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Title: Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure - And Other Essays
Author: Carpenter, Edward, 1844-1929
Language: English
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CIVILISATION: ITS CAUSE AND CURE

_AND OTHER ESSAYS_

(NEWLY-ENLARGED AND COMPLETE EDITION)

BY
EDWARD CARPENTER

AUTHOR OF "TOWARDS DEMOCRACY,"
"MY DAYS AND DREAMS," ETC.

[Illustration: logo]

LONDON: GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD.
RUSKIN HOUSE, 40 MUSEUM STREET, W.C.1


First Edition, _June 1889_; Second Edition, _December 1890_;
Third Edition, _November 1893_; Fourth Edition, _July 1895_;
Fifth Edition, _September 1897_; Sixth Edition, _October 1900_;
Seventh Edition, _July 1902_; Eighth Edition, _March 1903_;
Ninth Edition, _January 1906_; Tenth Edition, _January 1908_;
Eleventh Edition, _October 1910_; Twelfth Edition, _Dec. 1912_;
Thirteenth Edition, _Aug. 1914_; Fourteenth Edition, _June 1916_;
Fifteenth Edition, _Sept. 1917_; Complete Edition, _Jan. 1921_

(_All rights reserved_)



PREFACE TO COMPLETE EDITION

(1920)


In looking over this volume, first published in 1889, with a view to a
final Edition, I am glad to note that after all there is not much in it
requiring alteration. Considering that the original issue took place
more than 30 years ago, I had thought that the great changes in
scientific and philosophic thought which have taken place during that
period would probably have rendered "out of date" a good deal of the
book.

As a matter of fact, the first paper--that on Civilisation--was given as
a lecture before the Fabian Society, in 1888; and I shall not easily
forget the furious attacks which were made upon it on that occasion. The
book--published as a whole in 1889--came in for a very similar reception
from the press-critics. They slated it to the top of their bent--except
in those not unfrequent cases when they ignored it as almost beneath
notice. The whole trend of the thought of the time was against its
conclusions; and it is perhaps worth while to recall these facts in
order to measure how far we have travelled in these 30 years. For to-day
(I think we may say) these conclusions are generally admitted as
correct; and the views which seemed so hazarded and precarious at the
earlier date are now fairly accepted and established.

The word Civilisation has undoubtedly during this period suffered an
ominous change of color. It is no longer an easy term denoting all that
is ideal and delightful in social life, but on the contrary, carries
with it a sense of doubt and of criticism, as of something that is by no
means accepted yet, but is rather on its trial--if not actually
condemned!

I am sorry to note, however, that the suggestion made more than once in
the course of my book--namely that the term (Civilisation) should
properly be given an _historical_ instead of ideal value, as applicable
to a certain period only in the history of each people, has not yet been
generally taken up. Yet a paper by some more competent person than
myself on the definite marks and signs of the civilisation-period in
History--their first appearance in the course of human progress and
evolution, and their probable disappearance again at a later
stage--would be greatly interesting and instructive.

My little essay on this subject was written at the time of its
composition with a good deal of imaginative _élan_; and is of course
open to criticism on that side, as being mainly enthusiastic in
character and only slenderly supported by exact _data_, proofs,
historical illustrations, analogies, and so forth. But to largely alter
or amend the essay without seriously crippling it would be impossible;
and though the form may be hurried or inadequate, yet as far as the
actual contents and conclusions are concerned I still adhere to them
absolutely, and believe that time will show them to be fully justified.

With regard to my views on Modern Science the last quarter of a century
has curiously corroborated them. For while on the one hand--as
expected--the progress in actual discovery and application of observed
facts has been enormous, the _theories_ on the other hand about all
these things have receded more and more into the background, and have
passed almost out of sight. While knowing, for instance, infinitely more
about electrical actions and adaptations than we did, we seem to be if
anything further off than ever from any valid theory of what Electricity
_is_. The same with regard to Heat and Light, to Astronomical,
Biological and Geological "laws," and so forth. On such matters Modern
Science is on the verge of confessing itself bankrupt, but not wishing
to do that, it keeps a discreet silence.

The Atom, which I ventured (to the disgust of my scientific friends) to
make fun of 30 years ago, has now exploded of itself as thoroughly as a
German "coal-box"; and the fixed Chemical Elements of older days have of
late dissolved into protean vapours and emanations, ions and electrons,
impossible to follow through their endless transformations. As to the
numerous "Laws of Nature" which in the nineteenth century we were just
about to establish for all eternity, it is only with the greatest
difficulty that any of these can now be discovered--most of them having
got secreted away into the darkness of ancient text-books: where they
lead forlorn and sightless existences, like the fish in the caves of
Kentucky.

Here again--in my chapters on Science--though some expressions remain
which are now out of date, I have thought it best to leave them as
originally written: the meanings and general conclusions being still
valid and as they were. It will be seen that the general drift of these
chapters is to point the moral that the true field of science is to be
found in Life, and that the best way to _know_ things is to _experience_
their meaning and to identify oneself with them through Action. From a
study on these principles will ultimately emerge a Science truly humane
and creative, masterful, and capable of building a true home for
men--instead of the feverish, spectral and self-deluding thing which has
usurped the name up to now.

Something the same will happen with the conception of Morality. The
abstract codes on this subject, which have wrought so much havoc by
their fatal intrusion on the field of human Life, are rapidly fading
away. These ghosts, like the ghosts of Nature's "Laws," are receiving
their _quietus_. And the general outline which was suggested in "The
Defence of Criminals" has now been traced more positively in the chapter
on "The New Morality" inserted at the end of the present volume.
Morality has at last to become truly human, and the real expression of
our organic need. Man has to be liberated from the cramps and
suppressions and fixations which have hitherto paralysed him in the
moral field. He has to emerge from the swathing bands of his pupal stage
into the free air of heaven, and to become in the highest sense
self-determining and creative.

Thus three things, (1) the realisation of a new order of Society, in
closest touch with Nature, and in which the diseases of class-domination
and Parasitism will have finally ceased; (2) the realisation of a
Science which will no longer be a mere thing of the brain, but a part of
Actual Life; and (3) the realisation of a Morality which will signalise
and express the vital and organic unity of man with his fellows--these
three things will become the heralds of a new era of humanity--an era
which will possibly prefer _not_ to call itself by the name of
Civilisation.

In order to corroborate and confirm the first paper in the book an
Appendix has now been added containing notes and _data_ on the life and
customs of many "uncivilised" peoples; for much of which Appendix I am
indebted to the assistance of my widely-read and resourceful friend, E.
Bertram Lloyd.

E. C.

_December, 1920._



CONTENTS

                                                      PAGE
PREFACE TO COMPLETE EDITION                              7

CIVILISATION: ITS CAUSE AND CURE                        15

MODERN SCIENCE: A CRITICISM                             79

THE SCIENCE OF THE FUTURE: A FORECAST                  120

DEFENCE OF CRIMINALS: A CRITICISM OF MORALITY          143

EXFOLIATION: LAMARCK _versus_ DARWIN                   181

CUSTOM                                                 206

A RATIONAL AND HUMANE SCIENCE                          219

THE NEW MORALITY                                       243

APPENDIX--BEING NOTES ON SOME OF THE CHARACTERISTICS
AND CUSTOMS OF PRE-CIVILISED PEOPLES                   265



CIVILISATION:

ITS CAUSE AND CURE

The friendly and flowing savage, who is he? Is he waiting for
civilisation, or is he past it, and mastering it?--WHITMAN.


We find ourselves to-day in the midst of a somewhat peculiar state of
society, which we call Civilisation, but which even to the most
optimistic among us does not seem altogether desirable. Some of us,
indeed, are inclined to think that it is a kind of disease which the
various races of man have to pass through--as children pass through
measles or whooping cough; but if it is a disease, there is this serious
consideration to be made, that while History tells us of many nations
that have been attacked by it, of many that have succumbed to it, and of
some that are still in the throes of it, we know of no single case in
which a nation has fairly recovered from and passed through it to a more
normal and healthy condition. In other words the development of human
society has never yet (that we know of) passed beyond a certain
definite and apparently final stage in the process we call
Civilisation; at that stage it has always succumbed or been arrested.

Of course it may at first sound extravagant to use the word disease in
connection with Civilisation at all, but a little thought should show
that the association is not ill-grounded. To take the matter on its
physical side first, I find that in Mullhall's Dictionary of Statistics
(1884) the number of accredited doctors and surgeons in the United
Kingdom is put at over 23,000. If the extent of the national sickness is
such that we require 23,000 medical men to attend to us, it must surely
be rather serious! And _they_ do not cure us. Wherever we look to-day,
in mansion or in slum, we see the features and hear the complaints of
ill-health; the difficulty is really to find a healthy person. The state
of the modern civilised man in this respect--our coughs, colds,
mufflers, dread of a waft of chill air, &c.--is anything but creditable,
and it seems to be the fact that, notwithstanding all our libraries of
medical science, our knowledges, arts, and appliances of life, we are
actually less capable of taking care of ourselves than the animals are.
Indeed, talking of animals, we are--as Shelley I think points out--fast
depraving the _domestic_ breeds. The cow, the horse, the sheep, and even
the confiding pussy-cat, are becoming ever more and more subject to
disease, and are liable to ills which in their wilder state they knew
not of. And finally the savage races of the earth do not escape the
baneful influence. Wherever Civilisation touches them, they die like
flies from the small-pox, drink, and worse evils it brings along with
it, and often its mere contact is sufficient to destroy whole races.

But the word Disease is applicable to our social as well as to our
physical condition. For as in the body disease arises from the loss of
the physical unity which constitutes Health, and so takes the form of
warfare or discord between the various parts, or of the abnormal
development of individual organs, or the consumption of the system by
predatory germs and growths; so in our modern life we find the unity
gone which constitutes true society, and in its place warfare of classes
and individuals, abnormal development of some to the detriment of
others, and consumption of the organism by masses of social parasites.
If the word disease is applicable anywhere, I should say it is--both in
its direct and its derived sense--to the civilised societies of to-day.

Again, mentally, is not our condition most unsatisfactory? I am not
alluding to the number and importance of the lunatic asylums which cover
our land, nor to the fact that maladies of the brain and nervous system
are now so common; but to the strange sense of mental unrest which marks
our populations, and which amply justifies Ruskin's cutting epigram:
that our two objects in life are, "Whatever we have--to get more; and
wherever we are--to go somewhere else." This sense of unrest, of
disease, penetrates down even into the deepest regions of man's
being--into his moral nature--disclosing itself there, as it has done
in all nations notably at the time of their full civilisation, as the
sense of Sin.[1] All down the Christian centuries we find this strange
sense of inward strife and discord developed, in marked contrast to the
naive insouciance of the pagan and primitive world; and, what is
strangest, we even find people glorying in this consciousness--which,
while it may be the harbinger of better things to come, is and can be in
itself only the evidence of loss of unity, and therefore of ill-health,
in the very centre of human life.

Of course we are aware with regard to Civilisation that the word is
sometimes used in a kind of ideal sense, as to indicate a state of
future culture towards which we are tending--the implied assumption
being that a sufficiently long course of top hats and telephones will in
the end bring us to this ideal condition; while any little drawbacks in
the process, such as we have just pointed out, are explained as being
merely accidental and temporary. Men sometimes speak of civilising and
ennobling influences as if the two terms were interchangeable, and of
course if they like to use the word Civilisation in this sense they have
a right to; but whether the actual tendencies of modern life taken in
the mass _are_ ennobling (except in a quite indirect way hereafter to be
dwelt upon) is, to say the least, a doubtful question. Any one who
would get an idea of the glorious being that is as a matter of fact
being turned out by the present process should read Mr. Kay Robinson's
article in the _Nineteenth Century_ for May, 1883, in which he
prophesies (quite solemnly and in the name of science) that the human
being of the future will be a toothless, bald, toeless creature with
flaccid muscles and limbs almost incapable of locomotion!

Perhaps it is safer on the whole not to use the word Civilisation in
such ideal sense, but to limit its use (as is done to-day by all writers
on primitive society) to a definite historical stage through which the
various nations pass, and in which we actually find ourselves at the
present time. Though there is of course a difficulty in marking the
commencement of any period of historical evolution very definitely, yet
all students of this subject agree that the growth of property and the
ideas and institutions flowing from it did at a certain point bring
about such a change in the structure of human society that the new stage
might fairly be distinguished from the earlier stages of Savagery and
Barbarism by a separate term. The growth of Wealth, it is shown, and
with it the conception of Private Property, brought on certain very
definite new forms of social life; it destroyed the ancient system of
society based upon the _gens_, that is, a society of equals founded upon
blood-relationship, and introduced a society of classes founded upon
differences of material possession; it destroyed the ancient system of
mother-right and inheritance through the female line, and turned the
woman into the property of the man; it brought with it private ownership
of land, and so created a class of landless aliens, and a whole system
of rent, mortgage, interest, etc.; it introduced slavery, serfdom and
wage-labour, which are only various forms of the dominance of one class
over another; and to rivet these authorities it created the State and
the policeman. Every race that we know, that has become what we call
civilised, has passed through these changes; and though the details may
vary and have varied a little, the main order of change has been
practically the same in all cases. We are justified therefore in calling
Civilisation a historical stage, whose commencement dates roughly from
the division of society into classes founded on property and the
adoption of class-government. Lewis Morgan in his _Ancient Society_ adds
the invention of writing and the consequent adoption of written History
and written Law; Engels in his _Ursprung der Familie, des
Privateigenthums und des Staats_ points out the importance of the
appearance of the Merchant, even in his most primitive form, as a mark
of the civilisation-period; while the French writers of the last century
made a good point in inventing the term _nations policées_
(policemanised nations) as a substitute for civilised nations; for
perhaps there is no better or more universal mark of the period we are
considering, and of its social degradation, than the appearance of the
crawling phenomenon in question. [Imagine the rage of any decent North
American Indians if they had been told they required _policemen_ to keep
them in order!]

If we take this historical definition of Civilisation, we shall see that
our English Civilisation began hardly more than a thousand years ago,
and even so the remains of the more primitive society lasted long after
that. In the case of Rome--if we reckon from the later times of the
early kings down to the fall of Rome--we have again about a thousand
years. The Jewish civilisation from David and Solomon downwards
lasted--with breaks--somewhat over a thousand years; the Greek
civilisation less; the series of Egyptian civilisations which we can now
distinguish lasted altogether very much longer; but the important points
to see are, first, that the process has been quite similar in character
in these various (and numerous other) cases,[2] quite as similar in fact
as the course of the same disease in various persons; and secondly that
in no case, as said before, has any nation come _through_ and passed
beyond this stage; but that in most cases it has succumbed soon after
the main symptoms had been developed.

But it will be said, It may be true that Civilisation regarded as a
stage of human history presents some features of disease; but is there
any reason for supposing that disease in some form or other was any less
present in the previous stage--that of Barbarism? To which I reply, I
think there is good reason. Without committing ourselves to the
unlikely theory that the "noble savage" was an ideal human being
physically or in any other respect, and while certain that in many
points he was decidedly inferior to the civilised man, I think we must
allow him the superiority in some directions; and one of these was his
comparative freedom from disease. Lewis Morgan, who grew up among the
Iroquois Indians, and who probably knew the North American natives as
well as any white man has ever done, says (in his _Ancient Society_, p.
45), "Barbarism ends with the production of grand Barbarians." And
though there are no native races on the earth to-day who are actually in
the latest and most advanced stage of Barbarism;[3] yet, if we take the
most advanced tribes that we know of--such as the said Iroquois Indians
of twenty or thirty years ago, some of the Kaffir tribes round Lake
Nyassa in Africa, now (and possibly for a few years more) comparatively
untouched by civilisation, or the tribes along the river Uaupes, thirty
or forty years back, of Wallace's _Travels on the Amazon_--all tribes in
what Morgan would call the _middle_ stage of Barbarism--we undoubtedly
in each case discover a fine and (which is our point here) _healthy_
people. Captain Cook in his first Voyage says of the natives of
Otaheite, "We saw no critical disease during our stay upon the island,
and but few instances of sickness, which were accidental fits of the
colic;" and, later on, of the New Zealanders, "They enjoy perfect and
uninterrupted health. In all our visits to their towns, where young and
old, men and women, crowded about us ... we never saw a single person
who appeared to have any bodily complaint, nor among the numbers we have
seen naked did we once perceive the slightest eruption upon the skin, or
any marks that an eruption had left behind." These are pretty strong
words. Of course diseases exist among such peoples, even where they have
never been in contact with civilisation, but I think we may say that
among the higher types of savages they are rarer, and nothing like so
various and so prevalent as they are in our modern life; while the power
of recovery from _wounds_ (which are of course the most frequent form of
disablement) is generally admitted to be something astonishing. Speaking
of the Kaffirs, J. G. Wood says, "Their state of health enables them to
survive injuries which would be almost instantly fatal to any civilised
European." Mr. Frank Oates in his Diary[4] mentions the case of a man
who was condemned to death by the king. He was hacked down with axes,
and left for dead. "What must have been intended for the _coup de grâce_
was a cut in the back of the head, which had chipped a large piece out
of the skull, and must have been meant to cut the spinal cord where it
joins the brain. It had, however, been made a little higher than this,
but had left such a wound as I should have thought that no one could
have survived ... when I held the lanthorn to investigate the wound I
started back in amazement to see a hole at the base of the skull,
perhaps two inches long and an inch and a half wide, and I will not
venture to say how deep, but the depth too must have been an affair of
inches. Of course this hole penetrated into the substance of the brain,
and probably for some distance. I dare say a mouse could have sat in
it." Yet the man was not so much disconcerted. Like Old King Cole, "He
asked for a pipe and a drink of brandy," and ultimately made a perfect
recovery! Of course it might be said that such a story only proves the
lowness of organisation of the brains of savages; but to the Kaffirs at
any rate this would not apply; they are a quick-witted race, with large
brains, and exceedingly acute in argument, as Colenso found to his cost.
Another point which indicates superabundant health is the amazing animal
spirits of these native races! The shouting, singing, dancing kept up
nights long among the Kaffirs are exhausting merely to witness, while
the graver North American Indian exhibits a corresponding power of life
in his eagerness for battle or his stoic resistance of pain.[5]

Similarly when we come to consider the social life of the wilder
races--however rudimentary and undeveloped it may be--the almost
universal testimony of students and travelers is that within its limits
it is more harmonious and compact than that of the civilised nations.
The members of the tribe are not organically at warfare with each other;
society is not divided into classes which prey upon each other; nor is
it consumed by parasites. There is more true social unity, less of
disease. Though the customs of each tribe are rigid, absurd, and often
frightfully cruel,[6] and though all outsiders are liable to be regarded
as enemies, yet _within those limits_ the members live peacefully
together--their pursuits, their work, are undertaken in common, thieving
and violence are rare, social feeling and community of interest are
strong. "In their own bands Indians are perfectly honest. In all my
intercourse with them I have heard of not over half-a-dozen cases of
such theft. But this wonderfully exceptional honesty extends no further
than to the members of his immediate band. To all outside of it, the
Indian is not only one of the most arrant thieves in the world, but this
quality or faculty is held in the highest estimation." (Dodge, p. 64.)
If a man set out on a journey (this among the Kaffirs) "he need not
trouble himself about provisions, for he is sure to fall in with some
hut, or perhaps a village, and is equally sure of obtaining both food
and shelter."[7] "I have lived," says A. R. Wallace in his _Malay
Archipelago_ vol. ii. p. 460, "with communities in South America and the
East, who have no laws or law courts, but the public opinion of the
village ... yet each man scrupulously respects the rights of his
fellows, and any infraction of those rights rarely takes place. In such
a community all are nearly equal. There are none of those wide
distinctions of education and ignorance, wealth and poverty, master and
servant, which are the product of our civilisation." Indeed this
_community_ of life in the early societies, this absence of division
into classes, and of the contrast between rich and poor, is now admitted
on all sides as a marked feature of difference between the conditions of
the primitive and of civilised man.[8]

Lastly, with regard to the mental condition of the Barbarian, probably
no one will be found to dispute the contention that he is more
easy-minded and that his consciousness of Sin is less developed than in
his civilised brother. Our unrest is the penalty we pay for our wider
life. The missionary retires routed from the savage in whom he can awake
no sense of his supreme wickedness. An American lady had a servant, a
negro-woman, who on one occasion asked leave of absence for the next
morning, saying she wished to attend the Holy Communion? "I have no
objection," said the mistress, "to grant you leave; but do you think you
_ought_ to attend Communion? You know you have never said you were sorry
about that goose you stole last week." "Lor' missus," replied the
woman, "do ye think I'd let an old goose stand betwixt me and my Blessed
Lord and Master?" But joking apart, and however necessary for man's
ultimate evolution may be the temporary development of this
consciousness of Sin, we cannot help seeing that the condition of the
mind in which it is absent is the most distinctively _healthy_; nor can
it be concealed that some of the greatest works of Art have been
produced by people like the earlier Greeks, in whom it was absent; and
could not possibly have been produced where it was strongly developed.

Though, as already said, the latest stage of Barbarism, _i.e._, that
just preceding Civilisation, is unrepresented on the earth to-day, yet
we have in the Homeric and other dawn-literature of the various nations
indirect records of this stage; and these records assure us of a
condition of man very similar to, though somewhat more developed than,
the condition of the existing races I have mentioned above. Besides
this, we have in the numerous traditions of the Golden Age,[9] legends
of the Fall, etc., a curious fact which suggests to us that a great
number of races in advancing towards Civilisation were conscious at some
point or other of having lost a primitive condition of ease and
contentment, and that they embodied this consciousness, with poetical
adornment and licence, in imaginative legends of the earlier Paradise.
Some people indeed, seeing the universality of these stories, and the
remarkable fragments of wisdom embedded in them and other extremely
ancient myths and writings, have supposed that there really was a
general pre-historic Eden-garden or Atlantis; but the necessities of the
case hardly seem to compel this supposition. That each human soul,
however, bears within itself some kind of reminiscence of a more
harmonious and perfect state of being, which it has at some time
experienced, seems to me a conclusion difficult to avoid; and this by
itself might give rise to manifold traditions and myths.


II

However all this may be, the question immediately before us--having
established the more healthy, though more limited, condition of the
pre-civilisation peoples--is, why this lapse or fall? What is the
meaning of this manifold and intensified manifestation of
Disease--physical, social, intellectual, and moral? What is its place
and part in the great whole of human evolution?

And this involves us in a digression, which must occupy a few pages, on
the nature of Health.

When we come to analyse the conception of Disease, physical or mental,
in society or in the individual, it evidently means, as already hinted
once or twice, _loss of unity_. Health, therefore, should mean unity,
and it is curious that the history of the word entirely corroborates
this idea. As is well known, the words health, whole, holy, are from
the same stock; and they indicate to us the fact that far back in the
past those who created this group of words had a conception of the
meaning of Health very different from ours, and which they embodied
unconsciously in the word itself and its strange relatives.

These are, for instance, and among others: heal, hallow, hale, holy,
whole, wholesome; German heilig, Heiland (the Saviour); Latin salus (as
in salutation, salvation); Greek kalos; also compare hail! a salutation,
and, less certainly connected, the root _hal_, to breathe, as in inhale,
exhale--French haleine--Italian and French alma and âme (the soul);
compare the Latin spiritus, spirit or breath, and Sanskrit âtman, breath
or soul.

Wholeness, holiness ... "if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be
full of light." ... "thy faith hath made thee _whole_."

The idea seems to be a positive one--a condition of the body in which it
is an entirety, a unity--a central force maintaining that condition; and
disease being the break-up--or break-down--of that entirety into
multiplicity.

The peculiarity about our modern conception of Health is that it seems
to be a purely negative one. So impressed are we by the myriad presence
of Disease--so numerous its dangers, so sudden and unforetellable its
attacks--that we have come to look upon health as the mere absence of
the same. As a solitary spy picks his way through a hostile camp at
night, sees the enemy sitting round his fires, and trembles at the
crackling of a twig beneath his feet--so the traveller through this
world, comforter in one hand and physic-bottle in the other, must pick
his way, fearful lest at any time he disturb the sleeping legions of
death--thrice blessed if by any means, steering now to the right and now
to the left, and thinking only of his personal safety, he pass by
without discovery to the other side.

Health with us is a negative thing. It is a neutralisation of opposing
dangers. It is to be neither rheumatic nor gouty, consumptive nor
bilious, to be untroubled by head-ache, back-ache, heart-ache, or any of
the "thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to." These are the
realities. Health is the mere negation of them.

The modern notion, and which has evidently in a very subtle way
penetrated the whole thought of to-day, is that the essential fact of
life is the existence of innumerable external forces, which, by a very
delicate balance and difficult to maintain, concur to produce Man--who
in consequence may at any moment be destroyed again by the
non-concurrence of those forces. The older notion apparently is that the
essential fact of life _is_ Man himself; and that the external forces,
so-called, are in some way subsidiary to this fact--that they may aid
his expression or manifestation, or that they may hinder it, but that
they can neither create nor annihilate the Man. Probably both ways of
looking at the subject are important; there is a man that can be
destroyed, and there is a man that cannot be destroyed. The old words,
soul and body, indicate this contrast; but like all words they are
subject to the defect that they are an attempt to draw a line where no
line can ultimately be drawn; they mark a contrast where, in fact, there
is only continuity--for between the little mortal man who dwells here
and now, and the divine and universal Man who also forms a part of our
consciousness, is there not a perfect gradation of being, and where (if
anywhere) is there a gulf fixed? Together they form a unit, and each is
necessary to the other: the first cannot do without the second, and the
second cannot get along at all without the first. To use the words of
Angelus Silesius (quoted by Schopenhauer), "Ich weiss dass ohne mich
Gott nicht ein Nu kann leben."

According then to the elder conception, and perhaps according to an
elder experience, man, to be really healthy, must be a unit, an
entirety--his more external and momentary self standing in some kind of
filial relation to his more universal and incorruptible part--so that
not only the remotest and outermost regions of the body, and all the
assimilative, secretive, and other processes belonging thereto, but even
the thoughts and passions of the mind itself, stand in direct and clear
relationship to it, the final and absolute transparency of the mortal
creature. And thus this divinity in each creature, being that which
constitutes it and causes it to cohere together, was conceived of as
that creature's saviour, healer--healer of wounds of body and wounds of
heart--the Man within the man, whom it was not only possible to know,
but whom to know and be united with was the alone salvation. This, I
take it, was the law of health--and of holiness--as accepted at some
elder time of human history, and by us seen as thro' a glass darkly.

And the condition of disease, and of sin, under the same view, was the
reverse of this. Enfeeblement, obscuration, duplicity--the central
radiation blocked; lesser and insubordinate centres establishing and
asserting themselves as against it; division, discord, possession by
devils.

Thus in the body, the establishment of an insubordinate centre--a boil,
a tumor, the introduction and spread of a germ with innumerable progeny
throughout the system, the enlargement out of all reason of an existing
organ--means disease. In the mind, disease begins when any passion
asserts itself as an independent centre of thought and action. The
condition of health in the mind is loyalty to the divine Man within
it.[10] But if loyalty to money become an independent centre of life, or
greed of knowledge, or of fame, or of drink; jealousy, lust, the love of
approbation; or mere following after any so-called virtue for
itself--purity, humility, consistency, or what not--these may grow to
seriously endanger the other. They are, or should be, subordinates; and
though over a long period their insubordination may be a necessary
condition of human progress, yet during all such time they are at war
with each other and with the central Will; the man is torn and
tormented, and is not happy.

And when I speak thus separately of the mind and body, it must be
remembered, as already said, that there is no strict line between them;
but probably every affection or passion of the mind has its correlative
in the condition of the body--though this latter may or may not be
easily observable. Gluttony _is_ a fever of the digestive apparatus.
What is a taint in the mind is also a taint in the body. The stomach has
started the original idea of becoming itself the centre of the human
system. The sexual organs may start a similar idea. Here are distinct
threats, menaces made against the central authority--against the Man
himself. For the man must rule or disappear; it is impossible to imagine
a man presided over by a Stomach--a walking Stomach, using hands, feet,
and all other members merely to carry it from place to place, and serve
its assimilative mania. We call such a one an Hog. [And thus in the
theory of Evolution we see the place of the hog, and all other animals,
as fore-runners or off-shoots of special faculties in Man, and why the
true man, and rightly, has authority over all animals, and can alone
give them their place in creation.]

So of the Brain, or any other organ; for the Man is no organ, resides in
no organ, but is the central life ruling and radiating among all
organs, and assigning them their arts to play.

Disease then, in body or mind, is from this point of view the break-up
of its unity, its entirety, into multiplicity. It is the abeyance of a
central power, and the growth of insubordinate centres--life in each
creature being conceived of as a continual exercise of energy or
conquest, by which external or antagonistic forces (and organisms) are
brought into subjection and compelled into the service of the creature,
or are thrown off as harmful to it. Thus, by way of illustration, we
find that plants or animals, when in good health, have a remarkable
power of throwing off the attacks of any parasites which incline to
infest them; while those that are weakly are very soon eaten up by the
same. A rose-tree, for instance, brought indoors, will soon fall a prey
to the aphis--though when hardened out of doors the pest makes next to
no impression on it. In dry seasons when the young turnip plants in the
fields are weakly from want of water the entire crop is sometimes
destroyed by the turnip fly, which then multiplies enormously; but if a
shower or two of rain come before much damage is done the plant will
then grow vigorously, its tissues become more robust and resist the
attacks of the fly, which in its turn dies. Late investigations seem to
show that one of the functions of the white corpuscles in the blood is
to devour disease-germs and bacteria present in the circulation--thus
absorbing these organisms into subjection to the central life of the
body--and that with this object they congregate in numbers toward any
part of the body which is wounded or diseased. Or to take an example
from society, it is clear enough that if our social life were really
vivid and healthy, such parasitic products as the idle shareholder and
the policeman above-mentioned would simply be impossible. The material
on which they prey would not exist, and they would either perish or be
transmuted into useful forms. It seems obvious in fact that life in any
organism can only be maintained by some such processes as these--by
which parasitic or infesting organisms are either thrown off or absorbed
into subjection. To define the nature of the power which thus works
towards and creates the distinctive unity of each organism may be
difficult, is probably at present impossible, but that some such power
exists we can hardly refuse to admit. Probably it is more a subject of
the growth of our consciousness, than an object of external scientific
investigation.

In this view, Death is simply the loosening and termination of the
action of this power--over certain regions of the organism; a process by
which, when these superficial parts become hardened and osseous, as in
old age, or irreparably damaged, as in cases of accident, the inward
being sloughs them off, and passes into other spheres. In the case of
man there may be noble and there may be ignoble death, as there may be
noble and ignoble life. The inward self, unable to maintain authority
over the forces committed to its charge, declining from its high
prerogative, swarmed over by parasites, and fallen partially into the
clutch of obscene foes, may at last with shame and torment be driven
forth from the temple in which it ought to have been supreme. Or, having
fulfilled a holy and wholesome time, having radiated divine life and
love through all the channels of body and mind, and as a perfect workman
uses his tools, so having with perfect mastery and nonchalance used all
the materials committed to it, it may quietly and peacefully lay these
down, and unchanged (absolutely unchanged to all but material eyes) pass
on to other spheres appointed.

And now a few words on the medical aspect of the subject. If we accept
any theory (even remotely similar to that just indicated) to the effect
that Health is a positive thing, and not a mere negation of disease, it
becomes pretty clear that no mere investigation of the latter will
enable us to find out what the former is, or bring us nearer to it. You
might as well try to create the ebb and flow of the tides by an
organised system of mops.

Turn your back upon the Sun and go forth into the wildernesses of space
till you come to those limits where the rays of light, faint with
distance, fall dim upon the confines of eternal darkness--and phantoms
and shadows in the half-light are the product of the wavering conflict
betwixt day and night--investigate these shadows, describe them,
classify them, record the changes which take place in them, erect in
vast libraries these records into a monument of human industry and
research; so shall you be at the end as near to a knowledge and
understanding of the sun itself--which all this time you have left
behind you, and on which you have turned your back--as the investigators
of disease are to a knowledge and understanding of what health is. The
solar rays illumine the outer world and give to it its unity and
entirety; so in the inner world of each individual possibly is there
another Sun, which illumines and gives unity to the man, and whose
warmth and light would permeate his system. Wait upon the shining forth
of this inward sun, give free access and welcome to its rays of love,
and free passage for them into the common world around you, and it may
be you will get to know more about health than all the books of medicine
contain, or can tell you.

Or to take the former simile: it is the central force of the Moon which
acting on the great ocean makes all its waters one, and causes them to
rise and fall in timely consent. But take your moon away; hey! now the
tide is flowing too far down this estuary! Station your thousands with
mops, but it breaks through in channel and runlet! Block it here, but it
overflows in a neighboring bay! Appoint an army of swabs there, but to
what end? The infinitest care along the fringe of this great sea can
never do, with all imaginable dirt and confusion, what the central power
does easily, and with unerring grace and providence.

And so of the great (the vast and wonderful) ocean which ebbs and flows
within a man--take away the central guide--and not 20,000 doctors, each
with 20,000 books to consult and 20,000 phials of different contents to
administer, could meet the myriad cases of disease which would ensue, or
bolster up into "wholeness" the being from whom the single radiant unity
had departed.

Probably there has never been an age, nor any country (except
Yankee-land?) in which disease has been so generally prevalent as in
England to-day; and certainly there has never (with the same exception)
been an age or country in which doctors have so swarmed, or in which
medical science has been so powerful, in apparatus, in learning, in
authority, and in actual organisation and number of adherents. How
reconcile this contradiction--if indeed a contradiction it be?

But the fact is that medical science does not contradict disease--any
more than laws abolish crime. Medical science--and doubtless for very
good reasons--makes a fetish of disease, and dances around it. It is (as
a rule) only seen where disease is; it writes enormous tomes on disease;
it induces disease in animals (and even men) for the purpose of studying
it; it knows, to a marvelous extent, the symptoms of disease, its
nature, its causes, its goings out and its comings in; its eyes are
perpetually fixed on disease, till disease (for it) becomes the main
fact of the world and the main object of its worship. Even what is so
gracefully called Hygiene does not get beyond this negative attitude.
And the world still waits for its Healer, who shall tell us--diseased
and suffering as we are--_what_ health is, where it is to be found,
whence it flows; and who having touched this wonderful power within
himself shall not rest till he has proclaimed and imparted it to men.

No, medical science does not, in the main, contradict disease. The same
cause (infidelity and decay of the central life in men) which creates
disease and makes men liable to it, creates students and a science of
the subject. The Moon[11] having gone from over the waters, the good
people rush forth with their mops; and the untimely inundations, and the
mops and the mess and the pother, are all due to the same cause.

As to the lodgment of disease, it is clear that this would take place
easily in a disorganised system--just as a seditious adventurer would
easily effect a landing, and would find insubordinate materials ready at
hand for his use, in a land where the central government was weak. And
as to the treatment of a disease so introduced there are obviously two
methods: one is to reinforce the central power till it is sufficiently
strong of itself to eject the insubordinate elements and restore order;
the other is to attack the malady from outside and if possible destroy
it--(as by doses and decoctions)--independently of the inner vitality,
and leaving that as it was before. The first method would seem the best,
most durable and effective; but it is difficult and slow. It consists in
the adoption of a healthy life, bodily and mental, and will be spoken
of later on. The second may be characterised as the medical method, and
is valuable, or rather I should be inclined to say, _will_ be valuable,
when it has found its place, which is to be subsidiary to the first. It
is too often, however, regarded as superior in importance, and in this
way, though easy of application, has come perhaps to be productive of
more harm than good. The disease may be broken down for the time being,
but, the roots of it not being destroyed, it soon springs up again in
the same or a new form, and the patient is as badly off as ever.

The great positive force of Health, and the power which it has to
_expel_ disease from its neighborhood is a thing realised, I believe, by
few persons. But it _has_ been realised on earth, and will be realised
again when the more squalid elements of our present-day civilisation
have passed away.


III

The result then of our digression is to show that Health--in body or
mind--means unity, integration as opposed to disintegration. In the
animals we find this physical unity existing to a remarkable degree. An
almost unerring instinct and selective power rules their actions and
organisation. Thus a cat before it has fallen (say before it has become
a very wheezy fireside pussy!) is in a sense perfect. The wonderful
consent of its limbs as it runs or leaps, the adaptation of its
muscles, the exactness and inevitableness of its instincts, physical and
affectional; its senses of sight and smell, its cleanliness, nicety as
to food, motherly tact, the expression of its whole body when enraged,
or when watching for prey--all these things are so to speak absolute and
instantaneous--and fill one with admiration. The creature is "whole" or
in one piece: there is no mentionable conflict or division within
it.[12]

Similarly with the other animals, and even with the early man himself.
And so it would appear returning to our subject--that, if we accept the
doctrine of Evolution, there is a progression of animated beings--which,
though not perfect, possess in the main the attribute of Health--from
the lowest forms up to a healthy and instinctive though certainly
limited man. During all this stage the central law is in the ascendant,
and the physical frame of each creature is the fairly clean vehicle of
its expression--varying of course in complexity and degree according to
the point of unfoldment which has been reached. And when thus in the
long process of development the inner Man (which has lain hidden or
dormant within the animal) at last appears, and the creature
consequently takes on the outer frame and faculties of the human being,
which are only as they are because of the inner man which they
represent; when it has passed through stage after stage of animal life,
throwing out tentative types and likenesses of what is to come, and
going through innumerable preliminary exercises in special forms and
faculties, till at last it begins to be able to wear the full majesty of
manhood itself--_then_ it would seem that that long process of
development is drawing to a close, and that the goal of creation must be
within measurable distance.

But then, at that very moment, and when the goal is, so to speak, in
sight, occurs this failure of "wholeness" of which we have spoken, this
partial break-up of the unity of human nature--and man, instead of going
forward any longer in the same line as before, to all appearance
_falls_.

What is the meaning of this loss of unity? What is the cause and purpose
of this fall and centuries-long exile from the earlier Paradise?

There can be but one answer. It is self-knowledge--(which involves in a
sense the abandonment of self). Man has to become conscious of his
destiny--to lay hold of and realise his own freedom and blessedness--to
transfer his consciousness from the outer and mortal part of him to the
inner and undying.

The cat cannot do this. Though perfect in its degree, its interior
unfoldment is yet incomplete. The human soul within it has not yet come
forward and declared itself; some sheathing leaves have yet to open
before the divine flower-bud can be clearly seen. And when at last
(speaking as a fool) the cat becomes a man--when the human soul within
the creature has climbed itself forward and found expression,
transforming the outer frame in the process into that of
humanity--(which is the meaning I suppose of the evolution theory)--then
the creature, though perfect and radiant in the form of Man, still lacks
one thing. It lacks the knowledge of itself; it lacks its own identity,
and the realisation of the manhood to which as a fact it has attained.

In the animals consciousness has never returned upon itself. It radiates
easily outwards; and the creature obeys without let or hesitation, and
with little if any _self_-consciousness, the law of its being. And when
man first appears on the earth, and even up to the threshold of what we
call civilisation, there is much to show that he should in this respect
still be classed with the animals. Though vastly superior to them in
attainments, physical and mental, in power over nature, capacity of
progress, and adaptability, he still in these earlier stages was like an
animal in the unconscious instinctive nature of his action; and on the
other hand, though his moral and intellectual structures were far less
complete than those of the modern man--as was a necessary result of the
absence of self-knowledge--he actually lived more in harmony with
himself and with nature,[13] than does his descendant; his impulses,
both physical and social, were clearer and more unhesitating; and his
unconsciousness of inner discord and sin a great contrast to our modern
condition of everlasting strife and perplexity.

If then to this stage belongs some degree of human perfection and
felicity, yet there remains a much vaster height to be scaled. The human
soul which has wandered darkling for so many thousands of years, from
its tiny spark-like germ in some low form of life to its full splendor
and dignity in man, has yet to come to the _knowledge_ of its wonderful
heritage, has yet to become finally individualised and free, to know
itself immortal, to resume and interpret all its past lives, and to
enter in triumph into the kingdom which it has won.

It has in fact to face the frightful struggle of self-consciousness, or
the disentanglement of the true self from the fleeting and perishable
self. The animals and man, unfallen, are healthy and free from care, but
unaware of what they are; to attain self-knowledge man must fall; he
must become less than his true self; he must endure imperfection;
division and strife must enter his nature. To realise the perfect Life,
to know what, how wonderful it is--to understand that all blessedness
and freedom consists in its possession--he must for the moment suffer
divorce from it; the unity, the repose of his nature must be broken up,
crime, disease and unrest must enter in, and by contrast he must attain
to knowledge.

Curious that at the very dawn of the Greek and with it the European
civilisation we have the mystic words "Know Thyself" inscribed on the
temple of the Delphic Apollo; and that first among the legends of the
Semitic race stands that of Adam and Eve eating of the tree of the
Knowledge of good and evil! To the animal there is no such knowledge, to
the early man there was no such knowledge, and to the perfected man of
the future there will be no such knowledge. It is a temporary
perversion, indicating the disunion of the present-day man--the disunion
of the outer self from the inner--the horrible dual
self-consciousness--which is the means ultimately of a more perfect and
conscious union than could ever have been realised without it--the death
that is swallowed up in victory. "For the first man is of the earth,
earthy; but the second man is the Lord from heaven."

In order then, at this point in his Evolution, to advance any farther,
Man must first fall; in order to know, he must lose. In order to realise
what Health is, how splendid and glorious a possession, he must go
through all the long negative experience of Disease; in order to know
the perfect social life, to understand what power and happiness to
mankind are involved in their true relation to each other, he must learn
the misery and suffering which come from mere individualism and greed;
and in order to find his true Manhood, to discover what a wonderful
power it is, he must first lose it--he must become a prey and a slave to
his own passions and desires--whirled away like Phaethon by the horses
which he cannot control.

This moment of divorce, then, this parenthesis in human progress, covers
the ground of all History; and the whole of Civilisation, and all crime
and disease, are only the materials of its immense purpose--themselves
destined to pass away as they arose, but to leave their fruits eternal.

Accordingly we find that it has been the work of Civilisation--founded
as we have seen on Property--in every way to disintegrate and corrupt
man--literally to corrupt--to _break up_ the unity of his nature. It
begins with the abandonment of the primitive life and the growth of the
sense of shame (as in the myth of Adam and Eve). From this follows the
disownment of the sacredness of sex. Sexual acts cease to be a part of
religious worship; love and desire--the inner and the outer
love--hitherto undifferentiated, now become two separate things. (This
no doubt a necessary stage in order for the development of the
_consciousness of love_, but in itself only painful and abnormal.) It
culminates and comes to an end, as to-day, in a complete divorce between
the spiritual reality and the bodily fulfilment--in a vast system of
commercial love, bought and sold, in the brothel and in the palace. It
begins with the forsaking of the hardy nature-life, and it ends with a
society broken down and prostrate, hardly recognisable as human, amid
every form of luxury, poverty and disease. He who had been the free
child of Nature denies his sonship; he disowns the very breasts that
suckled him. He deliberately turns his back upon the light of the sun,
and hides himself away in boxes with breathing holes (which he calls
houses), living ever more and more in darkness and asphyxia, and only
coming forth perhaps once a day to blink at the bright god, or to run
back again at the first breath of the free wind for fear of catching
cold! He muffles himself in the cast-off furs of the beasts, every
century swathing himself in more and more layers, more and more
fearfully and wonderfully fashioned, till he ceases to be recognisable
as the Man that was once the crown of the animals, and presents a more
ludicrous spectacle than the monkey that sits on his own barrel organ.
He ceases to a great extent to use his muscles, his feet become
partially degenerate, his teeth wholly, his digestion so enervated that
he has to cook his food and make pulps of all his victuals, and his
whole system so obviously on the decline that at last in the end of
time a Kay Robinson arises and prophesies as aforesaid, that he will
before long become wholly toothless, bald and toeless.

And so with this denial of Nature comes every form of disease; first
delicatesse, daintiness, luxury; then unbalance, enervation, huge
susceptibility to pain. With the shutting of himself away from the
all-healing Power, man inevitably weakens his whole manhood; the central
bond is loosened, and he falls a prey to his own organs. He who before
was unaware of the existence of these latter, now becomes only too
conscious of them (and this--is it not the very object of the process?);
the stomach, the liver and the spleen start out into painful
distinctness before him, the heart loses its equable beat, the lungs
their continuity with the universal air, and the brain becomes hot and
fevered; each organ in turn asserts itself abnormally and becomes a seat
of disorder, every corner and cranny of the body becomes the scene and
symbol of disease, and Man gazes aghast at his own kingdom--whose extent
he had never suspected before--now all ablaze in wild revolt against
him. And then--all going with this period of his development--sweep vast
epidemic trains over the face of the earth, plagues and fevers and
lunacies and world-wide festering sores, followed by armies, ever
growing, of doctors--they too with their retinues of books and bottles,
vaccinations and vivisections, and grinning death's-heads in the rear--a
mad crew, knowing not what they do, yet all unconsciously, doubtless,
fulfilling the great age-long destiny of humanity.


In all this the influence of Property is apparent enough. It is evident
that the growth of property through the increase of man's powers of
production reacts on the man in three ways: to draw him away namely, (1)
from Nature, (2) from his true Self, (3) from his Fellows. In the first
place it draws him away from Nature. That is, that as man's power over
materials increases he creates for himself a sphere and an environment
of his own, in some sense apart and different from the great elemental
world of the winds and the waves, the woods and the mountains, in which
he has hitherto lived. He creates what we call the artificial life, of
houses and cities, and, shutting himself up in these, shuts Nature out.
As a growing boy at a certain point, and partly in order to assert his
independence, wrests himself away from the tender care of his mother,
and even displays--just for the time being--a spirit of opposition to
her, so the growing Man finding out his own powers uses them--for the
time--even to do despite to Nature, and to create himself a world in
which she shall have no part. In the second place the growth of property
draws man away from his true Self. This is clear enough. As his power
over materials and his possessions increases, man finds the means of
gratifying his senses at will. Instead of being guided any longer by
that continent and "whole" instinct which characterises the animals,
his chief motive is now to use his powers to gratify this or that sense
or desire. These become abnormally magnified, and the man soon places
his main good in their satisfaction; and abandons his true Self for his
organs, the whole for the parts. Property draws the man outwards,
stimulating the external part of his being, and for a time mastering
him, overpowers the central Will, and brings about his disintegration
and corruption. Lastly, Property by thus stimulating the external and
selfish nature in Man, draws him away from his Fellows. In the anxiety
to possess things for himself, in order to gratify his own bumps, he is
necessarily brought into conflict with his neighbor and comes to regard
him as an enemy. For the true Self of man consists in his organic
relation with the whole body of his fellows; and when the man abandons
his true Self he abandons also his true relation to his fellows. The
mass-Man must rule in each unit-man, else the unit-man will drop off and
die. But when the outer man tries to separate himself from the inner,
the unit-man from the mass-Man, then the reign of individuality
begins--a false and impossible individuality of course, but the only
means of coming to the consciousness of the true individuality. With the
advent of a Civilisation then founded on Property the unity of the old
tribal society is broken up. The ties of blood relationship which were
the foundation of the gentile system and the guarantees of the old
fraternity and equality become dissolved in favor of powers and
authorities founded on mere possession. The growth of Wealth
disintegrates the ancient Society; the temptations of power, of
possession, etc., which accompany it, wrench the individual from his
moorings; personal greed rules; "each man for himself" becomes the
universal motto; the hand of every man is raised against his brother,
and at last society itself becomes an organisation by which the rich
fatten upon the vitals of the poor, the strong upon the murder of the
weak. [It is interesting in this connection to find that Lewis Morgan
makes the invention of a written alphabet and the growth of the
conception of private property the main characteristics of the
civilisation-period as distinguished from the periods of savagery and
barbarism which preceded it; for the invention of writing marks perhaps
better than anything else could do the period when Man becomes
_self-conscious_--when he records his own doings and thoughts, and so
commences History proper; and the growth of private property marks the
period when he begins to sunder himself from his fellows, when therefore
the conception of sin (or separation) first enters in, and with it all
the long period of moral perplexity, and the denial of that community of
life between himself and his fellows which is really of the essence of
man's being.]

And then arises the institution of Government.

Hitherto this had not existed except in a quite rudimentary form. The
early communities troubled themselves little about individual ownership,
and what government they had was for the most part essentially
democratic--as being merely a choice of leaders among blood-relations
and social equals. But when the delusion that man can exist for himself
alone--his outer and, as it were, accidental self apart from the great
inner and cosmical self by which he is one with his fellows--when this
delusion takes possession of him, it is not long before it finds
expression in some system of private property. The old community of life
and enjoyment passes away, and each man tries to grab the utmost he can,
and to retire into his own lair for its consumption. Private
accumulations arise; the natural flow of the bounties of life is dammed
back, and artificial barriers of Law have to be constructed in order to
preserve the unequal levels. Outrage and Fraud follow in the wake of the
desire of possession; force has to be used by the possessors in order to
maintain the law-barriers against the non-possessors; classes are
formed; and finally the formal Government arises, mainly as the
expression of such force; and preserves itself, as best it can, until
such time as the inequalities which it upholds become too glaring, and
the pent social waters gathering head burst through once more and regain
their natural levels.

Thus Morgan in his "Ancient Society" points out over and over again that
the civilised state rests upon territorial and property marks and
qualifications, and not upon a personal basis as did the ancient _gens_,
or the tribe; and that the civilised government correspondingly takes on
quite a different character and function from the simple organisation
of the gens. He says (p. 124), "Monarchy is incompatible with
gentilism." Also with regard to the relation of Property to Civilisation
and Government he makes the following pregnant remarks (p. 505): "It is
impossible to over-estimate the influence of property in the
civilisation of mankind. It was the power that brought the Aryan and
Semitic nations out of barbarism into civilisation. The growth of the
idea of property in the human mind commenced in feebleness and ended in
becoming its master passion. Governments and Laws are instituted with
primary reference to its creation, protection and enjoyment. It
introduced human slavery as an instrument in its production; and after
the experience of several thousand years it caused the abolition of
slavery upon the discovery that a freeman was a better property-making
machine." And in another passage on the same subject, "The dissolution
of society bids fair to become the termination of a career of which
property is the end and aim; because such a career contains the elements
of self-destruction. Democracy is the next higher plane. It will be a
revival in a higher form of the liberty, equality and fraternity of the
ancient gentes."

The institution of Government is in fact the evidence in social life
that man has lost his inner and central control, and therefore must
resort to an outward one. Losing touch with the inward Man--who is his
true guide--he declines upon an external law, which must always be
false. If each man remained in organic adhesion to the general body of
his fellows, no serious dis-harmony could occur; but it is when this
vital unity of the body politic becomes weak that it has to be preserved
by artificial means, and thus it is that with the decay of the primitive
and instinctive social life there springs up a form of government which
is no longer the democratic expression of the life of the whole people;
but a kind of outside authority and compulsion thrust upon them by a
ruling class or caste.

Perhaps the sincerest, and often though not always the earliest, form of
Government is Monarchy. The sentiment of human unity having been already
partly but not quite lost, the people choose--in order to hold society
together--a man to rule over them who has this sentiment in a high
degree. He represents the true Man and therefore the people. This is
often a time of extensive warfare and the formation of nations. And it
is interesting in this connection to note that the quite early "Kings"
or leaders of each nation just prior to the civilisation period were
generally associated with the highest religious functions, as in the
case of the Roman _rex_, the Greek _basileus_, the early Egyptian Kings,
Moses among the Israelites, and Druid leaders of the Britons, and so on.

Later, and as the central authority gets more and more shadowy in each
man, and the external attraction of Property greater, so it does in
Society. The temporal and spiritual powers part company. The king--who
at first represented the Divine Spirit or soul of society, recedes into
the background, and his nobles of high degree (who may be compared to
the nobler, more generous, qualities of the mind) begin to take his
place. This is the Aristocracy and the Feudal Age--the Timocracy of
Plato; and is marked by the appearance of large private tenures of land,
and the growth of slavery and serfdom--the slavery thus outwardly
appearing in society being the symbol of the inward enslavement of the
man.

Then comes the Commercial Age--the Oligarchy or Plutocracy of Plato.
Honour quite gives place to material wealth; the rulers rule not by
personal or hereditary, but by property qualifications. Parliaments and
Constitutions and general Palaver are the order of the day.
Wage-slavery, usury, mortgages, and other abominations, indicate the
advance of the mortal process. In the individual man gain is the end of
existence; industry and scientific cunning are his topmost virtues.

Last of all the break-up is complete. The individual loses all memory
and tradition of his heavenly guide and counterpart; his nobler passions
fail for want of a leader to whom to dedicate themselves; his industry
and his intellect serve but to minister to his little swarming desires.
This is the era of anarchy--the democracy of Carlyle; the rule of the
rabble, and mob-law; caucuses and cackle, competition and universal
greed, breaking out in cancerous tyrannies and plutocracies--a mere
chaos and confusion of society. For just as we saw in the human body,
when the inner and positive force of Health has departed from it, that
it falls a prey to parasites which overspread and devour it; so, when
the central inspiration departs out of social life, does it writhe with
the mere maggots of individual greed, and at length fall under the
dominion of the most monstrous egotist who has been bred from its
corruption.

Thus we have briefly sketched the progress of the symptoms of the
"disease," which, as said before, runs much (though not quite) the same
course in the various nations which it attacks. And if this last stage
were really the end of all, and the true Democracy, there were indeed
little left to hope for. No words of Carlyle could blast that black
enough. But this is no true Democracy. Here in this "each for himself"
is no rule of the Demos in every man, nor anything resembling it. Here
is no solidarity such as existed in the ancient tribes and primæval
society, but only disintegration and a dust-heap. The true Democracy has
yet to come. Here in this present stage is only the final denial of all
outward and class government, in preparation for the restoration of the
inner and true authority. Here in this stage the task of civilisation
comes to an end; the purport and object of all these centuries is
fulfilled; the bitter experience that mankind had to pass through is
completed; and out of this Death and all the torture and unrest which
accompanies it, comes at last the Resurrection. Man has sounded the
depths of alienation from his own divine spirit, he has drunk the dregs
of the cup of suffering, he has literally descended into Hell;
henceforth he turns, both in the individual and in society, and mounts
deliberately and consciously back again towards the unity which he has
lost.[14]

And the false democracy parts aside for the disclosure of the true
Democracy which has been formed beneath it--which is not an external
government at all, but an inward rule--the rule of the mass-Man in each
unit-man. For no outward government can be anything but a make-shift--a
temporary hard chrysalis-sheath to hold the grub together while the new
life is forming inside--a device of the civilisation-period. Farther
than this it cannot go, since no true life can rely upon an external
support, and, when the true life of society comes, all its forms will be
fluid and spontaneous and voluntary.


IV

And now, by way of a glimpse into the future--after this long digression
what is the route that man will take?

This is a subject that I hardly dare tackle. "The morning wind ever
blows," says Thoreau, "the poem of creation is uninterrupted--but few
are the ears that hear it." And how can we, gulfed as we are in this
present whirlpool, conceive rightly the glory which awaits us? No limits
that our present knowledge puts need alarm us; the impossibilities will
yield very easily when the time comes; and the anatomical difficulty as
to how and where the wings are to grow will vanish when they are felt
sprouting!

It can hardly be doubted that the tendency will be--indeed is already
showing itself--towards a return to nature and community of human life.
This is the way back to the lost Eden, or rather forward to the new
Eden, of which the old was only a figure. Man has to undo the wrappings
and the mummydom of centuries, by which he has shut himself from the
light of the sun and lain in seeming death, preparing silently his
glorious resurrection--for all the world like the funny old chrysalis
that he is. He has to emerge from houses and all his other hiding
places wherein so long ago ashamed (as at the voice of God in the
garden) he concealed himself--and Nature must once more become his home,
as it is the home of the animals and the angels.

As it is written in the old magical formula: "Man clothes himself to
descend, unclothes himself to ascend." Over his spiritual or wind-like
body he puts on a material or earthy body; over his earth-body he puts
on the skins of animals and other garments; then he hides this body in a
house behind curtains and stone walls--which become to it as secondary
skins and prolongations of itself. So that between the man and his true
life there grows a dense and impenetrable hedge; and, what with the
cares and anxieties connected with his earth-body and all its skins, he
soon loses the knowledge that he is a Man at all; his true self slumbers
in a deep and agelong swoon.

But the instinct of all who desire to deliver the divine _imago_ within
them, is, in something more than the literal sense, towards unclothing.
And the process of evolution or exfoliation itself is nothing but a
continual unclothing of Nature, by which the perfect human Form which is
at the root of it comes nearer and nearer to its manifestation.

Thus, in order to restore the Health which he has lost, man has in the
future to tend in this direction. Life indoors and in houses has to
become a fraction only, instead of the principal part of existence as it
is now. Garments similarly have to be simplified. How far this process
may go it is not necessary now to enquire. It is sufficiently obvious
that our domestic life and clothing may be at once greatly reduced in
complexity, and with the greatest advantage--made subsidiary instead of
being erected into the fetishes which they are. And everyone may feel
assured that each gain in this direction is a gain in true life--whether
it be the head that goes uncovered to the air of heaven, or the feet
that press bare the magnetic earth, or the elementary raiment that
allows through its meshes the light itself to reach the vital organs.
The life of the open air, familiarity with the winds and waves, clean
and pure food, the companionship of the animals--the very wrestling with
the great Mother for his food--all these things will tend to restore
that relationship which man has so long disowned; and the consequent
instreaming of energy into his system will carry him to perfections of
health and radiance of being at present unsuspected.

Of course, it will be said that many of these things are difficult to
realise in our country, that an indoor life, with all its concomitants,
is forced upon us by the climate. But if this is to some small--though
very small--extent true, it forms no reason why we should not still take
advantage of every opportunity to push in the direction indicated. It
must be remembered, too, that our climate is greatly of our own
creation. If the atmosphere of many of our great towns and of the lands
for miles in their neighbourhood is devitalised and deadly--so that in
cold weather it grants to the poor mortal no compensating power of
resistance, but compels him at peril of his life to swathe himself in
greatcoats and mufflers--the blame is none but ours. It is we who have
covered the lands with a pall of smoke, and are walking to our own
funerals under it.

That this climate, however, at its best may not be suited to the highest
developments of human life is quite possible. Because Britain has been
the scene of some of the greatest episodes of Civilisation, it does not
follow that she will keep the lead in the period that is to follow; and
the Higher Communities of the future will perhaps take their rise in
warmer lands, where life is richer and fuller, more spontaneous and more
generous, than it can be here.

Another point in this connection is the food question. For the
restoration of the central vigour when lost or degenerate, a diet
consisting mainly of fruits and grains is most adapted. Animal food
often gives for the time being a lot of nervous energy--and may be
useful for special purposes; but the energy is of a spasmodic feverish
kind; the food has a tendency to inflame the subsidiary centres, and so
to diminish the central control. Those who live mainly on animal food
are specially liable to disease--and not only physically; for their
minds also fall more easily a prey to desires and sorrows. In times
therefore of grief or mental trouble of any kind, as well as in times of
bodily sickness, immediate recourse should be had to the more elementary
diet. The body under this diet endures work with less fatigue, is less
susceptible to pain, and to cold; and heals its wounds with
extraordinary celerity; all of which facts point in the same direction.
It may be noted, too, that foods of the seed kind--by which I mean all
manner of fruits, nuts, tubers, grains, eggs, etc. (and I may include
milk in its various forms of butter, cheese, curds, and so forth), not
only contain by their nature the elements of life in their most
condensed forms, but have the additional advantage that they can be
appropriated without injury to any living creature--for even the cabbage
may inaudibly scream when torn up by the roots and boiled, but the
strawberry plant _asks_ us to take of its fruit, and paints it red
expressly that we may see and devour it! Both of which considerations
must convince us that this kind of food is most fitted to develop the
kernel of man's life.

Which all means cleanness. The unity of our nature being restored, the
instinct of bodily cleanness, _both_ within and without, which is such a
marked characteristic of the animals, will again characterise
mankind--only now instead of a blind instinct it will be a conscious,
joyous one; dirt being only disorder and obstruction. And thus the whole
human being, mind and body, becoming clean and radiant from its inmost
centre to its farthest circumference--"transfigured"--the distinction
between the words spiritual and material disappears. In the words of
Whitman, "objects gross and the unseen soul are one."

But this return to Nature, and identification in some sort with the
great cosmos, does not involve a denial or depreciation of human life
and interests. It is not uncommonly supposed that there is some kind of
antagonism between Man and Nature, and that to recommend a life closer
to the latter means mere asceticism and eremitism; and unfortunately
this antagonism does exist to-day, though it certainly will not exist
for ever. To-day it is unfortunately perfectly true that Man is the only
animal who, instead of adorning and beautifying, makes Nature hideous by
his presence. The fox and the squirrel may make their homes in the wood
and add to its beauty in so doing; but when Alderman Smith plants his
villa there, the gods pack up their trunks and depart; they can bear it
no longer. The Bushmen can hide themselves and become indistinguishable
on a slope of bare rock; they twine their naked little yellow bodies
together, and look like a heap of dead sticks; but when the chimney-pot
hat and frock-coat appear, the birds fly screaming from the trees. This
was the great glory of the Greeks that they accepted and perfected
Nature; as the Parthenon sprang out of the limestone terraces of the
Acropolis, carrying the natural lines of the rock by gradations scarce
perceptible into the finished and human beauty of frieze and pediment,
and as, above, it was open for the blue air of heaven to descend into it
for a habitation; so throughout in all their best work and life did they
stand in this close relation to the earth and the sky and to all
instinctive and elemental things, admitting no gulf between themselves
and them, but only perfecting their expressiveness and beauty. And some
day we shall again understand this which, in the very sunrise of true
Art, the Greeks so well understood. Possibly some day we shall again
build our houses or dwelling places so simple and elemental in character
that they will fit in the nooks of the hills or along the banks of the
streams or by the edges of the woods without disturbing the harmony of
the landscape or the songs of the birds. Then the great temples,
beautiful on every height, or by the shores of the rivers and the lakes,
will be the storehouses of all precious and lovely things. There men,
women and children will come to share in the great and wonderful common
life, the gardens around will be sacred to the unharmed and welcome
animals; there all store and all facilities of books and music and art
for every one, there a meeting place for social life and intercourse,
there dances and games and feasts. Every village, every little
settlement, will have such hall or halls. No need for private
accumulations. Gladly will each man, and more gladly still each woman,
take his or her treasures, except what are immediately or necessarily in
use, to the common centre, where their value will be increased a hundred
and a thousand fold by the greater number of those who can enjoy them,
and where far more perfectly and with far less toil they can be tended
than if scattered abroad in private hands. At one stroke half the labour
and all the anxiety of domestic caretaking will be annihilated. The
private dwelling places, no longer costly and labyrinthine in proportion
to the value and number of the treasures they contain, will need no
longer to have doors and windows jealously closed against fellow men or
mother nature. The sun and air will have access to them, the indwellers
will have unfettered egress. Neither man nor woman will be tied in
slavery to the lodge which they inhabit; and in becoming once more a
part of nature, the human habitation will at length cease to be what it
is now for at least half the human race--a prison.

Men often ask about the new Architecture--what, and of what sort, it is
going to be. But to such a question there can be no answer till a new
understanding of life has entered into people's minds, and then the
answer will be clear enough. For as the Greek Temples and the Gothic
Cathedrals were built by people who themselves lived but frugally as we
should think, and were ready to dedicate their best work and chief
treasure to the gods and the common life; and as to-day when we must
needs have for ourselves spacious and luxurious villas, we seem to be
unable to design a decent church or public building; so it will not be
till we once more find our main interest and life in the life of the
community and the gods that a new spirit will inspire our architecture.
Then when our Temples and Common Halls are not designed to glorify an
individual architect or patron, but are built for the use of free men
and women, to front the sky and the sea and the sun, to spring out of
the earth, companionable with the trees and the rocks, not alien in
spirit from the sunlit globe itself or the depth of the starry
night--then I say their form and structure will quickly determine
themselves, and men will have no difficulty in making them beautiful.
And similarly with the homes or dwelling places of the people. Various
as these may be for the various wants of men, whether for a single
individual or for a family, or for groups of individuals or families,
whether to the last degree simple, or whether more or less ornate and
complex, still the new conception, the new needs of life, will
necessarily dominate them and give them form by a law unfolding from
within.

In such new human life then--its fields, its farms, its workshops, its
cities--always the work of man perfecting and beautifying the lands,
aiding the efforts of the sun and soil, giving voice to the desire of
the mute earth--in such new communal life near to nature, so far from
any asceticism or inhospitality, we are fain to see far more humanity
and sociability than ever before: an infinite helpfulness and sympathy,
as between the children of a common mother. Mutual help and combination
will then have become spontaneous and instinctive: each man contributing
to the service of his neighbor as inevitably and naturally as the right
hand goes to help the left in the human body--and for precisely the same
reason. Every man--think of it!--will do the work which he _likes_,
which he desires to do, which is obviously before him to do, and which
he knows will be useful, without thought of wages or reward; and the
reward will come to him as inevitably and naturally as in the human body
the blood flows to the member which is exerting itself. All the endless
burden of the adjustments of labour and wages, of the war of duty and
distaste, of want and weariness, will be thrown aside--all the huge
waste of work done against the grain will be avoided; out of the endless
variety of human nature will spring a perfectly natural and infinite
variety of occupations, all mutually contributive; Society at last will
be free and the human being after long ages will have attained to
deliverance.

This is the Communism which Civilisation has always _hated_, as it hated
Christ. Yet it is inevitable; for the cosmical man, the instinctive
elemental man accepting and crowning nature, necessarily fulfils the
universal law of nature. As to External Government and Law, they will
disappear; for they are only the travesties and transitory substitutes
of Inward Government and Order. Society in its final state is neither a
Monarchy, nor an Aristocracy nor a Democracy, nor an Anarchy, and yet in
another sense it is all of these. It is an Anarchy because there is no
outward rule, but only an inward and invisible spirit of life; it is a
Democracy because it is the rule of the Mass-man, or Demos, in each unit
man; it is an Aristocracy because there are degrees and ranks of such
inward power in all men; and it is a Monarchy because all these ranks
and powers merge in a perfect unity and central control at last. And so
it appears that the outer forms of government which belong to the
Civilisation-period are only the expression in separate external symbols
of the facts of the true inner life of society.

And just as thus the various external forms of government during the
Civilisation-period find their justification and interpretation in the
ensuing period, so will it be with the mechanical and other products of
the present time; they will be taken up, and find their proper place and
use in the time to come. They will not be refused; but they will have to
be brought into subjection. Our locomotives, machinery, telegraphic and
postal systems; our houses, furniture, clothes, books, our fearful and
wonderful cookery, strong drinks, teas, tobaccos; our medical and
surgical appliances; high-faluting sciences and philosophies, and all
other engines hitherto of human bewilderment, have simply to be reduced
to abject subjection to the real man. All these appliances, and a
thousand others such as we hardly dream of, will come in to perfect his
power and increase his freedom; but they will not be the objects of a
mere fetish-worship as now. Man will use them, instead of their using
him. His real life will lie in a region far beyond them. But in thus for
a moment denying and "mastering" the products of Civilisation, will he
for the first time discover their true value, and reap from them an
enjoyment unknown before.

The same with the moral powers. As said before, the knowledge of good
and evil at a certain point passes away, or becomes absorbed into a
higher knowledge. The perception of Sin goes with a certain weakness in
the man. As long as there is conflict and division within him, so long
does he seem to perceive conflicting and opposing principles in the
world without. As long as the objects of the outer world excite emotions
in him which pass beyond his control, so long do those objects stand as
the signals of evil--of disorder and sin. Not that the objects are bad
in themselves, or even the emotions which they excite, but that all
through this period these things serve to the man as indications of
_his_ weakness. But when the central power is restored in man and all
things are reduced to his service, it is impossible for him to see
badness in anything. The bodily is no longer antagonistic to the
spiritual love, but is absorbed into it. All his passions take their
places perfectly naturally, and become, when the occasions arise, the
vehicles of his expression. Vices under existing conditions are vices
simply because of the inordinate and disturbing influence they exercise,
but will cease again to be vices when the man regains his proper
command. Thus Socrates having a clean soul in a clean body could drink
his boon companions under the table and then go out himself to take the
morning air--what was a blemish and defect in them being simply an added
power of enjoyment to himself!

The point of difference throughout (being the transference of the centre
of gravity of life and consciousness from the partial to the universal
man) is symbolised by the gradual resumption of more universal
conditions. That is to say that during the civilisation-period, the body
being systematically wrapped in clothes, the _head_ alone represents
man--the little finnikin, intellectual, _self-conscious_ man in
contra-distinction to the cosmical man represented by the entirety of
the bodily organs. The body has to be delivered from its swathings in
order that the cosmical consciousness may once more reside in the human
breast. We have to become "all face" again--as the savage said of
himself.[15]

Where the cosmic self is, there is no more self-consciousness. The body
and what is ordinarily called the self are felt to be only parts of the
true self, and the ordinary distinctions of inner and outer, egotism and
altruism, etc., lose a good deal of their value. Thought no longer
returns upon the local self as the chief object of regard, but
consciousness is continually radiant from it, filling the body and
overflowing upon external Nature. Thus the Sun in the physical world is
the allegory of the true self. The worshiper must adore the Sun, he must
saturate himself with sunlight, and take the physical Sun into himself.
Those who live by fire and candle-light are filled with phantoms; their
thoughts are Will-o'-th'-wisp-like images of themselves, and they are
tormented by a horrible self-consciousness.

And when the Civilisation-period has passed away, the old
Nature-religion--perhaps greatly grown--will come back. This immense
stream of religious life which, beginning far beyond the horizon of
earliest history, has been deflected into various metaphysical and other
channels--of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and the like--during the
historical period, will once more gather itself together to float on its
bosom all the arks and sacred vessels of human progress. Man will once
more _feel_ his unity with his fellows, he will feel his unity with the
animals, with the mountains and the streams, with the earth itself and
the slow lapse of the constellations, not as an abstract dogma of
Science or Theology, but as a living and ever-present fact. Ages back
this has been understood better than now. Our Christian ceremonial is
saturated with sexual and astronomical symbols; and long before
Christianity existed, the sexual and astronomical were the main forms of
religion. That is to say, men instinctively felt and worshiped the great
life coming to them through Sex, the great life coming to them from the
deeps of Heaven. They deified both. They placed their gods--their own
human forms--in sex, they placed them in the sky. And not only so, but
wherever they felt this kindred human life--in the animals, in the ibis,
the bull, the lamb, the snake, the crocodile; in the trees and flowers,
the oak, the ash, the laurel, the hyacinth; in the streams and
water-falls, on the mountain-sides or in the depths of the sea--they
placed them. The whole universe was full of a life which, though not
always friendly, was _human_ and kindred to their own, _felt_ by them,
not reasoned about, but simply perceived. To the early man the notion of
his having a separate individuality could only with difficulty occur;
hence he troubled himself not with the suicidal questionings concerning
the whence and whither which now vex the modern mind.[16] For what
causes these questions to be asked is simply the wretched feeling of
isolation, actual or prospective, which man necessarily has when he
contemplates himself as a separate atom in this immense universe--the
gulf which lies below seemingly ready to swallow him, and the anxiety to
find some mode of escape. But when he feels once more that he, that _he_
himself, is absolutely indivisibly and indestructibly a part of this
great whole--why then there is no gulf into which he can possibly fall;
when he is sensible of the fact, why then the _how_ of its realisation,
though losing none of its interest, becomes a matter for whose solution
he can wait and work in faith and contentment of mind. The Sun or Sol,
visible image of his very Soul, closest and most vital to him of all
mortal things, occupying the illimitable heaven, feeding all with its
life; the Moon, emblem and nurse of his own reflective thought, the
conscious Man, measurer of Time, mirror of the Sun; the planetary
passions wandering to and fro, yet within bounds; the starry destinies;
the changes of the earth, and the seasons; the upward growth and
unfoldment of all organic life; the emergence of the perfect Man,
towards whose birth all creation groans and travails--all these things
will return to become realities, and to be the frame or setting of his
supra-mundane life. The meaning of the old religions will come back to
him. On the high tops once more gathering he will celebrate with naked
dances the glory of the human form and the great processions of the
stars, or greet the bright horn of the young moon which now after a
hundred centuries comes back laden with such wondrous associations--all
the yearnings and the dreams and the wonderment of the generations of
mankind--the worship of Astarte and of Diana, of Isis or the Virgin
Mary; once more in sacred groves will he reunite the passion and the
delight of human love with his deepest feelings of the sanctity and
beauty of Nature; or in the open, standing uncovered to the Sun, will
adore the emblem of the everlasting splendour which shines within. The
same sense of vital perfection and exaltation which can be traced in the
early and pre-civilisation peoples--only a thousand times intensified,
defined, illustrated and purified--will return to irradiate the redeemed
and delivered Man.


In suggesting thus the part which Civilisation has played in history, I
am aware that the word itself is difficult to define--is at best only
one of those phantom-generalisations which the mind is forced to employ;
also that the account I have given of it is sadly imperfect, leaning
perhaps too much to the merely negative and destructive aspect of this
thousand-year long lapse of human evolution. I would also remind the
reader that though it is perfectly true that under the dissolving
influence of civilisation empire after empire has gone under and
disappeared, and the current of human progress time after time has only
been restored again by a fresh influx of savagery, yet its corruptive
tendency has never had a quite unlimited fling; but that all down the
ages of its dominance over the earth we can trace the tradition of a
healing and redeeming power at work in the human breast and an
anticipation of the second advent of the son of man. Certain
institutions, too, such as Art and the Family (though it seems not
unlikely that both of these will greatly change when the special
conditions of their present existence have disappeared), have served to
keep the sacred flame alive; the latter preserving in island-miniatures,
as it were, the ancient communal humanity when the seas of individualism
and greed covered the general face of the earth; the former keeping up,
so to speak, a navel-cord of contact with Nature, and a means of
utterance of primal emotions else unsatisfiable in the world around.

And if it seem extravagant to suppose that Society will ever emerge from
the chaotic condition of strife and perplexity in which we find it all
down the lapse of historical time, or to hope that the
civilisation-process which has terminated fatally so invariably in the
past will ever eventuate in the establishment of a higher and more
perfect health-condition, we may for our consolation remember that
to-day there are features in the problem which have never been present
before. In the first place, to-day Civilisation is no longer isolated,
as in the ancient world, in surrounding floods of savagery and
barbarism, but it practically covers the globe, and the outlying
savagery is so feeble as not possibly to be a menace to it. This may at
first appear a drawback, for (it will be said) if Civilisation be not
renovated by the influx of external Savagery its own inherent flaws will
destroy society all the sooner. And there would be some truth in this if
it were not for the following consideration, namely, that while for the
first time in History Civilisation is now practically continuous over
the globe, now also for the first time can we descry forming in
continuous line _within its very structure_ the forces which are
destined to destroy it and to bring about the new order. While hitherto
isolated communisms, as suggested, have existed here and there and from
time to time, now for the first time in History both the masses and the
thinkers of all the advanced nations of the world are consciously
feeling their way towards the establishment of a socialistic and
communal life on a vast scale. The present competitive society is more
and more rapidly becoming a mere dead formula and husk within which the
outlines of the new and _human_ society are already discernible.
Simultaneously, and as if to match this growth, a move towards Nature
and Savagery is for the first time taking place from within, instead of
being forced upon society from without. The nature movement begun years
ago in literature and art is now, among the more advanced sections of
the civilised world, rapidly realising itself in actual life, going so
far even as a denial, among some, of machinery and the complex products
of Civilisation, and developing among others into a gospel of salvation
by sandals and sunbaths! It is in these two movements--towards a complex
human Communism and towards individual freedom and Savagery--in some
sort balancing and correcting each other, and both visibly growing up
within, though utterly foreign to--our present-day Civilisation, that we
have fair grounds, I think, for looking forward to its cure.


NOTES

     (See p. 26) The following remarks by Mr. H. B. Cotterill on the
     natives around Lake Nyassa, among whom he lived at a time, 1876-8,
     when the region was almost unvisited, may be of interest. "In
     regard of merely 'animal' development and well-being, that is in
     the delicate perfection of bodily faculties (perceptive), the
     African savage is as a rule incomparably superior to us. One feels
     like a child, utterly dependent on them, when travelling or hunting
     with them. It is true that many may be found (especially amongst
     the weaker tribes that have been slave-hunted or driven into barren
     corners) who are half-starved and wizened, but as a rule they are
     splendid animals. In _character_ there is a great want of that
     strength which in the educated civilised man is secured by the
     roots striking out into the Past and Future--and in spite of their
     immense perceptive superiority they feel and acknowledge the
     superior force of character in the white man. They are the very
     converse of the Stoic self-sufficient sage--like children in their
     'admiration' and worship of the Unknown. Hence their absolute want
     of _Conceit_, though they possess self-command and dignity. They
     are, to those they love and respect, faithful and devoted--their
     faithfulness and truthfulness are dictated by no 'categorical
     imperative,' but by personal affection. Towards an enemy they can
     be, without any conscientious scruples, treacherous and inhumanly
     cruel. I should say that there is scarcely any possible idea that
     is so foreign to the savage African mind as that of general
     philanthropy or enemy-love."

     "In _endurance_ the African savage beats us hollow (except trained
     athletes). On one occasion my men rowed my boat with 10 foot oars
     against the wind in a choppy sea for _25 hours at one go_, across
     Kuwirwe Bay, about 60 miles. They never once stopped or left their
     seats--just handed round a handful of rice now and then. I was at
     the helm all the time--and had enough of it!... They carry 80 lbs.
     on their heads for 10 hours through swamps and jungles. Four of my
     men carried a sick man weighing 14 stones in a hammock for 200
     miles, right across the dreaded Malikata Swamp. But for _sudden_
     emergencies, squalls, etc., they are nowhere."


     (See p. 27) "So lovely a scene made easily credible the suggestion,
     otherwise highly probable, that the Golden Age was no mere fancy of
     the poets, but a reminiscence of the facts of social life in its
     primitive organisation of village and house-communities." (J. S.
     Stuart-Glennie's _Europe and Asia_, ch. i. Servia.)


     (See p. 72) "It was only on the up-break of the primitive
     socialisms that the passionate desire of, and therefore belief in,
     individual Immortality arose. With an intense feeling, not of an
     independent individual life, but of a dependent common life, there
     is no passionate desire of, though there may be more or less of
     belief in, a continuance after death of individual existence."
     (_Ibid_, p. 161.)


     Following is an extract from a letter from my friend Havelock
     Ellis, which he kindly allows me to reprint. The passage is
     interesting as indicating _one_ cause, at any rate, of the failure
     of the modern civilisations. "Your remark that you are
     re-publishing _Civilisation: its Cause and Cure_ has led me to read
     it once again, and I see how well adapted it is for reissue just
     now when there is so widespread a discontent with 'civilisation.' I
     do not see any reason for changing the essay, though, no doubt,
     much might be added to supplement it. What has, however, struck me
     is that you leave out of account the _reason_ for the greater
     health, vigour, and high spirit of savages (when such conditions
     exist), and that is _the more stringent natural_ selection among
     savages owing to the greater hardness of their life. You doubtless
     know ch. xvii of Westermarck's _Moral Ideas_, where he shows how
     widespread among savages (when they have got past the first crude
     primitive stage), and in the ancient civilisations, was the
     practice of infanticide applied to inferior babies and the habit of
     allowing sick persons to die. That was evidently the secret of the
     natural superiority of the savage and of the men of the old
     civilisation, for the Greeks and Romans were very stringent in this
     matter. The flabbiness of the civilised and the prevalence of
     doctors and hygienists, which you make fun of, is due to the modern
     tenderness for human life which is afraid to kill off even the most
     worthless specimens and so lowers the whole level of 'civilised'
     humanity. Introduce a New Hardness in this matter and we should
     return to the high level of savagery, while the doctors would
     disappear as if by magic. I don't myself believe we _can_ introduce
     this hardness; and that is why I attach so much importance to
     _intelligent_ eugenics, working through birth-control, as the only
     _now possible_ way of getting towards that high natural level you
     aim at."--HAVELOCK ELLIS (1920).


FOOTNOTES:

[1] It is interesting to note that the "sense of Sin" seems now (1920)
to have nearly passed away. And this fact probably indicates a
considerable impending change in our Social Order.

[2] For proof I must refer the reader to Engels, or to his own studies
of history.

[3] Say like the Homeric Greeks, or the Spartans of the Lycurgus period.

[4] _Matabele Land and the Victoria Falls_, p. 209.

[5] A similar physical health and power of life are also developed among
Europeans who have lived for long periods in more native conditions. It
is not to our _race_, which is probably superior to any in capacity, but
to the state in which we live that we must ascribe our defect in this
particular matter.

[6] See Col. Dodge's _Our Wild Indians_.

[7] Wood's _Natural History of Man_.

[8] See Appendix.

[9] See Note at end of this chapter.

[10] No words or theory even of morality can express or formulate
this--no enthronement of _any_ virtue can take its place; for all virtue
enthroned before our humanity becomes vice, and worse than vice.

[11] It is curious that this word seems to have the same root as the
word Man, the original idea apparently being Order, or Measure.

[12] And with regard to disease, though it is not maintained that among
the animals there is anything like immunity from it--since diseases of a
more or less parasitic character are common in all tribes of plants and
animals--still they seem to be rarer, and the organic instinct of health
greater, than in the civilised man.

[13] As to the unity of these wild races with Nature, that is a matter
seemingly beyond dispute; their keenness of sense, sensitiveness to
atmospheric changes, knowledge of properties of plants and habits of
animals, etc., have been the subject of frequent remark; but beyond
this, their strong _feeling_ of union with the universal spirit,
probably only dimly self conscious, but expressing itself very markedly
and clearly in their customs, is most strange and pregnant of meaning.
The dances of the Andaman Islanders on the sands at night, the wild
festival of the new moon among the Fans and other African tribes, the
processions through the forests, the chants and dull thudding of drums,
the torture-dances of the young Red Indian bravos in the burning heat of
the sun; the Dionysiac festivals among the early Greeks; and indeed the
sacrificial nature-rites and carnivals and extraordinary powers of
second-sight found among all primitive peoples; all these things
indicate clearly a faculty which, though it had hardly become
self-conscious enough to be what we call religion, was yet in truth the
foundation element of religion, and the germ of some human powers which
wait yet to be developed.

[14] There is another point worth noting as characteristic of the
civilisation-period. This is the abnormal development of the abstract
intellect in comparison with the physical senses on the one hand, and
the moral sense on the other. Such a result might be expected, seeing
that abstraction from reality is naturally the great engine of that
false individuality or apartness, which it is the object of Civilisation
to produce. As it is, during this period man builds himself an
intellectual world apart from the great actual universe around him; the
"ghosts of things" are studied in books; the student lives indoors, he
cannot face the open air--his theories "may prove very well in
lecture-rooms, yet not prove at all under the spacious clouds, and along
the landscape and flowing currents"; children are "educated" afar from
actual life; huge phantom-temples of philosophy and science are reared
upon the most slender foundations; and in these he lives defended from
actual fact. For as a drop of water, when it comes in contact with
red-hot iron, wraps itself in a cloud of vapor and is saved from
destruction, so the little mind of man, lest it should touch the burning
truth of Nature and God and be consumed, evolves at each point of
contact a veil of insubstantial thought which allows it for a time to
exist apart, and becomes the nurse of its self-consciousness.

[15] See Alonso di Ovalle's _Account of the Kingdom of Chile_ in
Churchill's _Collection of Voyages and Travels_, 1724.

[16] See Notes at end of this chapter.



MODERN SCIENCE: A CRITICISM

[Greek: panti logô logos isos antikeitai.]


It is one of the difficulties which meet anyone who suggests that modern
science is not wholly satisfactory, that it is immediately assumed that
the writer is covertly defending what Ingersoll calls the "rib-story,"
or that he wishes to restore belief in the literal inspiration of the
Bible. But, religious controversy apart, and while admitting that
Science has done a great work in cleaning away the kitchen-middens of
superstition and opening the path to clearer and saner views of the
world, it is possible--and there is already a growing feeling that
way--that her positive contributions to our comprehension of the order
of the universe have in late times been disappointing, and that even her
methods are only of limited applicability. After a glorious burst of
perhaps fifty years, amid great acclamations and good hopes that the
crafty old universe was going to be caught in her careful net, Science,
it must be confessed, now finds herself in almost every direction in
the most hopeless quandaries; and, whether the rib-story be true or not,
has at any rate provided no very satisfactory substitute for it. And the
reason of this failure is very obvious. It goes with a certain defect in
the human mind, which, as we have pointed out (note, p. 57), necessarily
belongs to the Civilisation-period--the tendency, namely, to separate
the logical and intellectual part of man from the emotional and
instinctive, and to give it a _locus standi_ of its own. Science has
failed, because she has attempted to carry out the investigation of
nature from the intellectual side alone--neglecting the other
constituents necessarily involved in the problem. She has failed,
because she has attempted an impossible task; for the discovery of a
permanently valid and purely _intellectual_ representation of the
universe is simply impossible. Such a thing does not exist.

The various theories and views of nature which we hold are merely the
fugitive envelopes of the successive stages of human growth--each set of
theories and views belonging organically to the moral and emotional
stage which has been reached, and being in some sort the expression of
it; so that the attempt at any given time to set up an explanation of
phenomena which shall be valid in itself and without reference to the
mental condition of those who set it up, necessarily ends in failure;
and the present state of confusion and contradiction in which modern
Science finds itself is merely the result of such attempt.

Of course this limitation of the validity of Science has been
recognised by most of those who have thought about the matter;[17] but
it is so commonly overlooked, and latterly the notion has so far gained
ground that the "laws" of science are immutable facts and eternal
statements of verity, that it may be worth while to treat the subject a
little more in detail.

The method of Science is the method of all mundane knowledge; it is that
of limitation or actual ignorance. Placed in face of the great
uncontained unity of Nature we can only deal with it in thought by
selecting certain details and isolating those (either wilfully or
unconsciously) from the rest. That is right enough. But in doing so--in
isolating such and such details--we practically beg the question we are
in search of; and, moreover, in supposing such isolation we suppose what
is false, and therefore vitiate our conclusion. From these two radical
defects of all intellectual inquiry we cannot escape. The views of
Science are like the views of a mountain; each is only possible as long
as you limit yourself to a certain standpoint. Move your position, and
the view is changed.[18]

Perhaps the word "species" will illustrate our meaning as well as any
word; and, in a sense, the word is typical of the method of Science. I
see a dog for the first time. It is a fox-hound. Then I see a second
fox-hound, and a third and a fourth. Presently I form from these few
instances a general conception of "dog." But after a time I see a
grey-hound and a terrier and a mastiff, and my old conception is
destroyed. A new one has to be formed, and then a new one and a new one.
Now I overlook the whole race of civilised dogs and am satisfied with my
wisdom; but presently I come upon some wild dogs, and study the habits
of the wolf and the fox. Geology turns me up some links, and my
conception of dog melts away like a lump of ice into surrounding water.
My species exists no more. As long as I knew a few of the facts I could
talk very wise about them; or if I limited myself arbitrarily, as we
will say, to a study only of animals in England at the present day, I
could classify them; but widen the bounds of my knowledge, the area of
observation, and all my work has to be done over again. My species is
not a valid fact of Nature, but a fiction arising out of my own
ignorance or arbitrary isolation of the objects observed.

Or to take an instance from Astronomy. We are accustomed to say that the
path of the moon is an ellipse. But this is a very loose statement. On
enquiry we find that, owing to perturbations said to be produced by the
sun, the path deviates considerably from an ellipse. In fact in strict
calculations it is taken as being a certain ellipse only for an
instant--the next instant it is supposed to be a portion of another
ellipse. We might then call the path an irregular curve somewhat
resembling an ellipse. This is a new view. But on further enquiry it
appears that, while the moon is going round the earth, the earth itself
is speeding on through space about the sun--in consequence of which the
actual path of the moon does not in the least resemble an ellipse!
Finally the sun itself is in motion with regard to the fixed stars, and
_they_ are in movement too. What then is the path of the moon? No one
knows; we have not the faintest idea--the word itself ceases to have any
assignable meaning. It is true that if we agree to ignore the
perturbations produced by the sun--as in fact we _do_ ignore
perturbations produced by the planets and other bodies--and if we agree
to ignore the motion of the earth, and the flight of the solar system
through space, and even the movement of any centre round which that may
be speeding, we may then _say_ that the moon moves in an ellipse. But
this has obviously nothing to do with actual facts. The moon _does_ not
move in an ellipse--not even "relatively to the earth"--and probably
never has done and never will do so. It may be a convenient view or
fiction to say that it would do so under such and such
circumstances--but it is still only a fiction. To attempt to isolate a
small portion of the phenomena from the rest in a universe of which the
_unity_ is one of Science's most cherished convictions, is obviously
self-stultifying and useless.

But you say it can be proved by mathematics that the ellipse would be
the path under these conditions; to which I reply that the mathematical
proof, though no doubt cogent to the human mind (as at present
constituted in most people), is open to the same objection that it does
not deal with actual facts. It deals with a mental supposition, _i.e._,
that there are only two bodies acting on each other--a case which never
has occurred and never can occur--and then, assuming the law of
gravitation (which is just the thing which has to be proved), it arrives
at a mental formula, the ellipse. But to argue from this process that
the ellipse is really a thing in Nature, and that the heavenly bodies do
move or even tend to move in ellipses, is obviously a most unwarrantable
leap in the dark. Finally you argue that the leap is warranted because,
by assuming that the moon and planets move in ellipses, you can actually
foretell things that happen, as for instance the occurrences of
eclipses; and in reply to that I can only say that Tycho Brahé foretold
eclipses almost as well by assuming that the heavenly bodies moved in
epicycles, and that modern astronomers do apply the epicycle theory in
their mathematical formulæ. The epicycles were an assumption made for a
certain purpose, and the ellipses are an assumption made for the same
purpose. In some respects the ellipse is a more convenient fiction than
the epicycle, but it is no less a fiction.

In other words--with regard to this "path of the moon" (as with regard
to any other phenomenon of Nature)--our knowledge of it must be either
absolute or relative. But we cannot know the absolute path; and as to
the relative, why all we can say is that it does not exist (any more
than species exists)--we cannot break up Nature so; it is not a thing in
Nature, but in our own minds--it is a view and a fiction.[19]

Again, let us take an example from Physics--Boyle's law of the
compressibility of gases. This law states that, the temperature
remaining constant, the volume of a given quantity of gas is inversely
proportional to its pressure. It is a law which has been made a good
deal of, and at one time was thought to be true, _i.e._, it was thought
to be a statement of fact. A more extended and careful observation,
however, shows that it is only true under so many limitations, that,
like the ellipse in Astronomy, it must be regarded as a convenient
fiction and nothing more. It appears that air follows the supposed law
pretty well, but not by any means exactly except within very narrow
limits of pressure; other gases, such as carbonic acid and hydrogen,
deviate from it very considerably--some more than others, and some in
one direction and some in the opposite. It was found, among other
things, that the nearer a gas was to its liquefying point, the greater
was the deviation from the supposed law, and the conclusion was jumped
at that the law was true for _perfect_ gases only. This idea of a
perfect gas of course involved the assumption that gases, as they get
farther and farther removed from their liquifying point, reach at last a
fixed and stable condition, when no further change in their qualities
takes place--at any rate for a very long time--and Boyle's law was
supposed to apply to this condition. Since then, however, it has been
discovered that there is an ultra-gaseous state of matter, and on all
sides it is becoming abundantly clear that the change in the condition
of matter from the liquid state to the ultra-gaseous state is perfectly
continuous--through all modifications of liquidity and condensation and
every degree of perfection and imperfection of gasiness to the utmost
rarity of the fourth state. At what point, then, does Boyle's law really
apply? Obviously it applies _exactly_ at only one point in this long
ascending scale--at one metaphysical point--and at every other point it
is incorrect. But no gas in Nature remains or can be maintained just at
one point in the scale of its innumerable changes. Consequently, all we
can say is that out of the innumerable different states that gases are
capable of, and the innumerable different laws of compressibility which
they therefore follow, we could theoretically find one state to which
would correspond the law of compressibility called Boyle's law; and
that, _if_ we could preserve a gas in that state (which we can't),
Boyle's law really _would_ be true just for that case. In other words,
the law is metaphysical. It has no real existence. It is a convenient
view or fiction, arising in the first place out of ignorance, and only
tenable as long as further observation is limited or wilfully ignored.

This then is the Method of Science. It consists in forming a law or
statement by only looking at a small portion of the facts; then, when
the other facts come in, the law or statement gradually fades away
again. Conrad Gessner and other early zoologists began by classifying
animals according to the number of their horns! Political Economy begins
by classifying social action under a law of Supply and Demand. When
people believed that the earth was flat, they generalised the facts
connected with the fall of heavy bodies into a conception of "up and
down." These were two opposite directions in space. Heavy bodies took
the "downward"; it was their nature. But in time, and as fresh facts
came in, it became impossible to group animals any longer by their
horns; "up and down" ceased to have a meaning when it was known that the
earth was round. Then fresh laws and statements had to be formed. In the
last-mentioned case--it being conceived that the earth was the centre of
the universe--the new law supposed was that all heavy bodies tended to
the centre of the earth as such. This was all right and satisfactory for
a while; but presently it appeared that the earth was _not_ the centre
of the universe, and that some heavy bodies--such as the satellites of
Jupiter--did not in fact tend to the centre of the earth at all. Another
lump of ignorance (which had enabled the old generalisation to exist)
was removed, and a new generalisation, that of universal gravitation,
was after a time formed. But it is probable that this law is only
conceived of as true through our ignorance; nay it is certain that
belief in its truth presents the gravest difficulties.

In fact here we come upon an important point. It is sometimes said that,
granting the above arguments and the partiality and defectiveness of the
laws of Science, still they are approximations to the truth, and as each
fresh fact is introduced the consequent modification of the old law
brings us _nearer and nearer_ to a limit of rigorous exactness which we
shall reach at last if we only have patience enough. But is this so?
What kind of rigorous statement shall we reach when we have got _all_
the facts in? Remembering that Nature is _one_, and that if we try to
get a rigorous statement for one set of phenomena (as say the lunar
theory) by isolating them from the rest, we are thereby condemning
ourselves beforehand to a false conclusion, is it not evident that our
limit is at all times infinitely far off? If one knew all the facts
relating to a given inquiry except two or three, one might reasonably
suppose that one was near a limit of exactness in one's knowledge; but
seeing that in our investigation of Nature we only know two or three, so
to speak, out of a million, it is obvious that at any moment the fresh
law arising from increased experience may completely upset our former
calculations. There is a difference between approximating to a wall and
approximating to the North Star. In the one case you are tending to a
speedy conclusion of your labours, in the other case you are only _going
in a certain direction_. The theories of Science generally belong under
the second head. They mark the direction which the human mind is taking
at the moment in question, but they mark no limits. At each point the
_appearance_ of a limit is introduced--which becomes, like a mirage in
the desert, an object of keen pursuit; but the limit is not really
there--it is only an effect of the standpoint, and disappears again
after a time as the observer moves. In the case of gravitation there is
for the moment an appearance of finality in the law of the inverse
square of the distance, but this arises probably from the fact that the
law is derived from a limited area of observation only, namely the
movements (at great distances from each other) of some of the heavenly
bodies.[20] The Cavendish and Schehallien experiments do not show more
than that the law at ordinary distances on the earth's surface does not
vary _very_ much from the above; while the so-called molecular forces
compel us (unless we make the very artificial assumption that a variety
of attractions and repulsions co-exist in matter alongside of, and yet
totally distinct from, the attraction of gravitation) to suppose very
_great_ modifications of the law for small distances. In fact, as we saw
of Boyle's law before--the Newtonian law is probably metaphysical--true
under certain limited conditions--and the appearance of finality has
been given to it by the fact that our observations have been made under
such or similar conditions. When we extend our observation into quite
other regions of space, the law of the inverse square ceases to appear
as even an approximation to the truth--as, for instance, the law of the
inverse _fifth_ power has been thought to be nearer the mark for small
molecular distances.

And indeed the state of the great theories of Science in the present
day--the confusion in which the Atomic theory of physics finds itself,
the dismal insufficiency of the Darwin theory of the survival of the
fittest; the collapse in late times of one of the fundamental theories
of Astronomy, namely that of the stability of the lunar and planetary
orbits; the cataclysms and convulsions which Geology seems just now to
be undergoing; the appalling and indeed insurmountable difficulties
which attach to the Undulatory theory of Light; the final wreck and
abandonment of the Value-theory, the foundation-theory of Political
Economy--all these things do not seem to point to very near limits of
rigorous exactness! An impregnable theory, or one nearing the limit of
impregnability, is in fact as great an absurdity as an impregnable
armour-plate. Certainly, given the cannon-balls, you can generally find
an armour-plate which will be proof against them; but given the
armour-plate, you can always find cannon-balls which will smash it up.

The method of Science, as being a method of artificial limitation or
actual ignorance, is curiously illustrated by a consideration of its
various branches. I have taken some examples from Astronomy, which is
considered the most exact of the physical sciences. Now does it not seem
curious that _Astronomy_--the study of the heavenly bodies, which are
the most distant from us of all bodies, and most difficult to
observe--should yet be the most perfect of the sciences? Yet the reason
is obvious. Astronomy is the most perfect science _because we know least
about it_--because our ignorance of the actual phenomena is most
profound. Situated in fact as we are, on a speck in space, with our
observations limited to periods of time which, compared with the
stupendous flights of the stars, are merely momentary and evanescent, we
are in somewhat the position of a mole surveying a railway track and the
flight of locomotives. And as a man seeing a very small arc of a very
vast circle easily mistakes it for a straight line, so we are easily
satisfied with cheap deductions and solutions in Astronomy which a more
extensive experience would cause us to reject. The man may have a long
way to go along his "straight line" before he discovers that it is a
curve; he may have much farther to go along his curve before he
discovers that it is not a circle; and much farther still to go before
he finds out whether it is an ellipse or a spiral or a parabola, or none
of these; yet _what_ curve it is will make an enormous difference in his
ultimate destination. So with the astronomer; and yet Astronomy is
allowed to pass as an exact science![21]

Well then, as in Astronomy we get an "exact science," because the facts
and phenomena are on such a tremendous scale that we only see a minute
portion of them--just a few details so to speak--and our ignorance
therefore allows us to dogmatise; so at the other end of the scale in
Chemistry and Physics we get quasi-exact sciences, because the facts and
phenomena are on such a _minute_ scale that we overlook _all the
details_ and see only certain general effects here and there. When a
solution of cupric sulphate is treated with ammonia, a mass of
flocculent green precipitate is formed. No one has the faintest notion
of all the various movements and combinations of the molecules of these
two fluids which accompany the appearance of the precipitate. They are
no doubt very complex. But among all the changes that are taking place,
one change has the advantage of being visible to the eye, and the
chemist singles that out as the main phenomenon. So chemistry at large
consists in a few, very few, facts taken at random as it were (or
because they happen to be of such a nature as to be observable) out of
the enormous mass of facts really concerned: and because of their
fewness the chemist is able to arrange them, as he thinks, in some
order, that is, to generalise about them. But it is certain as can be
that he only has to extend the number of his facts, or his powers of
observation, to get all his generalisations upset. The same may be said
of magnetism, light, heat, and the other physical sciences; but it is
not necessary to prove in detail what is sufficiently obvious.

But now, roughly speaking, there is a third region of human
observation--a region which does not, like Astronomy (and Geology), lie
so far beyond and above us that we only see a very small portion of it;
nor, like Chemistry and Physics, so far below us and under such minute
conditions of space and time that we can only catch its general effects;
but which lies more on a level with man himself--the so-called organic
world--the study of man, as an individual and in society, his history,
his development, the study of the animals, the plants even, and the laws
of life--the sciences of Biology, Sociology, History, Psychology, and
the rest. Now this region is obviously that which man knows most of. I
don't say that he generalises most about it, but he knows the facts
best. For one observation that he makes of the habits and behaviour of
the stars, or of chemical solutions--for one observation in the remote
regions of Astronomy or Chemistry--he makes thousands and millions of
the habits and behaviour of his fellowmen, and hundreds and thousands of
those of the animals and plants. Is it not curious then that in this
region he is least sure, least dogmatic, most doubtful whether there be
a law or no? Or, rather, is it not quite in accord with our contention,
namely that Science, like an uninformed boy, is most definite and
dogmatic just where actual knowledge is least.

It will however be replied that the phenomena of living beings are far
more complex than the phenomena of Astronomy or Physics--and that is
the reason why exact science makes so little way with them. Though man
knows many million times more about the habits of his fellow-men than
about the habits of the stars, yet the former subject is so many million
times more complicated than the latter that all his additional knowledge
does not avail him. This is the plea. Yet it does not hold water. It is
an entire assumption to say that the phenomena of Astronomy are less
complicated than the phenomena of vitality. A moment's thought will show
that the phenomena of Astronomy are in reality infinitely complex. Take
the movement of the moon: even with our present acquaintance with that
subject we know that it has some relation to the position and mass of
the earth, including its ocean tides; also to the position and mass of
the sun; also to the position and mass of every one of the planets; also
of the comets, numerous and unknown as they are; also the meteoric
rings; and finally of all the stars! The problem, as everyone knows, is
absolutely insoluble even for the shortest period; but when the element
of Time enters in, and we consider that to do anything like justice to
the problem in an astronomical sense we should have to solve it for at
least a million years--during which interval the earth, sun, and other
bodies concerned would themselves have been changing their relative
positions, it becomes obvious that the whole question is infinitely
complex--and yet this is only a small fragment of Astronomy. To debate,
therefore, whether the infinite complexity of the movements of the
stars is greater or less than the infinite complexity of the phenomena
of life, is like debating the precedence of the three persons of the
Trinity, or whether the Holy Ghost was begotten or proceeding: we are
talking about things which we do not understand.

Nature is one; she is not, we may guess, less profound and wonderful in
one department than another; but from the fact that we live under
certain conditions and limitations we see most deeply into that portion
which is, as it were, on the same level with us. In humanity we look her
in the face; there our glance pierces, and we see that she is profound
and wonderful beyond all imagination; what we learn there is the most
valuable that we can learn. In the regions where Science rejoices to
disport itself we see only the skirts of her garments, so to speak, and
though we measure them never so precisely, we still see them and nothing
more.

There is another point, however, of which much is often made as a plea
for the substantial accuracy of the scientific laws and generalisations,
namely that they enable us to _predict_ events. But this need not detain
us long. J. S. Mill in his "Logic" has pointed out--and a little thought
makes it obvious--that the success of a prediction does not prove the
truth of the theory on which it is founded. It only proves the theory
was good enough for that prediction.

There was a time when the sun was a god going forth in his chariot every
morning, and there was a time when the earth was the centre of the
universe, and the sun a ball of fire revolving round it. In those times
men could predict with certainty that the sun would rise next morning,
and could even name the hour of its appearance; but we do not therefore
think that their theories were true. When Adams and Leverrier foretold
the appearance of Neptune in a certain part of the sky, they made a
brief prediction to an unknown planet from the observed relations of the
movements of the known planets; that does not show, however, that the
grand generalisation of these movements, called the "law of
gravitation," is correct. It merely shows that it did well enough for
this very brief step--brief indeed compared with the real problems of
Astronomy, for which latter it is probably quite inadequate.

Tycho Brahé, excellent astronomer as he was, kept as we saw to the
epicycle theory. He imagined that the moon's path round the earth was a
fixed combination of cycle and epicycle. Kepler introduced the
conception of the ellipse. Later on the motion of the perigee and other
deviations compelled the abandonment of the ellipse and the supposition
of an endless curve, similar to an ellipse at any one point, and
maintaining a fixed mean distance from the earth, but never returning on
itself or making a definite closed figure of any kind. Finally the
researches of Mr. George Darwin have destroyed the conception of the
fixed mean distance, and introduced that of a continually enlarging
spiral. Certainly no four theories could well be more distinct from
each other than these; yet if an eclipse had to be calculated for next
year it would scarcely matter which theory was used. The truth is that
the actual problem is so vast that a prediction of a few years in
advance only touches the fringe of it so to speak; yet if the fulfilment
of the prediction were taken as a proof of the theory in each of these
different cases, it would lead in the end to the most hopelessly
contradictory results.

The success of a prediction therefore only shows that the theory on
which it is founded has had practical value so far as a working
hypothesis. As working hypotheses, and as long as they are kept down to
brief steps _which can be verified_, the scientific theories are very
valuable--indeed we could not do without them; but when they are treated
as objective facts--when, for instance, the "law of
gravitation"--derived as it is from a brief study of the heavenly
bodies--has a universal truth ascribed to it, and is made to apply to
phenomena extending over millions of years, and to warrant unverifiable
prophecies about the planetary orbits, or statements about the age of
the earth and the duration of the solar system--all one can say is that
those who argue so are flying off at a tangent from actual facts. For as
the tangent represents the direction of a curve over a small arc, so
these theories represent the bearing of facts well enough over a small
region of observation; but as following the tangent we soon lose the
curve, so following these theories for any distance beyond the region
of actual observation we speedily part company with facts.[22]


To proceed with a few more words about the general method of Science.
Science passes from phenomena to laws, from individual details which can
be seen and felt to large generalisations of an intangible and
phantom-like character. That is to say, that for convenience of thought
we classify objects. How is this classification effected? It is effected
through the perception of identity amid difference. Among a lot of
objects I perceive certain attributes in common; this group of common
attributes serves, so to speak, as a band to tie these objects together
with--into a bundle convenient for thought. I give a name to the band,
and that serves to denote any unit of the bundle by. Thus perceiving
common attributes among a lot of dogs--as in an example already given--I
give the name foxhound to this group of attributes, and thenceforth use
the name foxhound to connect these objects by in my mind; again
perceiving other common attributes among other similar objects, I
invent the word greyhound to denote these latter by. The concept
foxhound differs from the objects which it denotes, in this respect that
these latter are (as we say) _real_ dogs with thousands and thousands of
attributes each: one of them has a broken tooth, another is nearly all
white, another answers to the name "Sally," and so on; while the concept
is only an imaginary form in my mind, with only a few attributes and no
individual peculiarities--a kind of tiny G.C.M. arising from the
contemplation of a long row of big figures.

Now having created these concepts "foxhound," "greyhound," and a lot of
other similar ones, I find that they in their turn have a few attributes
in common and thus give rise to a new concept "dog." Of course this
"dog" is more of an abstraction than ever, the concept of a concept. In
fact the peculiarity of this whole process is that, as sometimes stated,
the broader the generalisation becomes the less is its depth; or in
other words and obviously, that as the number of objects compared
increases, the number of attributes common to them all decreases.
Ultimately as we saw at the beginning, when a sufficient number of
objects are taken in, the concept ("dog" or whatever it may be) fades
away and ceases to have any meaning. This therefore is the dilemma of
Science and indeed of all human knowledge, that in carrying out the
process which is peculiar to it, it necessarily leaves the dry ground of
reality for the watery region of abstractions, which abstractions
become ever more tenuous and ungraspable the farther it goes, and
ultimately fade into mere ghosts. Nevertheless the process is a quite
necessary one, for only by it can the mind deal with things.

To dwell for a moment over this last point: it is clear that every
object has relation to every other object in the world--exists in fact
only in virtue of such relation to other objects; it has therefore an
infinite number of attributes. The mind consequently is powerless to
deal with such object--it cannot by any possibility think it. In order
to deal with it, the mind is forced to single out a _few_ of its
attributes (the _method of ignorance_ or abstraction already alluded
to)--that is a few of its relations to other objects, and to think them
first. The others it will think afterwards--all in good time. In thus
stripping or abstracting the great mass of its attributes from our
object, and leaving only a few, which it combines into a concept, the
mind practically abandons the real article and takes up with a shadow;
but in return for this it gets something which it can handle, which is
light to carry about, and which, like paper-money, _for the time and
under certain conditions_ does really represent value. The only danger
is lest it--the mind--carried away by the extensive applicability of the
partial concept which it has thus formed, should credit it with an
actual value--should project it on the background of the external world
and ascribe to it that reality which belongs only to objects
themselves, _i.e._, to things embodying an _infinite_ range of
attributes.

The peculiar method of Science is now clear to us, and can be abundantly
illustrated from modern results. Our experience consists in sensations,
we feel the weight of heavy bodies, we see them fall when let go, we
have sensations of heat and cold, light and darkness, and so forth. But
these sensations are more or less local and variable from man to man,
and we naturally seek to find some common measure of them, by which we
can talk about and describe them _exactly_, and independently of the
peculiarities of individual observers. Thus we seek to find some common
phenomenon which underlies (as we say) the sensations of heat and cold,
or of light and darkness, or something which explains (_i.e._, is always
present in) the case of falling bodies--and to do this we adopt the
method of generalisation above described, _i.e._, we observe a great
number of individual cases and then see what qualities or attributes
they have in common. So far good. But it is just here that the fallacy
of the ordinary scientific procedure comes in; for, forgetting that
these common qualities are mere abstractions from the real phenomena we
credit _them_ with a real existence, and regard the actual phenomena as
secondary results, "effects" or what-not of these "causes." This in
plain language is putting the cart before the horse--or rather the
shadow before the man. Thus finding that a vast number of variously
shaped and coloured bodies tend to fall towards the earth, we erect
this common attribute of falling into an independent existence which we
call "attraction" or "gravitation"--and ultimately posit a universal
gravitation _acting_ on all bodies in Nature!--or finding that a number
of different substances, such as water, air, wood, etc., convey to us
the sensation we call sound, and that in all these cases the common
element is vibration, we detach the attribute vibration, credit it with
a separate existence, and speak of it as the cause of sound. But though
we may thus _think_ of the shadow as separate from the man, the shadow
cannot _be_ separate from the man; and though we may try to think of the
falling or the vibration as separate from the wood or the stone, such
falling and vibration cannot exist apart from these and other such
materials, and the effort to speak of it as so existing ends in mere
nonsense. More strange still is the fatuity, when, as in the case of the
undulatory Theory of light or the Atomic theory of physics, the concepts
thus erected into actualities are composed of purely imaginary
attributes--of which no one has had any experience--an undulatory ether
in the one case, a hard and perfectly elastic atom in the other. The
total result is of course--just what we see--Science landing itself in
pure absurdities in every direction. Beginning by detaching the
attribute of falling from the bodies that fall--beginning that is by an
abstraction, which of course is also a falsity--it generalises and
generalises this abstraction till at last it reaches a perfectly
generalised absurdity and thing without any meaning--the law of
gravitation.[23] The statement that "every particle in the universe
attracts every other particle with a force proportional to the mass of
the attracting particle and inversely proportional to the square of the
distance between the two" is devoid of meaning--the human mind can give
no definite meanings to the words "mass," "attract," and "force," which
do not overlap and stultify each other. The law in every way baffles
intelligence. Newton, who invented it, declared that no philosophic mind
would suppose that bodies could thus act on one another "without the
mediation of anything else by and through which their action might be
conveyed;" scientific men to-day are fain to see that a material
mediation of this kind would only make the law still more remote from
our comprehension than it already is, while, on the other hand, an
immaterial mediation or a fourth-dimensional mediation, such as some
propose, would simply remove the problem out of the regions of
scientific analysis.[24] Again, the form of the law is declared to be
the inverse square of the distance; but this is the law by the nature of
space itself of any perfect radiation, and if true of gravitation
involves the conclusion that that radiation of force (whatever its
nature may be) takes place without loss or dissipation of any kind. This
would make gravitation absolutely unique among phenomena. More than
this, its propagation is supposed to be _instantaneous_ over the most
enormous distances of space, and to take place always unhindered and
unretarded, whatever be the number or the nature of the bodies between!
What can be more clear than that the law is simply metaphysical--a
projection into a monstrous universality and abstraction, of partially
understood phenomena in a particular region of observation--a
Brocken-shadow on the background of Nature of the observer's own
momentary attitude of thought?

Again, the undulatory theory of Light. Studying the phenomena of a vast
number of coloured and bright bodies, Science finds that it can think
about these phenomena--can generalise and tie them into bundles best by
_assuming_ that the bodies are all in a state of vibration; a vibration
so minute that (unlike the vibrations connected with Sound) it cannot be
directly perceived. So far good. There is no harm in the assumption of
vibration, as long as it is understood to be a mere assumption for a
temporary convenience of thought. But now Science goes farther than
this, and not only supposes a common attribute to all visible bodies,
but credits this common attribute with a real existence independent of
the visible bodies in which it was supposed to inhere--and makes this
the _cause_ of their visibility! Obviously now a common and universal
medium is required for this common and universal assumed vibration (just
as Newton required a medium for his universal "falling")--and so, hey
presto! we have the Undulatory Ether. And having got it we find that to
fulfil our requirements it must have a pressure of 17 million million
pounds on the square inch, and yet be so rare and tenuous as not to
hinder the lightest breath of air; that while it is thus rare enough to
surpass all our powers of direct scrutiny, its vibrations must yet be
capable of agitating and breaking up the solidest bodies; that it must
pass freely through some dense and close structures like glass, and yet
be excluded by some light and porous, like cork, and so on and on! In
fact we find that it is unthinkable. Against this adamantine, impalpable
Ether, as against this instantaneous, untranslatable gravitation,
Science bangs its devoted head in vain. Having created these absurdities
by the method of "personification of abstractions"[25] or the
"reification of concepts,"[26] it seriously and in all good faith tries
to understand them; having dressed up its own Mumbo Jumbo (which it once
jeered at religion for doing) it piously shuts its eyes and endeavours
to believe in it.

The Atomic Theory affords a good example of the "method of ignorance."
When we try to think about material objects generally--to generalise
about them--that is, to find some attribute or attributes common to
them, we are at first puzzled. They present such an immense variety. But
after a time, by dint of stripping off or abstracting all such
attributes or qualities as we think we perceive in one body and not in
another--as for example, redness, blueness, warmth, saltness, life,
intelligence, or what not--we find an attribute left, namely resistance
to touch, which is common to _all_ material bodies. This quality in the
body we call "mass," and since it is only known by motion, mass and
motion become correlative attributes which we find useful to class
bodies by, not because they represent the various bodies particularly
well, but because they are found in all bodies; just as you might class
people by their boots--not because boots are a very valuable method of
classification, but simply because every one wears boots of one kind or
another. So far there is no great harm done. But now having by the
method of ignorance _thought away_ all the qualities of bodies, except
the two correlatives of mass and motion, we set about to _explain_ the
phenomena of Nature generally by these two "thinks" that are left. We
credit these "thinks" (mass and motion) with an independent existence
and proceed to derive the rest of phenomena from them. The proceeding of
course is absurd, and ends by exposing its own absurdity. Thinking of
mass and motion as existing in the various bodies _apart_ from colour,
smell, and so forth--which of course is not the case--we combine the two
attributes into one concept, the atom, which we thus assume to exist in
all bodies. The atom has neither colour, smell, warmth, taste, life or
intelligence; it has only mass and motion; for it came by the method of
divesting our thought of everything _but_ mass and motion. It is a
projection of a "think" upon the background of nature. And it is an
absurdity. No such thing exists in all the wide universe as mass and
motion divested from colour, smell, warmth, life and intelligence. The
atom is unthinkable. It is perfectly hard and it is perfectly
elastic--which is the same as saying that it bends and it doesn't bend
at the same time; it has form, and it hasn't form; it has affinities and
yet is perfectly indifferent. To justify to men the ways of their Mumbo
Jumbo has sorely exercised the votaries of the Atom. One philosopher
says that it is mere matter, passive, exercising no force but
resistance; another says that it is a centre of force, without matter; a
third suggests that it is not itself matter, but only a vortex in other
matter! All agree that it is not an object of sense, and there remains
no conclusion but that it is nonsense![27]

And so on in all directions. Human thought flying off at its tangents
from Nature lands itself in infinite nothings afar off, poor ghostly
skeletons and abstractions from Nature--which indeed is all right, for
human thought as yet can only see ghosts and not realities; but let
there be no mistake, let these ghosts not be mistaken for realities--for
they are not even compatible with each other. The Atom that suits the
physicist does not suit the chemist. The Ether that does for the vehicle
of Light will not do for the vehicle of universal Gravitation.


It would be hardly worth while entering into these criticisms, were it
not evident that Science in modern times, either tacitly or explicitly,
has been seeking, as I said at the beginning, to enounce facts
independent of Man, the observer. Seeing that the ordinary statements of
daily life are obviously inexact and relative to the observer--charged
with human sensation in fact--Science has naturally tried to produce
something which should be exact and independent of human sensation; but
here it has of course condemned itself beforehand to failure; for no
statement of isolated phenomena or groups of phenomena _can_ be exact
except by the method of ignorance aforesaid, and no statement obviously
can be really independent of human sensation. When a man says _It is
cold_, his statement, it must be confessed, is deplorably human and
vague. _It_--what is that? _Is_--do you mean _is_? or do you mean
_feels_, _appears_? _Cold_--in what sense? Cold to yourself, or to
other people, or to polar bears, or by the thermometer? And so on.
Science therefore steps in with an air of authority and sets him right.
It says _the temperature is_ 30° _Fahrenheit_, as if to settle the
matter. But does this really settle the matter? _Temperature_--who knows
what that is? What is the scientific definition of it? I find
(Clerk-Maxwell's Theory of Heat, p. 2.) "the temperature of a body is a
quantity which indicates how hot or how cold the body is." This sounds
very much like saying, "the colour of a body is a quantity which
indicates how blue, red, or yellow the body is." It does not bring us
much farther on our way. But in the next paragraph Maxwell shows the
object of his definition (which of course is only preliminary) by
saying, "By the use, therefore, of the word temperature, we fix in our
minds the conviction that it is possible not only to feel, but to
_measure_, how hot a body is." That is to say he clearly maintains that
it is possible to find an absolute standard of hotness or coldness--or
rather of the unknown thing called temperature--outside of ourselves and
independent of human sensation. When the man said he was cold he was
probably just describing his own sensations, but here Science indicates
that it is in search of something which has an independent existence of
its own, and which therefore when found we can measure exactly and once
for all. What then is that thing? _What_ is temperature? say, what is
it?

We cudgel our brains in vain. Perhaps the remainder of the sentence
will help us. "The temperature is 30° Fahrenheit." "The unknown thing is
thirty degrees." What then is a degree? That is the next question. When
the Theory of Heat went out from sensation and left it behind, one of
its first landing places was in the expansion of liquids--as in
thermometer tubes. Here for some time was thought to be a satisfactory
register of "temperature." But before long it became apparent that the
degree--Fahrenheit, Réaumur, or what-not--was an entirely arbitrary
thing, also that it was not the _same_[28] thing at one end of the scale
as the other, and finally that the scale itself had no starting point!
This was awkward, so a move was made to the air thermometer, and there
was some talk about an absolute zero and absolute temperatures; it was
thought that the Unknown thing showed itself most clearly and simply in
the expansion of air and other gases, and that the "degree" might fairly
be measured in terms of this expansion. But in a little time this kind
of thermometer--chiefly because no gas turned out to be "theoretically
perfect"--broke down, absolute zero and all, and another step had to be
made--namely, to the dynamical theory. It was announced that the Unknown
thing might be measured in terms of mechanical energy, and Joule at
Manchester proclaimed that the work done by any quantity of water
falling there a distance of 772 feet is capable of raising that water
one degree Fahrenheit.[29] Here seemed something definite. To measure
temperature by mass and velocity, to measure a degree by the flight of a
stone, or the heat in the human body by the fall of a factory
chimney--if rather roundabout and elusive of the main question--seemed
at any rate promising of exact results! Unfortunately the difficulty was
to pass from the theory to its application. The complicated nature of
the problem, the "imperfection" of the gases and other bodies under
consideration, the latent and specific heats to be allowed for, the
elusive nature of heat in experiment, and the variable value of the
degree itself--all render the conclusions on this subject most
precarious; and the general equations connecting the Fahrenheit or other
temperatures with a thermo-dynamic scale--while they become so unwieldy
as to be practically useless--are themselves after all only approximate.

Finally, to give a last form to the mechanical theory of heat, the
conception of flying atoms or molecules was introduced, and a number of
neat generalisations were deduced from dynamical considerations. Of
course it was inevitable, having once started with a mechanical theory,
that one should arrive at the Atom some time or other--and (from what
has already been said) it was also inevitable that the result should be
unsatisfactory. It is sufficient to say that the molecular theory of
heat is _not_ in accordance with facts. Such things as the law of
Charles and the law of Boyle, which according to it should be strictly
accurate and of general application, are known to be true only over a
most limited range. This failure of the theory may be said to arise
partly from its being pursued by the statistical method; but if, on the
other hand, we were to try and follow out the individual movement of
each molecule we should be landed in a problem far exceeding in
complexity the wildest flights of Astronomy, and should have exchanged
for the original difficulty about "temperature" a difficulty far
greater.

The result of all this has been that notwithstanding the talk about
energy and atoms, Science has sadly to confess that it can still give no
valid meaning to the word temperature: the unknown thing is still
unknown, the independent existence round the corner still escapes us. By
the very effort to arrive at something independent of human sensation,
Science has, in a roundabout way, arrived at an absurdity. When the man
said he was cold, his statement--deplorably vague as it certainly
was--had some meaning; he was describing his feelings, or possibly he
had seen some snow or some ice on the road; but when, in the endeavour
to leave out the human and to say something absolute, Science declared
that the temperature was thirty degrees, it committed itself to a remark
which possibly was exact in form, but to which it has never given and
never can give any definite meaning.[30]

Similarly with other generalities of Science: the "law" of the
Conservation of Energy, the "law" of the Survival of the Fittest--the
more you think about them the less possible is it to give any really
intelligible sense to them. The very word Fittest really begs the
question which is under consideration, and the whole Conservation law is
merely an attenuation of the already much attenuated "law" of
Gravitation. The Chemical Elements themselves are nothing but the
projection on the external world of concepts consisting of three or four
attributes each: they are not more real, but very much less real than
the individual objects which they are supposed to account for; and their
"elementary" character is merely fictional. It probably is in fact as
absurd to speak of pure carbon or pure gold, as of a pure monkey or a
pure dog. There are no such things, except as they may be arrived at by
arbitrary definition and the method of ignorance.

In the search for exactness, then, Science has been continually led on
to discard the human and personal elements in phenomena, in the hope of
finding some residuum as it were behind them which should not be
personal and human but absolute and invariable. And the tendency has
been (hitherto) in all the sciences to get rid of such terms as blue,
red, light, heavy, hot, cold, concord, discord, health, vitality, right,
wrong, etc., and to rely on any less human elements discoverable in each
case; as for instance in Sound, to deal less and less with the judgments
and sensations of the ear, and to rely more and more on measurements of
lengths of strings, numbers of vibrations, etc. Each science has been
(as far as possible) reduced to its lowest terms. Ethics has been made a
question of utility and inherited experience. Political Economy has been
exhausted of all conceptions of justice between man and man, of charity,
affection, and the instinct of solidarity; and has been founded on its
lowest discoverable factor, namely self-interest. Biology has been
denuded of the force of personality in plants, animals, and men; the
"self" here has been set aside, and the attempt made to reduce the
science to a question of chemical and cellular affinities, protoplasm,
and the laws of osmose. Chemical affinities, again, and all the
wonderful phenomena of Physics are emptied down into a flight of atoms;
and the flight of atoms (and of astronomic orbs as well) is reduced to
the laws of dynamics--which the student sitting in his chamber may write
down on a piece of paper. Thus the idea, formulated by Comte, of a great
scale of sciences arising from the simplest to the most complex, has
tacitly underlain modern scientific work. It--Science--has sought to
"explain" each stage by reference to a lower stage--"blueness" by
vibrations, and vibrations by flying atoms--the human always by the
sub-human. Going out from humanity dissatisfied, it has wandered through
the animal and vegetable kingdoms, through the regions of Chemistry and
Physics, into that of Mechanics. "Here at last, in Mechanics, is
something outside humanity, something exact in itself, something
substantial," it has said. "Let us build again on this as on a
foundation, and in time we shall find out what humanity is." This I say
has been the dream of Modern Science; yet the fallacy of it is obvious.
We have not got outside the human, but only to the outermost verge of
it. Mass and motion, which in this process are taken to be real entities
and the first progenitors of all phenomena, are simply the last
abstractions of sensible experience, and our emptiest concepts. The
_material_ explanation of the universe is simply an attempt to account
for phenomena by those attributes which appear to us to be common to
them all--which is, as said before, like accounting for men by their
boots:--it may be possible to get an exact formula this way, but its
contents have little or no meaning.

The whole process of Science and the Comtian classification of its
branches--regarded thus as an attempt to explain Man by Mechanics--is a
huge vicious circle. It professes to start with something simple, exact,
and invariable, and from this point to mount step by step till it comes
to Man himself; but indeed it starts with Man. It plants itself on
sensations low down (mass, motion, etc.), and endeavours by means of
them to explain sensations high up, which reminds one of nothing so much
as that process vulgarly described as "climbing up a ladder to comb your
hair." In truth Science has never left the great world, or cosmos, of
Man, nor ever really found a _locus standi_ without it; but during the
last two or three centuries it has gone in this _direction_, outwards,
continually. Leaving the central basis and facts of humanity as too vast
and unmanageable, and also as apparently variable from man to man and
therefore affording no certain consent to work upon, it has wandered
gradually outwards, seeking something of more definite and universal
application Discarding thus one by one the interior phases of
sensation--as the sense of personal relationship, the sense of justice,
duty, fitness in things or what-not (as too uncertain, or perhaps
developed to an unequal degree in different persons, embryonic in one
and matured in another), drifting past the more specialised bodily
senses, of colour, sound, taste, smell, etc., as for similar reasons
unavailable--Science at last in the primitive consciousness of muscular
contraction and its abstraction "mass" or "matter" comes to a pause.
Here in this last sense, common probably to man and the lowest animals,
it finds its widest, most universal ground--its farthest limit from the
Centre. It has reached the outermost shell, as it were, of the great
Man-cosmos.

Even this shell is partially human; it is not entirely osseous, and so
far not entirely exact and invariable; but Science can go no
farther--and there, for the present, it may remain!

Some day perhaps, when all this showy vesture of scientific theory
(which has this peculiarity that only the learned can see it) has been
quasi-completed, and Humanity is expected to walk solemnly forth in its
new garment for all the world to admire--as in Anderssen's story of the
Emperor's New Clothes--some little child standing on a door-step will
cry out: "But he has got nothing on at all," and amid some confusion it
will be seen that the child is right.


NOTE

     "I fear I have very imperfectly succeeded in expressing my strong
     conviction that, before a rigorous logical scrutiny, the Reign of
     Law will prove to be an unverified hypothesis, the Uniformity of
     Nature an ambiguous expression, the certainty of our scientific
     inferences to a great extent a delusion." (Stanley Jevons,
     _Principles of Science_, p. ix.)

FOOTNOTES:

[17] See note, p. 119.

[18] Since the above was written there has certainly been a great
change, and the dogmatic confidence in the verity of the scientific
"laws" has now (1920) almost disappeared.

[19] Such fictions, however, are (I need not say) quite necessary as our
only means of thinking out, however imperfectly, the problems before us
(1920).

[20] It is not generally realised how feeble a force gravitation is. It
is calculated (Encycl. Brit., Art. Gravitation) that two masses, each
weighing 415,000 tons, and placed a mile apart, would exert on each
other an attractive force of only one pound. If one, therefore, was as
far from the other as the moon is from the earth, their attraction would
only amount to 1/57,600,000,000th of a pound. This is a small force to
govern the movement of a body weighing 415,000 tons! and it is easy to
see that a slight variation in the law of the force might for a long
period pass undetected, though in the course of hundreds of centuries it
might become of the greatest importance.

[21] As another instance of the same thing, let me quote a passage from
Maxwell's _Theory of Heat_, p. 31; the italics are mine: "In our
description of the physical properties of bodies as related to heat we
have begun with solid bodies, as those which we can _most easily
handle_, and have gone on to liquids, which we can keep in open vessels,
and have now come to gases, which will escape from open vessels, and
which are generally _invisible_. This is the order which is most natural
in our first study of these different states. But as soon as we have
been made familiar with the most prominent features of these different
conditions of matter the most _scientific_ course of study is in the
_reverse_ order, beginning with gases, on account of the greater
simplicity of their laws, then advancing to liquids, the more complex
laws of which are much more imperfectly known, and concluding with the
little that has been hitherto discovered about the constitution of solid
bodies." That is to say that Science finds it easier to work among
gases--which are invisible and which we can know little about--than
among solids, which we are familiar with and which we can easily handle!
This seems a strange conclusion, but it will be found to represent a
common procedure of Science--the truth probably being that the laws of
gases are not one whit _simpler_ than the laws of liquids and solids,
but that on account of our knowing so much less about gases it is easier
for us to _feign_ laws in their case than in the case of solids, and
less easy for our errors to be detected.

[22] All our thoughts, theories, "laws," etc., may perhaps be said to
_touch_ Nature--as the tangent touches the curve--at a point. They give
a direction--and are true--at that point. But make the slightest move,
and they all have to be reconstructed. The tangents are infinite in
number, but the curve is one. This may not only illustrate the relation
of Nature to Science, but also of Art to the materials it uses. The poet
radiates thoughts: but he sets no store by them. He knows his thoughts
are not true in themselves, but they _touch_ the Truth. His lines are
the envelope of the curve which is his poem.

[23] See the report of the joint meeting of the Royal Society and the
Royal Astronomical Society, November 6, 1919, when Einstein's theory was
discussed.

[24] It is obvious that the Einstein theory, in which Time enters as a
kind of fourth dimension in relation to Space, removes us at once out of
the whole field of ordinary scientific reasoning and lands us, so to
speak, in a new world. The nature of Space (or of the universal medium,
whatever it is) in any region--its possible fundamental accelerations
there, its "curvature" or non-Euclidean character, and so forth--is
supposed, according to this theory, to vary with the amount of matter
in, or density of, that region; and the movements of bodies are
consequently supposed to take on the characters (accelerations, etc.,)
which we ascribe to the action of Gravitation. Gravitation in fact in
any region is the manifestation in Time of the attributes of the
universal Medium in that region--which latter again is dependent on the
degree of Matter present. Thus, Matter, Time, and Space are _one
phenomenon_.

The whole Einstein theory, in fact, is a device to present these three
Protean and variable elements of all material existence (Matter, Time
and Space) as so far involved and interlaced in each other that they
form always an absolute and complete unity. As such the theory is no
doubt suggestive, and along the line of future speculation: but it
awaits corroboration. If corroborated it will point the way to a new
conception of the Universe.

[25] J. S. Mill.

[26] See Stallo's excellent _Concepts of Modern Physics_.

[27] See, for instance, the last new thing in this style--the Helmholtz
molecule as improved upon by Sir William Thomson; it is described as
follows: "A heavy mass connected by massless springs with a massless
enclosing shell; or there may be several shells enclosing each other
connected by springs with a dense mass in the centre (far more dense
than the ether)." It is not, of course, seriously maintained that this
nonsensical creation exists--but that if it did exist it would account
for certain unexplained phenomena in the dispersion of light, etc.

Later still (1920) we have the following delightful verdict on the
Structure of the Atom, given by Sir Ernest Rutherford--and which I
commend to all lovers of clear thinking:--

"The Bakerian Lecture was delivered yesterday before the Royal Society
by Sir Ernest Rutherford, whose subject was 'The Nuclear Construction of
the Atom.' He said that during recent years much attention had been paid
to the nature and structure of atoms. The atomic theory of matter had
been definitely proved. The mass of the individual atoms, and the number
in any given weight of matter, were now known with considerable
accuracy. Not only was matter known to be made up of atoms, but
electricity was also atomic in nature, and there was a definite unit of
electrical charge which could not further be subdivided. The negative
electron, which was a constituent of all atoms of matter, was probably
nothing more than an isolated unit of negative electricity, and its
small mass was electrical in origin. It had long been considered
probable that the atom is an electrical structure, consisting of
positive and negative particles, held in equilibrium by electric or
magnetic forces. In recent years evidence had accumulated that an atom
consists of a positively charged nucleus surrounded at a distance by a
distribution of electrons to make it electrically neutral." (From _The
Morning Post_ of June 4, 1920.)

[28] The very fact alone that the degrees on a thermometer are _equal_
space divisions shows that they must bear a _varying_ relation to the
total volume of liquid as that expands from one end of the tube to the
other.

[29] A statement obviously applying--from what has been already said--at
only one point in the scale.

[30] I am not, of course, here arguing against the use of thermometers
or other instruments for practical purposes. This is certainly the
legitimate field of Science. But (as in the case of _prediction_ before
mentioned) the exactness of results obtained is a very different matter
from the truth of the generalities which are supposed to underlie these
results. In using a thermometer you need not even mention the word
"temperature."



THE SCIENCE OF THE FUTURE: A FORECAST

Once let that [the human ideal] slip out of the thought, and science is
of no more use than the invocations in the Egyptian papiri.--RICHARD
JEFFERIES.


It would appear then, from the preceding paper, that in some sense a
mistake has been made in the method of modern scientific work; not that
the vast amount of labour expended in it has been altogether wasted, for
in return for this there is a mass of practical results and detailed
observations to show; but that in attempting to solve the problem of
science by the intellect alone, a radical mistake has been made which
_could_ only land us in absurdity, and that this mistake has for the
time being also vitiated the results that have been attained. For--in
reference to this last point--the divorce of the intellectual from the
emotional has caused a great portion of our scientific observations to
become merely pedantic and trifling; while it has turned the practical
results--as industrial and military machinery, etc.--into engines of
evil as often as into engines of good.

Science in searching for a permanently valid and purely intellectual
representation of the universe has, as already said, been searching for
a thing which does not exist. The very facts of Nature, as we call them,
are at least half feeling. If we try to clean the feeling out of a fact
and to produce a statement which shall be devoid of the human or sense
element, it simply amounts to cleaning the meaning out; and though our
resulting statement may be exact it is nugatory and of no value. We
might as well try to take the clay out of a brick. It must never be
forgotten that the logical processes--important as they are--cannot
stand by themselves, have no standing ground of their own. They
presuppose assumptions and are the expression of things that are
unreasoning, perhaps illogical. The strictest logic is a mere hooking
together of links in a chain, and the last link is of no use--you can
put no stress on it--unless the first is secured somewhere. The strength
of the intellectual chain is no greater than that of the staple from
which it hangs--and that is a human feeling The strength of Euclid is no
greater than that of the axioms--and _they_ are feelings; they are
unreasoning statements of which all that we can say is, "I _feel_ like
that." In fact all the propositions of Geometry are nothing but the
analysis and elaborate expression, so to speak, of these primary
convictions--and the Geometry-structure stands and falls with them.
There is no such thing as intellectual truth--that is, I mean, a truth
which can be stated as existing apart from feeling. If, for instance, a
proposition in Geometry can be really shown to be based on the axioms,
it is true, not intellectually or absolutely, but as an expression of my
primary Geometrical sense; and if my giving a few pence to a crossing
sweeper is based not on a mere impression of duty, or an anxiety to
appear charitable, or wish to escape his importunity, but on genuine
regard for the man, then it is true, not in any absolute signification,
but just as an expression of what it professes to represent--namely my
primary sense of humanity. Indeed the truest truth is that which is the
expression of the deepest feeling, and if there is an absolute truth it
can only be known and expressed by him who has the absolute feeling or
Being within himself.

This being so--and the nature of the intellectual processes being, like
the links in a chain, transitional--it becomes obvious that the
intellectual results may figure as a _means_ but never as an end in
themselves. To hang any weight of reliance on them in the latter sense
is like the Chinese Trick--described by Marco Polo--of throwing a rope's
end up in the air and then climbing up the rope. Hence it appears that
our scientific theories are perfectly legitimate, as long as they are
formed as a means towards _practical_ applications. In that sense they
are transitional; they are formed, not as substantial truths, but merely
as links in a chain towards some definite practical result. For this
purpose we may form whatever theories are convenient: if we are
calculating the strength of bridges, we may adopt what generalisations
we like concerning mechanical structure, as long as they give us actual
and practical results; if we are predicting eclipses, we may make use of
any theory that will do. The theory does not matter, as long as it hauls
the practical result after it, just as it does not matter whether your
cable is of iron or hemp or silk, as long as you can get your ship into
dock with it. In this sense our Modern Science is, I conceive,
admirable. For practical results and brief predictions it affords a
quantity of useful generalisations--shorthand notes and conventional
symbols and pocket summaries of phenomena--which bear about the same
relation to the actual world that a map does to the country it is
supposed to represent. It cannot be said to have any resemblance to the
real thing--but, when you understand the principle on which it is
formed, it is exceedingly useful for finding your way about. As long as
Science therefore keeps the practical end in view, and starting from
sense seeks to return to sense again, its intermediate theorising is
perfectly legitimate; but the moment it credits its theory with a
positive and authoritative existence, as an actual representation of
facts--and endeavours to pass by means of it into unverifiable and
abstract regions, as of invisible germs or atoms, or far distances of
space, or the remote past or future--it is simply throwing its rope's
end into the sky and trying to climb up! That "the wish is father to the
thought" is in its wide sense profoundly true. In the individual,
feeling precedes thinking--as the body precedes the clothes. In history,
the Rousseau precedes the Voltaire. There is, I believe, a physiological
parallel; for behind the brain and determining its action stands the
great sympathetic nerve--the organ of the emotions. In fact here the
brain appears as distinctly transitional. It stands between the nerves
of sense on the one hand and the great sympathetic on the other.

Change the feeling in an individual, and his whole method of thinking
will be revolutionised; change the axiom or primary sensation in a
science, and the whole structure will have to be re-created. The current
Political Economy is founded on the axiom of individual greed; but let a
new axiomatic emotion spring up (as of justice or fair play instead of
unlimited grab), and the base of the science will be altered, and will
necessitate a new construction.

So when people argue (on politics, morality, art, etc.) it will
generally be found that they differ at the _base_; they go out, perhaps
quite unconsciously, from different axioms and hence they _cannot_
agree. Occasionally of course a strict examination will show that, while
agreeing at the base, one of them has made a false step in deduction; in
that case his thought does _not_ represent his primary feeling, and when
this is pointed out he is forced to alter it. But more often it is found
that the difference lies deep down at a point beyond the reach of
reason; and they disagree to the end. In this case neither is right and
neither is wrong. They simply feel differently; they are different
persons.

The Thought then is the expression, the outgrowth, the covering of
underlying Feeling. And in the great life of Man as a whole, as in the
lesser life of the individual, his continual new birth and inward growth
causes his thought-systems also continually to change and be replaced by
new ones. Like the bud-sheaths and husks in a growing plant or tree they
give form for a time to the life within; then they fall off and are
replaced. The husk prepares the bud underneath, which is to throw it
off. The thought prepares and protects the feeling underneath, which
growing will inevitably reject it; and when a thought has been formed it
is already _false_, _i.e._, ready to fall.

We are now, then, in a position to come back to the question of a
genuine Science, truly so-called.

As there is no invariable and absolute datum on the fringe of
Humanity--no definable flying atom on which we can found our
reasonings--and as Modern Science, considered as an actual
representation of the universe, falls miserably to pieces in
consequence--is it possible that we have made a mistake in the
_direction_ in which we have sought for our datum; and may it be that we
should look for that in the very Centre of Humanity instead of in its
remotest circumference? In that direction evidently, if we could
penetrate, we should expect to find, not a shadowy intellectual
generalisation, but the very opposite of that--an intense immutable
_feeling_ or state, an axiomatic condition of Being. Is it possible that
here, blazing like a sun (if we could only see it--and the sun is its
allegory in the physical world), there exists within us absolutely such
a thing--the one _fact_ in the universe, of which all else are shadows,
_to_ which everything has relation, and round which, itself
unanalysable, all thought circles and all phenomena stand as indirect
modes of expression?

Is it possible? That is the question--the question which each one of us
has to solve. At any rate, let us throw this out as a suggestion. Let us
suggest that as we have got nothing satisfactory by cleaning the
sense-element out of phenomena, we should take the opposite course and
put as much sense into them as we can!

"Facts" are, at least, half feelings. Let us acknowledge this and not
empty the feeling out of them, but deepen and enlarge that which we
already have in them. Who knows whether we have ever _seen_ the blue
sky? Who knows whether we have ever seen each other? Is it not a
commonplace to say that one man sees in the common objects of Nature
what another is wholly unconscious of? "The primrose on the river's brim
a yellow primrose is to him--and nothing more." To what extent may the
facts of Nature thus be deepened and made more substantial to us--and
whither will this process lead us?

Do we not want to feel _more_, not less, in the presence of
phenomena--to enter into a living relation with the blue sky, and the
incense-laden air, and the plants and the animals--nay, even with
poisonous and hurtful things to have a keener _sense_ of their
hurtfulness? Is it not a strange kind of science, that which wakes the
mind to pursue the shadows of things, but dulls the senses to the
reality of them--which causes a man to try to bottle the pure atmosphere
of heaven and then to shut himself in a gas-reeking, ill-ventilated
laboratory while he analyses it; or allows him to vivisect a dog,
unconscious that he is blaspheming the pure and holy relation between
man and the animals in doing so? Surely the man of Science (in its
higher sense, that is) should be lynx-eyed as an Indian, keen-scented as
a hound--with all senses and feelings trained by constant use and a pure
and healthy life in close contact with Nature, and with a heart beating
in sympathy with every creature. Such a man would have at command, so to
speak, the keyboard of the universe; but the mechanical, unhealthy,
indoor-living student--is he not really _ignorant of the
facts_?--Certainly, since he has not felt them, he is.

The process of the true Science consists first in the naming and
defining of phenomena (_i.e._, the facts of human consciousness), and
secondly, in the discovery of the true relation of these phenomena to
each other; and since the definitions of phenomena and their relations
keep varying with the standpoint of the observer, the process evidently
involves all experience, and ultimately the discovery of that last fact
of experience to which and through which all the other facts are
related. It is therefore an age-long process, and has to do with the
emotional and moral part of man as well as with the logical and
intellectual. It is, in fact, the discovery of the nature of Man
himself, and of the true order of his being.

Modern Science--though seeking for a unity in Nature--fails to find it,
because, from the nature of the case, any large body of knowledge in
which all people will agree is limited to certain small regions of human
experience--regions in which very likely no unity is discoverable. It
takes the emerald, and breaks it up; treats of its colour and
light-refracting qualities on the one hand; of its crystalline structure
and hardness on the other; of its weight and density; and of its
chemical properties; all separately, and producing long strings of
generalisation from each aspect of the subject. But how all these
qualities are conjoined together, what their relation is which
_constitutes_ the emerald--yea, even the smallest bit of emerald
dust--it (wisely) does not attempt to say. It takes the man and dissects
him; treats of his blood, his nerves, his bones, his brain; of his
senses of sight, of touch, of hearing; but of that which binds these
together into a unity, of their true relation to each other in the man,
it is silent.

Yet the man knows of himself that he _is_ a unity; he knows that all
parts of his body have relation to _him_, and to each other; he knows
that his senses of sight and hearing and touch and taste and smell are
conjoined in the focus of his individual life, in his "I am;" he knows
that all his faculties and powers, however much they may belong to
different planes, spiritual or material, or may come under the
inquisition of different Sciences, have an order of their own among each
other--that there _is_ an ultimate Science of them--even though he be
not yet wholly versed in it. And he knows, moreover, that in a grain of
dust, or in an emerald, or in an orange, or in any object of Nature, the
different attributes of the object--which the Sciences thus treat of
separately--are only the reflexion of his different senses; so that the
problem of the conjunction of different attributes in a body comes back
to the same problem of the union of various senses and powers in
himself--each individual object being only a case, externalised as it
were, and made a matter of consciousness, of the general relation to
each other of his own sensations and feelings. Knowing all his--I
say--he sees that the understanding of Nature in general and of the laws
or relations which he thinks he perceives among external things must
always depend on the relations and laws which he tacitly assumes, or
which he is directly conscious of, as existing between the various parts
of his own being; and that the ultimate truth which Science--the divine
Science--is really in search of is a moral or psychologic Truth--an
understanding of what man is, and the discovery of the true relation to
each other of all his faculties--involving all experience, and an
exercise of every faculty physical, intellectual, emotional and
spiritual, instead of one set of faculties only.

Not till we know the law of ourselves, in fact, shall we know the law of
the emerald and the orange, or of Nature generally; and the law of
ourselves is not learnt, except subordinately, by intellectual
investigation; it is mainly learnt by life. The relation of gravity to
vitality is learnt not so much by outer experiment in a laboratory as by
long experience within ourselves from the day when as infants we cannot
lift ourselves above the floor, through the years of the proud strength
of manhood scaling the loftiest mountains, to the hour when our
disengaged spirits finally overcome and pass beyond the attraction of
the earth; and just as the sense of weight--which first appears as a
quite external sensation--is thus at last found to stand in most
pregnant relation with our deepest selves, so of the other senses which
feed the individual life--the senses of light, of warmth, of taste, of
sound, of smell. Taste, which begins as it were on the tip of the
tongue, becomes ultimately, if normally developed, a sense which
identifies itself with the health and well-being of the whole body; the
pleasure of taste becomes vastly more than a mere surface pleasure, and
its discrimination of food more than a mere regard for the nutrition of
the ordinary corporeal functions. The sense of Light, which begins in
the material eye, grows and deepens inwardly till the consciousness of
it pervades the whole body and mind with a kind of inward illumination
or divine Reason, showing the places of all things and enfolding the
sense of beauty in itself. The sense of Warmth in the same manner is
related to and leads up to Love; and Sound, in the voices of our friends
or the divine chords of music, has passed away from being an external
phenomenon and has established itself as the language of our most tender
and intimate emotions.

All the senses thus, as they develop and deepen, are found to unite in
the very focus of individual life. Slowly, and through long experience,
their relation to each other, _their very meaning_ unfolds, or will
unfold; and as this process takes place the man knows himself _one_, a
unity, of which the various faculties are the different manifestations.
Then further through his less localised feelings or more glorified
senses the individual finds his relation to other individuals. Through
his loves and hatreds, through his senses of attraction, repulsion,
cohesion, solidarity, order, justice, charity, right, wrong and the
rest--these feelings, each like the others deepening back more and more
as time goes on--he gradually discovers his true and abiding
relationship to other individuals, and to the divine society of which
they all form a part--and so at last, if we may venture to say so, his
relationship to the absolute and universal. At present, since our most
important relation to each other is conceived of as one of rivalry and
Competition, we of course think of the objects of Nature as being
chiefly engaged in a Struggle for Existence with each other; but when we
become aware of all our senses and feelings, and of ourselves as
individuals, as having relation to the Absolute and universal,
proceeding from it, as the branches and twigs of a tree from the
trunk--then we shall become aware of a Divine or absolute science in
Nature; we shall at last understand that all objects have a permanent
and indissoluble relation to each other, and shall see their true
meaning--though not till then.

Is it possible then that Science, having hitherto--and we shall see in
time that this process has been really most valuable and important--gone
outwards from the centre towards the very fringe of Humanity--emptying
facts as far as possible as it went of all feeling, and reducing itself
at last to the most shadowy generalisations on the very verge of sense
and nonsense--is it possible, I say, that it will now return, and
_first_ filling up facts with feeling as far as practicable (that is, by
direct and the most living contact with Nature in every form, learning
to enter into direct personal sense-relationship with every phenomenon
and phase), will so gradually ascend to the great central fact and
feeling, and then at last and for the first time become fully conscious
of a vast organisation--absolutely perfect and intimately knit from its
centre to its utmost circumference--(the true cosmos of Man--the
conceptions of man and god combined)--existing inchoate or embryonic in
every individual man, animal, plant, or other creature--the object of
all life, experience, suffering, and toil--the ground of all sensation,
and the hidden, yet proper, theme of all thought and study?

For this is it possible that Science will, speaking broadly, have to
leave the laboratory and become one with Life; or that the great
currents of human life will have to be turned on into these often Augean
stables of intellectual pruriency?--the investigation of Nature no
longer a matter of the intellect alone, but of patient listening and the
quiet eye, and of love and faith, and of all deep human experience,
bearing not superciliously its weight towards the interpretation of the
least phenomenon--every "fact" thus deepened to its utmost--all
experience (rather than experiment) courted, and filial walking with
Nature, rather than tearing of veils aside--the life of the open air,
and on the land and the waters, the companionship of the animals and the
trees and the stars, the knowledge of their habits at first hand and
through individual relationship to them, the recognition of their voices
and languages, and listening well what they themselves have to say; the
keenest education of the senses towards the physical powers and
elements, and the acceptance of _all_ human experience, without
exception--till Science become a reality.

Is it possible that in some sense, instead of reducing each branch of
Science to its lowest terms, we shall have to read it in the light of
its _highest_ factors, and "take it up" into the Science above--that we
shall have to take up the mechanical sciences into the physical, the
physical into the vital, the vital into the social and ethical, and so
forth, before we can understand them? Is it possible that the phenomena
of Chemistry only find their due place and importance in their relation
to living beings and processes; that the phenomena of vitality and the
laws of Biology and Zoology--Evolution included--can only be "explained"
by their dependence on self-hood--both in plants and animals; that
Political Economy and the Social Sciences (which deal with men as
individual selves) must, to be understood aright, be studied in the
light of those great ethical principles and enthusiasms, which to a
certain extent override the individual self; and that, finally, Ethics
or the study of moral problems is only comprehensible when the student
has become aware of a region beyond Ethics, into which questions of
morality and immorality, of right and wrong, do not and cannot enter?

Of this reversal of the ordinary scientific method Ruskin has given a
great and signal instance in his treatment of Political Economy; it
remains, perhaps, for others to follow his example in the other branches
of Science.[31]

With regard to the absolute datum question we have seen that Science
has two alternatives before it--either to be merely intellectual and to
seek for its start-point in some quite external (and imaginary) thing
like the Atom, or to be divine and to seek for its absolute in the
innermost recesses of humanity. We have two similar alternatives in the
doctrine of Evolution, which looks either to one end of the scale or the
other for its interpretation--either to the amoeba or to the man--to
something it knows next to nothing of, or to that which it knows most
of. Goethe, when gazing at a fan-palm at Padua, conceived the idea of
leaf-metamorphosis, which he afterwards enunciated in the now accepted
doctrine that all parts of a plant--seed-vessel, pistil, stamens,
petals, sepals, stalk, etc.--may be regarded as modifications of a leaf
or leaves. In this view the distinctions between the parts are effaced,
and we have only one part instead of many--but the question is "what is
that part?" It is of course arbitrary to call it a leaf, for since it is
continually varying it is at one time a leaf, and at another a stalk,
and then a petal or a sepal, and so forth. What then is it? For the
moment we are baffled.

So with the doctrine of Evolution as applied to the whole organic
kingdom up to man. Like the doctrine of leaf-metamorphosis it
obliterates distinctions. Geoffroy St. Hilaire proposed to show the
French Academy that a Cephalopod could be assimilated to a Vertebrate by
supposing the latter bent backwards and walking on its hands and feet.
There is a continuous variation from the mollusc to the man--all the
lines of distinction run and waver--classes and species cease to
exist--and Science, instead of many, sees only _one_ thing. What then is
that one thing? Is it a mollusc, or is it a man, or what is it? Are we
to say that man may be looked upon as a variation of a mollusc or an
amoeba, or that the amoeba may be looked on as a variation of man? Here
are two directions of thought; which shall we choose? But the plain
truth is, the Intellect can give no satisfactory answer. Whichever, or
whatever, it chooses, the choice is quite arbitrary--just as much so as
the choice of the "leaf" in the other case. There is no answer to be
given. And thus it is that _the appearance of the doctrine of Evolution
is the signal of the destruction of Science_ (in the ordinary
acceptation of the word). For Evolution is the successive obliteration
of the arbitrary distinctions and landmarks which by their existence
_constitute_ Science, and as soon as Evolution covers the whole ground
of Nature inorganic and organic (as before long it will do)--the whole
of Nature runs and wavers before the eye of Science, the latter
recognises that its distinctions _are_ arbitrary, and turns upon and
destroys itself. This has happened before, I believe--ages back in the
history of the human race--and probably will happen again.

The only conceivable answer to the question, "What is that which is now
a mollusc and now a man and now an inorganic atom?"[32] is given by man
himself--and his answer is, I fear, not "scientific." It is "I Am." "I
am that which varies." And the force of his answer depends on what he
means by the word "I." And so also the only conceivable answer to the
absolute datum question is to be found in the meaning of the word
"I"--in the deepening back of consciousness itself. Man is the measure
of all things. If we are to use Science as a minister to the most
external part of man--to provide him with cheap boots and shoes,
etc.--then we do right to seek our absolute datum in his external part,
and to take his _foot_ as our first measure. We found a science on feet
and pounds, and it serves its purpose well enough. But if we want to
find a garment for his inner being--or, rather, one that shall fit the
_whole_ man--to wear which will be a delight to him and, as it were, a
very interpretation of himself--it seems obvious that we must not take
our measure from outside, but from his very most central principle. The
whole question is, whether there _is_ any absolute datum in this
direction or not. There have been men through all ages of history (and
from before) who have declared that there is. They have perhaps been
conscious of it in themselves. On the other hand there have been men
who, starting from their feet, declared that consciousness itself was a
mere incident of the human machine--as the whistle of the engine--and
thus the matter stands. On the whole, at the present day, the _feet_
have it, and (notwithstanding their variety in size and boot-induced
conformation) are generally accepted as the best absolute datum
available.

Under the foot _régime_ the universe is generally conceived of as a
medley of objects and forces, more or less orderly and distinct from
man, in the midst of which man is placed--the purpose and tendency of
his life being "adaptation to his environment." To understand this we
may imagine Mrs. Brown in the middle of Oxford Street. 'Buses and cabs
are running in different directions, carts and drays are rattling on all
sides of her. This is her environment, and she has to adapt herself to
it. She has to learn the laws of the vehicles and their movements, to
stand on this side or on that, to run here and stop there, conceivably
to jump into one at a favourable moment, to make use of the law of its
movement, and so get carried to her destination as comfortably as may
be. A long course of this sort of thing "adapts" Mrs. Brown
considerably, and she becomes more active, both in mind and body, than
before. That is all very well. But Mrs. Brown has a _destination_.
(Indeed how would she ever have got into the middle of Oxford Street at
all, if she had not had one? and if she did get there with no
destination at all, but merely to skip about, would there be any Mrs.
Brown left in a short time?) The question is, "What is the destination
of Man?"

About this last question unfortunately we hear little. The theory is (I
hope I am not doing it injustice) that by studying your environment
sufficiently you will find out--that is, that by investigating
Astronomy, Biology, Physics, Ethics, etc., you will discover the destiny
of man. But this seems to me the same as saying that by studying the
laws of cabs and 'buses sufficiently you will find out where you are
going to. These are ways and means. Study them by all means, that is
right enough; but do not think _they_ will tell you where to go. You
have to use them, not they you.

In order therefore for the environment to act, there must be a
destination. This I suppose is expressed in the biological dictum,
"organism is made by function as well as environment." What then is the
function of Man? And here we come back again to the meaning of the word
"I."

Nothwithstanding then the prevalence of the foot régime, and that the
heathen so furiously rage together in their belief in it, let us suggest
that there is in man a divine consciousness as well as a
foot-consciousness. For, as we saw that the sense of taste may pass from
being a mere local thing on the tip of the tongue to pervading and
becoming synonymous with the health of the whole body; or as the blue of
the sky may be to one person a mere superficial impression of colour,
and to another the inspiration of a poem or picture, and to a third--as
to the "god-intoxicated" Arab of the desert--a living presence like the
ancient Dyaus or Zeus; so may not the whole of human consciousness
gradually lift itself from a mere local and temporary consciousness to a
divine and universal? There is in every man a local consciousness
connected with his quite external body; that we know. Are there not also
in every man the makings of a universal consciousness? That there are in
us phases of consciousness which transcend the limit of the bodily
senses, is a matter of daily experience; that we perceive and know
things which are not conveyed to us by our bodily eyes or heard by our
bodily ears, is certain; that there rise in us waves of consciousness
from those around us, from the people, the race, to which we belong, is
also certain; may there not then be in us the makings of a perception
and knowledge which shall not be relative to this body which is here and
now, but which shall be good for all time and everywhere? Does there not
exist, in truth, as we have already hinted--an inner Illumination--of
which what we call light in the outer world is the partial expression
and manifestation--by which we can ultimately see things, _as they are_,
beholding all creation, the animals, the angels, the plants, the figures
of our friends and all the ranks and races of human kind, in their true
being and order--not by any local act of perception but by a cosmical
intuition and presence, identifying ourselves with what we see? Does
there not exist a perfected sense of Hearing--as of the morning-stars
singing together--an understanding of the words that are spoken all
through the universe, the hidden meaning of all things, the word which
is creation itself--a profound and far pervading sense, of which our
ordinary sense of sound is only the first novitiate and initiation? Do
we not become aware of an inner sense of Health and of Holiness--the
translation and final outcome of the external sense of taste--which has
power to determine for us absolutely and without any ado, without
argument and without denial, what is good and appropriate to be done or
suffered in every case that can arise?

And so on; it is not necessary to say more. If there are such powers in
man, then there is indeed an exact science possible. Short of it there
is only a temporary and phantom science. "Whatever is known to us by
(direct) consciousness," says Stuart Mill in his System of Logic, "is
known to us beyond possibility of question;" what is known by our local
and temporary consciousness is known _for the moment_ beyond possibility
of question; what is known by our permanent and universal consciousness
is permanently known beyond possibility of question.[33]

FOOTNOTES:

[31] Thus the study of Geometry would be primarily an education of the
eye, and the mind's eye, to the perception of geometrical forms and
facts, the judgment of angles, etc.--and secondarily only a process of
deductive reasoning--a body of empirical knowledge strengthened and tied
together by bands of logic; the study of Natural History would be
primarily an affectionate intimacy with the habits of animals and
plants, and classification would be treated as a secondary matter and as
a help to the former; Physiology would be studied in the first place by
the method of Health--the pure body--becoming gradually transparent with
all its organs to the eye of the mind--and dissection would be used to
corroborate and correct the results thus attained; and so on.

[32] Compare the Sphinx-riddle: What is that which goes on four legs,
etc.

[33] See for continuation of this subject the chapter on "A Rational and
Humane Science," p. 219 _infra_.



DEFENCE OF CRIMINALS:

A CRITICISM OF MORALITY

The State is the actually existing realised moral life. For it is the
unity of the universal essential Will with that of the individual, and
this is "Morality."--HEGEL.


A criminal is literally a person accused--accused, and in the modern
sense of the word convicted, of being harmful to Society. But is he
there in the dock, the patch-coated brawler or burglar, really harmful
to Society? is he more harmful than the mild old gentleman in the wig
who pronounces sentence upon him? That is the question. Certainly he has
infringed the law: and the law is in a sense the consolidated public
opinion of Society: but if no one were to break the law, public opinion
would ossify, and Society would die. As a matter of fact Society keeps
changing its opinion. How then are we to know when it is right and when
it is wrong? The Outcast of one age is the Hero of another. In
execration they nailed Roger Bacon's manuscripts out in the sun and
rain, to rot crucified upon planks--his bones lie in an unknown and
unhonoured grave--yet to-day he is regarded as a pioneer of human
thought. The hated Christian holding his ill-famed love-feasts in the
darkness of the catacombs has climbed up to the throne of S. Peter and
the world. The Jew moneylender whom Front-de-Boeuf could torture with
impunity is become a Rothschild--guest of princes and instigator of
commercial wars; and Shylock is now a highly respectable Railway
Bondholder. And the Accepted of one age is the Criminal of the next. All
the glories of Alexander do not condone in our eyes for his cruelty in
crucifying the brave defenders of Tyre by thousands along the sea-shore;
and if Solomon with his thousand wives and concubines were to appear in
London to-morrow, even our most frivolous circles would be shocked, and
Brigham Young by contrast seem a domestic model. The judge pronounces
sentence on the prisoner now, but Society in its turn and in the lapse
of years pronounces sentence on the judge. It holds in its hand a new
canon, a new code of morals, and consigns its former representative and
the law which he administered to a limbo of contempt.

It seems as if Society, as it progresses from point to point, forms
ideals--just as the individual does. At any moment each person,
consciously or unconsciously, has an ideal in his mind toward which he
is working (hence the importance of literature). Similarly Society has
an ideal in its mind. These ideals are tangents or vanishing points of
the direction in which Society is moving at the time. It does not reach
its ideal, but it goes in that direction--then, after a time, the
direction of its movement changes, and it has a new ideal.

When the ideal of Society is material gain or possession, as it is
largely to-day, the object of its special condemnation is the thief--not
the rich thief, for he is already in possession and therefore
respectable, but the poor thief. There is nothing to show that the poor
thief is really more immoral or unsocial than the respectable
money-grubber; but it is very clear that the money-grubber has been
floating with the great current of Society, while the poor man has been
swimming against it, and so has been worsted. Or when, as to-day,
Society rests on private property in land, its counter-ideal is the
poacher. If you go in the company of the county squire-archy and listen
to the after-dinner talk you will soon think the poacher a combination
of all human and diabolic vices; yet I have known a good many poachers,
and either have been very lucky in my specimens or singularly prejudiced
in their favour, for I have generally found them very good fellows--but
with just this one blemish that they invariably regard a landlord as an
emissary of the evil one! The poacher is as much in the right, probably,
as the landlord, but he is not right for the time. He is asserting a
right (and an instinct) belonging to a past time--when for hunting
purposes all land was held in common--or to a time in the future when
such or similar rights shall be restored. Cæsar says of the Suevi that
they tilled the ground in common and had no private lands, and there is
abundant evidence that all early human communities, before they entered
on the stage of modern civilisation, were communistic in character. Some
of the Pacific Islanders to-day are in the same condition. In those
times private property was theft. Obviously the man who attempted to
retain for himself land or goods, or who fenced off a portion of the
common ground and--like the modern landlord--would allow no one to till
it who did not pay him a tax--was a criminal of the deepest dye.
Nevertheless the criminals pushed their way to the front, and have
become the respectables of modern Society. And it is quite probable that
in like manner the criminals of to-day will push to the front and become
the respectables of a later age.

The ascetic and monastic ideal of early Christian and mediæval ages is
now regarded as foolish, if not wicked; and poverty, which in many times
and places has been held in honour as the only garb of honesty, is
condemned as criminal and indecent. Nomadism--if accompanied by
poverty--is criminal in modern Society. To-day the gipsy and the tramp
are hunted down. To have no settled habitation, or worse still, no place
to lay your head, are suspicious matters. We close even our outhouses
and barns against the son of man, and so to us the son of man comes not.
And yet--at one time and in one stage of human progress--the nomadic
state is the rule; and the settler is then the criminal. His crops are
fired and his cattle driven off. What right has he to lay a limit to the
hunting grounds, or to spoil the wild free life of the plains with his
dirty agriculture?

As to the marriage relation and its attendant moralities, the forms are
numerous and notorious enough. Public opinion seems to have varied
through all phases and ideals, and yet there is no indication of
finality. Modern investigations show that in primitive human societies
the affinities admitted or barred in marriage are most various--the
relation of brother and sister being even in cases allowed; in the
present day such a bond as the last-mentioned would be considered
inhuman and monstrous.[34] Polyandry prevails among one people or at one
time, polygyny prevails among another people or at another time. In
Central Africa to-day the chief offers you his wife as a mark of
hospitality, in India the native Prince keeps her hidden even from his
most intimate guest. Among the Japanese, public opinion holds young
women--even of good birth--singularly free in their intercourse with
men, _till they are married_; at Paris they are free after. In the Greek
and Roman antiquity marriage seems, with some brilliant exceptions, to
have been a prosaic affair--mostly a matter of convenience and
housekeeping--the woman an underling--little of the ideal attaching to
the relationship of man and wife. The romance of love went elsewhere.
The better class of free women or Hetairai were those who gave a
spiritual charm to the passion. They were an educated and recognised
body, and possibly in their best times exercised a healthy and
discriminating influence upon the male youth. The respectful treatment
of Theodota by Socrates and the advice which he gives her concerning her
lovers: to keep the insolent from her door, and to rejoice greatly when
the accepted succeed in anything honourable, indicates this. That their
influence was at times immense the mere name of Aspasia is sufficient to
show; and if Plato in the Symposium reports correctly the word of
Diotima, her teaching on the subject of human and divine love was
probably of the noblest and profoundest that has ever been given to the
world.

With the influx of the North-men over Europe came a new ideal of the
sexual relation, and the wife mounted more into equality with her
husband than before. The romance of love, however, still went mainly
outside marriage, and may, I believe, be traced in two chief forms--that
of Chivalry, as an ideal devotion to simple Womanhood; and that of
Minstrelsy, which took quite a different hue, individual and
sentimental--the lover and his mistress (she in most cases the wife of
another), the serenade, secret amour, etc.--both of which forms of
Chivalry and Minstrelsy contain in themselves something new and not
quite familiar to antiquity.

Finally in modern times the monogamic union has risen to
pre-eminence--the splendid ideal of an equal and life-long attachment
between man and wife, fruitful of children in this life, and hopeful of
continuance beyond--and has become the great theme of romantic
literature, and the climax of a thousand novels and poems. Yet it is
just here and to-day, when this ideal after centuries of struggle has
established itself, and among the nations that are in the van of
civilisation--that we find the doctrine of perfect liberty in the
marriage relationship being most successfully preached, and that the
communalisation of social life in the future seems likely to weaken the
family bond and to relax the obligation of the marriage tie.

If the Greek age, splendid as it was in itself and in its fruits of
human progress, did not hold marriage very high, it was partly because
the ideal passion of that period, and one which more than all else
inspired it, was that of comradeship, or male friendship carried over
into the region of love. The two figures of Harmodius and Aristogiton
stand at the entrance of Greek history as the type of this passion,
bearing its fruit (as Plato throughout maintains is its nature) in
united self-devotion to the country's good. The heroic Theban legion,
the "sacred band," into which no man might enter without his lover--and
which was said to have remained unvanquished till it was annihilated at
the battle of Chæronæa--proves to us how publicly this passion and its
place in society were recognised; while its universality and the depth
to which it had stirred the Greek mind are indicated by the fact that
whole treatises on love, in its spiritual aspect, exist, in which no
other form of the sentiment seems to be contemplated; and by the
magnificent panorama of Greek statuary, which was obviously to a large
extent inspired by it. In fact the most remarkable Society known to
history, and its greatest men, cannot be properly considered or
understood apart from this passion; yet the modern world scarcely
recognises it, or if it recognises, does so chiefly to condemn it.[35]

Other instances might be quoted to show how differently moral questions
are regarded in one age and another--as in the cases of Usury, Magic,
Suicide, Infanticide, etc. On the whole we pride ourselves (and justly I
believe) on the general advance in humanity; yet we know that to-day the
merest savages can only shudder at a civilisation whose public opinion
allows--as among us--the rich to wallow in their wealth, while the poor
are systematically starving; and it is certain that the vivisection of
animals--which on the whole is approved by our educated classes (though
not by the healthier sentiment of the uneducated)--would have been
stigmatised as one of the most abominable crimes by the ancient
Egyptians[36]--if, that is, they could have conceived such a practice
possible at all.

But not only do the moral judgments of mankind thus vary from age to age
and from race to race, but--what is equally remarkable--they vary to an
extraordinary degree from class to class of the same society. If the
landlord class regards the poacher as a criminal, the poacher, as
already hinted, looks upon the landlord as a selfish ruffian who has the
police on his side; if the respectable shareholder, politely and
respectably subsisting on dividends, dismisses navvies and the
frequenters of public-houses as disorderly persons, the navvy in return
despises the shareholder as a sneaking thief. And it is not easy to see,
after all, which is in the right. It is useless to dismiss these
discrepancies by supposing that one class in the nation possesses a
monopoly of morality and that the other classes simply rail at the
virtue they cannot attain to, for this is obviously not the case. It is
almost a commonplace, and certainly a fact that cannot be contested,
that every class--however sinful or outcast in the eyes of
others--contains within its ranks a large proportion of generous,
noble, self-sacrificing characters; so that the public opinion of one
such class, however different from that of others, cannot at least be
invalidated on the above ground. There are plenty of clergymen at this
moment who are models of pastors--true shepherds of the people--though a
large and increasing section of society persist in regarding priests as
a kind of wolves in sheep's clothing. It is not uncommon to meet with
professional thieves who are generous and open-handed to the last
degree, and ready to part with their last penny to help a comrade in
distress; with women living outside the bounds of conventional morality
who are strongly religious in sentiment, and who regard atheists as
_really_ wicked people; with aristocrats who have as stern material in
them as quarry-men; and even with bondholders and drawing-room loungers
who are as capable of bravery and self-sacrifice as many a pitman or
ironworker. Yet all these classes mentioned have their codes of
morality, differing in greater or lesser degree from each other; and
again the question forces itself upon us: Which of them all is the true
and abiding code?

It may be said, with regard to this variation of codes within the same
society, that, though various codes may exist at the same time, one only
is really valid, namely, that which has embodied itself in the law--that
the others have been rejected because they were unworthy. But, when we
come to look into this matter of law, we see that the plea can hardly be
maintained. Law represents from age to age the code of the dominant or
ruling class, slowly accumulated, no doubt, and slowly modified, but
always added to and always administered by the ruling class. To-day the
code of the dominant class may perhaps best be denoted by the word
Respectability--and if we ask why this code has to a great extent
overwhelmed the codes of the other classes and got the law on its side
(so far that in the main it characterises those classes who do not
conform to it as the criminal classes), the answer can only be: Because
it _is_ the code of the classes who are in power. Respectability is the
code of those who have the wealth and the command, and as these have
also the fluent pens and tongues, it is the standard of modern
literature and the press. It is not necessarily a better standard than
others, but it is the one that happens to be in the ascendant; it is the
code of the classes that chiefly represent modern society; it is the
code of the Bourgeoisie. It is different from the Feudal code of the
past, of the knightly classes, and of Chivalry; it is different from the
Democratic code of the future--of brotherhood and of equality; it is the
code of the Commercial age--and its distinctive watchword is property.

The respectability of to-day is the respectability of property. There is
nothing so respectable as being well-off. The Law confirms this:
everything is on the side of the rich; justice is too expensive a thing
for the poor man. Offences against the person hardly count for so much
as those against property. You may beat your wife within an inch of her
life and only get three months; but if you steal a rabbit, you may be
"sent" for years. So again, gambling by thousands on Change is
respectable enough, but pitch and toss for half-pence in the streets is
low, and must be dealt with by the police; while it is a mere
commonplace to say that the high-class swindler is "received" in society
from which a more honest but patch-coated brother would infallibly be
rejected. As Walt Whitman has it, "There is plenty of glamour about the
most damnable crimes and hoggish meannesses, special and general, of the
feudal and dynastic world over there, with its personnel of lords and
queens and courts, so well-dressed and handsome. But the people are
ungrammatical, untidy, and their sins gaunt and ill-bred."

Thus we see that though there are, for instance in the England of
to-day, a variety of classes and a variety of corresponding codes of
public opinion and morality, one of these codes, namely that of the
ruling class whose watchword is property, is strongly in the ascendant.
And we may fairly suppose that in any nation from the time when it first
becomes divided into well-marked classes this is or has been the case.
In one age--the commercial age--the code of the commercial or
money-loving class is dominant; in another--the military--the code of
the warrior class is dominant; in another--the religious--the code of
the priestly class; and so on. And even before any question of division
into classes arises, while races are yet in a rudimentary and tribal
state, the utmost diversity of custom and public opinion marks the one
from the other.

What, then, are we to conclude from all these variations (and the far
greater number which I have not mentioned) of the respect or stigma
attaching to the _same_ actions, not only among different societies in
different ages or parts of the world, but even at any one time among
different classes of the same society? Must we conclude that there is no
such thing as a permanent moral code valid for all time; or must we
still suppose that there is such a thing--though society has hitherto
sought for it in vain?

I think it is obvious that there is no such thing as a permanent moral
code--at any rate as applying to _actions_. Probably the respect or
stigma attaching to particular classes of actions arose from the fact
that these classes of actions were--or were thought to be--beneficial or
injurious to the society of the time; but it is also clear that this
good or bad name once created clings to the action long after the action
has ceased in the course of social progress to be beneficial in the one
case, or injurious in the other; and indeed long after the thinkers of
the race have discovered the discrepancy. And so in a short time arises
a great confusion in the popular mind between what is really good or
evil for the race and what is reputed to be so--the bolder spirits who
try to separate the two having to atone for this confusion by their own
martyrdom. It is also pretty clear that the actions which are beneficial
or injurious to the race must by the nature of the case vary almost
indefinitely with the changing conditions of the life of the race--what
is beneficial in one age or under one set of conditions being injurious
in another age or under other circumstances--so that a permanent or
ever-valid code of moral action is not a thing to be expected, at any
rate by those who regard morality as a result of social experience, and
as a matter of fact is not a thing that we find existing. And, indeed,
of those who regard morals as intuitive, there are few who have thought
about the matter who would be inclined to say that any _act_ in itself
can be either right or wrong. Though there is a superficial judgment of
this kind, yet when the matter comes to be looked into, the more general
consent seems to be that the rightness or wrongness is in the _motive_.
To kill (it is said) is not wrong, but to do so with murderous intent
is; to take money out of another person's purse is in itself neither
moral nor immoral--all depends upon whether permission has been given,
or on what the relations between the two persons are; and so on.
Obviously there is no mere act which under given conditions may not be
justified, and equally obvious there is no mere act which under given
conditions may not become unjustifiable. To talk, therefore, about
virtues and vices as permanent and distinct classes of actions is
illusory: there is no such distinction, except so far as a superficial
and transient public opinion creates it. The theatre of morality is in
the passions, and there are (it is said) virtuous and vicious
passions--eternally distinct from each other.

Here, then, we have abandoned the search for a permanent moral code
among the actions; on the understanding that we are more likely to find
such a thing among the passions. And I think it would be generally
admitted that this is a move in the right direction. There are
difficulties however here, and the matter is not one which renders
itself up at once. Though, vaguely speaking, some passions seem nobler
and more dignified than others, we find it very difficult, in fact
impossible, to draw any strict line which shall separate one class, the
virtuous, from the other class, the vicious. On the whole we place
Prudence, Generosity, Chastity, Reverence, Courage among the
virtues--and their opposites, as Rashness, Miserliness, Incontinence,
Arrogance, Timidity, among the vices; yet we do not seem able to say
that Prudence is always better than Rashness, Chastity than
Incontinence, or Reverence than Arrogance. There are situations in which
the less honoured quality is the most in place; and if the extreme of
this is undesirable, the extreme of its opposite is undesirable too.
Courage, it is commonly said, must not be carried over into
foolhardiness; Chastity must not go so far as the monks of the early
Church took it; there is a limit to the indulgence of the instinct of
Reverence. In fact the less dignified passions are necessary sometimes
as a counterbalance and set-off to the more dignified, and a character
devoid of them would be very insipid; just as among the members of the
body, the less honoured have their place as well as the more honoured,
and could not well be discarded.

Hence a number of writers, abandoning the attempt to draw a fixed line
between virtuous and vicious passions, have boldly maintained that vices
have their place as well as virtues, and that the true salvation lies in
the golden mean. The [Greek: epieikeia] and [Greek: sôphrosunê] of the
Greeks seem to have pointed to the idea of a blend or harmonious
adjustment of all the powers as the perfection of character. Plutarch
says (_Essay on Moral Virtue_), "This, then, is the function of
practical reason following nature, to prevent our passions either going
too far or too short.... Thus setting bound to the emotional currents,
it creates in the unreasoning part of the soul moral habits which are
the mean between excess and deficiency."

The English word "gentleman" seems to have once conveyed a similar idea.
And Emerson, among others, maintains that each vice is only the "excess
or acridity of a virtue," and says "the first lesson of history is the
good of evil."

According to this view rightness or wrongness cannot be predicated of
the passions themselves, but should rather be applied to the use of
them, and to the way they are proportioned to each other and to
circumstances. As, farther back, we left the region of actions to look
for morality in the passions that lie behind action, so now we leave the
region of the passions to look for it in the power that lies behind the
passions and gives them their place. This is a farther move in the same
direction as before, and possibly will bring us to a more satisfactory
conclusion. There are still difficulties, however, the chief ones lying
in the want of definiteness which necessarily attaches to our dealings
with these remoter tracts of human nature; and in our own defective
knowledge of these tracts.

For these reasons, and as the subject is a complex and difficult one, I
would ask the reader to dwell for a few minutes longer on the
considerations which show that it is really as impossible to draw a
fixed line between moral and immoral passions as it is between moral and
immoral actions, and which therefore force us, if we are to find any
ground of morality at all, to look for it in some further region of our
nature.

Plato in his allegory of the soul, in the Phædrus, though he apparently
divides the passions which draw the human chariot into two classes, the
heavenward and the earthward--figured by the white horse and the black
horse respectively--does not recommend that the black horse should be
destroyed or dismissed, but only that he (as well as the white horse)
should be kept under due control by the charioteer. By which he seems to
intend that there is a power in man which stands above and behind the
passions, and under whose control alone the human being can safely
move. In fact, if the fiercer and so-called more earthly passions were
removed, half the driving force would be gone from the chariot of the
human soul. Hatred may be devilish at times--but, after all, the true
value of it depends on what you hate, on the use to which the passion is
put. Anger, though inhuman at one time, is magnificent at another.
Obstinacy may be out of place in a drawing-room, but it is the latest
virtue on a battle-field, when an important position has to be held
against the full brunt of the enemy. And Lust, though maniacal and
monstrous in its aberrations, cannot in the last resort be separated
from its divine companion, Love. To let the more amiable passions have
entire sway notoriously does not do: to turn your cheek, too literally,
to the smiter, is (_pace_ Tolstoi) only to encourage smiting; and when
society becomes so altruistic that everybody runs to fetch the
coal-scuttle, we feel sure that something has gone wrong. The
white-washed heroes of our biographies, with their many virtues and no
faults, do not please us. We have an impression that the man without
faults is, to say the least, a vague, uninteresting being--a picture
without light and shade--and the conventional semi-pious classification
of character into good and bad qualities (as if the good might be kept
and the bad thrown away) seems both inadequate and false.

What the student of human nature rather has to do is not to divide the
virtues (so-called) from the vices (so-called), not to separate the
black horse and the white horse, but to find out what is the relation of
the one to the other--to see the character as a whole, and the mutual
interdependence of its different parts--to find out what that power is
which constitutes it a unity, whose presence and control makes the man
and all his actions "right," and in whose absence (if it is really
possible for it to be entirely absent) the man and his actions must be
"wrong."

What we call vices, faults, defects, appear often as a kind of
limitation: cruelty, for instance, as a limitation of human sympathy,
prejudice as a blindness, a want of discernment; but it is just these
limitations--in one form or another--which are the necessary conditions
of the appearance of a human being in the world. If we are to act or
live at all we must act and live under limits. There must be channels
along which the stream is forced to run, else it will spread and lose
itself aimlessly in all directions--and turn no mill-wheels. One man is
disagreeable and unconciliatory--the directions in which his sympathy
goes out to others are few and limited--yet there are situations in life
(and everyone must know them) when a man who is _able and willing_ to
make himself disagreeable is invaluable: when a Carlyle is worth any
number of Balaams.

Sometimes again vices, etc., appear as a kind of raw material from which
the other qualities have to be formed, and without which, in a sense,
they could not exist. Sensuality, for instance, underlies all art and
the higher emotions. Timidity is the defect of the sensitive imaginative
temperament. Bluntness, stupid candor, and want of tact are
indispensable in the formation of certain types of Reformers. But what
would you have? Would you have a rabbit with the horns of a cow, or a
donkey with the disposition of a spaniel? The reformer has not to
extirpate his brusqueness and aggressiveness, but to see that he makes
good use of these qualities; and the man has not to abolish his
sensuality, but to humanise it.

And so on. Lecky, in his "History of Morals," shows how in society
certain defects necessarily accompany certain excellences of character.
"Had the Irish peasants been less chaste they would have been more
prosperous," in his blunt assertion, which he supports by the contention
that their early marriages (which render the said virtue possible) "are
the most conspicuous proofs of the national improvidence, and one of the
most fatal obstacles to industrial prosperity." Similarly he says that
the gambling table fosters a moral nerve and calmness "scarcely
exhibited in equal perfection in any other sphere"--a fact which Bret
Harte has finely illustrated in his character of Mr. John Oakhurst in
the "Outcasts of Poker Flat;" also that "the promotion of industrial
veracity is probably the single form in which the growth of manufactures
exercises a favorable influence upon morals;" while, on the other hand,
"Trust in Providence, content and resignation in extreme poverty and
suffering, the most genuine amiability, and the most sincere readiness
to assist their brethren, an adherence to their religious opinions which
no persecutions and no bribes can shake, a capacity for heroic,
transcendent, and prolonged self-sacrifice, may be found in some
nations, in men who are habitual liars and habitual cheats." Again he
points out that thriftiness and forethought--which, in an industrial
civilisation like ours, are looked upon as duties "of the very highest
order"--have at other times (when the teaching was "take no thought for
the morrow") been regarded as quite the reverse, and concludes with the
general remark that as society advances there is some loss for every
gain that is made, and with the special indictment against
"civilisation" that it is not favorable to the production of
"self-sacrifice, enthusiasm, reverence, or chastity."

The point of all which is that the so-called vices and defects--whether
we regard them as limitations or whether we regard them as raw materials
of character, whether we regard them in the individual solely or whether
we regard them in their relation to society--are necessary elements of
human life, elements without which the so-called virtues could not
exist; and that therefore it is quite impossible to separate vices and
virtues into distinct classes with the latent idea involved that one
class may be retained and the other in course of time got rid of.
Defects and bad qualities will not be treated so--they clamour for their
rights and will not be denied; they effect a lodgment in us, and we
have to put up with them. Like the grain of sand in the oyster, we are
forced to make pearls of them.

These are the precipices and chasms which give form to the mountain. Who
wants a mountain sprawling indifferently out on all sides, without angle
or break, like the oceanic tide-wave of which one cannot say whether it
is a hill or a plain? And if you want to grow a lily, chastely white and
filling the air with its fragrance, will you not bury the bulb of it
deep in the dirt to begin with?

Acknowledging, then, that it is impossible to hold permanently to any
line of distinction between good and bad passions, there remains no
course for us but to accept both, and to _make use_ of them--redeeming
them, both good and bad, from their narrowness and limitation by so
doing--to make use of them in the service of humanity. For as dirt is
only matter in the wrong place, so evil in man consists only in actions
or passions which are uncontrolled by the human within him, and
undedicated to its service. The evil consists not in the actions or
passions themselves, but in the fact that they are inhumanly used. The
most unblemished virtue erected into a barrier between one self and a
suffering brother or sister--the whitest marble image, howsoever lovely,
set up in the Holy Place of the temple of Man, where the spirit alone
should dwell--becomes blasphemy and a pollution.

Wherein exactly this human service consists is another question. It may
be, and, as the reader would gather, probably is, a matter which at the
last eludes definition. But though it may elude exact statement, that is
no reason why approximations should not be made to the statement of it;
nor is its ultimate elusiveness of intellectual definition any proof
that it may not become a real and vital force within the man, and
underlying inspiration of his actions. To take the two considerations in
order. In the first place, as we saw from the beginning, the experience
of society is continually leading it to classify actions into beneficial
and harmful, good and bad; and thus moral codes are formed which eat
their way from the outside into the individual man and become part of
him. These codes may be looked upon as approximations in each age to a
statement of human service; but, as we have seen, they are by the nature
of the case very imperfect; and since the very conditions of the problem
are continually changing, it seems obvious that a final and absolute
solution of it by this method is impossible. The second way in which man
works towards a solution is by the expansion and growth of his own
consciousness, and is ultimately by far the most important--though the
two methods have doubtless continually to be corrected by each other. In
fact, as man actually forms a part of society externally, so he comes to
know and _feel_ himself a part of society through his inner nature.
Gradually, and in the lapse of ages, through the development of his
sympathetic relation with his fellows, the individual man enters into a
wider and wider circle of life; the joys and sorrows, the experiences,
of his fellows become his own joys and sorrows, his own experiences; he
passes into a life which is larger than his own individual life; forces
flow in upon him which determine his actions, not for results which
return to him directly, but for results which can only return to him
indirectly and through others; at last the ground of humanity, as it
were, reveals itself within him, the region of human equality--and his
actions come to flow directly from the very same source which regulates
and inspires the whole movement of society. At this point the problem is
solved. The growth has taken place from within; it is not of the nature
of an external compulsion, but of an inward compunction. By actual
consciousness the man has taken on an ever-enlarging life, and at last
the life of humanity, which has no fixed form, no ever-valid code; but
is itself the true life, surpassing definition, yet inspiring all
actions and passions, all codes and forms, and determining at last their
place.

It is the gradual growth of this supreme life in each individual which
is the great and indeed the only hope of Society--it is that for which
Society exists: a life which so far from dwarfing individuality enhances
immensely its power, causing the individual to move with the weight of
the universe behind him--and exalting what were once his little
peculiarities and defects into the splendid manifestations of his
humanity.

To return then for a moment to the practical bearing of this on the
question before us, we see that so soon as we have abandoned all codes
of morals there remains nothing for us but to put _all_ our qualities
and defects to human use, and to redeem them by so doing. Our defects
are our entrances into life, and the gateway of all our dealings with
others. Think what it is to be plain and _homely_. The very word
suggests an endearment, and a liberty of access denied to the
faultlessly handsome. Our very evil passions, so called, are not things
to be ashamed of, but things to look straight in the face and to see
what they are good for--for a use can be found for them, that is
certain. The man should see that he is worthy of his passion, as the
mountain should rear its crest conformable to the height of the
precipice which bounds it. Is it women? let him see that he is a
magnanimous lover. Is it ambition? let him take care that it be a grand
one. Is it laziness? let it redeem him from the folly of unrest, to
become heaven-reflecting, like a lake among the hills. Is it
closefistedness? let it become the nurse of a true economy.

The more complicated, pronounced, or awkward the defect is the finer
will be the result when it has been thoroughly worked up. Love of
approbation is difficult to deal with. Through sloughs of duplicity, of
concealment, of vanity, it leads its victim. It sucks his sturdy
self-life, and leaves him flattened and bloodless. Yet once mastered,
once fairly torn out, cudgeled, and left bleeding on the road (for this
probably has to be done with every vice or virtue some time or other),
it will rise up and follow you, carrying a magic key round its neck,
meek and serviceable now, instead of dangerous and demoniac as before.

Deceit is difficult to deal with. In some sense it is the worst fault
that can be. It seems to disorganise and ultimately to destroy the
character. Yet I am bold to say that this defect has its uses. Severely
examined perhaps it will be found that no one can live a day free from
it. And beyond that--is not "a noble dissimulation" part and parcel of
the very greatest characters: like Socrates, "the white soul in a satyr
form"? When the divine has descended among men has it not always, like
Moses, worn a veil before its face? and what is Nature herself but one
long and organised system of deception?

Veracity has an opposite effect. It knits all the elements of a man's
character--rendering him solid rather than fluid; yet carried out too
literally and pragmatically it condenses and solidifies the character
overmuch, making the man woodeny and angular. And even of that essential
Truth (truth to the inward and ideal perfection) which more than
anything else perhaps _constitutes_ a man--it is to be remembered that
even here there must be a limitation. No man can in act or externally be
quite true to the ideal--though in spirit he may be. If he is to live in
this world and be mortal, it must be by virtue of some partiality, some
defect.

And so again--since there is an analogy between the Individual and
Society--may we not conclude that as the individual has ultimately to
recognise his so-called evil passions and find a place and a use for
them, society also has to recognise its so-called criminals and discern
their place and use? The artist does not omit shadows from his canvas;
and the wise statesman will not try to abolish the criminal from
society--lest haply he be found to have abolished the driving force from
his social machine.[37]

From what has now been said it is quite clear that in general we call a
man a criminal, not because he violates any eternal code of
morality--for there exists no such thing--but because he violates the
ruling code of his time, and this depends largely on the ideal of the
time. The Spartans appear to have permitted theft because they thought
that thieving habits in the community fostered military dexterity and
discouraged the accumulation of private wealth. They looked upon the
latter as a great evil. But to-day the accumulation of private wealth is
our great good and the thief is looked upon as the evil. When however we
find, as the historians of to-day teach us, that society is now probably
passing through a parenthetical stage of private property from a stage
of communism in the past to a stage of more highly developed communism
in the future, it becomes clear that the thief (and the poacher
before-mentioned) is that person who is protesting against the
too-exclusive domination of a passing ideal. Whatever should we do
without him? He is keeping open for us, as Hinton I think expresses it,
the path to a regenerate society, and is more useful to that end than
many a platform orator. He it is that makes Care to sit upon the Crupper
of Wealth, and so, in course of time, causes the burden and bother of
private property to become so intolerable that society gladly casts it
down on common ground. Vast as is the machinery of Law, and multifarious
the ways in which it seeks to crush the thief, it has signally failed,
and fails ever more and more. The thief will win. He will get what he
wants, but (as usual in human life!) in a way and in a form very
different from what he expected.

And when we regard the thief in himself, we cannot say that we find him
less human than other classes of society. The sentiment of large bodies
of thieves is highly communistic among themselves; and if they thus
represent a survival from an earlier age, they might also be looked upon
as the precursors of a better age in the future. They have their pals in
every town, with runs and refuges always open, and are lavish and
generous to a degree to their own kind. And if they look upon the rich
as their natural enemies and fair prey, a view which it might be
difficult to gainsay, many of them at any rate are animated by a good
deal of the Robin Hood spirit, and are really helpful to the poor.

I need not I think quote that famous passage from Lecky in which he
shows how the prostitute, through centuries of suffering and ill-fame,
has borne the curse and contempt of Society in order that her more
fortunate sister might rejoice in the achievement of a pure marriage.
The ideal of a monogamic union has been established in a sense directly
by the slur cast upon the free woman. If, however, as many people think,
a certain latitude in sexual relations is not only admissible but, in
the long run, and within bounds, desirable, it becomes clear that the
prostitute is that person who against heavy odds, and at the cost of a
real degradation to herself, has clung to a tradition which, in itself
good, might otherwise have perished in the face of our devotion to the
splendid ideal of the exclusive marriage. There has been a time in
history when the prostitute (if the word can properly be used in this
connection) has been glorified, consecrated to the temple-service and
honoured of men and gods (the hierodouloi of the Greeks, the kodeshoth
and kodeshim of the Bible, etc.) There has also been a time when she has
been scouted and reviled. In the future there will come a time when, as
free companion, really free from the curse of modern commercialism, and
sacred and respected once more, she will again be accepted by society
and take her place with the rest.

And so with other cases. On looking back into history we find that
almost every human impulse has at some age been held in esteem and
allowed full play; thus man came to recognise its beauty and value. But
then, lest it should come (as it surely would) to tyrannise over the
rest, it has been dethroned, and so in a later age the same quality is
scouted and banned. Last of all it has to find its perfect human use and
to take its place with the rest. Up to the age of Civilisation
(according to writers on primitive Society) the early tribes of mankind,
though limited each in their habits, were essentially democratical in
structure. In fact, nothing had occurred to make them otherwise. Each
member stood on a footing of equality with the rest; individual men had
not in their hands an arbitrary power over others; and the tribal life
and standard ruled supreme. And when, in the future and on a much higher
plane, the true Democracy comes, this equality which has so long been in
abeyance will be restored, not only among men but also, in a sense,
among all the passions and qualities of manhood: none will be allowed to
tyrannise over others, but all will have to be subject to the supreme
life of humanity. The chariot of Man instead of two horses will have a
thousand; but they will all be under control of the charioteer.
Meanwhile it may not be extravagant to suppose that all through the
Civilisation-period the so-called criminals are keeping open the
possibility of a return to this state of society. They are preserving,
in a rough and unattractive husk it may be, the precious seed of a life
which is to come in the future; and are as necessary and integral a part
of society in the long run as the most respected and most honoured of
its members at present.

The upshot then of it all is that "morals" as a permanent code of action
have to be discarded. There exists no such permanent code. One age, one
race, one class, one family, may have a code which the users of it
consider valid, but only they consider it valid, and then only for a
time. The Decalogue may have been a rough and useful ready-reckoner for
the Israelites; but to us it admits of so many exceptions and
interpretations that it is practically worthless. "Thou shalt not
steal." Exactly; but who is to decide, as we saw at the outset, in what
"stealing" consists? The question is too complicated to admit of an
answer. And when we _have_ caught our half-starved tramp "sneaking" a
loaf, and are ready to condemn him, lo! Lycurgus pats him on the back,
and the modern philosopher tells him that he is keeping open the path to
a regenerate society! If the tramp had also been a philosopher, he would
perhaps have done the same act not merely for his own benefit but for
that of society, he would have committed a crime in order to save
mankind.

There is nothing left but Humanity. Since there is no ever-valid code of
morals we must sadly confess that there is no means of proving ourselves
right and our neighbours wrong. In fact the very act of thinking
whether _we_ are right (which implies a sundering of ourselves, even in
thought, from others) itself introduces the element of wrongness; and if
we are ever to _be_ "right" at all, it must be at some moment when we
fail to notice it--when we have forgotten our apartness from others and
have entered into the great region of human equality. Equality--in that
region all human defects are redeemed; they all find their place. To
love your neighbour _as_ yourself is the whole law and the prophets; to
feel that you are "equal" with others, that their lives are as your
life, that your life is as theirs--even in what trifling degree we may
experience such things--is to enter into another life which includes
both sides; it is to pass beyond the sphere of moral distinctions, and
to trouble oneself no more with them. Between lovers there are no duties
and no rights; and in the life of humanity, there is only an instinctive
mutual service expressing itself in whatever way may be best at the
time. Nothing is forbidden, there is nothing which may not serve. The
law of Equality is perfectly flexible, is adaptable to all times and
places, finds a place for all the elements of character, justifies and
redeems them all without exception; and to live by it is perfect
freedom. Yet not a law: but rather as said, a new life, transcending the
individual life, working through it from within, lifting the self into
another sphere, beyond corruption, far over the world of Sorrow.

The effort to make a distinction between acting for self and acting for
one's neighbor is the basis of "morals." As long as a man feels an
ultimate antagonism between himself and society, as long as he tries to
hold his own life as a thing apart from that of others, so long must the
question arise whether he will act for self _or_ for those others. Hence
flow a long array of terms--distinctions of right and wrong, duty,
selfishness, self-renunciation, altruism, etc. But when he discovers
that there is no ultimate antagonism between himself and society; when
he finds that the gratification of every desire which he has or can have
may be rendered social, or beneficial to his fellows, by being used at
the right time and place, and on the other hand that every demand made
upon him by society will and must gratify some portion of his nature,
some desire of his heart--why, all the distinctions collapse again; they
do not hold water any more. A larger life descends upon him, which
includes both sides, and prompts actions in accordance with an unwritten
and unimagined law. Such actions will sometimes be accounted "selfish"
by the world; sometimes they will be accounted "unselfish"; but they are
neither, or--if you like--both; and he who does them concerns himself
not with the names that may be given to them. The law of Equality
includes all the moral codes, and is the standpoint which they cannot
reach, but which they all aim at.

Judged by this final standard then, it may doubtless fairly be
said--since we all fall short of it--that we are all criminals, and
deserve a good hiding; and even that some of us are greater criminals
than others. Only of this real criminality the actual moral and legal
codes afford but ineffectual tests. I may be a far worse or more
self-included ("idiotic" or brutal) man than you, but the mere fact that
I have violated the laws and been clapped into prison does not prove it.
There may be, probably is, a real and eternal difference represented by
the words Right and Wrong, but no statement that we can make will ever
quite avail to define it. One use, however, of all these laws and codes
in the past, imperfect though they were, may have been to gradually
excite the consciousness in the individual of his opposition to society,
and so prepare the way for a true reconcilement. As Paul says, "I had
not known sin, but by the law," and, if we had not been cudgeled and
bruised for centuries by this rough bludgeon of social convention, we
should not now be so sensitive as we are to the effect of our actions
upon our neighbours, nor so ready for a social life in the future which
shall be superior to law.

Of course, the ultimate reconcilement of the individual with society--of
the unit Man with the mass-Man--involves the subordination of the
desires, their subjection to the true self. And this is a most important
point. It is no easy lapse that is here suggested, from morality into a
mere jungle of human passion, but a toilsome and long ascent--involving
for a time at any rate a determined self-control--into ascendancy over
the passions; it involves the complete mastery, one by one, of them all,
and the recognition and allowance of them only because they are
mastered. And it is just this training and subjection of the
passions--as of winged horses which are to draw the human chariot--which
necessarily forms such a long and painful process of human evolution.
The old moral codes are a part of this process; but they go on the plan
of extinguishing some of the passions--seeing that it is sometimes
easier to shoot a restive horse than to ride him. We however do not want
to be lords of dead carrion, but of living powers; and every steed that
we can add to our chariot makes our progress through creation so much
the more splendid, providing Phoebus indeed hold the reins, and not the
incapable Phaeton.

And by becoming thus one with the social self, the individual, instead
of being crushed, is made far vaster, far grander than before. The
renunciation (if it must be so called) which he has to accept in
abandoning merely individual ends is immediately compensated by the far
more vivid life he now enters into. For every force of his nature can
now be utilised. Planting himself out by contrast he stands all the
firmer because he has a left foot as well as a right, and when he acts,
he acts not half-heartedly as one afraid, but, as it were, with the
whole weight of Humanity behind him. In abandoning his exclusive
individuality he becomes for the first time a real and living
individual; and in accepting as his own the life of others he becomes
aware of a life in himself that has no limit and no end. That the self
of any one man is capable of an infinite gradation from the most petty
and exclusive existence to the most magnificent and inclusive seems
almost a truism. The one extreme is disease and death, the other is life
everlasting. When the tongue for example--which is a member of the
body--regards itself as a purely separate existence for itself alone, it
makes a mistake, it suffers an illusion, and descends into its pettiest
life. What is the consequence? Thinking that it exists apart from the
other members, it selects food just such as shall gratify its most local
self, it endeavours just to titillate its own sense of taste; and living
and acting thus, ere long it ruins that very sense of taste, poisons the
system with improper food, and brings about disease and death. Yet, if
healthy, how does the tongue act? Why, it does not run counter to its
own sense of taste, or stultify itself. It does not talk about
sacrificing its own inclinations for the good of the body and the other
members; but it just acts as being one in interest with them and they
with it. For the tongue _is_ a muscle, and therefore what feeds it feeds
all the other muscles; and the membrane of the tongue _is_ a
prolongation of the membrane of the stomach, and that is how the tongue
knows what the stomach will like; and the tongue _is_ nerves and blood,
and so the tongue may act for nerves and blood all over the body, and so
on. Therefore the tongue may enter into a wider life than that
represented by the mere local sense of taste, and experiences more
pleasure often in the drinking of a glass of water which the whole body
wants, than in the daintiest sweetmeat which is for itself alone.

Exactly so man in a healthy state does not act for himself alone,
practically cannot do so. Nor does he talk cant about "serving his
neighbors," etc. But he simply acts for them as well as for himself,
because they are part and parcel of his life--bone of his bone and flesh
of his flesh; and in doing so he enters into a wider life, finds a more
perfect pleasure, and becomes more really a man than ever before. Every
man contains in himself the elements of all the rest of humanity. They
lie in the background; but they are there. In the front he has his own
special faculty developed--his individual façade, with its projects,
plans and purposes: but behind sleeps the Demos-life with far vaster
projects and purposes. Some time or other to every man must come the
consciousness of this vaster life.

The true Democracy, wherein this larger life will rule society from
within--obviating the need of an external government--and in which all
characters and qualities will be recognised and have their freedom,
waits (a hidden but necessary result of evolution) in the constitution
of human nature itself. In the pre-Civilisation period these vexed
questions of "morals" practically did not exist; simply because in that
period the individual was one with his tribe and moved (unconsciously)
by the larger life of his tribe. And in the post-Civilisation period,
when the true Democracy is realised, they will not exist, because then
the man will know himself a part of humanity at large, and will be
consciously moved by forces belonging to these vaster regions of his
being. The moral codes and questionings belong to Civilisation, they are
part of the forward effort, the struggle, the suffering, and the
temporary alienation from true life, which that term implies.[38]

FOOTNOTES:

[34] Yet there is no doubt that lasting and passionate love may exist
between two persons thus nearly related. The danger to the health of the
offspring from occasional in-breeding of the kind appears to arise
chiefly from the accentuation of infirmities common to the two parents.
In a state of society free from the diseases of the civilisation-period,
such a danger would be greatly reduced.

[35] Modern writers fixing their regard on the physical side of this
love (necessary no doubt here, as elsewhere, to define and corroborate
the spiritual) have entered their protest as against the mere obscenity
into which the thing fell--for instance in the days of Martial--but have
missed the profound significance of the heroic attachment itself. It is,
however, with the ideals that we are just now concerned and not with
their disintegration.

[36] In the _later_ Egyptian centuries vivisection apparently became an
approved practice.

[37] The derivation of the word "wicked" seems uncertain. May it be
suggested that it is connected with "wick" or "quick," meaning _alive_?

[38] For further on the same subject see the last chapter, _infra_, on
"The New Morality."



EXFOLIATION

     "Creation's incessant unrest, exfoliation."
                                              WHITMAN.


I think it may perhaps be agreed, once for all, that the human mind is
incapable of really defining even the smallest fact of nature. The
simplest thing, or event, baffles us at the last. It is like trying to
look at the front and back of a mirror at the same time. The utmost
squinting avails not. The ego and the non-ego dance eluding through
creation. To catch them both in any mortal object and pin them there,
surpasses our powers. And yet they are there. Montaigne quotes somewhere
the words of S. Augustine: _Modus quo corporibus adhaerent spiritus ...
omnino mirus est, nec comprehendi ab homine potest; et hoc ipse homo
est_. "The manner whereby spirits adhere to bodies is altogether
wonderful, and cannot be conceived of by men; and yet this _is_ man."
Man himself contains, or rather is, the reconcilement of this and
numberless other contradictions. We actually every day perform and
exhibit miracles which the mental part of us is utterly powerless to
grapple with. Yet the solution, the intelligent solution and
understanding of them _is_ in us; only it involves a higher order of
consciousness than we usually deal with--a consciousness possibly which
includes and transcends the ego and the non-ego, and so can envisage
both at the same time and equally--a fourth-dimensional consciousness to
whose gaze the interiors of solid bodies are exposed like mere
surfaces--a consciousness to whose perception some usual antitheses like
cause and effect, matter and spirit, past and future, simply do not
exist. I say these higher orders of consciousness are in us waiting for
their evolution; and, until they evolve, we are powerless really to
understand anything of the world around us.

Meanwhile, since we _must_ have formulæ and generalisations to think by,
we are fain to accept our local views, and look on the world from this
side or from that. Sometimes we are idealists, sometimes we are
materialists; sometimes we believe in mechanics, sometimes in human or
spiritual forces. The science of the last fifty years has, as pointed
out in a preceding paper, looked at things more from the mechanical than
the distinctively human side--from the point of view of the non-ego,
rather than of the ego. Reacting from an extreme tendency towards a
subjective view of phenomena, which characterised the older
speculations, and fearing to be swayed by a kind of partiality towards
himself, the modern scientist has endeavoured to remove the human and
conscious element from his observations of Nature. And he has done
valuable work in this way--but of course has been betrayed into a
corresponding narrowness.

In fact the main scientific doctrine of the day, Evolution, is obviously
suffering from this treatment, and the following remarks are merely a
few notes by way of suggestion of some things which may be said on its
more specially human side. For since each man is a part of nature, and
in that sense a part also of the evolution-process, his own subjective
experience ought at least to throw some light on the conditions under
which evolution takes place, and to contribute something towards an
understanding of the problem.

If the question is: What is the cause of Variation among animals? some
approximation towards an answer ought to be got by each person asking
himself, "Why do I vary?" Why--he might say--am I a different person
from what I was ten years ago, or when I was a boy? Why have I varied in
one direction and my brothers and sisters from the same nest in other
directions? Though my individual consciousness only covers the small
ground of my own life, and does not extend back to that of my father or
forward to that of my son, still the intimate knowledge that I have of
the forces acting on me during that short period may help me to an
understanding of the forces that bring about the modification of men and
animals at large, and the discovery of some laws of my own growth may
reveal to me the laws of race-growth.

In answer to such a question, it would speedily appear that there were
two general causes determining direction of change or growth in the
individual, which might be conveniently distinguished from each
other--an external and an internal. In the first place the supposed
person might say, "External conditions forced me along these lines. My
father was a town artisan, but he apprenticed me to a farmer. I grew up
a farmer's boy, and became an agricultural type as you see. I did not
particularly care for farming, sometimes indeed I would have been glad
to be out of it; but practically I succumbed to circumstances, and here
I am." But in the second place he might answer thus:--"My father was
himself a farmer; I was early used to the craft, and should no doubt
have grown up in it, had I not hated it like poison. I loved music,
broke away from home, joined a band, got on the musical staff of a small
theatre, and am now a professional musician. My frame is comparatively
slight, and my hands are of the nervous type, as you see. Of course, I
have some of the old agricultural stock left in me, but I feel that that
is dying out." The one cause would be a change of external conditions,
forcing the man to accommodate himself to them; the other would be a
change of internal conditions, an inward growth, expressing itself first
in the form of an intense desire, and compelling the man to change
himself and probably also his environment in obedience to it. Two such
general sets of causes, I say, could be roughly distinguished from each
other; and probably indeed are recognised less or more distinctly by
everyone as acting to modify his life. Nor can the life of a man at any
time be said to be ruled by one of these forces alone. No man is
modified by external conditions alone, without any play or reaction of
inner needs and desires and growth from within; nor is any man
transformed in obedience to an inner expansion without sundry lets and
hindrances from without. The two forces are in constant play upon one
another; but in some ways that would appear to be the more important
which proceeds from the Man (or creature) himself, since this is
obviously vital and organic to him, and therefore the most consistent
and reliable factor in his modification, while the external
force--arising from various and remote causes--must rather be regarded
as discontinuous and accidental.

I propose, therefore, in these few pages to consider especially this
inner force producing modification in man and animals--to try and find
out of what nature it is, what is the law, and what are the limits of
its action--premising always, as already suggested, that this
distinction between "inner" and "outer," which is convenient and easy to
handle on certain planes of thought, may ultimately, and in the last
resort, prove very difficult or even impossible to maintain.

It is often said by Biologists that _function precedes
organisation_--that is, man fights with his fellows before he makes
weapons to fight with; the rudimentary animal digests food (as in the
case of the amoeba) before it acquires a stomach or organ of digestion;
it sees or is sensitive to light before it grows an eye; in society
letters are carried by private hands before an organised postal system
is created. Such facts properly considered are of vital importance. They
show us, as it were by a sign-post, the direction of creation. They show
how any new thing or modification of an old thing may come into being.
They may be supplemented by a second statement--namely that _desire
precedes function_. That is, man desires to injure his fellow before he
actually fights with him; he experiences the wish to communicate with
distant friends before ever he thinks of sending such a thing as a
letter; the amoeba craves for food first, and circumvents its prey
afterwards. Desire, or inward change, comes first, action follows, and
organisation or outward structure is the result.

In man this "order of creation," if it may so be called, _i.e._, from
within outwards, is very marked. Whenever a man creates anything new he
pursues it; when he builds a house, for instance, or composes a poem or
piece of music, or designs an Alpine tunnel, or whatever it may be. The
order seems to be: first, a feeling--a dim want or desire; then the
feeling becomes conscious of itself, takes shape in thought; the thought
becomes more defined and issues in a distinct plan; the plan is
committed to paper, models are made, etc.; and finally the actual work
is begun and completed. The process appears as a movement from within
outwards--the earliest and most authentic discernible source of the
movement being a feeling--(though there may lie something behind that).
Even in ordinary action the same order is manifest; for, though of
course _every_ action is not preceded by desire--since we know that
actions soon become habitual and more or less unconscious--still a vast
number of them are immediately so preceded; and in the case of any
action that is _new_, either to the individual or to the race, its
inception is generally accompanied by effort so painful that it would
not be exerted unless the desire were very strong. The difficulty which
a man experiences in learning any new art, and the records of the many
failures, struggles, oppositions, persecutions, etc., which have
attended every new invention or innovation of any kind in human history,
afford plenty of evidence of this last point. Certainly the effort that
accompanies a new action is not always faced so much from sheer desire
of the new thing itself as from fear perhaps of something else--as it
may be contended that monkeys did not take to climbing trees because
they loved trees, but because they feared the beasts below, or that the
giraffe did not stretch its neck because it particularly desired to feed
on leaves, as because it could not get food any other way--but still,
even in these cases the desire may be said to exist, though it is
secondary--being founded upon another and more elementary desire--the
desire namely of escaping pain or obtaining food. In either case a
desire of some kind is a precedent condition of the new action. And so
as we know of no case of a new action coming into play without being
preceded by desire, we seem to be justified in supposing that all our
actions when they were first initiated (in our forefathers, if not in
ourselves) were so preceded. If this is so, then, since function is
always preceded by desire, and organisation is preceded by function,
organisation must necessarily be preceded by desire. And if this is the
order of creation in man, should we not reasonably look in this
direction for the key to the variation of animals and the order of
creation in general?[39]

If a farmer's son is occasionally born who hates farming and loves
music, and who ultimately through the force of his desire (driving him
into oppositions and difficulties and penurious struggles) transforms
himself into a musician, is it not also likely that occasionally an
animal is born who hates the customs of his tribe, and at last (also
through struggles) transforms himself into something else? Even if he
does not succeed (the animal) in entirely transforming himself, he
likely transmits the desire in some degree to his descendants, and the
transformation is thus carried on and completed later. For everywhere
among the animals there _is_ desire, of some kind or another, obviously
acting; and if in man, by our own experience, desire is the precursor
and first expression of growth, is there any reason why it should not
also be so among animals? Lamarck gives the instance--among others--of a
gasteropod; how the need or desire of touching bodies in front of it as
it crawled along would result in the formation of tentacles. The
gasteropod, he says, would keep making efforts to feel with the front of
its head, and the determination of consciousness that way would be
accompanied by a supply of nervous and other fluids, which would nourish
the part and cause growth there--the _form_ of the growth continuing in
the same way to be determined by need--till at last two or more
tentacles would appear. True, the inward determinations of consciousness
may not be so vivid and varied in animals as they are in men; but they
are persistent, and by the very cumulative force of habit which is so
strong in animals, must at length penetrate down through function into
organisation and external form. Who shall say that the lark, by the mere
love of soaring and singing in the face of the sun, has not altered the
shape of its wings, or that the forms of the shark or of the gazelle are
not the long-stored results of character leaning always in certain
directions, as much as the forms of the miser or the libertine are among
men?

Such modification as this is very different from the "survival of the
fittest" of the Darwinian evolution theory. We may fairly suppose that
both kinds of modification take place; but the latter is a sort of easy
success won by an external accident of birth--a success of the kind that
would readily be lost again; while the former is the uphill fight of a
nature that has grown inwardly and wins expression for itself in spite
of external obstacles--an expression which therefore is likely to be
permanent. If the progenitors of man took to going upright on two legs
instead of on all fours, merely because a few of them by _chance_ were
born with a talent for that position, which enabled them to escape the
fanged and pursuing beasts, then when this danger was removed they might
have plumped down again into the old attitude; but if the change was
part and parcel of a true evolution, the fulfilment of a positive desire
for the upright position, a true _unfolding_ of a higher form latent
within--an organic growth of the creature itself, then, though the
moment of the evolution of this particular faculty might be determined
by the fanged beasts, the fact of such evolution could not be determined
by them. Besides, are we to suppose that Man, the lord and ruler of the
animals, came merely by way of _escape_ from the animals? Do lords and
rulers generally come so? Was it fear that made him a man? Were it not
likelier that in that case he would have turned into a worm? He would
have escaped better perhaps that way. Is it not rather probable that it
was some nobler power that worked transforming--some dim desire and
prevision of a more perfect form, the desire itself being the first
consciousness of the urge of growth in that direction--that prompted him
to push in the one direction rather than the other when he had to hold
his own against the tigers? In fact is it not thus to-day, when a man
has to meet danger, that the ideal which he has within him determines
_how_ he shall meet that danger, and others like it, and so ultimately
determines the whole attitude and carriage of his body?

On the whole then, judging from man himself (and it seems most cautious
and scientific to derive our main evidence from the being that we are
best acquainted with), it certainly seems to me that, though the
external conditions are a very important factor in Variation, the
central explanation of this phenomenon should be sought in an inner law
of Growth--a law of expansion more or less common to all animate nature.
Partly because, as said before, the unfolding of the creature from its
own needs and inward nature is an organic process, and likely to be
persistent, while its modification by external causes must be more or
less fortuitous and accidental and sometimes in one direction and
sometimes in another; partly also because the movement from within
outwards seems to be most like the law of creation in general. Under
this view the external conditions would be considered a
secondary--though important cause of modification; and regarded rather
as the influences that give form and detail to the great primal impulse
of growth from within; while the creature's own ingenuity and good luck
would occupy the ground between the two--as the means whereby the
external conditions in each individual case would be turned to account
to satisfy the inner needs, or the inner life would be accommodated to
the external conditions.

If we take the external view of Variation--which is the one most
favoured by modern science--modification or race-growth appears as an
unconscious or accretive process, similar to the formation of a coral
reef. There is no line of growth native in the race itself, but at any
moment it is supposed to have an equal tendency to vary in any
direction. Surrounding conditions act selectively; and by a process of
weeding out certain types survive; small successive modifications are
thus accumulated; and gradually and in the lapse of ages a more pliable
and differentiated creature, and more adaptable to a variety of
conditions, is produced--in whom however mind is incidental, and has
played but small part in the creature's evolution. This in the main is
the Darwinian-evolution theory.

If we take the internal view, growth is from the first eminently
conscious. Every change begins in the mental region--is felt first as a
desire gradually taking form into thought, passes down into the bodily
region, expresses itself in action (more or less dependent on
conditions), and finally solidifies itself in organisation and
structure. The process is not accretive, but exfoliatory--a continual
movement from within outwards. When the desire or mental condition,
which at first was painfully conscious, has overcome opposition and
established itself in altered bodily structure, it has done its work,
and becomes unconscious--the bodily function continuing for a long
period to act automatically, till finally it is thrown off to make room
for some later development. Thus race-growth or Variation is a process
by which change begins in the mental region, passes into the bodily
region where it becomes organised, and finally is thrown off like a
husk. This may be called the theory of Exfoliation.

To illustrate our meaning. Let us take the development of an eye. In the
amoeba there is a dim pervasive sensitiveness to light over the whole
body, but there is no eye, nothing that we should call vision. Still
this vague sensitiveness is of use to the amoeba. The shadow of its prey
falling upon the creature and exciting a sensation hardly yet
differentiated from touch helps to guide its movements. On this dim
sensation it relies to some extent; its attention is directed towards
it. Gradually, and in some descendant form, there comes to be a point on
the body on which this attention is most specially concentrated. The
faculty is localised; and from that moment a change is effected there, a
differentiation and a special structure; everything that favours
sensitiveness is encouraged at that place, everything that dulls it is
removed; and before long--there is a rudimentary eye. To-day we use our
perfected eyes, and are hardly conscious that we are doing so; but every
power of vision that we have was thus won for us by some lowlier
creature, step by step, with effort and with concentration. Or to take
an illustration from society. To-day society is ill at ease; a dim
feeling of discontent pervades all ranks and classes. A new sense of
justice, of fraternity, has descended among us, which is not satisfied
with mere chatter of demand and supply. For a long time this new
sentiment or desire remains vague and unformed, but at last it resolves
itself into shape; it takes intellectual form, books are written, plans
formed; then after a time definite new organisations, for the distinct
purpose of expressing these ideas, begin to exist in the body of the old
society; and before so very long the whole outer structure of society
will have been reorganised by them. After a few centuries the ideas for
whose realisation we now fight and struggle with an intense
consciousness will have become commonplace, accepted institutions, more
or less effete and ready to succumb before fresh mental births taking
place from within.

The modern evolution theory would maintain that among many amoebas and
descendant forms, one would at last by chance be born having the usual
sensitiveness localised in a particular spot, and, surviving by force of
this advantage, would transmit this "eye" to its posterity; or that in
the progress of society, new economic conditions having arisen, that
people would prosper best which most effectually and rapidly adapted
itself to them. But though there is doubtless truth in this view, yet it
seems, when all has been said, to be inadequate and even feeble; it
omits at least one half of the problem. If we look at ourselves, as
already pointed out, we see the two forces--the inner and the
outer--acting and re-acting on each other. May it not be so in animals?
Lamarck, poorly off, blind, derided, was a true poet. "Animals vary from
low and primitive types chiefly by dint of wishing"--and the world
laughed and still laughs. But it was his deep sympathy even with the
worms and insects (which he studied till he could discern them with his
mortal eyes no longer) that led Lamarck to see the human nature and the
human laws that moved within them; and as his outward sight grew dim
there arose before him the inward vision of the true relationship which
binds together all living creatures--which was indeed a vision of divine
things, and as different from the mere mechanism-theory of the survival
of the fittest as the sight of the starry heavens is different from a
governess's lesson on the use of the globes.

On the theory of Exfoliation, which was practically Lamarck's theory,
there is a force at work throughout creation, ever urging each type
onward into new and newer forms. This force appears first in
consciousness in the form of _desire_. Within each shape of life sleep
needs and wants without number, from the lowest and simplest to the
most complex and ideal. As each new desire or ideal is evolved, it
brings the creature into conflict with its surroundings, then gaining
its satisfaction externalises itself in the structure of the creature,
and leaves the way open for the birth of a new ideal. If then we would
find a key to the understanding of the expansion and growth of all
animate creation, such a key may exist in the nature of desire itself
and the comprehension of its real meaning. It is not certain that it can
be found here; but it may be.

What then is desire in Man? Here we come back again, as suggested at the
outset, to Man himself. Though we see pretty clearly that desire is at
work in the animals, and that it is the same in kind as exists in man,
still, among the animals it is but dim and inchoate, while in man it is
developed and luminous; in ourselves, too, we know it immediately, while
in the animals only by inference. For both reasons, therefore, if we
want to know the nature of desire--even to know its nature among
animals--we should study it in Man. What then is this desire in Man,
which seems to be the instigation and origin of all his growth and
development? At first it seems a hydra-headed senseless thing without
rhyme or reason; but the more one regards it the more clearly one sees
that even in its lowest forms it is steadily building up and liberating
all the functions of the human being. In its most perfect form--as in
what we call Love--it is the sum and solution of human activities, that
in which they converge, for which they all exist, and without which
they would be considered useless. The more you look into this matter,
the plainer it becomes. The lesser desires--the self-preservation
desires--hunger, thirst, the desire of power--exist, but when they are
satisfied they empty themselves into this one; they find their
interpretation in it. The other desires are nothing by themselves--the
most absorbing, avarice, ambition, desire of knowledge, taken alone,
stultify themselves--but love perpetuates itself; it is a flame which
uses all the rest as its fuel. And this Love, which is the culmination
of desire, does it not appear to us as a worship of and desire for the
human form? In our bodies a desire for the bodily human form; in our
interior selves a perception and worship of an ideal human form, the
revelation of a Splendour dwelling in others, which--clouded and dimmed
as it inevitably may come to be--remains after all one of the most real,
perhaps the most real, of the facts of existence? Desire, therefore--as
it exists in man, look at it how you will--as it unfolds and its
ultimate aim becomes clearer and clearer to itself, is seen to be the
desire and longing for the deliverance and expression of the real human
Being. May it not, must it not, be the same thing in animals and all
through creation? Beginning in the most elementary and dim shapes, does
it not grow through all the stages of organic life clearer and more and
more powerful, till at last it attains to self-consciousness in humanity
and becomes avowedly the leading factor in our development?

The desire which runs through creation is one desire. Rudimentary at
first and hardly conscious of itself, throwing out a tentacle here, a
foot there, developing an eye, a claw, a nostril, a wing, it seeks in
innumerable shapes and with ever partial success to realise the image it
has dimly conceived. The animal kingdom is the gymnasium, the school,
the antechamber, of humanity; to walk through a zoological garden is to
see the inchoate types of man, perched on branches, or browsing grass,
or boring holes in the ground; it is to witness a grand rehearsal of
some stupendous part, whose character we do not even yet fully see or
understand. From such half-conscious beginnings the desire grows, its
aim becomes clearer, till in the higher animals--the horse, the dog, the
elephant, the bird, and many others--it becomes a marked and
unmistakable force drawing them close to man, uniting them to him in a
kind of acknowledged kinship, and as obviously at work modifying their
structure as can be. Finally in man himself it becomes an absorbing
power; love becomes a conscious worship of the divine form; generation
itself is the means whereby, in time, the supreme object of desire is
realised. When at last the perfect Man appears, the key to all nature is
found, every creature falls into its place and finds its Interpreter,
and the purpose of creation is at last made manifest.

The Theory of Exfoliation then differs from that very specialised form
of Evolution which has been adopted by modern science, in this
particular among others: that it fixes the attention on that which
appears last in order of Time, as the most important in order of
causation, rather than on that which appears first; and recalls to us
the fact that often in any succession of phenomena, that which is first
in order of precedence and importance is the last to be externalised.
Thus in the growth of a plant we find leaf after leaf appearing, petal
within petal--a continual exfoliation of husks, sepals, petals, stamens
and what-not; but the object of all this movement, and that which in a
sense sets it all in motion, namely the seed, is the very last thing of
all to be manifested. Or when a volcano breaks out--first of all we have
a cracking and upheaval of superficial layers of ground, then of layers
below these, then the outflow of lava, and _last of all_ the uprush of
the inner fires and forces which set it all agoing. What appears first
in time, or in the outer world is--in the case of the building of a
house, the making of bricks; in the case of the flower, the outermost
bracts; in the case of a volcano, the stirring of the surface of the
ground; and in the case of Life on the Earth, the appearance of
protoplasms and primordial cells. The bricks are not the cause of the
house (if indeed the word "cause" should be used here at all) but rather
the house--or the conception of the house--is the cause of the bricks;
and the cells are not the origin of Man, but Man is the original of the
cells. The rationale of sea-anemones and mud-fish and flying foxes and
elephants has to be looked for in man: he alone underlies them. And man
is not a vertebrate because his ancestors were vertebrate; but the
animals are vertebrate, because or in so far as they are forerunners and
offshoots of Man.

It has been frequently said that great material changes are succeeded by
intellectual and finally by moral revolutions--as the conquests of
Alexander passed on into the literary expansion of the Alexandrian
schools and thence into the establishment of Christianity, or as the
mechanical developments of our own time have been followed by immense
literary and scientific activities, and are obviously passing over now
into a great social regeneration; but a reconsideration of the matter
might, I take it, lead us not so much to look on the later changes as
_caused_ by the earlier, as to look on the earlier as the indications
and first outward and visible signs of the coming of the later. When a
man feels in himself the upheaval of a new moral fact, he sees plainly
enough that that fact cannot come into the actual world all at once--not
without first a destruction of the existing order of society--such a
destruction as makes him feel satanic; then an intellectual revolution;
and lastly only, a new order embodying the new impulse. When this new
impulse has thoroughly materialised itself, then after a time will come
another inward birth, and similar changes will be passed through again.
So it might be said that the work of each age is not to build _on_ the
past, but to rise _out_ of the past and throw it off; only of course in
such matters where all forms of thought are inadequate it is hard to say
that one way of looking at the subject is truer than another. As before,
we should endeavour to look at the thing from different sides.

We are obliged to use images to think by--_e.g._ the opening of a flower
or the accretive growth of a coral reef--and possibly it would save a
good deal of trouble if we did not disguise by long words the truth that
all our theories in science and philosophy are simply metaphors of this
kind--but the _fact_ still lies behind and below them.

Perhaps, if we are to use the word Cause at all, we should do well to
use it in the old sense in which the _final_ cause and the _efficient_
cause are one (the _eidos_ of Aristotle)--to use it not so much to link
phenomena or externals to _each other_ as to link each phenomenon in a
group to the thought or feeling which underlies that group. The notes in
the Dead March in Saul, for instance. We cannot say that one note is the
cause of another, but we might say that each note stands in a causal
subordination to the feeling which inspired the piece--which is the
_origin_ of the piece and the _result_ of its performance--the alpha and
omega of it. Similarly, the ground floor in a house is not the cause of
the first floor, nor the first floor of the second floor, nor that of
the roof; but these actualities and the whole house itself stand in
strict relationship to a mental something which is not in the same
plane with them at all, nor an actuality in the same sense.

According to this view the notion that one configuration of atoms or
bodies determines the next configuration turns out to be illusive. Both
configurations are determined by a third something which does not belong
to quite the same order of existence as the said atoms or bodies. Chance
"laws" of succession may doubtless be found among physical events, and
are valuable for practical purposes, but at any moment--owing to their
superficiality--they may fail. Thus, an insect observing the expansion
of the petals of a chrysanthemum might frame a law of their order of
succession in size and colour, which would be valid for a time, but
would fail entirely when the stamens appeared. Or, to take another
illustration, physical science acts like a man trying to find direct
causal relations between the various leaves of a tree, without first
finding the relations of these to the branches and trunk--and so solving
the problem indirectly. It deals only with the _surface_ of the world of
Man.

In thinking about such matters, Music, as Schopenhauer shows, is
wonderfully illustrative, because in creating music man recognises that
he is creating a world of his own--apart from and not to be confused
with that other world of Nature (in which he does not recognise any of
his handiwork). Supposing a non-musical person were to examine and
analyse the score of a Beethoven symphony, he would be in the same
position as a man examining and analysing Nature by purely scientific
or intellectual methods. He would discover the recurrence of certain
groups among the notes, he would establish laws of their sequences,
would make all kinds of curious generalisations about them, and point
out some remarkable exceptions, would even very likely be able to
predict a bar or two over the page; his treatise would be very learned,
and from a certain point of view interesting also, but how far would he
be from any real understanding of his subject? Let him change his
method: let him train his ear, let him hear the symphony performed, over
and over, till he understands its meaning and knows it by heart; and
then he will know at any rate something of why each note is there, he
will see its fitness and feel in himself the "law" of its occurrence,
and possibly in some new case will be able to predict several bars over
the page! The symphony is not understood by examination and comparison
of the notes alone, but by _experience_ of their relation to deepest
feelings; and Nature is not explained by laws, but by its becoming--or
rather being felt to be--the body of Man; marvellous interpreter and
symbol of his inward being.

There is a kind of knowledge or consciousness in us--as of our bodily
parts, or affections, or deep-seated mental beliefs--which forms the
base of our more obvious and self-conscious thought. This systemic
knowledge grows even while the brain sleeps. It is not by any means
absolute or infallible, but it affords, at any moment in man's history,
the axiomatic ground on which his thought-structures, scientific and
other, are built. Thus the axioms of Euclid are part of our present
systemic knowledge, and afford the ground of all our geometry
structures. But as the systemic consciousness grows, the ground shifts
and the structures reared upon it fall. All our modern science, for
instance, is founded on the acceptation of mechanical cause and effect
as a basic fact of consciousness; but when that base gives way the
entire structure will cave in, and a new edifice will have to be reared.
Similarly, when the human form becomes distinctly visible to us in the
animals--as an unavoidable part of our consciousness--this consciousness
will form a new base or axiom for all our thought on the subject, and
the theory of evolution, as hitherto conceived by science, will be
entirely transformed.

Thus, although the experimental investigatory coral-reef accretion
method of modern science is very valuable within its range, it must not
be forgotten that the human mind does not progress more than temporarily
by this method--that its progression is a matter of growth from within,
and involves a continual _breaking away of the bases_ of all
thought-structures; so that, while this latter--_i.e._, the progression
of the systemic consciousness of man--is necessary and continuous, the
rise and fall of his thought-systems is accidental, so to speak, and
discontinuous.

It is then finally in Man--in our own deepest and most vital
experience--that we have to look for the key and explanation of the
changes that we see going on around us in external Nature, as we call
it; and our understanding of the latter, and of History, must ever
depend from point to point on the exfoliation of new facts in the
individual consciousness. Round the ultimate disclosure of the essential
Man all creation (hitherto groaning and travailing towards that perfect
birth) ranges itself, as it were, like some vast flower, in concentric
cycles; rank beyond rank; first all social life and history, then the
animal kingdom, then the vegetable and mineral worlds. And if the outer
circles have been the first in fact to show themselves, it is by this
last disclosure that light is ultimately thrown on the whole plan; and,
as in the myth of the Eden-garden, with the appearance of the perfected
human form that the work of creation definitely completes itself.

FOOTNOTE:

[39] This does not, of course, preclude the action of external
conditions, or imply that organisation is determined by desire _alone_.
In fact organisation may be regarded as the expression of desire acting
under conditions--as in the cases of the monkey and giraffe above.



CUSTOM

"Whatever is off the hinges of custom is believed to be also off the
hinges of reason; though how unreasonably, for the most part, God
knows."--MONTAIGNE.


Every human being grows up inside a sheath of custom, which enfolds it
as the swathing clothes enfold the infant. The sacred customs of its
early home, how fixed and immutable they appear to the child! It surely
thinks that all the world in all times has proceeded on the same lines
which bound its tiny life. It regards a breach of these rules (some of
them at least) as a wild step in the dark, leading to unknown dangers.

Nevertheless its mental eyes have hardly opened ere it perceives, not
without a shock, that whereas in the family dining-room the meat always
precedes the pudding, below-stairs and in the cottage the pudding has a
way of coming before the meat; that, whereas its father puts the manure
on the top of his seed-potatoes in spring, his neighbor invariably
places his potatoes on top of the manure. All its confidence in the
sanctity of its home life and the truth of things is upset. Surely
there must be a right and a wrong way of eating one's dinner or of
setting potatoes, and surely, if any one, "father" or "mother" must know
what is right. The elders have always said (and indeed it seems only
reasonable) that by this time of day everything has been so thoroughly
worked over that the best methods of ordering our life--food, dress,
domestic practices, social habits, etc., have long ago been determined.
If so, why these divergencies in the simplest and most obvious matters?

And then other things give way. The sacred seeming-universal customs in
which we were bred turn out to be only the practices of a small and
narrow class or caste; or they prove to be confined to a very limited
locality, and must be left behind when we set out on our travels; or
they belong to the tenets of a feeble religious sect; or they are just
the products of one age in history and no other. And the question forces
itself upon us, Are there really no natural boundaries? has not our life
anywhere been founded on reason and necessity, but only on arbitrary
habit? What is more important than food, yet in what human matter is
there more unaccountable divergence of practice? The Highlander
flourishes on oatmeal, which the Sheffield ironworker would rather
starve than eat; the fat snail which the Roman country gentleman once so
prized now crawls unmolested in the Gloucestershire peasant's garden;
rabbits are taboo in Germany; frogs are unspeakable in England;
sauer-kraut is detested in France; many races and gangs of people are
quite certain they would die if deprived of meat, others think spirits
of some kind a necessity, while to others again both these things are an
abomination. Every country district has its local practices in food, and
the peasants look with the greatest suspicion on any new dish, and can
rarely be induced to adopt it. Though it has been abundantly proved that
many of the British fungi are excellent eating, such is the force of
custom that the mushroom alone is ever publicly recognised, while
curiously enough it is said that in some other countries where the
claims of other agarics are allowed the mushroom itself is not used!
Finally, I feel myself (and the gentle reader probably feels the same)
that I would rather die than subsist on _insects_, such is the
deep-seated disgust we experience towards this class of food. Yet it is
notorious that many races of respectable people adopt a diet of this
sort, and only lately a book has been published giving details of the
excellent provender of the kind that we habitually overlook--tasty
morsels of caterpillars and beetles, and so forth! And indeed, when one
comes to think of it, what can it be but prejudice which causes one to
eat the periwinkle and reject the land-snail, or to prize the lively
prawn and proscribe the cheerful grasshopper?

It is useless to say that these local and other divergencies are rooted
in the necessities of the localities and times in which they occur.
They are nothing of the kind. For the most part they are mere customs,
perhaps grown originally out of some necessity, but now perpetuated from
simple habit and inherent human laziness. This can perhaps best be
illustrated by going below the human to the kingdom of the animals. If
customs are strong among men they are far stronger among animals. The
sheep lives on grass, the cat lives on mice and other animal food. And
it is generally assumed that the respective diets are the most "natural"
in each case, and those on which the animals in question will readiest
thrive, and indeed that they could not well live on any other. But
nothing of the kind. For cats can be bred up to live on oatmeal and milk
with next to no meat; and a sheep has been known to get on very
comfortably on a diet of port wine and mutton chops! Dogs, whose
"natural" food in the wild state is of the animal kind, are undoubtedly
much healthier (at any rate in the domestic state) when kept on
farinaceous substances with little or no meat, and indeed they take so
kindly to a vegetable diet that they sometimes become perfect nuisances
in a garden--eating strawberries, gooseberries, peas, etc., freely off
the beds when they have once learned the habit. Any one, in fact, who
has kept many pets knows what an astonishing variety of food they may be
made to adopt, though each animal in the wild state has the most
intensely narrow prejudices on the subject, and will perish rather than
overstep the customs of its tribe. Thus pheasants will eat fern-roots
in winter when snow covers the ground, but the grouse "don't eat
fern-roots," and die in consequence. A wolf of an inquiring turn of mind
would probably find strawberries and peas as good food as a dog does,
but it is practically certain that any ordinary member of the genus
would perish in a garden full of the same if deprived of his customary
bones.

All this seems to indicate what an immensely important part mere custom
plays in the life of men and animals. The main part of the power which
man acquires over the animals depends upon his establishing habits in
them which, once established, they never think of violating: and the
almost insuperable nature of this force in animals throws back light on
the part it plays in human life.

Of course, I am not contending in the above remarks upon food that there
is no physiological difference between a dog and a sheep in the matter
of their digestive organs, and that the one is not by the nature of its
body more fitted for one kind of food than the other; but rather that we
should not neglect the importance of mere habit in such matters. Custom
changed first; the change of physiological structure followed slowly
after. What happened was probably something like this. Some time in the
far back past a group of animals, driven perhaps by necessity, took to
hunting in packs in the woods; it developed a modified physical
structure in consequence, and special habits which in the course of time
became deeply fixed in the race. Another group saved its life by taking
to grazing. Grass is poor food; but it was the only chance this group
had, and in time it got so accustomed to eating grass that it could not
imagine any other form of diet, and at first would refuse even oysters
when placed in its way! Another group saw an opening in trees; it
developed a long neck and became the giraffe. But the fact that the
giraffe lives on leaves, and the sheep on grass, and the wolf on animal
matter, and that custom is in each so strong that at first the creature
will refuse any other kind of diet, does not of itself prove that that
diet is the best or most physiologically suitable for it. In other
words, it is an assumption to suppose that "adaptation to environment"
is the sole or even the main factor in the constitution of well-marked
varieties or genera; for this is to neglect (among other things) the
force of mere use or wont, which has about the same import in
race-growth that momentum has in dynamics; and causes the race, once
started in any direction, to maintain its line of movement--and often in
despite of its environment--even for thousands of years.

Returning to man we see him enveloped in a myriad customs--local
customs, class customs, race customs, family customs, religious customs;
customs in food, customs in clothing, customs in furniture, form of
habitation, industrial production, art, social and municipal and
national life, etc.; and the question arises, Where is the grain of
necessity which underlies it all? How much in each case is due to a
real fitness in nature, and how much to mere otiose habit! The first
thing that meets my eye in glancing out of the window is a tile on a
neighboring roof. Why are tiles made S-shaped in some localities and
flat in others? Surely the conditions of wind and rain are much the same
in all places. Perhaps far back there was a reason, but now nothing
remains but--custom. Why do we sit on chairs instead of on the floor, as
the Japanese do, or on cushions like the Turk? It is a custom, and
perhaps it suits with our other customs. The more we look into our life
and consider the immense variety of habit in every department of
it--even under conditions to all appearances exactly similar--the more
are we impressed by the absence of any very serious necessity in the
forms we ourselves are accustomed to. Each race, each class, each
section of the population, each unit even, vaunts its own habits of life
as superior to the rest, as the only true and legitimate forms; and
peoples and classes will go to war with each other in assertion of their
own special beliefs and practices; but the question that rather presses
upon the ingenuous and inquiring mind is, whether any of us have got
hold of much true life at all?--whether we are not rather mere
multitudinous varieties of caddis-worms shuffled up in the cast-off
skins and clothes and débris of those who have gone before us, and with
very little vitality of our own perceptible within? How many times a day
do we perform an action that is authentic and not a mere mechanical
piece of repetition? Indeed, if our various actions and practices were
authentic and flowing from the true necessity, perhaps we shouldn't
quarrel with each other over them so often as we do.

And then to come to the subject of morals. These also are
customs--divergent to the last degree among different races, at
different times, or in different localities; customs for which it is
often difficult to find any ground in reason or the "fitness of things."
Thieving is supposed to be discountenanced among us, yet our present-day
trade-morality sanctions it in a thousand different forms; and the
respectable usurer (who can hardly be said to be other than a thief)
takes a high place at the table of life. To hunt the earth for game has
from time immemorial been considered the natural birthright and
privilege of man, until the landlord class (whom wicked Socialists now
denounce!) invented the crime of poaching and hanged men for it. As to
marriage customs, in different times and among different peoples, they
have been simply innumerable. And here the sense of inviolability in
each case is most powerful. The severest penalties, the most stringent
public opinion, biting deep down into the individual conscience, enforce
the various codes of various times and places; yet they all contradict
each other. Polygamy in one country, polyandry in the next; brother and
sister marriage allowed at one time, marriage with your mother's cousin
forbidden at another; prostitution sacred in the temples of antiquity,
trampled under foot in the gutters of our great cities of to-day;
monogamy respectable in one land, a mark of class-inferiority in
another; celibacy scorned by some sections of people, accepted as the
highest state by others; and so on.

What are we to conclude from all this? Is it possible, once we have
fairly faced the immense variety of human life in _every_ department of
arts, manners, and morals--a variety, too, existing in a vast number of
cases under conditions to all intents and purposes quite similar--is it
possible ever again to suppose that the particular practices which _we_
are accustomed to are very much better (or, indeed, very much worse)
than the particular practices which others are accustomed to? We have
been born, as I said at first, into a sheath of custom which enfolds us
with our swaddling-clothes. When we begin to grow to manhood we see what
sort of a thing it is which surrounds us. It is an old husk now. It does
not bear looking into; it is rotten, it is inconsistent, it is
thoroughly indefensible; yet very likely we have to accept it. The
caddis-worm has grown to its tube and cannot leave it. A little spark of
vitality amid a heap of dead matter, all it can do is to make its
dwelling a little more convenient in shape for itself, or (like the
coral insect) to prolong its growth in the most favourable direction for
those that come after. The class, the caste, the locality, the age in
which we were born has determined our form of life, and in that form
very likely we must remain. But a change has come over our minds. The
vauntings of earlier days we abandon. _We_, at any rate, are no better
than anybody else, and at best, alas! are only half alive.

If these, then, are our conclusions, is it not with justice that
children and early races keep so rigidly to the narrow path that custom
has made for them? Have they not an instinctive feeling that to forsake
custom would be to launch out on a trackless sea where life would cease
to have any special purpose or direction, and morality would be utterly
gulfed? Custom for them is the line of their growth; it is the
coral-branch from the end of which the next insect builds; it is the
hardening bark of the tree-twig which determines the direction of the
growing shoot. It may be merely arbitrary, this custom, but that they do
not know; its appearance of finality and necessity may be quite
illusive; but the illusion is necessary for life, and the arbitrariness
is just what makes one life different from another. _Till he grows to
manhood_, the human being, _he cannot do without it_.

And when he grows to manhood, what then? Why he dies, and so becomes
alive. The caddis-fly leaves his tube behind and soars into the upper
air; the creature abandons its barnacle existence on the rock and swims
at large in the sea. For it is just when we die to custom that, for the
first time, we rise into the true life of humanity; it is just when we
abandon all prejudice of our own superiority over others, and become
convinced of our entire indefensibleness, that the world opens out with
comrade faces in all directions; and when we perceive how entirely
arbitrary is the setting of our own life, that the whole structure
collapses on which our apartness from others rests, and we pass easily
and at once into the great ocean of freedom and equality.

This is, as it were, a new departure for man, for which even to-day the
old world, overlaid with myriad customs now brought into obvious and
open conflict with each other, is evidently preparing. The period of
human infancy is coming to an end. Now comes the time of manhood and
true vitality.

Possibly this is a law of history, that when man has run through every
variety of custom a time comes for him to be freed from it--that is, he
uses it indifferently according to his requirements, and is no longer a
slave to it; all human practices find their use, and none are forbidden.
At this point, whenever reached, "morals" come to an end and humanity
takes its place--that is to say, there is no longer any code of action,
but the one object of all action is the deliverance of the human being
and the establishment of equality between oneself and another, the entry
into a new life, which new life when entered into is glad and perfect,
because there is no more any effort or strain in it; but it is the
recognition of oneself in others, eternally.

Far as custom has carried man from man, yet when at last in the
ever-branching series the complete human being is produced, it knows at
once its kinship with all the other forms. "I have passed my spirit in
determination and compassion round the whole earth, and found only
equals and lovers." More, it knows its kinship with the animals. It sees
that it is only habit, an illusion of difference, that divides; and it
perceives after all that it is the same human creature that flies in the
air, and swims in the sea, or walks biped upon the land.


_The two following chapters--though not part of the original work--are
included in the present edition because they form continuations or
expansions of the chapters which criticise modern Science and modern
Morality respectively. The chapter entitled "A Rational and Humane
Science" is in fact a reprint of an address given before the
Humanitarian League in London in 1896. It was first included in the
present volume in 1906. The chapter entitled "The New Morality" is, with
slight alterations, a reprint of an article which appeared in the_
Albany Review _in September, 1907, under the title "Morality under
Socialism"; and it now appears in the present book for the first time_.



A RATIONAL AND HUMANE SCIENCE


In bringing before you this subject of a Rational and Humane Science you
will perhaps forgive me if I dwell for a few moments on some points of
personal history in relation to it. After reading mathematics for some
four years at Cambridge, it happened to me for the next ten years or so
to be engaged in the study of the physical sciences, and in lectures on
these subjects. Naturally, during the earlier part of this period I
accepted the current methods and conclusions without any question. But
as time went on I became aware of a certain dissatisfaction; I felt that
many of the laws of Science, enounced as universal truths, were of very
limited application only, that many of the conclusions, so strongly
insisted on, were of quite doubtful validity; and at last this
increasing dissatisfaction culminated in a rather violent attack or
criticism of Modern Science which I wrote and published about the year
1884.[40]

Now, looking back, at this interval of time, though I admit that my
attack was somewhat hasty and crude in detail, I feel that in its main
contention it was thoroughly justified, and I do not feel the least
inclined to withdraw it.

What was that main contention? It was as follows. Modern Science is an
attempt (and no doubt it would accept this definition of itself) to
survey and classify the phenomena of the world in the pure dry light of
the intellect, uncoloured by feeling; and so far is an effort to
separate the intellectual in man from the merely perceptive, the
emotional, the moral, and so forth. It was in this very fact that my
criticism lay; for I contended that such a separation was in the long
run quite impossible.

But before proceeding to defend this position, let me admit at once that
this attempt of Modern Science to get rid of human feeling and to look
at everything in the dry light of the intellect was in some respects a
very grand one. When you consider what the Old-time Science was, with
its fancies and prejudices, its dragons pasturing upon the sun and moon
in eclipses, its immolations of hundreds of human beings to appease some
god of pestilence or earthquake, its panics, its superstitions, and its
incapability of regarding anything except from the point of view of that
thing's influence on man's own comfort and his little hopes and fears,
it was indeed a grand advance to try and see _facts_, uncoloured and for
themselves alone. It was an effort of Man as it were to rise above
himself, to which I accord the fullest credit and honour.

And yet, during the time spoken of, it kept growing on me: first, that
the attempt was an impossible one; secondly, that the Science so-called
was not a true Science; and thirdly, that in its pretence to an
intellectual exactitude which it did not really possess, this Modern
Science was leading to a narrow-mindedness and a dogmatism as bad as the
old.

There is in fact (so I think) a fallacy in the attempt. But how shall I
describe it? Our relations to the world may, quite roughly speaking, be
divided into three groups--those that are sensuous and perceptional,
those that are purely intellectual, and those that are of an emotional
and moral order. Take any object of Nature--a bird, for instance. We may
look upon the bird as an object of sense-perceptions--its form, its
colour, its song, and so forth. Some people attain to extraordinary
skill and quickness in this department, recognising in a moment the note
or even the flight of a songster. Then again we may look upon the bird
from the intellectual side--we may study it in relation to its
surroundings--the form of its wings, the length of its leg, the
character of its beak, and their adaptation to its habits, to its
locality, to its food, and so forth. Thus we may get a whole series of
purely intellectual results--relations of the bird to the world in which
it lives. This is the special field of the present-day Science. But,
again, we may regard the bird in its emotional and moral relations to
_us_. One man at the sight of it may be affected with admiration of its
beauty, with tenderness towards it, or sympathy; another may be
stimulated to wonder whether he can kill it, or whether it is good to
eat! Modern Science is indifferent to what this last set of relations
may be; it does not concern itself much with the first; but it takes the
middle term, the purely intellectual, and seeks to abstract that from
the others, to study the bird, or whatever the object may be, in the one
aspect only. But can that really be done? The answer is, of course, No.

To show my general meaning, and why I consider the claim an impossible
one, let us imagine a little cell--one of the myriads which constitute
the human body--professing in the same sort of way to stand outside the
body and explain the laws of the other cells and the body at large. It
is obvious that the little cell, swept along in the currents of the body
and swayed by its emotions, in close proximity and contact with some
portions of the organism, and far remote from others, cannot possibly
pretend to any such impartial judgment. It is obvious not only that it
would not have all the clues of the problem at its command, but that its
own needs and experiences would prejudice it frightfully in the
interpretation of such clues as it had. Yet man is such a little cell in
the body of Nature, or, if you like, in the body of the Society of which
he forms a part.

There is, however, one way, it seems to me, in which a cell in the
human body _might_ come to an adequate understanding of the body; and
that would be rather through experience than through direct reasoning.
It is conceivable that there might be some cell in the body which,
through the nerves, etc., was in actual touch and sympathetic
relationship with every other cell. Then it certainly would have the
materials of the required solution. Every change in other parts of the
body would register itself in this particular cell; and its little brain
(if it had one), without exactly making any great effort, would reflect
sympathetically the structure of the whole body--would become, in fact,
a mirror of it. This will perhaps give you the key to my notion of what
a true Science might be.

But before proceeding to that, I want to go a little more in detail into
the fallacy of the absolute intellectual view of Science. I say, first,
that a complete summary of any object or process in Nature is
impossible; secondly, that such summary as we do make is, and must
inevitably and necessarily be, coloured by the underlying _feeling_ with
which we approach that phase of Nature.

To take the first point. You say, Why is a complete summary not
possible? A watch or other machine may be completely described and
defined; why should not (with a little more knowledge) a fir-tree, or
the human eye, or the solar system, be completely described and defined?

And this brings us to what may be called the Machine-view of Science.
It is curious (and yet I think it will presently be seen that it is
quite what might have been expected) that during this century or so, in
which Machinery has played such an important part in our daily and
social life, mechanical ideas have come to colour all our conceptions of
Science and the Universe. Modern Science holds it as a kind of ideal
(even though finding it at times difficult to realise) to reduce
everything to mechanical action, and to show each process of Nature
intelligible in the same sense as a Machine is intelligible. Yet this
conception, this ideal, involves a complete fallacy. For the moment you
come to think of it, you see that _no_ part of Nature really even
resembles a machine.

What is a machine in the ordinary sense? It is an aggregation of parts
put together to fulfil certain definite actions and no others. A
sewing-machine fulfils the purpose of sewing, a watch fulfils that of
keeping time, and they fulfil those purposes only. All their parts
subserve those actions, and in that sense may be completely
described--as far as just their mechanical action is concerned--the same
by a thousand mechanicians. But I make bold to say that _no_ object in
Nature fulfils just one action, or series of actions, and no others. On
the contrary, every object fulfils an endless series of actions.

Let us take the Human Eye. And I choose this as an instance most adverse
to my position, for there is no doubt that the Human Eye is one of the
most highly specialised objects in creation. Helmholtz, as you know, is
said to have remarked concerning it that if an Optician had sent him an
instrument so defective he should have returned it with his compliments.
Helmholtz was a great man, and I will not do him the injustice to
suppose that he did not know what he was saying. He knew that, regarded
as a machine for focussing rays of light, the eye was decidedly
defective; but then he knew well enough, doubtless, _why_ it was
defective--namely, because it is by no means merely such a machine, but
a great deal more.

The Eye, in fact, not only fulfils the action of focussing rays of
light--like an Opera Glass or a Telescope--but it might be compared to
another instrument, a Photographic Camera, in respect of the fact that
it forms a picture of the outer world which it throws on a sensitive
plate at the back--the Retina. But then, again, it is unlike any of
these "machines," in the fact that it was never made by any Optician,
human or divine, for any one definite purpose. On the contrary, as we
know, it has grown, it has evolved; it has come down to us over the
centuries, and over thousands and thousands of centuries, from dim
beginnings in the lowliest organisms who first conceived the faculty of
Sight, continually modified, continually shapen by small increments in
various directions, in accordance with the myriad needs of a myriad
creatures, living, some of them in water, some of them in air, requiring
some of them to see at close quarters, some at great distances, some by
one kind of light, some by another, and so forth. So that to-day it not
only contains a great range of inherited, yet latent, faculties, but it
is actually, in its complex structure, an epitome and partial record of
its own extraordinary history.

As an instance of this last point, let me remind you that Sight was
originally a differentiation of Touch. The light, the shadows, falling
on the sensitive general surface of a primitive organism provoke a
tactile irritation. In the course of evolution this sense specialises
itself at some point of the surface into what we call Sight. Now,
to-day, when the little picture formed by the fore-part of the Human Eye
falls upon the Retina at the back, it falls upon a screen formed by the
myriad congregated finger-tips, so to speak, of the optic nerve--the
rods and cones, so-called--which cover like a mosaic the whole ground of
the Retina, and _feel_ with their sensitive points the images of the
objects in the outer world. And so Sight is still Touch--it is the power
of feeling or touching at a distance--as one sometimes in fact becomes
aware in looking at things.

But then again on and beyond all these things--beyond the focussing and
photographing of rays, beyond the latent adaptations to the needs of
innumerable creatures, and the epitomising of ages of evolution--the
Human Eye has faculties even more far-reaching perhaps and wonderful. It
is the marvellous organ of human Expression. By the dilatations and
contractions of the iris, by the altering convexities of the lens and
the eyeball, and in a hundred other ways, it manages somehow to convey
intelligence of Command, Control, Power, of Pity, Love, Sympathy, and
all those myriad emotions which flit through the human mind--an endless
series--a perfect encyclopædia. It is difficult even to imagine the eye
without this power of language. And what other functions it may have it
is not necessary to inquire. Highly specialised though it is, it is
already obvious enough that to call it a Machine for focussing rays of
light is monstrously and ludicrously inadequate--even as it would be to
call the Heart (the very centre of emotion and life, and the symbol of
human love and courage) a common Pump.

Nature is an infinitude, and can at no point be circumscribed by the
human intellect. Nor obviously is there any sense in taking one little
portion of Nature and isolating it from the rest, and then describing it
exhaustively _as if_ it really were so isolated. A thousand mechanicians
will agree, as I have said, in their description of a machine, because
in fact they will agree to view the machine just in the one aspect of
its particular action; but ask a thousand people to describe one and the
same face--or, better still, get a thousand portrait-painters, skilled
in their art, to paint portraits of the same face--and you know
perfectly well that all the likenesses will be different. And why will
they be different? Simply because every face, however rude, has infinite
sides, infinite aspects, and each painter selects what he paints from
his own point of view. And the same is true of every object and process
in Nature.

Then if these things are true (you ask again) how is it that scientific
men _do_ arrive at definite conclusions, and do agree with each other so
far as they do?

It is, and obviously must be, by the method of isolation; by the method
of selecting certain aspects of the problems presented to them, and
ignoring others. For since _all_ the relations of any phenomenon of
Nature cannot possibly be compassed, the only way _must_ be to ignore
some and concentrate attention on others; and when there is a kind of
tacit agreement as to which aspects shall be passed over and which
considered, there is naturally an agreement in the results. Thus by this
method, waiving all other aspects of the problem, the Eye may be
described and defined as an optical instrument, the Heart as a common
Pump, and the Solar System as a neat illustration of certain mechanical
laws discovered by Galileo and Newton.

On the subject of the Solar System and Astronomy I will dwell for a few
moments, as here--in this great example of the perfection of Modern
Science--we have again a case apparently most adverse to my contention.
The generalisations by which Newton established the nature of the
planetary orbits has been a wonder to succeeding generations; the
positions of the planets can be foretold, eclipses can be calculated
with amazing accuracy. Yet every tyro in Mathematics knows that the
equations which give these results can only be solved by what is called
"neglecting small quantities"--that is, the problems cannot be solved in
their entirety, but by leaving out certain terms and elements, which do
not appear important, a solution can be approached. And naturally it has
been an important point to show that these small quantities _may_ be
safely neglected. In the case, for instance, of the orbits of the
planets round the sun, and of the moon round the earth, it was for a
long time taken as proved that the small variations in the shape and
position of each elliptic orbit would never be accompanied by any
permanent increase or diminution in its _size_--that is, that the _mean
distances_ of the planets from the sun, and of the moon from the earth,
would always remain within certain limits. Of late years however
Professor George Darwin, taking up one of these poor little neglected
quantities in the theory of the moon, found that it indicated after all
very vast and very permanent, though of course very slow, changes in her
mean distance from the earth; so that now it appears probable that the
Moon's true orbit, instead of being a limited ellipse, is a continually
though gradually enlarging Spiral, which may some day carry the Moon to
a great distance from the earth. If an eclipse were calculated for
twenty years in advance on the Elliptic theory or the Spiral theory, it
would probably--so slow would be the divergence--make no perceptible
difference; but in a hundred centuries the two theories would lead to
results utterly different.

Thus the certitude of Astronomy as a Science arises largely from the
fact that our _times_ are so brief compared with Celestial periods. The
proper periods of Celestial changes are to be reckoned by thousands,
perhaps millions, of years; but we, ignoring _that_ aspect of the
problem, fix our observations on one little point of time, and are quite
satisfied with the result!

As another illustration of my meaning, consider the Fixed Stars,
so-called. These stars in their groups and clusters, which we know so
well by sight, have remained apparently in the very same, or nearly the
same, relative positions during all the 2,000 or 3,000 years that we
have any record of the shapes of the Constellations. Yet now by minute
telescopic and spectroscopic examination we know that they are moving,
and have been moving all the time, in various differing directions with
great velocities, amounting to miles per second. Nevertheless, so great
are the spaces concerned, so great the times, that all this long period
has not sufficed to bring them into any greatly changed attitude with
regard to each other! What would you think of an intelligent foreigner
who, coming to England to study the game of cricket, remained on the
cricket field for a quarter of a minute--during which time the players
would have hardly changed their positions--and having noted a few
points, went away and wrote a volume on the laws of the game? And what
are we to think of poor little Man who, having noted the stars for a
few centuries, is so sure that he understands their movements, and that
he is versed in all the "ordinances of heaven."

Thus it would appear that every Nature-problem is so enormously complex
that it can only be got at by what we have called the Method of
Ignorance. Let us take a practical Science problem like that of
Vaccination. The question here, put in its simplest terms, seems to be,
Whether Vaccination, with calf or human lymph, prevents or alleviates
Smallpox; and if it does, whether it does so without engendering other
evils at least as great. At first sight this may appear to you a very
simple question, and easy to solve; but the moment you come to think
about it, you see its extreme complexity. In the first place, it is
obvious that in a question like this, individual cases afford no test.
It is obvious that the fact that A. is vaccinated and has not taken
small-pox proves nothing, for there is nothing to show that he would
have taken it if he had not been vaccinated. And when you have got
people vaccinated by the hundred and the thousand, you still are not
certain; for these people may belong to a certain class, or a certain
locality, or may have certain habits and conditions of life, which may
account for their comparative immunity, and these causes must be
eliminated before any definite conclusion can be reached. Thus it is not
till the great mass of the population is vaccinated that we can expect
reliable statistics. But the introduction of a practice of this kind on
so great a scale necessarily takes a long period of years, and meanwhile
changes are taking place in the habits of the people, Sanitation is
being improved, customs of Diet are altering, possibly (as so often
happens in the history of an epidemic) the disease, having run its
course, is beginning spontaneously to decline. And thus another series
of possible causes has to be discussed.

Then, supposing the question, notwithstanding all these difficulties, to
be so far settled in favour of the present system--there still arises
that whole other series of difficulties with regard to the possibility
of the spread of _other_ diseases by the practice, and with regard to
the _extent_ of such spread, before we can arrive at any finale. This
series of questions is almost as complex as the other; and it includes
that great element of uncertainty--the question what interval of time
may elapse between inoculation with a disease and its actual appearance.
For if in several cases children break out with erysipelas immediately
after vaccination, of course there is a certain presumption that
vaccination has been the cause; but if the erysipelas only appears some
years after, its connection with the operation may, though real, be
impossible to trace.

The matter standing thus, it seems to us almost a mystery how it was
that the medical authorities of the early days of Jennerism were so
cocksure of their conclusions--until we remember that in arriving at
those conclusions they practically _ignored_ all these other points
that I have mentioned, like changes of Sanitation, spontaneous decline
of Small-pox, the spread of other diseases, etc., and simply limited
themselves to one small aspect of the problem. But now, after this
interval of time, when the neglected facts and aspects have meanwhile
_forced_ themselves on our attention, how remarkable is the change of
attitude as evidenced by the finding of the late Royal Commission!
(1896).

From all this do not understand me to deride Science--for I have no
intention of doing that; on the contrary, I think the debt we owe to
modern investigation quite incalculable; but I only wish to warn you how
complex all these problems are, how impossible that notion of settling
even one of them by a cut-and-dried intellectual formula.

But you will ask (for this is the second point I mentioned some little
time back) _how_ people's emotions and feelings come in to colour their
scientific conclusions? And the answer is--very simply, namely by
directing their choice as to what aspects of the problem they will
ignore and what aspects they will envisage; by determining their point
of view, in fact. To return to that illustration of several
portrait-painters painting the same face; just as each painter is led by
his feeling, his sympathies, his general temperament, to select certain
points in the face and to pass over others, so each group of scientific
men in each generation is led by its sympathies, its idiosyncrasies, to
envisage certain aspects of the problems of the day and to ignore
others.

The whole history of Science illustrates this. We are all familiar with
the way in which the predilections of religious feeling in the time of
Copernicus and Galileo retarded the progress of astronomical Science. As
long as people believed that a divine drama of redemption had been
enacted on this earth alone, they naturally concluded that this earth
was the centre of the universe, and refused to look at facts which
contradicted their conclusion. When Galileo turned his newly-made
telescope on Jupiter and saw it circled by its satellites, he saw in
this an image of the Copernican system and of the planets circling round
the central Sun; but when he asked others to share his observation and
his inference, they would not. "O, my dear Kepler," he writes in a
letter to his fellow astronomer, "how I wish we could have one hearty
laugh together. Here at Padua is the principal Professor of Philosophy,
whom I have repeatedly and urgently requested to look at the moon and
planets through my glass; but he pertinaciously refuses to do so. What
shouts of laughter we should have at this glorious folly!"

And though we laugh at the folly of those before us, we do the same
things ourselves to-day. Take the science of Political Economy. A
revolution has taken place in that, almost comparable to the change from
the geocentric to the heliocentric view in Astronomy. During the
distinctively commercial period of the last 100 years, the leading
students of social science, being themselves filled with the spirit of
the time, have been fain to look upon the acquisition of private wealth
as the one absorbing motive of human nature; and so it has come about
that the economists, from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill, have founded
their science on self-seeking and competition, as the base of their
analysis. To-day another series of economists coming to the front--their
minds preoccupied with the great facts of Community of life and
Co-operation--have discovered that Society is in the main an
illustration of these latter principles, and have evolved a quite new
phase of the science. It is not that Society has changed so much during
this period, as that the altered point of view of the students of
Society has caused them simply to fix their attention on a different
aspect of the problem and a different range of facts.

I have alluded already to the way in which the prevalent use of
Machinery in practical life has affected our mental outlook on the
world. It is curious that during this mechanical age of the last 100
years or so, we have not only come to regard Society in a mechanical
light, as a concourse of separate individuals bound together by a mere
cash-nexus, but have extended the same idea to the universe at large,
which we look upon as a concourse of separate atoms, associated together
by gravitation, or possibly by mere mutual impact. Yet it is certain
that both these views are false, since the individuals who compose
Society are _not_ separate from each other; and the theory that the
universe, in its ultimate analysis, is composed of a vast number of
discrete atoms is simply unthinkable.

When we come to a practical and modern question like Medicine, the
influence of the spirit in which it is approached on the course of the
science is very easy to see. For if the science of Medicine is
approached (as it perhaps mostly is to-day) in a spirit of combined Fear
and Self-indulgence--fear for one's own personal safety, combined with a
kind of anxiety to continue living in the indulgence of habits known to
be unhealthy--if it is approached in this uncomfortable and
contradictory state of mind, it is pretty obvious that its course will
be similarly uncomfortable: that it will consist for the most part in a
search for drugs which shall, without effort on our part, palliate the
effects of our misconduct; in the discovery, as in a kind of nightmare,
that the air round us is full of billions of microbes; in a terrified
study of these messengers of disease, and in a frantic effort to ward
them off by inoculations, vaccinations, vivisections, and so forth,
without end.

If, on the other hand, the science is approached from quite a different
side--from that of the love of Health, and the desire to make life
lovely, beautiful and clean; if the student is filled not only with
this, but with a great belief in the essential _power_ of Man, and his
command in creation, to control not only all these little microbes
whose name is Legion, but through his mind all the processes of his
body; then it is obvious enough that a whole series of different facts
will arise before his eyes and become the subject of his study--facts of
sanitation, of the laws of cleanly life, diet, clothing and so forth,
methods of control, and the details and practice of the influence of the
mental upon the physical part of man--facts quite equally real with the
others, equally important, equally numerous perhaps and complex, but
forming a totally different range of science.

In conclusion, you begin to see doubtless that I do not believe in a
science of mere Formulas, which can be poured from one brain to another
like water in a pot. I believe in something more organic to
Humanity--which shall combine Sense, Intellect and Soul; which shall
include the keenest training of the Senses, the exactest use of the
Brain, and the subordination of both of these to the finest and most
generous attitude of Man towards Nature.

To come to quite practical aspects, I think that Physical Science, and
for that matter Natural History too, ought to be founded on the closest
observation and actual intimacy with Nature. It is notorious that in
many respects the perceptions, the Nature-intuitions, of savage races
far outdo those of civilised man. We have let that side go slack, and
too often the man of science when he comes out of his study is a mere
baby in the external world. I look back with a kind of shame when I
think that I studied the mathematical side of Astronomy for three or
four years at Cambridge and absolutely at the time hardly knew one star
from another in the sky. But such are the methods of teaching that have
been in use. They ought however to be reversed, and practical
acquaintance with the facts should come a long way first, and then be
succeeded by inductive and deductive reasoning when the difficulties of
the subject have forced themselves on the student's mind.

Then in Natural History and Botany I think that we have hitherto not
only neglected the perceptive side, but also what may be called the
intuitive and emotional aspects. If any one will attend to the subject,
I believe they will perceive that there are dormant in the mind the
finest intuitions and instincts of relationship to the various animals
and plants--intuitions which have played a far more important part in
the life of barbaric races than they do to-day.[41] Primitive peoples
have a remarkable instinct of the medicinal and dietetic uses of herbs
and plants--an instinct which we also find well developed among
animals--and I believe that this kind of knowledge would grow largely
if, so to speak, it were given a chance. The formal classification of
animals and plants--which now forms the main part of these
sciences--would then come in simply as an aid and an auxiliary to the
more direct and human study.

Again, let us take the science of Physiology. At present this is mainly
carried on by means of Dissection or Vivisection. But both these methods
are unsatisfactory. Dissection, because it amounts to studying the
organisation of a living creature by the examination of its dead
carcase; and Vivisection, because it is not only open to a similar
objection, but because it necessarily violates the highest relation of
man to the animal he is studying. There is, I believe, another method--a
method which has been known in the East for centuries, though little
regarded in the West--which may perhaps be called the method of Health.
It consists in rendering the body, by proper habits of life, pure and
healthy, till it becomes, as it were, transparent to the inner eye, and
then projecting the consciousness _inward_ so as to become almost as
sensible of the structure and function of the various internal organs,
as it usually is of the outer surface of the body. Of course this is a
process which cannot be effectuated at once, and which may need help and
corroboration by external methods of study, but I believe it is one
which will lead to considerable results. There is no doubt that many of
the Yogis of India attain to great skill in it.

Similarly, from what we have already said about Political Economy, it
is obvious that satisfactory results in that science must depend
immensely on the high degree of social instinct and feeling with which
the student approaches it, and on the thoroughness of his acquaintance
with the _actual life_ of a people; and that the development of these
factors is fully as important a part of the science as that which
consists in the logical ordering and arrangement of the material
obtained.

I need not, I think, go any further into detail of new methods in each
Science. You remember what I said at the beginning about the Cell
studying the Body of which it formed a part. We may imagine, if we like,
three stages in this process. In the first stage the Cell regards the
other cells and the Body simply from the point of view of how they
affect _it_, and its comfort and safety. This might be taken to
correspond to the Old-time Science. In the second stage the Cell, with
its tiny experience of the other cells and the small part of the body in
which it is placed, becomes highly intellectual, and professes to lay
down the laws of the structure of the body generally. This corresponds
to the attitude of Modern Science. In the third stage the Cell, growing
and evolving, and coming daily into closer sympathetic relationship with
all parts of the body, begins to find its true relation to the other
cells, not to use _them_, but to fulfil its part in the whole. Gradually
drawing all the threads together and coming more and more, so to say,
into a central position, it at last in its little brain spontaneously
and inevitably reflects the whole, and becomes the mirror of it. This
would answer to what we have called a really rational and humane
Science.

Man has to find and to _feel_ his true relation to other creatures and
to the whole of which he is a part, and has to use his brain to further
this. Science _is_, as we all know, the search for Unity. That is its
ideal. It unites innumerable phenomena under one law; and then it unites
many laws under one higher; always seeking for the ultimate complete
integration. But (is it not obvious?) Man cannot find that unity _of_
the Whole until he feels his unity _with_ the Whole. To found a Science
of one-ness on the murderous Warfare and insane Competition of men with
each other, and on the Slaughter and Vivisection of animals--the search
for unity on the practice of disunity--is an absurdity, which can only
in the long run reveal itself as such.

I do not know whether it seems obvious to you, but it does to me, that
Man will never find in theory the unity of outer Nature till he reaches
in practice the unity of his own. When he has learnt to harmonise in
himself all his powers, bodily and mental, his desires, faculties,
needs, and bring them into perfect co-operation--when he has found the
true hierarchy of himself--then somehow I think that Nature round him
will reflect this order, and range itself in clear and intelligible
harmony about him.

But I can say no more. I have dragged you by the neck, as it were,
through a recondite and difficult subject; and even so I do not feel
that I have by any means done justice to it. But it is possible,
perhaps, that I have cast the germ of an idea among you, which, if you
think over it at leisure, may develop into something of value.

FOOTNOTES:

[40] Afterwards reprinted in a modified form, as "Modern Science--a
Criticism," in the first edition (1889) of the present book.

[41] Elisée Reclus, in his remarkable paper, _La Grande Famille_, points
out the wide-reaching _Friendship_, and free alliance for various
purposes, of primitive man with the animals, existing long before the
so-called "domestication" of the latter. See _Humane Review_, January,
1906.



THE NEW MORALITY


The tendency of the Evolution Theory, as it penetrates human thought, is
to rub out lines--the old lines of formal classification. We no longer
now put in a class apart those animals which have horns or cloven
hooves, because we find that continuous descent and close kinship weave
relations which are not bounded by horns or hooves. And, for a not
dissimilar reason, modern thought, based on the theory of evolution, is
tending to rub out the hard and fast lines between moral Right and
Wrong--the old formal classifications of _actions_ as some in their
nature good, and some in their nature bad.

The Eastern, or at least Indian, thought and religion rubbed out these
lines long ago. Its philosophy indeed was founded on a theory of
Evolution--the continuous evolution or emanation of the Many from the
One. It could not therefore regard any _class_ of beings or creatures as
essentially bad, or any _class_ of actions as essentially wrong, since
all sprang from a common Root. The only essential evil was ignorance
(_avidya_)--that is, the fact of the being or creature not knowing or
perceiving its emanation from, or kinship with, the One--and of course
any action done under this condition of _avidya_, however outwardly
correct, was essentially wrong; while on the other hand _all_ actions
done by beings fully realising and conscious of their union with the One
were necessarily right.

Of this attitude towards Right and Wrong there are abundant instances in
the Upanishads. The choice of the path does not lie _between_ Good and
Bad, as in the _Pilgrim's Progress_, but it lies above and in a region
transcending them both. "By the serenity of his thoughts a man blots out
_all_ actions, whether good or bad."[42] "He does not distress himself
with the thought, Why did I not do what is good? Why did I do what is
bad?"[43] All religions indeed, by the very fact of their being
religions, have indicated a sphere above morality, to which their
followers shall and must aspire. What else is St. Paul's reiterated
charge to escape from the dominion of sin and law, into the glorious
liberty of the children of God? And in all ages the great mystics--those
who stand near the fountain-sources of evolution and emanation--have
seen and said the same. Says Spinoza:--"With regard to good and evil,
these terms indicate nothing positive in things considered in
themselves, nor are they anything else than modes of thought, or
notions which we form from _the comparison of one thing with another_.
For one and the same thing may at the same time be both good and evil,
or indifferent."[44]

Here indeed, in these pregnant words, we come upon the very root of the
matter. A thing, an action, may be called good or bad in respect to a
certain purpose or object; but in itself, No. Wine may be good for the
encouragement of sociability, but may be bad for the liver. The
Sabbath-day may be pronounced a beneficial institution from some points
of view, but not from others. A scrupulous respect for private property
may certainly be a help to settled social life; but the practice of
thieving--as recommended by Plato--may be very useful to check the lust
of private riches. To speak of wine as in its nature good or bad is
manifestly absurd; and the same of a pious respect for private property
or the Sabbath-day. These things are good under certain conditions or
for certain purposes, and bad under other conditions or for other
purposes. But of course it belongs and goes with the brute externalising
tendency of the mind, to stereotype the actual material thing--which
should be only the vehicle of the spirit--and give _it_ a character and
a cult as good or bad. The Sabbath ceases to be made for man, and man is
made for the Sabbath. Law, Custom, Pharisaism, and Self-righteousness
spring up and usurp the sphere of morality, and all the histories of
savage and civilised nations, with their endless fetishes and taboos
and superstitions and ceremonies, and caste-marks and phylacteries, and
petty regulations and proprieties,--including bitter scorn and
persecution of those who do not fulfil them,--are but illustrations of
this process.

All the prophets and saviours of the world have been for the Spirit as
against the letter--and the teachings of all religions have in their
turn become literalised and fossilised! Perhaps there has been no
greater anti-literal than Jesus of Nazareth, and yet perhaps no religion
has become more a thing of forms and dogmas than that which passes under
his name. Even his counsels of Gentleness and Love--which one would
indeed have thought might escape this process--have been corrupted into
mere prescriptions of morality, such as those of Non-resistance, and of
philanthropic Altruism.

It seems strange indeed that so great a man as Tolstoy should have lent
himself to this process--to the pinning down of the excellent spirit of
Christ (who by the way was man enough to drive the money-changers out of
the Temple) to a mere formula, as one might pin a dragon-fly to a
labelled card--_Thou shalt not use Violence: thou shalt not Resist!_ And
all the while to cleave to a formula only means to admit the evil in
some other shape which the formula does not meet--to forswear the stick
only means to resort to rebuke and sarcasm in self-defence, which may
inflict more pain and a deeper scar, and in some cases more injury,
than the stick; or if self-defence in any shape is quite forsworn then
that only means to resign and abandon one's place in the world
completely.

And the same of the somewhat spooney Altruism, which was at one time
much recommended as the maxim of conduct. For all the while it is
notorious that the specially altruistic people are as a rule painfully
dull and uninteresting, and afford far less life and charm to those
around them than many who are frankly egotistic; and so by following a
formula of Altruism it seems they wreck the very work they set before
themselves to do--namely, that of making the world brighter!

Against these weaknesses of Christianity Nietzsche was a healthy
reaction. It was he insisted on the terms "good" and "bad" being
restored to their proper use, as terms of relation--"good" for what?
"bad" for what? But his reaction against maudlin altruism and
non-resistance led him towards a pitfall in the opposite direction,
towards the erection of the worship of Force almost into a formula, Thou
_shalt_ use Violence, thou _shalt_ Resist. His contempt for the feeble
and the spooney and the knock-kneed and the humbug is very delightful
and entertaining, and, as I say, healthy in the sense of reaction; but
one does not get a very clear idea what the strength which Nietzsche
glorifies is for, or whither it is going to lead. His blonde beasts and
his laughing lions may represent the Will to Power; but Nietzsche seems
to have felt, himself, that this latter alone would not suffice, and so
he passed on to his discovery or invention of the Beyond-man,--_i.e._ of
a childlike being who, without argument, _affirms_ and creates, and
before whom institutions and conventions dissolve, as it were of their
own accord.[45] This was a stroke of genius; but even so it leaves
doubtful what the relation of such Beyond-men to each other may be, and
whether, if they have no common source of life, their actions will not
utterly cancel and destroy each other.

The truth is that Nietzsche never really penetrated to the realisation
of that farther state of consciousness in which the deep underlying
unity of man with Nature and his fellows is perceived and felt. He saw
apparently that there is a life and an inspiration of life beyond all
technical good and evil. But for some reason--partly because of the
natural difficulty of the subject, partly perhaps because the Eastern
outlook was uncongenial to his mind--he never found the solution which
he needed; and his outline of the Superman remains cloudy and uncertain,
vague and variously interpreted by followers and critics.

The question arises, What do _we_ need? We are to-day, in this matter,
in a somewhat parlous state. The old codes of Morality are moribund; the
Ten Commandments command only a very qualified assent; the Christian
religion as a real inspiration of practical life and conduct is dead;
the social conventions and Mrs. Grundy remain, feebly galling and
officious. What are we to do? Are we to bolster up the old codes, in
which we have largely ceased to believe, merely in order to have a
code?--or are we to let them go?

Of course, if we have decided what the final purpose or life of Man is,
then we may say that what is good for that purpose is finally "good,"
and what is bad for that purpose is finally "evil." The Eastern
philosophy, as I have said, deciding that the final purpose of Man is
identification with Brahm, declares _all_ actions to be evil (even the
most saintly) which are done by the self as separate from Brahm; and all
actions as good which are done in the condition of _vidya_ or conscious
union. But here, though a final good and evil are allowed and
acknowledged, as existing respectively in the conditions of vidya or
avidya, those conditions altogether escape any external rule or
classification.

Mr. Gilbert Chesterton, taking up this subject not long ago in a
criticism[46] of Mr. Orage's little book on Nietzsche, said that all
this talk about "beyond good and evil" was nonsense; that we must have
some code; and that in effect, any code, even a bad one, was better than
none. And one sees what he means. It is perfectly true, in a sense, that
the harness, the shafts, and the blinkers keep a large part of the
world on the beaten road and out of the ditch, and that folk are always
to be found who, rather than use their higher faculties, will rely on
these external guides; but to encourage this kind of salvation by
blinkers seems the very reverse of what ought to be done; and one might
even ask whether salvation by such means is salvation at all--whether
the ditch were not better!

Besides, what _can_ we do? It is not so much that we are deliberately
abandoning the codes as that they are abandoning us. With the gradual
infiltration of new ideas, of Eastern thought, of Darwinian philosophy,
of customs and creeds of races other than our own, with Bernard Shaw
lecturing on the futility of the Ten Commandments, and so forth, it is
not difficult to see that in a short while it will be impossible to
rehabilitate any of the ancient codes or to give them a sanction and a
sense of awe in the public mind. If with Gilbert Chesterton we should
succeed in bolstering up such a thing for a time--well, it will only be
for a time.

And the question is, whether the time has not really come for us to
stand up--like sensible men and women--and _do without rules_; whether
we cannot trust ourselves at last to throw aside the blinkers. The
question is whether we cannot realise that solid and central life which
underlies and yet surpasses all rules. For truly, if we cannot do this,
our state is pitiable--having ceased to believe in the letter of
Morality, and yet unable to find its spirit!

It is here, then, that the New Morality comes in, as more or less
clearly understood and expressed by the progressive sections to-day.
Modern Socialism, in effect, taking up a position in its way somewhat
similar to that of Eastern philosophy, says: Morality in its essence is
not a code, but simply the realisation of the Common Life;[47] and that
is a thing which is not foreign and alien to humanity, but very germane
and natural to it--a thing so natural that without doubt it would be
more in evidence than it is, did not the institutions and teachings of
Western civilisation tend all along to deny and disguise it. To liberate
this instinct of the Common Life, freeing it from hard and cramping
rules, and to let it take its own form or forms--grafted on and varied
of course by the personal and selective element of Affection and
Sympathy--is the hope that lies before the world to-day for the solution
of all sorts of moral and social problems.

And the more this position is thought over, the more, I believe, will it
commend itself. The sense of organic unity, of the common welfare, the
instinct of Humanity, or of general helpfulness, are things which run in
all directions through the very fibre of our individual and social
life--just as they do through that of the gregarious animals. In a
thousand ways: through heredity and the fact that common ancestral blood
flows in our veins--though we be only strangers that pass in the street;
through psychology, and the similarity of structure and concatenation in
our minds; through social linkage, and the necessity of each and all to
the others' economic welfare; through personal affection and the ties of
the heart; and through the mystic and religious sense which, diving deep
below personalities, perceives the vast flood of universal being--in
these and many other ways does this Common Life compel us to recognise
itself as a fact--perhaps the most fundamental fact of existence.

To teach this simple foundational fact and what flows from it to every
child--not only as a theory, but as a practical habit and inspiration of
conduct--is not really difficult, but easy. Children, having this sense
woven into their very being, grow up in the spirit and practical
habitude of it, and from the beginning possess the inspiration of what
we call Morality--far more effectually indeed than copy-book maxims can
provide. Respect for truth, consideration towards parents and elders,
respect for the reasonable properties, dignities, conveniences of
others, as well as for one's own needs and dignities, become perfectly
natural and habitual. And that this is no mere hypothesis the example of
Japan has lately shown where every young thing is brought up so far
drenched in the sentiment of community that to give one's life for one's
country is looked upon as a privilege.[48] The general lines, I say, of
morality would be secure, and much more secure than they now are, if we
could only bring the children up in an educational and practical
atmosphere of that solidarity which as a matter of fact is demanded
to-day by socialism and the economic movement generally.

And on this ground-work, as I have hinted, Personal Affection and
Sympathy would build a superstructure of their own; they would outline a
society as much more beautiful, powerful and closely knit than the
present one founded on the Cash-nexus, as, say, the Athenian society of
the time of Pericles was superior to that of the Lapithæ who first
bitted and bridled the horse.

While the general Life, equal, pervasive, and in a sense
undifferentiated, is a great fact which has to be acknowledged; so this
personal Love and Affection, choosing, selecting, and giving outline and
form to that life, is equally a fact, equally undeniable, equally
sacred--and one which has to be taken in conjunction with the other.

I say equally sacred: because there has been a tendency (no doubt due to
certain causes) to look upon personal affection, in its various phases
from slight inclinations of sympathy to the stronger compulsions of
passion, as something rather dubious in character, at best an amiable
weakness not to be encouraged. Tolstoy, in one of his writings, figures
the case of a little household in days of famine not really having bread
enough for their own wants. Then a stranger child comes to the door and
pleads for food. Tolstoy suggests that the mother ought to take the
scanty crust from her own child to feed the stranger withal, or at least
to share the food equally between the two children. But such a
conclusion seems to me doubtful.

Whatever "ought" may mean in such a connexion, we know pretty well that
such never _will_ be the rule of human life, we may almost say never can
be; perhaps we should be equally justified in saying, never "ought" to
be. For obviously there must be preferences, selections. Our affections,
our affinities, our sympathies, our passions, are not given us for
nothing. It is not for nothing that every individual person, every tree,
every animal has a _shape_, a shape of its own. If it were not so the
world would be infinitely, inconceivably, dull. Yet to ask that a mother
should in all cases treat strange children exactly the same as her own,
that a man from the oceanic multitude should single out no special or
privileged friends, but should love all alike, is to ask that these folk
in their mental and moral nature should become as jellyfish--of no
distinct shape or satisfaction to themselves or any one else. Profound
and indispensable as is the Law of Equality--the law, namely, that there
is a region within all beings where they touch to a common and equal
life--the other law, that of Individual predilection, is equally
indispensable. Try to reduce all to the one motive of the general
interest, and you might have a perfect morality, but a morality woodeny,
hard and dull, without form and feature. Try to dispense with this, and
to found society on individual affection and love, and on individual
initiative, without morals, and you would have a flighty, unstable
thing, without consistency or backbone.

My contention, then, is that our hope for the future society lies in its
embodiment of these two great principles jointly: (1) the recognition of
the Common Life as providing the foundation-element of general morality,
and (2) the recognition of Individual Affection and Expression--and to a
much greater degree than hitherto--as building up the higher groupings
and finer forms of the structure. And in proportion as (1) provides a
solider basis of morals than we have hitherto had, so will it be
possible to give to (2) a width of scope and freedom of action hitherto
untried or untrusted. Conjointly with the strengthening of these
principles of Solidarity and Affection in society must of course come
the strengthening of Individuality--the right and the desire of every
being to preserve and develop its own proper _shape_, and so to add to
the richness and interest of life--and this involves the right of
Resistance, and (once more) the relegation of the formula of
non-resistance into the background.

These considerations, however, are leading us too far afield, and away
from the special subject of our paper. I mention them chiefly in order
to show that while we are considering Morality as a foundation-element
of Society, it must never be lost sight of that it is not the only
element, and that it would be comparatively senseless and useless unless
grafted on and complemented and completed by the others.

The method of the New Morality, then, will be to minimise formulæ, and
(except as illustrations) to use them sparely; and to bring children
up--and so indirectly all citizens--in such conditions of abounding life
and health that their sympathies, overflowing naturally to those around,
will cause them to realise in the strongest way their organic part in
the great whole of society--and this not as an intellectual theory, so
much as an abiding consciousness and foundation-fact of their own
existence. Make this the basis of all teaching. Make them realise--by
all sorts of habit and example--that to injure or deceive others is to
injure themselves--that to help others somehow satisfies and fortifies
their own inner life. Let them learn, as they grow up, to regard all
human beings, of whatever race or class, as ends in themselves--never to
be looked upon as mere things or chattels to be made use of. Let them
also learn to look upon the animals in the same light--as beings, they
too, who are climbing the great ladder of creation--beings with whom
also we humans have a common spirit and interest. And let them learn to
respect _themselves_ as worthy and indispensable members of this great
Body. Thus will be established a true Morality--a morality far more
searching, more considerate of others, more adaptive and more genuine
than that of the present day--a morality, we may say, of common-sense.

For it may indeed be said that Morality--taking a downright and almost
physiological view of it--is simply _abundance of life_. That is, that
when a man has so abounding and vital an inner nature that his
sympathies and activities overflow the margin of his own petty days and
personal advantage, he is by that fact entering the domain of morality.
Before that time and while limited to the personal organism, the
creative life in each being is either non-moral like that of the
animals, or simply selfish like that of the immature man; but when it
overflows this limit it necessarily becomes social, and moves to the
support and consideration of the neighbour. Having formerly found its
complete activity in the sustentation of the personal self it now
spreads its helpful energies into the lives of the other selves around.
Altruism, in fact, in its healthy forms, is the overflow of abounding
vitality. It is a morality without a code, and happily free from
limiting formulæ.[49]

And if it be again said that a morality of this kind, which rests on a
principle and a mental attitude only, is a danger, let us pause for a
moment to consider how much more dangerous is one which rests on
formulæ. If morality without a code is a serious matter, how much more
serious is one which is nailed up _within_ a code! For looking back on
history it would sometimes seem that the black-and-white, the
this-thing-right-and-that-thing-wrong morality has been the most wicked
thing in the world. It has been an excuse for all the most devilish
deeds and persecutions imaginable. A formula of the Sabbath-day, a
formula about Witchcraft, a formula of Marriage (regardless of the real
human relation), a formula concerning Theft (regardless of the dire need
of the thief)--and burnings, hangings, torturings without mercy! The
terrible thing about this Right-and-Wrong morality is not only that it
leads to these dreadful reprisals; but that it brands upon the victim as
well as upon the oppressor the fatuous notions that a certain _thing_ is
right or wrong, and that what one has to do is to save _oneself_--two
notions both of which are directly contrary to true Morality. A boy
tells a verbal lie--perhaps through fear, perhaps through inadvertence.
He has broken a formula and is immediately caned. Moral: he will keep to
verbal truth afterwards--however mean or insidious it may be--and be
pharisaically self-satisfied; but he will never realise that the
importance of truth and lies rests not in the words, but in the
confidence and mutual trust which they either create or destroy. The
peculiarly English worship of Duty is open to the same objection.
"Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds," and splendid as is the
conception and practice of Duty, as a self-oblivious inspiration and
enthusiasm, it becomes a truly revolting thing when it takes the
all-too-common form "I have done _my_ Duty, I'm all right!" "I am going
to do _my_ Duty, whatever becomes of you." Can anything be imagined more
disintegrating to society, more certain to split it up into a dustheap
of self-regarding units, than a formula of this kind? "It is my painful
Duty to condemn you to be hanged by the neck until you are dead," says
the Judge to the wretched girl who, in a frenzy of despair, has drowned
her baby. What he really means is that while he perfectly recognises the
monstrosity of the Law which he has sworn to administer, and the
soul-killing effect on the girl which his sentence may have, yet in
order to save _himself_ from the risk or the wrong of breaking that Law,
he is willing and ready to pronounce that sentence. "It is my duty to
burn you," says the Inquisitor to the heretic; and the implication is
really, "I am afraid that if I do not burn you I shall get burnt myself,
in the next world."

The sooner an end can be made of this sort of morality, the
better--which under the cloak of public advantage or benefit is only
thinking about self-promotion and self-interest, either in this world
or the next, and which truly is calculated not to further human
solidarity but to destroy it. It runs and trickles through all of modern
society, poisoning the well-springs of affection, this morality which,
having paid its domestic servants their regular wages, is quite
satisfied with itself, and expects them to do _their_ duty in return,
but is silent about their real needs and welfare; which treats its
wage-workers as simple machines for the grinding out of profits, and
lifts its eyebrows in serene surprise when they retaliate against such
treatment; which can only regard a criminal as a person who has broken a
formula, and in return must be punished according to a formula; and a
pig as an animal for which you provide reasonable provender and a stye,
and which in return you are entitled to _eat_. Pharisaical, self-centred
and self-interested, materialistic to the last degree, and really
senseless in its outlook, this current morality is indeed, and very
seriously, a public peril.


     Thou shalt not steal: an empty feat,
     When it's so lucrative to cheat.


Keep _within_ the code, within the letter; always speak the nominal
truth (whoever may suffer thereby); keep up the accepted formulæ of
marriage and the sex-relation (though hearts may be bleeding and
perishing); pay every respect to property, and so forth; and you may
have the gratification of being looked upon as a bulwark of society. But
none the less it is probable that you are undermining and corrupting
that society to the core. Your outlook is merely on the surface, while
you are condoning deep-seated ill.

Of course the New Morality--to look _within_, to feel and refer to the
needs of others almost as instinctively as to one's own, to refuse to
regard any _thing_ as in itself good or bad, and to look upon all
beings, oneself included, as ends in themselves and not as a means of
personal self-advancement and glorification--while it is the more
natural, is also the more difficult in a sense, as providing no set
pattern or rule. But surely the time has arrived for its adoption. It is
the morality which must underlie the freer, more varied forms of the
society of the future; and it is the only escape from the corruption of
the old order.

To take particular examples. Truth, in word or act, is--we all
feel--very important, very fundamental. It is the basis of the common
understanding of which I have spoken. It is the basis of the expression
of oneself, and of the recognition of others. Any one who is deeply
imbued with the consciousness of the common life will necessarily have a
deep respect for the Truth; he will also have a deep respect for the
Life, the Property, the good Name, the Affections, and so forth, of
others, as well as for his own similar attributes. He will not be able
to say, as a formula: I will _never_ deceive another (tell a lie); I
will _never_ take the life of others, man or animal (kill); and so on,
because he knows there are situations in which that very Life arising
within him, or even his own absolute necessity, will demand such
actions, will compel him to the performance of them; but all the same he
will in his ordinary existence carry out the principle which underlies
these formulæ, and much more thoroughly, probably, than the formulæ
themselves would demand.

Similarly about such matters as sexual morality. There are outcries
against Lady-Godiva-shows and living statuary--apparently because folk
are afraid of such things rousing the passions. No doubt the things may
act that way. But why, we may ask, should people be afraid of rousing
passions which, after all, are the great driving forces of human life?
Clearly it is because they think the other forces which should guide
these passions or give them a helpful and useful direction are too weak.
And in this last respect they are right. The guiding and inhibiting
forces in our present society are feeble--because they consist only in a
few conventional formulæ, which are rapidly being undermined. We are
generating steam in a boiler which is already cankered with rust. The
cure is not to cut off the passions, or to be weakly afraid of them, but
to find a new, sound, healthy engine of general morality and
common-sense within which they will work. And this is what in the future
we must try to do.

This morality, this organic, vital, almost physiological morality of the
common life--which means a quick response of each unit to the needs of
the other units, and much the same in the body politic as health means
in the physical body--must underlie and be the basis of the societies of
the future. It will mean the liberation of a thousand and one instincts,
desires and capacities which since our childhood's days have lain buried
within us, concealed and ignored because we have thought them wrong or
unworthy, when really all they have wanted has been recognition and the
opportunity to become healthy _by_ recognition--by the process in fact
of balancing against each other, and against opposing and complementary
elements, and so finding their places in the Whole. On this new Morality
of acceptance and recognition and wide-reaching redemption, it will be
possible, as I have already said, to graft not only a stronger
expression of individuality all round, but also a higher and more varied
and more gracious life of _personal affection_--which now alas! lies
like a thing wounded and half dead. Its establishment will, I take it,
mean the oncoming of a society which will liberate personal affection
and love--will liberate forces hitherto artificially crippled because
their liberation would tear our current morality of formulæ to mere rags
and tatters. It means, I take it, the oncoming of a society whose main
motive will no longer be the struggle for Bread (since that is ruled out
by the enormous growth of our wealth-producing powers), but the desire
for the satisfaction of the Heart--thus preparing no doubt new and
unforeseen difficulties and sufferings, yet filling life with such
beautiful things that the motives of greed and the mean pursuit of
money, which now weigh upon the world, will be like an evil nightmare of
the Past from which the dawn delivers us.

FOOTNOTES:

[42] _Maitrayana-Brahmana-Upanishad_, vi. 34, 4.

[43] _Taittiriyaka-Up_, ii. 9, etc.

[44] Spinoza's _Ethic_, part iv.

[45] It must be remembered that Nietzsche supposes three stages of the
spirit--(1) the Camel, (2) the Lion, and (3) the Child. And the
Beyond-man properly corresponds to the last stage.

[46] _Daily News_, December 29, 1906.

[47] I need hardly say that this does not mean, as Nietzsche so often
and sardonically suggests, the realisation of the _common-place_ life,
but something very different.

[48] Many Japanese committed suicide on account of not being allowed to
join in the Russian War. See also Lafcadio Hearn's description of the
habitual dignity and courtesy of the youth of Japan.--_Life and
Letters_, vol. i, pp. 12, 113.

[49] This morality, indeed, may be said to be implicit in much of the
teaching of Christ; yet, curiously enough, it has never been seriously
adopted by the Churches. And as to the regard for animals as ends in
themselves, the Roman Catholic Church, I believe, positively repudiates
any such attitude.



APPENDIX


As the author's attacks in the body of this book upon the Civilisation
peoples have sometimes been regarded as extreme and unjustified, it has
been thought appropriate, here in the Appendix, to collect a few notes
from reliable authorities on the characteristics and customs of
pre-civilised men--not so much of course with the object of proving the
latter always superior to the former, as of bringing to light the many
admirable virtues of the early peoples, which a cheap modern
civilisation has neglected or somewhat contemptuously ignored.

No one would deny that there are many cases of primitive folk--folk
unclean and ignorant and absurdly superstitious--who can hardly be said
to command our admiration. On the other hand there are a vast number of
cases of an opposite sort--cases which present to us the realisation of
some remarkable human characteristic or social capacity well worthy of
consideration or even of imitation. If our Civilisation is ever to move
on to some form better than the present, it is these latter cases which
ought to be of assistance; for they not only direct our attention to
human possibilities, but by showing what has been realised in the past
assure us that such ideals are by no means unattainable now.

It is therefore with a view to cases of this kind that the following
Appendix has been framed.

E. C.


+Civilisation does not Engross all the Virtues.+

     Quotations from Herman Melville's _Typee_, pp. 225, etc. (John
     Murray, 1861.)

"Civilisation does not engross all the virtues of humanity: she has not
even her full share of them. They flourish in greater abundance and
attain greater strength among many barbarous people. The hospitality of
the wild Arab, the courage of the North American Indian, and the
faithful friendships of some of the Polynesian nations, far surpass
anything of a similar kind among the polished communities of Europe. If
truth and justice, and the better principles of our nature, cannot exist
unless enforced by the statute-book, how are we to account for the
social condition of the Typees? So pure and upright were they in all the
relations of life, that entering their valley, as I did, under the most
erroneous impressions of their character, I was soon led to exclaim in
amazement: 'Are these the ferocious savages, the bloodthirsty cannibals
of whom I have heard such frightful tales! They deal more kindly with
each other, and are more humane, than many who study essays on virtue
and benevolence, and who repeat every night that beautiful prayer
breathed first by the lips of the divine and gentle Jesus.' I will
frankly declare, that after passing a few weeks in this valley of the
Marquesas, I formed a higher estimate of human nature than I had ever
before entertained. But alas! since then I have been one of the crew of
a man-of-war, and the pent-up wickedness of five hundred men has nearly
overturned all my previous theories.

       *       *       *       *       *

"How little do some of these poor islanders comprehend, when they look
around them, that no inconsiderable part of their disasters originate
in certain tea-party excitements, under the influence of which
benevolent-looking gentlemen in white cravats solicit alms, and old
ladies in spectacles, and young ladies in sober russet low gowns,
contribute sixpences towards the creation of a fund, the object of which
is to ameliorate the spiritual condition of the Polynesians, but whose
end has almost invariably been to accomplish their temporal destruction!

"Let the savages be civilised, but civilise them with benefits, and not
with evils; and let heathenism be destroyed, but not by destroying the
heathen. The Anglo-Saxon hive have extirpated Paganism from the greater
part of the North American continent; but with it they have likewise
extirpated the greater portion of the Red race. Civilisation is
gradually sweeping from the earth the lingering vestiges of Paganism,
and at the same time the shrinking forms of its unhappy worshippers.

"Among the islands of Polynesia, no sooner are the images overturned,
the temples demolished, and the idolaters converted into _nominal_
Christians, than disease, vice, and premature death make their
appearance. The depopulated land is then recruited from the rapacious
hordes of enlightened individuals who settle themselves within its
borders, and clamorously announce the progress of the Truth. Neat
villas, trim gardens, shaven lawns, spires, and cupolas arise, while the
poor savage soon finds himself an interloper in the country of his
fathers, and that too on the very site of the hut where he was born.

       *       *       *       *       *

"During my whole stay on the island I never witnessed a single quarrel,
nor any thing that in the slightest degree approached even to a dispute.
The natives appeared to form one household, whose members were bound
together by the ties of strong affection. The love of kindred I did not
so much perceive, for it seemed blended in the general love; and where
all were treated as brothers and sisters, it was hard to tell who were
actually related to each other by blood.

"Let it not be supposed that I have overdrawn this picture. I have not
done so. Nor let it be urged that the hostility of this tribe to
foreigners, and the hereditary feuds they carry on against their
fellow-islanders beyond the mountains, are facts which contradict me.
Not so: these apparent discrepancies are easily reconciled. By many a
legendary tale of violence and wrong, as well as by events which have
passed before their eyes, these people have been taught to look upon
white men with abhorrence. The cruel invasion of their country by Porter
has alone furnished them with ample provocation; and I can sympathize in
the spirit which prompts the Typee warrior to guard all the passes to
his valley with the point of his levelled spear, and, standing upon the
beach, with his back turned upon his green home, to hold at bay the
intruding European."


+Influences of "Civilisation"+

     From R. L. Stevenson's _In the South Seas_, p. 43. (Chatto and
     Windus, 1908.)

[It is asked] "Was not the Polynesian always unchaste? Doubtless he was
so always: doubtless he is more so since the coming of his remarkably
chaste visitors from Europe. Take the Hawaiian account of Cook: I have
no doubt it is entirely fair. Take Krusenstern's candid, almost innocent
description of a Russian man-of-war at the Marquesas; consider the
disgraceful history of missions in Hawaii itself ... add the practice of
whaling fleets to call at the Marquesas and carry off a complement of
women for the cruise ... and bear in mind how it was the custom of the
adventurers, and we may almost say the business of the missionaries, to
deride and infract even the most salutary _tapus_ (taboos)."


+Captain Cook at Owyhee in 1799+

     From his _Life and Voyages_, p. 379. (George Newnes, 1904.)

"In the progress of the intercourse which was maintained between our
voyagers and the natives, the quiet and inoffensive behaviour of the
latter took away every apprehension of danger, so that the English
trusted themselves among them at all times and in all situations. The
instances of kindness and civility which our people experienced from
them were so numerous that they could not easily be recounted. A society
of priests, in particular, displayed a generosity and munificence of
which no equal example had hitherto been given: for they furnished a
constant supply of hogs and vegetables to our navigators, without ever
demanding a return, or even hinting at it in the most distant manner."
Of the island of Wateeoo (p. 309), "the inhabitants are very numerous,
and many of the young men were perfect models in shape."


+Natives of Tahiti+

     From Havelock Ellis' _Sex in relation to Society_, p. 148. (1910.)

"The example of Tahiti is instructive as regards the prevalence of
chastity among peoples of what we generally consider low grades of
civilisation. An early explorer, J. R. Forster (_Observations made on a
voyage round the World_, 1778), speaks of the fine climate and the
beauty of the females, as inviting powerfully to the enjoyments and
pleasures of love. Yet he is over and over again impelled to set down
facts which bear testimony to the virtues of these people. Though rather
effeminate in build they are athletic, he says. Moreover in their wars
they fight with great bravery and valour. They are, for the rest,
hospitable. He remarks that they treat their married women with great
respect, and that women generally are nearly the equals of men, both in
intelligence and social position; he gives a charming description of the
women. 'In short their character,' he concludes, 'is as amiable as that
of any nation that ever came unimproved out of the hands of
Nature'[!]"...

"When Cook," continues Ellis, "who visited Tahiti many times, was among
this 'benevolent, humane' people, he noted their esteem for chastity,
and found that not only were betrothed girls strictly guarded before
marriage, but that men also who had refrained from sexual intercourse
for some time before marriage were believed to pass at death immediately
into the abode of the blessed."


+Radack--one of the Caroline Islands+

     From Chamisso's _Reise um die Welt_, p. 183. (Leipzig.)

"Thus we made acquaintance with a people who have endeared themselves to
me more than any others of the children of Earth. The very weaknesses of
the Radack folk removed mistrust on our side; their very gentleness and
goodness caused them to be trustful towards us, the all-powerful
strangers; we became declared friends. I found among them simple,
unsophisticated manners, charm, natural grace, and the pleasant bloom
of modesty. In the matter, certainly, of strength and manly independence
the O-Waihier [Owyhees] are greatly their superiors. My friend, Kadu,
who, though not belonging to this island-group, attached himself to us,
was one of the finest characters I have ever met and one of the most
dear to me of human beings; and he afterwards became my instructor with
regard to Radack and the Caroline Islands."


+Adaptation of Early Peoples to Surroundings+

     THE DINKAS (Central Africa): from Grogan's _Cape to Cairo_, p. 278.
     (Hurst & Blackett, 1900.)

"Every one in Dinka-land carries a long spear, or pointed fish-spear,
and a club made of a heavy purple wood, while the more important
gentlemen wear enormous ivory bracelets round their upper arm; strict
nudity is the fashion, and a marabout feather in the hair is the essence
of _chic_. They are all beautifully built, having broad shoulders, small
waist, good hips, and well-shaped legs. The stature of some is colossal.
It was most curious to see how these Dinkas, living as they do in the
marshes, approximate to the type of the waterbird. They have much the
same walk as a heron, picking their feet up very high and thrusting them
well forward; while their feet are enormous. Their colossal height is
indeed a great advantage in the reed grown country in which they live.
The favourite pose of a Dinka (on one foot, with the other foot resting
on the knee) is in reality the favourite pose of a water bird.... They
are the complete antithesis of the pigmy, as the country in which they
live is the complete antithesis of the dense forest which is the home of
the dwarfs.... Our camp was near a large village where there were at
least 1,500 head of cattle, besides sheep and goats, and the chief
brought me a fine fat bull-calf--which settled the nervous question of
food for two days.... The rambling village with its groups of figures
and long lines of home-coming cattle, dimly seen in the smoke of a
hundred fires as I approached at sunset, was very picturesque."


THE PIGMIES: from _Cape to Cairo_, pp. 144 and 161.

"The pigmies have no settled villages, nor do they cultivate anything.
They live the life of the brute in the forests, perpetually wandering in
search of honey or in pursuit of elephant; when they succeed in killing
anything, they throw up a few grass shelters and remain there till all
the meat is either eaten or dried. They depend upon the other natives
for the necessary grain, which they either steal or barter for elephant
meat or honey. All their knives, spearheads and arrow-heads they
likewise purchase from other people, but they make their own bows and
arrows. So well are these made that they are held in great esteem by the
surrounding people." ... "An hour later I met an elderly pigmy in the
forest and managed to induce him to talk. He was a splendid little
fellow, full of self-confidence, and gave me most concise information,
stating that the white man with many belongings had passed near by two
days before, and had then gone down to the lake-shore, where he was
camped at that moment. These people must have a wonderful code of signs
and signals, as despite their isolated and nomadic existence they always
know exactly what is happening everywhere. He was a typical pigmy as
found on the volcanoes--squat, gnarled, proud, and easy of carriage. His
beard hung down over his chest, and his thighs and chest were covered
with wiry hair. He carried the usual pigmy bow made of two pieces of
cane spliced together with grass, and with a string made of a single
strand of a rush that grows in the forests. The pigmies are splendid
examples of the adaptability of Nature to her surroundings; the
combination of strength and conciseness enabling them to move with
astonishing rapidity in the pig-runs that form the only pathway through
the impenetrable growth, and to endure the fatigue of elephant-hunting."


NATIVES IN RUANDA (near Lake Kivu): _Cape to Cairo_, p. 118.

"Society in Ruanda is divided into two castes, the Watusi and the
Wahutu. The Watusi are the descendants of a great wave of Galla invasion
that reached even to Tanganyika. They still retain their pastoral
instincts, and refuse to do any other work than the tending of cattle;
and so great is their affection for their beasts, that rather than sever
company they will become slaves, and do the menial work of their beloved
cattle for the benefit of their conquerors. This is all the more
remarkable when one takes into account their inherent pride of race and
contempt for other peoples, even for the white man.... Many signs of
superior civilisation, observable in the peoples with whom the Watusi
have come into contact, are traceable to this Galla influence.

"The hills are terraced, thus increasing the area of cultivation, and
obviating the denudation of fertile slopes by torrential rains. In many
cases irrigation is carried out on a sufficiently extensive scale, and
the swamps are drained by ditches. Artificial reservoirs are built with
side troughs for watering cattle. The fields are in many cases fenced in
by planted hedges of euphorbia and thorn, and similar fences are planted
along the narrow parts of the main cattle tracks, to prevent the beasts
from straying or trampling down the cultivation.

"There is also an exceptional diversity of plants cultivated, such as
hungry rice, maize, red and white millet, several kinds of beans, peas,
bananas, and the edible arum. Some of the higher growing beans are even
trained on sticks planted for the purpose. Pumpkins and sweet potatoes
are also common; and the Watusi own and tend enormous herds of cattle,
goats and sheep. Owing to the magnificent pasturage the milk is of
excellent quality, and they make large quantities of butter. They are
exceedingly clever with their beasts, and have many calls which the
cattle understand. At milking time they light smoke-fires to keep the
flies from irritating the beasts.... They are tall slightly built men of
graceful nonchalant carriage, and their features are delicate and
refined. I noticed many faces that, bleached and set in a white collar,
would have been conspicuous for character in a London drawing-room. The
legal type was especially pronounced." ...

"The Wahutu are their absolute antithesis. They are the aborigines of
the country, and any pristine originality or character has been
effectually stamped out of them. Hewers of wood and drawers of water,
they do all the hard work, and unquestioning in abject servility give up
the proceeds on demand. Their numerical proportion to the Watusi must be
at least a hundred to one, yet they defer to them without protest; and
in spite of the obvious hatred in which they hold their over lords,
there seems to be no friction."


+Natives of the Andaman Islands+

The following extracts, about the Andaman-islanders of the Bay of
Bengal, the Bushmen of South Africa, and the Eskimo tribes of Northern
latitudes, are specially interesting because they deal with peoples
whose present-day culture is undoubtedly on a par with, and in all
probability directly inherited from, the peoples of a long-past Stone
Age. Thus we get indirectly a glimpse of what the culture of the Stone
Ages was--both in its material acquisitions and its grade of social and
psychological evolution.


     From _In the Andamans and Nicobars_, p. 184, by C. Boden Kloss.
     (Murray, 1903.)

"The Andaman Islands are inhabited by people of pure Negrito blood,
members of perhaps the most ancient race remaining on the earth, and
standing closest to the primitive human type.... It would be impossible
to find anywhere a race of purer descent than the Andamanese, for ever
since they peopled the islands in the Stone Age, they have remained
secluded from the outer world.... In stature they are far below the
average height; but although they have been called dwarfs and pygmies,
these words must not be understood to imply anything in the nature of a
monstrosity. Their reputation for hideousness, like their poisoned
arrows and cannibalism, has long been a fallacy which, though widely
popular, should now be exploded. The average heights of the men and
women are found to be 4 feet 10¾ inches, and 4 feet 7¼ inches
respectively, and their figures, which are proportionately built, are
very symmetrical and graceful. Although not to be described as muscular,
they are of good development, the men being agile, yet sturdy, with
broad chests and square shoulders."


     From E. H. Man on _The Aborigines of the Andaman Islands_, p. 14.
     (Trübner, 1883.)

"No idiots, maniacs or lunatics have ever yet been observed among them,
and this is not because those so afflicted are killed or confined by
their fellows, for the greatest care and attention are invariably paid
to the sick, aged and helpless."

Mr. Man also remarks (_Journ. Anthrop. Inst._ XII, 92): "It has been
observed with regret by all interested in the race, that intercourse
with the alien population has, generally speaking, prejudicially
affected their morals; and that the candour, veracity, and self-reliance
they manifest in their savage and untutored state are, when they become
associated with foreigners, to a great extent lost, and habits of
untruthfulness, dependence and sloth engendered."


+The Bushmen+

     Extract from F. C. Selous' _African Nature-Notes_, pp. 344 and 347.
     (1908.)

"When I met with the first Bushmen I ever saw, on the banks of the
Orange River in 1872, I was a very young man, and, regarding them with
some repugnance, wrote in my diary that they appeared to be removed by a
very few steps from the brute creation. That was a very foolish and
ignorant remark to make, and I have since found out that though Bushmen
may possibly be to-day in the same backward state of material
development and knowledge as once were the palæolithic ancestors of the
most highly cultured European races in prehistoric times, yet
fundamentally there is very little difference between the natures of
primitive and civilised men, so that it is quite possible for a member
of one of the more cultured races to live for a time quite happily and
contentedly amongst beings who are often described as degraded savages,
and from whom he is separated by thousands of years in all that is
implied by the word 'civilisation.' I have hunted a great deal with
Bushmen, and during 1884 I lived amongst these people continuously for
several months together. On many and many a night I have slept in their
encampments without even any Kafir attendants, and though I was entirely
in their power I always felt perfectly safe among them. As most of the
men spoke Sechwana I was able to converse with them, and found them very
intelligent, good-natured companions, full of knowledge concerning the
habits of all the wild animals inhabiting the country in which they
lived.... I have never seen their women and children ill-treated by
them, and I have seen both the men and the women show affection for
their children."

Elsewhere Selous speaks of "John"--a member of the close-related Korana
clan--who was in his service, as "of a pale yellow-brown colour,
beautifully proportioned, with small delicately made hands and feet."


     From preface by Henry Balfour to the book _Bushmen Paintings
     Copied_, by Helen Tongue.

"It is certain that the designs representing animals, etc., which are
painted upon the walls of their caves and rock-shelters, frequently
exhibit a realism and freedom in treatment which are quite remarkable in
the art of so primitive a people. The skill with which many of the
characteristic South African animals are portrayed testifies not only to
unusual artistic efficiency, but also to a close observance of and an
intimate acquaintanceship with the habits and peculiarities of the
animals themselves.... The paintings are remarkable not only for the
realism exhibited by so many, but also for a freedom from the limitation
to delineation in _profile_ which characterises for the most part the
drawings of primitive peoples, especially where animals are concerned.
Attitudes of a kind difficult to render were ventured upon without
hesitation, and an appreciation even of the rudiments of perspective is
occasionally to be noted."


     Note from the same book, by S. Bleek, daughter of the well-known
     Dr. Bleek, of the Grey Library at Cape Town (1870).

"Bushmen are called liars and thieves all over the Colony, but all those
who stayed with us were truthful and very honest. On no occasion did
they steal even a pocket-knife lost in the garden, or fruit from the
trees. They might have taken sheep from hostile farmers, but they would
never rob a friend or neighbour. They were cleanly in their habits, and
most particular about manners.... As a people they were grateful and
revengeful, independent in spirit, excellent fighters--who preferred
death to captivity.... Captives were sometimes made servants, but not
often well-treated, nor did they take to a settled life easily. Even
kind masters found their longing for freedom hard to conquer."


+The Nechilli Eskimo+

     From Amundsen's _North West Passage_, vol. i, p. 294. (Constable,
     1908.)

"We were suddenly brought face to face here with a people from the Stone
Age: we were abruptly carried back several thousand years in the advance
of human progress, to people who as yet knew no other method of
procuring fire than by rubbing two pieces of wood together, and who with
great difficulty managed to get their food just lukewarm, over the
seal-oil flame on a stone slab, while we cooked our food in a moment
with our modern cooking apparatus. We came here, with our most ingenious
and most recent inventions in the way of firearms, to people who still
used lances, bows and arrows of reindeer horn.... However, we should be
wrong if from the weapons, implements, and domestic appliances of these
people we were to argue that they were of low intelligence. Their
implements, apparently so very primitive, proved to be as well adapted
to their existing requirements and conditions as experience and the
skilful tests of many centuries could have made them."


+Ugpi, an Eskimo+

     From Amundsen vol. i, p. 190.

"Ugpi or Uglen (the 'Owl') as we always called him, attracted immediate
attention by his appearance. With his long black hair hanging over his
shoulders, his dark eyes and frank honest expression, he would have been
good-looking if his broad face and large mouth had not spoilt his beauty
from a European standpoint. There was something serious, almost dreamy,
about him. Honesty and truthfulness are unmistakably impressed on his
features, and I would never have hesitated for a moment to entrust him
with anything. During his association with us he became an exceptionally
clever hunter both for birds and reindeer. He was about thirty years old
and was married to Kabloka, a very small girl of seventeen."


+Eskimo and Civilisation+

     From Amundsen vol. ii, p. 48.

"During the voyage of the _Gjoa_, we came into contact with ten
different Eskimo tribes in all ... and I must state it as my firm
conviction that the Eskimo living absolutely isolated from civilisation
of any kind are undoubtedly the happiest, healthiest, most honorable
and most contented among them. It must therefore be the bounden duty of
civilised nations who come into contact with the Eskimo to safeguard
them against contaminating influences, and by laws and stringent
regulations protect them against the many perils and evils of so-called
civilisation. Unless this is done they will inevitably be ruined.... My
sincerest wish for our friends the Nechilli Eskimo is that Civilisation
may _never_ reach them."


+High Standard of Tribal Morality among the Aleoutes+

     Witnessed to by the Russian missionary, Veniaminoff. See _Mutual
     Aid_, pp. 99 and 100, by P. Kropotkin.

The high standard of the tribal morality of the Eskimos has often been
mentioned in general literature. Nevertheless the following remarks upon
the manners of the Aleoutes--nearly akin to the Eskimos--will better
illustrate savage morality as a whole. They were written, after a ten
years' stay among the Aleoutes, by a most remarkable man--the Russian
missionary, Veniaminoff. I sum them up, mostly in his own words:--

Endurability (he wrote) is their chief feature. It is simply colossal.
Not only do they bathe every morning in the frozen sea, and stand naked
on the beach, inhaling the icy wind, but their endurability, even when
at hard work on insufficient food, surpasses all that can be imagined.
During a protracted scarcity of food, the Aleoute cares first for his
children; he gives them all he has, and himself fasts. They are not
inclined to stealing; that was remarked even by the first Russian
immigrants. Not that they never steal; every Aleoute would confess
having sometime stolen something, but it is always a trifle; the whole
is so childish. The attachment of the parents to their children is
touching, though it is never expressed in words or pettings. The Aleoute
is with difficulty moved to make a promise, but once he has made it he
will keep it whatever may happen. (An Aleoute made Veniaminoff a gift of
dried fish, but it was forgotten on the beach in the hurry of the
departure. He took it home. The next occasion to send it to the
missionary was in January; and in November and December there was a
great scarcity of food in the Aleoute encampment. But the fish was never
touched by the starving people, and in January it was sent to its
destination.)


+Home Life of the Eskimo+

     By Villialm Stefansson. From _Harper's Monthly_, October, 1908.

Stefansson lived for thirteen months in the household of a Chief,
Ovaynak, on the Mackenzie River, and knew his subject well. He says:--

"With their absolute equality of the sexes and perfect freedom of
separation, a permanent union of uncongenial persons is well-nigh
inconceivable. But if a couple find each other congenial enough to
remain married a year or two, divorce becomes exceedingly improbable,
and is much rarer among the middle-aged than among us. People of the age
of twenty-five and over are usually very fond of each other, and the
family--when once it becomes settled--appears to be on a higher level of
affection and mutual consideration than is common among us. In an Eskimo
home I have never heard an unpleasant word between a man and his wife,
never seen a child punished, nor an old person treated inconsiderately.
Yet the household affairs are carried on in an orderly way, and the good
behaviour of the children is remarked by practically every traveller.

"These charming qualities of the Eskimo home may be largely due to their
equable disposition and the general fitness of their character for the
communal relations; but it seems reasonable to give a portion of the
credit to their remarkable social organisation; for they live under
conditions for which some of our best men are striving--conditions that
with our idealists are even yet merely dreams."


+Religious Beliefs among the Eskimos+

     From Rasmussen's _People of the Polar North_, pp. 125 and 127.
     (1908.)

"Their religious opinions do not lead them to any sort of worship of the
supernatural, but consist--if they are to be formulated in a creed--of a
list of commandments and rules of conduct controlling their relations
with unknown forces hostile to man."

"A wise and independent thinking Eskimo, Otag the Magician, said to me
of death: 'You ask, but I know nothing of death; I am only acquainted
with life. I can only say what I believe: either death is the end of
life, or else it is the transition into another mode of life. In neither
case is there anything to fear. Nevertheless I do not want to die,
because I consider that it is good to live.' This calm way of envisaging
death is not unusual; I have seen many pagan Eskimos go to meet certain
death without a trace of fear."


+Periodical Distributions to Obviate Accumulations of Wealth+

     From Kropotkin's _Mutual Aid_, p. 97. (Heinemann, 1908.)

"(The Eskimos) have an original means for obviating the inconveniences
arising from a personal accumulation of wealth--which would soon destroy
their tribal unity. When a man has grown rich he convokes the folk of
his clan to a great festival, and after much eating, distributes among
them all his fortune. On the Yukon river Dall saw an Aleoute family
distributing in this way ten guns, ten full fur dresses, two hundred
strings of beads, numerous blankets, ten wolf furs, two hundred beavers
and five hundred zibellines. After that they took off their festival
dresses, and putting on old ragged furs, addressed a few words to their
kinsfolk, saying that, though they are now poorer than any one of them,
they have won their friendship.[50] Like distributions of wealth appear
to be a regular habit with the Eskimos, and to take place at a certain
season, after an exhibition of all that has been obtained during the
year. In my (Kropotkin) opinion, these distributions reveal a very old
institution, contemporaneous with the first apparition of personal
wealth; they must have been a means for re-establishing equality among
the members of the clan, after it had been disturbed by the enrichment
of the few. The periodical redistribution of land and the periodical
abandonment of all debts, which took place in historical times with so
many different races (Semites, Aryans, etc.), must have been a survival
of that old custom."


+The Samoyedes+

     From _Icebound on the Kolguev_, p. 384, by A. Trevor-Battye.
     (Constable, 1895.)

"Family affection among the Samoyeds is very strongly developed. It
would be impossible to find greater evidence of this among any people.
Another extremely marked character among them is family order. All
everyday offices and occupations are carried out by a well-defined
method and subdivision of labour. I never saw a single instance of
anything approaching a family quarrel.... They are very handy sailors,
patient and successful hunters and fishermen, and admirable workmen with
such tools as they understand. No man can repair a damaged boat more
quickly than a Samoyed, and from the roughest drift-wood (such as an
English carpenter would throw on the fire), they fashion bows, arrows,
sleighs, spoons, drinking-cups, bullet-moulds, and a variety of articles
of everyday use."


+The Belle of Kolguev+

     From _Icebound on the Kolguev_, p. 130.

"Her sister-in-law Ustynia was really, if you accept the type, a pretty
girl.... Her eyes were bright, and a pleasant smile played about her
lips. When she laughed--and these people are always laughing--she
betrayed the most perfectly beautiful teeth it is possible to imagine.
Indeed all these people, even old Uano, had most wonderful teeth--white,
regular and perfectly shaped. On her fingers Ustynia wore heavy rings of
white and yellow metal, and her hands, like those of all Samoyeds, were
faultless in shape and extraordinarily supple. If you add to this a
dress reaching to the knees, formed of young reindeer skin, worked in
many stripes of white and brown, the skirt banded with scarlet cloth and
dogskin fur, and foot and leg coverings of soft patterned skin reaching
above the knee--there you have Ustynia, the belle of Kolguev."


+The Todas+

     Quoted from _The Todas_, by W. H. Rivers (1906).

These people live on a very lofty and isolated plateau of the Nilgiri
Hills in South India; and are especially interesting to us because till
1812 "they were absolutely unknown to Europeans," and developed their
own customs untouched by Western civilisation. "They are a purely
pastoral people, limiting their activities almost entirely to the care
of their buffaloes and to the complicated ritual which has grown up in
association with these animals." (p. 6) ... They have a completely
organised and definite system of polyandry. When a woman marries a man,
it is understood that she becomes the wife of his brothers at the same
time. When a boy is married to a girl, not only are his brothers usually
regarded as also the husbands of the girl, but any brother born later
will similarly be regarded as sharing his older brother's rights." (p.
515.)

"The men are strong and very agile; the agility being most in evidence
when they have to catch their infuriated buffaloes at the funeral
ceremonies. They stand fatigue well, and often travel great
distances.... In going from one part of the hills to another a Toda
always travels as nearly as possible in a straight line, ignoring
altogether the influence of gravity, and mounting the steepest hills
with no apparent effort. In all my work with the men it seemed to me
they were extremely intelligent. They grasped readily the points of any
enquiry on which I entered, and often showed a marked appreciation of
complicated questions.... I can only record my impression, after several
months' intercourse with the Todas, that they were just as intelligent
as one would have found any average body of educated Europeans.... The
characteristic note in their demeanour is their absolute belief in their
own superiority over the surrounding races. They are grave and
dignified, and yet thoroughly cheerful and well-disposed towards all."
(pp. 18-23.)


+Nudity+

     THE PELEW ISLANDS: from J. G. Wood (vol. _America_, p. 447). _See_
     Captain H. Wilson, who was wrecked there in 1783.

"The inhabitants are of a dark copper colour, well-made, tall, and
remarkable for their stately gait. They employ the tattoo in rather a
curious manner, pricking the patterns thickly on their legs from the
ankles to a few inches above the knees, so that they look as if their
legs were darker in colour than the rest of their bodies. They are
cleanly in their habits, bathing frequently and rubbing themselves with
coco-nut oil, so as to give a soft and glossy appearance to the skin....
The men wear no clothing, not even the king himself having the least
vestige of raiment, the tattoo being supposed to answer the purposes of
dress.... In spite, however, of the absence of dress, the deportment of
the sexes towards each other is perfectly modest. For example, the men
and women will not bathe at the same spot, nor even go near a bathing
place of the opposite sex unless it be deserted."


+Natives of the Amazon Region+

Alfred Russell Wallace, in his _Travels on the Amazon_ (1853), speaks
most warmly about the aborigines of that district--both as to their
grace of form, their quickness of hand, and their goodnatured
inoffensive disposition. He says (chap. xvii): "Their figures are
generally superb; and I have never felt so much pleasure in gazing at
the finest statue as at these living illustrations of the human form."
In his _My Life_, vol. ii, p. 288, he says: "Their whole aspect and
manner were different (from the semi-civilised tribes); they walked with
the free step of the independent forest-dweller ... original and
self-sustaining as the wild animals of the forest ... living their own
lives in their own way, as they had done for countless generations
before America was discovered. The true denizen of the Amazonian
forests, like the forest itself, is unique and not to be forgotten."


     From _The Putumayo, or Devil's Paradise_. By W. E. Hardenburg
     (1912).

"The Huitotos are a well-formed race, and although small, are stout and
strong, with a broad chest and a prominent bust; but their limbs,
especially the lower, are but little developed.... That repugnant sight,
a protruding abdomen, so common among the 'whites' and half-breeds on
the Amazon, is very rare among these aborigines.... Notwithstanding some
defects it is not rare to find among these women many who are really
beautiful--so magnificent are their figures, and so free and graceful
their movements." (p. 152).

"Unions are considered binding among the Huitotos, and it is very rarely
that serious disagreements arise between husband and wife. The women
are naturally chaste, and it was not till the advent of the rubber
collectors that they began to lose this primitive virtue--so generally
met with among people not yet in contact with white men" (p. 154).

[N.B.--These were some of the people so villainously tortured--men,
women and children--for the collection of rubber, by commercial
scoundrels, whose atrocities were exposed by Roger Casement and others.
E.C.]


+Fine Figures and Features of the Dyaks+

     Quotations from Beccar's _In the Forests of Borneo_, pp. 325 and
     329. (Constable 1904.)

"On the morning of October 19, as previously arranged, Ladja, with eight
other Dyaks, came to the fort duly equipped for the journey. Ladja was a
handsome young man, tall like most of his companions, slender, and
beautifully made. His profile was nearly regular, the nose perfectly
straight, but the cheek bones rather too prominent and the chin rather
pointed. His complexion was very light." ... "Our Arno boatmen in
Florence always pole where the river is shallow, and use their poles
exactly as the Dyaks do theirs, only they certainly cannot compare with
the latter in the length of the journeys thus performed with their light
canoes. Ours literally flew over the water handled with incomparable
dexterity by my six young savages. There is to my mind no lighter and
more pleasant mode of progression, and certainly no kind of work
displays so well the elegant movements and perfect proportions of these
young Dyaks, who, practically unencumbered with clothing, are truly
splendid specimens of humanity."


     From Ida Pfeiffer's book _Meine zweite Weltreise_, vol. i, p. 116.
     (Vienna, 1856.)

"I must confess that I would gladly have journeyed longer among the free
Dayaks. I found them wonderfully honourable, gentle and modest; indeed
in these respects I put them above any people that I have as yet become
acquainted with. I could leave all my things about, and go away for
hours together, and never was the least thing missing. They begged me
occasionally for many an object they saw, but immediately gave way when
I explained that I needed it myself. They were never over-pressing or
tiresome. It will be said, in denial of this, that the beheading of
corpses and preservation of skulls does not look exactly like
gentleness; but it must be remembered that this sad custom is chiefly
the result of rude and ignorant superstition. I stick to my opinion, and
as a further proof, would cite their domestic and thoroughly patriarchal
mode of life, their morals and manners, the love that they have for
their children, and the respect their children show to them."


+A Rodiya Boy+

Ernst Haeckel in his _Visit to Ceylon_, describes the devotion to him of
his Rodiya serving-boy at Belligam near Galle. The keeper of the
rest-house there was an old man whom Haeckel, from his likeness to a
well-known head, called by the name of Socrates. And Haeckel continues:
"It really seemed as though I should be pursued by the familiar aspects
of classical antiquity from the first moment of my arrival at my idyllic
home. For as Socrates led me up the steps of the open central hall of
the rest-house, I saw before me, with uplifted arms in an attitude of
prayer, a beautiful naked brown figure, which could be nothing else than
the famous statue of the 'Youth Adoring.' How surprised I was when the
graceful bronze statue suddenly came to life, and dropping his arms fell
on his knees, and after raising his black eyes imploringly to mine bowed
his handsome face so low at my feet that his long black hair fell on the
floor! Socrates informed me that this boy was a Pariah, a member of the
lowest caste, the Rodiyas, who had lost his parents at an early age. He
was told off to my exclusive service, and in answer to the question what
I was to call my new body-servant, the old man informed me that his name
was Gamameda. Of course I immediately thought of Ganymede, for the
favorite of Jove himself could not have been more finely made, or have
had limbs more beautifully proportioned and moulded.

"Among the many beautiful figures which move in the foreground of my
memories of the Paradise of Ceylon, Ganymede remains one of my dearest
favorites. Not only did he fulfil his duties with the greatest attention
and conscientiousness, but he developed a personal attachment and
devotion to me which touched me deeply. The poor boy, as a miserable
outcast of the Rodiya caste, had been from his birth the object of the
deepest contempt of his fellow-men, and subjected to every sort of
brutality and ill-treatment. He was evidently as much surprised as
delighted to find me willing to be kind to him from the first.... I owe
many beautiful and valuable contributions to my museum to Ganymede's
unfailing zeal and dexterity. With the keen eye, the neat hand, and the
supple agility of the Cinghalese youth, he could catch a fluttering moth
or a gliding fish with equal promptitude; and his nimbleness was really
amazing when, out hunting, he climbed the tall trees like a cat, or
scrambled through the densest jungle to recover the prize I had killed."
(p. 200.)


+Second Sight+

     Native "diviners" in South Africa, from _The Spiritualism of the
     Zulu_, by C. H. Bull, of Durban.

"Many years ago I was riding transport between Durban and the Umzimkulu.
I checked my loads at Durban and found them correct with the waybill,
but when I reached my destination I discovered that I was one case
short, for which I had to pay. On my return to my farm, I mentioned the
fact to my brother, who proposed, more in the spirit of fun than
anything else, that we should visit a diviner, and endeavour to discover
what had become of it. I consented, and together we repaired to a native
diviner. He immediately informed us of the object of our visit,
although, so far as I can tell, it was morally impossible for him to
have known it through any ordinary channels, and then he went on
speaking as though in a dream: 'I see a waggon loaded with cases
climbing up the Umgwababa Hill; there has been a lot of rain and the
roads are slippery. Half way up the hill the rains have washed a gully;
into this the waggon lurches, displacing a small case, which falls to
the ground, but the driver, who is busy urging his team up the hill,
does not notice it. Now the waggon has passed out of sight, but I see a
Kaffir coming up the hill. When he reaches the spot where the case is
lying, he stops for a few moments to examine it, and then proceeds to
the top of the hill, where he stands for a few moments shading his eyes
with his hand, as though looking beyond. Now he returns to where the
case is lying, and lifting it up, crosses the road, and pushing his way
through some tall tambootie grass, he reaches a large indonie tree;
under the tree there is a stunted clump of wild bananas. He places the
case in the centre of the clump, and after concealing it with some of
the dry leaves, he goes on his way. The case is still there.'

"Though wholly incredulous of the truth of the vision, I sent two 'boys'
to the spot indicated, and they returned bringing with them the lost
case, having found it exactly where the diviner said that he saw it."


+The Zulus+

     THE ZULUS: Quotations from General Sir W. Butler's _Naboth's
     Vineyard_, p. 263 (given in Blyden's _African Life and Customs_, p.
     43).

"In all the sad history of South Africa few things are sadder than the
Zulu question. Where the Zulu came (in those days), no lock or key were
necessary. No man who knew the Zulu--not even the white colonist, whose
rage was largely the result of his being unable to get servile labour
from him--could say that he had not found the Zulu honest, truthful,
faithful; that the white wife and child had not been entirely safe from
insult or harm at the hands of this black man; or that money and
property were not immeasurably more secure in Zulu charge than in that
of Europeans or Asiatics."


From Blyden's _African Life and Customs_, p. 37.

"There are to-day hundreds of so-called civilised Africans who are
coming back to themselves. They have grasped the principles underlying
the European social and economic order and reject them as not equal to
their own as means of making adequate provision for the normal needs of
all members of society both present and future--from birth all through
life to death. They have discovered all the waste places, all the
nakedness of the European system, both by reading and travel. The great
wealth can no longer dazzle them, or conceal from their view the vast
masses of the population living under what they once supposed to be the
ideal system--who are of no earthly use to themselves or to others....
Under the African system of communal property and co-operative effort,
every member of a community has a home and a sufficiency of food and
clothing and other necessaries of life--and for life; and his children
after him have the same advantages. In this system there is no workhouse
and no necessity for such an arrangement."


+Over-government+

     From Wallace's _Malay Archipelago_, p. 336. (1894 edition.)

"This motley, ignorant, bloodthirsty, thievish population (Papuans,
Javanese, Chinese, etc.), live here without the shadow of a government,
with no police, no courts, and no lawyers; yet they do not cut each
other's throats; do not plunder each other day and night; do not fall
into the anarchy such a state of things might be supposed to lead to. It
is very extraordinary! It puts strange thoughts into one's head about
the mountain-load of government under which people exist in Europe, and
suggests the idea that we may be over-governed. Think of the hundred
Acts of Parliament annually enacted to prevent us, the people of
England, from cutting each other's throats, or from doing to our
neighbours as we would _not_ be done by. Think of the thousands of
lawyers and barristers whose whole lives are spent in telling us what
the hundred Acts of Parliament mean, and one would be led to infer that
if Dobbo has too little law England has too much."


+Society without Government+

     From Morley's _Rousseau_, vol. ii, p. 227, _note_. (Eversley
     edition, 1910.)

"Jefferson, who was American minister in France from 1784 to 1789, and
absorbed a great many of the ideas then afloat, writes in words that
seem as if they were borrowed from Rousseau: 'I am convinced that those
societies (as the Indians), which live without government, enjoy in
their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those
who live under European governments. Among the former public opinion is
in the state of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did
anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of government, they have
divided the nation into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not
exaggerate; this is a true picture of Europe.'" (From Tucker's _Life of
Jefferson_, vol. i, p. 255.)


+Security without Government+

From _Tafilet_, p. 353. By W. B. Harris. (Blackwood, 1895.)

"The Moors have a proverb, and it is a very true one, that safety and
security can only be found in the districts where there is no
government--that is to say, where the government is a _tribal_ one."


+Degradation through "Civilisation"+

     From _The Spiritualism of the Zulu_. By C. H. Bull, of Durban.

"Thirty-two years ago, I lived for some time in a district in Natal,
then thickly populated with natives, still conforming to the primitive
customs of their race, yet honest, manly and intelligent people, with
very definite ideas in regard to moral questions. After an absence of
thirty years, just prior to my sailing for England, I again visited the
district and was amazed to observe the change which had taken place in
the people; their habits, characters and physique. Sordid poverty,
dressed in mean rags or tawdry finery, suggestive of service to vice,
had displaced the old dignity, born of conscious physical strength and
symmetry of form, which once, though attired only in the trappings that
simple art could devise from the rough products of nature, was
characteristic; whilst drunkenness, dishonesty and immorality sought
shelter under the meagre cloaks of the religion dispensed by the
different sections of belief, established in the little iron, or wattle
and daub churches, which everywhere disfigured the country side. The
change was complete and deplorable, nor were the natives unconscious of
their degradation, or without regret for the passing of the old days."


+Slavery+

     From Waitz's _Anthropologie der Naturvölker_, vol. ii, p. 281.
     (Leipzig, 1860.)

"One finds that the fate of Slaves among the ruder peoples is much
happier than among the civilised; indeed it seems to grow worse and
worse in proportion to the civilisation of the ruling folk. Strange and
incredible as at first sight this seems, the following facts establish
it beyond doubt. And indeed it is not difficult to explain. The chief
reason is that with the increase of _merely material culture_, Time and
Labour-force are more and more prized, and consequently always more
violently and unscrupulously exploited, while on the contrary among
primitive people in general a lesser value is placed on these things."


+The Fraud of Western Civilisation+

     Extract from "A Letter to a Chinese Gentleman," by Leo Tolstoy.
     (Published in _Saturday Review_, December 1, 1906.)

"Amongst all these Western nations there unceasingly proceeds a strife
between the destitute exasperated working people and the government and
wealthy, a strife which is restrained only by coercion on the part of
deceived men who constitute the army; a similar strife is continually
waging between the different states demanding endlessly increasing
armaments, a strife which is any moment ready to plunge into the
greatest catastrophes. But however dreadful this state of things may be,
it does not constitute the essence of the calamity of the Western
nations. Their chief and fundamental calamity is that the whole life of
these nations who are unable to furnish themselves with food is entirely
based on the necessity of procuring means of sustenance by violence and
cunning from other nations, who like China, India, Russia and others
still preserve a rational agricultural life.

"Constitutions, protective tariffs, standing armies, all this together
has rendered the Western nations what they are--people who have
abandoned agriculture and become unused to it, occupied in towns and
factories in the production of articles for the most part unnecessary,
people who with their armies are adapted only to every kind of violence
and robbery. However brilliant their position may appear at first sight
it is a desperate one, and they must inevitably perish if they do not
change the whole structure of their life founded as it now is on deceit
and the plunder and pillage of the agricultural nations."


     From O'Brien's _White Shadows in the South Seas_. (New York, 1919.)

"A hundred years ago there were 160,000 Marquesans in these [South Sea]
Islands. To-day their total number does not reach 2,100." O'Brien
describes the bad effects of Christianity on these "savages." For he
says the so-called superstitions of these races had a great vitalising
influence. Their dancing, their tattooing, their religious rites, their
chanting and their warfare gave them a zest in life. But "to-day all
Polynesians from Hawaii to Tahiti are dying because of the suppression
of the play-instinct that had its expression in most of their customs
and occupations." And they are now "nothing but joyless machines" and
"tired of life."


+Failure of Our Civilisation+

For a searching comparison between our social conditions and those of
the many savage communities visited by him--and much to the general
advantage of the latter--_see_ A. R. Wallace's _Malay Archipelago_ (1st
ed. 1869), pp. 456, 7 (ed. 1894). And he ends the book by saying:

"Until there is a more general recognition of this failure of our
civilisation--resulting mainly from our neglect to train and develop
more thoroughly the sympathetic feelings and moral faculties of our
nature, and to allow them a larger share of influence in our
legislation, our commerce, and our whole social organisation--we shall
never, as regards the whole community, attain to any real or important
superiority over the better class of savages. This is the lesson I have
been taught by my observations of uncivilised man.

"I now bid my readers--Farewell!"

FOOTNOTE:

[50] Dall, _Alaska and its Resources_, Cambridge, U.S., 1870.


_Printed in Great Britain by_

UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED

WOKING AND LONDON



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