feelings, nor the soul feelings, nor even
the deeper esthetic feelings, are stirred or stimulated; jazz music,
bright colors, lively movement, jokes and snappy ideas, seasoned
preferably with spice and sex--this is the state, apparently, to which
modern methods and the rule of reason have led them.

To judge from observation and various information, which is only too
available, this tendency is steadily increasing; while, to judge it by
the light of the underlying causes which we have attempted to trace and
make plain, there is logical reason to expect that it will keep on

What, then, of the future? Is our civilization, like that of the Roman
Empire, destined to decline and decay? If the present condition is
indeed an effect of modern science, either directly or indirectly, how
can it fail to continue? Modern science and the enlightened intellect
were never in fuller ascendency than they are at the present moment.
They are the proudest boast of our time. The very people who are
lamenting the demoralization in our standards of living, are at the same
time applauding the triumphant march of science. Could they ever be
convinced that there is any connection between the two--that the
downfall which they deplore was brought about by the rise which they

Self-determination, as a modern principle of enlightened reason, was
established and expounded by no less an authority than the
scientifically educated intellect of our distinguished ex-president--in
its application to the smaller and weaker peoples of the earth, as well
as to the large and strong. If self-determination is the proper thing
for each nation, should it not be an equally proper thing for each
individual? And, as it is hoped and assumed that in this advanced age
each nation will be guided by the rule of reason, why may the same
assumption not be applied to the individual?

If all the nations in the world were to follow the lead of Russia and
respond to motives not approved by the intellect of our ex-president, he
might conclude that a large proportion of the world's population was
still unreasonable, without being convinced of the unsoundness of a
principle which was, and would remain, in his mind the correct answer of
enlightened reason.

If the rule of the majority, in any thickly populated community, was
found to result in the election of demagogues and grafters and
unscrupulous politicians, who are clever enough to take advantage of the
private selfishness and prejudices and indifference of the individual;
and if you considered it a reasonable and enlightened principle that
every citizen should have equal rights and the majority rule, the
unfortunate results might lead you to have a very poor opinion of the
majority and resentment for the corrupt politicians, without convincing
you of the unsoundness of the enlightened principle.

If the system of compulsory education--of enforced attendance at the
high school--of all manner of children from the humbler walks of life
were found to result in filling their simple heads with extravagant
notions and worldly ambitions for which nature did not intend them,
which breed discontent with the kind of work for which they are suited,
which separate them from their parents and their congenial inheritance,
and impel them in mistaken paths to learn bitterness and revolt--if this
were found to be the tendency in a large percentage of cases; and if
your reason considered that all individuals are entitled to equal
opportunity, and that the education of the masses is an enlightened
modern principle, the tangible results, however unfortunate they might
appear, would not convince you of the unsoundness of the principle.

As a matter of fact, very few people may be convinced of anything which
is contrary to their liking, or in opposition to their preconceived
notions. An open mind may be helped to form an opinion, and people may
be confirmed and enlightened by ideas which are congenial to their way
of thinking, but that is as much as may reasonably be expected.

This phase of the subject has not been my concern. I am merely trying to
find expression for what seems to me the truth, as I feel it and see it.

And the truth is, obviously, that the aim and effort of modern science
has been to build up rather than to tear down. It has been striving,
with all the means at its command, to discover the true facts and the
true principles with regard to all things and to utilize them for the
benefit of mankind.

It may be its attention has been chiefly occupied with the material
things of life, and the material principles which apply to them, but
modern progress, in many ways is a splendid thing. As applied to the
life of the individual, it is a splendid thing to improve the health and
strength and condition of the human body. And as for the intellect,
anything that science has done or could do to develop it to the highest
degree, must be regarded as a step in the right direction. The body and
the mind are essential parts of a human being and, as we have had
occasion to observe, it is a fundamental aspiration of man to make them
always better.

If science, in investigating the true facts of existence, has been led
to conclude that many old-time traditions and beliefs were largely
composed of imagination and ignorance, and the indirect results of such
a conclusion have proved unsettling and disconcerting, should blame be
attached to any effort which seeks only the truth?

The present condition, however unfortunate it may appear to us who are
experiencing it, may be no more than a passing phase of development. The
dawn of better days and finer standards, may lie just ahead of us, and
when they come, it may be found that the enlightenment of the intellect
by modern science was a necessary step in preparation for them.

I, for one, am by no means without hope. Upon what grounds that hope is
founded remains to be considered carefully.



If we admit, or assume, that the ideals and moral standards of our
civilization are on the decline--that materialism, selfishness,
pleasure-seeking and dissipation of various kinds, are tending to
supplant the finer feelings; and that this movement has been gaining
ground rapidly in recent years--the question that naturally arises is:
Where will it lead to? Who, or what, is going to stop it?

A distinguished gentleman has lately been delivering a lecture in
various nearby cities on "The Break-down of Civilization," and from the
brief reports I have seen of it, he is thoroughly convinced that things
are going from bad to worse. I quoted a while ago from an English
author, whose summing up is to the same effect. Newspaper editorials and
magazine articles and the private conversation of various people, are
constantly expressing similar views, and I have just come upon the
expressed opinion of the eminent writer and thinker, H.G. Wells, that
unless something is done very soon, civilization is facing "the greatest
wreckage yet known in world history."

As the present "demoralization" was well under way before the World War
began, that may be referred to, at most, as an accelerating influence,
but not as the underlying cause. It is more intelligent, and more to the
point, to recognize frankly that among a large and increasing proportion
of our people there has been a crumbling away of religious belief. As a
result of that, the fundamental feelings of the soul--faith, conscience,
aspiration--are being neglected and starved.

So much ought to be fairly obvious to any one who is willing to observe
and enquire.

When we go one step deeper and look for the cause why religious belief
has been crumbling down, there is more room for confusion of ideas and
differences of opinion. Many people blame the churches and the ministers
and the lack of proper training of the children by their parents. Others
blame the automobile and sports and recreations which are being indulged
in on Sunday, through the laxity and insufficiency of the law-makers.
Still others attribute it largely to the pernicious influence of the
alien population. Finally, there are some who blame the vain, selfish
spirit of the age, without bothering their heads to decide where that
came from (except to infer a general relationship to the devil.)

These opinions are opposed by those who regard the decline of religion
as a source of satisfaction. In their eyes, it is an antiquated,
narrow-minded influence which has been allowed to interfere too long
with modern progress. The cause of its decline, as they see it, is a
perfectly natural one--due to the fact that it has long since out-lived
its usefulness, and in the present stage of civilization, people are
much better off without it. They want Sunday to be, not a holy day, but
a holiday, unhampered by Blue Laws or religious cant of any kind.

As for the so-called demoralization of the present day, this latter
class are inclined to laugh at the croakers who look at things that way.
Conventions and styles are always changing and the modern ones are more
practical and sensible than the old ones. New ways of doing things have
always appeared more or less shocking, until people got used to them.
That is the law of progress. The present age is an age of progress and
on the whole the world is more progressive and more enlightened than it
has ever been before.

These are the two prevailing currents of opinion, clashing against each
other, losing patience with each other, and attempting to get the best
of each other by means of agitation and organization, movements and
anti-movements, of one kind and another, including legislative

It is fairly safe to assume that no effort of the religious sects can
stay the march of the modern movement. It is possible to conceive that,
through the forces of reaction, certain Blue Laws may be passed again
and that in certain communities the religious observance of Sunday may
be made obligatory. Such things, at most, would be only of superficial
consequence. They cannot stop the spread of scientific enlightenment.
And scientific enlightenment cannot be made to believe in tenets which
are contrary to facts and conclusions, as it has been able to
demonstrate them.

On the other hand, it seems equally safe to assume that modern science
and the rule of reason, if left to themselves, cannot be expected to
nourish and encourage spiritual feelings. Their tendency, as has been
quite plainly indicated, is in the opposite direction--to leave them out
in the cold.

Another conclusion, which is beginning to dawn on many people--even
those scientifically enlightened--and which is likely to be more and
more generally recognized, is that the life of man without the
inspiration of a faith of some sort, and the other inner feelings which
attach to it, rapidly tends to materialism, selfishness, demoralization,
corruption and decay.

That, in brief, is the situation which confronts us all collectively,
and upon the solution of which the future of our civilization, to a
large extent, undoubtedly depends.

Suggestions of one kind or another, tending toward an alleged solution,
will presumably keep making their appearance at intervals and a
perfectly reasonable question is whether a sufficiently inspiring and
sufficiently compelling solution will emerge in time to prevent the
threatened chaos.

For the moment, let us be content to defer consideration of the possible
solutions and turn our attention to the predicament which, in the
meantime, confronts the average individual.

Let us suppose that such an individual, whatever may be the status of
his religious belief, or unbelief, becomes convinced in his own mind
that the selfishness and immorality and lack of sentiment, which seem to
be spreading in all classes, is a bad thing. Suppose he is willing to
admit, after due consideration, that our diagnosis and explanation of
what is taking place is relatively correct. As most minds of the present
day have a practical turn, the thing which interests him most, the thing
he asks at once and really wants to know is what you have to propose as
a remedy. How are you going to make people less selfish and more
considerate of others? Less mercenary and more honorable? Less immoral,
or unmoral, and more virtuous?

That is the main thing which counts, from a practical, personal
point-of-view: "How am I to benefit by your conclusions and how are you
going to make others benefit by them? Unless you have something tangible
and useful to offer, your observations, though curious and instructive,
are not of much account."

Let us try, therefore, to reply, in this same spirit, and hazard some
suggestions which may prove helpful to those who want help.

In the first place, let us call attention to the fact that after an
individual has reached maturity, and his character and habits are
formed, it is extremely difficult to change them to any great extent.
The motives and point-of-view which determine most of his acts have
become, so to speak, a part of his second nature. This second nature is
something of slow growth and development. That is the obvious meaning of
the old adage--"As the twig is bent, the tree's inclined." To change the
inclination of a full-grown tree, requires a great deal of

In the case of human character, it may occasionally be done, through a
great inspiration of the heart, or the soul. For a deep, ennobling love,
or a new-born, exalted faith, the spirit and will are capable of almost
any transformation. But usually good intentions, whose origin is
confined to the reason and which are at variance with an established
inclination, don't persist very long.

The natural inference and expectation should be therefore, that most
people of mature years, however much they might approve of other
people's mending their ways, or even of mending their own, will be found
to limit their effort principally to talk.

In the absence of a great inspiration, the chief influence which keeps
acting on them is the example and standards of their associates--the
prevailing style and custom. Most people are very susceptible to
this--women especially. For the sake of being in the fashion--or for the
sake of not being considered out-of-date--many a nice woman may be led
to do things which her instincts tell her are not nice at all.

To a slightly less degree, the same thing may be said of men.

But as the people who set new styles and establish new customs, in a
selfish, materialistic age, are not apt to be guided by any great
reverence for the finer traditional feelings, there is little help to
be looked for, from this kind of influence. The immediate tendency is
all in the opposite direction. A woman's own reason might tell her that
it is more becoming to pencil her eye-brows and paint her lips and face
and yet, if left to herself, an inherited instinct might keep her from
doing so. But as soon as she finds that has become the fashion, she
hesitates no longer. Women of innate modesty are to be seen, exposing
their legs and bodies in public, drinking, smoking, gambling and dancing
in a sensual manner with sensual men--things which they would revolt at
doing, if it were not for the style. It matters not that the people who
set the style were devoid of modesty and prompted solely by material
considerations of self-indulgence and immorality.

Under such conditions, how can people who are headed in this direction
be prevailed upon by any amount of advice, however well-founded and
helpful it might be? They may feel that they would like to see others
doing differently, but until that takes place, their brains will not
give them sufficient inspiration, or sufficient determination, to make a
lone fight.

There may be exceptions, of course, and in time these exceptions may
become fairly numerous; but as long as the main issue lies between a
return to old-fashioned religious beliefs on the one hand, and the
dictates of enlightened self-interest on the other, individuals who can
have no real enthusiasm for either, will be left to mark time or drift,
more or less reluctantly, with the current.

This is what may be reasonably expected to happen for some time to come,
unless a great and fateful thing comes to pass, which will alter the
entire course of modern civilization. As this great and fateful thing is
purely a matter of conjecture, and may have no bearing on the conduct of
people now living, we will defer the discussion of it until after we
have finished with more immediate and practical considerations.

There appears to be one way, at least, in which a clear understanding of
the moral situation may result in practical benefit. The little children
of the present day may still be bent and guided, their second natures
may yet be helped to grow and their characters to form, in any desired
direction. If we feel it is too late to bother over much about trying to
change ourselves, or the people about us, that feeling does not apply to
our children.

That is a hopeful and helpful thought, and thoroughly practical. If all
the mothers and fathers of the present generation wanted their children
to be better and finer than the demoralized people so much in evidence;
and if they set about it in the right way, all might yet be well for
the future. And as a matter of fact, nearly all parents do want their
children to be better and finer. All that they ask is to be shown the
right way and they are ready, or think they are ready, to follow it.
This is not only a question of good intentions, prompted by reason,--it
also involves, as we have seen, the most fundamental feelings of the
heart and soul.

It is a wonderful and beautiful thing--the depth and strength of this
feeling of parental love, especially the mother's. Nothing seems able to
kill it, or corrupt it, in the vast majority of cases. The exceptions
are infinitesimal. Even in those communities, and classes, and
individuals where materialism and self-indulgence have become most
pronounced, it is extremely rare to find a mother who does not love her
child; who does not hope and strive, in accordance with her lights, for
its welfare; who is not willing, if occasion demands, to make a real
sacrifice for its sake.

Many mothers have not over-much deep feeling of any other kind; many
mothers have little understanding of the problems of life which confront
themselves, let alone those which confront their husbands, or their
children; very few mothers have more than a confused idea of the
influences at work in forming character, in developing ideals and
generous impulses, on the one hand; or self-interest, self-indulgence,
and the rule of reason, on the other.

Hardly anything could be of more help to the future of our race than a
clear and settled realization on the part of every mother of one simple
truth, which so many of our observations, in the preceding pages, have
tended to bring out. The body of your child and the brain of your child
are beautiful things, worthy of careful attention; but they are not
nearly so beautiful, or so deeply significant, as the heart of your
child, or the soul of your child. A strong and healthy body and a highly
educated intellect do not make a fine character; they may belong, just
as well, to a mean and selfish man, or an immoral woman,--a crook, or a
profligate. A warm heart and a sensitive, dominant soul, do make a fine
character, and they cannot possibly result in meanness and immorality.
Those sides of your child's nature are entitled to the most loving care,
the most constant attention, it is humanely possible to give them.

In the average family of to-day, how much thought, or time, is devoted
to the observance of this essential principle? How many mothers are
consistently striving to watch over every tender requirement of the
heart feelings and soul feelings of their children?

The bodies are well enough cared for, as a matter of course. The modern
rules of hygiene and the advice of doctors may be relied on for that.
The same thing is true as regards the education of the intellect.
Kindergartens, primaries, high schools, boarding schools,
colleges,--relieve parents of all anxiety on that score. These two sides
of a growing life, the physical and the mental, are so well taken care
of, more or less impersonally, by the modern scientific system, that
even if the mother neglects them entirely, they still receive adequate

Is this equally true of the heart and the soul, the development of
character, so vitally important in the life and worth of every human
being? If, in spite of her love for her child, these considerations are
neglected by the mother, through lack of understanding, or the demands
of her own self-interest, is the remedy for this neglect also to be
found in the modern system? Unfortunately not. And right there is the
source of a great measure of the present demoralization. If the truth of
this could only be brought home to every mother, would not many a loving
mother, for the sake of her child, be willing to sacrifice some of her
own selfishness? If not, then indeed there is little hope left for the
future of our civilization. But the beauty and wonder and endurance of
that God-given mother's love, in all ages and in all climes, ought to
convince us that the only difficulty lies in clearing away from the head
of the up-to-date woman the confusion of ideas, the materialistic
theories of sexless intellects, and the force of pernicious example,
which have been brought to bear on her self-interest, and obscured, for
the time being, her intuitive and eternally right understanding.



As the heart of a child naturally begins developing before the soul
feelings, let us talk about that first. And when we speak about the
"heart," it is, of course, understood that we are not referring to the
physical organ which pumps blood, but to that part of human nature which
responds to affection and sympathy.

The heart of a child--what a mysterious, wonderful, sensitive, beautiful
thing it is! How much it gives and how much it is capable of receiving!
And the one thing it wants most--the one it craves and hungers for, as
an essential of its nourishment and growth--is love, tender, devoted,
unfailing love. From the earliest babyhood, straight on to the years of
maturity, and still on, that is the greatest need of the human heart for
its full and happy growth.

In early childhood, where is it to get that tender, devoted love, if not
from its mother? Will it get it from a well-paid nurse or governess,
whether Swede or Irish, French or English? In the vast majority of
cases, the nurse or governess hasn't it to give. Love is something which
can't be bought with money. Many a governess is a discontented person,
who thinks she is worthy of better things. Many a nurse is thick-skinned
and bad-tempered. A large proportion of both have much more tender
feeling for their wages and their selfish interests, than they have for
the child entrusted to their care. Should anything different be
expected? It is not their child. In a few months, or a few years, it
will pass out entirely from their existence.

Plenty of people can be hired to take care of your child's body and its
physical needs--nurses, governesses, doctors; plenty of people can look
after the education of its intellect; nurses, teachers, tutors,
professors--but no one can be employed to take your place in feeding it
devoted love, because that love is God-given and God has not given it to
the others, but has given it to you.

The mother who turns over the heart life of her child to the keeping of
a paid employee is guilty of a vital neglect. If later on, it should
happen that the child proves lacking in affection, sympathy,
consideration for others, and fails to fulfill the mother's fond
aspirations, in that respect, she has herself to blame, first of all.

If this simple truth could be brought home to every modern mother, it
might prove very helpful to the next generation.

It is not difficult to suggest how the affections find nourishment and
development. And remember we are not yet considering the moral feelings,
but only the heart.

Love begets love; love is largely mutual; love thrives on the
companionship of the loved ones.

The tenderness, sympathy, devotion of a mother, very surely and quickly
open out the heart feelings of her child and meet with warm response.
The more constant the companionship, the more constant the outpouring of
affection on both sides, the more that side of the child nature grows.

And the more it grows,--with mother watching over it, helping and
guiding, setting the example--the more it has to give to other people
and things. It will love a doll, a kitten, a puppy dog, and show them
the same sort of tender attention that it receives from mother. It will
feel sorry for a poor little bird with a broken wing; it will feel sorry
for father, when he comes home tired with a headache; it will put its
arms about father's neck and want to kiss the headache away.

As it grows older, it should be allowed to feel, and made to feel, that
mother's love and father's love will never desert it--that that love may
be counted on, as a mainstay of life, through thick and thin, fair
weather and foul, to the very end. This should not be left as a matter
of uncertainty, or wonder, or doubt. No mother should ever say to a
child, or allow it to imagine, that if it should be naughty or bad, or
do this, that or the other, mother would cease to love it, or father
would cease to love it. Such an idea is poisonous to the true feeling
and conception of love, which should be cherished in every child by
every mother. Mother should take pains to make the child feel,--and she
should take pains to make father do so, too,--that no matter what it
does, their love for it will never weaken or waver. It is not enough to
assume that this will be taken for granted--it should be confided to the
child, at opportune moments, as the most sacred of secrets, the holiest
of promises. And no time is more opportune for the telling of it--no
time means more or counts more--than one of those moments when the child
has done wrong and is troubled in its conscience, and feels ashamed and
forsaken. That is a splendid occasion, for a mother's love and a
father's love to prove themselves, by making doubly plain that although
they, too, may feel ashamed, the strength and warmth of their love is

With nourishment and care of this kind the heart nature of a child is
almost sure to grow and thrive. Its love will feel the influence of the
big love it receives and want to respond in kind. In due time, it may
say to itself, and confide as a holy secret to mother, that its feeling
for her and father will never change, either, no matter what happens, to
the end of time.

As regards consideration for others, with the constant help and guidance
and example of a devoted mother, this can be made to grow and thrive,
too, until it becomes a beautiful and sensitive part of second nature.

With such feelings nourished and cherished in this way, there is ground
for hope that one of a parent's sweetest and most fundamental
aspirations, in regard to the off-spring, will not be disappointed. The
heart will be in the right place.

Now, on the other hand, it is only too easy to see what may happen and
what does frequently happen, if this sacred responsibility of a mother
is neglected.

Suppose the child is left, for the greater part of the time, day in and
day out, to the companionship and care of a hired substitute, a nurse or
governess? In the first place, the substitute is very apt to have no
love at all, or what little it has, may be a very thin and shoddy
variety. Frequently a nurse is unsympathetic, irritable, and selfish.
That does not provide either good nourishment, or good example, for the
tender heart feelings.

When a child does wrong, the nurse scolds it and displays an ill-feeling
which is the very contrary of tenderness and affection. That is bad
enough, but it is not half so bad as the fact that this same repellent
treatment is very often accorded a child when it has not done wrong at
all, but has merely obeyed some spontaneous and beautiful impulse of its
little nature, which an irritable nurse does not bother to understand.
The way that a nurse wishes a child to go is not usually prompted by any
loving consideration for the heart feelings of the child, but a very
selfish consideration for the convenience and prejudices of the nurse.

I have known many cases where the sensitive feelings of a little boy or
girl have been turned to violent dislike by a nurse, or a governess. For
days and weeks and months they have been obliged to live in the constant
companionship and under the constant influence of an antipathy which
sours and freezes their affections. I have known cases where a nurse, in
order to achieve her own ends and relieve herself of trouble, has told a
child to lie quietly in bed, when the light goes out, or a big and
horrible bugaboo will creep out of the darkness and spring upon it. In
such cases, the nurse takes good care to keep the child from giving a
hint of this to mother or father, under pain of equally terrifying
consequences. I have friends to-day, grown up men and women, who cannot
go into a dark room, anywhere, without a shiver and shudder of nameless
dread, which began with that same black bugaboo.

I have known countless cases, where a nurse has said to a child, who has
done something wrong or annoying: "I don't love you any more. I don't
like you now at all." And I have known countless cases where mothers,
themselves, have said and acted the same thing. And the effect of that
is to belittle and corrupt in the child's heart a bigger and deeper
conception of love, as a loyal and steadfast thing, with no string
attached to it. If a nurse, or a mother, can withdraw her love, for a
slight cause, then a child when it grows up can expect to do the same; a
wife can withdraw her love from her husband, if he does something to
displease her; a husband from his wife; a son and a daughter from their
parents; a sister from her brother. How sad that seems, at first, and
how it hurts! But little by little, as one sees and learns, and as the
twig is bent--do not many up-to-date young people adapt themselves very
comfortably to that belittled conception of love? Do not the divorce
courts and remarriages and scattered children and the talk and acts of
emancipated women give ample evidence of it?

How glibly a certain kind of woman talks about sons and daughters
lacking affection, and being so selfish, and so inconsiderate of others!
How many of those women have taken the trouble to consider whether the
heart feelings of those sons and daughters were nourished and cherished
and guided, by the devotion of a loving mother?

This is a woefully inadequate sketch of one of the most important
elements of life, one of the most vital factors in the formation of
human character, about which volumes might be written. It may be enough,
however, to suggest reflection and a better understanding on the part of
some mothers, well-intentioned, but confused by progressive theories,
who are really in need of help.

We may now move on to the moral and spiritual feelings.

The most casual observer has no difficulty in noting the fact that most
children to-day are lacking in discipline, obedience, respect,
consideration for others, and many other qualities, which have been
regarded as essential to a well-bred person. There has been no end of
talk about it lately, as we know.

As far as I have been able to learn, there is a fairly general
consensus of opinion that this is due to a lack of the proper kind of
early training in the home. As often as this question has come up in my
presence, it has always been answered readily and confidently to this
same effect, and the answer has met with unanimous approval of men and
women alike.

But I have never heard one single woman attempt to explain how it is
that, with all the emancipation, and higher education, and scientific
enlightenment, which has been placed at her disposal, modern mothers
should fail to give their children a better training than ever, instead
of a worse. Is it good for the children? No, of course not, they admit.
Don't modern mothers love their children? How absurd! Every mother loves
her children--more than a man can understand. Then why is it modern
children don't receive proper training by their modern mothers? Oh,
well, a good many women, nowadays, have so many other things to do, they
haven't the time. Are these other things more important than the welfare
of their children? Not that--nothing could be more important. Then,

If anybody gets that far with the average modern woman, he has done very
well. She usually shrugs her shoulders, tells you not to be silly and
parries with some feeling remarks about husbands and fathers. What do
they do? And how do they do it? And who's really to blame?

If you ask a modern man the same question, and no women are present, he
may express himself confidentially, that most women, nowadays, are so
fed up on civic committees, or recreation centers--bridge parties or
pink teas--uplift movements or school boards--golf, tennis,
automobiling--that they don't know what's going on in their own homes.
They have advanced ideas about everything--principally themselves. When
it comes to the children, their advanced ideas result, pretty much, in
letting them get along without any home training at all.

The women, when left to themselves, usually have little trouble in
convincing themselves that if men had the proper kind of love for their
wives and showed them the consideration and devotion which every
feminine heart craves and is entitled to, there would be no trouble at
all about the home. Every true woman would be found to respond
magnificently. In nearly every case, the fault begins with the man--in
his neglect and selfishness--and then man-fashion, he turns around and
tries to lay it at the door of the woman. And so forth and so on.

But again, no one attempts to suggest, or explain, why it is that the
modern husband, who is better educated and more enlightened than
husbands ever were before, should be behaving so badly. It is enough to
agree and expatiate on the fact, without countless examples, that that
is how it is.

And the average mother, to-day, will be found expressing the fervent
hope that her son will not grow up to be as self-centered and neglectful
of his wife, as most husbands are.

The effect of such talk, naturally, is to becloud the point at issue and
confuse the mind. The point is that even in the minds of the women, the
unseemly behavior of young people of both sexes is due to a lack of
proper training in childhood. No enlightened woman believes, or claims,
that two wrongs make a right. She does not believe that a man could, or
should, take the place of a mother in dealing with children. She does
not believe that he should become soft and effeminate, for the tender
training of infants, but on the contrary, should be energetic and manly,
for the battle of success.

As far as the children are concerned, she cannot but admit that the
immediate responsibility has nowhere else to rest but in her. If she
chooses to pass it over to a nurse or governess, that is her affair. It
is for her to engage or discharge the nurse and governess as she sees
fit. And it is rare indeed to find a mother anywhere who would think of
allowing any interference with what she considers her fundamental right.

If she neglects her responsibility, or fails in it, and the results are
more or less disastrous, it is a very feminine excuse, to argue that she
has a selfish and inconsiderate husband. The care of the children was
her affair, not his; both herself and nature agree upon insisting that
this should be so.

In this connection, therefore, it is to the mothers, principally, that
we should address ourselves. At some other time, we may, if we choose,
enter upon a discussion of that complex and much confused question of
husband and wife in their relation to each other.

Under present-day conditions, curiously enough, the first thing it seems
necessary to ask a mother is this:

Did you ever stop to reflect upon the tremendous and wonderful
importance which may attach to the bringing up of one single child? Even
if your heart feelings are rather anemic and your soul-feelings have
become so muddled and confused by practical considerations that you no
longer get any real message or inspiration from those two divine
sources, yet you still have left a modern and enlightened brain. Even
that is enough to make you almost dizzy at the thought of this thing,
if you will pause long enough to give it careful attention.

A modern battleship, or an airplane, or an automobile, is a vastly
complicated and efficient piece of machinery. If you, yourself, left to
your own resources, had the ability to turn out a complete battleship of
the most improved design, you would doubtless consider that you had
achieved something to be immensely proud of. But the greatest battleship
on earth is not one-hundredth part as complicated and efficient a piece
of machinery as your little son. And one of a dozen different faculties
with which your son is equipped--the power of memory, for instance--is
infinitely more intricate and more wonderful than anything and
everything about a battleship put together.

You might have an ambition to paint a beautiful picture, or compose
beautiful music, or write beautiful poetry, or do something else with
your life which you deem to be useful or beneficial to your fellow men.
But by cherishing such ambitions in your son and transmitting to him all
that is best in your own self, this same result may be obtained for the
use and benefit of your fellow men. And in addition to that, you will
have given to the world a wonderful human being, who may be able to
achieve many bigger and better things than you could hope to do. More
than that, your son may be able to transmit the ambitions and feelings
which you have given him, to his children and their children, until your
one achievement in making a splendid son, may expand and multiply into a
wonderful lot of men and women, each and every one of whom may achieve
more useful and beautiful things for the benefit of mankind than you
could hope to do. All this may readily come about, if you apply yourself
unsparingly to the unique and glorious task of making your son the right
kind of man.

This is only one part of the wonder. If you are willing to devote your
heart and soul to this one task, another recompense is in store for
you--a multitude of sublime recompenses. Each and every fine and
beautiful thing your son does, as long as you live, will fill you with
deeper gladness, more intense joy, than anything you yourself could
possibly accomplish, through your own efforts. That is the crowning
miracle of a mother's love and every mother who loves her own with all
her heart, knows that it is eternally true. Just to look at your son and
feel that he is fine and right and worthy of all the love you have
lavished on him, is to taste an exquisite contentment, to which no
other kind of earthly pleasure is comparable.

And this same feeling of contentment will be waiting to steal into your
heart upon the coming of your son's children--each and every one. Your
mother's love will find a renewal of its glory in your grandchildren.
For they, too, have in them the same mysterious spirit of you which you
cherished in your son. And so, as you sit back, in old age, in brooding
contentment over the young lives, so full of possibilities, you may
reflect, in the sweetest way imaginable, that it is going on
indefinitely, this essence of you and yours, on and on, to the end of
time, fulfilling on earth the unfathomed but divine purpose of the
all-wise Creator.

People whose interest in life is centered in self-indulgence and
material pleasure, may regard with dread the approach of old age; but
not so a mother, whose deepest feelings have gone unreservedly to her
children. To her it will come smiling, with the radiance of that most
beautiful of all periods--a golden Indian summer.

Take it all in all--for the reasons we have suggested and many
others--the bringing up and giving to the world of a fine human being,
the endeavor to make that human being as nearly right as possible, is
the most important, the most profoundly significant undertaking that
exists on earth. The all-wise Creator has entrusted that work, in a most
beautiful and soul-stirring way, to mother love, the deepest and
strongest feeling of which humanity is capable.

If a mere man will devote the greatest part of his energies, day in and
day out, year in and year out, to making pictures, or making stoves, or
making money, to support the family,--how can a mother be unwilling to
devote as much of her energy to this sacred task, which she knows is of
more vital consequence than any material thing?

Would that some one might be found to carry this message to every mother
in the land--some one whose voice is so tender and true and appealing,
that it might find its way straight to the core of their hearts and
souls--clearing up the tangle of confused notions which the sexless
reason and self-interest of progressive intellects have been making!

In the meanwhile, we must be content to see things as they are and pin
our faith to the belief that, as the baleful effects of the current
misunderstanding become more and more apparent, the mother love, of its
own accord, will become sufficiently alarmed, to throw aside its
lethargy and seek to make amends by devoting itself more consistently
to the welfare of its own.

Let us assume, therefore, that a mother of the present day, is deeply
concerned in the moral and spiritual feelings of her children--that she
wants them to have fine sentiments and fine characters--and that she is
anxious to do anything within her power to bring this result about. What
is she to do? What method is she to follow? In this age of
enlightenment, with all sorts of theories in the air, how is she to know
the proper way of forming a fine character? As a matter of fact, in many
cases, it is just because her ideas on this subject have become so
confused, that many a modern mother has been led to side-step the
responsibility and let things drift along in the easiest way, after the
example of those about her.

One of the first questions that is sure to confront her is the question
of discipline and obedience. On the one hand, is the traditional idea of
the past--"Spare the rod and spoil the child." She is familiar with this
and there is nearly always someone near her who advocates it
firmly--very possibly her own husband. On the other hand, she has read
and heard and seen a lot which is directly opposed to that. Children
should not be controlled by fear, like animals. There is something mean
and ugly and revolting in the very idea. It is better to be loved than
feared--better for the mother and better for the child.

Between these two contradictory principles, even if she has the best
intentions in the world, what is she to do? Is it to be wondered at, if
many a modern mother, in this predicament, vacillates between the two?
She doesn't like to punish the child and most of the time she avoids
doing it; but now and then, when things have gone too far, or she is
tired and irritable, she makes up for it by losing her temper and going
to extremes. And the effect of this kind of treatment on the forming of
a child's character is about as bad as could be. It doesn't produce
discipline and it doesn't produce obedience; and it doesn't lead the way
to any moral conception or principle. What it does inculcate in the
child spirit very quickly is a feeling that the attitude of mother is
largely a matter of mood, a very uncertain and variable quantity, which
for the time being has to be put up with. And as the child cares more
for mother, presumably, than anybody else in the world, it is no more
than natural for it to apply this same point-of-view to other people
with whom it comes into contact. There may be a certain amount of
precocious wisdom in this, but it does not help the growth of moral
feeling. And so it happens, in many cases, that at the very start, the
twig is given a bend in the wrong direction.

No mother really wants to spoil her child. She may say, with a loving
and enigmatical smile, that she prefers to "spoil" it; but that is only
her way of saying that she knows better than some stern and misguided
people what is best for its tender wants. If she thought for a moment
she was really spoiling the child's character, she would stop smiling at
once and become very much exercised.

As we have started with this question of discipline, let us not leave it
until we have followed it out to the full limit of our reflections.

If the choice necessarily resolved itself into one or the other of these
two principles--strict obedience, rigidly enforced by punishment; or a
vacillating policy of petting and scolding, leading to moral
confusion--there could be little hesitation in deciding which would be
apt to give better results in the formation of character. The old way,
if somewhat crude and summary, has proved itself capable of producing
discipline and respect for authority, a womanly woman and a manly man.
The other way has not given much evidence of producing anything nearly
so worthy or admirable.

But, as a matter of fact, the choice need not be, and should not be,
limited to these two principles at all. There is another method of
arriving at the formation of character which is essentially different
from either.

The chief fault of the old method of giving the child a whipping, if it
disobeys, is by no means confined to a lessening of a child's love for
the mother, who whips it. This is one consideration which is given great
weight by many women, at present. It would in itself be a real hurt to
the mother and a real hurt to the child. But there are other
considerations. Sometimes the whipping may not be deserved--it may be
occasioned by a loss of temper, or a misunderstanding--and in such cases
it is apt to leave a feeling of resentment and injustice. This is in
addition to the feeling of fear, which corporal punishment is apt to
produce. Quite irrespective of the harm to love, it introduces a false
motive into the formation of character. The little sprouts of conscience
may be overshadowed by this weed of fear. The fear of a whip, in a hand
which may be strong but not necessarily just, very naturally brings into
play the instinct of self-defence, to prompt and justify all manner of
concealment, deception, cunning, lying. Those are a lot more weeds
which may in time crowd out the more delicate soul feelings.

Discipline, bought at such a price, is paid for very dearly. In my own
personal experience as boy and man, the most hypocritical, mean-spirited
treacherous characters I have come into contact with, were among those
who had been most disciplined by unsympathetic and unrelenting parents.

This is not to say, or imply, that corporal punishment, or stern
treatment, necessarily leads to such unfortunate results. It is merely
to indicate some of the possible dangers and drawbacks. With sturdy,
primitive natures, an occasional beating is a matter of little moment;
while for unthinking, commonplace minds, and undeveloped, unsensitive
souls, the habit of obedience and docile respect for authority, in any
and all forms, may be an excellent thing. A wolf cannot be trained in
the same way as a setter dog, or a canary bird; and even among horses,
the kind of treatment that a cart-horse thrives under, would ruin a
thoroughbred completely.

The traditional methods of handling children date back to a time when
there were many wolves and cart-horses and no method would have
generally survived which did not include them.

But in our advanced civilization, as mothers frequently have more
sensitive stock to deal with, there is reason for them to feel that,
somehow, they should go about it differently. This appears to be a
partial explanation of what we see going throughout the length and
breadth of our land. It is for their benefit that a more sympathetic
principle has been gradually emerging from the confusion.

And let us note in passing that the altered sentiment on the part of
mothers, and the principle which responds to it, cannot be credited in
any way to the achievements of modern science, because a similar
tendency showed itself sooner and became more pronounced and wide-spread
in communities of China and Japan, where no modern science had
penetrated. It would seem rather an intuitive growth of delicate
understanding on the part of parents, as they become relieved from the
strenuous needs of material existence.

This third principle does not tend to "spoil" the child, or repress its
affection, or distort any of the finer impulses of its spiritual nature.
It does not destroy obedience or discipline; but instead of obedience
and discipline inspired by a whip, it seeks to erect self-obedience,
self-discipline and self-control.

How does it work? First, through love, because in nature that comes
first; then, little by little, through the unfolding of conscience and

We have talked about the heart feelings of a child, so it is only
necessary to refer to them again, not for the joy they may bring to
mothers, but because loyalty, fidelity, consideration for others,
growing out of affection, may merge imperceptibly with feelings which
are essentially moral and spiritual, to the immense advantage of both.
Let a mother love her child, then, and cherish its love, with all the
lavishness, tenderness, constancy of which she is capable. There can
never be too much of it--there can never be enough of it--either for the
child's good, or the mother's. And before the child is really old enough
to think, let it have a radiant, deep-rooted feeling that mother's love
is a mainstay of life, which will never waver or desert it, under any
possible contingency, and which it, in turn, will never, never desert.
And let a mother never trifle with that feeling, or prove fickle to it,
at any stage, but treasure it as the holiest of holies, the very essence
of the character she hopes to see formed.

In the early stages of development, when a child's mind is unable to
reason or understand, little habits of second nature are formed. The
moral questions do not come to the fore until the age of reason and the
first awakening of the spiritual feelings. And they bring with them
unavoidably, the problem of obedience and discipline.

Suppose your son disobeys you, what then? Or suppose he has disobeyed
the nurse, and she comes and tells you? Something has to be done about
that, surely. What must you do?

Well, first of all, there is one thing you must be very careful _not_ to
do. Don't scold--don't speak harshly--don't look cross--don't get angry.
Look at your child with sympathy and understanding, and when he meets
your eye, with a cunning little look of shame and defiance, smile back
at him reassuringly, and hold out your hand to him. Then, after the
nurse has had her say, thank her for telling you about it and ask her to
leave you, because in the tender confidences between mother and son it
is not proper that an outside and possibly antagonistic influence should

When she has gone, take him on your knee, put your arms about him and
hug him tight. Don't let him forget for an instant that he is your very
own and you are his very own mother. Whatever may be going to come of
it, keep that point clear--that you are his partner and help-mate and he
is never going to be left out in the cold. Nothing will help more toward
a fair-minded understanding of the situation. Ask him to tell you all
about it, just how and why it all happened and help him with your
sympathy and patience to express himself fully.

Let us imagine that this is what has occurred:

When he was out walking, he saw a dead bird lying under the bushes on
the other side of a ditch. The nurse, Delia, told him not to, but he did
climb across the ditch and picked it up. It was an awfully pretty bird
and he just wanted to look at it. When she told him to throw it away, he
wouldn't come back. Then she caught him and shook his arm and he
couldn't help it--he just got angry. He threw the bird at her and called
her "an ugly old crow."

When mother has heard it all, she can start in very gently to answer and
explain. And it won't hurt a bit to begin by letting him see that she
understands perfectly just how he felt. She remembers a dead bird she
found once, when she was little. But, on the other hand, Delia was only
doing what she thought was best. There might have been nasty worms on
the bird.

But that, after all, is not the main thing. The main thing is, that if
he is to be trusted to go out walking with his nurse, he must be willing
to do as she says, no matter how unreasonable it may seem. Otherwise
mother would be worrying all the time--and something dreadful might
happen--he might get lost, or run over. He doesn't have to go out
walking with Delia, if he doesn't want to; that is for him to decide.
But if he does decide to go, it must be on the distinct understanding
that he agrees not to disobey her.

The boy is rightly entitled to his say about this and if he has any
objections, it is for mother to meet them and dissipate them with her
love and reasons. Nothing should be demanded between mother and son
which does not seem just and fair to both.

One final point remains to be considered. He threw the bird in Delia's
face and called her a name which must have hurt her feelings.

_Boy:_ "I couldn't help it. I was angry."

_Mother:_ "I understand that perfectly. But all the same, it was rather
hard on Delia, especially when she was only trying to do what she
thought was right."

_Boy:_ "Sometimes, I've got an awful temper."

_Mother:_ "I don't mind that a bit. I'm glad of it. It's only because
you have such strong feelings."

_Boy:_ "Have you got a temper, too?"

_Mother (smiling and nodding):_ "Of course I have--as bad as yours--or

_Boy (delighted):_ "Really?"

_Mother:_ "But it's something we all have to learn to control. Because
if we can't control it, it's sure to make us do things that we're
ashamed of afterwards--things that are unkind and unfair to others.
Aren't you just a little bit ashamed of what you did to Delia?"

_Boy (meeting her eye with smile of enquiry--then looking away and
thinking, with feeling):_ "No--I'm not!"

_Mother (petting his hand):_ "Well--I suppose you're still thinking
about the bird--and there's still a little of that old temper left. But
wait awhile and think it over. And--I'm going to tell you something that
_I_ think would be awfully nice. Sometime, if you did happen to feel
like it and went to Delia of your own accord and explained to her how
you lost your temper and were sorry for calling her that awful

_Boy (looking away, thinking, then turning to her, hesitating and
shaking his head):_ "I couldn't mummy, please,--I couldn't--not now----"

_Mother:_ "I'm sure she'd appreciate it, a lot. Poor Delia--she tries so
hard and she's so sensitive and she's really so fond of you. Of course,
I wouldn't want you to say you were sorry, unless it was really true.
It's only a sham and a humbug to make people say things they don't mean.
It's entirely a question of how you feel about it, in your own heart.
And nobody can decide that for you but yourself."

After an incident of this sort, how would a mother feel if Delia told
her, the next afternoon, that Master Bob had come to her and apologized
like a little gentleman--and he'd been so sweet and dear--and he'd
kissed her--and it touched her so, it broke her all up and she couldn't
help crying?

If we take the pains to examine a little every-day example of this sort,
it is not difficult to see that it involves some fairly important
feelings. First of all, it encourages a feeling of faith--faith in
mother, in her sympathy and understanding and justice. Then
consideration for others--self-control--and finally conscience, what the
inner nature, of its own accord, feels to be right. All these may be of
vital account in the formation of a fine character, and they may be
brought into play by this sort of treatment just as effectually as by a

Of course it cannot be assumed, or expected, that the immediate result
in any given case will prove so satisfactory. Sooner or later, with
nearly all children, there are sure to come times when gentle
explanations will not suffice. Something more impressive has to be
resorted to.

This final resort was, in fact, faintly indicated in our example--but so
faintly, that it might be overlooked.

It was carefully explained to the boy that if he would not agree to obey
Delia, when he went out walking with her, then he could not enjoy the
privilege of going out walking with Delia. This is a principle of
punishment, which may be applied to any and all cases, to almost any
desired degree.

And it has at least one great advantage over other kinds of punishment.
It can be made to avoid all danger of seeming unjust and arousing

Let us look into the application of this principle with reference to the
more serious problems of misconduct which are liable to arise.

In general experience, the most serious troubles, or faults, which a
mother has to contend with, are forgetfulness, temper, selfishness,
deception, lying. Her aim is to see them supplanted by a habit of
reflection, self-control, consideration for others, sincerity, truth.
She believes and feels that these latter qualities are better for the
boy's own welfare, better for the people he loves, better for everybody.
She wants her boy to feel this way about it, too.

Very well, then, the first thing to be sure of is that the boy really
understands the meaning of those things which you expect of him--the
whys and wherefores and the good that is in them. Otherwise--if he is
not sincere about it, if he must do things in which he doesn't
believe--there's an element of sham about it which leads quite naturally
to concealment and hypocrisy.

It is true, he may always be counted on to do a great deal for love, for
mother's sake,--provided that mother has cared for that love. But that
is a sacred privilege, which should not be abused. It may have the
effect of setting a bad example. If she has the right to ask him to do
something which he doesn't see the sense of and doesn't feel like doing,
why shouldn't he have the same right to ask her to let him do things
which she doesn't see the sense of and doesn't feel like letting him do?
If that is the way of love, why doesn't it apply to one, as well as the
other? This may be very cunning and sweet, upon occasion; but for steady
diet, it does not help the growth of moral feeling.

It is much better that he should never be required to do things which he
cannot understand sufficiently to feel the right of. This all comes
about quite naturally, in the course of companionship. There are
countless opportunities for explaining and questioning, about this,
that, or the other. No growing child is slow about asking innumerable
questions and trying his best to understand. Preaching of any kind isn't
necessary. It seldom, if ever, gets home in the best way. The same
thing is true of scolding and harsh words. They are not at all
necessary; and they usually do a great deal more harm than good.

Let us suppose, then, that your son has been guilty of an act of
selfishness--and to make matters worse, through a feeling of shame, he
has first attempted concealment and then resorted to lying.

That is a rather trying situation for mother to face. It is about as
hard a nut as she will ever have to crack. In the old days, there would
be no hesitation in saying that the first thing it called for was a good
sound beating.

But instead of that, let us imagine that mother is brave enough to stick
to her love feeling, reassures her boy, smilingly, and holds him close.
First she gives him a chance to tell all about it, in his own way, and
helps him along to a confidential admission of the shameful facts.

And to make the case as extreme as possible, we will assume that there
were no palliating circumstances whatever. The best that the boy can say
for himself is that he just didn't stop to think--he went ahead and did
it--and afterwards, he felt ashamed and didn't want anyone to know--and
then, well, he tried to get out of it by lying.

_Mother (smiling, thinking):_ "Well, well--here's a pretty kettle of
fish--isn't it? What in the world are we going to do about it?"

_Boy (looking down, nervous, does not answer)._

_Mother:_ "I suppose there's no use crying over it. The main thing is
how we can find a way to keep it from happening again. Perhaps it would
help, if we could find the right kind of punishment?" (No answer.) "What
kind of punishment shall it be--the fairest we can think of? Suppose you
decide it for yourself. What would you suggest?"

_Boy (very nervous):_ "I don't know."

_Mother:_ "How would it be if, the next time you told a lie, you and
mother couldn't, either of you, go riding in the automobile for two

_Boy (troubled, thinking, giving her a look):_ "Two whole days?"

_Mother (smiling):_ "That's a pretty big punishment but, after all,
lying is a pretty bad thing, which we don't want to have happen. Suppose
we start with that and agree on it--two whole days?"

_Boy (looking down, thinking, very nervous):_ "If you couldn't go
riding, either--why should you be punished?"

_Mother:_ "Because I'm your own mother and I love you better than
anything in the world. Whatever you do, can't help affecting me.
Besides, you see, in a way, I'm largely responsible for whatever you
do. If I don't bring you up right--isn't it my fault? And if we both
have to be punished together, that may help you to remember."

_Boy gives her a glance, looks down, thinking--begins to smile,

_Mother:_ "What are you thinking? Tell me."

_Boy:_ "You mightn't know anything about it--if it was to the cook, or
Delia, or Vincent--or somebody else?"

_Mother:_ "That's true. It's something else for us to think about. If a
boy tells a lie to anybody--because he's ashamed or afraid--that's bad
enough. But afterwards, if he doesn't own up to it like a little man,
but tries to conceal it from his mother, or deny it, that is ever so
much worse. It deserves a much bigger punishment. Isn't that right?...
Isn't it?"

_Boy looks down, showing more nervousness, finally assents._

_Mother:_ "Very well, then--this is what seems fair to me: If my boy
tells another lie and doesn't attempt to deny it, afterwards--then the
punishment will be as we agreed--two days, with no automobile for either
of us. But if, before she hears of it, he comes, of his own accord, and
tells mother all about it--that's better, and we'll reduce the
punishment to one day. But if, on the contrary, he tries to conceal it
and denies it and tells more lies, that is worst of all--and when it is
found out, as it is very apt to be, sooner or later--then the punishment
will have to be harder on all of us--and father will have to be included

_Boy (quickly):_ "Father?"

_Mother:_ "If father is going to have that kind of a son, he will have
to know about it and suffer for it, too. He will have to take his
punishment, whether he wants to or not--the same as you and I."

_Boy:_ "Oh, mummy, please! Does father have to know about that, yet?"

_Mother:_ "Well, you see, dear, father loves us both, very much. We both
belong to him--we both bear his name--and he works very hard to give us
everything he can to make us happy."

_Boy:_ "But if I don't do it again----?"

_Mother (hugging him):_ "All right! If you really mean to try very hard,
perhaps we'll never have to come to that. I'm quite sure I don't want
to, any more than you do. There! it's understood and agreed--and we
won't say another word about it."

That is a simple example of the principle; but it is enough to suggest
the beginning and end of the whole thing. It can be made elastic
enough--gentle or severe enough--to fit almost any or all cases that may
be imagined.

The punishment is talked over and understood in advance, not in any way
as a chastisement, inflicted by an angry parent, but as a necessary and
eminently fair means of impressing upon an unformed character the need
of self-control, and the avoidance of an act which he knows is unworthy.

There are always certain things in every child's life which mean a lot
to him--dolls, toys, games, skates, baseball, bicycle, automobile rides,
swimming, tennis, golf--or something else--at all ages, up to manhood.

To be deprived of an important pleasure is a sure way of making him stop
and think over the meaning of it. There is only one thing that will
bring it home more surely and more deeply, and that is to see the one he
loves best deprived of her important pleasures, too, as a result of his
misconduct. If mother cannot go out in the automobile; if mother cannot
play the piano; if mother cannot read to him, or tell him stories; if
mother cannot come to the table for her meals;--the sight of this and
the knowledge that he is the cause of it, will put a terrible tug on the
heart-strings and the conscience. And in extreme cases, if father has
to be included in the punishment, and deprived of his pleasures, too,
that makes the boy's feeling of guilty responsibility even more

Yet, with it all, there is no chance for a sense of personal resentment
and injustice to obscure the meaning. The unfairness and severity--if
there be any--applies most to mother and is inflicted by the boy's own
act. And if mother sets the example of accepting it bravely and
smilingly, with no complaint and no scolding, and clings fast to her
love and sympathy, in this trial of love, such experiences may be
counted on to prove entirely helpful to the growth of moral feeling and

And once a punishment has been determined and agreed upon in advance, it
should never be deviated from in the slightest degree. If a child were
allowed to evade it, or modify it, by cajolery or cunning appeal, that
would tend to destroy the spirit of fairness and faith in mother's word.

If a child will not respond to this kind of treatment and this kind of
punishment, it is fairly safe to assume that he would respond even less,
as far as the development of character is concerned, to ill-temper,
harsh language, and the whip.

So much for the question of discipline, about which many
well-intentioned mothers of the present day are so perplexed and
confused. In this connection, however, there remains to be made a
general observation and warning, upon which too much stress can hardly
be laid.

A certain amount of discipline, in a few important matters which involve
moral feeling, is almost essential to the proper formation of character.
On the other hand, constant restraint and excessive discipline, in the
natural exuberance of youthful impulses and activities, is unwise and
unfair to human nature. A mother who puts a healthy, normal boy in a
pretty suit of clothes, and then would talk punishment, because he plays
in the mud, or climbs a tree, doesn't deserve to have a healthy, normal
boy. His impulse to play in the mud and climb trees is infinitely more
vital and admirable than the vanity and sentimentality which attaches to
spotless clothes. Sturdy vitality is a splendid foundation for sturdy
character. Almost any kind of activity which does not endanger his life
or health is good for him. Lots of love and a little helpful guidance,
in essential things, is all that he usually needs--and very, very little
repression, of any kind--the less the better.

In a child's nature the faculty of imagination and the force of example
are important considerations in the development of the spiritual
feelings and the formation of fine ideals. The world of make-believe,
of purest fantasy, is just as interesting and just as significant as the
every day actualities of life. It makes not the slightest difference to
a little boy, or girl, whether the stories you read them, or the acts of
hero and heroine, are reasonable or not. (And if, in the preceding
pages, I have referred to the child as being a boy, that is only for
convenience in writing and not to imply that the observations would
differ in the case of a girl.) The child's imagination is ready and
eager to follow you anywhere and the main thing is the exercise of the
feelings occasioned by fictitious events.

This is one of the earliest ways for the tender soul nature to find
nourishment and growth. The more rhymes and jingles it can hear, the
more fairy tales, stories of adventure, thrilling deeds of heroism, the
better it is for the forming traits of character. In nearly all the
stories a mother may find to read or tell to her children, there are
examples and side-lights of courage, devotion, honor, loyalty,
cheerfulness, patience, and other exhilarating qualities. There is no
necessity of picking and choosing too carefully, or of attempting to
confine the exercise to a certain sort of fiction whose tendency is
obviously moral. The biggest part of it is to give the imagination and
feelings plenty of food to grow on, to encourage and stimulate a liking
and admiration for things which appeal to the interest through the
imagination. Given half a chance, nature can be fairly well trusted to
look after the rest--and in the long run is apt to prove as true a guide
as finicky and restricted notions which may be lacking in broad

One of the loveliest and most helpful occupations any mother can have is
to learn to tell stories to her children. Many mothers may find
themselves a little deficient in this ability, at first; but, with the
inspiration of love and their holy cause, almost any mother can soon
acquire a charming facility in doing it. And the advantage to the
children, as well as to mother, which may be derived from this method is
very considerable. A story told by mother is easier to understand, more
sympathetic, more delightful, less set and cumbersome than nearly any
story which has to be read methodically from the printed pages of a
book. A mother is in close touch with the needs and natures of her own
flock--she can embellish and interpret and add her own loving comments,
as such and as often as she feels the call for it.

I have found by experience that so many stories which are supposedly
designed for children, make use of big and stilted words, complicated
ideas, and tedious, long-winded explanations. Mother can read them so
quickly by herself and then preserve the pith and point of them in her
own manner of recounting. There is practically no limit to the variety
of kinds and subjects which may be interpreted and rendered available in
this way. The story of Ivanhoe, or Quentin Durward, or Lohengrin, may be
just as readily told in this way as Cinderella, or Robin Hood, or
Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp. But set any child the task of reading
for itself a great volume of Ivanhoe, or many of the other world
classics, or of listening to any one who waded through the long
descriptions for hours on end, is hardly to be thought of.

Fortunately there are a number of books which seem to have been written
by people who love children and understand them. These a mother can
search out and select from and make good use of.

One of the curious things about youth is that children love to hear the
same stories over and over again, even after they know them almost by
heart. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that the appeal is
principally to the feelings and not to the intellect. Intellectual
people, when once they know the contents of a book, seldom have any
further interest in it. But music and painting and poetry do not lose
interest through familiarity, even for mature natures. Their appeal is
more like that which stories have for children.

Owing to this condition of affairs, a mother need never be at a loss for
stories to tell or stories to read. This part of child life should not
be an exceptional occurrence due to her mood or whim, but a constant
feature of the daily life to be counted on and treasured up. The lovely
atmosphere which surrounds it, the moral and spiritual ideals which are
engendered by it, combine in making it a precious influence in the
rearing of a new generation.

"But," exclaims the up-to-date woman, of enlightened intellect, "what
kind of old-fashioned, benighted mother are you prating about! This is
the era of woman's rights and woman's emancipation! What time would a
woman have for her own affairs--for the exercise of her rights, which
have been won with so much effort--if she had to keep bothering her head
with that sort of thing?"

That is true. It would seem as if we had forgotten about the
self-interest and selfishness of the modern movement, which is there on
all sides to poke its tongue at a mother's devotion to her sacred cause.

Indeed, we have no answer to give to that kind of selfishness. The
essence of our thought is love and faith in the love of motherhood.
There is no selfishness in it and the language it uses is not
translatable into terms which the rule of reason can hope to understand.

But to those mothers whose hearts are still in the right place, even if
their heads have become more or less confused by the shouting and
example of intellectual leaders, there is a very simple observation to
suggest, as an answer to such objections.

Is it of much importance or benefit to you, yourself, or to anybody, or
any thing, that you should spend so much of your time in gambling at the
bridge table? Or gossiping at an afternoon tea? Or attending a meeting
at the woman's club? Or at the hair-dresser's and manicure's? Or in
intellectual pursuits of any kind? Is it not more important to you and
to your family and to the future of your race and kind, to devote a
considerable amount of your time and energy to the children, who love
you and need you and can profit greatly by your help?

Is not that entitled to the best you can give, not only because it is
the most important of all earthly occupations, but because by doing it
you set the blessed example of thinking first and most of others, and
last and least of self?

After the children are tucked in their beds, peaceful and happy in the
land of dreams, then it is time enough for you to turn your thoughts to
personal distractions and pleasures, which are proper and wholesome for
a human being when the daily work of life is done. Nobody will begrudge
it to you, and you need not begrudge it to yourself. It is what
distractions are for. It is also what the great majority of husbands and
fathers and grandfathers have been doing since the beginning of
time--working to the best of their ability for the good of home and
family--content with their recreation, after the work is done?

How can any true mother in her heart and soul be so disturbed and
misguided by intellectual enlightenment that she could be led to desert
her eternal responsibility for the pursuit of selfishness--or the
agitation of _isms_?

It ought to be reasonably clear that if a mother does desert her
responsibility, and leaves to the care of a hired employee the
development of her child's moral and spiritual feelings, the results are
liable to be very unsatisfactory. It is the same story over again, which
we took account of in connection with the heart feelings. Nagging,
scolding, lack of sympathy, false standards, superstitions, threats,
deceptions, bug-a-boos--are all apt to take a hand in forcing a
necessity for discipline and deforming character. The tangles of
temper, fear, deception, resentment, will never be unravelled and
patiently straightened out. In their wake, are pretty sure to come,
sooner or later, scenes with mother and father--hypocritical or defiant,
cajoling, whining, or tempestuous--in which harsh and ugly words will
sometimes play a part.

And one fine day, the mother will probably vouchsafe the remark, as so
many modern mothers have done in my presence, that when certain boys, or
girls, reach a certain age, they get so that it is quite impossible to
do anything with them at home and the only sensible way is to ship them
off to a boarding-school.

How much of a mother's time is required for the right kind of care for
her children? Who can judge of each case, but the right kind of mother?
Whatever the child has need of, that is for her to watch over and give,
to the fullest of her capacity.

And what of the rôle of a father in this most vital of responsibilities?
It is essentially that of a help-mate--to bring cheer and comfort and
courage, and the tenderest of protection and support. "The hand that
rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world"--so says the old
adage. In any case, it is upon the sanctity and devotion of mother love
that the future of our race depends--and the deepest feeling of a manly
man has never doubted it.

There is much, much more that might be said about the relationship of a
father to a mother, and of a mother to a father. The right foundation
for it should be the deepest of moral and spiritual feelings. The true
significance of it cannot help being eternal, not temporary. In no
department of life, has the scientific principle of self-interest and
the rule of reason had a more confusing, corrupting, and destructive
influence. To attempt to translate the meaning of a marriage into terms
of a business partnership is a ghastly mockery.

This subject is too big and the discussion of it would carry us too far
afield, to be undertaken in the present connection. Our attention has
been confined, for the time being, to mother love and the formation of
character for the next generation.

And the next question which confronts mother love is the question of
schools and school education--one of the most perplexing and troubling
of all, and yet unavoidable.

Let us suppose that our mother is an ideal one--that she has
gladly responded with the best that is in her to her love and
responsibility--that she has cherished and nourished every tender
little bud in the heart and soul of her boy--that the twig of
character is rising up straight and beautiful, in every respect.

Then comes the day when Master Bob must go off to school--a day school,
or a boarding school, or first one and then the other.

Why does he have to do this? In the first place because it is the custom
every boy is supposed to do it, when he arrives at a certain age--and
then, to receive proper instruction, his brain must be taught, his mind

So off to school he must go, and when he gets there, a new and different
atmosphere surrounds him, a new influence is brought to bear on the
little character, so tenderly forming, and in the main the nature of
this influence is two-fold. First, there is the school-room and the
school books and the teaching of teachers--and second, there is the
companionship, intimacy, teaching, of the other boys with whom he is
thrown into contact.

As the action of this latter influence is usually the more immediate,
direct, and compelling, we may as well give it the foremost place in our
consideration. And let us be careful to state frankly and bear
constantly in mind that all cases are by no means alike. The conditions
to be met with may be largely accidental and differ materially in degree
or kind. And the consequences, for any particular boy, may depend very
largely upon accidental circumstances, or inherited tendencies. A boy,
who is naturally warm-blooded and very impulsive, may not react in the
same way as another boy, who is inclined to be reserved and reflective.
If I am led by my observations to make use of extreme or exceptional
examples it is not my intention to imply that they are the rule, but
merely to bring out clearly a point, or meaning, which, in less degree,
may have a more general application.

We have already had occasion to refer repeatedly to the force of example
in shaping the conduct and ideas of a vast majority of people. Nowhere
is this force more rapidly effective, than in the case of growing
children. It is their instinct to absorb and imitate, consciously or
unconsciously, and so adapt themselves to new conditions of development.

And this instinct is sure to be very much alive, more than ever alive,
when boys and girls find themselves removed from the family influence,
amid new conditions and new companions of the school.

Before we follow our boy, Bob, so far, let us pause for a moment and
consider this question of companionship with other boys and the
influence of example, as it may have applied to him, while mother was
still at hand to watch over him. Any boy or boys that Bob might come
into contact with, or make companions of, would also come under mother's
eye. Not only that, but Bob would repeat to her, spontaneously and
gushingly, every new thing that they said, or did. And if Bob still had
a nurse hanging about, she would have an eye and an ear and something to
say to mother, too. If one of these boys happened to be tricky and
deceitful, resentful and cruel, mother would be sure to know about it
very quickly. She could straighten out Bob's feelings with regard to any
of those things before real damage occurred; and she could see to it
that such contamination was kept away from him. As long as a boy remains
under the home influence, it is part of mother's responsibility to guard
against just such things.

As soon as he goes away to school, and gets under the new influence, it
is no longer possible for her to do so. Of all the various kinds of boys
to be found at any school, which ones Bobby is destined to have as
closest companions, to exchange confidences with constantly, and have
set him the example, is largely a matter of luck, or accident. It may
come about through adjoining seats in class, or though proficiency in
the same games, or a common interest in collecting bird's eggs, or
postage stamps, or through being room-mates, or sleeping in the same
corridor at boarding-school, or one of a dozen other haphazard reasons.

Let us imagine that by chance, in this way, Bobby's closest companions
turn out, in due time, to be four in number. And for the sake of
emphasizing our meaning and the principle involved, let us imagine that
the accident, in this particular case, is more extreme than usual.

The first boy, Ed, has been brought up chiefly by a stern and rigidly
moral father of the old school, who has reprimanded, disciplined,
chastised, most consistently and thoroughly. The second boy, Sam, has a
society mother, somewhat of a belle, and so feverishly absorbed in her
vanities and distractions, that his up-bringing, from the cradle, has
devolved entirely upon a series of Irish, Swedish and German nurses. The
third boy, Bill, has a very intellectual mother, an ardent devotee of
woman's rights, and an active worker in various up-lift and educational
movements. She laid out a plan of mental development for him, in early
childhood, in accordance with the latest scientific books, but not
having the time to attend to it herself, and having had constant rows
with her nurses, she has ended up by heaping the blame on the natural
stupidity and stubbornness of the boy, which could only have been
inherited from his father. The fourth boy, Hal, is the most up-to-date
of all. His mother and father were both divorced and both remarried and
both have new families, for which his only feeling is mild resentment
and disdain.

These boys are hardly to blame if, as a result of such home training,
the growth of their characters has already become tangled and somewhat
over-run by the weeds of selfishness and calculation. If they were only
mischievous, high-spirited and lacking in respect, the harm might not be
great; but there is also a deficiency of the generous feelings of
sympathy and affection, of moral standards, and of any abiding faith in
what should be. Their bodies and their brains may be well developed; but
not their hearts and souls.

They may find it to their interest to display perfect discipline in the
school-room and receive high marks and commendation from their teachers;
they may also excel in the various games and win prizes on the athletic
field; but this in no way prevents them from setting an insidious
example to a less precocious companion.

For practical purposes, the point-of-view and controlling motives of
these four boys is in fairly complete accord. They think it is very
smart to do things which are against the rules; but they think it is
very stupid to get caught. They believe in using their wits to get the
best of other people--especially older people, like parents and
teachers. They believe in practising concealment, dissimulation and
insincerity; but they are very wary of getting saddled with a downright
lie. They have the utmost contempt for a "tell-tale," and they include
in this opprobrium any boy who hasn't sense enough to keep from older
people an inkling of any sort, as to what he himself may have been up
to, as well as any others of the crowd. Nothing is half so bad as
blabbing what you know--not even the risk of getting caught in a lie.
They laugh at scruples of conscience; and they place little dependence
on mother love, or father love, or any kind of love which isn't
self-centered and decidedly material. They also have little use for
high-flown sentiment, poetry, old-fashioned prejudices and pretences of
romance; and if they do have time to read a book, they want it to be
something up-to-date and exciting--a detective story, for instance, with
a master thief and vampires. In addition to this, they have a number of
other precocious and undigested notions about a variety of things, which
they are ready to pass out confidentially, in almost any connection.

Again we repeat that it is not to be inferred that all the boys in any
school, or any great proportion of them, are necessarily of this sort.
But in almost any school, some of them are liable to be met with--more
so to-day than ever, for reasons which have been amply explained. There
is no way of telling, at school, what certain boys may be thinking and
saying and doing, when they are out of sight and hearing. If our boy,
Bob, is unfortunate enough to be thrown in close and constant contact
with that kind, it is unreasonable to imagine that he is at all to
blame. His natural effort is to try and adapt himself to conditions as
he finds them; he sees and feels that he is but a tiny part of a big
system, in which most matters are determined for him, by the system
itself. Aside from which, his nature is very trusting and sensitive,
rather shy at first, and totally without experience of this new and
perplexing world.

The feelings and ideals which have been growing so tenderly in his
little heart and soul are not robust enough to offer much resistance to
repeated and covert attacks. They are in as great a need as ever, of
guidance and encouragement and nourishment and the sunlight of loving
sympathy. The formation of character was proceeding in a beautiful and
promising way, but it may not be safely assumed that the results are
complete and permanent at such an early age--the customary age which
most parents accept for sending their children to school. And where, in
the chance companionship of school life, is a fitting substitute to be
found for the right kind of family influence and the devotion of mother

It is sad to say it, but I have, in my own experience, known a number of
cases, where the havoc caused in a promising character was directly
traceable to the influence and bad example of youthful associates.

A practical, up-to-date mind might say complacently that such characters
must have been so weak that they would probably have gone that way,
anyhow. But that is merely to close one's eyes to the understanding of a
vital principle, the inner feelings of heart and soul which play such a
large part in the formation of character, are subject to growth and
alteration, like all other living things; and until they are given a
fair chance to become strong, by development and exercise and proper
care, why should anything more than a relative weakness be expected of
them? If you abandon them too soon to blighting influences, there is
always danger of their being more or less spoiled.

The other side of the school question relates to the school-books and
school-rooms and the teaching of the teachers.

When we stop and consider that the average little boy, or girl, between
the ages of six and fourteen, spends thousands upon thousands of hours,
in a more or less dreary and distasteful and uninspiring way, over
school-books, in school and out, it might seem as if we had a right to
ask ourselves: Does the result justify the means? Does any one claim, or
imagine, that school-books contain much nourishment for the heart and
soul, or the moral feelings, or love of beauty? Upon what grounds, does
any one claim, or imagine, that such things are less important to the
growth of character, and a cheerful disposition, and fine standards of
conduct, than the training of the intellect? If we are perfectly
satisfied that the method employed to train the intellect does not and
need not interfere with a corresponding development of those other sides
of human nature--that is one thing. But let us not be satisfied to take
so much for granted, without giving it a little thought. That is the
first point to get clear.

All those thousands of hours spent over school-books, in school-rooms,
if they were not confined to that, might be devoted to other things.
That is obvious and inevitable. What kind of things? If they were
allowed a freedom of choice, children would want to do the things that
interested them the most--things they felt like doing. And the natural
feelings of each growing individual would be the dominant factor in
nearly all cases. The natural feelings of a little boy, or a little
girl, are nothing for any one to be ashamed of, or deplore, or wish to
make otherwise. They are part of the all-wise plan, designed more
profoundly and beautifully than any science of man can comprehend. And
nothing is more natural than that a boy, or a girl, growing up in an
atmosphere of love and sympathy and kindness, and what is right and fair
and admirable, should respond to those feelings, more and more, and grow
to have them, too. Some selfish instincts have to be guided and
controlled by deeper and better feelings and the exercise of reason, and
that is natural, too. And even the selfish instincts are just as natural
and just as wisely planned as the deeper and better feelings, or the
exercise of reason.

In the advanced stage of enlightenment at which we have arrived can any
reasonable person fail to recognize this palpable truth? It is possible
that some people might be found who have happened to overlook it; but
less easy to believe that they could fail to recognize it, when it is
called to their attention.

Any normal child delights in the exercise of all its faculties and
instincts and feelings--whether they be of the heart and the soul, or
the body and the brain. This is the natural method of their growth. And
the ideal individual would be one in whom all these sides had reached
their fullest development, in a perfectly balanced whole.

The vast majority of things which interest children and which they
naturally like and seek to do are unconsciously in line with this
endeavor. They all give exercise to some quality which is useful and
proper to human nature. And the variety of interests which may act in
this way is so infinitely great, that children are seldom at a loss to
find something that appeals to them. Sometimes they need advice, or help
from older people, but that, too, is as it should be.

If children, between six and fourteen, had at their disposal those
thousands of hours which we have referred to, and did not have to bother
with school or school-books--what kind of use might they be expected to
put them to?

It is not at all difficult to imagine. Play, in the first place, and
games--in the sunshine and open air. And if the sun isn't shining, on
rainy days, more play and games--in the play-room, or about the house,
or somewhere under shelter. Marbles and tops and kites; jumping rope,
rolling hoops, making pin-wheels; skating, sledding, snow-balling;
baseball, fishing, tennis; leap-frog, running, climbing trees; and
dozens of other pastimes, too numerous to think of. The very sound of
them is healthy and joyous and exhilarating and the general effect of
them on a growing nature is just as wholesome.

But this is not all, by any means--only one kind of thing, chiefly of
value to the physical side of development--health and strength and
vitality and cheerfulness.

In addition to this, there are many other interests of a different order
which may appeal to youth very strongly. A collection of postage stamps,
or birds' eggs, or picture cards, may become of absorbing interest to
boys and girls, with time on their hands. These may encourage patience
and perseverance and observation and enthusiasm, which are most
admirable as traits of character.

A boy may become deeply absorbed in a set of carpenter's tools and the
things he can do with them. He can set his heart on making a pair of
stilts, and a boat that will float and steer and sail, and tables and
boxes and chests of drawers for his collections--all of which may
develop skill and determination and an aspiration to fine
accomplishment. And the interest so begun may lead to a bracket-saw and
carving tools, or a turning lathe, and the fashioning of more intricate
and beautiful things.

A boy, or a girl, may have a camera and learn to take pictures and
develop them and print them, and encourage in this way the growth of
feelings and tastes and much useful knowledge--in addition to mental

Boys and girls may set their hearts on building a beautiful snow
fort--and work and slave and overcome obstacles--until they have given
themselves a fine lesson in industry, and the rewards of successful

A boy may become interested in a printing press, or a steam engine, or
an electric machine of some sort, and acquire by means of it, not only a
lot of worthy satisfaction and pleasure, but the enthusiasm of deep,
spontaneous feelings--in addition to useful information and mental

A perfectly normal boy, without any special bent for music, or art, may
want to play on a drum, or a banjo--or to paint pictures with
water-colors--and through the effort devoted to this want, encourage the
growth of tastes and feelings, which may prove of benefit and value, all
through life.

If boys and girls are not occupied and tired by forced application to
school-books, there is hardly any limit to the number of things, to
which they may turn their attention, with natural energy and enthusiasm,
and frequently with great benefit to feelings and qualities which
involve not only the body and the mind, but the heart and soul, as well.

We have named but a few of the activities to which those thousands of
hours, now consumed by school-books and school-rooms, might be otherwise
devoted. Whether or not those things are more important to general
development of character, they certainly cannot be indulged in to
anything like the same extent, if so much time and energy is daily
required for school education. When children are released from the
school-room, their heads and their nerves are fairly tired and their
bodies longing for freedom. There is usually another period of study
hanging over them, before bed-time; and although a certain number of
hours are allowed them for recreation, that recreation is not apt to
take the form of heart-felt interests which put an added strain on
nerves and head.

With this point-of-view in mind, it may prove worth while to illustrate
by some concrete examples the kind of results that are liable to occur.
And in choosing examples, this time, it will not be necessary to rely
upon conjecture or imagination. It so happens that I may refer to some
actual cases where boys and girls have not been obliged to go to school,
or even to open a school-book, during all those thousands of hours.
And, strangely enough, in spite of the forebodings and disapproval of
many intellectual people, who always feel it their duty to protest
against such a procedure, the results in all the cases I have any
knowledge of, were not disastrous at all, but very much the contrary.

Let us begin with some girls--three sisters. Their parents were
well-born and well-educated, the father being a man of considerable
distinction and originality. From a position of comparative wealth, they
were reduced by business reverses, to relative poverty, and retired to a
farmhouse in an unsettled district. The mother was in delicate health,
the father under the need of trying to repair his fortunes, and there
was no school-house within reach. In addition to that, the father had
very little belief in current school methods, or the efficacy of school
books. The result was that the three girls were allowed to go without
any education of the prescribed kind; but an old man who happened to be
living nearby, with nothing to do, was prevailed upon to come every day
and help along with their enlightenment in any way they desired, or he
saw fit. This old man had once had artistic tendencies, had tried his
hand at various things, and was well-read and well-travelled. He soon
took a great interest in the three bright and charming girls, and came
to regard himself in the light of a kindly, sympathetic companion--which
is the next best thing to a mother, or a father.

He helped the girls with their flower garden, went walking with them in
the fields and answered as many of their questions as he could about
flowers and planting and trees and shrubs and plants, birds, snakes and
bees--anything and everything they showed an interest in.

When it was raining, he played on the piano for them and showed them how
to play little tunes for themselves--which they thought was great fun.
He could paint and draw very well and he brought them a box of water
colors and showed them how to color pictures and draw flowers and birds
and simple things for themselves. He also got some clay and played with
them at modelling figures of various kinds.

In addition to that, he had one idea, which was a sort of hobby, and
about which he talked to them a lot. Every girl, as she grew up, as well
as every boy and man, would be called upon, sooner or later, to write
letters to people she cared about, and wanted those letters to be nice
and interesting. Most people didn't know how to express their thoughts.
So every day, they sat down together, indoors or out, and each wrote a
letter to an imaginary friend. Little by little, the letters became
easier and longer and more interesting.

Frequently he recited poetry that he knew by heart, and told them fairy
tales, and stories of every description from the many books he had read.

And so the thousands of hours were spent with simple natural interests,
in a most enjoyable way, without a thought of school-books, or anything
distasteful, compulsory or confining.

What, in this case, were some of the results? One was that the life of
their inner feelings was developed to an unusual degree. Everything was
done to encourage them, and nothing to suppress, or distort them. The
stories and poems made a constant appeal to their imagination, while the
daily letters which they wrote became a means of reflecting and applying
this appeal.

A love of beautiful things was naturally developed in them, and they
naturally conceived a fondness for music and painting and modelling and
poetry and story-telling. There was no pressure exerted upon them in any
of these directions--merely the encouragement of spontaneous interest
and the help of example.

These tastes and qualities, became the common possession of all three
girls. They could all write poetry and stories; they could all draw and
paint and model and play tunes on the piano--with more or less feeling
and facility--and they all grew up with remarkably sympathetic and
gracious personalities--which became, later on, very widely admired and
commented upon.

One of the girls, the eldest, conceived a deeper liking than the others
for music. As time went on, she wanted to spend more and more time at
the piano--playing and practising and learning to read the notes.

The second girl, in a similar way, was more attracted to drawing and
modelling and painting. The youngest one, while the other two were thus
engaged, liked to sit down with pencil and paper and amuse herself in
writing rhymes and stories.

The eldest daughter became a fine musician and composer of music, and a
brilliant career was in sight for her at the time of her death, which
occurred when she was just out of her teens.

The second daughter, won for herself a distinguished place as a painter,
in Paris and in this country.

The youngest one left to her own resources, a widow with a little son to
support, achieved much wealth and fame as a literary celebrity, one of
the most admired of her generation.

Let us now refer to some other cases, this time to boys, where the
bringing-up happened to be accomplished without any aid, or
interference, of school-books or school-teaching. In some instances this
procedure was due to illness and delicate health on the part of the boy,
which made fresh air and freedom from confinement seem more important
than the benefits of mental training. In other cases, the parents
deliberately believed and decided it was better for self-development and
the formation of character to dispense with what they considered the
disadvantages of school methods.

As long as a boy does not know how to read, and is not taught how, it is
the most natural thing in the world for him to want somebody to tell--or
read--to him fairy-tales and verses and stories of every kind that he
can understand. And this want is sure to be supplied, when there are
loving parents to watch out for it. It may be the mother, the nurse, the
father, or an aunt, or an uncle, who take turns at it.

Sooner or later, as a result of this, the child is very apt to feel a
curiosity and interest and ambition to learn how to read stories for
himself. In the absence of any forcing, the more he thinks about it, the
more his heart becomes set on it. He asks questions about letters and
words in books--surprises his mother by showing how he can print his
own name, then her name and father's. Little by little, without
anybody's teaching him, almost without any one's realizing it, he has
learned to read. This might not happen, of course, in an unsympathetic
atmosphere--if there were no story telling, and no story books lying
about, to bring the inspiration. But as far as my experience goes, it
has always happened, somewhere between the ages of eight and ten, if not

One boy I know, after learning to read for himself, in this way, in
rummaging through the bookshelves, came upon a queer little book of
Experimental Chemistry. It was very old and primitive and had curious
wood-cut illustrations in it. It had long ago belonged to the boy's
grand-father. It was easy to read and told about simple experiments that
any boy could try himself. The necessary ingredients for many of them
could be found at home, or be bought for a few cents at the drug-store.
It happened to arouse his interest.

The first experiment described how to take a little powdered sugar and
mix it with a little powder obtained by crushing up a tablet of chlorate
of potash--such as people put in their mouths for a sore throat. That
would make an explosive, as powerful as the powder used in guns. It
could be set off by dropping on it from an eye-dropper one drop of a
certain kind of acid, from the druggist's.

The boy procured the necessary things, then ran to his mother, and asked
her if he might try the experiment. She responded to his enthusiasm and
only asked permission to stand by and look on. He dropped the acid on
the powder--and sure enough, the powder went off with a big flash.
Wonderful excitement and joy! The experiment had to be repeated again
and again, for the amazement of the waitress and the cook--and
especially for father, as soon as he came home.

That was the beginning of a new interest. The boy kept the book by him
and pored over it, and set his heart upon acquiring first one thing
after another, as they became necessary. As he accumulated bottles and
glass tubes, and chemicals and apparatus, he made shelves and stands for
them with his carpenter tools.

In due time, he got other books on the same subject and became the
possessor of a very practical little chemical laboratory, which was all
of his very own making. At the age of twelve, he was thoroughly at home
in dozens of complicated processes and experiments.

This was only one of the many interests which he had plenty of time to
follow, with the same sort of enthusiasm. At the age of fourteen, his
laboratory was a thing of the past, but for all that, years after, at
college, among his various other achievements, he had no trouble in
winning a prize scholarship in chemistry.

Another boy, brought up in a similar way and having learned to read
without teaching, first took a lively interest in automobiles. When the
family car went wrong, he watched the repairs, asked questions, and was
ready to lend a helping hand. Many of the troubles on a modern car are
apt to be in connection with the electrical equipment--battery, lights,
magneto, timer, self-starter, etc. Sooner or later, a boy who takes an
interest, is apt to become more or less familiar with the principle of
all these things, especially if his nerves and brain are not deadened by
forced application. At any rate, this boy soon did. This led to an
interest in other electrical things--the ringing of bells and buzzers
about the house, and the installation of an electric motor which would
run the sewing machine, or a grindstone, or a little lathe. Then he got
hold of a booklet about wireless telegraphy. There is something
thrilling about the idea which appeals to the imagination--the receiving
of mysterious messages from afar, through the air, and sending back from
your little instrument the far-flying answers.

At the age of twelve, this boy with the aid of a Japanese servant, had
set up his own aerial and apparatus, had learned the code alphabet and
was thoroughly familiar with all the delicate intricacies of detector,
tuning coil, sparker and the rest of it. He had gotten in touch with
certain other wireless operators within a radius of ten miles and,
although he had never seen any of them, he could recognize instantly the
sound of their different instruments and it was a joy and delight to
hold conversations with them and call them up for a good-night, before
he went to bed. And before he was thirteen, he undertook to construct
with his own hands a tuning coil which would be better for his purposes
than the kind he could afford to buy at the store. After much determined
effort, he succeeded and installed it and had the satisfaction of
finding that it was, indeed, decidedly better.

Another boy, who had never had to bother his head with school-books, but
who had also learned to read, in due time got started on a new interest
by a printing-press, which was given to him for Christmas. He puzzled
with it and worked over it, until he learned to set up type and operate
it very nicely. Then he began printing visiting cards--first for
himself, then mother and father, then the servants and friends. It was
great fun to take orders from them and charge them ten cents a dozen,
in a business-like way. Next he got a larger press and different kinds
of type, and by dint of perseverance he found among the trades-people a
few kindly souls, who allowed him to print their business cards for them
at so much a hundred.

Out of this interest grew a more ambitious one. How fine it would be to
print and publish a little newspaper, with stories and verses and
advertisements and subscriptions and everything! This appealed to the
imagination and became an absorbing ambition. In this particular case,
the newspaper project soon outdistanced the printing press. The
newspaper must be bigger and finer than a press of that kind could
possibly manage. So the boy went to a regular printer and found out
about the cost and details of publishing such a paper as he had in mind.
He didn't have enough money of his own for that, but he figured out that
by going again to the tradespeople and getting them to pay for
advertising in his paper and by making people pay for subscriptions to
the paper, the problem could be solved. He decided to limit the scope of
his enterprise to the publication of six numbers, one every month. He
went to different tradespeople with whom the family dealt, stated his
intentions, and asked for advertisements at the rate of fifty cents a
number. He was only twelve years old at the time and they naturally had
doubts about his ability to carry out the project; but some were found
with enough kindly sympathy to agree to pay him, when he brought them
the paper containing the advertisement. In the same way, among relatives
and friends and neighbors, he sought subscriptions at the rate of five
cents a copy and succeeded in obtaining a sufficient number for his

He chose a name for his paper by himself but, when it came to the
question of the reading matter, he did not presume to attempt much of
that, at first, but felt he could do better by appealing to his mother
and aunt and others for the kind of contributions he had in mind.

He carried out his project, to the letter,--six numbers, one a
month--and at the end of it, he not only had the satisfaction of a fine
effort well done, but he had also earned a clear profit of over fifteen
dollars. Likewise, he had helped the growth of character, the taste for
literary achievement, the acquisition of much useful experience and
information, and considerable mental training of an admirable sort.

I might continue in this way, almost indefinitely, telling about the
interests and results which may come quite naturally to boys and girls
freed from the routine of school training.

Enough has been said, however, to suggest food for thought. With a
feeling of interest, or enthusiasm, behind it, almost any kind of mental
exercise, or physical exercise, takes on the color of gladness. Without
interest, or enthusiasm, almost any kind of compulsory effort becomes
drab and drear and irksome. The intellect can be a splendid friend to
the feelings--it can bring all sorts of suggestions to them, and point
out their usefulness and their charm--but if, for some reason which may
be entirely intuitive and fundamental and all-wise, the feelings refuse
to respond, or to coöperate, any further compulsion is apt to prove
futile and unproductive of the right growth of character.

These are a few of the considerations which led to the remark, in
connection with our boy, Bob, that the question of schools and school
education is one of the most perplexing and troubling.

No loving mother is responsible for the existing school system, nor
could she alter it, if she wanted to. Even if she has a little pinch of
the heart at the thought of subjecting her sensitive boy to such an
ordeal, how can she dare to do otherwise? Among people of all classes,
it is considered proper and necessary, for children to be sent to

But provided a mother has a clear understanding that her child's
feelings and vitality are the most important things, it is always
possible for her to seek some sort of a compromise in his favor. She can
delay the time of sending him away, until nine, or ten, or eleven. If he
goes to a private school, she can very often arrange matters so that he
need only attend the morning session, and never be "kept in," after
hours, for punishment. She can help him with the studies which he brings
home, and take great pains never to scold him, or show displeasure, or
disappointment, if he gets bad marks. She can explain to him that while
it is only natural for a school-teacher to attach an exaggerated
importance to the training of the brain, mothers and fathers care a
great deal more about deeper and finer interests and the right kind of

That is about all most mothers can do,--no matter how great their
love--as long as the present system remains in force. When, or how, it
will ever be changed radically, is something about which it would be
futile to express an opinion.

Another question which naturally arises in this connection has to do
with college and the very difficult entrance examinations which a modern
boy is required to pass. How is he to do that, unless he is sent to
school in time to be prepared? Many mothers and fathers want their boys
to have a college education.

To this objection, there is an easy and reassuring answer.

Even if your boy has never seen the inside of a school-book, before the
age of thirteen or fourteen, that need not prevent him from being
prepared for college, just as well and at about the same time, as the
average boy who has been attending school from the age of five, or six.

All of the boys I have referred to, passed their examinations far better
than the average. All those thousands of hours which were devoted to
other interests, entirely apart from school-books, did not have the
effect of retarding the boys' mental development and training. It was
only a different kind of training, more in accordance with the methods
of nature. When these boys arrived at the age of thirteen, they had more
character, more self-control, more determination and more mental
equipment, than the vast majority of boys acquire at school. I think it
is a fair presumption, that under favorable conditions, such a result
may be expected.

It was the college question that eventually brought these boys to
preparatory schools, at the ages of thirteen, or fourteen. And in order
to enter a preparatory school and get used to the ways of school-books,
it may be necessary for the boy to do some preliminary studying, for a
few months, with some one to help him. But by that time, he has an
object in view, his interest is involved, and he will seldom require the
slightest urging. Without exception, the boys I have referred to
attained high rank, both in school and in college.

There remains one more thing to think about in connection with the
bringing up of children. What about religion? Here is also a
consideration which can hardly be avoided.

If the parents are church-goers and still believe in the truth and
teachings of the Bible,--that is one thing. In that case, all a mother
has to do is to encourage her children in the same belief, take them to
church and Sunday School, and teach them to say their prayers from
earliest childhood.

But there are also many parents, who no longer go to church and whose
faith in the traditional teachings has become very much shaken. Their
numbers have been increasing very rapidly, for reasons which we have
referred to, and are extremely likely to keep on increasing. Suppose a
loving mother belongs to this class--what is best and wisest for her to
do with her son?

"Mother, where did I come from? And who made all these other people?
What for?"

Those are simple and natural questions, which are apt to come fairly
soon in the growth of intelligence. They call for some sort of answer.
It is the first beginning of a soul feeling, a groping for a faith of
some sort in human destiny.

What is to be mother's answer?

If she says she doesn't know--nobody does--that is very unsatisfactory
and very troubling. The groping will still continue, with more and more
persistency. If mother has a reason for refusing to tell, the
information must be sought elsewhere. And it will very soon be
forthcoming from some one--the nurse, or the cook, or the waitress. God
made the world--He lives in heaven--He rewards people if they are good,
by making them angels; and if they are bad, He sends them to hell, to be
roasted by the devil. The churches, which the child has seen, are where
people go to pray to God and worship Him.

This answers the question and is perfectly satisfactory, for the time
being. But the attitude of mother is apt to give rise to suspicion that
she was only pretending, when she said she didn't know. If the nurse
knows--and all the people who go to church, know--then mother must know,
too. Perhaps mother, for reasons of her own, doesn't wish him to know
yet, and would blame the nurse for telling him? Then the nurse would
blame him. If mother chooses to conceal things from him, he can avoid
trouble by concealing things from mother. This implies a breach of
confidence between mother and son--which is not at all good for a
forming character.

It is far better for mother to show a sympathetic understanding of the
soul need and respond to it accordingly. A child has no end of
imagination, and feelings to correspond. It is the spirit and meaning of
ideas which signify, and not their material accuracy. Rhymes and jingles
and mother goose and fairy tales and Santa Claus are all founded on an
understanding of this. They supply in fanciful form a very real and
necessary food for the inner nature. In the same way, with this
religious groping, food that will satisfy must be given in some form.

But as a religious belief is something which it is hoped will last
through life, it would seem best to clothe it, as far as possible, in
ideas that will not have to be discarded by the intellect, when that
becomes enlightened.

Nearly every mother believes that the world and all it contains were
created, somehow, by an all-wise Being--and that this Being has an
everlasting existence somewhere. The usual name for that Being, in the
English language, is God, and the unknown place where He dwells, is
usually called heaven. That is something which may be told to any child;
the idea is easy to grasp, it responds to a fundamental need, and it can
never be disproved by any amount of science, or enlightenment.

As compared to God, mother and father and all people on the earth are
like little children, and each and every one is allowed to share in the
benefits of His love and wisdom. He wishes all his children to do what
they feel is right and fine, and fight against what is mean and wrong.

If some people have less money than others, and fewer material
pleasures, and in other ways seem less fortunate, that does not mean
that they are less worthy of love and consideration. Nor does it mean
that they are less fine, or necessarily less fortunate. The highest kind
of satisfaction in life comes almost entirely from being true to your
own generous feelings and doing the best you can under any and all
circumstances. A poor little cripple may have this satisfaction, just as
well as a rich man's son. It is very possible that the little cripple's
spirit and his life on earth, will count for more in the eternal scheme,
than the rich man's son. Material pleasures are perfectly natural and
right and desirable; but they are only one part of life. A mother who
has a beautiful boy and loves him with her whole heart and soul, has a
more precious treasure than all the money in the world can buy.

Those are also religious beliefs which may be told to any boy, or girl,
and allowed to take root and grow, for all time. They are the expression
of fundamental feelings which no amount of science can disprove, or

As regards the question of spoken prayers, we come upon considerations
of a slightly different order. The idea of spoken prayer and the spirit
which underlies it are beautiful and inspiring. The soul of an
individual to be in direct, personal communication with the all-wise
Creator--how thrilling and sublime! It would seem almost the deepest and
dearest wish that mortal man could have. It is also an idea which a
child can readily grasp and believe and put into practise.

But certain mothers and fathers, whom I have heard talk on this subject,
find themselves confronted by scruples and objections which are entirely
sincere and conscientious. While admitting the beauty of the idea, they
point to the fact that they themselves no longer believe in it, or
practise it. To their minds, it has become no more than the survival of
a superstition, which is no longer tenable. Under such circumstances,
they can see no justification for imposing it upon the credulity of
their children.

One answer to such an objection is that it is always possible for the
reason to be at fault in matters which involve the unknown. Aside from
that, there are many worse things for children than the survival of a
beautiful superstition. The same scruples might be applied, without any
element of doubt, to the idea of Santa Claus; but the spirit of that
belief, while it lasts, is so joyful, and its influence so benign, that
it would take an extremely dry heart and an excessive rule of reason to
desire its abolition.


And now, at last, we have reached a point, where, in thinking of the
future and the hope for coming generations, we may turn our gaze in a
new direction and enter the realm of conjecture and prophecy.

There is an old saying that "Coming events cast their shadows before."
If we let our thoughts dwell on the confused shadows which appear to be
hanging over the spirit of our present civilization, it is possible to
imagine that we can see in them the outlines of a coming event of the
most profound importance. This would be neither more, nor less, than the
birth of a new religion--or what amounts to the same thing, a new form
of religious belief.

What grounds are there for imagining such an absurdity? It is only a
conjecture--it could not be anything else--but for all that, it is not
necessarily an absurdity.

The conflict which is going on between the old traditional beliefs and
the advanced spirit of enlightenment has in it elements of
contradiction, too deep and too radical, to permit of a complete victory
on the part of either. If the struggle were to continue indefinitely, on
the present lines, it seems inevitable that countless numbers must be
found, on one extreme, who would never be willing to abandon their
faith; and, on the other extreme, would be countless numbers who could
never consent to a return to what they consider disproved and antiquated
superstitions. And somewhere between these two, will be a constantly
increasing mass of others, pushed and pulled in opposite directions,
half-pretending agreement with both sides, but without real loyalty to
either, trying in a more or less troubled way, to remain non-committal,
and arriving at a state of indifference, drifting along, without
leadership, or conviction.

If we may believe the testimony of observers in England, this condition
of affairs is already quite plainly indicated there--as much or more,
as it is in this country.

Such a situation is well nigh intolerable to humanity. The palpable
results of it can hardly fail to be disheartening to any normal being.
And out of this disheartenment will inevitably come a yearning, more or
less unconscious, but more and more appealing, for something different
and something better, a yearning for true and unquestionable leadership,
which can inflame the imagination, inspire new faith, and command
whole-souled devotion, as it points the way.

In the mysterious scheme of the universe, in the all-wise design, when
such a yearning becomes intense enough and widespread enough, I cannot
but believe that somehow, somewhere, out of a tenement, or out of a
palace, or out of the wilderness, will come the appointed leader. This
is the fateful event of my conjecture, which I imagine is casting its
shadow before, and which may bring a renewal of light and enthusiasm to
millions of troubled souls.

It may not come for a generation, or it may not come in a century, or it
may be close at hand. What the particular form and force of the new
inspiration will be like, is beyond the scope of the imagination.

But it is not so difficult to hazard a prophecy in regard to its
essence. There will be no claim, or creed, of any kind, to which
scientific information, or enlightened reason, can ever find ground to
take exception. It will not belittle admiration for the human body, or
the human brain, or even of pleasures and desires which may be purely
material; but, on the contrary, will encourage the development of them
all, as a relatively important part of the all-wise design. Above and
beyond these, will be a deeper and greater appeal to the most generous
and noble intuitions of the heart and soul. There will be very little
consideration for punishments, or rewards, or threats, or anger,--to
force the human soul into submission of any kind; but there will be
immense consideration for love of others and love of right, individual
responsibility and self-control. Pervading and illuminating all, will be
a blessed faith in the beauty and wisdom and purpose of the eternal

And whenever, or wherever, this kind of ideal comes, and rings out
through the land, with compelling inspiration, I venture the prophecy
that the prevailing spirit of civilization will be ripe and ready to
receive it with open arms.


_Los Angeles Times_, Feb. 8, 1921.


We had supposed that the decadence obvious in the sartorial modes for
society women reached its limit last year and that a saner and more
decent sense of propriety would evince itself in the revulsion of public
taste. But the tendency to bizarre indecency has increased so that now
we are offered in our public ballrooms the spectacle of criminal
impropriety--of women's bare legs with painted knees, of naked backs and
lewdly veiled bosoms, of transparent skirts and suggestive nudity, of
decorated flesh and vulgar exposure generally--the sort of thing that
has ever preceded the downfall of civilizations. It has no relation
whatever to the nudity of innocence, as is perfectly obvious with one
glance at the type of dancing women that affects these disgusting
extremes, for their whole deportment is entirely in accord with their
scant covering and nastily conceived exposures. They are brazenly
inviting a certain kind of attention and they get only the sort of
attention they invite. They are degrading all womanhood with their
shamelessness, at a time when the more worthy of their sex have striven
to win and deserve to win that respect which should rightfully be

The people are all overwhelmed by the appalling crime wave that has
beset the world--not only by murders, robberies and hold-ups, but by the
ghastly increase in marital unfaithfulness which clogs the divorce
courts; and the attacks against women and girls which have become a
daily department of the news. The incredible and loathsome conditions
cannot be overstated. They are widespread, staggering in their
viciousness. And we unhesitatingly declare that the preposterous
vulgarity and criminal impropriety of that vastly increasing number of
women who adopt these indecent modes for "party gowns" is, if not
responsible for the dirty conditions, at least a large and important
factor. And it is deplorable that, as the extremists jump from extreme
to extreme, the presumably decent women follow. They are slower to adopt
the full measure of indecency, but each season finds them
"conservatively" following at a respectful distance, so that the modes
for decent women to-day were the extremes of indecency a few short
seasons back.

Why do they do it? It is a poor explanation to declare that they thus
become more attractive to men. If they are honest with themselves, they
know very well that the sort of attraction thus engendered makes the
lowest possible appeal. If they are honest with themselves, they know
very well that masculine taste in such matters is absolutely in the
hands of women, that the standard they set is the standard which will
inevitably be adopted. It has been said that every country gets the
women it deserves, but rather would we say that every woman gets the
sort of attention she deserves. Intelligent women know this, no matter
what their argument to the contrary.

But the women, who are going to these disgusting and revolting extremes,
are not intelligent. Man may be vile, but he also has perception.
Observe the women in any public ballroom to-day--those who expose the
most have the least worthy of exposure. These lewd revelations are
certainly not in the cause of beauty. It is the fat and podgy, or the
lean and bony, female, for the most part, one who has neither natural
physical nor mental attraction, that resorts to this means of commanding
attention. She makes one appeal, and only one, and that to the very
lowest instincts of masculine human nature. No matter how she may
deceive herself to the contrary, she is deliberately catering to the
animal passion of men. Beautiful and charming women of mind and
character do not feel this urge to trade upon their "private charms."
But the unintelligent and dubious female is invariably the one to make a
bid for the only sort of attention she can hope to inspire.

Theodore Maynard, now lecturing before the women's clubs upon the
"Imminent Break-up of Civilization," defines civilization as that
condition of a people founded upon justice and honor. It is not a
question of brilliant inventions, of motor cars, telephones, magnificent
hotels, luxury and comfort. It is essentially a state of refinement,
culture and honor.

"I could not love thee, dear, so well, loved I not honor more."

That honor which is the very basis of civilization is essentially
chaste. And civilized women must be the essential guardians of chastity
and honor. Where women cater to the dishonorable and unchaste, there can
be no civilization, no sanctity of the home, which should be the very
citadel of honor.

Adam in Eden whined that Eve had demoralized him. Eve to-day whines that
Adam and his war have demoralized her. They are both wrong and both
culpable. And as in the old biblical story, God will hold both Adam and
Eve responsible and both shall be driven from the Garden of Eden, our
great modern civilization that is gaining all save honor, that keystone
of the arch without which it must fall to ruin.

And the modern unchastity of women's clothes, the crude, lewd, wholly
indefensible appeal to man's lowest instincts, the deliberate trading on
the unclean and the lustful side of human nature, is, we repeat, a basic
cause of that widespread dishonor and crime that are polluting
civilization to-day. Surely there are enough decent, intelligent,
noble-minded women left to halt this mad craze for criminal impropriety.
Surely they can and will take the lead for purity, decency and honor,
rather than be content to follow at long distance that road which leads
to nothing but degradation for all humanity. Women and only women, can
halt this mad delirium--this hideous craving for attention at any cost,
at all cost. Where can it end, except in utter degradation, not only for
their own sex, but for their husbands and their sons?

This utter debasement of that precious heritage called "love" is the
bitterest possible reflection upon our modern civilization. The sort of
attraction these unchaste, nakedly adorned, women "of fashion" hold out
can never inspire that precious, priceless thing which "passeth all
understanding," which survives all the travail of tribulation, that
beautiful emotion that "age cannot wither nor custom stale," which
radiates the dark places with shining light.

    "Oh, woman, lovely woman! nature made thee
    To temper man; we had been brutes without you;
    There's in you all that we believe of heaven
    Amazing brightness, purity and truth,
    Eternal joy and everlasting love."

_Los Angeles Times_, Dec. 17, 1920.

The financial and business summary for December, issued by the Citizens'
National Bank, will be circulated to-day. This careful review of general
conditions classes business as unsatisfactory from the standpoint of
current activity, but hastens to explain that data supporting this
conclusion is on the surface, and then, arguing from the human
standpoint, says that there is greater need just now that we determine
when the tendency to cancel contracts, and otherwise strike the element
of integrity from our business relations, will cease, than there is that
we know when commodity prices will reach the bottom.

"To-day," the summary continues, "we are registering a very low point of
commercial morality, and as we approach the portals of a new year, a
year full of promise and plenty, there is a great need of a full
individual sense of our personal relations to one another.

"It is not a struggling that is tearing apart the commercial, social and
home circles of to-day; instead, it is the lack of struggle, a missing
ambition to stamp out the measure of selfishness that has been permitted
to breed in the human consciousness. Our growth during the coming years,
both as individual business concerns, as a nation, and as a race, will
be in a direct ratio to our re-establishment of individual and mass

"The weakness of the bond market is merely an affair of permanence. It
seems to be purely a seller's market with the cause of the selling
temporarily prohibitive to reinvestment. The income tax has caused a new
seasonal liquidation period to be written into the category of
investment influences so that the present bond market, though definitely
in a major trend upward, still hangs down around bargain levels.

"Possibly some sympathetic bear influence is reflected into the present
bond market through the sharp breaks in the stock market, yet whatever
may be the cause of present low bond prices and dull activity, it is
certain that the underlying fundamentals in control of the investment
situation are favorable to a long swing upward, with the course to
higher levels graded and fit for rapid travel when the turn of the year
re-energizes the sinews of finance."

       *        *       *       *       *

The protest against the present "blue-laws" is strong and the laws under
fire are branded as the limit of legislative meddling, but here are some
of the old laws that were really blue:

These laws once were in force in Connecticut:

No one shall run on the Sabbath day, or walk in his garden or elsewhere,
except reverently to and from meeting.

No one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep house, cut hair, or
shave on the Sabbath day.

No woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath or fasting day.

The Sabbath shall begin at sunset on Saturday.

Whoever brings cards or dice into this dominion shall pay a fine of five

No one shall read common prayer, keep Christmas or Saints' days, make
mince pies, dance, play cards or play on any instrument of music except
the drum, trumpet and Jew's harp.

No gospel minister shall join people in marriage; the magistrates only
shall join in marriage, as they may do it with less scandal to Christ's

A man that strikes his wife shall pay a fine of ten pounds; a woman that
strikes her husband shall be punished as the court directs.

A wife shall be deemed good evidence against her husband.

No man shall court a maid in person, or by letter, without first
obtaining consent of her parents; five pounds penalty for the first
offense to imprisonment for the third offense.

Married persons must live together or be imprisoned.

Every male person shall have his hair cut round according to a cap.

A child over sixteen years old who strikes his father shall be put to

A child over sixteen years old who is stubborn and rebellious shall be
put to death.

Whoever, professing the Christian religion, shall wittingly deny the
Song of Solomon to be the infallible word of God, may be whipped forty
lashes and fined fifty pounds.

Whoever marries two wives or more shall be executed.

Saying that the Christian religion is a politic device to keep ignorant
men in awe shall be punished with death.

Any man who uses tobacco in the street shall be fined, or if he do so in
his own house, a stranger being present, he shall be fined, but if on a
journey, five miles from any house, he may smoke.

Any single person without a servant, wishing to keep house by himself,
must get the consent of the selectmen unless he be a public officer.

Persons not proved guilty, but lying under a strong suspicion of guilt,
may be punished, though not so severely as would be the case had they
been convicted.

Every family must have a Bible, catechism and other good books.

_Los Angeles Times_, Feb. 5, 1921.


The prompt detection and punishment of the two kidnappers, who were
fools enough to believe that they could carry out a melodramatic
abduction and get away with it, is a satisfaction to the public. But it
does not remove the possibility of similar crimes, attempted and perhaps
executed, by the large class of individuals who, like the Carrs, have
crooked minds--minds that see only glamour and excitement in the life of
a criminal, that are willing to take any chance and gamble with their
own lives and liberty as the stakes, for revenge or merely to get money
to satisfy their physical demands.

Ten years, more or less, spent in the penitentiary is not likely to
straighten out the false conceptions of such men. The Carrs will
probably leave the prison with criminal tendencies strengthened by the
associations and repressions of penitentiary life.

It is just that such criminals should be put where they cannot prey upon
society. But, while we are dealing out due punishment, the main effort
of the social body should be put into the prevention of crime. We are
talking greatly, just now, of the world-wave of crime following the war.
Tomes are being written concerning its causes and its cures. But the
primary cause of all crime is the lack of true comprehension of the
meaning of life--a distorted viewpoint--a crooked mind.

The causes of such minds are many: heredity, environment, associations,
lack of proper self-control and understanding; they can all be summed
up, however, as the lack of moral sense in the individual and in the
race. The guiding star of existence, the conscience, in such cases, has
ceased to function; the goal ahead, a future existence, has been lost
sight of. Souls are adrift. Here is the secret of the unrest, the crime,
the upheaval of to-day.

The old forms of religion, with their rituals and professions, have lost
their hold upon a large portion of humanity. The newer and clearer
conceptions of the great truths that are the basis of all religion have
not, as yet, taken the place of the old beliefs in the minds and lives
of the majority. The people of the world are to-day at sea, with no
definite port ahead, with no guiding hand upon the helm of their ship.

In the chaos of this rudderless age state and church are making
desperate efforts to palliate the evils of nonreligion and its
consequence, non-morality. In our own country we are multiplying
state-provided nurseries, schools, playgrounds, gymnasiums, colleges and
hundreds of other substitutes for the homes and the home training that
fails under the strenuous tests of present-day life. We are enormously
attempting to train bodies and brains from the cradle to full
citizenship. But with all our provisions and equipment we are failing to
touch the real keystone of all character--the spiritual nature of man.
We are teaching morality because it is morality, proved by experience to
be expedient, on the whole, for a satisfactory career on the earth. But
our schools and our churches, also, are failing to teach the highest
secret of life--the self-control of mind and body through willed
righteousness, based upon a knowledge and comprehension of a God-created
and governed universe.

Nor do our schools and colleges train their pupils to an understanding
of their own mental powers and the development of right will, of sound
reason, of controlled and regulated action. We flood our children and
youth with equipment, with teachers, with opportunity for learning
things from the outside; yet our educational training is failing, as a
whole, in giving to the youth of this country the one essential thing
for right living--a true and high ideal and the strength of will to
attain it.

Men like the two just sent away; women like Mrs. Peete (whether she be
guilty of murder or not) are the products of a generation that has torn
itself away from its old anchors of religion, of duty and responsibility
and has not yet set up a new standard to true its conduct. State and
church, with all their will to do and their efforts and expenditure of
means, can never take the place of right-minded parents and homes where
children are taught by example and by word their true relations to God
and to their fellow-men. Crooked minds can only be prevented by heritage
from men and women, who understand their responsibility to God and to
their country, and who start their sons and daughters out upon the
journey of life with a chance, at least, for decency and uprightness.

_New York Tribune_, April 22, 1921.


_"Your Constitution Is All Sail and No Anchor"_

_The subjoined letter from the historian Macaulay to Henry S. Randall,
of Cortland, N.Y., is taken from an old file of The Cortland Standard.
It was published originally in Harper's Magazine._

  Holly Lodge, Kensington,
  London, May 23, 1857.

Dear Sir: The four volumes of the Colonial History of New York reached
me safely. I assure you that I shall value them highly. They contain
much to interest an English as well as an American reader. Pray accept
my thanks and convey them to the Regents of the University.

You are surprised to learn that I have not a high opinion of Mr.
Jefferson, and I am surprised at your surprise. I am certain that I
never wrote a line, and that I never, in Parliament, in conversation, or
even on the hustings--a place where it is the fashion to court the
populace--uttered a word indicating an opinion that the supreme
authority in a state ought to be intrusted to the majority of citizens
told by the head; in other words, to the poorest and most ignorant part
of society.

I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must,
sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization or both. In Europe,
where the population is dense, the effect of such institutions would be
almost instantaneous. What happened lately in France is an example. In
1848 a pure democracy was established there. During a short time there
was reason to expect a general spoliation, a national bankruptcy, a new
partition of the soil, a maximum of prices, a ruinous load of taxation
laid on the rich for the purpose of supporting the poor in idleness.

Such a system would, in twenty years, have made France as poor and
barbarous as the France of the Carlovingians. Happily the danger was
averted; and now there is a despotism, a silent tribune, an enslaved
press. Liberty is gone, but civilization has been saved.

I have not the smallest doubt that if we had a purely democratic
government here the effect would be the same. Either the poor would
plunder the rich and civilization would perish, or order and prosperity
would be saved by a strong military government, and liberty would

You may think that your country enjoys an exemption from these evils. I
will frankly own to you that I am of a very different opinion. Your fate
I believe to be certain, though it is deferred by a physical cause. As
long as you have a boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land your
laboring population will be far more at ease than the laboring
population of the Old World, and while that is the case the Jeffersonian
politics may continue to exist without causing any fatal calamity.

But the time will come when New England will be as thickly peopled as
old England. Wages will be as low and will fluctuate as much with you as
with us. You will have your Manchesters and Birminghams, and in those
Manchesters and Birminghams hundreds of thousands of artisans will
assuredly be sometimes out of work. Then your institutions will be
fairly brought to the test. Distress everywhere makes the laborer
mutinous and discontented, and inclines him to listen with eagerness to
agitators who tell him that it is a monstrous iniquity that one man
should have a million while another cannot get a full meal.

In bad years there is plenty of grumbling here, and sometimes a little
rioting. But it matters little. For here the sufferers are not the
rulers. The supreme power is in the hands of a class, numerous indeed,
but select; of an educated class; of a class which is, and knows itself
to be, deeply interested in the security of property and the maintenance
of order. Accordingly, the malcontents are firmly yet gently restrained.
The bad time is got over without robbing the wealthy to relieve the
indigent. The springs of national prosperity soon begin to flow again;
work is plentiful, wages rise and all is tranquillity and cheerfulness.
I have seen England pass three or four times through such critical
seasons as I have described.

Through such seasons the United States will have to pass in the course
of the next century, if not this. How will you pass through them? I
heartily wish you a good deliverance. But my reason and my wishes are at
war and I cannot help foreboding the worst. It is quite plan that your
government will never be able to restrain a distressed and discontented
majority. For with you the majority is the government, and has the rich,
who are always a minority, absolutely at its mercy.

The day will come when in the State of New York a multitude of people,
none of whom has had more than half a breakfast, or expects to have more
than half a dinner, will choose a legislature. Is it possible to doubt
what sort of a legislature will be chosen? On one side is a statesman
preaching patience, respect for vested rights, strict observance of
public faith. On the other is a demagogue ranting about the tyranny of
capitalists and usurers and asking why anybody should be permitted to
drink champagne and to ride in a carriage while thousands of honest
folks are in want of necessaries. Which of the two candidates are likely
to be preferred by a workingman who hears his children cry for more

I seriously apprehend that you will, in some such seasons of adversity
as I have described, do things which will prevent prosperity from
returning; that you will act like people who should in a year of
scarcity devour all the seed corn and thus make the next year not of
scarcity, but of absolute famine. There will be, I fear, spoliation. The
spoliation will increase the distress. The distress will produce fresh

There is nothing to stop you. Your Constitution is all sail and no
anchor. As I said before, when a society has entered on this downward
progress, either civilization or liberty must perish. Either some Cæsar
or Napoleon will seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or
your republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by
barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the
fifth, with this difference, that the Huns and vandals who ravaged the
Roman Empire came from without, and that your Huns and vandals will have
been engendered within your own country by your own institutions.

I have the honor to be, dear sir, your faithful servant, T.B. Macaulay.

H.S. Randall, Esq., etc., etc., etc.


Radical propagandists, with a sublime disregard for facts and history,
persist in extolling the tenets of Russian Communism as new discoveries
in the art of government. They assert that the Bolshevists have solved
for the first time in history the problem of social equality. They say
the experiment of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" has never before
been attempted and that it fails to find favor outside Russia because
peoples are always prone to condemn what they do not understand.

Russia, however, is but the last of many countries to rebel against its
own prosperity. During the twenty years preceding the World War Russia
enjoyed the greatest growth and development, both of its resources and
education, in the history of the country. Two-thirds of the agricultural
land in the nation was owned and occupied by the farming classes, which
comprised nearly three-fourths of the population. In ten years the
number of depositors in the savings banks of Russia had doubled and the
gross amount of the deposits had quadrupled.

Then came the war, to be followed by Bolshevism. The experience of
Russia in the last two years, however, is not unique in the history of
nations. The narration of the spoliation of the rich, the confiscation
of the estates and the profligate waste of the national substance is
only a repetition, almost verse for verse and line for line, of the
license and the abuses of the last years of the Athenian democracy. It
was then demonstrated that the impoverishing of the rich could not
enrich the poor, and that a state without wealth will soon be a state
without liberty. In the idiom of the gallery gods, it is all "old

The Charmides of Xenophon's "Banquet" celebrates the pleasures and
profits of poverty. He once possessed a fortune that made him fear
thieves and sycophants--in reality the same thing--Athens had levied
heavy taxes on the rich and had passed laws making it a capital offense
for a person of wealth to attempt to flee the state. The money raised by
thus taxing the wealthy was distributed to the poor in the public
places. Any one holding a certificate showing that he had not sufficient
wealth to be taxed was admitted free to the theaters and was entitled to
one meal a day at restaurants supported by the state.

The people's council, fearful that there might be a disposition to stop
this waste of public money, passed acts which decreed capital punishment
to any orator who should propose to modify the laws which made "poverty
a blessing."

Charmides recounts that he once lived in a state of perpetual terror.
New taxes were decreed every day, each of which he was compelled to pay.
He was deprived of the liberty even of leaving the state. His lot was
worse than that of the meanest slave.

Behold! a fertile imagination came to his rescue. He embarked in a
speculation in which failure was inevitable. Good fortune attended him.
Within a brief time he was penniless and happy. The unfortunate
speculator who had gained possession of the wealth of Charmides lived
for a brief time in the agony of wealth; then he attempted to flee the
state, was apprehended and executed.

Charmides makes votive offerings to the gods of Athens for his escape
from the terror and servitude of property. "How comfortably I sleep!" he
cries. "The republic has confidence in me. I am no longer threatened. It
is I who threaten others. A free man, I can go or stay. I appear at the
theater. I am admitted free. The rich rise in trembling and offer me the
best seats. When I walk abroad in the streets they stand aside to offer
me an unobstructed passage. To-day I resemble a tyrant. Then I was a
slave. Then I paid tribute to the state. Now the state, my tributary,
supports me. I lose nothing; for I have nothing."

For a time democratic Athens was a veritable Bolshevist paradise. But
when the ranks of the rich became depleted, when none cared longer to
engage in any profitable industry, the public revenue fell until there
was no money to support the happy idlers. The rich were tortured in the
vain hope that they would produce hidden treasure; but the public
treasury remained empty.

This period of riotous profligacy followed the happy conclusion for
Athens of the Theban war. When the Athenian proletariat discovered that
the state was about to pass under the yoke of Philip they hunted down
the remnant of the wealthy class that still remained, executed some,
banished others and sold still others into slavery for "betraying the
Athenian state and leaving it helpless before its enemies."

Shortly afterwards Athens came under the despotism of Philip, who
speedily conscripted this proletariat for forced labor. For a hundred
years afterwards, however, Athenian writers in bewailing their loss of
liberty blamed the fall of Athens upon the "rich," who failed to arm
and equip a force to fight Philip.

All the wisdom of her philosophers, all the art and learning whose loss
the world still mourns, fell before the onslaught of this triumphant
democracy. The culture of the few could not prevail against the greed of
the many. Domestic conditions became so intolerable that a majority of
the Athenians welcomed the stern but salutary rule of the tyrant. For
they had learned that the tyranny of a despot is easier to be borne than
that of universal poverty.

One does not have to interrogate the future to learn whither Russia
under Bolshevism is tending; one has but to look to the past. Like
causes cannot produce unlike effects. Under given conditions national
eclipses can be predicted as surely as the eclipses of the planets.

_Los Angeles Times_, May 4, 1921.


The hundredth anniversary of the passing of Napoleon centers attention
anew on one of the baffling figures of all time--a man at once
attractive and repulsive; a soldier of infinite courage who on at least
one occasion acted the coward; a master strategist who, to the last,
seemed never to fully grasp that strategy by which he almost recast a

He found Europe feudal and left it modern. He opened up new realms of
knowledge to the servants; revolutionized military tactics; founded
lasting industries; gave a new birth to French law; mocked and yet
fostered freedom.

More volumes have been written regarding him than any other character in
history--one excepted. Nevertheless, he still remains the most elusive,
the most unsatisfying genius that the world has ever known.

His accomplishments have by this time been fully set forth and properly
valued. We know that he stands practically alone as the greatest
strategist of the ages. Cromwell, on a smaller scale and within a far
more limited sphere, more nearly approaches him, perhaps, than does any

We know also that he was an adroit politician and a statesman on a scale
rarely equalled in Europe. He was also an orator and an adept at coining
phrases. He was an executive of immense power and a man of tremendous
personal charm.

Of course, he was relentless, cruel, unscrupulous and all the rest of
it, as we have been so often told. But, praise and blame aside, the
question of the source of his power still remains the important thing.

Certainly he was not great because he was a brilliant student, for, all
in all, he was not deeply read. It could hardly be claimed that he was
of the electric, assimilative type, for he would listen to no one and
held opinions of others in contempt. He was not even a strong reasoner
as the term is generally used.

Wherein, then, lay that genius which makes him the outstanding Frenchman
and one of the supreme personages of history? Apparently he was
pre-eminent because, more than almost any man who ever lived, he had the
power of harnessing his intuitive processes to his practical problems.

He, it seems, was able to tap that vast, hidden and unsung reservoir of
knowledge which is the epitome of all that the human mind has grasped
and which, though flowing through the subconscious mind of all, is
available in its entirety to but few--and then in all too brief flashes.

The theory of the quality of the human mind, with its every-day, jerky
reasoning powers and its submerged, smooth intuitions, finds its
strongest support in such an individual.

The subliminal mind, psychologists tell us, reaches out into daily life
when the normal intelligence is in abeyance--as in sleep or profound
relaxation. This subliminal (below the threshold) mind is swifter than
the conscious mind and over-reaches it in a flash. It is practically
unerring. It is controlled by laws not yet grasped to any great extent.
It is hidden from life, yet rules it.

Mystics have the gift, in varying degree, of allowing their subconscious
minds to engulf and enfold them. The real poets have written in words
that live because, unknowingly, they have fallen back on and given
expression to the accumulated hopes and visions of the mind of man. The
prophets have simply been those with the power to make their instincts
vocal. Genius, in all its phases, is seemingly but the measure of the
extent to which men coördinate their two minds, their instinct and their

Napoleon, in practically every crisis in which he functioned, struck
those about him as being in a dazed and unnatural condition. He had
those same periods of semi-stupefaction that characterized Cæsar, Paul,
Alexander, Goethe, Lincoln and other exceptional men at the time of or
immediately following a terrific use of their mental machinery.

What, then, if, in the final analysis, it should be shown that
Napoleon's greatness lay in the fact that he did not take his own mind
or any other man's mind too seriously?

Transcriber's notes:

Obvious typographical errors corrected.

Obvious Punctuation errors standardised.

Page 333 "It is quite plan that": As per original.

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