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Title: Philosophy and The Social Problem
Author: Durant, Will
Language: English
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                   PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM

                        [Illustration: colophon]

                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

                  NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO · DALLAS
                        ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO

                        MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

                       LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA
                               MELBOURNE

                   THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
                                TORONTO



                               PHILOSOPHY

                                  AND

                           THE SOCIAL PROBLEM

                                   BY

                           WILL DURANT, PH.D.

              INSTRUCTOR IN PHILOSOPHY, EXTENSION TEACHING
                          COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

                                    τὁν μἑν βἱον
                ἡ φὑσις ἑδωκε, το δἑ καλὡς ζἡν ἡ τἑχνη.
                             --UNKNOWN DRAMATIC POET.

                                NEW YORK

                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

                                  1917

                         _All rights reserved_

                            COPYRIGHT, 1917,
                       BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

          Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1917.

                             Norwood Press
                 J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
                         Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


                                   TO

                             ALDEN FREEMAN



CONTENTS


                                                                    PAGE

INTRODUCTION                                                           1

PART I

HISTORICAL APPROACH

CHAPTER I

THE PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC

I.    History as rebarbarization                                       5

II.   Philosophy as disintegrator                                      6

III.  Individualism in Athens                                          7

IV.   The Sophists                                                     9

V.    Intelligence as virtue                                          12

VI.   The meaning of virtue                                           15

VII.  “Instinct” and “reason”                                         23

VIII. The secularization of morals                                    27

IX.   “Happiness” and “virtue”                                        31

X.    The Socratic challenge                                          33

CHAPTER II

PLATO: PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS

I.    The man and the artist                                          36

II.   How to solve the social problem                                 40

III.  On making philosopher-kings                                     44

IV.   Dishonest democracy                                             52

V.    Culture and slavery                                             55

VI.   Plasticity and order                                            60

VII.  The meaning of justice                                          62

VIII. The future of Plato                                             64

CHAPTER III

FRANCIS BACON AND THE SOCIAL POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE

I. From Plato to Bacon                                                67

II. Character                                                         69

III. The expurgation of the intellect                                 70

IV. Knowledge is power                                                74

V. The socialization of science                                       76

VI. Science and Utopia                                                79

VII. Scholasticism in science                                         81

VIII. The Asiatics of Europe                                          85

CHAPTER IV

SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM

I. Hobbes                                                             90

II. The spirit of Spinoza                                             91

III. Political ethics                                                 93

IV. Is man a political animal?                                        95

V. What the social problem is                                         98

VI. Free speech                                                      101

VII. Virtue as power                                                 105

VIII. Freedom and order                                              108

IX. Democracy and intelligence                                       112

X. The legacy of Spinoza                                             115

CHAPTER V

NIETZSCHE

I. From Spinoza to Nietzsche                                         117

II. Biographical                                                     120

III. Exposition                                                      126

   1. Morality as impotence                                          126
   2. Democracy                                                      128
   3. Feminism                                                       131
   4. Socialism and anarchism                                        133
   5. Degeneration                                                   138
   6. Nihilism                                                       141
   7. The will to power                                              143
   8. The superman                                                   150
   9. How to make supermen                                           155
  10. On the necessity of exploitation                               159
  11. Aristocracy                                                    162
  12. Signs of ascent                                                165

IV. Criticism                                                        172

V. Nietzsche replies                                                 177

VI. Conclusion                                                       178

PART II

SUGGESTIONS

CHAPTER I

SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS

I. The problem                                                       185

II. “Solutions”                                                      190

   1. Feminism                                                       190
   2. Socialism                                                      194
   3. Eugenics                                                       198
   4. Anarchism                                                      200
   5. Individualism                                                  202
   6. Individualism again                                            202

III. Dissolutions                                                    205

CHAPTER II

THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION OF PHILOSOPHY

I. Epistemologs                                                      214

II. Philosophy as control                                            218

III. Philosophy as mediator between science and statesmanship        222

CHAPTER III

ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE

I. The need                                                          227

II. The organization of intelligence                                 230

III. Information as panacea                                          234

IV. Sex, art, and play in social reconstruction                      240

V. Education                                                         246

CHAPTER IV

THE READER SPEAKS

I. The democratization of aristocracy                                251

II. The professor as Buridan’s ass                                   255

III. Is information wanted?                                          257

IV. Finding Mæcenas                                                  261

V. The chance of philosophy                                          264

CONCLUSION                                                           268



PART I

HISTORICAL APPROACH



PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM



INTRODUCTION


The purpose of this essay is to show: first, that the social problem has
been the basic concern of many of the greater philosophers; second, that
an approach to the social problem through philosophy is the first
condition of even a moderately successful treatment of this problem; and
third, that an approach to philosophy through the social problem is
indispensable to the revitalization of philosophy.

By “philosophy” we shall understand a study of experience as a whole, or
of a portion of experience in relation to the whole.

By the “social problem” we shall understand, simply and very broadly,
the problem of reducing human misery by modifying social institutions.
It is a problem that, ever reshaping itself, eludes sharper definition;
for misery is related to desire, and desire is personal and in perpetual
flux: each of us sees the problem unsteadily in terms of his own
changing aspirations. It is an uncomfortably complicated problem, of
course; and we must bear in mind that the limit of our intention here is
to consider philosophy as an approach to the problem, and the problem
itself as an approach to philosophy. We are proposing no solutions.

Let us, as a wholesome measure of orientation, touch some of the
mountain-peaks in philosophical history, with an eye for the social
interest that lurks in every metaphysical maze. “Aristotle,” says
Professor Woodbridge, “set treatise-writers the fashion of beginning
each treatise by reviewing previous opinions on their subject, and
proving them all wrong.”[1] The purpose of the next five chapters will
be rather the opposite: we shall see if some supposedly dead
philosophies do not admit of considerable resuscitation. Instead of
trying to show that Socrates, Plato, Bacon, Spinoza, and Nietzsche were
quite mistaken in their views on the social problem, we shall try to see
what there is in these views that can help us to understand our own
situation to-day. We shall not make a collection of systems of social
philosophy; we shall not lose ourselves in the past in a scholarly
effort to relate each philosophy to its social and political
environment; we shall try to relate these philosophies rather to our own
environment, to look at our own problems successively through the eyes
of these philosophers. Other interpretations of these men we shall not
so much contradict as seek to supplement.

Each of our historical chapters, then, will be not so much a review as a
preface and a progression. The aim will be neither history nor
criticism, but a kind of construction by proxy. It is a method that has
its defects: it will, for example, sacrifice thoroughness of scholarship
to present applicability, and will necessitate some repetitious
gathering of the threads when we come later to our more personal
purpose. But as part requital for this, we shall save ourselves from
considering the past except as it is really present, except as it is
alive and nourishingly significant to-day. And from each study we shall
perhaps make some advance towards our final endeavor,--the mutual
elucidation of the social problem and philosophy.



CHAPTER I

THE PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC


I

History as Rebarbarization

History is a process of rebarbarization. A people made vigorous by
arduous physical conditions of life, and driven by the increasing
exigencies of survival, leaves its native habitat, moves down upon a
less vigorous people, conquers, displaces, or absorbs it. Habits of
resolution and activity developed in a less merciful environment now
rapidly produce an economic surplus; and part of the resources so
accumulated serve as capital in a campaign of imperialist conquest. The
growing surplus generates a leisure class, scornful of physical activity
and adept in the arts of luxury. Leisure begets speculation; speculation
dissolves dogma and corrodes custom, develops sensitivity of perception
and destroys decision of action. Thought, adventuring in a labyrinth of
analysis, discovers behind society the individual; divested of its
normal social function it turns inward and discovers the self. The
sense of common interest, of commonwealth, wanes; there are no citizens
now, there are only individuals.

From afar another people, struggling against the forces of an obdurate
environment, sees here the cleared forests, the liberating roads, the
harvest of plenty, the luxury of leisure. It dreams, aspires, dares,
unites, invades. The rest is as before.

Rebarbarization is rejuvenation. The great problem of any civilization
is how to rejuvenate itself without rebarbarization.


II

Philosophy as Disintegrator

The rise of philosophy, then, often heralds the decay of a civilization.
Speculation begins with nature and begets naturalism; it passes to
man--first as a psychological mystery and then as a member of
society--and begets individualism. Philosophers do not always desire
these results; but they achieve them. They feel themselves the unwilling
enemies of the state: they think of men in terms of personality while
the state thinks of men in terms of social mechanism. Some philosophers
would gladly hold their peace, but there is that in them which will out;
and when philosophers speak, gods and dynasties fall. Most states have
had their roots in heaven, and have paid the penalty for it: the
twilight of the gods is the afternoon of states.

Every civilization comes at last to the point where the individual, made
by speculation conscious of himself as an end _per se_, demands of the
state, as the price of its continuance, that it shall henceforth enhance
rather than exploit his capacities. Philosophers sympathize with this
demand, the state almost always rejects it: therefore civilizations come
and civilizations go. The history of philosophy is essentially an
account of the efforts great men have made to avert social
disintegration by building up natural moral sanctions to take the place
of the supernatural sanctions which they themselves have destroyed. To
find--without resorting to celestial machinery--some way of winning for
their people social coherence and permanence without sacrificing
plasticity and individual uniqueness to regimentation,--that has been
the task of philosophers, that is the task of philosophers.

We should be thankful that it is. Who knows but that within our own time
may come at last the forging of an effective _natural_ ethic?--an
achievement which might be the most momentous event in the history of
our world.


III

Individualism in Athens

The great ages in the history of European thought have been for the most
part periods of individualistic effervescence: the age of Socrates, the
age of Cæsar and Augustus, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment;--and
shall we add the age which is now coming to a close? These ages have
usually been preceded by periods of imperialist expansion: imperialism
requires a tightening of the bonds whereby individual allegiance to the
state is made secure; and this tightening, given a satiety of
imperialism, involves an individualistic reaction. And again, the
dissolution of the political or economic frontier by conquest or
commerce breaks down cultural barriers between peoples, develops a sense
of the relativity of customs, and issues in the opposition of individual
“reason” to social tradition.

A political treatise attributed to the fourth-century B.C. reflects the
attitude that had developed in Athens in the later fifth century. “If
all men were to gather in a heap the customs which they hold to be good
and noble, and if they were next to select from it the customs which
they hold to be base and vile, nothing would be left over.”[2] Once such
a view has found capable defenders, the custom-basis of social
organization begins to give way, and institutions venerable with age are
ruthlessly subpœnaed to appear before the bar of reason. Men begin to
contrast “Nature” with custom, somewhat to the disadvantage of the
latter. Even the most basic of Greek institutions is questioned: “The
Deity,” says a fourth-century Athenian Rousseau, “made all men free;
Nature has enslaved no man.”[3] Botsford speaks of “the powerful
influence of fourth-century socialism on the intellectual class.”[4]
Euripides and Aristophanes are full of talk about a movement for the
emancipation of women.[5] Law and government are examined: Anarcharsis’
comparison of the law to a spider’s web, which catches small flies and
lets the big ones escape, now finds sympathetic comprehension; and men
arise, like Callicles and Thrasymachus, who frankly consider government
as a convenient instrument of mass-exploitation.


IV

The Sophists

The cultural representatives of this individualistic development were
the Sophists. These men were university professors without a university
and without the professorial title. They appeared in response to a
demand for higher instruction on the part of the young men of the
leisure class; and within a generation they became the most powerful
intellectual force in Greece. There had been philosophers, questioners,
before them; but these early philosophers had questioned nature rather
than man or the state. The Sophists were the first group of men in
Greece to overcome the natural tendency to acquiesce in the given order
of things. They were proud men,--humility is a vice that never found
root in Greece,--and they had a buoyant confidence in the newly
discovered power of human intelligence. They assumed, in harmony with
the spirit of all Greek achievement, that in the development and
extension of knowledge lay the road to a sane and significant life,
individual and communal; and in the quest for knowledge they were
resolved to scrutinize unawed all institutions, prejudices, customs,
morals. Protagoras professed to respect conventions,[6] and pronounced
conventions and institutions the source of man’s superiority to the
beast; but his famous principle, that “man is the measure of all
things,” was a quiet hint that morals are a matter of taste, that we
call a man “good” when his conduct is advantageous to us, and “bad” when
his conduct threatens to make for our own loss. To the Sophists virtue
consisted, not in obedience to unjudged rules and customs, but in the
efficient performance of whatever one set out to do. They would have
condemned the bungler and let the “sinner” go. That they were flippant
sceptics, putting no distinction of worth between any belief and its
opposite, and willing to prove anything for a price, is an old
accusation which later students of Greek philosophy are almost unanimous
in rejecting.[7]

The great discovery of the Sophists was the individual; it was an
achievement for which Plato and his oligarchical friends could not
forgive them, and because of which they incurred the contumely which it
is now so hard to dissociate from their name. The purpose of laws, said
the Sophists, was to widen the possibilities of individual development;
if laws did not do that, they had better be forgotten. There was a
higher law than the laws of men,--a natural law, engraved in every
heart, and judge of every other law. The conscience of the individual
was above the dictates of any state. All radicalisms lay compact in that
pronouncement. Plato, prolific of innovations though he was, yet shrank
from such a leap into the new. But the Sophists pressed their point, men
listened to them, and the Greek world changed. When Socrates appeared,
he found that world all out of joint, a war of all against all, a
stridency of uncoördinated personalities rushing into chaos. And when he
was asked, What should men do to be saved, he answered, simply, Let us
think.


V

Intelligence as Virtue

Intelligence as virtue: it was not a new doctrine; it was merely a new
emphasis placed on an already important element in the Greek--or rather
the Athenian--view of life. But it was a needed emphasis. The Sophists
(not Socrates, _pace_ Cicero) had brought philosophy down from heaven to
earth, but they had left it grovelling at the feet of business
efficiency and success, a sort of _ancilla pecuniæ_, a broker knowing
where one’s soul could be invested at ten per cent. Socrates agreed with
the Sophists in condemning any but a very temporary devotion to
metaphysical abstractions,--the one and the many, motion and rest, the
indivisibility of space, the puzzles of predication, and so forth; he
joined them in ridiculing the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and
in demanding that all thinking should be focussed finally on the real
concerns of life; but his spirit was as different from theirs as the
spirit of Spinoza was different from that of a mediæval money-lender.
With the Sophists philosophy was a profession; they were “lovers of
wisdom”--for a consideration. With Socrates philosophy was a quest of
the permanently good, of the lastingly satisfying attitude to life. To
find out just what are justice, temperance, courage, piety,--“that is an
inquiry which I shall never be weary of pursuing so far as in me lies.”
It was not an easy quest; and the results were not startlingly
definite: “I wander to and fro when I attempt these problems, and do not
remain consistent with myself.” His interlocutors went from him
apparently empty; but he had left in them seed which developed in the
after-calm of thought. He could clarify men’s notions, he could reveal
to them their assumptions and prejudices; but he could not and would not
manufacture opinions for them. He left no written philosophy because he
had only the most general advice to give, and knew that no other advice
is ever taken. He trusted his friends to pass on the good word.

Now what was the good word? It was, first of all, the identity of virtue
and wisdom, morals and intelligence; but more than that, it was the
basic identity, in the light of intelligence, of communal and individual
interests. Here at the Sophist’s feet lay the débris of the old
morality. What was to replace it? The young Athenians of a generation
denuded of supernatural belief would not listen to counsels of “virtue,”
of self-sacrifice to the community. What was to be done? Should social
and political pressure be brought to bear upon the Sophists to compel
them to modify the individualistic tenor of their teachings? Analysis
destroys morals. What is the moral--destroy analysis?

The moral, answered Socrates, is to get better morals, to find an
ethic immune to the attack of the most ruthless sceptic. The Sophists
were right, said Socrates; morality means more than social obedience.
But the Sophists were wrong in opposing the good of the individual to
that of the community; Socrates proposed to prove that if a man were
intelligent, he would see that those same qualities which make a man a
good citizen--justice, wisdom, temperance, courage--are also the best
means to individual advantage and development. All these “virtues”
are simply the supreme and only virtue--wisdom--differentiated by
the context of circumstance. No action is virtuous unless it is an
intelligent adaptation of means to a criticised end. “Sin” is failure
to use energy to the best account; it is an unintelligent waste of
strength. A man does not knowingly pursue anything but the Good; let him
but see his advantage, and he will be attracted towards it irresistibly;
let him pursue it, and he will be happy, and the state safe. The trouble
is that men lack perspective, and cannot see their true Good; they need
not “virtue” but intelligence, not sermons but training in perspective.
The man who has ἑνκρἁτεια, _who rules within_, who is strong enough to
stop and think, the man who has achieved σωφροσὑνη,--the self-knowledge
that brings self-command,--such a man will not be deceived by the
tragedy of distance, by the apparent smallness of the future good
alongside of the more easily appreciable good that lies invitingly at
hand. Hence the moral importance of dialectic, of cross-examination, of
concept and definition: we must learn “how to make our ideas clear”;
we must ask ourselves just what it is that we want, just how real
this seeming good is. Dialectic is the handmaiden of virtue; and all
clarification is morality.


VI

The Meaning of Virtue

This is frank intellectualism, of course; and the best-refuted doctrine
in philosophy. It is amusing to observe the ease with which critics and
historians despatch the Socratic ethic. It is “an extravagant paradox,”
says Sidgwick,[8] “incompatible with moral freedom.” “Nothing is
easier,” says Gomperz,[9] “than to detect the one-sidedness of this
point of view.” “This doctrine,” says Grote,[10] “omits to notice, what
is not less essential, the proper conditions of the emotions, desires,
etc.” “It tended to make all conduct a matter of the intellect and not
of the character, and so in a sense to destroy moral responsibility,”
says Hobhouse.[11] “Himself blessed with a will so powerful that it
moved almost without friction,” says Henry Jackson,[12] “Socrates fell
into the error of ignoring its operations, and was thus led to regard
knowledge as the sole condition of well-doing.” “Socrates was a
misunderstanding,” says Nietzsche;[13] “reason at any price, life made
clear, cold, cautious, conscious, without instincts, opposed to the
instincts, was in itself only a disease, ... and by no means a return to
‘virtue,’ to ‘health,’ and to happiness.” And the worn-out dictum about
seeing the better and approving it, yet following the worse, is quoted
as the deliverance of a profound psychologist, whose verdict should be
accepted as a final solution of the problem.

Before refuting a doctrine it is useful to try to understand it. What
could Socrates have meant by saying that all real virtue is
intelligence? What is virtue?

A civilization may be characterized in terms of its conception of
virtue. There is hardly anything more distinctive of the Greek attitude,
as compared with our own, than the Greek notion of virtue as
intelligence. Consider the present connotations of the word _virtue_:
men shrink at having the term applied to them; and “nothing makes one so
vain,” says Oscar Wilde, “as being told that one is a sinner.” During
the Middle Ages the official conception of virtue was couched in terms
of womanly excellence; and the sternly masculine God of the Hebrews
suffered considerably from the inroads of Mariolatry. Protestantism was
in part a rebellion of the ethically subjugated male; in Luther the man
emerges riotously from the monk. But as people cling to the ethical
implications of a creed long after the creed itself has been abandoned,
so our modern notion of virtue is still essentially mediæval and
feminine. Virginity, chastity, conjugal fidelity, gentility, obedience,
loyalty, kindness, self-sacrifice, are the stock-in-trade of all
respectable moralists; to be “good” is to be harmless, to be not “bad,”
to be a sort of sterilized citizen, guaranteed not to injure. This
sheepish innocuousness comes easily to the natively uninitiative, to
those who are readily amenable to fear and prohibitions. It is a static
virtue; it contracts rather than expands the soul; it offers no handle
for development, no incentive to social stimulation and productivity. It
is time we stopped calling this insipidly negative attitude by the once
mighty name of virtue. Virtue must be defined in terms of that which is
vitally significant in our lives.

And therefore, too, virtue cannot be defined in terms of individual
subordination to the group. The vitally significant thing in a man’s
life is not the community, but himself. To ask him to consider the
interests of the community above his own is again to put up for his
worship an external, transcendent god; and the trouble with a
transcendent god is that he is sure to be dethroned. To call “immoral”
the refusal of the individual to meet such demands is the depth of
indecency; it is itself immoral,--that is, it is nonsense. The notion of
“duty” as involving self-sacrifice, as essentially duty to others, is a
soul-cramping, funereal notion, and deserves all that Ibsen and his
progeny have said of it.[14] Ask the individual to sacrifice himself to
the community, and it will not be long before he sacrifices the
community to himself. Granted that, in the language of Heraclitus, there
is always a majority of fools, and that self-sacrifice can be procured
by the simple hypnotic suggestion of _post-mortem_ remuneration: sooner
or later come doubt and disillusionment, and the society whose
permanence was so easily secured becomes driftwood on the tides of time.
History means that if it means anything.

No; the intelligent individual will give allegiance to the group of
which he happens to find himself a member, only so far as the policies
of the group accord with his own criticised desires. Whatever
allegiance he offers will be to those forces, wherever they may be,
which in his judgment move in the line of these desires. Even for such
forces he will not sacrifice himself,--though there may be times when
martyrdom is a luxury for which life itself is not too great a price.
Since these forces have been defined in terms of his own judgment and
desire, conflict between them and himself can come only when his
behavior diverges from the purposes defined and resumed in times of
conscious thought,--_i.e._, only when he ceases to adapt means to his
ends, ceases, that is, to be intelligent. The prime moral conflict is
not between the individual and his group, but between the partial self
of fragmentary impulse and the coördinated self of conscious purpose.
There is a group within each man as well as without: a group of partial
selves is the reality behind the figment of the unitary self. Every
individual is a society, every person is a crowd. And the tragedies of
the moral life lie not in the war of each against all, but in the
restless interplay of these partial selves behind the stage of action.
As a man’s intelligence grows this conflict diminishes, for both means
and ends, both behavior and purposes, are being continually revised and
redirected in accordance with intelligence, and therefore in convergence
towards it. Progressively the individual achieves unity, and through
unity, personality. Faith in himself has made him whole. The ethical
problem, so far as it is the purely individual problem of attaining to
coördinated personality, is solved.

Moral responsibility, then,--whatever social responsibility may be,--is
the responsibility of the individual to himself. The social is not
necessarily the moral--let the sociological fact be what it will. The
unthinking conformity of the “normal social life” is, just because it is
unthinking, below the level of morality: let us call it sociality, and
make morality the prerogative of the really thinking animal. In any
society so constituted as to give to the individual an increase in
powers as recompense for the pruning of his liberties, the unsocial will
be immoral,--that is, self-destructively unreasonable and unintelligent;
but even in such a society the moral would overflow the margins of the
social, and would take definition ultimately from the congruity of the
action with the criticised purposes of the individual self. This does
not mean that all ethics lies compact in the shibboleth, “Be yourself.”
Those who make the least sparing use of this phrase are too apt to
consider it an excuse for lives that reek with the heat of passion and
smack of insufficient evolution. These people need to be reminded--all
the more forcibly since the most palatable and up-to-date philosophies
exalt instinct and deride thought--that one cannot be thoroughly one’s
self except by deliberation and intelligence. To act indeliberately is
not to be, but in great part to cancel, one’s self. For example, the
vast play of direct emotional expression is almost entirely
indeliberate: if you are greatly surprised, your lips part, your eyes
open a trifle wider, your pulse quickens, your respiration is affected;
and if I am surprised, though you be as different from me as Hyperion
from a satyr, my respiration will be affected, my pulse will quicken, my
eyes will open a trifle wider, and my lips will part;--my direct
reaction will be essentially the same as yours. The direct expression of
surprise is practically the same in all the higher animals. Darwin’s
classical description of the expression of fear is another example; it
holds for every normal human being; not to speak of lower species. So
with egotism, jealousy, anger, and a thousand other instinctive
reaction-complexes; they are common to the species, and when we so
react, we are expressing not our individual selves so much as the
species to which we happen to belong. When you hit a man because he has
“insulted” you, when you swagger a little after delivering a successful
speech, when you push aside women and children in order to take their
place in the rescue boat, when you do any one of a million indeliberate
things like these, it is not you that act, it is your species, it is
your ancestors, acting through you; your acquired individual difference
is lost in the whirlwind of inherited impulse. Your act, as the
Scholastics phrased it, is not a “human” act; you yourself are not
really acting in any full measure of yourself, you are but playing
slave and mouth-piece to the dead. But subject the inherited tendencies
to the scrutiny of your individual experience, _think_, and your action
will then express yourself, not in any abbreviated sense, but up to the
hilt. There is no merit, no “virtue,” no development in playing the game
of fragmentary impulses, in living up to the past; to be moral, to grow,
is to be not part but all of one’s self, to call into operation the
acquired as well as the inherited elements of one’s character, to be
_whole_. So many of us invite ruin by actions which do not really
express us, but are the voice of the merest fragment of ourselves,--the
remainder of us being meanwhile asleep.[15] To be whole, to be your
deliberate self, to do what you please but only after considering what
you really please, to follow your own ideals (but to follow them!), to
choose your own means and not to have them forced upon you by your
ancestors, to act consciously, to see the part _sub specie totius_, to
see the present act in its relation to your vital purposes, to think, to
be intelligent,--all these are definitions of virtue and morality.

There is, then, in the old sense of the word, no such thing as morality,
there is only intelligence or stupidity. Yes, virtue is calculus,
horrible as that may sound to long and timid ears: to calculate
properly just what you must do to attain your real ends, to see just
what and where your good is, and to make for it,--that is all that can
without indecency be asked of any man, that is all that is ever
vouchsafed by any man who is intelligent.

Perhaps you think it is an easy virtue,--this cleaving to
intelligence,--easier than being harmless. Try it.


VII

“Instinct” and “Reason”

And now to go back to the refutations.

The strongest objection to the Socratic doctrine is that intelligence is
not a creator, but only a servant, of ends. What we shall consider to be
our good appears to be determined not by reason, but by desire. Reason
itself seems but the valet of desire, ready to do for it every manner of
menial service. Desire is an adept at marshalling before intelligence
such facts as favor the wish, and turns the mind’s eye resolutely away
from other truth, as a magician distracts the attention of his audience
while his hands perform their wonders. If morality is entirely a matter
of intelligence, it is entirely a question of means, it is excluded
irrevocably from the realm of ends.

The conclusion may be allowed in substance, though it passes beyond the
warrant of the facts. It is true that basic ends are never suggested by
intelligence, reason, knowledge; but it is also true that many ends
suggested by desire are vetoed by intelligence. Why are the desires of a
man more modest than those of a boy or a child, if not because the blows
of repeated failure have dulled the edge of desire? Desires lapse, or
lose in stature, as knowledge grows and man takes lessons from reality.
There is an adaptation of ends to means as well as of means to ends; and
desire comes at last to take counsel of its slave.

Be it granted, none the less, that ends are dictated by desire, and that
if morality is intelligence, there can be no question of the morality of
any end _per se_. That, strangely, is not a refutation of the Socratic
ethic so much as an essential element of it and its starting-point.
Every desire has its own initial right; morality means not the
suppression of desires, but their coördination. What that implies for
society we shall see presently; for the individual it implies that he is
immoral, not when he seeks his own advantage, but when he does not
really behave for his own advantage, when some narrow temporary purpose
upsets perspective and overrides a larger end.[16] What we call
“self-control” is the permanent predominance of the larger end; what we
call weakness of will is instability of perspective. Self-control means
an intelligent judgment of values, an intelligent coördination of
motives, an intelligent forecasting of effects. It is far-sight,
far-hearing, an enlargement of the sense; it hears the weakened voice of
the admonishing past, it sees results far down the vista of the future;
it annihilates space and time for the sake of light. Self-control is
coördinated energy,--which is the first and last word in ethics and
politics, and perhaps in logic and metaphysics too. Weak will means that
desires fall out of focus, and taking advantage of the dark steal into
action: it is a derangement of the light, a failure of intelligence. In
this sense a “good will” means coördination of desires by the ultimate
desire, end, ideal; it means health and wholeness of will; it means,
literally, integrity. In the old sense “good will” meant, too often,
mere fear either of the prohibitions of present law or of the
prohibitions stored up in conscience. Such conscience, we all know, is a
purely negative and static thing, a convenient substitute for policemen,
a degenerate descendant of that _conscientia_, or _knowing-together_,
which meant to the Romans a discriminating awareness in
action,--discriminating awareness of the whole that lurks round the
corner of every part. This is one instance of a sort of pathology of
words,--words coming to function in a sense alien to their normal
intent. _Right_ and _wrong_, for example, once carried no ethical
connotation, but merely denoted a direct or tortuous route to a goal;
and significantly the Hebrew word for sin meant, in the days of its
health, an arrow that had missed its mark.

But, it is urged, there is no such thing as intelligence in the sense of
a control of passion by reason, desire by thought. Granted; it is so
much easier to admit objections than to refute them! Let intelligence be
interpreted as you will, so be it you recognize in it a delayed
response, a moment of reprieve before execution, giving time for the
appearance of new impulses, motives, tendencies, and allowing each
element in the situation to fall into its place in a coördinated whole.
Let intelligence be a struggle of impulses, a survival of the fittest
desire; let us contrast not reason with passion, but response delayed by
the rich interplay of motive forces, with response immediately following
upon the first-appearing impulse. Let impulse mean for us fruit that
falls unripe from the tree, because too weak to hang till it is mature.
Let us understand intelligence as not a faculty superadded to impulse,
but rather that coördination of impulses which is wrought out by the
blows of hard experience. The Socratic ethic fits quite comfortably into
this scheme; intelligence is delayed response and morality means, Take
your time.

It is charged that the Socratic view involves determinism; and this
charge, too, is best met with open-armed admission. We need not raise
the question of the pragmatic value of the problem. But to suppose that
determinism destroys moral responsibility is to betray the mid-Victorian
origin of one’s philosophy. Men of insight like Socrates, Plato, and
Spinoza, saw without the necessity of argument that moral responsibility
is not a matter of freedom of will, but a relation of means to ends, a
responsibility of the agent to himself, an intelligent coördination of
impulses by one’s ultimate purposes. Any other morality, whatever pretty
name it may display, is the emasculated morality of slaves.


VIII

The Secularization of Morals

The great problem involved in the Socratic ethic lies, apparently, in
the bearings of the doctrine on social unity and stability. Apparently;
for it is wholesome to remember that social organization, like the
Sabbath, was made for man, and not the other way about. If social
organization demands of the individual more sacrifices than its
advantages are worth to him, then the stability of that organization is
not a problem, it is a misfortune. But if the state does not demand such
sacrifices, the advantage of the individual will be in social behavior;
and the question whether he will behave socially becomes a question of
how much intelligence he has, how clear-eyed he is in ferreting out his
own advantage. In a state that does not ask more from its members than
it gives, morality and intelligence and social behavior will not
quarrel. The social problem appears here as the twofold problem of,
first, making men intelligent, and, second, making social organization
so great an advantage to the individual as to insure social behavior in
all intelligent men.

Which has the better chance of survival:--a society of “good” men or a
society of intelligent men? So far as a man is “good” he merely obeys,
he does not initiate. A society of “good” men is necessarily stagnant;
for in such a society the virtue most in demand, as Emerson puts it, is
conformity. If great men emerge through the icy crust of this
conformity, they are called criminals and sinners; the lives of great
men all remind us that we cannot make our lives sublime and yet be
“good.” But intelligence as an ethical ideal is a progressive norm; for
it implies the progressive coördination of one’s life in reference to
one’s ultimate ideals. The god of the “good” man is the _status quo_;
the intelligent man obeys rather the call of the _status ad quem_.

Observe how the problem of man _versus_ the group is clarified by thus
relating the individual to a larger whole determined not by geographical
frontiers, but by purposes born of his own needs and moulded by his own
intelligence. For as the individual’s intelligence grows, his purposes
are brought more and more within the limits of personal capacity and
social possibility: he is ever less inclined to make unreasonable
demands upon himself, or men in general, or the group in which he lives.
His ever broadening vision makes apparent the inherent self-destructiveness
of anti-social aims; and though he chooses his ends without reference
to any external moral code, those ends are increasingly social.
Enlightenment saves his social dispositions from grovelling conformity,
and his “self-regarding sentiments” from suicidal narrowness. And now
the conflict between himself and his group continues for the most part
only in so far as the group makes unreasonable demands upon him. But
this, too, diminishes as the individuals constituting or dominating
the group become themselves more intelligent, more keenly cognizant
of the limits within which the demands of the group upon its members
must be restricted if individual allegiance is to be retained. Since
the reduction of the conflict between the individual and the community
without detriment to the interests of either is the central problem of
political ethics, it is obvious that the practical task of ethics is
not to formulate a specific moral code, but to bring about a spread
of intelligence. And since the reduction of this conflict brings with
it a better coördination of the members of the group, through their
greater ability to perceive the advantages of communal action in an
intelligently administered group, the problem of social coherence and
permanence itself falls into the same larger problem of intellectual
development.

“How to make our ideas clear”;--what if that be the social problem? What
a wealth of import in that little phrase of Socrates,--τὁ τἱ--“what
is it?” What is my good, my interest? What do I really want?--To find
the answer to that, said Robert Louis Stevenson, is to achieve wisdom
and old age. What is my country? What is patriotism? “If you wish to
converse with me,” said Voltaire, “you must define your terms.” If you
wish to be moral, you must define your terms. If our civilization is to
keep its head above the flux of time, we must define our terms.

For these are the critical days of the secularization of moral
sanctions; the theological navel-string binding men to “good behavior”
has snapped. What are the leaders of men going to do about it? Will they
try again the old gospel of self-sacrifice? But a world fed on
self-sacrifice is a world of lies, a world choking with the stench of
hypocrisy. To preach self-sacrifice is not to solve, it is precisely to
shirk, the problem of ethics,--the problem of eliminating individual
self-sacrifice while preserving social stability: the problem of
reconciling the individual as such with the individual as citizen. Or
will our leaders try to replace superstition with an extended physical
compulsion, making the policeman and the prison do all the work of
social coördination? But surely compulsion is a last resort; not because
it is “wrong,” but because it is inexpedient, because it rather cuts
than unties the knot, because it produces too much friction to allow of
movement. Compulsion is warranted when there is question of preventing
the interference of one individual or group with another; but it is a
poor instrument for the establishment or maintenance of ideals. Suppose
we stop moralizing, suppose we reduce regimentation, suppose we begin to
define our terms. Suppose we let people know quite simply (and not in
Academese) that moral codes are born not in heaven but in social needs;
and suppose we set about finding a way of spreading intelligence so that
individual treachery to real communal interest, and communal
exploitation of individual allegiance, may both appear on the surface,
as they are at bottom, unintelligently suicidal. Is that too much to
hope for? Perhaps. But then again, it may be, the worth and meaning of
life lie precisely in this, that there is still a possibility of
organizing that experiment.


IX

“Happiness” and “Virtue”

A word now about the last part of the Socratic formula: intelligence =
virtue = happiness. And this a word of warning: remember that the
“virtue” here spoken of is not the mediæval virtue taught in Sunday
schools. Surely our children must wonder are we fools or liars when we
tell them, “Be good and you will be happy.” Better forget “virtue” and
read simply: intelligence=happiness. That appears more closely akin to
the rough realities of life: intelligence means ability to adapt means
to ends, and happiness means success in adapting means to ends;
happiness, then, varies with ability. Happiness is intelligence on the
move; a pervasive physiological tonus accompanying the forward movement
of achievement. It is not the consciousness of virtue: that is not
happiness, but snobbery. And similarly, remorse is, in the intelligent
man, not the consciousness of “sin,” but the consciousness of a past
stupidity. So far as you fail to win your real ends you are
unhappy,--and have proved unintelligent. But the Preacher says, “He that
increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” True enough if the increment of
knowledge is the correction of a past error; the sorrow is a penalty
paid for the error, not for the increase of knowledge. True, too, that
intelligence does not consistently lessen conflicts, and that it
discloses a new want for every want it helps to meet. But the joy of
life lies not so much in the disappearance of difficulties as in the
overcoming of them; not so much in the diminution of conflict as in the
growth of achievement. Surely it is time we had an ethic that stressed
achievement rather than quiescence. And further, intelligence must not
be thought of as the resignation of disillusionment, the consciousness
of impotence; intelligence is to be conceived of in terms of adaptive
activity, of movement towards an end, of coördinated self-expression
and behavior. Finally, it is but fair to interpret the formula as making
happiness and intelligence coincide only so far as the individual’s
happiness depends on his own conduct. The causes of unhappiness may be
an inherited deformity, or an accident not admitting of provision; such
cases do not so much contradict as lie outside the formula. So far as
your happiness depends on your activities, it will vary with the degree
of intelligence you show. Act intelligently, and you will not know
regret; feel that you are moving on toward your larger ends, and you
will be happy.


X

The Socratic Challenge

But if individual and social health and happiness depend on intelligence
rather than on “virtue,” and if the exaltation of intelligence was a
cardinal element in the Athenian view of life, why did the Socratic
ethic fail to save Athens from decay? And why did the supposedly
intelligent Athenians hail this generous old Dr. Johnson of philosophy
into court and sentence him to death?

The answer is, Because the Athenians refused to make the Socratic
experiment. They were intelligent, but not intelligent enough. They
could diagnose the social malady, could trace it to the decay of
supernatural moral norms; but they could not find a cure, they had not
the vision to see that salvation lay not in the compulsory retention of
old norms, but in the forging of new and better ones, capable of
withstanding the shock of questioning and trial. What they saw was
chaos; and like most statesmen they longed above all things for order.
They were not impressed by Socrates’ allegiance to law, his cordial
admission of the individual’s obligations to the community for the
advantages of social organization. They listened to the disciples: to
Antisthenes, who laughed at patriotism; to Aristippus, who denounced all
government; to Plato, scorner of democracy; and they attacked the master
because (not to speak of pettier political reasons) it was he, they
thought, who was the root of the evil. They could not see that this man
was their ally and not their foe; that rescue for Athens lay in helping
him rather than in sentencing him to die. And how well they could have
helped him! For to preach intelligence is not enough; there remains to
provide for every one the instrumentalities of intelligence. What men
needed, what Athenian statesmanship might have provided, was an
organization of intelligence for intelligence, an organization of all
the forces of intelligence in the state in a persistent intellectual
campaign. If that could not save Athens, Athens could not be saved. But
the myopic leaders of the Athenian state could not see salvation in
intelligence, they could only see it in hemlock. And Socrates had to
die.

It will take a wise courage to accept the Socratic challenge,--such
courage as battle-fields and senate-chambers are not wont to show. But
unless that wise courage comes to us our civilization will go as other
civilizations have come and gone, “kindled and put out like a flame in
the night.”

     NOTE.--From a book whose interesting defence of the Socratic ethic
     from the standpoint of psychoanalysis was brought to the writer’s
     attention after the completion of the foregoing essay: “The
     Freudian ethics is a literal and concrete justification of the
     Socratic teaching. Truth is the sole moral sanction, and
     discrimination of hitherto unrealized facts is the one way out of
     every moral dilemma.... Virtue is wisdom.” Practical morality is
     “the establishment, through discrimination, of consistent, and not
     contradictory (mutually suppressive), courses of action toward
     phenomena. The moral sanction lies always in facts presented by the
     phenomena; morality in the discrimination of those facts.” Moral
     development is “the progressive, lifelong integration of
     experience.”--_The Freudian Wish and Its Place in Ethics_, by Edwin
     B. Holt, New York, 1915, pp. 141, 145, 148.



CHAPTER II

PLATO: PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS


I

The Man and the Artist

Why do we love Plato? Perhaps because Plato himself was a lover: lover
of comrades, lover of the sweet intoxication of dialectical revelry,
full of passion for the elusive reality behind thoughts and things. We
love him for his unstinted energy, for the wildly nomadic play of his
fancy, for the joy which he found in life in all its unredeemed and
adventurous complexity. We love him because he was alive every minute of
his life, and never ceased to grow; such a man can be loved even for the
errors he has made. But above all we love him because of his high
passion for social reconstruction through intelligent control; because
he retained throughout his eighty years that zeal for human improvement
which is for most of us the passing luxury of youth; because he
conceived philosophy as an instrument not merely for the interpretation,
but for the remoulding, of the world. He speaks of himself, through
Socrates, as “almost the only Athenian living who sets his hand to the
true art of politics; I am the only politician of my time.”[17]
Philosophy was for him a study of human possibilities in the light of
human realities and limitations; his daily food consisted of the
problems of human relations and endeavors: problems of liberty _versus_
order; of sex relations and the family; of ideals of character and
citizenship, and the educational approaches to those ideals; problems of
the control of population, of heredity and environment, of art and
morals. With all his liking for the poetry of mysticism, philosophy none
the less was to him preëminently an adventure in this world; and unlike
ourselves, who follow one or another of his many leads, he sailed
virginal seas. Every reader in every age has called him modern; but what
age can there be to which Plato will not still be modern?

Plato was twenty-eight when Socrates died;[18] and though he was not
present at the drinking of the hemlock, yet the passing of the master
must have been a tragic blow to him. It brought him face to face with
death, the mother of metaphysics. Proudest of all philosophers, he did
not hide his sense of debt to Socrates: “I thank the gods,” he said,
“that I was born freeman, not slave; Greek, not barbarian; man, not
woman; but above all that I was born in the time of Socrates.” The old
philosopher gone, Athens became for a time intolerable to Plato (some
say, Plato to Athens); and the young philosopher sailed off to see
foreign shores and take nourishment of other cultures. He liked the
peaceful orderliness and aged dignity with which a long dominant
priesthood had invested Egypt; beside this mellow civilization, he was
willing to be told, the culture of his native Athens was but a
precarious ethnological sport. He liked the Pythagoreans of southern
Italy, with their aristocratic approach to the problem of social
construction and their communal devotion to plain living and high
thinking; above all he liked their emphasis on harmony as the
fundamental pervasive relation of all things and as the ideal in which
our human discords might be made to resolve themselves had men artistry
enough. Other lands he saw and learnt from: stories tell how he risked
his handsome head to build an ideal state in Syracuse; how he was sold
into slavery and redeemed by a friend; and how he passed down through
Palestine even to India, absorbing the culture of their peoples with a
kind of osmotic genius. And at last, after twelve years of wandering, he
heard again the call of Athens, and went home, stored with experience
and ripe with thought.

Arrived now at the mid-point of his life, he turned to the task of
self-expression. Should he join one of the political parties and try to
make the government of Athens a picture of his thought? Perhaps he felt
that his thought was not yet definite enough for that; politics requires
answers in Yes or No, and philosophy deals only in Yes-_and_-No. He
hesitated to join a party or pledge himself to a dogma; and was prepared
to be hated by all parties alike for this hesitation.[19] Aristocracy
was in his blood, and he would not stoop to conquer by a plebiscite. He
thought of turning to the stage, as Euripides had done, and teaching
through the mask; in his youth he had written plays, and smiled now to
think how he had hoped to rival Aristophanes. But there were too many
limitations here, of religious subject and dramatic form; Plato’s
philosophy was a thing of ever broadening borders, and could not be
cramped into a ceremony. But neither was his philosophy an arid academic
affair, to be written down as one places in order the bones of a
skeleton; it was vibrantly alive, it was itself a drama and a religion.
Why should there not be a drama of idea as well as of action?--Had not
the play of thought its tragedies and comedies?--Was not philosophy,
after all, a matter of life and death?

In such a juncture of desires came that fusion of drama and philosophy
which we know as Plato’s dialogues,--assuredly the finest production in
all the history of philosophy. Here was just the instrument for a man
whose thought had not congealed into dogmas and a system. All genius is
heterogeneous; a great man is a sum of many men;--let the soul give its
_selves_ a voice, and it will speak in dialogue.[20] Just instrument,
too, for a man who wished to play with the varied possibilities of
speculation, who cared to clarify his own mind rather than to give forth
finalities where life itself was so blind and inconclusive. A conclusion
is too often but the point at which thought has lost its wind; being not
so much a solution of the problem as a dissolution of thought. Hence the
riotous play of the imagination in Plato; lively game of trial and
error, merry-go-round of thought; here is imagery squandered with lordly
abandon; here is humor such as one misses in our ponderous modern
philosophers; here is no system but all systems;[21] here is one
abounding fountain-head of European thought; here is prose strong and
beautiful as the great temples where Greek joy disported itself in
marble; here literary prose is born,--and born adult.


II

How to Solve the Social Problem

To understand Plato one must remember the Pythagorean _motif_: _harmony_
is the heart of Plato’s metaphysics, of his psychological and
educational theory, of his ethics and his politics. To feel such harmony
as there is, and to make such harmony as may be,--that to Plato is the
meaning of philosophy.

We observe this at the outset in the more-mystified-than mystifying
theory of ideas. Obviously, the theory of ideas belongs to Socrates; the
Platonic element is a theory not of ideas so much as of ideals. Socrates
wants truth, but Plato wants beauty, harmony. Socrates is bent on
argument, and points you to a concept; Plato is a poet with a vision,
and points you to the picture that he sees. Understanding, says Plato,
is of the earth earthly; but poetic vision is divine.[22] Hence the maze
of quibbling in the dialogues; it is Plato and not Socrates who is
culprit here. Reasoning was an alien art to Plato; try as he might to
become a mathematician he remained always a poet,--and perhaps most so
when he dealt with numbers. Dialectic was in Plato’s day a recent
invention; he plays with it like a youth in the breakers, letting it now
raise him to heights of ecstatic vision and now bury him in the
deadliest logic-chopping. But--let us not doubt it--he knows when he is
logic-chopping; he goes on, partly that he may paint his picture, partly
for the mere joy of parrying pros and cons; this new game, he feels, is
a sport for the gods.

Let us smile at the heavy seriousness of those who suppose that this
man meant everything he said. No one does, but least of all men Plato,
who hardly taught except in parables. What is the “heaven” of the ideas
but a poet’s way of saying that the constancies observable in the
relations among things are not identical with the things themselves, but
have a reality and permanence of their own? So we phrase it in our own
distinguished verbiage; but Plato prefers, as ever, to draw a picture.
And notice, in this picture, the ever present reference to social needs.
What is a concept, after all, but a scheme for the conservation of
mental resources, an instrument of prediction, a method of control?
Without the power to form concepts we could never turn experience to
use, it would slip between our fingers; we should be like the maidens
condemned to carry water in a sieve. The _idea_ of anything is the sum
of its observed constancies of behavior; hence the medium of our
adaptation and control. To have _ideas_ of things is to know the map or
plan of things; it is to see tendencies, directions, and results; it is
to know how to _use_ things. That is why knowledge is power; every idea
is a tool with which to bend the world to serve our will. And that too
is why the Ideas are real: they have power, and “anything which
possesses any sort of power is real.”[23]

All this, as was said, is but an embellishment of the Socratic doctrine
that salvation lies in brains. But Plato rushes on. Not only may
everything be brought under a concept, an Idea, but it may be brought
under a perfect Form, an Ideal. Things are not what they might be. Men
are not such as men might be, states are often sorry states, beds might
be more ideal beds, even dirt could be more perfectly dirt. To all
things that are, there correspond perfect Ideals of what they might be,
in a thoroughly harmonious world. To say that these Ideals are real,
that they exist, is only to claim for them that they are operative, and
get results. Whether his supernaturalism was only part of his political
theory, others may dispute; let it suffice us at present that Plato
believed that the Ideals could and did operate through human agency. The
distinctive thing about man is that perceiving the thing that is, he can
conceive the thing that might be. He is the forward-looking,
ideal-making animal; through him, if he but will it, proceeds creation.
The brute may be a thinker, but man may be also an artist. Out of the
abundance of the sexual instinct (as Plato implies in the _Symposium_)
emerges this ideal-seeking and -making quality; from which come art and
ethics and religion. William Morris looks at a slum and conceives
Utopia; and forthwith begins to make for Utopia even though the road
lead him through a jail. Is it that William Morris loves “humanity”? Not
at all; he loves beauty and his dream; he is uncomfortable with all this
dirt and despair before him; it is his fortune or misfortune that he
cannot see these slums without falling thrall to a vision of better
things. So with most of us “reformers”: we wish to change things, not
because we love our fellows much more than “conservatives” do, nor
because we believe that happiness varies with income; but because we
hear the call of the beautiful, and see in the mind’s eye another form
wherein the world might come more pleasingly to sight.

What we have to do, says Plato, is to make people conceive a better
world, so that they may see this world as ugly, and may strive to
reshape it. We must conceive the perfect Forms of things, and batter
this poor world till it reform itself and take these perfect shapes. To
learn to see--and seeing learn to make--these perfect Forms: that is the
task of philosophers. To make philosophers: that is the social problem.


III

On Making Philosopher-Kings

It is simple, isn’t it? Give us enough philosophers, and the beautiful
city will walk out of the picture into the fact. But how make
philosophers? And perhaps there is a perfect Form for philosophers, too?
How shall we “see--and seeing learn to make”--the perfect philosopher?

Let us not worry about this little matter of dialectics, says Plato; we
know quite well some of the things we must do in order that we may have
more and greater philosophers. It is quite clear that one thing we must
do is to give our best brains to education.

Is that trite? Not at all. Do we give our best brains to education? Do
we offer more to our ministers or commissioners of education than to our
presidents, or governors, or mayors, or bank presidents, or pugilists?
Or do we honor them more? When Plato says that the office of minister of
education is “of all the great offices of state the greatest,” and that
the citizens should elect their very best man to this office,[24] he is
not pronouncing a platitude, he is making a radical, a revolutionary
proposition. It has never been done, and it will not soon be done; for
men, naturally enough, are more interested in making money than in
making philosophers. And yet, says Plato, gently but resolutely, we may
as well understand that until we give our best brains to the problem of
making philosophers our much-ado about social ills will amount to noise
and wind, and nothing more. “How charming people are!” he writes,
drawing an analogy between the individual and the body politic; “they
are always doctoring--and thereby increasing and complicating--their
disorders, fancying they will be cured by some nostrum which somebody
advises them to try,--never getting better but always growing worse....
Are they not as good as a play, trying their hand at legislation, and
imagining that by reforms they will make an end to the dishonesties and
rascalities of mankind, not knowing that they are in reality cutting
away at the heads of a hydra?”[25]

Notice that the aim of the educational process is, for Plato, not so
much the general spread of intelligence as the discovery and development
of the superior man. (This conception of the task of the educator
appears again and again in later thought: we hear it in the nineteenth
century, for example, in Carlyle’s “hero,” Schopenhauer’s “genius,” and
Nietzsche’s “superman.”) It is very naïve, thinks Plato, to look to the
masses as the source and hope of social improvement; the proper function
of the masses is to toil as cheerfully as may be for the development and
support of the genius who will make them happy--so far as they are
capable of happiness. To aim directly at the elevation of all is to open
the door to mediocrity and futility; to find and nurse the potential
genius,--that is an end worthy the educator’s subtle art.

Now if you are going to discover genius in the bud you must above all
things handle your material, at the outset at least, with tender care.
You must not overflow with prohibitions, or indulge yourself too much in
the luxury of punishments. “Mother and father and nurse and tutor set to
quarrelling about the improvement of the child as soon as ever he is
able to understand them: he cannot say or do anything without their
setting forth to him that this is just and that unjust, this honorable
and that dishonorable, this holy and that unholy, do this and don’t do
that. And if he obeys, well and good; if not he is straightened by
threats and blows, like a piece of warped wood.”[26] Suppress here, and
you get expression there;--often enough, abnormal expression. Better
have no hard mould of uniformity and conformity wherein to crush and
deform each differently aspiring soul. Think twice before forcing your
_’isms_ and _’ologies_ upon the child; his own desires will be your best
curriculum. “The elements of instruction,” writes Plato, in a
too-little-noticed passage, “should be presented to the mind in
childhood, but without any notion of forcing them. For a freeman ought
to be a freeman in the acquisition of knowledge. Bodily exercise, when
compulsory, does no harm; but knowledge which is acquired under
compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but
let early education be a sort of amusement; that will better enable you
to find out the natural bent.”[27] There is a stroke of Plato’s genius
here: it is a point which we laggards are coming to after some two
thousand three hundred years. “To find out the natural bent,” to catch
the spark of divine fire before conformity can put it out; that is the
beginning and yet the summit of the educator’s task,--the _initium
dimidium facti_.

In this search for genius all souls shall be tried. Education must be
universal and compulsory; children belong not to parents but to the
state and to the future.[28] And education cannot begin too early.
Cleinias, asking whether education should begin at birth, is astonished
to be answered, “No, before”; and if Plato could have his way, no doubt
there would be a realization of Dr. Holmes’ suggestion that a man’s
education should begin two thousand years before he is born. The chief
concern at the outset will be to develop the body, and not to fill the
soul with letters; let the child be taught his letters at ten, but not
before.[29] Music will share with gymnastics the task of rounded
development. The boy who tells his teacher that the athletic field is as
important and necessary a part of education as the lecture-room is
right. “How shall we find a gentle nature which has also great
courage?”[30] Music mixed with athletics will do it. “I am quite aware
that your mere athlete becomes too much of a savage, and that the
musician is melted and softened beyond what is good for him.”[31] There
is a determination here that even the genius shall be healthy; Plato
will not tolerate the notion that to be a genius one needs to be sick:
let the genius have his say, but let him, too, be reminded that he is no
disembodied spirit. And let art take care lest its vaunted purgation be
a purgation of our strength and manhood; poetry and soft music may make
men slaves. No man shall bother with music after the age of sixteen.[32]

At twenty a general test will weed out those who give indication that
further educative labor will be wasted on them; the others will go on
for another decade, and a second test will eliminate those who will in
the meantime have reached the limit of their capacities for development.
The final survivors will then--and not before--be introduced to
philosophy. “They must not be allowed to taste the dear delight too
early; that is a thing especially to be avoided; for young men, as you
may have observed, when they first get the taste in their mouths, argue
for amusement, and are always contradicting and refuting, like
puppy-dogs that delight to tear and pull at all who come near them....
And when they have made many conquests and received defeats at the hands
of many, they violently and speedily get into a way of not believing
anything that they believed before, and hence not only they, but
philosophy generally, have a bad name with the rest of the world.”[33]

Five happy years are given to the study of philosophy. Gradually, the
student learns to see the universal behind the particular, to judge the
part by relating it to the whole; the fragments of his experience fall
into a harmonious philosophy of life. The sciences which he has learned
are now united as a consistent application of intelligence to life;
indeed, the faculty of uniting the sciences and focussing them on the
central problems of life, is precisely the criterion of the true
philosopher.[34] But involved in this is a certain practical quality, a
sense for realities and limitations. One must study books--and men; one
should read much, but live more. So Plato legislates that his new
philosophers shall spend the years from thirty-five to fifty in the busy
din of practical life; they must, in his immortal image, go back into
the cave. The purpose of higher education is to detach us for a time
from the life of action, but only so that we may later return to it with
a better perspective. To be put for a goodly time upon one’s own
resources, to butter one’s own bread for a while,--that is an almost
indispensable prerequisite to greatness. Out of such a test men come
with the scars of many wounds; but to those who are not fools every scar
is the mark of a lesson learned.

And now here are our philosophers, ripe and fifty, hardened by the tests
of learning and of life. What shall we do with them? Put them away in a
lecture-room and pay no further attention to them? Give them, as their
life-work, the problem of finding how Spinoza deduces, or fails to
deduce, the Many from the One? Have them fill learned esoteric journals
with unintelligible jargon about the finite and the infinite, or space
and time, or the immateriality of roast beef? No, says Plato; let them
govern the state.

Did Plato mean it? Was he so enraged at the state-murder of the most
beloved of philosophers that he forearmed himself against such a
_contretemps_ in his Utopia by making the philosophers supreme?--Was it
only his magnificent journalistic revenge? Was it merely his reaction to
the observed cramping and mediocritization of superior intellects in a
democracy? Was it but Plato’s dramatic way of emphasizing the Socratic
plea for intelligence as the basis of morals and social life? Perhaps
all this; but much more. It was his sober judgment; it was the influence
of the Egyptian priesthood and the Pythagorean brotherhood coming to the
surface in him; it was the long-accumulated deposit of the stream of his
personal experience.

We have to remember here that by _philosopher_ Plato does not mean
Immanuel Kant. He means a living being, a man like Seneca or Francis
Bacon, a man in whom knowledge is fused with action, and keen perception
joins with steady hand; a man who has had not only the teaching of books
but the discipline of hard experience; a man who has learned with equal
readiness to obey and to command; a man whose thought is coördinated by
application to the vital problems of human society. “Inasmuch as
philosophers alone are able to grasp the eternal and unchangeable, and
those who wander in the region of the many and variable are not
philosophers, I must ask you which of the two kinds should be rulers of
our state?”[35] Well, then, “Until philosophers are kings, or the kings
and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, ...
cities will never cease from ill, nor the human race.”[36]

That, of course, is the heart and soul of Plato.


IV

Dishonest Democracy

Let us get back to the circumference and approach this same point by
another route.

I grant you, says Plato, that to have rulers at all is very
disagreeable. And indeed we should not need to have them were it not for
a regrettable but real porcine element in us. My own Utopia is not an
aristocracy nor a democracy, nor any kind of an _’ocracy_; it is what
some of you would call an anarchist communism. I have described it very
clearly in the second book of my _Republic_, but nobody cares to notice
it, except to repeat my brother’s gibe about it.[37] But instead of
this Utopia of mine being a “City of Pigs,” it is just because we are
pigs that I had to give up painting this picture and turn to describing
“not only a state, but a luxurious state.” I am still “of opinion that
the true state, which may be said to be a healthy constitution, is the
one which I have described,” and not the “inflamed constitution” to
which I devoted the rest of my book, and which in my opinion is much
more a “City of Pigs” than the other. It is because people want “to lie
on sofas, and dine off tables, and have dainties and dessert in the
modern fashion, ... and perfumes, and incense, and courtesans, and
cakes, and gold, and ivory, ... hunters and actors, ... musicians,
players, dancers, ... tutors, ... servants ... nurses wet and dry, ...
barbers, confectioners and cooks, ... and hosts of animals (if people
are to eat animals), ... and physicians; ... then a slice of neighbor’s
land ... and then war,”[38]--in short, it is because people are pigs
that you must have soldiers and rulers and laws.

But if you must have them, why not train your best men for the work,
just as you train some to be doctors, and others to be lawyers, and
others to be engineers? Think of taking a man’s pills just because he
can show a count of noses in his favor! Think of letting a man build the
world’s greatest bridge because he is popular! You accuse me of
plagiarizing from Pythagoras, but in truth, you who believe in democracy
are the Pythagoreans of politics,--you believe in number as your god.
Your equality is the equality of the unequal, and is all a matter of
words and never of reality; your liberty is anarchy, it is the
congenital sickness wherein your democracy was conceived and delivered,
and whereof it inevitably dies; your freedom of speech is a license to
lie; your elections are a contest in flattery and prevarication. Your
democracy is a theatrocracy; and woe to the genius who falls into your
hands. Perhaps you like democracy because you are like democracy: all
your desires are on a level; that you should respect some of them and
discipline others is an idea that never enters your heads. It has never
occurred to you that it takes more time and training to make a statesman
than it does to make a bootblack. But statesmanship is something that
can never be conferred by plebiscite; it must be pursued through the
years, and must find the privilege of office without submitting to a
vote. Wisdom is too subtle a thing to be felt by the coarsened senses of
the mob. Your industry is wonderful because it is shot through with
specialization and training; but because you reject specialization and
training in filling the offices of your government the word _politics_
has become dishonored in your mouths. And just because you will let any
one be your leader no real man ever submits himself to your choice.


V

Culture and Slavery

There is much exaggeration here, of course, as might be expected of one
whose material and social concerns were bound up with the oligarchical
party at Athens, whose friends and relatives had died in battle against
the armies of the democracy; whose early years had seen the democratic
mismanagement of the Peloponnesian war and the growth of a disorderly
individualism in Athens. But there are also lessons here for those who
are strong enough to learn even from their enemies.[39] To press home
these lessons at this point would take us too far afield; our plan for
the moment is to follow Plato’s guidance until he has led us out into a
clear view of his position.

We shall suppose such a scheme of education as Plato desires; we shall
suppose that a moderate number of those who entered the lists at birth
have survived test after test, have “tasted the dear delight” of
philosophy for five years, and have passed safely through the ordeal of
practical affairs; these men (and women, as we shall see) now
automatically become the rulers of the Platonic state: let us observe
them in their work and in their lives.

To the guardians it is a matter of first principles that the function of
the state--and therefore their function--is a positive function; they
are to lead the people, and not merely to serve as an umpire of
disputes. They are the protagonists of a social evolution that has at
last become conscious; they are resolved that henceforth social
organization shall be a far-seeing plan and not a haphazard flux of
expediencies of control. They know that they are asked to be experts in
foresight and coördination; they will legislate accordingly, and will
no more think of asking the people what laws should be passed than a
physician would ask the people what measures should be taken to preserve
the public health.

And first of all they will control population; they will consider this
to be the indispensable prerequisite to a planned development. The state
must not be larger than is consistent with unity and with the efficacy
of central control. People may mate as they will,--that is their own
concern; but they must understand quite clearly that procreation is an
affair of the state. Children must be born not of love but of science;
marriage will be a temporary relation, allowing frequent remating for
the sake of beautiful offspring. Men shall not have children before
thirty, nor after forty. Deformed or incurably diseased children will be
exposed to die. Children must leave their mothers at birth, and be
brought up by the state. Women must be freed from bondage to their
children, if women are to be real citizens, interested in the public
weal, and loving not a narrow family but the great community.

For women are to be citizens; it would be foolish to let half the people
be withdrawn from interest in and service to the state. Women will
receive all the educational advantages offered to men; they will even
wrestle with them, naked, in the games. If any of them--and surely some
of them will--pass all the tests, they shall be guardians, too. People
are to be divided, for political purposes, not by difference of sex,
but by difference of capacity. Some women may be fit not for
housekeeping but for ruling,--let them rule; some men may be fit not for
ruling but for housekeeping,--let them keep house.

Without family, and without clearly ascertainable relationship between
any man and any child, there can be no individual inheritance of
property; the guardians will have all things in common, and without
Tertullian’s exception.[40] Shut off from the possibility of personal
bequests or of “founding a family,” the guardians will have no stimulus
to laying up a hoard of material goods; nay, they will not be moved to
such hoarding by fear of the morrow, for a modest but sufficient
maintenance will be supplied them by the working classes. There will be
no money in use among them; they will live a hard simple life, devoted
to the problems of communal defence and development. Freed from family
ties, from private property and luxury, from violence and litigation,
and all distinctions of Mine and Thine, they will have no reason to
oppress the workers in order to lay up stores for themselves; they will
be happy in the exercise of their high responsibilities and powers. They
will not be tempted to legislate for the good of their own class rather
than for the good of the community; their joy will lie in the creation
of a prosperous and harmonious state.

Under their direction will be the soldiers, also specially selected and
trained, and supported by the workers. But these workers?

They will be those who have been eliminated in the tests. The demands of
specialization will have condemned them to labor for those who have the
gift of guidance. They shall have no voice in the direction of the
state; that, as said, is a reward for demonstrated capacity, and not a
“natural right.”[41] Frankly, there are some people who are not fit to
be other than slaves; and to varnish that fact with oratory about “the
dignity of labor” is merely to give an instance of the indignities to
which a democratic politician will descend. These workers are incapable
of a subtler happiness than that of knowing that they are doing what
they are fit to do, and are contributing to the maintenance of communal
prosperity. Such as they are, these workers, like the other members of
the state, will find their highest possibilities of development in such
an organized society. And to make sure that they will not rebel, they
will have been taught by “royal lies” that their position and function
in the state have been ordained by the gods. There is no sense in
shivering at this quite judicious juggling with the facts; there are
times when truth is a barrier to content, and must be set aside.
Physicians have been known to cure ailments with a timely lie. Labor
stimulated by such deception may be slavery, if you wish to call it so;
but it is the inevitable condition of order, and order is the inevitable
condition of culture and communal success.


VI

Plasticity and Order

But is it just?--some one asks. Perhaps there are other things than
order to be considered. Perhaps this hunger for order is a disease, like
the monistic hunger for unity; perhaps it is a corollary to the _à
priori_ type of mind; perhaps it is part of the philosopher’s general
inability to face a possibly irrational reality. Here for order’s sake
the greater part of the people must work in silence: they shall not
utter their desires. Here for order’s sake are sacrificed that communal
plasticity, that freedom of variety, that happy looseness and
changeability of structure, in which lie all the suggestion and potency
of social reconstruction. If there is any lesson which shines out
through all the kaleidoscope of history, it is that a political system
is doomed to early death if its charter offer no provision and facility
for its own reform. Plasticity is king. Human ideals change, and leave
nations, institutions, even gods, in their wake. “Law and order in a
state are” _not_ “the cause of every good”;[42] they are the security of
goods attained, but they may be also the hindrance of goods conceived. A
state without freedom of criticism and variation is like a sail-boat in
a calm; it stands but it cannot move. Such a state is a geometrical
diagram, a perfect syllogism evolved out of impossible premises; and its
own perfection is its refutation. In such a state there could be no
Plato, with a penchant for conceiving Utopias; much less a Socrates,
holding that a life uncriticised is unworthy of a man. It would be a
state not for philosophers but for priests: very truly its basis would
not be dialectical clarity but royal lies. Here is the supreme
pessimism, the ultimate atheism, of the aristocrat, that he does not
believe in the final wholesomeness of truth. And surely something can be
said for democracy. Granted that democracy is not a problem solved but a
problem added; it is at least a problem that time may help to clarify.
Granted that men used to slavery cannot turn and wisely rule themselves;
what is better than that they should, by inevitable trial and error,
learn? _Errando discimus._ Granted that physicians do not consult us in
their prescriptions; but neither do they come to us before they are
chosen and called. “That the guardian should require another guardian to
guard him is ridiculous indeed.”[43] But he would! Power corrupts
unless it is shared by all. “Cities cannot exist, if a few only share in
the virtues, as in the arts.”[44] To build your culture on the backs of
slaves is to found your city on Vesuvius. Men will not be lied to
forever,--at least with the same lies! And to end with such a
Utopia,--what is it but to yield to Thrasymachus, to arrange all things
at last in the interest of the stronger? Is it just?


VII

The Meaning of Justice

But what is justice?--asks Plato. Don’t you see that our notion of
justice is the very crux of the whole business? Is justice merely a
matter of telling the truth? Nonsense; it may be well to have our
children believe that; but those who are not children know that if a lie
is a better instrument of achievement than the truth in some given
juncture of events, then a lie is justified. Truth is a social value,
and has its justification only in that; if untruth prove here and there
of social value, then untruth is just.[45] The confusion of justice with
some absolute eternal law comes of a separation of ethics from politics,
and an attempt to arrive at a definition of justice from the study of
individuals. But morals grow out of politics; justice is essentially a
political relation. And taking the state as a whole, it is clear that
nothing is “good” unless it works; that it would be absurd to say that
justice demands of a state that it should be ordered in such a way as to
make for its own decay. Social organization must be effective, and lies
and class-divisions are justified if they make for the effectiveness of
a political order. Surely social effectiveness forbids that men fit to
legislate should live out their lives as cobblers, or that men should
rule whose natural aptitude is for digging ditches. Justice means, for
politics at least, that each member of society is minding his natural
business, is doing that for which he is fitted by his own natural
capacity. Injustice is the encroachment of one part on another; justice
is the efficient functioning of each part. Justice, then, is social
coördination and harmony. It is not “the interest of the stronger,” it
is the harmony of the whole. So in the individual, justice is the
harmonious operation of a unified personality; each element in one’s
nature doing that which it is fitted to do; again it is not mere
strength or forcefulness, but harmonious, organized strength; it is
effective order. And effective order demands a class division. You may
mouth as you please the delusive delicacies of democracy; but classes
you will have, for men will always be some of gold and some of silver
and some of brass. And the brass must not pass itself off as silver,
nor the silver as gold. Give the brass all the time and opportunity in
the world, and it will still be brass. Of course brass will not believe
that it is brass, but we had better make it understand once for all that
it is so, even if we have to tell a thousand lies to get the truth
believed.

And as for variation and plasticity, remember that these too are
valueless except as they make for a better society. They assuredly make
for change; but change is not betterment. History is a chaos of
variations; without some organ for their control they cancel one another
and terminate inevitably in futility. Our problem is not how to change,
but how to set our best brains to controlling change for the sake of a
finer life.


VIII

The Future of Plato

There are _aperçus_ here, and a bewildering wealth of suggestions, which
one is tempted to pursue to their ultimate present significance. But to
do that would be to encroach too much on the subjects of later chapters.
The vital thing here is not to accept or refute any special element in
Plato’s political philosophy; it is rather to see how inextricably
politics and philosophy were bound together in his mind as two sides of
fundamentally one endeavor. Here is the passion to remould things; here
is the seeing of perfection and the will to make perfection; here
speaks out for the first time in European history the courage of the
intellect that not only will perceive but will remake. Here is a man; no
dead academic cobweb-weaver, but a masterful, kingly soul, mixed up in
warm intimacy with the complex flow of the life about him. He paints
Utopia; but at the same time he takes his own counsel anent the
importance of an educational approach to the social problem, and founds
the most famous and influential university the world has ever seen.
Picture him in the gardens and lecture-halls of his Academy, arranging
and supervising and coördinating, and turning out men to whom nations
looked--and not in vain--for statesmen. Not merely to lift men up to the
beatific vision of unities and perfections, but to teach them the art of
creation, to fire them with the ardor of a new artistry; this he aimed
to do, and did. “The greatest works grow in importance, as trees do
after the death of the mortal men who planted them.”[46] So grew the
_Republic_, and the Academy.

To catch in a chapter the deep yet subtle spirit and meaning of this
“finest product of antiquity,”[47]--it is not easy. In Plato’s Utopia
there would no doubt have been a law against writing so briefly on so
vast a phenomenon,--with, in this case, the inevitably consequent
derangement of the Platonic perspective, and the impossibility, within
such compass, of focussing Plato in the political and philosophical
meaning of his time. One’s feeling here is of having desecrated with
small talk the Parthenon of philosophy. Perhaps as we go on we shall be
able to see more clearly the still-living value of Plato’s thought: in
almost everything that we shall hereinafter discuss his voice will be
heard, even though unnamed. To-day, at last, he comes again into his
own--as in Renaissance days--after centuries dominated by the influence
of his first misinterpreter; and generations bred on the throned
lukewarmness of the _Nicomachean Ethics_ yield to a generation that is
learning to feel the hot constructive passion of the _Republic_. Dead
these two thousand and some hundred years, Plato belongs to the future.



CHAPTER III

FRANCIS BACON AND THE SOCIAL POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE


I

From Plato to Bacon

“As I read Plato,” writes Professor Dewey, “philosophy began with some
sense of its essentially political basis and mission--a recognition that
its problems were those of the organization of a just social order. But
it soon got lost in dreams of another world.”[48] Plato and Aristotle
are the _crura cerebri_ of Europe. But in Aristotle, along with a wealth
of acute observation of men and institutions, we find a diminishing
interest in reconstruction; the Stagirite spent too much of his time in
card-cataloguing Plato, and allowed his imagination to become suffocated
with logic. With the Stoics and Epicureans begin that alienation of
ethics from politics, and that subordination of philosophy to religious
needs, which it is part of the task of present thinking to undo.
Alexander had conquered the Orient, only to have Orientalism conquer
Greece. Under Scholasticism it was the fate of great minds to retrace
worn paths in the cage of a system of conclusions determined by external
authority; and the obligation to uphold the established precluded any
practical recognition of the reconstructive function of thought. With
the Renaissance--that Indian summer of Greek culture--the dream of a
remoulded world found voice again. Campanella, through the darkness of
his prison cell, achieved the vision of a communist utopia; and other
students of the rediscovered Plato painted similar pictures. Indeed this
reawakening of Plato’s influence gave to the men of the Renaissance an
inspiriting sense of the wonders that lay potential in organized
intelligence. Again men faced the task of replacing with a natural ethic
the falling authoritarian sanctions of supernatural religion; and for a
time one might have hoped that the thought of Socrates was to find at
last its due fruition. But again men lost themselves in the notion of a
cultured class moving leisurely over the backs of slaves; and perhaps it
was well that the whole movement was halted by the more Puritan but also
more democratic outburst of the Reformation. What the world needed was a
method which offered hope for the redemption not of a class, but of all.
Galileo and Roger Bacon opened the way to meeting this need by their
emphasis on the value of hypothesis and experiment, and the necessity of
combining induction with deduction; it remained for Francis Bacon to
lay out the road for the organized employment of these new methods, and
to inspire all Europe with his warm vision of their social
possibilities.


II

Character

If you would understand Bacon, you must see him as not so much a
philosopher as an administrator. You find him a man of great practical
ability: he remoulds philosophy with one hand and rules part of England
with the other; not to speak of writing Shakespeare’s plays between
times! He rises brilliantly from youthful penury to the political
pinnacle; and meanwhile he runs over the whole realm of human knowledge,
scattering praise and censure with lordly hand. Did we not know the fact
as part of the history of England we should never suspect that the
detailed and varied learning of this man was the incidental
accomplishment of a life busied with political intrigue. _Bene vixit qui
bene latuit_: surely here is a man who has lived widely, and in no
merely physical sense has made the world his home. Life is no “brief
candle” to him, nor men “such stuff as dreams are made of”; life is a
glorious gift, big with blessing for him who will but assist at the
delivery. There is nothing of the timid ascetic about him; like
Socrates, he knows that there is a sort of cowardice in shunning
pleasure;[49] best of all, there is so much work to be done, so many
opportunities for the man of unnarrowed soul. He feels the exhilaration
of one who has burst free from the shackles of intellectual authority:
he sees before him an uncharted future, raw material for hands that dare
to mould it; and he dares. All his life long he is mixed up with the
heart of things; every day is an adventure. Exiled from politics he
plunges gladly into the field of scientific reconstruction; he does not
forget that he is an administrator, any more than Plato could forget
that he was a dramatist; he finds the world of thought a chaos, and
bequeaths it a planful process for the coördination of human life; all
Europe responds to his call for the “enlarging of the bounds of human
empire.” He works joyfully and buoyantly to the very last, and dies as
he has wished, “in an earnest pursuit, which is like one that is wounded
in hot blood, who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt.”


III

The Expurgation of the Intellect

Consider the reaction of an experienced statesman who leaves the service
of a king to enter the service of truth. He has left a field wherein all
workers moved in subordination to one head and one focal purpose; he
enters a field in which each worker is working by himself, with no
division of labor, no organization of endeavor, no correlation of ends.
There he has found administration, here he finds a naïve
_laissez-faire_; there order, here anarchy; there some sense of common
end and effort, here none. He understands at once the low repute of
philosophy among men of affairs. “For the people are very apt to contemn
truth, upon account of the controversies raised about it; and so think
those all in a wrong way, who never meet.”[50] He understands at once
why it is that the world has been so little changed by speculation and
research. He is a man whose consciousness of pervasive human misery is
too sharp for comfort;[51] and he sees no hope of remedy for this in
isolated guerilla attacks waged upon the merest outposts of truth, each
attack with its jealously peculiar strategy, its own dislocated, almost
irrelevant end. And yet if there is no remedy for men’s ills in this
nascent science and renascent philosophy, in what other quarter, then,
shall men look for hope and cure?

There is no other, Bacon feels; unless victory is first won in the
laboratory and the study it will never be won in political assemblies;
no plebiscite or royal edict, but only truth, can make men free. Man’s
hope lies in the reorganization of the processes of discovery and
interpretation. Unless philosophy and science be born again of social
aims and social needs they cannot have life in them. A new spirit must
enter.

But first old spirits must be exorcised. Speculation and research must
bring out a declaration of independence against theology. “The
corruption of philosophy by superstition and an admixture of theology is
... widely spread, and does the greatest harm.”[52] The search for final
causes, for design in nature, must be left to theologians; the function
of science is not to interpret the purposes of nature, but to discover
the connections of cause and effect in nature. Dogma must be set aside:
“if a man will begin with certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he
will be content to begin in doubts he shall end in certainties.”[53]
Dogma must be set aside, too, because it necessitates deduction as a
basic method; and deduction as a basic method is disastrous.

But that is not all; there is much more in the way of preliminaries:
there must be a general “expurgation of the intellect.” The mind is full
(some would say made up) of prejudices, wild fancies, “idols,” or
imaginings of things that are not so: if you are to think correctly,
usefully, all these must go. Try, then, to get as little of yourself as
possible in the way of the thing you wish to see. Beware of the very
general tendency to put order and regularity in the world and then to
suppose that they are native to the structure of things; or to force all
facts into the unyielding mould of a preconceived opinion, carefully
neglecting all contrary instances; or to give too credulous an ear to
that which flatters the wish. Look into yourself and see the forest of
prejudices that has grown up within you: through your temperamental
attitudes; through your education; through your friends (friendship is
so often an agreement in prejudices); through your favorite authors and
authorities. If you find yourself seizing and dwelling on anything with
particular satisfaction, hold it in suspicion. Beware of words, for they
are imposed according to the apprehension of the crowd; make sure that
you do not take abstractions for things. And remind yourself
occasionally that you are not the measure of all things, but their
distorting mirror.

So much by way of clearing the forest. Comes then induction as the fount
and origin of all truth: patient induction, obedient to the call of
fact, and with watchful eye for, above all things, the little unwelcome
instance that contradicts. Not that induction is everything; it includes
experiment, of course, and is punctuated by hypothesis.[54] (More, it is
clearly but the servant of deduction, since the aim of all science is to
predict by deduction from generalizations formed by induction; but just
as clear is it that the efficacy of the whole business lies grounded in
the faithfulness of the induction: induction is servant, but it has all
men at its mercy.) And to formulate methods of induction, to surround
the process by mechanical guards, to protect it from the premature
flights of young generalizations,--that is a matter of life and death to
science.


IV

Knowledge is Power

And now, armed with these methods of procedure, we stand face to face
with nature. What shall we ask her? _Prudens questio dimidium scientiæ_:
to know what to ask is half of every science.

You must ask for laws,--or, to use a Platonic term, forms. In every
process there is matter and there is form: the matter being the seat of
the process or operation, and the form its method or law. “Though in
nature nothing really exists besides individual bodies, performing pure
individual acts, according to a fixed law, yet in philosophy the very
law, and the investigation, discovery, and explanation of it, is the
foundation as well of knowledge as of operation. And it is this law,
with its clauses, that I mean when I speak of Forms.”[55] Not so much
what a “thing” is, but how it behaves;--that is the question. And what
is more, if you will examine your conception of a “thing,” you will see
that it is really a conception of how the “thing” behaves; every _What_
is at last a _How_. Every “thing” is a machine, whose essence or meaning
is to be found not by a mere description of its parts, but by an account
of how it operates. “How does it work?” asks the boy before a machine;
see to it that you ask the same question of nature.

For observe, if you know how a thing works, you are on the way to
managing and controlling it. Indeed, a Form can be defined as those
elements in a process which must be known before the process can be
controlled. Here we see the meaning of science; it is an effort to
discover the laws which must be known in order “that the mind may
exercise her power over the nature of things.”[56] Science is the
formulation of control; knowledge is power. The object of science is not
merely to know, but to rebuild; every science longs to be an art. The
quest for knowledge, then, is not a matter of curiosity, it is a fight
for power. We “put nature on the rack and compel her to bear witness”
against herself. Where this conception reigns, logic-chopping is out of
court. “The end of our new logic is to find not arguments but arts; ...
not probable reasons but plans and designs of works; ... to overcome not
an adversary in argument but nature in action.”[57]

But there is logic-chopping in other things than logic. All strife of
men with men, of group with group, if it leaves no result beyond the
victory and passing supremacy of the individual or group, is
logic-chopping. Such victories pass from side to side, and cancel
themselves into final nullity. Real achievement is victory, not over
other men but with them. “It will not be amiss to distinguish the three
kinds, and as it were grades, of ambition in mankind. The first is of
those who desire to extend their own power in their native country;
which kind is vulgar and degenerate. The second is of those who labor to
extend the power of their country and its dominion among men. This
certainly has more dignity, though not less covetousness. But if a man
endeavor to establish and extend the power and dominion of the human
race over the universe, his ambition is without doubt both a more
wholesome thing and a more noble than the other two. The empire of man
over things depends wholly on the arts and sciences. For we cannot
command nature except by obeying her.”[58]


V

The Socialization of Science

_Natura non vincitur nisi parendo._ “I accept the universe,” says
Margaret Fuller. “Gad! you’d better!” says Carlyle. I accept it, says
Bacon, but only as raw material. We will listen to nature, but only that
we may learn what language she understands. We stoop to conquer.

There is nothing impossible but thinking makes it so. “By far the
greatest obstacle to the progress of science and the undertaking of new
tasks ... is found in this, that men despair and think things
impossible.... If therefore any one believes or promises more, they
think this comes of an ungoverned and unripened mind.”[59] There is
nothing that we may not do, if we _will_, but we must will; and must
will the means as well as the end. Would we have an empire of man over
nature? Very well: organize the arts and sciences.

“Consider what may be expected from men abounding in leisure, and from
association of labors, and from successions of ages; the rather because
it is not a way over which only one man can pass at a time (as is the
case with that of reasoning), but within which the labors and industries
of men (especially as regards the collecting of experience) may with the
best effort be distributed and then combined. For then only will men
begin to know their strength when instead of great numbers doing all the
same things, one shall take charge of one thing and another of
another.”[60] There should be more coöperation, less chaotic rivalry, in
research. And the coöperation should be international; the various
universities of the world, so far as they engage in research, should be
like the different buildings of a great manufacturing plant, each with
its own particular specialty and quest. Is it not remarkable how “little
sympathy and correspondence exists between colleges and universities, as
well throughout Europe as in the same state and kingdom?”[61] Why cannot
all the research in the world be coördinated into one unified advance?
Perhaps the truth-seekers would be unwilling; but has that been shown?
And is the number of willing coöperators too small to warrant further
effort? How can we know without the trial? Grant that the genius would
balk at some external central direction; but research after all is
seldom a matter of genius. “The course I propose ... is such as leaves
but little to the acuteness and strength of wits, but places all wits
and understandings nearly on the level.”[62] Let scope and freedom be
amply provided for the genius; it is the work of following up the
_aperçus_ of genius that most sorely needs coördination. Organization of
research means really the liberation of genius: liberation from the
halting necessities of mechanical repetition in experiment. Nor is
coördination regimentation; let each man follow his hobby to whatever
university has been assigned to the investigation of that particular
item. Liberty is futility unless it is organized.

It is a plan, you see, for the socialization of science. It is a large
and royal vision; to make it real involves “indeed _opera basilica_,” it
is the business of a king, “towards which the endeavors of one man can
be but as the sign on a cross-road, which points out the way but cannot
tread it.”[63] It will need such legislative appropriations as are now
granted only to the business of competitive destruction on land and sea.
“As the secretaries and spies of princes and states bring in bills for
intelligence, so you must allow the spies and intelligencers of nature
to bring in their bills if you would not be ignorant of many things
worthy to be known. And if Alexander placed so large a treasure at
Aristotle’s command for the support of hunters, fowlers, fishers and the
like, in much more need do they stand of this beneficence who unfold the
labyrinths of nature.”[64]


VI

Science and Utopia

Such an organization of science is Bacon’s notion of Utopia. He gives us
in _The New Atlantis_, in plain strong prose, a picture of a state in
which this organization has reached the national stage. It is a state
nominally ruled by a king (Bacon never forgets that he is a loyal
subject and counsellor of James I); but “preëminent amongst the
excellent acts of the king ... was the erection and institution of an
Order or Society which we call Solomon’s House; the noblest foundation,
as we think, that ever was upon the earth, and the lantern of this
kingdom. It is dedicated to the study of the nature of all things.”[65]
Every twelve years this Order sends out to all parts of the world
“merchants of light”; men who remain abroad for twelve years, gather
information and suggestions in every field of art and science, and then
(the next expedition having brought men to replace them) return home
laden with books, instruments, inventions, and ideas. “Thus, you see, we
maintain a trade not for gold, silver or jewels; nor for silk; nor for
spices; nor for any other commodity or matter; but only for God’s first
creation, which was Light.”[66] Meanwhile at home there is a busy army
filling many laboratories, experimenting in zoölogy, medicine,
dietetics, chemistry, botany, physics, and other fields; there are, in
addition to these men, “three that collect the experiments in all the
books; ... three that try new experiments”; three that tabulate the
results of the experimenters; “three that look into the experiments of
their fellows, and cast about how to draw out of them things of use ...
for man’s life; ... three that direct new experiments”; three that from
the results draw up “observations, axioms, and aphorisms.”[67] “We
imitate also the flights of birds; we have some degree of flying in the
air; we have ships and boats for going under water.”[68] And the purpose
of it all, he says, with fine Baconian ring, is “the enlarging of the
bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.”[69]


VII

Scholasticism in Science

This is the voice of the Renaissance, speaking with some method to its
music. It is the voice of Erasmus rather than that of Luther; but it is
the voice of a larger and less class-bound vision than that which moved
the polite encomiast of folly. Such minds as were not lost in the
religious turmoil of the time responded to Bacon’s call for a new
beginning; a “sense of liberation, ... of new destinies, pulsates in
that generation at Bacon’s touch.”[70] Bacon says, and with justice,
that he “rang the bell which called the wits together.”[71] When, in
1660, a group of London savants formed the Royal Society, it was from
Bacon that they took their inspiration, and from the “House of Solomon”
part of their plan of organization. Diderot and D’Alembert acknowledged
the impetus given by their reading of Bacon to the adventurous
enterprise which completed and distributed the _Encyclopédie_ despite
the prohibition of the king. To-day, after two hundred years of
Cartesian futility about mind and body and the problem of knowledge, the
Baconian emphasis on the socially-reconstructive function of thought
renews its power and appeal. The world returns to Socrates, to Plato,
and to Bacon.

But with some measure of wholesome disillusionment. These last two
centuries have told us that science, unaided, cannot solve our social
problem. We have invented, invented, invented, invented; and with what
result? The gap between class and class has so widened during these
inventive years that there are now not classes but castes. Social
harmony is a matter of brief interludes in a drama more violent than any
ever mimicked on the stage. Men trained and accomplished in science,
like Prince Kropotkin, abandon it on the score that it has turned its
back on the purpose that gave it vitality and worth.[72]

What is the purpose of science? What do scientists consider to be the
purpose of science? The laboratories are crowded with men who have no
inkling of any other than a purely material reconstruction as the
function of their growing knowledge. Specialization has so divided
science that hardly any sense of the whole survives. The ghosts of
scholasticism--of a pursuit of knowledge divorced from its social
end--hover about the microscopes and test-tubes of the scientific world;
and the upshot of it all is that to them who have, more is given. Let
Bacon speak here: “There is another great and powerful cause why the
sciences have made but little progress, which is this. It is not
possible to run a course aright, when the goal itself has not been
rightly placed.”[73] Sciences with obvious social functions have
languished through lapse of all sense of direction, all feeling of
focus; psychology, for example, is but now reviving under the stimulus
of men who dared to “stir the earth a little about the roots of this
science,”[74] because they had perceived its purpose and meaning in the
drama of reconstruction. The blunt truth is that unless a scientist is
also a philosopher, with some capacity to see things _sub specie
totius_,--unless he can come out of his hole into the open,--he is not
fit to direct his own research. “As no perfect discovery can be made
upon a flat or level, neither is it possible to discover the more remote
and deeper parts of any science, if you stand but upon the level of the
same science, and ascend not to a higher science.”[75] Before it can be
of real service to life, science must be enlightened by some
discrimination of values, some consideration and fitting together of
human ends: without philosophy as its eye piece, science is but the
traditional child who has taken apart the traditional watch, with none
but the traditional results.

There is more to this indictment. Science has been organized, though
very imperfectly, for research; it has been organized hardly at all for
social application and control. The notion that science can be used in
conserving the vital elements of order and at the same time facilitating
experimental and progressive change, is but beginning to walk about.
Indeed, the employment and direction of scientific ability in the
business of government is still looked upon as a doubtful procedure; to
say that the administration of municipal affairs, for example, is to be
given over to men trained in the social sciences rather than to men
artful in trapping votes with oratorical molasses, is still a venture
into the loneliness of heresy. Again let Bacon speak, who was
administrator and philosopher in one. “It is wrong to trust the natural
body to empirics who commonly have a few receipts whereon they rely, but
who know neither the causes of the disease, nor the constitution of
patients, nor the danger of accidents, nor the true methods of cure. And
so it must needs be dangerous to have the civil body of states managed
by empirical statesmen, unless well mixed with others who are grounded
in learning. On the contrary it is almost without instance that any
government was unprosperous under learned governors.”[76]

Plato over again, you say. Yes; just as “Greek philosophy is the dough
with which modern philosophers have baked their bread, kneading it over
and over again,”[77] so this vital doctrine of the application of the
best available intelligence to the problem of social order and
development must be restated in every generation until at last the world
may see its truth and merit exemption from its repetition.


VIII

The Asiatics of Europe

But the place of Bacon in the continuum of history is hardly stated by
connecting him with Plato. Conceive of him rather as a new protagonist
in the long epic of intelligence; another blow struck in the seemingly
endless war between magic and science, between supernaturalism and
naturalism, between the spirit of worship and the spirit of control.
Primitive man--and he lives everywhere under the name of legion--looks
out upon nature as something to be feared and obeyed, something to be
cajoled by ritual and sacrifice and prayer. In ages of great social
disorder, such as the millennium inaugurated in Western Europe by the
barbarian invasions, the primitive elements in the mental make-up of men
emerge through the falling cultural surface; and cults rich in ritual
and steeped in emotional luxury grow in rank abundance. It is in the
character of man to worship power: if he feels the power without him
more intensely than the power within, he worships nature with a humble
fear, and leans on magic and supernatural rewards; if he feels the power
within him more intensely than the power without, he sees divinity in
himself and other centres of remoulding activity, and thinks not of
worshipping and obeying nature, but of controlling and commanding her.
The second attitude comes, of course, with knowledge, and action that
expresses knowledge; it is quite human that nature should not be
worshipped once she has been known. A man is primitive, then, when he
worships nature and makes no effort to control her; he is mature when he
stops worshipping and begins to control,--when he understands that
“Nature is not a temple but a workshop,”[78] not a barrier to divinity,
but the raw material of Utopia.

Now the essence of Bacon is not the replacement of deduction by
induction, but the change of emphasis from worship to control. This
emphasis, once vivid in Plato but soon obscured by Oriental influence,
is one of the two dominant elements in modern thought (the other being
the puzzling over an artificial problem of knowledge); and unless the
Baconian element finally subordinates the Cartesian, the word _modern_
must no longer arrogate to itself a eulogistic connotation. Hence Bacon,
and not Descartes, is the initiator of modern philosophy; part
initiator, at least, of that current of thought which finds rebellious
expression in the enlightenment of the eighteenth-century, and comes to
supremacy in the scientific victories of the nineteenth. The vital
sequence in modern philosophy is not Descartes, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel,
and Bergson (for these are the Asiatics of Europe), but Bacon, Hobbes,
Condorcet, Comte, Darwin, and James.[79]

The hope of the world is in this resolute spirit of control,--control of
the material without us, and of the passions within. Bit by bit, one is
not afraid to say, we shall make for ourselves a better world. Shall we
not find a way to eliminate disease, to control the increase of
population, to find in plastic organization a substitute for revolution?
Shall we perhaps even succeed in transmuting the lust for power over man
into ambition to conquer the forces that impede man? Shall we make men
understand that there is more potency of joy in the sense of having
contributed to the power of men over nature than in any personal triumph
of one over another man?--more glory in a conquest of bacteria than in
all the martial victories that have ever spilled human blood? Here is
the beginning of real civilization, and the mark of man. “The
environment transforms the animal; man transforms the environment.”[80]
“Looking at the history of the world as a whole, the tendency has been
in Europe to subordinate nature to man; out of Europe, to subordinate
man to nature. Formerly the richest countries were those in which nature
was most bountiful; now the richest countries are those in which man is
most active.”[81] Control is the sign of maturity, the achievement of
Europe, the future of America. It is, one argues again, the drama of
history, this war between Asia and Europe, between nature and man,
between worship and control. Fundamentally it is the upward struggle of
intelligence: Plato is its voice, Zeno its passing exhaustion, Bacon its
resurrection. It was not an unopposed rebirth: there is still no telling
whether East or West will win. Surrounded by the backwash of Oriental
currents everywhere, the lover of the Baconian spirit needs constantly
to refresh himself at the fount of Bacon’s inexhaustible inspiration and
confidence. “I stake all,” he says, “on the victory of art over nature
in the race.” And one needs to hold ever before oneself Bacon’s favorite
device: A ship passing through the Pillars of Hercules out into the
unknown sea, and over it the words, PLUS ULTRA.

More beyond!



CHAPTER IV

SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM[82]


I

Hobbes

Passing from Bacon to Spinoza we meet with Thomas Hobbes, a man from
whom Spinoza drew many of his ideas, though very little of his
inspiration. The social incidence of the greater part of Hobbes’s
thinking has long been recognized; he is not a figure over whom the
biographer of social thought finds much cause to quarrel. He is at once
the materialist _par excellence_ of modern philosophy, and the most
uncompromising protagonist of the absolutist theory of the state. The
individual, all compact of pugnacity, was to Hobbes the bogey which the
state, voracious of all liberties, became two centuries later to Herbert
Spencer. He had in acute degree the philosopher’s natural appetite for
order; and trembled at the thought of initiatives not foreseen by his
political geometry. He lived in the midst of alarms: war stepped on the
heels of war in what was very nearly a real _bellum omnium contra
omnes_. He lived in the midst of political reaction: men were weary of
Renaissance exuberance and Reformation strife, and sank gladly into the
open arms of the past. There could be no end, thought Hobbes, to this
turmoil of conflicting egos, individual and national, until all groups
and individuals knelt in absolute obedience to one sovereign power.

But all this has been said before; we need but remind ourselves of it
here so that we may the better appreciate the vibrant sympathy for the
individual man, the generous defence of popular liberties, that fill
with the glow of subdued passion the pages of the gentle Spinoza.


II

The Spirit of Spinoza

Yet Spinoza was not wanting in that timidity and that fear of unbridled
instinct which stood dictator over the social philosophy of Hobbes. He
knew as well as Hobbes the dangers of a democracy that could not
discipline itself. “Those who have had experience of how changeful the
temper of the people is, are almost in despair. For the populace is
governed not by reason but by emotion; it is headlong in everything, and
easily corrupted by avarice and luxury.”[83] And even more than Hobbes
he withdrew from the affairs of men and sought in the protection of a
suburban attic the peace and solitude which were the vital medium of his
thought. He found that sometimes at least, “truth hath a quiet breast.”
“_Se tu sarai solo_,” wrote Leonardo, “_tu sarai tutto tuo_.” And surely
Goethe thought of Spinoza when he said: “No one can produce anything
important unless he isolate himself.”

But this dread of the crowd was only a part of Spinoza’s nature, and not
the dominant part. His fear of men was lost in his boundless capacity
for affection; he tried so hard to understand men that he could not help
but love them. “I have labored carefully not to mock, lament, or
execrate, but to understand, human actions; and to this end I have
looked upon passions ... not as vices of human nature, but as properties
just as pertinent to it as are heat, cold, storm, thunder, and the like
to the nature of the atmosphere.”[84] Even the accidents of time and
space were sinless to his view, and all the world found room in the
abundance of his heart. “Spinoza deified the All in order to find peace
in the face of it,” says Nietzsche:[85] but perhaps, too, because all
love is deification.

All in all, history shows no man more honest and independent; and the
history of philosophy shows no man so sincere, so far above quibbling
and dispute and the picking of petty flaws, so eager to receive the
truth even when brought by the enemy, so ready to forgive even
persecution in the depth and breadth of his tolerance. No man who
suffered so much injustice made so few complaints. He became great
because he could merge his own suffering in the suffering of all,--a
mark of all deep men. “They who have not suffered,” says Ibsen,--and,
one might add, suffered with those they saw suffer,--“never create; they
only write books.”

Spinoza did not write much; the long-suffering are seldom long-winded. A
fragment _On the Improvement of the Understanding_; a brief volume on
religion and the state; the _Ethics_; and as he began to write the
chapter on democracy in the _Political Treatise_ consumption conquered
him. Bacteria take no bribes.


III

Political Ethics

Had he lived longer it would have dawned perhaps even on the German
historians that Spinoza’s basic interest was not in metaphysics so much
as in political ethics. The _Ethics_, because it is the most sustained
flight of reasoning in philosophy, has gathered round it all the
associations that throng about the name of Spinoza, so that one is apt
to think of him in terms of a mystical “pantheism” rather than of
coördinative intelligence, democracy, and free thought.[86] Höffding
considers it a defect in Spinoza’s philosophy that it takes so little
notice of epistemology: but should we not be grateful for that? Here are
men suffering, said Spinoza, here are men enslaved by passions and
prelates and kings; surely till these things are dealt with we have no
time for epistemological delicacies. Instead of increasing the world’s
store of learned ignorance by writing tomes on the possibility of a
subject knowing an object, Spinoza thought it better to give himself to
the task of helping to keep alive in an age of tyrannical reaction the
Renaissance doctrine of popular sovereignty. Instead of puzzling himself
and others about epistemology he pondered the problem of stimulating the
growth of intelligence and evolving a rational ethic. He thought that
philosophy was something more than a chess-game for professors.

There is no need to spend time and space here on what for Spinoza, as
for Socrates and Plato, was the problem of problems,--how human reason
could be developed to a point where it might replace supernatural
sanctions for social conduct and provide the medium of social
reconstruction. One point, however, may be profitably emphasized.

A careless reading of the _Ethics_ may lead to the belief that Spinoza
bases his philosophy on a naïve opposition of reason to passion. It is
not so. “A desire cannot be restrained or removed,” says Spinoza,
“except by an opposite and stronger desire.”[87] Reason is not dictator
to desire, it is a relation among desires,--that relation which arises
when experience has hammered impulses into coördination. An impulse,
passion or emotion is by itself “a confused idea,” a blurred picture of
the thing that is indeed desired. Thought and impulse are not two kinds
of mental process: thought is impulse clarified by experience, impulse
is thought in chaos.


IV

Is Man a Political Animal?

Why is there a social problem? Is it because men are “bad”? Nonsense,
answers Spinoza: the terms “good” and “bad,” as conveying moral approval
and disapproval, are philosophically out of court; they mean nothing
except that “each of us wishes all men to live according to _his_
desire,” and consoles himself for their non-complaisance by making moral
phrases. There is a social problem, says Spinoza, because men are not
naturally social. This does not mean that there are no social tendencies
in the native human constitution; it does mean that these tendencies are
but a sorry fraction of man’s original nature, and do not avail to chain
the “ape and tiger” hiding under his extremely civilized shirt. Man is a
“political animal”; but he is also an animal. We must approach the
social problem through a very respectful consideration of the ape and
tiger; we must follow Hobbes and inquire into “the natural condition of
man.”

“In the state of nature every man lives as he wishes,”[88]--he is not
pestered with police regulations and aldermanic ordinances. He “_may_ do
whatever he _can_: his rights extend to the utmost limits of his
powers.”[89] He may fight, hate, deceive, exploit, to his heart’s
desire; and he does. We moderns smile at the “natural man” as a myth,
and think our forbears were social _ab initio_. But be it remembered
that by “social” Spinoza implies no mere preference of society to
solitude, but a subordination of individual caprice to more or less
tacit communal regulation. And Spinoza considers it useful, if we are
going to talk about “human nature in politics,” to ask whether man
_naturally_ submits to regulation or naturally rebels against it. When
he wrote of a primitive non-social human condition he wrote as a
psychologist inferring the past rather than as an historian revealing
it. He observed man, kindly yet keenly; he saw that “everyone desires to
keep down his fellow-men by all possible means, and when he prevails,
boasts more of the injuries he has done to others than of the advantage
he has won for himself”;[90] and he concluded that if we could trace
human history to its sources we should find a creature--call him human
or pre-human--willing, perhaps glad, to have the company of his like,
but still unattracted and unhampered by social organization.

We like to laugh at the simple anthropology of Spinoza and Rousseau; but
the laugh should be turned upon us when we suppose that the historical
_motif_ played any but a very minor part in the discussion of the
natural state of man. History was not the point at all: these men were
not interested in the past so much as in the possibilities of the
future. That is why the eighteenth century was so largely their
creation. When a man is interested in the past he writes history; when
he is interested in the future he makes it.

The point to be borne in mind, Spinoza urges, is that we are still
essentially unsocialized; the instinct to acquire possession and power,
if necessary by oppression and exploitation, is still stronger than the
disposition to share, to be tolerant of disagreement, and to work in
mutual aid. The “natural man” is not a myth, he is the solid reality
that struts about dressed in a little brief civilization. “Religion
teaches that each man should love his neighbor as himself, and defend
the rights of others as earnestly as he would his own. Yet this
conviction has very little influence over man’s emotions. It is no doubt
of some account in the hour of death, for then disease has weakened the
emotions, and the man lies helpless. And the principle is assented to in
church, for there men have no dealings with one another. But in the mart
or the court it has little or no effect, though that is just where the
need for it is greatest.”[91] He still “does everything for the sake of
his own profit”;[92] nor will even the unlimited future change him in
that, for it is his very essence. His happiness is in the pursuit of his
profit, his supreme joy is in the increase of his power. And a social
order built upon any other basis than this exuberant egoism of man will
be as lasting, in the eye of history, as a name that is writ in water.


V

What the Social Problem Is

But what if it is a good basis? What if “the foundation of virtue is the
endeavor to preserve one’s own being” to the uttermost?[93] What if
there is a way in which, without any hypocritical mystification, this
self-seeking, while still remaining self-seeking, may become
coöperation?

Spinoza’s answer is not startling: it is the Socratic answer, issuing
from a profound psychological analysis. Given the liberation and
development of intelligence, and the discordant strife of egos will
yield undreamed-of harmonies. Men are so made, they are so compact of
passion and obscurity, that they will not let one another be free; how
can that be changed? Deception has been tried, and has succeeded only
temporarily if at all. Compulsion has been tried; but compulsion is a
negative force, it makes for inhibition rather than inspiration. It is a
necessary evil; but hardly the last word of constructive social
thinking. There is something more in a man than his capacity for fear,
there is some other way of appealing to him than the way of threats;
there is his hunger and thirst to know and understand and develop. Think
of the untouched resources of this human desire for mental enlargement;
think of the millions who almost starve that they may learn. Is that the
force that is to build the future and fashion the city of our dreams?
Here are men torn with impulses, shaken by mutual interference; is it
conceivable that they would be so deeply torn and shaken if that hunger
of theirs for knowledge--knowledge of themselves, too,--were met with
generous opportunity? Men long to be reasonable; they know, even the
least of them, that under the tyranny of impulse there is no ultimately
fruitful life; what is there that they would not give for the power to
see things clearly and be captains of their souls? Here if anywhere is
an opportunity for such statesmanship as does not often grace the courts
of emperors and kings!

How we can come to know ourselves, our inmost nature, how we can through
this knowledge achieve coördination and our real desires,--that is for
Spinoza the heart of the social problem. The source of man’s strength is
that he can know his weakness. If he can but find himself out, then he
can change himself. “A passion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form
a clear and distinct idea of it.”[94] When a passion is tracked to its
lair and confronted with its futile partiality, its sting is drawn, it
can hurt us no more; it may coöperate but it may no longer rule. It is
seen to be “inadequate,” to express but a fragment of us, and so seen it
sinks into its place in the hierarchy of desires. “And in proportion as
we know our emotions better, the more are they susceptible to
control.”[95] Passion is passivity; control is power. Knowledge brings
control, and control brings freedom; freedom is not a gift, it is a
victory. Knowledge, control, freedom, power, virtue: these are all one
thing. Before the “empire of man over nature” must come the empire of
man over himself, must come coördination. Achievement is born of clear
vision and unified intent, not of actions that are but bubbles on the
muddy rapids of desire.


VI

Free Speech

“Before all things, a means must be devised for improving and clarifying
the understanding.”[96] “Since there is no single thing we know which is
more excellent than a man who is guided by reason, it follows that there
is nothing by which a person can better show how much skill and talent
he possesses than by so educating men that at last they will live under
the direct authority of reason.”[97] But how?

First of all, says Spinoza, thought must be absolutely free: we must
have the possible profit of even the most dangerous heresies. If that
proposition appear a trifle trite, let it be remembered that Spinoza
wrote at a time when Galileo’s broken-hearted retraction was still fresh
in men’s memories, and when Descartes was modifying his philosophy to
soothe the Jesuits. The chapter on freedom of thought is really the
pivotal point and _raison d’être_ of the _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_;
and it is still rich in encouragement and inspiration. Perhaps there is
nothing else in Spinoza’s writings that is so typical at once of his
gentleness and of his strength.

Free speech should be granted, Spinoza argues, because it must be
granted. Men may conceal real beliefs, but these same beliefs will
inevitably influence their behavior; a belief is not that which is
spoken, it is that which is done. A law against free speech is
subversive of law itself, for it invites derision from the
conscientious. “All laws which can be broken without any injury to
another are counted but a laughing-stock.”[98] It is useless for the
state to command “such things as are abhorrent to human nature.” “Men in
general are so constituted that there is nothing they will endure with
so little patience as that views which they believe to be true should be
counted crimes against the law.... Under such circumstances men do not
think it disgraceful, but most honorable, to hold the laws in
abhorrence, and to refrain from no action against the government.”[99]
Where men are not permitted to criticise their rulers in public, they
will plot against them in private. There is no religious enthusiasm
stronger than that with which laws are broken by those whose liberty has
been suppressed.

Spinoza goes further. Thought must be liberated not only from legal
restrictions but from indirect and even unintentional compulsion as
well. Spinoza feels very strongly the danger to freedom, that is
involved in the organization of education by the state. “Academies that
are founded at the public expense are instituted not so much to
cultivate men’s natural abilities as to restrain them. But in a free
commonwealth arts and sciences will be best cultivated to the full if
everyone that asks leave is allowed to teach in public, at his own cost
and risk.”[100] He would have preferred such “free lances” as the
Sophists to the state universities of the American Middle West. He did
not suggest means of avoiding the apparent alternative of universities
subsidized by the rich. It is a problem that has still to be solved.

In demanding absolute freedom of speech Spinoza touches the bases of
state organization. Nothing is so dangerous and yet so necessary; for
ignorance is the mother of authority. The defenders of free speech have
never yet met the contention of such men as Hobbes, that freedom of
thought is subversive of established government. The reason is only
this, that the contention is probably true, so far as most established
governments go. Absolute liberty of speech is assuredly destructive of
despotism, no matter how constitutional the despotism may be; and those
who have at heart the interests of any such government may be forgiven
for hesitating to applaud Spinoza. Freedom of speech makes for social
vitality, certainly; without it, indeed, the avenues of mental and
social development would be blocked, and life hardly worth living. But
freedom of speech cannot be said to make for social stability and
permanence, unless the social organization in question invites criticism
and includes some mechanism for profiting by it. Where democracy is
real, or is on the way to becoming real, free speech will help, not
harm, the state; for there is no man so loyal as the man who knows that
he may criticise his government freely and to some account. But where
there is the autocracy of a person or a class, freedom of speech makes
for dissolution,--dissolution, however, not of the society so much as of
the government. The Bourbons are gone, but France remains. Nay, if the
Bourbons had remained, France might be gone.

But to argue to-day for freedom of speech is to invite the charge of
emphasizing the obvious. It may be wholesome to remind ourselves, by a
few examples, that however universal the theory of free speech may be,
the practice is still rather sporadic. An American professor is
dismissed because he thinks there is a plethora of unearned income in
his country; an English publicist is reported to have been refused
“permission” to fill lecture engagements in America because he had not
been sufficiently patriotic; and one of the most prominent of living
philosophers loses his chair because he supposes that conscience has
rights against cabinets. But indeed our governing bodies are harmless
offenders here in comparison with the people themselves. The last lesson
which men and women will learn is the lesson of free thought and free
speech. The most famous of living dramatists finds himself unsafe in
London streets, because he has dared to criticise his government; the
most able of living novelists finds it convenient to leave Paris because
there are still some Germans whom he does not hate; and an American
community full of constitutional lawyers shows its love of “law and
order” by stoning a group of boys bent on expounding the desirability of
syndicalism.

Perhaps the world has need of many Spinozas still.


VII

Virtue as Power

Freedom of expression is the corner-stone of Spinoza’s politics; the
postulate without which he refuses to proceed. But Spinoza does not have
to be told that this question of free speech precipitates him into the
larger problems of “the individual _vs._ the state”; he knows that that
problem is the very _raison d’être_ of political philosophy; he knows
that indeed the problem goes to the core of philosophy, and finds its
source and crux in the complex socio-egoistical make-up of the
individual man.

The “God-intoxicated” Spinoza is quite sober and disillusioned about the
social possibilities of altruism. “It is a universal law of human
nature that no one ever neglects anything which he judges to be good,
except with the hope of gaining a greater good.”[101] “This is as
necessarily true as that the whole is greater than its part.”[102] This
confident reduction of human conduct to self-reference does not for
Spinoza involve any condemnation: “reason, since it asks for nothing
that is opposed to nature, demands that every person should ... seek his
own profit.”[103] Observe, reason _demands_ this; this same self-seeking
is the most valuable and necessary item in the composition of man.
Spinoza, as said, goes so far as to identify this self-seeking with
virtue: “to act absolutely in conformity with virtue is, in us, nothing
but to act, live, and preserve our being (these three have the same
meaning) as reason directs, from the ground of seeking our own
profit.”[104] This is a brave rejection of self-renunciation and
asceticism by one whose nature, so far as we can judge it now, inclined
him very strongly in the direction of these “virtues.” What we have to
do, says Spinoza, is not to deny the self, but to broaden it; here
again, of course, intelligence is the mother of morals. Progress lies
not in self-reduction but in self-expansion. Progress is increase in
virtue, but “by virtue and power I understand the same thing”;[105]
progress is an increase in the ability of men to achieve their ends. It
is part of our mental confectionery to define progress in terms of our
own ends; a nation is “backward” or “forward” according as it moves
towards or away from our own ideals. But that, says Spinoza, is naïve
nonsense; a nation is progressive or backward according as its citizens
are or are not developing greater power to realize _their own_ purposes.
That is a doctrine that may have “dangerous” implications, but
intelligence will face the implications and the facts, ready not to
suppress them but to turn them to account.

It was the passion for power that led to the first social groupings and
developed the social instincts. Our varied sympathies, our parental and
filial impulses, our heroisms and generosities, all go back to social
habits born of individual needs. “Since fear of solitude exists in all
men, because no one in solitude is strong enough to defend himself and
procure the necessaries of life, it follows that men by nature tend
towards social organization.”[106] “Let satirists scoff at human affairs
as much as they please, let theologians denounce them, and let the
melancholy, despising men and admiring brutes, praise as much as they
can a life rude and without refinement,--men will nevertheless find out
that by mutual help they can much more easily procure the things they
need, and that it is only by their united strength that they can avoid
the dangers which everywhere threaten them.”[107] _Nihil homine homini
utilius._ Men discover that they are useful to one another, and that
mutual profit from social organization increases as intelligence grows.
In a “state of nature”--that is, before social organization--each man
has a “natural right” to do all that he is strong enough to do; in
society he yields part of this sovereignty to the communal organization,
because he finds that this concession, universalized, increases his
strength. The fear of solitude, and not any positive love of fellowship,
is the prime force in the origin of society. Man does not join in social
organization because he has social instincts; he develops such instincts
as the result of joining in such organization.


VIII

Freedom and Order

Even to-day the social instincts are not strong enough to prevent
unsocial behavior. “Men are not born fit for citizenship, but must be
made so.”[108] Hence custom and law. Each man, in his sober moments,
desires such social arrangements as will protect him from aggression and
interference. “There is no one who does not wish to live, so far as
possible, in security and without fear; and this cannot possibly happen
so long as each man is allowed to do as he pleases.”[109] “That men who
are necessarily subject to passions, and are inconstant and changeable,
may be able to live together in security, and to trust one another’s
fidelity,”--that is the purpose of law.[110] Ideally, the state is to
the individual what reason is to passion.[111] Law protects a man not
only from the passions of others, but from his own; it is a help to
delayed response. How to frame laws so that the greatest possible number
of men may find their own security and fulfilment in allegiance to the
law,--that is the problem of the statesman. Law implies force, but so
does life, so does nature; indeed, the punishments decreed by “man-made”
states are usually milder than those which in a “state of nature” would
be the natural consequents of most interferences; not seldom the law--as
when it prevents lynching--protects an aggressor from the natural
results of his act. Force is the essence of law; hence international law
will not really be law until nations are coördinated into a larger group
possessed of the instrumentalities of compulsion.[112]

It is clear that Spinoza has the philosophic love of order. “Whatever
conduces to human harmony and fellowship is good; whatever brings
discord into the state is evil.”[113] But discord, one must repeat, is
often the prelude to a greater harmony; development implies variation,
and all variation is a discord except to ears that hear the future. The
social sanction of liberty lies of course in the potential value of
variations; without that vision of new social possibilities which is
suggested by variations from the norm a people perishes. Spinoza does
not see this; but there is a fine passage in the _Tractatus
Politicus_[114] which shows him responsive to the ideal of liberty as
well as to that of order: “The last end of the state is not to dominate
men, nor to restrain them by fear; rather it is so to free each man from
fear that he may live and act with full security and without injury to
himself or his neighbor. The end of the state is, I repeat, not to make
rational beings into brute beasts or machines. It is to enable their
bodies and their minds to function safely. It is to lead men to live by,
and to exercise, a free reason, that they may not waste their strength
in hatred, anger, and guile, not act unfairly toward one another. Thus
the end of the state is really liberty.”

So it is that Spinoza takes sharp issue with Hobbes and exalts freedom,
decentralization, and democracy, where Hobbes, starting with almost
identical premises, concludes to a centralized despotism of body and
soul. This does not mean that Spinoza had no eye for the defects of
democracy. “Experience is supposed to teach that it makes for peace and
concord when all authority is conferred upon one man. For no political
order has stood so long without notable change as that of the Turks,
while none have been so short-lived, nay, so vexed by seditions, as
popular or democratic states. But if slavery, barbarism, and desolation
are to be called peace, then peace is the worst misfortune that can
befall a state. It is true that quarrels are wont to be sharper and more
frequent between parents and children than between masters and slaves;
yet it advances not the art of home life to change a father’s right into
a right of property, and count his children as only his slaves. Slavery,
then, and not peace, comes from the giving of all power to one man. For
peace consists not in the absence of war, but in a union and harmony of
men’s souls.”[115]

No; better the insecurity of freedom than the security of bondage.
Better the dangers that come of the ignorance of majorities than those
that flow from the concentration of power in the hands of an inevitably
self-seeking minority. Even secret diplomacy is worse than the risks of
publicity. “It has been the one song of those who thirst after absolute
power that the interest of the state requires that its affairs be
conducted in secret.... But the more such arguments disguise themselves
under the mask of public welfare the more oppressive is the slavery to
which they will lead.... Better that right counsels be known to enemies,
than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the
citizens. They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it
absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in
time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.... It is
folly to choose to avoid a small loss by means of the greatest of
evils.”[116]

This is but one of many passages in Spinoza that startle the reader with
their present applicability and value. There is in the same treatise a
plan for an unpaid citizen soldiery, much like the scheme adopted in
Switzerland; there is a plea against centralization and for the
development of municipal pride by home rule and responsibility; there is
a warning against the danger to democracy involved in the territorial
expansion of states; and there is a plan for the state ownership of all
land, the rental from this to supply all revenue in time of peace. But
let us pass to a more characteristic feature of Spinoza’s political
theory, and consider with him the function of intelligence in the state.


IX

Democracy and Intelligence

“There is no single thing in nature which is more profitable to man than
a man who lives according to the guidance of reason.”[117] Such a man,
to begin with, has made his peace with the inevitable, and accepts with
good cheer the necessary limitations of social life. He has a genial
sense of human imperfections, and does not cushion himself upon Utopia.
He pursues his own ends but with some perspective of their social
bearings; and he is confident that “when each man seeks that which is
[really] profitable to himself, then are men most profitable to one
another.”[118] He knows that the ends of other men will often conflict
with his; but he will not for that cause make moral phrases at them. He
feels the tragedy of isolated purposes, and knows the worth of
coöperation. As he comes to understand the intricate bonds between
himself and his fellows he finds ever more satisfaction in purposes that
overflow the narrow margins of his own material advantage; until at last
he learns to desire nothing for himself without desiring an equivalent
for others.[119]

Given such men, democracy follows; such democracy, too, as will be a
fulfilment and not a snare. Given such men, penal codes will interest
only the antiquarian. Given such men, a society will know the full
measure of civic allegiance and communal stability and development. How
make such men? By revivals? By the gentle anæsthesia of heaven and the
cheap penology of hell? By memorizing catechisms and commandments? By
appealing like Comte, to the heart, and trusting to the eternal feminine
to lead us ever onward? (Onward whither?) Or by spreading the means of
intelligence?

It is at this point that the social philosophy of Spinoza, like that of
Socrates, betrays its weaker side. How is intelligence to be spread?
Perhaps it is too much to ask the philosopher this question; he may feel
that he has done enough if he has made clear what it is which will most
help us to achieve our ends. Spinoza, after all, was not the kind of man
who could be expected to enter into practical problems; his soul was
filled with the vision of the eternal laws and had no room for the
passing expediencies of action. His devotional geometry was a typical
Jewish performance; there is something in the emotional make-up of the
Jew which makes him slide very easily into the attitude of worship, as
contrasted with the Græco-Roman emphasis on intellect and control. All
pantheism tends to quietism; to see things _sub specie eternitatis_ may
very well pass from the attitude of the scientist to the attitude of the
mystic who has no interest in temporal affairs. It is the task of
philosophy to study the eternal and universal not for its own sake but
for its worth in directing us through the maze of temporal particulars;
the philosopher must be like the mariner who guides himself through
space and time by gazing at the everlasting stars. It is wholesome that
the history of philosophy should begin with Thales; so that all who
come to the history of philosophy may learn, at the door of their
subject, that though stars are beautiful, wells are deep.


X

The Legacy of Spinoza

But to leave the matter thus would be to lose a part of the truth in the
glare of one’s brilliance. We have to recognize that though Spinoza
stopped short (or rather was cut short) at merely a statement of the
prime need of all democracies,--intelligence,--he was nevertheless the
inspiration of men who carried his beginning more nearly to a practical
issue. To Spinoza, through Voltaire and the English deists, one may
trace not a few of the thought-currents which carried away the
foundations of ecclesiastical power, civil and intellectual, in
eighteenth-century France, and left the middle class conscience-free to
engineer a revolution. It was from Spinoza chiefly that Rousseau derived
his ideas of popular sovereignty, of the general will, of the right of
revolution, of the legitimacy of the force that makes men free, and of
the ideal state as that in which all the citizens form an assembly with
final power.[120] The French Declaration of Rights and the American
Declaration of Independence go back in part to the forgotten treatises
of the quiet philosopher of Amsterdam. To have initiated or accelerated
such currents of thought--theoretical in their origin but extremely
practical in their issue--is thereby once for all to have put one’s self
above the reach of mere fault-finding. One wonders again, as so many
have wondered, what would have been the extent of this man’s achievement
had he not died at the age of forty-four. When Spinoza’s pious landlady
returned from church on the morning of February 21, 1677, and found her
gentle philosopher dead, she stood in the presence of one of the great
silent tragedies of human history.



CHAPTER V

NIETZSCHE


I

From Spinoza to Nietzsche

Let us dare to compress within a page or two the social aspect of
philosophical thought from Spinoza to Nietzsche. Without forgetting that
our purpose is to show the social problem as the dominant interest of
only _many_, not all, of the greater philosophers, we may yet risk the
assertion that the majority of the men who formed the epistemological
tradition from Descartes to Kant were at heart concerned less with the
problem of knowledge than with that of social relations. Descartes slips
through this generalization; he is a man of leisure lost in the maze of
a puzzle which he has not discovered so much as he has unconsciously
constructed it. In Locke’s hands the puzzle is distorted into the
question of “innate ideas,” in order that under cover of an innocent
epistemological excursion a blow may be struck at hereditary prejudices
and authoritarian teaching, and the way made straight for the advance of
popular sovereignty (as against the absolutism of Hobbes), free speech,
reasonable religion, and social amelioration. The dominance of the
social interest is not so easily shown in the case of Leibniz; but let
it be remembered none the less that epistemology was but an aside in the
varied drama of Leibniz’ life, and that his head was dizzy with schemes
for the betterment of this “best of all possible worlds.” Bishop
Berkeley begins with _esse est percipi_ and ends with tar-water as the
_solution_ of all problems. David Hume, in the midst of a life busied
with politics and the discussion of social, political, and economic
problems, spares a year or two for epistemology, only to use it as a
handle whereby to deal a blow to dogma; he “was more damaging to
religion than Voltaire, but was ingenious enough not to get the credit
for it.”[121] The social incidence of philosophy in eighteenth-century
France was so decided that one might describe that philosophy as part of
the explosive with which the middle class undermined the _status quo_.
This social emphasis continues in Comte, who cannot forget that he was
once the secretary of St. Simon, and will not let us forget that the
function of the philosopher is to coördinate experience with a view to
the remoulding of human life. John Stuart Mill is radical first and
logician afterward; and the more lasting as well as the more interesting
element in Spencer is the sociological, educational, and political
theory. In Kant the basic social interest is buried under
epistemological cobwebs; yet not so choked but that it finds very
resolute voice at last. The essence of the matter here is the return of
the prodigal, the relapse of a once adventurous soul into the comfort of
religious and political absolutes, categorical--and Potsdam--imperatives.
Here is “dogmatic slumber” overcome only to yield to the torpor and
_abêtisement_ of “practical reason”; here is no “Copernican revolution”
but a stealthy attempt to recover an anthropocentricism lost in the
glare of the Enlightenment. It dawns on us that the importance of German
philosophy is not metaphysical, nor epistemological, but political;
the vital remnant of Kant to-day is to be found not in our overflowing
Mississippi of Kantiana, but in the German notion of obedience.[122]
Fichte reënforces this notion of unquestioning obedience with the
doctrine of state socialism: he begins by tending geese, and ends by
writing philosophy for them. So with Hegel: he starts out buoyantly with
the proposition that revolution is the heart of history, and ends by
discovering that the King of Prussia is God in disguise. In Schopenhauer
the bubble bursts; a millennium of self-deception ends at last in
exhaustion and despair. Every Hildebrand has his Voltaire, and every
Voltaire his Schopenhauer.


II

Biographical

“In future,” Nietzsche once wrote, “let no one concern himself about me,
but only about the things for which I lived.” We must make this
biographical note brief.

Nietzsche was born in Röcken, Germany, 1844, the son of a “noble young
parson.” He was brought up in strict piety, and prepared himself to
enter the ministry; even at boarding-school he was called “the little
minister,” and made people cry by his recitations from the Bible. We
have pictures of him which show him in all his boyish seriousness; it is
evident that he is of a deeply religious nature, and therefore doomed to
heresy. At eighteen he discovers that he has begun to doubt the
traditional creed. “When I examine my own thoughts,” he writes, “and
hearken into my own soul, I often feel as if I heard the buzzing and
roaring of wild-contending parties.”[123] At twenty-one, while studying
in the University of Leipzig, he discovers the philosophy of
Schopenhauer; he reads all hungrily, feeling here a kindred youth; “the
need of knowing myself, even of gnawing at myself, forcibly seized upon
me.”[124] He is ripe for pessimism, having both religion and a bad
stomach. Because of his defective eyesight he is barred from military
service; in 1870 he burns with patriotic fever, and at last is allowed
to join the army as a nurse; but he is almost overcome at sight of the
sick and wounded, and himself falls ill with dysentery and dyspepsia. In
this same year he sees a troop of cavalry pass through a town in stately
gallop and array; his weakened frame thrills with the sight of this
strength: “I felt for the first time that the strongest and highest Will
to Life does not find expression in a miserable struggle for existence,
but in a Will to War, a Will to Power, a Will to Overpower!”[125]
Nevertheless, he settles down to a quietly ascetic life as professor of
philology at the University of Basle. But there is adventure in him; and
in his first book[126] he slips from the prose of philology into an
almost lyrical philosophy. Illness finds voice here in the eulogy of
health; weakness in the deification of strength; melancholy in the
praise of “Dionysian joy”; loneliness in the exaltation of friendship.
He has a friend--Wagner--the once romantic rebel of revolution’s
barricades; but this friend too is taken from him, with slowly painful
breaking of bond after bond. For Wagner, the strong, the overbearing,
the ruthless, is coming to a philosophy of Christian sympathy and
gentleness; qualities that cannot seem divine to Nietzsche, because they
are long-familiar elements in his own character. “What I am not,” he
says, most truthfully, “that for me is God and virtue.”[127] And so he
stands at last alone, borne up solely by the exhilaration of creative
thought. He has acquaintances, but he puts up with them “simply, like a
patient animal”; “not one has the faintest inkling of my task.” And he
suffers terribly “through this absence of sympathy and
understanding.”[128]

He leaves even these acquaintances, and abandons his work at Basle;
broken in health he finds his way hopefully to the kindlier climate of
Italy. Doctor after doctor prescribes for him, one prescription reading,
“a nice Italian sweetheart.” He longs for the comradeship, but dreads
the friction, of marriage. “It seems to me absurd,” he writes, “that one
who has chosen for his sphere ... the assessment of existence as a
whole, should burden himself with the cares of a family, with winning
bread, security, and social position for wife and children.” He does not
hesitate to conclude that “where the highest philosophical thinking is
concerned all married men are suspect.”[129] Nevertheless he wanders
humanly into something very like a love-affair; he is almost shattered
with rapid disillusionment, and takes refuge in philosophy. “Every
misunderstanding,” he tells himself, “has made me freer. I want less and
less from humanity, and can give it more and more. The severance of
every individual tie is hard to bear; but in each case a wing grows in
its place.”[130] And yet the need of comradeship is still there, like a
gnawing hunger: many years later he catches a passing smile from a
beautiful young woman, whom he has never seen before; and “suddenly my
lonely philosopher’s heart grew warm within me.”[131] But she walks off
without seeing him, and they never meet again.

The simple Italians who rent him his attic room in Genoa understand him
better perhaps than he can be understood by more pretentious folk. They
know his greatness, though they cannot classify it. The children of his
landlady call him “Il Santo”; and the market-women keep their choicest
grapes for the bent philosopher who, it is whispered, writes bitterly
about women and “the superfluous.” But what they know for certain is
that he is a man of exceeding gentleness and purity, that he is the very
soul of chivalry; “stories are still told of his politeness towards
women to whom no one else showed any kindness.”[132] Let him write what
he pleases, so long as he is what he is.

He lives simply, almost in poverty. “His little room,” writes a visitor,
“is bare and cheerless. It has evidently been selected for cheapness
rather than for comfort. No carpet, not even a stove. I found it
fearfully cold.”[133] His publisher has made no profit on his books;
they are too sharply opposed to the “spirit of the age”; hence
the title he gives to two of his volumes: _Unzeitgemässe
Betrachtungen_,--_Thoughts Out of Season_. There is no money, he is now
informed, in such untimely volumes; hereafter he must publish his books
at his own cost. He does, stinting himself severely to meet the new
expense; his greatest books see the light in this way.[134]

He works hard, knowing that his shaken frame has but short lease of
life; and he comes to love his painful solitude as a gift. “I can’t help
seeing an enemy in any one who breaks in upon my working summer.... The
idea that any person should intrude upon the web of thought which I am
spinning around me, is simply appalling. I have no more time to
lose--unless I am stingy with my precious _half-hours_ I shall have a
bad conscience.”[135] Half-hours; his eyes will not work for more than
thirty minutes at a time. He feels that only to him to whom time is holy
does time bring reward. “He is fully convinced,” an acquaintance writes
of him, “about his mission and his permanent importance. In this belief
he is strong and great; it elevates him above all misfortune.”[136] He
speaks of his _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ in terms of almost conscious
exaggeration: “It is a book,” he says, “that stands alone. Do not let us
mention the poets in the same breath; nothing perhaps has ever been
produced out of such a superabundance of strength.”[137] He does not
know that it is his illness and his hunger for appreciation that have
demanded this self-laudation as restorative and nourishment. He
predicts, rightly enough, that he will not begin to get his due meed of
appreciation till 1901.[138] His “unmasking of Christian morality,” he
says, “is an event unequalled in history.”[139]

All this man’s energy is in his brain; he oozes ideas at every pore. He
crowds into a sentence the material of a chapter; and every aphorism is
a mountain-peak. He dares to say that which others dare only to think:
and we call him witty because truth tabooed is the soul of wit. Every
page bears the imprint of the passion and the pain that gave it birth.
“I am not a man,” he says, “I am dynamite”; he writes like a man who
feels error after error exploding at his touch; and he defines a
philosopher as “a terrible explosive in the presence of which everything
is in danger.”[140] “There are more idols than realities in the world;
and I have an ‘evil eye’ for idols.”[141]

What is this philosophy which seemed to its creator more important than
even the mightiest events of the past? How shall we compress it without
distorting it, as it has been distorted by so many of its lovers and its
haters? Let us ask the man himself to speak to us; let us see if we
cannot put the matter in his own words, ourselves but supplying, so to
speak, connective tissue. That done, we shall understand the man better,
and ourselves, and perhaps our social problem.


III

Exposition


1

_Morality as Impotence_

From a biological standpoint the phenomenon morality is of a highly
suspicious nature.[142] _Cui bono?_--Whom shall we suspect of profiting
by this institution? Is it a mode of enhancing life?--Does it make men
stronger and more perfect?--or does it make for deterioration and decay?
It is obvious that up to the present, morality has not been a problem at
all; it has rather been the very ground on which people have met after
all distrust, dissension, and contradiction, the hallowed place of
peace, where thinkers could obtain rest even from themselves.[143] But
what if morality be the greatest of all the stumbling-blocks in the way
of human self-betterment? Is it possible that morality itself is the
social problem, and that the solution of that problem lies in the
judicious abolition of morality? It is a view for which something can be
said.

You have heard that morality is a means used by the strong to control
the weak. And it is true: just consider the conversion of Constantine.
But to stop here is to let half the truth be passed off on you as the
whole; and half a truth is half a lie. Much more true is it that
morality is a means used by the weak to control the strong, the chain
which weakness softly lays upon the feet of strength. The whole of the
morality of Europe is based upon the values which are useful to the
herd.[144] Every one’s desire is that there should be no other teaching
and valuation of things than those by means of which he himself
succeeds. Thus the fundamental tendency of the weak and mediocre of all
times has been to enfeeble the strong and to reduce them to the level of
the weak; their chief weapon in this process was the moral
principle.[145] Good is every one who does not oppress, who hurts no
one, attacks no one, does not take vengeance but hands over vengeance to
God; who goes out of the way of evil, and demands little from life; like
ourselves, patient, meek, just. Good is to do nothing for which we are
not strong enough.[146] Zarathustra laughed many times over the
weaklings who thought themselves good because they had lame paws![147]
Obedience, subordination, submission, devotion, love, the pride of duty;
fatalism, resignation, objectivity, stoicism, asceticism, self-denial;
in short, anemia: these are the virtues which the herd would have all
men cultivate,--particularly the strong men.[148] And the deification of
Jesus,--that is to say of meekness,--what was it but another attempt to
lull the strong to sleep?


2

_Democracy_

See, now, how nearly that attempt has succeeded. For is not democracy,
if not victorious, at least on the road to victory to-day? And what is
the democratic movement but the inheritor of Christianity?[149] Not the
Christianity of the great popes; they knew better, and were building a
splendid aristocracy when Luther spoiled it all by letting loose the
levelling instincts of the herd.[150] The instinct of the herd is in
favor of the leveller (Christ).[151] I very much fear that the first
Christian is in his deepest instincts a rebel against everything
privileged; he lives and struggles unremittingly for “equal
rights.”[152] It is by Christianity, more than by anything else, that
the poison of this doctrine of “equal rights” has been spread abroad.
And do not let us underestimate the fatal influence! Nowadays no one has
the courage of special rights, of rights of dominion. The aristocratic
attitude of mind has been most thoroughly undermined by the lie of the
equality of souls.[153]

But is not this the greatest of all lies--the “equality of men”? That is
to say, the dominion of the inferior. Is it not the most threadbare and
discredited of ideas? Democracy represents the disbelief in all great
men and select classes; everybody equals everybody else; “at bottom we
are all herd.” There is no welcome for the genius here; the more
promising for the future the modern individual happens to be, the more
suffering falls to his lot.[154] If the rise of great and rare men had
been made dependent upon the voices of the multitude, there never would
have been any such thing as a great man. The herd regards the exception,
whether it be above or beneath its general level, as something
antagonistic and dangerous. Their trick in dealing with the exceptions
above them--the strong, the mighty, the wise, the fruitful--is to
persuade them to become their head-servants.[155]

But the torture of the exceptional soul is only part of the villainy of
democracies. The other part is chaos. Voltaire was right: “_Quand la
populace se mêle de raisonner, tout est perdu_.” Democracy is an
aristocracy of orators, a competition in headlines, a maelstrom of ever
new majorities, a torrent of petty factions sweeping on to ruin. Under
democracy the state will decay, for the instability of legislation will
leave little respect for law, until finally even the policeman will have
to be replaced by private enterprise.[156] Democracy has always been the
death-agony of the power of organization:[157] remember Athens, and look
at England. Within fifty years these Babel governments will clash in a
gigantic war for the control of the markets of the world; and when that
war comes, England will pay the penalty for the democratic inefficiency
of its dominant muddle-class.[158]

This wave of democracy will recede, and recede quickly, if men of
ability will only oppose it openly. It is necessary for higher men to
declare war on the masses. In all directions mediocre people are joining
hands in order to make themselves master. The middle classes must be
dissolved, and their influence decreased;[159] there must be no more
intermarrying of aristocracy with plutocracy; this democratic folly
would never have come at all had not the master-classes allowed their
blood to be mingled with that of slaves.[160] Let us fight parliamentary
government and the power of the press; they are the means whereby
cattle become rulers.[161] Finally, it is senseless and dangerous to let
the counting-mania (the custom of universal suffrage)--which is still
but a short time under cultivation, and could easily be uprooted--take
deeper root; its introduction was merely an expedient to steer clear of
temporary difficulties; the time is ripe for a demonstration of
democratic incompetence and a restoration of power to men who are born
to rule.[162]


3

_Feminism_

Democracy, after all, is a disease; an attempt on the part of the
botched to lay down for all the laws of social health. You may observe
the disease in its growth-process by studying the woman movement.
Woman’s first and last function is that of bearing robust children.[163]
The emancipated ones are the abortions among women, those who lack the
wherewithal to have children (I go no farther, lest I should become
medicynical).[164] All intellect in women is a pretension; when a woman
has scholarly inclinations there is generally something wrong with her
sex. These women think to make themselves charming to free spirits by
wearing advanced views; as though a woman without piety would not be
something perfectly obnoxious and ludicrous to a profound and godless
man![165] If there is anything worthy of laughter it is the man who
takes part in this feminist agitation. Let it be understood clearly that
the relations between men and women make equality impossible. It is in
the nature of woman to take color and commandment from a man,--unless
she happens to be a man. Man’s happiness is “I will,” woman’s happiness
is “He will.”[166] Woman gives herself, man takes her: I do not think
one will get over this natural contrast by any social contract.[167]
Indeed, women will lose power with every step towards emancipation.
Since the French Revolution the influence of woman has declined in
proportion as she has increased her rights and claims. Let her first do
her proper work properly (consider how much man has suffered from
stupidity in the kitchen), and then it may be time to consider an
extension of her activities. To be mistaken in this fundamental problem
of “man and woman,” to deny here the profoundest antagonism, and the
necessity for an eternally hostile tension, to dream here of equal
rights, equal training, equal claims and obligations: that is a typical
sign of shallow-mindedness. On the other hand, a man who has depth of
spirit as well as of desires, and has also the depth of benevolence
which is capable of severity and harshness, and easily confounded with
them, can only think of woman as Orientals do: he must conceive of her
as a possession, as confinable property, as a being predestined for
service and accomplishing her mission therein--he must take his stand in
this matter upon the immense rationality of Asia, upon the superiority
of the instincts of Asia.[168]


4

_Socialism and Anarchism_

All this uprising of housekeepers is, of course, part of the general
sickness with which Christianity has inoculated and weakened the strong
races of Europe. Consider now the more virulent forms of the disease:
socialism and anarchism. The coming of the “kingdom of God” has here
been placed in the future, and been given an earthly, a human, meaning;
but on the whole the faith in the old ideal is still maintained. There
is still the comforting delusion about equal rights, with all the envy
that lurks in that delusion. One speaks of “equal rights”: that is to
say, so long as one is not a dominant personality, one wishes to prevent
one’s competitors from growing in power.[169] It is a pleasure for all
poor devils to grumble--it gives them a little intoxicating sensation of
power. There is a small dose of revenge in every lamentation.[170] When
you hear one of those reformers talk of humanity, you must not take him
seriously; it is only his way of getting fools to believe that he is an
altruist; beneath the cover of this buncombe a man strong in the
gregarious instincts makes his bid for fame and followers and power.
This pretense to altruism is only a roundabout way of asking for
altruism, it is the result of a consciousness of the fact that one is
botched and bungled.[171] In short, socialism is not justice but
covetousness.[172] No doubt we should look upon its exponents and
followers with ironic compassion: they want something which we
have.[173]

From the standpoint of natural science the highest conception of society
according to socialists is the lowest in the order of rank among
societies. A socialist community would be another China, a vast and
stifling mediocracy; it would be the tyranny of the lowest and most
brainless brought to its zenith.[174] A nation in which there would be
no exploitation would be dead. Life itself is essentially appropriation,
conquest of the strange and weak; to put it at its mildest,
exploitation.[175] The absence of exploitation would mean the end of
organic functioning. Surely it is as legitimate and valuable for
superior men to command and use inferior men as it is for superior
species to command and use inferior species, as man commands and uses
animals.[176] It is not surprising that the lamb should bear a grudge
against the great birds of prey, but that is no reason for blaming the
great birds of prey.[177] What should be done with muscle except to
supply it with directive brains? How, otherwise, can anything worthy
ever be built by men? In fact, man has value and significance only in so
far as he is a stone in a great building; for which purpose he has first
of all to be solid; he has to be a “stone.”[178]

Now the common people understand this quite well, and are as happy as
any of the well-to-do, so long as a silly propaganda does not disturb
them with dreams that can never be fulfilled.[179] Poverty,
cheerfulness, and independence--it is possible to find these three
qualities combined in one individual; poverty, cheerfulness, and
slavery--this is likewise a possible combination: and I can say nothing
better to the workmen who serve as factory-slaves.[180]

As for the upper classes, they need be at no loss for weapons with which
to fight this pestilence. An occasional opening of the trap-door between
the Haves and the Have-nots, increasing the number of property-owners,
will serve best of all. If this policy is pursued, there will always be
too many people of property for socialism ever to signify anything more
than an attack of illness.[181] A little patience with inheritance and
income taxes, and the noise of the cattle will subside.[182]

Notice, meanwhile, that socialism and despotism are bedfellows. Give the
socialist his way, and he will put everything into the hands of the
state,--that is to say, into the hands of demagogue politicians.[183]
And then, all in the twinkling of an eye, socialism begets its opposite
in good Hegelian fashion, and the dogs of anarchism are let loose to
fill the world with their howling. And not without excuse or benefit;
for politicians must be kept in their place, and the state rigidly
restricted to its necessary functions, even if anarchist agitation helps
one to do it.[184] And the anarchists are right: the state is the
coldest of all monsters, and this lie creeps out of its mouth, “I, the
State, am the people.”[185] So the wise man will turn anarchism, as well
as socialism, to account; and he will not fret even when a king or two
is hurried into heaven with nitroglycerine. Only since they have been
shot at have princes once more sat securely on their thrones.[186]

Anarchism justifies itself in the aristocrat, who feels law as his
instrument, not as his master; but the rebellion against law as such is
but one more outburst of physiological misfits bent on levelling and
revenge.[187] It is childish to desire a society in which every
individual would have as much freedom as another.[188] Decadence speaks
in the democratic idiosyncrasy against everything which rules and
wishes to rule, the modern _misarchism_ (to coin a bad word for a bad
thing).[189] When all men are strong enough to command, then law will be
superfluous; weakness needs the vertebræ of law. He is commanded who
cannot obey his own self. Let the anarchist be thankful that he has laws
to obey. To command is more difficult; whenever living things command
they risk themselves; they take the hard responsibilities for the
result.[190] Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves;[191]
when the mob is capable of that, it will be time to think of dispensing
with law. The truth is, of course, that the anarchist is lulled into
nonsense by Rousseau’s notion of the naturally good man. He does not
understand that revolution merely unlashes the dogs in man, till they
once more cry for the whip.[192] Cast out the Bourbons, and in ten years
you will welcome Napoleon.

That is the end of anarchism; and it is the end of democracy, too.

The truth is that men are willing and anxious to be ruled by rulers
worthy of the name. But the corrupted ruling classes have brought ruling
into evil odor. The degeneration of the ruler and of the ruling classes
has been the cause of all the disorders in history. Democracy is not
ruling, but drifting; it is a political relaxation, as if an organism
were to allow each of its parts to do just as it pleased. Precisely
these disorganizing principles give our age its specific character. Our
society has lost the power to function properly; it no longer rids
itself naturally of its rotten elements; it no longer has the strength
even to excrete.[193]


5

_Degeneration_

What kind of men is to be found in such a society? Mediocre men; men
stupid to the point of sanctity; fragile, useless souls-de-luxe; men
suffering from a sort of hemiplegia of virtue,--that is to say,
paralyzed in the self-assertive instincts; men tamed, almost emasculated
by a morality whose essence is the abdication of the will.[194] Now, as
a rule, the taming of a beast is achieved only by deteriorating it; so
too the moral man is not a better man, he is rather a weaker member of
his species. He is altruistic, of course; that is, he feels that he
needs help. There is no place for really great men in this march towards
nonentity; if a great man appears he is called a criminal.[195] A
Periclean Greek, a Renaissance Florentine, would breathe like one
asphyxiated in this moralic acid atmosphere; the first condition of life
for such a man is that he free himself from this Chinadom of the
spirit.[196] But the number of those who are capable of rising into the
pure air of unmoralism is very small; and those who have made timid
sallies into theological heresy are the most addicted to the comfort and
security of ethical orthodoxy. In short, men are coming to look upon
lowered vitality as the heart of virtue; and morality will be saddled
with the guilt if the maximum potentiality of the power and splendor of
the human species should never be attained.[197]

Men of this stamp require a good deal of religious pepsin to overcome
the indigestibility of life; if they leave one faith in the passing
bravery of their youth they soon sink back into another.[198] God,
previously diluted from tribal deity into _substantia_ and
_ding-an-sich_,[199] now recovers a respectable degree of reality; the
imaginary pillar on which men lean is made stronger and more concrete as
their weakness increases. How much faith a person requires in order to
flourish, how much fixed opinion he needs which he does not wish to have
shaken, because he holds himself thereby,--is a measure of his power (or
more plainly speaking, of his weakness).[200]

The same criterion classifies our friends the metaphysicians,--those
albinos of thought,--who are, of course, priests in disguise.[201] The
degree of a man’s will-power may be measured by the extent to which he
can dispense with the meaning in things; by the extent to which he is
able to endure a world without meaning; because he himself arranges a
small portion of it.[202] The world has no meaning: all the better; put
some meaning into it, says the man with a man’s heart. The world has no
meaning: but it is only a world of appearance, says the weak-kneed
philosopher; behind this phenomenal world is the real world, which has
meaning, and means good. Of the real world “there is no knowledge;
consequently there is a God”--what novel elegance of syllogism![203]
This belief that the world which ought to be is real is a belief proper
to the unfruitful who do not wish to create a world. The “will to truth”
is the impotence of the “will to create.”[204] Even monism is being
turned into medicine for sick souls; clearly these lovers of wisdom seek
not truth, but remedies for their illnesses.[205] There is too much beer
and midnight oil in modern philosophy, and not enough fresh air.[206]
Philosophers condemn this world because they have avoided it; those who
are contemplative naturally belittle activity.[207] In truth, the
history of philosophy is the story of a secret and mad hatred of the
prerequisites of life, of the feelings which make for the real values of
life.[208] No wonder that philosophy is fallen to such low estate.
Science flourishes nowadays, and has the good conscience clearly
visible on its countenance; while the remnant to which modern philosophy
has gradually sunk excites distrust and displeasure, if not scorn and
pity. Philosophy reduced to a “theory of knowledge,” a philosophy that
never gets beyond the threshold, and rigorously denies itself the right
to enter--that is philosophy in its last throes, an end, an agony;
something that awakens pity. How could such a philosophy rule![209]


6

_Nihilism_

All these things, democracy, feminism, socialism, anarchism, and modern
philosophy, are heads of the Christian hydra, each a sore in the total
disease. Given such illness, affecting all parts of the social body, and
what result shall we expect and find? Pessimism, despair,
nihilism,--that is, disbelief in all values of life.[210] Confidence in
life is gone; life itself has become a problem. Love of life is still
possible,--only it is the love of a woman of whom one is doubtful.[211]
The “good man” sees himself surrounded by evil, discovers traces of evil
in every one of his acts. And thus he ultimately arrives at the
conclusion, which to him is quite logical, that nature is evil, that man
is corrupted, and that being good is an act of grace (that is to say, it
is impossible to man when he stands alone). In short, _he denies
life_.[212] The man who frees himself from the theology of the Church
but adheres to Christian ethics necessarily falls into pessimism. He
perceives that man is no longer an assistant in, let alone the
culmination of, the evolutionary process; he perceives that Becoming has
been aiming at Nothing, and has achieved it; and that is something which
he cannot bear.[213] Suffering, which was, before, a trial with promised
reward, is now an intolerable mystery; if he is materially comfortable
himself, he finds source for sentiment and tears in the pain and misery
of others; he concocts a “social problem,” and never dreams that the
social problem is itself a result of decadence.[214] He does not feel at
home in this world in which the Christian God is dead, and to which,
nevertheless, he brings nothing more appreciative than the old Christian
moral attitude. He despairs because he is a chaos, and knows it; “I do
not know where I am, or what I am to do; I am everything that knows not
where it is or what to do,” he sighs.[215] Life, he says at last, is not
worth living.

Let us not try to answer such a man; he needs not logic but a
sanitarium. But see, through him, and in him, the destructiveness of
Christian morals. This despicable civilization, says Rousseau, is to
blame for our bad morality. What if our good morality is to blame for
this despicable civilization?[216] See how the old ethic depreciates
the joy of living, and the gratitude felt towards life; how it checks
the knowledge and unfolding of life; how it chokes the impulse to
beautify and ennoble life.[217] And at what a time! Think what a race
with masculine will could accomplish now! Precisely now, when will in
its fullest strength were necessary, it is in the weakest and most
pusillanimous condition. Absolute mistrust concerning the organizing
power of the will: to that we have come.[218] The world is dark with
despair at the moment of greatest light.

What if man could be made to love the light and use it?


7

_The Will to Power_

Is it possible that this despair is not the final state in the
exhaustion of a race, but only a transition from belief in a perfect and
ethical world to an attitude of transvaluation and control?[219] Perhaps
we are at the bottom of our spiritual toboggan, and an ascending
movement is around the corner of the years. Now that our Christian
bubble has burst into Schopenhauer, we are left free to recover some
part of the joyous strength of the ancients. Let us become again as
little children, unspoiled by religion and morality; let us forget what
it is to feel sinful; let the thousandfold laughter of children clear
the air of the odor of decay. Let us begin anew; and the soul will rise
and overflow all its margins with the joy of rediscovered life.[220]
Life has not deceived us! On the contrary, from year to year it appears
richer, more desirable, and more mysterious; the old fetters are broken
by the thought that life may be an experiment and not a duty, not a
fatality, not a deceit![221] Life--that means for us to transform
constantly into light and flame all that we are, and also all that we
meet with; we cannot possibly do otherwise.[222] To be natural again, to
dare to be as immoral as nature is; to be such pagans as were the Greeks
of the Homeric age, to say Yea to life, even to its suffering; to win
back some of that mountain-air Dionysian spirit which took pleasure in
the tragic, nay, which invented tragedy as the expression of its
super-abundant vitality, as the expression of its welcome of even the
cruelest and most terrible elements of life![223] To be healthy once
more!

For there is no other virtue than health, vigor, energy. All virtues
should be looked upon as physiological conditions, and moral judgments
are symptoms of physiological prosperity or the reverse. Indeed, it
might be worth while to try to see whether a scientific order of values
might not be constructed according to a scale of numbers and measures
representing energy. All other values are matters of prejudice,
simplicity, and misunderstanding.[224] Instead of moral values let us
use naturalistic values, physiological values; let us say frankly with
Spinoza that virtue and power are one and the same. What is good? All
that enhances the feeling of power, the will to power, and power itself,
in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness?
The feeling that power is increasing, that resistance is being
overcome.[225] This is not orthodox ethics; and perhaps it will not do
for long ears,--though an unspoiled youth would understand it. A healthy
and vigorous boy will look up sarcastically if you ask him, “Do you wish
to become virtuous?”--but ask him, “Do you wish to become stronger than
your comrades?” and he is all eagerness at once.[226] Youth knows that
ability is virtue; watch the athletic field. Youth is not at home in the
class room, because there knowledge is estranged from action; and youth
measures the height of what a man knows by the depth of his power to
do.[227] There is a better gospel in the boy on the field than in the
man in the pulpit.

Which of the boys whom we know do we love best in our secret hearts--the
prayerful Aloysius, or the masterful leader of the urchins in the
street? We moralize and sermonize in mean efforts to bring the young
tyrant down to our virtuous anæmia; but we know that we are wrong, and
respect him most when he stands his ground most firmly. To require of
strength that it should express itself as weakness is just as absurd as
to require of weakness that it should express itself as strength.[228]
Let us go to school to our children, and we shall understand that all
native propensities are beneficent, that the evil impulses are to a far
view as necessary and preservative as the good.[229] In truth we worship
youth because at its finest it is a free discharge of instinctive
strength; and we know that happiness is nothing else than that. To
abandon instinct, to deliberate, to clog action with conscious
thought,--that is to achieve old age. After all, nothing can be done
perfectly so long as it is done consciously; consciousness is a defect
to be overcome.[230] Instinct is the most intelligent of all kinds of
intelligence which have hitherto been discovered.[231] Genius lies in
the instincts; goodness too; all consciousness is theatricality.[232]
When a people begins to worship reason, it begins to die.[233] Youth
knows better: it follows instinct trustfully, and worships power.

And we worship power too, and should say so were we as honest as our
children. Our gentlest virtues are but forms of power: out of the
abundance of the power of sex come kindness and pity; out of revenge,
justice; out of the love of resistance, bravery. Love is a secret path
to the heart of the powerful, in order to become his master; gratitude
is revenge of a lofty kind; self-sacrifice is an attempt to share in the
power of him to whom the sacrifice is made. Honor is the acknowledgment
of an equal power; praise is the pride of the judge; all conferring of
benefits is an exercise of power.[234] Behold a man in distress:
straightway the compassionate ones come to him, depict his misfortune to
him, at last go away, satisfied and elevated; they have gloated over the
unhappy man’s misfortune and their own; they have spent a pleasant
Sunday afternoon.[235] So with the scientist and the philosopher: in
their thirst for knowledge lurks the lust of gain and conquest. And the
cry of the oppressed for freedom is again a cry for power.[236]

You cannot understand man, you cannot understand society, until you
learn to see in all things this will to power. Physiologists should
bethink themselves before putting down the instinct of self-preservation
as the cardinal instinct of an organic being. A living thing seeks above
all to discharge its strength: self-preservation is only one of the
results of this. And psychologists should think twice before saying that
happiness or pleasure is the motive of all action. Pleasure is but an
incident of the restless search for power; happiness is an accompanying,
not an actuating, factor. The feeling of happiness lies precisely in the
discontentedness of the will, in the fact that without opponents and
obstacles it is never satisfied. Man is now master of the forces of
nature, and master too of his own wild and unbridled feelings; in
comparison with primitive man the man of to-day represents an enormous
quantum of power, but not an increase of happiness. How can one
maintain, then, that man has striven after happiness? No; not happiness,
but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but
capacity; that is the secret of man’s longing and man’s seeking.[237]

Let biologists, too, reëxamine the stock-in-trade of their theory. Life
is not the continuous adjustment of internal to external relations, but
will to power, which, proceeding from within, subjugates and
incorporates an ever-increasing quantity of “external phenomena.” All
motive force, all “causation” whatever, is this will to power; there is
no other force, physical, dynamical, or psychical.[238] As to the famous
“struggle for existence,” it seems at present to be more of an
assumption than a fact. It does occur, but as an exception; and it is
due not to a desire for food but _à tergo_ to a surcharge of energy
demanding discharge. The general condition of life is not one of want
or famine, but rather of riches, of lavish luxuriance, and even of
absurd prodigality; where there is a struggle it is a struggle for
power. We must not confound Malthus with Nature.[239] One does indeed
find the “cruelty of Nature” which is so often referred to, but in a
different place: Nature is cruel, but against her lucky and
well-constituted children; she protects and shelters and loves the
lowly. Darwin sees selection in favor of the stronger, the
better-constituted. Precisely the reverse stares one in the face: the
suppression of the lucky cases, the reversion to average, the
uselessness of the more highly constituted types, the inevitable mastery
of the mediocre. If we drew our morals from reality, they would read
thus: the mediocre are more valuable than the exceptional creatures; the
will to nonentity prevails over the will to life. We have to beware of
this formulation of reality into a moral.[240]

No; morality is not mediocrity, it is superiority; it does not mean
being like most people, but being better, stronger, more capable than
most people. It does not mean timidity: if anything is virtue it is to
stand unafraid in the presence of any prohibition.[241] It does not mean
the pursuit of ends sanctified by society; it means the will to your own
ends, and to the means to them. It means behaving as states
behave,--with frank abandonment of all altruistic pretence. Corporate
bodies are intended to do that which individuals have not the courage to
do: for this reason all communities are vastly more upright and
instructive as regards the nature of man than individuals, who are too
cowardly to have the courage of their desires. All altruism is the
prudence of the private man; societies are not mutually altruistic.
Altruism and life are incompatible: all the forces and instincts which
are the source of life lie stagnant beneath the ban of the old morality.
But real morality is certainty of instinct, effectiveness of action; it
is any action which increases the power of a man or of men; it is an
expression of ascendent and expanding life; it is achievement; it is
power.[242]


8

_The Superman_

With such a morality you breed men who are men; and to breed men who are
men is all that your “social problem” comes to. This does not mean that
the whole race is to be improved: the very last thing a sensible man
would promise to accomplish would be to improve mankind. Mankind does
not improve, it does not even exist. The aspect of the whole is much
more like that of a huge experimenting workshop where some things in all
ages succeed, while an incalculable number of things fail. To say that
the social problem consists in a general raising of the average standard
of comfort and ability amounts to abandoning the problem; there is as
little prospect of mankind’s attaining to a higher order as there is for
the ant and the ear-wig to enter into kinship with God and eternity. The
most fundamental of all errors here lies in regarding the many, the
herd, as an aim instead of the individual: the herd is only a means. The
road to perfection lies in the bringing forth of the most powerful
individuals, for whose use the great masses would be converted into mere
tools, into the most intelligent and flexible tools possible. Every
human being, with his total activity, has dignity and significance only
so far as he is, consciously or unconsciously, a tool in the service of
a superior individual. All that can be done is to produce here and
there, now and then, such a superior individual, _l’uomo singulare_, the
higher man, the superman. The problem does not concern what humanity as
a whole or as a species is to accomplish, but what kind of man is to be
desired as highest in value, what kind of man is to be worked for and
bred. To produce the superman: that is the social problem. If this is
not understood, nothing is understood.[243]

Now what would such a man be like? Shall we try to picture him?

We see him as above all a lover of life: strong enough, too, to love
life without deceiving himself about it. There is no _memento mori_
here; rather a _memento vivere_; rich instincts call for much living. A
hard man, loving danger and difficulty: what does not kill him, he
feels, leaves him stronger. Pleasure--pleasure as it is understood by
the rich--is repugnant to him: he seeks not pleasure but work, not
happiness but responsibility and achievement. He does not make
philosophy an excuse for living prudently and apart, an artifice for
withdrawing successfully from the game of life; he does not stand aside
and merely look on; he puts his shoulder to the wheel; for him it is the
essence of philosophy to feel the obligation and burden of a hundred
attempts and temptations, the joy of a hundred adventures; he risks
himself constantly; he plays out to the end this bad game.[244]

To risk and to create, this is the meaning of life to the superman. He
could not bear to be a man, if man could not be a poet, a maker. To
change every “It was” into a “Thus I would have it!”--in this he finds
that life may redeem itself. He is moved not by ambition but by a mighty
overflowing spendthrift spirit that drives him on; he must remake; for
this he compels all things to come to him and into him, in order that
they may flow back from him as gifts of his love and his abundance; in
this refashioning of things by thought he sees the holiness of life; the
greatest events, he knows, are these still creative hours.[245]

He is a man of contrasts, or contradictions; he does not desire to be
always the same man; he is a multitude of elements and of men; his value
lies precisely in his comprehensiveness and multifariousness, in the
variety of burdens which he can bear, in the extent to which he can
stretch his responsibility; in him the antagonistic character of
existence is represented and justified. He loves instinct, knows that it
is the fountain of all his energies; but he knows, too, the natural
delight of æsthetic natures in measure, the pleasure of self-restraint,
the exhilaration of the rider on a fiery steed. He is a selective
principle, he rejects much; he reacts slowly to all kinds of stimuli,
with that tardiness which long caution and deliberate pride have bred in
him; he tests the approaching stimulus. He decides slowly; but he holds
firmly to a decision made.[246]

He loves and has the qualities which the folk call virtues, but he loves
too and shows the qualities which the folk call vices; it is again in
this union of opposites that he rises above mediocrity; he is a broad
arch that spans two banks lying far apart. The folk on either side fear
him; for they cannot calculate on him, or classify him. He is a free
spirit, an enemy of all fetters and labels; he belongs to no party,
knowing that the man who belongs to a party perforce becomes a liar. He
is a sceptic (not that he must appear to be one); freedom from any kind
of conviction is a necessary factor in his strength of will. He does not
make propaganda or proselytes; he keeps his ideals to himself as
distinctions; his opinion is his opinion: another person has not easily
a right to it; he has renounced the bad taste of wishing to agree with
many people. He knows that he cannot reveal himself to anybody; like
everything profound, he loves the mask; he does not descend to
familiarity; and is not familiar when people think he is. If he cannot
lead, he walks alone.[247]

He has not only intellect; if that were all it would not be enough; he
has blood. Behind him is a lineage of culture and ability; lives of
danger and distinction; his ancestors have paid the price for what he
is, just as most men pay the price for what their ancestors have been.
Naturally, then, he has a strong feeling of distance; he sees inequality
and gradation, order and rank, everywhere among men. He has the most
aristocratic of virtues: intellectual honesty. He does not readily
become a friend or an enemy; he honors only his equals, and therefore
cannot be the enemy of many; where one despises one cannot wage war. He
lacks the power of easy reconciliation; but “retaliation” is as
incomprehensible to him as “equal rights.” He remains just even as
regards his injurer; despite the strong provocation of personal insult
the clear and lofty objectivity of the just and judging eye (whose
glance is as profound as it is gentle) is untroubled. He recognizes
duties only to his equals; to others he does what he thinks best; he
knows that justice is found only among equals. He has that distinctively
aristocratic trait, the ability to command and with equal readiness to
obey; that is indispensable to his pride. He will not permit himself to
be praised; he does what serves his purpose. The essence of him is that
he has a purpose, for which he will not hesitate to run all risks, even
to sacrifice men, to bend their backs to the worst. That something may
exist which is a hundred times more important than the question whether
he feels well or unwell, and therefore too whether the others feel well
or unwell: this is a fundamental instinct of his nature. To have a
purpose, and to cleave to it through all dangers till it be
achieved,--that is his great passion, that is himself.[248]


9

_How to Make Supermen_

It is our task, then, to procreate this synthetic man, who embodies
everything and justifies it, and for whom the rest of mankind is but
soil; to bring the philosopher, the artist, and the saint, within and
without us, to the light, and to strive thereby for the completion of
nature. In this cultivation lies the meaning of culture: the direction
of all life to the end of producing the finest possible individuals.
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal; his very
essence is to create a being higher than himself; that is the instinct
of procreation, the instinct of action and of work. Even the higher man
himself feels this need of begetting; and for lesser men all virtue and
morals lie in preparing the way that the superman may come. There is no
greater horror than the degenerating soul which says, “All for myself.”
In this great purpose, too, is the essence of a better religion, and a
surpassing of the bounds of narrow individualism; with this purpose
there come moments, sparks from the clear fire of love, in whose light
we understand the word “I” no longer; we feel that we are creating, and
therefore in a sense becoming, something greater than ourselves.[249]

How to make straight the way for the superman?

First by reforming marriage. Let it be understood at once that love is a
hindrance rather than a help to such marriages as are calculated to
breed higher men. To regard a thing as beautiful is necessarily to
regard it falsely; that is why love-marriages are from the social point
of view the most unreasonable form of matrimony. Were there a
benevolent God, the marriages of men would cause him more displeasure
than anything else; he would observe that all buyers are careful, but
that even the most cunning one buys his wife in a sack; and surely he
would cause the earth to tremble in convulsions when a saint and a goose
couple. When a man is in love, he should not be allowed to come to a
decision about his life, and to determine once for all the character of
his lifelong society on account of a whim. If we treated marriage
seriously, we would publicly declare invalid the vows of lovers, and
refuse them permission to marry. We would remake public opinion, so that
it would encourage trial marriage; we would exact certificates of health
and good ancestry; we would punish bachelorhood by longer military
service, and would reward with all sorts of privileges those fathers who
should lavish sons upon the world. And above all we would make people
understand that the purpose of marriage is not that they should
duplicate, but that they should surpass, themselves. Perhaps we would
read to them from _Zarathustra_, with fitting ceremonies and
solemnities: “Thou art young, and wishest for child and marriage. But I
ask thee, art thou a man who dareth to wish for a child? Art thou the
victorious one, the self-subduer, the commander of thy senses, the
master of thy virtues?--or in thy wish doth there speak the animal, or
necessity? Or solitude? Or discord with thyself? I would that thy
victory and freedom were longing for a child. Thou shalt build living
monuments unto thy victory and thy liberation. Thou shalt build beyond
thyself. But first thou must build thyself square in body and soul. Thou
shalt not only propagate thyself, but propagate thyself upward!
Marriage: thus I call the will of two to create that one which is more
than they who created it. I call marriage reverence unto each other as
unto those who will such a will.”[250]

In a word, eugenic marriage; and after eugenic marriage, rigorous
education. But interest in education will become powerful only when
belief in a God and his care have been abandoned, just as medicine began
to flourish only when the belief in miraculous cures had lapsed. When
men begin at last to _believe_ in education, they will endure much
rather than have their sons miss going to a good and hard school at the
proper time. What is it that one learns in a hard school? To obey and to
command. For this is what distinguishes hard schooling, as good
schooling, from every other schooling, namely that a good deal is
demanded, severely exacted; that excellence is required as if it were
normal; that praise is scanty, that leniency is non-existent; that blame
is sharp, practical, and without reprieve, and has no regard to talent
and antecedents. To prefer danger to comfort; not to weigh in a
tradesman’s balance what is permitted and what is forbidden; to be more
hostile to pettiness, slyness, and parasitism than to wickedness;--we
are in every need of a school where these things would be taught. Such a
school would allow its pupils to learn productively, by living and
doing; it would not subject them to the tyranny of books and the weight
of the past; it would teach them less about the past and more about the
future; it would teach them the future of humanity as depending on human
will, on _their_ will; it would prepare the way for and be a part of a
vast enterprise in breeding and education.[251] But even such a school
would not provide all that is necessary in education. Not all should
receive the same training and the same care; select groups must be
chosen, and special instruction lavished on them; the greatest success,
however, will remain for the man who does not seek to educate either
everybody or certain limited circles, but only one single individual.
The last century was superior to ours precisely because it possessed so
many individually educated men.


10

_On the Necessity of Exploitation_

And next slavery.

This is one of those ugly words which are the _verba non grata_ of
modern discussion, because they jar us so ruthlessly out of the grooves
of our thinking. Nevertheless it is clear to all but those to whom
self-deception is the staff of life, that as the honest Greeks had it,
some are born to be slaves. Try to educate all men equally, and you
become the laughing-stock of your own maturity. The masses seem to be
worth notice in three aspects only: first as the copies of great men,
printed on bad paper from worn-out plates; next as a contrast to the
great men; and lastly as their tools. Living consists in living at the
cost of others: the man who has not grasped this fact has not taken the
first step towards truth to himself. And to consider distress of all
kinds as an objection, as something which must be done away with, is the
greatest nonsense on earth; almost as mad as the will to abolish bad
weather, out of pity to the poor, so to speak. The masses must be used,
whether that means or does not mean that they must suffer;--it requires
great strength to live and forget how far life and injustice are one.
What is the suffering of whole peoples compared to the creative agonies
of great individuals?[252]

There are many who threw away everything they were worth when they threw
away their slavery. In all respects slaves live more securely and more
happily than modern laborers; the laborer chooses his harder lot to
satisfy the vanity of telling himself that he is not a slave. These men
are dangerous; not because they are strong, but because they are sick;
it is the sick who are the greatest danger to the healthy; it is the
weak ones, they who mouth so much about their sickness, who vomit bile
and call it newspaper,--it is they who instil the most dangerous venom
and scepticism into our trust in life, in man, and in ourselves; it is
they who most undermine the life beneath our feet. It is for such as
these that Christianity may serve a good purpose (so serving our purpose
too). Those qualities which are within the grasp only of the strongest
and most terrible natures, and which make their existence
possible--leisure, adventure, disbelief, and even dissipation--would
necessarily ruin mediocre natures--and does do so when they possess
them. In the case of the latter, industry, regularity, moderation, and
strong “conviction” are in their proper place--in short, all “gregarious
virtues”; under their influence these mediocre men become perfect. We
good Europeans, then, though atheists and immoralists, will take care to
support the religions and the morality which are associated with the
gregarious instinct; for by means of them an order of men is, so to
speak, prepared, which must at some time or other fall into our hands,
which must actually crave for our hands.[253]

Slavery, let us understand it well, is the necessary price of culture;
the free work, or art, of some involves the compulsory labor of others.
As in the organism so in society: the higher function is possible only
through the subjection of the lower functions. A high civilization is a
pyramid; it can stand only on a broad base, its first prerequisite is a
strongly and soundly consolidated mediocrity. In order that there may be
a broad, deep, and fruitful soil for the development of art, the
enormous majority must, in the service of a minority, be slavishly
subjected. At their cost, through the surplus of their labor, that
privileged class is to be relieved from the struggle for existence, in
order to create and to satisfy a new world of want. The misery of the
toilers must still increase in order to make the production of a world
of art possible to a small number of Olympian men.[254]


11

_Aristocracy_

The greatest folly of the strong is to let the weak make them ashamed to
exploit, to let the weak suggest to them, “It is a shame to be
happy--there is too much misery!” Let us therefore reaffirm the right of
the happy to existence, the right of bells with a full tone over bells
that are cracked and discordant. Not that exploitation as such is
desirable; it is good only where it supports and develops an aristocracy
of higher men who are themselves developing still higher men. This
philosophy aims not at an individualistic morality but at a new order of
rank. In this age of universal suffrage, in this age in which everybody
is allowed to sit in judgment upon everything and everybody, one feels
compelled to reëstablish the order of rank. The higher men must be
protected from contamination and suffocation by the lower. The richest
and most complex forms perish so easily! Only the lowest succeed in
maintaining their apparent imperishableness.[255]

The first question as to the order of rank: how far is a man disposed to
be solitary or gregarious? If he is disposed to be gregarious, his value
consists in those qualities which secure the survival of his tribe or
type; if he is disposed to be solitary, his qualities are those which
distinguish him from others; hence the important consequence: the
solitary type should not be valued from the standpoint of the gregarious
type, or _vice versa_. Viewed from above, both types are necessary; and
so is their antagonism. Degeneration lies in the approximation of the
qualities of the herd to those of the solitary creature, and _vice
versa_; in short, in their beginning to resemble each other. Hence the
difference in their virtues, their rights and their obligations; in the
light of this difference one comes to abhor the vulgarity of Stuart Mill
when he says, “What is right for one man is right for another.” It is
not; what is right for the herd is precisely what is wrong for their
leaders; and what is right for the leaders is wrong for the herd. The
leaders use, the herd is used; the virtues of either lie in the
efficiency here of leadership, there of service. Slave-morality is one
thing, and master-morality another.[256]

And leadership of course requires an aristocracy. Let us repeat it:
democracy has always been the death-agony of the power of organization
and direction; these require great aristocratic families, with long
traditions of administration and leadership; old ancestral lines that
guarantee for many generations the duration of the necessary will and
the necessary instincts. Not only aristocracy, then, but caste; for if a
man have plebeian ancestors, his soul will be a plebeian soul;
education, discipline, culture will be wasted on him, merely enabling
him to become a great liar. Therefore intermarriage, even social
intercourse of leaders with herd, is to be avoided with all precaution
and intolerance; too much intercourse with barbarians ruined the Romans,
and will ruin any noble race.[257]

In what direction may one turn with any hope of finding even the
aspiration for such an aristocracy? Only there where a _noble_ attitude
of mind prevails, an attitude of mind which believes in slavery and in
manifold orders of rank, as the prerequisites of any higher degree of
culture. Men with this attitude of mind will insistently call for, and
will at last produce, philosophical men of power, artist-tyrants,--a
higher kind of men which, thanks to their preponderance of will,
knowledge, riches, and influence, will avail themselves of democratic
Europe as the most suitable and subtle instrument for taking the fate of
Europe into their hands, and working as artists upon man himself. The
fundamental belief of these great desirers will be that society must not
be allowed to exist for its own sake, but only as the foundation and
scaffolding by means of which a select class of beings may be able to
elevate themselves to their highest duties, and in general to a higher
existence: like those sun-climbing plants in Java which encircle an oak
so long and so often with their arms that at last, high above it, but
supported by it, they can unfold their tops in the open light, and
exhibit their happiness.[258]


12

_Signs of Ascent_

Are we moving toward such a consummation? Can we detect about us any
signs of this ascending movement of life? Not signs of “progress”; that
is another narcotic, like Christianity,--good for slaves, but to be
avoided by those who rule. Man as a species is not progressing; the
general level of the species is not raised. But humanity as mass
sacrificed to the prosperity of the one stronger type of Man,--that
_would be_ a progress.[259]

Progress of this kind, to some degree, there has always been. The ruling
class in Greece, as seen in Homer and even in Thucydides (though with
Socrates degeneration begins), is an example of this kind of progress or
attainment. Imagine this culture, which has its poet in Sophocles, its
statesman in Pericles, its physician in Hippocrates, its natural
philosopher in Democritus; here is a yea-saying, a gratitude, to life in
all its manifestations; here life is understood, and covered with art
that it may be borne; here men are frivolous so that they may forget for
a moment the arduousness and perilousness of their task; they are
superficial, but from profundity; they exalt philosophers who preach
moderation, because they themselves are so immoderate, so instinctive,
so hilariously wild; they are great, they are elevated above any ruling
class before or after them because here the morals of the governing
caste have grown up among the governing caste, and not among the
herd.[260]

We catch some of the glory of these Greeks in the men of the
Renaissance: men perfect in their immorality, terrible in their demands;
we should not dare to stand amid the conditions which produced these
men and which these men produced; we should not even dare to imagine
ourselves in those conditions: our nerves would not endure that
reality,--not to speak of our muscles. One man of their type,
continuator and development of their type, brother (as Taine most
rightly says) of Dante and Michelangelo,--one such man we have known
with less of the protection of distance; and he was too hard to bear.
That _Ens Realissimum_, synthesis of monster and superman, surnamed
Napoleon! The first man, and the man of greatest initiative and
developed views, of modern times; a man of tolerance, not out of
weakness, but out of strength, able to risk the full enjoyment of
naturalness and be strong enough for this freedom. In such a man we see
something in the nature of “disinterestedness” in his work on his
marble, whatever be the number of men that are sacrificed in the
process. Men were glad to serve him; as most normal men are glad to
serve the great man; the crowd was tired of “equal rights,” tired of
being masterless; it longed to worship genius again. What was the excuse
for that terrible farce, the French Revolution? It made men ready for
Napoleon.[261]

When shall we produce another superman? Let us go back to our question:
Can we detect about us any signs of strength?

Yes. We are learning to get along without God. We are recovering from
the noble sentiments of Rousseau. We are giving the body its due;
physiology is overcoming theology. We are less hungry for lies,--we are
facing squarely some of the ugliness of life,--prostitution, for
example. We speak less of “duty” and “principles”; we are not so
enamored of bourgeois conventions. We are less ashamed of our instincts;
we no longer believe in a right which proceeds from a power that is
unable to uphold it. There is an advance towards “naturalness”: in all
political questions, even in the relations between parties, even in
merchants’, workmen’s circles only questions of power come into play;
what one can do is the first question, what one ought to do is a
secondary consideration. There is a certain degree of liberal-mindedness
regarding morality; where this is most distinctly wanting we regard its
absence as a sign of a morbid condition (Carlyle, Ibsen, Schopenhauer);
if there is anything which can reconcile us to our age it is precisely
the amount of immorality which it allows itself without falling in its
own estimation.[262]

Modern science, despite its narrowing specialization, is a sign of
ascent. Here is strictness in service, inexorability in small matters as
well as great, rapidity in weighing, judging, and condemning; the
hardest is demanded here, the best is done without reward of praise or
distinction; it is rather as among soldiers,--almost nothing but blame
and sharp reprimand is _heard_; for doing well prevails here as the
rule, and the rule has, as everywhere, a silent tongue. It is the same
with this “severity of science” as with the manners and politeness of
the best society: it frightens the uninitiated. He, however, who is
accustomed to it, does not like to live anywhere but in this clear,
transparent, powerful, and highly electrified atmosphere, this _manly_
atmosphere.[263]

In this achievement of science lies such an opportunity as philosophy
has never had before. Science traces the course of things but points to
no goal: what it does give consists of the fundamental facts upon which
the new goal must be based. All the sciences have now to pave the way
for the future task of the philosopher; this task being understood to
mean that he must solve the problem of _value_, that he has to fix the
hierarchy of values. He must become lawgiver, commander; he must
determine the “whither” and “why” for mankind. All knowledge must be at
his disposal, and must serve him as a tool for creation.[264]

Most certain of the signs of a reascending movement of life is the
development of militarism. The military development of Europe is a
delightful surprise. This fine discipline is teaching us to do our duty
without expecting praise. Universal military service is the curious
antidote which we possess for the effeminacy of democratic ideas. Men
are learning again the joy of living in danger. Some of them are even
learning the old truth that war is good in itself, aside from any gain
in land or other wealth; instead of saying “A good cause will hallow
every war,” they learn to say “A good war hallows every cause.” When the
instincts of a society ultimately make it give up war and conquest, it
is decadent: it is ripe for democracy and the rule of shopkeepers. A
state which should prevent war would not only be committing suicide (for
war is just as necessary to the state as the slave is to society); it
would be hostile to life, it would be an outrage on the future of man.
The maintenance of the military state is the last means of adhering to
the great traditions of the past; or where it has been lost, of reviving
it. Only in this can the superior or strong type of man be
preserved.[265]

A nation is a detour of nature to arrive at six or seven great men, and
then to get around them. The state is the organization of immorality for
the attainment of this purpose. But as existing to-day the state is a
very imperfect instrument, subject at any moment to democratic
foundering. What concerns the thinker here is the slow and hesitant
formation of a united Europe. This was the thought, and the sole real
work and impulse, of the only broad-minded and deep-thinking men of this
century,--the tentative effort to anticipate the future of “the
European.” Only in their weaker moments, or when they grew old, did they
fall back again into the national narrowness of the “Fatherlanders”--then
they were once more “patriots.” One thinks here of men like Napoleon,
Heine, Goethe, Beethoven, Stendhal, Schopenhauer. And after all, is
there a single idea behind this bovine nationalism? What possible value
can there be in encouraging this arrogant self-conceit when everything
to-day points to greater and more common interests?--at a moment when
the spiritual dependence and denationalization which are obvious to all
are paving the way for the _rapprochements_ and fertilizations which
make up the real value and sense of present-day culture?[266]

What an instrument such a united Europe would be for the development and
protection and expression of superior individuals! What a buoyant ascent
of life after this long descent into democracy! See now, in review, the
two movements which we have studied and on which we have strung our
philosophy: on the one hand Christian mythology and morality, the cult
of weakness, the fear of life, the deterioration of the species, ever
increasing suppression of the privileged and the strong, the lapse into
democracy, feminism, socialism, and at last into anarchy,--all
terminating in pessimism, despair, total loss of the love of life; on
the other hand the reaffirmation of the worth of life, the resolute
distinction between slave-morality and master-morality, the recognition
of the aristocratic valuation of health, vigor, energy, as moral in all
their forms, and of the will to power as the source and significance of
all action and all living; the conception of the higher man, of the
exceptional individual, as the goal of human endeavor; the redirection
of marriage, of education, of social structure, to the fostering and
cherishing of these higher types;--culminating in the supernational
organization of Europe as the instrumentality and artistic expression of
the superior man.[267]

Is this philosophy too hard to bear? Very well. But those races that
cannot bear it are doomed; and those which regard it as the greatest
blessing are destined to be masters of the world.[268]


IV

Criticism

What shall one say to this? What would a democrat say,--such a democrat
as would be a friend to socialism and feminism, and even to
anarchism,--and a lover of Jesus? One pictures such a man listening with
irritated patience to the foregoing, and responding very readily to an
invitation to take the floor.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are lessons here, he begins, as if brushing away an initial
encumbrance. There is something of Nietzsche in all of us, just as there
is something of Jesus (almost as there is something of man and of woman
in all of us, as Weininger argued); and part of that crowd called
_myself_ is flattered by this doctrine of ruthless power. Nietzsche
stood outside our social and moral structure, he was a sort of hermit in
the world of thought; and so he could see things in that structure which
are too near to our noses for easy vision. And as you listen to him you
see history anew as a long succession of masterings and enslavings and
deceivings, and you become almost reconciled to the future being nothing
but a further succession of the same. And then you begin to see that if
the future is to be different, one of the things we must do is to pinch
ourselves out of this Nietzschean dream.

And a good way to begin is with Nietzsche’s own principle, that every
philosophy is a physiology.[269] He asks us to believe that there is no
such thing as a morbid trait in him,[270] but we must not take him at
his word. The most important point about this philosophy is that it was
written by a sick man, a man sick to the very roots--if you will let me
say it, abnormal in sexual constitution; a man not sufficiently
attracted to the other sex, because he has so much of the other sex in
him. “She is a woman,” he writes in _Zarathustra_, “and never loves
anyone but a warrior”; that is, if Nietzsche but knew it, the diagnosis
of his own disease. This hatred of women, this longing for power, this
admiration for strength, for successful lying,[271] this inability to
see a _tertium quid_ between tyranny and slavery,[272]--all these are
feminine traits. A stronger man would not have been so shrewishly shrill
about woman and Christianity; a stronger man would have needed less
repetition, less emphasis and underlining, less of italics and
exclamation points; a stronger man would have been more gentle, and
would have smiled where Nietzsche scolds. It is the philosophy, you see,
of a man abnormally weak in the social instincts, and at the same time
lacking in proper outlet for such social instincts as nature has left
him.

Consequently, he never gets beyond the individual. He thinks society is
made up of individuals, when it is really made up of groups. He supposes
that the only virtues a man can have are those which help him as an
isolated unit; the idea that a man may find self-expression in social
expression, in coöperation, that there are virtues which are virtues
because they enable one to work with others against a common evil,--this
notion never occurs to him. He does not see that sympathy and mutual
aid, for example, though they preserve some inferior individuals, yet
secure that group-solidarity, and therefore group-survival, without
which even the strong ones would perish.[273] He does not imagine that
perhaps the barbarians who invaded Rome needed the gospel of a “gentle
Jesus meek and mild” if anything at all was to remain of that same
classical culture which he paints so lovingly.[274] He laughs at
self-denial; and then invites you to devote yourself forever to some
self-elected superman.

This philosophy of aristocracy, of the necessity of slavery, of the
absurdity of democracy,--of course it is exciting to all weak people who
would like to have power,--and who have not read it all before in Plato.
In this particular case the humor of the situation lies in the very
powerful attack which Nietzsche makes on the irreligious religious
humbug which has proved one of the chief instruments of mastery in the
hands of the class whose power he is trying to strengthen. “I hope to be
forgiven,” says Nietzsche, “for discovering that all moral philosophy
hitherto has belonged to the soporific appliances.”[275]
“Discovering”--as if the aristocracy had not known that all along!
“Here is a naïve bookworm,” these “strong men” will say among
themselves, “who has discovered what every one of us knows. He presumes
to tell us how to increase our power, and he can find no better way of
helping us than to expose in print the best secrets of our trade.”

Just in this lies the value of Nietzsche, as Rousseau said of
Machiavelli: he lets us in behind the scenes of the drama of
exploitation. We know better now the men with whom democracy must deal.
We see the greed for power that hides behind the contention that culture
cannot exist without slavery. Grant that contention: so much the worse
for culture! If culture means the increasing concentration of the
satisfactions of life in the hands of a few “superior” pigs, their
culture may be dispensed with; if it is to stay, it will have to mean
the direction of knowledge and ability to the spread of the
satisfactions of life. Which is finer,--the relationship of master and
slave, or that of friend and friend? Surely a world of people liking and
helping one another is a finer world to live in than one in which the
instincts of aggression are supreme. And such a coöperative civilization
need not fear the tests of survival; selection puts an ever higher
premium on solidarity, an ever lower value on pugnacity. Intelligence,
not ready anger, will win the great contests of the future. Friendship
will pay.

The history of the world is a record of the patient and planful attempt
to replace hatred by understanding, narrowness by large vision,
opposition by coöperation, slavery by friendship. Friendship: a word to
be avoided by those who would appear _blasé_. But let us repeat it;
words have been known to nourish deeds which without them might never
have grown into reality. Some find heaven in making as many men as
possible their slaves; others find heaven in making as many men as
possible their friends. Which type of man will we have? Which type of
man, if abundant, would make this world a splendor and a delight?

The hope for which Jesus lived was that _man_ might some day come to
mean _friend_. It is the only hope worth living for.


V

Nietzsche Replies

“It is certainly not the least charm of a theory,” says Nietzsche, “that
it is refutable.”[276] But “what have I to do with mere
refutations?”[277] “A prelude I am of better players.”[278] “Verily, I
counsel you,” said Zarathustra, “depart from me and defend yourselves
against Zarathustra! And better still, be ashamed of him. Perhaps he
hath deceived you. The man of perception must not only be able to love
his enemies, but also to hate his friends. One ill requiteth one’s
teacher by always remaining only his scholar. Why will ye not pluck at
my wreath? Ye revere me; but how if your reverence one day falleth down?
Beware of being crushed to death with a statue! Ye say ye believe in
Zarathustra? But what is Zarathustra worth? Ye are my faithful ones; but
what are all faithful ones worth? When ye had not yet sought yourselves
ye found me. Thus do all faithful ones; hence all belief is worth so
little. Now I ask you to lose me and find yourselves; not until all of
you have disowned me shall I return unto you.”[279]


VI

Conclusion

“Look,” says Rudin, in Turgenev’s story, “you see that apple tree? It
has broken down with the weight and multitude of its own fruit. It is
the emblem of genius.” “To perish beneath a load one can neither bear
nor throw off,” wrote Nietzsche,--“that is a philosopher.”[280] I shall
announce the song of the lightning, said Zarathustra, and perish in the
announcing.[281]

Insanity with such a man is but a matter of time; he feels it coming
upon him; he values his hours like a man condemned to execution. In
twenty days he writes the _Genealogy of Morals_; in one year (1888) he
produces _The Twilight of the Idols_, _Antichrist_, _The Case of
Wagner_, _Ecce Homo_, and his longest and greatest book, _The Will to
Power_. He not only writes these books; he reads the proof-sheets,
straining his eyes beyond repair. He is almost blind now; he is
deceived, taken advantage of, because he can hardly see farther than his
touch. “If I were blind,” he writes pitifully, “I should be
healthy.”[282] Yet his body is racked with pain: “on 118 days this year
I have had severe attacks.”[283] “I have given a name to my pain, and
call it ‘a dog’--it is just as pitiful, just as importunate and
shameless; and I can domineer over it, vent my bad humor on it, as
others do with their dogs, servants, and wives.”[284]

Meanwhile the world lives on unnoticing, or noticing only to
misunderstand. “My foes have become mighty, and have so distorted my
teaching, that my best beloved must be ashamed of the gifts that I gave
them.”[285] He learns that the libertines of Europe are using his
philosophy as a cloak for their sins: “I can read in their faces that
they totally misunderstand me, and that it is only the animal in them
which rejoices at being able to cast off its fetters.”[286] He finds one
whom he thinks to make his disciple; he is buoyed up for a few days by
the hope; the hope is shattered, and loneliness closes in once more upon
him. “A kingdom for a kind word!” he cries out in the depth of his
longing; and again he writes, “For years no milk of human kindness, no
breath of love.”[287]

In December, 1888, one whom he has thought friendly writes that his
brother-in-law is sending to a magazine an attack on him. It is the last
blow; it means that his sister has joined the others in deserting him.
“I take one sleeping-draught after another to deaden the pain, but for
all that I cannot sleep. To-day I will take such a dose that I will lose
my wits.”[288] He has been taking chloral, and worse drugs, to pay for
the boon of sleep; the poison tips the scale already made heavy by his
blindness and eye-strain, by his loneliness, by the treachery of his
friends, by his general bodily ailments; he wakes up from this final
draught in a stupor from which he never recovers; he writes to Brandes
and signs himself “The Crucified”; he wanders into the street, is
tormented by children, falls in a fit; his good landlord helps him back
to his room, sends for the simple, ignorant doctor of the neighborhood;
but it is too late; the man is insane. Age, forty-four; another--the
only name greater than his among modern philosophers--had died at that
pitifully early age.

The body lingered eleven years behind the mind. Death came in 1900. He
was buried as he had wished: “Promise me,” he had asked his sister, many
years before, “that when I die only my friends shall stand about my
coffin, and no inquisitive crowd. See that no priest or anyone else
utters falsehoods at my graveside, when I can no longer defend myself;
and let me descend into my tomb as an honest pagan.”[289]

After his death the world began to read him. As in so many cases the
life had to be given that the doctrine might be heard. “Only where there
are graves,” he had written in _Zarathustra_, “are there
resurrections.”[290]



PART II

SUGGESTIONS



CHAPTER I

SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS


I

The Problem

And so we come through our five episodes in the history of the
reconstructive mind, and find ourselves in the bewildering present,
comfortably seated, let us say, in the great reading room of our
Columbia Library. An attendant liberates us from the maze of
“Nietzsche’s Works” lying about us, and returns presently with a stack
of thirty books purporting to give the latest developments in the field
of social study and research. We are soon lost in their graphs and
statistics, their records and results; gradually we come to feel beneath
these dead facts the lives they would reveal; and as we read we see a
picture.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is the picture of one life. We see it beginning helplessly in the
arms of the factory physician; it is only after some violence that it
consents to breathe,--as if it hesitates to enter upon its adventure. It
has a touch of consumption but is otherwise a fair enough baby, says the
factory physician. It will do,--not saying for what or whom. Luckily,
it is a boy, and will be able to work soon. He does; at the age of nine
he becomes a newsboy; he is up at five in the morning and peddles news
till eight; at nine he gets to school, fagged out but restless; he gives
trouble; cannot memorize quickly enough, nor sit still long enough;
plays truant, loving the hard lessons of the street; school over, he has
a half-hour of play, but must then travel his news route till six; after
supper he has no taste for study; if he cannot go down into the street,
he will go to bed. At fourteen, hating the school where he is beaten or
scolded daily, he connives with his parents at certain falsehoods which
secure his premature entrance into the factory. He works hard, and for a
time happily enough; there is more freedom here than in the school. He
discovers sex, passes through the usual chapter of accidents, and
finally achieves manhood in the form of a sexual disease. He falls in
love several times, and out as many times but one; he marries, shares
his disease with his wife, and begets ten children,--nearly all of them
feeble, and two of them blind; he does not want so many children, but
the priest has told him that religion commands it. He works harder to
support them, but his health is giving way, and life becomes a heavy
burden to him. The factory installs scientific management, and he finds
himself performing the same operation every ten seconds from seven to
twelve and from one to six;--some three thousand times a day; he
protests, but is told that science commands it. He joins a union, and
goes out on strike; his family suffer severely, one of the children
dying of malnutrition; he wins a wage-increase of five per cent; his
landlord raises his rent, and a month later his wife informs him that
the prices of food and clothing have gone up six per cent. His country
goes to war about a piece of territory he has never heard of; his one
fairly strong boy rushes off to the defence of the colors, returns (age
twenty) with one leg and almost an arm, and sits in the house smoking,
drinking, and dribbling in repetitious semi-torpor his memories of
battle. Then comes street-corner talk of socialism, capitalism, and
other things new and therefore hard to understand; a glimmer of hope, a
cloud of doubt, then resignation. Four of the children die before they
are twenty; two others become consumptive weaklings. The father is sent
away from the factory because he is too old and feeble; he finds work in
a saloon; drink helps him to slip down; he steals a bracelet from the
factory-owner’s kept woman, is arrested, tries to hang himself, but is
discovered when half dead, and is restored to life against his will. He
serves his sentence, returns to his family, and becomes a beggar. He
dies of exposure and disease, and his widow is supported by two of his
daughters, who have become successful prostitutes.

It is the picture of one life. And as you look at it you see beyond it
the hundred thousand lives of which it is one; you see this suffering
and meaninglessness as but one hundredth part of a thousandth part of
the meaningless suffering of men; you hear the angry cries of the
rebellious young, the drunken laughter of the older ones who have no
more rebellion in them, the quiet weeping of the mothers of many
children. Around you here you see the happy faces of young students,
eloquent of comfortable homes; at your elbow a gentleman of family is
writing a book on the optimism of Robert Browning. And then suddenly,
beneath this world of leisure and learning, you feel the supporting
brawn of the wearied workers; you vision the very pillars of this vast
edifice held up painfully, hour after hour, on the backs of a million
sweating men; your leisure is their labor, your learning is paid for by
their ignorance, your luxury is their toil.

For a moment the great building seems to tremble, as if rebellion
stirred beneath and upheaval was upon the world. Then it is still once
more, and you and I are here with our thirty books.

One feels guilty of sentiment here (after reading Nietzsche!), and
hurries back to the sober features of those crowded volumes. Here, in
cold scientific statement, is our social problem: here are volumes
biological on heredity, eugenics, dietetics, and disease; volumes
sociological on marriage, prostitution, the family, the position of
woman, contraception and the control of population; volumes
psychological on education, criminology, and the replacement of
supernatural by social religion; volumes economic on private property,
poverty, child labor, industrial methods, arbitration, minimum wage,
trusts, free trade, immigration, prohibition, war; volumes political on
individualism and communism, anarchism and socialism, single tax,
Darwinism and politics, democracy and aristocracy, patriotism,
imperialism, electoral and administrative methods; methodological
volumes on trade-unions and craft-unions, “direct action” and “political
action,” violence and non-resistance, revolution and reform. It is a
discouraging maze; we plunge into it almost hopelessly. Several of these
authors have schemes for taking the social machine apart, and a few even
have schemes for putting it together again; hardly one of them remembers
the old warning that this machine must be kept going while it is being
repaired. And each of these solutions, as its author never suspects, is
but an added problem.

Let us listen to these men for a while, let us follow them for a space,
and see where they bring us out. They may not bring us out at all; but
perhaps that is just what we need to see.


II

“Solutions”


1

_Feminism_

And first, with due propriety, let us listen to the case of woman _vs._
the _status quo_. We imagine the argument as put by a studious and
apparently harmless young lady. She begins gently and proceeds
_crescendo_.

“The case for woman is quite simple; as simple as the case for
democracy. We are human beings, we are governed, we are taxed; and we
believe that just government implies the consent of the governed.

“We might have been content with the old life, had you masters of the
world been content to leave us the old life. But you would not. Your
system of industry has made the position of most young men so hopeless
and insecure that they are year by year putting back the age of
marriage. You have forced us out of our homes into your factories; and
you have used us as a means of making still harder the competition for
employment among the men. Your advocates speak of the sacredness of the
home; and meanwhile you have dragged 5,000,000 English women out of
their homes to be the slaves of your deadening machines.[291] You exalt
marriage; and in this country one woman out of every ten is unmarried,
and one out of every twenty married women works in your unclean shops.
The vile cities born of your factory-system have made life so hard for
us, temptations so frequent, vice so attractive and convenient, that we
cannot grow up among you without suffering some indelible taint.

“Some of us go into your factories because we dread marriage, and some
of us marry because we dread your factories. But there is not much to
choose between them. If we marry we become machines for supplying
another generation of workers and soldiers; and if we talk of
birth-control you arrest us. As if we had no right to all that science
has discovered! And the horror of it is that while you forbid us to
learn how to protect ourselves and our children from the evils of large
families, you yourselves buy this knowledge from your physicians and use
it; and one of your societies for the prevention of birth-control has
been shown to consist of members with an average of 1.5 children per
family.[292] Your physicians meet in learned assemblies and vote in
favor of maintaining the law which forbids the spread of this
information; and then we find that physicians have the smallest average
family in the community.[293] One must be a liar and a thief to fit
comfortably into this civilization which you ask us to defend.

“But we are resolved to get this information; and all your laws to
prevent us will only lessen our respect for law. We will not any longer
bring children into the world unless we have some reasonable hope of
giving them a decent life. And not only that. We shall end, too, the
hypocrisies of marriage. If you will have monogamy you may have it; but
if you continue merely to pretend monogamy we shall find a way of
regaining our independence. We shall not rest until we have freed
ourselves from the sting of your generosity; until our bread comes not
from your hand in kindness but from the state or our employers in
recognition of our work. Then we shall be free to leave you, and you
free to leave us, as we were free to take one another at the
beginning,--so far, alas! as the categorical imperative of love left us
free. And our children will not suffer; better for them that they see us
part than that they live with us in the midst of hypocrisy and secret
war.

“Because we want this freedom--to stay or to go--this freedom to know
and control the vital factors of our lives, therefore we demand equal
suffrage. It is but a little thing, a mere beginning; and beware how you
betray your secrets in your efforts to bar us from this beginning. Are
you afraid to share with us the power of the ballot? Do you confess so
openly that you wish to command us without our consent, that you wish to
use us for your secret ends? You dare not fight fair and in the open? Is
the ballot a weapon which you use on us and will not let us use on you?
It is so you conceive citizenship! Or will you ask us to believe that
you are thinking not of your own interests but of posterity?

“But we shall get this from you, just as we get other things from
you,--by repetition. And then we shall go on to make the world more fit
for women to live in: we shall force open all the avenues of life that
have been closed to us before, making us narrow and petty and dull. We
shall compel your universities to admit us to their classes; we shall
enter your professions, we shall compete with you for office, we shall
win the experiences and dare the adventures which we need to make us
your rivals in literature and philosophy and art. You say we cannot be
your comrades, your friends; that we can be only tyrants or slaves; but
what else can we be, with all the instructive wealth of life kept from
us? You hide from us the great books that are being written to-day, and
then you are surprised at our gossip, our silly scandal-mongering, our
inability to converse with you on business and politics, on science and
religion and philosophy; you will not let us grow, and then you complain
because we are so small. But we want to grow now, we want to grow! We
cannot longer be mothers only. The world does not need so many children;
and even to bring up better children we must have a wider and healthier
life. We must have our intellects stimulated more and our feelings less.
We have burst the bonds of our old narrow world; we must explore
everything now. It is too late to stop us; and if you try you will only
make life a mess of hatred and conflict for us both. And after all, do
you know why we want to grow? It is because we long for the day when we
shall be no longer merely your mistresses, but also your friends.”


2

_Socialism_

Another complainant: a young Socialist: such a man as works far into
almost every night in the dingy office of his party branch, and devotes
his Sundays to _Das Kapital_; bright-eyed, untouched by disillusionment;
fired by the vision of a land of happy comrades.

“I agree with the young lady,” he says; “the source of all our ills is
the capitalist system. It was born of steam-driven machinery and
conceived in _laissez-faire_. It saw the light in Adam Smith’s England,
ruined the health of the men of that country, and then came to America,
where it grew fat on ‘liberty’ and ‘the right to do as one pleases with
one’s own.’ It believed in competition--that is to say war--as its God,
in whom all things lived and moved and sweated dividends; it made the
acquisition of money, by no matter what means, the test of virtue and
success, so that honest men became ashamed of themselves if they did not
fail; it made all life a matter of ‘push’ and ‘pull,’ like the two sides
of a door in one of those business palaces which make its cities great
mazes of brick and stone rising like new Babels in the face of heaven.
Its motto was, Beware of small profits; its aim was the greatest
possible happiness of the smallest possible number. Out of competition
it begot the trust, the rebate, and the ‘gentleman’s agreement’; out of
‘freedom of contract’ it begot wage-slavery; out of ‘liberty, equality
and fraternity’ it begot an industrial feudalism worse than the old
feudalism, based on the inheritance not of land, but of the living
bodies and souls of thousands of men, women and children. When it came
(in 1770) the annual income of England was $600,000,000; in 1901 the
annual income of England was $8,000,000,000; the system has made a
thousand millionaires, but it has left the people starving as
before.[294] It has increased wages, and has increased prices a trifle
more. It has improved the condition of the upper tenth of the workers,
and has thrown the great remaining mass of the workers into a hell of
torpor and despair. It has crowned all by inventing the myopic science
of scientific management, whereby men are made to work at such speed,
and with such rigid uniformity, that the mind is crazed, and the body is
worn out twenty years before its time. It has made the world reek with
poverty, and ugliness, and meanness, and the vulgarity of conspicuous
wealth. It has made life intolerable and disgraceful to all but sheep
and pigs.

“There is only one way of saving our civilization--such as there is of
it--from wasting away through the parasitic degeneration of a few of its
parts and the malnutrition of the rest; and that is by frankly
abandoning this _laissez-faire_ madness, and changing the state into a
mechanism for the management of the nation’s business. We workers must
get hold of the offices, and turn government into administration.
Without that our strikes and boycotts, our ‘direct action’ and economic
organization, arrive at little result; every strike we ‘win’ means that
prices will go up, and our time and energy--and dues--have gone to
nothing but self-discipline in solidarity. We can control prices only by
controlling monopolies; and we can control monopolies only by
controlling government. That means politics, and it’s a scheme that
won’t work until the proletariat get brains enough to elect honest and
sensible men to office; but if they haven’t the brains to do that they
won’t have the brains to do anything effective on the economic or any
other field. We know how hard it is to get people to think; but we
flatter ourselves that our propaganda is an educative force that grows
stronger every year, and has already achieved such power as to decide
the most important election held in this country since the Civil War.

“Already a large number of people have been educated--chiefly by our
propaganda--to understand, for example, the economic greed that lies
behind all wars. They perceive that so long as capital finds its highest
rate of profit in the home market, capitalists see to it that peace
remains secure; but that when capital has expanded to the point at which
the rate of interest begins to fall, or when labor has ceased to be
docile, because it has ceased to be unorganized and uninformed,
capitalists then seek foreign markets and foreign investments, and soon
require the help of war--that is, the lives of the workers at home--to
help them enforce their terms on foreign governments and peoples. Only
the national ownership of capital can change that. We thought once that
we were too civilized ever to go to war again; we begin to see that our
industrial feudalism leads inevitably to war and armaments, and the
intellectual stagnation that comes from a militaristic mode of national
life. We begin to see all history as a Dark Age (with fitful intervals
of light),--a long series of wars in which men have killed and died for
delusions, fighting to protect the property of their exploiters. And it
becomes a little clearer to us than before that this awful succession of
killings and robberies is no civilization at all, and that we shall
never have a civilization worthy of the name until we transform our
industrial war into the coöperative commonwealth, and all ‘foreigners’
into friends.”


3

_Eugenics_

“My dear young man,” says the Eugenist at this point, “you must study
biology. Your plan for the improvement of mankind is all shot through
with childish ignorance of nature’s way of doing things. Come into my
laboratory for a few years; and you will learn how little you can do by
merely changing the environment. It’s nature that counts, not nurture.
Improvement depends on the elimination of the inferior, not on their
reformation by Socialist leaflets or settlement work. What you have to
do is to find some substitute for that natural selection--the automatic
and ruthless killing off of the unfit--which we are more and more
frustrating with our short-sighted charity. Humanitarianism must get
informed. Our squeamishness about interfering with the holy ‘liberty of
the individual’ will have to be moderated by some sense of the right of
society to protect itself from interference by the individual. Here are
the feeble-minded, for example; they breed more rapidly than healthy
people do, and they almost always transmit their defect. If you don’t
interfere with these people, if you don’t teach them or force them to be
childless, you will have an increase in insanity along with the
development of humanity. Think of making a woman suffer to deliver into
the world a cripple or an idiot. And further, consider that the lowest
eighth of the people produce one-half of the next generation. The better
people, the more vigorous and healthy people, are refusing to have
children; every year the situation is becoming more critical. City-life
and factory-life make things still worse; young men coming from the
country plunge into the maelstrom of the city, then into its
femalestrom; they emerge with broken health, marry deformities dressed
up in the latest fashion, and produce children inferior in vigor and
ability to themselves. Given a hundred years more of this, and western
Europe and America will be in a condition to be overcome easily by the
fertile and vigorous races of the East. That is what you have to think
of. The problem is larger than that of making poor people less poor; it
is the problem of preserving our civilization. Your socialism will help,
but it will be the merest beginning; it will be but an introduction to
the socialization of selection,--which is eugenics. We will prevent
procreation by people who have a transmissible defect or disease; we
will require certificates of health and clean ancestry before permitting
marriage; we will encourage the mating, with or without love, of men and
women possessed of energy and good physique. We will teach people, in
Mr. Marett’s phrase, to marry less with their eyes and more with their
heads. It will take us a long while to put all this into effect; but we
will put it. Time is on our side; every year will make our case
stronger. Within half a century the educated world will come and beg us
to guide them in a eugenic revolution.”


4

_Anarchism_

A gentle anarchist:

“You do well to talk of revolution; but you do wrong to forget the
individual in the race. Your eugenic revolution will not stop the
exploitation of the workers by the manufacturers through the state. Give
men justice and they will soon be healthy; give them the decent life
which is the only just reward for their work, and you will not need
eugenics. Instead of bothering about parasitic germs you should attend
to parasitic exploiters; it is in this social parasitism that the real
danger of degeneration lies. Continued injustice of employers to
employees is splitting every western nation into factions; class-loyalty
will soon be stronger than loyalty to the community; and the time will
come when nations in which this civil war has not been superseded by
voluntary mutual aid will crumble into oblivion.

“And yet men are willing to be loyal to the community, if the community
is organized to give them justice. If exploitation were to cease there
would be such bonds of brotherhood among men as would make the community
practically everlasting. All you need do is to let men coöoperate in
freedom. They long to coöperate; all evolution shows a growth in the
ability to coöoperate; man surpassed the brute just because of this. Nor
is law or state needed; coercive government is necessary only in
societies founded on injustice. The state has always been an instrument
of exploitation; and law is merely the organized violence of the ruling
class. It is a subtle scheme; it enables industrial lords to do without
any pangs of conscience what but for their statute-books might give them
a qualm or two. Notice, for example, how perfectly Christian such
slaughters as those in Colorado or Virginia can be made to appear--even
to the slaughterers--by the delightful expedient of the statute-book.
They kill and call it law, so that they may sleep.

“And then we are told that one must never use violence in labor
disputes. But obviously it is precisely violence that is used against
labor, and against the free spirit. As a matter of history, rebels did
not begin to use violence on the authorities until the authorities had
used violence on them. We feel ourselves quite justified in using any
means of attack on a system so founded in coercion. The whole question
with us is one not of morals but of expediency. We have been moral a
little too long.”


5

_Individualism_

“Precisely,” says the Stirnerite anarchist; “it is all a question of
might, not of right; and we exploited ones may be as right as rectitude
and never get anywhere unless we can rhyme a little might to our right.
Each of us has a right to do whatever he is strong enough to do. ‘One
gets farther with a handful of might than with a bagful of right.’ He
who wants much, and knows how to get it, has in all times taken it, as
Napoleon did the continent, and the French Algeria. Therefore the only
point is that the respectful ‘lower classes’ should at length learn to
take for themselves what they want.”


6

_Individualism Again_

And lastly, _Advocatus Diaboli_, Mr. Status Quo:

“I agree with you right heartily, Sir Stirnerite anarchist; it is time
you children came to understand that everything is a question of power.
Let the fittest survive and let us all use whatever means we find
expedient. I am frank with you now; but you must not be surprised if
to-morrow I write out a few checks for the salaries of the liars whom I
have in my employ. Why should we tell the truth and go under? Surely you
will understand that not all knowledge is good for all men. If it gives
you satisfaction, for example, to spread information about
birth-control, you will not feel hurt if it gives us satisfaction to
oppose you, for the sake of the future armies of unemployed without
which our great scheme of industry would be seriously hampered.

“And I agree with your fellow-anarchist, that the state is often a
nuisance. I can make use of a little government; but when the state
begins to tell me how to run my business then I feel as if your
criticism of the state is very just--and convenient. I am an
individualist,--a good old American individualist,--like Jefferson and
Emerson. The state can’t manage industry half as well as we can. You
know--as our Socialists do not--that government ownership is only
ownership by politicians, by Hinky-Dinks and Bath-house Johns; and I can
tell you from intimate knowledge of these people that they will do
anything for money except efficient administrative work.

“Your scheme of having the workers take over the industries is a good
scheme--for the millennium. Where would you get men to direct you? They
come to us because we pay them well; if your syndicalist shops would pay
them as well as we do, they would be the beginning of a new aristocracy;
if you think these clever men will work for ‘honor’ you are leaning on
an airy dream. Destroy private property and you will have a nation of
hoboes and Hindus.

“As to exploitation, what would you have? We are strong, and you are
weak; it is the law of nature that we should use you, just as it is the
law of nature that one species should use the weaker species as its
prey. The weaker will always suffer, with or without law. Even if all
bellies are full, the majority will envy the intellectual power of their
betters, and will suffer just as keenly on the intellectual plane as
they do now on the physical. The alternative of the under-dog is to get
intelligence and power, or ‘stay put.’

“My advice, then, is to let things be. You can change the superficial
conditions of the struggle for existence and for power, but the
fundamental facts of it will remain. Monarchy, aristocracy,
democracy,--it’s all the same. The most powerful will rule, whether by
armies or by newspapers; it makes no difference if God is on the side of
the biggest battalions, or the side of the biggest type. We bought the
battalions; we buy the type.

“Come, let us get back to our business.”


III

Dissolutions

Here is a _reductio ad absurdum_ of our social _’isms_; and here is the
history of many a social rebel. From dissatisfaction to socialism, from
socialism to anarchism, from anarchism to Stirnerism, from Stirnerism
and the cult of the ego to Nietzsche and the right to exploit;--so has
many a man made the merry-go-round of thought and come back wearily at
last to the _terra firma_ of the thing that is. We sail into the sea of
social controversy without chart or compass or rudder; and though we
encounter much wind, we never make the port of our desire. We need maps,
and instruments, and knowledge; we need to make inquiries, to face our
doubts, to define our purposes; we shall have to examine more ruthlessly
our preconceptions and hidden premises, to force into the light the
wishes that secretly father our illegitimate thoughts. We must ask
ourselves questions that will reach down to the tenderest roots of our
philosophies.

You are a feminist, let us say. Very well. Have you ever considered the
sociological consequences of that very real disintegration of the “home”
which an advancing feminism implies? Granted that this disintegration
has been begun by the industrial revolution. Do you want it to go on
more rapidly? Do you want women to become more like men? Do you think
that the “new woman” will care to have children? It is surely better for
the present comfort of our society that there should be a considerable
fall in the birth rate; but will that expose the people of Europe and
America to absorption by the races of the East? You argue that the case
for feminism is as simple as the case for democracy; but is the case for
democracy simple? Is democracy competent? Is it bringing us where we
want to go? Or is it a sort of collective determination to drift with
the tide,--a sort of magnified _laissez-faire_? And as to “rights” and
“justice,” how do you answer Nietzsche’s contention that the more highly
organized species, sex, or class, must by its very nature use, command,
and exploit the less highly organized species, sex, or class?

You are a Socialist; and you yearn for a Utopia of friends and equals;
but will you, to make men equal, be compelled to chain the strength of
the strong with many laws and omnipresent force?--will you sacrifice the
superiority of the chosen few to the mediocrity of the many? Will you,
to control the exploiter, be obliged to control all men, even in
detail?--will your socialism really bring the slavery and servile state
that Spencer and Chesterton and Belloc fear? Is further centralization
of government desirable? Have you considered sufficiently the old
difficulty about the stimulus to endeavor in a society that should
restrict private property to a minimum and prohibit inheritance? Have
you arranged to protect your coöperative commonwealth by limiting
immigration--from Europe and from heaven?[295] Are you not, in general,
exaggerating the force of the aggregative as against the segregative
tendencies in human nature? And do you think that a change of laws can
make the weak elude the exploiting arm of the strong? Will not the
strongest men always make whatever laws are made, and rule wherever men
are ruled? Can any government stand that is not the expression of the
strongest forces in the community? And if the strongest force be
organized labor, are you sure that organized labor will not exploit and
tyrannize? Will the better organized and skilled workers be “just” to
the unskilled and imperfectly organized workers? And what do you mean by
“justice”?

And as to the eugenist, surely it is unnecessary to expose his
unpreparedness to meet the questions which his programme raises.
Questions, for example, as to what “units” of character to breed for, if
there are such “units”; whether definite breeding for certain results
would forfeit adaptive plasticity; whether compulsory sterilization is
warranted by our knowledge of heredity; whether serious disease is not
often associated with genius; whether the native mental endowments of
rich and poor are appreciably different, and whether the “comparative
infertility of the upper classes” is really making for the deterioration
of the race; whether progress depends on racial changes so much as on
changes in social institutions and traditions. And so on.

And the anarchist, whom one loves if only for the fervor of his hope and
the beauty of his dream,--the anarchist falters miserably in the face of
interrogation. If all laws were to be suspended to-morrow, all coercion
of citizen by state, how long would it be before new laws would arise?
Would the aforementioned strong cease to be strong and the weak cease to
be weak? Would people be willing to forego private property? Are not
belief and disbelief in private property determined less by logic and
“justice” than by one’s own success or failure in the acquisition of
private property? Do only the weak and uncontrolled advocate absolute
lack of restraint? Do most men want liberty so much that they will
tolerate chaos and a devil-take-the-hind-most individualism for the sake
of it? Can it be, after all, that freedom is a negative thing,--that
what men want is, for some, achievement, for others, peace,--and that
for these they will give even freedom? What if a great number of people
dread liberty, and are not at all so sensitive to restraint and
commandment as the anarchist? Perhaps only children and geniuses can be
truly anarchistic? Perhaps freedom itself is a problem and not a
solution? Does the mechanization, through law and custom, of certain
elements in our social behavior, like the mechanization, through habit
and instinct, of certain elements in individual behavior, result in
greater freedom for the higher powers and functions? Again, to have
freedom for all, all must be equal; but does not development make for
differentiation and inequality? Consider the America of three hundred
years ago; a nation of adventurous settlers, hardly any of them better
off than any other,--all of a class, all on a level; and see what
inequalities and castes a few generations have produced! Is there a
necessary antithesis between liberty and order, freedom and control?--or
are order and control the first condition of freedom? Does not law serve
many splendid purposes,--could it not serve more? Is the state necessary
so long as there are long-eared and long-fingered gentry?

As for your revolutions, who profits by them? The people who have
suffered, or the people who have thought? Is a revolution, so far as the
poor are concerned, merely the dethronement of one set of rulers or
exploiters so that another set may have a turn? Do not most
revolutions, like that which wished to storm heaven by a tower, end in
a confusion of tongues? And after each outbreak do not the workers
readapt themselves to their new slavery with that ease and torpid
patience which are the despair of every leader, until they are awakened
by another quarrel among their masters?

       *       *       *       *       *

One could fling about such questions almost endlessly, till every _’ism_
should disappear under interrogation points. Every such _’ism_, clearly,
is but a half-truth, an arrested development, suffering from
malinformation. One is reminded of the experiment in which a
psychologist gave a ring-puzzle to a monkey, and--in another room--a
like puzzle to a university professor: the monkey fell upon the puzzle
at once with teeth and feet and every manner of hasty and haphazard
reaction,--until at last the puzzle, dropped upon the floor, came apart
by chance; the professor sat silent and motionless before the puzzle,
working out in thought the issue of many suggested solutions, and
finally, after forty minutes, touched it to undo it at a stroke. Our
_’isms_ are simian reactions to the social puzzle. We jump at
conclusions, we are impinged upon extremes, we bound from opposite to
opposite, we move with blinders to a passion-colored goal. Some of us
are idealists, and see only the beautiful desire; some of us are
realists, and see only the dun and dreary fact; hardly any of us can
look fact in the face and see through it to that which it might be. We
“bandy half-truths” for a decade and then relapse into the peaceful
insignificance of conformity.[296]

It dawns on students of social problems, as it dawned long since on
philosophers, that the beginning of their wisdom is a confession of
their ignorance. We know now that the thing we need, and for lack of
which we blunder valiantly into futility, is not good intentions but
informed intelligence. All problems are problems of education; all the
more so in a democracy. Not because education can change the original
nature of man, but because intelligent coöperation can control the
stimuli which determine the injuriousness or beneficence of original
dispositions. Impulse is not the enemy of intelligence; it is its raw
material. We desire knowledge--and particularly knowledge of
ourselves--so that we may know what external conditions evoke
destructive, and what conditions evoke constructive, responses. We do
not, for example, expect intelligence to eradicate pugnacity; we do not
want it to do so; but we want to eradicate the environmental conditions
which turn this impulse to wholesale suicide. Men should fight; it is
the essence of their value that they are willing to fight; the problem
of intelligence is to discuss and to create means for the diversion of
pugnacity to socially helpful ends. Character is _per se_ neither good
nor bad, but becomes one or the other according to the nature of the
stimuli presented. What we call moral reform, then, waits on information
and consequent remoulding of the factors determining the direction of
our original dispositions. We become “better” men and women only so far
as we become more intelligent. Just as psychoanalysis can, in some
measure, reconstruct the personal life, so social analysis can
reconstruct social life and turn into productive channels the innocent
but too often destructive forces of original nature.[297]

Our problem, then, to repeat once more our central theme, is to
facilitate the growth and spread of intelligence. With this definition
of the issue we come closer to our thesis,--that the social problem must
be approached through philosophy, and philosophy through the social
problem.



CHAPTER II

THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION OF PHILOSOPHY


I

Epistemologs

Now there are a great many people who will feel no thrill at all at the
mention of philosophy,--who will rather consider themselves excused by
the very occurrence of the word from continuing on the road which this
discussion proposes to travel. No man dares to talk of philosophy in
these busy days except after an apologetic preface; philosophers
themselves have come to feel that their thinking is so remote from
practical endeavor that they have for the most part abandoned the effort
to relate their work to the concrete issues of life. In the eyes of the
man who does things philosophy is but an aërial voyaging among the mists
of transcendental dialectic, or an ineffective moralizing substitute for
supernatural religion. Philosophy was once mistress of all the
disciplines of thought and search; now none so poor to do her reverence.

There is no way of meeting this indictment other than to concede it. It
is true. It is mild. Only a lover of philosophy can know--with the
intimacy of a _particeps criminis_--how deeply philosophy has fallen
from her ancient heights. Looking back to Greece we find that philosophy
there was a real pursuit of wisdom, a very earnest effort to arrive by
discussion and self-criticism at a way of life, a _philosophia vitæ
magistra_, a knowledge of the individual and social good and of the
means thereto, a conscious direction of social institutions to ethical
ends; philosophy and life in those days were bound up with one another
as mechanics is now bound up with efficient construction. Even in the
Middle Ages philosophy meant coördinate living, synthetic behavior; with
all their reputation for cobweb-spinning, the Scholastics were much
closer to life in their thinking than most modern philosophers have been
in theirs.

The lapse of philosophy from her former significance and vitality is the
result of the exaggerated emphasis placed on the epistemological problem
by modern thinkers; and this in turn is in great part due to the
difficulties on which Descartes stumbled in his effort to reconcile his
belief in mechanism with his desire to placate the Jesuits. How minor a
rôle is played by the problems of the relation between subject and
object, the validity of knowledge, epistemological realism and idealism,
in a frankly mechanist philosophy, appears in Bacon, Hobbes, and
Spinoza;[298] these men--deducting Bacon’s astute obeisance to
theology--know what they want and say what they mean; they presume, with
a maturity so natural as to be mistaken for _naïveté_, that the validity
of thought is a matter to be decided by action rather than by theory;
they take it for granted that the supreme and ultimate purpose of
philosophy is not analysis but synthesis, not the intellectual
categorizing of experience but the intelligent reconstruction of life.
Indeed, as one pursues this clew through the devious--almost
stealthy--course of modern speculation it appears that no small part of
the epistemological development has been made up of the oscillations,
compromises, and obscurities natural in men who were the exponents and
the victims of a painful transition. Civilization was passing from one
intellectual basis to another; and in these weird epistemologs the vast
process came uncomfortably to semiconsciousness. They were old bottles
bursting with new wine; and their tragedy was that they knew it. They
clung to the old world even while the new one was swimming perilously
into their ken; they found a pitiful solace in the old phrases, the old
paraphernalia of a dead philosophy; and in the suffering of their
readjustment there was, quite inevitably, some measure of
self-deception.

And that is why they are so hard to understand. Even so subtle a
thinker as Santayana finds them too difficult, and abandons them in
righteous indignation. There is no worse confounding of confusion than
self-deception: let a man be honest with himself, and he may lie with
tolerable intelligibility and success; but let him be his own dupe and
he may write a thousand critiques and never get himself understood.
Indeed, some of them do not want to be understood, they only want to be
believed. Hegel, for example, was not at all surprised to find that no
one understood him; he would have been surprised and chagrined to find
that some one had. Obscurity can cover a multitude of sins.

Add to this self-befoggery the appalling _historismus_ (as Eucken calls
it), the strange lifeless interest in the past for its own sake, the
petty poring over problems of text and minutiæ of theory in the classics
of speculation;--and the indictment of philosophy as a useless appanage
of the idle rich gains further ground. We do not seem to understand how
much of the past is dead, how much of it is but a drag on the
imaginative courage that dares to think of a future different from the
past, and better. Philosophy is too much a study of the details of
superseded systems; it is too little the study of the miraculous living
moment in which the past melts into the present and the future finds
creation. Most people have an invincible habit of turning their backs to
the future; they like the past because the future is an adventure. So
with most philosophers to-day; they like to write analyses of Kant,
commentaries on Berkeley, discussions of Plato’s myths; they are
students remembering, they have not yet become men thinking. They do not
know that the work of philosophy is in the street as well as in the
library, they do not feel and understand that the final problem of
philosophy is not the relation of subject and object but the misery of
men.

And so it is well that philosophy, such as it chiefly is in these days,
should be scorned as a busy idler in a world where so much work is
asking to be done.

Philosophy was vital in Plato’s day; so vital that some philosophers
were exiled and others put to death. No one would think of putting a
philosopher to death to-day. Not because men are more delicate about
killing; but because there is no need to kill that which is already
dead.[299]


II

Philosophy as Control

But after all, this is not a subject for rhetoric so much as for
resolution. Here we are again in our splendid library; here we sit,
financially secure, released from the material necessities of life, to
stand apart and study, to report and help and state and solve; under us
those millions holding us aloft so that we may see for them, dying by
the thousand so that we may find the truth that will make the others
free; and what do we do? We make phrases like “_esse est percipi_,”
“synthetic judgments _à priori_,” and “being is nothing”; we fill the
philosophic world with great Saharas of Kantiana; we write epistemology
for two hundred years. Surely there is but one decent thing for us to
do: either philosophy is of vital use to the community, or it is not. If
it is not, we will abandon it; if it is, then we must seek that vital
use and show it. We have been privileged to study and think and travel
and learn the world; and now we stand gaping before it as if there were
nothing wrong, as if nothing could be done, as if nothing should be
done. We are expert eyes, asked to point the way; and all that we report
is that there is nothing to see, and nowhere to go. We are without even
a partial sense of the awful responsibility of intelligence.

It is time we put this problem of knowledge, even the problem of the
validity of knowledge, into the hands of science. How we come to know,
what the process of knowledge is, what “truth” is,--all these are
questions of fact; they are problems for the science of psychology,
they are not problems for philosophy. This continual sharpening of the
knife, as Lotze put it, becomes tiresome--almost pathetic--if, after
all, there is no cutting done. Like Faust, who found himself when,
blinded by the sun, he turned his face to the earth, so we shall have to
forget our epistemological heaven and remember mother earth; we shall
have to give up our delightful German puzzles and play our living part
in the flow of social purpose. Philosophers must once more learn to
live.

To make such a demand for a new direction of philosophy to life is after
all only a development of pragmatism, turning that doctrine of action as
the test and significance of thought to uses not so individual as those
in which William James found its readiest application. If philosophy has
meaning, it must be as life become aware of its purposes and
possibilities, it must be as life cross-examining life for the sake of
life; it must be as specialized foresight for the direction of social
movement, as reconstructive intelligence in conscious evolution. Man
finds himself caught in a flux of change; he studies the laws operating
in the flux; studying, he comes to understand; understanding, he comes
to control; controlling, he comes face to face with the question of all
questions, For what? Where does he wish to go, what does he want to be?
It is then that man puts his whole experience before him in synthetic
test; then that he gropes for meanings, searches for values, struggles
to see and define his course and goal; then that he becomes philosopher.
Consider these questions of goal and course as questions asked by a
society, and the social function of philosophy appears. Science
enlightens means, philosophy must enlighten ends. Science informs,
philosophy must form. A philosopher is a man who remakes himself; the
social function of philosophy is to remake society.

Have we yet felt the full zest of that brave discovery of the last
century,--that purpose is not in things but in us? What a declaration of
independence there is in that simple phrase, what liberation of a
fettered thought to dare all ventures of creative endeavor! Here at last
is man’s coming-of-age! Well: now that we have won this freedom, what
shall we do with it? That is the question which freedom begets, often as
its Frankenstein; for unless freedom makes for life, freedom dies. Once
our sloth and cowardice might have pleaded the uselessness of effort in
a world where omnipotent purpose lay outside of us, superimposed and
unchangeable; now that we can believe that divinity is in ourselves,
that purpose and guidance are through us, we can no longer shirk the
question of reconstruction. The world is ours to do with what we can and
will. Once we believed in the unchangeable environment--that new ogre
that succeeded to the Absolute--and (as became an age of
_laissez-faire_) we thought that wisdom lay in meeting all its demands;
now we know that environments can be remade; and we face the question,
How shall we remake ours?

This is preëminently a problem in philosophy; it is a question of
values. If the world is to be remade, it will have to be under the
guidance of philosophy.


III

Philosophy as Mediator between Science and Statesmanship

But why philosophy?--some one asks. Why will not science do? Philosophy
dreams, while one by one the sciences which she nursed steal away from
her and go down into the world of fact and achievement. Why should not
science be called upon to guide us into a better world?

Because science becomes more and more a fragmentated thing, with ever
less coördination, ever less sense of the whole. Our industrial system
has forced division of labor here, as in the manual trades, almost to
the point of idiocy: let a man seek to know everything about something,
and he will soon know nothing about anything else; efficiency will
swallow up the man. Because of this shredded science we have great
zoölogists talking infantile patriotism about the war, and great
electricians who fill sensational sheets with details of their trips to
heaven. We live in a world where thought breaks into pieces, and
coördination ebbs; we flounder into a chaos of hatred and destruction
because synthetic thinking is not in fashion.

Consider, for example, the problem of monopoly: we ask science what we
are to do here; why is it that after we have listened to the economist,
and the historian, and the lawyer, and the psychologist, we are hardly
better off than before? Because each of these men speaks in ignorance of
what the others have discovered. We must find some way of making these
men acquainted with one another before they can become really useful to
large social purposes; we must knock their heads together. We want more
uniters and coördinators, less analyzers and accumulators.
Specialization is making the philosopher a social necessity of the very
first importance.

This does not mean that we must put the state into the hands of the
epistemologists. Hardly. The type of philosopher who must be produced
will be a man too close to life to spend much time on merely analytical
problems. He will feel the call of action, and will automatically reject
all knowledge that does not point to deeds. The essential feature of him
will be grasp: he will have his net fixed for the findings of those
sciences which have to do, not with material reconstructions, but with
the discovery of the secrets of human nature. He will know the
essentials of biology and psychology, of sociology and history, of
economics and politics; in him these long-divorced sciences will meet
again and make one another fertile once more. He will busy himself with
Mendel and Freud, Sumner and Veblen, and will scandalously neglect the
Absolute. He will study the needs and exigencies of his time, he will
consider the Utopias men make, he will see in them the suggestive
pseudopodia of political theory, and will learn from them what men at
last desire. He will sober the vision with fact, and find a focus for
immediate striving. With this focus he will be able to coördinate his
own thinking, to point the nose of science to a goal; science becoming
thereby no longer inventive and instructive merely, but preventive and
constructive. And so fortified and unified he will preach his gospel,
talking not to students about God, but to statesmen about men.

For we come again--ever and ever again--to Plato: unless wisdom and
practical ability, philosophy and statesmanship, can be more closely
bound together than they are, there will be no lessening of human
misery. Think of the learning of scientists and the ignorance of
politicians! You see all these agitated, pompous men, making laws at the
rate of some ten thousand a year; you see those quiet, unheard of,
underpaid seekers in the laboratories of the world; unless you can bring
these two groups together through coördination and direction, your
society will stand still forever, however much it moves. Philosophy
must take hold; it must become the social direction of science, it must
become, strange to say, applied science.

We stand to-day in social science where Bacon stood in natural science:
we seek a method first for the elucidation of causes, and second for the
transformation, in the light of this knowledge, of man’s environment and
man. “We live in the stone age of political science,” says Lester Ward;
“in politics we are still savages.”[300] Our political movements are
conceived in impulse and developed in emotion; they end in fission and
fragmentation because there is no thought behind them. Who will supply
thinking to these instincts, direction to this energy, light to this
wasted heat? Our young men talk only of ideals, our politicians only of
fact; who will interpret to the one the language of the other? What is
it, too, that statesmen need if not that saving sense of the whole which
makes philosophy, and which philosophy makes? Just as philosophy without
statesmanship is--let us say--epistemology, so statesmanship without
philosophy is--American politics. The function of the philosopher, then,
is to do the listening to to-day’s science, and then to do the thinking
for to-morrow’s statesmanship. The philosophy of an age should be the
organized foresight of that age, the interpreter of the future to the
present. “Selection adapts man to yesterday’s conditions, not to
to-day’s”;[301] the organized foresight of conscious evolution will
adapt man to the conditions of to-morrow. And an ounce of foresight is
worth a ton of morals.



CHAPTER III

ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE


I

The Need

Intelligence is organized experience; but intelligence itself must be
organized. Consider the resources of the unused intelligence of the
world; intelligence potential but undeveloped; intelligence developed
but isolated; intelligence allowed to waste itself in purely personal
pursuits, unasked to enter into coöperation for larger ends. Consider
the Platos fretting in exile while petty politicians rule the world;
consider Montaigne, and Hobbes, and Hume, and Carlyle, and the thousand
other men whose genius was left to grow--or die--in solitude or
starvation; consider the vast number of university-trained minds who are
permitted, for lack of invitation and organized facilities, to slip into
the world of profit and loss and destructively narrow intent; consider
the expert ability in all lines which can be found in the faculties of
the world, and which goes to training an infinitesimal fraction of the
community. The thought of university graduates, of university
faculties, of university-trained investigators, has had a rapidly
growing influence in the last ten years in America; and because it is an
influence due to enlightenment it is fundamentally an influence for
“good.” It was this influence that showed when President Wilson said
that the eight-hour day was demanded by the informed opinion of the
time. The sources of such influence have merely been touched; they are
deep; we must find a way to make informed opinion more articulate and
powerful. “The most valuable knowledge consists of methods,” said
Nietzsche;[302] and the most valuable methods are methods of
organization, whether of data or of men. Organization’s the thing.
Economic forces are organized; the forces of intelligence are not. To
organize intelligence; that is surely one method of approach to the
social problem; and what if, indeed, it be the very heart and substance
of the social problem?

Now a very easy way of making the propounder of such an organization
feel unusually modest is to ask him that little trouble-making question,
How? To answer that would be to answer almost everything that can be
answered. Here are _opera basilica_ again!--for what are we doing, after
all, but trying to take Francis Bacon seriously? Of course the
difficulty in organizing intelligence is how to know who are
intelligent, and how to get enough people to agree with you that you
know. If each man’s self-valuation were accepted, our organization would
be rather bulky. Are there any men very widely recognized as
intelligent, who could be used as the nucleus of an organization? There
are individual men so recognized,--Edison, for example, and, strange to
say, one or two men who by accident are holding political office. But
these are stray individuals; are there any groups whose average of
intelligence is highly rated by a large portion of the community? There
are. Physicians are so rated; so much so that by popular usage they have
won almost a monopoly on the once more widely used term _doctor_.
University professors are highly rated. Let us take the physicians and
the professors; here is a nucleus of recognized intelligence.

There are objections, here, of course; some one urges that many
physicians are quacks, another that professors are rated as intelligent,
but only in an unpractical sort of way. Perhaps we shall find some
scheme for eliminating the quacks; but the professors present a
difficult problem. It is true that they suffer from intellectualism,
academitis, overfondness for theories, and other occupational diseases;
it is true that the same people who stand in awe of the very word
_professor_ would picture the article indicated by the word as a thin,
round-shouldered, be-spectacled ninny, incapable of finding his way
alone through city streets, and so immersed in the stars that he is
sooner or later submerged in a well. But what if this quality of
detachment, of professorial calm, be just one of the qualities needed
for the illumination of our social problem? Perhaps we have too much
emotion in these questions, and need the colder light of the man who is
trained to use his “head” and not his “heart.” Perhaps the most useful
thing in the world for our purpose is this terribly dispassionate,
coldly scrutinizing professor. We need men as impartial and clear-eyed
as men come; and whatever a professor may _say_, yet he _sees_ his field
more clearly and impartially than any other group of men whatever. Let
the professors stay.

And so we have our physicians and our professors,--say all physicians
and professors who have taught or practised three years in institutions,
or as the graduates of institutions, of recognized standing. And now let
us dream our dream.


II

The Organization of Intelligence

These men, through meetings and correspondence, organize themselves into
a “Society for Social Research”; they begin at once to look for an
“inspired millionaire” to finance the movement for six months or so;
they advertise themselves diligently in the press, and make known their
intention to get together the best brains of the country to study the
facts and possibilities of the social problem. And then--a difficult
point--they face the task of arranging some more or less impersonal
method of deciding who are the intelligent people and who not. They ask
themselves just what kind of information a man should be expected to
have, to fit him for competent handling of social questions; and after
long discussions they conclude that such a man should be well trained in
one--and acquainted with the general findings of the others--of what we
may call the social disciplines: biology, psychology, sociology,
history, economics, law, politics, philosophy, and perhaps more. They
formulate a long and varied test for the discovery of fitness in these
fields; and they arrange that every university in the country shall
after plentiful advertisement and invitation to all and sundry, give
these tests, and pay the expenses incurred by any needy candidate who
shall emerge successful from the trial. In this way men whose studies
have been private, and unadorned with academic degree, are to find
entrance to the Society.

It is recognized that the danger of such a test lies in the premium
which it sets on the bookish as against the practical man: on the man
whose knowledge has come to him in the classroom or the study, as
against the man who has won his knowledge just by living face to face
with life. There are philosophers who have never heard of Kant, and
psychologists who have been Freudians for decades without having ever
read a book. A society recruited by such a test will be devoid of
artists and poets, may finally eliminate all but fact-gathering
dryasdusts, and so end deservedly in nothing. And yet some test there
must be, to indicate, however crudely, one’s fitness or unfitness to
take part in this work; the alternative would be the personal choice of
the initial few, whose prejudices and limitations would so become the
constitution and by-laws of the society. Perhaps, too, some way may
appear of using the artists and poets, and the genius who knows no
books.

Well: the tests are given; the original nucleus of physicians and
professors submit themselves to these tests, and some, failing, are
eliminated; other men come, from all fields of work, and from them a
number survive the ordeal and pass into the Society. So arises a body of
say 5000 men, divided into local groups but working in unison so far as
geographical separateness will permit; and to them now come, impressed
with their earnestness, a wealthy man, who agrees to finance the Society
for such time as may be needed to test its usefulness.

Now what does our Society do?

It seeks information. That, and not a programme, is the fruitful
beginning of reform. “Men are willing to investigate only the small
things of life,” says Samuel Butler; this Society for Social Research is
prepared and resolved to investigate anything that has vital bearing on
the social problem; it stands ready to make enemies, ready to soil its
hands. It appoints committees to gather and formulate all that
biologists can tell of human origin and the innate impulses of men; all
that psychology in its varied branches can tell of human behavior; all
that sociology knows of how and why human societies and institutions
rise and fall; all that medicine can tell of social ills and health; it
appoints committees to go through all science with the loadstone of the
social purpose, picking up this fact here and that one there; committees
to study actual and proposed forms of government, administrative and
electoral methods; committees to investigate marriage, eugenics,
prostitution, poverty, and the thousand other aspects and items of the
social problem; committees to call for and listen to responsible
expressions of every kind of opinion; committees to examine and analyze
social experiments, profit-sharing plans, Oneida communities; even a
committee on Utopia, before which persons with schemes and _’isms_ and
perfect cities in their heads may freely preach their gospel. In short
this Society becomes the organized eye and ear of the community, ready
and eager to seek out all the facts of human life and business that may
enlighten human will.

And having found the facts it publishes them. Its operations show real
earnestness, sincerity, and ability; and in consequence it wins such
prestige that its reports find much heralding, synopsis, and comment in
the press. But in addition to that it buys, for the first day of every
month, a half-page of space in several of the more widely circulated
periodicals and journals of the country, and publishes its findings
succinctly and intelligibly. It gives full references for all its
statements of fact; it makes verification possible for all doubters and
deniers. It includes in each month’s report a reliable statement of the
year’s advances in some one of the social disciplines, so that its
twelve reports in any year constitute a record of the socially vital
scientific findings of the year. It limits itself strictly to verifiable
information, and challenges demonstration of humanly avoidable
partiality. And it takes great care that its reports are couched not in
learned and technical language but in such phraseology as will be
intelligible to the graduates of an average grammar school. That is
central.


III

Information of Panacea

Without some such means of getting and spreading information there is no
hope for fundamental social advance. We have agreed, have we not, that
to make men happier and more capable we must divert their socially
injurious impulses into beneficent channels; that we can do this only by
studying those impulses and controlling the stimuli which arouse them;
that we can control those stimuli only by studying the varied factors
of the environment and the means of changing them; in short, that at the
bottom of the direction of impulse lies the necessity of knowledge, of
information spread to all who care to receive it. Autocracy may improve
the world without spreading enlightenment; but democracy cannot.
_Delenda est ignorantia._[303]

This, after all, is a plan for the democratization of aristocracy; it is
Plato translated into America. It utilizes superior intelligence and
gives it voice, but sanctions no change that has not received the free
consent of the community. It gives the aristocracy of intellect the
influence and initiative which crude democracy frustrates; but it avoids
the corruption that usually goes with power, by making this influence
work through the channels of persuasion rather than compulsion. It
counteracts the power of wealth to disseminate partisan views through
news-items and editorials, and relies on fact to get the better at last
of double-leaded prejudice. It rests on the faith that lies will out.

Would the mass of the people listen to such reports? Consider, first,
the repute that attaches to the professorial title. Let a man write even
the sorriest nonsense but sign himself as one of the faculty of some
responsible institution, and he will find a hearing; the reader,
perhaps, need not go far to find an example. In recent industrial and
political issues the pronouncements of a few professors carried very
great weight; and there are some modest purveyors of so supposedly
harmless a thing as philosophy whose voice is feared by all interests
that prosper in the dark. Will the combined reputation of the most
enlightened men in the country mean less? A report published by this
Society for Social Research will mean that a large body of intelligent
men have from their number appointed three or five or ten to find the
facts of a certain situation or dispute; these appointed men will, if
they report hastily, or carelessly, or dishonestly, impair the repute of
all their fellows in the Society; they will take care, then, and will
probably find honesty as good a policy as some of us pretend it to be.
With every additional report so guarded from defect the repute of the
society will grow until it becomes the most powerful intellectual force
in the world.

When one reflects how many pages of misrepresentation were printed in
the papers of only one city in the presidential campaign of 1916, and
then imagines what would have been the effect of a mere statement of
facts on both sides,--the records of the candidates and the parties,
their acknowledged connections, friends and enemies, their expressed
principles and programmes, the facts about the tariff, the German issue,
international law, the railway-brotherhood dispute, and so forth--one
begins to appreciate the importance of information. After the initial
and irrevocable differences of original nature nothing is so vital as
the spread of enlightenment; and nothing offers itself so well to
organized effort. Eugenics is weak because it has no thought-out
programme; _’isms_ rise and fall because people are not informed. Let
who can, improve the native qualities of men; but that aside, the most
promising plan is the dissemination of fact.

Such a society for research would be a sort of social consciousness, a
“mind of the race.” It would make social planning possible for the first
time; it would make history conscious. It would look ahead and warn; it
would point the nose of the community to unwelcome but important facts;
it would examine into such statements as that of Sir William Ramsay,
that England’s coal fields will be exhausted in one hundred and
seventy-five years; and its warnings, backed by the prestige of its
expert information, would perhaps avert the ravages of social waste and
private greed. Nature, said Lester Ward, is a spendthrift, man an
economizer. But economy means prevision, and social economy means
organized provision. Here would be not agitation, not propaganda, not
moralizing, but only clarification; these men would be “merchants of
light,” simply giving information so that what men should do they might
do knowingly and not in the dark.

Indeed, if one can clarify one need not agitate. Just to state facts is
the most terrible thing that can be done to an injustice. Sermons and
stump-speeches stampede the judgment for a moment, but the sound of
their perorations still lingers in the air when reaction comes. Fact has
this advantage over rhetoric, that time strengthens the one and weakens
the other. Tell the truth and time will be your eloquence.

Let us suppose that our Society has existed some three years; let us
suppose that on the first day of every month it has spread through the
press simple reports of its investigations, simple accounts of socially
significant work in science, and simple statements of fact about the
economic and political issues of the day; let us suppose that by far the
greater part of these reports have been conscientious and accurate and
clear. Very well: in the course of these three years a large number of
mentally alert people all over the country will have developed the habit
of reading these monthly reports; they will look forward to them, they
will attach significance to them, they will herald them as events,
almost as decisions. In any question of national policy its statements
will influence thousands and thousands of the more independent minds.
Let us calculate the number of people who, in these United States, would
be reached by such reports; let us say the reports are printed in three
or four New York dailies, having a total circulation of one million; in
other dailies throughout the country totalling some five million
circulation; and in one or more weeklies or monthlies with a large or a
select circulation. One may perhaps say that out of the seven or eight
million people so reached (mostly adult males), five per cent will be so
influenced by the increasing prestige of the Society that they will read
the reports. Of these four hundred thousand readers it is reasonable to
suppose that three hundred thousand will be voters, and not only voters
but men of influence among their fellows. These men will each of them be
a medium through which the facts reported will be spread; it is not too
much to say that the number of American voters influenced directly or
indirectly by these reports will reach to a million.[304] Now imagine
the influence of this million of voters on a presidential election.
Their very existence would be a challenge; candidates would have them in
mind when making promises and criticisms; parties would think of them
when formulating policies and drawing up platforms; editors would beware
of falling into claptrap and deceit for fear of these million men armed
with combustible fact. It would mean such an elevation of political
discussion and political performance as democracy has never yet
produced; such an elevation as democracy must produce or die.


IV

Sex, Art, and Play in Social Reconstruction

So far our imagined Society has done no more than to seek and give
information. It has, it is true, listened to propagandists and Utopians,
and has published extracts from their testimony; but even this has been
not to agitate but to inform; that such and such opinions are held by
such and such men, and by such and such a number of men, is also a point
of information. Merely to state facts is the essential thing, and the
extremely effective thing. But now there are certain functions which
such a Society might perform beyond the giving of facts--functions that
involve personal attitudes and interpretations. It may be possible for
our Society to take on these functions without detracting from the trust
reposed in its statements of fact. What are these functions?

First of all, the stimulation of artistic production, and the extension
of artistic appreciation. Our Society, which is composed of rather staid
men, themselves not peculiarly fitted to pass judgment outside the field
of science, will invite, let us say, twenty of the most generally and
highly valued of English and American authors to form themselves into a
Committee on Literary Awards, as a branch of the Society for Social
Research. Imagine Thomas Hardy and George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells
and John Galsworthy and Rudyard Kipling and John Masefield and George
Moore and Joseph Conrad and W. D. Howells and Theodore Dreiser and many
more, telling the world every month, in individual instalments, their
judgment on current fiction, drama, poetry, English literature in
general; imagine the varied judgments printed with synoptic coördination
of the results as a way of fixing the standing of a book in the English
literary world; and judge of the stimulus that would reside in lists
signed by such names. Imagine another group of men, the literary élite
of France, making briefer reports on French literature; and other groups
in Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia; imagine the world getting
every month the judgment of Anatole France and Remain Rolland and
Gerhardt Hauptmann and Anton Tchekov and Georg Brandes on the current
literature of their peoples; imagine them making lists, too, of the best
books in all their literatures; imagine eager young men and women poring
over these conflicting lists, discussing them, making lists of their
own, and getting guidance so. And to the literary lists add monthly
reports, by a committee of the Society itself, on the best books in the
various fields of science. Finally, let the artists speak,--painters and
sculptors and all; let them say where excellence has dwelt this month in
their respective fields. There are hundreds of thousands who hunger for
such guidance as this plan would give. There are young people who
flounder about hopelessly because they find no guidance; young people
who are easily turned to fine work by the stimulus of responsible
judgment, and as easily lapse into the banalities of popular fiction and
popular magazines when this guiding stimulus fails to come. There are
thousands of people who would be glad to pay their modest contribution
to the support of any organization that would manage to get such
direction for them. Half the value of a university course lies in this,
that the teacher will suggest readings, judge books, and provide general
guidance for individual work. Perhaps the most valuable kind of
information in the world is that which guides one in the search for
information. Such guidance, given to all who ask for it, would go far to
save us from the mediocrity that almost stifles our national life.[305]

And more; why should not the stimulation be for the producers as well as
for the consumers? Why should not some kind of award be made, say every
six months, to the authors adjudged best in their lines by their
qualified contemporaries? Why should such a book as _Jean Christophe_
or _The Brothers Karamazov_ go unheralded except in fragmentary
individual ways? Why not reward such productions with a substantial
prize?--or, if that be impossible, by some presentation of certificate?
Even a “scrap of paper” would go a long way to stimulate the writer and
guide the reader. But why should not a money reward be possible? If rich
men will pay thousands upon thousands for the (perhaps) original works
of dead artists, why should they not turn their wealth into spiritual
gold by helping the often impecunious writers of the living day? It is a
convenient error to believe that financial aid would detract from the
independence of the creator: it would, did it come from men rewarding on
the basis of their own judgment; it would not if the judgment of the
world’s men of letters should be taken as criterion. And perhaps fewer
Chattertons and Davidsons would mar the history of literature and art.

This direction of attention to what is best and greatest in the work of
our age is a matter of deeper moment than superficial thought can grasp.
If, by some such method, the meaning of “success” could be freed from
monetary implication and attached rather to excellence in art and
science, the change would have almost inestimably far-reaching results.
Men worship money, as has often been pointed out,[306] not for its own
sake, nor for the material good it brings, but for the prestige of
success that goes with its “conspicuous consumption”; let the artist
find more appreciation for his ability than the captain of industry
finds for his, and there will be a great release of energy from economic
exploitation to creative work in science, literature, and art. A large
part of the stimuli that prompt men to exploit their fellows will be
gone; and that richest of all incentives--social esteem--will go to
produce men eager to contribute to the general power and happiness of
the community.[307]

The art impulse, as is generally believed, is a diversion of sex energy.
An organism is essentially not a food-getting but a reproductive
mechanism; the food-getting is a contributory incident in the
reproduction. As development proceeds the period of pregnancy and
adolescence increases, more of the offspring survive to maturity, large
broods, litters, or families become unnecessary, and more and more of
the energy that was sexual slides over into originally secondary
pursuits, like play and art. At the same time there is a gradual
diminution in pugnacity (which was another factor in the drama of
reproduction), and rivalry in games and arts encroaches more and more on
the emotional field once monopolized by strife for mates and food. The
game--a sort of Hegelian synthesis of hostility and sociability--takes
more and more the place of war, and artistic creation increasingly
replaces reproduction.

If all this is anything more than theoretic skating over thin sheets of
fact, it means that one “way out” from our social perplexities lies in
the provision of stronger stimulus to creation and recreation, art and
games. It is a serious part of the social planner’s work to find some
way of nourishing the art impulse wherever it appears, and drawing it on
by arranging rewards for its productions. And again we shall have to
understand that play is an important matter in a nation’s life; that one
of the best signs for the future of America is the prevalence of healthy
athleticism; and that an attempt to widen these sport activities to
greater intersectional and international scope than they have yet
attained will get at some of the roots of international pugnacity. A
wise government would be almost as interested in the people’s games as
in their schools, and would spend millions in making rivalry absorb the
dangerous energy of pugnacity. Olympic games should not be Olympic
games, occurring only with Olympiads; not a month should pass but great
athletes, selected by eliminative tests from every part of every
country, should meet, now here, now there, to match brawn and wits in
the friendly enmity of games. Let men know one another through games,
and they will not for slight reasons pass from sportsmanship to that
competitive destruction and deceit which our political Barnums call “the
defence of our national honor.”


V

Education

This diversion of the sexual instinct into art and games (a prophylactic
which has long since been applied to individuals, and awaits application
to groups) must begin in the early days of personal development; so that
our Society for Social Research would, if it were to take on this task,
find itself inextricably mixed up with the vast problem of educational
method and aim.

Here more than anywhere one hears the call for enlightenment and sees
the need for clarification. Here is an abundance of _’isms_ and a dearth
of knowledge. Most teachers use methods which they themselves consider
antiquated, and teach subjects which they will admit not one in a
hundred of their pupils will ever need to know. Curious lessons in
ethics are administered, which are seldom practised in the classroom,
and make initiative children come to believe that commandment-breaking
is heroic. Boys and girls bursting with vitality and the splendid
exuberance of youth are cramped for hours into set positions, while by a
sort of water-cure process knowledge is pumped into them from books
duller than a doctor’s dissertation in philosophy. And so forth: the
indictment against our schools has been drawn up a thousand times and in
a thousand ways, and needs no reënforcement here. But though we have
indicted we have not made any systematic attempt to find just what is
wrong, and how, and where; and what may be done to remedy the evil.
Experiments have been made, but their bearings and results have been
very imperfectly recorded.

Suppose now that our Society for Social Research should appoint a great
Committee on Education to hire expert investigators and make a thorough
attempt to clarify the issues in education. Here the function of
philosophy should be clear; for the educator touches at almost every
point those problems of values, individual and social, which are the
special hunting-ground of the philosopher. The importance of psychology
here is recognized, but the importance of biology and pathology has not
been seen in fit perspective. Why should not a special group of men be
set aside for years, if necessary, to study the applicability of the
several sciences to education? Why should not all scientific knowledge,
so far as it touches human nature, be focused on the semi-darkness in
which the educator works?

Two special problems in this field invite research. One concerns the
effect, on national character and capacity, of a system of education
controlled by the government. The point was made by Spinoza, as may be
remembered, that a government will, if it controls the schools, aim to
restrain rather than to develop the energies of men. Kant remarked the
same difficulty. The function of education in the eyes of a dominant
class is to make men able to do skilled work but unable to do original
thinking (for all original thinking begins with destruction); the
function of education in the eyes of a government is to teach men that
eleventh commandment which God forgot to give to Moses: thou shalt love
thy country right or wrong. All this, of course, requires some
marvellous prestidigitation of the truth, as school text-books of
national history show. The ignorant, it seems, are the necessary ballast
in the ship of state.

The alternative to such schools seems to be a return to private
education, with the rich man’s son getting even more of a start on the
poor boy than he gets now. Is there a _tertium quid_ here? Perhaps this
is one point which a resolute effort to get the facts would clarify.
What does such governmentally-regulated education do to the forces of
personal difference and initiative? Will men and women educated in such
a way produce their maximum in art and thought and industry? Or will
they be automata, always waiting for a push? What different results
would come if the nationally-owned schools were to confine their work
absolutely to statements of fact, presentations of science, and were to
leave “character-moulding” and lessons in ethics to private persons or
institutions? Then at least each parent might corrupt his own child in
his own pet way; and there might be a greater number of children who
would not be corrupted at all.

Another problem which might be advanced towards a solution by a little
light is that of giving higher education to those who want it but are
too poor to pay. There are certain studies, called above the social
disciplines, which help a man not so much to raise himself out of his
class and become a snob, as to get a better understanding of himself and
his fellow-men. Since mutual understanding is a hardly exaggerable
social good, why should not a way be found to provide for all who wish
it evening instruction in history, sociology, economics, psychology,
biology, philosophy, and similar fields of knowledge? Every added
citizen who has received instruction in these matters is a new asset to
the community; he will vote with more intelligence, he will work better
in coöperation, he will be less subject to undulations of social mania,
he will be a hint to all office-seekers to put their usual nonsense on
the shelf. Perhaps by this medium too our Society would spread its
reports and widen its influence. Imagine a nation of people instructed
in these sciences: with such a people civilization would begin.

And then again, our busy-body Society would turn its research light on
the universities, and tell them a thing or two of what the light would
show. It would betray the lack of coördination among the various
sciences,--the department of psychology, for example, never coming to so
much as speaking terms with the department of economics; it would call
for an extension, perhaps, of the now infrequent seminars and
conferences between departments whose edges overlap, or which shed light
on a common field. It would invite the university to give less of its
time to raking over the past, and help it to orient itself toward the
future; it would suggest to every university that it provide an open
forum for the responsible expression of all shades of opinion; it would,
in general, call for a better organization of science as part of the
organization of intelligence; it would remind the universities that they
are more vital even than governments; and it might perhaps succeed in
getting engraved on the gates of every institution of learning the words
of Thomas Hobbes: “Seeing the universities are the foundation of civil
and moral doctrine, from whence the preachers and the gentry, drawing
such water as they find, use to sprinkle the same upon the people, there
ought certainly to be great care taken to have it pure.”



CHAPTER IV

THE READER SPEAKS


I

The Democratization of Aristocracy

And now we stop for objections.

“This plan is a hare-brained scheme for a new priesthood and a new
aristocracy. It would put a group of college professors and graduates
into a position where they could do almost as they please. You think you
avoid this by telling the gentlemen that they must limit themselves to
the statement of fact; but if you knew the arts of journalism you would
not make so naïve a distinction between airing opinions and stating
facts. When a man buys up a newspaper what he wants to do is not so much
to control the editorials as to ‘edit’ the news,--that is, to select the
facts which shall get into print. It’s wonderful what lies you can
spread without telling lies. For example, if you want to hurt a public
man, you quote all his foolish speeches and ignore his wise ones; you
put his mistakes into head-lines and hide his achievements in a corner.
I will guarantee to prove anything I like, or anything I don’t like,
just by stating facts. So with your Society for Social Research; it
would become a great political, rather than an educational,
organization; it would almost unconsciously select its information to
suit its hobbies. Why, the thing is psychologically impossible. If you
want something to be true you will be half blind and half deaf to
anything that obstructs your desire; that is the way we’re made. And
even if nature did not attend to this, money would: as soon as your
society exercised real power on public opinion it would be bought up, in
a gentle, sleight-o’hand way, by some economic group; a few of the more
influential members of the Society would be ‘approached,’ some ‘present’
would be made, and justice would have another force to contend with. No;
your Society won’t do.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Well, let us see. Here you have a body of 5000 men; rather a goodly
number for even an American millionaire to purchase. They wish to
investigate, say, the problem of birth-control; what do they do? They
vote, without nominations, for six of their number to manage the
investigation; the six men receiving the highest vote investigate and
write out a report. Now if any report were published which misstated
facts, or omitted important items, the fault would at once diminish the
repute and influence of the Society. Let merely the suspicion get about
that these reports are unfair, and the Society would begin to decay.
That is, the power of the Society would grow with its fairness and fall
with its unfairness,--a very happy arrangement. The fear of this fall in
influence would be the best incentive to impartial reports. Every
committee would feel that the future of the Society depended on the
fairness of its own report; and every man on every committee would
hesitate before making himself responsible for the disrepute of the
Society; he would feel himself on trial before his fellow-members, and
would halt himself in the natural slide into partiality.

Not that he would always succeed; men are men. But it is reasonable to
expect that men working under these conditions would be considerably
more impartial than the average newspaper. Again, who is as impartial as
the scientist? One cannot do much in science without a stern control of
the personal equation; to describe protozoa, for example, as one would
like them to be, is no very clever way of attaining repute in
protozoölogy. This is not so true in the social as in the physical
sciences, though even in this new field scientific fairness and accuracy
are rapidly increasing. One can get more reliable and impartial reports
of an industrial situation,--_e.g._, of the Colorado troubles,--from the
scientific investigators than from either side to the controversy. The
very deficiencies of the student type--incapacity for decisions or for
effective methods in action--involve a compensatory grasp of
understanding and impartiality of attitude. Our best guarantee against
dishonesty is not virtue but intelligence, and our Society is supposed
to be a sort of distilled intelligence.

That the scheme savors of aristocracy is not to its discredit. We need
aristocracy, in the sense of better methods for giving weight to
superior brains; we need a touch of Plato in our democracy. After all,
the essence of the plan, as we have said, is the democratization of
Plato and Nietzsche and Carlyle; the intelligent man gets more political
power, but only through the mechanism of democracy. His greater power
comes not by his greater freedom to do what he pleases despite the
majority, but by improved facilities for enlightening and converting the
majority. Democracy, ideally, means only that the aristocracy is
periodically elected and renewed; and this is a plan whereby the
aristocrats--the really best--shall be more clearly seen to be so.
Furthermore, the plan avoids the great defect of Plato’s scheme,--that
philosophers are not fitted for executive and administrative work, that
those skilled to see are very seldom also able to do. Here the
philosopher, the man who gets at the truth, rules, but only indirectly,
and without the burdens of office and execution. And indeed it is not
the philosopher who rules, but truth. The liberator is made king.


II

The Professor as Buridan’s Ass

“You have anticipated my objection, and cleverly twisted it into an
argument. But that would be too facile an escape; you must face more
squarely the fact that your professors are mere intellectualist
highbrows, incapable of understanding the real issues involved in our
social war, and even more incapable of suggesting practical ways out.
The more you look the more you see; the more you see, the less you do.
You think that reflection leaves you peace of mind; it doesn’t, it
leaves your mind in pieces. The intellectual is like Dr. Buridan’s ass:
he is so careful to stand in the middle that he never gives a word of
practical advice, for fear that he will compromise himself and fracture
a syllogism. The trouble is that we think too much, not too little; we
make thinking a substitute for action. Really, as Rousseau argued,
thinking is unnatural; what the world needs is men who can make up their
minds and then march on, almost in blinders, to a goal. We know enough,
we know too much; and surely we have a plethora of investigating
committees. A committee is just a scientific way of doing nothing. Your
plan would flood the country with committees and leave courage buried
under facts. You should call your organization a Society for
Talky-talk.”

The only flaw in this argument is that it does not touch the proposal.
What is suggested is not that the Society take action or make
programmes, much less execute them; we ask our professors merely to do
for a larger public, and more thoroughly and systematically, what we are
glad to have them do for a small number of us in college and university.
Action is _ex hypothesi_ left to others; the function of the researcher
is quite simply to look and tell us what he sees. That he is a highbrow,
an intellectual, and even a Buridan’s ass, does not interfere with his
seeing; nobody ever argued that Buridan’s ass was blind.

We forget that seeing is itself an art. Some of us have specialized in
the art, and have naturally failed to develop cleverness in practical
affairs. But that does not mean that our special talent cannot be used
by the community, any more than Sir Oliver Lodge’s fondness for
celestial exploration makes us reject his work on electricity. Thinking
is itself a form of action, and not the easiest nor the least effective.
It is true that “if you reflect too much you will never accomplish
anything,” but if you reflect too little you will accomplish about as
much. We make headway only by the head way. Action without forethought
tends to follow a straight line; but in life the straight line is often
the longest distance between two points, because, as Leonardo said, the
straightest line offers the greatest resistance. Thought is roundabout,
and loves flank attacks. The man of action rushes into play
courageously, succeeds now, fails then; and sooner or later wishes--if
he lives to wish--that he could think more. The increasing dependence of
industry on scientific research, and of politics on expert
investigators, shows how the world is coming to value the man whose
specialty is seeing. Faith in intellect, as Santayana says, “is the only
faith yet sanctioned by its fruit.”[308] The two most important men in
America just now are, or have been, college professors. To speak still
more boldly: the greatest single human source of good in our generation
is the “intellectual” researcher and professor. The man to be feared
above all others is the man who can see.


III

Is Information Wanted?

“But your whole scheme shows a very amateur knowledge of human nature.
You seem to think you can get people interested in fact. You can’t; fact
is too much against their interest. If the facts favor their wish, they
are interested; if not, they forget them. The hardest thing in the world
is to listen to truth that threatens to frustrate desire. That is why
people won’t listen to your reports, unless you tell them what they want
to hear. They will--and perhaps excusably--prefer the bioscope to your
embalmed statistics; just as they will prefer to read _The Family
Herald_ rather than the subtleties recommended by the Mutual Admiration
Society which you would make out of our men of letters. You can
investigate till you are blue in the face, and all you will get out of
it won’t be worth the postage stamps you use. Public opinion doesn’t
follow fact, it follows desire; people don’t vote for a man because he
is supported by ‘truth’ but because he promises to do something they
like. And the man who makes the biggest promises to the biggest men will
get office ninety-nine times out of a hundred, no matter what the facts
are. What counts is not truth but money.”

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the basic difficulty. Is it worth while to spread information?
Think how much information is spread every week in Europe and
America;--the world remaining the while as “wicked” as it probably ever
was. Public opinion is still, it seems, as Sir Robert Peel described it
to be: “a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right
feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs,”[309]--particularly the
paragraphs. Once we thought that the printing-press was the beginning of
democracy, that Gutenberg had enfranchised the world. Now it appears
that print and plutocracy get along very well together. Nevertheless the
hope of the weak lies in numbers and in information; in democracy and
in print. “The remedy for the abuses of public opinion is not to
discredit it but to instruct it.”[310] The cure for misstatements is
better statements. If the newspapers are used to spread falsehood that
is no reason why newspapers should not be used to spread truth. After
all, the spread of information has done many things,--killed dogma,
sterilized many marriages, and even prevented wars; and there is no
reason why a further spread may not do more valuable things than any yet
done. It has been said, so often that we are apt to admit it just to
avoid its repetition, that discussion effects nothing. But indeed
nothing else effects anything. Whatever is done without information and
discussion is soon undone, must be soon undone; all that bears time is
that which survives the test of thought. All problems are at last
problems in information: to find out just how things stand is the only
finally effective way of getting at anything.

As to the limited number of persons who would be reached by the reports,
let us not ask too much. There is no pretence here that the great mass
of the people would be reached; no doubt these would go on living what
Wells calls the “normal social life.” But these people do not count for
constructive purposes; they divide about evenly in every election. The
men who do count--the local leaders, the clergymen, the lecturers, the
teachers, the union officials, the newspaper men, the “agitators,” the
arch-rebels and the arch-Tories,--all these men will be reached; and the
information given will strengthen some and weaken others, and so play
its effective part in the drama of social change. Each one of these men
will be a center for the further distribution of information. Imagine a
new monthly with a country-wide circulation of one million _voters_
(that is, a general circulation of five million); would such a
periodical have power?--would not millions be given to control it? Well,
here we have more power, because not so concentrated in a few editorial
hands, not so easily purchaseable, and based on better intellect and
repute. The money that would be paid at any time for the control of a
periodical of such influence would finance our Society for many years.

It is impossible to believe that such a spread of knowledge as is here
suggested would do nothing to elevate the moral and political life of
the country. Consider the increased scrupulousness with which a
Congressman would vote if he knew that at the next election his record
would be published in cold print in a hundred newspapers, over the name
of the Society for Social Research. Consider the effect, on
Congressional appropriations for public buildings, of a plain statement
of the population and size of the towns which require such colossal
edifices for their mail. Publicity, it has been said, is the only cure
for bad motives. Consider the stimulus which such reports would give to
political discussion everywhere. Hardly a dispute occurs which is not
based upon insufficient acquaintance with the facts; here would be
information up to date, ready to give the light which dispels the heat.
Men would turn to these reports all the more willingly because the
reports were pledged to confine themselves to fact. Men would find here
no attacks, no argument, no theory or creed; it would be refreshing, in
some ways, to bathe the mind, hot with contention, in these cool streams
of fact, and to emerge cleansed of error and filled with the vitality of
truth. We have spent so much time attacking what we hate that we have
not stopped to tell people what we like; if we would only affirm more
and deny less there would be less of cross-purpose in the world. And
information is affirmation. It would not open the wounds of controversy
so much as offer points of contact; and in the light of fact, enemies
might see that their good lay for the most part on a common road. If you
want to change a foe into a friend (or, some cynic will say, a friend
into a foe), give him information.


IV

Finding Mæcenas

“Well; suppose you are right. Suppose information, as you say, is king.
How are you going to do it? Do you really think you will get some
benevolent millionaire to finance you? And will you, like Fourier, wait
in your room every day at noon for the man who will turn your dream into
a fact?”

       *       *       *       *       *

What we tend to forget about rich men is that besides being rich they
are men. There are a surprising number of them--particularly those who
have inherited money--who are eager to return to the community the
larger part of their wealth, if only they could be shown a way of doing
it which would mean more than a change of pockets. Merely to give to
charity is, in Aristotle’s phrase, to pour water into a leaking cask.
What such men want is a way of increasing intelligence; they know from
hard experience that in the end intelligence is the quality to be
desired and produced. They have spent millions, perhaps billions, on
education; and this plan of ours is a plan for education. If it is what
it purports to be, some one of these men will offer to finance it.

And not only one. Let the beginnings of our Society be sober and
efficient, let its first investigations be thorough and intelligent, let
its initial reports be impartial, succinct, illuminating and simple, and
further help will come almost unasked. After a year of honest and
capable work our Society would find itself supported by rather a group
of men than by one man; it might conceivably find itself helped by the
state, at the behest of the citizens. What would prevent a candidate for
governor from declaring his intention that should he be elected he would
secure an annual appropriation for our Society?--and why should not the
voters be attracted by such a declaration? Why should not the voters
demand such a declaration?

Nor need we fear that a Society so helped by the rich man and the state
would turn into but one more instrumentality of obstructionism. Not that
such an organization of intelligence would be “radical”: the words
“radical” and “conservative” have become but instruments of calumny, and
truth slips between them. But in the basic sense of the word our Society
would be extremely radical; for there is nothing so radical, so
revolutionary, as just to tell the truth, to say what it is you see.
That surely is to go to the radix of the thing. And truth has this
advantage, that it is discriminately revolutionary: there are some
things old to which truth is no enemy, just as there are some things new
which will melt in the glare of fact. Let the fact say.

This is the final faith: that truth will make us free, so far as we can
ever be free. Let the truth be published to the world, and men separated
in the dark will see one another, and one another’s purposes, more
clearly, and with saner understanding than before. The most disastrous
thing you can do to an evil is to describe it. Let truth be told, and
the parasite will lose his strength through shame, and meanness will
hide its face. Only let information be given to all and freely, and it
will be a cleansing of our national blood; enmity will yield to open and
honest opposition, where it will not indeed become coöperation. All we
need is to see better. Let there be light.


V

The Chance of Philosophy

“One more objection before you take the money. And that is: What on
earth has all this to do with philosophy? I can understand that to have
economists on your investigating committees, and biologists, and
psychologists, and historians, would be sensible; but what could a
philosopher do? These are matters for social science, not for
metaphysics. Leave the philosophers out and some of us may take your
scheme seriously.”

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a good objection, if only because it shows again the necessity for
a new kind of philosopher. Merely to make such an objection is to
reënforce the indictment brought above against the philosopher as he is.
But what of the philosopher as he might be?

What might the philosopher be?

Well, first of all, he would be a living man, and not an annotator of
the past. He would have grown freely, his initial spark of divine fire
unquenched by scholastic inflexibilities of discipline and study. He
would have imbibed no sermons, but his splendid curiosity would have
found food and encouragement from his teachers. He would have lived in
and learned to love the country and the city; he would be at home in the
ploughed fields as well as in the centres of learning; he would like the
cleansing solitude of the woods and yet too the invigorating bustle of
the city streets. He would be brought up on Plato and Thucydides,
Leonardo and Michelangelo, Bacon and Montaigne; he would study the
civilization of Greece and that of the Renaissance on all sides, joining
the history of politics, economics, and institutions with that of
science, literature, and philosophy; and yet he would find time to study
his own age thoroughly. He would be interested in life, and full of it;
he would jump into campaigns, add his influence carefully to movements
he thought good, and help make the times live up more nearly to their
possibilities. He would not shut himself up forever in laboratories,
libraries, and lecture rooms; he would live more widely than that. He
would be of the earth earthly, of the world worldly. He would not talk
of ideals in the abstract and do nothing for them in the concrete; above
all else in the world he would abhor the kind of talk that is a refuge
from the venture and responsibility of action. He would not only love
wisdom, he would live it.

But we must not make our ideal philosopher too repulsively perfect. Let
us agree at least to this, that a man who should know the social
disciplines, and not merely one science, would be of help in some such
business as we have been proposing; and if we suppose that he has not
only knowledge but wisdom, that his acquaintance with the facts of
science is matched by his knowledge of life, that through fellowship
with genius in Greece and Florence he has acquired a fund of wisdom
which needs but the nourishment of living to grow richer from day to
day,--then we are on the way to seeing that this is the sort of man our
Society would need above all other sorts of men. Such philosophers would
be worthy to guide research and direct the enlightenment of the world;
such philosophers might be to their generation what Socrates and Plato
were to their generations and Francis Bacon to his; such a philosophy,
in Nietzsche’s words, might rule!

This is the chance of philosophy. It may linger further in that calm
death of social ineffectiveness in which we see it sinking; or it may
catch the hands of the few philosophers who insist on focusing thought
on life, and so regain the position which it alone is fitted to fill.
Unless that position is filled, and properly, all the life of the world
is zigzag and fruitless,--what we have called the logic-chopping life;
and unless that position is filled philosophy too is logic-chopping,
zigzag, and fruitless, and turns away from life men whom life most
sorely needs. There are some among us, even some philosophers among us,
who are eager to lead the way out of bickering into discussion, out of
criticism into construction, out of books into life. We must keep a keen
eye for such men, and their beginnings; and we must strengthen them with
our little help. Philosophy is too divinely splendid a thing to be kept
from the most divine of things,--creation. Some of us love it as the
very breath of our lives; it is our vital medium, without which life
would be less than vegetation; and we will not rest so long as the name
_philosopher_ means anything less aspiring and inspiring than it did
with Plato. Science flourishes and philosophy languishes, because
science is honest and philosophy sycophantic, because science touches
life and helps it, while philosophy shrinks fearfully and helplessly
away. If philosophy is to live again, it must rediscover life, it must
come back into the cave, it must come down from the “real” and
transcendental world and play its venturesome part in the hard and happy
world of efforts and events.

It is the chance of philosophy.



CONCLUSION


See now, in summary, how modest a suggestion it is, grandiloquent though
it may have seemed. We propose no _’ism_, we make no programme; we
suggest, tentatively, a method. We propose a new start, a new tack, a
new approach,--not to the exclusion of other approaches, but to their
assistance. If this thing should be done, it would not mean that other
gropers toward a better world would have to stand idle; it would but
give light to them that walk in darkness. And it would make possible a
more generous coöperation among the different currents in the stream of
reconstructive thought.

We are a little discouraged to-day; we lovers of the new have become
doubtful of the object of our love. Perhaps--we sometimes feel--all this
effort is a vain circling in the mist; perhaps we do not advance, but
only move. Our faith in progress is dimmed. We even tire of the “social
problem”; we have tried so many ways, knocked at so many doors, and
found so little of that which we sought. Sometimes, in the lassitude of
mistaken effort and drear defeat, we almost think that the social
problem is never to find even partial solution, that it is not a
problem but a limitation, a limitation forever. We need a new
beginning, a new impetus,--perhaps a new delusion?

See, too, how the thought of our five teachers lies concentrated and
connected in this new approach: what have we done but renew concretely
the Socratic plea for intelligence, the Platonic hope for
philosopher-kings, Bacon’s dream of knowledge organized and ruling the
world, Spinoza’s gentle insistence on democracy as the avenue of
development, and Nietzsche’s passionate defence of aristocracy and
power? There was something in us that thrilled at Plato’s conception of
a philosophy that could guide as well as dissect our social life; but
there was another something in us that hesitated before his plan of
slavery as the basis of it all. We felt that we would rather be free and
miserable than bound and filled. Why should a man feed himself if his
feet are chained, and he must never move? And we were inspired, too, by
the demand that the best should rule, that they should have power fitted
to their worth; we should be glad to find some way whereby the best
could have power, could rule, and yet with the consent of all,--we
wanted an aristocracy sanctioned by democracy, a social order standing
on the broad base of free citizenship and wide coöperation. Socrates
shows us how to use Bacon to reconcile Plato and Nietzsche with Spinoza:
intelligence will organize intelligence so that superior worth may have
superior influence and yet work with and through the will of all.

       *       *       *       *       *

And here at the end comes a thought that some of us perhaps have had
more than once as this discussion advanced: What could the Church do for
the organization of intelligence?

It could do wonderful things. It has power, organization, facilities,
through which the gospel of “the moral obligation to be intelligent”
could be preached to a wider audience than any newspaper could reach.
And among the clergy are hundreds of young men who have found new
inspiration in the figure of Jesus seen through the aspirations of
democracy; hundreds eager to do their part in any work that will lessen
the misery of men. What if they were to find in this organization of
intelligence a focus for their labor?--what if they should not only
themselves undertake the studies which would fit them for membership in
the Society, but should also make it their business to stir up in all
who might come to them the spirit of the seeker, to incite them to read
religiously the reports of the Society, to call on them to spread abroad
the good news of truth to be had for the asking? What if these men
should make their churches extension centers for the educational work of
the Society,--giving freely the use of their halls and even contributing
to the expense of organizing classes and paying for skilled instruction?
What if they should see in the spread of intelligence the best avenue
to that wide friendship which Jesus so passionately preached? What
better way is there to make men love one another than to make men
understand one another? True charity comes only with clarity,--just as
“mercy” is but justice that understands. Surely the root of all evil is
the inability to see clearly that which is; how better can religion
combat evil than to preach clarity as the beginning of social
redemption?

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the many burdens that drag on the soul is a knowledge of the
past. It is a strong man who can know history and keep his courage; a
great dream that can face the fact and live. We look at those flitting
experiments called civilizations: we see them rise one after another, we
see them produce and produce and produce, we feel the weight of their
accumulating wealth; still visionable to us the busyness of geniuses and
slaves piling stone upon stone and making pyramids to greet the stars,
still audible the voices of Socrates in the agora and of old Plato
passing quietly among the students in the grove, still haunting us the
white faces of martyrs in the amphitheatres of Rome: and then the
pyramids stand bare and lonely, the voices of Greek genius are hushed,
the Colosseum is a ruin and a memory; one after another these peoples
pass, these wonderful peoples, greater perhaps, wiser and nobler
perhaps, than the peoples of our time; and we almost choke with the
heavy sense of a vast futility encompassing the world. Some of us turn
away then from the din of effort, and seek in resignation the comfort of
a living death; some others find in the doubt and difficulty the zest
and reward of the work. After all, the past is not dead, it has not
failed; only the vileness of it is dead, gone with the winnowing of
time; that which was great and worthy lives and works and is real. Plato
speaks to us still, speaks to millions and millions of us; and the blood
of martyrs is the seed of saints. We speak and pass, but the word
remains. Effort is not lost. Not to have tried is the only failure, the
only misery; all effort is happiness, all effort is success. And so
again we write ourselves in books and stone and color, and smile in the
face of time; again we hear the call of the work, that it be done:

    Edens that wait the wizardry of thought,
    Beauty that craves the touch of artist hands,
    Truth that but hungers to be felt or seen;

and again we are hot with the passion for perfection. We will remake. We
will wonder and desire and dream and plan and try. We are such beings as
dream and plan and try; and the glory of our defeats dims the splendor
of the sun. We will take thought and add a cubit to our stature; we will
bring intelligence to the test and call it together from all corners of
the earth; we will harness the genius of the race and renew creation.

We will remake.

Printed in the United States of America.

       *       *       *       *       *

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The Great Society

A Psychological Analysis

BY GRAHAM WALLAS

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] Class-lectures. As Bacon has it, Aristotle, after the Ottoman
manner, did not believe that he could rule securely unless he first put
all his brothers to death.

[2] The _Dialexeis_; cf. Gomperz, _Greek Thinkers_, New York, 1901, vol.
i, p. 404.

[3] Gompers, vol. i, p. 403.

[4] Botsford and Sihler, _Hellenic Civilization_, New York, 1915, p. 430.

[5] _Ibid._, p. 340, etc.

[6] And sincerely, says Burnet, because he had gone through radicalism
to scepticism, and felt that one convention was as good as another.

[7] Cf. Henry Jackson, article “Sophists,” _Encyclopædia Britannica_,
eleventh edition.

[8] _History of Ethics_, London, 1892, p. 24.

[9] _Op. cit._, vol. ii, 1905, p. 67.

[10] _History of Greece_, vol. viii, p. 134.

[11] _Morals in Evolution_, New York, 1915, p. 556.

[12] Henry Jackson, article “Socrates,” _Encyclopædia Britannica_,
eleventh edition.

[13] _Twilight of the Idols_, London, 1915, p. 15. For Nietzsche’s
answer to Nietzsche, cf. _ibid._, p. 57: “To accustom the eye to
calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer
judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an
individual case from all sides,--this is the first preparatory schooling
of intellectuality,” this is one of “the three objects for which we need
educators.... One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must
acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts. To learn
to see, as I understand this matter, amounts almost to that which in
popular language is called ‘strength of will’: its essential feature
is precisely ... to be able to postpone one’s decision.... All lack of
intellectuality, all vulgarity, arises out of the inability to resist a
stimulus.”

[14] “Why art thou sad? Assuredly thou hast performed some sacred
duty?”--Bazarov in Turgenev’s _Fathers and Children_, 1903, p. 185.

[15] “Morality is the effort to throw off sleep.... I have never yet
met a man who was wide awake. How could I have looked him in the
face?”--Thoreau, _Walden_, New York, 1899, p. 92.

[16] What happens when I “see the better and approve it, but follow the
worse,” is that an end later approved as “better”--_i.e._, better for
me--is at the time obscured by the persistent or recurrent suggestion of
an end temporarily more satisfying, but eventually disappointing. Most
self-reproach is the use of knowledge won _post factum_ to criticise
a self that had to adventure into action unarmed with this hindsight
wisdom.

[17] _Gorgias_, p. 521.

[18] 399 B.C.

[19] _Epistles_, viii, 325.

[20] “When the soul does not speak in dialogue it is not in
difficulty.”--Professor Wood bridge, in class.

[21] “If we look for a system of philosophy in Plato, we shall
probably not find it; but if we look for none we may find most of the
philosophies ever written.”--Professor Woodbridge.

[22] _Phædrus_, 244.

[23] _Sophist_, 247.

[24] _Laws_, 765-6.

[25] _Republic_, 425.

[26] _Protagoras_, 325.

[27] _Republic_, 536.

[28] _Laws_, 804.

[29] _Ibid._, 810.

[30] _Republic_, 375.

[31] _Ibid._, 410.

[32] _Laws_, 810.

[33] _Republic_, 539.

[34] _Republic_, 537.

[35] _Republic_, 184.

[36] _Ibid._, 473.

[37] The passage, abbreviated, follows: “First, then, let us consider
what will be their way of life, now that we have thus established them.
Will they not produce corn, and wine, and clothes, and shoes, and
build houses for themselves? And when they are housed, they will work
in summer commonly stripped and barefoot, but in winter substantially
clothed and shod. They will feed on barley and wheat, baking the wheat
and kneading the flour, making noble puddings and loaves; these they
will serve up on a mat of reeds or clean leaves, themselves reclining
the while upon beds of yew or myrtle boughs. And they and their children
will feast, drinking of the wine which they have made, wearing garlands
on their heads, and having the praises of the gods on their lips, living
in sweet society, and having a care that their families do not exceed
their means; for they will have an eye to poverty or war.... Of course
they will have a relish,--salt, and olives, and cheese, and onions, and
cabbages or other country herbs which are fit for boiling; and we shall
give them a dessert of figs, and pulse, and beans, and myrtle-berries,
and beech-nuts, which they will roast at the fire, drinking in
moderation. And with such a diet they may be expected to live in peace
to a good old age, and bequeath a similar life to their children after
them.”--_Republic_, 372. Cf. The Rousseauian anthropology of _Laws_, 679.

[38] _Republic_, 372-3.

[39] Much of modern criticism of democracy finds its inspiration in
Plato. Cf. Bernard Shaw: “The democratic politician remains exactly
as Plato described him.” Cf. also the _Modern Utopia_ and _Research
Magnificent_ of H. G. Wells. Nietzsche’s debt to Plato will appear in a
later chapter.

[40] “Omnia communia inter nos habemus, praeter mulieres.”

[41] Let us remember that a property-qualification for the vote remained
in our own political system till the time of Jefferson, and has in our
own day been resuscitated in some of the Southern states.

[42] _Laws_, 783.

[43] _Republic_, 403

[44] _Protagoras_, 322.

[45] Plato, says Cleanthes, “cursed as impious him who first sundered
the just from the useful.”--Gomperz, ii, 73. Cf. _Republic_, 331.

[46] Edmund Gosse, _Life of Henrik Ibsen_, p. 100, note.

[47] Nietzsche, _Beyond Good and Evil_, pref.

[48] _Influence of Darwin on Philosophy_, New York, 1910, p. 21.

[49] Cf. _De Augmentis_, bk. viii, ch. 2.

[50] _Advancement of Learning_, Boston, 1863, bk. i.

[51] _Philosophical Works_, ed. J. M. Robertson, London, 1805, p. 33.

[52] _Novum Organum_, i, 65.

[53] _Advancement of Learning_, p. 133.

[54] Called by Bacon the “first vintage.”

[55] _Novum Organum_, ii, 2.

[56] Preface to _Magna Instauratio_.

[57] _Novum Organum_, pref.

[58] _Novum Organum_, i, 129.

[59] _Ibid._, i, 92.

[60] _Ibid._, i, 113.

[61] _Advancement of Learning_, bk. ii, ch. 1.

[62] _Novum Organum_, i, 61.

[63] _Advancement of Learning_, bk. i, ch. 1.

[64] _Ibid._, bk. ii, ch. 1.

[65] _New Atlantis_, Cambridge University Press, 1900, p. 22.

[66] _Ibid._, p. 24.

[67] Pp. 44, 45.

[68] P. 43.

[69] P. 34.

[70] J. M. Robertson, preface to _Philosophical Works_.

[71] Robert Adamson, article “Bacon,” _Encyclopædia Britannica_.

[72] Cf. preface to _Memoirs of a Revolutionist_.

[73] _Novum Organum_, i, 81.

[74] _Advancement of Learning_, p. 207.

[75] _Ibid._, p. 131.

[76] _Advancement of Learning._, bk. i.

[77] Professor Woodbridge, class-lectures.

[78] Turgenev, in _Fathers and Children_.

[79] This division into saints and sinners must be taken with
reservations, of course. In many respects Descartes belongs to the
second group, and in some respects James and Comte belong to the first.
But the dichotomy clarifies, if only by exaggeration.

[80] L. Ward, _Pure Sociology_, p. 16.

[81] Buckle, _History of Civilization_, i, 138.

[82] Special acknowledgment for some of the material of this chapter
is due to R. A. Duff, _Spinoza’s Political and Ethical Philosophy_,
Glasgow, 1903.

[83] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 17.

[84] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 1.

[85] _Will to Power_, vol. i, § 95.

[86] Cf. Duff, _op. cit._, pref.: “It can be shown that Spinoza had no
interest in metaphysics for its own sake, while he was passionately
interested in moral and political problems. He was a metaphysician at
all only in the sense that he was resolute in thinking out the ideas,
principles, and categories which are interwoven with all our practical
endeavor, and the proper understanding of which is the condition of
human welfare.”

[87] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 7.

[88] _Tractatus Theologico-Politicus_, v, 2.

[89] _Ibid._, ch. 16.

[90] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 58, schol.

[91] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, i, 5.

[92] _Ethics_, bk. i, appendix.

[93] _Ibid._, bk. iv, prop. 18, schol.

[94] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 3.

[95] _Ibid._, cor.

[96] _De Intellectus Emendatione._

[97] _Ethics_, bk. iv, appendix, § 9.

[98] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 10.

[99] _Ibid._, ch. 19.

[100] _Ibid._, ch. 8.

[101] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 16.

[102] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 18, schol.

[103] _Ibid._

[104] _Ibid._, bk. iv, prop. 24.

[105] Bk. iv, def. 8.

[106] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 6, § 1.

[107] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 35, schol.

[108] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 5, § 2.

[109] _Ibid._, ch. 16.

[110] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 37, schol. 2.

[111] Contrast Plato: the state (_i.e._, the governing classes) is to
the lower classes as reason is to passion.

[112] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 3, § 14.

[113] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 40.

[114] Ch. 20.

[115] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 6, § 4.

[116] _Tractatus Theologico-politicus_, ch. 6, § 4, ch. 7, § 29.

[117] _Ethics_, bk. iv, prop. 35, cor. 1.

[118] _Ibid._, cor. 2.

[119] _Ibid._, prop. 18, schol.; also prop. 37. _Cf._ Whitman: “By God!
I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the
same terms.”

[120] Not that these ideas were original with Spinoza; they were the
general legacy of Renaissance political thought. But it was through the
writings of Spinoza that this legacy was transmitted to Rousseau. Cf.
Duff, p. 319.

[121] Professor Woodbridge: class-lectures.

[122] Cf. Professor Dewey’s _German Philosophy and Politics_, New York,
1915.

[123] Förster-Nietzsche, _The Young Nietzsche_, London, 1912, p. 98.

[124] _Ibid._, p. 152.

[125] _Ibid._, p. 235.

[126] _The Birth of Tragedy_, 1872.

[127] _Thus Spake Zarathustra_, p. 129.

[128] Förster-Nietzsche, _The Lonely Nietzsche_, London, 1915, pp. 291,
212, 77.

[129] _Ibid._, p. 313.

[130] _Ibid._, p. 181.

[131] _Ibid._, p. 424.

[132] _Ibid._, p. 297.

[133] _Ibid._, p. 195.

[134] Chronology of Nietzsche’s chief works, with initials used in
subsequent references: _Thoughts Out of Season_ (“_T. O. S._”) (1873-6);
_Human All Too Human_ (“_H. H._”) (1876-80); _Dawn of Day_ (“_D. D._”)
(1881); _Joyful Wisdom_ (“_J. W._”) (1882); _Thus Spake Zarathustra_
(“_Z._”) (1883-4); _Beyond Good and Evil_ (“_B. G. E._”) (1886);
_Genealogy of Morals_ (“_G. M._”) (1887); _Twilight of the Idols_
(“_T.I._”) (1888); _Antichrist_ (“_Antich._”); _Ecce Homo_ (“_E. H._”),
and _Will to Power_ (“_W. P._”) (1889).

[135] _Lonely N._, p. 104.

[136] _Ibid._, p. 195.

[137] _E. H._, p. 106.

[138] _J. W._, § 371.

[139] _E. H._, p. 141.

[140] _Ibid._, pp. 131, 81.

[141] _T. I._, pref.

[142] _W. P._, § 400 (all references to _W. P._ will be by sections).

[143] _J. W._, § 345 (all references to _J. W._ by section unless
otherwise stated).

[144] _W. P._, 276.

[145] _Ibid._, 345.

[146] _G. M._, p. 46.

[147] _Z._, p. 166.

[148] _W. P._, 721; _T. I._, p. 89.

[149] _B. G. E._, § 202.

[150] _J. W._, 358; _Antich._, § 361.

[151] _W. P._, 284.

[152] _Antich._, § 46.

[153] _Ibid._, § 43.

[154] _W. P._, 464, 861, 748, 752, 686.

[155] _Ibid._, 885, 281.

[156] _H. H._, §§ 428, 472.

[157] _T. I._, p. 96.

[158] _G. M._, p. 225; written in 1887.

[159] _W. P._, 861, 891.

[160] _B. G. E._, p. 233.

[161] _W. P._, 753.

[162] _G. M._, p. 223.

[163] _B. G. E._, p. 189.

[164] _E. H._, p. 65.

[165] _B. G. E._, pp. 96, 189.

[166] _Z._, p. 89.

[167] _J. W._, 363.

[168] _B. G. E._, pp. 188, 184, 189.

[169] _W. P._, 339, 86.

[170] _T. I._, p. 86.

[171] _J. W._, 377; _W. P._, 350, 315, 373.

[172] _H. H._, § 451.

[173] _W. P._, 761.

[174] _Ibid._, 51, 125.

[175] _B. G. E._, p. 226.

[176] _W. P._, 856.

[177] _G. M._, p. 44.

[178] _J. W._, 356.

[179] _Lonely N._, p. 83.

[180] _D. D._, § 206.

[181] _W. P._, 125.

[182] _Wanderer and His Shadow_, § 292 (_H. H._, ii, p. 343).

[183] _H. H._, i, § 473.

[184] _D. D._, § 179.

[185] _Z._, p. 62.

[186] _W. P._, 329.

[187] _T. I._, p. 86; _E. H._, p. 66; _Antich._, § 57.

[188] _W. P._, 859.

[189] _G. M._, p. 91.

[190] _Z._, p. 159.

[191] _T. I._, p. 94.

[192] _H. H._, § 463.

[193] _W. P._, 750, 874, 65, 50.

[194] _B. G. E._, p. 173; _W. P._, 823, 851, 871, 11.

[195] _W. P._, 397, 12, 736.

[196] _E. H._, p. 136.

[197] _G. M._, p. 10.

[198] _T. O. S._, i, p. 78.

[199] _Antich._, § 17.

[200] _J. W._, 347.

[201] _Antich._, § 17; _D. D._, § 542.

[202] _W. P._, 585.

[203] _G. M._, p. 202.

[204] _W. P._, 585.

[205] _Ibid._, 600; _D. D._, § 424.

[206] _J. W._, 366.

[207] _D. D._, § 41.

[208] _W. P._, 461.

[209] _B. G. E._, p. 136.

[210] _W. P._, § 8.

[211] _J. W._, p. 7.

[212] _W. P._, § 351.

[213] _Ibid._, § 12.

[214] _Ibid._, § 43.

[215] _Antich._, § 1.

[216] _D. D._, § 163.

[217] _W. P._, 266.

[218] _Ibid._, 20.

[219] _Ibid._, 585.

[220] _Z._, pp. 193, 315; _E. H._, pp. 71, 28.

[221] _J. W._, § 324.

[222] _Ibid._, p. 6.

[223] _W. P._, 120, 1029; _Antich._, § 55; _E. H._, pp. 72, 70; _Birth
of Tragedy_, _passim_.

[224] _W. P._, 255, 258, 710, 462, 392, 305.

[225] _Antich._, § 2.

[226] _W. P._, 918.

[227] _T. O. S._, p. 76.

[228] _G. M._, p. 45.

[229] _J. W._, § 4.

[230] _Antich._, § 14.

[231] _B. G. E._, p. 162.

[232] _W. P._, 440, 289.

[233] _E. H._, p. 10.

[234] _W. P._, 255, 774, 775; _D. D._, § 215; _J. W._, 13.

[235] _D. D._, § 224.

[236] _W. P._, 376, 776.

[237] _W. P._, 650, 657, 685, 696, 704; _Antich._, § 2.

[238] _Ibid._, 681, 688, 689.

[239] _T. I._, p. 71; _W. P._, 649.

[240] _W. P._, 685.

[241] _Z._, p. 398.

[242] _W. P._, 880, 716, 343, 423, 291.

[243] _E. H._, p. 2; _D. D._, § 49; _Lonely N._, p. 17; _W. P._, 269,
90, 766, 660.

[244] _E. H._, p. 138; _T. O. S._, ii, p. 66; _Z._, p. 222; _W. P._,
934, 944; _J. W._, p. 8; _T. I._, § 40; _B. G. E._, p. 138.

[245] _Z._, pp. 199, 103, 186; _W. P._, 792.

[246] _W. P._, 881, 870, 918; _B. G. E._, p. 154; _E. H._, p. 13; _D.
D._, § 552.

[247] _W. P._, 967, 366-7, 349; _Z._, p. 141; _Antich._, § 55; _B. G.
E._, pp. 54, 57.

[248] _W. P._, 969, 371, 356, 926, 946, 26; _Z._, p. 430; _E. H._, pp.
23, 19, 128; _G. M._, p. 85; _D. D._, § 60.

[249] _W. P._, 866; _T. O. S._, ii, p. 154; _Z._, pp. 8, 104; _T. I._,
p. 269.

[250] _W. P._, 804, 732-3; _Z._, pp. 94-6; _D. D._, § 150-1.

[251] _H. H._, § 242; _W. P._, 912; _B. G. E._, p. 129; _D. D._, § 194;
“Schopenhauer as Educator” (in _T. O. S._), _passim_.

[252] _T. O. S._, ii, pp. 84, 28; _W. P._, 369, 965; _E. H._, p. 135.

[253] _Z._, pp. 84, 64; _H. H._, § 457; _G. M._, 156-7; _B. G. E._, §§
61-2; _W. P._, 373, 901, 132.

[254] _H. H._, § 439; _W. P._, 660; _Antich._, § 57; _Lonely N._, p. 7.

[255] _G. M._, pp. 160-1; _W. P._, 287, 854, 864.

[256] _W. P._, 886, 926.

[257] _T. I._, p. 96; _W. P._, 957; _B. G. E._, p. 239; _T. O. S._, ii,
p. 39.

[258] _W. P._, 464, 960; _B. G. E._, p. 225.

[259] _W. P._, 44, 684, 909; _G. M._, p. 91.

[260] _D. D._, §§ 165, 168; _W. P._, 1052; _B. G. E._, p. 69; _J. W._,
p. 10.

[261] _T. I._, pp. 91, 110; _J. W._, § 362; _G. M._, pp. 56, 226; _W.
P._, 975, 877; _B. G. E._, pp. 201, 53.

[262] _W. P._, 109-34, 747.

[263] _J. W._, 293.

[264] _T. I._, p. 260; _G. M._, p. 58; _B. G. E._, p. 151; _Lonely N._,
p. 221.

[265] _W. P._, 127, 728-9; _G. M._, pp. 88, 226; _J. W._, 283; _Z._, p.
60; _Lonely N._, p. 15.

[266] _B. G. E._, p. 94; _W. P._, 717, 748; _G. M._, pp. 223-4.

[267] _W. P._, 712.

[268] _Ibid._, 1053.

[269] _J. W._, p. 5.

[270] _E. H._, p. 53.

[271] _W. P._, 544, with footnote quoting Napoleon: “An almost
instinctive belief with me is that all strong men lie when they speak,
and much more so when they write.”

[272] “Far too long a slave and a tyrant have been hidden in woman: ...
she is not yet capable of friendship.”--_Z._, p. 75.

[273] Hobhouse, _Social Evolution and Political Theory_, New York, 1911,
p. 25.

[274] There is something verging on a recognition of this in _W. P._,
403-4.

[275] _B. G. E._, p. 173.

[276] _B. G. E._, p. 25.

[277] _G. M._, p. 6.

[278] _Z._, p. 303.

[279] _Z._, p. 107.

[280] _T. I._, p. 2.

[281] _Z._, p. 10.

[282] _J. W._, 312.

[283] _Ibid._, p. 69; referring to 1879.

[284] _Ibid._, 312.

[285] _Lonely N._, p. 206.

[286] _Ibid._, p. 218.

[287] _Lonely N._, p. 289.

[288] _Ibid._, p. 391.

[289] _Ibid._, p. 65.

[290] _Ibid._, p. 157.

[291] Mrs. Gallichan, _The Truth about Woman_, New York, 1914, p. 281.

[292] Jos. McCabe, _Tyranny of Shams_, London, 1916, p. 171.

[293] Dr. Drysdale, _The Small Family System_, London, 1915.

[294] Winston Churchill in Parliament, quoted by Schoonmaker, The
_World-War and Beyond_, New York, 1915, p. 95.

[295] Carver, _Essays in Social Justice_, New York, 1915, p. 261.

[296] The “experimental attitude ... substitutes detailed analyses for
wholesale assertions, specific inquiries for temperamental convictions,
small facts for opinions whose size is in precise ratio to their
vagueness. It is within the social sciences, in morals, politics,
and education, that thinking still goes on by large antitheses, by
theoretical oppositions of order and freedom, individualism and
socialism, culture and utility, spontaneity and discipline, actuality
and tradition. The field of the physical sciences was once occupied
by similar ‘total’ views, whose emotional appeal was inversely as
their intellectual clarity. But with the advance of the experimental
method, the question has ceased to be which one of two rival claimants
has a right to the field. It has become a question of clearing up a
confused subject matter by attacking it bit by bit. I do not know
a case where the final result was anything like victory for one or
another among the preëxperimental notions. All of them disappeared
because they became increasingly irrelevant to the situation discovered,
and with their detected irrelevance they became unmeaning and
uninteresting.”--Professor John Dewey, _New Republic_, Feb. 3, 1917.

[297] All this has been indicated--with, however, too little emphasis
on the reconstructive function of intelligence--by Bertrand Russell in
_Principles of Social Reconstruction_ (London, 1916); and more popularly
by Max Eastman in _Understanding Germany_ (New York, 1916); it has been
put very briefly again and again by Professor Dewey,--_e.g._, in an
essay on “Progress” in the _International Journal of Ethics_, April,
1916.

[298] This is not a defence of mechanism or materialism; it is a plea
for a better perspective in philosophy.

[299] It would be invidious to name the exceptions which one is
glad to remember here; but it is in place to say that the practical
arrest of Bertrand Russell is a sign of resuscitation on the part
of philosophy,--a sign for which all lovers of philosophy should be
grateful. When philosophers are once more feared, philosophy will once
more be respected.

[300] _American Journal of Sociology_, March, 1905, p. 645.

[301] Ross, _Social Control_, New York, 1906, p. 9.

[302] _Will to Power_, § 469.

[303] Barker, _Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle_, p. 80.

[304] Perhaps this million could be reached more surely and economically
through direct pamphlet-publication by the Society.

[305] Some students--_e.g._, Joseph McCabe, _The Tyranny of Shams_,
London, 1916, p. 248--are so impressed with the dangers lying in our
vast production of written trash that they favor restricting the
circulation of cheap fiction in our public libraries. But what we
have to do is not to prohibit the evil but to encourage the good, to
give positive stimulus rather than negative prohibition. People hate
compulsion, but they grope for guidance.

[306] _E.g._, by G. Lowes Dickinson, _Justice and Liberty_, p. 133.

[307] Cf. Russell, _Principles of Social Reconstruction_, p. 236: “The
supreme principle, both in politics and in private life, should be
to promote all that is creative, and so to diminish the impulses and
desires that center round possession.”

[308] _Reason in Common Sense_, New York, 1911, p. 96.

[309] Quoted by Walter Weyl, _The New Democracy_, p. 136.

[310] Ross, _Social Control_, New York, 1906, p. 103.

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

seee things clearly=> see things clearly {pg 100}

whosesale assertions=> wholesale assertions {footnote pg 211}





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