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

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

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

Title: The Book of Life
Author: Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of Life" ***

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

produced from images available at The Internet Archive)

Book _of_ Life



Book of Life






COPYRIGHT, 1921, 1922
_All Rights Reserved._

           Kate Crane Gartz
in acknowledgment of her unceasing efforts for a
better world, and her fidelity to those
      who struggle to achieve it.


The writer of this book has been in this world some forty-two years.
That may not seem long to some, but it is long enough to have made many
painful mistakes, and to have learned much from them. Looking about him,
he sees others making these same mistakes, suffering for lack of that
same knowledge which he has so painfully acquired. This being the case,
it seems a friendly act to offer his knowledge, minus the blunders and
the pain.

There come to the writer literally thousands of letters every year,
asking him questions, some of them of the strangest. A man is dying of
cancer, and do I think it can be cured by a fast? A man is unable to
make his wife happy, and can I tell him what is the matter with women? A
man has invested his savings in mining stock, and can I tell him what to
do about it? A man works in a sweatshop, and has only a little time for
self-improvement, and will I tell him what books he ought to read? Many
such questions every day make one aware of a vast mass of people,
earnest, hungry for happiness, and groping as if in a fog. The things
they most need to know they are not taught in the schools, nor in the
newspapers they read, nor in the church they attend. Of these agencies,
the first is not entirely competent, the second is not entirely honest,
and the third is not entirely up to date. Nor is there anywhere a book
in which the effort has been made to give to everyday human beings the
everyday information they need for the successful living of their lives.

For the present book the following claims may be made. First, it is a
modern book; its writer watches hour by hour the new achievements of the
human mind, he reaches out for information about them, he seeks to
adjust his own thoughts to them and to test them in his own living.
Second, it is, or tries hard to be, a wise book; its writer is not among
those too-ardent young radicals who leap to the conclusion that because
many old things are stupid and tiresome, therefore everything that is
old is to be spurned with contempt, and everything that proclaims itself
new is to be taken at its own valuation. Third, it is an honest book;
its writer will not pretend to know what he only guesses, and where it
is necessary to guess, he will say so frankly. Finally, it is a kind
book; it is not written for its author's glory, nor for his enrichment,
but to tell you things that may be useful to you in the brief span of
your life. It will attempt to tell you how to live, how to find health
and happiness and success, how to work and how to play, how to eat and
how to sleep, how to love and to marry and to care for your children,
how to deal with your fellow men in business and politics and social
life, how to act and how to think, what religion to believe, what art to
enjoy, what books to read. A large order, as the boys phrase it!

There are several ways for such a book to begin. It might begin with the
child, because we all begin that way; it might begin with love, because
that precedes the child; it might begin with the care of the body,
explaining that sound physical health is the basis of all right living,
and even of right thinking; it might begin as most philosophies do, by
defining life, discussing its origin and fundamental nature.

The trouble with this last plan is that there are a lot of people who
have their ideas on life made up in tabloid form; they have creeds and
catechisms which they know by heart, and if you suggest to them anything
different, they give you a startled look and get out of your way. And
then there is another, and in our modern world a still larger class, who
say, "Oh, shucks! I don't go in for religion and that kind of thing."
You offer them something that looks like a sermon, and they turn to the
baseball page.

Who will read this Book of Life? There will be, among others, the great
American tired business man. He wrestles with problems and cares all
day, and when he sits down to read in the evening, he says: "Make it
short and snappy." There is the wife of the tired business man, the
American perfect lady. She does most of the reading for the family; but
she has never got down to anything fundamental in her life, and mostly
she likes to read about exciting love affairs, which she distinguishes
from the unexciting kind she knows by the word "romance." Then there is
the still more tired American workingman, who has been "speeded up" all
day under the bonus system or the piece-work system, and is apt to fall
asleep in his chair before he finishes supper. Then there is the
workingman's wife, who has slaved all day in the kitchen, and has a
chance for a few minutes' intimacy with her husband before he falls
asleep. She would like to have somebody tell her what to do for croup,
but she is not sure that she has time to discuss the question whether
life is worth living.

Yet, I wonder; is there a single one among all these tired people, or
even among the cynical people, who has not had some moment of awe when
the thought came stabbing into his mind like a knife: "What a strange
thing this life is! What am I anyhow? Where do I come from, and what is
going to become of me? What do I mean, what am I here for?" I have sat
chatting with three hoboes by a railroad track, cooking themselves a
mulligan in an old can, and heard one of them say: "By God, it's a queer
thing, ain't it, mate?" I have sat on the deck of a ship, looking out
over the midnight ocean and talking with a sailor, and heard him use
almost the identical words. It is not only in the class-room and the
schools that the minds of men are grappling with the fundamental
problems; in fact, it was not from the schools that the new religions
and the great moral impulses of humanity took their origin. It was from
lonely shepherds sitting on the hillsides, and from fishermen casting
their nets, and from carpenters and tailors and shoemakers at their

Stop and think a bit, and you will realize it does make a difference
what you believe about life, how it comes to be, where it is going, and
what is your place in it. Is there a heaven with a God, who watches you
day and night, and knows every thought you think, and will some day take
you to eternal bliss if you obey his laws? If you really believe that,
you will try to find out about his laws, and you will be comparatively
little concerned about the success or failure of your business. Perhaps,
on the other hand, you have knocked about in the world and lost your
"faith"; you have been cheated and exploited, and have set out to "get
yours," as the phrase is; to "feather your own nest." But some gust of
passion seizes you, and you waste your substance, you wreck your life;
then you wonder, "Who set that trap and baited it? Am I a creature of
blind instincts, jealousies and greeds and hates beyond my own control
entirely? Am I a poor, feeble insect, blown about in a storm and
smashed? Or do I make the storm, and can I in any part control it?"

No matter how busy you may be, no matter how tired you may be, it will
pay you to get such things straight: to know a little of what the wise
men of the past have thought about them, and more especially what
science with its new tools of knowledge may have discovered.

The writer of this book spent nine years of his life in colleges and
universities; also he was brought up in a church. So he knows the
orthodox teachings, he can say that he has given to the recognized wise
men of the world every opportunity to tell him what they know. Then,
being dissatisfied, he went to the unrecognized teachers, the
enthusiasts and the "cranks" of a hundred schools. Finally, he thought
for himself; he was even willing to try experiments upon himself. As a
result, he has not found what he claims is ultimate or final truth; but
he has what he might describe as a rough working draft, a practical
outline, good for everyday purposes. He is going to have confidence
enough in you, the reader, to give you the hardest part first; that is,
to begin with the great fundamental questions. What is life, and how
does it come to be? What does it mean, and what have we to do with it?
Are we its masters or its slaves? What does it owe us, and what do we
owe to it? Why is it so hard, and do we have to stand its hardness? And
can we really know about all these matters, or will we be only guessing?
Can we trust ourselves to think about them, or shall we be safer if we
believe what we are told? Shall we be punished if we think wrong, and
how shall we be punished? Shall we be rewarded if we think right, and
will the pay be worth the trouble?

Such questions as these I am going to try to answer in the simplest
language possible. I would avoid long words altogether, if I could; but
some of these long words mean certain definite things, and there are no
other words to serve the purpose. You do not refuse to engage in the
automobile business because the carburetor and the differential are
words of four syllables. Neither should you refuse to get yourself
straight with the universe because it is too much trouble to go to the
dictionary and learn that the word "phenomenon" means something else
than a little boy who can play the piano or do long division in his




CHAPTER I. THE NATURE OF LIFE                                          3

Attempts to show what we know about life; to set the
bounds of real truth as distinguished from phrases and

CHAPTER II. THE NATURE OF FAITH                                        8

Attempts to show what we can prove by our reason, and
what we know intuitively; what is implied in the process
of thinking, and without which no thought could be.

CHAPTER III. THE USE OF REASON                                        12

Attempts to show that in the field to which reason applies
we are compelled to use it, and are justified in trusting it.

CHAPTER IV. THE ORIGIN OF MORALITY                                    17

Compares the ways of Nature with human morality, and
tries to show how the latter came to be.

CHAPTER V. NATURE AND MAN                                             21

Attempts to show how man has taken control of Nature,
and is carrying on her processes and improving upon them.

CHAPTER VI. MAN THE REBEL                                             27

Shows the transition stage between instinct and reason,
in which man finds himself, and how he can advance to
a securer condition.

CHAPTER VII. MAKING OUR MORALS                                        31

Attempts to show that human morality must change to fit
human facts, and there can be no judge of it save human

CHAPTER VIII. THE VIRTUE OF MODERATION                                37

Attempts to show that wise conduct is an adjustment of
means to ends, and depends upon the understanding of a
particular set of circumstances.

CHAPTER IX. THE CHOOSING OF LIFE                                      42

Discusses the standards by which we may judge what is
best in life, and decide what we wish to make of it.

CHAPTER X. MYSELF AND MY NEIGHBOR                                     50

Compares the new morality with the old, and discusses the
relative importance of our various duties.

CHAPTER XI. THE MIND AND THE BODY                                     53

Discusses the interaction between physical and mental
things, and the possibility of freedom in a world of fixed

CHAPTER XII. THE MIND OF THE BODY                                     61

Discusses the subconscious mind, what it is, what it does
to the body, and how it can be controlled and made use
of by the intelligence.

CHAPTER XIII. EXPLORING THE SUBCONSCIOUS                              67

Discusses automatic writing, the analysis of dreams, and
other methods by which a new universe of life has been
brought to human knowledge.

CHAPTER XIV. THE PROBLEM OF IMMORTALITY                               74

Discusses the survival of personality from the moral point
of view: that is, have we any claim upon life, entitling
us to live forever?

CHAPTER XV. THE EVIDENCE FOR SURVIVAL                                 81

Discusses the data of psychic research, and the proofs of
spiritism thus put before us.

CHAPTER XVI. THE POWERS OF THE MIND                                   91

Sets forth the fact that knowledge is freedom and ignorance
is slavery, and what science means to the people.

CHAPTER XVII. THE CONDUCT OF THE MIND                                 98

Concludes the Book of the Mind with a study of how to
preserve and develop its powers for the protection of our
lives and the lives of all men.


CHAPTER XVIII. THE UNITY OF THE BODY                                 105

Discusses the body as a whole, and shows that health is
not a matter of many different organs and functions, but
is one problem of one organism.

CHAPTER XIX. EXPERIMENTS IN DIET                                     115

Narrates the author's adventures in search of health, and
his conclusions as to what to eat.

CHAPTER XX. ERRORS IN DIET                                           123

Discusses the different kinds of foods, and the part they
play in the making of health and disease.

CHAPTER XXI. DIET STANDARDS                                          134

Discusses various foods and their food values, the quantities
we need, and their money cost.

CHAPTER XXII. FOODS AND POISONS                                      145

Concludes the subject of diet, and discusses the effect upon
the system of stimulants and narcotics.

CHAPTER XXIII. MORE ABOUT HEALTH                                     156

Discusses the subjects of breathing and ventilation, clothing,
bathing and sleep.

CHAPTER XXIV. WORK AND PLAY                                          163

Deals with the question of exercise, both for the idle and
the overworked.

CHAPTER XXV. THE FASTING CURE                                        169

Deals with Nature's own remedy for disease, and how to
make use of it.

CHAPTER XXVI. BREAKING THE FAST                                      177

Discusses various methods of building up the body after
a fast, especially the milk diet.

CHAPTER XXVII. DISEASES AND CURES                                    182

Discusses some of the commoner human ailments, and
what is known about their cause and cure.





     (Attempts to show what we know about life; to set the bounds of
     real truth as distinguished from phrases and self-deception.)

If I could, I would begin this book by telling you what Life is. But
unfortunately I do not know what Life is. The only consolation I can
find is in the fact that nobody else knows either.

We ask the churches, and they tell us that male and female created He
them, and put them in the Garden of Eden, and they would have been happy
had not Satan tempted them. But then you ask, who made Satan, and the
explanation grows vague. You ask, if God made Satan, and knew what Satan
was going to do, is it not the same as if God did it himself? So this
explanation of the origin of evil gets you no further than the Hindoo
picture of the world resting on the back of a tortoise, and the tortoise
on the head of a snake--and nothing said as to what the snake rests on.

Let us go to the scientist. I know a certain physiologist, perhaps the
greatest in the world, and his eager face rises before me, and I hear
his quick, impetuous voice declaring that he knows what Life is; he has
told it in several big volumes, and all I have to do is to read them.
Life is a tropism, caused by the presence of certain combinations of
chemicals; my friend knows this, because he has produced the thing in
his test-tubes. He is an exponent of a way of thought called Monism,
which finds the ultimate source of being in forms of energy manifesting
themselves as matter; he shows how all living things arise from that and
sink back into it.

But question this scientist more closely. What is this "matter" that you
are so sure of? How do you know it? Obviously, through sensations. You
never know matter itself, you only know its effects upon you, and you
assume that the matter must be there to cause the sensation. In other
words, "matter," which seems so real, turns out to be merely "a
permanent possibility of sensation." And suppose there were to be
sensations, caused, for example, by a sportive demon who liked to make
fun of eminent physiologists--then there might be the appearance of
matter and nothing else; in other words, there might be mind, and
various states of mind. So we discover that the materialist, in the
philosophic sense, is making just as large an act of faith, is
pronouncing just as bold a dogma as any priest of any religion.

This is an old-time topic of disputation. Before Mother Eddy there was
Bishop Berkeley, and before Berkeley, there was Plato, and they and the
materialists disputed until their hearers cried in despair, "What is
Mind? No matter! What is Matter? Never mind!" But a century or two ago
in a town of Prussia there lived a little, dried-up professor of
philosophy, who sat himself down in his room and fixed his eyes on a
church steeple outside the window, and for years on end devoted himself
to examining the tools of thought with which the human mind is provided,
and deciding just what work and how much of it they are fitted to do. So
came the proof that our minds are incapable of reaching to or dealing
with any ultimate reality whatever, but can comprehend only
phenomena--that is to say, appearances--and their relations one with
another. The Koenigsberg professor proved this once for all time,
setting forth four propositions about ultimate reality, and proving them
by exact and irrefutable logic, and then proving by equally exact and
irrefutable logic their precise opposites and contraries. Anybody who
has read and comprehended the four "antinomies" of Immanuel Kant[A]
knows that metaphysics is as dead a subject as astrology, and that all
the complicated theories which the philosophers from Heraclitus to
Arthur Balfour have spun like spiders out of their inner consciousness,
have no more relation to reality than the intricacies of the game of

     [A] See Paulsen: "Life of Kant."

The writer is sorry to make this statement, because he spent a lot of
time reading these philosophers and acquainting himself with their
subtle theories. He learned a whole language of long words, and even the
special meanings which each philosopher or school of philosophers give
to them. When he had got through, he had learned, so far as metaphysics
is concerned, absolutely nothing, and had merely the job of clearing out
of his mind great masses of verbal cobwebs. It was not even good
intellectual training; the metaphysical method of thought is a _trap_.
The person who thinks in absolutes and ultimates is led to believe that
he has come to conclusions about reality, when as a matter of fact he
has merely proved what he wants to believe; if he had wanted to believe
the opposite, he could have proven that exactly as well--as his
opponents will at once demonstrate.

If you multiply two feet by two feet, the result represents a plain
surface, or figure of two dimensions. If you multiply two feet by two
feet by two feet, you have a solid, or figure of three dimensions--such
as the world in which we live and move. But now, suppose you multiply
two feet by two feet by two feet by two feet, what does that represent?
For ages the minds of mathematicians and philosophers have been tempted
by this fascinating problem of the "fourth dimension." They have worked
out by analogy what such a world would be like. If you went into this
"fourth dimension," you could turn yourself inside out, and come back to
our present world in that condition, and no one of your three-dimension
friends would be able to imagine how you had managed it, or to put you
back again the way you belonged. And in this, it seems to me, we have
the perfect analogy of metaphysical thinking. It is the "fourth
dimension" of the mind, and plays as much havoc with sound thinking as a
physical "fourth dimension" would play with--say, the prison system. A
man who takes up an absolute--God, immortality, the origin of being, a
first cause, free will, absolute right or wrong, infinite time or space,
final truth, original substance, the "thing in itself"--that man
disappears into a fourth dimension, and turns himself inside out or
upside down or hindside foremost, and comes back and exhibits himself in
triumph; then, when he is ready, he effects another disappearance, and
another change, and is back on earth an ordinary human being.

The world is full of schools of thought, theologians and metaphysicians
and professors of academic philosophy, transcendentalists and
theosophists and Christian Scientists, who perform such mental
monkey-shines continuously before our eyes. They prove what they please,
and the fact that no two of them prove the same thing makes clear to us
in the end that none of them has proved anything. The Christian
Scientist asserts that there is no such thing as matter, but that pain
is merely a delusion of mortal mind; he continues serene in this faith
until he runs into an automobile and sustains a compound fracture of
the femur--whereupon he does exactly what any of the rest of us do, goes
to a competent surgeon and has the bone set. On the other hand, some
devoted young Socialists of my acquaintance have read Haeckel and
Dietzgen, and adopted the dogma that matter is the first cause, and that
all things have grown out of it and return to it; they have seen that
the brain decays after death, they declare that the soul is a function
of the brain--and because of such theories they deliberately reject the
most powerful modes of appeal whereby men can be swayed to faith in
human solidarity.

The best books I know for the sweeping out of metaphysical cobwebs are
"The Philosophy of Common Sense" and "The Creed of a Layman," by
Frederic Harrison, leader of the English Positivists, a school of
thought established by Auguste Comte. But even as I recommend these
books, I recall the dissatisfaction with which I left them; for it
appears that the Positivists have their dogmas like all the rest. Mr.
Harrison is not content to say that mankind has not the mental tools for
dealing with ultimate realities; he must needs prove that mankind never
will and never can have these tools, I look back upon the long process
of evolution and ask myself, What would an oyster think about
Positivism? What would be the opinion of, let us say, a young turnip on
the subject of Mr. Frederic Harrison's thesis? It may well be that the
difference between a turnip and Mr. Harrison is not so great as will be
the difference between Mr. Harrison and that super-race which some day
takes possession of the earth and of all the universe. It does not seem
to me good science or good sense to dogmatize about what this race will
know, or what will be its tools of thought. What does seem to me good
science and good sense is to take the tools which we now possess and use
them to their utmost capacity.

What is it that we know about life? We know a seemingly endless stream
of sensations which manifest themselves in certain ways, and seem to
inhere in what we call things and beings. We observe incessant change in
all these phenomena, and we examine these changes and discover their
ways. The ways seem to be invariable; so completely so that for
practical purposes we assume them to be invariable, and base all our
calculations and actions upon this assumption. Manifestly, we could not
live otherwise, and the spread of scientific knowledge is the further
tracing out of such "laws"--that is to say, the ways of behaving of
existence--and the extending of our belief in their invariability to
wider and wider fields.

Once upon a time we were told that "the wind bloweth where it listeth."
But now we are quite certain that there are causes for the blowing of
the wind, and when our researches have been carried far enough, we shall
be able to account for and to predict every smallest breath of air. Once
we were told that dreams came from a supernatural world; but now we are
beginning to analyze dreams, and to explain what they come from and what
they mean. Perhaps we still find human nature a bewildering and
unaccountable thing; but some day we shall know enough of man's body and
his mind, his past and his present, to be able to explain human nature
and to produce it at will, precisely as today we produce certain
reactions in our test-tubes, and do it so invariably that the most
cautious financier will invest tens of millions of dollars in a process,
and never once reflect that he is putting too much trust in the
permanence of nature.

In many departments of thought great specialists are now working,
experimenting and observing by the methods of science. If in the course
of this book we speak of "certainty," we mean, of course, not the
"absolute" certainty of any metaphysical dogma, but the practical
certainty of everyday common sense; the certainty we feel that eating
food will satisfy our hunger, and that tomorrow, as today, two and two
will continue to make four.



     (Attempts to show what we can prove by our reason, and what we know
     intuitively; what is implied in the process of thinking, and
     without which no thought could be.)

The primary fact that we know about life is growth. Herbert Spencer has
defined this growth, or evolution, in a string of long words which may
be summed up to mean: the process whereby a number of things which are
simple and like one another become different parts of one thing which is
complex. If we observe this process in ourselves, and the symptoms of it
in others, we discover that when it is proceeding successfully, it is
accompanied by a sensation of satisfaction which we call happiness or
pleasure; also that when it is thwarted or repressed, it is accompanied
by a different sensation which we call pain. Subtle metaphysicians, both
inside the churches and out, have set themselves to the task of proving
that there must be some other object of life than the continuance of
these sensations of pleasure which accompany successful growth. They
have proven to their own satisfaction that morality will collapse and
human progress come to an end unless we can find some other motive,
something more permanent and more stimulating, something "higher," as
they phrase it. All I can say is that I gave reverent attention to the
arguments of these moralists and theologians, and that for many years I
believed their doctrines; but I believe them no longer.

I interpret the purpose of life to be the continuous unfoldment of its
powers, its growth into higher forms--that is to say, forms more complex
and subtly contrived, capable of more intense and enduring kinds of that
satisfaction which is nature's warrant of life. If you wish to take up
this statement and argue about it, please wait until you have read the
chapter "Nature and Man," and noted my distinction between instinctive
life and rational life. For men, the word "growth" does not mean _any_
growth, _all_ growth, blind and indiscriminate growth. It does not mean
growth for the tubercle bacillus, nor growth for the anopheles mosquito,
nor growth for the house-fly, the spider and the louse. Neither do we
mean that the purpose of man's own life is _any_ pleasure, _all_
pleasure, blind and indiscriminate pleasure; the pleasure of alcohol,
the pleasure of cannibalism, the pleasure of the modern form of
cannibalism which we call "making money." We have survived in the
struggle for existence by the cooperative and social use of our powers
of judgment; and our judgment is that which selects among forms of
growth, which gives preference to wheat and corn over weeds, and to
self-control and honesty over treachery and greed.

So when we say that the purpose of life is happiness, we do not mean to
turn mankind loose at a hog-trough; we mean that our duty as thinkers is
to watch life, to test it, to pick and choose among the many forms it
offers, and to say: This kind of growth is more permanent and full of
promise, it is more fertile, more deeply satisfactory; therefore, we
choose this, and sanction the kind of pleasure which it brings. Other
kinds we decide are temporary and delusive; therefore we put in jail
anyone who sells alcoholic drink, and we refuse to invite to our home
people who are lewd, and some day we shall not permit our children to
attend moving picture shows in which the modern form of cannibalism is

The reader, no doubt, has been taught a distinction between "science"
and "faith." He is saying now, "You believe that everything is to be
determined by human reason? You reject all faith?" I answer, No; I am
not rejecting faith; I am merely refusing to apply it to objects with
which it has nothing to do. You do not take it as a matter of faith that
a package of sugar weighs a pound; you put it on the scales and find
out--in other words, you make it a matter of experiment. But all the
creeds of all the religious sects are full of pronouncements which are
no more matters of faith than the question of the weighing of sugar. Is
pork a wholesome article of food or is it not? All Christians will
readily acknowledge that this is a matter to be determined by the
microscope and other devices of experimental science; but then some Jew
rises in the meeting and puts the question: Is dancing injurious to the
character? And immediately all members of the Methodist Episcopal Church
vote to close the discussion.

What is faith? Faith is the instinct which underlies all being, assuring
us that life is worth while and honest, a thing to be trusted; in other
words, it is the certainty that successful growth always is and always
will be accompanied by pleasure. The most skeptical scientist in the
world, even my friend the physiologist who proves that life is nothing
but a tropism, and can be produced by mixing chemicals in
test-tubes--this eager friend is one of the most faithful men I know. He
is burning up with the faith that knowledge is worth possessing, and
also that it is possible of attainment. With what boundless scorn would
he receive any suggestion to the contrary--for example, the idea that
life might be a series of sensations which some sportive demon is
producing for the torment of man! More than that, this friend is burning
up with the certainty that knowledge can be spread, that his fellow men
will receive it and apply it, and that it will make them happy when they
do. Why else does he write his learned books in defense of the
materialist philosophy?

And that same faith which animates the great monist animates likewise
every child who toddles off to school, and every chicken which emerges
from an egg, and every blade of grass which thrusts its head above the
ground. Not every chicken survives, of course, and all the blades of
grass wither in the fall; nevertheless, the seeds of grass are spread,
and chickens make food for philosophers, and the great process of life
continues to manifest its faith. In the end the life process produces
man, who, as we shall presently see, takes it up, and judges it, and
makes it over to suit himself.

You will note from this that I am what is called an optimist; whereas
some of the great philosophers of the world have called themselves
pessimists. But I notice with a smile that these are often the men who
work hardest of all to spread their ideas, and thus testify to the
worthwhileness of truth and the perfectibility of mankind. There has
come to be a saying among settlement workers and physicians, who are
familiar with poverty and its effects upon life, that there are no bad
babies and good babies, there are only sick babies and well babies. In
the same way, I would say there are no pessimists and optimists, there
are only mentally sick people and mentally well people. Everywhere
throughout life, both animal and vegetable, health means happiness, and
gives abundant evidence of that fact. All healthy life is satisfactory
to itself; when it develops reason, it tries to find out why, and this
is yet another testimony to the fact that having power and using it is
pleasant. When I was in college the professor would propound the old
question: "Would you rather be a happy pig or an unhappy philosopher?"
My answer always was: "I would rather be a happy philosopher." The
professor replied: "Perhaps that is not possible." But I said: "I will
prove that it is!"



     (Attempts to show that in the field to which reason applies we are
     compelled to use it, and are justified in trusting it.)

The great majority of people are brought up to believe that some
particular set of dogmas are objects of faith, and that there are
penalties more or less severe for the application of reason to these
dogmas. What particular set it happens to be is a matter of geography;
in a crowded modern city like New York, it is a matter of the particular
block on which the child is born. A child born on Hester Street will be
taught that his welfare depends upon his never eating meat and butter
from the same dish. A child born on Tenth Avenue will be taught that it
is a matter of his not eating meat on Fridays. A child born on Madison
Avenue will be taught that it is a question of the precise metaphysical
process by which bread is changed into human body and wine into human
blood. Each of these children will be assured that his human reason is
fallible, that it is extremely dangerous to apply it to this "sacred"
subject, and that the proper thing to do is to accept the authority of
some ancient tradition, or some institution, or some official, or some
book for which a special sanction is claimed.

Has there ever been in the world any revelation, outside of or above
human reason? Could there ever be such a thing? In order to test this
possibility, select for yourself the most convincing way by which a
special revelation could be handed down to mankind. Take any of the
ancient orthodox ways, the finding of graven tablets on a mountain-top,
or a voice speaking from a burning bush, or an angel appearing before a
great concourse of people and handing out a written scroll. Suppose that
were to happen, let us say, at the next Yale-Harvard football game;
suppose the news were to be flashed to the ends of the earth that God
had thus presented to mankind an entirely new religion. What would be
the process by which the people of London or Calcutta would decide upon
that revelation? First, they would have to consider the question
whether it was an American newspaper fake--by no means an easy question.
Second, they would have to consider the chances of its being an optical
delusion. Then, assuming they accepted the sworn testimony of ten
thousand mature and competent witnesses, they would have to consider the
possibility of someone having invented a new kind of invisible
aeroplane. Assuming they were convinced that it was really a
supernatural being, they would next have to decide the chances of its
being a visitor from Mars, or from the fourth dimension of space, or
from the devil. In considering all this, they would necessarily have to
examine the alleged revelation. What was the literary quality of it?
What was the moral quality of it? What would be the effect upon mankind
if the alleged revelation were to be universally adopted and applied?

Manifestly, all these are questions for the human reason, the human
judgment; there is no other method of determining them, there would be
nothing for any individual person, or for men as a whole to do, except
to apply their best powers, and, as the phrase is, "make up their minds"
about the matter. Reason would be the judge, and the new revelation
would be the prisoner at the bar. Humanity might say, this is a real
inspiration, we will submit ourselves to it and follow it, and allow no
one from now on to question it. But inevitably there would be some who
would say, "Tommyrot!" There would be others who would say, "This new
revelation isn't working, it is repressing progress, it is stifling the
mind." These people would stand up for their conviction, they would
become martyrs, and all the world would have to discuss them. And who
would decide between them and the great mass of men? Reason, the judge,
would decide.

It is perfectly true that human reason is fallible. Infallibility is an
absolute, a concept of the mind, and not a reality. Life has not given
us infallibility, any more than it has given us omniscience, or
omnipotence, or any other of those attributes which we call divine. Life
has given us powers, more or less weak, more or less strong, but all
capable of improvement and development. Reason is the tool whereby
mankind has won supremacy over the rest of the animal kingdom, and is
gradually taking control of the forces of nature. It is the best tool we
have, and because it is the best, we are driven irresistibly to use it.
And how strange that some of us can find no better use for it than to
destroy its own self! Visit one of the Jesuit fathers and hear him seek
to persuade you that reason is powerless against faith and must abdicate
to faith. You answer, "Yes, father, you have persuaded me. I admit the
fallibility of my mortal powers; and I begin by applying my doubts of
them to the arguments by which you have just convinced me. I was
convinced, but of course I cannot be sure of a conviction, attained by
fallible reason. Therefore I am just where I was before--except that I
am no longer in position to be certain of anything."

You answer in good faith, and take up your hat and depart, closing the
door of the good father's study behind you. But stop a moment, why do
you close the door? You close the door because your reason tells you
that otherwise the cold air outside will blow in and make the good
father uncomfortable. You put your hat on, because your reason has not
yet been applied to the problem of the cause of baldness. You step out
onto the street, and when you hear a sudden noise, you step back onto
the curbstone, because your reason tells you that an automobile is
coming, and that on the sidewalk you are safe from it. So you go on,
using your reason in a million acts of your life whereby your life is
preserved and developed. And if anybody suggested that the fallibility
of your reason should cause you to delay in front of an automobile, you
would apply your reason to the problem of that person and decide that he
was insane. And I say that just as there is insanity in everyday
judgments and relationships, so there is insanity in philosophy,
metaphysics and religion; the seed and source of all this kind of
insanity being the notion that it is the duty of anybody to believe
anything which cannot completely justify itself as reasonable.

Nowadays, as ideas are spreading, the champions of dogma are hard put to
it, and you will find their minds a muddle of two points of view. The
Jewish rabbi will strive desperately to think of some hygienic objection
to the presence of meat and butter on the same plate; the Catholic
priest will tell you that fish is a very wholesome article of food, and
that anyhow we all eat too much; the Methodist and the Baptist and the
Presbyterian will tell you that if men did not rest one day in seven
their health would break down. Thus they justify faith by reason, and
reconcile the conflict between science and theology. Accepting this
method, I experiment and learn that it improves my digestion and adds to
my working power if I play tennis on Sunday. I follow this indisputably
rational form of conduct--and find myself in conflict with the "faith"
of the ancient State of Delaware, which obliges me to serve a term in
its state's prison for having innocently and unwittingly desecrated its
day of holiness!

If you read Professor Bury's little book, "A History of Freedom of
Thought," you will discover that there has been a long conflict over the
right of men to use their minds--and the victory is not yet. The term
"free thinker," which ought to be the highest badge a man could wear, is
still almost everywhere throughout America a term of vague terror. In
the State of California today there is a Criminal Syndicalism Act, which
provides a maximum of fourteen years in jail for any person who shall
write or publish or speak any words expressive of the idea that the
United States government should be overthrown in the same way that it
was established--that is, by force; only a few months ago the writer of
this book was on the witness stand for two days, and had the painful,
almost incredible experience of being battered and knocked about by an
inquisitive district attorney, who cross-examined him as to every detail
of his beliefs, and read garbled extracts from his published writings,
in the effort to make it appear that he held some belief which might
possibly prejudice the jury against him. The defendant in this case, a
returned soldier who had spent three years as a volunteer in the
trenches, and had been twice wounded and once gassed, was accused, not
merely of approving the Soviet form of government, but also of having
printed uncomplimentary references to priests and religious

Nowadays it is the propertied class which has taken possession of the
powers of government, and which presumes to censor the thinking of
mankind in its own interest. But whether it be priestcraft or whether it
be capitalism which seeks to bind the human mind, it comes to the same
thing, and the effort must be met by the assertion that, in spite of
errors and blunders, and the serious harm these may do, there is no way
for men to advance save by using the best powers of thinking they
possess, and proclaiming their conclusions to others. Speaking
theologically for the moment, God has given us our reasoning powers, and
also the impulse to use them, and it is inconceivable that He should
seek to restrict their use, or should give to anyone the power to forbid
their use. It is His truth which we seek, and His which we proclaim. In
so doing we perform our highest act of faith, and we refuse to be
troubled by the idea that for this service He will reward us by an
eternity of sulphur and brimstone.

Throughout the remainder of this book it will be assumed that the reader
accepts this point of view, or, at any rate, that he is willing for
purposes of experiment to give it a trial and see where it leads him. We
shall proceed to consider the problems of human life in the light of
reason, to determine how they come to be, and how they can be solved.



     (Compares the ways of nature with human morality, and tries to show
     how the latter came to be.)

Seventy years ago Charles Darwin published his book, "The Origin of
Species," in which he defied the theological dogma of his time by the
shocking idea that life had evolved by many stages of progress from the
diatom to man. This of course did not conform to the story of the Garden
of Eden, and so "Darwinism" was fought as an invention of the devil, and
in the interior of America there are numerous sectarian colleges where
the dread term "evolution" is spoken in awed whispers. Only the other
day I read in my newspaper the triumphant proclamation of some clergyman
that "Darwinism" had been overthrown. This reverend gentleman had got
mixed up because some biologists were disputing some detail of the
method by which the evolution of species had been brought about. Do
species change by the gradual elimination of the unfit, or do they
change by sudden leaps, the "mutation" theory of de Vries? Are acquired
powers transmitted to posterity, or is the germ plasm unaffected by its
environment? Concerning such questions the scientists debate. But the
fact that life has evolved in an ordered series from the lower forms to
the higher, and that each individual reproduces in embryo and in infancy
the history of this long process--these facts are now the basis of all
modern thinking, and as generally accepted as the rotation of the earth.

You may study this process of evolution from the outside, in the
multitude of forms which it has assumed and in their reactions one to
another; or you may study it from the inside in your own soul, the
emotions which accompany it, the impulse or craving which impels it, the
_élan vital_, as it is called by the French philosopher Bergson. The
Christians call it love, and Nietzsche, who hated Christianity, called
it "the will to power," and persuaded himself that it was the opposite
of love.

You will find in the essays of Professor Huxley, one entitled
"Evolution and Ethics," in which he sets forth the complete unmorality
of nature, and declares that there is no way by which what mankind knows
as morality can have originated in the process of nature or can be
reconciled to natural law. This statement, coming from a leading
agnostic, was welcome to the theologians. But when I first read the
essay, as a student of sixteen, it seemed to me narrow; I thought I saw
a standpoint from which the contradiction disappeared. The difference
between the morality of Christ and the morality of nature is merely the
difference between a lower and a higher stage of mental development. The
animal loves and seeks by instinct to preserve the life which it
knows--that is to say, its own life and the life of its young. The wolf
knows nothing about the feelings of a deer; but man in his savage state
develops reasoning powers enough to realize that there are others like
himself, the members of his own tribe, and he makes for himself taboos
which forbid him to kill and eat the members of that tribe. At the
present time humanity has developed its reason and imaginative sympathy
to include in the "tribe" one or two hundred million people; while to
those outside the tribe it still preserves the attitude of the wolf.

How came it that a mind so acute as Huxley's went so far astray on the
question of the evolution of morality? The answer is that this was the
factory age in England, and the great scientist, a rebel in theological
matters, was in economics a child of his time. We find him using the
formulas of bourgeois biology to ridicule Henry George and his plea for
the freeing of the land. "Competition is the life of trade," ran the
nineteenth century slogan; and competition was the god of nineteenth
century biology. Tennyson summed it up in the phrase: "Nature red in
tooth and claw with ravin;" and this was found convenient by Manchester
manufacturers who wished to shut little children up for fourteen hours a
day in cotton mills, and to harness women to drag cars in the coal
mines, and to be told by the learned men of their colleges and the holy
men of their churches that this was "the survival of the fittest," it
was nature's way of securing the advancement of the race.

But now we are preparing for an era of cooperation, and it occurs to our
men of science to go back to nature and find out what really are her
ways. If you will read Kropotkin's "Mutual Aid as a Factor in
Evolution," you will find a complete refutation of the old bourgeois
biology, and a view of nature which reveals in it the germs of human
morality. Kropotkin points out that everywhere throughout nature it is
the social and not the solitary animals which are most numerous and most
successful. There are many millions of ants and bees for every hawk or
eagle, and certainly in the state of nature there were thousands of deer
for every lion or tiger that preyed upon them. And all these social
creatures have their ways of being, which it requires no stress of the
imagination to compare with the tribal customs and the moral codes of
mankind. The different animals prey upon one another, but they do not
prey upon their own species, except in a few rare cases. The only beast
that makes a regular practice of exploiting his own kind is man.

By hundreds of interesting illustrations Kropotkin shows that mutual aid
and mutual self-protection are the means whereby the higher forms of
being have been evolved. Insects and birds and fish, nearly all the
herbivorous mammals, and even a great many of the carnivores, help one
another and protect one another. The chattering monkeys in the treetops
drove out the saber-tooth tiger from the grove because there were so
many of them, and when they saw him they all set up a shriek and clamor
which deafened and confused him. And when by and by these monkeys
developed an opposed thumb, and broke off a branch of a tree for a club,
and fastened a sharp stone on the end of it for an axe, and fell upon
the saber-toothed tiger and exterminated him, they did it because they
had learned solidarity--even as the workers of the world are today
learning solidarity in the face of the beast of capitalism.

Man has survived by the cunning of his brain, we are told, and that is
true. But first among the products of that cunning brain has been the
knowledge that by himself he is the most helpless and pitiful of
creatures, while standing together and forming societies and developing
moralities, he is master of the world. He has not yet learned that
lesson entirely; he has learned it only for his own nation. Therefore he
takes the highest skill of his hand and the subtlest wit of his brain,
and uses them to manufacture poison gases. At the present hour he is
painfully realizing that his poison formulas all become known to the
tribes whom he calls his enemies, and so it is his own destruction he is
engaged in contriving. In other words, man has come to a time when his
mechanical skill, his mastery over the forces of nature, has developed
more rapidly than his moral sense and his imaginative sympathy. His
ability to destroy life has become dangerously greater than his desire
to preserve it. So he confronts the fair face of nature as an insane
creature, wrecking not merely everything that he himself has built up,
but everything that nature has built in the ages before him. He is
striving now with infinite agony to make this fact real to himself, and
to mend his evil ways; and the first step in that process is to root out
from his mind the devil's doctrine which in his blindness and greed he
has himself implanted, that there is any way for him to find real
happiness, or to make any worth while progress on this earth, by the
method of inflicting misery and torment upon his fellow men.



     (Attempts to show how man has taken control of nature, and is
     carrying on her processes and improving upon them.)

If the argument of the preceding chapter is sound, human morality is not
a fixed and eternal set of laws, but is, like everything else in the
world, a product of natural evolution. We can trace the history of it,
just as we trace the story of the rocks. It is not a mysterious or
supernatural thing, it is simply the reaction of man to his environment,
and more especially to his fellow men. The source of it is that same
inner impulse, that love of life, that joy in growing, that faith which
appears to be the soul of all being.

Man is a part of nature and a product of nature; in many fundamental
respects his ways are still nature's ways and his laws still nature's
laws. But there are other and even more significant ways in which man
has separated himself from nature and made himself something quite
different. In order to reveal this clearly, we draw a distinction
between nature and man. This is a proper thing to do, provided we bear
in mind that our classification is not permanent or final. We
distinguish frogs from tadpoles, in spite of the fact that at one stage
the creature is half tadpole and half frog. We distinguish the animal
from the vegetable kingdom, despite the fact that in their lower forms
they cannot be distinguished.

What, precisely, is the difference between nature and man? The
difference lies in the fact that nature is apparently blind in her
processes; she produces a million eggs in order to give life to one
salmon, she produces countless millions of salmon to be devoured by
other fish apparently no better than salmon. Poets may take up the
doctrine of evolution and dress it out in theological garments, talking
about the "one far off divine event towards which the whole creation
moves," but for all we can see, nature, apart from man, is just as well
satisfied to move in circles, and to come back exactly where she
started. Nature made a whole world of complicated creatures in the
steamy, luke-warm swamps of the Mesozoic era, and then, as if deciding
that the pattern of a large body and a small brain was not a success,
she froze them all to death with a glacial epoch, and we have nothing
but the bones to tell us about them.

No one understands anything about evolution until he has realized that
the phrase "the survival of the fittest" does not mean the survival of
the best from any human point of view. It merely means the survival of
those capable of surviving in some particular environment. We consider
our present civilization as "fit"; but if astronomical changes should
cause another ice age, we should discover that our "fitness" depended
upon our ability to live on lichens, or on something we could grow by
artificial light in the bowels of the earth.

So much for our ancient mother, nature. But now--whether we say with the
theologians that it was divine providence, or with the materialist
philosophers that it was an accidental mixing of atoms--at any rate it
has come about that nature has recently produced creatures who are
conscious of her process, who are able to observe and criticize it, to
take up her work and carry it on in their own way, for better or for
worse. Whether by accident or design, there has been on parts of our
planet such a combination of climate and soil as has brought into being
a new product of nature, a heightened form of life which we call
"intelligence." Creation opens its eyes, and beholds the work of the
creator, and decides that it is good--yet not so good as it might be!
Creation takes up the work of the creator, and continues it, in many
respects annulling it, in other respects revising it entirely. Whether a
sonnet is a better or a higher product than a spider is a question it
would be futile to discuss; but this, at least, should be clear--nature
has produced an infinity of spiders, but nature never produced a sonnet,
nor anything resembling it.

Man, the creature of God, takes over the functions of God. This fact may
shock us, or it may inspire us; to the metaphysically minded it offers a
great variety of fascinating problems. Can it be that God is in process
of becoming, that there is no God until he has become, in us and through
us? H. G. Wells sets forth this curious idea; and then, of course, the
bishops and the clergy rise up in indignation and denounce Mr. Wells as
an upstart and trespasser upon their field. They have been worshipping
their God for some three or four thousand years, and know that He has
been from eternity; He created the world at His will, and how shall
impious man presume to rise up and criticize His product, and imagine
that he can improve upon it? Man, with his cheap and silly little toys,
his sonnets and scientific systems, his symphony concerts and such pale
imitations of celestial harmonies!

Mr. Wells, in his character of God in the making, has created a bishop
of his own, and no doubt would maintain the thesis that he is a far
better bishop than any created by the God of the Anglican churches. We
will leave Mr. Wells' bishop to argue these problems with God's bishops,
and will merely remind the reader of our warning about these
metaphysical matters. You can prove anything and everything, whichever
and however, all or both; and discussions of the subject are merely your
enunciation of the fact that you have your private truth as you want it.
It may be that there is an Infinite Consciousness, which carries the
whole process of creation in itself, and that all the seeming wastes and
blunders of nature can be explained from some point of view at present
beyond the reach of our minds. On the other hand it may be that
consciousness is now dawning in the universe for the first time. It may
be that it is an accident, a fleeting product like the morning mist on
the mountain top. On the other hand, it may be that it is destined to
grow and expand and take control of the entire universe, as a farmer
takes control of a field for his own purposes. It may be that just as
our individual fragments of intelligence communicate and merge into a
family, a club, a nation, a world culture, so we shall some day grope
our way toward the consciousness of other planets, or of other states of
being subsisting on this planet unknown to us, or perhaps even toward
the cosmic soul, the universal consciousness which we call God.

But meantime, all we can say with positiveness is this: man, the
created, is becoming the creator. He is taking up the world purpose, he
is imposing upon it new purposes of his own, he is attempting to impose
upon it a moral code, to test it and discipline it by a new standard
which he calls economy. To the present writer this seems the most
significant fact about life, the most fascinating point of view from
which life can be regarded. The reader who wishes to follow it into
greater detail is referred to a little book by Professor E. Ray
Lankester, "The Kingdom of Man"; especially the opening essay, with its
fascinating title, "Nature's Insurgent Son."

In what ways have the reasoned and deliberate purposes of man revised
and even supplanted the processes of nature? The ways are so many that
it would be easier to mention those in which he has not done so. A
modern civilized man is hardly content with anything that nature does,
nor willing to accept any of nature's products. He will not eat nature's
fruits, he prefers the kinds that he himself has brought into being. He
is not content with the skin that nature has given him; he has made
himself an infinite variety of complicated coverings. He objects to
nature's habit of pouring cold water upon him, and so he has built
himself houses in which he makes his own climate; he has recently taken
to creating for himself houses which roll along the ground, or which fly
through the air, or which swim under the surface of the sea; so he
carries his private climate with him to all these places. It was
nature's custom to remove her blunders and her experiments quickly from
her sight. But man has decided that he loves life so well that he will
preserve even the imbeciles, the lame and the halt and the blind. In a
state of nature, if a man's eyes were not properly focused, he blundered
into the lair of a tiger and was eaten. But civilized man despises such
a method of maintaining the standard of human eyes; he creates for
himself a transparent product, ground to such a curve that it corrects
the focus of his eyes, and makes them as good as any other eyes. In ten
thousand such ways we might name, man has rebelled against the harshness
of his ancient mother, and has freed himself from her control.

But still he is the child of his mother, and so it is his way to act
first, and then to realize what he has done. So it comes about that very
few, even of the most highly educated men, are aware how completely the
ancient ways of nature have been suppressed by her "insurgent son." It
is a good deal as in the various trades and professions which have
developed with such amazing rapidity in modern civilization; the paper
man knows how to make paper, the shoe man knows how to make shoes, the
optician knows about grinding glasses, but none of these knows very much
about the others' specialties, and has no realization of how far the
other has gone. So it comes about that in our colleges we are still
teaching ancient and immutable "laws of nature," which in the actual
practice of men at work are as extinct and forgotten as the dodo. In all
colleges, except a few which have been tainted by Socialist thought,
the students are solemnly learning the so-called "Malthusian law," that
population presses continually upon the limits of subsistence, there are
always a few more people in every part of the world than that part of
the world is able to maintain. At any time we increase the world's
productive powers, population will increase correspondingly, so there
can never be an end to human misery, and abortion, war and famine are
simply nature's eternal methods of adjusting man to his environment.

Thus solemnly we are taught in the colleges. And yet, nine out of ten of
the students come from homes where the parents have discovered the
modern practice of birth control; all the students are themselves
finding out about it in one way or another, and will proceed when they
marry to restrict themselves to two or three children. In vain will the
ghost of their favorite statesman and hero, Theodore Roosevelt, be
traveling up and down the land, denouncing them for the dreadful crime
of "race suicide"--that is to say, their presuming to use their reason
to put an end to the ghastly situation revealed by the Malthusian law,
over-population eternally recurring and checked by abortion, war and
famine! In vain will the ghost of their favorite saint and moralist,
Anthony Comstock, be traveling up and down the land, putting people in
jail for daring to teach to poor women what every rich woman knows, and
for attempting to change the entirely man-made state of affairs whereby
an intelligent and self-governing Anglo-Saxon land is being in two or
three generations turned over to a slum population of Italians, Poles,
Hungarians, Portuguese, French-Canadians, Mexicans and Japanese!

Likewise in every orthodox college the student is taught what his
professors are pleased to call "the law of diminishing returns of
agriculture." That is to say, additional labor expended upon a plot of
land does not result in an equal increase of produce, and the increase
grows less, until finally you come to a time when no matter how much
labor you expend, you can get no more produce from that plot of land.
All professors teach this, because fifty years ago it was true, and
since that time it has not occurred to any professor of political
science to visit a farm. And all the while, out in the suburbs of the
city where the college is located, market gardeners are practicing on an
enormous scale a new system of intensive agriculture which makes the
"law of diminishing returns" a foolish joke.

As Kropotkin shows in his book, "Fields, Factories and Workshops," the
modern intensive gardener, by use of glass and the chemical test-tube,
has developed an entirely new science of plant raising. He is
independent of climate, he makes his own climate; he is independent of
the defects of the soil, he would just as soon start from nothing and
make his soil upon an asphalt pavement. By doubling his capital
investment he raises, not twice as much produce, but ten times as much.
If his methods were applied to the British Isles, he could raise
sufficient produce on this small surface to feed the population of the
entire globe.

So we see that by simple and entirely harmless devices man is in
position to restrict or to increase population as he sees fit. Also he
is in position to raise food and produce the necessities of life for a
hundred or thousand times as many people as are now on the earth. But
superstition ordains involuntary parenthood, and capitalism ordains that
land shall be held out of use for speculation, or shall be exploited for
rent! And this is done in the name of "nature"--that old nature of the
"tooth and claw," whose ancient plan it is "that they shall take who
have the power, and they shall keep who can"; that ancient nature which
has been so entirely suppressed and supplanted by civilized man, and
which survives only as a ghost, a skeleton to be resurrected from the
tomb, for the purpose of frightening the enslaved. When a predatory
financier wishes a fur overcoat to protect himself from the cold, or
when he hires a masseur to keep up the circulation of his blood, you do
not find him troubling himself about the laws of "nature"; never will he
mention this old scarecrow, except when he is trying to persuade the
workers of the world to go on paying him tribute for the use of the
natural resources of the earth!



     (Shows the transition stage between instinct and reason, in which
     man finds himself, and how he can advance to a securer condition.)

In the state of nature you find every creature living a precarious
existence, incessantly beset by enemies; and the creature survives only
so long as it keeps itself at the top of its form. The result is the
maintenance of the type in its full perfection, and, under the
competitive pressure, a gradual increase of its powers. Excepting when
sudden eruptions of natural forces occur, every creature is perfectly
provided with a set of instincts for all emergencies; it is in
harmonious relationship to its environment, it knows how to do what it
has to do, and even its fears and its pains serve for its protection.
But now comes man and overthrows this state of nature, abolishes the
competitive struggle, and changes at his own insolent will both his
environment and his reaction thereto.

Man's changes are, in the beginning, all along one line; they are for
his own greater comfort, the avoidance of the inconveniences of nature
and the stresses of the competitive struggle. In a state of nature there
are no fat animals, but in civilization there are not merely fat
animals, but fat men to eat the fat animals. In a state of nature no
animal loafs very long; it has to go out and hunt its food again. But
man, by his superior cunning, compels the animals to work for him, and
also his fellow men. So he produces unlimited wealth for himself; not
merely can he eat and drink and sleep all he wants, but he builds a
whole elaborate set of laws and moral customs and religious codes about
this power, he invents manners and customs and literatures and arts,
expressive of his superiority to nature and to his fellow men, and of
his ability to enslave and exploit them. So he destroys for his
imperious self the beneficent guardianship which nature had maintained
over him; he develops a thousand complicated diseases, a thousand
monstrous abnormalities of body and mind and spirit. And each one of
these diseases and abnormalities is a new life of its own; it develops
a body of knowledge, a science, and perhaps an art; it becomes the means
of life, the environment and the determining destiny of thousands,
perhaps millions, of human beings. So continues the growth of the
colossal structure which we call civilization--in part still healthy and
progressive, but in part as foul and deadly as a gigantic cancer.

What is to be done about this cancer? First of all, it must be
diagnosed, the extent of it precisely mapped out and the causes of it
determined. Man, the rebel, has rejected his mother nature, and has lost
and for the most part forgotten the instincts with which she provided
him. He has destroyed the environment which, however harsh to the
individual, was beneficent to the race, and has set up in the place of
it a gigantic pleasure-house, with talking machines and moving pictures
and soda fountains and manicure parlors and "gents' furnishing

Shall we say that man is to go back to a state of nature, that he shall
no longer make asylums for the insane and homes for the defective,
eye-glasses for the astigmatic and malted milk for the dyspeptic? There
are some who preach that. Among the multitude of strange books and
pamphlets which come in my mail, I found the other day a volume from
England, "Social Chaos and the Way Out," by Alfred Baker Read, a learned
and imposing tome of 364 pages, wherein with all the paraphernalia of
learning it is gravely maintained that the solution for the ills of
civilization is a return to the ancient Greek practice of infanticide.
Every child at birth is to be examined by a committee of physicians, and
if it is found to possess any defect, or if the census has established
that there are enough babies in the world for the present, this baby
shall be mercifully and painlessly asphyxiated. You might think that
this is a joke, after the fashion of Swift's proposal for eating the
children of famine-stricken Ireland. I have spent some time examining
this book before I risk committing myself to the statement that it is
the work of a sober scientist, with no idea whatever of fun.

If we are going to think clearly on this subject, the first point we
have to understand is that nature has nothing to do with it. We cannot
appeal to nature, because we are many thousands of years beyond her
sway. We left her when the first ape came down from the treetop and
fastened a sharp stone in the end of his club; we bade irrevocable
good-bye to her when the first man kept himself from freezing and
altered his diet by means of fire. Therefore, it is no argument to say
that this, that, or the other remedy is "unnatural." Our choice will lie
among a thousand different courses, but the one thing we may be sure of
is that none of them will be "natural." Bairnsfather, in one of his war
cartoons, portrays a British officer on leave, who got homesick for the
trenches and went out into the garden and dug himself a hole in the mud
and sat shivering in the rain all night. And this amuses us vastly; but
we should be even more amused if any kind of reformer, physician,
moralist, clergyman or legislator should suggest to us any remedy for
our ills that was really "according to nature."

Civilized man, creature of art and of knowledge, has no love for nature
except as an object for the play of his fancy and his wit. He means to
live his own life, he means to hold himself above nature with all his
powers. Yet, obviously, he cannot go on accumulating diseases, he cannot
give his life-blood to the making of a cancer while his own proper
tissues starve. He must somehow divert the flow of his energies, his
social blood-stream, so to speak, from the cancer to the healthy growth.
To abandon the metaphor, man will determine by the use of his reason
what he wishes life to be; he will choose the highest forms of it to
which he can attain. He will then, by the deliberate act of his own
will, devote his energies to those tasks; he will make for himself new
laws, new moral codes, new customs and ways of thought, calculated to
bring to reality the ideal which he has formed. So only can man justify
himself as a creator, so can he realize the benefit and escape the
penalties of his revolt from his ancient mother.

And then, perhaps, we shall make the discovery that we have come back to
nature, only in a new form. Nature, harsh and cruel, wasteful and blind
as we call her, yet had her deep wisdom; she cared for the species, she
protected and preserved the type. Man, in his new pride of power, has
invented a philosophy which he dignifies by the name of "individualism."
He lives and works for himself; he chooses to wear silk shirts, and to
break the speed limit, and to pin ribbons and crosses on his chest. Now
what he must do with his new morality, if he wishes to save himself from
degeneration, is to manifest the wisdom and far vision of the old
mother whom he spurned, and to say to himself, deliberately, as an act
of high daring: I will protect the species, I will preserve the type! I
will deny myself the raptures of alcoholic intoxication, because it
damages the health of my offspring; I will deny myself the amusement of
sexual promiscuity for the same reason. I will devise imitations of the
chase and of battle in order that I may keep my physical body up to the
best standard of nature. Because I understand that all civilized life is
based upon intelligence, I will acquire knowledge and spread it among my
fellow men. Because I perceive that civilization is impossible without
sympathy, and because sympathy makes it impossible for me to be happy
while my fellow men are ignorant and degraded, therefore I dedicate my
energies to the extermination of poverty, war, parasitism and all forms
of exploitation of man by his fellows.

Professor William James is the author of an excellent essay entitled "A
Moral Equivalent for War." He sets forth the idea that men have loved
war through the ages because it has called forth their highest efforts,
has made them more fully aware of the powers of their being. He asks,
May it not be possible for man, of his own free impulse, born of his
love of life and the wonderful potentialities which it unfolds, to
invent for himself a discipline, a code based, not upon the destruction
of other men and their enslavement, but upon cooperative emulation in
the unfoldment of the powers of the mind? That this can be done by men,
I have never doubted. That it will be done, and done quickly, has been
made certain by the late world conflict, which has demonstrated to all
thinking people that the progress of the mechanical arts has been such
that man is now able to inflict upon his own civilization more damage
than it is able to endure.



     (Attempts to show that human morality must change to fit human
     facts, and there can be no judge of it save human reason.)

Assuming the argument of the preceding chapters to be accepted, it
appears that human life is in part at least a product of human will,
guided by human intelligence. Man finds himself in the position of the
crew of a ship in the middle of the ocean; he does not know exactly how
the ship was made, or how it came to be in its present position, but he
has discovered how the engines are run, and how the ship is steered, and
the meaning of the compass. So now he takes charge of the ship, and
keeps it afloat amid many perils; and meantime, on the bridge of the
vessel, there goes on a furious argument over the question what port the
ship shall be steered to and what chart shall be used.

It is not well as a rule to trust to similes, but this simile is useful
because it helps us to realize how fluid and changeable are the
conditions of man's life, and how incessant and urgent the problems with
which he finds himself confronted. The moral and legal codes of mankind
may be compared to the steering orders which are given to the helmsman
of the vessel. Northeast by north, he is told; and if during the night a
heavy wind arises, and pushes the bow of the vessel off to starboard,
then the helmsman has to push the wheel in the opposite direction. If he
does not do so, he may find that his vessel has swung around and is
going to some other part of the world. Next morning the passengers may
wake up and find the ship on the rocks--because the helmsman persisted
in following certain steering directions which were laid down in an
ancient Hebrew book two or three thousand years ago!

If life is a continually changing product, then the laws which govern
conduct must also be continually changing, and morality is a problem of
continuous adjustment to new circumstances and new needs. If man is free
to work upon this changing environment, he must be free to make new
tools and devise new processes. If it is the task of reason to choose
among many possible courses and many possible varieties of life, then
clearly it is man's duty to examine and revise every detail of his laws
and customs and moral codes.

This is, of course, in flat contradiction to the teachings of all
religions. So far as I know there is no religion which does not teach
that the conduct of man in certain matters has been eternally fixed by
some higher power, and that it is man's duty to conform to these rules.
It is considered to be wicked even to suggest any other idea; in fact,
to do so is the most wicked thing in the world, far more dangerous than
any actual infraction of the code, whatever it may be.

Let us see how this works out in practice. Let us take, for a test, the
Ten Commandments. These commandments were graven upon stone tablets some
four thousand years ago, and are supposed to have been valid ever since.
"Thou shalt not kill," is one; others phrase it, "Thou shall do no
murder"; and in this double version we see at once the beginnings of
controversy. If you are a Quaker, you accept the former version, while
if you are a member of the military general staff of your country you
accept the latter. You maintain the right to kill your fellow men,
provided that those who do the killing have been previously clad in a
special uniform, indicating their distinctive function as killers of
their fellow men. You maintain, in other words, the right of making war;
and presently, when you get into making war, you find yourself
maintaining the right to kill, not merely by the old established method
of the sword and the bullet, but by means of poison gases which destroy
the lives of women and children, perhaps a whole city full at a time.

And also, of course, you maintain the right to kill, provided the
killing has been formally ordered and sanctioned by a man who sits upon
a raised bench and wears a black robe, and perhaps a powdered wig. You
consider that by the simple device of putting this man into a black robe
and a powdered wig, you endow him with authority to judge and revise the
divine law. In other words, you subject this divine law to human reason;
and if some religious fanatic refuses to be so subjected, you call him
by the dread name "pacifist," and if he attempts to preach his idea, you
send him to prison for ten or twenty years, which means in actual
practice that you kill him by the slow effects of malnutrition and
tubercular infection. If he is ordered to put on the special costume of
killing, and refuses to do so, you call him a "C. O.," and you bully and
beat him, and perhaps administer to him the "water cure" in your

Or take the commandment that we shall not commit adultery. Surely this
is a law about which we can agree! But presently we discover that
unhappily married couples desire to part, and that if we do not allow
them to part, we actually cause the commission of a great deal more
adultery than otherwise. Therefore, our wise men meet together, and
revise this divine law, and decide that it is not adultery if a man
takes another wife, provided he has received from a judge an engraved
piece of paper permitting him to do so. But some of the followers of
religion refuse to admit this right of mere mortal man. The Catholic
Church attempts to enforce its own laws, and declares that people who
divorce and remarry are really living in adultery and committing mortal
sin. The Episcopal Church does not go quite so far as that; it allows
the innocent party in the divorce to remarry. Other churches are content
to accept the state law as it stands. Is it not manifest that all these
groups are applying human reason, and nothing but human reason, to the
interpreting and revising of their divine commandments?

Or take the law, "Thou shalt not steal." Surely we can all agree upon
that! Let us do so; but our agreement gets us nowhere, because we have
to set up a human court to decide what is "stealing." Is it stealing to
seize upon land, and kill the occupants of it, and take the land for
your own, and hand it down to your children forever? Yes, of course,
that is stealing, you say; but at once you have to revise your
statement. It is not stealing if it was done a sufficient number of
years ago; in that case the results of it are sanctified by law, and
held unchangeable forever. Also, we run up against the fact that it is
not stealing, if it is done by the State, by men who have been dressed
up in the costume of killers before they commit the act.

Again, is it stealing to hold land out of use for speculation, while
other men are starving and dying for lack of land to labor upon? Some of
us call this stealing, but we are impolitely referred to as "radicals,"
and if we venture to suggest that anyone should resist this kind of
stealing, we are sentenced to slow death from malnutrition and
tubercular infection. Again, is it stealing for a victim of our system
of land monopoly to take a loaf of bread in order to save the life of
his starving child? The law says that this is stealing, and sends the
man to jail for this act; yet the common sense of mankind protests, and
I have heard a great many respectable Americans venture so far in
"radicalism" as to say that they themselves would steal under such

One could pile up illustrations without limit; but this is enough to
make clear the point, that it is perfectly futile to attempt to talk
about "divine" rules for human conduct. Regardless of any ideas you may
hold, or any wishes, you are forced at every hour of your life to apply
your reason to the problems of your life, and you have no escape from
the task of judging and deciding. All that you do is to judge right or
to judge wrong; and if you judge wrong, you inflict misery upon yourself
and upon all who come into contact with you. How much more sensible,
therefore, to recognize the fact of moral and intellectual
responsibility; to investigate the data of life with which you have to
deal, the environment by which you are surrounded, and to train your
judgment so that you will be able to fit yourself to it with quickness
and certainty!

"But," the believer in religion will say, "this leaves mankind without
any guide or authority. How can human beings act, how can they deal with
one another, if there are no laws, no permanent moral codes?"

The answer is that to accept the idea of the evolution of morality does
not mean at all that there will be no permanent laws and working
principles. Many of the facts of life are fixed for all practical
purposes--the purposes not merely of your life and my life, but the life
of many generations. We are not likely to see in our time the end of the
ancient Hebrew announcement that "the sins of the father are visited
upon the children"; therefore it is possible for us to study out a
course of action based upon the duty of every father to hand down to his
children the gift of a sound mind in a sound body. The Catholic Church
has had for a thousand years or more the "mortal sin" of gluttony upon
its list; and today comes experimental science with its new weapons of
research, and discovers autointoxication and the hardening of the
arteries, and makes it very unlikely that the moral codes of men will
ever fail to list gluttony as a mortal sin. Indeed, science has added to
gluttony, not merely drunkenness, but all use of alcoholic liquor for
beverage purposes; we have done this in spite of the manifest fact that
the drinking of wine was not merely an Old Testament virtue, but a New
Testament religious rite.

To say that human life changes, and that new discoveries and new powers
make necessary new laws and moral customs, is to say something so
obvious that it might seem a waste of paper and ink. Man has invented
the automobile and has crowded himself into cities, and so has to adopt
a rigid set of traffic regulations. So far as I know, it has never
occurred to any religious enthusiast to seek in the book of Revelation
for information as to the advisability of the "left hand turn" at
Broadway and Forty-second Street, New York, at five o'clock in the
afternoon. But modern science has created new economic facts, just as
unprecedented as the automobile; it has created new possibilities of
spending and new possibilities of starving for mankind; it has made new
cravings and new satisfactions, new crimes and new virtues; and yet the
great mass of our people are still seeking to guide themselves in their
readjustments to these new facts by ancient codes which have no more
relationship to these facts than they have to the affairs of Mars!

I am acquainted with a certain lady, one of the kindest and most devoted
souls alive, who seeks to solve the problems of her life, and of her
large family of children and grand-children, according to sentences
which she picks out, more or less at random, from certain more or less
random chapters of ancient Hebrew literature. This lady will find some
words which she imagines apply to the matter, and will shut her devout
eyes to the fact that there are other "texts," bearing on the matter,
which say exactly the opposite. She will place the strangest and most
unimaginable interpretations upon the words, and yet will be absolutely
certain that her interpretation is the voice of God speaking directly to
her. If you try to tell her about Socialism, she will say, "The poor ye
have always with you"; which means that it is interfering with Divine
Providence to try to remedy poverty on any large scale. This lady is
ready instantly to relieve any single case of want; she regards it as
her duty to do this; in fact, she considers that the purpose of some
people's poverty is to provide her with a chance to do the noble action
of relieving it. You would think that the meaning of the sentence,
"Spare the rod and spoil the child," would be so plain that no one
could mistake it; but this good lady understood it to mean that God
forbade the physical chastisement of children, and preferred them
"spoiled." She held this idea for half a lifetime--until it was pointed
out to her that the sentence was not in the Bible, but in "Hudibras," an
old English poem!



     (Attempts to show that wise conduct is an adjustment of means to
     ends, and depends upon the understanding of a particular set of

Some years ago I used to know an ardent single tax propagandist who
found my way of arguing intensely irritating, because, as he phrased it,
I had "no principles." We would be discussing, for example, a protective
tariff, and I would wish to collect statistics, but discovered to my
bewilderment that to my single tax friend a customs duty was "stealing"
on the part of the government. The government had a right to tax land,
because that was the gift of nature, but it had no right to tax the
products of human labor, and when it took a portion of the goods which
anyone brought into a country, the government was playing the part of a
robber. Of course such a man was annoyed by the suggestion that in the
early stages of a country's development it might possibly be a good
thing for the country to make itself independent and self-sufficient by
encouraging the development of its manufactures; that, on the other
hand, when these manufactures had grown to such a size that they
controlled the government, it might be an excellent thing for the
country to subject them to the pressure of foreign competition, in order
to lower their value as a preliminary to socializing them.

The reader who comes to this book looking for hard and fast rules of
life will be disappointed. It would be convenient if someone could lay
down for us a moral code, and lift from our shoulders the inconvenient
responsibility of deciding about our own lives. There may be persons so
weak that they have to have the conditions of their lives thus
determined for them; but I am not writing for such persons. I am writing
for adult and responsible individuals, and I bear in mind that every
individual is a separate problem, with separate needs and separate
duties. There are, of course, a good many rules that apply to everybody
in almost all emergencies, but I cannot think of a single rule that I
would be willing to say I would apply in my life without a single
exception. "Thou shalt not kill" is a rule that I have followed, so far
without exception; but as soon as I turn my imagination loose, I can
think of many circumstances under which I should kill. I remember
discussing the matter with a pacifist friend of mine, an out-and-out
religious non-resistant. I pointed out to him that people sometimes went
insane, and in that condition they sometimes seized hatchets and killed
anyone in sight. What would my pacifist friend do if he saw a maniac
attacking his children with a hatchet? It did not help him to say that
he would use all possible means short of killing the maniac; he had
finally to admit that if he were quite sure it was a question of the
life of the maniac or the life of his child, he would kill. And this is
not mere verbal quibbling, because such things do happen in the world,
and people are confronted with such emergencies, and they have to
decide, and no rule is a general rule if it has a single exception.
There is a saying that "the exception proves the rule," but this is very
silly; it is a mistranslation of the Latin word "probat," which means,
not proves, but tests. No exception can prove a rule. What the exception
does is to test the rule by showing that the result does not follow in
the exceptional case.

The only kind of rule which can be laid down for human conduct is a rule
in such general terms that it escapes exceptions by leaving the matter
open for every man's difference of opinion. Any kind of rule which is
specific will sooner or later pass out of date. Take, by way of
illustration, the ancient and well-established virtue of frugality.
Obviously, under a state of nature, or of economic competition, it is
necessary for every man to lay by a store "for a rainy day." But suppose
we could set up a condition of economic security, under which society
guaranteed to every man the full product of his labor, and the old and
the sick were fully taken care of--then how foolish a man would seem who
troubled to acquire a surplus of goods! It would be as if we saw him
riding on horseback through the main street of our town in a full suit
of armor!

I devote a good deal of space to this question of a fixed and
unchangeable morality, because it is one of the heaviest burdens that
mankind carries upon its back. The record of human history is sickening,
not so much because of blood and slaughter, but because of fanaticism;
because wherever the mind of man attempts to assert itself, to escape
from the blind rule of animal greed, it adopts a set of formulas, and
proceeds to enforce them, regardless of consequences, upon the whole of
life. Consider, for example, the rule of the Puritans in England. The
Puritans glorified conscience, and it is perfectly proper to glorify
conscience, but not to the entire suppression of the beauty-making
faculties in man. Macaulay summed up the Puritan point of view in the
sentence that they objected to bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to
the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators. As a result of
applying that principle, and lacing mankind in a straight-jacket by
legislation, England swung back into a reaction under the Cavaliers, in
which debauchery held more complete sway than ever before or since in
English life.

This is a hard lesson, but it must be learned: there is no virtue that
does not become a vice if it is carried to extremes; there is no virtue
that does not become a vice if it is applied at the wrong time, or under
the wrong circumstances, or at the wrong stage of human development. In
fact, we may say that most vices are virtues misapplied. The so-called
natural vices are simply natural impulses carried to excess, while the
unnatural vices result from the suppression and distortion of natural
impulses. The Greeks had as their supreme virtue what they called
"sophrosuné." It is a beautiful word, worth remembering; it means a
beautiful quality called moderation. We shall find, as we come to
investigate, that life is a series of compromises among many different
needs, many different desires, many different duties; and reason sits as
a wise and patient judge, and appoints to each its proper portion, and
denies to it an excess which would starve the others. Such is true
morality, and it is incompatible with the existence of any fixed code,
whether of human origin or divine.

The fixed morality is a survival of a far-off past, of the days of
instinct and servitude. Human reason has developed but slowly, and
perhaps only a few people are as yet entirely capable of taking control
of their own destiny; perhaps it is really dangerous to think for
oneself! But if we investigate carefully, we may decide that the danger
is not so much to ourselves as it is to others. The most evil of all the
habits that man has inherited from his far-off past is the habit of
exploiting his fellows, and in order to exploit them more safely the
ruling castes of priests and kings and nobles and property owners have
taken possession of the moralities of the world and shaped them for
their own convenience. They have taught the slave virtues of credulity
and submission; they have surrounded their teachings with all the
terrors of the supernatural; they have placed upon rebellion the
penalties, not merely of this world, but of the next, not merely of the
dungeon and the rack, but of hellfire and brimstone.

I do not wish to go to extremes and say that the moral codes now taught
in the world are made wholly in this evil way. As a matter of fact they
are a queer jumble of the two elements, the slave terrors of the past
and the common sense of the present. There is not one moral code in the
world today, there are many. There is one for the rich, and an entirely
different one for the poor, and the rich have had a great deal more to
do with shaping the code of the poor than the poor have had to do with
shaping the code of the rich. There is one code for governments, and an
entirely different one for the victims of governments. There is one code
for business, and an entirely different one, a far more human and decent
one, for friendship. Above all, there is one code for Sunday and another
code for the other six days of the week. Most of our idealisms and our
sentimental fine phrases we reserve for our Sunday code, while for our
every-day code we go back to the rule of the jungle: "Dog eat dog," or
"Do unto others as they would do unto you, but do it first." When you
attempt to suggest a new moral code to our present day moral
authorities, it is the fine phrases of the Sunday code they bring out
for exhibition purposes; and perhaps you are impressed by their
arguments--until Monday morning, when you attempt to apply this code at
the office, and they stare at you in bewilderment, or burst out laughing
in your face.

What I am trying to do here is to outline a code that will not be a
matter of phrases but a matter of practice. It will apply to all men,
rich as well as poor, and to all seven days of the week. I am not so
much suggesting a code, as pointing out to you how you can work out your
own code for yourself. I am suggesting that you should adopt it, not
because I tell you to, but because you yourself have taken it and tested
it, precisely as you would test any other of the practical affairs of
your life--potatoes as an article of diet, or some particular sack of
potatoes that a peddler was trying to sell to you. It is not yet
possible for you to be as sure about everything in your life as you can
be about a sack of potatoes; human knowledge has not got that far; but
at least you can know what is to be known, and if anything is a matter
of uncertainty, you can know that. Such knowledge is often the most
important of all--just as the driver of an automobile wants to know if a
bridge is not to be depended on.

So I say to you that if you want to find happiness in this life, look
with distrust upon all absolutes and ultimates, all hard and fast rules,
all formulas and dogmas and "general principles." Bear in mind that
there are many factors in every case, there are many complications in
every human being, there are many sides to every question. Try to keep
an open mind and an even temper. Try to take an interest in learning
something new every day, and in trying some new experiment. This is the
scientific attitude toward life; this is the way of growth and of true
success. It is inconvenient, because it involves working your brains,
and most people have not been taught to do this, and find it the hardest
kind of work there is. But how much better it is to think for yourself,
and to protect yourself, than to trust your thinking to some group of
people whose only interest may be to exploit you for their advantage!



     (Discusses the standards by which we may judge what is best in
     life, and decide what we wish to make of it.)

We have made the point about evolution, that it may go forward or it may
go backward. There is no guarantee in nature that because a thing
changes, it must necessarily become better than it was. On the contrary,
degeneration is as definitely established a fact as growth, and it is of
the utmost importance, in studying the problem of human happiness and
how to make it, to get clear the fact that nature has produced, and
continues to produce, all kinds of monstrosities and parasites and
failures and abortions. And all these blunders of our great mother
struggle just as hard, desire life just as ardently as normal creatures,
and suffer just as cruelly when they fail. Blind optimism about life is
just as fatuous and just as dangerous as blind pessimism, and if we
propose to take charge of life, and to make it over, we shall find that
we have to get quickly to the task of deciding what our purpose is.

"Choose well, your choice is brief and yet endless," says Carlyle. You
are driven in your choice by two facts--first, that you have to choose,
regardless of whether you want to or not; and second, that upon your
choice depend infinite possibilities of happiness or of misery. The
interdependence of life is such that you are choosing not merely for the
present, but for the future; you are choosing for your posterity
forever, and to some extent you are choosing for all mankind. Matthew
Arnold has said that "Conduct is three-fourths of life"; but I, for my
part, have never been able to see where he got his figures. It seems to
me that conduct is practically everything in life that really counts.
Conduct is not merely marriage and birth and premature death; it is not
merely eating and drinking and sleeping: it is thinking and aspiring; it
is religion and science, music and literature and art. It is not yet the
lightning and the cyclone, but with the spread of knowledge it is coming
to be these things, and I suspect that some day it may be even the comet
and the rising of the sun.

We are now going to apply our reason to this enormous problem of human
conduct; we are going to ask ourselves the question: What kind of life
do we want? What kind of life are we going to make? What are the
standards by which we may know excellence in life, and distinguish it
from failure and waste and blunder in life? Obviously, when we have done
this, we shall have solved the moral problem; all we shall have to say
is, act so that your actions help to bring the desirable things into
being, and do not act so as to hinder or weaken them.

We shall not be able to go to nature to settle this question for us.
This is our problem, not nature's. But we shall find, as usual, that we
can pick up precious hints from her; we shall be wise to study her ways,
and learn from her successes and her failures. We are proud of her
latest product, ourselves. Let us see how she made us; what were the
stages on the way to man?

First in the scale of evolution, it appears, came inert matter. We call
it inert, because it looks that way, though we know, of course, that it
consists of infinite numbers of molecules vibrating with speed which we
can measure even though we cannot imagine it. This "matter" is
enormously fascinating, and a wise man will hesitate to speak
patronizingly about it. Nevertheless, considering matter apart from the
mind which studies it, we decide that it represents a low stage of
being. We speak contemptuously of stones and clods and lumps of clay. We
award more respect to things like mountains and tempest-tossed oceans,
because they are big; in the early days of our race we used to worship
these things, but now we think of them merely as the raw material of
life, and we should not be in the least interested in becoming a
mountain or an ocean.

Almost everyone would agree, therefore, that what we call "life" is a
higher and more important achievement of nature. And if we wish to grade
this life, we do so according to its sentience--that is to say, the
amount and intensity of the consciousness which grows in it. We are
interested in the one-celled organisms which swarm everywhere throughout
nature, and we study the mysterious processes by which they nourish and
beget themselves; we suspect that they have a germ of consciousness in
them; but we are surer of the meaning and importance of the
consciousness we detect in some complex organism like a fish or bird.
We learn to know the signs of consciousness, of dawning intelligence,
and we esteem the various kinds of creatures according to the amount of
it they possess. We reject mere physical bigness and mere strength.
Joyce Kilmer may write:

    "Poems are made by men like me,
     But only God can make a tree"--

And that seems to us a charming bit of fancy; but the common sense of
the thing is voiced to us much better in the lines of old Ben Jonson:

    "It is not growing like a tree
     In bulk doth make man better be."

If we take two animals of equal bulk, the hippopotamus and the elephant,
we shall be far more interested in the elephant, because of the
intelligence and what we call "character" which he displays. There are
good elephants and bad elephants, kind ones and treacherous ones. We
love the dog because we can make a companion of him; that is, because we
can teach him to react to human stimuli. Of all animals we are
fascinated most by the monkey, because he is nearest to man, and
displays the keenest intelligence.

Someone may say that this is all mere human egotism, and that we have no
way of really being sure that the life of elephants and hippopotami is
not more interesting and significant than the life of men. Never having
been either of these animals, I cannot say with assurance; but I know
that I have the power to exterminate these creatures, or to pen them in
cages, and they are helpless to protect themselves, or even to
understand what is happening to them. So I am irresistibly driven to
conclude that intelligence is more safe and more worth while than
unintelligence; in short, that intelligence is nature's highest product
up to date, and that to foster and develop it is the best guess I can
make as to the path of wisdom--that is, of intelligence!

When we come to deal with human values, we find that we can trace much
the same kind of evolution. Back in the days of the cave man, it was
physical strength which dominated the horde; but nowadays, except in the
imagination of the small boy, the "strong man" does not cut much of a
figure. We go once, perhaps, to see him lift his heavy weights and
break his iron bars, but then we are tired of him. Mere strength had to
yield in the struggle for life to quickness of eye and hand, to energy
which for lack of a better name we may call "nervous." The pugilist who
has nothing but muscle goes down before his lighter antagonist who can
keep out of his reach, and the crowd loves the football hero who can
duck and dodge and make the long runs. One might cite a thousand
illustrations, such as the British bowmen breaking down the heavily
armored knights, or the quick-moving, light vessels of Britain
overcoming the huge galleons of Spain. And as society develops and
becomes more complex, the fighting man becomes less and less a man of
muscle, and more and more a man of "nerve." Alexander, Cæsar and
Napoleon would have stood a poor chance in personal combat against many
of their followers. They led, because they were men of energy and
cunning, able to maintain the subtle thing we call prestige.

Now the world has moved into an industrial era, and who are the great
men of our time, the men whose lightest words are heeded, whose doings
are spread upon the front pages of our newspapers? Obviously, they are
the men of money. We may pretend to ourselves that we do not really
stand in awe of a Morgan or a Rockefeller, but that we admire, let us
say, an Edison or a Roosevelt. But Edison himself is a man of money, and
will tell you that he had to be a man of money in order to be free to
conduct his experiments. As for our politicians and statesmen, they
either serve the men of money, or the men of money suppress them, as
they did Roosevelt. The Morgans and the Rockefellers do not do much
talking; they do not have to. They content themselves with being obeyed,
and the shaping of our society is in their hands.

And yet, some of us really believe that there are higher faculties in
man than the ability to manipulate the stock market. We consider that
the great inventor, the great poet, the great moralist, contributes more
to human happiness than the man who, by cunning and persistence,
succeeds in monopolizing some material necessity of human life. "Poets,"
says Shelley, "are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind." If this
strange statement is anywhere near to truth, it is surely of importance
that we should decide what are the higher powers in men, and how they
may be recognized, and how fostered and developed.

What is, in its essence, the process of evolution from the lower to the
higher forms of mental life? It is a process of expanding consciousness;
the developing of ability to apprehend a wider and wider circle of
existence, to share it, to struggle for it as we do for the life we call
our "own." The test of the higher mental forms is therefore a test of
universality, of sympathetic inclusiveness; or, to use commoner words,
it is a test of enlightened unselfishness.

Every human individual has the will to life, the instinct of
self-preservation, which persuades him that he is of importance; but the
test of his development is his ability to realize that, important though
he may be, he is but a small part of the universe, and his highest
interests are not in himself alone, his highest duties are not owed to
himself alone. And as the life becomes more of the intellect, this fact
becomes more and more obvious, more and more dominating. Men who
monopolize the material things of the world and their control are
necessarily self-seeking; but in the realm of the higher faculties this
element, in the very nature of the case, is forced into the background.
It is evident that truth is not truth for the Standard Oil Company, nor
for J. P. Morgan and Company, nor yet for the government of the United
States; it is truth for the whole of mankind, and one who sincerely
labors for the truth does so for the universal benefit.

There may be, of course, an element of selfishness in the activities of
poets and inventors. They may be seeking for fame; they may be hoping to
make money out of their discoveries; but the greatest men we know have
been dominated by an overwhelming impulse of creation, and when we read
their lives, and discover in them signs of petty vanity or jealousy or
greed, we are pained and shocked. What touches us most deeply is some
mark of self-consecration and humility; as, for example, when Newton
tells us that after all his life's labors he felt himself as a little
child gathering sea-shells on the shore of the great ocean of truth; or
when Alfred Russel Wallace, discovering that Darwin had been working
longer than himself over the theory of the origin of species, generously
withdrew and permitted the theory to go to the world in Darwin's name.

There are three faculties in man, usually described as intellect,
feeling and will. According as one or the other faculty predominates,
we have a great scientist, a great poet, or a great moralist. We might
choose a representative of each type--let us say Newton, Shakespeare and
Jesus--and spend much time in controversy as to which of the three types
is the greatest, which makes the greatest contribution to human
happiness. But it will suffice here to point out that the three
faculties do not exclude one another; every man must have all three, and
a perfectly rounded man should seek to develop all three. Jesus was
considerable of a poet, and we should pay far less heed to Shakespeare
if he had not been a moralist. Also there have been instances of great
poets and painters who were scientists--for example, Leonardo and

The fundamental difference between the scientist and the poet is that
one is exploring nature and discovering things which actually exist,
whereas the other is creating new life out of his own spirit. But the
poet will find that his creations take but little hold upon life, if
they are not guided and shaped by a deep understanding of life's
fundamental nature and needs--in other words, if the poet is not
something of a scientist. And in the same way, the very greatest
discoveries of science seem to us like leaps of creative imagination; as
if the mind had completed nature, through some intuitive and sympathetic
understanding of what nature wished to be.

The point about these higher forms of human activity is that they renew
and multiply life. We may say that if Jesus had never lived, others
would have embodied and set forth with equal poignancy the revolutionary
idea of the equality of all men as children of one common father. And
perhaps this is true; but we have no way of being sure that it is true,
and as we look back upon the last nineteen hundred years of human
history, we are unable to imagine just what the life of mankind during
those centuries would have been if Jesus had died when he was a baby. We
do not know what modern thought might have been without Kant, or what
modern music might have been without Beethoven. We are forced to admit
that if it had not been for the patient wisdom and persuasive kindness
of Lincoln, the Slave Power might have won its independence, and America
today might have been a military camp like Europe, and the lives and
thoughts of every one of us would have been different.

Or take the activities of the poet. Many years ago the writer was asked
to name the men who had exercised the greatest influence upon him, and
after much thought he named three: Jesus, Hamlet and Shelley. And now
consider the significance of this reply. One of these people, Shelley,
was what we call a "real" person; that is, a man who actually lived and
walked upon the earth. Concerning Hamlet, it is believed there was once
a Prince of Denmark by that name, but the character who is known to us
as Hamlet is the creation of a poet's brain. As to the third figure,
Jesus, the authorities dispute. Some say that he was a man who actually
lived; others believe that he was God on earth; yet others, very
learned, maintain that he is a legendary name around which a number of
traditions have gathered.

To me it does not make a particle of difference which of the three
possibilities happens to be true about Jesus. If he was God on earth, he
was God in human form, under human limitations, and in that sense we are
all gods on earth. And whether he really lived, or whether some poet
invented him, matters not a particle so far as concerns his effect upon
others. The emotions which moved him, the loves, the griefs, the high
resolves, existed in the soul of someone, whether his name were Jesus or
John; and these emotions have been recorded in such form that they
communicate themselves to us, they become a part of our souls, they make
us something different from what we were before we encountered them.

In other words, the poet makes in his own soul a new life, and then
projects it into the world, and it becomes a force which makes over the
lives of millions of other people. If you read the vast mass of
criticism which has grown up about the figure of Hamlet, you learn that
Hamlet is the type of the "modern man." Shakespeare was able to divine
what the modern man would be; or perhaps we can go farther and say that
Shakespeare helped to make the modern man what he is; the modern man is
more of Hamlet, because he has taken Hamlet to his heart and pondered
over Hamlet's problem. Or take Don Quixote. No doubt the follies of the
"age of chivalry" would have died out of men's hearts in the end; but
how much sooner they died because of the laughter of Cervantes! Or take
"Les Miserables." Our prison system is not ideal by any means, but it is
far less cruel than it was half a century ago, and we owe this in part
to Victor Hugo. Every convict in the world is to some degree a happier
man because of this vision which was projected upon the world from the
soul of one great poet. No one can estimate the part which the writings
of Tolstoi have played in the present revolution in Russia, but this we
may say with certainty: there is not one man, woman or child in Russia
at the present moment who is quite the same as he would have been if
"Resurrection" had never been written.

In discussing the highest faculties of man we have so far refrained from
using the word "genius." It is a word which has been cheapened by
misuse, but we are now in position to use it. The things which we have
just been considering are the phenomena of genius--and we can say this,
even though we may not know exactly what genius is. Perhaps it is, as
Frederic Myers asserts, a "subliminal uprush," the welling up into the
consciousness of some part of the content of the subconscious mind. Or
perhaps it is something of what man calls "divine." Or perhaps it is the
first dawning, the first hint of that super-race which will some day
replace mankind. Perhaps we are witnessing the same thing that happened
on the earth when glimmerings of reason first broke upon the mind of
some poor, bewildered ape. We cannot be sure; but this much we can say:
the man of genius represents the highest activity of the mind of which
we as yet have knowledge. He represents the spirit of man, fully
emancipated, fully conscious, and taking up the task of creation; taking
human life as raw material, and making it over into something more
subtle, more intense, more significant, more universal than it ever was
before, or ever would have been without the intervention of this new



     (Compares the new morality with the old, and discusses the relative
     importance of our various duties.)

So now we may say that we know what are the great and important things
in life. Slowly and patiently, with infinite distress and waste and
failure, but yet inevitably, the life of man is being made over and
multiplied to infinity, by the power of the thinking mind, impelled by
the joy and thrill of the creative action, and guided by the sense of
responsibility, the instinct to serve, which we call conscience. To
develop these higher faculties is the task we have before us, and the
supreme act to which we dedicate ourselves.

So now we are in position to define the word moral. Assuming that our
argument be accepted, that action is moral which tends to foster the
best and highest forms of life we know, and to aid them in developing
their highest powers; that is immoral which tends to destroy the best
life we know, or to hinder its rapid development.

Let us now proceed to apply these tests to the practices of man; first
as an individual, and then as a social being. What are my duties to
myself, and what are my duties to the world about me?

You will note that these questions differ somewhat from those of the old
morality. Jesus told us, first, that we should love the Lord our God,
and, second, that we should love our neighbor as ourself. Some would say
that modern thought has dismissed God from consideration; but I would
prefer to say that modern thought has decided that the place where we
encounter God most immediately is in our own miraculously expanding
consciousness. Our duty toward God is our duty to make of ourselves the
most perfect product of the Divine Incarnation that we can become. Our
duty to our neighbor is to help him to do the same.

Of course, as we come to apply these formulas, we find that they overlap
and mingle inextricably; the two duties are really one duty looked at
from different points of view. We decide that we owe it to ourselves to
develop our best powers of thinking, and we discover that in so doing we
make ourselves better fitted to live as citizens, better equipped to
help our fellow men. We go out into our city to serve others by making
the city clean and decent, and we find that we have helped to save
ourselves from a pestilence.

The most commonly accepted, or at any rate the most commonly preached,
of all formulas is the "golden rule," "Do unto others as you would have
them do unto you." This formula is good so far as it goes, but you note
that it leaves undetermined the all-important question, what _ought_ we
to want others to do unto us. If I am an untrained child, what I would
have others do unto me is to give me plenty of candy; therefore, under
the golden rule, my highest duty becomes to distribute free candy to the
world. The "golden rule" is obviously consistent with all forms of
self-indulgence, and with all forms of stagnation; it might result in a
civilization more static than China.

Or let us take the formula which the German philosopher Kant worked out
as the final product of his thinking: "Act so that you would be willing
for your action to become a general rule of conduct." Here again is the
same problem. There are many possible general rules of conduct. Some
would prefer one, some others; and there is no possible way of escape
from the fact that before men can agree what to do, they must decide
what they wish to make of their lives.

To the formula of Jesus, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," the
answer is obvious enough: "Suppose my neighbor is not worthy of as much
love as myself?" To be sure, it is a perilous thing for me to have to
decide this question; nevertheless, it may be a fact that I am a great
inventor, and that my neighbor is a sexual pervert. There is, of course,
a sense in which I may love him, even so; I may love the deeper
possibilities of his nature, which religious ecstasy can appeal to and
arouse. But in spite of all ecstasies and all efforts, it may be that
his disease--physical, mental and moral--has progressed to such a point
that it is necessary to confine him, or to castrate him, or even to
asphyxiate him painlessly. To say that I must love such a man as myself
is, to say the least, to be vague. We can see how the indiscriminate
preaching of such a formula would open the flood-gates of sentimentality
and fraud.

Modern thinking says: Thou shalt love the highest possibilities of life,
and thou shalt labor diligently to foster them; moreover, because life
is always growing, and new possibilities are forever dawning in the
human spirit, thou shalt keep an open mind and an inquiring temper, and
be ready at any time to begin life afresh.

Such is the formula. It is not simple; and when we come to apply it, we
find that it constantly grows more complex. When we attempt to decide
our duty to ourselves, we find that we have in us a number of different
beings, each with separate and sometimes conflicting duties and needs.
We have in us the physical man and the economic man, and these clamor
for their rights, and must have at least a part of their rights, before
we can go on to be the intellectual man, the moral man, or the artistic
man. So our life becomes a series of compromises and adjustments between
a thousand conflicting desires and duties; between the different beings
which we might be, but can be only to a certain extent, and at certain
times. We shall see, as we come to investigate one field after another
of human activity, that we never have an absolute certainty, never an
absolute right, never an absolute duty; never can we shut our eyes, and
go blindly ahead upon one course of action, to the exclusion of every
other consideration! On the contrary, we sit in the seat of
self-determination as a highly trained and skillful engineer. We keep
our eyes upon a dozen different gauges; we press a lever here and touch
a regulator there; we decide that now is a time for speed, and now for
caution; and knowing all the time that the safety, not merely of
ourselves, but of many passengers, depends upon the decisions of each



     (Discusses the interaction between physical and mental things, and
     the possibility of freedom in a world of fixed causes.)

It is our plan, so far as possible, to discuss the problems of the mind
in one section of this book, and the problems of the body in another;
but just as we found that we could not separate our duties to ourself
from our duties to our neighbors, so we find that the mind and the body
are inextricably interwoven, and that whenever we probe deeply into one,
we discover the other. The interaction of the mind and the body is a
fascinating problem into which we must look for a moment, not because we
expect to solve it, but because it illuminates the whole subject.

The human body is a machine. It takes in carbon and oxygen, and burns
them, and gives out carbon dioxide and other waste products, and
develops energy in proportion to the amount of carbon it consumes. This
machine has its elaborate apparatus of action and reaction, its sensory
organs where outside stimuli are received, its nerves like telegraph
wires to carry these impressions, its brain cells to store them and to
transform them into reactions. We know to some extent how these brain
cells work. We know what portions of the brain are devoted to this or
that activity. We know that if we stick a pin into a certain spot we
shall paralyze the left forefinger. We know that by injecting a certain
drug, or by breathing a certain gas, we can cause this or that sensation
or reaction, such as laughing or weeping or mania. We know what poisons
are generated in the system by anger, and what chemical changes take
place in a muscle that is tired. All this is part of a vast new science
which is called bio-chemistry, or the chemistry of life.

Our bodies, therefore, are part of the material universe, and subject to
the laws or ways of being of this universe. The first of these laws that
we know is the law of causation. Every change in the universe has its
cause, and that in turn had another cause; this chain is never broken,
no matter how far we go, and the same causes universally produce the
same effects. If you see a ball move on a billiard table, you know that
the ball did not move itself; you know that something struck the ball or
tilted the table. You discover that the motion of the ball moves the air
around it, and the waves of that motion are spread through the room.
They strike the walls, and the motion is carried on through the walls,
and if we had instruments sensitive enough, we could feel the motion of
that billiard ball at the other side of the world, and a few million
years from now at the most remote of the stars. This is what is called
the law of the conservation of energy, and when we discover something
like radium which seems to violate that law by giving out unlimited
quantities of energy, we investigate and discover a new form of energy
locked up in the atom. In the disintegration of the atom we have a
source of power which, when we have learned to use it, will multiply
perhaps millions of times the powers we are now able to use on this
earth. But energy, no matter how many times it is transformed, and in
what strange ways it reappears, always remains, and is never destroyed,
and never created out of nothing.

My friend the great physiologist once took me into his laboratory and
showed me a little aquarium in which some minute creatures were wiggling
about--young sea-urchins, if I remember. The physiologist took a bottle
containing some chemical, and dropped a single drop into the water, and
instantly all these little black creatures, which had been darting
aimlessly in every direction through the water, turned and swam all in
one direction, toward the light. They swam until they touched the walls
of the aquarium, and there they stuck, trying their best to swim
farther. "And now," said my friend, "that is what we call a 'tropism,'
and all life is a tropism. What you see in that aquarium means that some
day we shall know just what combination of chemicals causes a human
being to move this way or that, to do this thing or that. When
bio-chemistry has progressed sufficiently, we shall be able to make
human qualities, perhaps in the sperm, perhaps in the embryo, perhaps
day by day by means of diet or injection."

Said I: "Some day, when bio-chemistry has progressed far enough, you
will know what combination of chemicals causes a man to vote the
Democratic or Republican ticket."

"Why not?" answered my friend. (He has a sense of humor about all things
except this sacred bio-chemistry.)

Said I: "When you have got to that stage, keep the secret carefully, and
we will fix up a scheme, and a few days before election we will release
some gas in our big cities, and sweep the country for the Socialist

But jesting aside: if the human body is a material thing, existing in
the material world and subject to causation, there must be material
reasons for the actions of human bodies, just the same as for the moving
of billiard balls. We hear the sound of a billiard ball striking the
cushion, and we are prepared to accept the idea that the thing we call
hearing in us is caused by the impinging of sound waves upon our
eardrums. And if we investigate human beings in the mass, we find every
reason to believe that they act according to laws, and that there are
material causes for their acts. If you get up and shout fire in a
theater, you know how the audience will behave. If you study statistics,
you can say that in any large city a certain fixed number of human
beings are going to commit suicide every month; you can even say that
more are going to commit suicide in the month of June than in any other
month. You can say that more people are going to die at two o'clock in
the morning than at any other hour. You know that certain changes in the
weather will cause all human beings to behave in the same way. You know
that an increase of prices or an increase of unemployment will cause a
certain additional number of men to commit crimes, and a certain
additional number of women to become prostitutes. You know that if a man
overeats, his thoughts will change their color; he will have what he
calls "the blues." I might cite a thousand other illustrations to prove
that human minds are subject to material laws, and therefore to
investigation by the bio-chemists.

But now, stop a moment. Here you sit reading a book. Something in the
book pleases you, and you say, "Good!" Perhaps you slap your knee or
clench your fist. Now here is a motion of your hand, which stirs the air
about you, and which, according to the laws of energy, will spread its
effects to the other side of the world, and even to the farthest of the
stars. Or perhaps the book makes you angry, and you throw it down in
disgust; an entirely different motion, which will affect the other side
of the world and the farthest of the stars in an entirely different
way. The machine of the universe will be forever altered because of that
slapping of your knee or that throwing down of your book.

And what was the cause of these things? So far as we can see, the
material cause was exactly the same in each case--the reading of certain
letters. Two human beings, sitting side by side and reading exactly the
same letters, might be affected in exactly opposite ways. It seems
hardly rational to maintain that the material difference of two pairs of
eyes, moving over exactly the same set of letters, could have resulted
in two such different motions of the hands. As a matter of fact, the
very same letters may affect the same person in different ways. The
composer, Edward MacDowell, once told me how on his birthday his pupils
sent him a gift, with a card containing some lines from the opera
"Rheingold," beginning, "O singe fort"--that is, "Oh, sing on." But the
composer happened, when glancing at the card, to think French instead of
German, and got the message, "Oh, powerful monkey!" This, of course, was
disconcerting to a famous piano performer, and his pupils, if they had
been watching his face, would have seen an unexpected reaction. It seems
manifest, does it not, that the cause of this difference of reaction was
not any difference of the letters, but purely a difference of _thought_?
So it appears that thoughts may change the material universe; they may
break the chain of causation, and interfere with material events.

Compare the two things, a state of consciousness and say, a steam
shovel. They are entirely different, and so far as we can see, entirely
incompatible and unrelated. Can anyone imagine how a thought can turn
into a steam shovel, or a steam shovel into a thought? We can understand
how a steam shovel lifts a mass of earth out of the ground, and we can
understand how a human hand moves a lever which causes the shovel to
act; but we are unable to conceive how a state of mind--whether it be a
desire for pay, or an ideal of service, or a vision of the Panama
Canal--can so affect a steam shovel as to cause it to move. We can sit
and think motion at a billiard ball for a thousand years, and it does
not move; but when we think motion at our hand, it moves instantly, and
passes on the motion to the billiard ball or the steam shovel. When fire
touches our hand it sends some kind of vibration to the brain, and in
some inconceivable way that vibration is turned into a state of
consciousness called pain, and that is turned, "as quick as thought,"
into another kind of motion, the jerking back of our hand.

So it seems certain that consciousness really does "butt in" on the
chain of natural causation. And yet, just see in what position this
leaves the scientist who is investigating life! Imagine if you can, the
plight of a doctor who wanted to prescribe a diet for a sick person, if
he knew that every piece of chicken and every piece of fish were free to
decide of its own impulse whether or not it would be digested in the
human stomach. But the plight of this doctor would be nothing to the
plight of the chemist or the biologist or the engineer who was asked to
do his thinking and his planning in a world containing a billion and a
quarter human beings, each one a lawless agent, each one a source of new
and unforeseeable energies, each one acting as a "first cause," and
starting new chains of activity, tearing the universe to pieces
according to his own whims. What kind of a universe would that be? It
would simply be a chaos; there could be no thinking, there could be no
life in it; there could be no two things the same in it, and no laws of
any sort.

So then we fall back into the hands of the "determinists," who assert
one unbreakable chain of natural causation, and regard the human body as
an automaton. We go back to the bio-chemist, who purposes some day to
ascertain for us just exactly what molecules of matter in just what
positions and combinations in the brain cells of William Shakespeare
caused him to perpetrate a mixed metaphor. We go back to the belief that
human beings act as they must act, because the clock of life, wound up
and started, must move in such and such a fashion.

But now, let us see what are the implications of that theory! Here am I
writing a book, appealing to men to act in certain ways. Of course, I
know that not all will follow my advice. Some will be foolish--or what
seems to me foolish. Others will be weak, and will resolve to act in
certain ways, and then go and act in other ways. But some will be just;
some will be free; some will use their brains--because, you see, I am
convinced that they _can_ use their brains! I am convinced that ideas
will affect and stir them, in complete defiance of the bio-chemist, who
tells me that they act that way because of certain chemicals in their
brain cells, and that I write my book because of other chemicals, and
that my idea that I am writing the book because I want to write it is a
delusion, and that the whole thing is happening just so because the
universe was wound up that way.

Now, this an unsolved problem, and I have no solution to offer. What I
have set forth is in substance one of the four "antinomies" of Kant, and
you can see for yourself how it is possible to prove either side, and
impossible to be sure of either. Perhaps there is really a duality in
life. Perhaps there are two aspects of the universe, the material and
the spiritual, and perhaps they do not really interact as they seem to,
but both are guided and determined by some higher reality of life of
which we know nothing. In that case there would really be a chemical
equivalent for every thought, and there would be a trace of
consciousness for every material atom in the universe. Maybe the
theologians are right, and in the universal consciousness of God the
whole future exists predetermined. Maybe to God there is no such thing
as time; the past, the present, and the future are all alike to Him.

There is nothing more painful to the human mind than to have to confess
its own impotence. Yet I can see no escape from the dilemma we are here
facing. There is not a man alive who does not assume the freedom of the
will, who does not show in all his acts that he agrees with old Dr.
Samuel Johnson: "We know we are free and there's an end on't." Without a
belief in freedom we cannot get beyond the animal, we cannot become the
masters of our own souls. And yet, the man who swallows that idea whole,
and goes out into the world and preaches personal morality to the
neglect of the fundamental economic facts, the facts of the body in its
relationship to all other bodies--we know what happens to that man; he
becomes a shouting fool. Unless he is literally a fool, or a knave, he
quickly discovers his own futility, and proceeds to use his common
sense, in spite of all his theories. "Come to Jesus!" cried William
Booth, and he went out in the streets of London to save souls with a
bass drum; but presently, in day by day contact with the degradation of
the London slums, he realized that he could not save souls so long as
those souls were dwelling in starved and lousy bodies. So William Booth
with his Salvation Army took to starting night shelters and cast-off
clothing bureaus!

And of exactly the same sort is the bewilderment which falls to the lot
of the scientist who is honest and willing to face the facts. The
bio-chemist with his test tubes and his microscopes and his complex
apparatus of research sits himself down and accumulates a mass of
information about the human body. He investigates the diseases of the
body and learns in detail just how these diseases spread and sometimes
how they are caused; he can present you with a diagnosis, showing the
exact stage to which the degeneration of a certain organ has proceeded,
and perhaps he can suggest to you a change of diet or some drug which
will, for a time at least, check the process of the breakdown. But in
other cases he will be perfectly helpless; he will be, as it were,
buried under the mass of detail which he has accumulated; he will find
the vital energy depressed, and he will not know any way to renew it.
But along will come some mental specialist, who in a half hour's talk
with the patient, by a simple change in the patient's _ideas_, will
completely make over the patient's life, and set going a new vital
process which will restore the body to its former health. A religious
enthusiast may do this, a psychotherapist may do it, a moral genius may
do it; and the physician with all his learning will find himself like a
man on the outside of a house, peering in through the windows and trying
in vain to find out something about the life of the family and its

This is humiliating to the chemist and the medical man, but they have to
face it, because it is a fact. In the seat of authority over the human
body there sits a higher being which, without any religious
implications, we may call the soul; or, if it is impossible to get away
from the religious implication of that word, we will call it the
consciousness, or the personality. This master of the house of life is
in many ways dependent upon the house. If the furnace goes out he
freezes, and if the house takes fire and burns up--well, he disappears
and leaves no address. But in other ways the master of the house is
really master, and is a worker of miracles. He does things which we do
not at all understand, and cannot yet even foresee, but which often
completely make the house over.

William James, a scientist of real authority, has a wonderful essay,
"The Powers of Men," in which he sets forth the fact that human beings
as a general rule make use of only a small portion of the energies which
dwell in their beings, and that one of our problems is to find the ways
by which we can draw upon stores of hidden energy which we have within
us. Also, in a fascinating book, "Varieties of the Religious
Experience," James has endeavored to study and analyze the phenomena
which hitherto the physician and the biologist have been disposed to
ridicule and neglect. But unless I am mistaken, every scientist in the
end will be forced to come back to the central fact, that life is a
unity, and that the heart of it is the spirit; that what we call the
will is not an accident, not a delusion, not some by-product of nature,
but is the very secret of life; and that behind it is a vast ocean of
power, which now and then sweeps away all dykes, and floods into the
human consciousness.

The writer of this book is now a patient and plodding teacher of a
certain economic doctrine, a preacher of what he might call
anti-parasitism. He has come to the conclusion that the habit of men to
enslave their fellows and exploit them and draw their substance from
them without return--that this habit is destructive to all civilization,
and is incompatible with any of the higher forms of life, intellectual,
moral or artistic. He has come to the conclusion that there is no use
attempting to build a structure of social life until there is a sound
foundation; in other words, until the capitalist system has been
replaced by cooperation. But in his youth he was, or thought he was, a
poet, and touched upon that strange and wonderful thing which we call
genius. He saw his own consciousness, as it were a leaf driven before a
mighty tempest of spiritual energy. And he believes that this experience
was no delusion, but was a revelation of the hidden mysteries of being.
He still has memories of this startling experience, still hints of it in
his consciousness; something still leaps in his memory, like a
race-horse, or like the war-horse of Revelations, which "scenteth the
battle afar off, the thunder of the captains and the shouting." Because
of these things he can never accept any philosophy which shackles the
human spirit, he will never in his thought attempt to set bounds to the
possibilities of human life. The very heart of life beats in us, the
wonder of it and the glory of it swells like a tide behind us. New
universes are born in us, or, if you prefer, they are made by us; and
the process is one of endless joy, of rapture beyond anything that the
average man can at present imagine, or that any instruments invented by
science can weigh or measure.



     (Discusses the subconscious mind, what it is, what it does to the
     body, and how it can be controlled and made use of by the

The importance of the mind in matters of health becomes clearer when we
understand that what we commonly call our minds--the mental states which
confront us day by day in our consciousness--are really but a small
portion of our total mind. In addition to this conscious mind there is
an enormous mass of our personality which is like a storehouse attached
to our dwelling, a place to which we do not often go, but to which we
can go in case of need. This storehouse is our memory, the things we
know and can recall at will. And then there is another, still vaster
storehouse--no one has ever measured or guessed the size of it--which
apparently contains everything that we have ever known, perhaps also
everything that our ancestors have known. A common simile for the human
mind is that of an iceberg; a certain portion of it appears above the
surface of the sea, but there is seven times as much of it floating out
of sight under the water.

This subconscious mind seems to be the portion most closely united with
the body. It has its seat in the back parts of the brain, in the spinal
cord and the greater nervous ganglia, such as the solar plexus. It is
the portion of our mind which controls the activities of our body, all
those miraculous things which went on before we first opened our eyes to
the light, and which go on while we sleep, and never cease until we die.
When we cut our finger and admit foreign germs to our blood, some
mysterious power causes millions of our blood corpuscles to be rushed to
this spot, to destroy and devour the invading enemy. We do not know how
this is done, but it is an intelligent act, measured and precisely
regulated, as much so as a railroad time-table. When the supply of
nourishment in the body becomes low, something issues a notice by way of
our stomach, which we call hunger; when we take food into the stomach,
something pours out the gastric juice to digest it; when this digested
food is prepared and taken up in the blood stream, something decides
what portion of it shall be turned into muscle, what into brain cells,
what into hair, what into finger nails. Sometimes, of course, mistakes
are made and we have diseases. But for the most part all this infinitely
intricate process goes on day and night without a hitch, and it is all
the work of what we might call "the mind of the body."

And just as our material bodies are the product of an age-long process
of development repeated in embryo by every individual, so is this mental
life a product of long development, and carries memories of this far-off
process. In our instincts there dwells all the past, not merely of the
human race, but of all life, and if we should ever succeed in completely
probing the subconscious mind and bringing it into our consciousness, it
would be the same as if we were free to ramble about in all the past.
Huxley set forth the fact that all the history of evolution is told in a
piece of chalk; and we probably do not exaggerate in saying that all the
history of the universe is in the subconscious mind of every human
being. When the partridge which has just come out of the egg sees the
shadow of the hawk flit by and crouches motionless as a leaf, the
partridge is not acting upon any knowledge which it has acquired in the
few minutes since it was hatched. It is acting upon a knowledge
impressed upon its subconscious mind by the experience of millions of
partridges, perhaps for tens of thousands of years. When the physician
lifts the newly born infant by its ankle and spanks it to make it cry,
the physician is using his conscious reason, because he has learned from
previous experience, or has been taught in the schools that it is
necessary for the child's breathing apparatus to be instantly cleared.
But when the child responds to the spanking with a yell, it is not moved
by reasoned indignation at an undeserved injury; it is following an
automatic reaction, as a result of the experience of infants in the
stone age, experience which in some obscure way has been registered and
stored in the infant cerebellum.

Science is now groping its way through this underworld of thought.
Obviously we should have here a most powerful means of influencing the
body, if by any chance we could control it. We are continually seeking
in medical and surgical ways to stimulate or to retard activities of the
body, which are controlled entirely by this subconscious mind. If we are
suffering intense pain in a joint, we put on a mustard plaster, what we
call a counter-irritant, to trouble the skin and draw the congested
blood away from the place of the pain. On the other hand, we may
stimulate the functions of the intestines by the application of hot
fomentations, to bring the blood more actively to that region. But if by
any means we could make clear our wishes to the subconscious mind, we
should be dealing with headquarters, and should get quicker and more
permanent results.

Can we by any possibility do this? To begin with, let me tell you of a
simple experiment that I have witnessed. I once knew a man who had
learned to control the circulation of his blood by his conscious will. I
have seen him lay his two hands on the table, both of the same color,
and without moving the hands, cause one hand to turn red and the other
to turn pale. And, obviously, so far as this man is concerned, the
problem of counter-irritants has been solved. He is a mental mustard

And what was done by this man's own will can be done to others in many
ways. The most obvious is a device which we call hypnotism. This is a
kind of sleep which affects only the conscious control of the body, but
leaves all the senses awake. In this hypnotic sleep or "trance" we
discover that the subconscious mind is a good deal like the Henry Dubb
of the Socialist cartoons; it is faithful and persistent, very strong in
its own limited field, but comically credulous, willing to believe
anything that is told it, and to take orders from any one who climbs
into the seat of authority. You have perhaps attended one of the
exhibitions which traveling hypnotists are accustomed to give in country
villages. You have seen some bumpkin brought upon the stage and
hypnotized, and told that he is in the water and must swim for his life,
or that he is in the midst of a hornets' nest, or that his trousers are
torn in the seat--any comical thing that will cause an audience to howl
with laughter.

These facts were first discovered nearly a hundred and fifty years ago
by a French doctor named Mesmer. He was a good deal of a charlatan, and
would not reveal his secrets, and probably the scientific men of that
time were glad to despise him, because what he did was so new and
strange. There is a certain type of scientific mind which sits aloft on
a throne with a framed diploma above its head, and says that what it
knows is science and what it does not know is nonsense. And so
"mesmerism" was left for the quacks and traveling showmen. But half a
century later a French physician named Liébault took up this method of
hypnotism, without all the fakery that had been attached to it. He
experimented and discovered that he could cure not merely phobias and
manias, fixed ideas, hysterias and melancholias; he could cure definite
physical diseases of the physical body, such as headache, rheumatism,
and hemorrhage. Later on two other physicians, Janet and Charcot,
developed definite schools of "psychotherapy." They rejected hypnotism
as in most cases too dangerous, but used a milder form which is known as
"hypnoidization." You would be surprised to know how many ailments which
baffle the skill of medical men and surgeons yield completely to a
single brief treatment by such a mental specialist.

All that is necessary is some method to tap the subconscious mind. In
many cases the subconsciousness knows what is the matter, and will tell
at once--a secret that is completely hidden from the consciousness. For
example, a man's hands shake; they have been shaking for years, and he
has no idea why, but his subconscious mind explains that they first
began to shake with grief over the death of his wife; also, the
subconscious mind meekly and instantly accepts the suggestion that the
time for grief is past, and that the hands will never shake again.

Or here is a woman who has become convinced that worms are crawling all
over her. Everything that touches her becomes a worm, even the wrinkles
in her dress are worms, and she is wild with nervousness, and of course
is on the way to the lunatic asylum. She is hypnotized and sees the
operator catching these worms one by one and killing them. She is told
that he has killed the last, but she insists, "No, there is one more."
The operator clutches that one, and she is perfectly satisfied, and
completely cured. Her husband writes, expressing his relief that he no
longer has to "sleep every night in a fish pond." This instance with
many others is told by Professor Quackenbos in his book, "Hypnotic

Among the most powerful means to influence the subconscious personality
is religious excitement. Religion has come down to us from ancient
times, and its fears and ecstasies are a part of our instinctive
endowment. Those who can sway religious emotions can cure disease, not
merely fixed ideas, but many diseases which appear to be entirely
physical, but which psycho-analysis reveals to be hysterical in nature.
Of course these religious persons who heal by laying on of hands or by
purely mental means deny indignantly that they are using hypnotism or
anything like it. I am aware that I shall bring upon myself a flood of
letters from Christian Scientists if I identify their methods of curing
with "animal magnetism" and "manipulation," and other devices of the
devil which they repudiate. All I can say is that their miracles are
brought about by affecting the subconscious mind; there is no other way
to bring them about, and for my part I cannot see that it makes a great
difference whether the subconscious mind is affected by a hand laid on
the forehead, or by a hand waved in the air, or by an incantation
pronounced, or by a prayer thought in silence. If you can persuade the
subconscious mind that God is operating upon it, that God is omnipotent
and is directing this particular healing, that is the most powerful
suggestion imaginable, and is the basis of many cures. But if in order
to achieve this, it is necessary for me to persuade myself that I can
find some meaning in the metaphysical moonshine of Mother Eddy--why,
then, I am very sorry, but I really prefer to remain sick.

But such is not the case. You do not have to believe anything that is
not true; you simply have to understand the machinery of the
subconscious, and how to operate it. We are only beginning to acquire
that knowledge, and we need an open mind, free both from the dogmatism
of the medical men and the fanaticism of the "faith curists." A few
years ago in London I met a number of people who were experimenting in
an entirely open-minded way with mental healing, and I was interested in
their ideas. I happened to be traveling on the Continent, and on the
train my wife was seized by a very dreadful headache. She was lying with
her head in my lap, suffering acutely, and I thought I would try an
experiment, so I put my hand upon her forehead, without telling her what
I was doing, and concentrated my attention with the greatest possible
intensity upon her headache. I had an idea of the cause of it; I
understood that headaches are caused by the irritation of the sensory
nerves of the brain by fatigue poisons, or other waste matter which the
blood has not been able to eliminate. I formed in my mind a vivid
picture of what the blood would have to do to relieve that headache, and
I concentrated my mental energies upon the command to her subconscious
mind that it should perform these particular functions. In a few
minutes my wife sat up with a look of great surprise on her face and
said, "Why, my headache is gone! It went all at once!"

That, of course, might have been a coincidence; but I tried the
experiment many times, and it happened over and over. On another
occasion I was able to cure the pain of an ulcerated tooth; I was able
to cure it half a dozen times, but never permanently, it always
returned, and finally the tooth had to come out. My wife experimented
with me in the same way, and found that she was able to cure an attack
of dyspepsia; but, curiously enough, she at once gave herself a case of
dyspepsia--something she had never known in her life before. So now I
will not allow her to experiment with me, and she will not allow me to
experiment with her! But we are quite sure that people with psychic
gifts can definitely affect the subconscious mind of others by purely
mental means. We are prepared to believe in the miracles of the New
Testament, and in the wonders of Lourdes, as well as in the healings of
the Christian Scientists and the New Thoughters, which cannot be
disputed by any one who is willing to take the trouble to investigate.
We can face these facts without losing our reason, without ceasing to
believe that everything in life has a cause, and that we can find out
this cause if we investigate thoroughly.



     (Discusses automatic writing, the analysis of dreams, and other
     methods by which a whole new universe of life has been brought to
     human knowledge.)

One of the most common methods of exploring the subconscious mind is the
method of automatic writing. I have never tried this myself, but tens of
thousands of people are sitting every night with a "ouija" in front of
them, holding a pencil on a piece of paper and letting their
subconscious minds write what they please. Most of them are hoping to
get messages from the dead--a problem which we shall discuss in the next
chapter. Suffice it for the moment to say that automatic writing and
table rapping and other devices of mediumship have opened up to us a
vast mass of subconscious mentality. A part of the scientific world
still takes a contemptuous attitude and calls this all humbug, but many
of our greatest scientists have been persuaded to investigate, and have
become convinced that in this mass of subconsciousness there is mingled,
not merely the mind of the medium, but the minds of all those present,
and possibly other minds as well. For my part, I do not see how any one
can study disinterestedly the proceedings of the Society for Psychical
Research and not become convinced that telepathy at least is one of the
powers of the subconscious mind.

Telepathy is what is popularly known as "thought transmission." Every
one must know people who are what is called "psychic," and will know
what is happening to some friend in another part of the world, or will
go upstairs because they "sense" that some one wants them, or will go to
the door because they "have a hunch" that some one is coming. And maybe
these things are only chance, but you will be unscientific if you do not
take the trouble to read and learn what modern investigators have
brought out on such subjects.

This much is certain, and is denied by no competent investigator:
whatever has been in your mind is there still, and it is possible to
find a way of tapping the buried memory. An old woman, delirious with
fever, begins to babble in a strange language, and it is discovered that
she is talking ancient Hebrew. The woman is entirely illiterate, and her
conscious memory knows no language but her own, her conscious mind has
no ideas beyond those of her domestic life and the gossip of the
village. But investigation is made, and it is discovered that when this
woman was a girl, she worked in the home of a Hebrew scholar, and heard
him reading aloud. She did not understand a word of what she heard, and
was not consciously listening to it; nevertheless, every syllable of it
had been stored away forever by her subconscious mind. Innumerable cases
of this sort have been established; and, as a matter of fact, we might
have been prepared for such discoveries by the memory-feats of the
conscious mind. It is well known that Mozart, when a child, could listen
to a new opera, and go home and play it over note for note. At present
there is a child in America, giving exhibitions in public, carrying on
thirty games of chess at the same time. There have been others who do
sums of mental arithmetic, such as multiplying thirty-two figures by
thirty-two figures, or reciting the Bible backwards.

All this seems incredible; and yet there is something still more
incredible. Suppose that these same powers, which are stored in our
subconscious minds, were stored also in the minds of animals! A few
years ago Maurice Maeterlinck published a book, "The Unknown Guest," in
the course of which he tells about his experiments with the so-called
Elberfeld horses: two animals which had been trained for years by their
owner to give signals by moving their forefeet, and which apparently
could count and divide and multiply large sums, and extract square and
cube root, and spell out names, and recognize sounds, scents and colors,
and read time from the face of a watch. Of course, it is easy to say
that this is absurd, that the horses must have got some signals from
their trainer; but, as it happened, they would do their work in the
absence of their trainer; they would do it in the dark, or with a sack
over their heads, and the best scientific minds of Germany were unable
to suggest any test conditions which could not be met. There have been
many gigantic frauds in the world, and this may have been one of them;
on the other hand, there have been many new discoveries, and for my part
I will finish exploring the miracles of the subconscious mind of man,
before I presume to say that anything is impossible in the subconscious
mind of a horse or a dog. Also I will wait for some learned person to
explain to me how the subconscious minds of horses and dogs know enough
to build and repair their bones and teeth, so cleverly that modern
architectural and engineering science could teach them nothing. I ask,
also, if it is possible to find a region in the subconsciousness which
is common to two people, why is it absurd to suggest that there might be
a region common to a man and a horse? Why is this any more absurd than
that they should eat the same food and breathe the same air and feel the
same affection and be frightened at the same dangers?

The only persons who will be dogmatic about such subjects are the
persons who are ignorant. Those who take the trouble to investigate,
discover more wonderful things every day, and they realize that we have
here a whole universe of knowledge, to which we have as yet barely
opened the doors. Consider, for example, the facts which we are
acquiring on the subject of personality and what it means. You would
say, perhaps, that if there is anything you know positively, it is that
you are one person, and have never been anybody else, and that your body
belongs to you, and that nobody else ever has used or ever can use it.
But what would you say if I told you that tomorrow "you" might cease to
be, and somebody else might be in possession of your body, walking it
around and wearing its clothes and spending its money? What if I were to
tell you that there might be in "you," or in your body, half a dozen
different personalities which you have never known or dreamed of, and
that tomorrow there might break out a war between them and "you," as to
which of the half dozen people should hear with your ears and speak with
your tongue and walk about with your clothes on? Unless you are familiar
with the literature of multiple personality, you would surely say that
this was unbelievable--quite as much so as a mathematical horse!

Let us begin with the case of the Reverend Ansel Bourne, who was many
years ago a perfectly respectable clergyman in a Rhode Island town. One
day he disappeared, and his family did not hear of him. A year or two
later there was a store-keeper in a town in Pennsylvania, who suddenly
came to himself as the Reverend Ansel Bourne, not knowing what he had
been in the meantime, or how he came to be keeping a store. Under
hypnotism it developed that he had in him two personalities, and his
trance personality recollected all that had been happening in the
meantime and told about it freely.

Or take the still more fascinating case of the young lady who is known
in the literature of psychotherapy as Miss Beauchamp. Her story is told
in a book, "The Dissociation of a Personality," by Dr. Morton Prince of
Boston. Some thirty years ago Miss Beauchamp, a very conscientious and
dignified young lady, became nervous and ill, and took to doing strange
things, which were a source of shame and humiliation to her. Under
hypnotism it was discovered to be a case of multiple personality. The
other personality, who finally gave herself the name of Sally, was
entirely different in character from Miss Beauchamp, being mischievous,
vain, and primitive as a child. She conceived an intense dislike for
Miss Beauchamp, whom she called by abusive names; at times when she
could get possession of Miss Beauchamp's body, she delighted in playing
humiliating tricks upon her enemy, spending her money, running her into
debt, breaking her engagements, disgracing her before her friends. Sally
was always well and Miss Beauchamp was always ill, and Sally would take
the body, for which they fought for possession, and take it for long and
exhausting walks, and leave it cold and miserable, lost and penniless,
in the possession of Miss Beauchamp! And of course this made Miss
Beauchamp more and more a wreck, and Sally took possession of more and
more of her time. Sally knew everything that Miss Beauchamp did and
thought, but Miss Beauchamp did not know about Sally. She only knew that
there were gaps in her life, during which she did things she could not
explain. And because she did not want her friends to think her insane,
she would try to hide this dreadful condition of affairs; but Sally
would spoil her plans by writing letters to her friends, and also by
writing insulting letters for Miss Beauchamp to find when she took
possession again.

Then one day, after several years of treatment, there appeared yet
another personality, who knew nothing about Miss Beauchamp or Sally
either, and only knew what Miss Beauchamp had known up to some years
before. Miss Beauchamp had a college education, and wrote and spoke
French; Sally knew no French, and tried in vain to learn it; the new
personality did not have a college education at all. Nevertheless,
after long experiment, the story of which is as fascinating as any novel
you ever read, Dr. Prince discovered that this was the real Miss
Beauchamp; the others were "split off" personalities. He traced the
cause to a severe mental shock, and succeeded in the end in combining
the first Miss Beauchamp with the last, and in suppressing the obstinate
and wanton Sally. As you read this story, you watch him mentally
murdering a human being; "Sally" clamors pitifully for life, but he
condemns her to death, and relentlessly executes his sentence. It is a
"movie" thriller with a happy ending, and I should think it would make
disconcerting reading to persons who believe that each of us is one
immortal soul, or "has" one immortal soul, and is responsible for it to
a personal God.

There is never any end to the problems of these multiple personalities,
and each case is a test of the judgment and ingenuity of the specialist.
He will try to make one personality "stick," and will fail, and will
have to accept another, or a combination of two. In one case, he found
that he could not get the right personality to "stick" except under
hypnosis, so he decided to leave the man in a mild state of trance, and
the new personality lived all the rest of its life in that condition. If
you wish to know more about this subject you can find books in any
well-equipped library. I mention one, "The Riddle of Personality," by H.
Addington Bruce, because it contains in the appendix an excellent list
of the literature of the subconscious in all its many aspects.

There is another, and most fascinating method of exploring this
underworld of the mind, and that is the study of dreams. Some fifteen
years ago a psychotherapist in New York told me about the discoveries of
a physician in Vienna, and gave me some pamphlets, written in very
difficult and technical German. Since then this Professor Freud has been
translated, and has become a fad, and the absurdities of his followers
make one a little apologetic for him. But we do not give up Jesus
because of the torturers and bigots who call themselves Christians, and
in the same way we have no right to blame Freud for all the absurdities
of the psychoanalysts.

Probably there never was a time in human history when there were not
people who interpreted dreams, and you can still buy "dream books" for
twenty-five cents, and learn that a white horse means that you are going
to get a letter from your sweetheart tomorrow; then you can buy another
dream book, telling you that a white horse means there is going to be a
death in your family within the year. Naturally this prejudices thinking
people against dream analysis; yet, dreams are facts, and every fact has
its cause, and if you dream about a white horse, there must assuredly be
some reason for your dreaming this particular thing. Of course we know
that if you eat mince-pie and welsh-rabbit at midnight, you will dream
about something terrible; but will it be snakes, or will it be a
railroad wreck, or will it be white horses trampling over you?
Obviously, it may be a million different unpleasant things; and what is
it that picks out this or that from the infinite store of your memory,
and brings it into the region of half-consciousness which we call the

Professor Freud's discovery is in brief that the dream is a
wish-fulfillment. Our instincts present to our consciousness a great
mass of impulses and desires, and among these the consciousness selects
what it pleases, and represses and refuses to recognize or to act upon
the others. But maybe these decisions are not altogether satisfactory to
the subconsciousness. The mind of the body is in rebellion against the
mind--shall we say of reason, or shall we say of society? The mind of
society, otherwise known as the moral law, says that you shall be a good
little boy, and shall go to school and learn what you are told, and on
Sunday go to church and sit very still through a long sermon; whereas,
the body of a boy would rather be a savage, hunting birds' nests and
scalping enemies and exploring magic caves full of precious jewels. So
the subconsciousness of the boy, balked and miserable, awaits its time,
and finds its satisfaction when the boy is asleep and his moral censor
has relaxed its control.

This dream mind is not a logical and orderly thing like the conscious
mind; it is not business-like and civilized, it does not deal in
abstractions. It is far more interested in things than in words; it does
not present us with formulas, but with pictures, and with stories of
weird and wonderful happenings. It is like the mind of the race, which
we study in legends and religions. It does not tell us that the sun is a
mass of incandescent hydrogen gas, so and so many miles in diameter; it
tells us that the sun is a cosmic hero who slays the black dragon of
night. So the mind of our body presents us with innumerable pictures and
symbols, exactly such as we find in poetry. There may be, and frequently
is, dispute as to just what a poet meant by this or that particular
image, but if we read all the work of any particular poet, we get a
certain impression of that poet's individuality. If he is always talking
about the perfume of women's hair and the gleam of the white flesh of
nymphs in the thickets, we are not left in doubt as to what is wrong
with this poet.

And just so, when the expert sets to work to examine all the dreams that
any one person can remember, day after day, sooner or later the expert
observes that these dreams hover continually about one particular
subject; and by questioning the person, he can find out what is the
secret which is troubling the person, perhaps without the person himself
being aware of it. Of course there are many people who like nothing so
much as to talk about themselves; and many are spending their time and
their money on the latest fad of being "psyched," who would, in any
properly organized world, be put to work at hoeing weeds or washing
their own clothes. Nevertheless, it is a fact that there are real mental
disorders in the world, and innumerable honest and earnest people who
have something the matter with them which they do not understand. Here
is one way by which the conscientious investigator can find out what the
trouble is, and make it clear to them, and by establishing harmony
between their conscious and their subconscious minds, can many times put
them in the way of health and happiness.

Through psychoanalysis we are enabled to understand the "split"
personality and its cause. We discover that almost everyone has more or
less rudimentary forms of multiple personality hidden within him; made
out of desires and traits which he does not like, or which the world
forces him to drive into the deeps of his being. These may be evil
impulses, of sex or violence; they may be the most noble altruisms, or
artistic yearnings, ridiculous things in a world of "hustle." A quite
normal man or woman may keep a separate self, apart from the world,
living a Jekyll life of business propriety and a Hyde life of religious
or musical ecstasy. Or again, the repressed impulses may integrate
themselves in the unconscious, and you may have genius or lunacy or
both--"great wits to madness near allied." The modern knowledge on such
dark mysteries you may find in Hart's "The Psychology of Insanity."



     (Discusses the survival of personality from the moral point of
     view: that is, have we any claim upon life, entitling us to live

As we explore the deeps of the subconsciousness, our own and other
people's, we find ourselves confronting the strange question: Is it all
our own mind, and that of other living people, or are we by any chance
dealing with the minds of those who are dead? A great many earnest
people, and some very learned people, are fully convinced that the
latter is the case, and we have now to consider their arguments.

When I was a little boy I used to read and hear ghost stories, and would
shudder over them; but I was given to understand that all this was just
imagination, I must not take ghosts seriously, any more than fairies or
dragons or nymphs or satyrs. For an educated person to take ghosts
seriously--well, such a person would be almost as comical as that
supremely comical person, the flying-machine man. Would you believe it,
in those days there actually were people who believed they could learn
to fly in the air, and spent their time manufacturing machines for this
purpose! There was a scientist in Washington who had this "bug," and
built himself a machine and started to fly, and fell into the Potomac
river. We all laughed at him--we laughed so long and so loud that we
killed the poor man; and then, a few years later, somebody took that
machine of Professor Langley's and actually did fly with it! But that
was after I had grown up a bit more, and was not quite so ready to laugh
at an idea because it was new.

I remember vividly my first meeting with a man who believed in ghosts.
He was a Unitarian clergyman, the Reverend Minot J. Savage of New York.
I was sixteen years old, and just breaking out of my theological shell,
and Doctor Savage helped to pry me loose. He was a grave and kindly man,
of great learning and intelligence, and I remember vividly my
consternation when one day he told me--oh, yes, he had seen many ghosts,
he was accustomed to talk with ghosts every now and then. There was no
doubt whatever that ghosts existed!

He told me many stories. I remember one so well that I do not have to go
back to his books to look up the details. It was in the days before the
Atlantic cable, and he had a friend who took a steamer to England. One
night Doctor Savage was awakened and found the ghost of his friend
standing by his bedside. The ship had gone down off the Irish coast, so
the ghost declared, but the friend did not want Doctor Savage to think
that he had suffered from the pangs of drowning; he had been struck on
the left side of the head by a beam of the ship and had been killed
instantly. Doctor Savage wrote down these circumstances and had them
witnessed by a number of people, and two or three weeks later he
received word that the body of his friend had been found on the Irish
coast, with the left side of the head crushed in.

So then, of course, I studied the subject of ghosts. I have studied it
off and on ever since, and have read most of the important new
discoveries and arguments of the psychic researchers. To begin with, I
will mention the contents of two large volumes, Gurney's "Phantasms of
the Living." In this book are narrated many hundreds of cases, of which
Doctor Savage's story is a type. It appears that persons at the moment
of death, or in times of great mental stress, do somehow have the power
to communicate with other people, even at the other side of the world. A
few such cases might be attributed to coincidence or to fraud, but when
you have so many cases, attested in minute detail by so many hundreds of
otherwise honest people, you are not being scientific but simply stupid
if you dismiss the whole subject with contempt.

Gurney discusses the phenomenon and its probable causes. We know, of
course, that hallucinations are among the most common of psychic
phenomenon. Your subconscious mind can be caused to see and hear and
feel anything; likewise it has power to cause you to see and hear and
feel anything. In practically all cases of multiple personality some of
the split-off personalities can cause the others to see and hear and
feel. And the consciousness, you must understand, takes these things to
be just as real as real things; there is no way you can tell an
hallucination from reality--except to ask other people about it. And if
we admit the idea of telepathy, we may say that phantasms are
hallucinations caused by this means; that is, the subconscious mind of
your wife or your mother or your friend who is ill or dying, transmits
to your subconscious mind some vivid impression, which causes your own
subconscious mind to present to your consciousness a perfect image of
that person, walking and talking with you, and your consciousness has no
way of telling but that the image is real.

So much for phantasms of the living. But are there any phantasms of the
dead? Are there any cases in which the time of the appearance can be
proven to be subsequent to the time of death? Even this would not prove
survival, of course; it is perfectly possible that the telepathic
impulse might be delayed in our own minds, it might not flash into
consciousness until our own state of mind made it possible. Can we say
that there are cases in which the facts communicated are such as to
convince us that the person was already dead, and was telling us
something as a dead person and not as a living one?

Before we go into this question, let us clear the ground for the subject
by discussing the survival of personality from a more general
standpoint. What is it that we want to prove? What are the probabilities
of its being true? What would be the consequences of its not being true?
Have we any grounds, other than those of psychic research, for thinking
that it is true, or that it may be true, or that it ought to be true?
What, so to speak, are the morals of the doctrine of immortality?

Well, to begin with, the survival of the soul after death and forever is
one of the principal doctrines of the Christian religion. Many devout
Christians will read this book, and I will seem to them blasphemous when
I say that this argument does not concern me. I count myself one of the
lovers and friends of Jesus, I am presumptuous enough to believe that if
he were on earth, I would understand him and get along with him
excellently; but I do not know any reason why I should believe this,
that, or the other doctrine about life because any religious sect,
founded upon the name of Jesus, commands me so to believe. I see no more
reason for adopting the idea of heaven because it is a Christian idea
than I see for adopting the idea of reincarnation because it is a
precious and holy idea to hundreds of millions of Buddhists. I have some
very good friends who are Theosophists, and are quite convinced of this
idea of reincarnation; that is, that the soul comes back into life over
and over again in many different bodies, thus completing itself and
renewing itself and expiating its sins. My Theosophist friends have a
most elaborate and complicated body of what they consider to be
knowledge on this subject; yet I have to take the liberty of saying that
I cannot see that it has any relation to reality. It seems to me as
completely unproven as any other fairy story, or myth, or legend--for
example, the seven infernos of Dante, and the elaborate and complicated
torments that are suffered there.

But, it will be argued, Jesus rose from the dead, and thus proved the
immortality of the soul. Now, in the first place, there are many learned
investigators who consider there is insufficient evidence for believing
that Jesus ever lived; and certainly if this be so, it will be difficult
to prove that he rose from the dead. Again, it was a common occurrence
for crucified men not to die; sometimes it happened that their guards
allowed them to be spirited away--even nowadays we have known of prison
guards being bribed to allow a prisoner to escape. Again, the events of
the return of Jesus may have been just such psychic phenomena as we are
trying in this chapter to explain. Or, once more, they may have been
purely legends. A very brief study will convince a thinking person that
the people of that time were ready to believe anything, and to accept
facts upon such authority, and to make them the basis for a scientific
conclusion, is simply to be childish.

I shall be told, of course, that it is in the Bible, and therefore it
must be true. The Bible is inspired, you say; and perhaps this is so.
But then, a great deal of other literature is inspired, and that does
not relieve me of the task of comparing these various inspirations, and
judging them, and picking out what is of use to me. The Bible is the
literature of the ancient Hebrews for a couple of thousand years. It
represents what the race mind of a great people for one generation after
another judged worth recording and preserving. You may get an idea what
this means, if you will picture to yourself a large volume of English
literature, containing some Teutonic myths, and the Saxon chronicles,
and the "Morte d'Arthur," and several of Chaucer's stories, and some
Irish fairy tales, and some of Bacon's essays, and Shakespeare's "Venus
and Adonis," and the English prayer book, and the architect's
specifications for Westminster Abbey, and a good part of "Burke's
Peerage"; also Blackstone's "Commentaries," a number of Wesley's hymns,
and Pope's "Essay on Man," and some chapters of Carlyle's "Past and
Present," and Gladstone's speeches, and Blake's poems, and Captain
Cook's story of his voyage around the world, and Southey's "Life of
Nelson," and Morris's "News from Nowhere," and Blatchford's "Merrie
England," and scores of pages from Hansard, which is the equivalent of
our Congressional Record. You may find this description irreverent, but
do not think it is meant so. Do me the honor to get out your Bible and
look it over from this point of view!

But, you say, if we die altogether when we finish this earthly life,
what becomes of moral responsibility and the punishment of sins? What
shall we say to the wicked man to make him be good, if we cannot reward
him with a heaven and frighten him with a hell? Well, my first answer is
that we have been trying this process for a couple of thousand years,
and the results seem to indicate that we might better seek out some
other method of inducing men to behave themselves. They do not believe
so completely in heaven and hell these days, but there were times in
history when they did believe completely, and not merely were the
believers just as cruel, they were just as treacherous and just as
gluttonous and just as drunken. If you want to satisfy yourself on this
point, I refer you to my book "The Profits of Religion," page 129.

Now, as a matter of fact, I think I can discern the outlines of a system
of rewards and punishments automatically working in the life of men. I
am not sure that I can prove that the wicked always get punished and the
virtuous always rewarded; yet, when I stop and think, I am sure that I
would not care to change places with any of the wicked people that I
know in this world. Life may not always be "getting" them, but it has a
way of "getting" their descendants, and I could not be entirely happy if
I knew that my son and his sons were going to share the fate which I now
observe befalling, for example, the grand dukes of Russia and their
children. Life is one thing, and it does not exist for the individual,
but for the race; its causes and effects do not always manifest
themselves in one individual, but in a line of descendants. "Why are
they called dynasties?" asked one of my professors of history; and a
student brought the session to an end by answering: "Because that is
what they always seem to do!"

But this is not perfect justice, you will argue. It is not perfect, from
the point of view of you or me; but then, I ask, what else is there in
the world that is perfect from that point of view? Why should our
justice be any more perfect than, for example, our health or our
thinking or our climate or our government? And, may it not very well be
that our justice is up to us, in precisely the same way that some of
these other things are up to us? Maybe what we have to do is to set to
work to see to it that virtue does always get rewarded and vice does
always get punished, right here and now, instead of waiting for an
omnipotent God to attend to it in some hypothetical heaven.

I find this life of mine very wonderful, and enormously interesting. I
am willing to take it on the terms that it is given, and to try to make
the best of it; and I do not see that I have any right to dictate what
shall be given me in some future life. If my father gives me a Christmas
present, I am happy and grateful; and, of course, if I know that he is
going to give me another present next Christmas, I am still more happy;
but I do not see that I have any right to argue that because he gives me
one Christmas present, he must give me an unlimited number of them, and
I think it would be very ungrateful of me to refuse to thank him for a
Christmas present until I had made sure that I was to get one next time!

Neither do I find myself such a wonderful person that I can assert that
the morality of the universe absolutely depends upon the fact that I am
immortal. Of course, I should like to live forever, and to know all the
wonderful things that are going to happen in the world, and if it is
true that I am so to live, I shall be immensely delighted. But I cannot
say that it _must_ be true, and all I can do is to investigate the
probabilities. On this point my view is stated in a sentence of
Spinoza's: "He who would love God rightly must not desire that God love
him in return."

To sum up, the question of immortality is purely a question of fact. It
is one to be approached in a spirit of open-minded inquiry, entirely
unaffected by hopes or fears or dogmas or moral claims. It is worth
while to get clear that we may be immortal, even though we do not now
know it and cannot now prove it; it is possible that all psychic
research might end in telepathy, and still, when we die, we might wake
up and find ourselves alive. It might possibly be that some of us are
immortal and not all of us. It might be that some parts of us are
immortal and not the rest. It might be that our subconsciousness is
immortal and not our consciousness. It might be that all of us, or some
part of us, survive for a time, but not forever. This last is something
which I myself am inclined to think may be the case.

Also, it seems worthwhile to mention that it is no argument against
immortality that we cannot imagine it, that we cannot picture a universe
consisting of uncountable billions of living souls, or what these souls
would do to pass the time. It may very well be that among these souls
there is no such thing as time. It may be that they are thoroughly
occupied in ways beyond our imagining, or again, that they are not
occupied, and under no necessity of being occupied. Let the person who
presents such arguments begin by picturing to you how the brain cells
manage to store up the uncounted millions of memories which you have,
the thousands of words and combinations of words, and the thoughts which
go with them, musical notes and tunes, colors and odors and visual
impressions, memories of the past and hopes of the future and dreams
that never were. Where are all those hundreds of millions of things, and
what are they like when they are not in our consciousness, and how do
they pass the time, and where were they in the hundreds of millions of
years before we were born, and where will they be in the hundreds of
millions of years of the future? When our wise men can answer these
questions completely, it will be time enough for them to tell us about
the impossibility of immortality.



     (Discusses the data of psychic research, and the proofs of
     spiritism thus put before us.)

Let us now take up the question of survival of personality after death
from the strictly scientific point of view; let us consider what facts
we have, and the indications they seem to give. First, we know that to
all appearances the consciousness and the subconsciousness are bound up
with the body. They grow with the body, they decline with the body, they
seem to die with the body. We can irretrievably damage the consciousness
by drawing a whiff of cyanogen gas into the lungs, or by sticking a pin
into the brain, or by clogging one of its tiny blood vessels with waste
matter. It is terrible to us to think that the mind of a great poet or
prophet or statesman may be snuffed out of existence in such a way; but
then, it is no argument against a fact to say that it is terrible.
Insanity is terrible, war is terrible, pestilence is terrible, so also
are tigers and poisonous snakes; but all these things exist, and all
these things have power over the wisest and greatest mind, to put an end
to its work on this earth at least.

And now we come with the new instrument of psychic research, to probe
the question: What becomes of this consciousness when it disappears? Can
we prove that it is still in existence, and is able by any method to
communicate with us? Those who answer "Yes" argue that the mind of the
dead person, unable to use its own bodily machinery any longer, manages
in the hypnotic trance to use the bodily machinery of another person,
called a "medium," and by it to make some kind of record to identify

This, of course, is a strange idea, and requires a good deal of proof.
The law of probability requires us not to accept an unlikely
explanation, if there is any more simple one which can account for the
facts. When we examine the product of automatic writing, table-tipping,
and other psychic phenomena, we have first to ask ourselves, Is there
anything in all this which cannot be explained by what we already know?
Then, second, we have to ask, Is there any other supposition which will
explain the facts, and which is easier to believe than the spirit

These "spirits" apparently desire to convince us of their reality, and
they tell us many things which are expected to convince us; they tell us
things which we ourselves do not know, and which spirits might know. But
here again we run up against the problem of the subconsciousness, with
its infinite mass of "forgotten" knowledge. It is not so easy for the
"spirits" to tell us things which we can be sure our subconscious mind
could not possibly contain. Also, there comes the additional element of
telepathy. It appears to be a fact that under trance conditions, or
under any especially exciting conditions of the consciousness, one mind
can reach out and take something out of another mind, or one mind can
cause something to be passed over to another mind; and so information
can be communicated to the mind of a medium, and can appear in automatic
writing, or in clairvoyance, or in crystal gazing.

One of the most conscientious and earnest of all the investigators of
this subject was the late Professor Hyslop, who many years ago sought to
teach me "practical morality" (from the bourgeois point of view) in
Columbia University. Professor Hyslop worked for fifteen years with a
medium by the name of Mrs. Piper, who was apparently sincere and was
never exposed in any kind of fraud. In Professor Hyslop's books you will
find innumerable instances of amazing facts brought out in Mrs. Piper's
trances. You will find Professor Hyslop arguing that the only way
telepathy can account for these facts is by the supposition that there
is a universal subconscious mind, or that the subconscious mind of the
medium possesses the power to reach into the subconscious mind of every
other living person and take out anything from it. But for my part, I
cannot see that the case is quite so difficult. Professor Hyslop
recites, for example, how Mrs. Piper would tell him facts about some
long dead relative--facts which he did not know, but was later able to
verify. But that proves simply nothing at all, because there could be no
possible way for Professor Hyslop to be sure that he had never known
these facts about his relatives. The facts might have been in his
subconscious mind without having ever been in his conscious mind at all;
he might have heard people talking about these matters while he was
reading a book, or playing as a boy, paying no attention to what was

And then came Sir Oliver Lodge with his investigations. I will say this
for his work--he was the first person who was able to make real to my
mind the startling idea that perhaps after all the dead might be alive
and able to communicate with us. You will find what he has to say in his
book, "The Survival of Man," and it seems fair that a great scientist
and a great man should have a chance to convince you of what seem to him
the most important facts in the world.

Sir Oliver's son Raymond was killed in the war, and it is claimed that
he began at once to communicate with his family. Among other things, he
told them of the existence of a picture, which none of them had ever
seen or heard of, a group photograph which he described in detail. But,
of course, other people in this group knew of the existence of the
photograph, and so we have again the possibility that some member of Sir
Oliver's family may have taken into his subconscious mind without
knowing it an impression or description of that picture. If you care to
experiment, you will find that you can frequently play a part in the
dreams of a child by talking to it in its sleep; and that is only one of
a thousand different ways by which some member of a family might
acquire, without knowing it, information of the existence of a

There is another possibility to be considered--that a portion of the
consciousness may survive, and not necessarily forever. We are
accustomed when death takes place to see the body before us, and we know
that we can preserve the body for thousands of years if we wish. Why is
it not possible that when conscious life is brought to a sudden end,
there may remain some portion of the consciousness, or of the
subconsciousness, cut off from the body, and slowly fading back into the
universal mind energy, whatever we please to call it? There is a hard
part of the body, the skeleton, which survives for some time; why might
there not be a central core of the mind which is similarly tough and
enduring? Of course, if consciousness is a function of the brain, it
must decay as the brain decays; but how would it be if the brain were a
function of the consciousness--which is, so far as I can see, quite as
likely a guess.

I find many facts which seem to indicate the plausibility of this idea.
I notice that in trance phenomena it is the spirits of those recently
dead which seem to manifest the most vitality. Of course, you can go to
any seance in the "white light" district of your city and receive
communications from the souls of Cæsar and Napoleon and Alexander the
Great and Pocahontas, and if the medium does not happen to be literary,
you can communicate with Hamlet and Don Quixote and Siegfried and
Achilles; but you will not find much reality about any of these people,
they will not tell you very much about the everyday details of their
lives. This fact that so much of what the "spirits" tell us is of our
own time tends to cast doubt on the idea that the dead survive forever.
How simple it would be to convince us, if the spirit of Sophocles would
come back to earth and tell us where to dig in order to find copies of
his lost tragedies! You would think that the soul of Sophocles, seeing
our great need of beauty and wisdom, would be interested to give us his
works! From genius, operating under the guidance of the conscious mind,
we get sublimity, majesty and power; but what the trance mediums give us
suggests, both in its moral and intellectual quality, the operation of
the subconscious. It is exactly like what we get, for example, from
dissociated personalities.

There are, to be sure, the books of Patience Worth, produced by the
automatic writing of a lady in St. Louis, who tells us in evident good
faith that her conscious personality is entirely innocent of Patience,
and all her thought and doings. Patience writes long novels and dramas
in a quaint kind of old English, and the lady in St. Louis knows nothing
about this language. But does she positively know that when she was a
child, she never happened to be in the room with someone who was reading
old English aloud? Nothing seems more likely than that her subconscious
mind heard some quaint, strange language, and took possession of it, and
built up a personality around it, and even made a new language and a new
literature from that starting point.

That is precisely the kind of thing in which the subconscious revels. It
creates new characters, with an imagination infinite and inexhaustible.
Who has not waked up and been astounded at the variety and reality of a
dream? Who has not told his dreams and laughed over them? The
subconscious will play at games, it will act and rehearse elaborate
rôles; it will put on costumes, and delight in being Cæsar and Napoleon
and Alexander the Great and Pocahontas and Hamlet and Don Quixote and
Siegfried and Achilles. Yes, it will even play at being "spirits"! It
will be mischievous and impish; it will be swallowed up with a sense of
its own importance, taking an insolent delight in convincing the world's
most learned scientists of the fact that its play-acting is reality. It
will call itself "Raymond" to move and thrill a grief-stricken family;
it will call itself "Phinuit" and "Dr. Hodgson," and cause an earnest
professor of "practical morality" to give up a respectable position in
Columbia University and write books to convince the world that the dead
are sending him messages.

Consider, for example, the multiple personality of Miss Beauchamp.
Remember that here we are not dealing with any guess work about
"spirits"; here we have half a dozen different "controls," none of them
the least bit dead, but all of them a part of the consciousness of one
entirely alive young lady. A specialist has spent some six years
investigating the case, day after day, week after week, writing down the
minute details of what happens. And now consider the miscreant known as
"Sally." Sally is just as real as any child whom you ever held in your
arms. Sally has love and hate, fear and hope, pain and delight--and
Sally is a little demon, created entirely out of the subconsciousness of
a highly refined and conscientious young college graduate of Boston.
Sally spends Miss Beauchamp's money on candy, and eats it; Sally pawns
Miss Beauchamp's watch and deliberately loses the ticket; Sally uses
Miss Beauchamp's lips and tongue to tell lies about Miss Beauchamp;
Sally strikes Miss Beauchamp dumb, or makes her hear exactly the
opposite of what is spoken to her. Yes, and Sally pleads and fights
frantically for her life; Sally enters into intrigues with other parts
of Miss Beauchamp, and for years deliberately fools Doctor Prince, who
is her Recording Angel and Heavenly Judge!

And can anybody doubt that Sally could have fooled a grieving mother,
and made that mother think she was talking to the ghost of a long lost
child? Can anybody doubt that Sally could and would play the part of any
person she had ever known, or of any historic character she had ever
read about? And don't overlook the all-important fact that the conscious
Miss Beauchamp was absolutely innocent of all this, and was horrified
when she was told about it. So here you have the following situation, no
matter of guesswork, but definitely established: your dearest friend may
act as a medium, and in all good faith may bring to the surface some
part of his or her subconsciousness, which masquerades before you in a
hundred different rôles, and plays upon you with deliberate malice the
most subtle and elaborate and cruel tricks.

And how much worse the situation becomes when to this there is added the
possibility of conscious fraud! When the medium is a person who is
taking your money, and thrives by making you believe in the "spirits"
she produces! You may go to Lily Dale, in New York state, the home of
the Spiritualists, where they have a convention every summer, and in row
after row of tents you may hear, and even see, every kind of spirit you
ever dreamed of, ringing bells and shaking tambourines and dancing jigs.
And you may see poor farmers' wives, with tears streaming down their
cheeks, listening to the endearments of their dead children, and to
wisdom from the lips of Oliver Wendell Holmes speaking with a Bowery
accent. This kind of thing was exposed many years ago by Will Irwin in a
book called "The Medium Game"; and then--after traveling from one kind
of medium to another, and studying all their frauds, Irwin tells how he
went into a "parlor" on Sixth Avenue, and there by a fat old woman who
had never seen him before, was suddenly told the most intimate secrets
of his life!

It has recently been announced that Thomas A. Edison is at work upon a
device to enable spirits to communicate with the living, if there really
are spirits seeking to do this. It is Edison's idea that spirits may
inhabit some kind of infinitely rarefied astral body, and he proposes to
manufacture an instrument which is sensitive to an impression many
millions of times fainter than anything the human body can feel. This
should make it easier for the spirits, and should constitute a fairer
test, possibly a decisive one. When that machine is perfected and put to
work by scientific men, I wish to suggest a few tests which will
convince me that there really are spirits, and that the results are not
to be explained by telepathy.

First, assuming that the spirits live forever, there are some useful
things which were known to the people of ancient time, and are not known
to anyone living now. For example, let one of the Egyptian craftsmen
come forward and tell us the secret of their glass-staining, which I
understand is now a lost art. And then Sophocles, as I have already
suggested, will tell us where we can find his lost dramas; or if he
doesn't know where any copies are buried, let him find in the spirit
world some scribe or librarian or book-lover who can give us this
priceless information. All over the ancient lands are buried and
forgotten cities, and in those cities are papyrus scrolls and graven
tablets and bricks. Infinite stores of knowledge are thus concealed from
us; and how simple for the ancient ones who possess this information to
make it known to us, and so to convince us of their reality!

Or, again, supposing that spirits are not immortal, but that they slowly
fade from life as do their bodies. Suppose that a Raymond Lodge or other
recently dead soldier wishes to communicate with his father and to
convince his father that it is really an independent being, and not
simply a part of the father's subconscious mind--let him try something
like this. Let the father write six brief notes, and put them in six
envelopes all alike, and shuffle them up and put them in a hat and draw
out one of them. Now, assuming that the experimenter is honest, there is
no living human being who knows the contents of that envelope, and if
the medium is dipping into the subconscious mind of the experimenter,
the chances are one in six of the right note being hit upon. Assuming
that spirits may not be able to get inside an envelope and read a folded
letter, there is no objection to the experimenter, provided he is
honest, and provided there are no mirrors or other tricks, holding the
envelope behind his back, and tearing it open, and spreading it out for
the convenience of the spirit. And now, if the spirit can read that
letter correctly every time, we shall be fairly certain that whatever
force we are dealing with, it is not the subconscious mind of the

Or, let us take another test. Let us have a roulette wheel in a covered
box, or hidden away so that no one but the spirit can see it. We spin
the wheel, and any one of the habitues of Monte Carlo can figure out the
chance of the little ball dropping into any particular number. If now
the spirit can tell us each time where we shall find the ball, we shall
know that we are dealing with knowledge which does not exist either in
the conscious or the subconscious mind of any living human being.

Among the things that "spirits" have been accustomed to do, since the
days when they first made their appearance with the Fox sisters in
America, are the lifting of tables and the ringing of bells and the
assuming of visible forms. These are what is known as
"materializations," and when I was a boy, and used to hear people
talking about these things, there was always one test required: let the
materializations manifest themselves upon recording instruments
scientifically devised; let photographs be taken of them, let them be
weighed and measured, and so on. Well, time has moved forward, and these
tests have been met, and it appears that "materializations" are
facts--although it is still as uncertain as ever what they are
materializations of. An English scientist, Professor Crawford, has
published a book entitled "The Reality of Psychic Phenomena," in which
he tells the results of many years of testing materializations by the
strictest scientific methods. When the medium "levitates" a table--that
is, causes it to go up in the air without physical contact--it appears
that her own weight increases by exactly the weight of the table. When
she exerts any force, which apparently she can do at a distance, the
recording instruments show the exact counter-force in her own body.

The results of these investigations are calculated at first to take your
breath away. It begins to appear that the theosophists may be right, and
that we may have one or more "astral" bodies within or coincident with
the physical body; and that under the trance conditions we mold and make
over this "astral" body in accordance with our imaginations, precisely
as a sculptor molds the clay. At any rate, our subconsciousness has the
power to project from it masses of substance, and to cause these to take
all kinds of forms, for example, human faces, which have been
photographed innumerable times. Or the body can shoot out long rods or
snaky projections, which lift tables, and exert force which has been
recorded upon pressure instruments and weighed by scales.

As I write, a friend lends me a fifteen-dollar volume, a translation
just published of an elaborate work by Baron von Schrenck-Notzing, a
physician of Munich, giving minute details of four years' experiments in
this field. So rigid was this investigator in his efforts to exclude
fraud, that not merely was the medium stripped and sewed up in black
tights, but the "cabinet" in which she sat was a big sack of black
cloth, everywhere sewed tight by machine. Every crevice of the medium's
body was searched before and after the tests, and every inch of the
"cabinet" gone over. The investigators sat within a couple of feet of
the medium, and would draw back the curtains, and while holding her
hands and her feet, would watch great masses of filmy gray and white
stuff exude from the medium's mouth, from her armpits and breasts and
sides. This would happen in red light of a hundred candle power, by
which print could be easily read; and the medium would herself
illuminate the phenomena with a red electric torch. The investigators
would be privileged to examine these "phantom" forms, to touch them
gently, and be touched by them--soft and slimy, like the tongue of an
animal; but sometimes the things would misbehave, and strike them in the
eye, hurting them.

The medium, a young French girl living in the home of the wife of a
well-known French playwright, had begun with spiritualist ideas, but
came to take a matter-of-fact attitude to what happened, and in her
trances would labor to mold these emanations into hands or faces, as
requested by those present. She finally succeeded in allowing them to
separate the soft mucous stuff from her body, and keep it for chemical
and bacteriological examination. All this time she would be surrounded
by a battery of cameras, nine at once, some of them inside the cabinet;
and when the desired emanation was in sight, all these cameras would be
set off by flashlight, and in the book you have over two hundred such
photographs, showing faces and hands from every point of view. There are
even moving-pictures, showing the material coming out of her mouth and
going back!

It is evident that we have here a whole universe of unexplored
phenomena; and it seems that many of the old-time superstitions which
were dumped overboard have now to be dragged back into the boat and
examined in the light of new knowledge. What could smack more of magic
and fraud than crystal-gazing? Yet it appears that the subconsciousness
has power to project an image of its hidden memories into a crystal
ball, where it may be plainly seen. We find so well-recognized an
authority as Dr. Morton Prince using this method to enable one of the
many Miss Beauchamps to recall incidents in her previous life which were
otherwise entirely lost to her. Likewise this exploration of the
disintegration of personality enables us to watch in the making all the
phenomena of trance and ecstasy which have had so much to do with the
making of religions. We know now how Joan of Arc heard the "voices," and
we can make her hear more voices or make her stop hearing voices, as we
prefer. Also we know all about demons and "demoniac possession." We can
cast out demons--and without having to cause them to enter a herd of
swine! We may some day be prepared to investigate the wonder stories
which the Yogis tell us, about their ability to leave their physical
bodies in a trance, and to appear in England at a few moments' notice
for the transaction of their spiritual business!

But we want things proven to us, and we don't want the people with whom
we work to be animated either by religious fanaticism or by money greed.
We are ready to unlimber our minds, and prepare for long journeys into
strange regions, but we want to move cautiously, and choose our route
carefully, and be sure we do not lose our way! We want to deal
rationally with life; we don't want to make wild guesses, or to choose a
complicated and unlikely solution when a simple one will suffice. But,
on the other hand, we must be alive to the danger of settling down on
our little pile of knowledge, and refusing to take the trouble to
investigate any more. That is a habit of learned men, I am sorry to say;
the law of inertia applies to the scientist, as well as to the objects
he studies. The scientists of our time have had to be prodded into
considering each new discovery about the subconscious mind, precisely as
the scientists of Galileo's time had to be prodded to watch him drop
weights from the tower of Pisa. When he told them that the earth moved
round the sun instead of the sun round the earth, they tortured him in a
dungeon to make him take it back, and he did so, but whispered to
himself, "And yet it moves." And it did move, of course, and continued
to move. And in exactly the same way, if it be true that we have these
hidden forces in us, they will continue to manifest themselves, and
masses of people will continue to flock to Lily Dale, and to pay out
their hard-earned money, until such a time as our learned men set to
work to find out the facts and tell us how we can utilize these forces
without the aid of either superstition or charlatanry.



     (Sets forth the fact that knowledge is freedom and ignorance is
     slavery, and what science means to the people.)

We have now completed a brief survey of the mind and its powers.
Whatever we may have proved or failed to prove, this much we may say
with assurance: the reader who has followed our brief sketch attentively
has been disabused of any idea he may have held that he knows it all;
and this is always the first step towards knowledge.

The mind is the instrument whereby our race has lifted itself out of
beasthood. It is the instrument whereby we hold ourselves above the
forces which seek to drag us down, and whereby we shall lift ourselves
higher, if higher we are to go. How shall we protect this precious
instrument? How shall we complete our mastery of it? What are the laws
of the conduct of the mind?

The process of the mind is one of groping outward after new facts, and
digesting and assimilating them, as the body gropes after and digests
and assimilates food. The senses bring us new impressions, and we take
these and analyze them, tear them into the parts which compose them,
compare them with previous sensations, recognize difference in things
which seem to be alike, and resemblances in things which seem to be
different; we classify them, and provide them with names, which are, as
it were, handles for the mind to grasp. Above all, we seek for causes;
those chains of events which make what we know as order in the world of
phenomena. And when the mind has what seems to be a cause, it proceeds
to test it according to methods it has worked out, the rules and
principles of experimental science.

It is a comparatively small number of sensations which the body brings
to the mind of itself; it is a narrow world in which we should live if
our minds adopted a passive attitude toward life. But some minds possess
what we call curiosity; they set out upon their own impulse to explore
life; they discover new laws and make new experiences and new
sensations for themselves. The mind forms an idea, and at first, after
the fashion of the ancient Greek philosophers, it glorifies that idea
and sets it in the seat of divinity. But presently comes the empirical
method, which refuses authority to any idea unless it can stand the test
of experiment, and prove that it corresponds with reality. Nowadays the
thinker amasses his facts, and forms a theory to explain them, and then
proceeds to try out this theory by the most rigid method that he or his
critics can devise. If the theory doesn't "work"--that is, if it doesn't
explain all the facts and stand all the tests--it is thrown away like a
worn-out shoe. So little by little a body of knowledge is built up which
is real knowledge; which will serve us in our daily lives, which we can
use as foundation-stones in the structure of our civilization.

By this method of research man is expanding his universe beyond anything
that could have been conceived in the pre-scientific days. Hour by hour,
while we work and play and sleep, the mind of our race is discovering
new worlds in which our posterity will dwell. For uncounted ages man
walked upon the earth, surrounded by infinite swarms of bacterial life
of whose existence he never dreamed. The invisible rays of the spectrum
beat upon him, and he knew nothing of what they did to him, whether good
or evil. He lifted his head and saw vast universes of suns, in
comparison with which his world was a mere speck of dust; yet to him
these universes were globes or lanterns which some divinity had hung in
the sky.

One of the most fascinating illustrations of how the mind runs ahead of
the senses is the story of the planet Uranus, which, less than two
hundred years ago, had never been beheld by the eye of man. A
mathematician seated in his study, working over the observations of
other planets, their motions in relation to their mass and distance,
discovered that their behavior was not as it should be. At certain times
none of them were in quite the right place, and he decided that this
variation must be due to the existence of an unknown body. He worked out
the problem of what must be the mass and the exact orbit of this body,
in order for it to be responsible for the variations observed; and when
he had completed these calculations, he announced to the astronomical
world, "Turn your telescopes to a certain spot in the heavens at a
certain minute of a certain night, and you will find a new planet of a
certain size." And so for the first time the human senses became aware
of a fact, which by themselves they might not have discovered in all

Now, the importance of exact knowledge concerning a new planet may not
be apparent to the ordinary man; but if the thing which is discovered
is, for example, an unknown ray which will move an engine or destroy a
cancer, then we realize the worthwhileness of research, and the masters
of the world's commerce are willing to give here and there a pittance
for the increase of such knowledge. But men of science, who have by this
time come to a sense of their own dignity and importance, understand
that there is no knowledge about reality which is useless, no research
into nature which is wasted. You might say that to describe and classify
the fleas which inhabit the bodies of rats and ground-squirrels, and to
study under the microscope the bacteria which live in the blood of these
fleas--that this would be an occupation hardly worthy of the divinity
that is in man. But presently, as a result of this knowledge about fleas
and flea diseases being in existence and available, a bacteriologist
discovers the secret of the dread bubonic plague, which hundreds of
times in past history has wiped out a great part of the population of
Europe and Asia.

Mark Twain tells in his "Connecticut Yankee" how his hero was able to
overcome the wizard Merlin, because he knew in advance of an eclipse of
the sun. And this was fiction, of course; but if you prefer fact, you
may read in the memoirs of Houdin, the French conjurer, how he was able
to bring the Arab tribes into subjection to the French government by
depriving the great chieftains of their strength. He gathered them into
a theatre, and invited their mighty men upon the stage, and there was an
iron weight, and they were able to lift it when Houdin permitted, and
not to lift it when he forbade. These noble barbarians had never heard
of the electro-magnet, and could not conceive of a force that could
operate through a solid wooden floor beneath their feet.

Such things, trivial as they are, serve to illustrate the difference
between ignorance and knowledge, and the power which knowledge gives.
The man who knows is godlike to those who do not know; he may enslave
them, he may do what he pleases with their lives, and they are powerless
to help themselves. Anyone who would help them must begin by giving them
knowledge, real knowledge. There is no such thing as freedom without
knowledge, and it must be the best knowledge, it must be new knowledge;
he who goes against new knowledge armed with old knowledge is like the
Chinese who went out to meet machine-guns with bows and arrows, and with
umbrellas over their heads.

Once upon a time knowledge was the prerogative of kings and priests and
ruling castes; but this supreme power has been wrested from them, and
this is the greatest step in human progress so far taken. "Seek and ye
shall find," is the law concerning knowledge today. "Knock, and it shall
be opened unto you." In this, my Book of the Mind, I say to you that
knowledge is your priceless birthright, and that you should repudiate
all men and all institutions and all creeds and all formulas which seek
to keep this heritage from you. Beware of men who bid you believe
something because it is told you, or because your fathers believed it,
or because it is written in some ancient book, or embodied in some
ancient ceremonial. Break the chains of these venerable spells; and at
the same time beware of the modern spells which have been contrived to
replace them! Beware of party cries and shibboleths, the idols of the
forum, as Plato called them, the prejudices which are set as snares for
your feet. Beware of cant--that paraphernalia of noble sentiments,
artificially manufactured by politicians and newspapers for the purpose
of blinding you to their knaveries. Remember that you live in a world of
class conflicts; at every moment of your life your mind is besieged by
secret enemies, it is exposed to poison gas-clouds deliberately released
by people who seek to make use of you for purposes which are theirs and
not yours. In the fairy-tales we used to love, the hero was provided
with magic protection against the perils of those times; but what hero
and what magic will guard the modern man against the propaganda of
militarism, nationalism, and capitalist imperialism?

The mind is like the body in that it can be trained, it can be taught
sound habits, its powers can be enormously increased. There are many
books on mind and memory training, some of which are useful, and some of
which are trash. There is an English system widely advertised, called
"Pelmanism," of which I have personally made no test, but it has won
endorsements of a great many people who do not give their endorsements

This is the subject of applied psychology, and just as in medicine, or
in law, or in any of the arts, there is a vast amount of charlatanry,
but there is also genuine knowledge being patiently accumulated and
standardized. When the United States government had to have an army in a
hurry it did not make its millions of young men into teamsters or
aviators at random. It used the new methods of determining reaction
times, and testing the coordination of mind and body. Recently I visited
the Whittier Reform School in California, where delinquent boys are
educated by the state. A boy had been set to work in the tailor shop,
and it had been found that he was unable to make the buttons and the
buttonholes of a coat come in the right place. For nine years the state
of California, and before it the state of Georgia, had been laboring to
teach this boy to make buttons and buttonholes meet; the effort had cost
some five thousand dollars, to say nothing of all the coats which were
spoiled, and all the mental suffering of the victim and his teachers.
Finally someone persuaded the state of California to spend a few
thousand dollars and install a psychological bureau for the purpose of
testing all the inmates of the institution; so by a half hour's
examination the fact was developed that this boy was mentally defective.
Although he was eighteen years old in body, his mind was only eight
years old, and so he would never be able to achieve the feat of making
buttons and buttonholes meet.

This is a new science which you may read about in Terman's "The
Measurement of Intelligence." By testing normal children, it is
established that certain tasks can be performed at certain ages. A child
of three can point to his eyes, his nose and his mouth; he can repeat a
sentence of six syllables, and repeat two digits, and give his family
name. Older children are asked to look at a picture and then tell what
they saw; to note omissions in a picture, to arrange blocks according to
their weight, to arrange words into sentences, to note absurdities in
statements, to count backwards, and to make change. Children of fifteen
are asked to interpret fables, to reverse the hands of a clock, and so
on. Of course there are always variations; every child will be better at
some kinds of tests than at others. But by having a wide variety, and
taking the average, you establish a "mental age" for the child--which
may be widely different from its physical age. You may find some whose
minds have stopped growing altogether, and can only be made to grow by
special methods of education. Enlightened communities are now conducting
separate schools for defective children--replacing the old-fashioned
schoolmaster who wore out birch-rods trying to force poor little
wretches to learn what was beyond their power.

In the same way psychology can be applied in industry, and in the
detection of crime. Here, too, there is a vast amount of "fake," but
also the beginning of a science. Our laws do not as yet permit the use
of automatic writing and the hypnotic trance in the investigation of
crime, but they have sometimes permitted some of the simpler tests, for
example, those of memory association. The examiner prepares a list of a
hundred names of objects, and reads those names one after another, and
asks the person he is investigating to name the first thing which is
suggested to him by each word in turn. "Engine" will suggest "steam," or
perhaps it will suggest "train"; "coat" will suggest "trousers," or
perhaps it will suggest "pocket," and so on. The examiner holds a
stop-watch, and notes what fraction of a second each one of these
reactions takes. The ordinary man, who is not trying to conceal
anything, will give all his associations promptly, and the reaction
times will be approximately alike. But suppose the man has just murdered
somebody with an axe, and buried the body in a cellar with a fire
shovel, and taken a pocketbook, and a watch, and a locket, and a number
of various objects, and climbed out of the cellar window by breaking the
glass; and now suppose that in his list of a hundred objects the
psychologist introduces unexpectedly a number of these things. In each
case the first memory association of the criminal will be one which he
does not wish to give. He will have to find another, and that inevitably
takes time. One or two such delays might be accidental; but if every
time there is any suggestion of the murder, or the method or scene of
the murder, there is noticed confusion and delay, you may be sure that
the conscious mind is interfering with the subconscious mind. The
difference between the conscious and the subconscious mind is always
possible to detect, and if you are permitted to be thorough in your
experiments, you can make certain what is in the subconscious mind that
the conscious mind is trying to conceal.

Here, as everywhere in life, knowledge is power, and expert knowledge
confers mastery over the shrewdest untrained mind. The only trouble is
that under our present social system the trained mind is very apt to be
working in the interest of class privilege. The psychologist who is
employed by a great corporation, or by a police department, may be as
little worthy of trust as a chemist who is engaged in making poison
gases to be used by capitalist imperialism for the extermination of its
rebellious slaves. But what this proves is not that scientific knowledge
is untrustworthy, but merely that the workers must acquire it, they must
have their own organizations and their own experiments in every field.
To give knowledge to the masses of mankind, slow and painful as the
process seems, is now the most important task confronting the
enlightened thinker.

The method of psychoanalysis gives us also much insight into the
phenomena of genius, and the hope that we may ultimately come to
understand it. At present we are embarrassed because genius is so often
closely allied to eccentricity; the supernormal appears in connection
with the subnormal--and it is often hard to tell them apart. Great poets
and painters in revolt against a world of smug commercialism, adopt
irresponsibility as their religion; they live in a world of their own,
they dress like freaks, they refuse to pay their debts, or to be true to
their wives. They are followed by a host of disciples, who adopt the
defects of the master as a substitute for his qualities. And so there
grows up a perverted notion of what genius is, and wholly false
standards of artistic quality. There is nothing mankind needs more than
sure and exact tests of mental superiority; not merely the ability to
acquire languages and to solve mathematical equations, but the ability
to carry in the mind intense emotions, while at the same time shaping
and organizing them by the logical faculty, selecting masses of facts
and weaving them into a pattern calculated to awaken the emotion in
others. This is the last and greatest work of the human spirit, and to
select the men who can do it, and foster their activity, is the ultimate
purpose of all true science.



     (Concludes the Book of the Mind with a study of how to preserve and
     develop its powers for the protection of our lives and the lives of
     all men.)

Someone wrote me the other day, asking, "When is the best time to
acquire knowledge?" I answer, "The time is now." It is easier to learn
things when you are young, but you cannot be young when you want to be,
and if you are old, the best time to acquire knowledge is when you are
old. It is true that the brain-cells seem to harden like the body, and
it is less easy for them to take on new impressions; but it can be done,
and just as Seneca began to learn Greek at eighty, I know several old
men whom the recent war has shaken out of their grooves of thought and
compelled to deal with modern ideas.

But if you are young, then so much the better! Then the divine thrill of
curiosity is keenest; then your memory is fresh, and can be trained;
your mind is plastic, and you can form sound habits. You can teach
yourself to respect truth and to seek it, you can teach yourself
accuracy, open-mindedness, flexibility, persistence in the search for

First of all, I think, is accuracy. Learn to think straight! Let your
mind be as a sharp scalpel, penetrating unrealities and falsehoods,
cutting its way to the facts. When you set out to deal with a certain
subject, acquire mastery of it, so that you can say, "I know." And yet,
never be too sure that you know! Never be so sure, that you are not
willing to consider new facts, and to change your way of thinking if it
should be necessary. I look about me at the world, and see tigers and
serpents, dynamite and poison gas and forty-two centimeter shells--yet I
see nothing in the world so deadly to men as an error of the mind. Look
at the mental follies about you! Look at the prejudices, the delusions,
the lies deliberately maintained--and realize the waste of it all, the
pity of it all!

Every man, it seems, has his pet delusions, which he hugs to his bosom
and loves because they are his own. If you try to deprive him of those
delusions, it is as though you tore from a woman's arms the child she
has borne. I have written a book called "The Profits of Religion," and
never a week passes that there do not come to me letters from people who
tell me they have read this book with pleasure and profit, they are
grateful to me for teaching them so much about the follies and delusions
of mankind, and it is all right and all true, save for two or three
pages, in which I deal with the special hobby which happens to be their
hobby! What I say about all the other creeds is correct--but I fail to
understand that the Mormon religion is a dignified and inspired
religion, a gift from on high, and if only I would carefully study the
"Book of Mormon," I would realize my error! Or it is all right, except
what I say about the Christian Scientists, or the Theosophists, or
perhaps one particular sect of the Theosophists, who are different from
the others. Today there lies upon my desk a letter from a man who has
read many of my books, and now is grief-stricken because he must part
company from me; he discovers that I permit myself to speak
disrespectfully about the Seventh Day Adventist religion, whereas he is
prepared to show the marvels of biblical prophecy now achieving
themselves in the world. How could any save a divinely revealed religion
have foreseen the present movement to establish the Sabbath by law? Yes,
and presently I shall see the last atom of the prophecy fulfilled--there
will be a death penalty for failure to obey the Sabbath law!

Cultivate the great and precious virtue of open-mindedness. Keep your
thinking free, not merely from outer compulsions, but from the more
deadly compulsions of its own making--from prejudices and superstitions.
The prejudices and superstitions of mankind are like those diseased
mental states which are discovered by the psychoanalyst; what he calls a
"complex" in the subconscious mind, a tangle or knot which is a center
of disturbance, and keeps the whole being in a state of confusion. Each
group of men, each sect or class, have their precious dogmas, their
shibboleths, their sacred words and stock phrases which set their whole
beings aflame with fanaticism. They have also their phobias, their words
of terror, which cannot be spoken in their presence without causing a

At present the dread word of our time is "Communist."

You can scarcely say the word without someone telephoning for the
police. And yet, when you meet a Communist, what is he? A worn and
fragile student, who has thought out a way to make the world a better
place to live in, and whose crime is that he tells others about his
idea! Or perhaps you belong to the other side, and then your word of
terror is the word "Capitalist." You meet a Capitalist, and what do you
find? Very likely you find a man who is kindly, generous in his personal
impulses, but bewildered, possibly a little frightened, still more
irritated and made stubborn. So you realize that nearly all men are
better than the institutions and systems under which they live; you
realize the urgent need of applying your reasoning powers to the problem
of social reorganization.

Cultivate also, in the affairs of your mind, the ancient virtue of
humility. There is an oldtime poem, which perhaps was in your school
readers, "Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?" My answer is,
for innumerable reasons. The spirit of mortal should be proud and must
be proud because life throbs in it, and because life is a marvelous
thing, and the excitement of life is perpetual. Yesterday I met a young
mother; and of what avail is all the pessimism of poets against the
pride of a young mother? "Oh!" she cried, and her face lighted up with
delight. "He said 'Goo'!" Yes, he said "Goo!"--and never since the world
began had there been a baby which had achieved that marvel. Presently it
will be, "Look, look, he is trying to walk!" Then he will be getting
marks at school, and presently he will be displaying signs of genius.
Always it will take an effort of the mind of that young mother to
realize that there are other children in the world as wonderful as her
own; and perhaps it will take many generations of mental effort before
there will be young mothers capable of realizing that some other child
is more wonderful than her child.

In other words, it is by a definite process of broadening our minds that
we come to realize the lives of others, to transfer to them the interest
we naturally take in our own lives, and to admit them to a state of
equality with ourselves. This is one of the services the mind must
render for us; it is the process of civilizing us. And there is another,
and yet more important task, which is to make clear to us the fact that
we do not altogether make this life of ours, that there is a universe of
power and wisdom which is not ours, but on which we draw. "The fear of
the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," said the Psalmist. We know now
that fear is an ugly emotion, destructive to life; but it may be
purified and made into a true humility, which every thinking man must
feel towards life and its miracles.

Also the man will have joy, because it is given him to share the high,
marvelous adventure of being. To the pleasures of the body there is a
limit, and it comes quickly; but the pleasures of the mind are infinite,
and no one who truly understands them can have a moment of boredom in
life. To a man who possesses the key to modern thought, who knows what
knowledge is and where to look for it, the life of the mind is a
panorama of delight perpetually unrolled before him. To the minds of our
ancestors there was one universe; but to our minds there are many
universes, and new ones continually discovered.

The only question is, which one will you choose? Will you choose the
universe of outer space, the material world of infinity? Consider the
smallest insect that you can see, crawling upon the surface of the
earth; small as that insect is in relation to the earth, it is not so
small, by millions of times, as is the earth in relation to the universe
made visible to our eyes by the high-power telescope, plus the
photographic camera, plus the microscope. If you want to know the
miracles of this world of space, read Arrhenius' "The Life of the
Universe," or Simon Newcomb's "Sidelights on Astronomy." Suffice it here
to say that we have a chemistry of the stars, by means of the
spectroscope; that we can measure the speed and direction of stars by
the same means; that we have learned to measure the size of the stars,
and are studying stars which we cannot even see! And then along comes
Einstein, with his theories of "relativity," and makes it seem that we
have to revise a great part of this knowledge to allow for the fact that
not merely everything we look at, but also we ourselves, are flying
every which way through space!

Or will you choose the universe of the atom, the infinity of the
material world followed the other way, so to speak? Big as is the
universe in relation to our world, and big as is our world in relation
to the insect that crawls on it, the insect is bigger yet in relation to
the molecules which compose its body; and these in turn are millions of
millions of times bigger than the atoms which compose them; and then,
behold, in the atom there are millions of millions of electrons--tiny
particles of electric energy! We cannot see these infinitely minute
things, any more than we can see the electricity which runs our trolley
cars; but we can see their effects, and we can count and measure them,
and deal with them in complicated mathematical formulas, and be just as
certain of their existence as we are of the dust under our feet. If you
wish to explore this wonderland, read Duncan's "The New Knowledge," or
Dr. Henry Smith Williams' "Miracles of Science."

Or will you choose the universe of the subconscious, our racial past
locked up in the secret chambers of our mind? Or will you choose the
universe of the superconscious, the infinity of genius manifested in the
arts? By the device of art man not merely creates new life, he tests it,
he weighs it and measures it, he tries experiments with it, as the
physicist with the molecule and the astronomer with light. He finds out
what works, and what does not work, and so develops his moral and
spiritual muscles, training himself for his task as maker of life.

Written words can give but a feeble idea of the wonders that are found
in these enchanted regions of the mind. Here are palaces of splendor
beyond imagining, here are temples with sacred shrines, and
treasure-chambers full of gold and priceless jewels. Into these places
we enter as Aladdin in the ancient tale; we are the masters here, and
all that we see is ours. He who has once got access to it--he possesses
not merely the magic lamp, he possesses all the wonderful fairy
properties of all the tales of our childhood. His is the Tarnhelm and
the magic ring which gives him power over his foes; his is the sword
Excalibur which none can break, and the silver bullet which brings down
all game, and the flying carpet upon which to travel over the earth, and
the house made of ginger-bread, and the three wishes which always come
true, and the philter of love, and the elixir of youth, and the music of
the spheres, and--who knows, some day he may come upon heaven, with St.
Peter and his golden key, and the seraphim singing, and the happy blest





     (Discusses the body as a whole, and shows that health is not a
     matter of many different organs and functions, but is one problem
     of one organism.)

The reader who has followed our argument this far will understand that
we are seldom willing to think of the body as separate from the mind.
The body is a machine, to be sure, but it is a machine that has a
driver, and while it is possible for a sound machine to have a drunken
and irresponsible driver, such a machine is not apt to remain sound very
long. Frequently, when there is trouble with the machine, we find the
fault to be with the driver; in other words, we find that what is needed
for the body is a change in the mind.

If you wish to have a sound body, and to keep it sound as long as
possible, the first problem for you to settle is what you want to make
of your life; you must have a purpose, and confront the tasks of life
with energy and interest. What is the use of talking about health to a
man who has no moral purpose? He may answer--indeed, I have heard
victims of alcoholism answer--"Let me alone. I have a right to go to
hell in my own way."

I am aware, of course, that the opposite of the proposition is equally
true. A man cannot enjoy much mental health while he has a sick body. It
is a good deal like the old question, Which comes first, the hen or the
egg? The mind and the body are bound up together, and you may try to
deal with each by turn, but always you find yourself having to deal with
both. Most physicians have a tendency to overlook the mind, and
Christian Scientists make a religion of overlooking the body, and each
pays the penalty in greatly reduced effectiveness.

My first criticism of medical science, as it exists today, is that it
has a tendency to concentrate upon organs and functions, and to overlook
the central unity of the system. You will find a doctor who specializes
in the stomach and its diseases, and is apt to talk as if the stomach
were a thing that went around in the world all by itself. He will
discuss the question of what goes into your stomach, and overlook to
point out to you that your stomach is nourished by your blood-stream,
which is controlled by your nervous system, which in turn is controlled
by hope, by ambition, by love, by all the spiritual elements of your
being. A single pulse of anger or of fear may make more trouble with the
contents of your stomach than the doctor's pepsins and digestive
ferments can remedy in a week.

Of course, you may do yourself some purely local injury, and so for a
time have a purely local problem. You may smash your finger, and that is
a problem of a finger; but neglect it for a few days, and let blood
poison set in, and you will be made aware that the human body is one
organism, and also that, in spite of any metaphysical theories you may
hold, your body does sometimes dominate and control your mind.

Some one has said that the blood is the life; and certainly the blood is
both the symbol and the instrument of the body's unity. The blood
penetrates to all parts of the body and maintains and renews them. If
the blood is normal, the work of renewal does not often fail. If there
is a failure of renewal--that is, a disease--we shall generally find an
abnormal condition of the blood. The distribution of the blood is
controlled by the heart, a great four-chambered pump. One chamber drives
the blood to the lungs, a mass of fine porous membranes, where it comes
into contact with the air, and gives off the poisons which it has
accumulated in its course through the body, and takes up a fresh supply
of oxygen. By another chamber of the heart the blood is then sucked out
of the lungs, and by the next chamber it is driven to every corner of
the body. It takes to every cell of the body the protein materials which
are necessary for the body's renewal, and also the fuel materials which
are to be burned to supply the body's energy; also it takes some thirty
million millions of microscopic red corpuscles which are the carriers of
oxygen, and an even greater number of the white corpuscles, which are
the body's scavengers, its defenders from invasion by outside germs.

There are certain outer portions of the body, such as nails and the
scales of the skin, which are dead matter, produced by the body and
pushed out from it and no longer nourished by the blood. But all the
still living parts of the body are fed at every instant by the stream of
life. Each cell in the body takes the fuel which it needs for its
activities, and combines it with the oxygen brought by the red
corpuscles; and when the task of power-production has been achieved, the
cell puts back into the blood-stream, not merely the carbon dioxide, but
many complex chemical products--ammonia, uric acid, and the "fatigue
poisons," indol, phenol and skatol. The blood-stream bears these along,
and delivers some to the sweat glands to be thrown out, and some to the
kidneys, and the rest to the lungs.

All of this complicated mass of activities is in normal health perfectly
regulated and timed by the nervous system. You lie down to sleep, and
your muscles rest, and the vital activities slow up, your heart beats
only faintly; but let something frighten you, and you sit up, and these
faculties leap into activity, your heart begins to pound, driving a
fresh supply of blood and vital energy. You jump up and run, and these
organs all set to work at top speed. If they did not do so, your muscles
would have no fresh energy; they would become paralyzed by the fatigue
poisons, and you would be, as we say, exhausted.

All the rest of the body might be described as a shelter and accessory
to the life-giving blood-stream; all the rest is the blood-stream's
means of protecting itself and renewing itself. The stomach is to digest
and prepare new blood material, the teeth are to crush it and grind it,
the hands are to seize it, the eyes are to see it, the brain is to
figure out its whereabouts. Man, in his egotism, imagines his little
world as the center of the universe; but the wise old fellow who lives
somewhere deep in our subconsciousness and looks after the welfare of
our blood-stream--he has far better reason for believing that all our
consciousness and our personality exist for him!

Now, disease is some failure of this blood-stream properly to renew
itself or properly to protect itself and its various subsidiary organs.
When you find yourself with a disease, you call in a doctor; and unless
this doctor is a modern and progressive man, he makes the mistake of
assuming that the disease is in the particular organ where it shows
itself. You have, let us say, "follicular tonsilitis." (These medical
men have a love for long names, which have the effect of awing you, and
convincing you that you are in desperate need of attention.) Your throat
is sore, your tonsils are swollen and covered with white spots; so the
doctor hauls out his little black bag, and makes a swab of cotton and
dips it, say in lysol, and paints your tonsils. He knows by means of the
microscope that your tonsils are covered and filled with a mass of
foreign germs which are feeding upon them; also he knows that lysol
kills these germs, and he gives you a gargle for the same purpose, puts
you to bed, and gradually the swelling goes down, and he tells you that
he has cured you, and sends you a bill for services rendered. But maybe
the swelling does not go down; maybe it gets worse and you die. Then he
tells your family that nature was to blame. Nature is to blame for your
death, but it never occurs to anyone to ask what nature may have had to
do with your recovery.

I do not know how many thousands of diseases medical science has now
classified. And for each separate disease there are complex formulas,
and your system is pumped full of various mineral and vegetable
substances which have been found to affect it in certain ways. Perhaps
you have a fever; then we give you a substance which reduces the
temperature of your blood-stream. It never occurs to us to reflect that
maybe nature has some purpose of her own in raising the temperature of
the blood; that this might be, so to speak, the heat of conflict, a
struggle she is waging to drive out invading germs; and that possibly it
would be better for the temperature to stay up until the battle is over.
Or maybe the heart is failing; then our medical man is so eager to get
something into the system that he cannot wait for the slow process of
the mouth and the stomach, he shoots some strychnine directly into the
blood-stream. It does not occur to him to reflect that maybe the heart
is slowing up because it is overloaded with fatigue poisons, of which it
cannot rid itself, and that the effect of stimulating it into fresh
activity will be to leave it more dangerously poisoned than before.

We are dealing here with processes which our ancient mother nature has
been carrying on for a long time, and which she very thoroughly
understands. We ought, therefore, to be sure that we know what is the
final effect of our actions; more especially we ought to be sure that we
understand the cause of the evil, so that we may remove it, and not
simply waste our time treating symptoms, putting plasters on a cancer.
This is the fundamental problem of health; and in order to make clear
what I mean, I am going to begin by telling a personal experience, a
test which I made of medical science some twelve or fourteen years ago,
in connection with one of the simplest and most external of the body's
problems--the hair. First I will tell you what medical science was able
to do for my hair, and second what I myself was able to do, when I put
my own wits to work on the problem.

I had been overworking, and was in a badly run down condition. I was
having headaches, insomnia, ulcerated teeth, many symptoms of a general
breakdown; among these I noticed that my hair was coming out. I decided
that it was foolish to become bald before I was thirty, and that I would
take a little time off, and spend a little money and have my hair
attended to. I did not know where to go, but I wanted the best authority
available, so I wrote to the superintendent of the largest hospital in
New York, asking him for the name of a reliable specialist in diseases
of the scalp. The superintendent replied by referring me to a certain
physician, who was the hospital's "consulting dermatologist," and I went
to see this physician, whose home and office were just off Fifth Avenue.

He examined my scalp, and told me that I had dandruff in my hair, and
that he would give me a prescription which would remove this dandruff
and cause my hair to stop falling out. He charged me ten dollars for the
visit, which in those days was more money than it is at present. Being
of an inquiring turn of mind, I tried to get my money's worth by
learning what there was to learn about the human hair. I questioned this
gentleman, and he told me that the hair is a dead substance, and that
its only life is in the root. He explained that barbers often persuade
people to have their hair singed, to keep it from falling out, and that
this was an utterly futile procedure, and likewise all shampooing and
massage, which only caused the hair to fall out more quickly. It was
better even not to wash the hair too often. All that was needed was a
mixture of chemicals to kill the dandruff germs; and so I had the
prescription put up at a drug store, and for a couple of years I
religiously used it according to order, and it had upon my hair
absolutely no effect whatever.

So here was the best that medical science could do. But still, I did not
want to be bald, so I went among the health cranks--people who
experiment without license from the medical schools. Also, I
experimented upon myself, and now I know something about the human hair,
something entirely different from what the rich and successful
"consulting dermatologist" taught me, but which has kept me from
becoming entirely bald:

First, the human hair is made by the body, and it is made, like
everything else in the body, out of the blood-stream. It is perfectly
true that the dandruff germ gets into the roots, and makes trouble, and
that the process of killing this germ can be helped by chemicals; but it
does not take a ten-dollar prescription, it only takes ten cents' worth
of borax and salt from the corner grocery. (Put a little into a saucer,
moisten it, rub it into the scalp, and wash it out again.) But
infinitely more important than this is the fact that healthy hair roots
are a product of healthy blood, and that unhealthy blood produces sick
hair roots, which cannot hold in the hair. Most important of all is the
fact that in order to make healthy hair roots the blood must flow fully
and freely to these hair roots; whereas I had been accustomed for many
hours every day of my life to clap around my scalp a tight band which
almost entirely stopped the circulation of the life-giving blood to my
sick hair roots. In other words, by wearing civilized hats, I was
literally starving my hair to death.

As soon as I realized this I took off my civilized hat, and have never
worn one since. As a rule, I don't wear anything. On the few occasions
when I go into the city, I wear a soft cap. Now and then I experience
inconvenience from this--the elevator boy in some apartment house tells
me to come in by the delivery entrance, or the porter of a sleeping-car
will not let me in at all. I remember discussing these embarrassments
with Jack London, who went even further in his defiance of civilization,
and wore a soft shirt. It was his custom, he said, to knock down the
elevator boys and sleeping-car porters. I answered that that might be
all right for him, because he could do it; whereas I was reduced to the
painful expedient of explaining politely why I went about without the
customary symbols of my economic superiority.

The "consulting dermatologist" had very solemnly and elaborately warned
me concerning the danger of moving my hair too violently, and thus
causing it to come out; but now my investigations brought out the fact
that moving the hair, that is, massaging the scalp, increases the flow
of blood to the hair roots, and further increases resistance to disease.
As for causing the hair to fall out, I discovered that the more quickly
you cause a hair to fall out, the greater is the chance of your getting
another hair. If a hair is allowed to die in the root, it kills that
root forever, but if it is pulled out before it dies, the root will make
a new hair. Every "beauty parlor" specialist knows this; she knows that
if a hair is pulled, it grows back bigger and stronger than ever, and so
to pull out hair is the last thing you must do if you want to get rid of

I know a certain poet, who happens to have been well-endowed with
physical graces by our mother nature. He finds it worth while to
preserve them--they being accessory to those amorous experiences which
form so large a part of the theme of poetry. Anyhow, this poet values
his beautiful hair, and you will see him sitting in front of his
fireplace, reading a book, and meanwhile his fingers run here and there
over his head, and he grabs a bunch of hair and pulls and twists it. He
has cultivated this habit for many years, and as a result his hair is as
thick and heavy as the "fuzzy-wuzzies" of Kipling's poem. It is a
favorite sport of this poet to lure some rival poet into a contest. He
will mildly suggest that they take hold of each other's hair and have a
tug of war. The rival poet, all unsuspecting, will accept the challenge,
and my friend will proceed to haul him all over the place, to the
accompaniment of howls of anguish from the victim, and howls of glee
from the victor, who has, of course, a scalp as tough as a rhinoceros

I am not a poet, and it is not important that I should be beautiful, and
I have been too busy to remember to pull my hair; but by giving up tight
hats, and by limiting the amount of my overworking, I have managed to
keep what hair I had left when the hair specialist had got through with
me. I tell this anecdote at the beginning of my discussion of health,
because it illustrates so well the factors which appear in every case of
disease, and which you must understand in seeking to remedy the trouble.

We have a phrase which has come down to us from the ancient Latins,
"vis medicatrix naturae," which means the healing power of nature. So
long ago men realized that it is our ancient mother who heals our
wounds, and not the physician. Out of this have grown the cults of
"nature cure" enthusiasts; and according to the fashion of men, they fly
to extremes just as unreasonable and as dangerous as those of the "pill
doctors" they are opposing. I have in mind a man who taught me probably
more than any other writer on health questions, and with whom I once
discussed the subject of typhoid, how it seemed to affect able-bodied
men in the prime of their physical being. This, of course, was contrary
to the theories of nature cure, and my friend had a simple way of
meeting the argument--he refused to believe it. He insisted that, as
with all other germ infections, it must be a question of bodily tone; no
germ could secure lodgment in the human body unless the body's condition
was reduced.

"But how can you be sure of that?" I argued. "You know that if you go
into the jungle, you are not immune against the scorpion or the cobra or
the tiger. There is nothing in all nature that is safe against every
enemy. What possible right have you to assert that you are immune
against every enemy which can attack your blood-stream?"

We shall find here, as we find nearly always, that the truth lies
somewhere between the extremes of two warring schools. Our race has been
existing for a long time in a certain environment, and its very
existence implies superiority to that environment. The weaklings, for
whom its hardships were too severe, were weeded out; hostile parasites
invaded their blood-stream and conquered and devoured them. But those
who survived were able to make in their blood-stream the substances
known as anti-bodies, the "opsonins," to help the white blood corpuscles
devour the germs. As the result of their victory, we carry those
anti-bodies in our system, which gives us immunity to those particular
diseases, or at any rate gives us the ability to have the diseases
without dying. Every time we go into a street car, we take into our
throat and lungs the germs of tuberculosis. Examination proves that we
carry around with us in our mouths the germs of all the common throat
and nose diseases, colds, bronchitis, tonsilitis. No matter what
precautions we might take, no matter if we were to gargle our throats
every few minutes, we could never get rid of such germs. And they wage
continual war upon the body's defenses; they batter in vain upon the
gates of our sound health. But take us to some new environment to which
we are not accustomed; take us to Panama in the old days of yellow
fever, or take us to Africa, and let the tsetse fly bite us, and infect
us with "sleeping sickness." Here are germs to which our systems are not
accustomed; and before them we are as helpless as the ancient
knights-at-arms, who had conquered everything in sight, and ruled the
continent of Europe for many hundreds of years, but were wiped off the
earth by a chemist mixing gunpowder.

In the Marquesas Islands, in the South Seas, there lived a beautiful and
happy race of savages, believed to have been descended, long ages ago,
from Aryan stock. From the point of view of physical perfection, they
were an ideal race, living a blissful outdoor life, which you may read
about in Melville's "Typee," and in O'Brien's "White Shadows in the
South Seas." This race conformed to all the requirements of the nature
enthusiast. They went practically naked, their houses were open all the
time, they lived on the abundant fruits of the earth. To be sure, they
were cannibals, but this was more a matter of religious ceremony than of
diet. They ate their war captives, but this was only after battle, and
not often enough to count, one way or the other, in matters of health.
They had lived for uncounted ages in perfect harmony with their
environment; they were happy and free; and certainly, if such a thing
were possible to human beings, they should have been proof against
germs. But a ship came to one of these islands, and put ashore a sailor
dying of tuberculosis, and in a few years four-fifths of the population
of this island had been wiped out by the disease. What tuberculosis left
were finished by syphilis and smallpox, and today the Marquesans are an
almost extinct race.

But there is another side to the argument--and one more favorable to the
nature cure enthusiast. We civilized men, by soft living, by
self-indulgence and lack of exercise, may reduce the tone of our body
too far below the standard which our ancestors set for us; and then the
common disease germs get us, then we have colds, sore throats,
tuberculosis. The nature cure advocate is perfectly right in saying that
there is no use treating such diseases; the thing is to restore the body
to its former tone, so that we may be superior to our normal environment
and its strains.

You know the poem of the "One Hoss Shay," which was so perfectly built
in every part that it ran for fifty years and then collapsed all at once
in a heap. But the human body is not built that way. It always has one
or more places which are weaker than the others, and which first show
the effects of strain. In one person it will take the form of dyspepsia,
in another it will be headaches, in another colds, in another decaying
teeth, in another hardening of the arteries or stiffening of the joints.
But whatever the symptoms may be, the fundamental cause is always the
same, an abnormal condition of the blood-stream, and a consequent
lowering of the body's tone. Therefore, studying any disease and its
cure, you have first the emergency question, are there any germs lodged
in the body, and if so, how can you destroy them? As part of the
problem, you have to ask whether your blood-stream is normal, and if
not, what are the methods by which you can make it normal and keep it
so? Also you have to ask, what are the reasons why your trouble
manifests itself in this or that particular organ? Is there some
weakness or defect there, and can the defect be remedied, or can your
habits be changed so as to reduce the strain on that organ? Are there
any measures you can take to increase the flow of blood to that organ,
and to promote its activity? In the study of your health, you will find
that circumstances differ, and the importance of one factor or the other
will vary; but you will seldom find any problem in which all these
factors do not enter, and you will seldom find an adequate remedy unless
you take all the factors into consideration.



     (Narrates the author's adventures in search of health, and his
     conclusions as to what to eat.)

Students of the body assure us that every particle of matter which
composes it is changed in the course of seven years. It is obvious that
everything that is a part of the body has at some time to be taken in as
food; so the problem of our diet today is the problem of what our body
shall consist of seven years from now, and probably a great deal sooner.

I begin this discussion by telling my own personal experiences with
food. I am not going to recommend my diet for anyone else; because one
of the first things I have to say about the subject is that every human
individual is a separate diet problem. But I am going to try to
establish a few principles for your guidance, and more especially to
point out the commonest mistakes. I tell about my own mistakes, because
it happens that I know them more intimately.

I was brought up in the South, where it is the custom of people to give
a great deal of time and thought to the subject of eating. Among the
people I knew it was always taken for granted that there should be at
least one person in the kitchen devoting all her time to the preparing
of delicious things for the family to eat. This person was generally a
negress, and, needless to say, she knew nothing about the chemistry of
foods, nothing about their constituents or nutritive qualities. All she
knew was about their taste; she had been trained to prepare them in ways
that tasted best, and was continually being advised and exhorted and
sometimes scolded by the ladies of the family on this subject. At the
table the family and the guests never failed to talk about the food and
its taste, and not infrequently the cook would be behind the door
listening to their comments; or else she would wait until after the
meal, for the report which somebody would bring her.

In addition to this, the ladies of the family were skilled in what is
called "fancy cooking." They did not bother with the meats and
vegetables, but they mixed batter cakes, and made all kinds of elaborate
desserts, and exchanged these treasures and the recipes for them with
other ladies in the neighborhood. In addition to this, there were
certain periods of the week and of the year especially devoted to the
preparing and consuming of great quantities of foods. Once every seven
days the members of the family expressed their worship of their Creator
by eating twice as much as usual; and at another time they celebrated
the birth of their Redeemer by overeating systematically for a period of
two or three weeks. Needless to say, of course, the children brought up
in such an environment all had large appetites and large stomachs, and
their susceptibility to illness was recognized by the setting apart for
them of a whole classification of troubles--"children's diseases," they
were called. In addition to children's diseases, there were coughs and
colds and sore throats and pains in the stomach and constipation and
diarrhea, which the children shared with their adults.

I had a little more than my share of all these troubles. Always a doctor
would be sent for, and always he was wise and impressive, and always I
was impressed. He gave me some pills or a bottle of liquid, a
teaspoonful every two hours, or something like that--I can hear the
teaspoon rattle in the glass as I write. I had a profound respect for
each and every one of those doctors. He was wisdom walking about in
trousers, and whenever he came, I knew that I was going to get well; and
I did, which proved the case completely.

Then I grew up, and at the age of eighteen or nineteen became possessed
of a desire for knowledge, and took to reading and studying literally
every minute of the day and a good part of the night. I seldom let
myself go to sleep before two o'clock in the morning, and was always up
by seven and ready for work again. I did this for ten years or so, until
nature brought me to a complete stop. During these ten years I was a
regular experiment station in health; that is, I had every kind of
common ailment, and had it over and over again, so that I could try all
the ways of curing it, or failing to cure it, and keep on trying until I
was sure, one way or the other. I came recently upon a wonderful saying
by John Burroughs, which will be appreciated by every author. "This
writing is an unnatural business. It makes your head hot and your feet
cold, and it stops the digesting of your food."

This trouble with my digestion began when I was writing my second novel,
camping out on a lonely island at the foot of Lake Ontario. I went to
see a doctor in a nearby town, and he talked learnedly about dyspepsia.
The cause of it, he said, was failure of the stomach to secrete enough
pepsin, and the remedy was to take artificial pepsin, obtained from the
stomach of a pig. He gave me this pig-pepsin in a bottle of red liquid,
and I religiously took some after each meal. It helped for a time; but
then I noticed that it helped less and less. I got so that a simple meal
of cold meat and boiled potatoes would stay in my stomach for hours, in
spite of any amount of the pig-pepsin; I would lie about in misery,
because I wanted to work, and my accursed stomach would not let me.

All the time, of course, I was using my mind on this problem, groping
for causes. I found that the trouble was worse if I worked immediately
after eating. I found also that it was worse when I was writing books.
When I got sufficiently desperate, I would stop writing books and go off
on a hunting trip. I would tramp twenty miles a day over the mountains,
looking for deer, and I would come back at night too tired to think, and
in a week or two every trace of my trouble would be gone. So my life
regimen came to be--first the writing of a book, and then a hunting trip
to get over the effects of it. But as time went on, alas, I noticed that
the recuperation was more slow and less certain. The working times grew
shorter, and the hunting times grew longer, until finally I had got to a
point where I couldn't work at all; I would go to pieces in a few days
if I tried it. It was apparently the end of my stomach, and the end of
my sleeping, and the end of my writing books. My teeth were decaying,
not merely outside but inside; I would have abscesses, and most
frightful agonies to endure. I would lie awake all night, and it would
seem to me that I could feel my body going to pieces--an extremely
depressing sensation!

I had been trying experiments all this time. I had been going to one
doctor after another, and had got to realize that the doctors only
treated symptoms; they treated the "diseases" when they appeared--but
nobody ever told you how to keep the "diseases" from appearing. Why
could there not be a doctor who would look you over thoroughly, and tell
you everything that was wrong with you, and how to set it right? A
doctor who would tell you exactly how to live, so that you might keep
well all the time! I was studying economics, and becoming suspicious of
my fellow man; it occurred to me that possibly it might be embarrassing
to a doctor, if he cured all his patients, and taught them how to live,
so that none of them would ever have to come to him again. It occurred
to me that possibly this might be the reason why "preventive medicine,"
constructive health work, was getting so little attention from the
medical fraternity.

Two things that plagued me were headache and constipation, and they were
obviously related. For constipation, the world had one simple remedy;
you "took something" every night or every morning, and thought no more
about it. My stout and amiable grandmother had drunk a glass of Hunyadi
water every morning for the last thirty or forty years, and that she
finally died of "fatty degeneration of the heart" was not connected with
this in the mind of anyone who knew her. As for the headaches, people
would tell you this, that, and the other remedy, and I would try
them--that is, unless they happened to be drugs. I was getting more and
more shy of drugs. I had some blessed instinct which saved me from
stimulants and narcotics. I had never used tea, coffee, alcohol or
tobacco, and in my worst periods of suffering I never took to putting
myself to sleep with chloral, or to stopping my headaches with

At the end of six or eight years of purgatory, I came upon a prospectus
of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. This seemed to me exactly what I wanted;
this was constructive, it dealt with the body as a whole. So I spent a
couple of months at the "San," and paid them something like a thousand
dollars to tell me all they could about myself.

The first thing they told me was that meat-eating was killing me. It was
perfectly obvious, was it not, that meat is a horrible feeding place for
germs, that rotten meat is dreadfully offensive, and likewise digested
meat--consider the excreta of cats, for example! I listened solemnly
while Doctor Kellogg read off the numbers of billions of bacteria per
gram in the contents of the colon of a carnivorous person. It certainly
seemed proper that the author of "The Jungle" should be a vegetarian, so
I became one, and did my best to persuade myself that I enjoyed the
taste of the patent meat-substitutes which are served in hundred calory
portions in the big Sanitarium dining-room.

There also I met Horace Fletcher, and learned to chew every particle of
food thirty-two times, and often more. I exercised in the Sanitarium
gymnasium, and watched the sterilized dancing--the men with the men and
the women with the women. I was patiently polite with the Seventh Day
Adventist religion, and laid in a supply of postage stamps on Friday
evening. Finally, and most important of all, I went once a day to the
"treatment rooms," and had my abdomen doctored alternately with hot
cloths and ice. By this means I kept up a flow of blood in the
intestinal tract, and stimulated these organs to activity; so my
constipation was relieved, and my headaches were less severe--so long as
I stayed at the Sanitarium, and was boiled and frozen once every day.
But when I left the Sanitarium, and abandoned the treatments, the
troubles began to return. Meantime, however, I had written a book in
praise of vegetarianism--a book which has got into the libraries, and
cannot be got out again!

I went on to a new variety of health crank, the real "nature cure"
practitioners. Vegetarianism was not enough, they insisted; the evil had
begun long before, when man first ruined his food and destroyed its
nutritive value by means of fire. There was only one certain road to
health, and that was by the raw food route, the monkey and squirrel
diet. I had gone out to California for a winter's rest, and decided I
would give this plan a thorough trial. For five months I lived by
myself, and the only cooked food I ate was shredded wheat biscuit. For
the rest I lived on nuts and salads and fresh and dried fruits; and
during this period I enjoyed such health as I had never known in my life
before. I had literally not a single ailment. I was not merely well, but
bubbling over with health. I had a friend who said it cheered him up
just to see me walk down the street.

I thought that it was entirely the raw food, and that I had solved the
problem forever; but I overlooked the fact that during those five months
I had done no hard brain work, no writing. I went back to writing again,
and things began to go wrong; my wonderful raw foods took to making
trouble in my stomach--and I assure you that until you try, you have no
idea the amount of trouble that can be made in your stomach by a load of
bananas and soaked prunes which has gone wrong! For a year or two I
agonized; I could not give up my wonderful raw food diet, because I had
always before me the vision of those months in California, and could
not understand why it was not that way again.

But the time came when I would eat a meal of raw food, and for hours
afterwards my stomach would feel like a blown-up football. Then somebody
gave me a book by Dr. Salisbury on the subject of the meat diet. Of all
the horrible things in the world, a meat diet sounded to me the worst; I
had been a vegetable enthusiast for three years, and thought of eating
meat as you would think of cannibalism. But there has never been a time
in my life when I would not hear something new, and give it a trial if
it sounded well; so I read the books of Doctor Salisbury, which have
long been out of print, and have been curiously neglected by the medical
profession. Salisbury was a real pioneer, an experimenter. He wrote in
the days before the germ theory, and so missed his guess regarding
tuberculosis, but he perceived that most of the common diseases are
caused by dietetic errors, and he set to work to prove it. He showed
that hog cholera and army diarrhea are the same disease, and come from
the same cause. He took a squad of men and fed them on army biscuit for
two or three weeks, until they were nearly dead, and then he put them on
a diet of lean beef and completely cured them in a few days. He did this
same thing with one kind of food after another, and in each case he
would bring his men as near to death as he dared, and then he would cure
them. He showed that meat is the only food which contains all the
elements of nutrition, the only food upon which a person can live for an
unlimited period. As Salisbury said, "Beef is first, mutton is second,
and the rest nowhere."

It was his idea that tuberculosis of the lungs is caused by spores of
fermenting starch clogging the minute blood vessels. He claimed that
there is an early stage of tuberculosis, in which the spores are
floating in the blood stream; he put large numbers of patients upon a
diet of lean beef, ground and cooked, and he cured them of tuberculosis,
and if one of them would break the diet and yield to a craving for
starch or sugar, Salisbury claimed that he could find it out an hour or
two later by examining a drop of their blood under the microscope. In
his books he described vividly the effects of an excess of starch and
sugar in the diet. He called it "making a yeast-pot of your stomach";
and you can imagine how that hit my stomach, full of half digested
bananas and prunes!

I tried the Salisbury diet, and satisfied myself of this one fact, that
lean meat is for brain-workers the most easily assimilated of all foods.
Salisbury claimed that you could not overeat on meat, but I do not
believe there is any food you cannot overeat on, nor do I believe that
anyone should try to live on one kind of food. We are by nature
omnivorous animals. Our digestive tracts are similar to those of hogs
and monkeys, which eat all varieties of food they can get. One of the
common errors of the nature cure enthusiast is to cite the monkey and
the squirrel as fruit and nut-eating animals, when the fact is that
monkeys and squirrels eat meat when they can get it, and the ardor with
which they go bird-nesting is evidence enough that they crave it. If
there is any race of man which is vegetarian, you will find that it is
from necessity alone. The beautiful South Sea Islanders, who are the
theme of the raw fooders' ecstasy, spend a lot of their time catching
fish, and sometimes they kill a pig, and celebrate the event precisely
as Christians celebrate the birth of their Redeemer.

From this you may be able to guess my conclusions, as the result of much
painful blundering and experimenting. So far as diet is concerned, I
belong to no school; I have learned something from each one, and what I
have learned from a trial of them all is to be shy of extreme statements
and of hard and fast rules. To my vegetarian friends who argue that it
is morally wrong to take sentient life, I answer that they cannot go for
a walk in the country without committing that offense, for they walk on
innumerable bugs and worms. We cannot live without asserting our right
to subject the lower forms of life to our purposes; we kill innumerable
germs when we swallow a glass of grape juice, or for that matter a glass
of plain water. I shall be much surprised if the advance of science does
not some day prove to us that there are rudimentary forms of
consciousness in all vegetable life; so we shall justify the argument of
Mr. Dooley, who said, in reviewing "The Jungle," that he could not see
how it was any less a crime to cut off a young tomato in its prime, or
to murder a whole cradleful of baby peas in the pod!

There is no question that meat-eating is inconvenient, expensive, and
dirty. I have no doubt that some day we shall know enough to be able to
find for every individual a diet which will keep him at the top of his
power, without the maintenance of the slaughter-house. But we do not
possess that knowledge at present; at least, I personally do not possess
it. I happen to be one of those individuals--there are many of
them--with whom milk does not agree; and if you rule out milk and meat,
you find yourself compelled to get a great deal of your protein from
vegetable sources, such as peas, beans and nuts. All these contain a
great deal of starch, and thus there is no way you can arrange your diet
to escape an excess of starch. Excess of starch, so my experience has
convinced me, is the deadliest of all dietetic errors. It is also the
commonest of errors, the cause, not merely of the common throat and nose
infections, but of constipation, and likewise of diarrhea, of anemia,
and thus, through the weakening of the blood stream, of all disorders
that spring from this source--decaying teeth and rheumatism, boils, bad
complexion, and tuberculosis. Starch foods are the cheapest, therefore
they form the common diet of the poor, and are responsible for the
diseases of undernourishment to which the poor are liable.

On the other hand, of course, there are perfectly definite diseases of
overnourishment; high blood pressure, which culminates in apoplexy;
kidney troubles, which result from the inability of these organs to
eliminate all the waste matter that is delivered to them; fatty
degeneration of the heart, or of the liver, or any of the vital organs.
You may cause a headache by clogging the blood stream through
overeating, or you may cause it by eating small quantities of food, if
those foods are unbalanced, and do not contain the mineral elements
necessary to the making of normal blood. Whatever the trouble with your
health, it is my judgment that in two cases out of three you will find
it dates back to errors in diet. I do not think I exaggerate in saying
that a knowledge of what to eat and how much to eat is two-thirds of the
knowledge of how to keep yourself in permanent health.



     (Discusses the different kinds of foods, and the part they play in
     the making of health and disease.)

It is my purpose in this chapter to lay down a few general principles to
aid you in the practical problem of selecting the best diet for
yourself. But it must be made clear at the outset that there can be no
hard and fast rule. All human bodies are more or less alike, but on the
other hand all are more or less different. Modern civilization has given
very few bodies the chance to be perfect; nearly all have some weakness,
some abnormality, and need some special modification in diet to fit
their particular problem. The ideal in each case would be a complete
study of the individual system. Some day, no doubt, medical science will
analyze the digestive juices and the gland secretions and the
blood-stream of every human being, and say, you need a certain
percentage of starch and a certain percentage of protein; you need such
and such proportion of phosphorus and iron; you should avoid certain
acids--and so on. But at present we are devoting our science to the task
of killing and maiming other people, instead of enabling ourselves to
live in health and happiness; so it is that most of those who read this
book will be too poor to command the advice of a diet specialist. The
best you can do is to get a few general ideas and try them out, watching
your own body and learning its peculiarities.

Human food contains three elements: proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
The proteins are the body-building material, and the foods which are
rich in proteins are lean meat, the white of eggs, milk and cheese,
nuts, peas and beans. A certain amount of this kind of food is needed by
the body. If it is missing, the body will gradually waste away. If too
much of it is taken, the body can turn it into energy-making material,
but this is a wasteful process, and the best evidence appears to be that
it is a strain upon the system. Experiments conducted by Professor
Chittenden of Yale have proven conclusively that men can live and
maintain body weight upon much less protein food than previous dietetic
standards had indicated.

The fats are found in fat meats and dairy products, and in nuts, olives,
and vegetable oils. The body is prepared to digest and assimilate a
certain amount of fat, no one knows how much. I have found in my own
case that I require a great deal less than people ordinarily eat. I have
for many years maintained good health upon a diet containing no more fat
than one gets with lean meat once or twice a day. I never use butter or
olive oil, nor any fat in cooking. My reason for this is that fats are
the most highly concentrated form of food, and the easiest upon which to
overeat. Excess of fat is a cause, not merely of obesity, but also of
boils and pimples and "pasty" complexion, and other signs of a clogged

The third variety of food is the carbohydrates, and of these there are
two kinds, starches and sugars. Starch is the white material of the
grains and tubers; the principal food element of bread and cereals,
rice, potatoes, bananas, and many prepared substances such as
corn-starch, tapioca, farina and macaroni. Starchy foods compose
probably half the diet of the average human being. In my own case, they
compose about one-sixth, so you see to what extent my beliefs differ
from the common. Starch is not really necessary in the diet at all. I
have a friend who is subject to headaches, and finds relief from them by
a diet of meat, salads, and fresh fruits exclusively. The first thing
that excess of starch or sugar does is to ferment in the system, and
cause flatulence and gas. But strange as it may seem, if the excess of
starch is perfectly digested and assimilated into the system, the
condition may be worse yet, because you may have a great quantity of
energy-producing material, without the necessary mineral elements which
the body requires in the handling of it.

If you cremate a human body and study the ashes chemically, you find a
score or more of mineral salts. You find these in the blood, and no
blood is normal and no body can be kept normal which does not contain
the right percentage of these elements. It is not merely that they are
needed to build bones and teeth; they are needed at every instant for
the chemistry of the cells. Every time you move a muscle, you fill the
cells of that muscle with a certain amount of waste matter. You may
prove how deadly this matter is by binding a tight cord about your arm,
and then trying to use the arm. We are only at the beginning of
understanding the subtle chemistry of the body; but this much we know,
the cells transform the waste products, and they are thrown out of the
system as ammonia, uric acid, etc.; and for this process the blood must
have a continual supply of many mineral salts.

So vital are they, and so fatal to health is their absence, that it is
far better for you to eat nothing at all than to eat improperly balanced
foods, or foods which are deficient in the organic salts. You may prove
this to yourself by a simple experiment. Put two chickens in separate
pens, where nobody can feed them but yourself. Feed one of them on water
and white bread, or corn starch, or sugar, or any energy-making
substance which contains little of the mineral elements. Feed the other
chicken on plain water. You will find that the one which has the food
will quickly become droopy and sickly; its feathers will fall out, it
will have what in human beings would be known as headaches, colds, sore
throats, decaying teeth and boils. At the end of a couple of weeks it
will be a dead chicken. The one which you feed on water alone will not
be a happy chicken, neither will it be a fat chicken, but it will be a
live chicken, and a chicken without disease. I am going later on to
discuss the subject of fasting. For the present I will merely say that a
chicken which has nothing but water is living upon its own flesh, and
therefore has a meat diet, containing the mineral elements necessary to
the elimination of the fatigue poisons.

I am going to try not to be dogmatic in this book, and not to say things
that I do not know. I confess to innumerable uncertainties about the
subject of diet; but one thing I think I do know, and that is that human
beings should eliminate absolutely from their food those modern
artificial products, which look so nice, and are so easy to handle, and
are put up in packages with pretty labels, and have been in some way
artificially treated to remove the wastes and impurities--including the
vital mineral salts. Among such food substances I include lard and its
imitations made from cottonseed oil, white flour, all the prepared and
refined cereals, polished rice, tapioca, farina, corn starch, and
granulated and powdered sugar. Any of these substances will kill a
chicken in a couple of weeks, and the only reason they take a longer
time to kill you is because you mix them with other kinds of foods. But
to the extent that you eat them, your diet is deficient; and do not
console yourself with the idea that the mineral elements will be made up
from other foods, because you don't know that, and nobody else knows it.
Nobody knows just how much of any particular organic salt the body
needs. All we know is that the primitive races, which ate natural foods,
enjoyed vigorous health, while the American people, who consume the
greatest proportion of the so-called "refined" foods, have the very best
dentists and the very worst teeth in the world.

There are many kinds of sugar, found in the sugar-cane and the beet, and
in all fruits. Sugar may also be made from any form of starch; this is
glucose, which is put up in cans and sold as an imitation of maple
syrup. The ordinary granulated and powdered sugar is made by taking from
the natural syrup every trace of mineral elements; so I have no
hesitation in saying that the ordinary cane sugar and beet sugar of our
breakfast tables and our confectionery stores is not a food, but a slow
poison. The causes of the wonderful progress of American dentistry,
which is the marvel of the civilized world, are cane sugar, white flour,
and the frying-pan, each of which dietetic crimes I shall take up in

We have the richest country in the world; we eat more food, probably by
50 per cent, and we waste more food, probably by 500 per cent, than any
other people in the world; and yet, go to any small farming community in
America, and what do you find? You find the teeth of the young children
rotting in their heads, and having to be pulled out before their second
teeth come. You find these second teeth rotting often before the age of
twenty. A friend of mine, who knows the American farmer, sums it up this
way: "He has two things that he requires if he is to be really
respectable and happy. First, he wants to get all the fireplaces in his
home boarded up, and all the windows nailed tight; and second, he wants
to get all his teeth out, and an artificial set installed. Out of the
farmers' wives in my neighborhood, not one in ten keeps her own teeth
until she is thirty."

If you go to the Balkans, where the peasants live on sour milk, with
grains which they grind at home; or to southern Italy and Sicily, where
they live on cheese and black bread and olives; or among savage people,
where they hunt and fish and gather the natural fruits, you find old
men without a single decayed tooth. There must be some reason for this,
and the reason is found in our denatured grocery-store foods. The
farmer's wife will gather up her eggs and her butter and cheeses, and
take them to the store and bring back cans of lard and packages of
sugar. The farmer will sell his perfectly good wheat and corn meal, and
bring back in his wagon cases of "refined" cereal foods, for which he
has paid ten times the price of the grain!

Dentists will tell you that the way candy injures the teeth is by
sticking to them and fermenting, forming acids, which destroy the tooth
structure. And that may be a part of the reason. But the principal
reason why the teeth decay is because the blood-stream is abnormal, and
is unable to keep up the repairs of the body. Your teeth are living
structures, just as much as any other part of you, and they will resist
decay if you supply them with the proper nourishment.

You need sugar; you need a considerable quantity of it every day. Nature
provides this sugar in combination with the organic salts, and also with
the precious vitamines, whose function in the body we are only beginning
to investigate. All the mineral substances which give the color and
flavor to oranges, apples, peaches, grapes, figs, prunes, raisins--all
these you take out when you make sugar. Or perhaps you put in some
imitations of them, made from coal tar chemicals, and drink them at your
soda fountains! So little appreciation has the American farmer's wife of
natural fruits, that when she preserves them, she considers it necessary
to fill them full of cane sugar; in fact, she has a notion that they
won't keep unless she cooks them up with sugar! So snobbish are we
Americans about our eating, that we make the best of our foods into
bywords. We make jokes in our comic papers about the "boarding-house
prune"; and yet prunes and raisins are among the wholesomest foods we
have, and if we fed them to our children instead of cakes and candy and
coal-tar flavorings, our dental industry would rapidly decline.

And the same thing is true of bread. When I was a boy, I thought I had
to have hot bread at least twice a day, and if I were called upon to eat
bread that was more than a day old, I felt that I was being badly abused
by life. I used to read fairy stories, in which something called "black
bread" was mentioned, something obscure and terrible; the symbol of
human misery was Cinderella sitting in the ashes and eating a crust of
dry "black bread." But now since I have studied diet, I have taken my
place with Cinderella. I can afford to buy whatever kind of bread I
want; I can have the best white bread, piping hot, three times a day, if
I want it; but what I eat three times a day is a crust of hard dry
"black bread."

"Black bread" is the fairy story name for bread made of the whole grain.
It is eaten that way by the peasant because he has no patent milling
machinery at his disposal, to fan away the life-giving elements of his
food. Nearly all the mineral elements of the grain are contained in the
outer, dark-colored portion. The white part is almost pure starch; and
when you use white flour, you are not merely starving your blood-stream,
your bones, and your teeth, you are also depriving the digestive tract
of the rough material which it is accustomed to handle, and which it
needs to stimulate it to action. I am aware that whole grain products
are a trifle less easy of digestion, but we should not pamper and weaken
our digestive tract any more than we let our muscles get flabby for lack
of action. We should require our stomachs to handle the ordinary natural
foods, precisely as we accustom our body to react from cold water, and
to stand honest hard work.

For ages the Japanese peasants have lived on rice, with a little dried
fish. Quite recently there began to spread throughout Japan a mysterious
disease known as beri-beri. It was especially prevalent in the army, and
so the scientists of Japan set out to discover the cause, and it proved
to be the modern practice of polishing rice, which takes off the outer
coating of the grain. Rice is one of the most wholesome of foods, if it
is eaten in the natural state; but in order to get it in that state in
this country, you have to find a special food store of the health
cranks, and have to pay a special price for it. You have to pay a higher
price for whole wheat bread--because ninety-nine people out of a hundred
are ignorant, and insist upon having their foodstuffs pretty to look at!

Probably you have read sea stories, and know of the horrors of scurvy.
Scurvy and beri-beri are similar diseases, with a similar cause. The men
on the old sailing ships used to have to live on white biscuit and salt
meat, and they always knew that to recover from their gnawing illness,
they must get to port and get fresh vegetables and fruits, especially
onions and lemons, which contain the vitamines as well as the salts. But
you will see the modern housewife going into the grocery store, and
surveying the shelves of "package" goods, and in her ignorance picking
out the scurvy-making products, and frequently paying for them a much
higher price than for the health-making ones!

Then, when she has got her white flour, and her cane sugar, and her
lard, she will take it home, and mix it up, and put it in the frying
pan, and serve it hot to her husband and children. Nature has so
constituted her husband and children that they digest starch before they
digest fat; that is to say, the starch is digested mainly in the
stomach, while the fat is digested mainly after the food has been passed
on into the small intestine. But by frying the starch before it is
eaten, the housewife carefully takes each grain of the starch and
protects it with a little covering of fat. Thus the digestive juices of
the stomach cannot get at the starch, and the starch goes down into the
small intestine a good part undigested. If some evil spirit, wishing to
make trouble for the human organism, had charge of the laying out of our
diet, he could hardly devise anything worse than that. And yet it would
be no exaggeration to say that the average American, especially the
average farmer, eats out of a frying-pan. If his potatoes have to be
warmed over, they go into the frying-pan; his precious batter-cakes and
doughnuts are cooked in a frying-pan, and all his precious hot breads
are mixed with lard. If it were not for the fact that you cannot broil a
beefsteak over a modern gas range, I would tell you that the first step
toward health for the average American would be to throw the frying-pan
out of the window, and to throw the cook-book after it.

The whole modern art of cooking is largely a perversion; a product of
idleness, vanity, and sensuality. It is one of the monstrous growths
consequent upon our system of class exploitation. We have a number of
idle people with nothing to do but eat, and who demonstrate their
superiority to the rest of us by their knowledge of superior foods, and
superior ways of preparing them. They have the wealth of the world at
their disposal, also the services of their fellow man without limit, and
they set their fellow man to work to enable them to give elaborate
banquets, and to sit in solemn state and gorge themselves, and to have a
full account of their behavior published in the next morning's
newspapers. A great part of this perverse art we owe to what is called
the "ancient régime" in France--a régime which starved the French
peasantry until they were black skinned beasts hiding in caves and
hollow trees. So it comes about that our modern food depravity parades
itself in French names, and American snobbery requires of its devotees a
course in the French language sufficient to read a menu card. Needless
to say, this elaborate gastronomic art has been developed without any
relation to health, or any thought of the true needs of the body. It is
one of the products of the predatory system which we can say is absolute
waste. Having done my own cooking for the past twenty-five years, I make
bold to say that I can teach anybody all he needs to know about cooking
in one lesson of half an hour, and that the total amount of cooking
required for a large family can be done by one person in twenty minutes
a day.

In the first place, a great many foods do not have to be cooked at all,
and are made less fit by cooking. In the next place, the only cooking
that is ever required is a little boiling, or in the case of meat,
roasting or broiling. In the next place, the art of combining foods in
cooking is a waste art, because no foods should be combined in cooking.
Every food has its own natural flavor, which is lost in combination, and
if anybody is unable to enjoy the natural flavors of simply cooked
foods, there is one thing to say to that person, and that is to wait
until he is hungry. Let him take a ten-mile walk in the open air, and he
will have more interest in his next meal. I am not a fanatic, and have
no desire to destroy the pleasures of life; I am recommending to people
that they should seek the higher pleasures of the intellect, and those
pleasures are not found in standing over a cook stove, nor in compelling
others to stand over a cook stove. Moreover, I know that the artificial
mixing of foods to tempt peoples' palates is one of the principal causes
of overeating, and therefore of ill health, and therefore of the
ultimate destruction of the pleasures of life.

I went out from the world of cooks before I was twenty. I wanted to
write a book, and to be let alone while I was doing it. I lived by
myself, and found out about cooking by practical experience. On a few
occasions since then, I have lived in a house with a servant, and had
some cooking done for me, but it was always because somebody else
wanted it, and against my protest. In the last ten years we have had no
servant in our home, and because I want my wife to give her energy to
more important things than feeding me, I do my share of getting every
meal. We have worked out a system of housekeeping by which we get a meal
in five minutes, and when we finish it, it takes three minutes to clear
things away.

If I tell you what I eat, please do not get the impression that I am
advising you to eat these same things. My diet consists of the foods
which I have found by long experience agree with me. There are many
other foods which are just as wholesome, but which I do not eat, either
because they don't happen to agree with me, or because I don't care for
them so much. I am fond of fruit, and eat more of that than of anything
else. It is not a cheap article of diet, but you can save a good deal if
you buy it in quantities, as I do. A little later I am going to discuss
the prices of foods.

For breakfast I eat a slice of whole wheat bread, three good-sized
apples, stewed, and eight or ten dates. It takes practically no time to
prepare this breakfast. The bread has to be baked, of course, but this
is done wholesale; we buy four loaves at a time, and it is just as good
at the end of a couple of weeks as when we buy it. When I lived in the
world of cooks, I would call for apple sauce; which meant that somebody
had to pare apples, cut them up, stew them, mix them with sugar, grate a
little nutmeg over them, set them on ice, and serve them to me on a
glass dish, with a little pitcher of cream. But now what happens is that
I put a dozen apples in a big sauce-pan and let them simmer while I am
eating. We have a rule in our family that we do not do any cooking
except while we are eating, because if we try it at any other time of
the day, we get buried in a book or in a manuscript, and forget about it
until the smoke causes somebody in the street to summon the fire
department. So the apples for my breakfast were cooked during last
night's supper; and during the breakfast there will be some vegetable
cooking for lunch.

At this lunch, which is my "square meal," I eat a large slice of
beefsteak, say a third of a pound. Jack London used to say that the only
man who could cook a beefsteak was the fireman of a railway locomotive,
because he had a hot, clean shovel. The best imitation you can get is a
hot, clean frying-pan; and when you are sure that it is hot, let it get
hotter. The whole secret of cooking meat is to keep the juices inside,
and to do that you must cook it quickly. When you slap it down on a hot
frying-pan, the meat is seared, and the juices stay inside, and if you
do not turn it over until it is almost ready to burn, you don't need to
cook it very long on the other side. That is the one secret of cooking
worth knowing; it doesn't cost anything, and saves time instead of
wasting it. As I have never found anybody else capable of learning it, I
reserve the cooking of the beefsteak as one of my family duties.

To continue the lunch, a slice of whole wheat bread, and a large
quantity of some fresh salad, such as celery, or lettuce and tomatoes,
without dressing. For a part of this may be substituted a vegetable, one
or two beets or turnips, cooked during a previous meal, and warmed up in
a couple of minutes; and we do not throw away the tops of the turnips
and beets and celery, we put them on and cook them, and they serve for
the next day's meal. If you would eat a large quantity of such "greens"
once a day, you would escape many of the ills that your flesh is at
present heir to. Finally, for dessert, an orange and a small handful of
raisins, or one or two figs.

The evening meal will be the same as the breakfast; except once in a
while when I am especially hungry, and want some meat. I am writing in
the winter season, so the fruits suggested are those available in
winter. The menu will be varied with every kind of fruit at the season
when it is cheapest and most easily obtained. The beefsteak will appear
at about three meals out of four; occasionally it will be replaced by
the lean meat of pork or mutton, or by fish. The bread may be replaced
by rice, or boiled potatoes, either white or sweet, and occasionally by
graham crackers. I know that these contain a little fat and sugar, but I
try not to be fanatical about my diet, and the rules I suggest do not
carry the death penalty. There was a time when I used to allow my
friends to make themselves miserable by trying to provide me with
special foods when they invited me to a meal, but now I tell them to
"forget it," and I politely nibble a little of everything, and eat most
of what I find wholesome; if there is nothing wholesome, I content
myself with the pretense of a meal. If I find myself in a restaurant, I
quite shamelessly get a piece of apple or pumpkin pie, omitting most of
the crust. As I don't go away from home more than once or twice a month,
I do not have to worry about such indulgence. The main thing is to
arrange one's home diet on sound lines, and learn to enjoy the simple
and wholesome foods, of which there is a great variety obtainable, and
at prices possible to all but the wretchedly poor.

In conclusion, since everybody likes to have a feast now and then, I
specify that my diet regimen allows for holidays. Assuming that I am
your guest for a day, and that you wish to "blow" me, regardless of
expense, here will be the menu. Breakfast, some graham crackers, a bunch
of raisins, a can of sliced pineapple in winter, or a big chunk of
watermelon in summer. Dinner, or lunch, roast pork, a baked apple, a
baked sweet potato and some spinach. Supper, lettuce, dates, and a dish
of popcorn flavored with peanut butter. Try this next Christmas!

P. S. After this book had been put into type, I chanced to be looking
over Herbert Quick's illuminating book, "On Board the Good Ship Earth."
Discussing the importance of certain organic salts to the body, Dr.
Quick states: "Animals have been fed, as an experiment, on foods
deficient in phosphorus. For a while they seemed to do well. Then they
collapsed. It takes only three months of a ration without phosphorus to
wreck an animal. Individual creatures were killed after a month of this
diet, and it was found that the flesh was taking the phosphate--for the
phosphorus exists in the body in that form--from the bones to supply its
need. In other words, the body was eating its own bones! When this
process had robbed the bones to the limit, the collapse came, and the
animal could never recover."



     (Discusses various foods and their food values, the quantities we
     need, and their money cost.)

I think there is no more important single question about health than the
question of how much food we should eat. It is one about which there is
a great deal of controversy, even among the best authorities. We shall
try here for a common-sense solution. At the outset we have to remind
ourselves of the distinction we tried to draw between nature and man. To
what extent can civilized man rely upon his instincts to keep him in
perfect health?

Let us begin by considering the animals. How is their diet problem
solved? Horses and cattle in a wild state are adjusted to certain foods
which they find in nature, and so long as they can find it, they have no
diet problem. Man comes, and takes these animals and domesticates them;
he observes their habits, and gives to them a diet closely approaching
the natural one, and they get along fairly well. But suppose the man,
with his superior skill in agriculture, taking wild grain and planting
it, reaping and threshing it by machinery, puts before his horse an
unlimited quantity of a concentrated food such as oats, which the horse
can never get in a natural state--will that horse's instincts guide it?
Not at all. Any horse will kill itself by overeating on grain.

I have read somewhere a clever saying, that a farm is a good place for
an author to live, provided he can be persuaded not to farm it. But once
upon a time I had not heard that wise remark, and I owned and tried to
run a farm. I had two beautiful cows of which I was very proud, and one
morning I woke up and discovered that the cows had got into the pear
orchard and had been feeding on pears all night. In a few hours they
both lay with bloated stomachs, dying. A farmer told me afterwards that
I might have saved their lives, if I had stuck a knife into their
stomachs to let out the gas. I do not know whether this is true or not.
But my two dead cows afford a perfect illustration of the reason why
civilized man cannot rely upon his instincts and his appetites to tell
him when he has had enough to eat. He can only do this, provided he
rigidly restricts himself to the foods which he ate in the days when his
teeth and stomach and bowels were being shaped by the process of natural
selection. If he is going to eat any other than such strictly natural
foods, he will need to apply his reason to his diet schedule.

In a state of nature man has to hunt his food, and the amount that he
finds is generally limited, and requires a lot of exercise to get.
Explorers in Africa give us a picture of man's life in the savage state,
guided by his instincts and very little interfered with by reason. The
savages will starve for long periods, then they will succeed in killing
a hippopotamus or a buffalo, and they will gorge themselves, and nearly
all of them will be ill, and several of them will die. So you see, even
in a state of nature, and with natural foods, restraint is needed, and
reason and moral sense have a part to play.

What do reason and moral sense have to tell us about diet? Our bodily
processes go on continuously, and we need at regular intervals a certain
quantity of a number of different foods. The most elementary experiment
will convince us that we can get along, maintain our body weight and our
working efficiency upon a much smaller quantity of food than we
naturally crave. Civilized custom puts before us a great variety of
delicate and appetizing foods, upon which we are disposed to overeat;
and we are slow observers indeed if we do not note the connection
between this overeating and ill health. So we are forced to the
conclusion that if we wish to stay well, we need to establish a
censorship over our habits; we need a different diet regimen from the
haphazard one which has been established for us by a combination of our
instincts with the perversions of civilization.

Up to a few years ago, it was commonly taken for granted by authorities
on diet that what the average man actually eats must be the normal thing
for him to eat. Governments which were employing men in armies, and at
road building, and had to feed them and keep them in health, made large
scale observations as to what the men ate, and thus were established the
old fashioned "diet standards." They are expressed in calories, which is
a heat unit representing the quantity of fuel required to heat a certain
small quantity of water a certain number of degrees. In order that you
may know what I am talking about, I will give a rough idea of the
quantity of the more common foods which it takes to make 100 calories:
one medium sized slice of bread, a piece of lean cooked steak the size
of two fingers, one large apple, three medium tablespoonfuls of cooked
rice or potatoes, one large banana, a tablespoonful of raisins, five
dates, one large fig, a teaspoonful of sugar, a ball of butter the size
of your thumbnail, a very large head of lettuce, three medium sized
tomatoes, two-thirds of a glass of milk, a tablespoonful of oil. You
observe, if you compare these various items, how little guidance
concerning food is given by its bulk. You may eat a whole head of
lettuce, weighing nearly a pound, and get no more food value than from a
half ounce of olive oil which you pour over it. You may eat enough lean
beefsteak to cover your plate, and you will not have eaten so much as a
generous helping of butter. A big bowl of strawberries will not count
half so much as the cream and sugar you put over them. So you may
realize that when you eat olive oil, butter, cream, and sugar, you are
in the same danger as the horse eating oats, or as my two cows in the
pear orchard; and if some day a surgeon has to come and stick a knife
into you, it may be for the same reason.

The old-fashioned diet standards are as follows: Swedish laborers at
hard work, over 4,700 calories; Russian workmen at moderate work, German
soldiers in active service, Italian laborers at moderate work, between
3,500 and 3,700 calories; English weavers, nearly 3,500 calories;
Austrian farm laborers, over 5,000 calories. Some twenty years ago the
United States government made observations of over 15,000 persons, and
established the following, known as the "Atwater standards": men at very
hard muscular work, 5,500 calories; men at moderately active muscular
work, 3,400 calories; men at light to moderate muscular work, 3,050
calories; men at sedentary, or women at moderately active work, 2,700

In the last ten or fifteen years there has arisen a new school of
dietetic experts, headed by Professors Chittenden and Fisher of Yale
University. Professor Chittenden has published an elaborate book, "The
Nutrition of Man," in which he tells of long-continued experiment upon a
squad of soldiers and a group of athletes at Yale University, also upon
average students and professors. He has proved conclusively that all
these various groups have been able to maintain full body weight and
full working efficiency upon less than half the quantity of protein food
hitherto specified, and upon anywhere from one-half to two-thirds the
calory value set forth in the former standards.

When I first read this book, I set to work to try its theories upon
myself. During the five or six months that I lived on raw food, I took
the trouble to weigh everything that I ate, and to keep a record. It is,
of course, very easy to weigh raw foods exactly, and I found that I
lived an active life and kept physical health upon slightly less than
2,500 calories a day. I have set this as my standard, and have
accustomed myself to follow it instinctively, and without wasting any
thought upon it. Sometimes I fall from grace; for I still crave the
delightful cakes and candies and ice cream upon which I was brought up.
I always pay the penalty, and know that I will not get back to my former
state of health until I skip a meal or two, and give my system a chance
to clean house. The average man will find the regimen set forth in this
book austere and awe-inspiring; I do not wish to pose as a paragon of
virtue, so perhaps I should quote a sarcastic girl cousin, who remarked
when I was a boy that the way to my heart was with a bag of
ginger-snaps. I live in the presence of candy stores and never think of
their existence, but if someone brings candy into the house and puts it
in front of me, I have to waste a lot of moral energy in letting it
alone. A few years ago I had a young man as secretary who discovered
this failing of mine, and used to afford himself immense glee by buying
a box of chocolates and leaving it on top of my desk. I would give him
back the box--with some of the chocolates missing--but he would persist
in "forgetting it" on my desk; he would hide and laugh hilariously
behind the door, until my wife discovered his nefarious doings, and
warned me of them.

Professor Chittenden states quite simply the common sense procedure in
the matter of food quantity. Find out by practical experiment what is
the very least food upon which you can do your work without losing
weight. That is the correct quantity for you, and if you are eating
more, you certainly cannot be doing your body any good, and all the
evidence indicates that you are doing it harm. You need not have the
least fear in making this experiment that you will starve yourself.
Later on, in a chapter on fasting, I shall prove to you that you carry
around with you in your body sufficient reserve of food to keep you
alive for eighty or ninety days; and if you draw on a small quantity of
this you do not do yourself the slightest harm. Cut down the amount of
your food; eat the bulky foods, which contain less calory value, and
weigh yourself every day, and you will be surprised to discover how much
less you need to eat than you have been accustomed to.

One of the things you will find out is that your stomach is easily
fooled; it is largely guided by bulk. If you eat a meal consisting of a
moderate quantity of lean meat, a very little bread, a heaping dish of
turnip greens, and a big slice of watermelon, you will feel fully
satisfied, yet you will not have taken in one-third the calory value
that you would at an ordinary meal with gravies and dressings and
dessert. The bulky kind of food is that for which your system was
adapted in the days when it was shaped by nature. You have a large
stomach, many times as large as you would have had if you had lived on
refined and concentrated foods such as butter, sugar, olive oil, cheese
and eggs. You have a long intestinal tract, adapted to slowly digesting
foods, and to the work of extracting nutrition from a mass of roughage.
You have a very large lower bowel, which Metchnikoff, the Russian
scientist, one of the greatest minds who ever examined the problems of
health, declares a survival, the relic of a previous stage of evolution,
and a source of much disease. The best thing you can do with that lower
bowel is to give it lots of hay, as it requires; in other words, to eat
the salads and greens which contain cellulose material. This contains no
food value, and does not ferment, but fills the lower bowel and
stimulates it to activity.

If you eat too much food, three things may happen. First, it may not be
digested, and in that case it will fill your system with poisons.
Second, it may be assimilated, but not burned up by the body. In that
case it has to be thrown out by the kidneys or the sweat glands, and
this puts upon these organs an extra strain, to which in the long run
they may be unequal. Or third, the surplus material may be stored up as
fat. This is an old-time trick which nature invented to tide you over
the times when food was scarce. If you were a bear, you would naturally
want to eat all you could, and be as fat as possible in November, so
that you might be able to hunt your prey when you came out from your
winter's sleep in April. But you are not a bear, and you expect to eat
your regular meals all winter; you have established a system of
civilization which makes you certain of your food, and the place where
you keep your surplus is in the bank, or sewed up in the mattress, or
hidden in your stocking. In other words, a civilized man saves money,
and the habit of storing globules of grease in the cells of his body is
a survival of an old instinct, and a needless strain upon his health.
Not merely does the fat man have to carry all the extra weight around
with him, but his body has to keep it and tend it; and what are the
effects of this is fully shown by life insurance tables. People who are
five or ten per cent over weight have five or ten per cent more chance
of dying all the time, while people who are five or ten per cent under
weight have five or ten per cent more than the average of life
expectation. There is no answer to these figures, which are the result
of the tabulation of many hundreds of thousands of cases. The meaning of
them to the fat person is to put himself on a diet of lean meat, green
vegetables and fresh fruits, until he has brought himself down, not
merely to the normal fatness of the civilized man, but to the normal
leanness of the athlete, the soldier on campaign, and the student who
has more important things to think about than stuffing his stomach.

There is, of course, a certain kind of leanness which is the result of
ill health. There are wasting diseases; tuberculosis, for example, and
anemia. There are people who worry themselves thin, and there are a few
rare "spiritual" people, so-called, who fade away from lack of
sufficient interest in their bodies. That is not the kind of leanness
that I mean, but the active, wiry leanness, which sometimes lives a
hundred years. Nearly always you will find that such people are spare
eaters; and you will find that our ideal of rosy plumpness, both for
adults and children, is a wholly false notion. We once had in our home
as servant an Irish girl, who was what is popularly called "a picture of
health," with those beautiful flaming cheeks that Irish and English
women so often have. She was in her early twenties, and nobody who knew
her had any idea but that her health was perfect. But one morning she
was discovered in bed with one side paralyzed, and in a couple of weeks
she was dead with erysipelas. The color in her cheeks had been nothing
but diseased blood vessels, overloaded with food material; and with the
blood in that condition, one of the tiny vessels in the brain had become

In the same way I have seen children, two or three years old, plump and
rosy, and considered to be everything that children should be; but
pneumonia would hit them, and in two or three days they would be at
death's door. I do not mean that children should be kept hungry; on the
contrary, they should have four or five meals a day, so that they do not
have a chance to become too hungry. But at those meals they should eat
in great part the bulky foods, which contain the natural salts needed
for building the body. If a child asks for food, you may give it an
apple, or you may give it a slice of bread and butter with sugar on it.
The child will be equally well content in either case; but it is for
you, with your knowledge of food values, to realize that the bread with
butter and sugar contains two or three times as much nutriment as the
apple, but contains practically none of the precious organic salts which
will make the child's bones and teeth.

So far I have discussed this subject as if all foods grew on bushes
outside your kitchen door, and all you had to do was to go and pick off
what you wanted. But as a matter of fact, foods cost money, and under
our present system of wage slavery, the amount of money the average
person can spend for food is strictly limited. In a later book I am
going to discuss the problem of poverty, its causes and remedies. All
that I can do here is to tell you what foods you ought to have, and if
society does not pay you enough for your work to enable you to buy such
foods, you may know that society, is starving you, and you may get busy
to demand your rights as human beings. Meantime, however, such money as
you do have, you want to spend wisely, and the vast majority of you
spend it very unwisely indeed.

In the first place, a great many of the simplest and most wholesome
foods are cheap--often because people do not know enough to value them.
We insist upon having the choice cuts of meats, because they are more
tender to the teeth, but the cheaper cuts are exactly as nutritious. We
insist upon having our meats loaded with fat, although fatness is an
abnormal condition in an animal, and excess of fat is a grave error in
diet. I live in a country where jack rabbits are a pest, and in the
market they sell for perhaps one-fourth the cost of beef, and yet I can
hardly ever get them, because people value them so little as food; they
prefer the meat of a hog which has been wallowing in a filthy pen, and
has been deliberately made so fat that it could hardly walk!

I have already spoken of prunes, a much despised and invaluable food.
All the dried fruits are rich in food values, and if we could get them
untreated by chemicals, they would be worth their cost. I was brought up
to despise the cheaper vegetables, such as cabbage and turnips; I never
tasted boiled cabbage until I was forty, and then to my great surprise I
made the discovery that it is good. Raw cabbage is as valuable as any
other salad; it is a trifle harder to digest for some people, but I do
not believe in pampering the stomach. Both potatoes and rice are cheap
and wholesome, if only we would get unpolished rice, and if we would
leave the skins on the potatoes until after they are cooked. Nearly all
the mineral salts of the potato are just under the outer skin, and are
removed by the foolish habit of peeling them.

The prices of food differ so widely at different seasons and in
different parts of the world, that there is not much profit in trying to
figure how cheaply a person can live. I have found that I spend for the
diet I have indicated here, from sixty to eighty cents a day. I do not
buy any fancy foods, but on the other hand, I do not especially try to
economize; I buy what I want of the simple everyday foods in their
season. Most everyone will find that it is a good business proposition
to buy the foods which he needs to keep in health. If the average
workingman would add up the money he spends, not merely in the
restaurants, but in the candy stores, the drug stores, the tobacco
stores, and the offices of doctors and dentists, he would find, I think,
that he could afford to buy himself the necessary quantity of wholesome
natural foods. For a family of three, in the place where I live, enough
of these foods can be purchased for a dollar a day, and this is about
one-fourth what common labor is being paid, and one-eighth of what
skilled labor is being paid. I will specify the foods: a pound and a
half of shoulder steak, a loaf of whole wheat bread or a box of shredded
wheat biscuit, a head of cabbage, a pound of prunes, and four or five
pounds of apples.

There are many ways of saving in the purchase of food if you put your
mind upon it. If you are buying prunes, you may pay as high as fifty
cents or a dollar a pound for the big ones, and they are not a bit
better than the tiny ones, which you can buy for as low as eight cents a
pound in bulk. When bread is stale, the bakers sell it for half price,
despite the fact that only then has it become fit to eat. If you buy
canned peaches, you will pay a fancy price for them, and they will be
heavy with cane sugar; but if you inquire, you find what are known as
"pie peaches," put up in gallon tins without sugar, and at about half
the price. The butcher will sell you what he calls "hamburg steak" at a
very low price, and if you let him prepare it out of your sight, he will
fill it with fat and gristle; but let him make some while you watch, and
then you have a very good food. One of my diet rules is that I do not
trust the capitalist system to fix me up any kind of mixed or ground or
prepared foods. I have not eaten sausage since I saw it made in Chicago.

Also there is something to know about the cooking of foods, since it is
possible to take perfectly good foods and spoil them by bad cooking.
Once upon a time our family discovered a fireless cooker, and thought
that was a wonderful invention for an absent-minded author and a wife
who is given to revising manuscripts. But recent investigations which
have been made into the nature of the "vitamines," food ferments which
are only partly understood, suggest that prolonged cooking of food may
be a great mistake. The starch has to be cooked in order to break the
cell walls by the expansion of the material inside. Twenty minutes will
be enough in the case of everything except beans, which need to be
cooked four or five hours. Meat should be eaten rare, except in the case
of pork, which harbors a parasite dangerous to the human body; therefore
pork should always be thoroughly cooked. The white of eggs is made less
digestible by boiling hard or frying. Eggs should never be allowed to
boil; put them on in cold water, and take them off as soon as the water
begins to boil. It is not necessary to cook either fresh fruit or dried.
The dried fruits may be soaked and eaten raw, but I find that several
fruits, especially apples and pears, do not agree with me well if they
are eaten raw, so I stew them for fifteen or twenty minutes. I have no
objection to canned fruits and vegetables, provided one takes the
trouble in opening them to make sure there is no sign of spoiling. If
you put up your own fruits, do not put in any sugar. All you have to do
is to let them boil for a few minutes, and to seal them tightly while
they are boiling hot. The whole secret of preserving is to exclude the
air with its bacteria.

If you live on a farm, you will have no trouble in following the diet
here outlined, for you can produce for yourselves all the foods that I
have recommended; only do not make the mistake of shipping out your best
foods, and taking back the products of a factory, just because you have
read lying advertisements about them. Take your own wheat and oats and
corn to the mill, and have it ground whole, and make your own breads and
cereals. Try the experiment of mixing whole corn meal with water and a
little salt, and baking it into hard, crisp "corn dodgers." I do not eat
these--but only because I cannot buy them, and have no time to make

Another common article of food which I do not recommend is salted and
smoked meats. I do not pretend to know the effects of large quantities
of salt and saltpetre and wood smoke upon the human system, but I know
that Dr. Wiley's "poison squad" proved definitely that a number of these
inorganic minerals are injurious to health, and I prefer to take fresh
meat when I can get it. I use a moderate quantity of common salt on meat
and potatoes, because there seems to be a natural craving for this. I
know that many health enthusiasts insist that I am thus putting a strain
on my kidneys, but I will wait until these health enthusiasts make clear
to me why deer and cattle and horses in a wild state will travel many
miles to a salt-lick. I have learned that it is easy to make plausible
statements about health, but not so easy to prove them. For example, I
was told that it is injurious to drink water at meals, and for years I
religiously avoided the habit; but it occurred to some college professor
to find out if this was really true, and he carried on a series of
experiments which proved that the stomach works better when its contents
are diluted. The only point about drinking at meals is that you should
not use the liquid to wash down your food without chewing it.

I can suggest two other ways by which you may save money on food. One is
by not eating too much, and another is by eating all that you buy. The
amount of food that is wasted by the people of America would feed the
people of any European nation. The amount of food that is thrown out
from any one of our big American leisure class hotels would feed the
children of a European town. I think it may fairly be described as a
crime to throw into the garbage pail food which might nourish human
life. In our family we have no garbage pail. What little waste there is,
we burn in the stove, and my wife turns it into roses. It consists of
the fat which we cannot help getting at the butcher's, and the bones of
meat, and the skins of some fruits and vegetables. It would never enter
into our minds to throw out a particle of bread, or meat, or other
wholesome food. If we have something that we fear may spoil, we do not
throw it out, but put it into a saucepan and cook it for a few minutes.
If you will make the same rule in your home, you will stop at least that
much of the waste of American life; and as to the big leisure class
hotels, and the banquet tables of the rich--just wait a few years, and I
think the social revolution will attend to them!



     (Concludes the subject of diet, and discusses the effect upon the
     system of stimulants and narcotics.)

A few years ago there died an old gentleman who had devoted some twenty
years of his life to teaching people to chew their food. Horace Fletcher
was his name, and his ideas became a fad, and some people carried them
to comical extremes. But Fletcher made a real discovery; what he called
"the food filter." This is the automatic action of the swallowing
apparatus, whereby nature selects the food which has been sufficiently
prepared for digestion. If you chew a mouthful of food without ever
performing the act of swallowing, you will find that the food gradually
disappears. What happens is that all of it which has been reduced to a
thin paste will slip unnoticed down your throat, and you may go on
putting more food into your mouth, and chewing, and can eat a whole meal
without ever performing the act of swallowing. Fletcher claimed that
this is the proper way to eat, and that you can train yourself to follow
this method. I have tried his idea and adopted it. One of my diet rules,
to which there is no exception, is that if I haven't the time to chew my
food properly, I haven't the time to eat; I skip that meal.

The habit of bolting food is a source of disease. To be sure, the
carnivorous animals bolt their food, but they are tougher than we are,
and do not carry the burden of a large brain and a complex nervous
system. If you swallow your meals half chewed, and wash them down with
liquids, you may get away with it for a while, but some day you will pay
for it with dyspepsia and nervous troubles. And the same thing applies
to your habit of jumping up from meals and rushing away to work, whether
it be work of the muscles, or of brain and nerves. Proper digestion
requires the presence of a quantity of blood in the walls of the stomach
and digestive tract. It requires the attention of your subconscious
mind, and this means rest of muscles and brain centers. If you cannot
rest for an hour after meals, omit that meal, or make it a light one, of
fruit juices, which are almost immediately absorbed by the stomach, and
of salads, which do not ferment. You may rest assured that it will not
hurt you to skip a meal, and make up for it when you have time to be
quiet. I have been many times in my life under very intense and long
continued nervous strain; for example, during the Colorado coal strike,
I led a public demonstration which kept me in a state of excitement all
the day and a good part of the night several weeks. During this period I
ate almost nothing; a baked apple and a cup of custard would be as near
as I would go to a meal, and as a result I came through the experience
without any injury whatever to my health. I lost perhaps ten pounds in
weight, but that was quickly made up when I settled back to a normal way
of life.

I have been on camping trips when I had a great deal of hard work to do,
carrying a canoe long distances on my back, or paddling it forty miles a
day. On the mornings of such a trip I have seen a guide cook himself an
elaborate breakfast of freshly baked bread, bacon, and even beans, and
make a hearty meal and then go straight to work. My meal, on the
contrary, would consist of a small dish of stewed prunes, or perhaps
some huckleberries or raspberries, if they could be found. I will not
say that I could do as much as the guide, because he was used to it, and
I was not. But I can say this--if I had eaten his breakfast at the start
of the day, I would have been dead before night; and I mean the word
"dead" quite literally. I know a man who started to climb Whiteface
mountain in the Adirondacks. He climbed half way, and then ate lunch,
which consisted of nine hard boiled eggs. Then he started to climb the
rest of the mountain, and dropped dead of acute indigestion.

There are few poisons which can affect the system more quickly, or more
dangerously, than a mass of food which is not digested. The stomach is
an ideal forcing-house for the breeding of bacteria. It provides warmth
and moisture, and you, in your meal, provide the bacteria and the
material upon which they thrive. Under normal conditions, the stomach
pours out a gastric juice which kills the bacteria; but let this gastric
juice for any reason be lacking--because your nervous energy has gone
somewhere else, or because your blood-stream, from which the gastric
juice must be made, has been drawn away to the muscles by hard labor;
then you have a yeast-pot, with great quantities of gases and poisons.
In acute cases the results are evident enough: violent pains and
convulsions, followed by coma and the turning black of the body. But
what you should understand is that you may produce a milder case of such
poisoning, and may do it day after day habitually, and little by little
your vital organs will be weakened by the strain.

It does not make any difference at what hour of the twenty-four you take
the great bulk of your food. It is one of the commonest delusions that
you get some strengthening effect from your food immediately, and must
have this strength in order to do hard work. To be sure, there are
substances, such as grape-sugar, which require practically no digesting;
you can hold them in the mouth, and they will be digested by the saliva,
and absorbed at once into the blood-stream. But unless you have been
starved for a long period you do not need to get your strength in this
rush fashion. If you ate your normal meals on the previous day, your
blood-stream is fully supplied with nutriment which has been put through
a long process of preparation, and you can get up in the morning and
work all day, if necessary, upon what is already in your system. To be
sure, you may feel hungry, and even faint, but that is merely a matter
of habit; your system is accustomed to taking food and expects it. But
if you are a laborer doing hard work, you can easily train yourself to
eat a light meal in the morning, and another light meal at noon, and to
eat a hearty meal when your work is done and you can rest. Two light
meals and a hearty meal are all that any system needs, and you can prove
it to yourself by trying it, and watching your weight once a week.

I have tried many experiments, and the conclusion to which I have come
is that there is no virtue in any particular meal-hours or any
particular number of meals. For several years I tried the experiment of
two meals a day. I was living a retired life, and had little contact
with the world, and I would make a hearty meal at ten o'clock in the
morning, and another at five in the afternoon. But later on I found that
inconvenient, and now I take a light breakfast, and two moderate-sized
meals at the conventional hours of lunch and dinner. I can arrange my
own time, so after meal times is when I get my reading done. Sometimes,
when I am tired, I feel sleepy after meals, but I have learned not to
yield to this impulse. I do not know how to explain this; I have
observed that animals sleep after eating, and it appears to be a natural
thing to do; but I know that if I go to sleep after a meal, nature makes
clear to me that I have made a mistake, and I do not repeat it. I never
eat at night, and always go to bed on an empty stomach, so I am always
hungry when I open my eyes in the morning. I never know what it is not
to be hungry at meal times, and my habits are so regular that I could
set my watch by my stomach.

Another common habit which is harmful is eating between meals. I have
known people who are accustomed to nibble at food nearly all the time.
Shelley records that he tried it as an experiment, thinking it might be
a convenient way to get digestion done--but he found that it did not
work. The stomach is apparently meant to work in pulses; to do a job of
digesting, and then to rest and accumulate the juices for another job.
It will accustom itself to a certain régime, and will work accordingly,
but if, when it has half digested a load of food, you pile more food in
on top, you make as much trouble as you would make in your kitchen if
you required your cook to prepare another meal before she has cleaned up
after the last one. Three times a day is enough for any adult to eat.
Children require to eat oftener, because their bodies are more active,
and they not merely have to keep up weight, but to add to it. The
simplest way to arrange matters with children is to give them three good
meals at the hours when adults eat, and then to give them a couple of
pieces of fruit between breakfast and lunch, and again between lunch and
supper. I have never seen a child who would not be satisfied with this,
when once the habit was established.

I have already spoken of the cooking and serving of food. I consider
that the "gastronomic art," as it is pompously called, is ninety-nine
per cent plain rubbish. To be sure, if foods are appetizingly prepared,
and look good and smell good and taste good, they will cause the gastric
juices to flow abundantly, as the Russian scientist Pavlov has
demonstrated by practical experiment with the stomach-pump. But I know
without any stomach-pump that the best thing to make my gastric juices
flow is hard work and a spare diet. When I come home from five sets of
tennis, and have a cold shower and a rub-down, my gastric juices will
flow for a piece of cold beefsteak and a cold sweet potato, quite as
well as for anything that is served by a leisure class "chef." Needless
to say, I want food to be fresh, and I want it to be clean, but I have
other things to do with my time and money than to pamper my appetites
and encourage food whims.

If you have a grandmother, or ever had one, you know what grandmothers
tell you about "hot nourishing food"; but I have tried the experiment,
and satisfied myself that there is absolutely no difference in
nourishing qualities between hot food and cold food. If you chew your
food sufficiently, it will all be ninety-eight and six-tenths degree
food when it gets to your stomach, and that is the way your stomach
wants it. Of course, if you have been out in a blizzard, and are
chilled, and want to restore the body temperature, a hot drink will be
one of the quickest ways, and if the emergency is extreme, you may even
add a stimulant. On the other hand, if you are suffering from heat, it
is sensible to cool your body by a cold drink. But you should use as
much judgment with yourself as you would with a horse, which you do not
permit to drink a lot of cold water when he is heated up, and is going
into his stall to stand still.

I have mentioned the word "stimulants," and this opens a large subject.
There are drugs which affect the body in two different ways: some excite
the nerves, and through the nerves the heart and blood-stream, to more
intense activity; others have the effect of deadening the nerves, and
dulling the sense of exhaustion and pain. One of these groups is called
stimulants, and the other is called narcotics; but as a matter of fact
the stimulants are really narcotics, because they operate by dulling the
nerves whose function it is to prevent the over-accumulation of fatigue
poisons; in other words, they keep the nerves and muscles from knowing
that they are tired, and so they go on working.

It is possible, of course, to conceive of an emergency in which that is
necessary. Once upon a time, on a hunting trip, I had been traveling all
day, and was caught in a rain storm, and exhausted and chilled to the
bone; I had to make camp without a fire, so when I got the tent up I
wrapped myself in blankets and drank a couple of tablespoons full of
whiskey. That is the only time I have ever taken whiskey in my life,
and it warmed me almost instantly, and did me no harm. In the same way
there were two or three occasions when I was on the verge of a nervous
breakdown, and could not sleep, and let the doctor give me a sleeping
powder. But in each case I knew that I was fooling with a dangerous
habit, and I did no more fooling than necessary. No one should make use
of either stimulants or narcotics except in extreme emergency, and never
but a few times in a lifetime. What you should do is to change your
habits so that you will not need to over-strain.

All these drugs are habit forming; that is to say, they leave the body
no better, and with a craving for a repetition of the relief. When you
are tired, it is because your muscles and nerves are storing up fatigue
poisons more rapidly than your blood-stream can get rid of them. You
need to know about this condition, and exhaustion and pain are nature's
protective warning. If you put a stop to the warning, you are as
unintelligent as the Eastern despots who used to cut off the head of the
messenger who brought bad tidings. If, when you have a headache, you go
into a drug store and let the druggist mix you one of those white fizzy
drinks, what you are doing is not to get rid of the poisons in your
blood-stream, but merely to reduce the action of your heart, so as to
keep the blood from pressing so fast into the aching blood vessels and
nerves. You may try that trick with your heart a number of times, but
sooner or later you will try it once too often--your heart will stop a
little bit quicker than you meant it to!

Drugs are poisons, and their action depends upon their poisoning some
particular portion of the body, and temporarily paralyzing it. And bear
this in mind, they are none the less poisonous because they are
"natural" products. You can kill yourself by cyanide of potassium, which
comes out of a chemist's retort; but you can kill yourself just as dead
with laudanum, which comes out of a plant, or with the contents of the
venom sac of a snake. You are poisoning yourself none the less certainly
if you use alcohol, which is made from the juices of beautiful fruits,
and has had hosts of famous poets writing songs about it; or you can
poison yourself with the caffein which you get in a lovely brown bean
which comes from Brazil, fragrant to the nostrils and delicious to the
taste. You may drink wine and tea and coffee for a hundred years, and
have your picture published in the newspapers as a proof that these
habits conduce to health; but nothing will be said about the large
number of people who practiced these habits, and didn't live so long,
and about how long they might have lived if they hadn't practiced these

I was brought up in the South, and my "elders" belonged to a generation
which had grown up in war time. For this reason many of the men both
drank and smoked to excess, and in my boyhood I lived among them and
watched them, and with the help of advice from a wise mother, I
conceived a horror of every kind of stimulant. The alcoholic poets could
not fool me; I had been in the alcoholic wards of the hospitals. I had
seen one man after another, beautiful and kindly and gracious men,
dragged down into a pit of torment and shame.

Alcohol is, I think, the greatest trap that nature ever set for the feet
of the human race. It is responsible for more degradation and misery
than any other evil in the world; and I say this, knowing well that my
Socialist friends will cry, "What about Capitalism?" My answer is that I
doubt if there ever would have been any Capitalism in the world, if it
had not been for alcohol. If the workers had not been systematically
poisoned, and all their savings taken from them by the gin-mill, they
would never have submitted to the capitalist system, they would have
built the co-operative commonwealth at the time they were building the
first factories. I listen to the arguments of my radical friends about
"personal liberty," but I note that in Russia, when it was a question of
making a practical revolution and keeping it alive, the first thing the
leaders did was to drag out the contents of the wine-cellars of the
palaces, and smash them in the gutters.

Tea and coffee are, of course, much milder in their effects than
alcohol; you can play with them longer, and the punishment will be less
severe. But if you make habitual use of them, you will pay the penalty
which all drugs exact from the system. Your brain and your nerve centers
will be less sensitive, less capable of working except under the
influence of drugs; their reacting power will be dulled, and they will
wear out more quickly. I have watched the slaves of the "morning cup of
coffee," and know how they suffer when they do not get it. Likewise, I
have watched the tea drinkers. It is comical to live in England, and see
all the able-bodied men obliged to leave their work at four o'clock in
the afternoon, and seek the regular stimulus for their tired nerves. If
you are to meet anybody, it is always for "tea" that the ceremony is
set, and if you refuse to drink tea, your hostess will be uncomfortable,
unable to talk about anything but the strange, incredible notion that
one can live without tea. I discovered after a while the solution of
this problem; I would say that I preferred a little hot water, if you
please, and so my hostess would pour me a cup of hot water, and I would
sit and gravely sip it, and everybody would be perfectly content: I was
conforming to the outward appearance of normality, which is what the
British conventions require.

I have never drunk a cup of coffee, so I do not know what its effect on
me would be. But some fifteen years ago I drank a glass of very weak
iced tea at eight o'clock in the evening, and did not get to sleep until
four or five the next morning. So I know that there is really a drug in
tea. I know also that I might accustom my system to it, just as I might
learn to poison my lungs with nicotine without being made immediately
and suddenly ill; but why should I wish to do this? Life is so
interesting to me that I do not need to stimulate my brain centers in
order to appreciate the thrill of it. And when I am tired, I can rest
myself by listening to music, or by reading a worth-while novel--things
which I have found do not leave the after effects of nicotine.

I remember the first time I met Jack London. Our meeting consisted in
good part of his "kidding" me, because I was lacking in the congenial
vices of the café. He told me how much I had missed, because I had never
been drunk; One ought to try the great adventure, at least once! Poor
Jack is gone, because his kidneys gave out at forty; and nothing could
seem more ungracious than to point out that I am still alive, and
finding life enjoyable. Yet, in this book we are trying to find out how
to live, and if there are habits which wreck and destroy a magnificent
physique, and bring a great genius to death at the age of forty--surely
the rest of us want to know about it, and to be warned in time. I
mention Jack London in this connection, because he has said the last
word on the subject of alcohol. Read "John Barleycorn," and especially
read between the lines of it, and you will not need my argument to
persuade you to be glad that the Eighteenth Amendment has been written
into the Constitution, and that it is your duty as a Socialist, not
merely to obey it, but to vote for its enforcement.

I am proceeding on the assumption that your life is of importance to
you; that you have a job to do which you know to be worth while, and to
which you desire to apply your powers. You agree with me that the
workers of the world are suffering, and that it is necessary for them to
find their freedom, and that this takes hard work and hard thinking. You
may say that I exaggerate the amount of harm that is done to the system
by tea and coffee, alcohol and tobacco. Well, let us assume that in
moderate quantities they do no harm at all: even so, I have the right to
ask you to show that they do some good; otherwise, surely, it is a
mistake for the workers to spend their savings upon them.

Consider, for example, the amount of money which the wage slaves of the
world spend upon tobacco. Suppose they could be persuaded for two or
three years to spend this amount upon good reading matter--do you not
think there would be an improvement in their condition? Surely you
cannot maintain that the use of tobacco is necessary to the activities
of the brain! Surely you do not think that a man has to have a cigarette
in order to stimulate his thoughts, or to smoke a pipe to rest himself
after his work is done! I offer myself as evidence in such a
controversy; I have written as many books as any man in the radical
movement, and the sum total of my lifetime smoking amounts to one-half
of one cigarette. I tried that when I was eight years old, and somebody
told me a policeman would arrest me if he caught me, and I threw away
the cigarette, and ran and hid in an alley, and have not yet got over my

In the "Journal for Industrial Hygiene" for October, 1920, is an article
entitled "Fatigue and Efficiency of Smokers in a Strenuous Mental
Occupation." Experiments were conducted among telegraph operators, and
the result showed that "the heavy smokers of the group show a higher
output rate at the beginning of the day than the light smokers, but
their rate falls off more markedly in the late hours, and their
production for the whole day is definitely less than that of the light
smokers. The heavy smokers also show less ability than the light smokers
to respond to increasing pressure of work in the late hours of the day
by handling their full share of the work presented."

One point upon which every medical authority agrees is--that the use of
nicotine is of deadly effect upon the immature organism. Half-grown
youths who smoke cigarettes will never be full-sized men; they will
never have normal lungs or a normal heart. And likewise, all authorities
agree about the effect of smoking upon the organism of women. I gave
what little help I could to the task of helping to set women free, and
to make them the equals of men; but I was always pained when I
discovered that some of my feminist friends understood by woman's
emancipation no more than her right to adopt men's vices. I would say to
these ardent young female radicals, who cultivate the art of dangling a
cigarette from their lower lip, and sip cocktails out of coffee-cups in
Greenwich Village cafés, that they will never be able to bear sound
children; but I know that this would not interest them--they don't want
to bear any children at all. So I say that they will never be able to
think straight thoughts, and will be nervous invalids when they are

We went to war to make the world safe for democracy, and we put several
millions of our young men into armies, and if there were any of them who
did not already know how to smoke cigarettes, they learned it under
official sanction. So now we have a national tobacco bill that runs up
to two billions, and will insure us a new generation of "Class C"
rating. Speaking to the young radicals who are reading my books, I say:
We want to make the world over, to make it a place of freedom and
kindness, instead of the hell of greed and hate that it is today. For
that purpose we need a new moral code, and we can never win our victory
without it. I have attended radical conventions, sitting in unventilated
halls amid clouds of tobacco smoke, and listening to men wrangle all
through the day and a great part of the night; I have watched the fatal
dissensions in the movement, the quarrelings of the right wingers and
the left wingers and all stages and degrees in between, and I have
wondered--not jestingly, but in pitying earnest--how much of all those
personalities and factional misunderstanding had their origin in carbon
dioxide and nicotine. There is no use suggesting such ideas to the older
men, whose habits are fixed; but a new generation is coming on, with a
new vision of the enormous task before it; and is it too much to expect
of these young men and women, that they shall realize in advance the
grim tasks they have to do, and shall learn to run the machine of their
body so as to get out of it the maximum amount of service? Is it too
much to hope for, that some day we shall have a race of young fighters
for truth and justice, who are willing to live abstemious lives, and
consecrate themselves to the task of delivering mankind from wage
slavery and war?



     (Discusses the subjects of breathing and ventilation, clothing,
     bathing and sleep.)

In discussing the question of health, we have given the greater part of
the space to the subject of diet, for the reason that experience has
convinced us that diet is two-thirds of health, and that nearly always
in disease you find errors of diet playing a part. There are, however,
other important factors of health, now to be discussed.

Everything of which the body makes use is taken in the form of food and
drink, with the exception of one substance, the oxygen we get out of the
air. Every time we draw a breath we take in a certain amount of oxygen,
and every time we expel a breath, we drive out a certain amount of a gas
called carbon dioxide, which is what the body makes of the fuel it
burns. The body can get along for several days without water, and for
two or three months without food, but it can only get along for two or
three minutes without oxygen. It should be obvious that when the body
expels carbon dioxide, with a slight mixture of other more poisonous
gases, and sucks back what it expects will be a fresh supply of oxygen,
it wants to get oxygen, and not the same gases it has just expelled, nor
gases which have been expelled from the lungs of other people.

In the days when primitive man lived outdoors, he did not have to think
about this problem. When he breathed poison from his lungs, the moving
air of nature blew it away, and the infinite vegetation of nature took
the carbon dioxide and turned it back into oxygen. And even when man
built himself shelters, he was not cunning enough to make them
air-tight; he had to leave a big hole for the smoke to get out, and
smaller holes through which to get light. But now our wonderful
civilization has solved these problems; we make our walls of air-tight
plaster, and we have invented a substance which will admit light without
admitting air. So we have the "white plague" of tuberculosis, and so we
have innumerable minor plagues of coughs and colds and sore throats.

In the summer time the solution of the problem is easy. Have as many
doors and windows in your home as possible, and keep them open, and have
nothing in your home to make dust or to retain dust. But then comes
stormy and cold weather, and you have to close your doors and windows,
and keep your home at a higher temperature than the air outside. How
shall you do this, and at the same time get a continual supply of fresh

I will take the various methods of heating one by one. The problem in
each case is simple and can be made clear in a sentence or two.

First, the open fireplace. This is a perfect solution, if you have
enough fuel, and do not have to worry about the waste of heat. An open
fireplace draws out all the air in the room in a short time, and you do
not have to bother about opening doors or windows; you may be sure that
the air is getting in through some cracks, or else the fire would not

Second, a wood or coal or gas stove in the room, provided with a proper
vent, so that all the gases of combustion are drawn up the chimney. This
changes the air more slowly than an open fireplace, but it does the work
fairly well. All that you have to be careful about is that your vent is
sufficiently large and is working properly. If your fire does not
"draw," you will have smoke or coal-gas in the house, and this is bad
for the lungs; but worse for the lungs is a gas that you can neither see
nor smell nor taste, the deadly carbon monoxide. This gas is produced by
incomplete combustion, and whenever you see yellow flames from gas or
coal, you are apt to have this poisonous substance. Small quantities of
it are sufficient to cause violent headaches, and repeated doses of it
are fatal. Men who work in garages which are not properly ventilated run
this risk all the time, because carbon monoxide is one of the products
of imperfect combustion in the gas engine.

Next, the furnace. A furnace sends fresh warm air into your house; the
only trouble is that it takes out all the moisture, and some authorities
say that this is bad for the lungs and throat. I do not know whether
this is true, but all furnaces are supposed to have a water chamber to
supply moisture to the air, and you should keep a pan of water on every
stove or radiator in your house.

Next, steam heat, which includes hot-water heating. This is one of the
abominations of our civilization, and one of the methods by which our
race is committing suicide. There is nothing wrong about steam heat in
itself; the room is warmed in a harmless way; but the trouble is it
stays warm only so long as the doors and windows are kept shut. You are
in an air-tight box, and can be warm provided you do not mind being
suffocated. The moment you open a door or window, you have a cold draft
on your feet, and if you wish to change the air entirely you have to let
out all the heat; so, of course, you never do change it entirely, but go
on breathing the same air over and over, and every time you breathe it
the condition of your body is a little more reduced.

The solution of this problem is not to heat the air in the room, but to
use your steam coils to heat fresh air, and then drive this air, already
warmed, into the room, at the same time providing a vent through which
the old air can be pushed out. This is the hot air system of heating,
and it requires some kind of engine or dynamo, and therefore is
expensive. It has been installed in a few office buildings and theaters.
One of the most perfect systems I ever inspected is in the building of
the New York Stock Exchange, where the air is warmed in winter, and
cooled in summer, and freed from dust, and exactly the right quantity is
supplied. It is a humorous commentary upon our civilization that we take
perfect care of the breathing apparatus of our stock-gamblers, but pay
no attention to the breathing apparatus of our senators and congressmen,
whose one business in life is to use their lungs. The stately old
building with its white marble domes looks impressive in moving pictures
and on illustrated postcards, but it has no system of ventilation
whatever, and is a death-trap to the poor wretches who are compelled to
spend their days, and sometimes their nights, within its walls. This
contrast is one symptom of the rise of industrial capitalism and the
collapse of political democracy.

We have reserved to the last a method of heating which is the worst, and
can only be described as a crime against health: the use of gas and oil
stoves set out in the middle of the room, without a vent, and
discharging their fumes into the room. These stoves are simply
instruments of slow death, and their manufacture should be prohibited
by law. In the meantime, what you have to do is to refuse to live in a
room or to work in an office where such stoves are used. I have heard
dealers insist that this or the other kind of gas or oil stove was so
contrived as to consume all the fumes. Do not let anybody fool you with
such nonsense. There has never been any form of combustion devised which
consumes all the fumes. No such thing can be, because the products of
combustion are not combustible. The so-called "wickless blue flame"
stoves do burn all the oil, and a properly regulated gas stove will burn
all the gas, but that simply means that it turns the oil and gas into
carbon dioxide, the very substance which your lungs are working day and
night to get out of your body.

Moreover, there is no oil or gas stove which ever burns perfectly all
the time, either because there is too much gas or insufficient air. Oil
and gas stoves sometimes give a partly yellow flame. You can cause them
to give a yellow flame at any time by blowing air against them, and that
yellow flame means imperfect combustion, and a probability of the deadly
carbon monoxide. These facts are known to every chemist and to every
student of hygiene, and the fact that civilized people continue to burn
such oil and gas stoves in their homes and offices is simply one more
proof that our civilization values human welfare and health at nothing
whatever in comparison with profits.

Not merely should you see that you have a continuous supply of fresh air
in your home, but you should try to keep down dust in your home, and
especially fine particles of lint. Once upon a time our ancestors were
unable to make houses and floors tight, and so they put rugs on the
floors and hung tapestries on the walls to keep out the wind. We
civilized people are able to make both floors and walls absolutely
tight, and yet we continue to use rugs and curtains, it being the first
principle of our education that propriety requires us to continue to do
the things which our ancestors did. I am unable to think of a more silly
or stupid thing in the world than a rug or a curtain, but I have lived
in the house with them all my life, because, alas, the ladies cannot be
happy otherwise. They want their homes to be "pretty," and so they
continue to set dust traps, and to set themselves futile jobs of house
cleaning and shopping.

Not all of us are able to be out of doors as much as we ought to be, but
all of us spend seven or eight hours out of every twenty-four in sleep,
and this time at least we ought to spend out of doors. I understand that
this is futile advice to give to the very poor. I was poor myself for
many years, and had to put all my clothes on at night in order to keep
warm, and even then I could not always do it. Nevertheless, from the
time I first realized the importance of ventilation I never slept in a
room with a closed window.

I say, sleep outdoors if you possibly can. You do not have to be afraid
of exposure, for cold will not hurt you if you keep your body in proper
condition. I have slept out in a rubber blanket, with the rain beating
on my head and face; I have spread a rubber blanket on a hummock in the
midst of a swamp, and waked up in the morning with my hair and face
soaked in cold, white fog, but I never caught cold from such things;
there is no harm whatever in dampness or in "night air," if you are in
proper condition. Of course, you may get your ears frostbitten in the
middle of winter, but you can have a sleeping hood to remove that

The "nature cure" enthusiasts, who lay so much stress upon an outdoor
life, also insist that the wearing of clothes is a harmful civilized
custom. They urge us to take "sun baths" and to "ventilate the skin."
Now, as a matter of fact, the skin does not breathe, it merely gives out
moisture, and it does not give out any less because we have clothing on
us, provided the clothing is dry and clean, and will absorb moisture.
But bye and bye the clothing becomes loaded with the waste substances
given out by the skin, and then it will absorb no more, and if you do
not change your clothing, no doubt it may have some effect upon health.

But the principal evil of civilized clothing is that it binds the body
and prevents the free play of the muscles, and, more important yet,
stops the free circulation of the blood. I have already discussed hats,
which are the principal cause of baldness. I will go to the other
extremity of the body, and mention tight shoes, which, strange as it may
seem, cause headaches and colds. You will be able to find a few
civilized men with normal feet, but you will hardly ever find a woman
whose toes are not crowded together and misshapen. I have said that the
human body is one organism, and that it is fed and its health
maintained by the blood-stream; I say now that the circulation of the
blood is one thing, and if you block it at any one place, you block it
everywhere. Of course, not all the blood-stream goes down into the feet,
but some of it does, and if it is clogged in the feet, and the blood
vessels cramped and crowded, there is a certain amount of poison kept in
the system, which the system should have got rid of.

Why do women wear tight shoes? Because the leisure class members of
their sex have been kept in harems and used as the playthings of men. To
be fragile and delicate was the thing admired by the masters of wealth,
and to have small hands and feet was a sign that women belonged to this
parasite class. Therefore at all hazards women's feet must be kept
small, even at the expense of their health and happiness; and so they
put themselves up on several inches of heels, which cause them to toddle
around like marionettes on a stage, with all their toes crowded down
into a lump.

Why do men wear tight bands around their scalps, which cause their hair
to drop out, and tight, stiff columns around their necks, which stop the
circulation of the blood into their heads, and cause them to have
headaches instead of ideas? The reason is that for ages the rulers of
the tribe have wished to demonstrate publicly their superiority to the
common herd, which does the menial tasks. In England all gentlemen wear
tall black silk band-boxes on their heads, and in America they have a
choice among several varieties of round tight boxes. All men who work in
offices wear stiffly starched collars and cuffs, as a means of
demonstrating their superiority to the common workers, who have to sweat
at their necks. I think it is not too much to hope that when class
exploitation is done away with, we shall also get rid of these class
symbols, and choose our clothing because it is warm and comfortable, and
not according to the perverted imbecilities of "style."

The skin gives out perspiration which is greasy; also the skin is
constantly growing, putting out layers of cells which dry up and are
worn off. We need to bathe with soap to remove the grease, and we need
to rub with a towel to brush away the dead cells of the skin, so that
the pores may be kept open. No one is taking care of his body who does
not wash and rub it once every twenty-four hours, and once or twice a
week with warm water and soap. It is often stated that hot baths are
weakening, but I have never found it so; however, I think it is a bad
practice to pamper the body, which should be accustomed to the shock of
cold water. The rule as to bathing, both as to temperature and time, is
simple. If, after the bath and rub-down, your body has reacted and you
feel vigorous and fresh, that bath has done you good. If, on the other
hand, you feel chilled and depressed, then you have been too long in the
water, or its temperature was too low. Every person has to find his own
rules in such matters. The only general rule is that as one grows older
the body reacts less quickly.

All day, as we work and think, we store up more poisons in our cells
than the body can get rid of, and the time comes when the cells are so
loaded with poisons that we have to stop for a while, and let our
blood-stream clean house. The quantity of sleep one needs is a problem
like that of cold water; each person has to find his own rule. In
general, one needs less and less sleep as one grows older. Infants sleep
the greater part of the time; growing children should sleep ten or
eleven hours, adults seven or eight, and old people, unless they have
let themselves get fat, generally do not want to sleep more than six,
and part of this in short naps. When you sleep, your bodily energies
relax, and you make less heat, therefore you need extra clothing; but
this clothing should never cover the mouth and nose, nor should it be so
heavy as to make breathing a burden. If you are in good condition, it
will do you no harm to be chilly when you sleep, except that you do not
sleep so soundly. Sleeping too much is just as harmful as sleeping too
little. Nature will tell you that. The important thing, as in all other
problems of health, is to have something interesting to think about,
some exciting work to do in the world, and then you will sleep as little
as you have too.



     (Deals with the question of exercise, both for the idle and the

In discussing the important question of exercise, there is one
fundamental fact to begin with: that our present civilization divides
men sharply into two classes, those who do not get enough exercise, and
those who get too much. Obviously it would be folly to make the same
recommendations to the two classes.

I begin with those who get too much exercise. They include a great
number, probably the majority of those who do the manual work of the
world. They include the farmers and the farm-hands, who work from dawn
to sunset, and sometimes by lantern light. They include also the
farmers' wives, the kitchen slaves of whom the old couplet tells:

    "Man's work ends from sun to sun,
     But woman's work is never done."

I am aware that men have worked that way for countless ages, and yet the
race is still surviving; but I am aware also that men wither up with
rheumatism, and contract chronic diseases of the kidneys and the blood
vessels, consequent upon the creation of greater quantities of fatigue
poisons than the body can regularly eliminate.

I have very little interest in the past, and none whatever in finding
fault with it. My purpose is to criticize the present for the benefit of
the future, and therefore I say that modern machinery and the whole
development of modern large-scale production make it absolutely
unnecessary that women should slave all their waking hours in kitchens,
or that men should slave all day. I say it is monstrous folly that men
should work for twelve-hour stretches in steel mills, and for ten and
eleven hours in factories and mines. Organized labor has adopted the
slogan, "Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, eight hours for
play"; but my slogan is "Four hours for work, four hours for study,
eight hours for sleep, and eight hours for play."

I know, and am prepared to demonstrate to any thinking man, that modern
civilization can produce, not merely all the necessities, but all the
comforts of life for every man, woman and child in the community, by the
expenditure of four hours a day work of the adult, able-bodied men and
women. So to all the wage slaves of the factories and mines, the fields
and the kitchens, I say that too much exercise is what is the matter
with you, and what you need is to get off in a quiet nook in the woods
and read a good novel, not merely for a few hours, but for a few months,
until you get over the effects of capitalist civilization. I know that
not many of you can get away as yet, but I urge you to insist upon
getting away, to fight for the chance to get away; and I will here
suggest a few of the novels for you to read when finally you do get
away. I choose the easy ones, which the dullest and most tired of you
will love; I say, make up your mind to read these thirty-two books
before you die, and do not let the world cheat you out of your chance!

Mark Twain: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Charles D.
Stewart: The Fugitive Blacksmith. W. Clark Russell: The Wreck of the
Grosvenor. R. L. Stevenson: Treasure Island, Kidnapped. Jack London: The
Sea Wolf, The Call of the Wild, Martin Eden. Joseph Conrad: Youth. H. G.
Wells: The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, The Sea Lady, The
History of Mr. Polly, The Food of the Gods, The Island of Dr. Moreau.
Upton Sinclair: The Jungle, King Coal, Jimmie Higgins, 100 Per Cent.
Theodore Dreiser: Sister Carrie. George Moore: Esther Waters. Frank
Norris: The Octopus. Brand Whitlock: The Turn of the Balance. De Foe:
Robinson Crusoe. Fielding: Tom Jones, Jonathan Wild the Great.
Thackeray: The Adventures of Barry Lyndon. Marmaduke Pickthall: The
Adventures of Hadji Baba. Blasco Ibanez: The Fruit of the Vine. Frank
Harris: Montes the Matador. Frederik van Eeden: The Quest. Tolstoi:

And now for the people who do not get enough exercise. In the armies of
King Cyrus it was the law that every man was required to sweat once
every twenty-four hours, and that is still the law for every business
man and office-worker and writer of books. There is no substitute for
it, and there is no health without it. I have heard Dr. Kellogg say that
the modern woman sends out her health with her washing, and I have
heard the leisure class ladies at the Sanitarium discuss this cryptic
utterance and wonder what he meant by it. I know that there is use
telling leisure class ladies what exercise at the wash-tub would do for
their abdomens and backs. I will only tell them that unless they can
find some kind of vigorous activity which keeps them in a free
perspiration for an hour or two each day, they will never be really
well, and will never bear children without agony and abortion.

For myself, I have found that the minimum is three or four times a week.
Unless I get that much hard exercise I am soon in trouble. So my advice
to the business man is to take off his coat and collar and turn out and
help his truck-man; my advice to the white collar slave is to get a
part-time job, and dig ditches the rest of the time. To the man who has
cares which pursue him, and likewise to the ardent student and
brain-worker, I say that they should find, not merely exercise, but
play. The distinction between the two things is important. There can be
play that is not exercise, for example cards and chess; and, of course,
there can be exercise that is not play. What you must have is something
that is both play and exercise; something that not merely causes your
heart to beat fast, and your lungs to pump fast, and your sweat glands
to throw out poisons from your body, but something that fully occupies
your mind and gives your higher brain centers a chance to relax.

Our civilization has very largely destroyed the possibility of play and
the spirit of play. We civilized people no longer know what play is, and
regard the desire to play as something abnormal--a form of vice. We
allow children to play after school hours, and on Saturdays; but for
grown-up, serious-minded men and women to want to play would be almost
as disreputable as for them to want to get drunk. What could foe more
pitiful than the spectacle of tens of thousands of men crowding into our
baseball parks and amusement fields to watch other men play for them!
Imagine, if you can, a crowd of people gathering in a restaurant or
theater to watch other people _eat_ for them! Imagine yourself a man
from Mars, coming down to a world with so many people in want, and
finding whole classes of men forbidden to do any work, under penalty of
disgrace, and compelled, in order to exercise their muscles, to pull on
rubber straps and lift weights and wave dumb-bells and Indian clubs in
the air--methods of expending their muscular energy which are
respectable because they accomplish nothing!

When I was a boy, I was fond of all kinds of games. I was a good tennis
player, and in the country an incessant hunter and fisherman. When on
the city streets we boys could not find any other game to play, we would
get up on the roofs of the houses and throw clothes-pins and snow-balls
at the "Dagoes" working in the nearby excavations; so we had the fine
game of being chased by the "Dagoes," with the chance, real or
imaginary, of having a knife stuck into us. But then, as I grew older,
and became aware of the pain and misery of the world, I lost my interest
in games, and for ten years or so I never played; I did nothing but
study and write. So my health gave way, and I had the problem of
restoring it, and I spent some twenty years wrestling with this problem,
before I thoroughly convinced myself on the point that there can be no
such thing as sound and permanent health without a certain amount of

I don't think there is any kind of hard physical work I failed to try,
in the course of my experiments. I rode horseback, and took long walks,
and climbed mountains, and swam, and dug gardens, and chopped down whole
groves of trees and cut them up and carried them to the fireplace. I
have done this latter work for a whole winter in the country, several
hours every day, and it has done my health no good to speak of; I have
been ready for a breakdown at the end of it. The reason is that all the
time I was doing these things with my body, I was going right on working
my brain. While I was swimming or climbing a mountain or galloping on
horseback, I was absorbed in the next chapter of the book I was writing,
so that I literally did not know where I was. I would make up my mind
that I would not think about my work, and would make desperate efforts
not to do so; but it was like walking along the edge of a slippery
ditch--sooner or later I was bound to fall in, and go floundering along,
unable to get out again!

And the same thing applies to all gymnastic work. I have experimented
with a dozen different systems of exercises, and with all kinds of water
treatments; I have used dumb-bells and Indian clubs and Swedish
gymnastics, MacFadden's exercises in bed, and the Yogi breathing
exercises, and more kinds of queer things than I can remember now; but
for me there is only one solution of the problem, which is to have an
antagonist. It may be a deer I am trying to shoot, or some trout I am
trying to lure out of their holes; it may be some boys I am trying to
beat at football or hockey, or it may be the game I know best and find
most convenient, which is tennis. If it is tennis, then it has to be
someone who can make me work as hard as I know how; for if it is someone
I can beat easily, why, before I have been playing ten minutes, I am
busily working out the next chapter of a book, or answering letters I
have just got in the mail.

Recently I came upon a book, "The Psychology of Relaxation," by Dr.
Patrick, in which the theory of this is set forth. Civilized man is
working his higher brain centers more than his body can stand; his brain
is running away with him, absorbing a constantly increasing share of his
energies. True relaxation is only possible where the higher brain
centers are lulled, and the back lobes of the brain brought into
activity. One of the means of doing this is alcohol, and that is why
through the ages all races of men have craved to get drunk. There is a
method which is harmless, and does not break down the system, and that
is play. When we become really interested in play, we are as children,
or as primitive man; we do all the things that our race used to do many
ages ago; we hunt and fight, we pit our wits against the wits of our
enemies, and struggle with desperation to get the better of them. If our
play is physical play, if we are absorbed in a game or bodily contest,
then we are exerting and developing all those portions of us which
civilization tends to atrophy and deaden.

There are people who will dispute with you about Socialism, and ask, how
we are going to provide incentives if we do away with wage slavery. When
you tell them that activity is natural to human beings, and that if
there were no work, men and women would have to make some, they shake
their heads mournfully and tell you about the problem of "human nature."
But consider games and sports: men do not have to work their bodies, yet
they go out and deliberately hunt for trouble! They invent themselves
subtle and complicated games, and are not content until they find people
who can beat them at it, or at any rate can make them work to the limit
of their strength, until they are in a dripping perspiration and
thoroughly exhausted! I may be too optimistic about "human nature," but
I believe that this is the attitude every normal human being takes
toward the powers, both mental and physical, which he possesses; he
wants to use them, and for all they are worth. If you don't believe it,
just take any group of youngsters, give them a baseball and bat, turn
them loose in a vacant lot, and watch them "choose up sides" and fall to
work, screaming and shouting in wild excitement! There are some races of
the earth which do not yet know baseball, but the Filipinos and the
Japanese have learned it, and even the war-worn "Poilus" and the
supercilious "Tommies" condescended to experiment with it. And if you
think it is only physical competition that young human animals enjoy,
try them at putting on a play, or printing a magazine, or conducting a
debate, or building a house--anything whatever that involves healthy
competition, and is related to the big things of life, but without being
for the profit of some exploiter! Get clear the plain and simple
distinction between work and play: play is what you want to do, while
work is what the profit system makes you do!



     (Deals with nature's own remedy for disease, and how to make use of

We have next to consider the various human ailments, what causes them,
and how they can be remedied. As it happens, I know of a cure that comes
pretty near being that impossible thing, a "cure-all." At any rate, it
is so far ahead of all other cures, that a discussion of it will cover
three-fourths of the subject.

When I was a boy living in New York, there was a man by the name of Dr.
Tanner, who took a forty-day fast. He was on public exhibition at the
time, and was supposed to be watched day and night; the newspapers gave
a great deal of attention to the story, and crowds used to come to gaze
at him. I remember very well the conversations I heard about the matter.
People were quite sure that it couldn't be true. The man must be getting
something to eat on the sly; he must have some nourishment in the water
he drank; no human being could fast more than five or six days without
starving to death.

In the year 1910 I published in the United States and England a magazine
article telling how on several occasions I had fasted ten or twelve
days, and what I had accomplished by it. I found that I had the same
difficulty to confront as old Dr. Tanner; I received scores of letters
from people who called me a "faker," and I read scores of newspaper
editorials to the same effect. The New York Times published a dispatch
about three young ladies on Long Island who were trying a three-day
fast, and the Times commented editorially to the effect that these young
ladies were "the victims of a shallow and unscrupulous sensationalist."

The notion that human beings can perish for lack of food in a few days
is deeply rooted in people's minds. Recently a group of eleven Irishmen
in jail set to work to starve themselves to death, as a protest against
British rule in their country. Day after day the newspapers reported the
news from Cork prison, and at about the twentieth day they began to
state that the prisoners were dying, that the priest had been sent for,
that their relatives were gathered on the prison steps. Day after day
such reports continued, through the thirties, and the forties, and the
fifties, and the sixties, and the seventies. One man died on the
eighty-eighth day, and MacSwiney died on the seventy-fourth. The other
nine gave up after ninety-four days and were all restored to health. I
watched carefully the newspaper and magazine comment on this incident,
yet I did not see a single remark on the medical aspects of it; I could
not discover that scientific men had learned anything whatever about the
ability of the body to go without food for long periods.

Get this clear at the outset: Nobody ever "starved to death" in less
than two months, and it is possible for a fat person to go without food
for as long as three or four months. People who "starve to death" in
shorter times do not die of starvation, but of fright. The first time I
fasted happened to be at the time of the Messina earthquake. I was
walking about, perfectly serene and happy, having been without food for
three days, and I read in my newspaper how the rescue ships had reached
Messina, and found the population ravenous, in the agonies of
starvation, some of the people having been without food for seventy-two
hours! (It sounds so much worse, you see, when you state it in hours.)

The second point to get clear is that the fast is a physiological
process; that is to say, it is something which nature understands and
carries through in her own serene and efficient way. When you take a
fast, you are not carrying out a freak notion of your own, or of mine;
you are discovering a lost instinct. Every cat and dog knows enough not
to take food when it is ill; it is only in hospitals conducted by modern
medical science that the custom prevails of serving elaborate "trays" to
invalids. I remember a story about a man who made himself a reputation
and a fortune by curing the pet dogs of the rich. These beautiful little
creatures, which sleep between silken covers, and have several servants
to wait upon them, and are fed from gold and silver dishes upon rich and
elaborately cooked foods, fall victim to as many diseases as their
mistresses, and they would be brought to this specialist, who conducted
his dog hospital in an old brickyard. In each one of the compartments of
the brick kiln he would shut up a dog with a supply of fresh water, a
crust of stale bread, a piece of bacon rind, and the sole of an old
shoe; and after a few days he would go back and find that the dog had
eaten the crust of bread, and then he would write to the owner that the
dog was on the high road to recovery. He would go back a few days later
and find that the dog had eaten the piece of bacon rind, and then he
would write that the dog was very nearly cured. He would wait until the
dog had eaten the piece of shoe leather, and then he would write that
the dog was completely cured, and the owner might come and take it away.

Just what is the process of the fast cure? I do not pretend to know
positively. I can only make guesses, and wait for science to
investigate. I believe that the main source of the diseases of civilized
man is improper nutrition, and the clogging of the system with food
poisons in various stages. And when you fast you do two things: first,
you stop entirely the fresh supply of those food poisons, and second,
you allow the whole of the body's digestive and assimilative tract to
rest--to go to sleep, as it were--so that all the body's energy may go
to other organs. The body carries with it at all times a surplus store
of nutriment, which can be taken up and used by the blood stream,
apparently with much less trouble than is required to convert fresh food
to the body's uses. In other words, the body can feed on its own tissues
more easily than it can feed from the stomach. In the fast you may lose
anywhere from half a pound to two pounds in weight per day, and this
will be taken, first from your store of fat, and then from your muscular
tissues. Every part of your muscular tissue will be taken, before
anything is taken from your vital organs, your nerves or your
blood-stream. So long as there is a particle of muscular material left,
so long as you can make even the slightest movement of one finger, you
are still fasting, and it is only when your muscular tissue is all gone
that you begin at last to starve. So far as I know, the cases of
MacSwiney and the other Irishman are the only cases on record where
fasters have died of starvation.

What the body does during the fast is quite plain, and can be told by
many symptoms. It begins a thorough house-cleaning, throwing out
poisonous material by every channel. The perspiration and the breath
become offensive, the tongue becomes heavily coated, so that you can
scrape the material off with a knife. I have heard vegetarians explain
this by saying that when the body is living off its own tissues, it is
following a cannibal diet; but that is all nonsense, because you can
live on meat exclusively, and quickly satisfy yourself that none of
these symptoms occurs. It is evident that the body is taking advantage
of the opportunity to get rid of waste products; and this will go on for
ten days, for twenty days, in some cases for as long as forty or fifty
days; and then suddenly occurs a strange thing: in spite of the
"cannibal diet" the symptoms all come to a sudden end. The tongue
clears, the breath becomes sweet, the appetite suddenly awakens.

During the period of a normal fast you lose all interest in food. You
almost forget that there is such a thing as eating; you can look at food
without any more desire for it than you have to swallow marbles and
carpet tacks. But then suddenly appetite returns, as I have explained,
and you find that you can think of nothing but food. This is what
students of the subject describe as a "complete fast," and while I do
not want to go to extremes and say that the "complete fast" will cure
every case of every disease, I can certainly say this: in the letters
which have come to me from people who tried the fast at my suggestion,
there are cases of every kind of common disease. In my book, "The
Fasting Cure," I give the results in cases reported to me after the
publication of my first magazine article. I quote two paragraphs:

"The total number of fasts taken was 277, and the average number of days
was six. There were 90 of five days or over, 51 of ten days or over, and
six of 30 days or over. Out of the 119 person who wrote to me, 100
reported benefit, and 17 no benefit. Of these 17 about half give wrong
breaking of the fast as the reason for the failure. In cases where the
cure had not proved permanent, about half mentioned that the recurrence
of the trouble was caused by wrong eating, and about half of the rest
made this quite evident by what they said. Also it is to be noted that
in the cases of the 17 who got no benefit, nearly all were fasts of only
three or four days.

"Following is the complete list of diseases benefited--45 of the cases
having been diagnosed by physicians: indigestion (usually associated
with nervousness), 27; rheumatism, 5; colds, 8; tuberculosis, 4;
constipation, 14; poor circulation, 3; headaches, 5; anaemia, 3;
scrofula, 1; bronchial trouble, 5; syphilis, 1; liver trouble, 5;
general debility, 5; chills and fever, 1; blood poisoning, 1; ulcerated
leg, 1; neurasthenia, 6; locomotor ataxia, 1; sciatica, 1; asthma, 2;
excess of uric acid, 1; epilepsy, 1; pleurisy, 1; impaction of bowels,
1; eczema, 2; catarrh, 6; appendicitis, 3; valvular disease of heart, 1;
insomnia, 1; gas poisoning, 1; grippe, 1; cancer, 1."

There are many diseases with many causes, and some yield more quickly
than others to the fast. In the first group I put the diseases of the
digestive and alimentary tract. Stomach and bowel troubles, and the
nervous disorders occasioned by these, stop almost immediately when you
fast. Next come disorders of the blood-stream, which are generally a
second stage of digestive troubles. Everything immediately due to
impurities of the blood, pimples, boils, and ulcers, inflammation, badly
healing wounds, etc., respond to a few days of fasting as to the magic
touch of the old-time legends. When it comes to diseases caused by germ
infections, you have a double aspect of the problem, and must have a
double method of attack. I would not like to say that fasting could cure
such a disease as sleeping sickness, to the germs of which our systems
are not accustomed, and against which they may well be helpless. On the
other hand, in the case of common infections, such as colds and sore
throats, the fast is again the touch of magic. Having been plagued a
great deal by these ailments in past times, I am accustomed to say that
I would not trade my knowledge of fasting for everything else that I
know about health.

The first thing you must do if you want to take a fast is to read the
literature on the subject and make up your mind that the experiment will
do you no injury. You should also try to get your relatives to make up
their minds, because you are nervous when you are fasting, and cannot
withstand the attacks of the people around you, who will go into a panic
and throw you into a panic. As I said before, it is quite possible for
people to die of panic, but I do not believe that anybody ever died of a
fast. I have known of two or three cases of people dying while they were
fasting, but I feel quite certain that the fast did not cause their
death; they would have died anyhow. You must bear in mind that among the
people who try the fast, a great many are in a desperate condition; some
have been given up by the doctors, and if now and then one of these
should die, we may surely say that they died in spite of the fast, and
not because of it. There is no physician who can save every patient, and
it would be absurd to expect this. I have read scores of letters from
people who were at the point of death from such "fatal" diseases as
Bright's disease, sclerosis of the liver, and fatty degeneration of the
heart, and were literally snatched out of the jaws of death by beginning
a fast. I would not like to guess just what percentage of dying people
in our hospitals might be saved if the doctors would withdraw all food
from them, but I await with interest the time when medical science will
have the intelligence to try that simple experiment and report the

Just the other day in the Los Angeles county jail, a chiropractor went
on hunger strike, as a protest against imprisonment, and he fasted 41
days. Then he broke his fast, the reason being given that his pulse was
down to 54, and he was afraid of dying. I smiled to myself. The normal
pulse is 70. I have taken my pulse many times at the end of a ten-day
fast, and it has been as low as 32, and I am not dead yet, and if I wait
to die from the symptoms of a fast, I expect to live a long time indeed!

The first time I fasted, I felt very weak, and lay around and hardly
cared to lift my head; if I walked from my bed to the lawn, I was tired
in the legs. But since then I have grown used to fasting. I have fasted
for a week probably twenty or thirty times, and on such occasions I have
gone about my business as if nothing were happening. Of course I would
not try to play tennis, or to climb a mountain, but it is a fact that on
the seventh day of a fast in New York, I climbed the five or six flights
of stairs to the top of the Metropolitan Opera House, and felt no ill
effects from doing this. I climbed slowly, and was careful not to tire
myself. The simple rule is not to have anything that you must do on the
fast, and then do what you feel like doing. Lie down and rest, and read
a book, and take as much exercise as you find you enjoy. Keep your mind
quiet and free from worries, and lock out of the house everybody who
tells you that your heart is going to stop beating in the next few
minutes, and that you must have an injection of strychnine to start it,
and some beefsteak and fried onions to "restore your strength." Give
yourself up to the care of your wise old mother nature, who will attend
to your heart just as securely and serenely as she attended to it in the
days before you were born.

By fasting I mean that you take no food whatever. I know some nature
cure teachers who practice what they call a "fruit fast." All I know is
that if I eat nothing but fruit, I soon have my stomach boiling with
fermentation, and also I suffer with hunger; whereas, if I take a
complete fast, I promptly forget all about food. You must drink all the
water you can on the fast. This helps nature with her house-cleaning; it
is well to drink a glass of water every half hour at least. Do not try
to go without water, and then write me that the fasting cure is a
failure. Also please do not write and ask me if it will be fasting if
you take just a little crackers and milk, or some soup, or something
else that you think doesn't count!

I recommend a dose of laxative to clean out the system at the beginning
of a fast, because the bowels are apt to become sluggish at once, and
the quicker you get the system cleansed, the better. It does no good to
take laxatives if you are going to pile in more food, but if you are
going to fast, that is a different matter. You should take a full warm
enema every day during the fast, so long as it brings any results. There
are some people whose bowels are so frightfully clogged that I have
known the enema to bring results even in the second and third weeks. On
the other hand, if there is no solid matter to be removed, a small enema
every day will suffice. Take a warm bath every day; and needless to say,
you should get all the fresh air you can, and should sleep as much as
you can. You may have difficulty in sleeping, because the fast is apt to
make you nervous and wakeful. I have known people who could not fast
because they could not sleep, and I have taught them a little trick, to
put a hot water bottle at the feet, and another on the abdomen, to draw
the blood away from the head. So they would quickly fall asleep, and
they got great benefit from their fasts.

You should supply yourself with good music if you can, and with plenty
of good reading matter. You will be amazed to find how active your mind
becomes; perhaps you had never known before what a mind you had. Your
blood has always been so clogged with food poisons that you didn't know
you could think. My three act play, "The Nature Woman," was conceived
and written in two days and a half on a fast; but I do not recommend
this kind of thing--on the contrary, I strongly urge against it, because
if you work your brain on a fast, you do not get the good from your
fast, and do not recover so quickly. Put off all your problems until you
have got your health back, and seek only to divert your mind while



     (Discusses various methods of building up the body after a fast,
     especially the milk diet.)

There remains the question of how to break the fast, and this is the
most important part of the problem. You may undo all the good of your
fast by breaking it wrong, and you are a thousand times as apt to kill
yourself then, as while you are fasting. When your hunger comes back, it
comes back with a rush, and some people have not the will power to
control it.

I do not advocate a complete fast in any case except of serious chronic
disease, and then only under the advice of someone with experience; but
I advocate a short fast of a week or ten days for almost every common
ailment, and I know that such a fast will help, even where it may not
completely cure. You may go on fasting so long as you are quiet and
happy; but when you find you are becoming too weak for comfort, or for
the peace of mind of your family physician and your friends, you may
break your fast, and show them that it is possible to restore your
strength and body weight, and then they won't bother so much when you
try it again! Take nothing but liquid foods in the breaking of a fast; I
recommend the juices of fruits and tomatoes, also meat broths. If you
have fasted a week or two, take a quarter of a glass; if you have fasted
a month, take a tablespoonful, and wait and see what the results are.
Remember that your whole alimentary tract is out of action, and give it
a chance to start up slowly. Take small quantities of liquid food every
two hours for the first day. Then you can begin taking larger
quantities, and on the next day you can try some milk, or a soft poached
egg, or the pulp of cooked apples or prunes. Do not take any solid food
until you are quite sure you can digest it, and then take only a very
little. Do not take any starchy food until the third day.

I have known people to break these rules. I knew a man who broke his
fast on hamburg steak, and had to be helped out with a stomach pump.
Once I broke a week's fast with a plate of rich soup, because I was at a
friend's house and there was nothing else, and I yielded to the claims
of hospitality, and made myself ill and had to fast for several days

The easiest way to break a fast is upon a milk diet. I have seen
hundreds of people take this diet, and very few who did not get benefit.
The first time I fasted, which was twelve days, I lost 17 pounds, and I
took the milk diet for 24 days thereafter, and gained 32 pounds. I took
it at MacFadden's Sanitarium, where I had every attention. Since then, I
have many times tried to take a milk diet by myself, but have never been
able to get it to agree with me. I do not know how to explain this fact;
I state it, to show how hard it is to lay down general rules. On the
milk diet you take into your system two or three times as much food as
you can assimilate, and this is a violation of all my diet rules; but it
appears that the bacteria which thrive in milk produce lactic acid,
which is not harmful to the system, and if you do not take other foods
you may safely keep the system flooded with milk.

After a fast you should begin with small quantities of milk, and by the
third day you may be taking a full glass of warm milk every half hour or
every twenty minutes, until you have taken seven or eight quarts per
day. It is better to take it warm, but sometimes people take it just as
well without warming. Dr. Porter, who has a book on the milk diet,
insists upon complete rest, and makes his patients stay in bed.
MacFadden, on the other hand, recommends gymnastics in the morning
before the milk, and during the afternoon he recommends a rest from the
milk for a couple of hours, followed by abdominal exercises to keep the
bowels open. This is very important during a fast, because you are
taking great quantities of material into your system and it must not be
permitted to clog. Therefore take an enema daily, if necessary to a free
movement. Also take a warm bath daily. Take the juice of oranges and
lemons if you crave them.

Upon one thing everyone who has had experience with the milk diet
agrees, and that is the necessity of absolute mental rest. If you
become excited, or nervous, or angry on a milk diet, you may turn all
the contents of your stomach into hard curds, and may put yourself into
convulsions. The wonderful thing about the milk diet is the state of
physical and mental bliss it makes possible. It is the ideal way of
breaking a fast, because it leaves you no chance to get hungry; you have
all the food you want, and your system is bathed in happiness, a sense
of peace and well-being which is truly marvelous and not to be
described. You gain anywhere from half a pound to two pounds a day, and
you feel that you have never before in your life known what perfect
health could be. The fast sets you a new standard, you discover how
nature meant you to enjoy life, and never again are you content with
that kind of half existence with which you managed to worry along before
you discovered this remedy.

But let me hasten to add that I do not recommend the fast as a regular
habit of life. The fast is an emergency measure, to enable the body to
cleanse itself and to cure disease. When you have got your body clean
and free from disease, it is your business to keep it that way, and you
should apply your reason to the problem of how to live so that you will
not have to fast. If you find that you continue to have ailments, then
you must be eating wrongly, or overworking, or committing some other
offense against nature; either that, or else you must have some organic
trouble--a bone in your spine out of place, as the osteopaths tell you,
or your eyes out of focus, or your appendix twisted and infected. I do
not claim that the fasting cure will supplant the surgeons and the
oculists and the dentists. It will not mend your bones if you break
them, and it will not repair your teeth that are already decayed; but it
will help to keep your teeth from decaying in the future, and it will
help you to prepare for a surgical operation, and to recover from it
more quickly. I had to undergo an operation for rupture a couple of
years ago, and I fasted for two days before the operation, and for three
days after it, and I had no particle of nausea from the ether, and was
able to tend to my mail the day after the operation.

There is one disease for which I hesitate to recommend the fast, and
that is tuberculosis, because I have been told of cases in which the
patient lost weight and did not recover it. However, in my tabulation
of 277 cases, you will note four cases of tuberculosis, and in my book
is given a letter from a patient who claimed great benefit. If I had the
misfortune to contract tuberculosis, I would take a three or four day
fast, followed by a milk diet for a long period. The milk diet is
pleasant to take, and it cannot possibly do any harm. If it did not
effect a cure, I would try the Salisbury treatment--that is, lean meat
ground up and medium cooked, and nothing else, except an abundance of
hot water between meals. Prof. Irving Fisher wrote me that there is
urgent need of experiment to determine proper diet in tuberculosis; and
until these experiments have been made, we can only grope. I am quite
sure that the "stuffing system," ordinarily used by doctors, is a tragic

In the case of any other disease whatever, even though I might take
medical or surgical treatment, I would supplement this by a fast,
because there is no kind of treatment which does not succeed better with
the blood in good condition. In the case of emergencies, accidents,
wounds, etc., I would rest assured that recovery would be more prompt if
I were fasting. When David Graham Phillips was shot, I wrote a letter to
the New York Call, saying that his doctors had killed him, because they
had fed him while he was lying in a critical condition in the hospital.
To take nutriment into the body under such circumstances is the greatest
of blunders.

The fast will help children, just as it helps adults, only they do not
need to fast so long. It will help the aged and make them feel young.
(You need not be afraid to fast, no matter how old you are.) It is, of
course, an immediate cure for fatness, and strange as it may seem, it is
also a cure for unnatural thinness. People with ravenous appetites are
just as apt to be thin as to be fat, because it is not what you eat that
builds up your body, but only what you assimilate, and if you eat too
much, you can make it impossible to assimilate anything properly. If you
take a fast and break it carefully, your body will come to its normal
weight, and all your functions to their normal activity.

A physician wrote me, taking me to task for listing among the cures
reported in my tabulation a case of locomotor ataxia. This disease, he
explained, is caused because a portion of a nerve has been entirely
destroyed, and it is a disease that is absolutely and positively and
forever incurable. I answered that I knew this to be the teaching of
present day medical science, but I invited him to consider for a moment
what happens in nature. When a crab loses a claw, we do not take it as a
matter of course that the crab must go about with one claw for the
balance of its life; nature will make that crab another claw. Man has
lost the power of replacing a lost leg, but he stills retains the power
of replacing tissue which has been cut away by a surgeon's knife, and
medical science takes this as a matter of course. How shall anybody say
that nature has forever lost the power of rebuilding a bit of nervous
tissue? How shall anyone say that if the blood-stream is cleansed of
poisons, and the energy of the whole body restored, one of the results
may not be the repairing of a broken nerve connection? I invite my
readers who have ailments, and especially I invite all medical men among
my readers, to make a fair test of the fasting cure. The results will
surprise them, and they will quickly be forced to revise their methods
of treating illness.



     (Discusses some of the commoner human ailments, and what is known
     about their cause and cure.)

I begin with the commonest of all troubles, known as a "cold." This name
implies that the cause of the trouble lies in exposure or chill. All the
grandmothers of the world are agreed about this. They have a phrase--or
at least they had it when I was a boy: "You will catch your death."
Every time I went out in the rain, every time I played with wet feet, or
sat in a draft, or got under a cold shower, I would hear the formula,
"You will catch your death."

And, on the other hand, there are the "health cranks," who declare
vehemently that the name "cold" is a misnomer and a trap for people's
thoughts. Cold has nothing to do with it, they say, and point to arctic
explorers who frequently get frozen to death, but do not "catch cold"
until they get back into the warm rooms of civilization. As for drafts,
the "health cranks" aver that a draft is merely "fresh air moving";
which is supposed to settle the matter. However, when you come to think
about it, you realize that a cyclone is likewise merely "fresh air
moving," so you have not decided the question by a phrase.

While I was writing these chapters on health I contracted a severe
cold--which was a joke on me. The history of this cold is as clear in my
mind as anything human can be, and it will serve for an illustration,
showing how much truth the grandmothers have on their side, and how much
the "health cranks" have.

To begin with, I had been overworking. All sorts of appeals come to me;
hundreds of people write me letters, and I cannot bear to leave them
unanswered. I accepted calls to speak, and invitations where I had to
eat a lot of stuff of which my reason disapproves; so one morning I woke
up with a slight sore throat. I fasted all day, and by evening felt all
right. But there came another call, and I consented to take a long
automobile ride on a cold and rainy night, and when I got back home,
after five or six hours, I was thoroughly chilled, and my "cold" came on
during the night.

This explanation will, I imagine, be satisfactory to all the
grandmothers of the world. All the dear, good grandmothers know that an
automobile ride on a cold, rainy night is enough to give any man "his
death." But listen, grandmothers! I have lain out watching for deer all
night in the late fall, with only a thin blanket to cover me, and gotten
up so stiff with cold that I could hardly move; yet I did not "catch
cold." When I was a youth, I have ridden a bicycle twenty miles to the
beach in April, with snow on the ground, and plunged into the surf and
swam, and then ridden home again. I have bathed in the sea when I had to
run a quarter of a mile in a bathing suit along a frost-covered pier,
and with an icy wind blowing through my bones; yet I never took cold
from that, and never got anything but a feeling of exhilaration. So it
must be that there is some reason why exposure causes colds at one time
and not at another.

The explanation takes you over to the "health cranks." They understand
that your blood-stream must be clogged, your bodily tone reduced by bad
air and lack of exercise, and more especially by over-eating, or by an
improperly balanced diet. But then most of them go to extremes, and
insist that the automobile ride and the chilled condition of my body had
nothing to do with my cold. But I know otherwise--I have watched the
thing happen so often. In times when I was run down, the slightest
exposure would cause me a cold, literally in a few minutes. I have got
myself a sore throat going out to the wood-pile on a winter day with
nothing on my head. I have got a cold by sitting still with wet feet, or
by sitting in a draft on a warm summer day, when I had been perspiring a
little. How to explain this I am not sure, but my guess is that you
drive the blood away from the surface of the body at a time when it is
weakened and exposed to infection, and you drive away the army of the
white corpuscles, and give the battlefield of your body to the germs.

I know there are nature curists who argue that germs have nothing to do
with disease; but they have never been able to convince me--germs are
too real, and too many, and too easy to watch. If you leave a piece of
meat exposed to the air in warm temperature, the germs in the air will
settle upon it and begin to feed upon it and to multiply; the meat,
being dead, is powerless to protect itself. But your nose and throat are
also meat, and just as good food for the germs. The only difference is
that this meat is alive, there is a living blood-stream circulating
through it, and several score billions of the body's own kind of germs,
the blood corpuscles. If these blood corpuscles are sound and properly
nourished, and are brought to the place of infection, they are able to
destroy all the common germs; so it is that you do not have diseases,
but instead have health. But your health always implies a struggle of
your organism against other organisms, and it is the business of your
reason to watch your body and give all the help you can in protecting
it. Coughs and colds, sore throats and headaches, are the first warnings
that your defenses are being weakened. As a rule these ailments are not
serious in themselves, but they are signs of a wrong condition, and if
you neglect this condition, pretty soon you will find that you have to
deal with something deadly.

My cure for a cold is to take an enema and a laxative, eat nothing for
twenty-four hours, and drink plenty of water. If you have a severe cold
or sore throat, you will be wise to lie in bed for a day or two, by an
open window. You may also use sprays and gargles if you wish, but you
will find them of little use, because the germs are deep in your mucous
membranes, and cannot all be reached from the outside. In the old sad
days of my ignorance I would get a cold, and go to the doctor, and have
my throat and nose pumped full of black and green and yellow and purple
liquids, which did me absolutely no good whatever; the cold would stay
on for two or three weeks, sometimes for eight or ten weeks, and I would
be miserable, utterly desperate. I was dying by inches, and not one of
the doctors could tell me why.

The next most common ailment is a headache, and this means poisons in
your blood-stream. It may be from improper diet, from alcohol, or drugs,
or bad air, or nervous excitement. If it is none of these things, then
you should begin to look for some organic difficulty, eye-strain, for
example, or perhaps defects in the spine. The osteopaths and the
chiropractors specialize on the spine, and have made important
discoveries. Their doctrine is, in brief, that the nervous force which
directs the blood-stream is carried to the organs of the body by nerves
which leave the spinal cord through openings between the vertebrae. If
any of these openings are pinched, you have a diminished nerve supply,
which means ill-health in that part of the body to which the nerve
leads. That such trouble can be corrected by straightening the bones of
the spine, seems perfectly reasonable; but like most people with a new
idea, the discoverers proceed to carry it to absurd extremes. I have
before me an official chiropractic pamphlet which states that vertebral
displacement is "the physical and perpetuating cause of ninety-five per
cent of all cases of disease; the remaining five per cent being due to
subluxations of other skeletal segments." Naturally people who believe
this will devote nearly all their study to the bones and the nervous
system. But surely, there are other parts of your body which are
necessary besides bones and nerves! And what if some of these parts
happen to be malformed or defective? What if your eyes do not focus
properly, and you are continually wearing out the optic nerve, thus
giving yourself headaches and neurasthenia? What if you have an appendix
that has been twisted and malformed from birth, and is a center of
infection so long as it remains in the body?

Several years ago I had an experience with the appendix, from which I
learned something about one of the commonest of human ailments,
constipation, or sluggishness of the bowels. This is a cause of
innumerable chronic ailments grouped under the head of auto-intoxication,
or the poisoning of the body by the absorption into the system of the
products of fermentation and decay in the bowels. The bowels should move
freely two or three times every day, and the movements should be soft. I
suffered from constipation for some twenty years, and tried, I think,
every remedy known both to science and to crankdom. In the beginning the
doctors gave me drugs which by irritating the intestinal walls cause
them to pour out quantities of water, and hurry the irritating
substances down the intestinal tract. That is all right for an
emergency; if you have swallowed a poison, or food which is spoiled, or
if you have overeaten and are ill, get your system cleaned out by any
and every device. But if you habitually swallow mild poisons, which is
what all laxatives are, you weaken the intestinal tract, and you have to
take more and more of these poisons, and you get less results. We may
set down as positive the statement that drugs are not a remedy for

Next comes diet. Eat the rough and bulky foods, say the nature curists,
and stimulate the intestinal walls to activity. I tried that. I listened
to the extreme enthusiasts, and boiled whole wheat and ate it, and
consumed quantities of bran biscuit, and of a Japanese seaweed which Dr.
Kellogg prepares, and of petroleum oil, and even the skins of oranges,
which are most uncomfortable eating, I assure you. I would eat things
like this until I got myself a case of diarrhea--and so was cured of
constipation for a time! Strange as it may seem to you, there are even
people who tell you to eat sand. I listened to them, and ate many

Then there is exercise. MacFadden taught me a whole series of exercises
for developing the muscles of the abdominal walls and the back, which
are greatly neglected by civilized man. The fundamental cause of
constipation is a sluggish life, and to exercise our bodies is a duty;
but to me it was always an agony of boredom to lie on a bed and wiggle
my abdomen for a quarter of an hour. The same thing applies to hot water
treatments, which are effective, but a nuisance and a waste of time. I
never could keep them up except when I was in trouble.

Three or four years ago I began to notice a continual irritating pain in
my right side, which I quickly realized must lie in the appendix. I
tried massage, and hot and cold water treatments, and my favorite
remedy, a week's fast. The pain disappeared, but it returned, so finally
I decided, to the dismay of my physical culture friends, to have the
appendix out. For years I had been reading the statements of nature
curists, that the appendix is an important and vital part of the body,
which pours an oil or something into the intestinal tract, and so helps
to prevent constipation. Well, evidently my appendix wasn't doing its
job, so I took it to a good surgeon. What I found was that it had been
twisted and malformed from birth, so that it was a center of continuous
infection. From the time I had that operation, I have never had to think
about the subject of constipation. This experience suggests to me how
easy it is for people to make statements about health which have no
relationship to facts.

I do not recommend promiscuous surgery, and I perfectly well realize
that if human beings would take proper care of their health, the great
proportion of surgical operations would be unnecessary. I realize,
also, that surgeons get paid by the job, and therefore have a money
interest in operating, and it is perfectly futile to expect that none of
them will ever be influenced by the profit motive. Nevertheless, it is
true that sometimes surgical operations are necessary, and that by
standing a little temporary inconvenience you can save yourself a
life-time of discomfort.

Take, for example, rupture. The human body has here a natural weakness,
from which there results a dangerous and uncomfortable affliction.
Hundreds of thousands of men are going around all their lives wearing
elaborate and expensive trusses which are almost, if not entirely
useless, and trying advertised "cures" which are entirely fakes. An
operation takes an hour or two, and two or three weeks in bed, and when
our government drafted its young men into the army and found that
fourteen in every thousand of them had rupture, it shipped them into the
hospitals wholesale and sewed them up. It happens that rupture affords
one case where scar tissue is stronger than natural tissue, and there
were practically no returns from the great number of army cases.

Likewise you find extreme statements repeated concerning the evils of
vaccination; but if you will read Parkman's "History of the Jesuits in
North America," you will see the horrible conditions under which the
Indians lived in the United States--noble savages, you understand,
entirely uncontaminated by civilized white men, and whole populations
regularly wiped out every few years by epidemics of smallpox. That these
epidemics ceased was due to the discovery that by infecting the body
with a mild form of the disease, it could be made to develop substances
which render it immune to the deadly form. Here in California we have a
law which makes vaccination for school children optional, and so we may
some day have another epidemic to test the theories of the

I know, of course, the dreadful stories of people who have been given
syphilis and other diseases by impure vaccines. I don't know whether
such stories are true; but I do know that people who live in houses are
sometimes killed by earthquakes and by lightning, yet we do not cease to
live in houses because of this chance. It seems to me that the remedy
for such vaccination evils is not to abolish vaccination, but to take
more care in the manufacture of our vaccines.

This danger is removed by using vaccines which are sterile, and are made
especially for each person. Germs are taken from the sick person, and
injected into an animal. The body of the animal develops with great
rapidity the "anti-bodies" necessary to resistance to the germs; and as
these "anti-bodies" are chemical products, not affected by heat, we can
take a serum from the animal, sterilize it, and then inject it into the
system of the patient, thus increasing resistance to the disease. I
admit that the best way to increase such resistance is to take care of
your health; but sometimes we confront an emergency, and must use
emergency remedies. We have serums that really cure diphtheria and
meningitis, and one that will prevent lock-jaw; anyone who has ever seen
with his own eyes how the deadly membranes of diphtheria melt away as a
result of an injection, will be less dogmatic about the efforts of
science to combat disease.

Of course it is much pleasanter if you can destroy the source of the
disease, and keep it from getting into the human body. Every few years
the southern part of our country used to be devastated by yellow fever
epidemics. Every kind of weird and fantastic remedy was tried; people
would go around with sponges full of vinegar hung under their noses;
they would burn the clothing and bedding of those who died of the
disease; they would wear gloves when they went shopping, so as not to
touch the money with their hands. But at last medical experimenters
traced the disease to a certain kind of mosquito, and now, if we drain
the swamps and screen our houses and stay in doors after sundown, we do
not get yellow fever, nor malaria either. In the same way, if we keep
our bodies clean with soap and hot water, we do not get bitten by lice,
and so do not die of typhus. If we take pains with our drains and water
supply, so that human excrement does not get into it, and if we destroy
the filth-carrying housefly, we do not have epidemics of typhoid.

But under conditions of battle it is not possible for men to take these
precautions, and so when they go into the army they get a dose of
typhoid serum. And this illustrates the difference between a true or
hygienic remedy for disease, and a temporary or emergency remedy. If you
say that you want to abolish war, and with it the need for typhoid
vaccination, I cheerfully agree with you in this. All that I am trying
to do is to point out the folly of flying to extremes, and rejecting any
remedy which may help. What is the use of making the flat statement that
vaccinations and serums never aid in the cure of disease, when any man
can see with his own eyes the proof that they do? In the Spanish war,
before typhoid vaccination, many times more soldiers died of this
disease than died of bullets; but in the late war there was practically
no typhoid at all in the army camps. On the other hand, it was noticed
that the men who had just come in, and who therefore had just been
vaccinated, were considerably more susceptible to influenza; which shows
that vaccination does reduce the body condition for a time. The reader
may say that in this case I am trying to sit on both sides of the fence;
but the truth is that I am trying to keep an open mind, and to consider
all the facts, and to avoid making rash statements.

One of the statements you hear most frequently is that drugs can never
remedy disease, or help in remedying it. Now, I abhor the drugging
system of the orthodox medical men; I have talked with them, and heard
them talk with one another, and I know that they will mix up half a
dozen different substances, in the vague hope that some one of them will
have some effect. Even when they know definitely the effects they are
producing, they are in many cases merely suppressing symptoms. On the
other hand, however, it is a fact that medical science has had for a
generation or two a specific which destroys the germs of one disease in
the blood, without at the same time injuring the blood itself. That
disease is malaria, and the drug is quinine. Of course, the way to avoid
malaria is to drain the swamps; but you cannot do that all at once, nor
can you always screen your house and stay in at sundown. When you first
go into a country, you have no house to screen, and some emergency will
certainly arise that exposes you to mosquito bites. So you will need
quinine, and will be foolish not to use it, and know how to use it.

Recently medical chemists discovered another remedy, this time for
syphilis. It is called salvarsan, and while it does not always cure, it
frequently does. In laboratories today men are working over the problem
of constructing a combination of molecules which will destroy the germ
of sleeping sickness, without at the same time injuring the blood. If
they find it, they will save hundreds of millions of lives. I do not see
why we cannot recognize such a possibility, while at the same time
making use of physical culture, of diet and fasting.

When the manuscript of this book was sent to the printer, there appeared
in this place a paragraph telling of the work of Dr. Albert Abrams of
San Francisco, in the diagnosis and cure of disease by means of
radio-active vibrations. As the book is going to press, the writer finds
himself in San Francisco, attending Dr. Abrams' clinics; and so he finds
it possible to give a more extended account of some fascinating
discoveries, which seem destined to revolutionize medical science. If I
were to tell all that I have seen with my own eyes in the last twelve
days, I fear the reader would find his powers of credulity
overstretched, so I shall content myself with trying to tell, in very
sober and cautious language, the theory upon which Abrams is working,
and the technic which he has evolved.

Modern science has demonstrated that all matter is simply the activity
of electrons, minute particles of electric force. This is a statement
which no present-day physicist would dispute. The best evidence appears
to indicate that a molecule of matter is a minute reproduction of the
universe, a system of electrons whirling about a central nucleus. No eye
has ever beheld an electron, for it is billions of times smaller than
anything the microscope makes visible; but we can see the effects of
electronic activity, and all modern books of physics give photographs of
such. It is possible to determine the vibration rates of electrons, and
to Dr. Abrams occurred the idea of determining the vibration rates of
diseased tissue and disease germs. He discovered that it was invariably
the same; not merely does all cancerous material, for example, yield the
same rate, but the blood of a person suffering from cancer yields that
rate, at all times and under all circumstances. The vibration of cancer,
of tuberculosis, of syphilis--each is different, uniform and invariable.
Likewise in the blood are other vibrations, uniform and dependable,
which reveal the sex and age of the patient, the virulence of the
disease and the period of its duration--yes, and even the location in
the body, if there be some definite infected area. So here is a modern
miracle, an infallible device for the diagnosis of disease. Dr. Abrams
does not have to see the patient; all he has to have is a drop of blood
on a piece of white blotting paper, and he sits in his laboratory and
tells all about it, and somewhere several thousand miles away--in
Toronto or Boston or New Orleans--a surgeon operates and finds what he
has been told is there!

And that is only the beginning of the wonder; because, says Abrams, if
you know the vibration rate of the electrons of germs, you can destroy
those germs. It used to be a favorite trick of Caruso to tap a glass and
determine its musical note, and then sing that note at the glass and
shatter it to bits. It is well known that horses, trotting swiftly on a
bridge, have sometimes coincided in their step with the vibration of the
bridge and thus have broken it down. On that same principle this wizard
of the electron introduces into your body radio-activity of a certain
rate--and shall I say that he cures cancer and syphilis and tuberculosis
of many years standing in a few treatments? I will not say that, because
you would not and could not believe me. I will content myself with
telling what my wife and I have been watching, twice a day for the past
twelve days.

The scene is a laboratory, with rows of raised seats at one side for the
physicians who attend the clinic. There is a table, with the instruments
of measurement, and Dr. Abrams sits beside it, and before him stands a
young man stripped to the waist. The doctor is tapping upon the abdomen
of this man, and listening to the sounds. You will find this the
weirdest part of the whole procedure, for you will naturally assume that
this young man is being examined, and will be dazed when some one
explains that the patient is in Toronto or Boston or New Orleans, and
that this young man's body is the instrument which the doctor uses in
the determining of the vibration rates of the patient's blood. Dr.
Abrams tried numerous instruments, but has been able to find nothing so
sensitive to electronic activity as a human body. He explains to his
classes that the spinal cord is composed of millions of nerve fibres of
different vibration rates; hence a certain rate communicated to the
body, is automatically sorted out, and appears on a certain precise spot
of the body in the form of increased activity, increased blood pressure
in the cells, and hence what all physicians know as a "dull area," which
can be discovered by what is known as "percussion," a tapping with a
finger. To map out these areas is merely a matter of long and patient
experiment; and Abrams has been studying this subject for some twenty
years--he is author of a text-book on what is known as the "reactions
of Abrams." So now he provides the world with a series of maps of the
human body; and he sits in front of his "subject," and his assistant
places a specimen of blood in a little electrically connected box, and
sets the rheostat at some vibration number--say fifty--and Dr. Abrams
taps on a certain square inch of the abdomen of his "subject," and
announces the dread word "cancer." Then he places the electrode on
another part of the "subject's" body, and taps some more, and announces
that it is cancer of the small intestine, left side; some more tapping,
and he announces that its intensity is twelve ohms, which is severe; and
pretty soon there is speeding a telegram to the physician who has sent
this blood specimen, telling him these facts, and prescribing a certain
vibration rate upon the "oscilloclast," the instrument of radio-activity
which Dr. Abrams has devised.

Now, you watch this thing for an hour or two, and you say to yourself:
"Here is either the greatest magician in the history of mankind, or else
the greatest maniac." You may have come prepared for some kind of fraud,
but you soon dismiss that, for you realize that this man is desperately
in earnest about what he is doing, and so are all the physicians who
watch him. So you seek refuge in the thought that he must be deluding
himself and them, perhaps unconsciously. But you talk with these men,
and discover that they have come from all over the country, and always
for one reason--they had sent blood specimens to Abrams, and had found
that he never made a mistake; he told them more from a few drops of the
patient's blood than they themselves had been able to find out from the
whole patient. And then into the clinic come the doctor's own
patients--I must have heard sixty or eighty of them tell their story and
many of them have been lifted from the grave. People ten years blind
from syphilis who can see; people operated on several times for cancer
and given up for dying; people with tumors on the brain, or with one
lung gone from tuberculosis. It is literally a fact that when you have
sat in Abrams' clinic for a week, all disease loses its terrors.

This, you see, is really the mastery of life. If we can measure and
control the minute universe of the electron and the atom, we have
touched the ultimate source of our bodily life. I might take chapters of
this book to tell you of the strange experiments I have seen in this
clinic--showing you, for instance, how these vibrations respond to
thought, how by denying to himself the disease the patient can for a
few moments cancel in his body the activity of the harmful germs;
showing how the reactions differ in the different sexes and at different
ages, and how they respond to different colors and different drugs.
Abrams' method has revealed the secret of such efficacy as drugs
possess--their work is done by their radio-activity, and not by their
chemical properties. Also the problem of vaccination has been
solved--for Abrams has discovered a dread new disease, which is bovine
syphilis, originally caused in cattle by human inoculation, and now
reintroduced in the human being by vaccination, and becoming the agent
which prepares the soil of the body for such disorders as tuberculosis
and cancer. And it appears that we can all be rendered immune to these
diseases, by a few electronic vibrations, introduced into our bodies in
childhood; so is opened up to our eyes a wonderful vision of a new race,
purified and made fit for life. So here at last is science justified of
her optimism, and our faith in human destiny forever vindicated. Take my
advice, whoever you may be that are suffering, and find out about this
new work and help to make it known to the world.

There are many romances of medical science, some of them fascinating as
murder mysteries and big game hunting. Turn to McMasters' "History of
the People of the United States" and read his account of the terrible
epidemic of yellow fever in Philadelphia a hundred years ago; I have
already referred to the weird and incredible things the people did in
their effort to ward off this plague--sponges of vinegar under their
noses and "fever fires" burning in the streets; and then a mosquito
would fly up and bite them, and in a few hours they would be dead! Or
what could be stranger than the tracing of the bubonic plague, which has
cost literally billions of human lives, to a parasite in the blood of
fleas which live on the bodies of rats! Or what could be more unexpected
than the tracing of our rheumatic aches and twinges to the root canals
of the teeth!

One of the common ailments which afflict poor humanity is rheumatism, a
cause of endless suffering. It was supposed to be due to damp climate
and exposure, and this is true to a certain extent, in the same way that
colds are due to exposure. But the investigators realized that there
must be some bodily condition rendering one susceptible, and they set to
work to trace this condition down. The pains of rheumatism are caused by
uric acid settling in the joints of the body. What causes the uric
acid? Well, there is uric acid in red meat, so let us forbid rheumatic
people to eat it! But this is overlooking the fact that the human body
itself is a uric acid factory; and also the fact that uric acid taken
into the stomach may not remain uric acid by the time it gets to the
blood-stream. We know that you may eat a great deal of fruit acid
without necessarily making acid blood. On the other hand, you can make
acid blood by eating a lot of sugar! So you see it isn't as simple as it

Rheumatism has been traced to its lair, which is found to be the roots
of the teeth. Here is a part of the body difficult to get at, and as a
consequence of bad diet and unwholesome ways of living, infections will
start there, and pus sacs be formed, and the poisons absorbed into the
blood-stream and distributed through the body. The first thought is to
draw the infected teeth; but that is a serious matter, because you need
your teeth to chew your food. So the dentist has to go through a
complicated process of opening up the tooth and cleaning out the root
canals, and treating the infected spots at the roots. Then he has to
fill the tooth all the way down to the roots, leaving no place for
infection to gather. This, of course, takes time and costs money, and is
one more illustration of the fact that there is one health law for the
rich and another health law for the poor.

All the time that I write these chapters about health I feel guilty. I
know that the wholesome food I recommend costs money, and I know that
surgery and dentistry cost money--yes, even sunlight and fresh air and
recreation; even a fast, because you have to rest while you take it, and
you have to have a roof over your head, and warmth in winter time, and
somebody to wait upon you when you are weak. I know that for a great
many of the people who read what I write, all these things are
impossible of attainment; I know that for the great majority of the
common people the benefits of science do not exist. Science discovers
how to prevent disease, but the discoveries are not applied, because the
profit system controls the world, and the profit system wants the labor
of the poor, regardless of what happens to their health. If the people
fall ill, they are thrown upon the scrap heap, and the profit system
finds others to take their place.

Take, for example, tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a germ infection, but
it practically never gets hold upon a human body except when the body is
reduced by undernourishment and lack of fresh air. Tuberculosis,
therefore, is a disease of slums and jails. It is definitely and
indisputably a disease of poverty. It could be wiped off the face of the
earth in a single generation; and the same is true of typhus and
typhoid. There is another whole host of ailments which could be wiped
out by measures of public hygiene, plus education. This includes all the
infant diseases, and the deadly venereal diseases. But the profit system
stands in the way; and so, in these closing paragraphs of this Book of
the Body, I say that there is one disease which is the deadliest of all,
and the source of all others, and that disease is poverty.

I know a certain physician to the rich, who is an honest and
conscientious man. He said, "I loath my work. I am wasting my time. I am
called in by these fat, over-fed rich people in their leisure class
hotels, and what am I to say to them? Shall I say to them, 'You are
living an abnormal life, and you can never be well until you cut out
root and branch all your habits of self indulgence which are destroying
you?' But no, I can't say that--not one time in a thousand. I am
expected to be polite and serious, and to listen to them while they tell
the long tiresome story of their symptoms, and I have to encourage them,
and give them some temporary device that will remove some of the
symptoms of their trouble."

And what should one say to this honest physician? Should one tell him to
go and be a physician to the poor? Would he be any happier there? He
could tell the poor the causes of their diseases, and they would listen
patiently--they are trained to listen, and to accept what they are told.
Here is a girl living in an inside bedroom in a tenement, and working
ten or eleven hours a day in an unventilated factory, and she is ill
with tuberculosis. The physician tells her that she needs plenty of
fresh air and rest, and a lot of eggs and milk in her diet. He tells her
that, and he knows that she has as much chance of carrying out his
orders as of flying to the moon. Or maybe he comes upon a typhoid
epidemic, and discovers, as happened to a friend of mine in Chicago,
that there is defective plumbing in some houses owned by the political
leader of the district. Or maybe it is a case of venereal disease, in a
young man who was drafted into the army and turned loose amid the joys
of Paris. Maybe it is just a commonplace, every-day story of a room full
of school children, 22 per cent of them undernourished, as is the case
in New York City, and the parents out of work a part of the time, and
with no possibility in their lives of ever earning enough to feed the
children properly. When you confront these universal facts of our
present social order, you realize that the problem of disease is not
merely a problem of the body, but is a problem of the mind as well; a
problem of politics and religion and philosophy, of the whole way of
thinking of the so-called civilized world. A book of health which did
not point out these facts would be, not a book of health, but a book of

But meantime, while we are trying to change the world's ideas, we have
to live, and we can do our work better if we keep as well as possible. I
have tried to point out the way; it is, as you can see, a matter in part
of the body and in part of the mind. All the bodily régime here laid out
has its basis in mental habits; all wise and wholesome ways of life can,
at the age when our minds are plastic, be made into "second
nature"--things which we do automatically, without effort or temptation
to do otherwise. This is the real secret of true happiness in the
conduct of our personal lives; to acquire self-control, to rule our
desires and our passions, not harshly and spasmodically, but serenely,
as one drives a car which he thoroughly understands. It is in vain that
we preach freedom to men who have not this self-mastery; as the poet
tell us: "The sensual and the dark rebel in vain, slaves of their own
compulsion." And of all the personal possessions which man can attain on
this earth, the most precious is the one of a sound mind controlling a
sound body. I close this book by quoting some verses written by Sir
Henry Wotton three hundred years ago, which I have all my life
considered one of the noblest pieces of poetry in our heritage:


    How happy is he born and taught
      That serveth not another's will;
    Whose armour is his honest thought
      And simple truth his utmost skill!

    Whose passions not his masters are,
      Whose soul is still prepared for death,
    Not tied unto the world with care
      Of public fame, or private breath.

    Who envies none that chance doth raise
      Or vice; who never understood
    How deepest wounds are given by praise;
      Nor rules of state, but rules of good:

    Who hath his life from rumours freed,
      Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
    Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
      Nor ruin make accusers great:

    Who God doth late and early pray
      More of His grace than gifts to lend;
    And entertains the harmless day
      With a well-chosen book or friend;

    --This man is freed from servile bands
      Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
    Lord of himself, though not of lands;
      And having nothing, yet hath all.


Abrams, Dr., 190

Adultery, 33

Adventist, 99

Agriculture, 25

Alcohol, 151

Anti-bodies, 188

Antinomies, 58

Appendix, 186

Arnold, 42

Arrhenius, 101

Automatic writing, 67

Bairnsfather, 29

Bathing, 162

Battle Creek Sanitarium, 118

Beauchamp, 70, 85, 89

Beethoven, 47

Bergson, 17

Beri-beri, 128

Bible, 77

Bio-chemist, 59

Black bread, 128

Blood, 106

Body, 53, 105

Booth, 58

Bourne, 69

Bruce, 71

Bury, 15

Caffein, 150

Calories, 135

Candy, 137

Capitalist, 100

Carbohydrates, 124

Carbon monoxide, 157

Children, 140, 180

Chiropractors, 174, 184

Chittenden, 136

Christian Scientists, 5, 65, 105

Clothing, 160

Coffee, 151

Colds, 183

Commandments, 32

Communist, 99

Complete fast, 172

Comstock, 25

Conduct, 42

Consciousness, 56

Constipation, 185

Cooking, 129, 142

Crawford, 88

Cyrus, 164

Dandruff, 109

Dante, 77

Darwin, 17, 46

Dentistry, 126, 190

Determinists, 57

Diet, 131

Diet Standards, 135

Digestion, 145

Diphtheria, 188

Diseases, 107, 117

Dogs, 17

Draft, 182

Drugs, 118, 150, 185, 189

Dubb, 63

Duncan, 102

Dyspepsia, 117

Eddy, 65

Edison, 45, 86

Einstein, 101

Elberfeld horses, 68

Evolution, 8, 17

Exercise, 163

Faith, 9

Faith curists, 65

Fast cure, 171

Fatness, 139

Fats, 124

Fever, 108

Fireless cooker, 142

Fireplace, 157

Fisher, 136

Fletcher, 119, 145

Food filter, 145

Fourth dimension, 5

Free thinker, 15

Freud, 71

Fruit fast, 175

Frugality, 38

Frying-pan, 129

Furnace, 157

Gargles, 184

Gastronomic art, 148

Genius, 49, 60

George, 18

Germs, 183

God, 22, 50

Goethe, 47

Golden rule, 51

Greens, 132

Gymnastic work, 166

Hair, 109

Hallucinations, 75

Hamlet, 48

Happiness, 9

Harrison, 6

Hats, 110

Headache, 122, 150, 184

Health cranks, 182

Heart, 108

Houdin, 93

Hugo, 48

Huxley, 17, 62

Hyslop, 82

Iceberg, 61

Infanticide, 28

Instincts, 134

Intelligence, 22

Immortality, 79

Irwin, Will, 86

James, 30, 59, 60

Jesus, 47, 48, 50, 51, 76

John Barleycorn, 152

Johnson, 58

Jonson, 44

Kant, Immanuel, 4, 47, 51, 58

Kellogg, Doctor, 118, 164, 186

Kilmer, Joyce, 44

Knowledge, 94

Kropotkin, 18, 26

Langley, 74

Lankester, Prof. E. Ray, 23

Laxatives, 175, 185

Leanness, 139

Leonardo, 47

Liébault, 64

Life, 3

Lily Dale, 86, 90

Lincoln, 47

Locomotor ataxia, 180

Lodge, Sir Oliver, 83

Lodge, Raymond, 87

London, Jack, 152

Macaulay, 39

MacDowell, Edward, 56

MacFadden, 178, 186

MacSwiney, 170

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 68

Malaria, 189

Malthusian law, 25

Marquesans, 113

Materializations, 88

Matter, 3

Meal-hour, 147

Measurement of Intelligence, Terman's, 95

Meat, 121

Medical science, 105

Mesmer, 63

Messina earthquake, 170

Metaphysics, 4

Metchnikoff, 138

Milk diet, 128

Moderation, 39

Monism, 3

Morality, 21, 31, 34, 50

Morgan, 45

Mormon, 99

Mozart, 68

Multiple personality, 69

Mutation, 17

Myers, 49

Nature, 21, 24, 29

Nature cure, 160

Nature Woman, 176

Neighbor, 50

Newcomb, Simon, 101

Newton, 47

New York Times, 169

Nicotine, 154

Nietzsche, 17

Novels, 164

Nutrition of Man, 136

Oil stoves, 158

Opsonins, 112

Optimism, 42

Osteopaths, 184

Ouija, 67

Overeating, 134

Oxygen, 156

Patrick, Dr., 167

Pavlov, 148

Phantasms, 75

Phillips, David Graham, 180

Piper, Mrs., 68

Play, 165

Poisons, 146

Pork, 142

Porter, Dr., 178

Positivists, 6

Poverty, 194

Prices of food, 141

Prince, Dr. Morton, 70, 89

Profits of Religion, 78, 99

Proteins, 123

Prunes, 127

Psychology, 96

Psychotherapy, 64

Puritans, 39

Quackenbos, 64

Quinine, 188

Quixote, 48

Raisins, 127

Raw food, 119

Read, Alfred Baker, 28

Reason, 13

Refined foods, 126

Relaxation, 167

Religion, 32

Reincarnation, 76

Rest, 146

Revelation, 12

Rheumatism, 193

Rice, 128

Rockefeller, 45

Roosevelt, Theodore, 25, 45

Rugs, 159

Rupture, 187

Sabbath, 99

Salisbury, 120

Sally, 70, 85

Salt, 143

Meats, salted, 143

Salts, 124

Salvarsan, 189

Savages, 135

Savage, Rev. Minot J., 74

Schrenck-Notzing, 88

Scurvy, 128

Seneca, 98

Shakespeare, 47

Shelley, 45, 48

Sleep, 162

Sleeping sickness, 113, 173

Smokers, 153

Socialism, 167

Sophocles, 87

Sore throat, 183

Spencer, 8

Spinoza, 79

Spirits, 82

Spiritualists, 86

Starch, 122, 124

Stealing, 33

Steam heat, 158

Stimulant, 149

Stock Exchange, 158

Stomach, 105, 138, 148

Style, 161

Subconscious mind, 61

Sunday code, 40

Sugar, 126

Surgery, 186

Survival, 81

Survival of the fittest, 22

Syndicalism, 15

Syphilis, 189

Tanner, Dr., 169

Tariff, 37

Tea, 151

Teeth, 127, 193

Telepathy, 67, 75

Theosophists, 76

Tight shoes, 161

Tobacco, 153

Tolstoi, 49

Tonsilitis, 107

Trance, 63

Tropism, 54

Tuberculosis, 112, 120, 179, 194, 195

Twain, Mark, 93

Typhoid, 112, 188, 192

Uranus, 92

Uric acid, 193

Vaccination, 187, 189

Vaccines, 188

Vegetarian, 121

Vitamines, 127, 142

Wallace, 46

Wells, H. G., 22

Williams, Dr. Henry Smith, 102

Worth, Patience, 84

Yellow fever, 188

Yogis, 90



           Kate Crane Gartz
in acknowledgment of her unceasing efforts for a
better world, and her fidelity to those
      who struggle to achieve it.




CHAPTER XXVIII.   THE REALITY OF MARRIAGE                              3
Discusses the sex-customs now existing in the world,
and their relation to the ideal of monogamous love.

CHAPTER XXIX.   THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARRIAGE                            8
Deals with the sex-relationship, its meaning and its history,
the stages of its development in human society.

CHAPTER XXX.    SEX AND YOUNG AMERICA                                 15
Discusses present-day sex arrangements, as they affect
the future generation.

CHAPTER XXXI.    SEX AND THE "SMART SET"                              23
Portrays the moral customs of those who set the fashion
in our present-day world.

CHAPTER XXXII.    SEX AND THE POOR                                    29
Discusses prostitution, the extent of its prevalence, and
the diseases which result from it.

CHAPTER XXXIII.    SEX AND NATURE                                     33
Maintains that our sex disorders are not the result of
natural or physical disharmony.

CHAPTER XXXIV.   LOVE AND ECONOMICS                                   36
Maintains that our sex disorders are of social origin, due
to the displacing of love by money as a motive in mating.

CHAPTER XXXV.   MARRIAGE AND MONEY                                    40
Discusses the causes of prostitution, and that higher
form of prostitution known as the "marriage of convenience."

CHAPTER XXXVI.   LOVE VERSUS LUST                                     46
Discusses the sex impulse, its use and misuse; when it
should be followed and when repressed.

CHAPTER XXXVII. CELIBACY VERSUS CHASTITY                              51

The ideal of the repression of the sex-impulse, as against
the ideal of its guidance and cultivation.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE DEFENSE OF LOVE                                  55

Discusses passionate love, its sanction, its place in life,
and its preservation in marriage.

CHAPTER XXXIX. BIRTH CONTROL                                          60

Deals with the prevention of conception as one of the
greatest of man's discoveries, releasing him from nature's
enslavement, and placing the keys of life in his hands.

CHAPTER XL. EARLY MARRIAGE                                            66

Discusses love marriages, how they can be made, and the
duty of parents in respect to them.

CHAPTER XLI. THE MARRIAGE CLUB                                        71

Discusses how parents and elders may help the young to
avoid unhappy marriages.

CHAPTER XLII. EDUCATION FOR MARRIAGE                                  75

Maintains that the art of love can be taught, and that
we have the right and the duty to teach it.

CHAPTER XLIII. THE MONEY SIDE OF MARRIAGE                             79

Deals with the practical side of the life partnership of

CHAPTER XLIV. THE DEFENSE OF MONOGAMY                                 83

Discusses the permanence of love, and why we should
endeavor to preserve it.

CHAPTER XLV. THE PROBLEM OF JEALOUSY                                  89

Discusses the question, to what extent one person may
hold another to the pledge of love.

CHAPTER XLVI. THE PROBLEM OF DIVORCE                                  93

Defends divorce as a protection to monogamous love, and
one of the means of preventing infidelity and prostitution.

CHAPTER XLVII. THE RESTRICTION OF DIVORCE                             97

Discusses the circumstances under which society has the
right to forbid divorce, or to impose limitations upon it.


CHAPTER XLVIII. THE EGO AND THE WORLD                                103

Discusses the beginning of consciousness, in the infant
and in primitive man, and the problem of its adjustment
to life.


Discusses the relation of the adult to society, and
the part which selfishness and unselfishness play in the
development of social life.

CHAPTER L. ARISTOCRACY AND DEMOCRACY                                 115

Discusses the idea of superior classes and races, and
whether there is a natural basis for such a doctrine.

CHAPTER LI. RULING CLASSES                                           119

Deals with authority in human society, how it is obtained,
and what sanction it can claim.


Discusses the series of changes through which human
society has passed.

CHAPTER LIII. INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION                                   126

Examines the process of evolution in industry and the
stage which it has so far reached.

CHAPTER LIV. THE CLASS STRUGGLE                                      132

Discusses history as a battle-ground between ruling and
subject classes, and the method and outcome of this

CHAPTER LV. THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM                                    136

Shows how wealth is produced in modern society, and
the effect of this system upon the minds of the workers.

CHAPTER LVI. THE CAPITALIST PROCESS                                  142

How profits are made under the present industrial
system and what becomes of them.

CHAPTER LVII. HARD TIMES                                             145

Explains why capitalist prosperity is a spasmodic thing,
and why abundant production brings distress instead of

CHAPTER LVIII. THE IRON RING                                         148
Analyzes further the profit system, which strangles production,
and makes true prosperity impossible.

CHAPTER LIX. FOREIGN MARKETS                                         151
Considers the efforts of capitalism to save itself by marketing
its surplus products abroad, and what results from
these efforts.

CHAPTER LX. CAPITALIST WAR                                           155
Shows how the competition for foreign markets leads
nations automatically into war.

Shows how much wealth we could produce if we tried
and how we proved it when we had to.

CHAPTER LXII. THE COST OF COMPETITION                                162
Discusses the losses of friction in our productive machine,
those which are obvious and those which are

CHAPTER LXIII. SOCIALISM AND SYNDICALISM                             166
Discusses the idea of the management of industry by the
state, and the idea of its management by the trade unions.

CHAPTER LXIV. COMMUNISM AND ANARCHISM                                170
Considers the idea of goods owned in common, and the
idea of a society without compulsion, and how these
ideas have fared in Russia.

CHAPTER LXV. SOCIAL REVOLUTION                                       175
How the great change is coming in different industries,
and how we may prepare to meet it.

Shall the workers buy out the capitalists? Can they
afford to do it, and what will be the price?

Discusses the dictatorship of the proletariat, and its
chances for success in the United States.

CHAPTER LXVIII. THE PROBLEM OF THE LAND                              188
Discusses the land values tax as a means of social readjustment,
and compares it with other programs.

CHAPTER LXIX. THE CONTROL OF CREDIT                                  192
Deals with money, the part it plays in the restriction of
industry, and may play in the freeing of industry.

CHAPTER LXX. THE CONTROL OF INDUSTRY                                 198
Discusses various programs for the change from industrial
autocracy to industrial democracy.

CHAPTER LXXI. THE NEW WORLD                                          202
Describes the co-operative commonwealth, beginning
with its money aspects; the standard wage and its variations.

CHAPTER LXXII. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION                               206
Discusses the land in the new world, and how we foster
co-operative farming and co-operative homes.

CHAPTER LXXIII. INTELLECTUAL PRODUCTION                              210
Discusses scientific, artistic, and religious activities, as
a superstructure built upon the foundation of the standard

CHAPTER LXXIV. MANKIND REMADE                                        215
Discusses human nature and its weaknesses, and what
happens to these in the new world.





     (Discusses the sex-customs now existing in the world, and their
     relation to the ideal of monogamous love.)

Just as human beings through wrong religious beliefs torture one
another, and wreck their lives and happiness; just as through wrong
eating and other physical habits they make disease and misery for
themselves; just so they suffer and perish for lack of the most
elementary knowledge concerning the sex relationship. The difference is
that in the field of religious ideas it is now permissible to impart the
truth one possesses. If I tell you there is no devil, and that believing
this will not cause you to suffer in an eternity of sulphur and
brimstone, no one will be able to burn me at the stake, even though he
might like to do so. If I advise you that it is not harmful to eat
beefsteak on Friday, or to eat thoroughly cooked pork any day of the
week, neither the archbishops nor the rabbis nor the vegetarians will be
able to lock me in a dungeon. But if I should impart to you the simplest
and most necessary bit of knowledge concerning the facts of your sex
life--things which every man and woman must know if we are to stop
breeding imbecility and degeneracy in the world--then I should be
liable, under federal statutes, to pay a fine of $5,000, and to serve a
term of five years in a federal penitentiary. Scarcely a week passes
that I do not receive a letter from someone asking for information about
such matters; but I dare not answer the letters, because I know there
are agencies, maintained and paid by religious superstition, employing
spies to trap people into the breaking of this law.

I shall tell you here as much as I am permitted to tell, in the simplest
language and the most honest spirit. I believe that human beings are
meant to be happy on this earth, and to avoid misery and disease. I
believe that they are given the powers of intelligence in order to seek
the ways of happiness, and I believe that it is a worthy work to give
them the knowledge they need in order to find happiness.

At the outset of this Book of Love we are going to examine the existing
facts of the sex relationships of men and women in present-day society.
We shall discover that amid all the false and dishonest thinking of
mankind, there is nowhere more falsity and dishonesty than here. The
whole world is a gigantic conspiracy of "hush," and the orthodox and
respectable of the world are like worshippers of some god, who spend
their day-time burning incense before the altar, and in the night-time
steal the sacred jewels and devour the consecrated offerings. These
worshippers confront you with the question, do you believe in marriage;
and they make the assumption that the institution of marriage exists, or
at some time has existed in the world. But if you wish to do any sound
thinking about this subject, you must get one thing clear at the outset;
the institution of marriage is an ideal which has been preached and
taught, but which has never anywhere, in any society, at any stage of
human progress, actually existed as the general practice of mankind.
What has existed and still exists is a very different institution, which
I shall here describe as marriage-plus-prostitution.

By this statement I do not mean to deny that there are many women, and a
few men, who have been monogamous all their lives; nor that there are
many couples living together happily in monogamous marriage. What I mean
is that, considering society as a whole, wherever you find the
institution of marriage, you also find, co-existent therewith and
complementary thereto, the institution of prostitution. Of this double
arrangement one part is recognized, and written into the law; the other
part is hidden, and prohibited by law; but those who have to do with
enforcing the law all know that it exists, and practically all of them
consider it inevitable, and a great many derive income from it. So I
say: if you believe in marriage-plus-prostitution, that is your right;
but if marriage is what you believe in, then your task is to consider
such questions as these: Is marriage a possible thing? Can it ever
become the sex arrangement of any society? What are the forces which
have so far prevented it from prevailing, and how can these forces be

It is my belief that monogamous love is the most desirable of human sex
relationships, the most fruitful in happiness and spiritual development.
The laws and institutions of civilized society pretend to defend this
relationship, but the briefest study of the facts will convince anyone
that these laws and institutions are not really meant to protect
monogamous love. What they are is a device of the property-holding male
to secure his property rights to women, and more especially to secure
himself as to the paternity of his heirs. In primitive society, where
land and other sources of wealth were held in common, and sex monogamy
was unknown, there was no way to determine paternity, and no reason for
doing so. But under the system of private property and class privilege,
it is necessary for some one man to support a child, if it is to be
supported; and when a man has fought hard, and robbed hard, and traded
hard, and acquired wealth, he does not want to spend it in maintaining
another man's child. That he should let himself be fooled into doing so
is one of the greatest humiliations his fellowmen can imagine. If you
read Shakespeare's plays, and look up the meaning of old words, so as to
understand old witticisms and allusions, you will discover that this was
the stock jest of Shakespeare's time.

In order to protect himself from such ridicule, the man maintained in
ancient times his right to kill the faithless woman with cruel tortures.
He maintains today the right to deprive her of her children, and of all
share in his property, even though she may have helped to earn it. But
until quite recent times, the beginning of the revolt of women, there
was never any corresponding penalty for faithlessness in husbands. Under
the English law today, the husband may divorce his wife for infidelity,
but the wife must prove infidelity plus cruelty, and the courts have
held that the cruelty must consist in knocking her down. While I was in
England, the highest court rendered a decision that a man who brought
his mistress to his home and compelled his wife to wait upon her was not
committing "cruelty" in the meaning of the English law.

This is what is known as the "double standard," and the double standard
prevails everywhere under the system of marriage-plus-prostitution, and
proves that capitalist "monogamy" is not a spiritual ideal, but a matter
of class privilege. It is a breach of honor for the ruling class male to
tamper with the wife of his friend; it is frequently dangerous for him
to tamper with the young females of his own class; but it is in general
practice taken for granted that the young females of lower classes are
his legitimate prey. In England a man may have a marriage annulled, if
he can prove that the woman he married had what is called a "past"; but
everybody takes it for granted that the man has had a "past"; it is
covered by the polite phrase, "sowing his wild oats." Wherever among the
ruling class you find men bold enough to discuss the facts of the sex
order they have set up, you find the idea, expressed or implied, that
this "wild oats" is a necessary and inevitable part of this order, and
that without it the order would break down. The English philosopher,
Lecky, making an elaborate study of morals through the ages, speaks of
the prostitute in the following frank language:

"Herself the supreme type of vice, she is ultimately the most efficient
guardian of virtue. But for her, the unchallenged purity of countless
happy homes would be polluted, and not a few who, in the pride of their
untempted chastity, think of her with an indignant shudder, would have
known the agony of remorse and despair. On that one degraded and ignoble
form are concentrated the passions that might have filled the world with
shame. She remains, while creeds and civilizations rise and fall, the
eternal priestess of humanity, blasted for the sins of the people."

I invite you to study these sentences and understand them fully.
Remember that they are the opinion of the most learned historian of sex
customs who has ever written in English; a man whose authority is
recognized in our schools, whose books are in every college library.
William Edward Hartpole Lecky is not in any sense a revolutionist; he is
a conventional English scholar, an upholder of English law and order and
patriotism. He is not of my school of thought, but of those who now own
the world and run it. I quote him, because he tells in plain language
what kind of world they have made; I invite you to study his words, and
then judge my statement that the sex arrangement under which we live in
modern society is not monogamous love, but marriage-plus-prostitution.

It is my hope to point the way to a higher system. I should like to call
it marriage; but perhaps it would be more precise to call it
marriage-minus-prostitution. In working it out, we shall have to think
for ourselves, and discard all formulas. It is obvious that our
present-day religious creeds, ethical ideals, legal codes, and social
rewards and punishments have been powerless to protect marriage, or to
make it the rule in sex relationships. So we shall have to begin at the
beginning and find new reasons for monogamous love, a new basis of
marriage other than the protection of private property. We shall have to
inform ourselves as to the fundamental purposes of sex; we shall have to
ask ourselves: What are the factors which determine rightness and
wrongness in the sex relationship? What is love, and what ought it to
be? These questions we shall try to approach without any fixed ideas
whatever. We shall decide them by the same tests that we have used in
our thinking about God and immortality, health and disease. We shall
ask, not what our ancestors believed, not what God teaches us, not what
the law ordains, not what is "respectable," nor yet what is "advanced,"
according to the claim of modern sex revolutionists and "free lovers."
We shall ask ourselves, what are the facts. We shall ask, what can be
made to work in practice, what can justify itself by the tests of reason
and common sense.



     (Deals with the sex-relationship, its meaning and its history, the
     stages of its development in human society.)

What, in the most elemental form, is sex? It is a difference of function
which makes it necessary for two organisms to take part in the
reproduction of the species. The purpose, or at any rate the effect, of
this sex difference is the mixing of characteristics and qualities. If
the sex relationship were unnecessary to reproduction, variations might
begin, and be propagated and carried to extremes in one line of
inheritance, without ever affecting the rest of the species. Very soon
there would be no species, or rather an infinity of them; each line of
descent would fly apart, and become a group all by itself. You have
perhaps heard people comment on the fact that blondes so frequently
prefer brunettes, and that tall men are apt to marry short women, and
vice versa. This is perhaps nature's way of keeping the type uniform, of
spreading qualities widely and testing them thoroughly. Nature is
continually trying out the powers of every individual in every species,
and by the process of sexual selection she chooses, for the reproduction
of the species, the individuals which are best fitted for survival.
This, of course, refers to nature, considered apart from man. In human
society, as I shall presently show, sexual selection has been distorted,
and partly suppressed.

Sex differentiation and sexual selection exist almost universally
throughout the animal and vegetable kingdoms, everywhere save in the
lowest forms of being. They take strange and startling forms, and like
everything else in nature manifest amazing ingenuity. People who wish to
prove this or that about human sex relations will advance arguments from
nature; but as a matter of fact we can learn nothing whatever from
nature, except her determination to preserve the products of her
activity and to keep them up to standard. Sometimes nature will give the
precedence in power, speed and beauty to the male, and sometimes to the
female. She is perfectly ruthless, and willing in the accomplishment of
her purpose to destroy the individuals of either sex. She will content
the most rabid feminist by causing the female spider to devour her mate
when his purpose has been accomplished; or by causing the male bee to
fall from his mating in the air, a disemboweled shell.

As for man, he has won his supremacy over nature by his greater power to
combine in groups; by his more intense gregarious, or herd instincts,
which enabled him to fight and destroy creatures which would have
exterminated him if he had fought them alone. So in primitive society
everywhere, we find that the individual is subordinated to the group,
and the "folkways" give but little heed to personal rights. Very
thorough investigations have been made into the life of primitive man in
many parts of the world, and the anthropologists are now arguing over
the exact meaning of the data. We shall not here attempt to decide among
them, but rest content with the statement that communism and tribal
ownership is a widespread social form among primitive man, so much so as
to suggest that it is an early stage in social evolution.

And this communism includes, not merely property, but sex. In the very
earliest days there was often no barrier whatever to the sex
relationship; not even between brothers and sisters, nor between parents
and children. In fact, we find savages who do not know that the sex
relationship has anything to do with procreation. But as knowledge
increases, sex "tabus" develop, some wise, and some foolish. From causes
not entirely clear, but which we discuss in Chapter XLVIII, there
gradually evolves a widespread form of sex relationship of primitive
man, the system of the "gens," as it is called. This is the Latin word
for family, but it does not mean family in the narrow sense of mother
and father and children, but in the broad sense of all those who have
blood relationship, however far removed--uncles and aunts and cousins,
as far as memory can trace. In primitive communism a man is not
permitted to enter into the sex relationship with a woman of the same
gens, but with all the women of some other gens. It is difficult for us
to imagine a society in which all the men named Jones would be married
to all the women named Smith; but that was the way whole races of
mankind lived for many thousands of years.

In that primitive communist society, the woman was generally the equal
of the man. It is true that she did the drudgery of the camp, but the
man, on the other hand, faced the hardships of battle and the chase on
land and sea. The woman was as big as the man, and except when
handicapped by pregnancy, as strong as the man; she was as much
respected, if not more so. Her children bore her name, and were under
her control, and she was accustomed to assert herself in all affairs of
the tribe. In Frederick O'Brien's "White Shadows in the South Seas," you
may read a comical story of a journey this traveler made into the
interior of one of the cannibal islands. Everywhere he was treated with
courtesy and hospitality, but was embarrassed by continual offers from
would-be wives. In one case a powerful cannibal lady, whose advances he
rejected, picked him up and proceeded to carry him off, and he was quite
helpless in her grasp; he might have been a cannibal husband today, if
it had not been for the intervention of his fellow travelers.

The basis of this sex equality under primitive communism is easy to
understand. All goods belonged to the tribe, and were shared alike
according to need. Children were the tribe's most precious possession;
therefore the woman suffered little handicap from having a child to bear
and feed. Primitive woman would bear her child by the roadside, and pick
it up in her arms, and continue her journey; and when she needed food,
she did not have to beg for it--if there was food for anyone, there was
food for her and her child. She did her share of the gathering and
preparing of food, because that was the habit and law of her being; she
had energies, and had never heard of the idea of not using them.

This primitive communism generally disappears as the tribe progresses.
We cannot be sure of all the stages of its disappearance, or of the
causes, but in a general way we can say that it gives way before the
spread of slavery. In the beginning primitive man does not have any
slaves, he does not have sufficient foresight or self-restraint for
that. When he kills his enemies in battle, he builds a fire and roasts
their flesh and eats them; and those whom he captures alive, he binds
fast and takes with him, to be sacrificed to his voodoo gods. But as he
comes to more settled ways of living, and as the tribe grows larger, it
occurs to the chiefs in battle that the captives would be glad to give
their labor in return for their lives, and that it would be convenient
to have some people to do the hard and dirty work. So gradually there
comes to be a class at the bottom of society, and another class at the
top. Those who capture the slaves and keep them at work lay claim to the
products of their labor--at first better weapons and personal
adornments, then separate homes for the chiefs and priests, separate
gardens, separate flocks and herds, and--what more natural?--separate

This process becomes complete when the tribe settles down to
agriculture, and the ruling classes take possession of the land. When
once the land is privately owned, classes are fixed, and class
distinctions become the most prominent fact in society. And step by step
as this happens, we see women beaten down, from the position of the
cannibal lady, who could ask for the man she wanted and carry him off by
force if necessary, to the position of the modern woman, who is
physically weak, emotionally unstable, economically dependent, and
socially repressed. You may resent such phrases, but all you have to do
is to read the laws of civilized countries, written into the statute
books by men to define the rights and duties of women; you will see that
everywhere, before the recent feminist revolt, women were classified
under the law with children and imbeciles.

Maternity imposes on woman a heavy burden, and before the discovery of
birth control, a burden that is continuous. For nine months she carries
the child in her body, and then for a year or two she carries it in her
arms, or on her back; and by that time there is another child, and this
continues until she is broken down. Having this burden, she cannot
possibly compete with the unburdened male for the possession of
property. So wherever there is economic competition; wherever certain
individuals or classes in the tribe or group are allowed to seize and
hold the land; wherever the products of labor cease to be the community
property, and become private property, the objects of economic strife;
then inevitably and by natural process, woman comes to be placed among
those who cannot protect themselves--that is, among the children and the
imbeciles and the slaves. Of course, some children are well cared for,
and so are some imbeciles, and some slaves, and some women. But they are
cared for as a matter of favor, not as a matter of their own power. They
proceed no longer as the cannibal lady, but by adopting and cultivating
the slave virtues, by making themselves agreeable to their masters, by
flattering their masters' vanity and sensuality--in other words by
exercising what we are accustomed to call "feminine charm."

From early barbaric society up to the present day, we observe that there
are classes of women, just as there are classes of men. The position of
these classes changes within certain limits, but in broad outline the
conditions are fixed, and may be easily defined. There is, first of all,
the ruling class woman. She must have birth; she may or may not have
wealth, according as to whether the laws of that society or tribe permit
her to have possessions of her own, or to inherit anything from her
parents. If she has no wealth, then she will need beauty. She is the
woman who is selected by the ruling class man to bear his name and his
children, and to have charge of the household where these children are
reared, and trained for the inheriting of their father's wealth and the
carrying on of his position. This confers upon the ruling class woman
great dignity, and makes her a person of responsibility. She rules, not
merely over the slaves of the household, but over men of inferior social
classes, and in a few cases an exceptionally able woman has become a
queen, and ruled over men of her own class. This ruling class woman has
been known through all the ages by a special name, and the ways and
customs regarding her have been studied in an entertaining book, "The
Lady," by Emily James Putnam.

Next in privilege and position to the "lady" is the mistress, the woman
who is selected by the ruling class man, not primarily to bear his
children, but to entertain and divert him. She may, of course, bear
children also. In barbaric societies, and up to quite recent times, the
importance of the ruling class man was indicated by the number of
concubines he had, and the position of these women was hardly inferior
to that of the wife or queen. In the days of the French monarchy, the
king's mistress was frequently more important than the queen; she was a
woman of ability, maintaining her supremacy in the intrigues of the
court. In ancient Greek society, the "hetairae" were a recognized class,
and Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles, was the most brilliant and most
conspicuous woman in Athens. In modern France, the position of the
mistress is recognized by the phrase "demi-monde," or half-world. The
American plutocracy has developed upon a superstructure of Puritanism,
and therefore, in America, hypocrisy is necessary. But in the great
cities of America, the vast majority of the ruling class men keep
mistresses before marriage, and a great many keep them afterwards; and
these mistresses are coming to be more and more openly flaunted, and to
acquire more and more of what is called "social position." It is
possible now in the "smart set" for a lady to accept the status of
mistress, delicately veiled, without losing caste thereby, and actresses
and other free lance women who got their start in life by taking the
position of mistress, are coming more and more to be recognized as
"ladies," and to be received into what are called the "best circles."

There remains to be considered the position of the lower class women. In
barbarous society these women were very little different from slaves.
They had no rights of their own, except such rights as their master man
chose to allow them for his own convenience. They were sold in marriage
by their parents, and they went where they were sold, and obeyed their
new master. They became his household drudges, and reserved their
affections for him; if they failed to do this, he stoned them to death,
or strangled them with a cord and tied them in a sack and threw them
into the river.

And, of course, the rights of the master man yielded to the rights of
men of higher classes. The king or nobleman could take any woman he
wished at any time, and he made laws to this effect and enforced them.
In feudal society the lord of the manor claimed the right of the first
night with the wives of his serfs; this was one of the ruling class
privileges which was abolished in the French revolution. Wherever the
French revolution did not succeed in affecting land tenure, the right of
the land owner to prey upon his tenant girls continues as a custom, even
though it is not written in the law, and would be denied by the
hypocritical. It prevails in Poland, as you may discover by reading
Sienkiewicz's "Whirlpools"; it prevails in England, as you may discover
from Hardy's "Tess of the d'Urbervilles." You will find that it prevails
in every part of the world where women have poverty and men have wealth
and prestige, dress suits and automobiles. You will find it wherever
there are leisure class hotels, or colleges, or other gatherings of
ruling class young males. You will find it in the theatrical and moving
picture worlds. It is well understood in the theatrical world of
Broadway that the woman "star" in the profession gets her start in life
by becoming the mistress of a manager or "angel." In the moving picture
world of Southern California it is a recognized convention, known to
everyone familiar with the business, that a young girl parts with her
virtue in exchange for an important job.



     (Discusses present-day sex arrangements, as they affect the future

Our first task is to consider how people actually behave in the matter
of sex--as distinguished from the way they pretend to behave. The first
and most necessary step in the cure of any disease is a correct
diagnosis, and in this case we have not merely to make the diagnosis,
but to prove it; because the most conspicuous fact about our present
sex-arrangements is a mass of organized concealment. Not merely do
teachers and preachers for the most part suppress all mention of these
subjects; but the defenders of our present economic disorder are
accustomed to acclaim the private property régime as the only basis of
family life. So long as people hold such an idea, there is no use trying
to teach them anything on the subject. There is no use talking to them
about monogamous love, because all they understand is hypocrisy. In this
chapter, therefore, we shall proceed to hold up the mirror in front of
capitalist morality.

I pause and consider: Where shall I begin? At the top of society, or at
the bottom? With the city or the country? With the old or the young? I
think you care most of all about your boys and girls, so I am going to
tell you what is happening to the youth of America in these days of
triumphant reaction.

I have a son, about whom naturally I think a great deal; just now he is
a student at one of our state universities, and he wrote me the other
day: "I went to a dance, and believe me, father, if you knew what these
modern dances mean, you would write something about them." I know what
they mean. They have come to us straight from the brothels of the
Argentine, among the vilest haunts of vice in the world. Others have
come from the jungle, where they were natural. The poor creature of the
jungle has his sex-desire and nothing else; he is not troubled with
brains, he does not have a complicated social organism to build up and
protect, consequently he does not need what are called "morals." But we
civilized people need morals, and we are losing them, and our society is
disintegrating, going back to the howling and fighting and cannibalism
of the jungle.

Prof. William James, America's greatest psychologist, tells us that
going through the motions appropriate to an emotion automatically causes
that emotion to be felt. If you watch an actor preparing to rush on the
stage in an emotional scene, you will see him walking about, clenching
his fists, stamping his feet, making ferocious faces, "working himself
up." And now, what do you think is going on in the minds of young men
and women, while with their bodies they are going through procedures
which are nothing and can be nothing but imitations of sexual contact?

The parents, it appears, are ignorant and unsophisticated, and have left
it for the children to find out what these dances mean. In Rhode Island,
one of our oldest states, is Brown College, chosen by New England's
aristocracy for the education of its sons; and these boys go to social
affairs in the best homes in Providence, and they call them
"petting-parties." And here is what they write in their college paper:

"The modern social bud drinks, not too much, often, but enough. She
smokes unguardedly, swears considerably, and tells 'dirty' stories. All
in all, she is a most frivolous, passionate, sensation-seeking little

This statement, published in a college paper, causes a scandal, and a
newspaper reporter goes to interview the college boy who edits the
paper, and this boy talks. He tells how he met a lovely girl at a dance,
and his heart was thrilled with the rapture of young love. "Frankly,
between you and me, I was pretty smitten with this particular little
lady. Felt about her, don't you know, like a real guy feels about the
girl he could imagine himself married to. Thought she was too nice to
touch, almost; you know the grave sort of love affair a man always has
once in a lifetime. Well, we walked a bit, and I guess I didn't say
much, for a while. I felt plenty--respectfully--just the same. And as we
turned the corner of one of the buildings here, she grasped my hand.
Hers was trembling. 'Love and let love is my motto, dearie,' said this
seraph of my dreams; 'come, we're losing a lot of time getting started.'
That girl thought I was dead slow. She didn't know that just then I
imagined the great love of my life was just entering the door. It was
cruel the way she got down from the pedestal I had built for her."

Suppose I should ask you to name the influence that is having most to do
with shaping the thoughts of young America--what would you answer?
Undoubtedly, the moving pictures. It is from the "movies" that your
children learn what life is; if I can show you that a certain thing is
in the "movies," you can surely not deny that it is passing every day
and night into the hearts and minds of millions of our boys and girls.
Take a vote among the girls, what would they consider the most
delightful destiny in life; surely nine out of ten would answer, to
become a screen star, and pose before a world of admirers, and be paid a
million dollars a year. Make a test and see; and put that fact together
with the one I have already stated, that in order to get an important
job in the "movies," a girl must regularly and as a matter of course
part with her virtue.

You will be told, no doubt, that this is a slanderous statement, so let
me give you a little evidence. I happened within the past year to be in
the private office of a well known moving picture producer, a man who is
married, and takes care to tell you that he loves his wife. He was
producing a play, the heroine of which was supposed to be a daughter of
Puritan New England. To play this part he had engaged a chaste girl, and
as a result was in the midst of a queer trouble, which he poured out to
me. His "leading man" had refused to act with this girl, insisting that
no girl could act a part of love unless she had had passionate
experience; no such thing had ever been heard of in moving pictures
before. Likewise, the director agreed that no girl who is chaste could
act for the screen, and the producer asked my advice about it. Mr.
William Allen White, of Kansas, was present in the office, and
authorizes me to state that he substantiates this anecdote. We both
advised the producer to stand by the girl, and he did so; and the
picture went out, and proved to be what in trade parlance is termed a
"frost"; that is to say, your children didn't care for it, and it cost
the producer something like a hundred thousand dollars to make this
attempt to defy the conventions of the moving picture world.

I will tell you another story. I have a friend, a prominent man in Los
Angeles, who was appealed to by a young lady who wished to act in the
"movies." My friend introduced this young lady to a very prominent
screen actor, who in turn introduced her to one of the biggest producers
in America, one of the men whose "million dollar feature pictures" are
regularly exploited. The producer examined the young lady's figure, and
told her that she would "do"; he added, quite casually, and as a matter
of course, that she would be expected to "pay the price." The young lady
took exception to this proposition, and gave up the chance. She told my
friend about it, and he, being a man of the world, accustomed to dealing
with the foibles of his fellowmen, wrote a note to the actor, explaining
that inasmuch as this young lady had been socially introduced to him,
and by him socially introduced to the manager, she should not have been
expected to "pay the price." To this the actor answered that my friend
was correct, and he would see the manager about it. The manager conceded
the point, and the young lady got her chance in the "movies" and made
good without "paying the price." This story tells you all you need to
know about the difference in sex ethics that society applies to the
"lady" and to the daughter of the common people.

You know, of course, what is the stock theme of all moving pictures--the
virtuous daughter of the people, who resists all temptations, and is
finally rescued from her would-be seducer by the strong and sturdy arm
of a male doll. Could one ask a more perfect illustration of capitalist
hypocrisy than the fact that the girl who plays this role is required to
pay with her virtue for the privilege of playing it! And if you know
anything about young girls, you can watch her playing it on the screen,
and see from her every gesture that what I am telling you is true. My
wife knows young girls, and I took her, the other day, to see a moving
picture. She said: "I have solved a problem. When I come home on the
street-cars, it happens that I ride with a lot of young girls from the
high school. I have been watching them, and I couldn't imagine what was
the matter with them. All simple, girlish straightforwardness is gone
out of them; they are making eyes, in the strangest manner--and at
nobody; just practicing, apparently. They wear yearning facial
expressions; when they start to walk, they do not walk, but writhe and
wiggle. I thought there must be some nervous eye and lip disease got
abroad in the school. But now, when I go to a moving picture, I discover
what it means. They are imitating the 'stars' on the screen!"

In these pictures, you know, there are "ingenues," young girls engaged
in making a happy ending to the story by capturing a rich lover; and
then there are "vamps," engaged in seducing young men, or breaking up
some happy home. In old-style melodrama it was possible to tell the
"ingenue" from the "vamps"; the former would trip lightly, and glance
coyly out of the corners of her eyes, while the "vamp" moved with slow,
languished writhing, blinking heavy-lidded, sinister eyes. But
now-a-days the "vamps" have learned to pose as "ingenues," and the
"ingenues" are as vicious as the "vamps"; they both make the same
glances, and culminate in the same sensual swoon. It is all sex, and
nothing else--except revolvers and fighting, and wild rushing about.

And then, too, there are the musical comedies, made wholly out of sex,
being known as "girl shows," or more frankly still, "leg shows." A row
of half naked women, prancing and gyrating on the stage, and in front of
them rows of bald-headed old men, gazing at them greedily; also college
boys, or boys too imbecile to get through college, sending in their
cards with boxes of costly flowers. You will be shocked as you read my
plain statements of fact, but if you are the average American, you will
take your family to a musical show which has come straight from the
brothels of Paris, every allusion of which is obscene. I remember once
being in a small town in the South, when one of these "road shows"
arrived from New York, and I realized that this institution was simply a
traveling house of ill fame; the whole male portion of the town was
a-quiver with excitement, a mixture of lust and fear.

I live in Southern California, one of many places in America where the
idle rich gather for their diversion. The country is dotted with
palatial hotels, and a golden flood of pleasure-seekers come in every
winter. I have talked with some of the college boys in this part of the
country, and also with teachers who try to save the boys; they report
these "swell" hotels as hot-beds of vice, haunted by married women with
automobiles, and nothing to do, who wish to go into the canyons for
sexual riots. Even elderly women, white-haired women, old enough to be
your grandmother! I have had them pointed out to me in these hotels,
their cheeks and lips covered with rouge, with pink silk tights on their
calves, and nothing else almost up to their knees and nothing at all
half way down their backs. These old women seek to prey on boys, wanting
their youth, and being willing to lavish money upon them. They are
preying on your boys--you prosperous business men, who have preached the
gospel of "each for himself," and are proud of your skill to prey upon
society. You heap up your fortunes, and call it success, and are secure
and happy. You have made your children safe against want, you think; but
how are you going to make them safe against the "vamps" who prey upon
the overwhelming excitements of youth, and betray your sons before your
very eyes--teaching them lust in their youth, so that love may never be
born in their stunted hearts? All the haunts of "gilded vice" are
thriving, and somebody's boy is paying the interest on the capital, to
say nothing of paying the police.

Many years ago I paid a call upon Anthony Comstock, head of the Society
for the Prevention of Vice. Comstock was an old-style Puritan, and many
insist that he was likewise an old-style grafter. However that may be,
he had a collection of the literature of pornography which would cause
any man to hesitate in condemning his activities. There is a vast
traffic in this kind of thing; it is sold by pack-peddlers all over the
country, and it is sold in little shops in the neighborhood of public
schools. You may be sure that in your school there are some boys who
know where to get it, even though they will not tell what they know. I
will describe just one piece that a school boy brought to me, a
catalogue of obscene literature, for sale in Spain, and to be ordered
wholesale. You know how men with wares to sell will expend their
imaginations and exhaust their vocabulary in describing to you the
charms of each particular article for sale. Here was a catalogue of one
or two hundred pages, listing thousands of items, pictures, pamphlets
and books, and various implements of vice, all set forth in that
imitation ecstasy of department stores and seed catalogues: here was
"something neat," here was a "fancy one," this one was "a peach," and
that one was "a winner."

When I was a lad, I was tramping in the Adirondack mountains and was
picked up by an itinerant photographer. We rode all day together, and he
became friendly, and showed me some obscene pictures. Presently he
discovered that he was dealing with a young moralist, and apparently it
was the first time he had ever had that experience; he talked honestly,
and we became friends on a different basis. This man had a wife and
children at home, but he traveled all over the mountains, and was like
the sailor with a girl in every port. Also he was thoroughly familiar
with all forms of unnatural vice, and took this also as a matter of
course, and spread it on his journeys.

The other day I read a statement by a prominent physician in New York;
he had been talking with a police captain, and had asked him to state
what in his opinion was the most significant development in the social
life of New York. The answer was, "The spread of male prostitution."
Here is a subject to which I have to admit my courage is unequal. I
cannot repeat the jokes which I have heard young men tell about these
matters, and about the attitude of the police to them. Suffice it to say
that these hideous forms of vice are now the commonplace of the
under-world of all our great cities. The other day a friend of mine was
talking with a prostitute who had left a high-class resort, where the
price charged was ten dollars, and gone to live in a "fifty-cent house,"
frequented by sailors. She was asked the reason, and her explanation
was, "The sailors are natural." Dr. William J. Robinson has written in
his magazine an account of the haunts in Berlin which are frequented by
the victims of unnatural vice, there allowed to meet openly and to
solicit. Frank Harris, in his "Life of Oscar Wilde," tells how when that
scandal was at its height, and further exposure threatened, swarms of
the most prominent men in England suddenly discovered that it was
advisable for them to travel on the Continent. The great public schools
of England are rotten with these practices; the younger boys learn them
from the older ones, and are victims all the rest of their lives. And
the corruption is creeping through our own social body--and you think
that all you have to do is not to know about it!

My friend Floyd Dell, reading this manuscript, insists that this chapter
and the one following are too severe. In case others should agree with
him, I quote two newspaper items which appear while I am reading the
proofs. The first is from an interview with H. Gordon Selfridge, the
London merchant, telling his impressions of America. He tells about the
"flappers," and then about the "shifters."

"The other is the newly exploited 'shifters.' The 'shifters' are an
organization of mushroom growth among high school girls and boys which
is spreading through the eastern States and winning converts among
youngsters. It is described as the 'flapper Ku Klux,' and its emblem, if
worn by a girl, according to high school teachers and children's society
leaders who oppose it, to be nothing more nor less than an invitation to
be kissed.

"To call it an organization even is exaggeration, for the 'shifters' are
better described as a secret understanding without any responsible head.

"From being a seemingly harmless group whose emblem was originally a
brass paper clip fastened in the coat lapel it has developed by rapid
strides. Manufacturers of emblems are coining money by the sale of
hands, palm outstretched. The significance is take what you want or, as
the motto of the order says, 'be a good fellow; get something for
nothing.' One of the principles is to 'do' one's parents, referred to as

The second item is an Associated Press despatch:

"ST. LOUIS, March 10.--In reiterating his statement that a girls' and a
boys' secret organization requiring that all applicants must have
violated the moral code before admission was granted, existed in a local
high school, Victor J. Miller, president of the Board of Police
Commissioners, tonight named the Soldan High School as the one in which
the alleged immoral conditions exist. The school is attended largely by
children of the wealthy West End citizens.



     (Portrays the moral customs of those who set the fashion in our
     present-day world.)

We have discussed what is happening to our young people; let us next
consider what our mature people are doing. Having mentioned conditions
in England, I will give a glimpse of London "high life" two years before
the war.

As a visiting writer, I was invited to luncheon at the home of a woman
novelist, whose books at that time were widely read both in her country
and here. Present at the luncheon was a prominent publisher, who I
afterwards learned was the lady's lover; also the lady's grown and
married son. The publisher looked like a buxom hunting squire, but the
lady told me that he was very unhappy, because his wife would not
divorce him. The lady had just come from a week-end party at the home of
an earl, who at this moment occupies one of the highest posts in the
gift of the British Empire. Things had gone comically wrong at this
country house party, she said, because the hostess had failed to
remember that Lord So-and-so was at present living with Lady
Somebody-else. One of the duties of hostesses at house parties, it
appears, is to know who is living with whom, in order that they may be
put in connecting rooms. In this case his Lordship had been grouchy, and
everybody's pleasure had been spoiled.

This produced a discussion of the subject of marriage, and the son
remarked that marriage was like an old slipper; you wore it, because you
had got used to it, but you did not talk about it, because it was
unimportant and stupid. I went away, and happened to mention these
matters to a friend, who had met this woman novelist in Nice. The
novelist had there, in a group of people, been introduced to a young
girl who was suffering from neurasthenia. "My dear," said the novelist,
affectionately, "what you need is to have an illegitimate baby."

This, you will say, is the "old world," and you always knew that it was
corrupt. If so, let me tell you a few things that I have seen among the
"upper circles" of our own great and virtuous democracy. My first
acquaintance with New York "society" came after the publication of "The
Jungle." As the author of that book I was a sensation, almost as much so
as if I had won the heavy-weight championship of the world. Out of
curiosity I accepted an invitation for a weekend amid what is called the
"hunting set" of Long Island. Here was a gorgeous palace with many
tapestries, and soft-footed servants, and decanters and cocktails at
every stage of one's journey about the place, like coaling stations on
the trade routes of the British Empire. One of the first sights that
caught my young eye was a large and stately lady in semi-undress,
smoking a big black cigar. If I were to mention her name, every
newspaper reader in America would know her; and before I had been
introduced to her, I heard two young men in evening dress make an
obscene remark about her, and what she was waiting for that evening.

I discovered quickly that, while there was a great deal of sex among
these people, there was very little love. There was principally a wish
to score cleverly and subtly at the expense of another person's
feelings. It is called the "smart set," you understand, and I will give
you an idea of how "smart" it is. I was walking down a passage with a
lady, and on a couch sat another lady, side by side with a certain very
famous lawyer, whose golden eloquence you have probably listened to from
platforms, and whom for the purpose of this anecdote I will name Jones.
Mr. Jones and the lady on the sofa were sitting very close together, and
my companion, with a bright smile over her shoulder, called out: "Be
careful, Mary; you'll be scattering a lot of little Joneses around here
if you don't watch out!" Quite "continental," you perceive; and a long
way from the Puritanism of our ancestors!

From there I went to the billiard-room, and observed a young man of
fashion trying to play billiards when he was half drunk. It was a funny
spectacle, and they took away his cigarette by force, for fear he would
drop it on the cloth of the billiard table. Pretty soon he was telling
about a racing meet, and an orgy with negro women in a stable. Therefore
I returned to where the ladies were gathered, and one middle-aged
matron, who had read widely, including some of my books, engaged me in
serious conversation. I came later on to know her rather well, and she
told me her views of love; the source of all the sex troubles of
humanity was that they took the relationship seriously. Modern
discoveries made it unnecessary to attach importance to it. She herself,
acting upon this theory, probably had had relations with--my friends,
reading the proofs of this book, beg me to omit the number of men,
because you would not believe me!

You may argue that this is not typical; say that I fell into the
clutches of some particular group of degenerates. All I can tell you is
that these people are as "socially prominent" as any in New York City. I
will say furthermore that I have sat in the home of the best known
corporation lawyer in America, who was paid a million dollars to
organize the steel trust--the late James B. Dill, at that time a member
of the Court of Appeals of New Jersey--and have heard him "muck-rake"
his business friends by the hour with stories of that sort. I have heard
him tell of the "steel crowd" hiring a trolley car and a load of
prostitutes and champagne, and taking an all-night trip from one city to
another, smashing up both the car and the prostitutes. I have heard him
tell of sitting on the deck of a Sound steamer, and overhearing two of
his Wall Street associates and their wives arranging to trade partners
for the night.

I have mentioned a lady who had a great many lovers. Once in the
dining-room of a club on Fifth Avenue, commonly known as "the
Millionaires'," a companion pointed out various people, many of whom I
had read about in the newspapers, and told me funny stories about them.
"See that old boy with a note-book," said my host. "That is Jacob
So-and-so, and he is entering up the cost of his lunch. He keeps
accounts of everything, even of his women. He told me he had had over a
thousand, and they had cost him over a million."

It is impossible to say what is the most terrible thing in capitalist
society, but among the most terrible are assuredly the old men. The
richest and most powerful banker in America was in his sex habits the
merry jest of New York society. He took toward women the same attitude
as King Edward VII; if he wanted one, he went up and asked for her, and
it made no difference who she was, or where she was. This man's personal
living expenses were five thousand dollars a day, and all women
understood that they might have anything within reason.

When I was a boy, living in New York, there was a certain aged
money-lender about whom one read something in the newspapers almost
every day. He was a prominent figure, because he was worth eighty
millions, yet wore an old, rusty black suit, and saved every penny.
Every now and then you would read in the paper how some woman had been
arrested for attempting to blackmail him in his office. It seemed
puzzling, because you wouldn't think of him as a likely subject for
blackmail. Some years later I met Dorothy Richardson, author of "The
Long Day," a very fine book which has been undeservedly forgotten. Miss
Richardson had been a reporter for the New York _Herald_, and had been
sent to interview this old money-lender. She was ushered into his
private office, and as soon as the attendant had gone out and closed the
door, the old man came up, and without a word of preliminaries grabbed
her in his arms like a gorilla. She fought and scratched, and got out,
and was wise enough to say nothing about it; therefore there was nothing
published about another attempt to blackmail the aged money-lender!

What this means is that men of unlimited means live lives of unbridled
lust, and then in their old age they are helpless victims of their own
impulses. There was a certain enormously wealthy United States Senator
from West Virginia, who came very near being Vice President of the
United States. This doddering old man would go about the streets of
Washington with a couple of very decorous and carefully trained
attendants; and whenever an attractive young woman would pass on the
street, or when one would approach the Senator, these two attendants
would quietly slip their arms into his and hold him fast. They would do
this so that the ordinary person would not suspect what was going on,
but would think the old man was being supported.

You do not have to take these things on my word; the newspapers are full
of them all the time, and they are proven in court. Just now as I write,
the president of the most powerful bank in America is claiming in court
that his children are not his own, but that their father is an Indian
guide. His wife, on the other hand, is accusing the banker of having
played the role of husband to several other women. He would take these
women traveling on his yacht, which, quaintly enough, was termed the

Also the papers have been full of the "Hamon case." Here is a wealthy
man, Republican National Committeeman from Oklahoma, who is about to go
to Washington to advise our new President whom to appoint to office from
that state. Before he goes, he casts off his mistress, and she shoots
him. She was his secretary, it appears, and helped him to make his
fortune; she has made many friends, and a million dollars is spent to
save her life. The prosecuting attorney calls her a "painted snake," and
accuses her of having sat week after week "displaying to the jury
twenty-four inches of silk stockinged shin-bone." The jury, apparently
unable to withstand this allurement, acquits the woman, and she
announces that she intends to bring suit under the man's will to get his
money! Also, she is going into the "movies," and tells us that it is to
be "for educational purposes." Everything in our capitalist society must
be "educational," you understand. It was P. T. Barnum who discovered
that the American people would flock to look at a five-legged calf, if
it was presented as "educational."

The moving pictures and the theatres are the honey-pots which gather the
feminine beauty and youthful charm of our country for the convenience of
rich men's lust. These girls swarm in the theatrical agencies, and in
the artists' studios; they starve for a while, and finally they yield.
In every great city there are thousands of men of wealth, whose only
occupation is to prey upon such girls. I know a certain theatrical
manager, the most famous in the United States, a sensual, stout little
Jew. He is a man of culture and subtle insight, and in the course of his
conversation he described to me, quite casually and as a matter of
course, the charm of deflowering a virgin. Nothing could equal that
sensation; the first time was the last.

Many years ago there was a horrible scandal in New York. The most famous
architect in America was murdered, and the newspapers probed into his
life, and it was revealed to us that many of the most famous artists and
men about town in New York maintained elaborate studios, equipped with
every luxury, all the paraphernalia of all the vices of the ages; and
through these places there flowed an endless stream of beautiful young
girls. In every large city in America you will find an "athletic club,"
and if you go there and listen to the gossip, you discover that there
are scores of idle rich men with automobiles and private apartments, and
a staff of procurers used in preying, not merely upon young girls, but
also upon young boys. And these are not merely the children of the poor,
they are the children of all but the rich and powerful. In the "movies"
you see pictures of girls lured into automobiles, and carried out into
the country, or seduced by means of "knock-out drops," and you think
this is just "melodrama"; but it is happening all the time. In every big
city of our country the police know that hundreds of young girls
disappear every year. At a recent convention of police chiefs in
Washington, it was stated, from police records, that sixty thousand
girls disappear every year in the United States, leaving no trace.
Unless the parents happen to be in position to make a fuss, not even the
names of the girls are published in the newspapers. I do not ask you to
believe such things on my word; believe District Attorney Sims of
Chicago, who made the most thorough study of this subject ever made in
America, and wrote:

"When a white slave is sold and landed in a house or dive she becomes a
prisoner.... In each of these places is a room having but one door, to
which the keeper holds the key. Here are locked all the street clothes,
shoes and ordinary apparel.... The finery provided for the girls is of a
nature to make their appearance on the street impossible. Then in
addition to this handicap, the girl is placed at once in debt to the
keeper for a wardrobe.... She cannot escape while she is in debt, and
she can never get out of debt. Not many of the women in this class
expect to live more than ten years--perhaps the average is less. Many
die painful deaths by disease, many by consumption, but it is hardly
beyond the truth to say that suicide is their general expectation."



     (Discusses prostitution, the extent of its prevalence, and the
     diseases which result from it.)

It is manifest that the rich cannot indulge in vices, without drawing
the poor after them; and in addition to this, the poor have their own
evil instincts, which fester in neglect. There were several hundred
thousand dark rooms, that is rooms without light or ventilation, in New
York City before the war. Now the country is reported to be short a
million homes, and in New York City working girls are sleeping six or
eight in a room. In the homes of the poor in the slums, parents and
children and boarders all sleep in one room indiscriminately, and the
world moves back to that primitive communism, in which incest is an
everyday affair, and little children learn all the vices there are. I
have in my hand a pamphlet by a physician, in charge of a hospital in
New York, who in fifteen years has examined nine hundred children who
have been raped, and the age of the youngest was eight months! I have
another pamphlet by a settlement worker, who discusses the problem of
the thousands of deserted wives, most of them with children, many with
children yet unborn. As I write, there are millions of men out of work
in our country, and these men are desperate, and they quit and take to
the road. They join the army of the casual workers, the "blanket
stiffs"; and, of course, the more there are of these men, the more
prostitutes there have to be, and the more homosexuality there will
inevitably be.

Also the girls are out of work, and are on the streets. Many years ago I
visited the mill towns of New England, "she-towns" they are called, and
one of the young fellows said to me that you could buy a girl there for
the price of a sandwich. Read "The Long Day," to which I have previously
referred, and see how our working girls live. Dorothy Richardson
describes her room-mate, who read cheap novels which she found in the
gutter weeklies. She read them over and over; when she had got to the
bottom of the pile, she began again, because her mind was so weak that
she had forgotten everything. And then one day Miss Richardson happened
to be groping in a corner of a closet, and came upon a great pile of
bottles, and examined them, and was made sick with horror--abortion

Dr. William J. Robinson, an authority on the subject, estimates that
there are one million abortions in the United States every year. Some of
these are accidental, caused by venereal disease, but the vast majority
are deliberate acts, crimes under the law, murder of human life. Dr.
Robinson also estimates, from the many thousands of cases which come to
him, that ninety-five per cent of all men have at some time practiced
self-abuse. He is a strenuous opponent of what he calls "hysteria" on
the subject of venereal disease, and insists that its prevalence is
exaggerated; that instead of one person in ten being syphilitic, as is
commonly stated, the proportion is only one in twenty. He insists that
the percentage of persons having had gonorrhea is only twenty-five per
cent, instead of seventy-five or eighty-five. I find that other
authorities generally agree in the statement that fifty per cent of
young men become infected with some venereal disease before they reach
the age of thirty. The Committee of Seven in New York estimated in 1903
that there were two hundred thousand cases of syphilis in the city, and
eight hundred thousand of gonorrhea. There were villages in France
before the war in which twenty-five per cent of the inhabitants were
syphilitic, and in Russia there were towns in which it was said that
every person was syphilitic. We may safely say that these latter are the
only towns in Europe in which there was not an enormous increase of this
disease during and since the war.

What are the consequences of these diseases? The consequences are
frightful suffering, not merely to persons guilty of immorality, but to
innocent persons. Dr. Morrow, generally recognized as the leading
authority on this subject, estimates that ten per cent of all wives are
infected with venereal disease by their husbands; he estimates that
thirty per cent of all the infected women in New York were wives who had
got the disease from their husbands. It is estimated that thirty per
cent of all the births, where either parent has syphilis, result in
abortions. It is estimated that fifty per cent of childlessness in
marriage is caused by gonorrhea, and twenty-five per cent of all
existing blindness. In Germany, before the war, there were thirty
thousand persons born blind from this cause. It is estimated that
ninety-five per cent of all abdominal operations performed upon women
are due to gonorrhea. And any of these horrors may fall upon persons who
lead lives of the strictest chastity. There was a case reported in
Germany of 236 children who contracted venereal disease from swimming in
a public bath.

All these things are products of our system of
marriage-plus-prostitution. They are all part of that system, and no
study of the system is complete without them. Everywhere throughout
modern civilization prostitution is an enormous and lucrative industry.
In New York it is estimated to give employment to two hundred thousand
women, to say nothing of the managers, and the runners, and the men who
live off the women. There are thousands of resorts, large and small,
high-priced and cheap, and the police know all about it, and derive a
handsome income from it. And you find it the same in every great city of
the world; in every port where sailors land, or every place where crowds
of men are expected. If there is to be a football game, or a political
convention, the managers of the industry know about it, and while they
may never have heard the libel that Socialism preaches sexual license,
they all know that capitalism practices it, and they provide the
necessary means. In the United States there are estimated to be a half a
million prostitutes, counting the inmates of houses alone.

During the late war, at the army bases in France, the British government
maintained official brothels; but if you published anything about this
in England, you ran a chance of having your paper suppressed. During the
occupation of the Rhine country, the French sent in negro troops,
savages from the heart of Africa, whose custom it is to cut off the ears
of their enemies in battle; and the French army compelled the German
population to supply white women for these troops. I have quoted in "The
Brass Check" a pious editorial from the Los Angeles _Times_, bidding the
mothers of America be happy, because "our boys in France" were safe in
the protecting arms of the Y. M. C. A. and the Knights of Columbus. I
dared not publish at this time a passage which I had clipped from the
London _Clarion_, in which A. M. Thompson told how he watched the
"doughboys" in the cafés of Paris, with a girl on each knee, and a
glass of wine in each hand.

I will add one little anecdote, giving you a glimpse of the sex
conventions of war. The American army made desperate efforts to keep
down venereal disease, and required all men to report to their
regimental surgeon immediately after having had sex relations. Our army
moved into Coblentz, and the regulations strictly forbade any
fraternizing with the inhabitants. But immediately it was discovered
that there was an increase of disease, and investigation was made, and
revealed that men had been ceasing to report to the surgeons, because
they were afraid of being punished for having "fraternized with the
enemy." So a new order was issued, providing that having sexual
intercourse would not be considered as "fraternizing." I do not know any
better way to distinguish my ideal of morality from the military ideal,
than to say that according to my understanding of it, the sex
relationship should always and everywhere imply and include

Finally, in concluding this picture of our present-day sex arrangements,
there is a brief word to be said about divorce. In the year 1916, the
last statistics available as I write, there were just over a million
marriages in the United States, and there were over one hundred and
twelve thousand divorces. This would indicate that one marriage in every
nine resulted in shipwreck. But as a matter of fact the proportion is
greater, because the marriages necessarily precede the divorces, and the
proportion of divorces in 1916 should be calculated upon the number of
marriages which took place some five or ten years previously. Of the one
million marriages in 1916, we may say that one in seven or one in eight
will end in the divorce courts. Let this suffice for a glimpse of the
system of marriage-plus-prostitution--a field of weeds which we have
somehow to plow up and prepare for a harvest of rational and honest



     (Maintains that our sex disorders are not the result of natural or
     physical disharmony.)

Elie Metchnikoff, one of the greatest of scientists, wrote a book
entitled "The Nature of Man," in which he studied the human organism
from the point of view of biology, demonstrating that in our bodies are
a number of relics of past stages of evolution, no longer useful, but
rather a source of danger and harm. We have, for example, in the inner
corner of the eye a relic of that third eyelid whereby the eagle is
enabled to look at the sun. This is a harmless relic. But we have also
an appendix, a degenerate organ of digestion, or gland of secretion,
which now serves as a center of infection and source of danger. We have
likewise a lower bowel, a survival of our hay-eating days, and a cause
of autointoxication and premature death. Among the sources of trouble,
Metchnikoff names the fact that the human male possesses a far greater
quantity of sexual energy than is required for purposes of procreation.
This becomes a cause of disharmony and excess, it causes man to wreck
his health and destroy himself.

Manifestly, this is a serious matter; for if it is true, our efforts to
find health and happiness in love are doomed to failure, and Lecky is
right when he describes the prostitute as the "guardian of virtue," the
eternal and necessary scapegoat of humanity. But I do not believe it is
true; I think that here is one more case of the endless blundering of
scientists and philosophers who attempt to teach physiology, politics,
religion and law, without having made a study of economics. I do not
believe that the sex troubles of mankind are physiological in their
nature, but have their origin in our present system of class privilege.
I believe they are caused, not by the blunders of nature, but by the
blunders of man as a social animal.

Let us take a glimpse at primitive man. I choose the Marquesas Islands,
because we have complete reports about them from numerous observers.
Here was a race of people, not interfered with by civilization, who
manifested all that overplus of sexual energy to which Metchnikoff calls
attention. They placed no restraint whatever upon sex activity, they had
no conception of such an idea. Their games and dances were sex play, and
so also, in great part, was their religion. Yet we do not find that they
wrecked themselves. Physically speaking, they were one of the most
perfect races of which we have record. Both the men and women were
beautiful; they were active and strong from childhood to old age,
and--here is the significant thing--they were happy. They were a
laughing, dancing, singing race. They hardly knew grief or fear at all.
They knew how to live, and they enjoyed every process and aspect of
their lives, just as children do, naively and simply. This included
their sex life; and I think it assures us that there can be no such
fundamental physical disharmony in the human organism as the great
Russian scientist thought he had discovered.

Is it not a fact that throughout nature a superfluity of any kind of
energy or product may be a source of happiness, rather than of distress?
Consider the singing of the birds! Or consider nature's impulse to cover
a field with useless plants, and how by a little cunning, we are able to
turn it into a harvest for our own use! In the life of our bodies one
may show the same thing again and again. We have within us the
possibility of and the impulse toward more muscular activity than our
survival makes necessary; but we do not regard this additional energy as
a curse of nature, and a peril to our lives--we turn out and play
baseball. We have an impulse to see more than is necessary, so we climb
mountains, or go traveling. We have an impulse to hear more, so we go to
a concert. We have an impulse to think more, so we play chess, or whist,
or write books and accumulate libraries. Never do we think of these
activities as signs of an irrevocable blunder on the part of nature.

But about the activities of love we feel differently; and why is this?
If I say that it is because we have an unwholesome and degraded attitude
toward love, because, as a result of religious superstition we fear it,
and dare not deal with it honestly, the reader may suspect that I am
preparing to hint at some self-indulgence, some form of sex orgy such as
the "turkey trot" and the "bunny hug" and the "grizzly bear," the
"shimmy" and the "toddle" and the "cuddle." I hasten to explain that I
do not mean any of the abnormalities and monstrosities of present-day
fashionable life. Neither do I mean that we should set out to emulate
the happy cannibals in the South Seas. In the Book of the Mind I set
forth as carefully as I knew how, the difference between nature and man,
the life of instinct and the life of reason. It is my conviction that if
civilized life is to go on, there must be a far wider extension of
judgment and self-control in human affairs; our lost happiness will be
found, not by going "back to nature," but by going forward to a new and
higher state, planned by reason and impelled by moral idealism.

But we find ourselves face to face with horrible sex disorders, and a
great scientist tells us they are nature's tragic blunder, of which we
are the helpless victims. Manifestly, the way to decide this question is
to go to nature, and see if primitive people, having the same physical
organism as ours, had the same troubles and spent their lives in the
same misery. If they did, then it may be that we are doomed; but if they
did not, then we can say with certainty that it is not nature, but
ourselves, who have blundered. Our task then becomes to apply reason to
the problem; to take our present sex arrangements, our field of
bad-smelling weeds, and plow it thoroughly, and sow it with good seed,
and raise a harvest of happiness in love. It is my belief that,
admitting true love--honest and dignified and rational love--it is
possible to pour into it any amount of sex energy, to invent a whole new
system of beautiful and happy love play.



     (Maintains that our sex disorders are of social origin, due to the
     displacing of love by money as a motive in mating.)

If the cause of our sex disorders is not physiological, what is it?
Everything in nature must have a cause, and this includes human nature,
the actions and feelings of men, both as individuals and as groups. We
hear the saying: "You can't change human nature"; but the fact is that
human nature is one of the most changeable things in the world. We can
watch it changing from age to age, for better or for worse, and if we
had the intelligence to use the forces now at our command, we could mold
human nature, as precisely as a brewer converts a carload of hops into a
certain brand of beer. Voltaire was author of the saying, "Vice and
virtue are products like vinegar."

Our civilization is based upon industrial exploitation and class
privilege, the monopoly of the means of production and the natural
sources of wealth by a group. This enables the privileged group to live
in idleness upon the labor of the rest of society; it confers unlimited
power with practically no responsibility--a strain which not one human
being in a thousand has the moral strength to endure. History for the
past five thousand years is one demonstration after another that the
conferring upon a class of power without responsibility means the
collapse of that class and the downfall of its civilization.

So far as concerns the ruling class male, what the system of privilege
does is to give him unlimited ability to indulge his sex desires. What
it does for the female is to submit her to the male desires, and to
abolish that mutuality in sex, that interaction between male and female
influence, which is the very essence of its purpose. Woman, in a
predatory society, is subject to a double enslavement, that of class as
well as of sex, and the result is the perverting of sexual selection,
and a constantly increasing tendency towards the survival of the unfit.

In a state of nature the males compete among themselves for the favor of
the female. The female is not raped, nor is she kidnapped; on the
contrary, she exercises her prerogative, she inspects the various male
charms which are set before her, and selects those which please her,
according to her deeply planted instincts. The result is that the weak
and unfit males seldom have a chance to reproduce themselves, and the
procreating is done by the highest specimens of the type.

But now we have a world which is ruled by money, in which opportunity,
and indeed survival, depend upon money, and the whole tendency of
society is to make money standards supreme. We do not like to admit
this, of course; our instincts revolt against it, and our higher
faculties reinforce the revolt, so we carefully veil our money motives,
and invent polite phrases to conceal them. You will hear people deny it
is money which determines admission into what is called "society," the
intimate life of the ruling class. They will tell you that it is not
money, it is "good taste," "refinement," "charm of personality," and so
on. But if you analyze all these things, you speedily discover that they
are made out of money; they are symbols of the possession of money,
devised by those who possess it, as a means of keeping themselves apart
from those who do not possess it. I would safely defy a member of the
ruling class to name a single element in what he calls "refinement," or
"good taste," that is not in its ultimate analysis a symbol of the
possession of money. Let it be the pronunciation of a word, or the cut
of a coat, or the method of handling a fork--whatever it may be, it is
part of a code, revealing that the person, or more important yet, the
ancestors of the person, have belonged to the leisure class, and have
had time and opportunity to learn to do things in a certain precise
conventional way. I say "conventional," for very frequently these tests
have no relationship whatever to reality. Considered as a matter of
common sense and convenience, it is a great deal better to eat peas with
a spoon than with a fork, and to use both a knife and fork in eating
lettuce; but if you eat peas with a spoon, or use a knife on lettuce,
every member of the ruling class will instantly know that you are an
interloper, as much so as if you took to throwing the china at your

Our culture is a money culture, our standards are money standards, and
our sex decisions are based upon money, not upon love. Any man can have
money in our society, provided the accident of birth favors him, and it
is everywhere known that any man who has money can get a wife. It is
certainly not true that any man with _no_ money can get a wife, and it
is true that most men who have little money have to take wives who have
less--that is, who belong to a lower class, according to the world's
standards. The average young girl of the propertied classes is trained
for marriage as for any other business. She is taught to be sexually
cold, but to imitate sexual excitement deliberately, so as to arouse it
in the male, and to keep herself surrounded with a swarm of males; this
being the basis of her prestige, the factor which will cause the
"eligible" man, the "catch," to desire her. In polite society this
proceeding is known as "coquetry," or "charm," and it would be no
exaggeration to say that seventy-five per cent of all the novels so far
written in the world are expositions of this activity; also that when we
go to the theater, we go in order to watch and sympathize with these
manifestations of pecuniary sexuality.

As a rule the young girl knows what she is doing, but she is taught to
camouflage it, to preserve her "innocence." She would not dream of
marrying for money; she wants to marry something "distinguished"--that
is to say, something which has received the stamp of approval from a
world which approves money. She wants to marry somebody who is
"elegant," who is in "good form"; she wants to marry without having to
think about the horrid subject of money at all, and so she is carefully
chaperoned, and confined to a world where nothing but money is to be
met. In Tennyson's poem, "The Northern Farmer," the old fellow is
coaching his son on the subject of marriage, and they are driving along
a road, and the farmer listens to his horses' hoofs, and they are
saying, "Proputty, proputty, proputty!" The farmer sums up in one
sentence the doctrine of pecuniary marriage as it is taught to the
ruling class virgin: "Doän't thee marry for money, but goä wheer money

In this process, of course, the ruling class virgin must spend a great
deal of money in order to keep up her own prestige; and when she is
married, she must spend it to keep up the prestige of her unmarried
sisters, and then of her children. As a result of this, the only ruling
class males who can afford to marry are the rich ones. There are always
some who are richer, and these are the most desirable; so the tendency
with each generation is to put the period of marriage further off; the
man has to wait until he has accumulated enough "proputty" to satisfy
the girl of his desires--a girl whom he admires because of her pecuniary
prestige. He delays, and meantime he satisfies his passions with the
daughters of the poor. As a result of this, when he does finally come to
marry, he is apt to be unlovely and unlovable. The woman frequently does
not love him at all, but takes him cold-bloodedly because he is
"eligible"; in that case she is a cold and "sexless" wife. Or else,
after she has married him she discovers his unloveliness, and either
decides that all men are selfish brutes, and reconciles herself to a
celibate life, or else she goes out and preys upon the domestic
happiness of other women.



     (Discusses the causes of prostitution, and that higher form of
     prostitution known as the "marriage of convenience.")

I realize that all these sex problems are complicated. Every case is
individual, and in no two cases can you give exactly the same
explanation. But it is my thesis that whatever the cause, if you trace
down the causes of the cause, you will find economic inequality and
class privilege. It is evident in the lives of the rich, and it is even
more evident in the lives of the poor, who are not permitted the luxury
of pretense. The poor live in a world dominated by forces which they
seldom understand, subjected to enormous pressure which crushes and
destroys them, without their being able to see it or touch it. In the
world of the poor there is first of all poverty; there is insecurity of
employment and insufficiency of wage, and the daily and hourly terror of
starvation and ruin. Above this is a world of power and luxury, a
wonderland of marvels and thrills, seen through a colored mist of
romance. The working-class girl, born to drudgery and perpetual
child-bearing, has a brief hour in which her cheeks are red and her
beauty is ripe; and out of the heaven above her steps a male creature
panoplied in the armor of ruling class prestige--that is to say, a dress
suit--and scattering about him a shower of automobile rides, jewelry and
candy and flowers. She opens her arms to him; and then, when her brief
hour of rapture is past, she becomes the domestic drudge of some
workingman, or else the inmate of a brothel.

It is a custom of social workers and church people, seeking data about
these painful subjects, to interview numbers of prostitutes, and
question them as to the causes of their "fall"; so you read statistics
to the effect that seventeen per cent of prostitution has an economic
cause, that twenty-six per cent is caused by love of finery, etc. These
pious people, employed by the ruling class to maintain ruling class
prestige by demonstrating that wage slavery has nothing to do with
white slavery, attain their purpose by restricting the word "economic"
to food and shelter; forgetting that young girls do not live by bread
alone, but also by ribbons, and silk stockings, and moving picture
shows, and trips to Coney Island, and everything else that gives a
momentary escape from drudgery into joy. We all understand, of course,
that the daughters of the rich are entitled to joy, and we provide them
with it as a matter of course; but the daughters of the poor are
supposed to work in a cotton mill ten or eleven hours a day from
earliest childhood, and the joy we provide for them is vicarious. As a
woman poet sets it forth:

    "The golf links lie so near the mill
       That almost every day
     The laboring children can look out
       And see the men at play."

Some years ago my wife and I were invited to meet Mrs. Mary J. Goode, a
keeper of brothels in the "Tenderloin," who had revolted against the
system of police graft, and had exposed it in the newspapers. My wife
questioned her closely as to the psychology of people in her business,
and she insisted that the majority of prostitutes were not oversexed,
nor were they feeble minded; they were women who had loved and trusted,
and had been "thrown down." As Mrs. Goode phrased it, they said to
themselves: "Never again! After this, they'll pay!"

As a matter of fact, the causes of prostitution are so largely economic
that the other factors are hardly worth mentioning. The sale of sex is
unknown in savage society, and would be unknown in a Socialist society.
If here and there some degenerate individual would rather sell her sex
than do her share of honest labor in a free and just world, such an
individual would become a patient in the psychopathic ward of a public
hospital. Economic forces drive women to prostitution, first, by direct
starvation, and second, by teaching them money standards of prestige,
the ideal of living without working, which is the heaven achieved by the
rich and longed for by the poor. Contributory to the process are
policemen, politicians, and judges who protect the property of the rich,
and prey upon the disinherited; also newspaper editors, college
professors, priests of God and preachers of Jesus, who attribute the
social evil to "original sin," or the "weakness of human nature."

So far as men are concerned, economic forces operate by three main
channels; late marriage, loveless marriage, and drudgery in wives. You
will find patronizing and maintaining the brothels the following kinds
of males; first, young boys who have been taught that it is "manly" to
gratify their sex impulses; second, young men who take it for granted
that they cannot afford to marry; third, old bachelors who have looked
at marriage and decided that it is not a paying proposition; fourth,
married men who have been picked out for their money, and have come to
the conclusion that "good women" are necessarily sexless; and finally,
married men whose wives have lost the power to charm them by continuous
childbearing, and the physical and nervous strain of domestic slavery.

This latter applies not merely to the wives of the poor. It applies to
members of the middle classes, and even of the richer classes, because
the job of managing many servants is often as trying as the doing of
one's own work. To explain how domestic drudgery is caused by economic
pressure would require a little essay in itself. The home is the place
where the man keeps his sex property apart under lock and key, and it
is, therefore, the portion of our civilization least influenced by
modern ideas. Women still drudge in separate kitchens and nurseries, as
they have drudged for thousands of years. They cook their dinners over
separate fires, and have each their own little group of children,
generally ill cared for, because the work is done by an untrained
amateur. Moreover, the prestige of this home has to be kept up, because
the social position and future prosperity of the man depend upon it. The
children must be dressed in frilled and starched clothing, which makes
them miserable, and wears out the tempers and pocketbooks of the
mothers. Costly entertainments must be given, and twice a day a meal
must be prepared for the father of the family--all good wives have
learned the ancient formula for the retention of masculine affections:
"Feed the brute!" Living in a world of pecuniary prestige, every
particle of the woman's surplus energy must go into some form of
ostentation, into buying or making things which are futile and
meaningless. In such a blind world, dazed by such a struggle, women
become irritable, they lose their sex charm, they forget all about
love; so the husband gives up hoping for the impossible, accepts the
common idea that love and marriage are incompatible, and adopts the
formula that what his wife doesn't know will not hurt her.

And step by step, as economic evolution progresses, as vested wealth
becomes more firmly established and claims for itself a larger and
larger share of the total product of society--so step by step you find
the pecuniary ideals becoming more firmly established, you find marriage
becoming more and more a matter of property, and less and less a matter
of love. In European countries there may still be some love marriages
among the poor, but in the upper classes there is no longer any pretense
of such a thing, and if you spoke of it you would be considered absurd.
In countries of fresh and naive commercialism, like America, the women
select the men because of their money prestige; but in Germany, the
process has gone a step further--the men are so firmly established in
their class positions that they insist upon being bought with a fortune.
The same is true when titled foreigners condescend to visit our "land of
the dollar." They will stoop to a vulgar American wife only in case her
parents will make a direct settlement of a fortune upon the husband, and
then they take her back home, and find their escape from boredom in the
highly cultivated mistresses of their own land.

Everywhere on the Continent, and in Great Britain also, it is accepted
that marriages are matters of business, and only incidentally and very
slightly of affection. The initiative is commonly taken, not by the
young people, but by the heads of the families. Preliminary protocols
are exchanged, and then the family solicitors sit down and bargain over
the matter. If they were making a deal for a carload of hams, they would
be governed by the market price of hams at the moment, also by the
reputation of that particular brand of ham; and similarly, in the case
of marriage, they are governed by the prestige of the family names, and
the market price of husbands prevailing. Always the man exacts a cash
settlement, and in Catholic countries he becomes the outright owner of
all the property of his wife, thus reducing her completely to the status
of a chattel. If any young couple dares to break through these laws of
their class, the whole class unites to trample them down. One of the
greatest of English novelists, George Meredith, wrote his greatest
novel, "The Ordeal of Richard Feverel," to show how, under the most
favorable circumstances, the union of a ruling class youth with a
farmer's daughter could result in nothing but shipwreck.

The country in which the property marriage is most firmly established is
probably France; and in France the rights of nature are recognized in a
kind of supplementary union, which constitutes what is known as the
"domestic triangle," or in the French language, "_la vie trois_." The
young girl of the French ruling classes is guarded every moment of her
life like a prisoner in jail. She is sold in marriage, and is expected
to bear her husband an heir, possibly two or three children. After that,
she is considered, not under the law or by the church, but by the
general common sense of the community, to be free to seek satisfaction
of her love needs. Her husband has mistresses, and she has a lover, and
to that lover she is faithful, and in her dealings with him she is
guided by an elaborate and subtle code. Practically all French fiction
and drama deal with this "life in threes," and the complications and
tragedies which result from it. I name one novel, simply because it
happens to be the last that I myself have read, "The Red Lily," by
Anatole France.

Of course, every human being knows in his heart that this is a monstrous
arrangement, and there are periods of revolt when real feeling surges up
in the hearts of men, and we have stories of true love, young and
unselfish love, such for example as Goethe's "Hermann and Dorothea," or
St. Pierre's "Paul and Virginia," or Halévy's "L'Abbe Constantin."
Everybody reads these stories and weeps over them, but everybody knows
that they are like the romantic shepherds and shepherdesses of the
ancient régime; they never had any existence in reality, and are not
meant to be taken seriously. If anybody attempts to carry them into
action, or to preach them seriously to the young, then we know that we
are dealing with a disturber of the foundations of the social order, a
dangerous and incendiary villain, and we give him a name which sends a
shudder down the spine of every friend of law and order--we call him a

I see before my eyes the wretch cowering upon the witness stand, and the
virtuous district attorney, who has perhaps spent the previous night in
a brothel, pointing a finger of accusing wrath into his face, and
thundering, "Do you believe in free love?" The wretch, if he is wise,
will not hesitate or parley; he will not ask what the district attorney
means by love, or what he means by freedom. Here in very truth is a case
where "he who hesitates is lost!" Let the wretch instantly answer, No,
he does not believe in free love, he believes in love that pays cash as
it goes; he believes in love that investigates carefully the prevailing
market conditions, decides upon a reasonable price, has the contract in
writing, and lives up to the bargain--"till death do us part." If the
witness be a woman, let the answer be that she believes in slave love;
that she expects to be sold for the benefit of her parents, the prestige
of her family and the social position of her future offspring. Let her
say that she will be a loyal and devoted servant, and will never do
anything at any time to invalidate the contract which is signed for her
by her parents or guardians.



     (Discusses the sex impulse, its use and misuse; when it should be
     followed and when repressed.)

We have considered the sex disorders of our age and their causes. We
have now to grope our way towards a basis of sanity and health in these
vital matters.

Consider man, as Metchnikoff describes him, with his overplus of sex
energy. From early youth he is besieged by impulses and desires, and as
a rule is left entirely uninstructed on the subject, having to pick up
his ideas from the conversation of older lads, who have nothing but
misinformation and perversions to give him. Nearly all these older lads
declare and believe that it is necessary to gratify the sex impulse,
that physically it is harmful not to do so. I have even heard physicians
and trainers maintain that idea. Opposed to them are the official
moralists and preachers of religion, who declare that to follow the sex
impulse, except when officially sanctioned by the church, is to commit

At different times in my life I have talked with all kinds of people,
young and old, men and women, doctors and clergymen, teachers and
trainers of athletes, and a few wise and loving mothers who have talked
with their own boys and other boys. As a result I have come to agree
with neither side in the debate. I believe that there is a distinction
which must be drawn, and I ask you to consider it carefully, and bear it
in mind in all that I say on the problem of happiness and health in sex.

I believe that a normal man is one being, manifesting himself in various
aspects, physical, emotional, intellectual. I believe that all these
aspects of human activity go normally together, and cannot normally be
separated, and that the separation of them is a perversion and source of
harm. I believe that the sex impulse, as it normally manifests itself,
and would manifest itself in a man if he were living a normal life, is
an impulse which includes every aspect of the man's being. It is not
merely physical desire and emotional excitement; it is intellectual
curiosity, a deep and intense interest, not merely in the body, but in
the mind and heart and personality of the woman.

I appreciate that there is opportunity for controversy here. As a matter
of psychology, it is not easy to separate instinct from experience, to
state whether a certain impulse is innate or acquired. Some may argue
that savages know nothing about idealism in sex, neither do those modern
savages whom we breed in city slums; some may make the same assertion
concerning a great mass of loutish and sensual youths. We have got so
far from health and soundness that it is hard to be sure what is
"normal" and what is "ideal." But without going into metaphysics, I
think we can reasonably make the following statement concerning the sex
impulse at its first appearance in the average healthy youth in
civilized societies; that this impulse, going to the roots of the being,
affecting every atom of energy and every faculty, is accompanied, not
merely by happiness, but by sympathetic delight in the happiness of the
woman, by interest in the woman, by desire to be with her, to stay with
her and share her life and protect her from harm. In what I have to say
about the subject from now on, I shall describe this condition of being
and feeling by the word "love."

But now suppose that men should, for some reason or other, evolve a set
of religious ideas which denied love, and repudiated love, and called it
a sin and a humiliation; or suppose there should be an economic
condition which made love a peril, so that the young couple which
yielded to love would be in danger of starvation, or of seeing their
children starve. Suppose there should be evolved classes of men and
women, held by society in a condition of permanent semi-starvation;
then, under such conditions, the impulse to love would become a trap and
a source of terror. Then the energies of a great many men would be
devoted to suppressing love and strangling it in themselves; then the
intellectual and spiritual sanctions of love would be withdrawn, the
beauty and charm and joy would go out of it, and it would become a
starving beggar at the gates, or a thief skulking in the night-time, or
an assassin with a dagger and club. In other words, sex would become all
the horror that it is today, in the form of purchased vice, and more
highly purchased marriage, and secret shame, and obscure innuendo. So we
should have what is, in a civilized man, a perversion, the possibility
of love which is physical alone; a purely animal thing in a being who is
not purely animal, but is body, mind and spirit all together. So it
would be possible for pitiful, unhappy man, driven by the blind urge of
nature, to conceive of desiring a woman only in the body, and with no
care about what she felt, or what she thought, or what became of her

That purely physical sex desire I will indicate in our future
discussions by the only convenient word that I can find, which is lust.
The word has religious implications, so I explain that I use it in my
own meaning, as above. There is a great deal of what the churches call
lust, which I call true and honest love; on the other hand, in Christian
churches today, there are celebrated innumerable marriages between
innocent young girls and mature men of property, which I describe as
legalized and consecrated lust.

We are now in position to make a fundamental distinction. I assert the
proposition that there does not exist, in any man, at any time of his
life, or in any condition of his health, a necessity for yielding to the
impulses of lust; and I say that no man can yield to them without
degrading his nature and injuring himself, not merely morally, but
mentally, and in the long run physically. I assert that it is the duty
of every man, at all times and under all circumstances, to resist the
impulses of lust, to suppress and destroy them in his nature, by
whatever expenditure of will power and moral effort may be required.

I know physicians who maintain the unpopular thesis that serious damage
may be done to the physical organism of both man and woman by the long
continued suppression of the sex-life. Let me make plain that I am not
disagreeing with such men. I do not deny that repression of the sex-life
may do harm. What I do deny is that it does any harm to repress a
physical desire which is unaccompanied by the higher elements of sex;
that is to say, by affection, admiration, and unselfish concern for the
sex-partner and her welfare. When I advise a man to resist and suppress
and destroy the impulse toward lust in his nature, I am not telling him
to live a sexless life. I am telling him that if he represses lust, then
love will come; whereas, if he yields to lust, then love may never come,
he may make himself incapable of love, incapable of feeling it or of
trusting it, or of inspiring it in a woman. And I say that if, on the
other hand, he resists lust, he will pour all the energies of his being
into the channels of affection and idealism. Instead of having his
thoughts diverted by every passing female form, his energies will become
concentrated upon the search for one woman who appeals to him in
permanent and useful ways. We may be sure that nature has not made men
and women incompatible, but on the contrary, has provided for
fulfillment of the desires of both. The man will find some woman who is
looking for the thing which he has to offer--that is, love.

And now, what about the suppression of love? Here I am willing to go as
far as any physician could desire, and possibly farther. Speaking
generally, and concerning normal adult human beings, I say that the
suppression of love is a crime against nature and life. I say that long
continued and systematic suppression of love exercises a devastating
effect, not merely upon the body, but upon the mind and all the energies
of the being. I say that the doctrine of the suppression of love, no
matter by whom it is preached, is an affront to nature and to life, and
an insult to the creator of life. I say that it is the duty of all men
and women, not merely to assert their own right to love, but to devote
their energies to a war upon whatever ideas and conventions and laws in
society deny the love-right.

The belief that long continued suppression of love does grave harm has
been strongly reinforced in the last few years by the discovery of
psycho-analysis, a science which enables us to explore our unconscious
minds, and lay bare the secrets of nature's psychic workshop. These
revelations have made plain that sex plays an even more important part
in our mental lives than we realized. Sex feeling manifests itself, not
merely in grown people, but in the tiniest infants; in these latter it
has of course no object in the opposite sex, but the physical sensations
are there, and some of their outward manifestations; and as the infant
grows, and realizes the outside world, the feelings come to center upon
others, the parents first of all. These manifestations must be guided,
and sometimes repressed; but if this is done violently, by means of
terror, the consequences may be very harmful--the wrong impulses or the
terrors may survive as a "complex" in the unconscious mind, and cause a
long chain of nervous disorders and physical weaknesses in the adult.
These things are no matter of guesswork, they have been proven as
thoroughly as any scientific discovery, and are used in a new technic of
healing. Of course, as with every new theory, there are unbalanced
people who carry it to extremes. There are fanatics of Freudianism who
talk as if everything in the human unconsciousness were sex; but that
need not blind us to the importance of these new discoveries, and the
confirmation they bring to the thesis that sane and normal love, wisely
guided by common sense and reasoned knowledge, is at a certain period of
life a vital necessity to every sound human being.



     (The ideal of the repression of the sex impulse, as against the
     ideal of its guidance and cultivation.)

There are two words which we need in this discussion, and as they are
generally used loosely, they must now be defined precisely. The two
words are celibacy and chastity. We define celibacy as the permanent and
systematic suppression of love. We define chastity, on the other hand,
as the permanent and systematic suppression of lust. Chastity, as the
word is here used, is not a denial of love, but a preparing for it; it
is the practice and the ideal, necessary especially in the young, of
consecrating their beings to the search for love, and to becoming worthy
for love. In that sense we regard chastity as one of the most essential
of virtues in the young. It is widely taught today, but ineffectively,
because unintelligently and without discrimination; because, in other
words, it is confused with celibacy, which is a perversion of life, and
one of humanity's intellectual and moral diseases.

The origin of the ideal of celibacy is easy to understand. At a certain
stage in human development the eyes of the mind are opened, and to some
man comes a revelation of the life of altruism and sympathetic
imagination. To use the common phrase, the man discovers his spiritual
nature. But under the conditions then prevailing, all the world outside
him is in a conspiracy to strangle that nature, to drag it down and
trample it into the mire. One of the most powerful of these destructive
agencies, as it seems to the man, is sex. By means of sex he is laid
hold upon by strange and terrible creatures who do not understand his
higher vision, but seek only to prey upon him, and use him for their
convenience. At the worst they rob him of everything, money, health,
time and reputation; at best, they saddle him and bridle him, they put
him in harness and set him to dragging a heavy load. In the words of a
wise old man of the world, Francis Bacon, "He who marries and has
children gives hostages to fortune." In a world wherein war, pestilence,
and famine held sway, the man of family had but slight chance of
surviving as a philosopher or prophet or saint. Discovering in himself a
deep-rooted and overwhelming impulse to fall into this snare, he
imagined a devil working in his heart; so he fled away to the desert,
and hid in a cave, and starved himself, and lashed himself with whips,
and allowed worms and lice to devour his body, in the effort to destroy
in himself the impulse of sex.

So the world had monasteries, and a religious culture, not of much use,
but better than nothing; and so we still have in the world celibate
priesthoods, and what is more dangerous to our social health, we have
the old, degraded notions of the essential vileness of the sex
relationship--notions permeating all our thought, our literature, our
social conventions and laws, making it impossible for us to attain true
wisdom and health and happiness in love.

I say the ideal of celibacy is an intellectual and moral disease; it is
a violation of nature, and nature devotes all her energies to breaking
it down, and she always succeeds. There never has been a celibate
religious order, no matter how noble its origin and how strict its
discipline, which has not sooner or later become a breeding place of
loathsome unnatural vices. And sooner or later the ideal begins to
weaken, and common sense to take its place, and so we read in history
about popes who had sons, and we see about us priests who have "nieces"
and attractive servant girls. Make the acquaintance of any police
sergeant in any big city of America, and get him to chatting on friendly
terms, and you will discover that it is a common experience for the
police in their raids upon brothels to catch the representatives of
celibate religious orders. As one old-timer in the "Tenderloin" of New
York said to me, "Of course, we don't make any trouble for the good
fathers." Nor was this merely because the old sergeant was an Irishman
and a Catholic; it was because deep down in his heart he knew, as every
man knows, that the craving of a man for the society and companionship
of a woman is an overwhelming craving, which will break down every
barrier that society may set against it.

There is another form of celibacy which is not based upon religious
ideas, but is economic in its origin, and purely selfish in its nature.
It is unorganized and unreasoned, and is known as "bachelorhood"; it has
as its complements the institutions of old maidenhood and of
prostitution. Both forms of celibacy, the religious and the economic,
are entirely incompatible with chastity, which is only possible where
love is recognized and honored. Chastity is a preparation for love; and
if you forbid love, whether by law, or by social convention, or by
economic strangling, you at once make chastity a Utopian dream. You may
preach it from your pulpits until you are black in the face; you may
call out your Billy Sundays to rave, and dance, and go into convulsions;
you may threaten hell-fire and brimstone until you throw whole audiences
into spasms--but you will never make them chaste. On the contrary,
strange and horrible as it may seem, those very excitements will turn
into sexual excitements before your eyes! So subtle is our ancient
mother nature, and so determined to have her own way!

The abominable old ideal of celibacy, with its hatred of womanhood, its
distrust of happiness, its terror of devils, is not yet dead in the
world. It is in our very bones, and is forever appearing in new and
supposed to be modern forms. Take a man like Tolstoi, who gained
enormous influence, not merely in Russia, but throughout the world among
people who think themselves liberal--humanitarians, pacifists,
philosophic anarchists. Tolstoi's notions about sex, his teachings and
writings and likewise his behavior toward it, were one continuous
manifestation of disease. All through his youth and middle years, as an
army officer, popular novelist, and darling of the aristocracy, his life
was one of license, and the attitude toward women he thus acquired, he
never got out of his thoughts to his last day. Gorky, meeting him in his
old age, reports his conversation as unpleasantly obscene, and his whole
attitude toward women one of furtive and unwholesome slyness.

But Tolstoi was in other ways a great soul, one of the great moral
consciences of humanity. He looked about him at a world gone mad with
greed and hate, and he made convulsive efforts to reform his own spirit
and escape the power of evil. As regards sex, his thought took the form
of ancient Christian celibacy. Man must repudiate the physical side of
sex, he must learn to feel toward women a "pure" affection, the
relationship of brother and sister. In his novel, "Resurrection,"
Tolstoi portrays a young aristocrat who meets a beautiful peasant girl
and conceives for her such a noble and generous emotion; but gradually
the poison of physical sex-desire steals into his mind, he seduces her,
and she becomes a prostitute. Later in life, when he discovers the crime
he has committed, he humbles himself and follows her into exile, and
wins her to God and goodness by the unselfish and unsexual love which he
should have maintained from the beginning.

It was Tolstoi's teaching that all men should aspire toward this kind of
love, and when it was pointed out to him that if this doctrine were to
be applied universally, the human race would become extinct, his answer
was that there was no reason to fear that, because only a few people
would be good enough and strong enough to follow the right ideal! Here
you see the reincarnation of the old Christian notion that we are
"conceived in sin and born in iniquity." We may be pure and good, and
cease to exist; or we may sin, and let life continue. Some choose to
sin, and these sinners hand down their sinful qualities to the future;
and so virtue and goodness remain what they have always been, a futile
crying out in the wilderness by a few religious prophets, whom God has
sent to call down destruction upon a world which He had made--through
some mistake never satisfactorily explained!

It is easy nowadays to persuade intelligent people to laugh at such a
perverted view of life; but the truth is that this attitude toward sex
is written, not merely into our religious creeds and formulas, but into
most of our laws and social conventions. It is this, which for
convenience I will call the "monkish" view of love, which prevents our
dealing frankly and honestly with its problems, distinguishing between
what is wrong and what is right, and doing anything effective to remedy
the evils of marriage-plus-prostitution. That is why I have tried so
carefully to draw the distinction between what I call love and what I
call lust; between the ideal of celibacy, which is a perversion, and the
idea of chastity, which must form an essential part of any regimen of
true and enduring love.



     (Discusses passionate love, its sanction, its place in life, and
     its preservation in marriage.)

I have before me as I write a newspaper article by Robert Blatchford, a
great writer and great man. He is dealing with the subject of "Love and
Marriage," and his doctrine is summed up in the following sentences:
"There is a difference between loving a woman and falling in love with
her. The love one falls into is a sweet illusion. But that fragrant
dream does not last. In marriage there are no fairies."

This expresses one of the commonest ideas in the world. Passionate love
is one thing, and marriage is another and different thing, and it is no
more possible to reconcile them than to mix oil and water. Our notions
of "romantic" love took their rise in the Middle Ages, from the songs
and narratives of the troubadours, and this whole tradition was based
upon the glorification of illegitimate and extra-marital love. That
tradition has ruled the world of art ever since, and rules it today. I
do not exaggerate when I say that it is the conventional view of grand
opera and the drama, of moving pictures and novels, that impassioned and
thrilling love is found before marriage, and is found in adultery and in
temptations to adultery, but is never found in marriage. I have a pretty
varied acquaintance with the literature of the world, and I have sat and
thought for quite a while, without being able to recall a single
portrait of life which contradicts this thesis; and certainly anyone
familiar with literature could name ten thousand novels and dramas and
grand operas which support the thesis.

English and American Puritanism have beaten the tradition down to this
extent: the novelist portrays the glories and thrills of young love, and
carries it as far as the altar and the orange blossoms and white ribbons
and showers of rice--and stops. He leaves you to assume that this
delightful rapture continues forever after; but he does not attempt to
show it to you--he would not dare attempt to show it, because the
general experience of men and women in marriage would make him
ridiculous. So he runs away from the issue; if he tells you a story of
married life, it is a story of a "triangle"--the thrills of love
imperiling marriage, and either crushed out, or else wrecking the lives
of the victims. Such is the unanimous testimony of all our arts today,
and I submit it as evidence of the fact that there must be something
vitally wrong with our marriage system.

Personally, I am prepared to go as far as the extreme sex-radical in the
defense of love and the right to love. I believe that love is the most
precious of all the gifts of life. I accept its sanctions and its
authority. I believe that it is to be cherished and obeyed, and not to
be run away from or strangled in the heart. I believe that it is the
voice of nature speaking in the depths of us, and speaking from a wisdom
deeper than we have yet attained, or may attain for many centuries to
come. And when I say love, I do not mean merely affection. I do not mean
merely the habit of living in the same home, which is the basis of
marriage as Blatchford describes it. What I mean is the love of the
poets and the dreamers, the "young love" which is thrill and ecstasy, a
glorification and a transfiguration of the whole of life. I say that,
far from giving up this love for marriage, it is the true purpose of
marriage to preserve this love and perpetuate it.

To save repetition and waste of words, let us agree that from now on
when I use the word love, I mean the passionate love of those who are
"in love." I believe that it is the right of men and women to be "in
love," and that there is no true marriage unless they are "in love," and
stay "in love." I believe that it is possible to apply reason to love,
to learn to understand love and the ways of love, to protect it and keep
it alive in marriage. Blatchford writes the sentence, "Matrimony cannot
be all honeymoon." I answer that assuredly it can be, and if you ask me
how I know, I tell you that I know in the only way we really know
anything--because I have proven it in my own life. I say that if men and
women would recognize the perpetuation of the honeymoon as the purpose
of marriage, and would devote to that end one-hundredth part of the
intelligence and energy they now devote to the killing of their fellow
human beings in war, we might have an end to the wretched "romantic
tradition" which makes the most sacred emotion of the human heart into
a sneak-thief skulking in the darkness, entering our lives by back
alleys and secret stairways--while greed and worldly pomp, dullness and
boredom, parade in by the front entrance.

In the first place, what is love--young love, passionate love, the love
of those who "fall in"? I know a certain lady, well versed in worldly
affairs, who says that it is at once the greatest nonsense and the
deadliest snare in the world. This lady was trained as a "coquette";
she, and all the young ladies she knew, made it their business to cause
men to fall in love with them, and their prestige was based upon their
skill in that art. So to them "love" was a joke, and men "in love" were
victims, whether ridiculous or pitiable. To this I answer that I know
nothing in life that cannot be "faked"; but an imitation has value only
as it resembles something that is real, and that has real value.

I am aware that it is possible for a society to be so corrupted, so
given up to the admiration of imitations, of the paint and powder and
silk-stocking-clad-ankle kind of love, that true and genuine love
interest, with its impulse to self-sacrifice and self-consecration, is
no longer felt or understood. I am aware that in such a society it is
possible for even the very young to be so sophisticated that what they
take to be love is merely vanity, the worship of money, and the grace
and charm which the possession of money confers. I have known girls who
were "head over heels" in love, and thought it was with a man, when
quite clearly they were in love with a dress suit or a social position.
In such a society it is hard to talk about natural emotions, and deep
and abiding and disinterested affections.

Nevertheless, amid all the false conventions, the sham glories and
cowardices of our civilization, there abides in the heart the craving
for true love, and the idea of it leaps continually into flame in the
young. In spite of the ridicule of the elders, in spite of blunders and
tragic failures, in spite of dishonesties and deceptions--nevertheless,
it continues to happen that out of a thousand maidens the youth finds
one whose presence thrills him with a new and terrible emotion, whose
lightest touch makes him shiver, almost makes his knees give way.

If you will recall what I have written about instinct and reason, you
will know that I am not a blind worshipper of our ancient mother
nature. I am not humble in my attitude toward her, but perfectly willing
to say when I know more than she does. On the other hand, when I know
nothing or next to nothing, I am shy of contradicting my ancient mother,
and disposed to give respectful heed to her promptings. One of the
things about which we know almost nothing at present is the subject of
eugenics. We are only at the beginning of trying to find out what
matings produce the best offspring. Meantime, we ought to consider those
indications which nature gives us, just as we consider her advice about
what food to eat and what rest to take.

It is not my idea that science will ever take men and women and marry
them in cold blood, as today we breed our cattle. What I think will
happen is that young men and women will meet one another, as they do at
present, and will find the love impulse awakening; they will then submit
their love to investigation, as to whether they should follow that
impulse, or should wait. In other words, I do not believe that science
will ever do away with the raptures of love, but will make itself the
servant of these raptures, finding out what they mean, and how their
precious essence may be preserved.

I perfectly understand that the begetting of children is not the only
purpose of love. The children have to be reared and trained, which means
that a home has to be founded, and the parents have to learn to
co-operate. They have to have common aims in life, and temperaments
sufficiently harmonious so that they can live in the house together
without tearing each other's eyes out. This means that in any civilized
society all impulses of love have to be subjected to severe criticism. I
intend, before long, to show just how I think parents and guardians
should co-operate with young people in love; to help them to understand
in advance what they are doing, and how it may be possible for them to
make their love permanent and successful. For the moment I merely state,
to avoid any possible misunderstanding, that I am the last person in the
world to favor what is called "blind" love, the unthinking abandonment
to an impulse of sex passion. What I am trying to show is that the
passionate impulse, the passionate excitement of the young couple, is
the material out of which love and marriage are made. Passion is a part
of us, and a fundamental part. If we do not find a place for it in
marriage, it will seek satisfaction outside of marriage, and that means
lying, or the wrecking of the marriage, or both.

Passion is what gives to love and marriage its vitality, its energy, its
drive; in fact, it gives these qualities to the whole character. It is a
vivifying force, transfiguring the personality, and if it is crushed and
repressed, the whole life of that person is distorted. Yet it is a fact
which every physician knows, that millions of women marry and live their
whole lives without ever knowing what passionate gratification is. As a
consequence of this, millions of men take it for granted that there are
"good" women and "bad" women, and that only the latter are interesting.
This, of course, is simply one of the abnormalities caused by the
supplanting of love by money as a motive in marriage. Love becomes a
superfluity and a danger, and all the forces of society, including
institutionalized religion, combine to outlaw it and drive it
underground. Or we might say that they lock it in a dungeon--and that
the supreme delight of all the painters, poets, musicians, dramatists
and novelists of all climes and all periods of history, is to portray
the escape of the "young god" from these imprisonments. The story is
told in six words of an old English ballad: "Love will find out the

Is it not obvious that there must be something vitally wrong with our
institutions and conventions in matters of sex, when here exists this
eternal war between our moralists and our artists? Why not make up our
minds what we really believe; whether it is true that poets are, as
Shelley said, "the unacknowledged legislators of mankind," or whether
they are, as Plato declared, false teachers and seducers of the young.
If they are the latter, let us have done with them, let us drive them
from the state, together with lovers and all other impassioned persons.
But if, on the other hand, it is truth the poets tell about life, then
let us take the young god out of his dungeon, and bring him into our
homes by the front door, and cast out the false gods of vanity and greed
and worldly prestige which now sit in his place.



     (Deals with the prevention of conception as one of the greatest of
     man's discoveries, releasing him from nature's enslavement, and
     placing the keys of life in his hands.)

I assume that you have followed my argument, and are prepared to
consider seriously whether it may be possible to establish love in
marriage as the sex institution of civilized society. If you really wish
to bring such an institution into existence, the first thing you have to
do is to accomplish the social revolution; that is, you must wipe out
class control of society, and prestige based upon money exploitation.
But that is a vast change, and will take time, and meanwhile we have to
live, and wish to live with as little misery as possible. So the
practical question becomes this: Suppose that you, as an individual,
wish to find as much happiness in love as may now be possible, what
counsel have I to offer? If you are young, you wish this advice for
yourself; while if you are mature, you wish it for your children. I will
put my advice under four heads: First, marriage for love; second, birth
control; third, early marriage; fourth, education for marriage.

The first of these we have considered at some length. A part of the
process of social revolution is personal conversion; the giving up by
every individual of the worldly ideal, the surrender of luxury and
self-indulgence, the consecrating of one's life to self education and
the cause of social justice. And do not think that that is an easy
thing, or an unimportant thing, a thing to be taken for granted. On the
contrary, it is something that most of us have to struggle with at every
hour of our lives, because respect for property and worldly conventions
has become one of our deepest instincts; our whole society is poisoned
with it, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I have
known in my life who have completely escaped from it. It is not merely a
question of refusing to marry except for love, it is a question of
refusing to love except for honest and worthy qualities. It is a
question of saving our children from the damnable forces of snobbery,
which lay siege to their young minds and destroy the best impulses of
their hearts, while we in our blindness are still thinking of them as

Of the other three topics that I have suggested, I begin with birth
control, because it is the most fundamental and most important. Without
birth control there can be no freedom, no happiness, no permanence in
love, and there can be no mastery of life. Birth control is one of the
great fundamental achievements of the human reason, as important to the
life of mankind as the discovery of fire or the invention of printing.
Birth control is the deliverance of womankind, and therefore of mankind
also, from the blind and insane fecundity of nature, which created us
animals, and would keep us animals forever if we did not rebel.

Ever since the dawn of history, and probably for long ages before that,
our race has been struggling against this blind insanity of nature.
Poor, bewildered Theodore Roosevelt stormed at what he called "race
suicide," thinking it was some brand new and terrible modern corruption;
but nowhere do we find a primitive tribe, nowhere in history do we find
a race which did not seek to save itself from overgrowth and consequent
starvation. They did not know enough to prevent conception, but they did
the best they could by means of abortion and infanticide. And because
today superstition keeps the priceless knowledge of contraception from
the vast majority of women, these crude, savage methods still prevail,
and we have our million abortions a year in the United States. Assuming
that something near one-fourth our population consists of women capable
of bearing children, we have one woman in twenty-five going through this
agonizing and health-wrecking experience every year. They go through
with it, you understand, regardless of everything--all the moralists and
preachers and priests with their hell fire and brimstone. They go
through with it because we have both marriage without love, and love
without marriage; also because we permit some ten or twenty per cent of
our total population to suffer the pangs of perpetual starvation,
because more than half our farms are mortgaged or occupied by tenants,
and some ten or twenty per cent of our workers are out of jobs all the

Some of our women know about birth control. They are the rich women, who
get what they want in this world. They object to the humiliations and
inconveniences of child bearing, and some of them raise one or two
children, and others of them raise poodle dogs. Also, our middle classes
have found out; our doctors and lawyers and college professors, and
people of that sort. But we deliberately keep the knowledge from our
foreign populations, by the terrors which the church has at its command.
And what is the practical consequence of this procedure? It is that
while all our Anglo-Saxon stock, those who founded our country and
established its institutions, are gradually removing themselves from the
face of the earth, our ignorant and helpless populations, whether in
city slums or on tenant farms, are multiplying like rabbits. Read Jack
London's "The Valley of the Moon" and see what is happening in
California. You will find the same thing happening in any portion of the
United States where you take the trouble to use your own eyes.

Now, I try to repress such impulses toward race prejudice as I find in
myself. I am willing to admit for the sake of this argument that in the
course of time all the races that are now swarming in America,
Portuguese and Japanese and Mexican and French-Canadian and Polish and
Hungarian and Slovakian, are capable of just as high intellectual
development as our ancestors who wrote the Declaration of Independence.
But no one who sees the conditions under which they now live can deny
that it will take a good deal of labor, teaching them and training them,
as well as scrubbing them, to accomplish that result. And what a waste
of energy, what a farce it makes of culture, to take the people who have
already been scrubbed and taught and trained for self-government, and
exterminate them, and raise up others in their place! It seems time that
we gave thought to the fundamental question, whether or not there is
something self-destroying in the very process of culture. Unless we can
answer this we might as well give up our visions and our efforts to lift
the race.

Theodore Roosevelt stormed at birth control for something like ten
years, and it would be interesting if we could know how many Anglo-Saxon
babies he succeeded in bringing into the world by his preachments. If
what he wanted was to correct the balance between native and foreign
births, how much more sensible to have taught birth control to those
poor, pathetic, half-starved and overworked foreign mothers of our slums
and tenant farms! I can wager that for every Anglo-Saxon baby that
Theodore Roosevelt brought into the world by his preachings, he could
have kept out ten thousand foreign slum babies, if only he had lent his
aid to Margaret Sanger!

Ah, but he wanted all the babies to be born, you say! I see before me
the face of a certain devout old Christian lady, known to me, who
settles the question by the Bible quotation, "Be fruitful and multiply."
But what avails it to follow this biblical advice, if we allow one out
of five of the new-born infants to perish from lack of scientific care
before they are two years old? What avails it if we send them to school
hungry, as we do twenty-two per cent of the public school children of
New York City? What avails it if we allow venereal disease to spread, so
that a large percentage of the babies are deformed and miserable? What
avails it if, when they are fully grown, we can think of nothing better
to do with them than to take them by millions at a time and dress them
up in uniforms and send them out to be destroyed by poison gases? Would
it not be the part of common sense to establish universal birth control
for at least a year or two--until we have learned to take care of our
newly born babies, and to feed our school children, and to protect our
youths from vice, and to abolish poverty and war from the earth?

These are the social aspects of birth control. There are also to be
considered what I might call the personal aspects of it. Because young
people do not know about it, and have no way to find out about it, they
dare not marry, and so the amount of vice in the world is increased.
Because married women do not know about it, love is turned to terror,
and marital happiness is wrecked. Because the harmless and proper
methods are not sensibly taught, people use harmful methods, which cause
nervous disorders, and wreck marital happiness, and break up homes.
Thorough and sound knowledge about birth control is just as essential to
happiness in marriage as knowledge of diet is necessary to health, or as
knowledge of economics is necessary to intelligent action as a voter and
citizen. The suppression by law of knowledge of birth control is just as
grave a crime against human life as ever was committed by religious
bigotry in the blackest days of the Spanish Inquisition.

Now this law stands on the statute books of our country, and if I should
so much as hint to you in this book what you need to know, or even where
you can find out about it, I should be liable to five years in jail and
a fine of $5,000, and every person who mailed a copy of this book, or
any advertisement of this book, would be in the same plight. But there
is not yet a law to prohibit agitation against the law, so the first
thing I say to every reader of this book is that they should obtain a
copy of the _Birth Control Review_, published at 104 Fifth Avenue, New
York, and also should join the Voluntary Parenthood League, 206
Broadway, New York. Get the literature of these organizations and
circulate them and help spread the light!

As to the knowledge which you need, the only advice I am allowed to give
is that you should seek it. Seek it, and persist in seeking, until you
find it. Ask everyone you know; and ask particularly among enlightened
people, those who are willing to face the facts of human life and trust
in reason and common sense. I do not know if I am violating the law in
thus telling you how to find out about birth control. One of the
charming features of this law, and others against the spreading of
knowledge, is that they will never tell you in advance what you may say,
but leave you to say it and take your chances! I believe that I am not
violating any law when I tell you that there are half a dozen simple,
inexpensive, and entirely harmless methods of preventing undesired
parenthood without the destruction of the marital relationship.

I am one of those who for many years believed that the destruction of
the marital relationship was the only proper and moral method. I was
brought up to take the monkish view of love. I thought it was an animal
thing which required some outside justification. I had been taught
nothing else; but now I have had personal experience of other
justifications of love, and I believe that love is a beautiful and
joyful relationship, which not merely requires no other justification,
but confers justification upon many other things in life.

I used to believe in that old ideal of celibacy, thinking it a fine
spiritual exercise. But since then I have looked out on life, and have
found so many interesting things to do, so much important work calling
for attention, that I do not have to invent any artificial exercises for
my spirit. I have looked at humanity, and brought myself to recognize
the plain common sense fact--that whatever superfluous energy I may have
to waste upon artificial spirituality, the great mass of the people have
no such energy to spare. They need all their energies to get a living
for themselves and for their wives and little ones. They have their sex
impulses, and will follow them, and the only question is, shall they
follow them wisely or unwisely? The religious people decide that sexual
indulgence is wrong, and they impose a penalty--and what is that
penalty? A poor, unwanted little waif of a soul, which never sinned, and
had nothing to do with the matter, is brought into a hostile world, to
suffer neglect, and perhaps starvation--in order to punish parents who
did not happen to be sufficiently strong willed to practice continence
in marriage!

I used to believe that there was benefit to health and increase of
power, whether physical or mental, in the celibate life. I have tried
both ways of life, and as a result I know that that old idea is
nonsense. I know now that love is a natural function. Of course, like
any other function it can be abused; just as hunger may become gluttony,
sleeping may become sluggishness, getting the money to pay one's way
through life may become ferocious avarice. But we do not on this account
refuse ever to eat or sleep or get money to pay our debts. I do not say
that I believe, I say I know, that free and happy love, guided by wisdom
and sound knowledge, is not merely conducive to health, but is in the
long run necessary to health.

People who condemn birth control always argue as if one wished to teach
this knowledge indiscriminately to the young. Perhaps it is natural that
those who oppose the use of reason should assume that others are as
irrational as themselves. All I can say is that I no more believe in
teaching birth control to the young than I believe in feeding beefsteak
to nursing infants. There is a period in life for beefsteaks--or, if my
vegetarian friends prefer, for lentil hash and peanut butter sandwiches;
in exactly the same way there is a time for teaching the fundamentals of
sex, and another time for teaching the art of happiness in marriage,
which includes birth control. That brings me, by a very pleasant
transition, to the other two subjects which I have promised to discuss:
early marriage and education for marriage.



     (Discusses love marriages, how they can be made, and the duty of
     parents in respect to them.)

I have shown how economic forces in our society make for later and later
marriage; and at the present time economic forces are so overwhelming
that all other forces are hardly worth mentioning in comparison. You
are, let us say, the mother of a boy of eighteen, and you have what you
call "common sense"--meaning thereby a grasp of the money facts of life.
If your darling boy of eighteen should come to you with a grave face and
announce, "Mother dear, I have met the girl I love, and we have decided
that we want to get married"--you would consider that the most absurd
thing you had ever heard in all your born days, and you would tell the
lad that he was a baby, and to run along and play. If he persisted in
his crazy notion, you and your husband and all the brothers and sisters
and relatives and friends both of the boy and the girl would set to
work, by scolding and ridiculing, to make life a misery for them, and
ninety-nine times out of a hundred you would break down the young
couple's marital intention.

But now, let us try another supposition. Let us suppose that your
darling boy of eighteen should come to you again and say, "Mother dear,
some of the boys are going to spend this evening in a brothel, and I
have decided to go along." Would you think that was the most absurd
thing you had ever heard in all your born days? Or would you answer,
"Yes, of course, my boy; that is what I had in mind when I made you give
up the girl you loved"? No, you would not answer that. But here is the
vital fact--it doesn't matter what you would answer, for you would never
have a chance to answer. When a mother's darling wants to get married,
he comes and asks his mother's blessing; but never does a mother's
darling ask a blessing before he goes with the other boys to a brothel.
He just goes. Maybe he borrows the money from some other fellow, and
next day tells you he went to a theater. Or maybe he picks up some poor
man's daughter on the street, and takes her into the park, or up on the
roof of a tenement. Some such thing he does, to find satisfaction for an
instinct which you in your worldly wisdom or your heavenly piety spurn
and ridicule.

I do not wish to exaggerate. If you are an exceptionally wise and
tactful mother, you may keep the confidence of your boy, and guide him
day by day through his temptations and miseries, and keep him chaste.
But the more you try that, the more apt you will be to come to my
conclusion, that late marriage is a crime against the race; the more
aware you will be of the danger, either that his boy friends may break
him down, or that some lewd woman may come to his bedroom in the
night-time. Never will you be able to be quite sure that he is not lying
to you, because of his shame, and the pain he cannot bear to inflict
upon you. Never will you be quite sure that he is not hiding some cruel
disease, sneaking off to some quack who takes his money and leaves him
worse than before--until finally he shoots off his head, as happened to
a nephew of an old and dear friend of mine.

Such is the problem of the mother of a son; and now, what about the
mother of a daughter? This seems much simpler; because your daughter is
not generally troubled with sex cravings, and if you teach her the
proprieties, and see that she is carefully chaperoned, you may
reasonably hope that she will be chaste. But some day you expect that
she will marry; and then comes your problem. If you are the usual
mother, you are looking for some one who can maintain her in the state
of life to which she is accustomed. If a fairy prince would come along,
or a plaster saint, you would be pleased; but failing that, you will
take a successful business man, one who has made his way in the world
and secured himself a position. But turn back to the figures I gave you
a while ago. If this man is thirty years of age, there is at least a
fifty-fifty chance that he has had some venereal disease; and while the
doctors claim to cure these diseases absolutely, we must bear in mind
that doctors are human, and sometimes claim more than they perform.
Every doctor will admit, if you pin him down, that these diseases burrow
deeply into the tissues, and many times are supposed to be cured when
they are only hidden.

Here is, in a nutshell, the problem of the mother of a daughter. If you
marry your daughter at seventeen to a lad of her own age, you have a
very good chance of marrying her to a person who is chaste. If you marry
her to a man of twenty-five, you have perhaps one chance in a hundred.
If you marry her to a man of thirty-five, you have perhaps one chance in
ten thousand. You may not like these facts; I do not like them myself;
but I have learned that facts are none the less facts on that account.

You know the average society bud of eighteen, and her attitude to a boy
of the same age. She regards him as a child; and you think, perhaps,
that it is natural for a girl to be interested in men of thirty-five and
even forty-five. But I tell you that it is not natural, it is simply one
of the perversions of pecuniary sex. The girl is interested in such men,
because all her young life she has been carefully coached for the
marriage market; because she is dressed for it, and solemnly brought
out, and introduced to other players of this exciting game of marriage
for money, with its incredible prizes of automobiles and jewels and
palaces full of servants, and magic check-books that never grow empty.
But suppose that, instead of regarding her as a prize in a lottery, you
let her grow up naturally, and taught her the truth about herself, both
body and mind; suppose that, instead of dressing her in ways
deliberately contrived to emphasize her sex, you put her in a simple
uniform, and taught her to be honest and straightforward, instead of
mincing and coy; suppose she played athletic games with boys of her own
age, and invited them to her home, not for "jazz" dancing and stuffing
cake and candy, but for the sharing of good music and literature and
art--don't you think that maybe this girl might become interested in a
lad of her own age, and choose him with some understanding of his real

You take it for granted that young people should not marry until they
can "afford it." But stop and consider, is not this a relic of old days?
Always it takes time, and deliberate effort of the reason, to adjust our
conventions to new facts; so face this fact--marriage today does not
necessarily mean children, it may just mean love. It involves little
more expense, because the young people need cost no more together than
they cost in the separate homes of their parents. If they are children
of the poor, they are already taking care of themselves. If they are
children of the moderately well off, their parents expect to support
them while they are getting an education; and why can they not just as
well live together, and the parents of each contribute their share? Let
the parents of the boy give him, not merely what it costs to keep him at
home, but also the sums which otherwise the boy would pay to the
brothels. By this argument I do not mean that I favor keeping young
people financially dependent upon their parents. My own son is working
his own way through college, and I should be glad to see every young man
doing the same. All that I am saying is that if parents are going to
support their children while they are getting an education, they might
just as well support them married as single, instead of penalizing
matrimony by making all allowances cease at that point.

I know a certain ardent feminist, who is all for late marriage for
women, and abhors my ideas on this subject. She wants women to get a
chance to develop their personalities; whereas I want to sacrifice them
to the frantic exigencies of the male animal! Young things of seventeen
and eighteen have no idea what they are, or what they want from life;
the mating impulse is a blind frenzy in them, and they must be taught to
control it, just as they are taught not to kill when they are angry!

In the first place, I point out that young ladies in colleges and in
ballrooms give a lot of time and thought to sex, even though they do not
call it by that inelegant term. I very much question whether, if we
should apply our wisdom to the task of getting our young people happily
mated before we sent them off to college, we should not get a lot more
serious study out of them than we now do, with all their "fussing" and
flirting and dancing.

Second, I am willing to make heroic moral efforts, where I see any
chance of adequate results, but I have examined the facts, and
definitely made up my mind that it is not worth while, in our present
stage of culture, to preach to the mass of men the doctrine that they
should abstain from sex experience until they are twenty-five or thirty
years of age. You may storm at them, but they only laugh at you; you may
pass laws, and try to put them in jail, but you only provide a harvest
for blackmailers and grafters. As to sacrificing the girl, my answer is
simply that I believe in love; and in this I think the girl will agree
with me, if you will let her! I have never heard any qualified person
maintain that it hurts a girl to respond to love at the age of seventeen
or eighteen; nor do I think that it hurts a boy, provided that he is
taught the virtues of moderation and self-restraint. Without these, it
will hurt him to eat; but that is no argument for starving him. As for
the question of his maturity and power to judge, we are able at present
to keep him from marrying anybody, so I think we might reasonably hope
to keep him from marrying a wanton or a slut. Certainly we might find
somebody better than the peroxide blonde he now picks up in front of the
moving picture palace.

The question, at what ages we shall advise our young couple to have
children, is a separate one, depending upon many circumstances. First,
of course, they should not have any until they are able financially to
maintain them. As to the age at which it is physically advisable, that
is a question to be settled by physicians and physiologists. I myself
had the idea that the proper age would be when the woman had attained
her full stature; but my friend Dr. William J. Robinson sends me some
statistics from the Johns Hopkins Hospital _Bulletin_, which startle me.
This publication for January, 1922, gives the results in five hundred
childbirths, in which the mother's age was from twelve to sixteen years
inclusive. It appears that pregnancy and labor at these ages are no more
dangerous than in older women; but on the other hand, the duration of
the labor is actually shorter, and the size of the children is not
inferior. These facts are so contrary to the general impression that I
content myself with calling attention to them, and leave the commenting
to be done by feminists and others who oppose themselves to the idea of
early marriage.



     (Discusses how parents and elders may help the young to avoid
     unhappy marriages.)

I will make the assumption that you would like to have a trial of my
cure for prostitution. You would like to do something right here and
now, without waiting for the social revolution. Very well: I propose
that you shall find a few other parents of boys and girls who are in
revolt against our system of hidden vice, and that you will meet and
form a modern marriage club. Only you won't call it that, of course; you
will tactfully describe it as a literary society, or a social circle, or
an Epworth League. The parents who run it will know what it is for, just
as they do today; the only difference being that it will exist to
promote love matches instead of money matches. It happens that I am
myself a tactless sort of a person, not skillful at avoiding saying what
I mean. So, in this chapter, I shall content myself with setting forth
exactly what this marriage club will do, and leaving it to more clever
people to supply the necessary camouflage.

This club will begin by correcting the most stupid of all our
educational blunders, the assumption of the necessary immaturity of the
young. Our young people nowadays have ten times as much chance to learn
and ten times as much stimulus to learn as we had; and it is a generally
safe assumption that they know much more than we think they do, and are
ready to learn every sensible and interesting thing. I am carrying on an
epistolary acquaintance with a little miss of twelve, who has read half
a dozen of my books--among the "worst" of them--and writes me letters of
grave appreciation. I have talked on Socialism to a thousand school
children, and had them question me for an hour, and heard just as worth
while questions as I have heard from an audience of bankers. Never in my
life have I talked about real things with children that I did not find
them proud to be treated seriously, and eager to show that they were
worthy of that honor. A great part of our foolishness with children is
due to the emptiness of our own heads.

These parents will delegate one man and one woman to make a thorough
study of the sex education of the young. Of course, there is knowledge
about sex which has to be given to the very youngest child, and more and
more must be given as they grow older and ask more questions. But what I
have in mind here is that detailed and precise knowledge which must be
given to the young when they approach the period of puberty. At this age
of fourteen or fifteen the man will take each of the boys apart, and the
woman will take each of the girls, and will explain to them what they
need to know. This duty will not be trusted to parents, for parents have
an imbecile fear of talking straight to their children, and try to get
by with rubbish about bees and flowers. Let every child know that the
days of the hole-and-corner sex business is forever past, and that here
is an instructed person, who talks real American, and knows what he is
talking about, and will deal with facts, instead of with evasions.

This club will help to educate the youngsters, and also to give them a
good time, developing both their minds and bodies, and learning to know
them thoroughly. When they are sixteen each one will have another talk,
this time about marriage and what it means; learning that it is not
merely flirtations and delicious thrills, but a business partnership,
and the deepest and best of all friendships. So when John finds that he
likes Mary best of all the girls he knows, this won't be a subject for
"kidding" and sly innuendo, and blushes and simpering on Mary's part,
but an occasion for decent and sensible talk about what each of them
really is, and what each thinks the other to be. If they think they are
in love, then there will be a council of the elder statesmen, to
consider that case, and what are the chances of happiness in that love.
This may sound forbidding, but it is exactly what is done at
present--only it is not done honestly and frankly, and therefore does
not carry proper weight with the young people.

I am an opponent of long engagements, but I am also an opponent of no
engagements at all; I know no truer proverb than "Marry in haste and
repent at leisure." It would be my idea that a very young couple should
announce their engagement, and then wait six months, and be consulted
again about the matter, and have a chance to withdraw with no hard
feelings, if either party thought best. If they wished to go on, they
might be asked to wait another six months, if their elders felt very
certain there were reasons to doubt the wisdom of the match.

There are, of course, people who, because of disease or physical defect,
should never be allowed to marry; and others who might marry, but should
not be allowed to have children. There should be laws providing for such
cases, requiring physical examination before marriage, and in extreme
cases providing for a simple and harmless surgical operation to prevent
the hopelessly unfit from passing on their defects to the future. But
dealing for the moment with normal young persons, members of our modern
marriage club, I should say that if, after they have listened to the
warning of their elders, and have waited for a decent interval to think
things over, they still remain of the opinion that they can make a
successful marriage, then it is up to the elders to wish them luck. I
have known of young couples who have refused to heed warnings, and
regretted it; but I have known of others who went ahead and had their
own way and proved they were right. There is a form of wisdom called
experience and there is another form called love.

I hear the worldly and cynical rail at the blindness of "young love,"
and I can see the truth in what they say; but also I can see the deeper
truth in the magic dreams of the young soul. Here is a youth who adores
a girl, and you know the girl, and it is comical to you, because you
know she is not any of the things the youth imagines. But who are you
that claim to know the last thing about a human soul? Look into your
own, and see how many different things you are! Look back, if you can,
to the time when you were young, and remember the visions and the hopes.
They have lost all reality to you now; but who can say how many of them
you might have made real if there had been one other person who believed
in them, and loved them, and would not give them up?

I write this; and then I think of the other side--the fools that I have
known in love! The trusting women, marrying rotten men to reform them!
The pitiful people who think that fine phrases and sentimentality can
take the place of facts! I implore my young couples to sit down and
face the realities of their own natures, to decide what they are, and
what they want to be--and if there is going to be any change, let it be
made and tried out before marriage! I implore them to begin now to
control their desires by their reason and judgment; to begin, each of
them at the very outset, to carry their share of the burdens and do
their share of the hard work. I implore them to value independence and
self-reliance in the other, and never above all things to marry from
pity, which is a worthy emotion in its place, but has nothing to do with
sex, which should be an affair between equals, a matter of partnership
and not of parasitism. I think that, on the whole, the most dreadful
thing in love is the use of it for preying, for the securing of favors
and advantages of any sort, whether by men or by women.



     (Maintains that the art of love can be taught, and that we have the
     right and the duty to teach it.)

I assume now that our young couple have definitely made up their minds,
and that the wedding day is near. They are therefore, both the man and
the woman, in position to receive information as to the physical aspects
of their future experience. This information is now for the most part
possessed only by pathologists--who impart it too late, after people
have blundered and wrecked their lives. The opponents of birth control
ask in horror if you would teach it to the young; I am now able to
answer just when I would teach it; I would teach it to these young
couples about to marry. I would make it by law compulsory for every
young couple to attend a school of marriage, and to learn, not merely
the regulation of conception, but the whole art of health and happiness
in sex.

Perhaps the words, "a school of marriage," strike you as funny. When I
was young I remember that Pulitzer founded a school of journalism, and
all newspaper editors made merry--they knew that journalism could only
be learned in practice. But nowadays every city editor gives preference
to an applicant who has taken a college course in reporting; they have
learned that journalism can be taught, just like engineering and
accounting. In the same way I assert that marriage can be taught, and
the art of love, physical, mental, moral, and even financial; I think
that the day will come when enlightened parents would no more dream of
trusting their tender young daughter to a man who had not taken a course
in sex, than they would go up in an aeroplane with a pilot who knew
nothing about an engine.

The knowledge which I possess upon the art of love I would be glad to
give you in this book; but unfortunately, if I were to do so, my book
would be suppressed, and I should be sent to jail.

Some ten or twelve years ago I received a pitiful letter from a man who
was in state's prison in Delaware, charged with having imparted
information as to birth control. Under our amiable legal system, a
perfectly innocent man may be thrown into jail, and kept there for a
year or two before he is tried, and if he is without money or friends,
he might as well be buried alive. I went to Wilmington to call on the
United States attorney who had caused the indictment in this case, and
had an illuminating conversation with him. The official was anxious to
justify what he had done. He assured me that he was no bigot, but on the
contrary an extremely liberal man, a Unitarian, a Progressive, etc. "But
Mr. Sinclair," he said, "I assure you this prisoner is not a reformer or
humanitarian or anything like that. He is a depraved person. Look, here
is something we found in his trunk when we arrested him; a pamphlet,
explaining about sex relations. See this paragraph--it says that the
pleasure of intercourse is increased if it is prolonged."

I looked at the pamphlet, and then I looked at the attorney. "Do you
think you have stated the matter quite fairly?" I asked. "Apparently the
purpose is to explain that the emotions of women are more slow to be
aroused than those of men, and that husbands failing to realize this,
often do not gratify their wives."

"Well," said the other, "do you consider that a subject to be

"Pardon me if I discuss it just a moment," I replied. "Do you happen to
know whether the statement is a fact?"

"No, I don't. It may be, I suppose."

"You have never investigated the matter?"

The legal representative of our government was evidently annoyed by my
persistence. "I have not," he answered.

"But then, suppose I were to tell you that thousands of homes have been
broken up for lack of just that bit of knowledge; that tens of thousands
of marriages are miserable for lack of it."

"Surely, Mr. Sinclair, you exaggerate!"

"Not at all. I could prove to you by one medical authority after
another, that if the desire of a woman in marriage is roused, and then
left ungratified, the result is nervous strain, and in the long run it
may be nervous breakdown."

The above covers only one detail of the pamphlet in question. I read
some pages of it, and argued them out with the attorney. It was a
perfectly simple, straightforward exposition of facts about the
physiology of sex; and one of the reasons a man was to be sent to jail
for several years was--not that he had circulated such a pamphlet, not
that he had showed it to young people, but merely that he had it in his

There is an honest and very useful book, written by an English
physician, Dr. Marie C. Stopes, entitled "Married Love," published by
Dr. Wm. J. Robinson of New York, a specialist of authority and
integrity. The book deals with just such vital facts in a perfectly
dignified and straightforward manner; yet Dr. Robinson has been hounded
by the postoffice department because of it; he was convicted and forced
to pay a fine of $250, and the book was barred from the mails!

I have so much else of importance to say in this Book of Love that it
would not be sensible to jeopardize it by causing a controversy with our
official censors of knowledge. Therefore I will merely say in general
terms that men and women differ, not merely as a sex, but as
individuals, and every marriage is a separate problem. Every couple has
to solve it in the intimacy of their love life, and for this there are
needed, first of all, gentleness on the part of the man, especially in
the first days of the honeymoon; and on the part of both at all times
consideration for the other's welfare and enjoyment, and above all,
frankness and honesty in talking out the subject. Reticence and shyness
may be virtues elsewhere, but they have no place in the intimacies of
the sex life; if men and women will only ask and answer frankly, they
can find out by experience what makes the other happy, and what causes

We are dealing here with the most sacred intimacy of life, and one of
the most vital of life's problems. It is here, in the marriage bed, that
the divorce problem is to be settled, and likewise the problem of
prostitution; for it is when men and women fail to understand each
other, and to gratify each other, that one or the other turns cold and
indifferent, perhaps angry and hateful--and then we have passions
unsatisfied, and ranging the world, breaking up other homes and
spreading disease. So I would say to every young couple, seek knowledge
on this subject. Seek it without shame from others who have had a chance
to acquire it. Seek it also from nature, our wise old mother, who knows
so much about her children!

Be natural; be simple and straightforward; and beware of fool notions
about sex. If you will look in the code of Hammurabi, which is over four
thousand years old, you will see the provision that a man who has
intercourse with a menstruating woman shall be killed. In Leviticus you
will read that both the man and the woman are to be cast out from their
people. You will find that most people still have some such notion,
which is without any basis whatever in health. And this is only one
illustration of many I might give of ignorance and superstition in the
sex life. I would give this as one very good rule to bear in mind; your
love life exists for the happiness and health of yourself and your
partner, and not for Hammurabi, nor Moses, nor Jehovah, nor your
mother-in-law, nor anybody else on the earth or above it.

Great numbers of people believe that women are naturally less passionate
than men, and that marital happiness depends upon men's recognizing
this. Of course, there are defective individuals, both men and women;
but the normal woman is every bit as passionate as a man, if once she
has been taught; and if love is given its proper place in life, and
monkish notions not allowed to interfere, she will remain so all through
life, in spite of child-bearing or anything else. I say to married
couples that they should devote themselves to making and preserving
passionate gratification in love; because this is the bright jewel in
the crown of marriage, and if lovers solve this problem, they will find
other problems comparatively simple.



     (Deals with the practical side of the life partnership of

So far we have discussed marriage as if it consisted only of love. But
it is manifest that this is not the case. Marriage is every-day
companionship, and also it is partnership in a complicated business. In
our school of marriage therefore we shall teach the rights and duties of
both partners to the contract, and shall face frankly the money side of
the enterprise.

One of the first facts we must get clear is that the economics of
marriage are in most parts of the world still based upon the subjection
of woman, and are therefore incompatible with the claims of woman as a
partner and comrade. They will never be right until the social
revolution has abolished privilege, and the state has granted to every
woman a maternity endowment, with a mother's pension for every child
during the entire period of the rearing and education of that child.
Until this is done, the average woman must look to some man for the
support of her child, and that, by the automatic operation of economic
force, makes her subject to the whims of the man. What women have to do
is to agitate for a revision of the property laws of marriage; and
meantime to see that in every marriage there is an extra-legal
understanding, which grants to the woman the equality which laws and
conventions deny her.

When I was a boy my mother had a woman friend who, if she wanted to go
downtown, would borrow a quarter from my mother. This woman's husband
was earning a generous salary, enough to enable him to buy the best
cigars by the box, and to keep a supply of liquors always on hand; but
he gave his wife no allowance, and if she wanted pocket money she had to
ask him for it, each time a separate favor. Yet this woman was keeping a
home, she was doing just as hard work and just as necessary work as the
man. Manifestly, this was a preposterous arrangement. If a woman is
going to be a home-maker for a husband, it is a simple, common-sense
proposition that the salary of the husband shall be divided into three
parts--first, the part which goes to the home, the benefit of which is
shared in common; second, the part which the husband has for his own
use; and third, the part which the wife has for hers. The second and
third parts should be equal, and the wife should have hers, not as a
favor, but as a right. If the two are making a homestead, or running a
farm, or building up a business, then half the proceeds should be the
woman's; and it should be legally in her name, and this as a matter of
course, as any other business contract. If the woman does not make a
home, but merely displays fine clothes at tea parties, that is of course
another matter. Just what she is to do is something that had better be
determined before marriage; and if a man wants a life-partner, to take
an interest in his work, or to have a useful work of her own, he had
better choose that kind of woman, and not merely one that has a pretty
face and a trim ankle.

The business side of marriage is something that has to be talked out
from time to time; there have to be meetings of the board of directors,
and at these meetings there ought to be courtesy and kindness, but also
plain facts and common sense, and no shirking of issues. Love is such a
very precious thing that any man or woman ought to be willing to make
money sacrifices to preserve it. But on the other hand, it is a fact
that there are some people with whom you cannot be generous; the more
you give them, the more they take, and with such people the only safe
rule is exact justice. Let married couples decide exactly what
contribution each makes to the family life, and what share of money and
authority each is entitled to.

I might spend several chapters discussing the various rocks on which I
have seen marriages go to wreck. For example, extravagance and worldly
show; clothes for women. In Paris is a "demi-monde," a world of brutal
lust combined with riotous luxury. The women of this "half-world" are in
touch with the world of art and fashion, and when the rich costumers and
woman-decorators want what they call ideas, it is to these lust-women
they go. The fashions they design are always depraved, of course; always
for the flaunting of sex, never for the suggestion of dignity and grave
intelligence. At several seasons of the year these lust-women are
decked out and paraded at the race-courses and other gathering places
of the rich, and their pictures are published in the papers and spread
over all the world. So forthwith it becomes necessary for your wife in
Oshkosh or Kalamazoo to throw away all the perfectly good clothes she
owns, and get a complete new outfit--because "they" are wearing
something different. Of course the costume-makers have seen that it is
extremely different, so as to make it impossible for your wife and
children to be happy in their last season's clothes. I have a winter
overcoat which I bought fourteen years ago, and as it is still as good
as new I expect to use it another fourteen years, which will mean that
it has cost me a dollar and a half per year. But think what it would
have cost me if I had considered it necessary each year to have an
overcoat cut as the keepers of French mistresses were cutting theirs!

But then, suppose you put it up to your wife and daughters to wear
sensible clothes, and they do so, and then they observe that on the
street your eyes turn to follow the ladies in the latest disappearing
skirt? The point is, you perceive, that you yourself are partly to blame
for the fashions. They appeal to a dirty little imp you have in your own
heart, and when the decent women discover that, it makes them blazing
hot, and that is one of the ways you may wreck your domestic happiness
if you want to. Unless I am greatly mistaken, when the class war is all
over we are going to see in our world a sex war; but it is not going to
be between the men and the women, it is going to be between the mother
women and the mistress women, and the mistress women are going to have
their hides stripped off.

Men wreck marriage because they are promiscuous; and women wreck it
because they are parasites. Woman has been for long centuries an
economic inferior, and she has the vices of the subject peoples and
tribes. Now there are some who want to keep these vices, while at the
same time claiming the new privileges which go with equality. Such a
woman picks out a man who is sensitive and chivalrous; who knows that
women suffer handicaps, pains of childbirth, physical weakness, and who
therefore feels impelled to bear more than his share of the burdens. She
makes him her slave; and by and by she gets a child, and then she has
him, because he is bowed down with awe and worship, he thinks that such
a miracle has never happened in the world before, and he spends the rest
of his life waiting on her whims and nursing her vanities. I note that
at the recent convention of the Woman's Party they demanded their rights
and agreed to surrender their privileges. There you have the final test
by which you may know that women really want to be free, and are
prepared to take the responsibilities of freedom.



     (Discusses the permanence of love, and why we should endeavor to
     preserve it.)

So far in this discussion we have assumed that love means monogamous
love. We did so, for the reason that we could not consider every
question at once. But we have promised to deal with all the problems of
sex in the light of reason; and so we have now to take up the question,
what are the sanctions of monogamy, and why do we refuse sanction to
other kinds of love?

First, let us set aside several reasons with which we have nothing to
do. For example, the reason of tradition. It is a fact that Anglo-Saxon
civilization has always refused legal recognition to non-monogamous
marriage. But then, Anglo-Saxon civilization has recognized war, and
slavery, and speculation, and private property in land, and many other
things which we presume to describe as crimes. If tradition cannot
justify itself to our reason, we shall choose martyrdom.

Second, the religious reason. This is the one that most people give. It
is convenient, because it saves the need of thinking. Suffice it here to
say that we prefer to think. If we cannot justify monogamy by the facts
of life, we shall declare ourselves for polygamy.

What are the scientific and rational reasons for monogamy? First among
them is venereal disease. This may seem like a vulgar reason, but no one
can deny that it is real. There was a time, apparently, when mankind did
not suffer from these plagues, and we hope there may be such a time
again. I shall not attempt to prescribe the marital customs for the
people of that happy age; I suspect that they will be able to take care
of themselves. Confining myself to my lifetime and yours, I say that the
aim of every sensible man and woman must be to confine sex relations to
the smallest possible limits. I know, of course, that there are
prophylactics, and the army and navy present statistics to show that
they succeed in a great proportion of cases. But if you are one of
those persons in whose case they don't succeed, you will find the
statistics a cold source of comfort to you.

John and Mary go to the altar, or to the justice of the peace, and John
says: "With all my worldly goods I thee endow." But the formula is
incomplete; it ought to read: "And likewise with the fruits of my wild
oats." Marriage is a contract wherein each of the contracting parties
agrees to share whatever pathogenic bacteria the other party may have or
acquire; surely, therefore, the contract involves a right of each party
to have a say as to how many chances of infection the other shall incur.
John goes off on a business trip, and is lonesome, and meets an
agreeable widow, and figures to himself that there is very little chance
that so charming a person can be dangerous. But maybe Mary wouldn't
agree with his calculations; maybe Mary would not consider it a part of
the marriage bargain that she should take the diseases of the agreeable
widow. What commonly happens is that Mary is not consulted; John revises
the contract in secret, making it read that Mary shall take a chance at
the diseases of the widow. How can any thinking person deny that John
has thus committed an act of treason to Mary?

I know that there are people who don't mind running such chances; that
is one reason why there are venereal diseases. All I can say is that the
sex-code set forth in this book is based upon the idea that to deliver
mankind from the venereal plague, we wish to confine the sex
relationship within the narrowest limits consistent with health,
happiness and spiritual development; and that to this end we take the
young and teach them chastity, and we marry them early while they are
clean, and then we call upon them to make the utmost effort to make a
success of that union, and to make it a matter of honor to keep the
marital faith. We do this with some hope of effectiveness, because we
have made our program consistent with the requirements of nature, the
genuine needs of love both physical and spiritual.

The second argument for monogamy is the economic one. We have dreamed a
social order where every child will be guaranteed maintenance by the
state, and where women will be free from dependence on men. What will be
the love arrangements of men and women under this new order is another
problem which we leave for them to decide, in the certainty that they
will know more about it than we do. Meantime, we are for the present
under the private property régime, and have to love and marry and raise
our children accordingly. The children must have homes, and if they are
to be normal children, they must have both the male and female influence
in their lives; which means that their parents must be friends and
partners, not quarreling in secret. This argument, I know, is one of
expediency. I have adopted it, after watching a great number of people
try other than monogamous sex arrangements, and seeing their chances of
happiness and success wrecked by the pressure of economic forces. To
rebel against social compulsion may be heroism, and again it may be
merely bad judgment. For my part, the world's greatest evil is poverty,
the cause of crime, prostitution and war. I concentrate my energies upon
the abolishing of that evil, and I let other problems wait.

The third reason is that monogamy is economical of human time and
thought. The business of finding and wooing a mate takes a lot of
energy, and adjustment after marriage takes more. To throw away the
results of this labor and do it all over again is certainly not common
sense. Of course, if you bake a cake and burn it, you have to get more
material and make another try; but that is a different matter from
baking a cake with the deliberate intention of throwing it away after a
bite or two.

The advocates of varietism in love will here declare that we are begging
the question. We are assuming that love and the love chase are not
worthy in themselves, but merely means to some other end. Can it be that
love delights are the keenest and most intense that humans can
experience, and that all other purposes of life are contributory to
them? Certainly a great deal of art lends support to this idea, and many
poets have backed up their words by their deeds. As Coleridge phrased

    "All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
     Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
     All are but ministers of Love
     And feed his sacred flame."

This is a question not to be played with. Experimenting in love is
costly, and millions have wrecked their lives by it. The sex urge in us
is imperious and cruel; it wants nothing less than the whole of us,
body, mind and spirit, and ofttimes it behaves like the genii in the
bottle--it gets out, and not all the powers in the universe can get it
back. I have talked with many men about sex and heard them say that it
presents itself to them as an unmitigated torment, something they would
give everything they own to be free of. And these, mind you, not men
living in monasteries, trying to repress their natural impulses, but men
of the world, who have lived freely, seeking pleasure and taking it as
it came. The primrose path of dalliance did not lead them to peace, and
the pursuit of variety in love brought them only monotony.

I stop and think of one after another of these sex-ridden people, and I
cannot think of one whom I would envy. I know one who in a frenzy of
unhappiness seized a razor and castrated himself. I think of another, a
certain classmate in college whom I once stopped in a conversation,
remarking: "Did you ever realize what a state you have got your mind
into? Everything means sex to you. Every phrase you hear, every idea
that is suggested--you try to make some sort of pun, to connect it
somehow or other with sex." The man thought and said, "I guess that's
true." The idea had never occurred to him before; he had just gone on
letting his instincts have their way with him, without ever putting his
reason upon the matter.

That was a crude kind of sex; but I think of another man, an idealist
and champion of human liberty. One of the forms of liberty he maintained
was the right to love as many women as he pleased, and although he was a
married man, one hardly ever saw him that he was not courting some young
girl. As a result, his mental powers declined, and he did little but
talk about ideas. I do not know anyone today who respects him--except a
few people who live the same sort of life. The thought of him brings to
my mind a sentence of Nietzsche--a man who surely stood for freedom of
personality: "I pity the lovers who have nothing higher than their

A question like this can be decided only by the experience of the race.
Some will make love the end and aim of life, and others will make it the
means to other ends, and we shall see which kind of people achieve the
best results, which kind are the most useful, the most dignified, the
most original and vital. I have seen a great many young people try the
experiment of "free love," and I have seen some get enough of it and
quit; I could name among these half a dozen of our younger novelists. I
know others who are still in it--and I watch their lives and find them
to be restless, jealous, egotistical and idle. My defense of monogamy is
based upon the fact that I have never known any happy or successful
"free lovers." Of course, I know some noble and sincere people who do
not believe in the marriage contract, and refuse to be bound by law; but
these people are as monogamous as I am, even more tightly bound by honor
than if they were duly married.

It seems to be in the very nature of true and sincere love to imagine
permanence, to desire it and to pledge it. If you aren't that much in
love, you aren't really in love at all, and you had better content
yourself with strolling together and chatting together and dining
together and playing music together. So many pleasant ways there are in
which men and women can enjoy each other's company without entering upon
the sacred intimacy of sex! You can learn to take sex lightly, of
course, but if you do so, you reduce by so much the chances that true
and deep love will ever come to you; for true and deep love requires
some patience, some reverence, some tending at a shrine. The animals
mate quickly and get it over with; but the great discoveries about love,
and the possibilities of the human soul in love, have come because men
and women have been willing to make sacrifices for it, to take it
seriously--and more especially to take seriously the beloved person, the
rights and needs and virtues of that person. From the lives of such we
learn that love is nature's device for taking us out of ourselves, and
making us truly social creatures.

Early in my life as a writer I undertook to answer Gertrude Atherton, in
her glorification of the sex-corruptions of capitalist society. She
indicted American literature for its "bourgeois" qualities--among these
the fact that American authors had a prejudice in favor of living with
their own wives. Mrs. Atherton set forth the joys of sex promiscuity as
they are understood by European artists, and I ventured in replying to
remark that "one woman can be more to a man than a dozen can possibly
be." That sounds like a paradox, but it is really a profound truth, and
the person who does not understand it has missed the best there is in
the sex relation. There is a limit to the things of the body, but to
those of the mind and spirit there is no limit, and so there is no
reason why true love should ever fall prey to boredom and satiety.



     (Discusses the question, to what extent one person may hold another
     to the pledge of love.)

Once upon a time I knew an Anarchist shoemaker, the same who had me sent
to jail for playing tennis on Sunday, as I have narrated in "The Brass
Check." I remember arguing with him concerning his ideas of sex, which
were of the freest. I can hear the very tones of his voice as he put the
great unanswerable question: "What are you going to do about the problem
of jealousy?" And I had no response at hand; for jealousy is truly a
most cruel and devastating and unlovely emotion; and yet, how can you
escape it, if you are going to preserve monogamy?

The Anarchist shoemaker's solution was to break down all the prejudices
against sexual promiscuity. Free and unlimited license was every
person's right, and for any other person to interfere was enslavement,
for any other person to criticize was superstition. But the power of
superstition is strong in the world, and the shoemaker found men
resentful of his teachings, and disposed to confiscate the rights of
their wives and daughters. Hence the shoemaker's disapproval of

Other men, less purely physiological in their attitude to sex, have
wrestled with this same problem of jealousy. H. G. Wells has a novel,
"In the Days of the Comet," in which he portrays two men, both nobly and
truly in love with the same woman. One in a passion of jealousy is about
to murder the other, when a great social transformation is magically
brought about, and the would-be murderer wakes up to universal love, and
the two men nobly and lovingly share the same woman. Shelley also
dreamed this dream, inviting two women to share him. I have known others
who tried it, but never permanently. I do not say that it never has
succeeded, or that it never can succeed. In this book I am renouncing
the future--I am trying to give practical advice to people, for the
conduct of their lives here and now, and my advice on this point is
that polygamous and polyandrous experiments in modern capitalist society
cost more than they are worth.

I once knew a certain high school teacher, who believed religiously in
every kind of freedom. When she married, she and her husband, an artist,
made a vow against jealousy; but as it worked out, this vow meant that
the wife had a steady job and took care of the husband, while he loafed
and loved other women. When finally she grew tired of it, he accused her
of being jealous; also, she had brought it down to the matter of money!
I know another woman, an Anarchist, widely known as a lecturer on sex
freedom. She laid down the general principle of unlimited personal
freedom for all, and she tried to live up to her faith. She entered into
a "free union" with a certain man, and when she discovered that he was
making love to another woman, in the presence of a friend of mine she
threw a vase of flowers at his head. You see, her general principles had
clashed with another general principle, to the effect that a person who
feels deep and strong love inevitably desires that love to endure, and
cannot but suffer to see it preyed upon and destroyed.

Let us first consider the question, just what are the true and proper
implications of monogamous love? The Roman Catholic church advocates
"monogamy," and understands thereby that a man and woman pledge
themselves "till death do us part," and if either of them cancels this
arrangement it is adultery and mortal sin. I hope that none of my
readers understands by "monogamy" any such system of spiritual
strangulation. My own idea is rather what some churchman has
sarcastically described by the term "progressive polygamy." I believe
that a man and woman should pledge their faith in love, and should keep
that faith, and endeavor with all their best energies to make a success
of it; they should strive each to understand the other's needs, and
unselfishly to fulfill them, within the limits of fair play. But if,
after such an effort has been truly made, it becomes clear that the
union does not mean health and happiness for one of the parties, that
party has a right to withdraw from it, and for any government or church
or other power to deny that right is both folly and cruelty.

Now, on the basis of this definition of monogamy--or, if you prefer, of
progressive polygamy--we are in position to say what we think about
jealousy. If two people pledge their faith, and one breaks it, and the
other complains, we do not call that jealousy, but just common decency.
Neither do we call it jealousy if one expects the other to avoid the
appearance of guilt; for love is a serious thing, not to be played with,
and I think that a person who truly loves will do everything possible to
make clear to the beloved that he is keeping and means to keep the
plighted faith.

You may say that I am using words arbitrarily, in endeavoring thus to
distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable jealousy, and calling
the former by some other name. It does not make much difference about
words, provided I make clear my meaning. I could point out a whole
string of words which have good meanings and bad meanings, and cannot be
discussed without preliminary explanations and distinctions; religion,
for example, and morality, and aristocracy, and justice, to name only a
few. Most people's thinking about marriage and love has been made like
soup in a cheap restaurant, by dumping in all kinds of scraps and
notions from such opposite poles of human thought as Christian monkery
and Renaissance license, absurdly called "romance." So before you can do
any thinking about a problem like jealousy, you have to agree to use the
word to mean something definite, whether good or bad.

We shall take jealousy as a "bad" word, and use it to mean the setting
up, by a man or woman, of some claim to the love of another person,
which claim cannot be justified in the court of reason and fair play.
This includes, in the first place, all claims based upon a courtship,
not ratified by marriage. It is to the interest of society and the race
that men and women should be free to investigate persons of the other
sex, and to experiment with the affections before pledges of marriage
are made. If sensible customs of love and just laws of marriage were
made, there would be no excuse for a woman's giving herself to a man
before marriage; she should be taught not to do it, and then if she does
it, the risk is her own, and the disgusting perversion of venality and
greed known as the "breach of promise suit" should be unknown in our
law. The young should be taught that it is the other person's right to
change his mind and withdraw at any time before marriage; whatever pains
and pangs this may cause must be borne in silence.

The second kind of jealousy is that which seeks to keep in the marriage
bond a person who is not happy in it and has asked to be released. The
law sanctions this kind of cowardly selfishness, which manifests itself
every day on the front pages of our newspapers--a spectacle of monstrous
and loathsome passions unleashed and even glorified. Husbands set the
bloodhounds of the law after wives who have fled with some other man,
and send the man to a cell, and drag the woman back to a loveless home.
Wives engage private detectives, and trail their husbands to some "love
nest," and then ensue long public wrangles, with washing of filthy
linen, and the matter is settled by a "separation." The virtuous wife,
who may have driven the man away by neglect or vanity or stupidity, is
granted a share of his earnings for the balance of her life; and two
more people are added to the millions who are denied sexual happiness
under the law, and are thereby impelled to live as law violators.

For this there is only one remedy conceivable. We have banned
cannibalism and slavery and piracy and duelling, and we must ban one
more ancient and cruel form of human oppression, the effort to hold
people in the bonds of sex by any other power save that of love. I am
aware that the reactionaries who read this book will take this sentence
out of its context and quote it to prove that I am a "free lover." I
shall be sorry to have that done, but even so, I was not willing to live
in slavery myself, and I am not willing to advocate it for others. I am
aware that there are degenerate and defective individuals, and that we
have to make special provision for them, as I shall presently set forth;
but the average, normal human being must be free to decide what is love
for him, and what is happiness for him. Every person in the world will
have to deny himself the right to demand love where love is not freely
given, and all lovers in the world will have to hold themselves ready to
let the loved one go if and when the loved one demands it. I am aware
that this is a hard saying, and a hard duty, but it is one that life
lays upon us, and one that there is no escaping.



     (Defends divorce as a protection to monogamous love, and one of the
     means of preventing infidelity and prostitution.)

You will hear sermons and read newspaper editorials about the "divorce
evil," and you will find that to the preacher or editor this "evil"
consists of the fact that more and more people are refusing to stay
unhappily married. It does not interest these moralizers if the
statistics show that it is women who are getting most of the divorces,
and that the meaning of the phenomenon is that women are refusing to
continue living with drunken and dissolute men. To the clergy, the
breaking of a marriage is an evil _per se_, and regardless of
circumstances. They know this because God has told them so, and in the
name of God they seek to keep people tied in sex unions which have come
to mean loathing instead of love.

Now, I will assert it as a mathematical certainty that a considerable
percentage of marriages must fail. It is essential to progress that
human beings should grow, both mentally and spiritually, and manifestly
they cannot all grow in the same way. If they grow differently, must
they not sometimes lose the power to make each other happy in the
marital bonds? Who does not know the man who masters life and becomes a
vital force, while his wife remains dull and empty? If such a man
changes wives, the world in general denounces him as a selfish beast;
but the world does not know nor does it care about those thousands of
men who, not caring to be branded as selfish beasts, fulfill the needs
of their lives by keeping mistresses in secret.

I knew a certain country school teacher, one of the most narrowly
conventional young women imaginable, who was engaged to a middle-aged
business man. He went to New York on a business trip, and stayed a
couple of months, and wrote her that he had met some Anarchists, and had
discovered that all he had read about them in the newspapers was false,
and that they were the true and pure idealists to whom the rest of his
life must be devoted. The young lady was horrified; nor was she any
happier when she came to New York and met her fiancé's new friends. She
ought in common sense to have broken the engagement; but she was in
love, and she married, as many another fool woman does, with the idea of
"reforming" the man. She failed, and was utterly and unspeakably

I know another man, a conservative capitalist of narrow and aggressive
temper, whose wife turned into an ardent Bolshevik. The man thinks that
all Bolsheviks should be shut up in jail for life, while the wife is
equally certain that all jails should be razed to the ground and all
Bolsheviks placed in control of the government. These two people have
got to a point where they cannot sit down to the breakfast table without
flying into a quarrel. I know another case of a modern scientist, an
agnostic, whose wife, a half-educated, sentimental woman, took to
dabbling in mysticism, and drove him wild by setting up an image of
Buddha in her bedroom, and consorting with "swamis" in long yellow
robes. I know another whose wife turned into an ultra-pious Catholic,
and turned over the care of his domestic life to a priest. Is it not
obvious that the only possible solution of such problems lies in
divorce? Unless, indeed, we are all of us going to turn over the care of
our domestic lives to the priests!

Our grandfathers and grandmothers believed one thing, and believed the
same thing when they were seventy as when they were twenty; so it was
possible for them to dwell in domestic security and permanence till
death did them part. But we are learning to change our minds; and
whether what we believe is better or worse than what our ancestors
believed, at least it is different. Also we are coming to take what we
believe with more seriousness; the intellectual life means more and more
to us, and it becomes harder and harder for us to find sexual and
domestic happiness with a partner who does not share our convictions,
but, on the contrary, may be contributing to the campaign funds of the
opposition party.

I do not mean by this that people should get a divorce as soon as they
find they differ about some intellectual idea; on the contrary, I have
advocated that they should do everything possible to understand and to
tolerate each other. But it is a fact that intellectual convictions are
the raw material out of which characters and lives are made, and it is
inevitable that some characters and lives that fit quite well at twenty
should fit very badly at thirty or forty. When we refuse divorce under
such circumstances we are not fostering marriage, as we fondly imagine;
we are really fostering adultery. It is a fact that not one person in
ten who is held by legal or social force in an unhappy sex union will
refrain from seeking satisfaction outside; and because these outside
satisfactions are disgraceful, and in some cases criminal, they seldom
have any permanence. Therefore it follows that "strict" divorce laws,
such as the clerical propaganda urges upon us, are in reality laws for
the promotion of fornication and prostitution.

There is a short story by Edith Wharton, in which the "divorce evil" is
exhibited to us in its naked horror; the story called "The Other Two,"
in the volume "The Descent of Man." A society woman has been divorced
twice and married three times, and by an ingenious set of circumstances
the woman and all three of the men are brought into the same
drawing-room at the same time. Just imagine, if you can, such an
excruciating situation: a woman, her husband, and two men who used to be
her husbands, all compelled to meet together and think of something to
say! I cite this story because it is a perfect illustration of the
extent to which the "divorce problem" is a problem of our lack of sense.
Mrs. Wharton will, I fear, consider me a very vulgar person if I assert
that there is absolutely no reason whatever why any of those four people
in her story should have had a moment's discomfort of mind, except that
they thought there was. There is absolutely nothing to prevent a man and
woman who used to be married from meeting socially and being decent to
each other, or to prevent two men from being decent to each other under
such circumstances. I would not say that they should choose to be
intimate friends--though even that may be possible occasionally.

I know, because I have seen it happen. In Holland I met a certain
eminent novelist and poet, a great and lovable man. I visited his home,
and met his wife and two little children, and saw a man and woman living
in domestic happiness. The man had also two grown sons, and after a few
days he remarked that he would like me to meet the mother of these young
men. We went for a walk of a mile or so, and met a lady who lived in a
small house by herself, and who received us with a friendly welcome and
talked with us for a couple of hours about music and books and art. This
lady had been the writer's wife for ten years or so, and there had been
a terrible uproar when they voluntarily parted. But they had refused to
pay attention to this uproar; they understood why they did not wish to
remain husband and wife any longer, but they did not consider it
necessary to quarrel about it, nor even to break off the friendship
which their common interests made possible. The two women in the case
were not intimate, I gathered, but they frequently met at the homes of
others, and found no difficulty in being friendly. I suggest to Mrs.
Wharton that this story is at least as interesting as the one she has
told; but I fear she will not care to write it, because apparently she
considers it necessary that people who are well bred and refined should
be the helpless victims of destructive manias.



     (Discusses the circumstances under which society has the right to
     forbid divorce, or to impose limitations upon it.)

We have quoted the old maxim, "Marry in haste and repent at leisure,"
and we suggested that parents and guardians should have the right to ask
the young to wait before marriage, and make certain of the state of
their hearts. We have now the same advice to give concerning divorce;
the same claim to enter on behalf of society--that it has and should
assert the right to ask people to delay and think carefully before
breaking up a marriage.

What interest has society in the restriction of divorce? What affair is
it of any other person if I choose to get a divorce and marry a new wife
once a month? There are many reasons, not in any way based upon
religious superstition or conventional prejudice. In the first place,
there are or may be children, and society should try to preserve for
every child a home with a father and a mother in it. Second, there are
property rights, of which every marriage is a tangle, and the settlement
of which the law should always oversee. Third, there is the question of
venereal disease, which society has an unquestionable right to keep
down, by every reasonable restriction upon sexual promiscuity. And
finally, there is the respect which all men and women owe to love. It
seems to me that society has the same right to protect love against
extreme outrage, as it has to forbid indecent exposure of the person on
the street.

There is in successful operation in Switzerland a wise and sane divorce
law, based upon common sense and not upon superstition. A couple wish to
break their marriage, and they go before a judge, and in private
session, as to a friendly adviser, they tell their troubles. He gives
them advice about their disagreement, and sends them away for three
months to think it over. At the end of three months, if they still
desire a divorce, they meet with him again. If he still thinks there is
a chance of reconciliation, he has the right to require them to wait
another three months. But if at the end of this second period they are
still convinced that the case is hopeless, and that they should part,
the judge is required to grant the divorce. You may note that this is
exactly what I have suggested concerning young couples who become
engaged. In both cases, the parties directly interested have the right
to decide their own fate, but the rest of the world requires them to
think carefully about it, and to listen to counsel. Except for grave
offenses, such as adultery, insanity, crime or venereal disease, I do
not think that anyone should receive a divorce in less than six months,
nor do I think that any personal right is contravened by the imposing of
such a delay.

Next, what are we going to say to the right, or the claim to the right,
on the part of a man or woman, to be married once a year throughout a
lifetime? In order to illustrate this problem, I will tell you about a
certain man known to me. In his early life he spent a couple of years in
a lunatic asylum. He lays claim to extraordinary spiritual gifts, and
uses the language of the highest idealism known. He is a man of culture
and good family, and thus exerts a peculiar charm upon young women of
refinement and sensitiveness. To my knowledge he was three times married
in six years, and each time he deserted the woman, and forced her to
divorce him, and to take care of herself, and in one case of a child. In
addition, he had begotten one child out of marriage, and left the mother
and child to starve. For ten years or so I used to see him about once in
six months, and invariably he had a new woman, a young girl of fine
character, who had been ensnared by him, and was in the agonizing
process of discovering his moral and mental derangement. Yet there was
absolutely nothing in the law to place restraint upon this man; he could
wander from state to state, or to the other side of the world, preying
upon lovely young girls wherever he went.

This particular man happens to call himself a "radical"; but I could
tell you of similar men in the highest social circles, or in the
political world, the theatrical world, the "sporting" world; they are in
every rank of life, and are just as definitely and certainly menaces to
human welfare and progress as pirates on the high seas or highwaymen on
the road. Nor are they confined to the males; the world is full of women
who use their sex charms for predatory purposes, and some of them are
far too clever for any law that you or I can contrive at present. But I
think we might begin by refusing to let any man or woman have more than
two divorces in one lifetime, in any state or part of the world. If any
man or woman tries three times to find happiness in love, and fails each
time, we have a right to assume that the fault must lie with that
person, and not with the three partners.

I think we may go further yet; having made wise laws of love and
marriage, taking into consideration all human needs, we have a right to
require that men and women shall obey the laws. At present the great
mass of the public has sympathy for the law-breaker; just as, in old
days, the peasants could not help admiring the outlaw who resisted
unjust land laws and robbed the rich, or as today, under the capitalist
régime, we can not withhold our sympathy from political prisoners, even
though they have committed acts of violence which we deplore. But when
we have made sex laws that we know are just and sensible--then we shall
consider that we have the right to restrain sex criminals, and in
extreme cases we shall avail ourselves of the skill of science to
perform a surgical operation which will render him unable in future to
prey upon the love needs of people who are placed at his mercy by their
best qualities, their unselfishness and lack of suspicion.

We clear out foul-smelling weeds from our garden, because we wish to
raise beautiful flowers and useful herbs therein. There lives in
California a student of plant life, who has shown us what we can do, not
by magic or by superhuman efforts, but simply by loving plants, by
watching them ceaselessly, understanding their ways, and guiding their
sex-life to our own purposes. We can perform what to our ignorant
ancestors would have seemed to be miracles; we can actually make all
sorts of new plants, which will continue to breed their own kind, and
survive forever if we give them proper care. In other words, Luther
Burbank has shown us that we can "change plant nature."

There flash back upon my memory all those dull, weary, sick human
creatures, who have repeated to me that dull, weary, sick old formula,
"You cannot change human nature." I do not think I am indulging either
in religious superstition or in blind optimism, but am speaking
precisely, in saying that whenever human beings get ready to apply
experimental science to themselves, they can change human nature just as
they now change plant nature. By putting human bodies together in love,
we make new bodies of children more beautiful than any who have yet
romped on the earth; and in the same way, by putting minds and souls
together, we can make new kinds of minds and souls, different from those
we have previously known, and greater than either the man-soul or the
woman-soul alone.

Also, by that magic which is the law of mind and soul life, each new
creation can be multiplied to infinity, and shared by all other minds
and souls that live in the present or may live in the future. We have
shown elsewhere how genius multiplies to infinity the joy and power of
life by means of the arts; and one of the greatest of the arts is the
art of love. Consider the great lovers, the true lovers, of history--how
they have enriched the lives of us all. It does not make any difference
whether these men and women lived in the flesh, or in the brain of a
poet--we learn alike from Dante and Beatrice, from Abélard and Héloïse,
from Robert and Elizabeth Browning, from Tristan and Isolde, from Romeo
and Juliet, what is the depth and the splendor of this passion which
lies hidden within us, and how it may enrich and vivify and glorify all





     (Discusses the beginning of consciousness, in the infant and in
     primitive man, and the problem of its adjustment to life.)

We have now to consider the relationship of man to his fellows, with
whom he lives in social groups. Upon this problem floods of light have
been thrown by the new science of psycho-analysis. I will try to give,
briefly and in simple language, an idea of these discoveries.

One of the laws of biology is that every individual, in his development,
reproduces the history of the race; so that impulses and mental states
of a child reveal to us what our far-off ancestors loved and feared. The
same thing is discovered to be true of neurotics, people who have failed
in adjusting themselves to civilized life, and have gone back, in some
or all of their mental traits, to infantile states. If we analyze the
unconscious minds of "nervous patients," and compare them with what we
find in the minds of infants, and in savages, we discover the same
dreams, the same longings and the same fears.

The mental life of man begins in the womb. We cannot observe that life
directly, but we know that it is there, because there cannot be organic
life without mind to direct it, and just as there is an unconscious mind
that regulates the bodily processes in adults, so in the embryo there
must be an unconscious mind to direct the flow of blood, the building of
bones, muscle, eyes and brain. The mental life of that unborn creature
is of course purely egotistical; it knows nothing outside itself, and it
finds this universe an agreeable place--everything being supplied to it,
promptly and perfectly, without effort of its own.

But suddenly it gets its first shock; pain begins, and severe
discomfort, and the creature is shoved out into a cold world, yelling in
protest against the unsought change. And from that moment on, the
new-born infant labors to adjust itself to an entirely new set of
conditions. Discomforts trouble it, and it cries. Quickly it learns that
these cries are answered, and satisfaction of its needs is furnished.
Somehow, magically, things appear; warm and dry covering, a trickle of
delicious hot milk into its mouth. At first the infant mind has no idea
how all this happens; but gradually it comes to realize objects outside
itself, and it forms the idea that these objects exist to serve its
wants. Later on it learns that there are particular sounds which attach
to particular objects, and cause them to function. The sound "Mama," for
example, produces a goddess clothed in beauty and power, performing
miracles. So the infant mind arrives at the "period of magic gestures"
and the "period of magic words"; corresponding to a certain type of myth
and belief which we find in every race and tribe of human being that now
exists or ever has existed on earth. All these stories about magic
wishes and magic rings and magic spells of a thousand sorts; and nowhere
on earth a child which does not listen greedily to such fancies! The
reason is simply that the child has passed through this stage of mental
life, and so recently that the feelings are close to the surface of his

But gradually the infant makes the painful discovery that not everything
in existence can be got to serve him; there are forces which are proof
against his magic spells; there are some which are hostile, and these
the infant learns to regard with hatred and fear. Sometimes hatred and
fear are strangely mixed with admiration and love. For example, there is
a powerful being known as "father," who is sometimes good and useful,
but at other times takes the attention of the supremely useful "mother,"
the source of food and warmth and life. So "father" is hated, and in
fancy he is wished out of the way--which to the infant is the same thing
as killing. Out of this grows a whole universe of fascinating mental
life, which Freud calls by the name "the [OE]dipus complex"--after the
legend of the Greek hero who murdered his father and committed incest
with his mother, and then, when he discovered what he had done, put out
his own eyes. There is a mass of legends, old as human thought,
repeating this story; we cannot be sure whether they have grown out of
the greeds and jealousies of this early wish-life of the infant, or
whether they had their base in the fact that there was a stage in human
progress in which the father really was killed off by the sons.

This latter idea is discussed by Freud, in his book, "Totem and Taboo."
It appears that primitive man lived in hordes, which were dominated by
one old male, who kept all the women to himself, and either killed the
young males, or drove them out to shift for themselves; so the young men
would combine and murder their father. The forming of human society, of
marriage and the family, depended upon one factor, the decision of the
young victors to live and let live. The only way they could do this was
to agree not to quarrel over the women of their own group, but to seek
other women from other groups. This may account for what is known as
"exogamy," an almost universal marriage custom of primitive man, whereby
a man named Jones is barred by frightful taboos from the women named
Jones, but is permitted relations with all the women named Smith.

To return to our infant: he is in the midst of a painful process of
adjusting himself to the outside world; discovering that sometimes all
his magic words and gestures fail, his wishes no longer come true. There
are beings outside him, with wills of their own, and power to enforce
them; he has to learn to get along with these beings, and give up his
pleasures to theirs. These processes which go on in the infant soul, the
hopes and the terrors, the griefs and the angers, are of the profoundest
significance for the later adult life. For nothing gets out of the mind
that has once got into it; the infantile cravings which are repressed
and forgotten stay in the unconscious, and work there, and strive still
for expression. The conscious mind will not tolerate them, but they
escape in the form of fairy-tales and stories, of dreams and delusions,
slips of the tongue, and many other mental events which it is
fascinating to examine. Also, if we are weakened by ill health or
nervous strain, these infantile wishes may take the form of "neuroses,"
and fully grown people may take to stammering, or become impotent, or
hysterical, or even insane, because of failures of adjustment to life
that happened when they were a year or two old. These things are known,
not merely as a matter of theory, but because, as soon as by analysis
these infant secrets are brought into consciousness and adjusted there,
the trouble instantly ceases.

So it appears that the whole process of human life, from the very hour
of birth, consists of the correct adjustment of men and women in
relation to their fellows. Not merely is man a social being, but all the
prehuman ancestors of men, for ages upon geologic ages, have been
social beings; they have lived in groups, and their survival has
depended upon their success in fitting themselves snugly into group
relationships. Failure to make correct adjustments means punishment by
the group, or by enemies outside the group; if the failure is serious
enough, it means death. We may assert that the task of understanding
one's fellow men, and making one's self understood by them, is the most
important task that confronts every individual.

And if we look about the world at present, the most superficial of us
cannot fail to realize that the task is far from being correctly
performed. So many people unhappy, so many striving for what they cannot
get! So many having to be locked behind bars, like savage beasts,
because they demand something which the world is resolved not to let
them have! So many having to be killed, by rifles and machine-guns, by
high explosive shells and poison gas--because they misunderstood the
social facts about them, and thought they could fulfill some wishes
which the rest of mankind wanted them to repress! As I read the
psycho-analyst's picture of the newly born infant with its primitive
ego, its magic cries and magic gestures, I cannot be sure how much of it
is sober science and how much is mordant irony--a sketch of the mental
states of the men and women I see about me--whole classes of men and
women, yes, even whole nations!

The effort of the following chapters will be to interpret to men and
women the world which they have made, and to which they are trying to
adjust themselves. More especially we shall try to show how, by better
adjustments, men may change both themselves and the world, and make both
into something less cruel and less painful, more serene and more certain
and more free.



     (Discusses the relation of the adult to society, and the part which
     selfishness and unselfishness play in the development of social

Pondering the subject of this chapter, I went for a stroll in the
country, and seating myself in a lonely place, became lost in thought;
when suddenly my eye was caught by something moving. On the bare, hot,
gray sand lay a creature that I could see when it moved and could not
see when it was still, for it was exactly the color of the ground, and
fitted the ground tightly, being flat, and having its edges scalloped so
that they mingled with the dust. It was a lizard, covered with heavy
scales, and with sharp horns to make it unattractive eating. At the
slightest motion from me it vanished into a heap of stones, so quickly
that my eye could scarcely follow it.

This creature, you perceive, is in its actions and its very form an
expression of terror; terror of devouring enemies, of jackals that
pounce and hawks that swoop, and also of the hot desert air that seeks
to dry out its few precious drops of moisture. Practically all the
energies of this creature are concentrated upon the securing of its own
individual survival. To be sure, it will mate, but the process will be
quick, and the eggs will be left for the sun to hatch out, and the baby
lizards will shift for themselves--that is to say, they will be
incarnations of terror from the moment they open their eyes to the

The jackal seeks to pounce upon the lizard, and so inspires terror in
the lizard; but when you watch the jackal you find that it exhibits
terror toward more powerful foes. You find that the hawk, which swoops
upon the lizard, is equally quick to swoop away when it comes upon a man
with a gun. This preying and being preyed upon, this mixture of cruelty
and terror, is a conspicuous fact of nature; if you go into any orthodox
school or college in America today, you will be taught that it is
nature's most fundamental law, and governs all living things. If you
should take a course in political economy under a respectable
professor, you would find him explaining that such cruelty-terror
applies equally in human affairs; it is the basis of all economic
science, and the effort to escape from it is like the effort to lift
yourself by your boot-straps.

The professor calls this cruelty-terror by the name "competition"; and
he creates for his own purposes an abstract being whom he names "the
economic man," a creature who acts according to this law, and exists
under these conditions. One of the professor's formulas is the so-called
"Malthusian law," that population presses always upon the limits of
subsistence. Another is "the law of diminishing returns of agriculture,"
that you can get only so much product out of a certain piece of land, no
matter how much labor and capital you put into it. Another is Ricardo's
"iron law of wages," that wages cannot rise above the cost of living.
Another is embodied in the formula of Adam Smith, that "Competition is
the life of trade." The professor enunciates these "laws," coldly and
impersonally, as becomes the scientist; but if you go into the world of
business, you find them set forth cynically, in scores of maxims and
witticisms: "Dog eat dog," "the devil take the hindmost," "business is
business," "do others or they will do you."

Evidently, however, there is something in man which rebels against these
"natural" laws. In our present society man has set aside six days in the
week in which to live under them, and one day in the week in which to
preach an entirely different and contradictory code--that of Christian
ethics, which bids you "love your neighbor," and "do unto others as you
would they should do unto you." Between these Sunday teachings and the
week-day teachings there is eternal conflict, and one who takes pleasure
in ridiculing his fellow men can find endless opportunity here. The
Sunday preachers are forbidden to interfere with the affairs of the
other six days; that is called "dragging politics into the pulpit." On
the other hand, incredible as it may seem, there are professors of the
week-day doctrine who call themselves Christians, and believe in the
Sunday doctrine, too. They manage this by putting the Sunday doctrine
off into a future world; that is, we are to pounce upon one another and
devour one another under the "iron laws" of economics so long as we live
on earth, but in the next world we shall play on golden harps and have
nothing to do but love one another. If anybody is so foolish as to apply
the Sermon on the Mount to present-day affairs, we regard him as a
harmless crank; if he persists, and sets out to teach others, we call
him a Communist or a Pacifist, and put him in jail for ten or twenty

In the Book of the Mind, I have referred to Kropotkin's "Mutual Aid as a
Factor in Evolution," which I regard as one of the epoch-making books of
our time. Kropotkin clearly proves that competition is not the only law
of nature, it is everywhere modified by co-operation, and in the great
majority of cases co-operation plays a larger part in the relations of
living creatures than competition. There is no creature in existence
which is entirely selfish; in the nature of the case such a creature
could not exist--save in the imaginations of teachers of special
privilege. If a species is to survive, some portion of the energies of
the individual must go into reproduction; and steadily, as life
advances, we find the amount of this sacrifice increasing. The higher
the type of the creature, the longer is the period of infancy, and the
greater the sacrifice of the parent for the young. Likewise, most
creatures make the discovery that by staying together in herds or
groups, and learning to co-operate instead of competing among
themselves, they increase their chances of survival. You find birds that
live in flocks, and other birds, like hawks and owls and eagles, that
are solitary; and you find the co-operating birds a thousand times as
numerous--that is to say, a thousand times as successful in the struggle
for survival. You find that all man's brain power has been a social
product; the supremacy he has won over nature has depended upon one
thing and one alone--the fact that he has managed to become different
from the "economic man," that product of the imagination of the
defenders of privilege.

It is evident that both competition and co-operation are necessary to
every individual, and the health of the individual and of the race lies
in the proper combination of the two. If a creature were wholly
unselfish--if it made no effort to look after its own individual
welfare--it would be exterminated before it had a chance to reproduce.
If, on the other hand, it cannot learn to co-operate, its progeny stand
less chance of survival against creatures which have learned this
important lesson. We have a nation of a 110,000,000 people, who have
learned to co-operate to a certain limited extent. Some of us realize
how vastly the happiness of these millions might be increased by a
further extension of co-operation; but we find ourselves opposed by the
professors of privilege--and we wish that these gentlemen would go out
and join the lizards of the desert sands or the sharks of the sea,
creatures which really practice the system of "laissez faire" which the
professors teach.

The plain truth is that we cannot make a formula out of either
competition or co-operation. We cannot settle any problem of economics,
of business or legislation, by proclaiming, for example, that
"Competition is the life of trade." Competition may just as well turn
out to be the death of trade; it depends entirely upon the kind of
competition, and the stage of trade development to which it is applied.
In the early eighteenth century, when that formula of Adam Smith was
written, competition was observed to keep down prices and provide
stimulus to enterprise, and so to further abundant production. But the
time came when the machinery for producing goods was in excess, not
merely of the needs of the country, but of the available foreign
markets, and then suddenly the large-scale manufacturers made the
discovery that competition was the death of trade to them. They
proceeded, as a matter of practical common sense, and without consulting
their college professors, to abolish competition by forming trusts. We
passed laws forbidding them to do this, but they simply refused to obey
the laws. In the United States they have made good their refusal for
thirty-five years, and in the end have secured the blessing of the
Supreme Court upon their course.

So now we have co-operation in large-scale production and marketing. It
is known by various names, "pools," "syndicates," "price-fixing,"
"gentlemen's agreements." It is a blessing for those who co-operate, but
it proves to be the death of those who labor, and also of those who
consume, and we see these also compelled to combine, forming labor
unions and consumers' societies. Each side to the quarrel insists that
the other side is committing a crime in refusing to compete, and our
whole social life is rent with dissensions over this issue. Manifestly,
we need to clear our minds of dead doctrines; to think out clearly just
what we mean by competition, and what by co-operation, and what is the
proper balance between the two.

I have been at pains in this book to provide a basis for the deciding of
such questions. It is a practical problem, the fostering of human life
and the furthering of its development. We cannot lay down any fixed
rule; we have to study the facts of each case separately. We shall say,
this kind of competition is right, because it helps to protect human
life and to develop its powers. We shall say, this other kind of
competition is wrong because it has the opposite effect. We shall say,
perhaps, that some kind was right fifty years ago, or even ten years
ago, because it then had certain effects; but meantime some factor has
changed, and it is now having a different effect, and therefore ought to
be abolished.

There has never been any kind of human competition which men did not
judge and modify in that way; there is no field of human activity in
which ethical codes do not condemn certain practices as unfair. The
average Englishman considers it proper that two men who get into a
dispute shall pull off their coats, and settle the question at issue by
pummeling each other's noses. But let one of these men strike his
opponent in the groin, or let him kick his shins, and instantly there
will be a howl of execration. Likewise, an Anglo-Saxon man who fights
with the fists has a loathing for a Sicilian or Greek or other
Mediterranean man who will pull a knife. That kind of competition is
barred among our breeds; and also the kind which consists of using
poisons, or of starting slanders against your opponent.

If you look back through history, you find many forms of competition
which were once eminently respectable, but now have been outlawed. There
was a time, for example, when the distinction we draw between piracy and
sea-war was wholly unknown. The ships of the Vikings would go out and
raid the ships and seaports of other peoples, and carry off booty and
captives, and the men who did that were sung as heroes of the nation.
The British sea-captains of the time of Queen Elizabeth--Drake,
Frobisher, and the rest of them--are portrayed in our school books as
valiant and hardy men, and the British colonies were built on the basis
of their activities; yet, according to the sea laws in force today, they
were pirates. We regard a cannibal race with abhorrence; yet there was a
time when all the vigorous races of men were cannibals, and the habit of
eating your enemies in battle may well have given an advantage to the
races which practiced it.

On the other hand, you find sentimental people who reject all
competition on principle, and would like to abolish every trace of it
from society, and especially from education. But stop and consider for a
moment what that would mean. Would you abolish, for example, the
competition of love, the right of a man to win the girl he wants? You
could not do it, of course; but if you could, you would abolish one of
the principal methods by which our race has been improved. Of course,
what you really want is, not to abolish competition in love, but to
raise it to a higher form. There is an old saying, "All's fair in love
and war," but no one ever meant that. You would not admit that a man
might compete in love by threatening to kill the girl if she preferred a
rival. You would not admit that he might compete by poisoning the other
man. You would not admit that he might compete by telling falsehoods
about the other man. On the other hand, if you are sensible, you admit
that he has a right to compete by making his character known to the
girl, and if the other man is a rascal, by telling the girl that.

Would you abolish the competition of art, the effort of men to produce
work more beautiful and inspiring than has ever been known before? Would
you abolish the effort of scientists to overthrow theories which have
hitherto been accepted? Obviously not. You make these forms of
competition seem better by calling them "emulation," but you do not in
the least modify the fact that they involve the right of one person to
outdo other persons, to supplant them and take away something from them,
whether it be property or position or love or fame or power. In that
sense, competition is indeed the law of life, and you might as well
reconcile yourself to it, and learn to play your part with spirit and
good humor.

Also, you might as well train your children to it. You will find you
cannot develop their powers to the fullest without competition; in fact,
you will be forced to go back and utilize forms of competition which are
now out of date among adults. I have told in the Book of the Body how I
myself tried for ten years or more to live without physical competition,
and discovered that I could not; I have had to take up some form of
sport, and hundreds of thousands of other men have had the same
experience. What is sport? It is a deliberate going back, under
carefully devised rules, to the savage struggles of our ancestors. The
very essence of real sport is that the contestants shall, within the
rules laid down, compete with each other to the limit of their powers.
With what contempt would a player of tennis or baseball or whist regard
the proposition that his opponent should be merciful to him, and let him
win now and then! Obviously, these things have no place in the game, and
to be a "good sport" is to conform to the rules, and take with enjoyment
whatever issue of the struggle may come.

But then again, suppose you are competing with a child; obviously, the
conditions are different. You no longer play the best you can, you let
the child win a part of the time; but you do not let the child know
this, or it would spoil the fun for the child. You pretend to try as
hard as you know how, and you cry out in grief when you are beaten, and
the child crows with delight. And yet, that does not keep you from
loving the child, or the child from loving you.

The purpose of this elaborate exposition is to make clear the very vital
point that a certain set of social acts may be right under some
conditions, and desperately wrong under other conditions. They may be
right in play, and not in serious things; they may be right in youth,
and not in maturity; they may be right at one period of the world's
development, while at another period they are destructive of social
existence. If, therefore, we wish to know what are right and wrong
actions in the affairs of men, if we wish to judge any particular law or
political platform or program of business readjustment, the first thing
we have to do is to acquire a mass of facts concerning the society to
which the law or platform or program, is to be applied. We need to ask
ourselves, exactly what will be the effect of that change, applied in
that particular way at that particular time. In order to decide
accurately, we need to know the previous stages through which that
society has passed, the forces which have been operating in it, and the
ways in which they have worked.

But also we must realize that the lessons of history cannot ever be
accepted blindly. The "principles of the founders" apply to us only in
modified form; for the world in which we live today is different from
any world which has ever been before, and the world tomorrow will be
different yet. We are the makers of it, and the masters of it, and what
it will be depends to some extent upon our choice. In fact, that is the
most important lesson of all for us to learn; the final purpose of all
our thought about the world is to enable us to make it a happier and a
better world for ourselves and our posterity to live in.



     (Discusses the idea of superior classes and races, and whether
     there is a natural basis for such a doctrine.)

In the letters of Thomas Jefferson is found the following passage:

"All eyes are open or opening to the rights of man. The general spread
of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable
truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their
backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them
legitimately, by the grace of God."

This, which Jefferson, over a hundred years ago, described as a
"palpable truth," is still a long way from prevailing in the world. We
are trying in this book not to take anything for granted, so we do not
assume this truth, but investigate it; and we begin by admitting that
there are many facts which seem to contradict it, and which make it more
difficult of proof than Jefferson realized. It is not enough to point
out the lack of saddles on the backs, and of boots and spurs on the feet
of newly born infants; for the fact is that men are not exploited
because of saddles, nor is the exploiting accomplished by means of boots
and spurs. It is done by means of gold and steel, banks and credit
systems, railroads, machine-guns and battleships. And while it is not
true that certain races and classes are born with these things on them,
they are born to the possession of them, and the vast majority of
mankind are without them all their lives, and without the ability to use
them even if they had them.

The doctrine that "all men are created equal," or that they ought to be
equal, we shall describe for convenience as the democratic doctrine. It
first came to general attention through Christianity, which proclaimed
the brotherhood of all mankind in a common fatherhood of God. But even
as taught by the Christians, the doctrine had startling limitations. It
was several centuries before a church council summoned the courage to
decide that women were human beings, and had souls; and today many
devout Christians are still uncertain whether Japanese and Chinese and
Filipinos and Negroes are human beings, and have souls. I have heard old
gentlemen in the South gravely maintain that the Negro is not a human
being at all, but a different species of animal. I have heard learned
men in the South set forth that the sutures in the Negro skull close at
some very early age, and thus make moral responsibility impossible for
the black race. And you will find the same ideas maintained, not merely
as to differences of race and color, but as to differences of economic
condition. You will find the average aristocratic Englishman quite
convinced that the "lower orders" are permanently inferior to himself,
and this though they are of the same Anglo-Saxon stock.

For convenience I will refer to the doctrine that there is some natural
and irremovable inferiority of certain races or classes, as the
aristocratic doctrine. I will probably startle some of my readers by
making the admission that if there is any such natural or irremovable
inferiority, then a belief in political or economic equality is a
blunder. If there are certain classes or races which cannot think, or
cannot learn to think as well as other classes and races, those mentally
inferior classes and races will obey, and they will be made to obey, and
neither you nor I, nor all the preachers and agitators in the world,
will ever be able to arrange it otherwise. Suppose we could do it, we
should be committing a crime against life; we should be holding down the
race and aborting its best development.

Is there any such natural and irremovable inferiority in human beings?
When we come to study the question we find it complicated by a different
phenomenon, that of racial immaturity, which we have to face frankly and
get clear in our minds. One of the most obvious facts of nature is that
of infancy and childhood. We have just pointed out that if you are
competing with a child, you do it in an entirely different way and under
an entirely different set of rules, and if you fail to do this, you are
unfair and even cruel to the child. And it is a fact of our world that
there are some races more backward in the scale of development than
other races. You may not like this fact, but it is silly to try to evade
it. People who live in savage huts and beat on tom-toms and fight with
bows and arrows and cannot count beyond a dozen--such people are not
the mental or moral equals of our highly civilized races, and to treat
them as equals, and compete with them on that basis, means simply to
exterminate them. And we should either exterminate them at once and be
done with it, or else make up our minds that they are in a childhood
stage of our race, and that we have to guide them and teach them as we
do our children.

There is no more useful person than the wise and kind teacher. But
suppose we saw some one pretending to be a teacher to our children,
while in reality enslaving and exploiting them, or secretly robbing and
corrupting them--what would we say about that kind of teacher? The name
of that teacher is capitalist commercialism, and his profession is known
as "the white man's burden"; his abuse of power is the cause of our
present racial wars and revolts of subject peoples. A fair-minded man,
desirous of facing all the facts of life, hardly knows what stand to
take in such a controversy; that is, hardly knows from which cause the
colored races suffer more--the white man's exploitation, or their own
native immaturity.

To say that certain races are in a childhood stage, and need instruction
and discipline, is an entirely different thing from saying they are
permanently inferior and incapable of self-government. Whether they are
permanently inferior is a problem for the man of science, to be
determined by psychological tests, continued possibly over more than one
generation. We have not as yet made a beginning; in fact, we have not
even acquired the scientific impartiality necessary to such an inquiry.

In the meantime, all that we can do is to look about us and pick up
hints where we can. In places like Massachusetts, where Negroes are
allowed to go to college and are given a chance to show what they can
do, they have not ousted the white man, but many of them have certainly
won his respect, and one finds charming and cultured men among them, who
show no signs of prematurely closed up skulls. And one after another we
see the races which have been held down as being inferior, developing
leadership and organization and power of moral resistance. The Irish are
showing themselves today one of the most vigorous and high-spirited of
all races. The Hindus are developing a movement which in the long run
may prove more powerful than the white man's gold and steel. The
Egyptians, the Persians, the Filipinos, the Koreans, are all devising
ways to break the power of capitalist newspaper censorship. How sad that
the subject races of the world have to get their education through
hatred of their teachers, instead of through love!

Of course, these rebel leaders are men who have absorbed the white man's
culture, at least in part; practically always they are of the younger
generation, which has been to the white man's schools. But this is the
very answer we have been seeking--as to whether the race is permanently
inferior, or merely immature and in need of training. It is not only
among the brown and black and yellow races that progress depends upon
the young generations; that is a universal fact of life.

In the course of this argument we shall assume that the Christian or
democratic theory has the weight of probability on its side, and that
nature has not created any permanently and necessarily inferior race or
class. We shall assume that the heritage of culture is a common
heritage, open to all our species. We shall not go so far as the
statement which Jefferson wrote into the Declaration of Independence,
that "all men are created free and equal"; but we shall assert that they
are created "with certain inalienable rights," and that among these is
the right to maintain their lives and to strive for liberty and
happiness. Also, we shall say that there will never be peace or order in
the world until they have found liberty, and recognition of their right
to happiness.



     (Deals with authority in human society, how it is obtained, and
     what sanction it can claim.)

It is possible to conceive an order of nature in which all individuals
were born and developed exactly alike and with exactly equal powers.
Such is apparently the case with lower animals, for example the ants and
the bees. But among human beings there are great differences; some are
born idiots and some are born geniuses. Even supposing that we are able
to do away with blindness and idiocy, it is not likely that we can ever
make a race of uniform genius. There will always be some more capable
minds, who will discover new powers of life, and will compel the others
to learn from them. It is to the interest of the race that this learning
should be done as quickly as possible. In other words, the great problem
of society is how to recognize superior minds and put them in authority.

We look back over history, and discover a few wise men, and many rulers;
but very, very rarely does it happen that the ruler is a wise man, or a
friend of wise men. Far more often we find the ruler occupied in
suppressing the wise man and his wisdom. There was a ruler who allowed
the mob to crucify Jesus, and another who ordered Socrates to drink the
hemlock, and another who tortured Galileo, and another who chopped off
the head of Sir Walter Raleigh--and so on through a long and tragic
chronicle. And even when the accident of a wise ruler occurs he is apt
to be surrounded by a class of parasites and corrupt officials who are
busy to thwart his will.

The general run of history is this: some group seizes power by force,
and holds it by the same means, and seeks to augment and perpetuate it.
Those who win the power are frequently men of energy and practical
sense, and do fairly well as governors; but they are never able to hand
on their virtues, and their line becomes corrupted by sensuality and
self-indulgence, and the subject classes are plundered and driven to
revolt. Often the revolt fails, but in the course of time it succeeds,
and there is a new dynasty, or a new ruling class, sometimes a little
better than the old, sometimes worse.

How shall one judge whether the new régime is better or worse?
Obviously, this is a most important question; it has to do, not merely
with history, but with our daily affairs, our voting. As one who has
read some tens of thousands of pages of history, and has pondered its
lessons with heart-sickness and despair, I lay down this general law by
which revolts and changes of power may be judged: If the change results
in the holding of power by a smaller number of people, it is a reaction;
but if the change results in distributing the power among a larger group
of the community, then that community has made a step in advance.

I have seen a sketch of the history of some Central American
country--Guatemala, I think--which showed 130 revolutions in less than a
hundred years. Some rascal gets together a gang, and seizes the
government and plunders its revenue. When he has plundered too much,
some other rascal stirs up the people, and gets together another gang.
Such "revolutions" we regard as subjects for comic opera, and for the
Richard Harding Davis type of fiction; but we do not consider them as
having any relationship to progress. We describe them as "palace"

But compare with this the various English revolutions. We write learned
histories about them, and describe England as "the Mother of
Parliaments." The reason for this is that when there was political
discontent in England, the protesting persons proceeded to organize
themselves, and to understand their trouble and to remedy it. They had
the brain power to do this; they maintained their right to do it, and
when by violence or threats of violence they forced the ruling class to
give way, they brought about a wider extension of liberty, a wider
distribution of power. Tennyson has pictured England as a state "where
freedom slowly broadens down from precedent to precedent." We today,
reading its history, are inclined to put a sarcastic emphasis on the
word "slowly"; but Tennyson would answer that it is better for a
community to move forward slowly than to move forward rapidly and then
move backward nearly as far.

We have pointed out several times the important fact of biology that
change does not necessarily mean progress from any rational or moral
point of view. Degeneration is just as real a fact as progress, and it
does not at all follow that because things change they are changing for
the better. It is worth while to repeat this in discussing human
society, for it is just as true of governments and morals as of living
species. A nation may pile up wealth, and multiply a hundredfold the
machinery of wealth production, and only be increasing luxury and
wantonness and graft. A nation may change its governmental forms, its
laws and social conventions, and boast noisily of these changes in the
name of progress, while as a matter of fact it is following swiftly the
road to ruin which all the empires of history have traced. So far as I
can discover, there is one test, and only one, by which you can judge,
and that is the test already indicated: Is the actual, effective power
of the state wielded by a larger or a smaller percentage of the
population than before the change took place?

You will note the words "actual, effective power." Nothing is more
familiar in human life than for forms to survive after the spirit which
created them is dead; and nothing is more familiar than the use of these
forms as masks to deceive the populace. There have been many times in
history when people have gone on voting, long after their votes ceased
to count for anything; there have been many times when people have gone
through the motions of freedom long after they have been slaves. Mexico
under Diaz had one of the most perfect of constitutions, and was in
reality one of the most perfect of despotisms; and we Americans are
sadly familiar with political democracies which do not work.

Shall we, therefore, join the pessimists and say that history is a blind
struggle for useless power, and that the notion of progress is a
delusion? I do not think so; on the contrary, I think it is easily to be
demonstrated that there has been a steady increase in the amount of
knowledge possessed by the race, and in the spread of this knowledge
among the whole population. I think that through most of the period of
written history we can trace a real development in human society. I
think we can analyze the laws of this development, and explain its
methods; and I think this knowledge is precious to us, because it
enables us to accelerate the process and to make the end more certain.
This task, the analysis of social evolution, is the task we have next to



     (Discusses the series of changes through which human society has

We have now to consider, briefly, the history of man as a social being,
the groups he has formed, and the changes in his group systems.
Everything in life grows, and human societies are no exception to the
rule. They have undergone a long process of evolution, which we can
trace in detail, and which we find conforms exactly to the law laid down
by Herbert Spencer; a process whereby a number of single and similar
things become different parts of one complex thing. In the case of human
societies the units are men and women, and social evolution is a process
whereby a small and simple group, in which the individuals are
practically alike, grows into a large and complex group, in which the
individuals are widely different, and their relations one to another are
complicated and subtle.

There are two powerful forces pressing upon human beings, and compelling
them to struggle and grow. The first of these forces is fear, the need
of protection against enemies; the second is hunger, the need of food
and the means of producing and storing food. The first causes the
individual to combine with his fellows and establish some form of
government, and this is the origin of political evolution. The second
causes him to accumulate wealth, and to combine industrially, and this
is the origin of economic evolution. Because the first force is a little
more urgent, we observe in the history of human society that evolution
in government precedes evolution in industry.

I made this statement some twenty years ago, in an article in "Collier's
Weekly." I wrote to the effect that man's first care was to secure
himself against his enemies, and that when he had done this he set out
to secure his food supply. "Collier's" called upon the late Professor
Sumner of Yale University, a prize reactionary and Tory of the old
school, to answer me; and Professor Sumner made merry over my statement,
declaring that man sought for food long before he was safe from his
enemies. Some years later, when Sumner died, one of his admirers wrote
in the New York "Evening Post" that he had completely overwhelmed me,
and I had acknowledged my defeat by failing to reply--something which
struck me as very funny. It was, of course, possible that Sumner had
overwhelmed me, but to say that I had considered myself overwhelmed was
to attribute to me a degree of modesty of which I was wholly incapable.
As a matter of fact, I had had my usual experience with capitalist
magazines; "Collier's Weekly" had promised to publish my rejoinder to
Sumner, but failed to keep the promise, and finally, when I worried
them, they tucked the answer away in the back part of the paper, among
the advertisements of cigars and toilet soaps.

Professor Sumner is gone, but he has left behind him an army of pupils,
and I will protect myself against them by phrasing my statement with
extreme care. I do not mean to say that man first secures himself
completely against his enemies, and then goes out to hunt for a meal. Of
course he has to eat while he is countering the moves of his enemies; he
has to eat while he is on the march to battle, or in flight from it. But
ask yourself this question: which would you choose, if you had to
choose--to go a couple of days with nothing to eat, or to have your
throat cut by bandits and your wife and children carried away into
slavery? Certainly you would do your fighting first, and meantime you
would scratch together any food you could. While you were devoting your
energies to putting down civil war, or to making a treaty with other
tribes, or to preparing for a military campaign, you would continue to
get food in the way your ancestors had got it; in other words, your
economic evolution would wait, while your political evolution proceeded.
But when you had succeeded in putting down your enemies, and had a long
period of peace before you, then you would plant some fields, and
domesticate some animals, or perhaps discover some new way of weaving
cloth--and so your industrial life would make progress.

It is easy to see why Professor Sumner wished to confuse this issue. He
could not deny political evolution, because it had happened. He despised
and feared political democracy, but it was here, and he had to speak
politely to it, as to a tiger that had got into his house. But
industrial democracy was a thing that had not yet happened in the
world; it was only a hope and a prophecy, and therefore a prize old Tory
was free to ridicule it. I remember reading somewhere his statement--the
notion that democracy had anything to do with industry, or could in any
way be applied to industry, was a piece of silliness. So, of course, he
sought to demolish my idea that there was a process of evolution in
economic affairs, paralleling the process of political evolution which
had already culminated in democracy.

Let us consider the process of political evolution, briefly and in its
broad outlines. Take any savage tribe; you find it composed of
individuals who are very much alike. Some are a little stronger than
others, a little more clever, more powerful in battle; but the
difference is slight, and when the tribe chooses someone to lead them,
they might as well choose one man as another. They all have a say in the
tribe councils, both men and women; their "rights" in the tribe are the
same. They are, of course, slaves to ignorance, to degrading
superstition and absurd taboos; but these things apply to everyone
alike, there is no privileged caste, no hereditary inequality.

But little by little, as the tribe grows in numbers, and in power and
intelligence, as it comes to capture slaves in battle, and to unite with
other tribes, there comes to be an hereditary chieftain and a group of
his leading supporters, his courtiers and henchmen. When the society has
evolved into the stage which we call barbarism, there is a permanent
superior caste; there are hereditary priests, who have in their keeping
the favor of the gods; and there is a subject population of slaves.

The society moves on into the feudal stage, in which the various grades
and classes are precisely marked off, each with its different functions,
its different privileges and rights and duties. The feudal
principalities and duchies war and struggle among themselves; they are
united by marriage or by conquest, and presently some stronger ruler
brings a great territory under his power, and we have what is called a
kingdom; a society still larger, still more complex in its organization,
and still more rigid in its class distinctions. Take France, under the
ancient régime, and compare a courtier or noble gentleman with a serf;
they are not only different before the law, they are different in the
language they use, in the clothes they wear, in the ideas they hold;
they are different even in their bodies, so that the gentleman regards
the serf as an inferior species of creature.

The kings warred among themselves and emperors arose. The ultimate ideal
in Europe was a political society which should include the whole
continent, and this ideal was several times almost attained. But it is
the rule of history that wherever a large society is built upon the
basis of privilege and enslavement, the ruling classes prove morally and
intellectually unequal to the burden put upon them; they become
corrupted, and their rule becomes intolerable. This happened in Europe,
and there came political revolutions--first in England, which
accomplished it by gradual stages, and then in the French monarchy, and
quite recently in a dozen monarchies and empires, large and small.

What precisely is this political revolution? Let us consider the case of
France, where the change was sudden, and the issues precisely drawn.
King Louis XIV had said, "I am the state." To a person of our time that
might seem like boasting, but it was merely an assertion of the existing
political fact. King Louis was the state by universal consent, and by
divine authority, as all men believed. The army was his army, the navy
was his navy, and wars, when he made them, were his wars. Everyone in
the state was his subject, and all the property of the state was his
personal, private property, to dispose of as he pleased. The government
officials carried out his will, and members of the nobility held the
land and ruled in his name.

But now suddenly the people of France overthrew the king, and put him to
death, and drove the nobles into exile; they seized the power of the
French state, and proclaimed themselves equal citizens in the state,
with equal voices in its government and equal rights before the law. So
we call France a republic, and describe this form of society as
political democracy. It is the completion of the process of political
evolution, and you will see that it moves in a sort of spiral; having
completed a circle and got back where it was before, but upon a higher
plane. The citizens of a modern republic are equal before the law, just
as were the members of the savage tribe; but the political organization
is vastly larger, and infinitely more complicated, and every individual
lives his life upon a higher level, because he shares in the benefits of
this more highly organized and more powerful.



     (Examines the process of evolution in industry and the stage which
     it has so far reached.)

And now let us consider the process of industrial evolution. We shall
find it to be exactly the same thing, reproducing the changes in another
field of activity. You may picture two gigantic waves sweeping over the
ocean. In some places the waves are far apart, and in other places they
are closer together; for a time they may mingle, and perhaps their bases
always mingle. It would be easy for a critic to point out how political
affairs play a leading part in industrial evolution, and vice versa; it
would be easy to argue that property rules the political state, or
again, that the main function of the political state is to protect
property. As I have said, man has to fight his enemies, and he has to
seek food, and often he has to do the two things at the same time; but
nevertheless, broadly speaking, we observe two great waves, sweeping
over human society, and most of the time these waves are clearly
separated and easily distinguished.

Industry in a savage tribe is, like government, simple and uniform; all
the members of the tribe get their living in the same way. One may be a
little more expert as a fisherman, another as a gatherer of cocoanuts,
but the fisherman gathers cocoanuts and the cocoanut-gatherer fishes. In
the days of primitive communism there is little economic strife and
little change; but as slavery comes in, and the private property system,
there begins industrial war--the members of the tribe trade with one
another, and argue over prices, and gradually some get the better of
others, they accumulate slaves and goods, and later on they appropriate
the land to their private use. Of course, the men who do this are often
the rulers of the tribe, and so politics and industry are mixed; but
even assuming that the state never interfered, assuming that the
government allowed business affairs to work themselves out in their own
way, the tendency of competition is always to end in monopoly. The big
fish eat the little fish, the strong gain advantage over the weak, the
rich grow richer, and the poor grow relatively poorer. As the amount of
trading increases, and men specialize in the arts of bargaining, we see
again and again how money concentrates in the hands of a few. It does
this, even when the political state tries to prevent it; as, for
example, when the princes and dukes of the Middle Ages would torture the
Jewish money-lenders and take away their treasure, but the Jews never
failed to grow rich again.

It is when political evolution has completed itself, and a republic has
been set up, that a free field is given to economic forces to work
themselves out to their logical end. We have seen this in the United
States, where we all started pretty much on the same economic level, and
where political tyranny has had little hold. Our civilization is a
civilization of the trader--the business man, as we call him; and we see
how big business absorbs little business, and grows constantly larger
and more powerful. We are familiar with what we call "graft," the use by
business men of the powers of government to get trade advantage for
themselves, and we have a school of old-time thinkers, calling
themselves "Jeffersonian Democrats," who insist that if only there had
never been any government favors, economic equality and democracy would
have endured forever in our country. But it is my opinion that
government has done far more to prevent monopoly and special privilege
in business than to favor it; and nevertheless, monopoly has grown.

In other words, the tendency toward concentration in business, the
absorption of the small business by the big business, is an irresistible
natural process, which neither can be nor should be hindered. The
condition of competition, whether in politics or in industry, is never a
permanent one, and can never be made permanent; it is a struggle which
automatically brings itself to an end. Large-scale production and
distribution is more economical than small-scale, and big business has
irresistible advantages of credit and permanence over little business.
As we shall presently show, the blind and indiscriminate production of
goods under the competitive system leads to the glutting of markets and
to industrial crises. At such times the weaker concerns are weeded out
and the strong ones take their trade; and as a result, we have the
modern great corporation, the most powerful machine of production yet
devised by man, and which corresponds in every aspect to the monarchy in
political society.

We are accustomed to speak of our "captains of industry," our "coal
kings," and "beef barons" and "lords of steel," and we think we are
using metaphors; but the universality of these metaphors points to a
fundamental truth in them. As a matter of fact, our modern captain of
industry fills in the economic world exactly the same functions as were
filled in ancient days by the head of a feudal state. He has won his
power in a similar struggle, and he holds it by similar methods. He
rules over an organization of human beings, arranged, economically
speaking, in grades and classes, with their authorities and privileges
and duties precisely determined, as under the "ancient régime." And just
as King Louis said, "I am the state," so Mr. Armour considers that he is
Armour & Co., and Mr. Morgan considers that he is the house of Morgan,
and that the business exists for him and is controlled by him under
divine authority.

If I am correct in my analysis of the situation, this process of
industrial evolution is destined to complete itself, as in the case of
the political state. The subject populations of industry are becoming
more and more discontented with their servitude, more and more resentful
of that authority which compels them to labor while others reap the
benefit. They are organizing themselves, and preparing for a social
transformation which will parallel in every detail the revolution by
which our ancestors overthrew the authority of King George III over the
American colonies, and made inhabitants of those colonies no longer
subjects of a king, but free and equal citizens of a republic. I expect
to see a change throughout the world, which will take the great
instruments of production which we call corporations and trusts, out of
the hands of their present private owners, and make them the property,
either of the entire community, or of those who do the work in them.
This change is the "social revolution," and when it has completed
itself, we shall have in that society an Industrial Republic, a form of
business management which constitutes economic democracy.

The history of the world's political revolutions has been written almost
exclusively by aristocratic or bourgeois historians; that is to say, by
men who, whatever their attitude toward political democracy, have no
conception of industrial democracy, and believe that industrial strife
and enslavement are the normal conditions of life. If, however, you will
read Kropotkin's "Great French Revolution," you will be interested to
discover how important a part was played in this revolution by economic
forces. Underneath the political discontent of the merchants and middle
classes lay a vast mass of social discontent of the peasants and
workers. It was the masses of the people who made the revolution, but it
was the middle classes who seized it and turned it to their own ends,
putting down attempts toward economic equality, and confining the
changes, so far as possible, to the political field.

And everywhere throughout history, if you study revolutions, you find
that same thing happening. You find, for example, Martin Luther fighting
for the right to preach the word of God without consulting the Pope; but
when the peasants of Germany rose and sought to set themselves free from
feudal landlords, Luther turned against them, and called upon the
princes to shoot them down. "The ass needs to be beaten, and the
populace needs to be controlled with a strong hand." The landlords and
propertied classes of England were willing to restrict the power of the
king, and to give the vote to the educated and well-to-do; but from the
time of Jack Cade to our own they shoot down the poor.

But meantime, the industrial process continues; the modern factory
system brings the workers together in larger and larger groups, and
teaches them the lesson of class consciousness. So the time of the
workers draws near. The first attempt in modern times to accomplish the
social revolution and set up industrial democracy was in the Paris
Commune. When the French empire collapsed, after the war with Germany in
1871, the workers of Paris seized control. They were massacred, some
50,000 of them, and the propertied classes of France established the
present bourgeois republic, which has now become the bulwark of reaction
throughout the Continent of Europe.

Next came the Russian revolution of 1905, and this was an interesting
illustration of the relation between the two waves of social progress.
Russia was a backward country industrially, and according to theory not
at all prepared for the social revolution. But nowadays the thoughts of
men circulate all over the world, and the exiles from Russia had
absorbed Marxian ideas, and were not prepared to accept a purely
political freedom. So in 1905, after the Japanese war, when the people
rose and forced the Czar to grant a parliament, the extremists made an
effort to accomplish the social revolution at the same time. The
peasants began to demand the land, and the workers the factories;
whereupon the capitalists and middle classes, who wanted a parliament,
but did not want Socialism, went over to the side of reaction, and both
the political and social revolutions were crushed.

But then came the great war, for which Russia with her incompetent
government and her undeveloped industry was unprepared. The strain of it
broke her down long before the other Allies, and in the universal
suffering and ruin the Russian people were again forced to rise. The
political revolution was accomplished, the Czar was imprisoned, and the
Douma reigned supreme. Middle class liberalism throughout the world gave
its blessings to this revolution, and hastened to welcome a new
political democracy to the society of nations. But then occurred what to
orthodox democratic opinion has been the most terrifying spectacle in
human history. The Russian people had been driven too far towards
starvation and despair; the masses had been too embittered, and they
rose again, overthrowing not only their Czar and their grand dukes, but
their capitalists and land-owners. For the first time in history the
social revolution established itself, and the workers were in control of
a great state. Ever since then we have seen exactly what we saw in
Europe from 1789 onward, when the first political republic was
established, and all the monarchies and empires of the world banded
themselves together to stamp it out. We have witnessed a campaign of
war, blockade, intrigue and propaganda against the Soviet government of
Russia, all pretending to be carried on in the name of the Russian
people, and for the purpose of saving them from suffering--but all
obviously based upon one consideration and one alone, the fear that an
effort at industrial self-government might possibly prove to be a

Whether or not the Soviets will prove permanent, no one can say. But
this much is certain; just as the French revolution sent a thrill around
the world, and planted in the hearts of the common people the wonderful
dream of freedom from kings and ruling classes, just so the Russian
revolution has brought to the working masses the dream of freedom from
masters and landlords. Everywhere in capitalist society this ferment is
working, and in one country after another we see the first pangs of the
new birth. Also we see capitalists and landlords, who once found
"democracy," "free speech" and "equality before the law" useful formulas
to break down the power of kings and aristocrats, now repudiating their
old-time beliefs, and going back to the frankest reaction. We see, in
our own "land of the free," the government refusing to reprint the
Declaration of Independence during the war, and arresting men for
quoting from it and circulating it; we even see the Department of
Justice refusing to allow people to reprint the Sermon on the Mount!



     (Discusses history as a battle-ground between ruling and subject
     classes, and the method and outcome of this struggle.)

There is a theory of social development, sometimes called the
materialistic interpretation of history, and sometimes the economic
interpretation of history. It is one of the contributions to our thought
which we owe to Karl Marx, and like all the rest of Marxian theory, it
is a subject of embittered controversy, not merely between Socialists
and orthodox economists, but between various schools of revolutionary
doctrine. For my part, I have never been a great hand for doctrine,
whether ancient or modern; I am not much more concerned with what Marx
taught than I am with what St. Paul taught, or what Martin Luther
taught. My advice is to look at life with your own eyes, and to state in
simple language the conclusions of your own thinking.

Man is an eating animal; he has also been described as a tool-making
animal, and might be described as an ideal-making animal. There is a
tendency on the part of those who specialize in the making of ideals to
repudiate the eating and the tool-making sides of man; which accounts
for the quarrel between the Marxians and the moralists. All through
history you find new efforts of man to develop his emotional and
spiritual nature, and to escape from the humiliating limitations of the
flesh. These efforts have many of them been animated by desperate
sincerity, but none of them have changed the fundamental fact that man
is an eating animal, an animal insufficiently provided by nature against
cold, and with an intense repugnance to having streams of cold water run
down back of his neck. The religious teachers go out with empty purse,
and "take no thought for the morrow"; but the forces of nature press
insistently upon them, and little by little they make compromises, they
take to shelter while they are preaching, they consent to live in
houses, and even to own houses, and to keep a bank account. So they make
terms with the powers of this world, and the powers of this world,
which are subtle, and awake to their own interests, find ways to twist
the new doctrine to their ends.

So the new religion becomes simply another form of the old hypocrisy;
and it comes to us as a breath of fresh air in a room full of corruption
when some one says, "Let us have done with aged shams and false
idealisms. Let us face the facts of life, and admit that man is a
physical animal, and cannot do any sane and constructive thinking until
he has food and shelter provided. Let us look at history with unblinking
eyes, and realize that food and shelter, the material means of life, are
what men have been seeking all through history, and will continue to
seek, until we put production and distribution upon a basis of justice,
instead of a basis of force."

Such is, as simply as I can phrase it, the materialistic interpretation
of history. Put into its dress of scientific language it reads: the
dominant method of production and exchange in any society determines the
institutions and forms of that society. I do not think I exaggerate in
saying that this formula, applied with judgment and discrimination, is a
key to the understanding of human societies.

Wherever man has moved into the stage of slavery and private property
there has been some group which has held power and sought to maintain
and increase it. This group has set the standards of behavior and belief
for the community, and if you wish to understand the government and
religion, the manners and morals, the philosophy and literature and art
of that community, the first thing you have to do is to understand the
dominant group and its methods of keeping itself on top. This statement
applies, not merely to those cultural forms which are established and
ordained by the ruling class; it applies equally well to the
revolutionary forms, the behavior and beliefs of those who oppose the
ruling class. For men do not revolt in a vacuum, they revolt against
certain conditions, and the form of their revolt is determined by the
conditions. Take, for example, primitive Christianity, which was
certainly an effort to be unworldly, if ever such an effort was made by
man. But you cannot understand anything about primitive Christianity
unless you see it as a new form of slave revolt against Roman
imperialism and capitalism.

The theory of the class struggle is the master key to the bewilderments
and confusions of history. Always there is a dominant class, holding
the power of the state, and always there are subject classes; and sooner
or later the subject classes begin protesting and struggling for wider
rights. When they think they are strong enough, they attempt a revolt,
and sometimes they succeed. If they do, they write the histories of the
revolt, and their leaders become heroes and statesmen. If they fail, the
histories are written by their oppressors, and the rebels are portrayed
as criminals.

One of the commonest of popular assumptions is that if the rebels have
justice on their side, they are bound to succeed in the long run; but
this is merely the sentimental nonsense that is made out of history. It
is perfectly possible for a just revolt to be crushed, and to be crushed
again and again; just as it is possible for a child which is ready to be
born to fail to be born, and to perish miserably. The fact that the
Huguenots had most of the virtue and industry and intelligence of France
did not keep them from being slaughtered by Catholic bigots, and
reaction riveted upon the French people for a couple of hundred years.
The fact that the Moors had most of the industry of Spain did not keep
them from being driven into exile by the Inquisition, and the
intellectual life of the Spanish people strangled for three hundred or
four hundred years.

Some eight hundred years ago our ancestors in England brought a cruel
and despotic king to battle, and conquered him, and on the field of
Runnymede forced him to sign a grant of rights to Englishmen. That
document is known as Magna Carta, or the Great Charter, and everyone who
writes political history today recognizes it as one of the greatest of
man's achievements, the beginning of a process which we hope will bring
freedom and equality before the law to every human being on earth.

And now we have come to the stage in our industrial affairs, when the
organized workers seek to bring the monarchs of industry into the
council chamber, and force them to sign a similar Great Charter, which
will grant freedom and self-government to the workers. Just as King John
was forced to admit that the power to tax and spend the public revenue
belonged to the people of England, and not to the ruler; just so the
workers will establish the principle that the finances of industry are a
public concern, that the books are to be opened, and prices fixed and
wages paid by the democratic vote of the citizens of industry. If that
change is accomplished, the historian of the future will recognize it
as another momentous step in progress; and he will heed the protests of
the lords of industry, that they are being deprived of their freedom to
do business, and of their sacred legal rights to their profits, as
little as he heeded the protests of King John against the "treason" and
"usurpation" and infringement of "divine right" by the rebellious



     (Shows how wealth is produced in modern society, and the effect of
     this system upon the minds of the workers.)

In the beginning man got his living by hunting and fishing. Then he took
to keeping flocks and herds, and later by slow stages he settled down to
agriculture. With the introduction of slavery and the ownership of the
land by ruling classes, there came to be a subject class of workers, who
toiled on the land from dawn to dark, year in and year out, and got, if
they were fortunate, an existence for themselves and their families.
Whether these workers were called slaves or serfs or peasants, whether
their product was taken from them in the form of taxes by the king, or
of rent by the landlord, made no difference; the workers were bound to
the soil, like the beasts with which they lived in intimate contact.
They were drafted into armies, and made to fight for their lords and
masters; they suffered pestilence and famine, fire and slaughter; but
with infinite patience they would rebuild their huts, and dig and plant
again, whether for the old master or for a new one.

In the early days these workers made their own crude tools and weapons;
but very early there must have been some who specialized in such arts,
and with the growth of towns and communications came a new kind of
labor, based upon a new system. Some enterprising man would buy slaves,
or hire labor, and obtain a supply of raw material, and manufacture
goods to be bartered or sold. He would pay his workers enough to draw
them from the land, and would sell the product for what he could get,
and the difference would be his profit. That was capitalism, and at
first it was a thing of no importance, and the men who engaged in it had
no social standing. But princes and lords needed weapons and supplies
for their armies, and the men who could furnish these things became more
and more necessary, and the states which encouraged them were the ones
which rose to power. Merchants and sea-traders became the intimates of
kings, and by the time of the Roman empire, capitalism was a great
world power, dominating the state, using the armies of the state for its
purposes. It went down with the rest of Roman civilization, but in the
Middle Ages it began once more to revive, and by the end of the
eighteenth century the merchants and money lenders of France, with their
retainers, the lawyers and journalists, were powerful enough to take the
control of society.

Then, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, came the invention of
machinery and of the power process. Capitalism began to grow like a
young giant among pygmies. In the course of a century it has ousted all
other methods of production, and all other forms of social activity. A
hundred years ago the British House of Commons was a parliament of
landlords; today it is a Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association. Out
of the 707 members of the British House of Commons, 361 are members of
the "Federation of British Industries," the labor-smashing organization
of British "big business." And the same is true of every other
parliament and congress in the modern capitalist state. Practically all
the wealth of the world today is produced by the capitalist method, and
distributed under capitalist supervision, and therefore capitalist ideas
prevail in our society, to the practical exclusion of all other ideas. I
have shown in "The Profits of Religion" how these ideas dominate the
modern church, and in "The Brass Check" how they dominate the modern
press. I plan to write two books, to show how they dominate education
and literature.

A hundred years ago an industry consisted of a half a dozen or a dozen
men, working under the personal supervision of an owner, and using crude
hand tools. Today it consists of a gigantic trust, owning and managing
scores and perhaps hundreds of mills and factories, each employing
thousands of workers. A corporation like the Steel Trust owns enough of
the sources of its raw material to give it practical monopoly; it owns a
fleet of vessels especially designed for ore-carrying; it owns its
private railroads, to deliver the ore to the mills. Through its system
of dummy directorates it has practical control of the main railroads
over which it distributes its products; also of banks and trust
companies and insurance companies, to gather the money of the public to
finance its undertakings. It owns huge office buildings, and vast
tracts of land upon which the homes of its workers are built. It has a
private army for the defense of its property--a complete army of
cavalry, infantry and artillery, including a large and highly efficient
secret service department, with a host of informers and spies. It has
newspapers for the purpose of propaganda, and it controls the government
of every village, town and city in which it has important interests. If
you will take the trouble to visit a "steel town," and make inquiries
among public officials, newspaper men, and others who are "on the
inside," you will discover that those in authority consider it necessary
and proper that "steel" should control, and are unable to conceive any
other condition of affairs. If you go to other parts of the country,
where other great industries are located, you find it taken for granted
that "copper" should control, or "lumber," or "coal," or "oil," or
whatever it may be.

Under the system of large scale capitalism, labor is a commodity, bought
and sold in the market like any other commodity. Some years ago Congress
was requested to pass a law contradicting this fundamental fact of world
capitalism. Congress passed a law, very carefully worded so that no one
could be sure what it meant, and a few years later the Supreme Court
nullified the law. But all through this political and legal controversy
the status of labor remained exactly the same; there was a "labor
market," consisting of those members of the community who, in the
formula of Marx, had nothing but their labor power to sell. These
competed for recognition at the factory gates, and highly skilled
foremen selected those who offered the largest quantity of labor power
for the stated wage.

So entirely impersonal is this process that there are great industries
in America in which ninety per cent of the common labor force is hired
and fired all over again in the course of a year. These men are put to
work in gangs, under a system which enables one picked man to set the
pace, and compel all the others to keep up with him, under penalty of
being discharged. This process is known as "speeding up," and its
purpose is to obtain from each worker the greatest quantity of energy in
exchange for his daily wage. In the steel industry men work twelve hours
a day for six days in the week, and then finish with a twenty-four-hour
day. If they do not work so long in other industries, it is because
experience has proven that the greatest quantity of energy can be
obtained from them in a shorter time. There are very few men who can
stand this pace for long. Those who are not crippled or killed in
accidents are broken down at forty, and all the great corporations
recognize this fact. Their foremen pick out the younger men, and
practically all concerns have an age rule, and never hire men above
forty or forty-five.

I shall not in this book go into details concerning the fate of the
worker under the profit system. I have written two novels, "The Jungle"
and "King Coal," in which the facts are portrayed in detail, and it
seems the part of common sense to refer the reader to these text-books.
It will suffice here to set forth the main outlines of the situation. In
every capitalist country of the world the masses of the people are
herded into industries, in whose profits they have no share, and in
whose welfare they have no interest. They do not know the people for
whom they work; they have no human relationship, either with their work
or with their employers. They see the surplus of their product drawn off
to maintain a class of idlers, whose activities they know only through
the scandals of the divorce courts and the luxury-love of the moving
picture screen. They compete with one another for jobs, and bid down one
another's wages; and if they attempt to organize and end this
competition, their efforts are broken by newspaper propaganda and
policemen's clubs. At the same time they know that monopoly, open or
secret, prevails in the fixing of prices, and so they find the struggle
to "get ahead" a losing one. In America it used to be possible for the
young and energetic to "go West"; but now the wave of capitalism has
reached the Pacific coast and been thrown back, and there is no more

The man who works on the land has been through all the ages a solitary
man. He is better friends with his horse and his cow than with his
fellow humans. He is brutalized by incessant toil, he lives amid dirt
and the filth of animals, he is, in the words of Edwin Markham:

    "A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
     Stunted and stunned, a brother to the ox."

He is a victim of natural forces which he does not understand, and
inevitably therefore he is superstitious. Being alone, he is helpless
against his masters, and only utter desperation drives him to revolt.

But consider the capitalist system--how different the conditions of its
workers! Here they are gathered into city slums, and their wits are
sharpened by continual contact with their fellows. The printing press
makes cheap the spread of information, and the soap-box makes it even
cheaper. Any man with a grievance can shout aloud, and be sure of an
audience to listen, and he can get a great deal said before the company
watchman or the policeman can throttle him. Moreover, the modern worker
is not struggling with drought and tempest and hail; he does not see his
labors wiped out by volcanic eruption or lightning stroke; he is dealing
with machinery, something that he himself has made, and that he fully
understands. If a machine gets out of order, he does not fall down upon
his knees and pray to God to fix it. All the training of his life
teaches him the relationship of cause and effect, the adjustment of
means to ends. So the modern worker, as a necessary consequence of his
daily work, is practical, skeptical, and unsentimental in his
psychology. And what is more, he is making all the rest of society of
the same temperament. He is building roads out into the country, and
building machines to roll over them; he is running telephone lines and
sending newspapers and magazines and moving picture shows to the peasant
and the farmer; so the young peasants and farmers hunger for the city,
and they learn to fix machinery instead of praying to God.

Such is the psychology of the modern working class; and the supreme
achievement of their sharpened wits is an understanding of the
capitalist process. As a matter of fact they did not make this discovery
for themselves; it was made for them by middle-class men, lawyers and
teachers and writers--Fourier, Owen, Marx, Lassalle. The modern doctrine
is called by various names: Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, Bolshevism,
Syndicalism, Collectivism. Later on I shall define these various terms,
and point out the distinctions between them. For the moment I emphasize
the factor they all have in common, and which is fundamental: they wish
to break the power of class ownership and control of the instruments and
means of production; they wish to replace private capitalism by some
system under which the instruments and means of production are
collectively owned and operated; and they look to the non-owning class,
the proletarian, as the motive power by which this change is to be
compelled. I shall in future refer to this as the "social revolutionary"
doctrine; taking pains to explain that the word "revolutionary" is to be
divested of its popular meaning of physical violence. It is perfectly
conceivable that the change may be brought about peaceably, and I shall
try to show before long that in modern capitalist states the decision as
to whether it is brought about peaceably or by violence rests with the
present masters of industry.



     (How profits are made under the present industrial system and what
     becomes of them.)

We have next to examine the structure of the capitalist order, basing
our argument on facts which are admitted by everyone, including the most
ardent defenders of the present system.

All men have to have certain material things which we describe as goods.
As these goods do not produce themselves, it is necessary that some
should work. The workers must have tools; also they must have access to
the land and the sources of raw materials. These means of production are
owned by some individuals in the community, and this ownership gives
them power to direct the work of the rest. Those who own the land and
the natural sources of wealth we call capitalists, or business men, and
those who do not own these things, or whose share in them is
insignificant, are the proletariat, or working class.

If you state to the average American that there is a capitalist class
and a proletariat in this country, he will point out that many who are
now members of the capitalist class were originally members of the
proletariat; they have worked hard and saved, and accumulated property.
But this is merely confusing the issue. The fact that some proletarians
turn into capitalists and some capitalists into proletarians is
important to the individuals concerned, but it does not alter the fact
that there are two classes, capitalist and proletarian. Consider, by way
of illustrating, a field with trees growing on it; we have earth, and we
have trees, and the distinction between them is unmistakable. The roots
of the trees go down into the earth, and take up portions of the earth
and turn it into tree. The leaves and the dead branches fall, and in the
course of time are turned once more to earth. There are all sorts of
stages between earth and tree, and between tree and earth; but you would
not therefore say that the word "earth" and the word "tree" are

The working men go to the business man and apply for work. The business
man gives them work, and takes their product, and offers it in the
market at a price which allows him a profit above cost. If he can sell
at a profit, he repeats the process, and the worker has a job. If he
cannot sell at a profit, the worker is out of a job. Here and there may
be a benevolent business man who, rather than turn his workers out of a
job, will sell his goods at cost, or even for a short time at a loss;
but if he keeps the factory going simply for the benefit of his workers,
and with no expectation of ever making a profit, that is a form of
charity, and not the common system under which our business is now
carried on.

So it appears that the worker is dependent for his wages upon the
ability of the business man to make a profit. The worker's life is
inextricably bound up with the profit of the capitalist--no profit for
the capitalist, no life for the worker. The capitalist, going out to
look for markets for his goods, is seeking, not merely profit for
himself, but life for his workers.

Now, the business man pays a certain percentage of his total receipts
for labor, another percentage for raw materials, another percentage for
his overhead charges, and the rest is profit in various forms, rent to
the landlord, interest to the bondholder, dividends to the stockholder.
All this total sum goes to human individuals, and each has thus a
certain amount of money to spend. They pay it over to other individuals
for goods or services, and so the money keeps circulating, and business
keeps going. That is as deep as the average mind probes into the

But let us probe a little deeper. It is evident that, in the course of
all this exchanging of goods, some individuals get a larger share than
other individuals. Our government collects an income tax, and thus we
have statistics representing what people are willing to admit about the
share they get. In 1917 it appeared that, speaking roughly, one family
out of six had an income of over $1,000 a year, and one family out of
twelve had an income of over $2,000. But there were 19,000 families
which admitted incomes of over $50,000 a year, and 300 with over
$1,000,000 a year.

Now the families that get less than a thousand dollars a year obviously
have to spend the greater part of their income upon their immediate
living expenses. But the families that get $50,000 a year do not need
to spend everything, and most of them take the greater part of their
income and reinvest it--that is, they spend it upon the creating of new
machinery of production, railroads, mills, factories, office buildings,
the whole elaborate structure of capitalist industry.

Exactly what proportion of the total product of industry is thus taken
and reinvested no one can say; but this we know, our cities are growing
at an enormous rate, our manufacturing power is increasing by leaps and
bounds, we are perfecting processes which enable one man to do the work
of a hundred men, which increase the product of one man's labor a
hundredfold. All this goes on blindly, automatically; a Niagara of goods
of all sorts is poured out, and we call it "prosperity."

But then suddenly a strange and bewildering thing happens. All at once,
and without warning, orders fall off, values begin to drop, business
collapses, factories are shut down, and millions of men are thrown out
of jobs. Merchants look at one another with blanched faces; each one has
been counting on paying his bills with the profits he was going to make,
and now his profits are gone, and he can't pay. The newspapers and
magazines keep insisting that it can't be true, that business is going
to revive next week, that prosperity is just ahead. But the factories
stay shut, and the millions of men stay idle.

This is the condition in which we find ourselves as I write this book.
It has been happening regularly in our history every ten years or so,
ever since America started; we have had a hundred years to reflect upon
it and to probe into the causes of it, and such is business intelligence
in the most enlightened country in the world, you may search the pages
of our newspapers from the first column of millionaire divorce suits to
the last column of "situations wanted," and nowhere can you find one
word to explain this mysterious calamity of "hard times"--how it comes
to happen to our social system, or what could be done to prevent it! To
supply this deficiency in present day thinking is our next task.



     (Explains why capitalist prosperity is a spasmodic thing, and why
     abundant production brings distress instead of plenty.)

Let us picture a small island inhabited by six men. One of these men
fishes, another hunts, another gathers cocoanuts, another raises goats
for clothing, and so on. The six men among them produce by their labor
all the necessities of their lives, and they exchange their products
with one another. The island is productive, and each of the men is free,
and makes his exchanges on equal terms; on that basis the industry of
the island can continue indefinitely, and there will never be any
trouble. There may sometimes be over-production, but it will not cause
anyone to starve. If the fisherman is unusually lucky one day, he will
be able to take a vacation for a few days, living on his fish and the
products he exchanges for his fish. For the sake of convenience in
future reference, I will describe this happy island as a "free" society;
meaning that each of the members of this society has access on equal
terms to the sources of wealth, and each owns the product of his own
labor, without paying tribute to any one else for the right to labor, or
to exchange his products.

But now let us suppose that one of the men on the island is strong and
aggressive; he takes a club and knocks down the other five men, and
compels them to sign a piece of paper agreeing that hereafter he is the
president of the land development company of the island, the chief
stockholder in the goat-raising company, and owner of the fishing
concession and the cocoanut grove; also, that hereafter goods shall not
be bartered in kind, but shall be exchanged for money, and that he is
the banker, and also the government, with the right to issue money. In
this society you will find that the real work, the actually productive
work, is done by five men, instead of by six, and these five do not get
the full value of their labor. The fisherman will fish, but his product
will no longer belong to himself; he will get part of it as wages, while
the "business man" takes charge of the balance. So when there is a
lucky day, there will be prosperity in the fishing industry, but this
prosperity will not benefit the fisherman; he will have only his wage,
and when he has caught too many fish, he will not have a few days'
vacation, but will be out of a job.

And exactly the same thing will happen to the goat-herd. He will
probably have work all the year round, because goats have to be tended,
but he will get barely enough to keep him alive, and the surplus skins
and milk will go to the owner of the no-longer-happy island. Perhaps it
will occur to the owner that the man who raises cocoanuts might also
keep an eye on the goats, and so the goat-herd will be permanently out
of a job, and will turn into what is called a tramp, or vagrant.
Inasmuch as everything to eat on the island belongs to the owner, the
ex-goat-herd will be tempted to become a criminal, and so it will be
necessary for the owner to arm the cocoanut man with a club and make him
into a policeman; or perhaps he will organize the fisherman and the
hunter into a militia for the preservation of law and order. They will
be glad to serve him, because, owing to the extreme productivity of the
island, they will be out of jobs a great part of the time, and but for
the generosity of the business man, would have no way of earning a

But suppose that the cocoanut man should invent a machine for gathering
a year's supply of nuts in a week; suppose the fisherman should devise a
scheme to fill his boat with fish in a few minutes; and suppose that as
a result of these inventions the business man got so rich that he moved
to Paris, and no longer saw his workers, or even knew their names. Under
these conditions you can see that overproduction and unemployment might
increase on the island; and also the business man might seem less human
and lovable to his wage slaves, and might need a larger police force. It
might even happen that he would discover the need of a propaganda
department, in order to keep his police force loyal, and a secret
service to make sure that agitators did not get into the schools.

The five islanders, having filled all the barns and storehouses, would
be turned out to starve; and when they asked the reason, they would be
told it was because they had produced a surplus of food. This may sound
grotesque, but it is what is being said to 5,000,000 men in America as I
write. There are clothing-workers who are going about in rags, and they
are told it is because they have produced too much clothing. There are
shoe-workers whose shoes are falling off their feet, and they are told
it is because they have produced too many shoes. There are carpenters
who have no homes, and they are told that a great many homes are needed,
but unfortunately it doesn't pay the builders to go ahead just now. This
may sound like a caricature, but it happens to be the most prominent
single fact in the consciousness of 5,000,000 Americans at the close of
the year 1921. No wonder they are discontented with the present order.

The solution of the mystery is so simple that the 5,000,000 unemployed
cannot be kept permanently from understanding it. The reason the five
men on the island are starving is because one man owns the island and
the others own nothing. If the island were community property, the five
men would each own a share of the contents of the barns and storehouses,
and would not be starving. If the 100,000,000 people of America owned
the productive machinery of America, then instantly the unemployment
crisis would pass like an evil dream. The farm-workers who need shoes
would exchange their food with the starving shoe-workers, and the
starving shoe-workers would have jobs. They would want clothing, and so
the clothing-makers would start to work; and so on all the way down the
line. There is only one thing necessary to make this possible, and that
is the thing which we have agreed to call the social revolution.



     (Analyzes further the profit system, which strangles production,
     and makes true prosperity impossible.)

We have seen that in an exploiting society there is a surplus which is
taken by the exploiter; and that under the modern system this surplus
must be sold at a profit before production can continue. The vital fact
in such a society is that the worker has not the money to buy back all
that he produces; therefore it is inevitable that a surplus product
should accumulate. When this happens, production must be cut down, and
during that period the worker is without a job, and without means of
living. The fact that he needs the product does not help him; the point
is that he has not the money to buy it. In such a society the productive
machinery is never used to the full. The machinery is controlled by a
profit-seeking interest, seeking an opportunity to make sales, and
restricting production according to the prospect of sales. So the actual
product bears no relationship to the possible product, and people who
live in an exploiting society can form no conception of true prosperity.

For, you see, the market is limited by the competitive wage system. We
have seen that in our own rich, prosperous country only one family out
of six has more than $1,000 a year income; only one family out of twelve
has $2,000 a year. It does not make any difference that the warehouses
are bursting with goods; a family constitutes a market of so many
dollars a year, and then, so far as the profit system is concerned, that
family is non-existent; that family stops consuming, and the productive
machinery is halted to that extent.

I have been accustomed to portray the profit system under the simile of
an iron ring riveted about the body of a baby. That ring would cause the
baby some discomfort at the beginning, but it would not be serious, and
the baby would get used to it. But as the baby grew the trouble caused
by the ring would increase, and finally there would come a time when
the baby would be suffering from a whole complication of troubles, and
for each of these troubles there would be but one remedy--break the
ring. Does the baby cry all the time? Break the ring! Is its digestion
defective? Break the ring! Is it threatened with convulsions or with
blood poisoning? Break the ring!

Here is our industrial society, growing at a rate never equalled by any
human baby; and here is this iron ring riveted about its middle. Here is
poverty, here is unemployment, here is graft, here is crime, here is war
and plague and famine; and for all these evils there is but one cause,
and but one remedy. Break the ring! Set production free from the
strangulation of the profit system.

I will admit that there may have been a time in the history of the
social infant when this ring was necessary. I admit that if the great
industrial machine was to be constructed, it was necessary that the mass
of the people should consume only part of what they produced, and should
allow the balance to be reinvested as capital. But now it has been done,
and the process is complete. We have a machine capable of producing many
times more than we can consume; shall we still go on building that
machine? Shall we go on starving ourselves, to save the money, to
multiply over and over again the products, in order that we may be
thrown out of work, and be starved even more completely?

A few generations ago we had in colonial America a society that in part
at least was "free." In that society everybody got the necessities of
life. They did not have the modern Sunday supplement and the moving
picture show, but they had bread and meat and good substantial clothing,
and furniture so well made that we still preserve it. The children in
those days grew up to be strong and sturdy men and women, who would have
seen nothing to envy in the bodies or minds of the slum population of
New York and Chicago. In short, they had all the true necessities of
life; and yet their work was done by hand, the power process was unknown
and undreamed of.

Now comes modern machinery, and multiplies the productive power of the
hand laborer by five, by ten, sometimes by a hundred. Here, for example,
is the "Appeal to Reason" selling millions of cheap books for ten cents
apiece, and making a profit on it; installing a gigantic press which
takes paper, sheet after sheet, prints 128 pages of a book at one
impression, and folds and stitches and binds the books, all in one
process, and turns them out complete at the rate of 10,000 copies per
hour. Here is a factory which turns out 100,000 automobiles a month.
Here is a mill which turns out many millions of yards of cloth a month.
If our colonial ancestors had been told about these marvels, they would
have said instantly: "Then, of course, everybody in that society will
have all the books they want, and all the clothing they want, and all
the automobiles. Everybody in that society will have five or ten or one
hundred times as much goods as we have."

Imagine the bewilderment of our colonial ancestor if he had been told:
"The majority of the people in that society will not have so much of the
real necessities of life as you have. They will have a few cheap
trinkets, designed to tickle their senses; they will have cheap
newspapers, carefully contrived to keep their minds vacant and to keep
them contented with their lot; they will have moving picture shows
constructed for the same purpose; but all their material things will be
flimsy, put together for show and not for permanence; their food will be
adulterated, their clothing will be shoddy, everything they have will be
made, not for their service, but for the profit of some one who lives by
selling to them. The average wage earned by those who do the work of
this new machine civilization will be less than half the amount
necessary to purchase the necessities of a decent life, and one-tenth of
the total population will be living in such poverty that they are unable
to maintain physical fitness, or to rear their children into full sized
men and women."



     (Considers the efforts of capitalism to save itself by marketing
     its surplus products abroad, and what results from these efforts.)

If our analysis of present-day society is correct, we have the enormous
populations of the modern industrial countries, living always on the
verge of starvation, their chance for survival depending at all times
upon the ability of their employers to find a profitable market for a
surplus of goods. At first the employer seeks that market at home; but
when the home markets are glutted, he goes abroad; and so develops the
phenomenon of foreign trade and rivalry for foreign trade, as the basic
fact of capitalism, and the fundamental cause of modern war.

Let us get clear a simple distinction concerning foreign trade. There is
a kind of trade which is normal, and would thrive in a "free" society.
In the United States we can produce nearly all the necessities of life,
but there are a few which we cannot produce--rubber, for example, and
bananas, and good music. These things we wish to import. We buy them
from other countries, and incur a debt, which we pay with products which
the other countries need from us; wheat, for example, and copper, and
moving pictures with cowboys in them. This is equal exchange, and a
natural phenomenon. A "free" society would produce such surplus goods as
were necessary to procure the foreign products that it desired. When it
had produced that much, the workers would stop and take a vacation until
they wanted more foreign products.

But under capitalism we have an entirely different condition--we produce
a surplus of goods which we _have_ to sell in order to keep our
factories running, and to keep our working population from starving. And
note that it does not help us to get back an equal quantity of foreign
goods in exchange. We must have what we call "a favorable balance"; that
is, we must have other people going into debt to us, so that we can be
continually shipping out more goods than we take back; continually
piling up credits which we can "negotiate," or turn into cash, so that
we can go on and repeat the process of making more goods, selling them
for more profits, and putting the surplus into the form of more
machinery, to make still more goods and still more profits.

And then, after a while, we come upon this embarrassing phenomenon;
nations which buy and do not sell must either do it by sending us gold,
or by our giving them credit. The sending of gold cannot go on
indefinitely, because then we should have all the gold, and if other
nations had none that would destroy their credit. On the other hand,
business cannot be done by credit indefinitely; for the very essence of
credit is a promise to pay, and payment can only be made in goods, and
how can we take the goods without ruining our own industry?

Fifteen years ago I pointed this out in a book. The argument was
irrefutable, and the conclusion inescapable, but the few critics who
noted it repeated their usual formula about "dreamers and theorists."
Now, however, the business mills have ground on, and what was theory has
become fact before our eyes. We have trusted the nations of Europe for
some $10,000,000,000 worth of goods, and they are powerless to pay, and
if they did pay, they would bankrupt American industry. France wishes to
collect an enormous indemnity from Germany, but nobody can figure out
how this indemnity can be paid without ruining French industry. The
French have demanded coal from Germany, and have got more than they can
use, and are "dumping" it in Belgium and Holland, with the result that
the British coal industry is ruined. The French clamor that the Germans
must pay for the destruction they wrought in Northern France, and the
Germans offer to send German workmen to rebuild the ruined towns; but
the French denounce this as an insult--it would deprive French
workingmen of their jobs! So I might continue for pages, pointing out
the manifold absurdities which result from a system of industry for the
profit of a few, instead of for the use of all.

Ever since I first began to read the newspapers, some twenty-five or
thirty years ago, all our political life has been nothing but the
convulsions of a social body tortured by the constricting ring of the
profit system. Everywhere one group struggling for advantage over
another group, and politicians engaged in playing one interest against
another interest! My boyhood recollections of public life consist of
campaign slogans having to do with the tariff: "production and
prosperity," "reciprocity," "the full dinner pail," "the foreigner pays
the tax," etc.

The workingman, under the profit system, is like a man pounding away at
a pump. He can get a thin trickle of water from the spout of the pump if
he works hard enough, but in order to get it he has to supply ten times
as much to some one who has tapped the pipe. But the tapping has been
done underground, where the workingman cannot see it. All the workingman
knows is that there is no job for him if the products of "cheap foreign
labor" are allowed to be "dumped" on the American market. That is
obvious, and so he votes for a tax on foreign imports, high enough to
enable his own employer to market at a profit. He does not realize that
he is thus raising the price of everything that he buys, and so leaving
himself worse off than he was before.

All governments are delighted with this tariff device, because they are
thus enabled to get money from the public without the public's knowing
it. "The foreigner pays the tax," we are told, and as a result of this
arrangement the steel trust just before the war was selling its product
at a high price to the American people, and taking its surplus abroad
and selling it to the foreigner at half the domestic price. And we see
this same thing in every line of manufacture, and all over the world. We
see one nation after another withdrawing itself as a market for
manufactured products, and entering the lists as a marketer. One more
nation now able to fill all its own needs, and going out hungrily to
look for foreign customers, adding to the glut of the world's
manufactured products and the ferocity of international competition!

At the close of the Civil War the total exports of the United States
averaged approximately $300,000,000, and the total imports were about
the same. In 1892 the exports first touched $1,000,000,000, while the
imports were about nine-tenths of that sum. In the year 1913 the exports
were nearly $2,500,000,000, while the imports were $600,000,000 less;
and in the year 1920 our exports were over $8,000,000,000 and our
imports a little over $5,000,000,000! So we have a "favorable balance"
of almost $3,000,000,000 a year--and as a result we are on the verge of

This "iron ring" of overproduction and lack of market exercises upon our
industrial body a steady pressure, a slow strangling. But because the
body is in convulsions, struggling to break the ring, the pressure of
the ring is worse at some times than at others. We have periods of what
we call "prosperity," followed by periods of panic and hard times. You
must understand that only a small part of our business is done by means
of cash payments, whether in gold or silver or paper money. Close to 99%
of our business is done by means of credit, and this introduces into the
process a psychological factor. The business man expects certain
profits, and he capitalizes these expectations. Business booms, because
everybody believes everybody else's promises; credit expands like a huge
balloon, with the breath of everybody's enthusiasm. But meantime real
business, the real market, remains just what it was before; it cannot
increase, because of the iron ring which restricts the buying power of
the mass of the people by the competitive wage. So presently the time
comes when somebody realizes that he has over-capitalized his hopes; he
curtails his orders, he calls in his money, and the impulse thus started
precipitates a crash in the whole business world. We had such a crash in
1907, and I remember a Wall Street man explaining it in a magazine
article entitled, "Somebody Asked for a Dollar."

We learned one lesson by that panic; at least, the big financial men
learned it, and had Congress pass what is called the "Federal Reserve
Act," a provision whereby in time of need the government issues
practically unlimited credit to banks. This, of course, is fine for the
banks; it puts the credit of everybody else behind them, and all they
have to do is to stop lending money--except to the big insiders--and sit
back and wait, while the little men go to the wall, and the mass of us
live on our savings or starve. We saw this happen in the year 1920, and
for the first time we had "hard times" without having a financial panic.
But instead we see prices staying high--because the banks have issued so
much paper money and bank credits.



     (Shows how the competition for foreign markets leads nations
     automatically into war.)

In a discussion of the world's economic situation, published in 1906,
the writer portrayed the ruling class of Germany as sitting in front of
a thermometer, watching the mercury rising, and knowing that when it
reached the top, the thermometer would break. This thermometer was the
German class system of government, and the mercury was the Socialist
vote. In 1870 the vote was 30,000, in 1884 it was 549,000, in 1893 it
was 1,876,000, in 1903 it was 3,008,000, in 1907 it was 3,250,000, in
1911 it was 4,250,000. Writing between 1906 and 1913, I again and again
pointed out that this increase was the symptom of social discontent in
Germany, caused by the overproduction of invested capital throughout the
world, and the intensification of the competition for world markets. I
pointed out that a slight increase in the vote would be sufficient to
transfer to the working class of Germany the political power of the
German state; and I said that the ruling class of Germany would never
permit that to happen--when it was ready to happen Germany would go to
war, to seize the trade privileges of some other nation.

There was a time when wars were caused by national and racial hatreds.
There are still enough of these venerable prejudices left in the world,
but no student of the subject would deny that the main source of modern
wars is commercial rivalry. In 1917 we sent Eugene V. Debs to prison for
declaring that the late world war was a war of capitalist greed. But two
years later President Wilson, who had waged the war, declared in a
public speech that everybody knew it had been a war of commercial

The aims of modern war-makers are two. First, capitalism must have raw
materials, including coal and oil, the sources of power, and gold and
silver, the bases of credit. Parts of the world which are so unfortunate
as to be rich in these substances become the bone of contention between
rival financial groups, organized as nations. Some sarcastic writer has
defined a "backward" nation as one which has gold mines and no navy. We
are horrified to read of the wars of the French monarchs, caused by the
jealous quarrels of mistresses; but in 1905 we saw Russia and Japan go
to war and waste a million lives because certain Russian grand dukes had
bribed certain Chinese mandarins and obtained concessions of timber on
the Yalu River. We now observe France and Germany vowed to undying hate
because of iron mines in Lorraine, and the efforts of France to take the
coal mines of Silesia from Germany, and give them to Poland, which is
another name for French capitalism.

The other end sought by the war-makers is markets for manufactured
products, and control of trade routes, coaling stations and cables
necessary to the building up of foreign trade. England has been
"mistress of the seas" for some 300 years, which meant that her traders
had obtained most of these advantages. But then came Germany, with her
newly developed commercialism, shoving her rival out of the way. The
Englishman was easy-going; he liked to play cricket, and stop and drink
tea every afternoon. But the German worked all day and part of the
night; he trained himself as a specialist, he studied the needs of his
customers--all of which to the Englishman was "unfair" competition. But
here were the populations of the crowded slums, dependent for their
weekly wage and their daily bread upon the ability of the factories to
go on turning out products! Here was the ever-blackening shadow of
unemployment, the mutterings of social discontent, the agitators on the
soap-boxes, the workers listening to them with more and more eager
attention, and the journalists and politicians and bankers watching this
phenomenon with a ghastly fear.

So came the great war. Social discontent was forgotten over night, and
England and France plunged in to down their hated rival, once and for
all time. Now they have succeeded: Germany's ships have been taken from
her, and likewise her cables and coaling stations; the Berlin-Bagdad
Railroad is a forgotten dream; the British sit in Constantinople, and
the traffic goes by sea. American capitalism wakes up, and rubs its eyes
after a debauch of Presbyterian idealism, and discovers that it has paid
out some $20,000,000,000, in order to confer all these privileges and
advantages upon its rivals!

Ever since I can remember the world, there have been peace societies; I
look back in history and discover that ever since there have been wars,
there have been prophets declaiming against them in the name of
humanity and God. As I write, there is a great world conference on
disarmament in session in Washington, and all good Americans hope that
war is to be ended and permanent peace made safe. All that I can do at
this juncture is to point out the fundamental and all-controlling fact
of present-day economics: that for the ruling class of any country to
agree to disarmament and the abolition of war, is for that class to sign
its own death warrant and cut its own throat. American capitalism can
survive on this earth only by strangling and destroying Japanese
capitalism and British capitalism, and doing it before long. The
far-sighted capitalists on both sides know that, and are making their
preparations accordingly.

What the members of the peace societies and the diplomats of the
disarmament conferences do is to cut off the branches of the tree of
war. They leave the roots untouched, and then, when the tree continues
to thrive, they are astounded. I conclude this chapter with a concrete
illustration, cut from my morning newspaper. We went to war against
German militarism, and to make the world safe for democracy--meaning
thereby capitalist commercialism. We commanded the German people to
"beat their swords into plough-shares"; that is, to set their Krupp
factories to making tools of peace; and they did so. We saddled them
with an enormous indemnity, making them our serfs for a generation or
two, and compelling them to hasten out into the world markets, to sell
their goods and raise gold to pay us. And now, how does their behavior
strike us? Do we praise their industry, and fidelity to their
obligations? Here are the headlines of a news despatch, published by the
Los Angeles Times on December 10, 1921, at the top of the front page,
right hand column, the most conspicuous position in the paper. Read it,
and understand the sources of modern war!


  *       *       *       *       *


  *       *       *       *       *

Cheap German Trash Puts Thousands of Americans Out of Employment

  *       *       *       *       *

 Glove Plants Shut Down and Potash Industry Killed
        by Teuton Intrigue



     (Shows how much wealth we could produce if we tried, and how we
     proved it when we had to.)

One of the commonest arguments in defense of the present business system
runs as follows: The amount of money which is paid to labor is greatly
in excess of the amount which is paid to capital. Suppose that tomorrow
you were to abolish all dividends and profits, and divide the money up
among the wage workers, how much would each one get? The sum is figured
for some big industry, and it is shown that each worker would get one or
two hundred dollars additional per year. Obviously, this would not bring
the millennium; it would hardly be worth while to take the risk of
reducing production in order to gain so small a result.

But now we are in position to realize the fallacy of such an argument.
The tax which capital levies upon labor is not the amount which capital
takes for itself, but the amount which it prevents labor from producing.
The real injury of the profit system is not that it pays so large a
reward to a ruling class; it is the "iron ring" which it fastens about
industry, barring the workers from access to the machinery of production
except when the product can be sold for a profit. Labor pays an enormous
reward to the business man for his management of industry, but it would
pay labor to reward the business man even more highly, if only he would
take his goods in kind, and would permit labor, after this tax is paid,
to go on making those things which labor itself so desperately needs.

But, you see, the business man does not take his goods in kind. The
owner of a great automobile factory may make for himself one automobile
or a score of automobiles, but he quickly comes to a limit where he has
no use for any more, and what he wants is to sell automobiles and "make
money." He does not permit his workers to make automobiles for
themselves, or for any one else. He reserves the product of the factory
for himself, and when he can no longer sell automobiles at a profit, he
shuts the workers out and automobile-making comes to an end in that
community. Thus it appears that the "iron ring" which strangles the
income of labor, strangles equally the income of capital. It paralyzes
the whole social body, and so limits production that we can form no
conception of what prosperity might and ought to be.

Consider the situation before the war. We were all of us at work under
the competitive system, and with the exception of a few parasites,
everybody was occupied pretty close to the limit of his energy. If any
one had said that it would be possible for our community to pitch in and
double or treble our output, you would have laughed at him. But suddenly
we found ourselves at war, and in need of a great increase in output,
and we resolved one and all to achieve this end. We did not waste any
time in theoretical discussions about the rights of private capital, or
the dangers of bureaucracy and the destruction of initiative. Our
government stepped in and took control; it took the railroads and
systematized them, it took the big factories and told them exactly what
to make, it took the raw materials and allotted them, where they were
needed, it fixed the prices of labor, and ordered millions of men to
this or that place, to this or that occupation. It even seized the
foodstuffs and directed what people should eat. In a thousand ways it
suppressed competition and replaced it by order and system. And what was
the result?

We took five million of our young men, the very cream of our industrial
force, and withdrew them from all productive activities; we put them
into uniforms, and put them through a training which meant that they
were eating more food and wearing more clothing and consuming more goods
than nine-tenths of them had ever done in their lives before. We built
camps for them, and supplied them with all kinds of costly products of
labor, such as guns and cartridges, automobiles and airplanes. We
treated two million of them to an expensive trip to Europe, and there we
set them to work burning up and destroying the products of industry, to
the value of many billions of dollars. And not only did we supply our
own armies, we supplied the armies of all our allies. We built millions
of dollars worth of ships, and we sent over to Europe, whether by
private business or by government loans, some $10,000,000,000 worth of
goods--more than ten years of our exports before the war.

All the labor necessary to produce all this wealth had to be withdrawn
from industry, so far as concerned our domestic uses and needs. It would
not be too much to say that from domestic industry we withdrew a total
of ten million of our most capable labor force. I think it would be
reasonable to say that two-thirds of our productive energies went to war
purposes, and only one-third was available for home use. And yet, we did
it without a particle of real suffering. Many of us worked hard, but few
of us worked harder than usual. Most of us got along with less wheat and
sugar, but nobody starved, nobody really suffered ill health, and our
poor made higher wages and had better food than ever in their lives
before. If this argument is sound, it proves that our productive
machinery is capable, when properly organized and directed, of producing
three times the common necessities of our population. Assuming that our
average working day is nine hours, we could produce what we at present
consume by three hours of intelligently directed work per day.

Let us look at the matter from another angle. Just at present the hero
of the American business man is Herbert Hoover; and Mr. Hoover recently
appointed a committee, not of Socialists and "Utopians," but of
engineering experts, to make a study of American productive methods. The
report showed that American industry was only thirty-five or forty per
cent efficient. Incidentally, this "Committee on Waste" assessed, in the
case of the building industry, sixty-five per cent of the blame against
management and only twenty-one per cent against labor; in six
fundamental industries it assessed fifty per cent of the blame against
management and less than twenty-five per cent against labor. Fifteen
years ago a professor of engineering, Sidney A. Reeve by name, made an
elaborate study of the wastes involved in our haphazard and planless
industrial methods, and embodied his findings in a book, "The Cost of
Competition." His conclusion was that of the total amount of energy
expended in America, more than seventy per cent was wasted. We were
doing one hundred per cent of work and getting thirty per cent of
results. If we would get one hundred per cent of results, we should
produce three and one-third times as much wealth, and the income of our
workers would be increased one or two thousand dollars a year.

Robert Blatchford in his book, "Merrie England," has a saying to the
effect that it makes all the difference, when half a dozen men go out to
catch a horse, whether they spend their time catching the horse or
keeping one another from catching the horse. Our next task will be to
point out a few of the ways in which good, honest American business men
and workingmen, laboring as intelligently and conscientiously as they
know how, waste their energies in keeping one another from producing



     (Discusses the losses of friction in our productive machine, those
     which are obvious and those which are hidden.)

The United States government is by far the largest single business
enterprise in the United States; and a study of congressional
appropriations in 1920, made by the United States Bureau of Standards,
reveals the fact that ninety-three per cent of the total income of the
government went to paying for past wars or preparing for future wars. We
have shown that modern war is a product of the profit system, and if
civilized nations would put their industry upon a co-operative basis,
they could forget the very idea of war, and we should then receive
fourteen times as much benefit from our government as we receive at
present; we should have fourteen times as good roads, fourteen times as
many schools, fourteen times as prompt a postoffice and fourteen times
as efficient a Congress. What it would mean to industry to abolish war
is something wholly beyond the power of our imagination to conceive; for
along with ninety-three per cent of our government money there goes into
military preparation the vast bulk of our intellectual energy and
inventive genius, our moral and emotional equipment.

Next, strikes and the losses incidental to strikes, and the costs of
preparing against strikes. This includes, not merely the actual loss of
working time, it includes police and militia, private armies of gunmen,
and great secret service agencies, whose total income runs up into
hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Industrial warfare is simply
the method by which capitalists and workers determine the division of
the product of industry; as if two men should co-operate in raising
poultry, and then fall to quarrelling over the ownership of the eggs,
and settle the matter by throwing the eggs at each other's heads.

Next, bankruptcy. Statistics show that regularly some ten per cent of
our business enterprises fail every year. Take any block occupied by
little business men, grocers and haberdashers and "notions," and you
will see that they are always changing. Each change represents a human
tragedy, and the total is a frightful waste of human energy; it happens
because we can think of no better way to distribute goods than to go
through the work of setting up a business, and then discover that it
cannot succeed because the neighborhood is already overstocked with that
kind of goods.

Next, fires which are a result of bankruptcy. You may laugh, perhaps,
thinking that I am making a joke; but every little man who fails in
business knows that he has a choice of going down in the social scale,
or of setting fire to his stock some night, and having a big insurance
company set him on his feet again. The result is that a certain
percentage of bankrupts do regularly set fire to their stores. Some
fifteen years ago there was published in "Collier's Weekly" a study of
the costs to society of incendiary fires. The Fire Underwriters'
Association estimated the amount as a quarter of a billion dollars a
year; and all this cost, you understand, is paid out of the pockets of
those who insure their homes and their stores, and do not burn them

From this follows the costs of insurance, and the whole insurance
industry, which is inevitable under the profit system, but is entire
waste so far as true production is concerned. Big enterprises like the
Steel Trust do not carry insurance, and neither does the United States
Postoffice. They are wealthy enough to stand their own losses. A
national co-operative enterprise would be in the same position, and the
whole business of collecting money for insurance and keeping records and
carrying on lawsuits would be forgotten.

Next, advertising. It would be no exaggeration to say that seventy per
cent of the material published in American newspapers and magazines
today is pure waste; and therefore seventy per cent of the labor of all
the people who cut down forests and manufacture and transport paper and
set up type and print and distribute publications is wasted. There is,
of course, a small percentage of advertising that is useful, but most of
it is boasting and falsehood, and even where it tells the truth it
simply represents the effort of a merchant to persuade you to buy in his
store instead of in a rival store--an achievement which is profitable to
the merchant, but utterly useless to society as a whole.

This same statement applies to all traveling salesmen, and to a great
percentage of middlemen. It applies also to a great part of delivery
service. If you live in a crowded part of any city, you see a dozen milk
wagons pass your door every morning, doing the work which could be done
exactly as well by one. That is only one case out of a thousand I might

Next, crime. I have already discussed the crime of arson, and I might
discuss the crimes of pocket-picking, burglary, forgery, and a hundred
others in the same way. I am aware of the fact that there may be a few
born criminals; there may be a few congenital cheats, whom we should
have to put in hospitals. But we have only to consult the crime records,
during the war and after the war, in order to see that when jobs are
hunting men there are few criminals, and when men are hunting jobs there
are many criminals. I have no figures as to the cost of administering
justice in the United States--policemen, courts and jails--but it must
be hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

I have discussed at great length the suppression of the productive power
of society. I should not fail to mention the suppression of the
inventive power of society, a factor less obvious, but probably in the
long run even greater. Every one familiar with the inside of a big
industry knows that hundreds and even thousands of useful processes are
entirely suppressed, because it would not pay one particular concern to
stand the expense of the changes involved. You know how, during the war,
our government brought all the makers of engines together and perfected
in triumph a "Liberty motor." But now we have gone back to private
interest and competition, and each concern is jealously engaged in
guarding its own secrets, and depriving industry as a whole of the
benefit of everything that it learns. Each is spying upon the others,
stealing the secrets of the others, stealing likewise from those who
invent new ideas--and thus discouraging them from inventing any more.

I use this word "discourage," and I might write a chapter upon it. What
human imagination can conceive the amount of social energy that is lost
because of the factor of discouragement, directly caused by the
competitive method? Who can figure what it means to human society that a
great percentage of the people in it should be haunted by fear of one
sort or another--the poor in fear of unemployment, sickness and
starvation, the little business man in fear of bankruptcy and suicide,
the big business man in fear of hard times and treachery of his
competitors, the idle rich in fear of robbery and blackmail, and the
whole community in fear of foreign war and domestic tumult!

Anyone might go on and elaborate these factors that I have named, and
think of scores of others. Anyone familiar with business life or with
industrial processes would be able to put his finger on this or that
enormous saving which he would be able to make if he and all his rivals
could combine and come to an agreement. This has been proven over and
over again in large-scale industry; it is the fact which has made of
large-scale industry an overwhelming power, sucking all the profits to
itself, reaching out and taking in new fields of human activity, and
setting at naught all popular clamor and even legal terrors. How can
anyone, seeing these facts, bring himself to deny that if we did
systematize production and make it one enterprise, precisely adapted to
one end, we should enormously increase the results of human labor, and
the benefit to all who do the world's work?

A good deal of this waste we can stop when we get ready, and other parts
of it our bountiful mother nature will replace. When in a world war we
kill some ten or twenty millions of the flower of our young manhood, we
have only to wait several generations, and our race will be as good as
ever. But, on the other hand, there is some waste that can never be
repaired, and this is the thing truly frightful to contemplate. When we
dig the iron ore out of the bowels of the earth and rust it away in
wars, we are doing something our race can never undo. And the same is
true of many of our precious substances: phosphorus, sulphur, potash.
When we cut down the forests from our mountain slopes, and lay bare the
earth, we not merely cause floods and washouts, and silt up our harbors,
we take away from the surface of our land the precious life-giving soil,
and make a habitable land into a desert, which no irrigating and
reforesting can ever completely restore. The Chinese have done that for
many centuries, and we are following in their footsteps; more than six
hundred million wagon-loads of our best soil are washed down to the sea
every year! If you wish to know about these matters, I send you to a
book, "On Board the Good Ship Earth," by Herbert Quick. It is one of the
most heart-breaking books you ever read, yet it is merely a quiet
statement of the facts about our present commercial anarchy.



     (Discusses the idea of the management of industry by the state, and
     the idea of its management by the trade unions.)

Let us now assume that we desire to abolish the wastes of the
competitive method, and to put our industry on a basis of co-operation.
How should we effect the change, and how should we run our industry
after it was done?

Let us take the United States Steel Corporation. What change would be
necessary to the socializing of this concern? United States Steel is
owned by a group of stockholders, and governed by a board of directors
elected by them. The owners are now to be bought out with government
bonds, and the board of directors retired. It may also be necessary to
replace a certain number of the higher executive officials, who are
imbued entirely with the point of view of this board, and have to do
with finance, rather than with production. Of course, some other
governing authority would have to be put in control. What would this
authority be? There are several plans before the world, several
different schools of thought, which we shall consider one by one.

First, the Socialist program. The Socialist says, "Consider the
postoffice, how that is run. It is run by the President, who appoints a
Postmaster-General as his executive. Let us therefore turn the steel
industry over to the government, and let the President appoint another
member of his cabinet, a Director of Steel; or let there be a
commission, similar to the Interstate Commerce Commission, or the
various war industry boards." Any form of management of the steel
industry which provides for its control and operation by our United
States government is Socialism of one sort or another.

There has been, of late, a great deal of dissatisfaction with
government, on the part of the general public, and also of labor. The
postoffice clerks, for example, complain that they are inadequately paid
and autocratically managed, deprived of their rights not merely as
workers but as citizens. The steel workers complain that when they go on
strike against their masters, the government sends in troops and
crushes their strike, regardless of the rights or wrongs of it. In order
to meet such tactics, labor goes into politics, and elects here and
there its own representatives; but these representatives become
mysteriously affected by the bureaucratic point of view, and even where
they try hard, they do not accomplish much for labor. Therefore, labor
becomes disgusted with the political process, and labor men do not
welcome the prospect of being managed by government.

If you ask such men, they will say: "No; the politicians don't know
anything about industry, and can't learn. The people who know about
industry are those who work in it. The true way to run an industry is
through an organization of the workers, both of hand and brain. The true
way to run the Steel Trust is for all the workers in it, men and women,
high and low, to be recognized by law as citizens of that industry; each
shop must elect its own delegates to run that shop, and elect a delegate
to a central parliament of the industry, and this industry in turn must
elect delegates to a great parliament or convention of all the delegates
of all the industries. In such a central gathering every one would be
represented, because every person would be a producer of some sort, and
whether he was a steel worker or a street sweeper or a newsboy, he would
have a vote at the place where he earns his living, and would have a say
in the management of his job. The great central parliament would elect
an executive committee and a president, and so we should have a
government of the workers, by the workers, for the workers." This idea
is known as Syndicalism, derived from the French word "syndicat,"
meaning a labor union. Since the Russian revolution it has come to be
known as soviet government, "soviet" being the Russian word for trade

Now, taking these two ideas of Socialism and Syndicalism, it is evident
that they may be combined in various ways, and applied in varying
degrees. It is perfectly conceivable, for example, that the people of
the United States might elect a president pledged to call a parliament
of industry, and to delegate the control of industry to this parliament.
He might delegate the control to a certain extent, and provide for its
extension, step by step; so our society might move into Syndicalism by
the way of Socialism. You have only to put your mind on the
possibilities of the situation to realize that one method shades into
the other with a great variety of stages.

Consider next the stages between capitalism and Socialism. We have in
the United States some industries which are purely capitalistic; for
example, the Steel Trust, which is privately owned, and has been
powerful enough, not merely to suppress every effort of its workers to
organize, but every effort of the government to regulate it. On the
other hand, the United States Postoffice represents State Socialism;
although the workers have been forbidden to organize, and the management
of the industry is so arbitrary that I have always preferred to call it
State Capitalism. Likewise the United States army and navy represent
State Socialism. When we had the job of putting the Kaiser out of
business, we did not hire Mr. Rockefeller to do it; it never once
occurred to our advocates of "individualism," of "capitalist enterprise
and initiative," to suggest that we should hire out our army and navy,
or employ the Steel Trust or the Powder Trust to organize its own army
and navy to do the fighting for us. Likewise, for the most part, we run
the job of educating our children by the method of municipal Socialism.
We run our libraries in the same way, and likewise our job of fire

It is interesting to note how in every country the line between
capitalism and Socialism is drawn in a different place. In America we
run practically all our libraries for ourselves, but it would seem to us
preposterous to think of running our theatres. In Europe, however, they
have state-owned theatres, which set a far higher standard of art than
anything we know at home. Also, they have state-owned orchestras and
opera-houses, something we Americans leave to the subscriptions of
millionaires. In Europe it seems perfectly natural to the people that
the state should handle their telegrams in connection with the
postoffice; but if you urge government ownership of the telegraphs in
the United States, they tell you that the proposition is "socialistic,"
and that saves the need of thinking about it. We take it for granted
that our cities could run the libraries--even though we were glad when
Carnegie came along and saved us the need of appropriating money for
buildings. Just why a city should be able to run a library, and should
not be able to run an opera-house, or a newspaper, is something which
has never been made clear to me.

Let us next examine the stages between capitalism and Syndicalism. A
great many large corporations are making experiments in what they call
"shop management," allowing the workers membership in the boards of
directors and a voice in the conditions of their labor. This is
Syndicalism so far as it goes. Likewise it is Syndicalism when the
clothing workers and the clothing manufacturers meet together and agree
to the setting up of a permanent committee to work out a set of rules
for the conduct of the industry, and to fix wages from time to time.
Obviously, these things are capable of indefinite extension, and in
Europe they are being developed far more rapidly. For example, in Italy
the agricultural workers are organized, and are gradually taking
possession of the great estates, which are owned by absentee landlords.
They wage war upon these estates by means of sabotage and strikes, and
then they buy up the estates at bargain prices and develop them by
co-operative labor. This has been going on in Italy for ten years, and
has become the most significant movement in the country. It is a triumph
of pure Syndicalism; and such is the power of pure capitalism in the
United States that the American people have not been allowed to know
anything about this change.

Next, what are the stages between Socialism and Syndicalism? These also
are infinite in number and variety. As a matter of fact, there are very
few Socialists who advocate State Socialism without any admixture of
Syndicalism. The regular formula of the Socialist party is "the social
ownership and democratic control of the instruments and means of
production;" and what the phrase "democratic control" means is simply
that you introduce into your Socialist mixture a certain flavoring of
Syndicalism, greater or less, according to your temperament. In the same
way there are many Syndicalists who are inclined toward Socialism. In
every convention of radical trade unionists, such as, for example, the
I. W. W., you find some who favor political action, and these will have
the same point of view as the more radical members of the Socialist
party, who urge a program of industrial as well as political action.



     (Considers the idea of goods owned in common, and the idea of a
     society without compulsion, and how these ideas have fared in

The Russian revolution has familiarized us with the word Communism. In
the beginning of the revolutionary movement Communism denoted what we
now call Socialism; for example, the Communist Manifesto of Marx and
Engels became the platform of the Social-democratic parties. But because
most of these parties supported their governments during the war, the
more radical elements have now rejected the word Socialism, and taken up
the old word Communism. In the Russian revolution the Communists went so
far as to seize all the property of the rich, and so the word Communism
has come to bear something of its early Christian significance.

It is obvious that here, too, it is a question of degree, and Socialism
will shade into Communism by an infinite variety of stages, depending
upon what forms of property it is decided to socialize. The Socialist
formula commonly accepted is that "goods socially used shall be socially
owned, and goods privately used shall be privately owned." If you own a
factory, it will be taken by the state, or by the workers, and made
social property like the postoffice; but no Socialist wants to socialize
your clothing, or your books, any more than he wants to socialize your

But when you come to apply this formula, you run quickly into
difficulties. Suppose you are a millionaire, and own a palace with one
or two hundred rooms, and a hundred servants. Do you use that socially,
or do you use it privately? And suppose there is a scarcity of houses,
and thousands of children are dying of tuberculosis in crowded tenement
rooms? You own a dozen automobiles, and do you use them all privately? I
point out to you that in time of emergency the capitalist state does not
hesitate over such a problem; it seizes your palace and turns it into a
hospital, it takes all your cars and uses them to carry troops. It
should be obvious that a proletarian state would be tempted by this

The Communists also have a formula, which reads: "From each according to
his ability, to each according to his necessity." I do not see how any
sensitive person can deny that this is an extremely fine statement of an
ideal in social life. We take it quite for granted in family life; if
you knew a family in which that rule did not apply, you would consider
it an unloving and uncivilized family. I believe that when once industry
has been socialized, and we have a chance to see what production can
become, we shall find ourselves quickly adopting that family custom as
our law, for all except a few congenital criminals and cheats. We shall
find that we can produce so much wealth that it is not worth while
keeping count of unimportant items. If today you meet someone on the
street and ask him for a match or a pin, you do not think of offering to
pay him. This is an automatic consequence of the cheapness of matches
and pins. Once upon a time you were stopped on the road every few miles
and made to pay a few cents toll. I remember seeing toll-gates when I
was a boy, but I don't think I have seen one for twenty years.

In exactly the same way, under socialized industry, we shall probably
make street-car traffic free, and then railroad traffic; we shall
abolish water meters and gas meters and electric light meters, also
telephone charges, except perhaps for long distances, and telegraph
tolls for personal messages. Then, presently, we shall find ourselves
with such a large wheat crop that we shall make bread free; and then
music and theatres and clothing and books. At present we use furniture
and clothing as a means of manifesting our economic superiority to our
fellowmen. One of the most charming books in our language is Veblen's
"Theory of the Leisure Class," in which these processes are studied. We
shall, of course, have to raise up a new generation, unaccustomed to the
idea of class and of class distinction, before we could undertake to
supply people with all the clothing they wanted free of charge.

The Russian theorists made haste to carry out these ideas all at once;
they tried to leap several centuries in the evolution of Russian
society. They ordained complete Communism in land; but the peasants
would have nothing to do with such notions--each wanted his own land,
and what he produced on it. The Soviets have now been forced to give
way, not merely to the peasants, but to the traders; and so we see once
again that it is better to take one step forward than to take several
steps forward and then several steps backward. The Russian revolution
is not yet completed, so no one can say how many steps backward it will
be forced to take.

This revolution was an interesting combination of the ideas of Socialism
and Syndicalism. The trade unionists seized the factories, and made an
effort at democratic control of industry. At the same time the state was
overthrown by a political party, the Bolsheviks, who set up a
dictatorship of the proletariat. Because of civil war and outside
invasion, the democratic elements in the experiment have been more and
more driven into the background, and the authority of the state has
correspondingly increased. This causes us to think of the Soviet system
as necessarily opposed to democracy, but this is not in any way a
necessary thing. There is no inevitable connection between industrial
control by the workers and a dictatorship over the state. In Germany the
state is proceeding to organize a national parliament of industry, and
to provide for management of the factories by the labor unions. The
Italian government has promised to do the same thing. These, of course,
are capitalist governments, and they will keep their promises only as
they are made to; but it is a perfectly possible thing that in either of
these countries a vote of the people might change the government, and
put in authority men who would really proceed to turn industry over to
the control of the workers. That would be the Soviet or Syndicalist
system, brought about by democratic means, without dictatorship or civil

Another group of revolutionary thinkers whose theories must be mentioned
are the Anarchists. The word Anarchy is commonly used as a synonym for
chaos and disorder, which it does not mean at all. It means the absence
of authority; and it is characteristic of people's view of life that
they are unable to conceive of there being such a thing as order, unless
it is maintained by force. The theory of the Anarchist is that order is
a necessity of the human spirit, and that people would conform to the
requirements of a just order by their own free will and without external
compulsion. The Anarchist believes that the state is an instrument of
class oppression, and has no other reason for being. He wishes the
industries to be organized by free associations of the people who work
in them.

Some of the greatest of the world's moral teachers have been Anarchists:
Jesus, for example, and Shelley and Thoreau and Tolstoi, and in our time
Kropotkin. These men voiced the highest aspirations of the human
spirit, and the form of society which they dreamed is the one we set
before us as our final goal. But the world does not leap into perfection
all at once, and meantime here we have the capitalist system and the
capitalist state, and what attitude shall we take to them? There are
impassioned idealists who refuse to make any terms with injustice, or to
submit to compulsion, and these preach the immediate destruction of
capitalist government, and capitalist government responds with prison
and torture, and so we have some Anarchists who throw bombs.

There are those who call themselves "philosophic" Anarchists, wishing to
indicate thereby that they preach this doctrine, but do not attempt to
carry it into action as yet. Some among these verge toward the Communist
point of view, and call themselves Communist-anarchists; such was
Kropotkin, whose theories of social organization you will find in his
book "The Conquest of Bread." There are others who call themselves
Syndicalist-anarchists, finding their centers of free association in the
radical labor unions.

After the Russian revolution, the Anarchists found themselves in a
dilemma, and their groups were torn apart like every other party and
class in Russia. Here was a new form of state set up in society, a
workers' state, and what attitude should the Anarchists take toward
that? Many of them stood out for their principles, and resisted the
Bolshevik state, and put the Bolsheviks under the embarrassing necessity
of throwing them into jail. We good orthodox Americans, who are
accustomed to dump Socialists and Communists and Syndicalists and
Anarchists all together into one common kettle, took Emma Goldman and
Alexander Berkman and shipped them over to Russia, where we thought they
belonged. Now our capitalist newspapers find it strange that these
Anarchists do not like the Russian government any better than they like
the American government!

On the other hand, a great many Anarchists have suddenly found
themselves compelled by the Russian situation to face the facts of life.
They have decided that a government is not such a bad thing after
all--when it is your own government! Robert Minor, for example, has
recanted his Anarchist position, and joined the Communists in advocating
the dropping of all differences among the workers, all theories as to
the future, and concentrating upon the immediate task of overthrowing
capitalist government and keeping it overthrown. In every civilized
nation the Russian revolution has had this effect upon the extreme
revolutionists. It has given them a definite aim and a definite program
upon which they can unite; it has presented to capitalist government the
answer of force to force; it has shown the masters of industry in
precise and definite form what they have to face--unless they set
themselves immediately and in good faith to the task of establishing
real democracy in industry.



     (How the great change is coming in different industries, and how we
     may prepare to meet it.)

From a study of the world's political revolutions we observe that a
variety of governmental forms develop, and that different circumstances
in each country produce different institutions. Suppose that back in the
days of the French monarchy some one asked you how France was going to
be governed as a political republic; how would elections be held, what
would be the powers of the deputies, who would choose the premier, who
would choose the president, what would be the duties of each? Who can
explain why in France and England the executive is responsible to the
parliament and must answer its questions, while in the United States the
executive is an autocrat, responsible to no one for four years? Who
could have foreseen that in England, supposed to remain a monarchy, the
constitution would be fluid; while in America, supposed to be a
democracy, the constitution would be rigid, and the supreme power of
rejecting changes in the laws would be vested in a group of reactionary
lawyers appointed for life? There will be similar surprises in the
social revolution, and similar differences between what things pretend
to be and what they are.

I used to compare the social revolution to the hatching of an egg. You
examine it, and apparently it is all egg; but then suddenly something
begins to happen, and in a few minutes it is all chicken. If, however,
you investigate, you discover that the chicken had been forming inside
the egg for some time. I know that there is a chicken now forming inside
our social egg; but having realized the complexity of social phenomena,
I no longer venture to predict the exact time of the hatching, or the
size and color of the chicken.

Perhaps it is more useful to compare the social revolution to a
child-birth. A good surgeon knows what is due to happen, but he knows
also that there are a thousand uncertainties, a thousand dangerous
possibilities, and all he can do is to watch the process and be prepared
to meet each emergency as it arises. The birth process consists of one
pang after another, but no one can say which pang will complete the
birth, or whether it will be completed at all. Karl Marx is author of
the saying that "force is the midwife of progress," so you may see that
I am not the inventor of this simile of child-birth.

There are three factors in the social revolution, each of which will
vary in each country, and in different parts of the country, and at
different periods. First, there is the industrial condition of the
country, a complex set of economic factors. The industrial life of
England depends primarily on shipping and coal. In the United States
shipping is of less importance, and railroads take the place. In the
United States the eastern portion lives mainly by manufacture, the
western by agriculture, while the south is held a generation behind by a
race problem. In France the great estates were broken up, and
agriculture fell into the hands of peasant proprietors, who are the main
support of French capitalism. In Prussia the great estates were held
intact, and remained the basis of a feudal aristocracy. In America land
changes hands freely, and therefore one-third of our farms are
mortgaged, and another third are worked by tenants. In Russia there was
practically no middle class, while in the United States there is
practically nothing but middle class; the rich have been rich for such a
short while that they still look middle class and act middle class, in
spite of all their efforts, while the working class hopes to be middle
class and is persuaded that it can become middle class. Such varying
factors produce in each country a different problem, and make inevitable
a different process of change.

The second factor is the condition of organization and education of the
workers. This likewise varies in every country, and in every part of
every country. There is a continual struggle on the part of the workers
to organize and educate themselves, and a continual effort on the part
of the ruling class to prevent this. In some industries in America you
find the workers one hundred per cent organized, and in other industries
you find them not organized at all. It is obvious that in the former
case the social change, when it comes, will be comparatively simple,
involving little bloodshed and waste; in the latter case there will be
social convulsions, rioting and destruction of property, disorganization
of industry and widespread distress.

The third factor is the state of mind of the propertied classes, the
amount of resistance they are willing to make to social change. I have
done a great deal of pleading with the masters of industry in my
country; I have written appeals to Vincent Astor and John D.
Rockefeller, to capitalist newspapers and judges and congressmen and
presidents. I have been told that this is a waste of my time; that these
people cannot learn and will not learn, and that it is foolish to appeal
either to their hearts or their understanding. But I perceive that the
class struggle is like a fraction; it has a numerator and a denominator,
and you can increase the fraction just as well by decreasing the
denominator as by increasing the numerator. To vary the simile, here are
two groups of men engaged in a tug of war, and you can affect the result
just as decisively by persuading one group to pull less hard, as by
persuading the other group to pull harder.

Picture to yourself two factories. In factory number one the owner is a
hard-driving business man, an active spirit in the so-called "open-shop"
campaign. He believes in his divine right to manage industry, and he
believes also in the gospel of "all that the traffic will bear." He
prevents his men from organizing, and employs spies to weed out the
radicals and to sow dissensions. When a strike comes, he calls in the
police and the strike-breaking agencies, and in every possible way he
makes himself hated and feared by his workers. Then some day comes the
unemployment crisis, and a wave of revolt sweeping over the country. The
workers seize that factory and set up a dictatorship of the proletariat
and a "red terror." If the owner resists, they kill him; in any case,
they wipe out his interest in the business, and do everything possible
to destroy his power over it, even to his very name. They run the
business by a shop committee, and you have for that particular factory a
Syndicalist, or even Anarchist form of social reconstruction.

Now for factory number two, whose owner is a humane and enlightened man,
studying social questions and realizing his responsibility, and the
temporary nature of his stewardship. He gives his people the best
possible working conditions, he keeps open books and discusses wages and
profits with them, he educates the young workers, he meets with their
union committees on a basis of free discussion. When the unemployment
crisis comes and the wave of revolt sweeps the country, this man and his
workers understand one another. He says: "I can no longer pay profits,
and so I can no longer keep going under the profit system; but if you
are ready to run the plant, I am ready to help you the best I can."
Manifestly, this man will continue the president of the corporation, and
if he trains his sons wisely, they will keep his place; so, instead of
having in that factory a dictatorship and a terror, you will have a
constitutional monarchy, gradually evolving into a democratic republic.



     (Shall the workers buy out the capitalists? Can they afford to do
     it, and what will be the price?)

The problem of whether the social revolution shall be violent or
peaceable depends in great part upon our answer to the question of
confiscation versus compensation. We are now going to consider, first,
the abstract rights and wrongs of the question, and, second, the
practical aspects of it.

There is a story very popular among single taxers and other advocates of
freedom of the land. An English land-owner met a stranger walking on his
estate, and rebuked him for trespassing. Said the stranger, "You own
this land?" Said the other, "I do." "And how did you get it?" "I
inherited it from my father." "And how did your father get it?" "He
inherited it from his father." So on for half a dozen more ancestors,
until at last the Englishman answered, "He fought for it." Whereupon the
stranger took off his coat and rolled up his sleeves and said, "I'll
fight you for it."

This is all there is to say on the subject of the abstract rights of
land titles. There is no title to land which is valid on a historical
basis. Everything rests upon fraud and force, continued through endless
ages of human history. We in the United States took most of our land
from the Indians, and in the process our guiding rule was that the only
good Injun was a dead Injun. We first helped the English kings to take
large sections of our country from the French and Spanish, and then we
took them from the English king by a violent revolution. We purchased
our Southwestern states from Mexico, but not until we had taken the
precaution of killing some thousands of Mexicans in war, which had the
effect of keeping down the purchase price. It would be a simple matter
to show that all public franchises are similarly tainted with fraud.
Proudhon laid down the principle that "property is theft," and from this
principle it is an obvious conclusion that society has the right to
scrap all paper titles to wealth, and to start the world's industries
over again on the basis of share and share alike.

But stop and consider for a moment. "Property is theft," you say. But go
to your corner grocery, and tell the grocer that you deny his title to
the sack of prunes which he exhibits in front of his counter. He will
tell you that he has paid for them; but you answer that the prunes were
raised on stolen land, and shipped to him over a railroad whose
franchise was obtained by bribery. Will that convince the grocer? It
will not. Neither will it convince the policeman or the judge, nor will
it convince the voters of the country. Most people have a deeply rooted
conviction that there are rights to property now definitely established
and made valid by law. If you have paid taxes on land for a certain
period, the land "belongs" to you; and I am sure you might agitate from
now to kingdom come without persuading the American people that New
Mexico ought to be returned to Mexico, or the western prairies to the
Indian tribes.

Such are the facts; now let us apply them to the right of exploitation,
embodied in the ownership of a certain number of bonds or shares of
stock in the United States Steel Corporation. "Pass a law," says the
Socialist, "providing for the taking over of United States Steel by the
government." At once to every owner comes one single thought--are you
going to buy this stock, or are you going to confiscate it? If you
attempt confiscation, the courts will declare the law unconstitutional;
and you either have to defy the courts, which is revolutionary action,
or to amend the constitution. If you adopt the latter course, you have
before you a long period of agitation; you have to carry both houses of
Congress by a two-thirds majority, and the legislatures of three-fourths
of the States. You have to do this in the face of the most bitter and
infuriated opposition of those who are defending what they regard as
their rights. You have to meet the arguments of the entire capitalist
press of the country, and you have the certainty of widespread bribery
of your elected officials.

The prospect of doing all this under the forms of law seems extremely
discouraging; so come the Syndicalists, saying, "Let us seize the
factories, and stop the exploitation at the point of production." So
come the Communists, saying, "Let us overthrow capitalist government,
and break the net of bourgeois legality, and establish a dictatorship of
the proletariat, which will put an end to privilege and class domination
all at once." What are we to say to these different programs?

Suppose we buy out the stockholders of United States Steel, and issue
to them government bonds, what have we accomplished? Nothing, say the
advocates of confiscation; we have changed the form of exploitation, but
the substance of it remains the same. The stockholders get their money
from the United States government, instead of from the United States
Steel Corporation; but they get their money just the same--the product,
not of their labor, but of the labor of the steel workers. Suppose we
carried out the same procedure all along the line; suppose the
government took over all industries, and paid for their securities with
government bonds. Then we should have capitalism administered by a
capitalist government, instead of by our present masters of industry; we
should have a state capitalism, instead of a private capitalism; we
should have the government buying and selling products, and exploiting
labor, and paying over the profits to an hereditary privileged class.
The capitalist system would go on just the same, except that labor would
have one all-powerful tyrant, instead of many lesser tyrants, as at

So argue the advocates of confiscation. And the advocates of purchase
reply that in buying the securities of United States Steel, we should
fix the purchase price at the present market value of the property, and
that price, once fixed, would be permanent; all future unearned
increment of the steel industry would belong to the government instead
of to private owners. Consider, for example, what happened during the
world war. When I was a boy, soon after the Steel Trust was launched,
its stock was down to something like six dollars, and I knew small
investors who lost every dollar they had put in. But during the war,
steel stock soared to a hundred and thirty-six dollars per share; it
paid dividends of some thirty per cent per year, and accumulated
enormous surpluses besides.

The same thing was true of practically all the big corporations.
According to Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo, there were coal companies
which paid as high as eight hundred per cent per year; that is to say,
the profits in one year were eight times the total investment. Assuming
that our government bonds paid five per cent, it appears that the owners
of these coal companies got one hundred and sixty times as much under
our present private property system as they would have got under a
system of state purchase. Even completely dominated by capitalism as our
courts are today, they would not dare require us to pay for industries
more than six per cent on the market value of the investment; and from
what I know of the inside graft of American big business that would be
restricting the private owners to less than one-fourth of what they are
getting at present.

We have already pointed out the economies that can be made by putting
industry under a uniform system. But all these, important as they are,
amount to little in comparison with the one great consideration, which
is that by purchasing large scale industry, we should break the "iron
ring"; we should thenceforth be able to do our manufacturing for use
instead of for profit, and so we should put an end to unemployment. Our
cheerful workers would throng into the factories, to produce for
themselves instead of for masters; and in one year of that we should so
change the face of our country that a return to the system of private
ownership would be unthinkable. In one year we could raise production to
such a point that the interest on the bonds we had issued would be like
the crumbs left over from a feast.



     (Discusses the dictatorship of the proletariat, and its chances for
     success in the United States.)

I am aware that the suggestion of paying for the industries we socialize
will sound tame and uninspiring to a lot of ardent young radicals of my
acquaintance. They will shake their heads sadly and say that I am
getting middle-aged and tired. We have seen in Russia and Hungary and
other places, so many illustrations of the quick and easy way to
expropriate the expropriators that now there is in every country a
considerable group of radicals who will hear to no program less
picturesque than barricades and councils of action.

In considering this question, I set aside all considerations of abstract
right or wrong, the justification for violence in the overthrow of
capitalist society. I put the question on the basis of cash, pure and
simple. It will cost a certain amount of money to buy out the owners,
and that money will have to be paid, as it is paid at present, out of
the labor of the useful workers. The workers don't want to pay any more
than they have to; the question they must consider is, which way will
they have to pay most. The advocates of the dictatorship of the
proletariat are lured by the delightful prospect of not having to pay
anything; and if that were really possible it would undoubtedly be the
better way. But we have to consider this question: Is the program of not
having to pay anything a reality, or is it only a dream? Suppose it
should turn out that we have to pay anyhow, and that in the case of
violent revolution we pay much more, and in addition run serious risk of
not getting what we pay for?

Here are enormous industries, running at full blast, and it is proposed
that some morning the workers shall rise up and seize them, and turn out
the owners and managers, and run the industries themselves. Will anybody
maintain that this can be done without stopping production in those
factories for a single day? Certainly production must stop during the
time you are fighting for possession; and the cruel experience of
Russia proves that it will stop during the further time you are fighting
to keep possession, and to put down counter-revolutionary conspiracies.
Also, alas, it will stop during the time you are looking for somebody
who knows how to run that industry; it will stop during the time you are
organizing your new administrative staff. You may discover to your
consternation that it stops during the time you are arranging to get
other industries to give you credit, and to ship you raw materials; also
during the time you are finding the workers in other industries who want
your product, and are able to pay for it with something that you can
use, or that you can sell in a badly disorganized market.

And all the time that you are arranging these things, you are going to
have the workers at your back, not getting any pay, or being paid with
your paper money which they distrust, and growling and grumbling at you
because you are not running things as you promised. You see, the mass of
the workers are not going to understand, because you haven't made them
understand; you have brought about the great change by your program of a
dictatorship, of action by an "enlightened minority"; and now you have
the terror that the unenlightened majority may be won back by their
capitalist masters, and may kick you out of control, or even stand you
up against a wall and shoot you by a firing squad. And all the time you
are worrying over these problems, who can estimate the total amount the
factory might have been producing if it had been running at full blast?
Whatever that difference is, remember, it is paid by the workers; and
might that sum not just as well have been used to buy out the owners?

If we were back in the old days of hand labor and crude, unorganized
production, I admit that the only way to benefit the slaves might be to
turn out the masters by force. But here we have a social system of
infinite complexity, a delicate and sensitive machine, which no one
person in the world, and no group of persons understands thoroughly. In
the running of such a machine a slight blunder may cost a fortune; and
certainly all the skill, all the training, all the loyal services of our
expert engineers and managers is needed if we are to remodel that
machine while keeping it running. The amount of wealth which we could
save by the achieving of that feat would be sufficient to maintain a
class of owners in idleness and luxury for a generation; and so I say,
with all the energy and conviction I possess, _pay them_! Pay them
anything that is necessary, in order to avoid civil war and social
disorganization! Pay them so much that they can have no possible cause
of complaint, that the most hide-bound capitalistic-minded judge in the
country cannot find a legal flaw in the bargain! Pay them so that every
engineer and efficiency expert and manager and foreman and stenographer
and office-boy will stay on the job and work double time to put the
enterprise through! Pay them such a price that even Judge Gary and John
D. Rockefeller will be willing to help us do the job of social

"Ah, yes," my young radical friends will say, "that sounds all very
beautiful, but it's the old Utopian dream of brotherhood and class
co-operation. That will never happen on this earth, until you have first
abolished capitalism." My answer is, it could happen tomorrow if we had
sufficient intelligence to make it happen. That it does not happen is
simply absence of intelligence. And will anyone maintain that it is the
part of an intelligent man to advocate a less intelligent course than he
knows? What is the use of our intelligence, if we abdicate its
authority, and give ourselves up to programs of action which we know are
blind and destructive and wasteful? We may see a great vessel going on
the rocks; we may feel certain that it is going, in spite of everything
we can do; but shall we fail to do what we can to make those in the
vessel realize how they might get safely into the harbor?

We have had the Russian revolution before us for four years. Mankind
will spend the next hundred years in studying it, and still have much to
learn, but the broad outlines of the great experiment are now plain
before our eyes. Russia was a backward country, and she tried to fight a
modern war, and it broke her down. She had practically no middle class,
and her ruling class was rotten, and so the revolutionists had their
chance, and they seized it. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that
they came to the rescue of Russia, saving her from the hands of those
who were trying to force her to fight, when she was utterly exhausted
and incapable of fighting.

Anyhow, here was your dictatorship of the proletariat. It turned out all
the executive experts, or nearly all of them, because they were tainted
with the capitalist psychology; and then straightway it had to call them
back and make terms with them, because industry could not be run without
them. And of course these engineers and managers sabotaged the
revolution--every non-proletarian sabotaged it, both inside Russia and
outside. You denounced this, and protested against this, but all the
same it happened; it was human nature that it should happen, and it is
one of the things you have to count on, in any and every country where
you attempt the social revolution by minority action.

They have got power in Russia, and they dream of getting power in
America in the same way. But there is no such disorganization in our
country as there was in Russia, and it would take a generation of civil
strife to bring us to such a condition. We have a middle class,
powerful, thoroughly organized, and thoroughly conscious. Moreover, this
class has ideals of majority rule, which are bred in its very bones; and
while they have never realized these ideals, they think they have, and
they are prepared to fight to the last gasp in that belief. All that the
leaders of Moscow have to do is to bring about an attempt at forcible
revolution, and they will discover in American society sufficient power
of organization and of brutal action to put their movement out of
business for a generation.

A hundred years ago we had chattel slavery firmly fixed as the
industrial system of one-half of these United States. To far-seeing
statesmen it was manifest that chattel slavery was a wasteful system,
and that it could not exist in competition with free labor. There was a
great American, Henry Clay, who came forward with a proposition that the
people of the United States, through their government, should raise the
money, about a billion dollars, and compensate the owners of all the
slaves and set them free. For most of his lifetime Henry Clay pleaded
for that plan. But the masters of the South were making money fast; they
knew how to handle the negro as a slave, they could not imagine handling
him as a free laborer, and they would not hear to the plan. On the other
side of Mason and Dixon's line were fanatical men of "principle," who
said that slavery was wrong, and that was the end of it. There is a
stanza by Emerson discussing this question of confiscation versus

    Pay ransom to the owner
      And fill the bag to the brim.
    Who is the owner? The slave is owner,
      And ever was. Pay him.

This, you see, is magnificent utterance, but as economic philosophy it
is reckless and unsound. The abolitionists of the North took up this
poem, and the slave power of the South answered with a battle-song:

    War to the hilt,
    Theirs be the guilt,
    Who fetter the freeman to ransom the slave!

And so the issue had to be fought out. It cost a million human lives and
five billions of treasure, and it set American civilization back a
generation. And now we confront exactly the same kind of emergency, and
are coming to exactly the same method of solution. We have white
wage-slaves clamoring for their freedom, and we have business men making
money out of them, and exercising power over them, and finding it
convenient and pleasant. They are going to fight it out in a civil war,
and which side is going to win I am not sure. But when the historians
come to write about it a couple of generations from now, let them be
able to record that there were a few men in the country who pleaded for
a sane and orderly and human solution of the problem, and who continued
to voice their convictions even in the midst of the cruel and wasteful



     (Discusses the land values tax as a means of social readjustment,
     and compares it with other programs.)

The writer of this book has been watching the social process for twenty
years, trying to figure out one thing--how the change from competition
to co-operation can be brought about with the minimum of human waste. He
has come to realize that the first step is a mental one; to get the
people to want the change. That means that the program must be simple,
so that the masses can understand it. As a social engineer you might
work out a perfect plan, but find yourself helpless, because it was hard
to explain. As illustration of what I mean, I cite the single tax, a
theory which has a considerable hold in America, but which politically
has been utterly ineffective.

A few years ago a devoted enthusiast in Southern California, Luke North,
started what he called the "Great Adventure" to set free the idle land.
In the campaign of 1918 I gave my help to this movement, and when it
failed I went back and took stock, and revised my conclusions concerning
the single tax. Theoretically the movement has a considerable percentage
of right on its side. Land, in the sense that single taxers use it,
meaning all the natural sources of wealth, is certainly an important
basis of exploitation, and if you were to tax land values to the full
extent, you would abolish a large portion of privilege--just how large
would be hard to figure. I was perfectly willing to begin with that
portion, so I helped with the "Great Adventure." But a practical test
convinced me that it could never persuade a majority of the people.

The single tax proposal is to abolish all taxes except the tax on land
values. Then come the associations of the bankers and merchants and real
estate speculators, crying in outraged horror, "What? You propose to let
the rich man's stocks and bonds go free? You propose to put no tax on
his cash in the vaults and on his wife's jewels? You propose to abolish
the income tax and the inheritance tax, and put all the costs of
government on the poor man's lot?"

Now, of course, I know perfectly well that the rich man dodges most of
his income tax and most of his inheritance tax. I know that he pays a
nominal pittance on his cash in the bank and on his wife's jewels, and
likewise on his stocks and bonds. I know that the corporations issuing
these stocks and bonds would be far more heavily hit by a tax on the
natural resources they own; they could not evade this tax, and they know
it, and that is why they are moved to such deep concern for the fate of
the poor man and his lot. I know that the tax on the poor man's lot
would be infinitesimal in comparison with the tax on the great
corporation. But how can I explain all this to the poor man? To
understand it requires a knowledge of the complexities of our economic
system which the voters simply have not got.

How much easier to take the bankers and speculators at their word! To
answer, "All right, gentlemen, since you like the income and inheritance
taxes, the taxes on stocks and bonds and money and jewels, we will leave
these taxes standing. Likewise, we assent to your proposition that the
poor man should not pay taxes on his lot, while there are rich men and
corporations in our state holding twenty million acres of land out of
use for purposes of speculation. We will therefore arrange a land values
tax on a graduated basis, after the plan of the income tax; we will
allow one or two thousand dollars' worth of land exempt from all
taxation, provided it is used by the owner; and we will put a graduated
tax on all individuals and corporations owning a greater quantity of
land, so that in the case of individuals and corporations owning more
than ten thousand dollars' worth of land, we will take the full rental
value, and thus force all idle land into the market."

Now, the provision above outlined would have spiked every single
argument used by the opposition to the "Great Adventure" in California
in 1918; it would have made the real intent of the measure so plain as
to win automatically the additional votes needed to carry the election.
But I tried for three years, without being able to persuade a single one
of the "Great Adventure" leaders to recognize this plain fact. The
single taxer has his formula, the land values tax and no other tax, and
all else is heresy. Actually, the president of a big single tax
organization in the East declared that by the advocacy of my idea I had
"betrayed the single tax!" We may take this as an illustration of the
difference between dogmatism and science in the strategy of the class

I first suggested my program immediately after the war, with the
provision that the land thrown on the market should be purchased by the
state, and used to establish co-operative agricultural colonies for the
benefit of returned soldiers. But we have preferred to have our returned
soldiers stay without work, or to displace the men and women who had
been gallantly "doing their bit." By this means we soon had five million
men out of work, and many other millions bitterly discontented with
their wages. Again I took up the proposition for a graduated land tax,
with the suggestion that the money should be used to provide a pension,
first for every dependent man or woman over sixty years of age in the
country, and second for every child in the country whose parents were
unable properly to support it, whether because they were dead or sick or

You may note that in advocating this program, you would not have to
convert anybody to any foreign theories, nor would you have to use any
long words; you would not have to say anything against the constitution,
nor to break any law, nor to give occasion for patriotic mobs to tar and
feather you. To every poor man in your state you could say, "If you own
your own house and lot, this bill will lift the taxes from both, and
therefore it will mean fifty or a hundred dollars a year in your pocket.
If you do not own a home, it will take millions of idle acres out of the
hands of the speculators, and break the price of real estate, so that
you can have either a lot in the city or a farm in the country with

Furthermore, you could say, "This measure will have the effect of
drawing the unemployed from the cities at once, and so stopping the
downward course of wages. At the same time that wages hold firm, the
cost of food will go down, because there will be millions more men
working on the land. In addition to that, the state will have an
enormous income, many millions of dollars a year, taken exclusively from
those who are owning and not producing. This money will be expended in
saving from suffering and humiliation the old people of the country, who
have worked hard all their lives and have been thrown on the scrap-heap;
also in making certain that every child in the country has food enough
and care enough to make him into a normal and healthy human being, so
that he can do his share of work in the world and pay his own way
through life."

I submit the above measure to those who believe that the road to social
freedom lies by some sort of land tax. But before you take it up I
invite you to consider whether there may not be some other way, even
easier. There is a homely old saying to the effect that "molasses
catches more flies than vinegar"; and I am always looking for some way
that will get the poor what they want, without frightening the rich any
more than necessary.

I know a certain type of radical whom this question always exasperates.
He answers that the opposition will be equally strong to any plan; the
rich will do anything for the poor except get off their backs--and so
on. In reply I mention that among the most ardent radicals I know are
half a dozen millionaires; I know one woman who is worth a million, who
pleads day and night for social revolution, while the people who work
for her are devoted and respectful wage slaves. Herbert Spencer said
that his idea of a tragedy was a generalization killed by a fact. I
shall not say that the existence of millionaire Socialists and parlor
Bolsheviks kills the theory of the class struggle, but I certainly say
it compels us to take thought of the rich as well as of the poor in
planning the strategy of our campaign.

And manifestly, if we want to consider the rich, the very last device we
shall use is that of a tax. Nobody likes to pay taxes; everybody agrees
in classifying taxes with death. Each feels that he is paying more than
his share already; each knows that the government which collects the tax
is incompetent or worse. Stop and recall what we have proven about the
"iron ring"; the possibilities of production latent in our society.
Realize the bearings of this all-important fact, that we can offer to
mankind a social revolution which will make everybody richer, instead of
making some people poorer! Exactly how to do this is the next thing we
have to inquire.



     (Deals with money, the part it plays in the restriction of
     industry, and may play in the freeing of industry.)

How is it that the rich are becoming richer? The single taxer answers
that it is by monopoly of the land, the natural sources of wealth; the
Socialist answers that it is by the control of the machinery of
production. But if you go among the rich and make inquiry, you speedily
learn that these factors, large as they are, amount to little in
comparison with another factor, the control of credit. There are hosts
of little capitalists and business men who deal in land and produce
goods with machinery, but the men who make the real fortunes and
dominate the modern world are those who control credit, and whose
business is, not the production of anything, but speculation and the
manipulation of markets.

"Money makes the mare go," our ancestors used to say; and money today
determines the destiny of empires. What is money? We think of it as gold
and silver coins, and pieces of engraved paper promising to pay gold and
silver coins. But the report of the U. S. Comptroller of the Currency
for 1919 shows that the business of the country was done, 5% by such
means and 95 % by checks; so, for practical purposes, we may say that
money consists of men's willingness to trust other men, or groups or
organizations of men, when they make written promise to pay. In other
words, money is credit; and the control of credit means the control of
industry. The problem of social readjustment is mainly but the problem
of taking the control of credit out of the hands of private individuals,
and making it a public or social function.

Who controls credit today? The bankers. And how do they control it? We
give it to them; we, the masses of the people, who take them our money
and leave it with them. A very little real money in hand becomes, under
our banking system, the basis of a great amount of imaginary money. The
Federal Reserve law requires that banks shall hold in reserve from
seven to thirteen per cent of demand deposits; which means, in
substance, that when you leave a dollar with a banker, the banker is
allowed, under the law, to turn that dollar into anywhere from seven to
thirteen dollars, and lend those dollars out. In addition, he deposits
his reserves with the Federal Reserve bank, and that bank keeps only
thirty-five per cent in reserve--in other words, the seven to thirteen
imaginary dollars are multiplied again by three.

Under the stress of war, this process of credit inflation has been
growing like the genii let out of the bottle. Under the law, the Federal
Reserve banks are supposed to hold a gold reserve of 40% to secure our
currency. But in December, 1919, these banks held a trifle over a
billion dollars' worth of gold, while our paper money was over four
billion. In addition, our banks have over thirty-three billions of
deposits, and all these are supposed to be secured by gold; in addition,
there are twenty-five billions of government bonds, and uncounted
billions of private notes, bonds and accounts, all supposed to be
payable in gold. So it appears that about one per cent of our
outstanding money is real, and the rest is imaginary--that is, it is

The point for you to get clear is this: The great mass of this imaginary
money is created by law, and we have the power to abolish it or to
change the ownership of it at any time we develop the necessary
intelligence. Let us consider the ordinary paper money, the one and two
and five and ten dollar "bills," with which we plain people do most of
our business. These are Federal Reserve notes, and there are about three
billions of them; how do they come to be? Why, we grant to the national
banks by law the right to make this money; the government prints it for
them, and they put it into circulation. And what does it cost them? They
pay one per cent for the use of the money; in some cases they pay only
one-half of one per cent; and then they lend it to us, the people--and
what do they charge us? The answer is available in a recent report of
the U. S. Comptroller of the Currency, as follows:

"I have the record of the loans made by one Texas national bank to a
hard-working woman who owned a little farm a few miles from town. She
borrowed, in the aggregate, $2,375, making about thirty loans during the
year. Listen to the details of the robbery: $162.50 for 30 days at 36
per cent; $377. for 34 days at 44 per cent; $620.25 for 23 days at 77
per cent; $11. for 30 days at 120 per cent; $21.50 for 30 days at 90
per cent; $33. for 2 days at 93 per cent; $27. for 15 days at 195 per
cent; $110. for 30 days at 120 per cent--that was to buy a horse for her
plowing; $20 for 48 days at 187 per cent; $6 for 10 days at 720 per
cent; $7 for 3 days at 2,000 per cent, and so on; every cent paid off by
what sweat and struggle only God knows."

In Oklahoma, where the legal rate of interest is six per cent, with ten
per cent as the maximum under special contract, harassed farmers paid
all the way from 12 to 2400 per cent, with 40 per cent as the average.
In the case of one bank, the Comptroller proved that not a single
solitary loan had been made under fifteen per cent. He cited one
particular case that he asked to be regarded as typical. In the spring
the farmer went to the bank and arranged for a loan of $200. Out of his
necessity he was compelled to pay 55 per cent interest charge. Unable to
meet the note at maturity, he had to agree to 100 per cent interest in
order to get the renewal. The next renewal forced him up to 125 per
cent. For four years the thing went on, and all the drudgery of the
father and the mother and the six children could never keep down the
terrible interest or wipe out the principal. As a finish the bank
swooped down and sold him out; the wretched man, barefoot and hungry,
went to work clearing a swamp, caught pneumonia and died; the county
buried him, and neighbors raised a purse to send the widow and children
back to friends in Arkansas.

This is the thing called the Money Trust in action, and this is the
power we have to take out of private control. It is our first job, and
all other jobs are in comparison hardly worth mentioning. How are we
going to do it?

The farmers of North Dakota have shown one way. They took the control of
their state government into their own hands, and the most important and
significant thing they did was to start a public bank. The interests
fought them tooth and nail; not merely the interests of North Dakota,
not merely of the Northwest, but of the entire United States. They
fought them in the law courts, up to the United States Supreme Court,
which decided in favor of the people of North Dakota. Therefore, make
note of this vital fact--the most important single fact in the strategy
of the class struggle--every state can, under the constitution, have a
public bank; every city and town can have one, and no court can ever
forbid it!

Therefore, I say to all Socialists, labor men and social reformers of
every shade and variety, nail at the top of your program of action the
demand for a public bank in your community, to take the control of
credit out of the hands of speculators and use it for the welfare of the
people. Make it your first provision that every dollar of public money
shall be deposited in this bank and every detail of public financing
handled by this bank; make it your second provision that the purpose of
this bank shall be to put all private banks out of business, and take
over their power for the people.

At present, you understand, it is taken for granted that the first
purpose of the government is to foster the private credit system. Take,
for example, the postal savings bank. The private banks fought this for
a generation, and finally they allowed us to have it, on condition that
it should be turned into a device for collecting money for them. Our
postal bank turns over all its money to the private banks, at the
grotesque rate of two per cent interest; and recently I read of the
director of the postal bank appearing before a convention of bankers,
asking for some small favor, and humbly explaining that it was not his
idea to make the postal bank a rival of the private savings banks. Why
should he not do so? Let us nail it to our radical program that the
postal savings bank is to fight for business, just as do the private
banks, and lend its funds direct to the people on good security.

Let our Federal banking system also become the servant of the public
welfare, and let its energy be devoted to breaking the strangle-hold of
predatory finance on our industry. Let the government issue all money,
and use it for the transfer of industry from private into public hands.
Do we want to socialize our railroads, our coal mines, our telegraphs
and telephones? Do we want to buy them, in order to avoid the wastes of
civil war and insurrection? We have agreed that we do; and here we have
the way of doing it. If the bankers can create, out of our willingness
to trust them, billions upon billions of imaginary money, then so can
we, the people of the United States, create money out of our willingness
to trust ourselves. And do not let anybody fool you for a single second
by talking about "fiat money" and "inflation of the currency." If you
are paying twice as much for everything as you did before the war, you
are paying it because the bankers have doubled the amount of money in
circulation--for that reason and that alone. That double money the
bankers own; the only question now to be decided is, who is to own the
double money that will be created tomorrow?

Make note of the fact that it costs nothing to start a public bank. If
you want to put the steel trust out of business by competition, you have
several hundred thousand dollars worth of rolling mills and ore land to
buy; but the banks can be put out of business by nothing but a law. The
material parts of a bank, the white marble columns and bronze railings
and mahogany trimmings, are as nothing compared with the inner soul of a
bank, its control of the life-blood of your business and mine; and this
we can have for the taking. We can keep our own "credit"; instead of
sending it to Wall Street, where speculators use it to bleed us white,
we can set it to building up our own community, under the direction of
officials whom we select. Also, we can have our gigantic national bank,
controlling all our thirty-three billions of dollars of deposits, and
likewise the hundreds of billions of credit built upon them.

The first time you suggest this plan to a banker or business man, you
will be told that increase of money by the government does not benefit
labor or the general consumer; "inflation of the currency" causes prices
to go up correspondingly. To this I will furnish an effective reply:
that at the same time the government issues new money, the government
will also fix prices; and then watch the face of your banker or business
man! If he is a man who can really think, and is not just repeating like
a parrot the formulas he has learned from others, he will perceive that
the combination of currency inflation and price-fixing would catch him
as the two parts of a nut-cracker catch a nut; and he will know that you
can take the meat out of him any time you please. He may argue that it
is not fair; but point out to him that it is exactly what the big banks
and the trusts have been doing to us right along--increasing the amount
of money in circulation, and at the same time raising the prices we pay
for goods, and so taking out the meat from us nuts!

We have agreed that we do not mean to be unfair either to the banker or
the manufacturer; we are simply going to stop their being unfair to us.
We are going to convince them that their power to catch us in a
nut-cracker is forever at an end. We allow them six per cent on their
investments, and guarantee them this by turning over to them some of our
new money--that is, government bonds. When we have thoroughly convinced
them that they can't get any more, they will take these bonds and quit;
and thus simply, without violence or destruction of property, we shall
slide from our present system of commercial cannibalism into the new
co-operative commonwealth.

We have had "cheap money" campaigns in the United States many times, and
as this book is written, it becomes evident that we are to have another.
Henry Ford is advocating the idea, and so is Thomas A. Edison. The
present writer would like to make plain that in supporting such a
program, he does it for one purpose, and one only--the taking over of
the industries by the community. The creation of state credit for that
purpose is the next step in the progress of human society; whereas the
creation of state credit for the continuance of the profit system is a
piece of futility amounting to imbecility. This distinction is
fundamental, and is the test by which to judge the usefulness of any new
program, and the intelligence of those who advocate it.



     (Discusses various programs for the change from industrial
     autocracy to industrial democracy.)

The program of the railway workers for the democratic management of
their industry is embodied in the Plumb plan. You may learn about it by
addressing the weekly paper of the railway brotherhoods, which is called
"Labor," and is published in Washington, D. C. It appears that our
transportation industry can be at once socialized, because of a clause
in the constitution which gives the national government power over
"roads and communications." Through decades of mismanagement under the
system of private greed, the railroads have been brought to such a
financial condition that they will be forced into nationalization,
whenever we stop them from dipping their fingers into the public

Under the Plumb plan the government is to purchase the roads from their
present owners, paying with government bonds. The management is to be
under the control of a board consisting in part of representatives of
the government, and in part of the workers--this being a combination of
the methods of Socialism and Syndicalism. The same program can be
applied constitutionally to telegraphs and telephones, to interstate
trolley systems, express companies, oil pipe lines, and all other means
of interstate communication and distribution.

The Plumb plan also deals with coal and steel and other great
industries. These could not be nationalized without a constitutional
amendment, but it appears that in the majority of the constitutions of
the states are provisions that all corporate charters are held subject
to the power of the legislature to amend, modify, or revoke the same.
That gives us a right to take over these corporations through state
action. The only preliminary is to elect state administrations which
will represent us, instead of representing the corporations. Also, most
state constitutions contain the provision that "no corporation shall
issue its stocks or bonds, except for money, labor, or property actually
received." The word "labor" gives the opening wedge for the Plumb plan.
The state can purchase these industries, giving bonds in exchange, and
can issue to the workers labor stock, which stock will carry part
control of the industry.

Also, the railroad brotherhoods have started their own bank, in
Cleveland, Ohio, and it is proving an enormous success. Make note of
this point; every large labor union can have its own bank, to finance
its industries and its propaganda. Stop and consider how preposterous it
is that the five million organized workers of the United States should
deposit their hundreds of millions of savings in capitalist banks, to be
used to finance private undertakings which crush unions and hold labor
in bondage. Let every big labor union have its own building, its own
banking and insurance business, its own vacation camp in the country,
its own school for training its future leaders. Also, let every labor
council in every big city start a labor daily, to tell the workers the
truth and point the way to freedom. Let every farmers' organization
follow suit; and let these groups get together, to exchange their
products upon a co-operative basis. Already the railway men are
arranging with the farmers, to buy the farm products and distribute them
co-operatively; they are getting together with the clothing workers, to
have the latter make clothing for them, and with the shoe-workers to
make shoes.

This is the co-operative movement, which has become the largest single
industry in Great Britain, and is the backbone of industrial democracy
and sound radicalism. It is spreading rapidly in America now. It is
taking the money of the people out of the control of the profit system,
and diverting it into channels of public service. It is training men to
believe in brotherhood instead of in greed. It is giving them business
experience, so that when the time comes the taking over of our
industrial machine will not have to be done by amateurs, but by men who
know what co-operation is, and how to make a success of it.

This work will go on more rapidly yet when the workers have united
politically, and brought into power a government which will assist them
instead of assisting the bankers. A most interesting program for the
development of working-class financial credit is known as the "Douglas
plan," which is advocated by a London weekly, the "New Age," and is
explained in two books, called "Economic Democracy" and "Credit Power
and Democracy," by Douglas and Orage. This program is in brief that the
furnishing of credit shall become a function of organized labor, based
upon the fact that the true and ultimate basis of all credit is the
power of hand and brain labor to produce wealth. The labor unions, or
"guilds," shall pay the management of industry and pay capital for the
use of the industrial plant, and shall finance production and new
industrial development out of their "credit power," their ability to
promise production and to keep their promises.

This "Douglas plan" seeks to break the Money Trust by the method of
Syndicalism. Another method of breaking it, through state regulation of
bank loans, you will find most completely set forth in an extremely able
book, "The Strangle Hold," by H. C. Cutting, an American business man,
whom you may address at San Lorenzo, California. Another method,
utilizing the third factor in industry, the consumer, is the method of
banking by consumers' unions. Such are the Raffeisen banks, widely known
in Germany, and a specimen of which exists in the single tax colony at
Arden, Delaware. Those who wish to know about the co-operative bank, or
other forms of co-operation, may apply to the Co-operative League of
America, 2 West 13th Street, New York, whose president is Dr. James P.
Warbasse. Information concerning public ownership may be had from the
Public Ownership League, 127 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago; also from the
Socialist party, 220 South Ashland Boulevard, Chicago, and from the
Bureau of Social Research of the Rand School of Social Science, New

Also, I ought to mention the very interesting plan for social
reconstruction set forth by Mr. King C. Gillette, inventor of the safety
razor. This plan you may find in your public library in two encyclopedic
volumes, "Gillette's Social Redemption," and "Gillette's World
Solution." The politician seeks to solve the industrial problem by means
of the state, and the labor leader seeks to solve it by the unions; it
is to be expected that Mr. Gillette, a capitalist, should seek to solve
it by means of the corporation. He points out that the modern "trust" is
the greatest instrument of production yet invented by man; and he asks
why the people should not form their own "trust," to handle their own
affairs, and to purchase and take over the industries from their present
private masters. It is interesting to note that Mr. Gillette's solution
is fully as radical and thorough-going as those of the State Socialists
or the Syndicalists. The "People's Corporation" which he projects and
plans some day to launch upon the world would be a gigantic "consumers'
union," whose "credit power" would speedily dominate and absorb all
other powers in modern society; it would make us all stockholders, and
give us our share of the benefits of social productivity.



     (Describes the co-operative commonwealth, beginning with its money
     aspects; the standard wage and its variations.)

It has been indicated that the new society will be different in
different countries and in different parts of the same country, in
different industries and at different times. No one can predict exactly
what it will be, and anyone who tries to predict is unscientific. But
every man can work out his own ideas of the most economical and sensible
arrangements for a co-operative society, and in these final chapters I
set forth my ideas.

One of the first things people ask is, "Will there be money in the new
society, or how will labor be rewarded and goods paid for?" I answer
that there will be money, and the business methods of the new society
will be so nearly the same as at present that in this respect you would
hardly realize there had been any change. The only difference will be
that in the new society you will be paid several times as much for your
labor; or, if you prefer to put it the other way, you will be able to
buy several times as much with your money. Why should we waste our time
working out systems of "credit-cards," when we already have a system in
the form of gold and silver coins and paper currency? Why should we
bother with "labor checks," when we have a banking and clearing-house
system, understood by everyone but the illiterate? The only difference
we shall make is that nobody can get gold and silver coins or paper
currency, except by performing labor to pay for them; nobody can have
money in the bank and draw checks against it, until he has rendered to
society an equivalent amount of service.

When you have earned your money in the new world, you will spend it
wherever you please, and for whatever you please; the only difference
being that the price you pay will be the exact labor-cost of producing
that article, with no deduction for any form of exploitation. As I wrote
sixteen years ago in "The Industrial Republic," you will be able to get,
if you insist upon it, a seven-legged spider made of diamonds, and the
only question society will ask is, Have you performed services
equivalent to the material and labor necessary to the creating of that
unusual article of commerce? Of course, society won't put it to you in
that complicated formula; it will simply ask, "Have you got the price?"
Which, you observe, is exactly the question society asks you at present.

The next thing that everybody wants to know is, "Shall we all be paid
the same wages?" I answer, yes and no, because there will be three
systems of payment. There will be a basic wage, which everybody will get
for every kind of useful service necessary to production; this will be,
as it were, the foundation of our economic structure. On top of this
will be built a system of special payments for special services, which
are of an intellectual nature, and cannot be standardized and dealt with
wholesale. In addition, there will be for a time a third arrangement,
applying to agricultural work, which is in a different stage of
development, and to which different conditions apply.

Let us take, first, our standard wage. The census of our Utopian
commonwealth reveals that we have ten million able-bodied workers
engaged in mining, manufacturing, and transportation; this including, of
course, office-work and management--everything that enters into these
industries. By scientific management, the best machinery, and the
elimination of all possible waste, we find that they produce eighty
million dollars worth of goods an hour. A portion of this we have to set
aside to pay for the raw materials which they do not produce, and for
the upkeep of the plant, and for margin of error--what our great
corporations call a surplus. We find that we have fifty million dollars
per hour left, and that means that we can pay for labor five dollars per
hour, or twenty dollars for the regular four-hour day. This is our
standard wage, received by all able-bodied workers.

But quickly we find that our industries are not properly balanced. A
great many men want to work at the jobs which are clean and pleasant,
such as delivering mail, and very few want to work at washing dishes in
restaurants and cleaning the sewers. There is no way we can adjust this,
except by paying a higher wage, or by reducing the number of hours in
the working day, which is the same thing. The only other method would be
to have the state assign men to their work, and that would be
bureaucracy and slavery, the essence of everything we wish to get away
from in our co-operative commonwealth.

What we shall have, so far as concerns our basic industries, is a
government department, registering with mathematical accuracy the
condition of supply and demand in all the industries of the country. Our
demand for shoes is increasing, for some reason or other; a thousand
more shoe-workers are needed, therefore the price of labor in the shoe
industry is increased five cents per day--or whatever amount will draw
that number of workers from other occupations. On the other hand, there
are too many people applying for the job of driving trucks, therefore we
reduce slightly the compensation for this work. There are more men who
want jobs in Southern California than in Alaska, therefore the payment
for the same grade of work in Alaska has to be higher. All this is not
merely speculation, it is not a matter of anybody's choice; it is an
automatic, self-adjusting system, subject to precise calculations. The
only change from our present system is from guesswork to exact
measurement. At present we do not know how many shoes our country will
require next season, neither do we know how many shoes are going to be
made, neither do we know how many people can make shoes, nor how many
would like to learn, nor how many would like to quit that job and take
to farming. It would be the simplest matter in the world to find out
these things--far simpler that it was to register all our possible
soldiers, and examine them physically and mentally, and train them and
feed them and ship them overseas to "can the Kaiser."

Of course, we drafted the men for this war job; but in the new world
nobody is drafted for anything. It is any man's privilege to starve if
he feels like it; it is his privilege to go out into the mountains and
live on nuts and berries if he can find them. Nobody makes him go
anywhere, or makes him work at anything--unless, of course, he is a
convicted criminal. To the free citizen all that society has to say is,
if he buys any products, he must pay for those products with his own
labor, and not with some other man's labor. Of course, he may steal, or
cheat, as under capitalism; our new world has laws against stealing and
cheating, and does its best to enforce them. The difference between the
capitalist world and our world is merely that we make it impossible for
any man to get money _legally_ without working.

Under these conditions the average man wishes to work, and the only
question remaining is, how shall he work? If he wants to work by
himself, and in his own way, nobody objects to it. He is able to buy
anything he pleases, whether raw materials or finished products. If he
wants to buy leather and make shoes after his own pattern, no one stops
him, and if he can find anyone to buy these shoes, he can earn his
living in that way. He is able to get land for as long a time as he
wants it, by paying to the state the full rental value of that land, and
if he wants to farm the land, he can do so, and sell his products. As a
matter of theory, he is perfectly free to hire others to farm the land
for him, or with him. There is no law to prevent it, neither is there
any law to prevent his renting a factory and buying machinery, and
hiring labor to make shoes.

But, as a matter of practical fact, it is impossible for him to do this,
because the community is in the business of making shoes, and on an
enormous scale, with great factories run democratically by the workers,
and there is very small chance of any private business man being able to
draw the workers away from these factories. The community factories have
all the latest machinery; they apply the latest methods of scientific
management, and they turn out standard shoes at such a rate that private
competition is unthinkable. Of course, there may be some special kind of
shoes, involving an intellectual element, in which there can be private
competition. This kind of manufacture is covered in our second method of
payment; but before we discuss it, let us settle the problem of our most
important basic industry, which is agriculture.



     (Discusses the land in the new world, and how we foster
     co-operative farming and co-operative homes.)

Farming the land is a very ancient industry, and while its tools have
been improved, its social forms have been the same for a long time. The
worker on the land is conservative, and the Russian Bolsheviks, who
tried to rush their peasants into Communism, found that they had only
succeeded in stopping the production of food. We make no such blunder in
our new society. We have found a way to abolish speculation in land, and
exploitation based on land-ownership, while leaving the farmer free to
run his business in the old way if he wants to.

In our new society we take the full rental value of all land which is
not occupied and used by the state. The farmer and the city dweller
alike "own" their land, in the sense that they have the use of it for as
long as they please, but they pay to the state the rental value of the
land, minus the improvements. So they cannot speculate in the land or
rent it out to others; they can only use it, and they only pay for what
they actually use. They may put improvements on the land, with full
assurance of having the use and benefit thereof, and they may sell the
improvements, and the new owner enters into possession, with no
obligation but to pay the rental value of the unimproved land to the

The farmer goes on raising his products, and if he wants to drive to
town and deliver them to his customers, he may do so; but he finds it
cheaper to market them through the great labor co-operatives and state
markets. As there is no longer any private interest involved in these
activities, no one has any interest in cheating him, and he gets the
full value of the products, less the cost of marketing. If the farmer
wishes to continue all his life in his old style individualistic method
of working the land, he is free to do so. But here is what he sees going
on within a few miles of his place:

The state has bought a square mile of land, and has taken down the
fences and established an agricultural co-operative for purposes of
experiment and demonstration. The farm is run under the direction of
experts; the soils are treated with exactly the right fertilizers for
each crop, the best paying crops are raised, the best seed is used, and
the best machinery. The workers of this new agricultural co-operative
receive the standard wage, and they live in homes specially built for
them, with all the conveniences made possible by wholesale production.
Also, these co-operators live in a democratic community; they determine
their own conditions of labor, being represented on the governing board,
along with the experts appointed by the state.

The farmer watches this experiment, at first with suspicion; but he
finds that his sons have less suspicion than he has, and his sons keep
pointing out to him that their little farm is not making the standard
wage or anything like it; and, moreover, the standard wage is constantly
increasing, whereas, the price of farm-products is dropping. And here is
the state, ready to direct new co-operative ventures, inviting a score
of farmers in the community to combine and buy out the unwilling ones,
and establish a new co-operative. Sooner or later the old farmer gives
way; or he dies, and his sons belong to the new world.

So ultimately we have our national agricultural system, in which all the
requirements of our people are studied, and all the possibilities of our
soil and climate, and the job of raising the exact quantities of food
that we need, both for our own use and for export, is worked out as one
problem. We know how much lumber we need, and we raise it on all our
hillsides and mountain slopes, and so protect ourselves from floods and
the denuding of our continent. We know where best to raise our wheat,
and where best to raise our potatoes and our cabbages, and we do not do
this by crude hand-labor, nor by the labor of women and children from
daybreak till dark. We have special machines that plant each crop, and
other machines that reap it or dig it out of the ground and prepare it
for market.

A few days ago I read a discussion in the Chamber of Commerce of
Calcutta. Some one called attention to the wastes involved in the
current method of handling rubber. One consignment of rubber had been
sold more than three hundred separate times, and the cost of these
transactions amounted to three times the value of the rubber. This is
only one illustration, and I might quote a thousand. If you doubt my
figures as to the possibility of production in the new society, remind
yourself that a large percentage of the things you use have been bought
and sold many scores of times before you get them. Consider the cabbage,
for which you pay six or eight cents a pound in the grocery store, and
for which the farmer gets, say, half a cent a pound.

In this new world the state has an enormous income, derived from its tax
on land values. It no longer has to send around men once a year to ask
you how many diamond rings your wife has, and to tax you on your
honesty, if you have any. It no longer has to make its money by such
lying devices as a tariff, therefore its moral being is no longer
poisoned by a tariff-lobby. It taxes every citizen for the right to use
that which nature created, and leaves free from taxation that which the
citizens' own labor created; this kind of taxation is honest, and fair
to all, because no one can evade it. The state uses the proceeds of this
land tax in the public services, the libraries and research laboratories
and information bureaus; in free insurance against fire and flood and
tempest; and in a pension to every member of society above the working
age of fifty-five, or below the working age of eighteen. Of course, the
state might leave it to every man to save up for his old age, but not
all men are this wise, and the state cannot afford to let the unwise
ones starve. It is more convenient for the state to figure that all men,
or nearly all, are going to be old, and to hold back some of their money
while they are young and strong, in the certainty that when they are
old, they will appreciate this service. Also the state takes care of the
sick and incapacitated, and the mentally or physically defective. But we
do not leave these latter loose in the world to reproduce their defects;
we have in our new world some sense of responsibility to the future, and
there is nothing to which we devote more effort than making certain that
nothing unsound or abnormal is allowed entrance into life.

The problem of the care of children is a complicated one, and our new
society is in process of solving it. We look back on the old world in
which the having of children was heavily taxed, in the form of an
obligation to care for these children until they were old enough to
work. Then the parents were allowed to exploit the labor of the
children, so that among the very poor the raising of children was a
business speculation, like the raising of slaves or poultry. But in our
new world we consider the interest of the child, and of the society in
which that child is to be a citizen. We decide that this society must
have citizens, and that the raising of the future citizens is a work
just exactly as necessary and useful as the raising of a crop of
cabbages. Therefore, we pay a pension to all mothers while they are
raising and caring for children. At the same time we assert the right to
see that this money is wisely spent, and that the child is really cared
for. If it is neglected, we are quick to take it away from its parents,
and put it in one of our twenty-four-hour-a-day schools.

We realize that the home is an ancient industry, even more ancient than
agriculture, and we do not try to socialize it all at once. But just as
we demonstrate to farmers that the individual farm does not pay, so we
demonstrate to mothers the wastefulness of the single laundry, the
single kitchen, the single nursery. We establish community laundries,
community kitchens, community nurseries, and invite our women to help in
these activities, and to learn there, under expert guidance, the
advantages of domestic co-operation. We convince them by showing better
results in the health and happiness of the children, and in the time and
strength of the mothers. So, little by little, we widen the field of
co-operative endeavor, and increase the total product of human labor and
the total enjoyment of human life.



     (Discusses scientific, artistic and religious activities, as a
     superstructure built upon the foundation of the standard wage.)

Karl Kautsky, intellectual leader of the German Social-democracy, gives
in his book, "The Social Revolution," a useful formula as to the
organization of the future society. This formula is: "Communism in
material production, Anarchism in intellectual production." It will
repay us to study this statement, and see exactly what it means.

Material production depends directly upon things; and as there is only a
limited quantity of things in the world, if any one person has more than
his share, he deprives some other person to that extent. So there have
to be strict laws concerning the distribution of material products. But
with intellectual things exactly the opposite is the case. There is no
limit in quantity, and any one person can have all he wants without
interfering with anybody else. Everybody in the world can perform a play
by Shakespeare, or play a sonata by Beethoven, and everybody can enjoy
it as much as he pleases without keeping other people from enjoying it
all they please. Also, material production can be standardized; we can
have great factories to turn out millions of boxes of matches, each
match like every other match, and the more alike they are the better.
But in intellectual affairs we want everyone to be different, or at
least we want everyone to be free to be different, and if some one can
become much better than the others, this is the most important kind of
production in the world, for he may make over our whole intellectual and
moral life.

For the production of material things our new society has great
factories owned in common, and run by majority vote of the workers, and
we place the products of that factory at the disposal of all members of
society upon equal terms. That is our "Communism in material
production." On the other hand, in our intellectual production we leave
everybody free to live his own life, and to associate himself with
others of like aims, and we place as few restrictions as possible upon
their activities. This is the method of free association, or "Anarchism
in intellectual production."

Our problem would be simple if material and intellectual production
never had to mingle. But, as it happens, every kind of intellectual
production requires a certain amount of material, and every kind of
material production involves an intellectual element. Therefore, our two
methods have to be combined, and we have a complex problem which we have
to solve in a variety of different ways, and upon which we must
experiment with open minds and scientific temper.

First, let us take the intellectual elements involved in the production
of purely material things, such as matches and shoes and soap. Let us
take invention. Naturally, we do not want to go on making matches and
shoes and soap in the same old way forever. On the contrary, we want to
stimulate all the workers in these industries to use their wits and
improve the processes in every possible way. The whole of society has an
interest in this, and the soap workers have an especial interest. Our
soap industry has an invention department, with a group of experts
appointed by the executive committee of the national council of soap
workers. All soap workers are taxed, say five cents a day, for the
support of this activity. Likewise the state contributes a generous sum
out of its income toward the work of soap research. In addition to this,
the soap industry offers prizes and scholarships for suggestions as to
the improvement of every detail of the work, and at meetings of every
local of soap workers somebody makes new suggestions as to methods of
stimulating their intellectual life--not merely as regards soap, but as
regards citizenship, and art and literature, and human life in general.
Our soap workers, you must understand, are no longer wage-slaves,
brutalized by toil and poverty; they are free citizens of a free
society. Our soap workers' local in every city has its own theatre and
concert hall and lecture bureau, and publishes its own magazine.

Every industry has its immediate intellectual problems, its trade
journals in which these are discussed, and its research boards in which
they are worked out. The ambitions of the young workers in that industry
are concentrated upon getting into this intellectual part of their
trade. Examinations are held and tests are made to discover the most
competent men, and written suggestions are considered by boards of
control. It is, of course, of great importance to every worker that the
channels of promotion should be kept open, and that the man who really
has inventive talent shall get, not merely distinction and promotion,
but financial reward, so that he may have time and materials to continue
his experiments.

This research department, you perceive, is a sort of superstructure,
built upon the foundation of our standard wage; and this same simile
applies to numerous other forms of intellectual production. For example,
our community paper mills turn out paper, and our community printers are
prepared to turn out millions of books. How shall we determine what is
to be the intellectual content of these material books? There are many
different methods. First, there is the method of individualism. A man
has something to say, and he writes a book; he works in the soap
factory, and saves a part of his standard wage, and when he has money
enough he orders the community printers to print his book, and the
community booksellers to handle it for him, and the community postoffice
to deliver it for him. Again, a group of men organize themselves into an
association, or club, or scientific society, and publish books. The
Authors' League takes up the work of publishing the writings of its
members, and the Poetry Society does the same.

This is the method of Anarchism, or free association. But there is no
reason why we should not have along side it the method of Socialism;
there is no reason why we should not have state publishing houses, just
as we have state universities and state libraries. The state should
certainly publish standard works of all sorts, bibles and dictionaries
and directories, and cheap editions of the classics. In this new world
our school boards are not chosen by business men for purposes of graft,
they are chosen by the people to educate our children; so it seems to us
perfectly natural that the National Educational Association should
conduct a publication department, and order the printing of the school
books which the children use.

In the same way, anyone is free to write a play, or to put on a play,
and invite people to come and see it. But, like the individual farmers
and the individual mothers of families, the play-producer in our society
is in competition with great community enterprises, which set a high
standard and make competition difficult. The same thing applies to the
opera, and to concerts, and to all the arts and sciences. You can start
a private hospital if you wish, but you will be in competition with
public institutions, and you can only succeed if you are a man of
genius--that is, if you have something to teach, too new and startling
for the public boards of control to recognize. You try your new method,
and it works, and that becomes a criticism of the public boards of
control, and before long the people by their votes turn out the old
board of control and put you in.

That is politics, you say; but we in our new world do not use the word
politics as one of contempt. We really believe that public sentiment is
in the long run the best authority, and the appeal to public sentiment
is at once a social privilege and a social service. What we strive to do
is to clear the channels of appeal, and avoid favoritism and stagnation.
To that end we maintain, in every art and every science and every
department of human thought, endless numbers of centers of free,
independent, co-operative activity, so that every man who has an
inspiration, or a new idea, can find some group to support him or can
form a new group of his own.

This is our "Anarchism in intellectual production," and it is the method
under which in capitalist society men organize all their clubs and
societies and churches. Devout members of the Roman Catholic Church will
be startled to be told that theirs is an Anarchist organization; but
nevertheless, such is the case. The Catholic Church owns a great deal of
property, and speculates in real estate, and to that extent it is a
capitalist institution. It holds a great many people by fear, and to
that extent it is a feudal institution. But in so far as members of the
church believe in it and love it and contribute of their free will to
its support, they are organizing by the method which all Anarchists
recommend and desire to apply to the whole of society. Anarchist clubs
and Christian churches are both free associations for the advocacy of
certain ideas, the only difference being in the ideas they advocate.

In our new world such organizations have been multiplied many fold, and
form a vast superstructure of intellectual activity, built upon the
foundation of the standard wage. In this new world all the people are
free. They are free, not merely from oppression, but from the fear of
oppression; they have leisure and plenty, and they take part naturally
and simply in the intellectual life. The old, of course, have not got
over the dullness which a lifetime of drudgery impressed upon them, but
the young are growing up in a world without classes, and in which it
seems natural that everyone should be educated and everyone should have
ideas. They earn their standard wage, and devote their spare time to
some form of intellectual or artistic endeavor, and spend their spare
money in paying writers and artists and musicians and actors to
stimulate and entertain them.

These latter are the ways of distinction in our new society; these are
the paths to power. The only rich men in our world are the men who
produce intellectual goods; the great artists, orators, musicians,
actors and writers, who are free to serve or not to serve, as they see
fit, and can therefore hold up the public for any price they care to
charge. Just now there is eager discussion going on in our world as to
whether it is proper for an opera singer, or a moving picture star, or a
novelist, to make a million dollars. Our newspapers are full of
discussions of the question whether anyone can make a million dollars
honestly, and whether men of genius should exploit their public. Some
point out that our most eminent opera singer spends his millions in
endowing a conservatory of art; but others maintain that it would be
better if he lowered his prices of admission, and let the public use its
money in its own way. The extremists are busy founding what they call
the Ten-cent Society, whose members agree to boycott all singers and
actors who charge more than ten cents admission, and all moving picture
stars who receive more than a hundred thousand dollars a year for their
service. These "Ten-centers" do not object to paying the money, but they
object to the commercializing of art, and declare especially that the
moral effect of riches is such that no rich person should ever, under
any circumstances, be allowed to influence the youth of the nation. In
this some of the greatest writers join them, and renounce their
copyrights, and agree to accept a laureateship from some union of
workers, who pay them a generous stipend for the joy and honor of being
associated with their names. The greatest poet of our time began life as
a newsboy, and so the National Newsvenders' Society has adopted him, and
taken his name, and pays him ten thousand dollars a year for the
privilege of publishing his works.



     (Discusses human nature and its weaknesses, and what happens to
     these in the new world.)

We have briefly sketched the economic arrangements of the co-operative
commonwealth. Let us now consider what are the effects of these
arrangements upon the principal social diseases of capitalism.

The first and most dreadful of capitalism's diseases is war, and the
economic changes here outlined have placed war, along with piracy and
slavery, among the half-forgotten nightmares of history. We have broken
the "iron ring," and are no longer dependent upon foreign concessions
and foreign markets for the preservation of our social system and the
aggrandizement of a ruling class. We can stay quietly at home and do our
own work, and as we produce nearly everything we need, we no longer have
to threaten our neighbors. Our neighbors know this, and therefore they
do not arm against us, and we have no pretext to arm against them. We
take toward all other civilized nations the attitude which we have taken
toward Canada for the past hundred years.

We have a small and highly trained army, a few regiments of which are
located at strategic points over the country. This army we regard and
use as we do our fire department. When there is widespread damage by
fire or flood or storm or earthquake, we rush the army to the spot to
attend to the work of rescue and rebuilding. Also, we have a small navy
in international service; for, of course, we are no longer an
independent and self-centered nation; we have come to realize that we
are part of the world community, and have taken our place as one state
in the International Socialist Federation. We send our delegates to the
world parliament, and we place our resources at the disposal of the
world government. However, it now takes but a small army and navy to
preserve order in the world. We govern the backward nations, but the
economic arrangements of the world are such that we are no longer driven
to exploit and oppress them. We send them teachers instead of soldiers,
and as there are really very few people in the world who fight for the
love of fighting, we have little difficulty in preserving peace. We pay
the backward peoples a fair price for their products which we need. Our
world government takes no money out of these countries, but spends it
for the benefit of those who live in the countries, to teach them and
train their young generations for self-government.

Next, what are the effects of our new arrangements upon political
corruption and graft? The social revolution has broken the prestige of
wealth. Money will buy things, but it no longer buys power, the right to
rule other men; it no longer buys men's admiration. Everybody now has
money, and nobody is any longer afraid of starvation. It is no longer
the fashion to save money--any more than it is the fashion to carry
revolvers in drawing-rooms or to wear chain mail in place of
underclothing. So our political life is cleansed of the money influence.
People now get power by persuading their fellows, not by buying them or
threatening them. The world is no longer full of men ravenous for jobs,
and ready to sell their soul for a "position." So it is no longer
possible to build up a "machine" based on desire for office.

The changes have resulted in an enormous intensification of our
political activities. We have endless meetings and debates; we have so
many propaganda societies that we cannot keep track of them. And some of
these societies, like the Catholic Church, have a large membership, and
large sums of money at their disposal. But a few experiments at carrying
elections by a "campaign-chest" have convinced everybody that to have
the facts on your side is the only permanent way to political power. Our
new society is jealous of attempts to establish any sort of ruling
class, and the surest way to discredit yourself is to advocate any form
of barrier against freedom of discussion, or the right of the people's
will to prevail.

Next, what is the status of crime? We have too recently escaped from
capitalism to have been able to civilize entirely our slum population,
and we still have occasional crimes of violence, especially crimes of
passion. But we have almost entirely eliminated those classes of crime
which had to do with property, and we have discovered that this was
ninety-five per cent of all crime. We have eliminated them by the simple
device of making them no longer profitable. Anybody can go into our
community factories, and under clean and attractive working conditions,
and without any loss of prestige or social position, can earn the means
of satisfying his reasonable wants by three hours work a day. Almost
everybody finds this easier than stealing or cheating.

But more important yet, as a factor in abolishing crime, is the
abolition of class domination and the prestige of wealth. We no longer
have in our community a ruling class which lives without working, and
which offers to the weak-minded and viciously inclined the perpetual
example of luxury. We no longer set much store on jewels and fine
raiment; we do not make costly things, except for public purposes, where
all may enjoy them; and nobody stores great quantities of money, because
everyone has a guarantee of security from the state. So we are gradually
putting our policemen and jailers and judges and lawyers to constructive

Next, what about disease? The diseases of poverty are entirely done away
with. We are now able to apply the knowledge of science to the whole
community, and so we no longer have to do with tuberculosis and typhoid,
or with rickets and anæmia in children, or with heavy infant mortality.
We have sterilized our unfit, the degenerates and the defectives, and so
do not have to reckon with millions of children from these wretched
stocks. We now give to the question of public health that prominence
which in the old days we used to give to war and the suppression of
crime and social protest. Our public health officers now replace our
generals and admirals, and we really obey their orders.

Next, as to prostitution. Just as in the case of crime, we are still too
close to capitalism not to have among us the victims of social
depravity, both men and women. We still have a great deal of vice which
springs from untrained animal impulse, and we have some cultivated and
highly sophisticated pornography. But we have entirely done away with
commercial vice, and we have done it by cutting the root which nourished
it. Women in our communities are really free; and by that we do not mean
the empty political freedom which existed in the days of wage
slavery--we mean that women are permanently delivered from economic
inferiority, by the recognition on the part of the state of the money
value of their special kind of work, the bearing and training of
children. This kind of work not merely receives the standard wage, it
also receives the best surgical and nursing treatment free. Housework
and home-making are legally recognized services; and the woman before
marriage and after her children have been nursed is free to go into the
community factories and earn for herself the standard wage, with no loss
of social position. Consequently, no woman sells her sex, and no man
buys it.

This does not mean, of course, that we have solved the sex problem in
our new society. There are two great social problems with which we have
to deal, the first of these being the sex problem, and the second the
race problem. Our scientists are occupied with eugenics, and we are
finding out how to guide our young people in marriage, so that our race
may be built up, and the ravages of capitalism remedied as quickly as
possible. Also we are trying to find out the laws of happiness and
health in love. We are founding societies for the purpose of protecting
love, and, as hinted in the Book of Love, we have a determined social
struggle between two groups of women--the mother-women and the
mistress-women--those who take love gravely, as a means of improving the
race, and those who take it as a decoration, a form of play. Our men are
embarrassed by having to choose between these groups, and occupy
themselves with trying to keep the struggle from turning into civil war.

Second, the race problem. Our economic changes have, of course, done
away with some of the bitterest phases of this strife. White workingmen
in the North no longer mob and murder negro workingmen for taking their
jobs, and in the South our land values tax prevents the landlord from
exploiting either white or negro labor. But our white race is still
irresistibly bent upon preserving its integrity of blood, and the more
far-seeing among the negroes have come to realize that there can never
be any real happiness for them in a society where they are denied the
higher social privileges. There is a movement for the development of a
genuine Negro Republic in Africa, and for mass emigration. Also there is
a proposition, soon to be settled at an election, for the dividing of
the United States into three districts upon racial lines. First, there
are to be, in the Far South, three or four states which are inhabited
and governed solely by negroes, and to which white men may come only as
temporary visitors; a large group of states in the North which are white
states, and to which negroes may come only as visitors; and finally, a
middle group of states, in which both whites and black are allowed to
live, as at present, but with the proviso that no one may live there
who takes part in any form of racial strife or agitation. This program
gives to race-conscious negroes their own land, their own civilization,
their own chance of self-realization; it gives to race-conscious white
men the same opportunity; and it leaves to those who are not troubled by
the problem, a country where black and white may dwell in quiet good

Finally, what has been the effect of our economic changes upon the
purely personal vices which gave us so much trouble and unhappiness in
the old days? What, for example, has been the effect upon vanity? You
should see our new crop of children in our high schools! There are no
longer any social classes among them; the rich ones do not arrive in
private automobiles, to make the poor ones envious, and they do not
isolate themselves in little snobbish cliques. They arrive in community
automobiles, and all wear uniforms--one of the simple devices by which
we repress the impulse of the young toward display of personal egotism.
They are all full of health and happy play, and their heads are busily
occupied with interesting ideas. Our girls are trained to thinking,
instead of to personal adornment; they are developing their minds,
instead of catching a rich husband by sexual charms. So we have been
able, in a single generation of training, to make a real and appreciable
difference in the amount of vanity and self-consciousness to be found
among our young people.

And the same thing applies to a score of other undesirable qualities,
which, under the system of competitive commercialism, were
overstimulated in human beings. In those old days everyone was seeking
his own survival, and certain qualities which had survival value became
the principal characteristics of our race. Those qualities were greed
and persistence in acquisitiveness, cunning and subtlety, also bragging
and self-assertiveness. In that old world people destroyed their fellows
in order to make their own safety and power; they wasted goods in order
to be esteemed, to preserve what they called their "social position."
But now we have cut the roots of all these vile weeds. We have so
adjusted the business relationships of men that we do not have to have
hysterical religious revivals in order to keep the human factors alive
in their hearts. We have established it as a money fact, which everyone
quickly realizes, that it pays better to co-operate; there is more
profit and less bother in being of service to others. So we have
prepared a soil in which virtues grow instead of vices, and we find
that people become decent and kindly and helpful without exhortation,
and with no more moral effort than the average man can comfortably make.
Of course, we have still personal vices to combat, and new virtues to
discover and to propagate; but this has to do with the future, whereas
we are here confining ourselves to those things which have been
demonstrated in our new society.


Abortion, 61

Abortions, 30

Advertising, 163

Agricultural co-operative, 206

Anarchism, 210

Anarchist, 89, 90

Anarchy, 172

Anglo-Saxon, 62, 111

"Appeal to Reason", 149

Aristocratic doctrine, 116

Armour, 128

Atherton, Gertrude, 87

Babies, 63

Bachelorhood, 52

Bacon, Francis, 51

Banking system, 192

Bankruptcy, 162

Barbarism, 124

Barnum, P. T., 27

Berkman, Alexander, 173

Biology, 103

Birth control, 61, 76

Birth Control Review, 64

Blatchford, Robert, 55, 161

"Blind" love, 58

Bolsheviks, 172

Breach of promise suit, 91

Brothel, 66

Brothels, 31

Burbank, Luther, 99

Business man, 143

Capital, 158

Capitalism, 136, 168

Capitalists, 142

Carnegie, 168

Catholic Church, 213, 216

Celibacy, 51, 52, 64

Chastity, 51

Chattel slavery, 186

Childbirths, 70

Children, 70, 72, 85, 208

Christianity, 115, 133

"Clarion", 31

Class struggle, 133, 177

Clay, Henry, 186

Coleridge, 85

"Collier's Weekly", 122, 163

Committee on Waste, 160

Commune, 129

Communism, 10, 170, 210

Compensation, 179

Competition, 108, 127

Competitive wage system, 148

"Complex", 49

Comstock, Anthony, 20

Confiscation, 179

Congress, 138

Contraception, 61

Co-operation, 109, 199, 200

Coquetry, 38

Corporation, 127

Courtship, 91

Credit, 152, 154, 192, 200

Credit-cards, 202

Crime, 164, 216

Culture, 62

Cutting, H. C., 200

Dances, 15

Debs, Eugene V., 155

Degeneration, 121

"Demi-monde", 80

Democratic doctrine, 115

Dictatorship, 180, 183, 185

Dill, James B., 25

Disarmament, 157

Discouragement, 164

Disease, 217

Divorce, 32, 93, 97

Double standard, 5

"Douglas plan", 199

"Dumping", 152

Economic evolution, 123

Economic man, 108

Emerson, 186

Emulation, 112

Engagements, 72

England, 120, 156, 175

Eugenics, 58

Evolution, 122

Exogamy, 105

Exploitation, 181

Exploiting, 148

Exports, 153

Factory system, 129

Farming, 206

"Favorable balance", 151

Fear, 122, 164

Federal Reserve Act, 154

Feminist, 69

Feudal stage, 124

Fires, 163

Foreign trade, 151

"Free love", 44, 87

"Free lover", 92

France, 175

France, Anatole, 44

Freud, 104

Gens, 9

Germany, 155, 156

Gillette, King C., 200

Goldman, Emma, 173

Gonorrhea, 30

Goode, Mary J., 41

Government, 166

"Graft", 127, 216

"Great Adventure", 188

Hammurabi, 78

"Hamon case", 26

"Hard times", 144

Hardy, 13

Harris, Frank, 21

"High life", 23

Home, 42, 209

Honeymoon, 56

Hoover, Herbert, 160

House of Commons, 137

Huguenots, 134

Human nature, 99

Hunger, 122

Ideals, 132

Imports, 153

Income tax, 143, 188

Industrial evolution, 126

Infant, 103

Infanticide, 61

Inflation, 196

Inheritance tax, 188

"Ingenues", 19

Instinct, 57

Insurance, 163

Intellectual production, 211

"Iron ring", 158

Island, 145

I. W. W., 169

James, William, 16

Jealousy, 89

Jews, 127

Kautsky, Karl, 210

"King Coal", 139

Kropotkin, 109, 129, 173

Labor, 158

Labor checks, 202

Labor union, 199

Laissez faire, 110

Land tax, 190

Land titles, 179

Land values, 208

Late marriage, 67

Lecky, 6, 33

Leviticus, 78

Liberty motor, 164

London, Jack, 62

Los Angeles Times, 157

Love, 34, 47, 100, 112, 218

Lust, 48

Luther, Martin, 129

Luxury, 60

Machinery, 149

"Magic gestures", 104

Magna Carta, 134

Malthusian law, 108

Markham, Edwin, 139

Marquesas Islands, 33

Marriage, 4

Marriage club, 71

Marriage market, 68

Marx, Karl, 132, 138, 176

Materialistic interpretation, 132

Material production 210

Maternity endowment 79

Meredith, George 43

"Merrie England" 161

Metchnikoff, Elie 33, 46

Mexico 121

Middle class 176, 186

Minor, Robert 173

Mistress 12

Money 37, 192, 202

Money Trust 194

Monogamy 5, 83, 90

Moors 134

Moralists 59

Morgan 128

Mother's pension 79

Moving pictures 17

Negro 218

Negroes 116

Neuroses 105

Neurotics 103

North Dakota 194

North, Luke 188

O'Brien, Frederick 10

Oedipus complex 104

"Open-shop" 177

Panic 154

Parasitism 74

Passion 58

Permanence 87

Piracy 111

Pity 74

Plumb plan 198

Political evolution 123

Political revolution 125

Politics 213

Pornography 20

Postal savings bank 195

Poverty 40

Primitive man 9

Privilege 36

Professor Sumner 122

Profit system 148, 158

"Progressive polygamy" 90

Proletariat 142

Promiscuity 87

Property marriage 44

Prosperity 144

Prostitute 6

Prostitution 4, 31, 41, 217

Proudhon 179

Psycho-analysis 49, 103

Public bank 194

Publishing 212

Quick, Herbert 165

Race prejudice 62

Race problem 218

Racial immaturity 116

Raffeisen bank 200

Reeve, Sidney A. 160

Republic 125

Research 212

"Resurrection" 53

Revolt 134

Ricardo 108

Richardson, Dorothy 26

Ring 148

Robinson, Dr. William, J, 21, 30, 70, 77

Roman Catholic church 90

"Romance" 91

"Romantic" love 55

Roosevelt 61

Rulers 119

Russia 129, 185

Sanger, Margaret 63

School of marriage 75

Selection 8

Sex 8

Sex education 72

Sex impulse 46

Sex problem 218

Sex urge 86

Sex war 81

Shelley 59, 89

"She-towns" 29

Shop management 168

Sienkiewicz 13

Sims, District Attorney 28

Single tax 188

Slavery 10, 126, 136

"Smart set" 24

Smith, Adam 108

Snobbery 61

Socialism, 166

Social revolution, 128, 147, 175

Soviets, 130, 171

"Speeding up", 138

Spencer, Herbert, 122

Spirituality, 64

Sport, 113

Standard wage, 203

Steel Trust, 137

Stopes, Dr. Marie C., 77

Strikes, 162

Syndicalism, 167

Syphilis, 30

Tabu, 9

Tariff, 153

Taxes, 191

Tennyson, 38, 120

"The Brass Check", 31, 137

"The Conquest of Bread", 173

"The Cost of Competition", 160

"The Industrial Republic", 202

"The Jungle", 139

"The Lady", 12

"The Long Day", 26, 29

"The Nature of Man", 33

"The Profits of Religion", 137

"The Social Revolution", 210

"The Strangle Hold", 200

Thompson, A. M., 31

Tolstoi, 53

"Totem and Taboo", 104

"Triangle", 56

Unconscious, 105

Unemployment, 147

"Vamps", 19

Vanity, 219

Varietism, 85

Venereal disease, 30, 67, 83

Voltaire, 36

Voluntary Parenthood League, 64

War, 162

Wars, 155

Waste, 165

Wells, H. G., 89

Wharton, Edith, 95

"Wild oats", 6

White man's burden, 117

White, William Allen, 17

Worker, 140

Workers, 176

Working class, 140

Woman, 12

"Young love", 56, 73

       *       *       *       *       *


Published by the Author, Pasadena, California

Trade Distributors: The Paine Book Co., Chicago, [I].

The Brass Check

A Study of American Journalism

Who owns the press and why?

When you read your daily paper, are you reading facts or propaganda? And
whose propaganda?

Who furnishes the raw material for your thoughts about life? Is it
honest material?

No man can ask more important questions than these; and here for the
first time the questions are answered in a book.

The first edition of this book, 23,000 copies, was sold out two weeks
after publication. Paper could not be obtained for printing, and a
carload of brown wrapping paper was used. The printings to date amount
to 144,000 copies. The book is being published in Great Britain and
colonies, and in translations in Germany, France, Holland, Norway,
Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Hungary and Japan.

     HERMANN BESSEMER, _in the "Neues Journal," Vienna_:

     "Upton Sinclair deals with names, only with names, with balances,
     with figures, with documents, a truly stunning, gigantic
     fact-material. His book is an armored military train which with
     rushing pistons roars through the jungle of American monsterlies,
     whistling, roaring, shooting, chopping off with Berserker rage the
     obscene heads of these evils. A breath-taking, clutching, frightful
     book is 'The Brass Check.'"

(=Prices of all books, unless otherwise stated, cloth $1.20, 3 copies $3,
10 copies $9; paper 60c, 3 copies $1.50, 10 copies $4.50. All prices


A book of practical counsel. Volume One--Mind and Body. Discusses truth
and its standards, and the basis of health, both mental and physical.
Tells people how to live, in order to avoid waste and pain, and to find
happiness and achieve progress.

Volume Two--Love and Society. Discusses health in sex; love and
marriage, chastity, monogamy, birth control, divorce. Explains modern
economic problems, Socialism, revolution, industrial democracy, and the
future society. Prices of volumes one and two bound in one, cloth $1.50,
paper $1.00. Either of the two volumes separately, cloth $1.20, paper


This novel, first published in 1906, caused an international sensation.
It was the best selling book in the United States for a year; also in
Great Britain and its colonies. It was translated into seventeen
languages, and caused an investigation by President Roosevelt, and
action by Congress. The book has been out of print for ten years, and is
now reprinted by the author at a lower price than when first published,
although the cost of manufacture has since more than doubled.

     "Not since Byron awoke one morning to find himself famous has there
     been such an example of world-wide celebrity won in a day by a book
     as has come to Upton Sinclair."--_New York Evening World._

     "It is a book that does for modern industrial slavery what 'Uncle
     Tom's Cabin' did for black slavery. But the work is done far better
     and more accurately in 'The Jungle' than in 'Uncle Tom's
     Cabin.'"--ARTHUR BRISBANE, _in the New York Evening Journal_.


A novel of the Colorado coal country.

     "Clear, convincing, complete."--LINCOLN STEFFENS.

     "I wish that every word of it could be burned deep into the heart
     of every American."--ADOLPH GERMER.

     DEBS AND THE POETS: Edited by Ruth Le Prade, with an introduction
     by Upton Sinclair. A collection of poetry about Debs.

SYLVIA: A novel of the South.

SYLVIA'S MARRIAGE: A sequel. (Both in cloth only.)


Would you like to go behind the scenes and see the "invisible
government" of your country saving you from the Bolsheviks and the Reds?
Would you like to meet the secret agents and provocateurs of "Big
Business," to know what they look like, how they talk and what they are
doing to make the world safe for democracy? Several of these gentlemen
have been haunting the home of Upton Sinclair during the past three
years and he has had the idea of turning the tables and investigating
the investigators. He has put one of them, Peter Gudge by name, into a
book, together with Peter's ladyloves, and his wife, and his boss, and a
whole group of his fellow-agents and their employers.

     _From_ LOUIS UNTERMEYER, _Author of "Challenge," etc._:

     "Upton Sinclair has done it again. He has loaded his Maxim (no
     Silencer attached), taken careful aim, and--bang!--hit the bell
     plump in the center.

     "First of all, '100%' is a story; a story full of suspense, drama,
     'heart interest,' plots, counterplots, high life, low life, humor,
     hate and other passions--as thrilling as a W. S. Hart movie, as
     interest-crammed as (and a darned sight more truthful than) your
     daily newspaper."


Narrates how Jesus came to Los Angeles in the year 1921, and what
happened to Him. To be published in September, 1922.


An anthology of the literature of social protest, with an introduction
by Jack London, who calls it "this humanist Holy-book." Thirty-two
illustrations, 891 pages. Cloth, $1.50; paper, $1.00.

     "It should rank with the very noblest works of all time. You could
     scarcely have improved on its contents--it is remarkable in variety
     and scope. Buoyant, but never blatant, powerful and passionate, it
     has the spirit of a challenge and a battle cry."--LOUIS UNTERMEYER.

     "You have marvelously covered the whole ground. The result is a
     book that radicals of every shade have long been waiting for. You
     have made one that every student of the world's thought--economic,
     philosophic, artistic--has to have."--REGINALD WRIGHT KAUFFMAN.


A study of supernaturalism as a source of income and a shield to
privilege. The first investigation of this subject ever made in any

     "You have put a lot of work into it and you have marshalled your
     facts in, masterly fashion."--WILLIAM MARION REEDY.

	        *       *       *       *       *
The following typographical errors have been corrected by the text


changes takes place=>changes take place

is an impuse=>is an impulse

center of continous=>center of continuous

a starvling beggar at the gates=>a starving beggar at the gates

of fool nations about sex=>of fool notions about sex

any personal right in contravened=>any personal right is contravened

industrial evoluton=>industrial evolution

to the poeple=>to the people

Social revoluton=>Social revolution

her hands and and feet=>her hands and her feet


Sienkewicz's "Whirlpools"=>Sienkiewicz's "Whirlpools"

Magna Charta, 134=>Magna Carta, 134

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of Life" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.