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

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

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

´╗┐Title: A Modern Utopia
Author: Wells, H. G. (Herbert George)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Modern Utopia" ***




This book is in all probability the last of a series of writings,
of which--disregarding certain earlier disconnected essays--my
Anticipations was the beginning. Originally I intended Anticipations
to be my sole digression from my art or trade (or what you will)
of an imaginative writer. I wrote that book in order to clear up
the muddle in my own mind about innumerable social and political
questions, questions I could not keep out of my work, which it
distressed me to touch upon in a stupid haphazard way, and which
no one, so far as I knew, had handled in a manner to satisfy my
needs. But Anticipations did not achieve its end. I have a slow
constructive hesitating sort of mind, and when I emerged from that
undertaking I found I had still most of my questions to state and
solve. In Mankind in the Making, therefore, I tried to review
the social organisation in a different way, to consider it as an
educational process instead of dealing with it as a thing with
a future history, and if I made this second book even less
satisfactory from a literary standpoint than the former (and this is
my opinion), I blundered, I think, more edifyingly--at least from
the point of view of my own instruction. I ventured upon several
themes with a greater frankness than I had used in Anticipations,
and came out of that second effort guilty of much rash writing, but
with a considerable development of formed opinion. In many matters I
had shaped out at last a certain personal certitude, upon which I
feel I shall go for the rest of my days. In this present book I have
tried to settle accounts with a number of issues left over or opened
up by its two predecessors, to correct them in some particulars, and
to give the general picture of a Utopia that has grown up in my mind
during the course of these speculations as a state of affairs at
once possible and more desirable than the world in which I live. But
this book has brought me back to imaginative writing again. In its
two predecessors the treatment of social organisation had been
purely objective; here my intention has been a little wider and
deeper, in that I have tried to present not simply an ideal, but an
ideal in reaction with two personalities. Moreover, since this may
be the last book of the kind I shall ever publish, I have written
into it as well as I can the heretical metaphysical scepticism upon
which all my thinking rests, and I have inserted certain sections
reflecting upon the established methods of sociological and economic

The last four words will not attract the butterfly reader, I know.
I have done my best to make the whole of this book as lucid and
entertaining as its matter permits, because I want it read by as
many people as possible, but I do not promise anything but rage and
confusion to him who proposes to glance through my pages just to see
if I agree with him, or to begin in the middle, or to read without
a constantly alert attention. If you are not already a little
interested and open-minded with regard to social and political
questions, and a little exercised in self-examination, you will find
neither interest nor pleasure here. If your mind is "made up" upon
such issues your time will be wasted on these pages. And even if you
are a willing reader you may require a little patience for the
peculiar method I have this time adopted.

That method assumes an air of haphazard, but it is not so careless
as it seems. I believe it to be--even now that I am through with the
book--the best way to a sort of lucid vagueness which has always
been my intention in this matter. I tried over several beginnings of
a Utopian book before I adopted this. I rejected from the outset the
form of the argumentative essay, the form which appeals most readily
to what is called the "serious" reader, the reader who is often no
more than the solemnly impatient parasite of great questions. He
likes everything in hard, heavy lines, black and white, yes and no,
because he does not understand how much there is that cannot be
presented at all in that way; wherever there is any effect of
obliquity, of incommensurables, wherever there is any levity
or humour or difficulty of multiplex presentation, he refuses
attention. Mentally he seems to be built up upon an invincible
assumption that the Spirit of Creation cannot count beyond two, he
deals only in alternatives. Such readers I have resolved not to
attempt to please here. Even if I presented all my tri-clinic
crystals as systems of cubes----! Indeed I felt it would not be
worth doing. But having rejected the "serious" essay as a form, I
was still greatly exercised, I spent some vacillating months, over
the scheme of this book. I tried first a recognised method of
viewing questions from divergent points that has always attracted me
and which I have never succeeded in using, the discussion novel,
after the fashion of Peacock's (and Mr. Mallock's) development of
the ancient dialogue; but this encumbered me with unnecessary
characters and the inevitable complication of intrigue among them,
and I abandoned it. After that I tried to cast the thing into a
shape resembling a little the double personality of Boswell's
Johnson, a sort of interplay between monologue and commentator; but
that too, although it got nearer to the quality I sought, finally
failed. Then I hesitated over what one might call "hard narrative."
It will be evident to the experienced reader that by omitting
certain speculative and metaphysical elements and by elaborating
incident, this book might have been reduced to a straightforward
story. But I did not want to omit as much on this occasion. I do not
see why I should always pander to the vulgar appetite for stark
stories. And in short, I made it this. I explain all this in order
to make it clear to the reader that, however queer this book
appears at the first examination, it is the outcome of trial and
deliberation, it is intended to be as it is. I am aiming throughout
at a sort of shot-silk texture between philosophical discussion on
the one hand and imaginative narrative on the other.



  The Owner of the Voice
  Chapter the First--Topographical
  Chapter the Second--Concerning Freedoms
  Chapter the Third--Utopian Economics
  Chapter the Fourth--The Voice of Nature
  Chapter the Fifth--Failure in a Modern Utopia
  Chapter the Sixth--Women in a Modern Utopia
  Chapter the Seventh--A Few Utopian Impressions
  Chapter the Eighth--My Utopian Self
  Chapter the Ninth--The Samurai
  Chapter the Tenth--Race in Utopia
  Chapter the Eleventh--The Bubble Bursts
  Appendix--Scepticism of the Instrument



There are works, and this is one of them, that are best begun with a
portrait of the author. And here, indeed, because of a very natural
misunderstanding this is the only course to take. Throughout these
papers sounds a note, a distinctive and personal note, a note that
tends at times towards stridency; and all that is not, as these
words are, in Italics, is in one Voice. Now, this Voice, and this is
the peculiarity of the matter, is not to be taken as the Voice of
the ostensible author who fathers these pages. You have to clear
your mind of any preconceptions in that respect. The Owner of the
Voice you must figure to yourself as a whitish plump man, a little
under the middle size and age, with such blue eyes as many Irishmen
have, and agile in his movements and with a slight tonsorial
baldness--a penny might cover it--of the crown. His front is convex.
He droops at times like most of us, but for the greater part he
bears himself as valiantly as a sparrow. Occasionally his hand flies
out with a fluttering gesture of illustration. And his Voice (which
is our medium henceforth) is an unattractive tenor that becomes at
times aggressive. Him you must imagine as sitting at a table reading
a manuscript about Utopias, a manuscript he holds in two hands that
are just a little fat at the wrist. The curtain rises upon him so.
But afterwards, if the devices of this declining art of literature
prevail, you will go with him through curious and interesting
experiences. Yet, ever and again, you will find him back at that
little table, the manuscript in his hand, and the expansion of
his ratiocinations about Utopia conscientiously resumed. The
entertainment before you is neither the set drama of the work of
fiction you are accustomed to read, nor the set lecturing of the
essay you are accustomed to evade, but a hybrid of these two. If you
figure this owner of the Voice as sitting, a little nervously, a
little modestly, on a stage, with table, glass of water and all
complete, and myself as the intrusive chairman insisting with a
bland ruthlessness upon his "few words" of introduction before he
recedes into the wings, and if furthermore you figure a sheet behind
our friend on which moving pictures intermittently appear, and if
finally you suppose his subject to be the story of the adventure of
his soul among Utopian inquiries, you will be prepared for some at
least of the difficulties of this unworthy but unusual work.

But over against this writer here presented, there is also another
earthly person in the book, who gathers himself together into a
distinct personality only after a preliminary complication with the
reader. This person is spoken of as the botanist, and he is a
leaner, rather taller, graver and much less garrulous man. His face
is weakly handsome and done in tones of grey, he is fairish
and grey-eyed, and you would suspect him of dyspepsia. It is a
justifiable suspicion. Men of this type, the chairman remarks with
a sudden intrusion of exposition, are romantic with a shadow of
meanness, they seek at once to conceal and shape their sensuous
cravings beneath egregious sentimentalities, they get into mighty
tangles and troubles with women, and he has had his troubles. You
will hear of them, for that is the quality of his type. He gets no
personal expression in this book, the Voice is always that other's,
but you gather much of the matter and something of the manner of his
interpolations from the asides and the tenour of the Voice.

So much by way of portraiture is necessary to present the explorers
of the Modern Utopia, which will unfold itself as a background
to these two enquiring figures. The image of a cinematograph
entertainment is the one to grasp. There will be an effect of these
two people going to and fro in front of the circle of a rather
defective lantern, which sometimes jams and sometimes gets out of
focus, but which does occasionally succeed in displaying on a screen
a momentary moving picture of Utopian conditions. Occasionally the
picture goes out altogether, the Voice argues and argues, and the
footlights return, and then you find yourself listening again to the
rather too plump little man at his table laboriously enunciating
propositions, upon whom the curtain rises now.



Section 1

The Utopia of a modern dreamer must needs differ in one fundamental
aspect from the Nowheres and Utopias men planned before Darwin
quickened the thought of the world. Those were all perfect and
static States, a balance of happiness won for ever against the
forces of unrest and disorder that inhere in things. One beheld a
healthy and simple generation enjoying the fruits of the earth in
an atmosphere of virtue and happiness, to be followed by other
virtuous, happy, and entirely similar generations, until the Gods
grew weary. Change and development were dammed back by invincible
dams for ever. But the Modern Utopia must be not static but kinetic,
must shape not as a permanent state but as a hopeful stage, leading
to a long ascent of stages. Nowadays we do not resist and overcome
the great stream of things, but rather float upon it. We build now
not citadels, but ships of state. For one ordered arrangement of
citizens rejoicing in an equality of happiness safe and assured
to them and their children for ever, we have to plan "a flexible
common compromise, in which a perpetually novel succession of
individualities may converge most effectually upon a comprehensive
onward development." That is the first, most generalised difference
between a Utopia based upon modern conceptions and all the Utopias
that were written in the former time.

Our business here is to be Utopian, to make vivid and credible,
if we can, first this facet and then that, of an imaginary whole
and happy world. Our deliberate intention is to be not, indeed,
impossible, but most distinctly impracticable, by every scale that
reaches only between to-day and to-morrow. We are to turn our backs
for a space upon the insistent examination of the thing that is,
and face towards the freer air, the ampler spaces of the thing
that perhaps might be, to the projection of a State or city "worth
while," to designing upon the sheet of our imaginations the picture
of a life conceivably possible, and yet better worth living than
our own. That is our present enterprise. We are going to lay down
certain necessary starting propositions, and then we shall proceed
to explore the sort of world these propositions give us....

It is no doubt an optimistic enterprise. But it is good for awhile
to be free from the carping note that must needs be audible when
we discuss our present imperfections, to release ourselves from
practical difficulties and the tangle of ways and means. It is good
to stop by the track for a space, put aside the knapsack, wipe the
brows, and talk a little of the upper slopes of the mountain we
think we are climbing, would but the trees let us see it.

There is to be no inquiry here of policy and method. This is to be a
holiday from politics and movements and methods. But for all that,
we must needs define certain limitations. Were we free to have our
untrammelled desire, I suppose we should follow Morris to his
Nowhere, we should change the nature of man and the nature of things
together; we should make the whole race wise, tolerant, noble,
perfect--wave our hands to a splendid anarchy, every man doing as
it pleases him, and none pleased to do evil, in a world as good in
its essential nature, as ripe and sunny, as the world before the
Fall. But that golden age, that perfect world, comes out into the
possibilities of space and time. In space and time the pervading
Will to Live sustains for evermore a perpetuity of aggressions. Our
proposal here is upon a more practical plane at least than that.
We are to restrict ourselves first to the limitations of human
possibility as we know them in the men and women of this world
to-day, and then to all the inhumanity, all the insubordination of
nature. We are to shape our state in a world of uncertain seasons,
sudden catastrophes, antagonistic diseases, and inimical beasts and
vermin, out of men and women with like passions, like uncertainties
of mood and desire to our own. And, moreover, we are going to accept
this world of conflict, to adopt no attitude of renunciation towards
it, to face it in no ascetic spirit, but in the mood of the Western
peoples, whose purpose is to survive and overcome. So much we adopt
in common with those who deal not in Utopias, but in the world of
Here and Now.

Certain liberties, however, following the best Utopian precedents,
we may take with existing fact. We assume that the tone of public
thought may be entirely different from what it is in the present
world. We permit ourselves a free hand with the mental conflict of
life, within the possibilities of the human mind as we know it. We
permit ourselves also a free hand with all the apparatus of
existence that man has, so to speak, made for himself, with houses,
roads, clothing, canals, machinery, with laws, boundaries,
conventions, and traditions, with schools, with literature and
religious organisation, with creeds and customs, with everything, in
fact, that it lies within man's power to alter. That, indeed, is the
cardinal assumption of all Utopian speculations old and new; the
Republic and Laws of Plato, and More's Utopia, Howells' implicit
Altruria, and Bellamy's future Boston, Comte's great Western
Republic, Hertzka's Freeland, Cabet's Icaria, and Campanella's City
of the Sun, are built, just as we shall build, upon that, upon the
hypothesis of the complete emancipation of a community of men from
tradition, from habits, from legal bonds, and that subtler servitude
possessions entail. And much of the essential value of all such
speculations lies in this assumption of emancipation, lies in that
regard towards human freedom, in the undying interest of the human
power of self-escape, the power to resist the causation of the past,
and to evade, initiate, endeavour, and overcome.

Section 2

There are very definite artistic limitations also.

There must always be a certain effect of hardness and thinness about
Utopian speculations. Their common fault is to be comprehensively
jejune. That which is the blood and warmth and reality of life is
largely absent; there are no individualities, but only generalised
people. In almost every Utopia--except, perhaps, Morris's "News from
Nowhere"--one sees handsome but characterless buildings, symmetrical
and perfect cultivations, and a multitude of people, healthy, happy,
beautifully dressed, but without any personal distinction whatever.
Too often the prospect resembles the key to one of those large
pictures of coronations, royal weddings, parliaments, conferences,
and gatherings so popular in Victorian times, in which, instead of a
face, each figure bears a neat oval with its index number legibly
inscribed. This burthens us with an incurable effect of unreality,
and I do not see how it is altogether to be escaped. It is a
disadvantage that has to be accepted. Whatever institution has
existed or exists, however irrational, however preposterous, has, by
virtue of its contact with individualities, an effect of realness
and rightness no untried thing may share. It has ripened, it has
been christened with blood, it has been stained and mellowed by
handling, it has been rounded and dented to the softened contours
that we associate with life; it has been salted, maybe, in a brine
of tears. But the thing that is merely proposed, the thing that is
merely suggested, however rational, however necessary, seems strange
and inhuman in its clear, hard, uncompromising lines, its
unqualified angles and surfaces.

There is no help for it, there it is! The Master suffers with the
last and least of his successors. For all the humanity he wins to,
through his dramatic device of dialogue, I doubt if anyone has ever
been warmed to desire himself a citizen in the Republic of Plato; I
doubt if anyone could stand a month of the relentless publicity of
virtue planned by More.... No one wants to live in any community of
intercourse really, save for the sake of the individualities he
would meet there. The fertilising conflict of individualities is the
ultimate meaning of the personal life, and all our Utopias no more
than schemes for bettering that interplay. At least, that is how
life shapes itself more and more to modern perceptions. Until you
bring in individualities, nothing comes into being, and a Universe
ceases when you shiver the mirror of the least of individual

Section 3

No less than a planet will serve the purpose of a modern Utopia.
Time was when a mountain valley or an island seemed to promise
sufficient isolation for a polity to maintain itself intact from
outward force; the Republic of Plato stood armed ready for defensive
war, and the New Atlantis and the Utopia of More in theory, like
China and Japan through many centuries of effectual practice, held
themselves isolated from intruders. Such late instances as Butler's
satirical "Erewhon," and Mr. Stead's queendom of inverted sexual
conditions in Central Africa, found the Tibetan method of
slaughtering the inquiring visitor a simple, sufficient rule. But
the whole trend of modern thought is against the permanence of any
such enclosures. We are acutely aware nowadays that, however subtly
contrived a State may be, outside your boundary lines the epidemic,
the breeding barbarian or the economic power, will gather its
strength to overcome you. The swift march of invention is all for
the invader. Now, perhaps you might still guard a rocky coast or a
narrow pass; but what of that near to-morrow when the flying machine
soars overhead, free to descend at this point or that? A state
powerful enough to keep isolated under modern conditions would be
powerful enough to rule the world, would be, indeed, if not actively
ruling, yet passively acquiescent in all other human organisations,
and so responsible for them altogether. World-state, therefore, it
must be.

That leaves no room for a modern Utopia in Central Africa, or in
South America, or round about the pole, those last refuges of
ideality. The floating isle of La Cite Morellyste no longer avails.
We need a planet. Lord Erskine, the author of a Utopia ("Armata")
that might have been inspired by Mr. Hewins, was the first of all
Utopists to perceive this--he joined his twin planets pole to pole
by a sort of umbilical cord. But the modern imagination, obsessed
by physics, must travel further than that.

Out beyond Sirius, far in the deeps of space, beyond the flight of a
cannon-ball flying for a billion years, beyond the range of unaided
vision, blazes the star that is _our_ Utopia's sun. To those who
know where to look, with a good opera-glass aiding good eyes, it
and three fellows that seem in a cluster with it--though they are
incredible billions of miles nearer--make just the faintest speck
of light. About it go planets, even as our planets, but weaving a
different fate, and in its place among them is Utopia, with its
sister mate, the Moon. It is a planet like our planet, the same
continents, the same islands, the same oceans and seas, another
Fuji-Yama is beautiful there dominating another Yokohama--and
another Matterhorn overlooks the icy disorder of another Theodule.
It is so like our planet that a terrestrial botanist might find his
every species there, even to the meanest pondweed or the remotest
Alpine blossom....

Only when he had gathered that last and turned about to find his inn
again, perhaps he would not find his inn!

Suppose now that two of us were actually to turn about in just that
fashion. Two, I think, for to face a strange planet, even though it
be a wholly civilised one, without some other familiar backing,
dashes the courage overmuch. Suppose that we were indeed so
translated even as we stood. You figure us upon some high pass in
the Alps, and though I--being one easily made giddy by stooping--am
no botanist myself, if my companion were to have a specimen tin
under his arm--so long as it is not painted that abominable popular
Swiss apple green--I would make it no occasion for quarrel! We have
tramped and botanised and come to a rest, and, sitting among rocks,
we have eaten our lunch and finished our bottle of Yvorne, and
fallen into a talk of Utopias, and said such things as I have been
saying. I could figure it myself upon that little neck of the
Lucendro Pass, upon the shoulder of the Piz Lucendro, for there once
I lunched and talked very pleasantly, and we are looking down upon
the Val Bedretto, and Villa and Fontana and Airolo try to hide from
us under the mountain side--three-quarters of a mile they are
vertically below. (Lantern.) With that absurd nearness of effect
one gets in the Alps, we see the little train a dozen miles away,
running down the Biaschina to Italy, and the Lukmanier Pass beyond
Piora left of us, and the San Giacomo right, mere footpaths under
our feet....

And behold! in the twinkling of an eye we are in that other

We should scarcely note the change. Not a cloud would have gone from
the sky. It might be the remote town below would take a different
air, and my companion the botanist, with his educated observation,
might almost see as much, and the train, perhaps, would be gone out
of the picture, and the embanked straightness of the Ticino in the
Ambri-Piotta meadows--that might be altered, but that would be all
the visible change. Yet I have an idea that in some obscure manner
we should come to feel at once a difference in things.

The botanist's glance would, under a subtle attraction, float back
to Airolo. "It's queer," he would say quite idly, "but I never
noticed that building there to the right before."

"Which building?"

"That to the right--with a queer sort of thing----"

"I see now. Yes. Yes, it's certainly an odd-looking affair.... And
big, you know! Handsome! I wonder----"

That would interrupt our Utopian speculations. We should both
discover that the little towns below had changed--but how, we should
not have marked them well enough to know. It would be indefinable, a
change in the quality of their grouping, a change in the quality of
their remote, small shapes.

I should flick a few crumbs from my knee, perhaps. "It's odd," I
should say, for the tenth or eleventh time, with a motion to rise,
and we should get up and stretch ourselves, and, still a little
puzzled, turn our faces towards the path that clambers down over
the tumbled rocks and runs round by the still clear lake and down
towards the Hospice of St. Gotthard--if perchance we could still
find that path.

Long before we got to that, before even we got to the great high
road, we should have hints from the stone cabin in the nape of the
pass--it would be gone or wonderfully changed--from the very goats
upon the rocks, from the little hut by the rough bridge of stone,
that a mighty difference had come to the world of men.

And presently, amazed and amazing, we should happen on a man--no
Swiss--dressed in unfamiliar clothing and speaking an unfamiliar

Section 4

Before nightfall we should be drenched in wonders, but still we
should have wonder left for the thing my companion, with his
scientific training, would no doubt be the first to see. He would
glance up, with that proprietary eye of the man who knows his
constellations down to the little Greek letters. I imagine his
exclamation. He would at first doubt his eyes. I should inquire the
cause of his consternation, and it would be hard to explain. He
would ask me with a certain singularity of manner for "Orion," and I
should not find him; for the Great Bear, and it would have vanished.
"Where?" I should ask, and "where?" seeking among that scattered
starriness, and slowly I should acquire the wonder that possessed

Then, for the first time, perhaps, we should realise from
this unfamiliar heaven that not the world had changed, but
ourselves--that we had come into the uttermost deeps of space.

Section 5

We need suppose no linguistic impediments to intercourse. The whole
world will surely have a common language, that is quite elementarily
Utopian, and since we are free of the trammels of convincing
story-telling, we may suppose that language to be sufficiently our
own to understand. Indeed, should we be in Utopia at all, if we
could not talk to everyone? That accursed bar of language, that
hostile inscription in the foreigner's eyes, "deaf and dumb to you,
sir, and so--your enemy," is the very first of the defects and
complications one has fled the earth to escape.

But what sort of language would we have the world speak, if we were
told the miracle of Babel was presently to be reversed?

If I may take a daring image, a mediaeval liberty, I would suppose
that in this lonely place the Spirit of Creation spoke to us on this
matter. "You are wise men," that Spirit might say--and I, being a
suspicious, touchy, over-earnest man for all my predisposition to
plumpness, would instantly scent the irony (while my companion, I
fancy, might even plume himself), "and to beget your wisdom is
chiefly why the world was made. You are so good as to propose an
acceleration of that tedious multitudinous evolution upon which I am
engaged. I gather, a universal tongue would serve you there. While I
sit here among these mountains--I have been filing away at them for
this last aeon or so, just to attract your hotels, you know--will
you be so kind----? A few hints----?"

Then the Spirit of Creation might transiently smile, a smile that
would be like the passing of a cloud. All the mountain wilderness
about us would be radiantly lit. (You know those swift moments, when
warmth and brightness drift by, in lonely and desolate places.)

Yet, after all, why should two men be smiled into apathy by the
Infinite? Here we are, with our knobby little heads, our eyes and
hands and feet and stout hearts, and if not us or ours, still the
endless multitudes about us and in our loins are to come at last to
the World State and a greater fellowship and the universal tongue.
Let us to the extent of our ability, if not answer that question, at
any rate try to think ourselves within sight of the best thing
possible. That, after all, is our purpose, to imagine our best and
strive for it, and it is a worse folly and a worse sin than
presumption, to abandon striving because the best of all our bests
looks mean amidst the suns.

Now you as a botanist would, I suppose, incline to something as
they say, "scientific." You wince under that most offensive
epithet--and I am able to give you my intelligent sympathy--though
"pseudo-scientific" and "quasi-scientific" are worse by far for the
skin. You would begin to talk of scientific languages, of Esperanto,
La Langue Bleue, New Latin, Volapuk, and Lord Lytton, of the
philosophical language of Archbishop Whateley, Lady Welby's work
upon Significs and the like. You would tell me of the remarkable
precisions, the encyclopaedic quality of chemical terminology, and
at the word terminology I should insinuate a comment on that eminent
American biologist, Professor Mark Baldwin, who has carried the
language biological to such heights of expressive clearness as to be
triumphantly and invincibly unreadable. (Which foreshadows the line
of my defence.)

You make your ideal clear, a scientific language you demand, without
ambiguity, as precise as mathematical formulae, and with every term
in relations of exact logical consistency with every other. It will
be a language with all the inflexions of verbs and nouns regular and
all its constructions inevitable, each word clearly distinguishable
from every other word in sound as well as spelling.

That, at any rate, is the sort of thing one hears demanded, and if
only because the demand rests upon implications that reach far
beyond the region of language, it is worth considering here. It
implies, indeed, almost everything that we are endeavouring to
repudiate in this particular work. It implies that the whole
intellectual basis of mankind is established, that the rules of
logic, the systems of counting and measurement, the general
categories and schemes of resemblance and difference, are
established for the human mind for ever--blank Comte-ism, in fact,
of the blankest description. But, indeed, the science of logic and
the whole framework of philosophical thought men have kept since the
days of Plato and Aristotle, has no more essential permanence as
a final expression of the human mind, than the Scottish Longer
Catechism. Amidst the welter of modern thought, a philosophy long
lost to men rises again into being, like some blind and almost
formless embryo, that must presently develop sight, and form, and
power, a philosophy in which this assumption is denied. [Footnote:
The serious reader may refer at leisure to Sidgwick's Use of Words
in Reasoning (particularly), and to Bosanquet's Essentials of Logic,
Bradley's Principles of Logic, and Sigwart's Logik; the lighter
minded may read and mark the temper of Professor Case in the British
Encyclopaedia, article Logic (Vol. XXX.). I have appended to his
book a rude sketch of a philosophy upon new lines, originally read
by me to the Oxford Phil. Soc. in 1903.]

All through this Utopian excursion, I must warn you, you shall feel
the thrust and disturbance of that insurgent movement. In the
reiterated use of "Unique," you will, as it were, get the gleam of
its integument; in the insistence upon individuality, and the
individual difference as the significance of life, you will feel the
texture of its shaping body. Nothing endures, nothing is precise and
certain (except the mind of a pedant), perfection is the mere
repudiation of that ineluctable marginal inexactitude which is the
mysterious inmost quality of Being. Being, indeed!--there is no
being, but a universal becoming of individualities, and Plato turned
his back on truth when he turned towards his museum of specific
ideals. Heraclitus, that lost and misinterpreted giant, may perhaps
be coming to his own....

There is no abiding thing in what we know. We change from weaker to
stronger lights, and each more powerful light pierces our hitherto
opaque foundations and reveals fresh and different opacities below.
We can never foretell which of our seemingly assured fundamentals
the next change will not affect. What folly, then, to dream of
mapping out our minds in however general terms, of providing for
the endless mysteries of the future a terminology and an idiom! We
follow the vein, we mine and accumulate our treasure, but who can
tell which way the vein may trend? Language is the nourishment of
the thought of man, that serves only as it undergoes metabolism, and
becomes thought and lives, and in its very living passes away. You
scientific people, with your fancy of a terrible exactitude in
language, of indestructible foundations built, as that Wordsworthian
doggerel on the title-page of Nature says, "for aye," are
marvellously without imagination!

The language of Utopia will no doubt be one and indivisible; all
mankind will, in the measure of their individual differences in
quality, be brought into the same phase, into a common resonance of
thought, but the language they will speak will still be a living
tongue, an animated system of imperfections, which every individual
man will infinitesimally modify. Through the universal freedom of
exchange and movement, the developing change in its general spirit
will be a world-wide change; that is the quality of its
universality. I fancy it will be a coalesced language, a synthesis
of many. Such a language as English is a coalesced language; it is a
coalescence of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French and Scholar's Latin,
welded into one speech more ample and more powerful and beautiful
than either. The Utopian tongue might well present a more spacious
coalescence, and hold in the frame of such an uninflected or
slightly inflected idiom as English already presents, a profuse
vocabulary into which have been cast a dozen once separate tongues,
superposed and then welded together through bilingual and trilingual
compromises. [Footnote: Vide an excellent article, La Langue
Francaise en l'an 2003, par Leon Bollack, in La Revue, 15 Juillet,
1903.] In the past ingenious men have speculated on the inquiry,
"Which language will survive?" The question was badly put. I think
now that this wedding and survival of several in a common offspring
is a far more probable thing.

Section 6

This talk of languages, however, is a digression. We were on our
way along the faint path that runs round the rim of the Lake of
Lucendro, and we were just upon the point of coming upon our first
Utopian man. He was, I said, no Swiss. Yet he would have been a
Swiss on mother Earth, and here he would have the same face, with
some difference, maybe, in the expression; the same physique, though
a little better developed, perhaps--the same complexion. He would
have different habits, different traditions, different knowledge,
different ideas, different clothing, and different appliances, but,
except for all that, he would be the same man. We very distinctly
provided at the outset that the modern Utopia must have people
inherently the same as those in the world.

There is more, perhaps, in that than appears at the first

That proposition gives one characteristic difference between a
modern Utopia and almost all its predecessors. It is to be a world
Utopia, we have agreed, no less; and so we must needs face the fact
that we are to have differences of race. Even the lower class of
Plato's Republic was not specifically of different race. But this is
a Utopia as wide as Christian charity, and white and black, brown,
red and yellow, all tints of skin, all types of body and character,
will be there. How we are to adjust their differences is a master
question, and the matter is not even to be opened in this chapter.
It will need a whole chapter even to glance at its issues. But here
we underline that stipulation; every race of this planet earth is
to be found in the strictest parallelism there, in numbers the
same--only, as I say, with an entirely different set of traditions,
ideals, ideas, and purposes, and so moving under those different
skies to an altogether different destiny.

There follows a curious development of this to anyone clearly
impressed by the uniqueness and the unique significance of
individualities. Races are no hard and fast things, no crowd of
identically similar persons, but massed sub-races, and tribes
and families, each after its kind unique, and these again are
clusterings of still smaller uniques and so down to each several
person. So that our first convention works out to this, that not
only is every earthly mountain, river, plant, and beast in that
parallel planet beyond Sirius also, but every man, woman, and child
alive has a Utopian parallel. From now onward, of course, the fates
of these two planets will diverge, men will die here whom wisdom
will save there, and perhaps conversely here we shall save men;
children will be born to them and not to us, to us and not to them,
but this, this moment of reading, is the starting moment, and for
the first and last occasion the populations of our planets are

We must in these days make some such supposition. The alternative is
a Utopia of dolls in the likeness of angels--imaginary laws to fit
incredible people, an unattractive undertaking.

For example, we must assume there is a man such as I might have
been, better informed, better disciplined, better employed, thinner
and more active--and I wonder what he is doing!--and you, Sir or
Madam, are in duplicate also, and all the men and women that you
know and I. I doubt if we shall meet our doubles, or if it would be
pleasant for us to do so; but as we come down from these lonely
mountains to the roads and houses and living places of the Utopian
world-state, we shall certainly find, here and there, faces that
will remind us singularly of those who have lived under our

There are some you never wish to meet again, you say, and some, I
gather, you do. "And One----!"

It is strange, but this figure of the botanist will not keep in
place. It sprang up between us, dear reader, as a passing
illustrative invention. I do not know what put him into my head, and
for the moment, it fell in with my humour for a space to foist the
man's personality upon you as yours and call you scientific--that
most abusive word. But here he is, indisputably, with me in Utopia,
and lapsing from our high speculative theme into halting but
intimate confidences. He declares he has not come to Utopia to meet
again with his sorrows.

What sorrows?

I protest, even warmly, that neither he nor his sorrows were in my

He is a man, I should think, of thirty-nine, a man whose life has
been neither tragedy nor a joyous adventure, a man with one of
those faces that have gained interest rather than force or nobility
from their commerce with life. He is something refined, with
some knowledge, perhaps, of the minor pains and all the civil
self-controls; he has read more than he has suffered, and suffered
rather than done. He regards me with his blue-grey eye, from which
all interest in this Utopia has faded.

"It is a trouble," he says, "that has come into my life only for a
month or so--at least acutely again. I thought it was all over.
There was someone----"

It is an amazing story to hear upon a mountain crest in Utopia, this
Hampstead affair, this story of a Frognal heart. "Frognal," he says,
is the place where they met, and it summons to my memory the word
on a board at the corner of a flint-dressed new road, an estate
development road, with a vista of villas up a hill. He had known
her before he got his professorship, and neither her "people" nor
his--he speaks that detestable middle-class dialect in which aunts
and things with money and the right of intervention are called
"people"!--approved of the affair. "She was, I think, rather easily
swayed," he says. "But that's not fair to her, perhaps. She thought
too much of others. If they seemed distressed, or if they seemed to
think a course right----" ...

Have I come to Utopia to hear this sort of thing?

Section 7

It is necessary to turn the botanist's thoughts into a worthier
channel. It is necessary to override these modest regrets, this
intrusive, petty love story. Does he realise this is indeed Utopia?
Turn your mind, I insist, to this Utopia of mine, and leave these
earthly troubles to their proper planet. Do you realise just where
the propositions necessary to a modern Utopia are taking us?
Everyone on earth will have to be here;--themselves, but with a
difference. Somewhere here in this world is, for example, Mr.
Chamberlain, and the King is here (no doubt incognito), and all the
Royal Academy, and Sandow, and Mr. Arnold White.

But these famous names do not appeal to him.

My mind goes from this prominent and typical personage to that, and
for a time I forget my companion. I am distracted by the curious
side issues this general proposition trails after it. There will be
so-and-so, and so-and-so. The name and figure of Mr. Roosevelt jerks
into focus, and obliterates an attempt to acclimatise the Emperor of
the Germans. What, for instance, will Utopia do with Mr. Roosevelt?
There drifts across my inner vision the image of a strenuous
struggle with Utopian constables, the voice that has thrilled
terrestrial millions in eloquent protest. The writ of arrest,
drifting loose in the conflict, comes to my feet; I impale the scrap
of paper, and read--but can it be?--"attempted disorganisation? ...
incitements to disarrange? ... the balance of population?"

The trend of my logic for once has led us into a facetious alley.
One might indeed keep in this key, and write an agreeable little
Utopia, that like the holy families of the mediaeval artists (or
Michael Angelo's Last Judgement) should compliment one's friends in
various degrees. Or one might embark upon a speculative treatment of
the entire Almanach de Gotha, something on the lines of Epistemon's
vision of the damned great, when

  "Xerxes was a crier of mustard.
   Romulus was a salter and a patcher of patterns...."

That incomparable catalogue! That incomparable catalogue! Inspired
by the Muse of Parody, we might go on to the pages of "Who's Who,"
and even, with an eye to the obdurate republic, to "Who's Who in
America," and make the most delightful and extensive arrangements.
Now where shall we put this most excellent man? And this? ...

But, indeed, it is doubtful if we shall meet any of these doubles
during our Utopian journey, or know them when we meet them. I doubt
if anyone will be making the best of both these worlds. The great
men in this still unexplored Utopia may be but village Hampdens in
our own, and earthly goatherds and obscure illiterates sit here in
the seats of the mighty.

That again opens agreeable vistas left of us and right.

But my botanist obtrudes his personality again. His thoughts have
travelled by a different route.

"I know," he says, "that she will be happier here, and that they
will value her better than she has been valued upon earth."

His interruption serves to turn me back from my momentary
contemplation of those popular effigies inflated by old newspapers
and windy report, the earthly great. He sets me thinking of more
personal and intimate applications, of the human beings one knows
with a certain approximation to real knowledge, of the actual common
substance of life. He turns me to the thought of rivalries and
tendernesses, of differences and disappointments. I am suddenly
brought painfully against the things that might have been. What if
instead of that Utopia of vacant ovals we meet relinquished loves
here, and opportunities lost and faces as they might have looked to

I turn to my botanist almost reprovingly. "You know, she won't be
quite the same lady here that you knew in Frognal," I say, and wrest
myself from a subject that is no longer agreeable by rising to my

"And besides," I say, standing above him, "the chances against our
meeting her are a million to one.... And we loiter! This is not the
business we have come upon, but a mere incidental kink in our larger
plan. The fact remains, these people we have come to see are people
with like infirmities to our own--and only the conditions are
changed. Let us pursue the tenour of our inquiry."

With that I lead the way round the edge of the Lake of Lucendro
towards our Utopian world.

(You figure him doing it.)

Down the mountain we shall go and down the passes, and as the
valleys open the world will open, Utopia, where men and women are
happy and laws are wise, and where all that is tangled and confused
in human affairs has been unravelled and made right.


Concerning Freedoms

Section 1

Now what sort of question would first occur to two men descending
upon the planet of a Modern Utopia? Probably grave solicitude about
their personal freedom. Towards the Stranger, as I have already
remarked, the Utopias of the past displayed their least amiable
aspect. Would this new sort of Utopian State, spread to the
dimensions of a world, be any less forbidding?

We should take comfort in the thought that universal Toleration is
certainly a modern idea, and it is upon modern ideas that this World
State rests. But even suppose we are tolerated and admitted to this
unavoidable citizenship, there will still remain a wide range of
possibility.... I think we should try to work the problem out from
an inquiry into first principles, and that we should follow the
trend of our time and kind by taking up the question as one of "Man
versus the State," and discussing the compromise of Liberty.

The idea of individual liberty is one that has grown in importance
and grows with every development of modern thought. To the classical
Utopists freedom was relatively trivial. Clearly they considered
virtue and happiness as entirely separable from liberty, and as
being altogether more important things. But the modern view, with
its deepening insistence upon individuality and upon the
significance of its uniqueness, steadily intensifies the value of
freedom, until at last we begin to see liberty as the very substance
of life, that indeed it is life, and that only the dead things, the
choiceless things, live in absolute obedience to law. To have free
play for one's individuality is, in the modern view, the subjective
triumph of existence, as survival in creative work and offspring is
its objective triumph. But for all men, since man is a social
creature, the play of will must fall short of absolute freedom.
Perfect human liberty is possible only to a despot who is absolutely
and universally obeyed. Then to will would be to command and
achieve, and within the limits of natural law we could at any moment
do exactly as it pleased us to do. All other liberty is a compromise
between our own freedom of will and the wills of those with whom we
come in contact. In an organised state each one of us has a more or
less elaborate code of what he may do to others and to himself, and
what others may do to him. He limits others by his rights, and is
limited by the rights of others, and by considerations affecting the
welfare of the community as a whole.

Individual liberty in a community is not, as mathematicians would
say, always of the same sign. To ignore this is the essential
fallacy of the cult called Individualism. But in truth, a general
prohibition in a state may increase the sum of liberty, and a
general permission may diminish it. It does not follow, as these
people would have us believe, that a man is more free where there is
least law and more restricted where there is most law. A socialism
or a communism is not necessarily a slavery, and there is no freedom
under Anarchy. Consider how much liberty we gain by the loss of the
common liberty to kill. Thereby one may go to and fro in all the
ordered parts of the earth, unencumbered by arms or armour, free of
the fear of playful poison, whimsical barbers, or hotel trap-doors.
Indeed, it means freedom from a thousand fears and precautions.
Suppose there existed even the limited freedom to kill in
vendetta, and think what would happen in our suburbs. Consider the
inconvenience of two households in a modern suburb estranged and
provided with modern weapons of precision, the inconvenience not
only to each other, but to the neutral pedestrian, the practical
loss of freedoms all about them. The butcher, if he came at all,
would have to come round in an armoured cart....

It follows, therefore, in a modern Utopia, which finds the
final hope of the world in the evolving interplay of unique
individualities, that the State will have effectually chipped away
just all those spendthrift liberties that waste liberty, and not
one liberty more, and so have attained the maximum general freedom.

There are two distinct and contrasting methods of limiting liberty;
the first is Prohibition, "thou shalt not," and the second Command,
"thou shalt." There is, however, a sort of prohibition that takes
the form of a conditional command, and this one needs to bear in
mind. It says if you do so-and-so, you must also do so-and-so; if,
for example, you go to sea with men you employ, you must go in a
seaworthy vessel. But the pure command is unconditional; it says,
whatever you have done or are doing or want to do, you are to
do this, as when the social system, working through the base
necessities of base parents and bad laws, sends a child of thirteen
into a factory. Prohibition takes one definite thing from the
indefinite liberty of a man, but it still leaves him an unbounded
choice of actions. He remains free, and you have merely taken a
bucketful from the sea of his freedom. But compulsion destroys
freedom altogether. In this Utopia of ours there may be many
prohibitions, but no indirect compulsions--if one may so contrive
it--and few or no commands. As far as I see it now, in this present
discussion, I think, indeed, there should be no positive compulsions
at all in Utopia, at any rate for the adult Utopian--unless they
fall upon him as penalties incurred.

Section 2

What prohibitions should we be under, we two Uitlanders in this
Utopian world? We should certainly not be free to kill, assault, or
threaten anyone we met, and in that we earth-trained men would not
be likely to offend. And until we knew more exactly the Utopian
idea of property we should be very chary of touching anything that
might conceivably be appropriated. If it was not the property of
individuals it might be the property of the State. But beyond that
we might have our doubts. Are we right in wearing the strange
costumes we do, in choosing the path that pleases us athwart this
rock and turf, in coming striding with unfumigated rucksacks and
snow-wet hobnails into what is conceivably an extremely neat and
orderly world? We have passed our first Utopian now, with an
answered vague gesture, and have noted, with secret satisfaction,
there is no access of dismay; we have rounded a bend, and down the
valley in the distance we get a glimpse of what appears to be a
singularly well-kept road....

I submit that to the modern minded man it can be no sort of Utopia
worth desiring that does not give the utmost freedom of going to and
fro. Free movement is to many people one of the greatest of life's
privileges--to go wherever the spirit moves them, to wander and
see--and though they have every comfort, every security, every
virtuous discipline, they will still be unhappy if that is denied
them. Short of damage to things cherished and made, the Utopians
will surely have this right, so we may expect no unclimbable walls
and fences, nor the discovery of any laws we may transgress in
coming down these mountain places.

And yet, just as civil liberty itself is a compromise defended by
prohibitions, so this particular sort of liberty must also have its
qualifications. Carried to the absolute pitch the right of free
movement ceases to be distinguishable from the right of free
intrusion. We have already, in a comment on More's Utopia, hinted at
an agreement with Aristotle's argument against communism, that it
flings people into an intolerable continuity of contact.
Schopenhauer carried out Aristotle in the vein of his own bitterness
and with the truest of images when he likened human society to
hedgehogs clustering for warmth, and unhappy when either too closely
packed or too widely separated. Empedocles found no significance in
life whatever except as an unsteady play of love and hate, of
attraction and repulsion, of assimilation and the assertion of
difference. So long as we ignore difference, so long as we ignore
individuality, and that I hold has been the common sin of all
Utopias hitherto, we can make absolute statements, prescribe
communisms or individualisms, and all sorts of hard theoretic
arrangements. But in the world of reality, which--to modernise
Heraclitus and Empedocles--is nothing more nor less than the world
of individuality, there are no absolute rights and wrongs, there are
no qualitative questions at all, but only quantitative adjustments.
Equally strong in the normal civilised man is the desire for freedom
of movement and the desire for a certain privacy, for a corner
definitely his, and we have to consider where the line of
reconciliation comes.

The desire for absolute personal privacy is perhaps never a very
strong or persistent craving. In the great majority of human beings,
the gregarious instinct is sufficiently powerful to render any but
the most temporary isolations not simply disagreeable, but painful.
The savage has all the privacy he needs within the compass of his
skull; like dogs and timid women, he prefers ill-treatment to
desertion, and it is only a scarce and complex modern type that
finds comfort and refreshment in quite lonely places and quite
solitary occupations. Yet such there are, men who can neither sleep
well nor think well, nor attain to a full perception of beautiful
objects, who do not savour the best of existence until they are
securely alone, and for the sake of these even it would be
reasonable to draw some limits to the general right of free
movement. But their particular need is only a special and
exceptional aspect of an almost universal claim to privacy among
modern people, not so much for the sake of isolation as for
congenial companionship. We want to go apart from the great crowd,
not so much to be alone as to be with those who appeal to us
particularly and to whom we particularly appeal; we want to form
households and societies with them, to give our individualities play
in intercourse with them, and in the appointments and furnishings
of that intercourse. We want gardens and enclosures and exclusive
freedoms for our like and our choice, just as spacious as we can get
them--and it is only the multitudinous uncongenial, anxious also for
similar developments in some opposite direction, that checks this
expansive movement of personal selection and necessitates a
compromise on privacy.

Glancing back from our Utopian mountain side down which this
discourse marches, to the confusions of old earth, we may remark
that the need and desire for privacies there is exceptionally great
at the present time, that it was less in the past, that in the
future it may be less again, and that under the Utopian conditions
to which we shall come when presently we strike yonder road, it may
be reduced to quite manageable dimensions. But this is to be
effected not by the suppression of individualities to some common
pattern, [Footnote: More's Utopia. "Whoso will may go in, for there
is nothing within the houses that is private or anie man's owne."]
but by the broadening of public charity and the general amelioration
of mind and manners. It is not by assimilation, that is to say, but
by understanding that the modern Utopia achieves itself. The ideal
community of man's past was one with a common belief, with common
customs and common ceremonies, common manners and common formulae;
men of the same society dressed in the same fashion, each according
to his defined and understood grade, behaved in the same fashion,
loved, worshipped, and died in the same fashion. They did or felt
little that did not find a sympathetic publicity. The natural
disposition of all peoples, white, black, or brown, a natural
disposition that education seeks to destroy, is to insist upon
uniformity, to make publicity extremely unsympathetic to even the
most harmless departures from the code. To be dressed "odd," to
behave "oddly," to eat in a different manner or of different food,
to commit, indeed, any breach of the established convention is to
give offence and to incur hostility among unsophisticated men. But
the disposition of the more original and enterprising minds at all
times has been to make such innovations.

This is particularly in evidence in this present age. The almost
cataclysmal development of new machinery, the discovery of new
materials, and the appearance of new social possibilities through
the organised pursuit of material science, has given enormous and
unprecedented facilities to the spirit of innovation. The old local
order has been broken up or is now being broken up all over the
earth, and everywhere societies deliquesce, everywhere men are
afloat amidst the wreckage of their flooded conventions, and still
tremendously unaware of the thing that has happened. The old local
orthodoxies of behaviour, of precedence, the old accepted amusements
and employments, the old ritual of conduct in the important small
things of the daily life and the old ritual of thought in the
things that make discussion, are smashed up and scattered and mixed
discordantly together, one use with another, and no world-wide
culture of toleration, no courteous admission of differences, no
wider understanding has yet replaced them. And so publicity in the
modern earth has become confusedly unsympathetic for everyone.
Classes are intolerable to classes and sets to sets, contact
provokes aggressions, comparisons, persecutions and discomforts,
and the subtler people are excessively tormented by a sense of
observation, unsympathetic always and often hostile. To live without
some sort of segregation from the general mass is impossible in
exact proportion to one's individual distinction.

Of course things will be very different in Utopia. Utopia will
be saturated with consideration. To us, clad as we are in
mountain-soiled tweeds and with no money but British bank-notes
negotiable only at a practically infinite distance, this must needs
be a reassuring induction. And Utopian manners will not only be
tolerant, but almost universally tolerable. Endless things will be
understood perfectly and universally that on earth are understood
only by a scattered few; baseness of bearing, grossness of manner,
will be the distinctive mark of no section of the community
whatever. The coarser reasons for privacy, therefore, will not exist
here. And that savage sort of shyness, too, that makes so many
half-educated people on earth recluse and defensive, that too the
Utopians will have escaped by their more liberal breeding. In the
cultivated State we are assuming it will be ever so much easier for
people to eat in public, rest and amuse themselves in public, and
even work in public. Our present need for privacy in many things
marks, indeed, a phase of transition from an ease in public in the
past due to homogeneity, to an ease in public in the future due to
intelligence and good breeding, and in Utopia that transition will
be complete. We must bear that in mind throughout the consideration
of this question.

Yet, after this allowance has been made, there still remains a
considerable claim for privacy in Utopia. The room, or apartments,
or home, or mansion, whatever it may be a man or woman maintains,
must be private, and under his or her complete dominion; it seems
harsh and intrusive to forbid a central garden plot or peristyle,
such as one sees in Pompeii, within the house walls, and it is
almost as difficult to deny a little private territory beyond the
house. Yet if we concede that, it is clear that without some further
provision we concede the possibility that the poorer townsman (if
there are to be rich and poor in the world) will be forced to walk
through endless miles of high fenced villa gardens before he may
expand in his little scrap of reserved open country. Such is already
the poor Londoner's miserable fate.... Our Utopia will have, of
course, faultless roads and beautifully arranged inter-urban
communications, swift trains or motor services or what not, to
diffuse its population, and without some anticipatory provisions,
the prospect of the residential areas becoming a vast area of
defensively walled villa Edens is all too possible.

This is a quantitative question, be it remembered, and not to be
dismissed by any statement of principle. Our Utopians will meet it,
I presume, by detailed regulations, very probably varying locally
with local conditions. Privacy beyond the house might be made a
privilege to be paid for in proportion to the area occupied, and the
tax on these licences of privacy might increase as the square of the
area affected. A maximum fraction of private enclosure for each
urban and suburban square mile could be fixed. A distinction could
be drawn between an absolutely private garden and a garden private
and closed only for a day or a couple of days a week, and at other
times open to the well-behaved public. Who, in a really civilised
community, would grudge that measure of invasion? Walls could be
taxed by height and length, and the enclosure of really natural
beauties, of rapids, cascades, gorges, viewpoints, and so forth
made impossible. So a reasonable compromise between the vital and
conflicting claims of the freedom of movement and the freedom of
seclusion might be attained....

And as we argue thus we draw nearer and nearer to the road that goes
up and over the Gotthard crest and down the Val Tremola towards

What sort of road would that be?

Section 3

Freedom of movement in a Utopia planned under modern conditions must
involve something more than unrestricted pedestrian wanderings, and
the very proposition of a world-state speaking one common tongue
carries with it the idea of a world population travelled and
travelling to an extent quite beyond anything our native earth has
seen. It is now our terrestrial experience that whenever economic
and political developments set a class free to travel, that class at
once begins to travel; in England, for example, above the five or
six hundred pounds a year level, it is hard to find anyone who is
not habitually migratory, who has not been frequently, as people
say, "abroad." In the Modern Utopia travel must be in the common
texture of life. To go into fresh climates and fresh scenery, to
meet a different complexion of humanity and a different type of home
and food and apparatus, to mark unfamiliar trees and plants and
flowers and beasts, to climb mountains, to see the snowy night of
the North and the blaze of the tropical midday, to follow great
rivers, to taste loneliness in desert places, to traverse the gloom
of tropical forests and to cross the high seas, will be an essential
part of the reward and adventure of life, even for the commonest
people.... This is a bright and pleasant particular in which a
modern Utopia must differ again, and differ diametrically, from its

We may conclude from what has been done in places upon our earth
that the whole Utopian world will be open and accessible and as safe
for the wayfarer as France or England is to-day. The peace of the
world will be established for ever, and everywhere, except in remote
and desolate places, there will be convenient inns, at least as
convenient and trustworthy as those of Switzerland to-day; the
touring clubs and hotel associations that have tariffed that country
and France so effectually will have had their fine Utopian
equivalents, and the whole world will be habituated to the coming
and going of strangers. The greater part of the world will be as
secure and cheaply and easily accessible to everyone as is Zermatt
or Lucerne to a Western European of the middle-class at the present

On this account alone no places will be so congested as these two
are now on earth. With freedom to go everywhere, with easy access
everywhere, with no dread of difficulties about language, coinage,
custom, or law, why should everyone continue to go to just a few
special places? Such congestions are merely the measure of the
general inaccessibility and insecurity and costliness of
contemporary life, an awkward transitory phase in the first
beginnings of the travel age of mankind.

No doubt the Utopian will travel in many ways. It is unlikely there
will be any smoke-disgorging steam railway trains in Utopia, they
are already doomed on earth, already threatened with that
obsolescence that will endear them to the Ruskins of to-morrow, but
a thin spider's web of inconspicuous special routes will cover the
land of the world, pierce the mountain masses and tunnel under the
seas. These may be double railways or monorails or what not--we are
no engineers to judge between such devices--but by means of them the
Utopian will travel about the earth from one chief point to another
at a speed of two or three hundred miles or more an hour. That
will abolish the greater distances.... One figures these main
communications as something after the manner of corridor trains,
smooth-running and roomy, open from end to end, with cars in which
one may sit and read, cars in which one may take refreshment, cars
into which the news of the day comes printing itself from the wires
beside the track; cars in which one may have privacy and sleep if
one is so disposed, bath-room cars, library cars; a train as
comfortable as a good club. There will be no distinctions of class
in such a train, because in a civilised world there would be no
offence between one kind of man and another, and for the good of the
whole world such travelling will be as cheap as it can be, and well
within the reach of any but the almost criminally poor.

Such great tramways as this will be used when the Utopians wish to
travel fast and far; thereby you will glide all over the land
surface of the planet; and feeding them and distributing from them,
innumerable minor systems, clean little electric tramways I picture
them, will spread out over the land in finer reticulations, growing
close and dense in the urban regions and thinning as the population
thins. And running beside these lighter railways, and spreading
beyond their range, will be the smooth minor high roads such as this
one we now approach, upon which independent vehicles, motor cars,
cycles, and what not, will go. I doubt if we shall see any horses
upon this fine, smooth, clean road; I doubt if there will be many
horses on the high roads of Utopia, and, indeed, if they will use
draught horses at all upon that planet. Why should they? Where the
world gives turf or sand, or along special tracts, the horse will
perhaps be ridden for exercise and pleasure, but that will be all
the use for him; and as for the other beasts of burthen, on the
remoter mountain tracks the mule will no doubt still be a
picturesque survival, in the desert men will still find a use for
the camel, and the elephant may linger to play a part in the pageant
of the East. But the burthen of the minor traffic, if not the whole
of it, will certainly be mechanical. This is what we shall see even
while the road is still remote, swift and shapely motor-cars going
past, cyclists, and in these agreeable mountain regions there will
also be pedestrians upon their way. Cycle tracks will abound in
Utopia, sometimes following beside the great high roads, but oftener
taking their own more agreeable line amidst woods and crops and
pastures; and there will be a rich variety of footpaths and minor
ways. There will be many footpaths in Utopia. There will be pleasant
ways over the scented needles of the mountain pinewoods,
primrose-strewn tracks amidst the budding thickets of the lower
country, paths running beside rushing streams, paths across the wide
spaces of the corn land, and, above all, paths through the flowery
garden spaces amidst which the houses in the towns will stand. And
everywhere about the world, on road and path, by sea and land, the
happy holiday Utopians will go.

The population of Utopia will be a migratory population beyond any
earthly precedent, not simply a travelling population, but
migratory. The old Utopias were all localised, as localised as a
parish councillor; but it is manifest that nowadays even quite
ordinary people live over areas that would have made a kingdom in
those former days, would have filled the Athenian of the Laws with
incredulous astonishment. Except for the habits of the very rich
during the Roman Empire, there was never the slightest precedent for
this modern detachment from place. It is nothing to us that we go
eighty or ninety miles from home to place of business, or take an
hour's spin of fifty miles to our week-end golf; every summer it has
become a fixed custom to travel wide and far. Only the clumsiness of
communications limit us now, and every facilitation of locomotion
widens not only our potential, but our habitual range. Not only
this, but we change our habitations with a growing frequency and
facility; to Sir Thomas More we should seem a breed of nomads. That
old fixity was of necessity and not of choice, it was a mere phase
in the development of civilisation, a trick of rooting man learnt
for a time from his new-found friends, the corn and the vine and
the hearth; the untamed spirit of the young has turned for ever to
wandering and the sea. The soul of man has never yet in any land
been willingly adscript to the glebe. Even Mr. Belloc, who preaches
the happiness of a peasant proprietary, is so much wiser than his
thoughts that he sails about the seas in a little yacht or goes
afoot from Belgium to Rome. We are winning our freedom again once
more, a freedom renewed and enlarged, and there is now neither
necessity nor advantage in a permanent life servitude to this place
or that. Men may settle down in our Modern Utopia for love and the
family at last, but first and most abundantly they will see the

And with this loosening of the fetters of locality from the feet of
men, necessarily there will be all sorts of fresh distributions of
the factors of life. On our own poor haphazard earth, wherever men
work, wherever there are things to be grown, minerals to be won,
power to be used, there, regardless of all the joys and decencies of
life, the households needs must cluster. But in Utopia there will be
wide stretches of cheerless or unhealthy or toilsome or dangerous
land with never a household; there will be regions of mining and
smelting, black with the smoke of furnaces and gashed and desolated
by mines, with a sort of weird inhospitable grandeur of industrial
desolation, and the men will come thither and work for a spell and
return to civilisation again, washing and changing their attire in
the swift gliding train. And by way of compensation there will be
beautiful regions of the earth specially set apart and favoured for
children; in them the presence of children will remit taxation,
while in other less wholesome places the presence of children will
be taxed; the lower passes and fore hills of these very Alps, for
example, will be populous with homes, serving the vast arable levels
of Upper Italy.

So we shall see, as we come down by our little lake in the lap of
Lucendro, and even before we reach the road, the first scattered
chalets and households in which these migrant people live, the upper
summer homes. With the coming of summer, as the snows on the high
Alps recede, a tide of households and schools, teachers and doctors,
and all such attendant services will flow up the mountain masses,
and ebb again when the September snows return. It is essential to
the modern ideal of life that the period of education and growth
should be prolonged to as late a period as possible and puberty
correspondingly retarded, and by wise regulation the statesmen of
Utopia will constantly adjust and readjust regulations and taxation
to diminish the proportion of children reared in hot and stimulating
conditions. These high mountains will, in the bright sweet summer,
be populous with youth. Even up towards this high place where the
snow is scarce gone until July, these households will extend, and
below, the whole long valley of Urseren will be a scattered summer

One figures one of the more urban highways, one of those along which
the light railways of the second order run, such as that in the
valley of Urseren, into which we should presently come. I figure it
as one would see it at night, a band a hundred yards perhaps in
width, the footpath on either side shaded with high trees and lit
softly with orange glowlights; while down the centre the tramway of
the road will go, with sometimes a nocturnal tram-car gliding, lit
and gay but almost noiselessly, past. Lantern-lit cyclists will flit
along the track like fireflies, and ever and again some humming
motor-car will hurry by, to or from the Rhoneland or the Rhineland
or Switzerland or Italy. Away on either side the lights of the
little country homes up the mountain slopes will glow.

I figure it at night, because so it is we should see it first.

We should come out from our mountain valley into the minor road that
runs down the lonely rock wilderness of the San Gotthard Pass, we
should descend that nine miles of winding route, and so arrive
towards twilight among the clustering homes and upland unenclosed
gardens of Realp and Hospenthal and Andermatt. Between Realp and
Andermatt, and down the Schoellenen gorge, the greater road would
run. By the time we reached it, we should be in the way of
understanding our adventure a little better. We should know already,
when we saw those two familiar clusters of chalets and hotels
replaced by a great dispersed multitude of houses--we should see
their window lights, but little else--that we were the victims of
some strange transition in space or time, and we should come down by
dimly-seen buildings into the part that would answer to Hospenthal,
wondering and perhaps a little afraid. We should come out into this
great main roadway--this roadway like an urban avenue--and look up
it and down, hesitating whether to go along the valley Furka-ward,
or down by Andermatt through the gorge that leads to Goschenen....

People would pass us in the twilight, and then more people; we
should see they walked well and wore a graceful, unfamiliar dress,
but more we should not distinguish.

"Good-night!" they would say to us in clear, fine voices. Their dim
faces would turn with a passing scrutiny towards us.

We should answer out of our perplexity: "Good-night!"--for by the
conventions established in the beginning of this book, we are given
the freedom of their tongue.

Section 4

Were this a story, I should tell at length how much we were helped
by the good fortune of picking up a Utopian coin of gold, how at
last we adventured into the Utopian inn and found it all
marvellously easy. You see us the shyest and most watchful of
guests; but of the food they put before us and the furnishings of
the house, and all our entertainment, it will be better to speak
later. We are in a migratory world, we know, one greatly accustomed
to foreigners; our mountain clothes are not strange enough to
attract acute attention, though ill-made and shabby, no doubt, by
Utopian standards; we are dealt with as we might best wish to be
dealt with, that is to say as rather untidy, inconspicuous men. We
look about us and watch for hints and examples, and, indeed, get
through with the thing. And after our queer, yet not unpleasant,
dinner, in which we remark no meat figures, we go out of the house
for a breath of air and for quiet counsel one with another, and
there it is we discover those strange constellations overhead. It
comes to us then, clear and full, that our imagination has realised
itself; we dismiss quite finally a Rip-Van-Winkle fancy we have
entertained, all the unfamiliarities of our descent from the
mountain pass gather together into one fullness of conviction, and
we know, we know, we are in Utopia.

We wander under the trees by the main road, watching the dim
passers-by as though they were the phantoms of a dream. We say
little to one another. We turn aside into a little pathway and come
to a bridge over the turbulent Reuss, hurrying down towards the
Devil's Bridge in the gorge below. Far away over the Furka ridge a
pallid glow preludes the rising of the moon.

Two lovers pass us whispering, and we follow them with our eyes.
This Utopia has certainly preserved the fundamental freedom, to
love. And then a sweet-voiced bell from somewhere high up towards
Oberalp chimes two-and-twenty times.

I break the silence. "That might mean ten o'clock," I say.

My companion leans upon the bridge and looks down into the dim river
below. I become aware of the keen edge of the moon like a needle of
incandescent silver creeping over the crest, and suddenly the river
is alive with flashes.

He speaks, and astonishes me with the hidden course his thoughts
have taken.

"We two were boy and girl lovers like that," he says, and jerks a
head at the receding Utopians. "I loved her first, and I do not
think I have ever thought of loving anyone but her."

It is a curiously human thing, and, upon my honour, not one I had
designed, that when at last I stand in the twilight in the midst of
a Utopian township, when my whole being should be taken up with
speculative wonder, this man should be standing by my side, and
lugging my attention persistently towards himself, towards his
limited futile self. This thing perpetually happens to me, this
intrusion of something small and irrelevant and alive, upon my great
impressions. The time I first saw the Matterhorn, that Queen among
the Alpine summits, I was distracted beyond appreciation by the tale
of a man who could not eat sardines--always sardines did this with
him and that; and my first wanderings along the brown streets of
Pompeii, an experience I had anticipated with a strange intensity,
was shot with the most stupidly intelligent discourse on vehicular
tariffs in the chief capitals of Europe that it is possible to
imagine. And now this man, on my first night in Utopia, talks and
talks and talks of his poor little love affair.

It shapes itself as the most trite and feeble of tragedies, one of
those stories of effortless submission to chance and custom in which
Mr. Hardy or George Gissing might have found a theme. I do but half
listen at first--watching the black figures in the moonlit roadway
pacing to and fro. Yet--I cannot trace how he conveys the subtle
conviction to my mind--the woman he loves is beautiful.

They were boy and girl together, and afterwards they met again as
fellow students in a world of comfortable discretions. He seems to
have taken the decorums of life with a confiding good faith, to have
been shy and innocent in a suppressed sort of way, and of a mental
type not made for worldly successes; but he must have dreamt about
her and loved her well enough. How she felt for him I could never
gather; it seemed to be all of that fleshless friendliness into
which we train our girls. Then abruptly happened stresses. The man
who became her husband appeared, with a very evident passion. He was
a year or so older than either of them, and he had the habit and
quality of achieving his ends; he was already successful, and with
the promise of wealth, and I, at least, perceived, from my
botanist's phrasing, that his desire was for her beauty.

As my botanist talked I seemed to see the whole little drama, rather
clearer than his words gave it me, the actors all absurdly in
Hampstead middle-class raiment, meetings of a Sunday after church
(the men in silk hats, frock coats, and tightly-rolled umbrellas),
rare excursions into evening dress, the decorously vulgar fiction
read in their homes, its ambling sentimentalities of thought, the
amiably worldly mothers, the respectable fathers, the aunts, the
"people"--his "people" and her "people"--the piano music and the
song, and in this setting our friend, "quite clever" at botany and
"going in" for it "as a profession," and the girl, gratuitously
beautiful; so I figured the arranged and orderly environment into
which this claw of an elemental force had thrust itself to grip.

The stranger who had come in got what he wanted; the girl considered
that she thought she had never loved the botanist, had had only
friendship for him--though little she knew of the meaning of those
fine words--they parted a little incoherently and in tears, and it
had not occurred to the young man to imagine she was not going off
to conventional life in some other of the endless Frognals he
imagined as the cellular tissue of the world.

But she wasn't.

He had kept her photograph and her memory sweet, and if ever he had
strayed from the severest constancy, it seemed only in the end to
strengthen with the stuff of experience, to enhance by comparative
disappointment his imagination of what she might have meant to
him.... Then eight years afterwards they met again.

By the time he gets to this part of his story we have, at my
initiative, left the bridge and are walking towards the Utopian
guest house. The Utopian guest house! His voice rises and falls,
and sometimes he holds my arm. My attention comes and goes.
"Good-night," two sweet-voiced Utopians cry to us in their
universal tongue, and I answer them "Good-night."

"You see," he persists, "I saw her only a week ago. It was in
Lucerne, while I was waiting for you to come on from England. I
talked to her three or four times altogether. And her face--the
change in her! I can't get it out of my head--night or day. The
miserable waste of her...."

Before us, through the tall pine stems, shine the lights of our
Utopian inn.

He talks vaguely of ill-usage. "The husband is vain, boastful,
dishonest to the very confines of the law, and a drunkard. There
are scenes and insults----"

"She told you?"

"Not much, but someone else did. He brings other women almost into
her presence to spite her."

"And it's going on?" I interrupt.

"Yes. _Now_."

"Need it go on?"

"What do you mean?"

"Lady in trouble," I say. "Knight at hand. Why not stop this dismal
grizzling and carry her off?" (You figure the heroic sweep of the
arm that belongs to the Voice.) I positively forget for the moment
that we are in Utopia at all.

"You mean?"

"Take her away from him! What's all this emotion of yours worth if
it isn't equal to that!"

Positively he seems aghast at me.

"Do you mean elope with her?"

"It seems a most suitable case."

For a space he is silent, and we go on through the trees. A Utopian
tram-car passes and I see his face, poor bitted wretch! looking
pinched and scared in its trailing glow of light.

"That's all very well in a novel," he says. "But how could I go back
to my laboratory, mixed classes with young ladies, you know, after a
thing like that? How could we live and where could we live? We might
have a house in London, but who would call upon us? ... Besides, you
don't know her. She is not the sort of woman.... Don't think I'm
timid or conventional. Don't think I don't feel.... Feel! _You_
don't know what it is to feel in a case of this sort...."

He halts and then flies out viciously: "Ugh! There are times when I
could strangle him with my hands."

Which is nonsense.

He flings out his lean botanising hands in an impotent gesture.

"My dear Man!" I say, and say no more.

For a moment I forget we are in Utopia altogether.

Section 5

Let us come back to Utopia. We were speaking of travel.

Besides roadways and railways and tramways, for those who go to and
fro in the earth the Modern Utopians will have very many other ways
of travelling. There will be rivers, for example, with a vast
variety of boats; canals with diverse sorts of haulage; there will
be lakes and lagoons; and when one comes at last to the borders of
the land, the pleasure craft will be there, coming and going, and
the swift great passenger vessels, very big and steady, doing thirty
knots an hour or more, will trace long wakes as they go dwindling
out athwart the restless vastness of the sea.

They will be just beginning to fly in Utopia. We owe much to M.
Santos Dumont; the world is immeasurably more disposed to believe
this wonder is coming, and coming nearly, than it was five years
ago. But unless we are to suppose Utopian scientific knowledge far
in advance of ours--and though that supposition was not proscribed
in our initial undertaking, it would be inconvenient for us and not
quite in the vein of the rest of our premises--they, too, will only
be in the same experimental stage as ourselves. In Utopia, however,
they will conduct research by the army corps while we conduct it--we
don't conduct it! We let it happen. Fools make researches and wise
men exploit them--that is our earthly way of dealing with the
question, and we thank Heaven for an assumed abundance of
financially impotent and sufficiently ingenious fools.

In Utopia, a great multitude of selected men, chosen volunteers,
will be collaborating upon this new step in man's struggle with the
elements. Bacon's visionary House of Saloman [Footnote: In The New
Atlantis.] will be a thing realised, and it will be humming with
this business. Every university in the world will be urgently
working for priority in this aspect of the problem or that. Reports
of experiments, as full and as prompt as the telegraphic reports of
cricket in our more sportive atmosphere, will go about the world.
All this will be passing, as it were, behind the act drop of our
first experience, behind this first picture of the urbanised Urseren
valley. The literature of the subject will be growing and developing
with the easy swiftness of an eagle's swoop as we come down the
hillside; unseen in that twilight, unthought of by us until this
moment, a thousand men at a thousand glowing desks, a busy
specialist press, will be perpetually sifting, criticising,
condensing, and clearing the ground for further speculation. Those
who are concerned with the problems of public locomotion will
be following these aeronautic investigations with a keen and
enterprising interest, and so will the physiologist and the
sociologist. That Utopian research will, I say, go like an eagle's
swoop in comparison with the blind-man's fumbling of our terrestrial
way. Even before our own brief Utopian journey is out, we may get a
glimpse of the swift ripening of all this activity that will be in
progress at our coming. To-morrow, perhaps, or in a day or so,
some silent, distant thing will come gliding into view over the
mountains, will turn and soar and pass again beyond our astonished

Section 6

But my friend and his great trouble turn my mind from these
questions of locomotion and the freedoms that cluster about them. In
spite of myself I find myself framing his case. He is a lover, the
most conventional of Anglican lovers, with a heart that has had its
training, I should think, in the clean but limited schoolroom of
Mrs. Henry Wood....

In Utopia I think they will fly with stronger pinions, it will not
be in the superficialities of life merely that movement will be wide
and free, they will mount higher and swoop more steeply than he in
his cage can believe. What will their range be, their prohibitions?
what jars to our preconceptions will he and I receive here?

My mind flows with the free, thin flow that it has at the end of an
eventful day, and as we walk along in silence towards our inn I rove
from issue to issue, I find myself ranging amidst the fundamental
things of the individual life and all the perplexity of desires and
passions. I turn my questionings to the most difficult of all sets
of compromises, those mitigations of spontaneous freedom that
constitute the marriage laws, the mystery of balancing justice
against the good of the future, amidst these violent and elusive
passions. Where falls the balance of freedoms here? I pass for a
time from Utopianising altogether, to ask the question that, after
all, Schopenhauer failed completely to answer, why sometimes in the
case of hurtful, pointless, and destructive things we want so

I come back from this unavailing glance into the deeps to the
general question of freedoms in this new relation. I find myself far
adrift from the case of the Frognal botanist, and asking how far a
modern Utopia will deal with personal morals.

As Plato demonstrated long ago, the principles of the relation of
State control to personal morals may be best discussed in the case
of intoxication, the most isolated and least complicated of all this
group of problems. But Plato's treatment of this issue as a question
of who may or may not have the use of wine, though suitable enough
in considering a small State in which everybody was the effectual
inspector of everybody, is entirely beside the mark under modern
conditions, in which we are to have an extraordinarily higher
standard of individual privacy and an amplitude and quantity of
migration inconceivable to the Academic imagination. We may accept
his principle and put this particular freedom (of the use of wine)
among the distinctive privileges of maturity, and still find all
that a modern would think of as the Drink Question untouched.

That question in Utopia will differ perhaps in the proportion of its
factors, but in no other respect, from what it is upon earth. The
same desirable ends will be sought, the maintenance of public order
and decency, the reduction of inducements to form this bad and
wasteful habit to their lowest possible minimum, and the complete
protection of the immature. But the modern Utopians, having
systematised their sociology, will have given some attention to the
psychology of minor officials, a matter altogether too much
neglected by the social reformer on earth. They will not put into
the hands of a common policeman powers direct and indirect that
would be dangerous to the public in the hands of a judge. And they
will have avoided the immeasurable error of making their control of
the drink traffic a source of public revenue. Privacies they will
not invade, but they will certainly restrict the public consumption
of intoxicants to specified licensed places and the sale of them to
unmistakable adults, and they will make the temptation of the young
a grave offence. In so migratory a population as the Modern Utopian,
the licensing of inns and bars would be under the same control as
the railways and high roads. Inns exist for the stranger and not for
the locality, and we shall meet with nothing there to correspond
with our terrestrial absurdity of Local Option.

The Utopians will certainly control this trade, and as certainly
punish personal excesses. Public drunkenness (as distinguished from
the mere elation that follows a generous but controlled use of wine)
will be an offence against public decency, and will be dealt with in
some very drastic manner. It will, of course, be an aggravation of,
and not an excuse for, crime.

But I doubt whether the State will go beyond that. Whether an adult
shall use wine or beer or spirits, or not, seems to me entirely a
matter for his doctor and his own private conscience. I doubt if we
explorers shall meet any drunken men, and I doubt not we shall meet
many who have never availed themselves of their adult freedom in
this respect. The conditions of physical happiness will be better
understood in Utopia, it will be worth while to be well there, and
the intelligent citizen will watch himself closely. Half and more of
the drunkenness of earth is an attempt to lighten dull days and
hopelessly sordid and disagreeable lives, and in Utopia they do not
suffer these things. Assuredly Utopia will be temperate, not only
drinking, but eating with the soundest discretion. Yet I do not
think wine and good ale will be altogether wanting there, nor good,
mellow whisky, nor, upon occasion, the engaging various liqueur.
I do not think so. My botanist, who abstains altogether, is of
another opinion. We differ here and leave the question to the
earnest reader. I have the utmost respect for all Teetotalers,
Prohibitionists, and Haters and Persecutors of Innkeepers, their
energy of reform awakens responsive notes in me, and to their
species I look for a large part of the urgent repair of our earth;
yet for all that----

There is Burgundy, for example, a bottle of soft and kindly
Burgundy, taken to make a sunshine on one's lunch when four
strenuous hours of toil have left one on the further side of
appetite. Or ale, a foaming tankard of ale, ten miles of sturdy
tramping in the sleet and slush as a prelude, and then good bread
and good butter and a ripe hollow Stilton and celery and ale--ale
with a certain quantitative freedom. Or, again, where is the sin in
a glass of tawny port three or four times, or it may be five, a
year, when the walnuts come round in their season? If you drink no
port, then what are walnuts for? Such things I hold for the reward
of vast intervals of abstinence; they justify your wide, immaculate
margin, which is else a mere unmeaning blankness on the page of
palate God has given you! I write of these things as a fleshly man,
confessedly and knowingly fleshly, and more than usually aware of my
liability to err; I know myself for a gross creature more given to
sedentary world-mending than to brisk activities, and not one-tenth
as active as the dullest newspaper boy in London. Yet still I have
my uses, uses that vanish in monotony, and still I must ask why
should we bury the talent of these bright sensations altogether?
Under no circumstances can I think of my Utopians maintaining their
fine order of life on ginger ale and lemonade and the ale that is
Kops'. Those terrible Temperance Drinks, solutions of qualified
sugar mixed with vast volumes of gas, as, for example, soda,
seltzer, lemonade, and fire-extincteurs hand grenades--minerals,
they call such stuff in England--fill a man with wind and
self-righteousness. Indeed they do! Coffee destroys brain and
kidney, a fact now universally recognised and advertised throughout
America; and tea, except for a kind of green tea best used with
discretion in punch, tans the entrails and turns honest stomachs
into leather bags. Rather would I be Metchnikoffed [Footnote: See
The Nature of Man, by Professor Elie Metchnikoff.] at once and have
a clean, good stomach of German silver. No! If we are to have no ale
in Utopia, give me the one clean temperance drink that is worthy to
set beside wine, and that is simple water. Best it is when not quite
pure and with a trace of organic matter, for then it tastes and

My botanist would still argue.

Thank Heaven this is my book, and that the ultimate decision rests
with me. It is open to him to write his own Utopia and arrange that
everybody shall do nothing except by the consent of the savants of
the Republic, either in his eating, drinking, dressing or lodging,
even as Cabet proposed. It is open to him to try a News from Nowhere
Utopia with the wine left out. I have my short way with him here
quite effectually. I turn in the entrance of our inn to the civil
but by no means obsequious landlord, and with a careful ambiguity of
manner for the thing may be considered an outrage, and I try to make
it possible the idea is a jest--put my test demand....

"You see, my dear Teetotaler?--he sets before me tray and glass
and..." Here follows the necessary experiment and a deep sigh....
"Yes, a bottle of quite _excellent_ light beer! So there are also
cakes and ale in Utopia! Let us in this saner and more beautiful
world drink perdition to all earthly excesses. Let us drink more
particularly to the coming of the day when men beyond there will
learn to distinguish between qualitative and quantitative questions,
to temper good intentions with good intelligence, and righteousness
with wisdom. One of the darkest evils of our world is surely the
unteachable wildness of the Good."

Section 7

So presently to bed and to sleep, but not at once to sleep. At first
my brain, like a dog in unfamiliar quarters, must turn itself round
for a time or so before it lies down. This strange mystery of a
world of which I have seen so little as yet--a mountain slope, a
twilit road, a traffic of ambiguous vehicles and dim shapes, the
window lights of many homes--fills me with curiosities. Figures and
incidents come and go, the people we have passed, our landlord,
quietly attentive and yet, I feel, with the keenest curiosity
peeping from his eyes, the unfamiliar forms of the house parts and
furnishings, the unfamiliar courses of the meal. Outside this little
bedroom is a world, a whole unimagined world. A thousand million
things lie outside in the darkness beyond this lit inn of ours,
unthought-of possibilities, overlooked considerations, surprises,
riddles, incommensurables, a whole monstrous intricate universe of
consequences that I have to do my best to unravel. I attempt
impossible recapitulations and mingle the weird quality of dream
stuff with my thoughts.

Athwart all this tumult of my memory goes this queer figure of my
unanticipated companion, so obsessed by himself and his own
egotistical love that this sudden change to another world seems only
a change of scene for his gnawing, uninvigorating passion. It occurs
to me that she also must have an equivalent in Utopia, and then that
idea and all ideas grow thin and vague, and are dissolved at last in
the rising tide of sleep....


Utopian Economics

Section 1

These modern Utopians with the universally diffused good manners,
the universal education, the fine freedoms we shall ascribe to them,
their world unity, world language, world-wide travellings,
world-wide freedom of sale and purchase, will remain mere
dreamstuff, incredible even by twilight, until we have shown that at
that level the community will still sustain itself. At any rate, the
common liberty of the Utopians will not embrace the common liberty
to be unserviceable, the most perfect economy of organisation still
leaves the fact untouched that all order and security in a State
rests on the certainty of getting work done. How will the work of
this planet be done? What will be the economics of a modern

Now in the first place, a state so vast and complex as this world
Utopia, and with so migratory a people, will need some handy symbol
to check the distribution of services and commodities. Almost
certainly they will need to have money. They will have money, and
it is not inconceivable that, for all his sorrowful thoughts, our
botanist, with his trained observation, his habit of looking at
little things upon the ground, would be the one to see and pick up
the coin that has fallen from some wayfarer's pocket. (This, in our
first hour or so before we reach the inn in the Urseren Thal.) You
figure us upon the high Gotthard road, heads together over the
little disk that contrives to tell us so much of this strange

It is, I imagine, of gold, and it will be a convenient accident if
it is sufficient to make us solvent for a day or so, until we are a
little more informed of the economic system into which we have come.
It is, moreover, of a fair round size, and the inscription declares
it one Lion, equal to "twaindy" bronze Crosses. Unless the ratio of
metals is very different here, this latter must be a token coin, and
therefore legal tender for but a small amount. (That would be pain
and pleasure to Mr. Wordsworth Donisthorpe if he were to chance to
join us, for once he planned a Utopian coinage, [Footnote: A System
of Measures, by Wordsworth Donisthorpe.] and the words Lion and
Cross are his. But a token coinage and "legal tender" he cannot
abide. They make him argue.) And being in Utopia, that unfamiliar
"twaindy" suggests at once we have come upon that most Utopian of
all things, a duodecimal system of counting.

My author's privilege of details serves me here. This Lion is
distinctly a beautiful coin, admirably made, with its value in fine,
clear letters circling the obverse side, and a head thereon--of
Newton, as I live! One detects American influence here. Each
year, as we shall find, each denomination of coins celebrates a
centenary. The reverse shows the universal goddess of the Utopian
coinage--Peace, as a beautiful woman, reading with a child out of a
great book, and behind them are stars, and an hour-glass, halfway
run. Very human these Utopians, after all, and not by any means
above the obvious in their symbolism!

So for the first time we learn definitely of the World State, and we
get our first clear hint, too, that there is an end to Kings. But
our coin raises other issues also. It would seem that this Utopia
has no simple community of goods, that there is, at any rate, a
restriction upon what one may take, a need for evidences of
equivalent value, a limitation to human credit.

It dates--so much of this present Utopia of ours dates. Those former
Utopists were bitterly against gold. You will recall the undignified
use Sir Thomas More would have us put it to, and how there was no
money at all in the Republic of Plato, and in that later community
for which he wrote his Laws an iron coinage of austere appearance
and doubtful efficacy.... It may be these great gentlemen were a
little hasty with a complicated difficulty, and not a little unjust
to a highly respectable element.

Gold is abused and made into vessels of dishonour, and abolished
from ideal society as though it were the cause instead of the
instrument of human baseness; but, indeed, there is nothing bad in
gold. Making gold into vessels of dishonour and banishing it from
the State is punishing the hatchet for the murderer's crime. Money,
did you but use it right, is a good thing in life, a necessary thing
in civilised human life, as complicated, indeed, for its purposes,
but as natural a growth as the bones in a man's wrist, and I do not
see how one can imagine anything at all worthy of being called a
civilisation without it. It is the water of the body social, it
distributes and receives, and renders growth and assimilation and
movement and recovery possible. It is the reconciliation of human
interdependence with liberty. What other device will give a man so
great a freedom with so strong an inducement to effort? The economic
history of the world, where it is not the history of the theory of
property, is very largely the record of the abuse, not so much of
money as of credit devices to supplement money, to amplify the scope
of this most precious invention; and no device of labour credits
[Footnote: Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, Ch. IX.] or free
demand of commodities from a central store [Footnote: More's Utopia
and Cabet's Icaria.] or the like has ever been suggested that does
not give ten thousand times more scope for that inherent moral dross
in man that must be reckoned with in any sane Utopia we may design
and plan.... Heaven knows where progress may not end, but at any
rate this developing State, into which we two men have fallen, this
Twentieth Century Utopia, has still not passed beyond money and the
use of coins.

Section 2

Now if this Utopian world is to be in some degree parallel to
contemporary thought, it must have been concerned, it may be still
concerned, with many unsettled problems of currency, and with the
problems that centre about a standard of value. Gold is perhaps of
all material substances the best adapted to the monetary purpose,
but even at that best it falls far short of an imaginable ideal. It
undergoes spasmodic and irregular cheapening through new discoveries
of gold, and at any time it may undergo very extensive and sudden
and disastrous depreciation through the discovery of some way of
transmuting less valuable elements. The liability to such
depreciations introduces an undesirable speculative element into the
relations of debtor and creditor. When, on the one hand, there is
for a time a check in the increase of the available stores of gold,
or an increase in the energy applied to social purposes, or a
checking of the public security that would impede the free exchange
of credit and necessitate a more frequent production of gold in
evidence, then there comes an undue appreciation of money as against
the general commodities of life, and an automatic impoverishment of
the citizens in general as against the creditor class. The common
people are mortgaged into the bondage of debt. And on the other
hand an unexpected spate of gold production, the discovery of a
single nugget as big as St. Paul's, let us say--a quite possible
thing--would result in a sort of jail delivery of debtors and a
financial earthquake.

It has been suggested by an ingenious thinker that it is possible
to use as a standard of monetary value no substance whatever, but
instead, force, and that value might be measured in units of energy.
An excellent development this, in theory, at any rate, of the
general idea of the modern State as kinetic and not static; it
throws the old idea of the social order and the new into the
sharpest antithesis. The old order is presented as a system of
institutions and classes ruled by men of substance; the new, of
enterprises and interests led by men of power.

Now I glance at this matter in the most incidental manner, as a man
may skim through a specialist's exposition in a popular magazine.
You must figure me, therefore, finding from a casual periodical
paper in our inn, with a certain surprise at not having anticipated
as much, the Utopian self of that same ingenious person quite
conspicuously a leader of thought, and engaged in organising the
discussion of the currency changes Utopia has under consideration.
The article, as it presents itself to me, contains a complete
and lucid, though occasionally rather technical, explanation of
his newest proposals. They have been published, it seems, for
general criticism, and one gathers that in the modern Utopia the
administration presents the most elaborately detailed schemes of any
proposed alteration in law or custom, some time before any measure
is taken to carry it into effect, and the possibilities of every
detail are acutely criticised, flaws anticipated, side issues
raised, and the whole minutely tested and fined down by a planetful
of critics, before the actual process of legislation begins.

The explanation of these proposals involves an anticipatory glance
at the local administration of a Modern Utopia. To anyone who has
watched the development of technical science during the last decade
or so, there will be no shock in the idea that a general
consolidation of a great number of common public services over areas
of considerable size is now not only practicable, but very
desirable. In a little while heating and lighting and the supply of
power for domestic and industrial purposes and for urban and
inter-urban communications will all be managed electrically from
common generating stations. And the trend of political and social
speculation points decidedly to the conclusion that so soon as it
passes out of the experimental stage, the supply of electrical
energy, just like drainage and the supply of water, will fall to the
local authority. Moreover, the local authority will be the universal
landowner. Upon that point so extreme an individualist as Herbert
Spencer was in agreement with the Socialist. In Utopia we conclude
that, whatever other types of property may exist, all natural
sources of force, and indeed all strictly natural products, coal,
water power, and the like, are inalienably vested in the local
authorities (which, in order to secure the maximum of convenience
and administrative efficiency, will probably control areas as large
sometimes as half England), they will generate electricity by water
power, by combustion, by wind or tide or whatever other natural
force is available, and this electricity will be devoted, some of it
to the authority's lighting and other public works, some of it, as
a subsidy, to the World-State authority which controls the high
roads, the great railways, the inns and other apparatus of world
communication, and the rest will pass on to private individuals
or to distributing companies at a uniform fixed rate for private
lighting and heating, for machinery and industrial applications of
all sorts. Such an arrangement of affairs will necessarily involve a
vast amount of book-keeping between the various authorities, the
World-State government and the customers, and this book-keeping will
naturally be done most conveniently in units of physical energy.

It is not incredible that the assessment of the various local
administrations for the central world government would be already
calculated upon the estimated total of energy, periodically
available in each locality, and booked and spoken of in these
physical units. Accounts between central and local governments could
be kept in these terms. Moreover, one may imagine Utopian local
authorities making contracts in which payment would be no longer in
coinage upon the gold basis, but in notes good for so many thousands
or millions of units of energy at one or other of the generating

Now the problems of economic theory will have undergone an enormous
clarification if, instead of measuring in fluctuating money values,
the same scale of energy units can be extended to their discussion,
if, in fact, the idea of trading could be entirely eliminated. In my
Utopia, at any rate, this has been done, the production and
distribution of common commodities have been expressed as a problem
in the conversion of energy, and the scheme that Utopia was now
discussing was the application of this idea of energy as the
standard of value to the entire Utopian coinage. Every one of those
giant local authorities was to be free to issue energy notes against
the security of its surplus of saleable available energy, and to
make all its contracts for payment in those notes up to a certain
maximum defined by the amount of energy produced and disposed of in
that locality in the previous year. This power of issue was to be
renewed just as rapidly as the notes came in for redemption. In a
world without boundaries, with a population largely migratory and
emancipated from locality, the price of the energy notes of these
various local bodies would constantly tend to be uniform, because
employment would constantly shift into the areas where energy was
cheap. Accordingly, the price of so many millions of units of energy
at any particular moment in coins of the gold currency would be
approximately the same throughout the world. It was proposed to
select some particular day when the economic atmosphere was
distinctly equable, and to declare a fixed ratio between the gold
coinage and the energy notes; each gold Lion and each Lion of credit
representing exactly the number of energy units it could buy on that
day. The old gold coinage was at once to cease to be legal tender
beyond certain defined limits, except to the central government,
which would not reissue it as it came in. It was, in fact, to become
a temporary token coinage, a token coinage of full value for the day
of conversion at any rate, if not afterwards, under the new standard
of energy, and to be replaceable by an ordinary token coinage as
time went on. The old computation by Lions and the values of the
small change of daily life were therefore to suffer no disturbance

The economists of Utopia, as I apprehended them, had a different
method and a very different system of theories from those I have
read on earth, and this makes my exposition considerably more
difficult. This article upon which I base my account floated before
me in an unfamiliar, perplexing, and dream-like phraseology. Yet I
brought away an impression that here was a rightness that earthly
economists have failed to grasp. Few earthly economists have been
able to disentangle themselves from patriotisms and politics, and
their obsession has always been international trade. Here in Utopia
the World State cuts that away from beneath their feet; there are no
imports but meteorites, and no exports at all. Trading is the
earthly economists' initial notion, and they start from perplexing
and insoluble riddles about exchange value, insoluble because all
trading finally involves individual preferences which are
incalculable and unique. Nowhere do they seem to be handling really
defined standards, every economic dissertation and discussion
reminds one more strongly than the last of the game of croquet Alice
played in Wonderland, when the mallets were flamingoes and the balls
were hedgehogs and crawled away, and the hoops were soldiers and
kept getting up and walking about. But economics in Utopia must be,
it seems to me, not a theory of trading based on bad psychology, but
physics applied to problems in the theory of sociology. The general
problem of Utopian economics is to state the conditions of the most
efficient application of the steadily increasing quantities of
material energy the progress of science makes available for human
service, to the general needs of mankind. Human labour and existing
material are dealt with in relation to that. Trading and relative
wealth are merely episodical in such a scheme. The trend of the
article I read, as I understood it, was that a monetary system based
upon a relatively small amount of gold, upon which the business of
the whole world had hitherto been done, fluctuated unreasonably and
supplied no real criterion of well-being, that the nominal values of
things and enterprises had no clear and simple relation to the real
physical prosperity of the community, that the nominal wealth of
a community in millions of pounds or dollars or Lions, measured
nothing but the quantity of hope in the air, and an increase of
confidence meant an inflation of credit and a pessimistic phase a
collapse of this hallucination of possessions. The new standards,
this advocate reasoned, were to alter all that, and it seemed to me
they would.

I have tried to indicate the drift of these remarkable proposals,
but about them clustered an elaborate mass of keen and temperate
discussion. Into the details of that discussion I will not enter
now, nor am I sure I am qualified to render the multitudinous aspect
of this complicated question at all precisely. I read the whole
thing in the course of an hour or two of rest after lunch--it was
either the second or third day of my stay in Utopia--and we were
sitting in a little inn at the end of the Lake of Uri. We had
loitered there, and I had fallen reading because of a shower of
rain.... But certainly as I read it the proposition struck me as a
singularly simple and attractive one, and its exposition opened out
to me for the first time clearly, in a comprehensive outline, the
general conception of the economic nature of the Utopian State.

Section 3

The difference between the social and economic sciences as they
exist in our world [Footnote: But see Gidding's Principles of
Sociology, a modern and richly suggestive American work, imperfectly
appreciated by the British student. See also Walter Bagehot's
Economic Studies.] and in this Utopia deserves perhaps a word or
so more. I write with the utmost diffidence, because upon earth
economic science has been raised to a very high level of tortuous
abstraction by the industry of its professors, and I can claim
neither a patient student's intimacy with their productions
nor--what is more serious--anything but the most generalised
knowledge of what their Utopian equivalents have achieved. The vital
nature of economic issues to a Utopia necessitates, however, some
attempt at interpretation between the two.

In Utopia there is no distinct and separate science of economics.
Many problems that we should regard as economic come within the
scope of Utopian psychology. My Utopians make two divisions of the
science of psychology, first, the general psychology of individuals,
a sort of mental physiology separated by no definite line from
physiology proper, and secondly, the psychology of relationship
between individuals. This second is an exhaustive study of
the reaction of people upon each other and of all possible
relationships. It is a science of human aggregations, of all
possible family groupings, of neighbours and neighbourhood, of
companies, associations, unions, secret and public societies,
religious groupings, of common ends and intercourse, and of the
methods of intercourse and collective decision that hold human
groups together, and finally of government and the State. The
elucidation of economic relationships, depending as it does on the
nature of the hypothesis of human aggregation actually in operation
at any time, is considered to be subordinate and subsequent to this
general science of Sociology. Political economy and economics, in
our world now, consist of a hopeless muddle of social assumptions
and preposterous psychology, and a few geographical and physical
generalisations. Its ingredients will be classified out and widely
separated in Utopian thought. On the one hand there will be the
study of physical economies, ending in the descriptive treatment of
society as an organisation for the conversion of all the available
energy in nature to the material ends of mankind--a physical
sociology which will be already at such a stage of practical
development as to be giving the world this token coinage
representing energy--and on the other there will be the study of
economic problems as problems in the division of labour, having
regard to a social organisation whose main ends are reproduction and
education in an atmosphere of personal freedom. Each of these
inquiries, working unencumbered by the other, will be continually
contributing fresh valid conclusions for the use of the practical

In no region of intellectual activity will our hypothesis of freedom
from tradition be of more value in devising a Utopia than here. From
its beginning the earthly study of economics has been infertile and
unhelpful, because of the mass of unanalysed and scarcely suspected
assumptions upon which it rested. The facts were ignored that trade
is a bye-product and not an essential factor in social life, that
property is a plastic and fluctuating convention, that value is
capable of impersonal treatment only in the case of the most
generalised requirements. Wealth was measured by the standards of
exchange. Society was regarded as a practically unlimited number of
avaricious adult units incapable of any other subordinate groupings
than business partnerships, and the sources of competition were
assumed to be inexhaustible. Upon such quicksands rose an edifice
that aped the securities of material science, developed a technical
jargon and professed the discovery of "laws." Our liberation from
these false presumptions through the rhetoric of Carlyle and Ruskin
and the activities of the Socialists, is more apparent than real.
The old edifice oppresses us still, repaired and altered by
indifferent builders, underpinned in places, and with a slight
change of name. "Political Economy" has been painted out, and
instead we read "Economics--under entirely new management." Modern
Economics differs mainly from old Political Economy in having
produced no Adam Smith. The old "Political Economy" made certain
generalisations, and they were mostly wrong; new Economics evades
generalisations, and seems to lack the intellectual power to make
them. The science hangs like a gathering fog in a valley, a fog
which begins nowhere and goes nowhere, an incidental, unmeaning
inconvenience to passers-by. Its most typical exponents display a
disposition to disavow generalisations altogether, to claim
consideration as "experts," and to make immediate political
application of that conceded claim. Now Newton, Darwin, Dalton,
Davy, Joule, and Adam Smith did not affect this "expert"
hankey-pankey, becoming enough in a hairdresser or a fashionable
physician, but indecent in a philosopher or a man of science. In
this state of impotent expertness, however, or in some equally
unsound state, economics must struggle on--a science that is no
science, a floundering lore wallowing in a mud of statistics--until
either the study of the material organisation of production on the
one hand as a development of physics and geography, or the study
of social aggregation on the other, renders enduring foundations

Section 4

The older Utopias were all relatively small states; Plato's
Republic, for example, was to be smaller than the average English
borough, and no distinction was made between the Family, the Local
Government, and the State. Plato and Campanella--for all that the
latter was a Christian priest--carried communism to its final point
and prescribed even a community of husbands and wives, an idea that
was brought at last to the test of effectual experiment in the
Oneida Community of New York State (1848-1879). This latter body did
not long survive its founder, at least as a veritable communism, by
reason of the insurgent individualism of its vigorous sons. More,
too, denied privacy and ruled an absolute community of goods, at
any rate, and so, coming to the Victorian Utopias, did Cabet. But
Cabet's communism was one of the "free store" type, and the goods
were yours only after you had requisitioned them. That seems the
case in the "Nowhere" of Morris also. Compared with the older
writers Bellamy and Morris have a vivid sense of individual
separation, and their departure from the old homogeneity is
sufficiently marked to justify a doubt whether there will be any
more thoroughly communistic Utopias for ever.

A Utopia such as this present one, written in the opening of the
Twentieth Century, and after the most exhaustive discussion--nearly
a century long--between Communistic and Socialistic ideas on the one
hand, and Individualism on the other, emerges upon a sort of
effectual conclusion to those controversies. The two parties have so
chipped and amended each other's initial propositions that, indeed,
except for the labels still flutteringly adhesive to the implicated
men, it is hard to choose between them. Each side established a good
many propositions, and we profit by them all. We of the succeeding
generation can see quite clearly that for the most part the heat and
zeal of these discussions arose in the confusion of a quantitative
for a qualitative question. To the onlooker, both Individualism and
Socialism are, in the absolute, absurdities; the one would make men
the slaves of the violent or rich, the other the slaves of the State
official, and the way of sanity runs, perhaps even sinuously, down
the intervening valley. Happily the dead past buries its dead, and
it is not our function now to adjudicate the preponderance of
victory. In the very days when our political and economic order is
becoming steadily more Socialistic, our ideals of intercourse turn
more and more to a fuller recognition of the claims of individuality.
The State is to be progressive, it is no longer to be static, and
this alters the general condition of the Utopian problem profoundly;
we have to provide not only for food and clothing, for order and
health, but for initiative. The factor that leads the World State
on from one phase of development to the next is the interplay of
individualities; to speak teleologically, the world exists for the
sake of and through initiative, and individuality is the method
of initiative. Each man and woman, to the extent that his or her
individuality is marked, breaks the law of precedent, transgresses
the general formula, and makes a new experiment for the direction of
the life force. It is impossible, therefore, for the State, which
represents all and is preoccupied by the average, to make effectual
experiments and intelligent innovations, and so supply the essential
substance of life. As against the individual the state represents
the species, in the case of the Utopian World State it absolutely
represents the species. The individual emerges from the species,
makes his experiment, and either fails, dies, and comes to an end,
or succeeds and impresses himself in offspring, in consequences and
results, intellectual, material and moral, upon the world.

Biologically the species is the accumulation of the experiments of
all its successful individuals since the beginning, and the World
State of the Modern Utopist will, in its economic aspect, be a
compendium of established economic experience, about which
individual enterprise will be continually experimenting, either to
fail and pass, or to succeed and at last become incorporated with
the undying organism of the World State. This organism is the
universal rule, the common restriction, the rising level platform
on which individualities stand.

The World State in this ideal presents itself as the sole landowner
of the earth, with the great local governments I have adumbrated,
the local municipalities, holding, as it were, feudally under it as
landlords. The State or these subordinates holds all the sources of
energy, and either directly or through its tenants, farmers and
agents, develops these sources, and renders the energy available for
the work of life. It or its tenants will produce food, and so human
energy, and the exploitation of coal and electric power, and the
powers of wind and wave and water will be within its right. It will
pour out this energy by assignment and lease and acquiescence and
what not upon its individual citizens. It will maintain order,
maintain roads, maintain a cheap and efficient administration of
justice, maintain cheap and rapid locomotion and be the common
carrier of the planet, convey and distribute labour, control, let,
or administer all natural productions, pay for and secure healthy
births and a healthy and vigorous new generation, maintain the
public health, coin money and sustain standards of measurement,
subsidise research, and reward such commercially unprofitable
undertakings as benefit the community as a whole; subsidise when
needful chairs of criticism and authors and publications, and
collect and distribute information. The energy developed and the
employment afforded by the State will descend like water that the
sun has sucked out of the sea to fall upon a mountain range, and
back to the sea again it will come at last, debouching in ground
rent and royalty and license fees, in the fees of travellers and
profits upon carrying and coinage and the like, in death duty,
transfer tax, legacy and forfeiture, returning to the sea. Between
the clouds and the sea it will run, as a river system runs, down
through a great region of individual enterprise and interplay, whose
freedom it will sustain. In that intermediate region between the
kindred heights and deeps those beginnings and promises will arise
that are the essential significance, the essential substance, of
life. From our human point of view the mountains and sea are for
the habitable lands that lie between. So likewise the State is
for Individualities. The State is for Individuals, the law is for
freedoms, the world is for experiment, experience, and change: these
are the fundamental beliefs upon which a modern Utopia must go.

Section 5

Within this scheme, which makes the State the source of all energy,
and the final legatee, what will be the nature of the property a man
may own? Under modern conditions--indeed, under any conditions--a
man without some negotiable property is a man without freedom, and
the extent of his property is very largely the measure of his
freedom. Without any property, without even shelter or food, a man
has no choice but to set about getting these things; he is in
servitude to his needs until he has secured property to satisfy
them. But with a certain small property a man is free to do many
things, to take a fortnight's holiday when he chooses, for example,
and to try this new departure from his work or that; with so much
more, he may take a year of freedom and go to the ends of the earth;
with so much more, he may obtain elaborate apparatus and try
curious novelties, build himself houses and make gardens, establish
businesses and make experiments at large. Very speedily, under
terrestrial conditions, the property of a man may reach such
proportions that his freedom oppresses the freedom of others. Here,
again, is a quantitative question, an adjustment of conflicting
freedoms, a quantitative question that too many people insist on
making a qualitative one.

The object sought in the code of property laws that one would find
in operation in Utopia would be the same object that pervades the
whole Utopian organisation, namely, a universal maximum of
individual freedom. Whatever far-reaching movements the State or
great rich men or private corporations may make, the starvation by
any complication of employment, the unwilling deportation, the
destruction of alternatives to servile submissions, must not
ensue. Beyond such qualifications, the object of Modern Utopian
statesmanship will be to secure to a man the freedom given by all
his legitimate property, that is to say, by all the values his toil
or skill or foresight and courage have brought into being. Whatever
he has justly made he has a right to keep, that is obvious enough;
but he will also have a right to sell and exchange, and so this
question of what may be property takes really the form of what may
a man buy in Utopia?

A modern Utopian most assuredly must have a practically unqualified
property in all those things that become, as it were, by possession,
extensions and expressions of his personality; his clothing, his
jewels, the tools of his employment, his books, the objects of art
he may have bought or made, his personal weapons (if Utopia have
need of such things), insignia, and so forth. All such things that
he has bought with his money or acquired--provided he is not a
professional or habitual dealer in such property--will be
inalienably his, his to give or lend or keep, free even from
taxation. So intimate is this sort of property that I have no doubt
Utopia will give a man posthumous rights over it--will permit him to
assign it to a successor with at the utmost the payment of a small
redemption. A horse, perhaps, in certain districts, or a bicycle, or
any such mechanical conveyance personally used, the Utopians might
find it well to rank with these possessions. No doubt, too, a house
and privacy owned and occupied by a man, and even a man's own
household furniture, might be held to stand as high or almost as
high in the property scale, might be taxed as lightly and
transferred under only a slightly heavier redemption, provided he
had not let these things on hire, or otherwise alienated them from
his intimate self. A thorough-going, Democratic Socialist will no
doubt be inclined at first to object that if the Utopians make these
things a specially free sort of property in this way, men would
spend much more upon them than they would otherwise do, but indeed
that will be an excellent thing. We are too much affected by the
needy atmosphere of our own mismanaged world. In Utopia no one will
have to hunger because some love to make and have made and own and
cherish beautiful things. To give this much of property to
individuals will tend to make clothing, ornamentation, implements,
books, and all the arts finer and more beautiful, because by buying
such things a man will secure something inalienable--save in the
case of bankruptcy--for himself and for those who belong to him.
Moreover, a man may in his lifetime set aside sums to ensure special
advantages of education and care for the immature children of
himself and others, and in this manner also exercise a posthumous
right. [Footnote: But a Statute of Mortmain will set a distinct time
limit to the continuance of such benefactions. A periodic revision
of endowments is a necessary feature in any modern Utopia.]

For all other property, the Utopians will have a scantier respect;
even money unspent by a man, and debts to him that bear no interest,
will at his death stand upon a lower level than these things. What
he did not choose to gather and assimilate to himself, or assign for
the special education of his children, the State will share in the
lion's proportion with heir and legatee.

This applies, for example, to the property that a man creates and
acquires in business enterprises, which are presumably undertaken
for gain, and as a means of living rather than for themselves. All
new machinery, all new methods, all uncertain and variable and
non-universal undertakings, are no business for the State; they
commence always as experiments of unascertained value, and next
after the invention of money, there is no invention has so
facilitated freedom and progress as the invention of the limited
liability company to do this work of trial and adventure. The
abuses, the necessary reforms of company law on earth, are no
concern of ours here and now, suffice it that in a Modern Utopia
such laws must be supposed to be as perfect as mortal laws can
possibly be made. Caveat vendor will be a sound qualification of
Caveat emptor in the beautifully codified Utopian law. Whether the
Utopian company will be allowed to prefer this class of share to
that or to issue debentures, whether indeed usury, that is to say
lending money at fixed rates of interest, will be permitted at all
in Utopia, one may venture to doubt. But whatever the nature of the
shares a man may hold, they will all be sold at his death, and
whatever he has not clearly assigned for special educational
purposes will--with possibly some fractional concession to near
survivors--lapse to the State. The "safe investment," that
permanent, undying claim upon the community, is just one of those
things Utopia will discourage; which indeed the developing security
of civilisation quite automatically discourages through the fall in
the rate of interest. As we shall see at a later stage, the State
will insure the children of every citizen, and those legitimately
dependent upon him, against the inconvenience of his death; it will
carry out all reasonable additional dispositions he may have made
for them in the same event; and it will insure him against old age
and infirmity; and the object of Utopian economics will be to give a
man every inducement to spend his surplus money in intensifying the
quality of his surroundings, either by economic adventures and
experiments, which may yield either losses or large profits, or in
increasing the beauty, the pleasure, the abundance and promise of

Besides strictly personal possessions and shares in business
adventures, Utopia will no doubt permit associations of its citizens
to have a property in various sorts of contracts and concessions, in
leases of agricultural and other land, for example; in houses they
may have built, factories and machinery they may have made, and
the like. And if a citizen prefer to adventure into business
single-handed, he will have all the freedoms of enterprise enjoyed
by a company; in business affairs he will be a company of one, and
his single share will be dealt with at his death like any other
shares.... So much for the second kind of property. And these two
kinds of property will probably exhaust the sorts of property a
Utopian may possess.

The trend of modern thought is entirely against private property in
land or natural objects or products, and in Utopia these things
will be the inalienable property of the World State. Subject to the
rights of free locomotion, land will be leased out to companies
or individuals, but--in view of the unknown necessities of the
future--never for a longer period than, let us say, fifty years.

The property of a parent in his children, and of a husband in his
wife, seems to be undergoing a steadily increasing qualification in
the world of to-day, but the discussion of the Utopian state of
affairs in regard to such property may be better reserved until
marriage becomes our topic. Suffice it here to remark, that the
increasing control of a child's welfare and upbringing by the
community, and the growing disposition to limit and tax inheritance
are complementary aspects of the general tendency to regard the
welfare and free intraplay of future generations no longer as the
concern of parents and altruistic individuals, but as the
predominant issue of statesmanship, and the duty and moral meaning
of the world community as a whole.

Section 6

From the conception of mechanical force as coming in from Nature to
the service of man, a conception the Utopian proposal of a coinage
based on energy units would emphasise, arise profound contrasts
between the modern and the classical Utopias. Except for a meagre
use of water power for milling, and the wind for sailing--so meagre
in the latter case that the classical world never contrived to do
without the galley slave--and a certain restricted help from oxen in
ploughing, and from horses in locomotion, all the energy that
sustained the old-fashioned State was derived from the muscular
exertion of toiling men. They ran their world by hand. Continual
bodily labour was a condition of social existence. It is only with
the coming of coal burning, of abundant iron and steel, and of
scientific knowledge that this condition has been changed. To-day,
I suppose, if it were possible to indicate, in units of energy,
the grand total of work upon which the social fabric of the
United States or England rests, it would be found that a vastly
preponderating moiety is derived from non-human sources, from coal
and liquid fuel, and explosives and wind and water. There is every
indication of a steady increase in this proportion of mechanical
energy, in this emancipation of men from the necessity of physical
labour. There appears no limit to the invasion of life by the

Now it is only in the last three hundred years that any human being
seems to have anticipated this. It stimulates the imagination to
remark how entirely it was overlooked as a modifying cause in human
development. [Footnote: It is interesting to note how little even
Bacon seems to see of this, in his New Atlantis.] Plato clearly had
no ideas about machines at all as a force affecting social
organisation. There was nothing in his world to suggest them to him.
I suppose there arose no invention, no new mechanical appliance or
method of the slightest social importance through all his length of
years. He never thought of a State that did not rely for its force
upon human muscle, just as he never thought of a State that was not
primarily organised for warfare hand to hand. Political and moral
inventions he saw enough of and to spare, and in that direction he
still stimulates the imagination. But in regard to all material
possibilities he deadens rather than stimulates. [Footnote: The lost
Utopia of Hippodamus provided rewards for inventors, but unless
Aristotle misunderstood him, and it is certainly the fate of all
Utopias to be more or less misread, the inventions contemplated were
political devices.] An infinitude of nonsense about the Greek mind
would never have been written if the distinctive intellectual and
artistic quality of Plato's time, its extraordinarily clear
definition of certain material conditions as absolutely permanent,
coupled with its politico-social instability, had been borne in
mind. The food of the Greek imagination was the very antithesis of
our own nourishment. We are educated by our circumstances to think
no revolution in appliances and economic organisation incredible,
our minds play freely about possibilities that would have struck the
men of the Academy as outrageous extravagance, and it is in regard
to politico-social expedients that our imaginations fail. Sparta,
for all the evidence of history, is scarcely more credible to us
than a motor-car throbbing in the agora would have been to

By sheer inadvertence, therefore, Plato commenced the tradition of
Utopias without machinery, a tradition we find Morris still loyally
following, except for certain mechanical barges and such-like toys,
in his News from Nowhere. There are some foreshadowings of
mechanical possibilities in the New Atlantis, but it is only in the
nineteenth century that Utopias appeared in which the fact is
clearly recognised that the social fabric rests no longer upon human
labour. It was, I believe, Cabet [Footnote: Cabet, Voyage en Icarie,
1848.] who first in a Utopian work insisted upon the escape of man
from irksome labours through the use of machinery. He is the great
primitive of modern Utopias, and Bellamy is his American equivalent.
Hitherto, either slave labour (Phaleas), [Footnote: Aristotle's
Politics, Bk. II., Ch. VIII.] or at least class distinctions
involving unavoidable labour in the lower class, have been
assumed--as Plato does, and as Bacon in the New Atlantis probably
intended to do (More gave his Utopians bondsmen sans phrase for
their most disagreeable toil); or there is--as in Morris and the
outright Return-to-Nature Utopians--a bold make-believe that all
toil may be made a joy, and with that a levelling down of all
society to an equal participation in labour. But indeed this is
against all the observed behaviour of mankind. It needed the
Olympian unworldliness of an irresponsible rich man of the
shareholding type, a Ruskin or a Morris playing at life, to imagine
as much. Road-making under Mr. Ruskin's auspices was a joy at Oxford
no doubt, and a distinction, and it still remains a distinction; it
proved the least contagious of practices. And Hawthorne did not find
bodily toil anything more than the curse the Bible says it is, at
Brook Farm. [Footnote: The Blythedale Experiment, and see also his

If toil is a blessing, never was blessing so effectually disguised,
and the very people who tell us that, hesitate to suggest more than
a beautiful ease in the endless day of Heaven. A certain amount of
bodily or mental exercise, a considerable amount of doing things
under the direction of one's free imagination is quite another
matter. Artistic production, for example, when it is at its best,
when a man is freely obeying himself, and not troubling to please
others, is really not toil at all. It is quite a different thing
digging potatoes, as boys say, "for a lark," and digging them
because otherwise you will starve, digging them day after day as a
dull, unavoidable imperative. The essence of toil is that
imperative, and the fact that the attention _must_ cramp itself to
the work in hand--that it excludes freedom, and not that it involves
fatigue. So long as anything but a quasi-savage life depended upon
toil, so long was it hopeless to expect mankind to do anything but
struggle to confer just as much of this blessing as possible upon
one another. But now that the new conditions physical science is
bringing about, not only dispense with man as a source of energy but
supply the hope that all routine work may be made automatic, it is
becoming conceivable that presently there may be no need for anyone
to toil habitually at all; that a labouring class--that is to say,
a class of workers without personal initiative--will become
unnecessary to the world of men.

The plain message physical science has for the world at large is
this, that were our political and social and moral devices only as
well contrived to their ends as a linotype machine, an antiseptic
operating plant, or an electric tram-car, there need now at the
present moment be no appreciable toil in the world, and only the
smallest fraction of the pain, the fear, and the anxiety that now
makes human life so doubtful in its value. There is more than enough
for everyone alive. Science stands, a too competent servant, behind
her wrangling underbred masters, holding out resources, devices, and
remedies they are too stupid to use. [Footnote: See that most
suggestive little book, Twentieth Century Inventions, by Mr. George
Sutherland.] And on its material side a modern Utopia must needs
present these gifts as taken, and show a world that is really
abolishing the need of labour, abolishing the last base reason for
anyone's servitude or inferiority.

Section 7

The effectual abolition of a labouring and servile class will make
itself felt in every detail of the inn that will shelter us, of the
bedrooms we shall occupy. You conceive my awakening to all these
things on the morning after our arrival. I shall lie for a minute or
so with my nose peeping over the coverlet, agreeably and gently
coming awake, and with some vague nightmare of sitting at a common
table with an unavoidable dustman in green and gold called Boffin,
[Footnote: Vide William Morris's News from Nowhere.] fading out of
my mind. Then I should start up. You figure my apprehensive,
startled inspection of my chamber. "Where am I?" that classic
phrase, recurs. Then I perceive quite clearly that I am in bed in

Utopia! The word is enough to bring anyone out of bed, to the
nearest window, but thence I see no more than the great mountain
mass behind the inn, a very terrestrial looking mountain mass. I
return to the contrivances about me, and make my examination as I
dress, pausing garment in hand to hover over first this thing of
interest and then that.

The room is, of course, very clear and clean and simple; not by any
means cheaply equipped, but designed to economise the labour of
redding and repair just as much as is possible. It is beautifully
proportioned, and rather lower than most rooms I know on earth.
There is no fireplace, and I am perplexed by that until I find a
thermometer beside six switches on the wall. Above this switch-board
is a brief instruction: one switch warms the floor, which is not
carpeted, but covered by a substance like soft oilcloth; one warms
the mattress (which is of metal with resistance coils threaded to
and fro in it); and the others warm the wall in various degrees,
each directing current through a separate system of resistances. The
casement does not open, but above, flush with the ceiling, a
noiseless rapid fan pumps air out of the room. The air enters by a
Tobin shaft. There is a recess dressing-room, equipped with a bath
and all that is necessary to one's toilette, and the water, one
remarks, is warmed, if one desires it warm, by passing it through an
electrically heated spiral of tubing. A cake of soap drops out of a
store machine on the turn of a handle, and when you have done with
it, you drop that and your soiled towels and so forth, which also
are given you by machines, into a little box, through the bottom of
which they drop at once, and sail down a smooth shaft. A little
notice tells you the price of your room, and you gather the price is
doubled if you do not leave the toilette as you found it. Beside the
bed, and to be lit at night by a handy switch over the pillow, is a
little clock, its face flush with the wall. The room has no corners
to gather dirt, wall meets floor with a gentle curve, and the
apartment could be swept out effectually by a few strokes of a
mechanical sweeper. The door frames and window frames are of metal,
rounded and impervious to draught. You are politely requested to
turn a handle at the foot of your bed before leaving the room, and
forthwith the frame turns up into a vertical position, and the
bedclothes hang airing. You stand at the doorway and realise that
there remains not a minute's work for anyone to do. Memories of the
foetid disorder of many an earthly bedroom after a night's use
float across your mind.

And you must not imagine this dustless, spotless, sweet apartment as
anything but beautiful. Its appearance is a little unfamiliar of
course, but all the muddle of dust-collecting hangings and witless
ornament that cover the earthly bedroom, the valances, the curtains
to check the draught from the ill-fitting wood windows, the
worthless irrelevant pictures, usually a little askew, the dusty
carpets, and all the paraphernalia about the dirty, black-leaded
fireplace are gone. But the faintly tinted walls are framed with
just one clear coloured line, as finely placed as the member of a
Greek capital; the door handles and the lines of the panels of the
door, the two chairs, the framework of the bed, the writing table,
have all that final simplicity, that exquisite finish of contour
that is begotten of sustained artistic effort. The graciously shaped
windows each frame a picture--since they are draughtless the window
seats are no mere mockeries as are the window seats of earth--and on
the sill, the sole thing to need attention in the room, is one
little bowl of blue Alpine flowers.

The same exquisite simplicity meets one downstairs.

Our landlord sits down at table with us for a moment, and seeing we
do not understand the electrically heated coffee-pot before us,
shows us what to do. Coffee and milk we have, in the Continental
fashion, and some excellent rolls and butter.

He is a swarthy little man, our landlord, and overnight we saw him
preoccupied with other guests. But we have risen either late or
early by Utopian standards, we know not which, and this morning he
has us to himself. His bearing is kindly and inoffensive, but he
cannot conceal the curiosity that possesses him. His eye meets ours
with a mute inquiry, and then as we fall to, we catch him
scrutinising our cuffs, our garments, our boots, our faces, our
table manners. He asks nothing at first, but says a word or so about
our night's comfort and the day's weather, phrases that have an air
of being customary. Then comes a silence that is interrogative.

"Excellent coffee," I say to fill the gap.

"And excellent rolls," says my botanist.

Our landlord indicates his sense of our approval.

A momentary diversion is caused by the entry of an elfin-tressed
little girl, who stares at us half impudently, half shyly, with
bright black eyes, hesitates at the botanist's clumsy smile and nod,
and then goes and stands by her father and surveys us steadfastly.

"You have come far?" ventures our landlord, patting his daughter's

I glance at the botanist. "Yes," I say, "we have."

I expand. "We have come so far that this country of yours seems very
strange indeed to us."

"The mountains?"

"Not only the mountains."

"You came up out of the Ticino valley?"

"No--not that way."

"By the Oberalp?"


"The Furka?"


"Not up from the lake?"


He looks puzzled.

"We came," I say, "from another world."

He seems trying to understand. Then a thought strikes him, and he
sends away his little girl with a needless message to her

"Ah!" he says. "Another world--eh? Meaning----?"

"Another world--far in the deeps of space."

Then at the expression of his face one realises that a Modern Utopia
will probably keep its more intelligent citizens for better work
than inn-tending. He is evidently inaccessible to the idea we think
of putting before him. He stares at us a moment, and then remarks,
"There's the book to sign."

We find ourselves confronted with a book, a little after the fashion
of the familiar hotel visitors' book of earth. He places this before
us, and beside it puts pen and ink and a slab, upon which ink has
been freshly smeared.

"Thumbmarks," says my scientific friend hastily in English.

"You show me how to do it," I say as quickly.

He signs first, and I look over his shoulder.

He is displaying more readiness than I should have expected. The
book is ruled in broad transverse lines, and has a space for a name,
for a number, and a thumbmark. He puts his thumb upon the slab and
makes the thumbmark first with the utmost deliberation. Meanwhile
he studies the other two entries. The "numbers" of the previous
guests above are complex muddles of letters and figures. He writes
his name, then with a calm assurance writes down his number,
A.M.a.1607.2.ab+. I am wrung with momentary admiration. I follow
his example, and fabricate an equally imposing signature. We think
ourselves very clever. The landlord proffers finger bowls for our
thumbs, and his eye goes, just a little curiously, to our entries.

I decide it is advisable to pay and go before any conversation about
our formulae arises.

As we emerge into the corridor, and the morning sunlight of the
Utopian world, I see the landlord bending over the book.

"Come on," I say. "The most tiresome thing in the world is
explanations, and I perceive that if we do not get along, they will
fall upon us now."

I glance back to discover the landlord and a gracefully robed woman
standing outside the pretty simplicity of the Utopian inn, watching
us doubtfully as we recede.

"Come on," I insist.

Section 8

We should go towards the Schoellenen gorge, and as we went, our
fresh morning senses would gather together a thousand factors for
our impression of this more civilised world. A Modern Utopia will
have done with yapping about nationality, and so the ugly
fortifications, the barracks and military defilements of the earthly
vale of Urseren will be wanting. Instead there will be a great
multitude of gracious little houses clustering in college-like
groups, no doubt about their common kitchens and halls, down and
about the valley slopes. And there will be many more trees, and a
great variety of trees--all the world will have been ransacked for
winter conifers. Despite the height of the valley there will be a
double avenue along the road. This high road with its tramway would
turn with us to descend the gorge, and we should hesitate upon the
adventure of boarding the train. But now we should have the memory
of our landlord's curious eye upon us, and we should decide at last
to defer the risk of explanations such an enterprise might

We should go by the great road for a time, and note something of the
difference between Utopian and terrestrial engineering.

The tramway, the train road, the culverts, and bridges, the
Urnerloch tunnel, into which the road plunges, will all be beautiful

There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and
railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to
be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection; a thing of human
making is for the most part ugly in proportion to the poverty of its
constructive thought, to the failure of its producer fully to grasp
the purpose of its being. Everything to which men continue to give
thought and attention, which they make and remake in the same
direction, and with a continuing desire to do as well as they can,
grows beautiful inevitably. Things made by mankind under modern
conditions are ugly, primarily because our social organisation is
ugly, because we live in an atmosphere of snatch and uncertainty,
and do everything in an underbred strenuous manner. This is the
misfortune of machinery, and not its fault. Art, like some beautiful
plant, lives on its atmosphere, and when the atmosphere is good, it
will grow everywhere, and when it is bad nowhere. If we smashed and
buried every machine, every furnace, every factory in the world, and
without any further change set ourselves to home industries, hand
labour, spade husbandry, sheep-folding and pig minding, we should
still do things in the same haste, and achieve nothing but
dirtiness, inconvenience, bad air, and another gaunt and gawky
reflection of our intellectual and moral disorder. We should mend

But in Utopia a man who designs a tram road will be a cultivated
man, an artist craftsman; he will strive, as a good writer, or a
painter strives, to achieve the simplicity of perfection. He will
make his girders and rails and parts as gracious as that first
engineer, Nature, has made the stems of her plants and the joints
and gestures of her animals. To esteem him a sort of anti-artist, to
count every man who makes things with his unaided thumbs an artist,
and every man who uses machinery as a brute, is merely a passing
phase of human stupidity. This tram road beside us will be a triumph
of design. The idea will be so unfamiliar to us that for a time it
will not occur to us that it is a system of beautiful objects at
all. We shall admire its ingenious adaptation to the need of a
district that is buried half the year in snow, the hard bed below,
curved and guttered to do its own clearing, the great arched sleeper
masses, raising the rails a good two yards above the ground, the
easy, simple standards and insulators. Then it will creep in upon
our minds, "But, by Jove! This is designed!"

Indeed the whole thing will be designed.

Later on, perhaps, we may find students in an art school working in
competition to design an electric tram, students who know something
of modern metallurgy, and something of electrical engineering, and
we shall find people as keenly critical of a signal box or an iron
bridge as they are on earth of----! Heavens! what _are_ they
critical about on earth?

The quality and condition of a dress tie!

We should make some unpatriotic comparisons with our own planet, no


The Voice of Nature

Section 1

Presently we recognise the fellow of the earthly Devil's Bridge,
still intact as a footway, spanning the gorge, and old memories turn
us off the road down the steep ruin of an ancient mule track towards
it. It is our first reminder that Utopia too must have a history. We
cross it and find the Reuss, for all that it has already lit and
warmed and ventilated and cleaned several thousands of houses in the
dale above, and for all that it drives those easy trams in the
gallery overhead, is yet capable of as fine a cascade as ever it
flung on earth. So we come to a rocky path, wild as one could wish,
and descend, discoursing how good and fair an ordered world may be,
but with a certain unformulated qualification in our minds about
those thumb marks we have left behind.

"Do you recall the Zermatt valley?" says my friend, "and how on
earth it reeks and stinks with smoke?"

"People make that an argument for obstructing change, instead of
helping it forward!"

And here perforce an episode intrudes. We are invaded by a talkative

He overtakes us and begins talking forthwith in a fluty, but not
unamiable, tenor. He is a great talker, this man, and a fairly
respectable gesticulator, and to him it is we make our first
ineffectual tentatives at explaining who indeed we are; but his flow
of talk washes that all away again. He has a face of that rubicund,
knobby type I have heard an indignant mineralogist speak of as
botryoidal, and about it waves a quantity of disorderly blond hair.
He is dressed in leather doublet and knee breeches, and he wears
over these a streaming woollen cloak of faded crimson that give him
a fine dramatic outline as he comes down towards us over the rocks.
His feet, which are large and handsome, but bright pink with the
keen morning air, are bare, except for sandals of leather. (It was
the only time that we saw anyone in Utopia with bare feet.) He
salutes us with a scroll-like waving of his stick, and falls in with
our slower paces.

"Climbers, I presume?" he says, "and you scorn these trams of
theirs? I like you. So do I! Why a man should consent to be dealt
with as a bale of goods holding an indistinctive ticket--when God
gave him legs and a face--passes my understanding."

As he speaks, his staff indicates the great mechanical road that
runs across the gorge and high overhead through a gallery in the
rock, follows it along until it turns the corner, picks it up as a
viaduct far below, traces it until it plunges into an arcade through
a jutting crag, and there dismisses it with a spiral whirl. "_No_!"
he says.

He seems sent by Providence, for just now we had been discussing how
we should broach our remarkable situation to these Utopians before
our money is spent.

Our eyes meet, and I gather from the botanist that I am to open our

I do my best.

"You came from the other side of space!" says the man in the crimson
cloak, interrupting me. "Precisely! I like that--it's exactly my
note! So do I! And you find this world strange! Exactly my case! We
are brothers! We shall be in sympathy. I am amazed, I have been
amazed as long as I can remember, and I shall die, most certainly,
in a state of incredulous amazement, at this remarkable world.
Eh? ... You found yourselves suddenly upon a mountain top! Fortunate
men!" He chuckled. "For my part I found myself in the still stranger
position of infant to two parents of the most intractable

"The fact remains," I protest.

"A position, I can assure you, demanding Tact of an altogether
superhuman quality!"

We desist for a space from the attempt to explain our remarkable
selves, and for the rest of the time this picturesque and
exceptional Utopian takes the talk entirely under his control....

Section 2

An agreeable person, though a little distracting, he was, and he
talked, we recall, of many things. He impressed us, we found
afterwards, as a poseur beyond question, a conscious Ishmaelite in
the world of wit, and in some subtly inexplicable way as a most
consummate ass. He talked first of the excellent and commodious
trams that came from over the passes, and ran down the long valley
towards middle Switzerland, and of all the growth of pleasant homes
and chalets amidst the heights that made the opening gorge so
different from its earthly parallel, with a fine disrespect. "But
they are beautiful," I protested. "They are graciously proportioned,
they are placed in well-chosen positions; they give no offence to
the eye."

"What do we know of the beauty they replace? They are a mere rash.
Why should we men play the part of bacteria upon the face of our

"All life is that!"

"No! not natural life, not the plants and the gentle creatures that
live their wild shy lives in forest and jungle. That is a part of
her. That is the natural bloom of her complexion. But these houses
and tramways and things, all made from ore and stuff torn from her
veins----! You can't better my image of the rash. It's a morbid
breaking out! I'd give it all for one--what is it?--free and natural

"You live at times in a house?" I asked.

He ignored my question. For him, untroubled Nature was the best, he
said, and, with a glance at his feet, the most beautiful. He
professed himself a Nazarite, and shook back his Teutonic poet's
shock of hair. So he came to himself, and for the rest of our walk
he kept to himself as the thread of his discourse, and went over
himself from top to toe, and strung thereon all topics under the sun
by way of illustrating his splendours. But especially his foil was
the relative folly, the unnaturalness and want of logic in his
fellow men. He held strong views about the extreme simplicity of
everything, only that men, in their muddle-headedness, had
confounded it all. "Hence, for example, these trams! They are always
running up and down as though they were looking for the lost
simplicity of nature. 'We dropped it here!'" He earned a living, we
gathered, "some considerable way above the minimum wage," which
threw a chance light on the labour problem--by perforating records
for automatic musical machines--no doubt of the Pianotist and
Pianola kind--and he spent all the leisure he could gain in going to
and fro in the earth lecturing on "The Need of a Return to Nature,"
and on "Simple Foods and Simple Ways." He did it for the love of it.
It was very clear to us he had an inordinate impulse to lecture, and
esteemed us fair game. He had been lecturing on these topics in
Italy, and he was now going back through the mountains to lecture in
Saxony, lecturing on the way, to perforate a lot more records,
lecturing the while, and so start out lecturing again. He was
undisguisedly glad to have us to lecture to by the way.

He called our attention to his costume at an early stage. It was the
embodiment of his ideal of Nature-clothing, and it had been made
especially for him at very great cost. "Simply because naturalness
has fled the earth, and has to be sought now, and washed out from
your crushed complexities like gold."

"I should have thought," said I, "that any clothing whatever was
something of a slight upon the natural man."

"Not at all," said he, "not at all! You forget his natural

He was particularly severe on our artificial hoofs, as he called our
boots, and our hats or hair destructors. "Man is the real King of
Beasts and should wear a mane. The lion only wears it by consent and
in captivity." He tossed his head.

Subsequently while we lunched and he waited for the specific natural
dishes he ordered--they taxed the culinary resources of the inn to
the utmost--he broached a comprehensive generalisation. "The animal
kingdom and the vegetable kingdom are easily distinguished, and for
the life of me I see no reason for confusing them. It is, I hold, a
sin against Nature. I keep them distinct in my mind and I keep them
distinct in my person. No animal substance inside, no vegetable
without;--what could be simpler or more logical? Nothing upon me but
leather and allwool garments, within, cereals, fruit, nuts, herbs,
and the like. Classification--order--man's function. He is here to
observe and accentuate Nature's simplicity. These people"--he swept
an arm that tried not too personally to include us--"are filled and
covered with confusion."

He ate great quantities of grapes and finished with a cigarette. He
demanded and drank a great horn of unfermented grape juice, and it
seemed to suit him well.

We three sat about the board--it was in an agreeable little arbour
on a hill hard by the place where Wassen stands on earth, and it
looked down the valley to the Uri Rothstock, and ever and again we
sought to turn his undeniable gift of exposition to the elucidation
of our own difficulties.

But we seemed to get little, his style was so elusive. Afterwards,
indeed, we found much information and many persuasions had soaked
into us, but at the time it seemed to us he told us nothing. He
indicated things by dots and dashes, instead of by good hard
assertive lines. He would not pause to see how little we knew.
Sometimes his wit rose so high that he would lose sight of it
himself, and then he would pause, purse his lips as if he whistled,
and then till the bird came back to the lure, fill his void mouth
with grapes. He talked of the relations of the sexes, and love--a
passion he held in great contempt as being in its essence complex
and disingenuous--and afterwards we found we had learnt much of what
the marriage laws of Utopia allow and forbid.

"A simple natural freedom," he said, waving a grape in an
illustrative manner, and so we gathered the Modern Utopia did not at
any rate go to that. He spoke, too, of the regulation of unions, of
people who were not allowed to have children, of complicated rules
and interventions. "Man," he said, "had ceased to be a natural

We tried to check him with questions at this most illuminating
point, but he drove on like a torrent, and carried his topic out of
sight. The world, he held, was overmanaged, and that was the root of
all evil. He talked of the overmanagement of the world, and among
other things of the laws that would not let a poor simple idiot, a
"natural," go at large. And so we had our first glimpse of what
Utopia did with the feeble and insane. "We make all these
distinctions between man and man, we exalt this and favour that, and
degrade and seclude that; we make birth artificial, life artificial,
death artificial."

"You say _We_," said I, with the first glimmering of a new idea,
"but _you_ don't participate?"

"Not I! I'm not one of your samurai, your voluntary noblemen who
have taken the world in hand. I might be, of course, but I'm

"Samurai!" I repeated, "voluntary noblemen!" and for the moment
could not frame a question.

He whirled on to an attack on science, that stirred the botanist to
controversy. He denounced with great bitterness all specialists
whatever, and particularly doctors and engineers.

"Voluntary noblemen!" he said, "voluntary Gods I fancy they think
themselves," and I was left behind for a space in the perplexed
examination of this parenthesis, while he and the botanist--who is
sedulous to keep his digestion up to date with all the newest
devices--argued about the good of medicine men.

"The natural human constitution," said the blond-haired man, "is
perfectly simple, with one simple condition--you must leave it to
Nature. But if you mix up things so distinctly and essentially
separated as the animal and vegetable kingdoms for example, and ram
_that_ in for it to digest, what can you expect?

"Ill health! There isn't such a thing--in the course of Nature. But
you shelter from Nature in houses, you protect yourselves by clothes
that are useful instead of being ornamental, you wash--with such
abstersive chemicals as soap for example--and above all you consult
doctors." He approved himself with a chuckle. "Have you ever found
anyone seriously ill without doctors and medicine about? Never! You
say a lot of people would die without shelter and medical
attendance! No doubt--but a natural death. A natural death is better
than an artificial life, surely? That's--to be frank with you--the
very citadel of my position."

That led him, and rather promptly, before the botanist could rally
to reply, to a great tirade against the laws that forbade "sleeping
out." He denounced them with great vigour, and alleged that for his
own part he broke that law whenever he could, found some corner of
moss, shaded from an excess of dew, and there sat up to sleep. He
slept, he said, always in a sitting position, with his head on his
wrists, and his wrists on his knees--the simple natural position for
sleep in man.... He said it would be far better if all the world
slept out, and all the houses were pulled down.

You will understand, perhaps, the subdued irritation I felt, as I
sat and listened to the botanist entangling himself in the logical
net of this wild nonsense. It impressed me as being irrelevant. When
one comes to a Utopia one expects a Cicerone, one expects a person
as precise and insistent and instructive as an American
advertisement--the advertisement of one of those land agents, for
example, who print their own engaging photographs to instil
confidence and begin, "You want to buy real estate." One expects to
find all Utopians absolutely convinced of the perfection of their
Utopia, and incapable of receiving a hint against its order. And
here was this purveyor of absurdities!

And yet now that I come to think it over, is not this too one of the
necessary differences between a Modern Utopia and those finite
compact settlements of the older school of dreamers? It is not to be
a unanimous world any more, it is to have all and more of the mental
contrariety we find in the world of the real; it is no longer to be
perfectly explicable, it is just our own vast mysterious welter,
with some of the blackest shadows gone, with a clearer illumination,
and a more conscious and intelligent will. Irrelevance is not
irrelevant to such a scheme, and our blond-haired friend is exactly
just where he ought to be here.


Section 3

I ceased to listen to the argumentation of my botanist with this
apostle of Nature. The botanist, in his scientific way, was, I
believe, defending the learned professions. (He thinks and argues
like drawing on squared paper.) It struck me as transiently
remarkable that a man who could not be induced to forget himself and
his personal troubles on coming into a whole new world, who could
waste our first evening in Utopia upon a paltry egotistical love
story, should presently become quite heated and impersonal in the
discussion of scientific professionalism. He was--absorbed. I can't
attempt to explain these vivid spots and blind spots in the
imaginations of sane men; there they are!

"You say," said the botanist, with a prevalent index finger, and the
resolute deliberation of a big siege gun being lugged into action
over rough ground by a number of inexperienced men, "you prefer a
natural death to an artificial life. But what is your _definition_
(stress) of artificial? ..."

And after lunch too! I ceased to listen, flicked the end of my
cigarette ash over the green trellis of the arbour, stretched my
legs with a fine restfulness, leant back, and gave my mind to the
fields and houses that lay adown the valley.

What I saw interwove with fragmentary things our garrulous friend
had said, and with the trend of my own speculations....

The high road, with its tramways and its avenues on either side, ran
in a bold curve, and with one great loop of descent, down the
opposite side of the valley, and below crossed again on a beautiful
viaduct, and dipped into an arcade in the side of the Bristenstock.
Our inn stood out boldly, high above the level this took. The houses
clustered in their collegiate groups over by the high road, and near
the subordinate way that ran almost vertically below us and past us
and up towards the valley of the Meien Reuss. There were one or two
Utopians cutting and packing the flowery mountain grass in the
carefully levelled and irrigated meadows by means of swift, light
machines that ran on things like feet and seemed to devour the
herbage, and there were many children and a woman or so, going to
and fro among the houses near at hand. I guessed a central building
towards the high road must be the school from which these children
were coming. I noted the health and cleanliness of these young heirs
of Utopia as they passed below.

The pervading quality of the whole scene was a sane order, the
deliberate solution of problems, a progressive intention steadily
achieving itself, and the aspect that particularly occupied me was
the incongruity of this with our blond-haired friend.

On the one hand here was a state of affairs that implied a power of
will, an organising and controlling force, the co-operation of a
great number of vigorous people to establish and sustain its
progress, and on the other this creature of pose and vanity, with
his restless wit, his perpetual giggle at his own cleverness, his
manifest incapacity for comprehensive co-operation.

Now, had I come upon a hopeless incompatibility? Was this the
reductio ad absurdum of my vision, and must it even as I sat there
fade, dissolve, and vanish before my eyes?

There was no denying our blond friend. If this Utopia is indeed to
parallel our earth, man for man--and I see no other reasonable
choice to that--there must be this sort of person and kindred sorts
of persons in great abundance. The desire and gift to see life whole
is not the lot of the great majority of men, the service of truth is
the privilege of the elect, and these clever fools who choke the
avenues of the world of thought, who stick at no inconsistency, who
oppose, obstruct, confuse, will find only the freer scope amidst
Utopian freedoms.

(They argued on, these two, as I worried my brains with riddles. It
was like a fight between a cock sparrow and a tortoise; they both
went on in their own way, regardless of each other's proceedings.
The encounter had an air of being extremely lively, and the moments
of contact were few. "But you mistake my point," the blond man was
saying, disordering his hair--which had become unruffled in the
preoccupation of dispute--with a hasty movement of his hand, "you
don't appreciate the position I take up.")

"Ugh!" said I privately, and lighted another cigarette and went away
into my own thoughts with that.

The position he takes up! That's the way of your intellectual fool,
the Universe over. He takes up a position, and he's going to be the
most brilliant, delightful, engaging and invincible of gay delicious
creatures defending that position you can possibly imagine. And even
when the case is not so bad as that, there still remains the quality.
We "take up our positions," silly little contentious creatures
that we are, we will not see the right in one another, we will not
patiently state and restate, and honestly accommodate and plan, and
so we remain at sixes and sevens. We've all a touch of Gladstone in
us, and try to the last moment to deny we have made a turn. And so
our poor broken-springed world jolts athwart its trackless destiny.
Try to win into line with some fellow weakling, and see the little
host of suspicions, aggressions, misrepresentations, your approach
will stir--like summer flies on a high road--the way he will try to
score a point and claim you as a convert to what he has always said,
his fear lest the point should be scored to you.

It is not only such gross and palpable cases as our blond and
tenoring friend. I could find the thing negligible were it only
that. But when one sees the same thread woven into men who are
leaders, men who sway vast multitudes, who are indeed great and
powerful men; when one sees how unfair they can be, how unteachable,
the great blind areas in their eyes also, their want of generosity,
then one's doubts gather like mists across this Utopian valley, its
vistas pale, its people become unsubstantial phantoms, all its order
and its happiness dim and recede....

If we are to have any Utopia at all, we must have a clear common
purpose, and a great and steadfast movement of will to override all
these incurably egotistical dissentients. Something is needed wide
and deep enough to float the worst of egotisms away. The world is
not to be made right by acclamation and in a day, and then for ever
more trusted to run alone. It is manifest this Utopia could not come
about by chance and anarchy, but by co-ordinated effort and a
community of design, and to tell of just land laws and wise
government, a wisely balanced economic system, and wise social
arrangements without telling how it was brought about, and how it is
sustained against the vanity and self-indulgence, the moody
fluctuations and uncertain imaginations, the heat and aptitude for
partisanship that lurk, even when they do not flourish, in the
texture of every man alive, is to build a palace without either door
or staircase.

I had not this in mind when I began.

Somewhere in the Modern Utopia there must be adequate men, men the
very antithesis of our friend, capable of self-devotion, of
intentional courage, of honest thought, and steady endeavour. There
must be a literature to embody their common idea, of which this
Modern Utopia is merely the material form; there must be some
organisation, however slight, to keep them in touch one with the

Who will these men be? Will they be a caste? a race? an organisation
in the nature of a Church? ... And there came into my mind the words
of our acquaintance, that he was not one of these "voluntary

At first that phrase struck me as being merely queer, and then I
began to realise certain possibilities that were wrapped up in

The animus of our chance friend, at any rate, went to suggest that
here was his antithesis. Evidently what he is not, will be the class
to contain what is needed here. Evidently.

Section 4

I was recalled from my meditations by the hand of the blond-haired
man upon my arm.

I looked up to discover the botanist had gone into the inn.

The blond-haired man was for a moment almost stripped of pose.

"I say," he said. "Weren't you listening to me?"

"No," I said bluntly.

His surprise was manifest. But by an effort he recalled what he had
meant to say.

"Your friend," he said, "has been telling me, in spite of my
sustained interruptions, a most incredible story."

I wondered how the botanist managed to get it in. "About that
woman?" I said.

"About a man and a woman who hate each other and can't get away from
each other."

"I know," I said.

"It sounds absurd."

"It is."

"Why can't they get away? What is there to keep them together? It's
ridiculous. I----"


"He _would_ tell it to me."

"It's his way."

"He interrupted me. And there's no point in it. Is he----" he
hesitated, "mad?"

"There's a whole world of people mad with him," I answered after a

The perplexed expression of the blond-haired man intensified. It is
vain to deny that he enlarged the scope of his inquiry, visibly if
not verbally. "Dear me!" he said, and took up something he had
nearly forgotten. "And you found yourselves suddenly on a mountain
side? ... I thought you were joking."

I turned round upon him with a sudden access of earnestness. At
least I meant my manner to be earnest, but to him it may have seemed

"You," I said, "are an original sort of man. Do not be alarmed.
Perhaps you will understand.... We were not joking."

"But, my dear fellow!"

"I mean it! We come from an inferior world! Like this, but out of

"No world could be more out of order----"

"You play at that and have your fun. But there's no limit to the
extent to which a world of men may get out of gear. In our

He nodded, but his eye had ceased to be friendly.

"Men die of starvation; people die by the hundred thousand
needlessly and painfully; men and women are lashed together to make
hell for each other; children are born--abominably, and reared in
cruelty and folly; there is a thing called war, a horror of blood
and vileness. The whole thing seems to me at times a cruel and
wasteful wilderness of muddle. You in this decent world have no
means of understanding----"

"No?" he said, and would have begun, but I went on too quickly.

"No! When I see you dandering through this excellent and hopeful
world, objecting, obstructing, and breaking the law, displaying your
wit on science and order, on the men who toil so ingloriously to
swell and use the knowledge that is salvation, this salvation for
which _our_ poor world cries to heaven----"

"You don't mean to say," he said, "that you really come from some
other world where things are different and worse?"

"I do."

"And you want to talk to me about it instead of listening to


"Oh, nonsense!" he said abruptly. "You can't do it--really. I can
assure you this present world touches the nadir of imbecility. You
and your friend, with his love for the lady who's so mysteriously
tied--you're romancing! People could not possibly do such things.
It's--if you'll excuse me--ridiculous. _He_ began--he would begin.
A most tiresome story--simply bore me down. We'd been talking very
agreeably before that, or rather I had, about the absurdity of
marriage laws, the interference with a free and natural life, and so
on, and suddenly he burst like a dam. No!" He paused. "It's really
impossible. You behave perfectly well for a time, and then you begin
to interrupt.... And such a childish story, too!"

He spun round upon his chair, got up, glanced at me over his
shoulder, and walked out of the arbour. He stepped aside hastily to
avoid too close an approach to the returning botanist. "Impossible,"
I heard him say. He was evidently deeply aggrieved by us. I saw him
presently a little way off in the garden, talking to the landlord of
our inn, and looking towards us as he talked--they both looked
towards us--and after that, without the ceremony of a farewell, he
disappeared, and we saw him no more. We waited for him a little
while, and then I expounded the situation to the botanist....

"We are going to have a very considerable amount of trouble
explaining ourselves," I said in conclusion. "We are here by an
act of the imagination, and that is just one of those metaphysical
operations that are so difficult to make credible. We are, by the
standard of bearing and clothing I remark about us, unattractive in
dress and deportment. We have nothing to produce to explain our
presence here, no bit of a flying machine or a space travelling
sphere or any of the apparatus customary on these occasions. We have
no means beyond a dwindling amount of small change out of a gold
coin, upon which I suppose in ethics and the law some native Utopian
had a better claim. We may already have got ourselves into trouble
with the authorities with that confounded number of yours!"

"You did one too!"

"All the more bother, perhaps, when the thing is brought home to us.
There's no need for recriminations. The thing of moment is that we
find ourselves in the position--not to put too fine a point upon
it--of tramps in this admirable world. The question of all others of
importance to us at present is what do they do with their tramps?
Because sooner or later, and the balance of probability seems to
incline to sooner, whatever they do with their tramps that they will
do with us."

"Unless we can get some work."

"Exactly--unless we can get some work."

"Get work!"

The botanist leant forward on his arms and looked out of the arbour
with an expression of despondent discovery. "I say," he remarked;
"this is a strange world--quite strange and new. I'm only beginning
to realise just what it means for us. The mountains there are the
same, the old Bristenstock and all the rest of it; but these houses,
you know, and that roadway, and the costumes, and that machine that
is licking up the grass there--only...."

He sought expression. "Who knows what will come in sight round the
bend of the valley there? Who knows what may happen to us anywhere?
We don't know who rules over us even ... we don't know that!"

"No," I echoed, "we don't know _that_."


Failure in a Modern Utopia

Section 1

The old Utopias--save for the breeding schemes of Plato and
Campanella--ignored that reproductive competition among
individualities which is the substance of life, and dealt
essentially with its incidentals. The endless variety of men, their
endless gradation of quality, over which the hand of selection
plays, and to which we owe the unmanageable complication of real
life, is tacitly set aside. The real world is a vast disorder of
accidents and incalculable forces in which men survive or fail. A
Modern Utopia, unlike its predecessors, dare not pretend to change
the last condition; it may order and humanise the conflict, but men
must still survive or fail.

Most Utopias present themselves as going concerns, as happiness in
being; they make it an essential condition that a happy land can
have no history, and all the citizens one is permitted to see are
well looking and upright and mentally and morally in tune. But we
are under the dominion of a logic that obliges us to take over the
actual population of the world with only such moral and mental and
physical improvements as lie within their inherent possibilities,
and it is our business to ask what Utopia will do with its
congenital invalids, its idiots and madmen, its drunkards and men of
vicious mind, its cruel and furtive souls, its stupid people, too
stupid to be of use to the community, its lumpish, unteachable and
unimaginative people? And what will it do with the man who is "poor"
all round, the rather spiritless, rather incompetent low-grade man
who on earth sits in the den of the sweater, tramps the streets
under the banner of the unemployed, or trembles--in another man's
cast-off clothing, and with an infinity of hat-touching--on the
verge of rural employment?

These people will have to be in the descendant phase, the species
must be engaged in eliminating them; there is no escape from that,
and conversely the people of exceptional quality must be ascendant.
The better sort of people, so far as they can be distinguished,
must have the fullest freedom of public service, and the fullest
opportunity of parentage. And it must be open to every man to
approve himself worthy of ascendency.

The way of Nature in this process is to kill the weaker and the
sillier, to crush them, to starve them, to overwhelm them, using the
stronger and more cunning as her weapon. But man is the unnatural
animal, the rebel child of Nature, and more and more does he turn
himself against the harsh and fitful hand that reared him. He sees
with a growing resentment the multitude of suffering ineffectual
lives over which his species tramples in its ascent. In the Modern
Utopia he will have set himself to change the ancient law. No longer
will it be that failures must suffer and perish lest their breed
increase, but the breed of failure must not increase, lest they
suffer and perish, and the race with them.

Now we need not argue here to prove that the resources of the world
and the energy of mankind, were they organised sanely, are amply
sufficient to supply every material need of every living human
being. And if it can be so contrived that every human being shall
live in a state of reasonable physical and mental comfort, without
the reproduction of inferior types, there is no reason whatever why
that should not be secured. But there must be a competition in life
of some sort to determine who are to be pushed to the edge, and who
are to prevail and multiply. Whatever we do, man will remain a
competitive creature, and though moral and intellectual training
may vary and enlarge his conception of success and fortify him
with refinements and consolations, no Utopia will ever save him
completely from the emotional drama of struggle, from exultations
and humiliations, from pride and prostration and shame. He lives in
success and failure just as inevitably as he lives in space and

But we may do much to make the margin of failure endurable. On
earth, for all the extravagance of charity, the struggle for the
mass of men at the bottom resolves itself into a struggle, and often
a very foul and ugly struggle, for food, shelter, and clothing.
Deaths outright from exposure and starvation are now perhaps
uncommon, but for the multitude there are only miserable houses,
uncomfortable clothes, and bad and insufficient food; fractional
starvation and exposure, that is to say. A Utopia planned upon
modern lines will certainly have put an end to that. It will insist
upon every citizen being being properly housed, well nourished, and
in good health, reasonably clean and clothed healthily, and upon
that insistence its labour laws will be founded. In a phrasing
that will be familiar to everyone interested in social reform,
it will maintain a standard of life. Any house, unless it be a
public monument, that does not come up to its rising standard of
healthiness and convenience, the Utopian State will incontinently
pull down, and pile the material and charge the owner for the
labour; any house unduly crowded or dirty, it must in some effectual
manner, directly or indirectly, confiscate and clear and clean. And
any citizen indecently dressed, or ragged and dirty, or publicly
unhealthy, or sleeping abroad homeless, or in any way neglected or
derelict, must come under its care. It will find him work if he can
and will work, it will take him to it, it will register him and lend
him the money wherewith to lead a comely life until work can be
found or made for him, and it will give him credit and shelter him
and strengthen him if he is ill. In default of private enterprises
it will provide inns for him and food, and it will--by itself acting
as the reserve employer--maintain a minimum wage which will cover
the cost of a decent life. The State will stand at the back of the
economic struggle as the reserve employer of labour. This most
excellent idea does, as a matter of fact, underlie the British
institution of the workhouse, but it is jumbled up with the relief
of old age and infirmity, it is administered parochially and on the
supposition that all population is static and localised whereas
every year it becomes more migratory; it is administered without
any regard to the rising standards of comfort and self-respect in
a progressive civilisation, and it is administered grudgingly. The
thing that is done is done as unwilling charity by administrators
who are often, in the rural districts at least, competing for
low-priced labour, and who regard want of employment as a crime. But
if it were possible for any citizen in need of money to resort to a
place of public employment as a right, and there work for a week or
month without degradation upon certain minimum terms, it seems
fairly certain that no one would work, except as the victim of some
quite exceptional and temporary accident, for less.

The work publicly provided would have to be toilsome, but not
cruel or incapacitating. A choice of occupations would need to be
afforded, occupations adapted to different types of training and
capacity, with some residual employment of a purely laborious and
mechanical sort for those who were incapable of doing the things
that required intelligence. Necessarily this employment by the
State would be a relief of economic pressure, but it would not be
considered a charity done to the individual, but a public service.
It need not pay, any more than the police need pay, but it could
probably be done at a small margin of loss. There is a number of
durable things bound finally to be useful that could be made and
stored whenever the tide of more highly paid employment ebbed and
labour sank to its minimum, bricks, iron from inferior ores, shaped
and preserved timber, pins, nails, plain fabrics of cotton and
linen, paper, sheet glass, artificial fuel, and so on; new roads
could be made and public buildings reconstructed, inconveniences
of all sorts removed, until under the stimulus of accumulating
material, accumulating investments or other circumstances, the tide
of private enterprise flowed again.

The State would provide these things for its citizen as though it
was his right to require them; he would receive as a shareholder in
the common enterprise and not with any insult of charity. But on the
other hand it will require that the citizen who renders the minimum
of service for these concessions shall not become a parent until he
is established in work at a rate above the minimum, and free of any
debt he may have incurred. The State will never press for its debt,
nor put a limit to its accumulation so long as a man or woman
remains childless; it will not even grudge them temporary spells of
good fortune when they may lift their earnings above the minimum
wage. It will pension the age of everyone who cares to take a
pension, and it will maintain special guest homes for the very old
to which they may come as paying guests, spending their pensions
there. By such obvious devices it will achieve the maximum
elimination of its feeble and spiritless folk in every generation
with the minimum of suffering and public disorder.

Section 2

But the mildly incompetent, the spiritless and dull, the poorer sort
who are ill, do not exhaust our Utopian problem. There remain idiots
and lunatics, there remain perverse and incompetent persons, there
are people of weak character who become drunkards, drug takers, and
the like. Then there are persons tainted with certain foul and
transmissible diseases. All these people spoil the world for others.
They may become parents, and with most of them there is manifestly
nothing to be done but to seclude them from the great body of the
population. You must resort to a kind of social surgery. You cannot
have social freedom in your public ways, your children cannot speak
to whom they will, your girls and gentle women cannot go abroad
while some sorts of people go free. And there are violent people,
and those who will not respect the property of others, thieves and
cheats, they, too, so soon as their nature is confirmed, must pass
out of the free life of our ordered world. So soon as there can be
no doubt of the disease or baseness of the individual, so soon as
the insanity or other disease is assured, or the crime repeated a
third time, or the drunkenness or misdemeanour past its seventh
occasion (let us say), so soon must he or she pass out of the common
ways of men.

The dreadfulness of all such proposals as this lies in the
possibility of their execution falling into the hands of hard, dull,
and cruel administrators. But in the case of a Utopia one assumes
the best possible government, a government as merciful and
deliberate as it is powerful and decisive. You must not too hastily
imagine these things being done--as they would be done on earth at
present--by a number of zealous half-educated people in a state of
panic at a quite imaginary "Rapid Multiplication of the Unfit."

No doubt for first offenders, and for all offenders under
five-and-twenty, the Modern Utopia will attempt cautionary and
remedial treatment. There will be disciplinary schools and colleges
for the young, fair and happy places, but with less confidence and
more restraint than the schools and colleges of the ordinary world.
In remote and solitary regions these enclosures will lie, they will
be fenced in and forbidden to the common run of men, and there,
remote from all temptation, the defective citizen will be schooled.
There will be no masking of the lesson; "which do you value most,
the wide world of humanity, or this evil trend in you?" From that
discipline at last the prisoners will return.

But the others; what would a saner world do with them?

Our world is still vindictive, but the all-reaching State of Utopia
will have the strength that begets mercy. Quietly the outcast will
go from among his fellow men. There will be no drumming of him out
of the ranks, no tearing off of epaulettes, no smiting in the face.
The thing must be just public enough to obviate secret tyrannies,
and that is all.

There would be no killing, no lethal chambers. No doubt Utopia will
kill all deformed and monstrous and evilly diseased births, but for
the rest, the State will hold itself accountable for their being.
There is no justice in Nature perhaps, but the idea of justice
must be sacred in any good society. Lives that statesmanship has
permitted, errors it has not foreseen and educated against, must
not be punished by death. If the State does not keep faith, no one
will keep faith. Crime and bad lives are the measure of a State's
failure, all crime in the end is the crime of the community. Even
for murder Utopia will not, I think, kill.

I doubt even if there will be jails. No men are quite wise enough,
good enough and cheap enough to staff jails as a jail ought to be
staffed. Perhaps islands will be chosen, islands lying apart from
the highways of the sea, and to these the State will send its
exiles, most of them thanking Heaven, no doubt, to be quit of a
world of prigs. The State will, of course, secure itself against
any children from these people, that is the primary object in their
seclusion, and perhaps it may even be necessary to make these
island prisons a system of island monasteries and island nunneries.
Upon that I am not competent to speak, but if I may believe the
literature of the subject--unhappily a not very well criticised
literature--it is not necessary to enforce this separation.
[Footnote: See for example Dr. W. A. Chapple's The Fertility of
the Unfit.]

About such islands patrol boats will go, there will be no freedoms
of boat building, and it may be necessary to have armed guards at
the creeks and quays. Beyond that the State will give these
segregated failures just as full a liberty as they can have. If
it interferes any further it will be simply to police the islands
against the organisation of serious cruelty, to maintain the freedom
of any of the detained who wish it to transfer themselves to other
islands, and so to keep a check upon tyranny. The insane, of course,
will demand care and control, but there is no reason why the islands
of the hopeless drunkard, for example, should not each have a
virtual autonomy, have at the most a Resident and a guard. I believe
that a community of drunkards might be capable of organising even
its own bad habit to the pitch of tolerable existence. I do not
see why such an island should not build and order for itself and
manufacture and trade. "Your ways are not our ways," the World State
will say; "but here is freedom and a company of kindred souls. Elect
your jolly rulers, brew if you will, and distil; here are vine
cuttings and barley fields; do as it pleases you to do. We will take
care of the knives, but for the rest--deal yourselves with God!"

And you see the big convict steamship standing in to the Island of
Incurable Cheats. The crew are respectfully at their quarters,
ready to lend a hand overboard, but wide awake, and the captain is
hospitably on the bridge to bid his guests good-bye and keep an eye
on the movables. The new citizens for this particular Alsatia, each
no doubt with his personal belongings securely packed and at hand,
crowd the deck and study the nearing coast. Bright, keen faces would
be there, and we, were we by any chance to find ourselves beside the
captain, might recognise the double of this great earthly magnate or
that, Petticoat Lane and Park Lane cheek by jowl. The landing part
of the jetty is clear of people, only a government man or so stands
there to receive the boat and prevent a rush, but beyond the gates a
number of engagingly smart-looking individuals loiter speculatively.
One figures a remarkable building labelled Custom House, an
interesting fiscal revival this population has made, and beyond,
crowding up the hill, the painted walls of a number of comfortable
inns clamour loudly. One or two inhabitants in reduced circumstances
would act as hotel touts, there are several hotel omnibuses and a
Bureau de Change, certainly a Bureau de Change. And a small house
with a large board, aimed point-blank seaward, declares itself a
Gratis Information Office, and next to it rises the graceful dome of
a small Casino. Beyond, great hoardings proclaim the advantages of
many island specialities, a hustling commerce, and the opening of a
Public Lottery. There is a large cheap-looking barrack, the school
of Commercial Science for gentlemen of inadequate training....

Altogether a very go-ahead looking little port it would be, and
though this disembarkation would have none of the flow of hilarious
good fellowship that would throw a halo of genial noise about the
Islands of Drink, it is doubtful if the new arrivals would feel
anything very tragic in the moment. Here at last was scope for
adventure after their hearts.

This sounds more fantastic than it is. But what else is there to do,
unless you kill? You must seclude, but why should you torment? All
modern prisons are places of torture by restraint, and the habitual
criminal plays the part of a damaged mouse at the mercy of the cat
of our law. He has his little painful run, and back he comes again
to a state more horrible even than destitution. There are no
Alsatias left in the world. For my own part I can think of no crime,
unless it is reckless begetting or the wilful transmission of
contagious disease, for which the bleak terrors, the solitudes and
ignominies of the modern prison do not seem outrageously cruel. If
you want to go so far as that, then kill. Why, once you are rid of
them, should you pester criminals to respect an uncongenial standard
of conduct? Into such islands of exile as this a modern Utopia will
have to purge itself. There is no alternative that I can

Section 3

Will a Utopian be free to be idle?

Work has to be done, every day humanity is sustained by its
collective effort, and without a constant recurrence of effort in
the single man as in the race as a whole, there is neither health
nor happiness. The permanent idleness of a human being is not
only burthensome to the world, but his own secure misery. But
unprofitable occupation is also intended by idleness, and it may be
considered whether that freedom also will be open to the Utopian.
Conceivably it will, like privacy, locomotion, and almost all the
freedoms of life, and on the same terms--if he possess the money to
pay for it.

That last condition may produce a shock in minds accustomed to the
proposition that money is the root of all evil, and to the idea that
Utopia necessarily implies something rather oaken and hand-made and
primitive in all these relations. Of course, money is not the root
of any evil in the world; the root of all evil in the world, and the
root of all good too, is the Will to Live, and money becomes harmful
only when by bad laws and bad economic organisation it is more
easily attained by bad men than good. It is as reasonable to say
food is the root of all disease, because so many people suffer from
excessive and unwise eating. The sane economic ideal is to make the
possession of money the clear indication of public serviceableness,
and the more nearly that ideal is attained, the smaller is the
justification of poverty and the less the hardship of being poor. In
barbaric and disorderly countries it is almost honourable to be
indigent and unquestionably virtuous to give to a beggar, and even
in the more or less civilised societies of earth, so many children
come into life hopelessly handicapped, that austerity to the poor
is regarded as the meanest of mean virtues. But in Utopia everyone
will have had an education and a certain minimum of nutrition and
training; everyone will be insured against ill-health and accidents;
there will be the most efficient organisation for balancing the
pressure of employment and the presence of disengaged labour, and so
to be moneyless will be clear evidence of unworthiness. In Utopia,
no one will dream of giving to a casual beggar, and no one will
dream of begging.

There will need to be, in the place of the British casual wards,
simple but comfortable inns with a low tariff--controlled to a
certain extent no doubt, and even in some cases maintained, by the
State. This tariff will have such a definite relation to the minimum
permissible wage, that a man who has incurred no liabilities through
marriage or the like relationship, will be able to live in comfort
and decency upon that minimum wage, pay his small insurance premium
against disease, death, disablement, or ripening years, and have a
margin for clothing and other personal expenses. But he will get
neither shelter nor food, except at the price of his freedom, unless
he can produce money.

But suppose a man without money in a district where employment is
not to be found for him; suppose the amount of employment to have
diminished in the district with such suddenness as to have stranded
him there. Or suppose he has quarrelled with the only possible
employer, or that he does not like his particular work. Then no
doubt the Utopian State, which wants everyone to be just as happy as
the future welfare of the race permits, will come to his assistance.
One imagines him resorting to a neat and business-like post-office,
and stating his case to a civil and intelligent official. In any
sane State the economic conditions of every quarter of the earth
will be watched as constantly as its meteorological phases, and a
daily map of the country within a radius of three or four hundred
miles showing all the places where labour is needed will hang upon
the post-office wall. To this his attention will be directed. The
man out of work will decide to try his luck in this place or that,
and the public servant, the official, will make a note of his name,
verify his identity--the freedom of Utopia will not be incompatible
with the universal registration of thumb-marks--and issue passes for
travel and coupons for any necessary inn accommodation on his way to
the chosen destination. There he will seek a new employer.

Such a free change of locality once or twice a year from a region of
restricted employment to a region of labour shortage will be among
the general privileges of the Utopian citizen.

But suppose that in no district in the world is there work within
the capacity of this particular man?

Before we suppose that, we must take into consideration the general
assumption one is permitted to make in all Utopian speculations. All
Utopians will be reasonably well educated upon Utopian lines; there
will be no illiterates unless they are unteachable imbeciles, no
rule-of-thumb toilers as inadaptable as trained beasts. The Utopian
worker will be as versatile as any well-educated man is on earth
to-day, and no Trade Union will impose a limit to his activities.
The world will be his Union. If the work he does best and likes best
is not to be found, there is still the work he likes second best.
Lacking his proper employment, he will turn to some kindred

But even with that adaptability, it may be that sometimes he will
not find work. Such a disproportion between the work to be done and
the people to do it may arise as to present a surplus of labour
everywhere. This disproportion may be due to two causes: to an
increase of population without a corresponding increase of
enterprises, or to a diminution of employment throughout the world
due to the completion of great enterprises, to economies achieved,
or to the operation of new and more efficient labour-saving
appliances. Through either cause, a World State may find itself
doing well except for an excess of citizens of mediocre and lower

But the first cause may be anticipated by wise marriage laws.... The
full discussion of these laws will come later, but here one may
insist that Utopia will control the increase of its population.
Without the determination and ability to limit that increase as well
as to stimulate it whenever it is necessary, no Utopia is possible.
That was clearly demonstrated by Malthus for all time.

The second cause is not so easily anticipated, but then, though its
immediate result in glutting the labour market is similar, its final
consequences are entirely different from those of the first. The
whole trend of a scientific mechanical civilisation is continually
to replace labour by machinery and to increase it in its
effectiveness by organisation, and so quite independently of any
increase in population labour must either fall in value until it
can compete against and check the cheapening process, or if that
is prevented, as it will be in Utopia, by a minimum wage, come out
of employment. There is no apparent limit to this process. But a
surplus of efficient labour at the minimum wage is exactly the
condition that should stimulate new enterprises, and that in a State
saturated with science and prolific in invention will stimulate new
enterprises. An increasing surplus of available labour without an
absolute increase of population, an increasing surplus of labour
due to increasing economy and not to proliferation, and which,
therefore, does not press on and disarrange the food supply, is
surely the ideal condition for a progressive civilisation. I am
inclined to think that, since labour will be regarded as a
delocalised and fluid force, it will be the World State and not the
big municipalities ruling the force areas that will be the reserve
employer of labour. Very probably it will be convenient for the
State to hand over the surplus labour for municipal purposes, but
that is another question. All over the world the labour exchanges
will be reporting the fluctuating pressure of economic demand and
transferring workers from this region of excess to that of scarcity;
and whenever the excess is universal, the World State--failing an
adequate development of private enterprise--will either reduce the
working day and so absorb the excess, or set on foot some permanent
special works of its own, paying the minimum wage and allowing them
to progress just as slowly or just as rapidly as the ebb and flow of
labour dictated. But with sane marriage and birth laws there is no
reason to suppose such calls upon the resources and initiative of
the world more than temporary and exceptional occasions.

Section 4

The existence of our blond bare-footed friend was evidence enough
that in a modern Utopia a man will be free to be just as idle or
uselessly busy as it pleases him, after he has earned the minimum
wage. He must do that, of course, to pay for his keep, to pay his
assurance tax against ill-health or old age, and any charge or debt
paternity may have brought upon him. The World State of the modern
Utopist is no state of moral compulsions. If, for example, under the
restricted Utopian scheme of inheritance, a man inherited sufficient
money to release him from the need to toil, he would be free to go
where he pleased and do what he liked. A certain proportion of men
at ease is good for the world; work as a moral obligation is the
morality of slaves, and so long as no one is overworked there is no
need to worry because some few are underworked. Utopia does not
exist as a solace for envy. From leisure, in a good moral and
intellectual atmosphere, come experiments, come philosophy and the
new departures.

In any modern Utopia there must be many leisurely people. We are all
too obsessed in the real world by the strenuous ideal, by the idea
that the vehement incessant fool is the only righteous man. Nothing
done in a hurry, nothing done under strain, is really well done. A
State where all are working hard, where none go to and fro, easily
and freely, loses touch with the purpose of freedom.

But inherited independence will be the rarest and least permanent of
Utopian facts, for the most part that wider freedom will have to be
earned, and the inducements to men and women to raise their personal
value far above the minimum wage will be very great indeed. Thereby
will come privacies, more space in which to live, liberty to go
everywhere and do no end of things, the power and freedom to
initiate interesting enterprises and assist and co-operate with
interesting people, and indeed all the best things of life. The
modern Utopia will give a universal security indeed, and exercise
the minimum of compulsions to toil, but it will offer some acutely
desirable prizes. The aim of all these devices, the minimum wage,
the standard of life, provision for all the feeble and unemployed
and so forth, is not to rob life of incentives but to change their
nature, to make life not less energetic, but less panic-stricken and
violent and base, to shift the incidence of the struggle for
existence from our lower to our higher emotions, so to anticipate
and neutralise the motives of the cowardly and bestial, that the
ambitious and energetic imagination which is man's finest quality
may become the incentive and determining factor in survival.

Section 5

After we have paid for our lunch in the little inn that corresponds
to Wassen, the botanist and I would no doubt spend the rest of the
forenoon in the discussion of various aspects and possibilities of
Utopian labour laws. We should examine our remaining change, copper
coins of an appearance ornamental rather than reassuring, and we
should decide that after what we had gathered from the man with the
blond hair, it would, on the whole, be advisable to come to the
point with the labour question forthwith. At last we should draw the
deep breath of resolution and arise and ask for the Public Office.
We should know by this time that the labour bureau sheltered with
the post-office and other public services in one building.

The public office of Utopia would of course contain a few surprises
for two men from terrestrial England. You imagine us entering, the
botanist lagging a little behind me, and my first attempts to be
offhand and commonplace in a demand for work.

The office is in charge of a quick-eyed little woman of six and
thirty perhaps, and she regards us with a certain keenness of

"Where are your papers?" she asks.

I think for a moment of the documents in my pocket, my passport
chequered with visas and addressed in my commendation and in the
name of her late Majesty by We, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoigne
Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury, Earl of Salisbury, Viscount Cranborne,
Baron Cecil, and so forth, to all whom it may concern, my Carte
d'Identite (useful on minor occasions) of the Touring Club de
France, my green ticket to the Reading Room of the British Museum,
and my Lettre d'Indication from the London and County Bank. A
foolish humour prompts me to unfold all these, hand them to her
and take the consequences, but I resist.

"Lost," I say, briefly.

"Both lost?" she asks, looking at my friend.

"Both," I answer.


I astonish myself by the readiness of my answer.

"I fell down a snow slope and they came out of my pocket."

"And exactly the same thing happened to both of you?"

"No. He'd given me his to put with my own." She raised her eyebrows.
"His pocket is defective," I add, a little hastily.

Her manners are too Utopian for her to follow that up. She seems to
reflect on procedure.

"What are your numbers?" she asks, abruptly.

A vision of that confounded visitors' book at the inn above comes
into my mind. "Let me _see_," I say, and pat my forehead and
reflect, refraining from the official eye before me. "Let me

"What is yours?" she asks the botanist.

"A. B.," he says, slowly, "little a, nine four seven, I

"Don't you know?"

"Not exactly," says the botanist, very agreeably. "No."

"Do you mean to say neither of you know your own numbers?" says the
little post-mistress, with a rising note.

"Yes," I say, with an engaging smile and trying to keep up a good
social tone. "It's queer, isn't it? We've both forgotten."

"You're joking," she suggests.

"Well," I temporise.

"I suppose you've got your thumbs?"

"The fact is----" I say and hesitate. "We've got our thumbs, of

"Then I shall have to send a thumb-print down to the office and get
your number from that. But are you sure you haven't your papers or
numbers? It's very queer."

We admit rather sheepishly that it's queer, and question one another

She turns thoughtfully for the thumb-marking slab, and as she does
so, a man enters the office. At the sight of him she asks with a
note of relief, "What am I to do, sir, here?"

He looks from her to us gravely, and his eye lights to curiosity at
our dress. "What is the matter, madam?" he asks, in a courteous

She explains.

So far the impression we have had of our Utopia is one of a quite
unearthly sanity, of good management and comprehensive design in
every material thing, and it has seemed to us a little incongruous
that all the Utopians we have talked to, our host of last night,
the post-mistress and our garrulous tramp, have been of the most
commonplace type. But suddenly there looks out from this man's pose
and regard a different quality, a quality altogether nearer that of
the beautiful tramway and of the gracious order of the mountain
houses. He is a well-built man of perhaps five and thirty, with the
easy movement that comes with perfect physical condition, his face
is clean shaven and shows the firm mouth of a disciplined man, and
his grey eyes are clear and steady. His legs are clad in some woven
stuff deep-red in colour, and over this he wears a white shirt
fitting pretty closely, and with a woven purple hem. His general
effect reminds me somehow of the Knights Templars. On his head is a
cap of thin leather and still thinner steel, and with the vestiges
of ear-guards--rather like an attenuated version of the caps that
were worn by Cromwell's Ironsides.

He looks at us and we interpolate a word or so as she explains and
feel a good deal of embarrassment at the foolish position we have
made for ourselves. I determine to cut my way out of this
entanglement before it complicates itself further.

"The fact is----" I say.

"Yes?" he says, with a faint smile.

"We've perhaps been disingenuous. Our position is so entirely
exceptional, so difficult to explain----"

"What have you been doing?"

"No," I say, with decision; "it can't be explained like that."

He looks down at his feet. "Go on," he says.

I try to give the thing a quiet, matter-of-fact air. "You see," I
say, in the tone one adopts for really lucid explanations, "we come
from another world. Consequently, whatever thumb-mark registration
or numbering you have in this planet doesn't apply to us, and we
don't know our numbers because we haven't got any. We are really,
you know, explorers, strangers----"

"But what world do you mean?"

"It's a different planet--a long way away. Practically at an
infinite distance."

He looks up in my face with the patient expression of a man who
listens to nonsense.

"I know it sounds impossible," I say, "but here is the simple
fact--we _appear_ in your world. We appeared suddenly upon the neck
of Lucendro--the Passo Lucendro--yesterday afternoon, and I defy you
to discover the faintest trace of us before that time. Down we
marched into the San Gotthard road and here we are! That's our fact.
And as for papers----! Where in your world have you seen papers like

I produce my pocket-book, extract my passport, and present it to

His expression has changed. He takes the document and examines it,
turns it over, looks at me, and smiles that faint smile of his

"Have some more," I say, and proffer the card of the T.C.F.

I follow up that blow with my green British Museum ticket, as
tattered as a flag in a knight's chapel.

"You'll get found out," he says, with my documents in his hand.
"You've got your thumbs. You'll be measured. They'll refer to the
central registers, and there you'll be!"

"That's just it," I say, "we sha'n't be."

He reflects. "It's a queer sort of joke for you two men to play," he
decides, handing me back my documents.

"It's no joke at all," I say, replacing them in my pocket-book.

The post-mistress intervenes. "What would you advise me to do?"

"No money?" he asks.


He makes some suggestions. "Frankly," he says, "I think you have
escaped from some island. How you got so far as here I can't
imagine, or what you think you'll do.... But anyhow, there's the
stuff for your thumbs."

He points to the thumb-marking apparatus and turns to attend to his
own business.

Presently we emerge from the office in a state between discomfiture
and amusement, each with a tramway ticket for Lucerne in his hand
and with sufficient money to pay our expenses until the morrow. We
are to go to Lucerne because there there is a demand for
comparatively unskilled labour in carving wood, which seems to us a
sort of work within our range and a sort that will not compel our

Section 6

The old Utopias are sessile organisations; the new must square
itself to the needs of a migratory population, to an endless coming
and going, to a people as fluid and tidal as the sea. It does not
enter into the scheme of earthly statesmanship, but indeed all local
establishments, all definitions of place, are even now melting under
our eyes. Presently all the world will be awash with anonymous
stranger men.

Now the simple laws of custom, the homely methods of identification
that served in the little communities of the past when everyone knew
everyone, fail in the face of this liquefaction. If the modern
Utopia is indeed to be a world of responsible citizens, it must have
devised some scheme by which every person in the world can be
promptly and certainly recognised, and by which anyone missing can
be traced and found.

This is by no means an impossible demand. The total population of
the world is, on the most generous estimate, not more than
1,500,000,000, and the effectual indexing of this number of people,
the record of their movement hither and thither, the entry of
various material facts, such as marriage, parentage, criminal
convictions and the like, the entry of the new-born and the
elimination of the dead, colossal task though it would be, is still
not so great as to be immeasurably beyond comparison with the work
of the post-offices in the world of to-day, or the cataloguing of
such libraries as that of the British Museum, or such collections as
that of the insects in Cromwell Road. Such an index could be housed
quite comfortably on one side of Northumberland Avenue, for example.
It is only a reasonable tribute to the distinctive lucidity of the
French mind to suppose the central index housed in a vast series of
buildings at or near Paris. The index would be classified primarily
by some unchanging physical characteristic, such as we are told
the thumb-mark and finger-mark afford, and to these would be
added any other physical traits that were of material value.
The classification of thumb-marks and of inalterable physical
characteristics goes on steadily, and there is every reason for
assuming it possible that each human being could be given a distinct
formula, a number or "scientific name," under which he or she could
be docketed. [Footnote: It is quite possible that the actual
thumb-mark may play only a small part in the work of identification,
but it is an obvious convenience to our thread of story to assume
that it is the one sufficient feature.] About the buildings in which
this great main index would be gathered, would be a system of other
indices with cross references to the main one, arranged under names,
under professional qualifications, under diseases, crimes and the

These index cards might conceivably be transparent and so contrived
as to give a photographic copy promptly whenever it was needed, and
they could have an attachment into which would slip a ticket bearing
the name of the locality in which the individual was last reported.
A little army of attendants would be at work upon this index day and
night. From sub-stations constantly engaged in checking back
thumb-marks and numbers, an incessant stream of information would
come, of births, of deaths, of arrivals at inns, of applications to
post-offices for letters, of tickets taken for long journeys, of
criminal convictions, marriages, applications for public doles and
the like. A filter of offices would sort the stream, and all day and
all night for ever a swarm of clerks would go to and fro correcting
this central register, and photographing copies of its entries for
transmission to the subordinate local stations, in response to their
inquiries. So the inventory of the State would watch its every man
and the wide world write its history as the fabric of its destiny
flowed on. At last, when the citizen died, would come the last entry
of all, his age and the cause of his death and the date and place of
his cremation, and his card would be taken out and passed on to the
universal pedigree, to a place of greater quiet, to the ever-growing
galleries of the records of the dead.

Such a record is inevitable if a Modern Utopia is to be

Yet at this, too, our blond-haired friend would no doubt rebel. One
of the many things to which some will make claim as a right, is that
of going unrecognised and secret whither one will. But that, so far
as one's fellow wayfarers were concerned, would still be possible.
Only the State would share the secret of one's little concealment.
To the eighteenth-century Liberal, to the old-fashioned
nineteenth-century Liberal, that is to say to all professed
Liberals, brought up to be against the Government on principle, this
organised clairvoyance will be the most hateful of dreams. Perhaps,
too, the Individualist would see it in that light. But these are
only the mental habits acquired in an evil time. The old Liberalism
assumed bad government, the more powerful the government the worse
it was, just as it assumed the natural righteousness of the free
individual. Darkness and secrecy were, indeed, the natural refuges
of liberty when every government had in it the near possibility of
tyranny, and the Englishman or American looked at the papers of a
Russian or a German as one might look at the chains of a slave. You
imagine that father of the old Liberalism, Rousseau, slinking off
from his offspring at the door of the Foundling Hospital, and you
can understand what a crime against natural virtue this quiet eye of
the State would have seemed to him. But suppose we do not assume
that government is necessarily bad, and the individual necessarily
good--and the hypothesis upon which we are working practically
abolishes either alternative--then we alter the case altogether. The
government of a modern Utopia will be no perfection of intentions
ignorantly ruling the world.... [Footnote: In the typical modern
State of our own world, with its population of many millions, and
its extreme facility of movement, undistinguished men who adopt an
alias can make themselves untraceable with the utmost ease. The
temptation of the opportunities thus offered has developed a new
type of criminality, the Deeming or Crossman type, base men who
subsist and feed their heavy imaginations in the wooing, betrayal,
ill-treatment, and sometimes even the murder of undistinguished
women. This is a large, a growing, and, what is gravest, a prolific
class, fostered by the practical anonymity of the common man. It is
only the murderers who attract much public attention, but the supply
of low-class prostitutes is also largely due to these free
adventures of the base. It is one of the bye products of State
Liberalism, and at present it is very probably drawing ahead in the
race against the development of police organisation.]

Such is the eye of the State that is now slowly beginning to
apprehend our existence as two queer and inexplicable parties
disturbing the fine order of its field of vision, the eye that will
presently be focussing itself upon us with a growing astonishment
and interrogation. "Who in the name of Galton and Bertillon," one
fancies Utopia exclaiming, "are _you_?"

I perceive I shall cut a queer figure in that focus. I shall affect
a certain spurious ease of carriage no doubt. "The fact is, I shall

Section 7

And now see how an initial hypothesis may pursue and overtake its
maker. Our thumb-marks have been taken, they have travelled by
pneumatic tube to the central office of the municipality hard by
Lucerne, and have gone on thence to the headquarters of the index at
Paris. There, after a rough preliminary classification, I imagine
them photographed on glass, and flung by means of a lantern in
colossal images upon a screen, all finely squared, and the careful
experts marking and measuring their several convolutions. And then
off goes a brisk clerk to the long galleries of the index

I have told them they will find no sign of us, but you see him going
from gallery to gallery, from bay to bay, from drawer to drawer, and
from card to card. "Here he is!" he mutters to himself, and he whips
out a card and reads. "But that is impossible!" he says....

You figure us returning after a day or so of such Utopian
experiences as I must presently describe, to the central office in
Lucerne, even as we have been told to do.

I make my way to the desk of the man who has dealt with us before.
"Well?" I say, cheerfully, "have you heard?"

His expression dashes me a little. "We've heard," he says, and adds,
"it's very peculiar."

"I told you you wouldn't find out about us," I say,

"But we have," he says; "but that makes your freak none the less

"You've heard! You know who we are! Well--tell us! We had an idea,
but we're beginning to doubt."

"You," says the official, addressing the botanist, "are----!"

And he breathes his name. Then he turns to me and gives me mine.

For a moment I am dumbfounded. Then I think of the entries we made
at the inn in the Urserenthal, and then in a flash I have the truth.
I rap the desk smartly with my finger-tips and shake my index-finger
in my friend's face.

"By Jove!" I say in English. "They've got our doubles!"

The botanist snaps his fingers. "Of course! I didn't think of

"Do you mind," I say to this official, "telling us some more about

"I can't think why you keep it up," he remarks, and then almost
wearily tells me the facts about my Utopian self. They are a little
difficult to understand. He says I am one of the samurai, which
sounds Japanese, "but you will be degraded," he says, with a gesture
almost of despair. He describes my position in this world in phrases
that convey very little.

"The queer thing," he remarks, "is that you were in Norway only
three days ago."

"I am there still. At least----. I'm sorry to be so much trouble to
you, but do you mind following up that last clue and inquiring if
the person to whom the thumb-mark really belongs isn't in Norway

The idea needs explanation. He says something incomprehensible about
a pilgrimage. "Sooner or later," I say, "you will have to believe
there are two of us with the same thumb-mark. I won't trouble you
with any apparent nonsense about other planets and so forth again.
Here I am. If I was in Norway a few days ago, you ought to be able
to trace my journey hither. And my friend?"

"He was in India." The official is beginning to look perplexed.

"It seems to me," I say, "that the difficulties in this case are
only just beginning. How did I get from Norway hither? Does my
friend look like hopping from India to the Saint Gotthard at one
hop? The situation is a little more difficult than that----"

"But here!" says the official, and waves what are no doubt
photographic copies of the index cards.

"But we are not those individuals!"

"You _are_ those individuals."

"You will see," I say.

He dabs his finger argumentatively upon the thumb-marks. "I see
now," he says.

"There is a mistake," I maintain, "an unprecedented mistake. There's
the difficulty. If you inquire you will find it begin to unravel.
What reason is there for us to remain casual workmen here, when you
allege we are men of position in the world, if there isn't something
wrong? We shall stick to this wood-carving work you have found us
here, and meanwhile I think you ought to inquire again. That's how
the thing shapes to me."

"Your case will certainly have to be considered further," he says,
with the faintest of threatening notes in his tone. "But at the same
time"--hand out to those copies from the index again--"there you
are, you know!"

Section 8

When my botanist and I have talked over and exhausted every
possibility of our immediate position, we should turn, I think, to
more general questions.

I should tell him the thing that was becoming more and more apparent
in my own mind. Here, I should say, is a world, obviously on the
face of it well organised. Compared with our world, it is like a
well-oiled engine beside a scrap-heap. It has even got this
confounded visual organ swivelling about in the most alert and
lively fashion. But that's by the way.... You have only to look at
all these houses below. (We should be sitting on a seat on the
Gutsch and looking down on the Lucerne of Utopia, a Lucerne that
would, I insist, quite arbitrarily, still keep the Wasserthurm and
the Kapellbrucke.) You have only to mark the beauty, the simple
cleanliness and balance of this world, you have only to see the free
carriage, the unaffected graciousness of even the common people, to
understand how fine and complete the arrangements of this world must
be. How are they made so? We of the twentieth century are not going
to accept the sweetish, faintly nasty slops of Rousseauism that so
gratified our great-great-grandparents in the eighteenth. We know
that order and justice do not come by Nature--"if only the policeman
would go away." These things mean intention, will, carried to a
scale that our poor vacillating, hot and cold earth has never known.
What I am really seeing more and more clearly is the will beneath
this visible Utopia. Convenient houses, admirable engineering that
is no offence amidst natural beauties, beautiful bodies, and a
universally gracious carriage, these are only the outward and
visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace. Such an order means
discipline. It means triumph over the petty egotisms and vanities
that keep men on our earth apart; it means devotion and a nobler
hope; it cannot exist without a gigantic process of inquiry, trial,
forethought and patience in an atmosphere of mutual trust and
concession. Such a world as this Utopia is not made by the chance
occasional co-operations of self-indulgent men, by autocratic rulers
or by the bawling wisdom of the democratic leader. And an
unrestricted competition for gain, an enlightened selfishness, that
too fails us....

I have compared the system of indexing humanity we have come upon to
an eye, an eye so sensitive and alert that two strangers cannot
appear anywhere upon the planet without discovery. Now an eye does
not see without a brain, an eye does not turn round and look without
a will and purpose. A Utopia that deals only with appliances and
arrangements is a dream of superficialities; the essential problem
here, the body within these garments, is a moral and an intellectual
problem. Behind all this material order, these perfected
communications, perfected public services and economic organisations,
there must be men and women willing these things. There must be a
considerable number and a succession of these men and women of will.
No single person, no transitory group of people, could order and
sustain this vast complexity. They must have a collective if not
a common width of aim, and that involves a spoken or written
literature, a living literature to sustain the harmony of their
general activity. In some way they must have put the more
immediate objects of desire into a secondary place, and that means
renunciation. They must be effectual in action and persistent in
will, and that means discipline. But in the modern world in which
progress advances without limits, it will be evident that whatever
common creed or formula they have must be of the simplest sort;
that whatever organisation they have must be as mobile and flexible
as a thing alive. All this follows inevitably from the general
propositions of our Utopian dream. When we made those, we bound
ourselves helplessly to come to this....

The botanist would nod an abstracted assent.

I should cease to talk. I should direct my mind to the confused mass
of memories three days in Utopia will have given us. Besides the
personalities with whom we have come into actual contact, our
various hosts, our foreman and work-fellows, the blond man, the
public officials and so on, there will be a great multitude of
other impressions. There will be many bright snapshots of little
children, for example, of girls and women and men, seen in shops and
offices and streets, on quays, at windows and by the wayside, people
riding hither and thither and walking to and fro. A very human crowd
it has seemed to me. But among them were there any who might be
thought of as having a wider interest than the others, who seemed in
any way detached from the rest by a purpose that passed beyond the

Then suddenly I recall that clean-shaven man who talked with us for
a little while in the public office at Wassen, the man who reminded
me of my boyish conception of a Knight Templar, and with him come
momentary impressions of other lithe and serious-looking people
dressed after the same manner, words and phrases we have read in
such scraps of Utopian reading as have come our way, and expressions
that fell from the loose mouth of the man with the blond


Women in a Modern Utopia

Section 1

But though I have come to a point where the problem of a Utopia has
resolved itself very simply into the problem of government and
direction, I find I have not brought the botanist with me. Frankly
he cannot think so steadily onward as I can. I feel to think, he
thinks to feel. It is I and my kind that have the wider range,
because we can be impersonal as well as personal. We can escape
ourselves. In general terms, at least, I understand him, but
he does not understand me in any way at all. He thinks me an
incomprehensible brute because his obsession is merely one of my
incidental interests, and wherever my reasoning ceases to be
explicit and full, the slightest ellipsis, the most transitory
digression, he evades me and is back at himself again. He may have a
personal liking for me, though I doubt it, but also he hates me
pretty distinctly, because of this bias he cannot understand. My
philosophical insistence that things shall be reasonable and hang
together, that what can be explained shall be explained, and that
what can be done by calculation and certain methods shall not be
left to chance, he loathes. He just wants adventurously to feel. He
wants to feel the sunset, and he thinks that on the whole he would
feel it better if he had not been taught the sun was about
ninety-two million miles away. He wants to feel free and strong, and
he would rather feel so than be so. He does not want to accomplish
great things, but to have dazzling things occur to him. He does not
know that there are feelings also up in the clear air of the
philosophic mountains, in the long ascents of effort and design. He
does not know that thought itself is only a finer sort of feeling
than his--good hock to the mixed gin, porter and treacle of his
emotions, a perception of similitudes and oppositions that carries
even thrills. And naturally he broods on the source of all his most
copious feelings and emotions, women, and particularly upon the
woman who has most made him feel. He forces me also to that.

Our position is unfortunate for me. Our return to the Utopian
equivalent of Lucerne revives in him all the melancholy distresses
that so preoccupied him when first we were transferred to this
better planet. One day, while we are still waiting there for the
public office to decide about us, he broaches the matter. It is
early evening, and we are walking beside the lake after our simple
dinner. "About here," he says, "the quays would run and all those
big hotels would be along here, looking out on the lake. It's so
strange to have seen them so recently, and now not to see them at
all.... Where have they gone?"

"Vanished by hypothesis."


"Oh! They're there still. It's we that have come hither."

"Of course. I forgot. But still---- You know, there was an avenue of
little trees along this quay with seats, and she was sitting looking
out upon the lake.... I hadn't seen her for ten years."

He looks about him still a little perplexed. "Now we are here," he
says, "it seems as though that meeting and the talk we had must have
been a dream."

He falls musing.

Presently he says: "I knew her at once. I saw her in profile. But,
you know, I didn't speak to her directly. I walked past her seat and
on for a little way, trying to control myself.... Then I turned back
and sat down beside her, very quietly. She looked up at me.
Everything came back--everything. For a moment or so I felt I was
going to cry...."

That seems to give him a sort of satisfaction even in the

"We talked for a time just like casual acquaintances--about the view
and the weather, and things like that."

He muses again.

"In Utopia everything would have been different," I say.

"I suppose it would."

He goes on before I can say anything more.

"Then, you know, there was a pause. I had a sort of intuition that
the moment was coming. So I think had she. You may scoff, of course,
at these intuitions----"

I don't, as a matter of fact. Instead, I swear secretly. Always this
sort of man keeps up the pretence of highly distinguished and
remarkable mental processes, whereas--have not I, in my own
composition, the whole diapason of emotional fool? Is not the
suppression of these notes my perpetual effort, my undying despair?
And then, am I to be accused of poverty?

But to his story.

"She said, quite abruptly, 'I am not happy,' and I told her, 'I knew
that the instant I saw you.' Then, you know, she began to talk to me
very quietly, very frankly, about everything. It was only afterwards
I began to feel just what it meant, her talking to me like that."

I cannot listen to this!

"Don't you understand," I cry, "that we are in Utopia. She may be
bound unhappily upon earth and you may be bound, but not here. Here
I think it will be different. Here the laws that control all these
things will be humane and just. So that all you said and did, over
there, does not signify here--does not signify here!"

He looks up for a moment at my face, and then carelessly at my
wonderful new world.

"Yes," he says, without interest, with something of the tone of an
abstracted elder speaking to a child, "I dare say it will be all
very fine here." And he lapses, thwarted from his confidences, into

There is something almost dignified in this withdrawal into himself.
For a moment I entertain an illusion that really I am unworthy to
hear the impalpable inconclusiveness of what he said to her and of
what she said to him.

I am snubbed. I am also amazed to find myself snubbed. I become
breathless with indignation. We walk along side by side, but now
profoundly estranged.

I regard the facade of the Utopian public offices of Lucerne--I had
meant to call his attention to some of the architectural features of
these--with a changed eye, with all the spirit gone out of my
vision. I wish I had never brought this introspective carcass, this
mental ingrate, with me.

I incline to fatalistic submission. I suppose I had no power to
leave him behind.... I wonder and I wonder. The old Utopists never
had to encumber themselves with this sort of man.

Section 2

How would things be "different" in the Modern Utopia? After all it
is time we faced the riddle of the problems of marriage and

The Modern Utopia is not only to be a sound and happy World State,
but it is to be one progressing from good to better. But as Malthus
[Footnote: Essay on the Principles of Population.] demonstrated for
all time, a State whose population continues to increase in
obedience to unchecked instinct, can progress only from bad to
worse. From the view of human comfort and happiness, the increase of
population that occurs at each advance in human security is the
greatest evil of life. The way of Nature is for every species to
increase nearly to its possible maximum of numbers, and then to
improve through the pressure of that maximum against its limiting
conditions by the crushing and killing of all the feebler
individuals. The way of Nature has also been the way of humanity so
far, and except when a temporary alleviation is obtained through an
expansion of the general stock of sustenance by invention or
discovery, the amount of starvation and of the physical misery of
privation in the world, must vary almost exactly with the excess of
the actual birth-rate over that required to sustain population at a
number compatible with a universal contentment. Neither has Nature
evolved, nor has man so far put into operation, any device by which
paying this price of progress, this misery of a multitude of starved
and unsuccessful lives can be evaded. A mere indiscriminating
restriction of the birth-rate--an end practically attained in the
homely, old-fashioned civilisation of China by female infanticide,
involves not only the cessation of distresses but stagnation, and
the minor good of a sort of comfort and social stability is won at
too great a sacrifice. Progress depends essentially on competitive
selection, and that we may not escape.

But it is a conceivable and possible thing that this margin of
futile struggling, pain and discomfort and death might be reduced to
nearly nothing without checking physical and mental evolution, with
indeed an acceleration of physical and mental evolution, by
preventing the birth of those who would in the unrestricted
interplay of natural forces be born to suffer and fail. The method
of Nature "red in tooth and claw" is to degrade, thwart, torture,
and kill the weakest and least adapted members of every species in
existence in each generation, and so keep the specific average
rising; the ideal of a scientific civilisation is to prevent those
weaklings being born. There is no other way of evading Nature's
punishment of sorrow. The struggle for life among the beasts and
uncivilised men means misery and death for the inferior individuals,
misery and death in order that they may not increase and multiply;
in the civilised State it is now clearly possible to make the
conditions of life tolerable for every living creature, provided the
inferiors can be prevented from increasing and multiplying. But this
latter condition must be respected. Instead of competing to escape
death and wretchedness, we may compete to give birth and we may heap
every sort of consolation prize upon the losers in that competition.
The modern State tends to qualify inheritance, to insist upon
education and nurture for children, to come in more and more in the
interests of the future between father and child. It is taking over
the responsibility of the general welfare of the children more and
more, and as it does so, its right to decide which children it will
shelter becomes more and more reasonable.

How far will such conditions be prescribed? how far can they be
prescribed in a Modern Utopia?

Let us set aside at once all nonsense of the sort one hears in
certain quarters about the human stud farm. [Footnote: See Mankind
in the Making, Ch. II.] State breeding of the population was a
reasonable proposal for Plato to make, in view of the biological
knowledge of his time and the purely tentative nature of his
metaphysics; but from anyone in the days after Darwin, it is
preposterous. Yet we have it given to us as the most brilliant of
modern discoveries by a certain school of sociological writers, who
seem totally unable to grasp the modification of meaning "species"
and "individual" have undergone in the last fifty years. They do not
seem capable of the suspicion that the boundaries of species have
vanished, and that individuality now carries with it the quality of
the unique! To them individuals are still defective copies of a
Platonic ideal of the species, and the purpose of breeding no more
than an approximation to that perfection. Individuality is indeed a
negligible difference to them, an impertinence, and the whole flow
of modern biological ideas has washed over them in vain.

But to the modern thinker individuality is the significant fact of
life, and the idea of the State, which is necessarily concerned with
the average and general, selecting individualities in order to pair
them and improve the race, an absurdity. It is like fixing a crane
on the plain in order to raise the hill tops. In the initiative of
the individual above the average, lies the reality of the future,
which the State, presenting the average, may subserve but cannot
control. And the natural centre of the emotional life, the cardinal
will, the supreme and significant expression of individuality,
should lie in the selection of a partner for procreation.

But compulsory pairing is one thing, and the maintenance of general
limiting conditions is another, and one well within the scope of
State activity. The State is justified in saying, before you may add
children to the community for the community to educate and in part
to support, you must be above a certain minimum of personal
efficiency, and this you must show by holding a position of solvency
and independence in the world; you must be above a certain age, and
a certain minimum of physical development, and free of any
transmissible disease. You must not be a criminal unless you have
expiated your offence. Failing these simple qualifications, if you
and some person conspire and add to the population of the State, we
will, for the sake of humanity, take over the innocent victim of
your passions, but we shall insist that you are under a debt to the
State of a peculiarly urgent sort, and one you will certainly pay,
even if it is necessary to use restraint to get the payment out of
you: it is a debt that has in the last resort your liberty as a
security, and, moreover, if this thing happens a second time, or if
it is disease or imbecility you have multiplied, we will take an
absolutely effectual guarantee that neither you nor your partner
offend again in this matter.

"Harsh!" you say, and "Poor Humanity!"

You have the gentler alternative to study in your terrestrial slums
and asylums.

It may be urged that to permit conspicuously inferior people to have
one or two children in this way would be to fail to attain the
desired end, but, indeed, this is not so. A suitably qualified
permission, as every statesman knows, may produce the social effects
without producing the irksome pressure of an absolute prohibition.
Amidst bright and comfortable circumstances, and with an easy and
practicable alternative, people will exercise foresight and
self-restraint to escape even the possibilities of hardship and
discomfort; and free life in Utopia is to be well worth this trouble
even for inferior people. The growing comfort, self-respect, and
intelligence of the English is shown, for example, in the fall in
the proportion of illegitimate births from 2.2 per 1,000 in 1846-50
to 1.2 per 1,000 in 1890-1900, and this without any positive
preventive laws whatever. This most desirable result is pretty
certainly not the consequence of any great exaltation of our moral
tone, but simply of a rising standard of comfort and a livelier
sense of consequences and responsibilities. If so marked a change is
possible in response to such progress as England has achieved in the
past fifty years, if discreet restraint can be so effectual as this,
it seems reasonable to suppose that in the ampler knowledge and the
cleaner, franker atmosphere of our Utopian planet the birth of a
child to diseased or inferior parents, and contrary to the sanctions
of the State, will be the rarest of disasters.

And the death of a child, too, that most tragic event, Utopia will
rarely know. Children are not born to die in childhood. But in our
world, at present, through the defects of our medical science and
nursing methods, through defects in our organisation, through
poverty and carelessness, and through the birth of children that
never ought to have been born, one out of every five children born
dies within five years. It may be the reader has witnessed this most
distressful of all human tragedies. It is sheer waste of suffering.
There is no reason why ninety-nine out of every hundred children
born should not live to a ripe age. Accordingly, in any Modern
Utopia, it must be insisted they will.

Section 3

All former Utopias have, by modern standards, erred on the side of
over regulation in these matters. The amount of State interference
with the marriage and birth of the citizens of a modern Utopia
will be much less than in any terrestrial State. Here, just as in
relation to property and enterprise, the law will regulate only in
order to secure the utmost freedom and initiative.

Up to the beginning of this chapter, our Utopian speculations, like
many Acts of Parliament, have ignored the difference of sex. "He"
indeed is to be read as "He and She" in all that goes before. But
we may now come to the sexual aspects of the modern ideal of
a constitution of society in which, for all purposes of the
individual, women are to be as free as men. This will certainly be
realised in the Modern Utopia, if it can be realised at all--not
only for woman's sake, but for man's.

But women may be free in theory and not in practice, and as long as
they suffer from their economic inferiority, from the inability to
produce as much value as a man for the same amount of work--and
there can be no doubt of this inferiority--so long will their legal
and technical equality be a mockery. It is a fact that almost
every point in which a woman differs from a man is an economic
disadvantage to her, her incapacity for great stresses of exertion,
her frequent liability to slight illnesses, her weaker initiative,
her inferior invention and resourcefulness, her relative incapacity
for organisation and combination, and the possibilities of emotional
complications whenever she is in economic dependence on men. So long
as women are compared economically with men and boys they will be
inferior in precisely the measure in which they differ from men. All
that constitutes this difference they are supposed not to trade upon
except in one way, and that is by winning or luring a man to marry,
selling themselves in an almost irrevocable bargain, and then
following and sharing his fortunes for "better or worse."

But--do not let the proposition in its first crudity alarm
you--suppose the Modern Utopia equalises things between the sexes in
the only possible way, by insisting that motherhood is a service to
the State and a legitimate claim to a living; and that, since the
State is to exercise the right of forbidding or sanctioning
motherhood, a woman who is, or is becoming, a mother, is as much
entitled to wages above the minimum wage, to support, to freedom,
and to respect and dignity as a policeman, a solicitor-general, a
king, a bishop in the State Church, a Government professor, or
anyone else the State sustains. Suppose the State secures to every
woman who is, under legitimate sanctions, becoming or likely to
become a mother, that is to say who is duly married, a certain wage
from her husband to secure her against the need of toil and anxiety,
suppose it pays her a certain gratuity upon the birth of a child,
and continues to pay at regular intervals sums sufficient to keep
her and her child in independent freedom, so long as the child
keeps up to the minimum standard of health and physical and mental
development. Suppose it pays more upon the child when it rises
markedly above certain minimum qualifications, physical or mental,
and, in fact, does its best to make thoroughly efficient motherhood
a profession worth following. And suppose in correlation with this
it forbids the industrial employment of married women and of mothers
who have children needing care, unless they are in a position to
employ qualified efficient substitutes to take care of their
offspring. What differences from terrestrial conditions will

This extent of intervention will at least abolish two or three
salient hardships and evils of the civilised life. It will abolish
the hardship of the majority of widows, who on earth are poor and
encumbered exactly in proportion as they have discharged the chief
distinctive duty of a woman, and miserable, just in proportion as
their standard of life and of education is high. It will abolish the
hardship of those who do not now marry on account of poverty, or who
do not dare to have children. The fear that often turns a woman from
a beautiful to a mercenary marriage will vanish from life. In Utopia
a career of wholesome motherhood would be, under such conditions as
I have suggested, the normal and remunerative calling for a woman,
and a capable woman who has borne, bred, and begun the education
of eight or nine well-built, intelligent, and successful sons and
daughters would be an extremely prosperous woman, quite irrespective
of the economic fortunes of the man she has married. She would need
to be an exceptional woman, and she would need to have chosen a man
at least a little above the average as her partner in life. But his
death, or misbehaviour, or misfortunes would not ruin her.

Now such an arrangement is merely the completed induction from the
starting propositions that make some measure of education free and
compulsory for every child in the State. If you prevent people
making profit out of their children--and every civilised State--even
that compendium of old-fashioned Individualism, the United States
of America--is now disposed to admit the necessity of that
prohibition--and if you provide for the aged instead of leaving them
to their children's sense of duty, the practical inducements to
parentage, except among very wealthy people, are greatly reduced.
The sentimental factor in the case rarely leads to more than a
solitary child or at most two to a marriage, and with a high and
rising standard of comfort and circumspection it is unlikely that
the birth-rate will ever rise very greatly again. The Utopians will
hold that if you keep the children from profitable employment for
the sake of the future, then, if you want any but the exceptionally
rich, secure, pious, unselfish, or reckless to bear children freely,
you must be prepared to throw the cost of their maintenance upon the
general community.

In short, Utopia will hold that sound childbearing and rearing is a
service done, not to a particular man, but to the whole community,
and all its legal arrangements for motherhood will be based on that

Section 4

And after these preliminaries we must proceed to ask, first, what
will be the Utopian marriage law, and then what sort of customs and
opinions are likely to be superadded to that law?

The trend of our reasoning has brought us to the conclusion that the
Utopian State will feel justified in intervening between men and
women on two accounts, first on account of paternity, and secondly
on account of the clash of freedoms that may otherwise arise. The
Utopian State will effectually interfere with and prescribe
conditions for all sorts of contract, and for this sort of contract
in particular it will be in agreement with almost every earthly
State, in defining in the completest fashion what things a man or
woman may be bound to do, and what they cannot be bound to do. From
the point of view of a statesman, marriage is the union of a man
and woman in a manner so intimate as to involve the probability of
offspring, and it is of primary importance to the State, first in
order to secure good births, and secondly good home conditions, that
these unions should not be free, nor promiscuous, nor practically
universal throughout the adult population.

Prolific marriage must be a profitable privilege. It must occur only
under certain obvious conditions, the contracting parties must be in
health and condition, free from specific transmissible taints, above
a certain minimum age, and sufficiently intelligent and energetic
to have acquired a minimum education. The man at least must be
in receipt of a net income above the minimum wage, after any
outstanding charges against him have been paid. All this much
it is surely reasonable to insist upon before the State becomes
responsible for the prospective children. The age at which men and
women may contract to marry is difficult to determine. But if we
are, as far as possible, to put women on an equality with men, if we
are to insist upon a universally educated population, and if we are
seeking to reduce the infantile death-rate to zero, it must be much
higher than it is in any terrestrial State. The woman should be at
least one-and-twenty; the man twenty-six or twenty-seven.

One imagines the parties to a projected marriage first obtaining
licenses which will testify that these conditions are satisfied.
From the point of view of the theoretical Utopian State, these
licenses are the feature of primary importance. Then, no doubt, that
universal register at Paris would come into play. As a matter of
justice, there must be no deception between the two people, and the
State will ensure that in certain broad essentials this is so. They
would have to communicate their joint intention to a public office
after their personal licenses were granted, and each would be
supplied with a copy of the index card of the projected mate, on
which would be recorded his or her age, previous marriages, legally
important diseases, offspring, domiciles, public appointments,
criminal convictions, registered assignments of property, and so
forth. Possibly it might be advisable to have a little ceremony for
each party, for each in the absence of the other, in which this
record could be read over in the presence of witnesses, together
with some prescribed form of address of counsel in the matter. There
would then be a reasonable interval for consideration and withdrawal
on the part of either spouse. In the event of the two people
persisting in their resolution, they would after this minimum
interval signify as much to the local official and the necessary
entry would be made in the registers. These formalities would be
quite independent of any religious ceremonial the contracting
parties might choose, for with religious belief and procedure the
modern State has no concern.

So much for the preliminary conditions of matrimony. For those men
and women who chose to ignore these conditions and to achieve any
sort of union they liked the State would have no concern, unless
offspring were born illegitimately. In that case, as we have
already suggested, it would be only reasonable to make the parents
chargeable with every duty, with maintenance, education, and so
forth, that in the normal course of things would fall to the State.
It would be necessary to impose a life assurance payment upon these
parents, and to exact effectual guarantees against every possible
evasion of the responsibility they had incurred. But the further
control of private morality, beyond the protection of the immature
from corruption and evil example, will be no concern of the State's.
When a child comes in, the future of the species comes in; and
the State comes in as the guardian of interests wider than the
individual's; but the adult's private life is the entirely private
life into which the State may not intrude.

Now what will be the nature of the Utopian contract of

From the first of the two points of view named above, that of
parentage, it is obvious that one unavoidable condition will be the
chastity of the wife. Her infidelity being demonstrated, must at
once terminate the marriage and release both her husband and the
State from any liability for the support of her illegitimate
offspring. That, at any rate, is beyond controversy; a marriage
contract that does not involve that, is a triumph of metaphysics
over common sense. It will be obvious that under Utopian conditions
it is the State that will suffer injury by a wife's misconduct, and
that a husband who condones anything of the sort will participate in
her offence. A woman, therefore, who is divorced on this account
will be divorced as a public offender, and not in the key of a
personal quarrel; not as one who has inflicted a private and
personal wrong. This, too, lies within the primary implications of

Beyond that, what conditions should a marriage contract in Utopia

A reciprocal restraint on the part of the husband is clearly of no
importance whatever, so far as the first end of matrimony goes, the
protection of the community from inferior births. It is no wrong to
the State. But it does carry with it a variable amount of emotional
offence to the wife; it may wound her pride and cause her violent
perturbations of jealousy; it may lead to her neglect, her solitude
and unhappiness, and it may even work to her physical injury. There
should be an implication that it is not to occur. She has bound
herself to the man for the good of the State, and clearly it is
reasonable that she should look to the State for relief if it does
occur. The extent of the offence given her is the exact measure
of her injury; if she does not mind nobody minds, and if her
self-respect does not suffer nothing whatever is lost to the world;
and so it should rest with her to establish his misconduct, and, if
she thinks fit, to terminate the marriage.

A failure on either side to perform the elementary duties of
companionship, desertion, for example, should obviously give the
other mate the right to relief, and clearly the development of any
disqualifying habit, drunkenness, or drug-taking, or the like, or
any serious crime or acts of violence, should give grounds for a
final release. Moreover, the modern Utopian State intervenes between
the sexes only because of the coming generation, and for it to
sustain restrictions upon conduct in a continually fruitless
marriage is obviously to lapse into purely moral intervention. It
seems reasonable, therefore, to set a term to a marriage that
remains childless, to let it expire at the end of three or four or
five unfruitful years, but with no restriction upon the right of
the husband and wife to marry each other again.

These are the fairly easy primaries of this question. We now come to
the more difficult issues of the matter. The first of these is the
question of the economic relationships of husband and wife, having
regard to the fact that even in Utopia women, at least until they
become mothers, are likely to be on the average poorer than men. The
second is the question of the duration of a marriage. But the two
interlock, and are, perhaps, best treated together in one common
section. And they both ramify in the most complicated manner into
the consideration of the general morale of the community.

Section 5

This question of marriage is the most complicated and difficult in
the whole range of Utopian problems. But it is happily not the most
urgent necessity that it should be absolutely solved. The urgent and
necessary problem is the ruler. With rulers rightly contrived and a
provisional defective marriage law a Utopia may be conceived as
existing and studying to perfect itself, but without rulers a Utopia
is impossible though the theory of its matrimony be complete. And
the difficulty in this question is not simply the difficulty of a
complicated chess problem, for example, in which the whole tangle
of considerations does at least lie in one plane, but a series of
problems upon different levels and containing incommensurable

It is very easy to repeat our initial propositions, to recall that
we are on another planet, and that all the customs and traditions of
the earth are set aside, but the faintest realisation of that
demands a feat of psychological insight. We have all grown up into
an invincible mould of suggestion about sexual things; we regard
this with approval, that with horror, and this again with contempt,
very largely because the thing has always been put to us in this
light or that. The more emancipated we think ourselves the more
subtle are our bonds. The disentanglement of what is inherent in
these feelings from what is acquired is an extraordinary complex
undertaking. Probably all men and women have a more or less powerful
disposition to jealousy, but what exactly they will be jealous about
and what exactly they will suffer seems part of the superposed
factor. Probably all men and women are capable of ideal emotions and
wishes beyond merely physical desires, but the shape these take are
almost entirely a reaction to external images. And you really cannot
strip the external off; you cannot get your stark natural man,
jealous, but not jealous about anything in particular, imaginative
without any imaginings, proud at large. Emotional dispositions can
no more exist without form than a man without air. Only a very
observant man who had lived all over the planet Earth, in all sorts
of social strata, and with every race and tongue, and who was
endowed with great imaginative insight, could hope to understand the
possibilities and the limitations of human plasticity in this
matter, and say what any men and any women could be induced to do
willingly, and just exactly what no man and no woman could stand,
provided one had the training of them. Though very young men will
tell you readily enough. The proceedings of other races and other
ages do not seem to carry conviction; what our ancestors did, or
what the Greeks or Egyptians did, though it is the direct physical
cause of the modern young man or the modern young lady, is apt to
impress these remarkable consequences merely as an arrangement of
quaint, comical or repulsive proceedings.

But there emerges to the modern inquirer certain ideals and
desiderata that at least go some way towards completing and
expanding the crude primaries of a Utopian marriage law set out
in section 4.

The sound birth being assured, does there exist any valid reason for
the persistence of the Utopian marriage union?

There are two lines of reasoning that go to establish a longer
duration for marriage. The first of these rests upon the general
necessity for a home and for individual attention in the case of
children. Children are the results of a choice between individuals;
they grow well, as a rule, only in relation to sympathetic and
kindred individualities, and no wholesale character-ignoring method
of dealing with them has ever had a shadow of the success of the
individualised home. Neither Plato nor Socrates, who repudiated the
home, seems ever to have had to do with anything younger than a
young man. Procreation is only the beginning of parentage, and even
where the mother is not the direct nurse and teacher of her child,
even where she delegates these duties, her supervision is, in the
common case, essential to its welfare. Moreover, though the Utopian
State will pay the mother, and the mother only, for the being and
welfare of her legitimate children, there will be a clear advantage
in fostering the natural disposition of the father to associate his
child's welfare with his individual egotism, and to dispense some of
his energies and earnings in supplementing the common provision of
the State. It is an absurd disregard of a natural economy to leave
the innate philoprogenitiveness of either sex uncultivated. Unless
the parents continue in close relationship, if each is passing
through a series of marriages, the dangers of a conflict of rights,
and of the frittering away of emotions, become very grave. The
family will lose homogeneity, and its individuals will have for the
mother varied and perhaps incompatible emotional associations. The
balance of social advantage is certainly on the side of much more
permanent unions, on the side of an arrangement that, subject to
ample provisions for a formal divorce without disgrace in cases of
incompatibility, would bind, or at least enforce ideals that would
tend to bind, a man and woman together for the whole term of her
maternal activity, until, that is, the last born of her children was
no longer in need of her help.

The second system of considerations arises out of the artificiality
of woman's position. It is a less conclusive series than the first,
and it opens a number of interesting side vistas.

A great deal of nonsense is talked about the natural equality or
inferiority of women to men. But it is only the same quality that
can be measured by degrees and ranged in ascending and descending
series, and the things that are essentially feminine are different
qualitatively from and incommensurable with the distinctly masculine
things. The relationship is in the region of ideals and conventions,
and a State is perfectly free to determine that men and women shall
come to intercourse on a footing of conventional equality or with
either the man or woman treated as the predominating individual.
Aristotle's criticism of Plato in this matter, his insistence upon
the natural inferiority of slaves and women, is just the sort of
confusion between inherent and imposed qualities that was his most
characteristic weakness. The spirit of the European people, of
almost all the peoples now in the ascendant, is towards a convention
of equality; the spirit of the Mahometan world is towards the
intensification of a convention that the man alone is a citizen and
that the woman is very largely his property. There can be no doubt
that the latter of these two convenient fictions is the more
primitive way of regarding this relationship. It is quite unfruitful
to argue between these ideals as if there were a demonstrable
conclusion, the adoption of either is an arbitrary act, and we shall
simply follow our age and time if we display a certain bias for the

If one looks closely into the various practical expansions of these
ideas, we find their inherent falsity works itself out in a very
natural way so soon as reality is touched. Those who insist upon
equality work in effect for assimilation, for a similar treatment of
the sexes. Plato's women of the governing class, for example, were
to strip for gymnastics like men, to bear arms and go to war, and
follow most of the masculine occupations of their class. They were
to have the same education and to be assimilated to men at every
doubtful point. The Aristotelian attitude, on the other hand,
insists upon specialisation. The men are to rule and fight and toil;
the women are to support motherhood in a state of natural
inferiority. The trend of evolutionary forces through long centuries
of human development has been on the whole in this second direction,
has been towards differentiation. [Footnote: See Havelock Ellis's
Man and Woman.] An adult white woman differs far more from a white
man than a negress or pigmy woman from her equivalent male. The
education, the mental disposition, of a white or Asiatic woman,
reeks of sex; her modesty, her decorum is not to ignore sex but to
refine and put a point to it; her costume is clamorous with the
distinctive elements of her form. The white woman in the materially
prosperous nations is more of a sexual specialist than her sister of
the poor and austere peoples, of the prosperous classes more so than
the peasant woman. The contemporary woman of fashion who sets the
tone of occidental intercourse is a stimulant rather than a
companion for a man. Too commonly she is an unwholesome stimulant
turning a man from wisdom to appearance, from beauty to beautiful
pleasures, from form to colour, from persistent aims to belief and
stirring triumphs. Arrayed in what she calls distinctly "dress,"
scented, adorned, displayed, she achieves by artifice a sexual
differentiation profounder than that of any other vertebrated
animal. She outshines the peacock's excess above his mate, one must
probe among the domestic secrets of the insects and crustacea to
find her living parallel. And it is a question by no means easy and
yet of the utmost importance, to determine how far the wide and
widening differences between the human sexes is inherent and
inevitable, and how far it is an accident of social development that
may be converted and reduced under a different social regimen. Are
we going to recognise and accentuate this difference and to arrange
our Utopian organisation to play upon it, are we to have two primary
classes of human being, harmonising indeed and reacting, but
following essentially different lives, or are we going to minimise
this difference in every possible way?

The former alternative leads either to a romantic organisation of
society in which men will live and fight and die for wonderful,
beautiful, exaggerated creatures, or it leads to the hareem. It
would probably lead through one phase to the other. Women would be
enigmas and mysteries and maternal dignitaries that one would
approach in a state of emotional excitement and seclude piously when
serious work was in hand. A girl would blossom from the totally
negligible to the mystically desirable at adolescence, and boys
would be removed from their mother's educational influence at as
early an age as possible. Whenever men and women met together, the
men would be in a state of inflamed competition towards one another,
and the women likewise, and the intercourse of ideas would be in
suspense. Under the latter alternative the sexual relation would be
subordinated to friendship and companionship; boys and girls would
be co-educated--very largely under maternal direction, and women,
disarmed of their distinctive barbaric adornments, the feathers,
beads, lace, and trimmings that enhance their clamorous claim to a
directly personal attention would mingle, according to their
quality, in the counsels and intellectual development of men. Such
women would be fit to educate boys even up to adolescence. It is
obvious that a marriage law embodying a decision between these two
sets of ideas would be very different according to the alternative
adopted. In the former case a man would be expected to earn and
maintain in an adequate manner the dear delight that had favoured
him. He would tell her beautiful lies about her wonderful moral
effect upon him, and keep her sedulously from all responsibility and
knowledge. And, since there is an undeniably greater imaginative
appeal to men in the first bloom of a woman's youth, she would have
a distinct claim upon his energies for the rest of her life. In the
latter case a man would no more pay for and support his wife than
she would do so for him. They would be two friends, differing in
kind no doubt but differing reciprocally, who had linked themselves
in a matrimonial relationship. Our Utopian marriage so far as we
have discussed it, is indeterminate between these alternatives.

We have laid it down as a general principle that the private morals
of an adult citizen are no concern for the State. But that involves
a decision to disregard certain types of bargain. A sanely contrived
State will refuse to sustain bargains wherein there is no plausibly
fair exchange, and if private morality is really to be outside the
scope of the State then the affections and endearments most
certainly must not be regarded as negotiable commodities. The State,
therefore, will absolutely ignore the distribution of these favours
unless children, or at least the possibility of children, is
involved. It follows that it will refuse to recognise any debts or
transfers of property that are based on such considerations. It will
be only consistent, therefore, to refuse recognition in the marriage
contract to any financial obligation between husband and wife, or
any settlements qualifying that contract, except when they are in
the nature of accessory provision for the prospective children.
[Footnote: Unqualified gifts for love by solvent people will, of
course, be quite possible and permissible, unsalaried services and
the like, provided the standard of life is maintained and the joint
income of the couple between whom the services hold does not sink
below twice the minimum wage.] So far the Utopian State will throw
its weight upon the side of those who advocate the independence of
women and their conventional equality with men.

But to any further definition of the marriage relation the World
State of Utopia will not commit itself. The wide range of
relationships that are left possible, within and without the
marriage code, are entirely a matter for the individual choice and
imagination. Whether a man treat his wife in private as a goddess to
be propitiated, as a "mystery" to be adored, as an agreeable
auxiliary, as a particularly intimate friend, or as the wholesome
mother of his children, is entirely a matter for their private
intercourse: whether he keep her in Oriental idleness or active
co-operation, or leave her to live her independent life, rests with
the couple alone, and all the possible friendship and intimacies
outside marriage also lie quite beyond the organisation of the
modern State. Religious teaching and literature may affect these;
customs may arise; certain types of relationship may involve social
isolation; the justice of the statesman is blind to such things. It
may be urged that according to Atkinson's illuminating analysis
[Footnote: See Lang and Atkinson's Social Origins and Primal Law.]
the control of love-making was the very origin of the human
community. In Utopia, nevertheless, love-making is no concern of the
State's beyond the province that the protection of children covers.
[Footnote: It cannot be made too clear that though the control of
morality is outside the law the State must maintain a general
decorum, a systematic suppression of powerful and moving examples,
and of incitations and temptations of the young and inexperienced,
and to that extent it will, of course, in a sense, exercise a
control over morals. But this will be only part of a wider law to
safeguard the tender mind. For example, lying advertisements, and
the like, when they lean towards adolescent interests, will
encounter a specially disagreeable disposition in the law, over and
above the treatment of their general dishonesty.] Change of function
is one of the ruling facts in life, the sac that was in our remotest
ancestors a swimming bladder is now a lung, and the State which was
once, perhaps, no more than the jealous and tyrannous will of the
strongest male in the herd, the instrument of justice and equality.
The State intervenes now only where there is want of harmony between
individuals--individuals who exist or who may presently come into

Section 6

It must be reiterated that our reasoning still leaves Utopian
marriage an institution with wide possibilities of variation. We
have tried to give effect to the ideal of a virtual equality, an
equality of spirit between men and women, and in doing so we have
overridden the accepted opinion of the great majority of mankind.
Probably the first writer to do as much was Plato. His argument in
support of this innovation upon natural human feeling was thin
enough--a mere analogy to illustrate the spirit of his propositions;
it was his creative instinct that determined him. In the atmosphere
of such speculations as this, Plato looms very large indeed, and in
view of what we owe to him, it seems reasonable that we should
hesitate before dismissing as a thing prohibited and evil, a type of
marriage that he made almost the central feature in the organisation
of the ruling class, at least, of his ideal State. He was persuaded
that the narrow monogamic family is apt to become illiberal and
anti-social, to withdraw the imagination and energies of the citizen
from the services of the community as a whole, and the Roman
Catholic Church has so far endorsed and substantiated his opinion as
to forbid family relations to its priests and significant servants.
He conceived of a poetic devotion to the public idea, a devotion of
which the mind of Aristotle, as his criticisms of Plato show, was
incapable, as a substitute for the warm and tender but illiberal
emotions of the home. But while the Church made the alternative to
family ties celibacy [Footnote: The warm imagination of Campanella,
that quaint Calabrian monastic, fired by Plato, reversed this aspect
of the Church.] and participation in an organisation, Plato was far
more in accordance with modern ideas in perceiving the disadvantage
that would result from precluding the nobler types of character from
offspring. He sought a way to achieve progeny, therefore, without
the narrow concentration of the sympathies about the home, and he
found it in a multiple marriage in which every member of the
governing class was considered to be married to all the others. But
the detailed operation of this system he put tentatively and very
obscurely. His suggestions have the experimental inconsistency of an
enquiring man. He left many things altogether open, and it is unfair
to him to adopt Aristotle's forensic method and deal with his
discussion as though it was a fully-worked-out project. It is clear
that Plato intended every member of his governing class to be so
"changed at birth" as to leave paternity untraceable; mothers were
not to know their children, nor children their parents, but there is
nothing to forbid the supposition that he intended these people to
select and adhere to congenial mates within the great family.
Aristotle's assertion that the Platonic republic left no scope for
the virtue of continence shows that he had jumped to just the same
conclusions a contemporary London errand boy, hovering a little
shamefacedly over Jowett in a public library, might be expected to

Aristotle obscures Plato's intention, it may be accidentally, by
speaking of his marriage institution as a community of wives. When
reading Plato he could not or would not escape reading in his own
conception of the natural ascendency of men, his idea of property in
women and children. But as Plato intended women to be conventionally
equal to men, this phrase belies him altogether; community of
husbands and wives would be truer to his proposal. Aristotle
condemns Plato as roundly as any commercial room would condemn him
to-day, and in much the same spirit; he asserts rather than proves
that such a grouping is against the nature of man. He wanted to have
women property just as he wanted to have slaves property, he did not
care to ask why, and it distressed his conception of convenience
extremely to imagine any other arrangement. It is no doubt true that
the natural instinct of either sex is exclusive of participators in
intimacy during a period of intimacy, but it was probably Aristotle
who gave Plato an offensive interpretation in this matter. No one
would freely submit to such a condition of affairs as multiple
marriage carried out, in the spirit of the Aristotelian
interpretation, to an obscene completeness, but that is all the more
reason why the modern Utopia should not refuse a grouped marriage to
three or more freely consenting persons. There is no sense in
prohibiting institutions which no sane people could ever want to
abuse. It is claimed--though the full facts are difficult to
ascertain--that a group marriage of over two hundred persons was
successfully organised by John Humphrey Noyes at Oneida Creek.
[Footnote: See John H. Noyes's History of American Socialisms and
his writings generally. The bare facts of this and the other
American experiments are given, together with more recent matter, by
Morris Hillquirt, in The History of Socialism in the United States.]
It is fairly certain in the latter case that there was no
"promiscuity," and that the members mated for variable periods, and
often for life, within the group. The documents are reasonably clear
upon that point. This Oneida community was, in fact, a league of two
hundred persons to regard their children as "common." Choice and
preference were not abolished in the community, though in some cases
they were set aside--just as they are by many parents under our
present conditions. There seems to have been a premature attempt at
"stirpiculture," at what Mr. Francis Galton now calls "Eugenics," in
the mating of the members, and there was also a limitation of
offspring. Beyond these points the inner secrets of the community do
not appear to be very profound; its atmosphere was almost
commonplace, it was made up of very ordinary people. There is no
doubt that it had a career of exceptional success throughout the
whole lifetime of its founder, and it broke down with the advent of
a new generation, with the onset of theological differences, and the
loss of its guiding intelligence. The Anglo-Saxon spirit, it has
been said by one of the ablest children of the experiment, is too
individualistic for communism. It is possible to regard the
temporary success of this complex family as a strange accident, as
the wonderful exploit of what was certainly a very exceptional man.
Its final disintegration into frankly monogamic couples--it is still
a prosperous business association--may be taken as an experimental
verification of Aristotle's common-sense psychology, and was
probably merely the public acknowledgment of conditions already
practically established.

Out of respect for Plato we cannot ignore this possibility of
multiple marriage altogether in our Utopian theorising, but even if
we leave this possibility open we are still bound to regard it as a
thing so likely to be rare as not to come at all under our direct
observation during our Utopian journeyings. But in one sense, of
course, in the sense that the State guarantees care and support for
all properly born children, our entire Utopia is to be regarded as a
comprehensive marriage group. [Footnote: The Thelema of Rabelais,
with its principle of "Fay ce que vouldras" within the limits of the
order, is probably intended to suggest a Platonic complex marriage
after the fashion of our interpretation.]

It must be remembered that a modern Utopia must differ from the
Utopias of any preceding age in being world-wide; it is not,
therefore, to be the development of any special race or type of
culture, as Plato's developed an Athenian-Spartan blend, or More,
Tudor England. The modern Utopia is to be, before all things,
synthetic. Politically and socially, as linguistically, we must
suppose it a synthesis; politically it will be a synthesis of once
widely different forms of government; socially and morally, a
synthesis of a great variety of domestic traditions and ethical
habits. Into the modern Utopia there must have entered the mental
tendencies and origins that give our own world the polygamy of the
Zulus and of Utah, the polyandry of Tibet, the latitudes of
experiment permitted in the United States, and the divorceless
wedlock of Comte. The tendency of all synthetic processes in matters
of law and custom is to reduce and simplify the compulsory canon, to
admit alternatives and freedoms; what were laws before become
traditions of feeling and style, and in no matter will this be more
apparent than in questions affecting the relations of the sexes.


A Few Utopian Impressions

Section 1

But now we are in a better position to describe the houses and ways
of the Utopian townships about the Lake of Lucerne, and to glance a
little more nearly at the people who pass. You figure us as
curiously settled down in Utopia, as working for a low wage at
wood-carving, until the authorities at the central registry in Paris
can solve the perplexing problem we have set them. We stay in an inn
looking out upon the lake, and go to and fro for our five hours'
work a day, with a curious effect of having been born Utopians. The
rest of our time is our own.

Our inn is one of those inns and lodging houses which have a minimum
tariff, inns which are partly regulated, and, in the default
of private enterprise, maintained and controlled by the World
State throughout the entire world. It is one of several such
establishments in Lucerne. It possesses many hundreds of practically
self-cleaning little bedrooms, equipped very much after the fashion
of the rooms we occupied in the similar but much smaller inn at
Hospenthal, differing only a little in the decoration. There is
the same dressing-room recess with its bath, the same graceful
proportion in the succinct simplicity of its furniture. This
particular inn is a quadrangle after the fashion of an Oxford
college; it is perhaps forty feet high, and with about five stories
of bedrooms above its lower apartments; the windows of the rooms
look either outward or inward to the quadrangle, and the doors give
upon artificially-lit passages with staircases passing up and down.
These passages are carpeted with a sort of cork carpet, but are
otherwise bare. The lower story is occupied by the equivalent of a
London club, kitchens and other offices, dining-room, writing-room,
smoking and assembly rooms, a barber's shop, and a library. A
colonnade with seats runs about the quadrangle, and in the middle
is a grass-plot. In the centre of this a bronze figure, a sleeping
child, reposes above a little basin and fountain, in which water
lilies are growing. The place has been designed by an architect
happily free from the hampering traditions of Greek temple building,
and of Roman and Italian palaces; it is simple, unaffected,
gracious. The material is some artificial stone with the dull
surface and something of the tint of yellow ivory; the colour is a
little irregular, and a partial confession of girders and pillars
breaks this front of tender colour with lines and mouldings of
greenish gray, that blend with the tones of the leaden gutters and
rain pipes from the light red roof. At one point only does any
explicit effort towards artistic effect appear, and that is in the
great arched gateway opposite my window. Two or three abundant
yellow roses climb over the face of the building, and when I look
out of my window in the early morning--for the usual Utopian working
day commences within an hour of sunrise--I see Pilatus above this
outlook, rosy in the morning sky.

This quadrangle type of building is the prevalent element in Utopian
Lucerne, and one may go from end to end of the town along corridors
and covered colonnades without emerging by a gateway into the open
roads at all. Small shops are found in these colonnades, but the
larger stores are usually housed in buildings specially adapted to
their needs. The majority of the residential edifices are far finer
and more substantial than our own modest shelter, though we gather
from such chance glimpses as we get of their arrangements that the
labour-saving ideal runs through every grade of this servantless
world; and what we should consider a complete house in earthly
England is hardly known here.

The autonomy of the household has been reduced far below terrestrial
conditions by hotels and clubs, and all sorts of co-operative
expedients. People who do not live in hotels seem usually to live in
clubs. The fairly prosperous Utopian belongs, in most cases, to one
or two residential clubs of congenial men and women. These clubs
usually possess in addition to furnished bedrooms more or less
elaborate suites of apartments, and if a man prefers it one of these
latter can be taken and furnished according to his personal taste. A
pleasant boudoir, a private library and study, a private garden
plot, are among the commonest of such luxuries. Devices to secure
roof gardens, loggias, verandahs, and such-like open-air privacies
to the more sumptuous of these apartments, give interest and variety
to Utopian architecture. There are sometimes little cooking corners
in these flats--as one would call them on earth--but the ordinary
Utopian would no more think of a special private kitchen for his
dinners than he would think of a private flour mill or dairy farm.
Business, private work, and professional practice go on sometimes in
the house apartments, but often in special offices in the great
warren of the business quarter. A common garden, an infant school,
play rooms, and a playing garden for children, are universal
features of the club quadrangles.

Two or three main roads with their tramways, their cyclists' paths,
and swift traffic paths, will converge on the urban centre, where
the public offices will stand in a group close to the two or three
theatres and the larger shops, and hither, too, in the case of
Lucerne, the head of the swift railway to Paris and England and
Scotland, and to the Rhineland and Germany will run. And as one
walks out from the town centre one will come to that mingling of
homesteads and open country which will be the common condition of
all the more habitable parts of the globe.

Here and there, no doubt, will stand quite solitary homesteads,
homesteads that will nevertheless be lit and warmed by cables from
the central force station, that will share the common water supply,
will have their perfected telephonic connection with the rest of
the world, with doctor, shop, and so forth, and may even have
a pneumatic tube for books and small parcels to the nearest
post-office. But the solitary homestead, as a permanent residence,
will be something of a luxury--the resort of rather wealthy garden
lovers; and most people with a bias for retirement will probably get
as much residential solitude as they care for in the hire of a
holiday chalet in a forest, by remote lagoons or high up the
mountain side.

The solitary house may indeed prove to be very rare indeed in
Utopia. The same forces, the same facilitation of communications
that will diffuse the towns will tend to little concentrations of
the agricultural population over the country side. The field workers
will probably take their food with them to their work during the
day, and for the convenience of an interesting dinner and of
civilised intercourse after the working day is over, they will most
probably live in a college quadrangle with a common room and club. I
doubt if there will be any agricultural labourers drawing wages in
Utopia. I am inclined to imagine farming done by tenant
associations, by little democratic unlimited liability companies
working under elected managers, and paying not a fixed rent but a
share of the produce to the State. Such companies could reconstruct
annually to weed out indolent members. [Footnote: Schemes for the
co-operative association of producers will be found in Dr. Hertzka's
Freeland.] A minimum standard of efficiency in farming would be
insured by fixing a minimum beneath which the rent must not fall,
and perhaps by inspection. The general laws respecting the standard
of life would, of course, apply to such associations. This type of
co-operation presents itself to me as socially the best arrangement
for productive agriculture and horticulture, but such enterprises
as stock breeding, seed farming and the stocking and loan of
agricultural implements are probably, and agricultural research and
experiment certainly, best handled directly by large companies or
the municipality or the State.

But I should do little to investigate this question; these are
presented as quite incidental impressions. You must suppose that for
the most part our walks and observations keep us within the more
urban quarters of Lucerne. From a number of beautifully printed
placards at the street corners, adorned with caricatures of
considerable pungency, we discover an odd little election is in
progress. This is the selection, upon strictly democratic lines,
with a suffrage that includes every permanent resident in the
Lucerne ward over the age of fifteen, of the ugliest local building.
The old little urban and local governing bodies, we find, have long
since been superseded by great provincial municipalities for all the
more serious administrative purposes, but they still survive to
discharge a number of curious minor functions, and not the least
among these is this sort of aesthetic ostracism. Every year every
minor local governing body pulls down a building selected by local
plebiscite, and the greater Government pays a slight compensation to
the owner, and resumes possession of the land it occupies. The idea
would strike us at first as simply whimsical, but in practice it
appears to work as a cheap and practical device for the aesthetic
education of builders, engineers, business men, opulent persons, and
the general body of the public. But when we come to consider its
application to our own world we should perceive it was the most
Utopian thing we had so far encountered.

Section 2

The factory that employs us is something very different from the
ordinary earthly model. Our business is to finish making little
wooden toys--bears, cattle men, and the like--for children. The
things are made in the rough by machinery, and then finished by
hand, because the work of unskilful but interested men--and it
really is an extremely amusing employment--is found to give a
personality and interest to these objects no machine can ever

We carvers--who are the riffraff of Utopia--work in a long shed
together, nominally by time; we must keep at the job for the length
of the spell, but we are expected to finish a certain number of toys
for each spell of work. The rules of the game as between employer
and employed in this particular industry hang on the wall behind us;
they are drawn up by a conference of the Common Council of Wages
Workers with the employers, a common council which has resulted in
Utopia from a synthesis of the old Trades Unions, and which has
become a constitutional power; but any man who has skill or humour
is presently making his own bargain with our employer more or less
above that datum line.

Our employer is a quiet blue-eyed man with a humorous smile. He
dresses wholly in an indigo blue, that later we come to consider a
sort of voluntary uniform for Utopian artists. As he walks about
the workshop, stopping to laugh at this production or praise that,
one is reminded inevitably of an art school. Every now and then
he carves a little himself or makes a sketch or departs to the
machinery to order some change in the rough shapes it is turning
out. Our work is by no means confined to animals. After a time I am
told to specialise in a comical little Roman-nosed pony; but several
of the better paid carvers work up caricature images of eminent
Utopians. Over these our employer is most disposed to meditate, and
from them he darts off most frequently to improve the type.

It is high summer, and our shed lies open at either end. On one hand
is a steep mountain side down which there comes, now bridging a
chasm, now a mere straight groove across a meadow, now hidden among
green branches, the water-slide that brings our trees from the
purple forest overhead. Above us, but nearly hidden, hums the
machine shed, but we see a corner of the tank into which, with a
mighty splash, the pine trees are delivered. Every now and then,
bringing with him a gust of resinous smell, a white-clad machinist
will come in with a basketful of crude, unwrought little images, and
will turn them out upon the table from which we carvers select

(Whenever I think of Utopia that faint and fluctuating smell of
resin returns to me, and whenever I smell resin, comes the memory of
the open end of the shed looking out upon the lake, the blue-green
lake, the boats mirrored in the water, and far and high beyond
floats the atmospheric fairyland of the mountains of Glarus, twenty
miles away.)

The cessation of the second and last spell of work comes about
midday, and then we walk home, through this beautiful intricacy of a
town to our cheap hotel beside the lake.

We should go our way with a curious contentment, for all that we
were earning scarcely more than the minimum wage. We should have, of
course, our uneasiness about the final decisions of that universal
eye which has turned upon us, we should have those ridiculous sham
numbers on our consciences; but that general restlessness, that
brooding stress that pursues the weekly worker on earth, that aching
anxiety that drives him so often to stupid betting, stupid drinking,
and violent and mean offences will have vanished out of mortal

Section 3

I should find myself contrasting my position with my preconceptions
about a Utopian visit. I had always imagined myself as standing
outside the general machinery of the State--in the distinguished
visitors' gallery, as it were--and getting the new world in a series
of comprehensive perspective views. But this Utopia, for all the
sweeping floats of generalisation I do my best to maintain, is
swallowing me up. I find myself going between my work and the room
in which I sleep and the place in which I dine, very much as I went
to and fro in that real world into which I fell five-and-forty years
ago. I find about me mountains and horizons that limit my view,
institutions that vanish also without an explanation, beyond the
limit of sight, and a great complexity of things I do not understand
and about which, to tell the truth, I do not formulate acute
curiosities. People, very unrepresentative people, people just as
casual as people in the real world, come into personal relations
with us, and little threads of private and immediate interest spin
themselves rapidly into a thickening grey veil across the general
view. I lose the comprehensive interrogation of my first arrival; I
find myself interested in the grain of the wood I work, in birds
among the tree branches, in little irrelevant things, and it is only
now and then that I get fairly back to the mood that takes all
Utopia for its picture.

We spend our first surplus of Utopian money in the reorganisation
of our wardrobes upon more Utopian lines; we develop acquaintance
with several of our fellow workers, and of those who share our
table at the inn. We pass insensibly into acquaintanceships and the
beginnings of friendships. The World Utopia, I say, seems for a time
to be swallowing me up. At the thought of detail it looms too big
for me. The question of government, of its sustaining ideas, of
race, and the wider future, hang like the arch of the sky over these
daily incidents, very great indeed, but very remote. These people
about me are everyday people, people not so very far from the
minimum wage, accustomed much as the everyday people of earth are
accustomed to take their world as they find it. Such enquiries as
I attempt are pretty obviously a bore to them, pass outside their
range as completely as Utopian speculation on earth outranges a
stevedore or a member of Parliament or a working plumber. Even the
little things of daily life interest them in a different way. So
I get on with my facts and reasoning rather slowly. I find myself
looking among the pleasant multitudes of the streets for types that
promise congenial conversation.

My sense of loneliness is increased during this interlude by the
better social success of the botanist. I find him presently falling
into conversation with two women who are accustomed to sit at a
table near our own. They wear the loose, coloured robes of soft
material that are the usual wear of common adult Utopian women; they
are both dark and sallow, and they affect amber and crimson in their
garments. Their faces strike me as a little unintelligent, and there
is a faint touch of middle-aged coquetry in their bearing that I do
not like. Yet on earth we should consider them women of exceptional
refinement. But the botanist evidently sees in this direction scope
for the feelings that have wilted a little under my inattention, and
he begins that petty intercourse of a word, of a slight civility, of
vague enquiries and comparisons that leads at last to associations
and confidences. Such superficial confidences, that is to say, as he
finds satisfactory.

This throws me back upon my private observations.

The general effect of a Utopian population is vigour. Everyone one
meets seems to be not only in good health but in training; one
rarely meets fat people, bald people, or bent or grey. People who
would be obese or bent and obviously aged on earth are here in
good repair, and as a consequence the whole effect of a crowd
is livelier and more invigorating than on earth. The dress is
varied and graceful; that of the women reminds one most of the
Italian fifteenth century; they have an abundance of soft and
beautifully-coloured stuffs, and the clothes, even of the poorest,
fit admirably. Their hair is very simply but very carefully and
beautifully dressed, and except in very sunny weather they do not
wear hats or bonnets. There is little difference in deportment
between one class and another; they all are graceful and bear
themselves with quiet dignity, and among a group of them a European
woman of fashion in her lace and feathers, her hat and metal
ornaments, her mixed accumulations of "trimmings," would look like a
barbarian tricked out with the miscellaneous plunder of a museum.
Boys and girls wear much the same sort of costume--brown leather
shoes, then a sort of combination of hose and close-fitting trousers
that reaches from toe to waist, and over this a beltless jacket
fitting very well, or a belted tunic. Many slender women wear the
same sort of costume. We should see them in it very often in such
a place as Lucerne, as they returned from expeditions in the
mountains. The older men would wear long robes very frequently, but
the greater proportion of the men would go in variations of much the
same costume as the children. There would certainly be hooded cloaks
and umbrellas for rainy weather, high boots for mud and snow, and
cloaks and coats and furry robes for the winter. There would be no
doubt a freer use of colour than terrestrial Europe sees in these
days, but the costume of the women at least would be soberer and
more practical, and (in harmony with our discussion in the previous
chapter) less differentiated from the men's.

But these, of course, are generalisations. These are the mere
translation of the social facts we have hypotheticated into the
language of costume. There will be a great variety of costume and
no compulsions. The doubles of people who are naturally foppish on
earth will be foppish in Utopia, and people who have no natural
taste on earth will have inartistic equivalents. Everyone will not
be quiet in tone, or harmonious, or beautiful. Occasionally, as I go
through the streets to my work, I shall turn round to glance again
at some robe shot with gold embroidery, some slashing of the
sleeves, some eccentricity of cut, or some discord or untidiness.
But these will be but transient flashes in a general flow of
harmonious graciousness; dress will have scarcely any of that effect
of disorderly conflict, of self-assertion qualified by the fear of
ridicule, that it has in the crudely competitive civilisations of

I shall have the seeker's attitude of mind during those few days at
Lucerne. I shall become a student of faces. I shall be, as it were,
looking for someone. I shall see heavy faces, dull faces, faces with
an uncongenial animation, alien faces, and among these some with an
immediate quality of appeal. I should see desirable men approaching
me, and I should think; "Now, if I were to speak to _you_?" Many of
these latter I should note wore the same clothing as the man who
spoke to us at Wassen; I should begin to think of it as a sort of

Then I should see grave-faced girls, girls of that budding age when
their bearing becomes delusively wise, and the old deception of
my youth will recur to me; "Could you and I but talk together?"
I should think. Women will pass me lightly, women with open and
inviting faces, but they will not attract me, and there will come
beautiful women, women with that touch of claustral preoccupation
which forbids the thought of any near approach. They are private and
secret, and I may not enter, I know, into their thoughts....

I go as often as I can to the seat by the end of old Kapelbrucke,
and watch the people passing over.

I shall find a quality of dissatisfaction throughout all these days.
I shall come to see this period more and more distinctly as a pause,
as a waiting interlude, and the idea of an encounter with my double,
which came at first as if it were a witticism, as something verbal
and surprising, begins to take substance. The idea grows in my mind
that after all this is the "someone" I am seeking, this Utopian self
of mine. I had at first an idea of a grotesque encounter, as of
something happening in a looking glass, but presently it dawns on me
that my Utopian self must be a very different person from me. His
training will be different, his mental content different. But
between us there will be a strange link of essential identity, a
sympathy, an understanding. I find the thing rising suddenly to a
preponderance in my mind. I find the interest of details dwindling
to the vanishing point. That I have come to Utopia is the lesser
thing now; the greater is that I have come to meet myself.

I spend hours trying to imagine the encounter, inventing little
dialogues. I go alone to the Bureau to find if any news has come to
hand from the Great Index in Paris, but I am told to wait another
twenty-four hours. I cease absolutely to be interested in anything
else, except so far as it leads towards intercourse with this being
who is to be at once so strangely alien and so totally mine.

Section 4

Wrapped up in these preoccupations as I am, it will certainly be the
botanist who will notice the comparative absence of animals about

He will put it in the form of a temperate objection to the Utopian

He is a professed lover of dogs and there are none. We have seen no
horses and only one or two mules on the day of our arrival, and
there seems not a cat in the world. I bring my mind round to his
suggestion. "This follows," I say.

It is only reluctantly that I allow myself to be drawn from my
secret musings into a discussion of Utopian pets.

I try to explain that a phase in the world's development is
inevitable when a systematic world-wide attempt will be made to
destroy for ever a great number of contagious and infectious
diseases, and that this will involve, for a time at any rate, a
stringent suppression of the free movement of familiar animals.
Utopian houses, streets and drains will be planned and built to make
rats, mice, and such-like house parasites impossible; the race of
cats and dogs--providing, as it does, living fastnesses to which
such diseases as plague, influenza, catarrhs and the like, can
retreat to sally forth again--must pass for a time out of freedom,
and the filth made by horses and the other brutes of the highway
vanish from the face of the earth. These things make an old story to
me, and perhaps explicitness suffers through my brevity.

My botanist fails altogether to grasp what the disappearance of
diseases means. His mind has no imaginative organ of that compass.
As I talk his mind rests on one fixed image. This presents what the
botanist would probably call a "dear old doggie"--which the botanist
would make believe did not possess any sensible odour--and it has
faithful brown eyes and understands everything you say. The botanist
would make believe it understood him mystically, and I figure his
long white hand--which seems to me, in my more jaundiced moments, to
exist entirely for picking things and holding a lens--patting its
head, while the brute looked things unspeakable....

The botanist shakes his head after my explanation and says quietly,
"I do not like your Utopia, if there are to be no dogs."

Perhaps that makes me a little malicious. Indeed I do not hate dogs,
but I care ten thousand times more for a man than for all the brutes
on the earth, and I can see, what the botanist I think cannot, that
a life spent in the delightful atmosphere of many pet animals may
have too dear a price....

I find myself back again at the comparison of the botanist and
myself. There is a profound difference in our imaginations, and I
wonder whether it is the consequence of innate character or of
training and whether he is really the human type or I. I am not
altogether without imagination, but what imagination I have has the
most insistent disposition to square itself with every fact in the
universe. It hypothesises very boldly, but on the other hand it will
not gravely make believe. Now the botanist's imagination is always
busy with the most impossible make-believe. That is the way with all
children I know. But it seems to me one ought to pass out of it. It
isn't as though the world was an untidy nursery; it is a place of
splendours indescribable for all who will lift its veils. It may be
he is essentially different from me, but I am much more inclined to
think he is simply more childish. Always it is make-believe. He
believes that horses are beautiful creatures for example, dogs are
beautiful creatures, that some women are inexpressibly lovely, and
he makes believe that this is always so. Never a word of criticism
of horse or dog or woman! Never a word of criticism of his
impeccable friends! Then there is his botany. He makes believe that
all the vegetable kingdom is mystically perfect and exemplary, that
all flowers smell deliciously and are exquisitely beautiful, that
Drosera does not hurt flies very much, and that onions do not smell.
Most of the universe does not interest this nature lover at all. But
I know, and I am querulously incapable of understanding why everyone
else does not know, that a horse is beautiful in one way and quite
ugly in another, that everything has this shot-silk quality, and is
all the finer for that. When people talk of a horse as an ugly
animal I think of its beautiful moments, but when I hear a flow of
indiscriminate praise of its beauty I think of such an aspect as one
gets for example from a dog-cart, the fiddle-shaped back, and that
distressing blade of the neck, the narrow clumsy place between the
ears, and the ugly glimpse of cheek. There is, indeed, no beauty
whatever save that transitory thing that comes and comes again; all
beauty is really the beauty of expression, is really kinetic and
momentary. That is true even of those triumphs of static endeavour
achieved by Greece. The Greek temple, for example, is a barn with a
face that at a certain angle of vision and in a certain light has a
great calm beauty.

But where are we drifting? All such things, I hold, are cases of
more and less, and of the right moment and the right aspect, even
the things I most esteem. There is no perfection, there is no
enduring treasure. This pet dog's beautiful affection, I say, or
this other sensuous or imaginative delight, is no doubt good, but it
can be put aside if it is incompatible with some other and wider
good. You cannot focus all good things together.

All right action and all wise action is surely sound judgment and
courageous abandonment in the matter of such incompatibilities. If
I cannot imagine thoughts and feelings in a dog's brain that cannot
possibly be there, at least I can imagine things in the future of
men that might be there had we the will to demand them....

"I don't like this Utopia," the botanist repeats. "You don't
understand about dogs. To me they're human beings--and more! There
used to be such a jolly old dog at my aunt's at Frognal when I was
a boy----"

But I do not heed his anecdote. Something--something of the nature
of conscience--has suddenly jerked back the memory of that beer I
drank at Hospenthal, and puts an accusing finger on the memory.

I never have had a pet animal, I confess, though I have been fairly
popular with kittens. But with regard to a certain petting of

Perhaps I was premature about that beer. I have had no pet animals,
but I perceive if the Modern Utopia is going to demand the sacrifice
of the love of animals, which is, in its way, a very fine thing
indeed, so much the more readily may it demand the sacrifice of many
other indulgences, some of which are not even fine in the lowest

It is curious this haunting insistence upon sacrifice and

It is slowly becoming my dominant thought that the sort of people
whose will this Utopia embodies must be people a little heedless of
small pleasures. You cannot focus all good things at the same time.
That is my chief discovery in these meditations at Lucerne. Much of
the rest of this Utopia I had in a sort of way anticipated, but not
this. I wonder if I shall see my Utopian self for long and be able
to talk to him freely....

We lie in the petal-strewn grass under some Judas trees beside the
lake shore, as I meander among these thoughts, and each of us,
disregardful of his companion, follows his own associations.

"Very remarkable," I say, discovering that the botanist has come to
an end with his story of that Frognal dog.

"You'd wonder how he knew," he says.

"You would."

I nibble a green blade.

"Do you realise quite," I ask, "that within a week we shall face our
Utopian selves and measure something of what we might have

The botanist's face clouds. He rolls over, sits up abruptly and puts
his lean hands about his knees.

"I don't like to think about it," he says. "What is the good of
reckoning ... might have beens?"

Section 5

It is pleasant to think of one's puzzling the organised wisdom of
so superior a planet as this Utopia, this moral monster State my
Frankenstein of reasoning has made, and to that pitch we have come.
When we are next in the presence of our Lucerne official, he has the
bearing of a man who faces a mystification beyond his powers, an
incredible disarrangement of the order of Nature. Here, for the
first time in the records of Utopian science, are two cases--not
simply one but two, and these in each other's company!--of
duplicated thumb-marks. This, coupled with a cock-and-bull story
of an instantaneous transfer from some planet unknown to Utopian
astronomy. That he and all his world exists only upon a hypothesis
that would explain everyone of these difficulties absolutely, is
scarcely likely to occur to his obviously unphilosophic mind.

The official eye is more eloquent than the official lips and asks
almost urgently, "What in this immeasurable universe have you
managed to do to your thumbs? And why?" But he is only a very
inferior sort of official indeed, a mere clerk of the post, and he
has all the guarded reserve of your thoroughly unoriginal man. "You
are not the two persons I ascertained you were," he says, with the
note of one resigned to communion with unreason; "because you"--he
indicates me--"are evidently at your residence in London." I smile.
"That gentleman"--he points a pen at the botanist in a manner that
is intended to dismiss my smile once for all--"will be in London
next week. He will be returning next Friday from a special mission
to investigate the fungoid parasites that have been attacking the
cinchona trees in Ceylon."

The botanist blesses his heart.

"Consequently"--the official sighs at the burthen of such nonsense,
"you will have to go and consult with--the people you ought to

I betray a faint amusement.

"You will have to end by believing in our planet," I say.

He waggles a negation with his head. He would intimate his position
is too responsible a one for jesting, and both of us in our several
ways enjoy the pleasure we poor humans have in meeting with
intellectual inferiority. "The Standing Committee of Identification,"
he says, with an eye on a memorandum, "has remitted your case to the
Research Professor of Anthropology in the University of London, and
they want you to go there, if you will, and talk to him."

"What else can we do?" says the botanist.

"There's no positive compulsion," he remarks, "but your work here
will probably cease. Here----" he pushed the neat slips of paper
towards us--"are your tickets for London, and a small but sufficient
supply of money,"--he indicates two piles of coins and paper on
either hand of him--"for a day or so there." He proceeds in the
same dry manner to inform us we are invited to call at our earliest
convenience upon our doubles, and upon the Professor, who is to
investigate our case.

"And then?"

He pulls down the corners of his mouth in a wry deprecatory smile,
eyes us obliquely under a crumpled brow, shrugs his shoulders, and
shows us the palms of his hands.

On earth, where there is nationality, this would have been a
Frenchman--the inferior sort of Frenchman--the sort whose only
happiness is in the routine security of Government employment.

Section 6

London will be the first Utopian city centre we shall see.

We shall find ourselves there with not a little amazement. It will
be our first experience of the swift long distance travel of Utopia,
and I have an idea--I know not why--that we should make the journey
by night. Perhaps I think so because the ideal of long-distance
travel is surely a restful translation less suitable for the active

We shall dine and gossip and drink coffee at the pretty little
tables under the lantern-lit trees, we shall visit the theatre, and
decide to sup in the train, and so come at last to the station.
There we shall find pleasant rooms with seats and books--luggage
all neatly elsewhere--and doors that we shall imagine give upon a
platform. Our cloaks and hats and such-like outdoor impedimenta will
be taken in the hall and neatly labelled for London, we shall
exchange our shoes for slippers there, and we shall sit down like
men in a club. An officious little bell will presently call our
attention to a label "London" on the doorway, and an excellent
phonograph will enforce that notice with infinite civility. The
doors will open, and we shall walk through into an equally
comfortable gallery.

"Where is the train for London?" we shall ask a uniformed fellow

"This is the train for London," he will say.

There will be a shutting of doors, and the botanist and I, trying
not to feel too childish, will walk exploring through the capacious

The resemblance to a club will strike us both. "A _good_ club," the
botanist will correct me.

When one travels beyond a certain speed, there is nothing but
fatigue in looking out of a window, and this corridor train, twice
the width of its poor terrestrial brother, will have no need of that
distraction. The simple device of abandoning any but a few windows,
and those set high, gives the wall space of the long corridors to
books; the middle part of the train is indeed a comfortable library
with abundant armchairs and couches, each with its green-shaded
light, and soft carpets upon the soundproof floor. Further on will
be a news-room, with a noiseless but busy tape at one corner,
printing off messages from the wires by the wayside, and further
still, rooms for gossip and smoking, a billiard room, and the dining
car. Behind we shall come to bedrooms, bathrooms, the hairdresser,
and so forth.

"When shall we start?" I ask presently, as we return, rather like
bashful yokels, to the library, and the old gentleman reading the
Arabian Nights in the armchair in the corner glances up at me with a
sudden curiosity.

The botanist touches my arm and nods towards a pretty little
lead-paned window, through which we see a village sleeping under
cloudy moonlight go flashing by. Then a skylit lake, and then a
string of swaying lights, gone with the leap of a camera

Two hundred miles an hour!

We resort to a dignified Chinese steward and secure our berths. It
is perhaps terrestrial of us that we do not think of reading the
Utopian literature that lines the middle part of the train. I
find a bed of the simple Utopian pattern, and lie for a time
thinking--quite tranquilly--of this marvellous adventure.

I wonder why it is that to lie securely in bed, with the light out,
seems ever the same place, wherever in space one may chance to be?
And asleep, there is no space for us at all. I become drowsy and
incoherent and metaphysical....

The faint and fluctuating drone of the wheels below the car,
re-echoed by the flying track, is more perceptible now, but it is
not unpleasantly loud, merely a faint tinting of the quiet....

No sea crossing breaks our journey; there is nothing to prevent a
Channel tunnel in that other planet; and I wake in London.

The train has been in London some time when I awake, for these
marvellous Utopians have discovered that it is not necessary to
bundle out passengers from a train in the small hours, simply
because they have arrived. A Utopian train is just a peculiar kind
of hotel corridor that flies about the earth while one sleeps.

Section 7

How will a great city of Utopia strike us?

To answer that question well one must needs be artist and engineer,
and I am neither. Moreover, one must employ words and phrases that
do not exist, for this world still does not dream of the things that
may be done with thought and steel, when the engineer is
sufficiently educated to be an artist, and the artistic intelligence
has been quickened to the accomplishment of an engineer. How can one
write of these things for a generation which rather admires that
inconvenient and gawky muddle of ironwork and Flemish architecture,
the London Tower Bridge. When before this, temerarious anticipators
have written of the mighty buildings that might someday be, the
illustrator has blended with the poor ineffectual splutter of the
author's words, his powerful suggestion that it amounted simply to
something bulbous, florid and fluent in the vein of the onion, and
L'Art Nouveau. But here, it may be, the illustrator will not

Art has scarcely begun in the world.

There have been a few forerunners and that is all. Leonardo, Michael
Angelo; how they would have exulted in the liberties of steel! There
are no more pathetic documents in the archives of art than
Leonardo's memoranda. In these, one sees him again and again
reaching out as it were, with empty desirous hands, towards the
unborn possibilities of the engineer. And Durer, too, was a Modern,
with the same turn towards creative invention. In our times these
men would have wanted to make viaducts, to bridge wild and
inaccessible places, to cut and straddle great railways athwart the
mountain masses of the world. You can see, time after time, in
Durer's work, as you can see in the imaginary architectural
landscape of the Pompeian walls, the dream of structures, lighter
and bolder than stone or brick can yield.... These Utopian town
buildings will be the realisation of such dreams.

Here will be one of the great meeting places of mankind. Here--I
speak of Utopian London--will be the traditional centre of one of
the great races in the commonalty of the World State--and here will
be its social and intellectual exchange. There will be a mighty
University here, with thousands of professors and tens of thousands
of advanced students, and here great journals of thought and
speculation, mature and splendid books of philosophy and science,
and a glorious fabric of literature will be woven and shaped, and
with a teeming leisureliness, put forth. Here will be stupendous
libraries, and a mighty organisation of museums. About these centres
will cluster a great swarm of people, and close at hand will be
another centre, for I who am an Englishman must needs stipulate that
Westminster shall still be a seat of world Empire, one of several
seats, if you will--where the ruling council of the world assembles.
Then the arts will cluster round this city, as gold gathers about
wisdom, and here Englishmen will weave into wonderful prose and
beautiful rhythms and subtly atmospheric forms, the intricate,
austere and courageous imagination of our race.

One will come into this place as one comes into a noble mansion.
They will have flung great arches and domes of glass above the wider
spaces of the town, the slender beauty of the perfect metal-work far
overhead will be softened to a fairy-like unsubstantiality by the
mild London air. It will be the London air we know, clear of filth
and all impurity, the same air that gives our October days their
unspeakable clarity and makes every London twilight mysteriously
beautiful. We shall go along avenues of architecture that will be
emancipated from the last memories of the squat temple boxes of the
Greek, the buxom curvatures of Rome; the Goth in us will have taken
to steel and countless new materials as kindly as once he took to
stone. The gay and swiftly moving platforms of the public ways will
go past on either hand, carrying sporadic groups of people, and very
speedily we shall find ourselves in a sort of central space, rich
with palms and flowering bushes and statuary. We shall look along an
avenue of trees, down a wide gorge between the cliffs of crowded
hotels, the hotels that are still glowing with internal lights, to
where the shining morning river streams dawnlit out to sea.

Great multitudes of people will pass softly to and fro in this
central space, beautiful girls and youths going to the University
classes that are held in the stately palaces about us, grave and
capable men and women going to their businesses, children meandering
along to their schools, holiday makers, lovers, setting out
upon a hundred quests; and here we shall ask for the two we more
particularly seek. A graceful little telephone kiosk will put us
within reach of them, and with a queer sense of unreality I shall
find myself talking to my Utopian twin. He has heard of me, he wants
to see me and he gives me clear directions how to come to him.

I wonder if my own voice sounds like that.

"Yes," I say, "then I will come as soon as we have been to our

We indulge in no eloquence upon this remarkable occasion. Yet I feel
an unusual emotional stir. I tremble greatly, and the telephonic
mouthpiece rattles as I replace it.

And thence the botanist and I walk on to the apartments that have
been set aside for us, and into which the poor little rolls of the
property that has accumulated about us in Utopia, our earthly
raiment, and a change of linen and the like, have already been
delivered. As we go I find I have little to say to my companion,
until presently I am struck by a transitory wonder that he should
have so little to say to me.

"I can still hardly realise," I say, "that I am going to see
myself--as I might have been."

"No," he says, and relapses at once into his own preoccupation.

For a moment my wonder as to what he should be thinking about brings
me near to a double self-forgetfulness.

I realise we are at the entrance of our hotel before I can formulate
any further remark.

"This is the place," I say.


My Utopian Self

Section 1

It falls to few of us to interview our better selves. My Utopian self
is, of course, my better self--according to my best endeavours--and
I must confess myself fully alive to the difficulties of the
situation. When I came to this Utopia I had no thought of any such
intimate self-examination.

The whole fabric of that other universe sways for a moment as I come
into his room, into his clear and ordered work-room. I am trembling.
A figure rather taller than myself stands against the light.

He comes towards me, and I, as I advance to meet him, stumble
against a chair. Then, still without a word, we are clasping

I stand now so that the light falls upon him, and I can see his face
better. He is a little taller than I, younger looking and sounder
looking; he has missed an illness or so, and there is no scar over
his eye. His training has been subtly finer than mine; he has made
himself a better face than mine.... These things I might have
counted upon. I can fancy he winces with a twinge of sympathetic
understanding at my manifest inferiority. Indeed, I come, trailing
clouds of earthly confusion and weakness; I bear upon me all the
defects of my world. He wears, I see, that white tunic with the
purple band that I have already begun to consider the proper Utopian
clothing for grave men, and his face is clean shaven. We forget to
speak at first in the intensity of our mutual inspection. When at
last I do gain my voice it is to say something quite different from
the fine, significant openings of my premeditated dialogues.

"You have a pleasant room," I remark, and look about a little
disconcerted because there is no fireplace for me to put my back
against, or hearthrug to stand upon. He pushes me a chair, into
which I plump, and we hang over an immensity of conversational

"I say," I plunge, "what do you think of me? You don't think I'm an

"Not now that I have seen you. No."

"Am I so like you?"

"Like me and your story--exactly."

"You haven't any doubt left?" I ask.

"Not in the least, since I saw you enter. You come from the world
beyond Sirius, twin to this. Eh?"

"And you don't want to know how I got here?"

"I've ceased even to wonder how I got here," he says, with a laugh
that echoes mine.

He leans back in his chair, and I in mine, and the absurd parody of
our attitude strikes us both.

"Well?" we say, simultaneously, and laugh together.

I will confess this meeting is more difficult even than I

Section 2

Our conversation at that first encounter would do very little to
develop the Modern Utopia in my mind. Inevitably, it would be
personal and emotional. He would tell me how he stood in his world,
and I how I stood in mine. I should have to tell him things, I
should have to explain things----.

No, the conversation would contribute nothing to a modern

And so I leave it out.

Section 3

But I should go back to my botanist in a state of emotional
relaxation. At first I should not heed the fact that he, too, had
been in some manner stirred. "I have seen him," I should say,
needlessly, and seem to be on the verge of telling the untellable.
Then I should fade off into: "It's the strangest thing."

He would interrupt me with his own preoccupation. "You know," he
would say, "I've seen someone."

I should pause and look at him.

"She is in this world," he says.

"Who is in this world?"


I have not heard her name before, but I understand, of course, at

"I saw her," he explains.

"Saw her?"

"I'm certain it was her. Certain. She was far away across those
gardens near here--and before I had recovered from my amazement she
had gone! But it was Mary."

He takes my arm. "You know I did not understand this," he says. "I
did not really understand that when you said Utopia, you meant I was
to meet her--in happiness."

"I didn't."

"It works out at that."

"You haven't met her yet."

"I shall. It makes everything different. To tell you the truth I've
rather hated this Utopia of yours at times. You mustn't mind my
saying it, but there's something of the Gradgrind----"

Probably I should swear at that.

"What?" he says.


"But you spoke?"

"I was purring. I'm a Gradgrind--it's quite right--anything you can
say about Herbert Spencer, vivisectors, materialistic Science or
Atheists, applies without correction to me. Begbie away! But now you
think better of a modern Utopia? Was the lady looking well?"

"It was her real self. Yes. Not the broken woman I met--in the real

"And as though she was pining for you."

He looks puzzled.

"Look there!" I say.

He looks.

We are standing high above the ground in the loggia into which our
apartments open, and I point across the soft haze of the public
gardens to a tall white mass of University buildings that rises with
a free and fearless gesture, to lift saluting pinnacles against the
clear evening sky. "Don't you think that rather more beautiful
than--say--our National Gallery?"

He looks at it critically. "There's a lot of metal in it," he
objects. "What?"

I purred. "But, anyhow, whatever you can't see in that, you can, I
suppose, see that it is different from anything in your world--it
lacks the kindly humanity of a red-brick Queen Anne villa residence,
with its gables and bulges, and bow windows, and its stained
glass fanlight, and so forth. It lacks the self-complacent
unreasonableness of Board of Works classicism. There's something in
its proportions--as though someone with brains had taken a lot of
care to get it quite right, someone who not only knew what metal can
do, but what a University ought to be, somebody who had found the
Gothic spirit enchanted, petrified, in a cathedral, and had set it

"But what has this," he asks, "to do with her?"

"Very much," I say. "This is not the same world. If she is here, she
will be younger in spirit and wiser. She will be in many ways more

"No one----" he begins, with a note of indignation.

"No, no! She couldn't be. I was wrong there. But she will be
different. Grant that at any rate. When you go forward to speak to
her, she may not remember--very many things _you_ may remember.
Things that happened at Frognal--dear romantic walks through the
Sunday summer evenings, practically you two alone, you in your
adolescent silk hat and your nice gentlemanly gloves.... Perhaps
that did not happen here! And she may have other memories--of
things--that down there haven't happened. You noted her costume. She
wasn't by any chance one of the samurai?"

He answers, with a note of satisfaction, "No! She wore a womanly
dress of greyish green."

"Probably under the Lesser Rule."

"I don't know what you mean by the Lesser Rule. She wasn't one of
the samurai."

"And, after all, you know--I keep on reminding you, and you keep on
losing touch with the fact, that this world contains your

He pales, and his countenance is disturbed. Thank Heaven, I've
touched him at last!

"This world contains your double. But, conceivably, everything may
be different here. The whole romantic story may have run a different
course. It was as it was in our world, by the accidents of custom
and proximity. Adolescence is a defenceless plastic period. You are
a man to form great affections,--noble, great affections. You might
have met anyone almost at that season and formed the same

For a time he is perplexed and troubled by this suggestion.

"No," he says, a little doubtfully. "No. It was herself." ... Then,
emphatically, "No!"

Section 4

For a time we say no more, and I fall musing about my strange
encounter with my Utopian double. I think of the confessions I have
just made to him, the strange admissions both to him and myself. I
have stirred up the stagnations of my own emotional life, the pride
that has slumbered, the hopes and disappointments that have not
troubled me for years. There are things that happened to me in my
adolescence that no discipline of reason will ever bring to a just
proportion for me, the first humiliations I was made to suffer, the
waste of all the fine irrecoverable loyalties and passions of my
youth. The dull base caste of my little personal tragi-comedy--I
have ostensibly forgiven, I have for the most part forgotten--and
yet when I recall them I hate each actor still. Whenever it comes
into my mind--I do my best to prevent it--there it is, and these
detestable people blot out the stars for me.

I have told all that story to my double, and he has listened with
understanding eyes. But for a little while those squalid memories
will not sink back into the deeps.

We lean, side by side, over our balcony, lost in such egotistical
absorptions, quite heedless of the great palace of noble dreams to
which our first enterprise has brought us.

Section 5

I can understand the botanist this afternoon; for once we are in the
same key. My own mental temper has gone for the day, and I know what
it means to be untempered. Here is a world and a glorious world, and
it is for me to take hold of it, to have to do with it, here and
now, and behold! I can only think that I am burnt and scarred, and
there rankles that wretched piece of business, the mean
unimaginative triumph of my antagonist----

I wonder how many men have any real freedom of mind, are, in truth,
unhampered by such associations, to whom all that is great and noble
in life does not, at times at least, if not always, seem secondary
to obscure rivalries and considerations, to the petty hates that are
like germs in the blood, to the lust for self-assertion, to dwarfish
pride, to affections they gave in pledge even before they were

The botanist beside me dreams, I know, of vindications for that

All this world before us, and its order and liberty, are no more
than a painted scene before which he is to meet Her at last, freed
from "that scoundrel."

He expects "that scoundrel" really to be present and, as it were,
writhing under their feet....

I wonder if that man _was_ a scoundrel. He has gone wrong on earth,
no doubt, has failed and degenerated, but what was it sent him
wrong? Was his failure inherent, or did some net of cross purposes
tangle about his feet? Suppose he is not a failure in Utopia!...

I wonder that this has never entered the botanist's head.

He, with his vaguer mind, can overlook--spite of my ruthless
reminders--all that would mar his vague anticipations. That, too, if
I suggested it, he would overcome and disregard. He has the most
amazing power of resistance to uncongenial ideas; amazing that is,
to me. He hates the idea of meeting his double, and consequently so
soon as I cease to speak of that, with scarcely an effort of his
will, it fades again from his mind.

Down below in the gardens two children pursue one another, and one,
near caught, screams aloud and rouses me from my reverie.

I follow their little butterfly antics until they vanish beyond a
thicket of flowering rhododendra, and then my eyes go back to the
great facade of the University buildings.

But I am in no mood to criticise architecture.

Why should a modern Utopia insist upon slipping out of the hands of
its creator and becoming the background of a personal drama--of such
a silly little drama?

The botanist will not see Utopia in any other way. He tests it
entirely by its reaction upon the individual persons and things he
knows; he dislikes it because he suspects it of wanting to lethal
chamber his aunt's "dear old doggie," and now he is reconciled to it
because a certain "Mary" looks much younger and better here than she
did on earth. And here am I, near fallen into the same way of

We agreed to purge this State and all the people in it of
traditions, associations, bias, laws, and artificial entanglements,
and begin anew; but we have no power to liberate ourselves. Our
past, even its accidents, its accidents above all, and ourselves,
are one.


The Samurai

Section 1

Neither my Utopian double nor I love emotion sufficiently to
cultivate it, and my feelings are in a state of seemly subordination
when we meet again. He is now in possession of some clear, general
ideas about my own world, and I can broach almost at once the
thoughts that have been growing and accumulating since my arrival
in this planet of my dreams. We find our interest in a humanised
state-craft, makes us, in spite of our vast difference in training
and habits, curiously akin.

I put it to him that I came to Utopia with but very vague ideas of
the method of government, biassed, perhaps, a little in favour of
certain electoral devices, but for the rest indeterminate, and
that I have come to perceive more and more clearly that the large
intricacy of Utopian organisation demands more powerful and
efficient method of control than electoral methods can give. I have
come to distinguish among the varied costumes and the innumerable
types of personality Utopia presents, certain men and women of a
distinctive costume and bearing, and I know now that these people
constitute an order, the samurai, the "voluntary nobility," which
is essential in the scheme of the Utopian State. I know that this
order is open to every physically and mentally healthy adult in
the Utopian State who will observe its prescribed austere rule of
living, that much of the responsible work of the State is reserved
for it, and I am inclined now at the first onset of realisation to
regard it as far more significant than it really is in the Utopian
scheme, as being, indeed, in itself and completely the Utopian
scheme. My predominant curiosity concerns the organisation of this
order. As it has developed in my mind, it has reminded me more and
more closely of that strange class of guardians which constitutes
the essential substance of Plato's Republic, and it is with an
implicit reference to Plato's profound intuitions that I and my
double discuss this question.

To clarify our comparison he tells me something of the history of
Utopia, and incidentally it becomes necessary to make a correction
in the assumptions upon which I have based my enterprise. We are
assuming a world identical in every respect with the real planet
Earth, except for the profoundest differences in the mental
content of life. This implies a different literature, a different
philosophy, and a different history, and so soon as I come to
talk to him I find that though it remains unavoidable that we
should assume the correspondence of the two populations, man for
man--unless we would face unthinkable complications--we must assume
also that a great succession of persons of extraordinary character
and mental gifts, who on earth died in childhood or at birth, or
who never learnt to read, or who lived and died amidst savage or
brutalising surroundings that gave their gifts no scope, did in
Utopia encounter happier chances, and take up the development and
application of social theory--from the time of the first Utopists in
a steady onward progress down to the present hour. [Footnote: One
might assume as an alternative to this that amidst the four-fifths
of the Greek literature now lost to the world, there perished,
neglected, some book of elementary significance, some earlier
Novum Organum, that in Utopia survived to achieve the profoundest
consequences.] The differences of condition, therefore, had widened
with each successive year. Jesus Christ had been born into a liberal
and progressive Roman Empire that spread from the Arctic Ocean
to the Bight of Benin, and was to know no Decline and Fall,
and Mahomet, instead of embodying the dense prejudices of Arab
ignorance, opened his eyes upon an intellectual horizon already
nearly as wide as the world.

And through this empire the flow of thought, the flow of intention,
poured always more abundantly. There were wars, but they were
conclusive wars that established new and more permanent relations,
that swept aside obstructions, and abolished centres of decay; there
were prejudices tempered to an ordered criticism, and hatreds that
merged at last in tolerant reactions. It was several hundred years
ago that the great organisation of the samurai came into its present
form. And it was this organisation's widely sustained activities
that had shaped and established the World State in Utopia.

This organisation of the samurai was a quite deliberate invention.
It arose in the course of social and political troubles and
complications, analogous to those of our own time on earth, and was,
indeed, the last of a number of political and religious experiments
dating back to the first dawn of philosophical state-craft in
Greece. That hasty despair of specialisation for government that
gave our poor world individualism, democratic liberalism, and
anarchism, and that curious disregard of the fund of enthusiasm and
self-sacrifice in men, which is the fundamental weakness of worldly
economics, do not appear in the history of Utopian thought. All
that history is pervaded with the recognition of the fact
that self-seeking is no more the whole of human life than the
satisfaction of hunger; that it is an essential of a man's existence
no doubt, and that under stress of evil circumstances it may as
entirely obsess him as would the food hunt during famine, but that
life may pass beyond to an illimitable world of emotions and effort.
Every sane person consists of possibilities beyond the unavoidable
needs, is capable of disinterested feeling, even if it amounts only
to enthusiasm for a sport or an industrial employment well done,
for an art, or for a locality or class. In our world now, as in
the Utopian past, this impersonal energy of a man goes out into
religious emotion and work, into patriotic effort, into artistic
enthusiasms, into games and amateur employments, and an enormous
proportion of the whole world's fund of effort wastes itself in
religious and political misunderstandings and conflicts, and in
unsatisfying amusements and unproductive occupations. In a modern
Utopia there will, indeed, be no perfection; in Utopia there
must also be friction, conflicts and waste, but the waste will
be enormously less than in our world. And the co-ordination of
activities this relatively smaller waste will measure, will be the
achieved end for which the order of the samurai was first devised.

Inevitably such an order must have first arisen among a clash of
social forces and political systems as a revolutionary organisation.
It must have set before itself the attainment of some such Utopian
ideal as this modern Utopia does, in the key of mortal imperfection,
realise. At first it may have directed itself to research and
discussion, to the elaboration of its ideal, to the discussion of a
plan of campaign, but at some stage it must have assumed a more
militant organisation, and have prevailed against and assimilated
the pre-existing political organisations, and to all intents and
purposes have become this present synthesised World State. Traces of
that militancy would, therefore, pervade it still, and a campaigning
quality--no longer against specific disorders, but against universal
human weaknesses, and the inanimate forces that trouble man--still
remain as its essential quality.

"Something of this kind," I should tell my double, "had arisen in
our thought"--I jerk my head back to indicate an infinitely distant
planet--"just before I came upon these explorations. The idea had
reached me, for example, of something to be called a New Republic,
which was to be in fact an organisation for revolution something
after the fashion of your samurai, as I understand them--only most
of the organisation and the rule of life still remained to be
invented. All sorts of people were thinking of something in that way
about the time of my coming. The idea, as it reached me, was pretty
crude in several respects. It ignored the high possibility of a
synthesis of languages in the future; it came from a literary man,
who wrote only English, and, as I read him--he was a little vague in
his proposals--it was to be a purely English-speaking movement. And
his ideas were coloured too much by the peculiar opportunism of his
time; he seemed to have more than half an eye for a prince or a
millionaire of genius; he seemed looking here and there for support
and the structural elements of a party. Still, the idea of a
comprehensive movement of disillusioned and illuminated men behind
the shams and patriotisms, the spites and personalities of the
ostensible world was there."

I added some particulars.

"Our movement had something of that spirit in the beginning," said
my Utopian double. "But while your men seem to be thinking
disconnectedly, and upon a very narrow and fragmentary basis of
accumulated conclusions, ours had a fairly comprehensive science of
human association, and a very careful analysis of the failures of
preceding beginnings to draw upon. After all, your world must be as
full as ours was of the wreckage and decay of previous attempts;
churches, aristocracies, orders, cults...."

"Only at present we seem to have lost heart altogether, and now
there are no new religions, no new orders, no new cults--no
beginnings any more."

"But that's only a resting phase, perhaps. You were saying----"

"Oh!--let that distressful planet alone for a time! Tell me how you
manage in Utopia."

Section 2

The social theorists of Utopia, my double explained, did not base
their schemes upon the classification of men into labour and
capital, the landed interest, the liquor trade, and the like. They
esteemed these as accidental categories, indefinitely amenable to
statesmanship, and they looked for some practical and real
classification upon which to base organisation. [Footnote: In that
they seem to have profited by a more searching criticism of early
social and political speculations than our earth has yet undertaken.
The social speculations of the Greeks, for example, had just the
same primary defect as the economic speculations of the eighteenth
century--they began with the assumption that the general conditions
of the prevalent state of affairs were permanent.] But, on the other
hand, the assumption that men are unclassifiable, because
practically homogeneous, which underlies modern democratic methods
and all the fallacies of our equal justice, is even more alien to
the Utopian mind. Throughout Utopia there is, of course, no other
than provisional classifications, since every being is regarded as
finally unique, but for political and social purposes things have
long rested upon a classification of temperaments, which attends
mainly to differences in the range and quality and character of the
individual imagination.

This Utopian classification was a rough one, but it served its
purpose to determine the broad lines of political organisation; it
was so far unscientific that many individuals fall between or within
two or even three of its classes. But that was met by giving the
correlated organisation a compensatory looseness of play. Four main
classes of mind were distinguished, called, respectively, the
Poietic, the Kinetic, the Dull, and the Base. The former two are
supposed to constitute the living tissue of the State; the latter
are the fulcra and resistances, the bone and cover of its body. They
are not hereditary classes, nor is there any attempt to develop any
class by special breeding, simply because the intricate interplay
of heredity is untraceable and incalculable. They are classes to
which people drift of their own accord. Education is uniform until
differentiation becomes unmistakable, and each man (and woman) must
establish his position with regard to the lines of this abstract
classification by his own quality, choice, and development....

The Poietic or creative class of mental individuality embraces a
wide range of types, but they agree in possessing imaginations that
range beyond the known and accepted, and that involve the desire to
bring the discoveries made in such excursions, into knowledge and
recognition. The scope and direction of the imaginative excursion
may vary very greatly. It may be the invention of something new or
the discovery of something hitherto unperceived. When the invention
or discovery is primarily beauty then we have the artistic type of
Poietic mind; when it is not so, we have the true scientific man.
The range of discovery may be narrowed as it is in the art of
Whistler or the science of a cytologist, or it may embrace a wide
extent of relevance, until at last both artist or scientific
inquirer merge in the universal reference of the true philosopher.
To the accumulated activities of the Poietic type, reacted upon by
circumstances, are due almost all the forms assumed by human thought
and feeling. All religious ideas, all ideas of what is good or
beautiful, entered life through the poietic inspirations of man.
Except for processes of decay, the forms of the human future must
come also through men of this same type, and it is a primary
essential to our modern idea of an abundant secular progress that
these activities should be unhampered and stimulated.

The Kinetic class consists of types, various, of course, and merging
insensibly along the boundary into the less representative
constituents of the Poietic group, but distinguished by a more
restricted range of imagination. Their imaginations do not range
beyond the known, experienced, and accepted, though within these
limits they may imagine as vividly or more vividly than members of
the former group. They are often very clever and capable people, but
they do not do, and they do not desire to do, new things. The more
vigorous individuals of this class are the most teachable people in
the world, and they are generally more moral and more trustworthy
than the Poietic types. They live,--while the Poietics are always
something of experimentalists with life. The characteristics of
either of these two classes may be associated with a good or bad
physique, with excessive or defective energy, with exceptional
keenness of the senses in some determinate direction or such-like
"bent," and the Kinetic type, just as the Poietic type, may display
an imagination of restricted or of the most universal range. But a
fairly energetic Kinetic is probably the nearest thing to that ideal
our earthly anthropologists have in mind when they speak of the
"Normal" human being. The very definition of the Poietic class
involves a certain abnormality.

The Utopians distinguished two extremes of this Kinetic class
according to the quality of their imaginative preferences, the Dan
and Beersheba, as it were, of this division. At one end is the
mainly intellectual, unoriginal type, which, with energy of
personality, makes an admirable judge or administrator and without
it an uninventive, laborious, common mathematician, or common
scholar, or common scientific man; while at the other end is the
mainly emotional, unoriginal man, the type to which--at a low level
of personal energy--my botanist inclines. The second type includes,
amidst its energetic forms, great actors, and popular politicians
and preachers. Between these extremes is a long and wide region of
varieties, into which one would put most of the people who form the
reputable workmen, the men of substance, the trustworthy men and
women, the pillars of society on earth.

Below these two classes in the Utopian scheme of things, and merging
insensibly into them, come the Dull. The Dull are persons of
altogether inadequate imagination, the people who never seem to
learn thoroughly, or hear distinctly, or think clearly. (I believe
if everyone is to be carefully educated they would be considerably
in the minority in the world, but it is quite possible that will not
be the reader's opinion. It is clearly a matter of an arbitrary
line.) They are the stupid people, the incompetent people, the
formal, imitative people, the people who, in any properly organised
State, should, as a class, gravitate towards and below the minimum
wage that qualifies for marriage. The laws of heredity are far too
mysterious for such offspring as they do produce to be excluded from
a fair chance in the world, but for themselves, they count neither
for work nor direction in the State.

Finally, with a bold disregard of the logician's classificatory
rules, these Utopian statesmen who devised the World State, hewed
out in theory a class of the Base. The Base may, indeed, be either
poietic, kinetic, or dull, though most commonly they are the last,
and their definition concerns not so much the quality of their
imagination as a certain bias in it, that to a statesman makes it a
matter for special attention. The Base have a narrower and more
persistent egoistic reference than the common run of humanity; they
may boast, but they have no frankness; they have relatively great
powers of concealment, and they are capable of, and sometimes have
an aptitude and inclination towards, cruelty. In the queer phrasing
of earthly psychology with its clumsy avoidance of analysis, they
have no "moral sense." They count as an antagonism to the State

Obviously, this is the rudest of classifications, and no Utopian has
ever supposed it to be a classification for individual application,
a classification so precise that one can say, this man is "poietic,"
and that man is "base." In actual experience these qualities mingle
and vary in every possible way. It is not a classification for
Truth, but a classification to an end. Taking humanity as a
multitude of unique individuals in mass, one may, for practical
purposes, deal with it far more conveniently by disregarding its
uniquenesses and its mixed cases altogether, and supposing it to be
an assembly of poietic, kinetic, dull, and base people. In many
respects it behaves as if it were that. The State, dealing as it
does only with non-individualised affairs, is not only justified in
disregarding, but is bound to disregard, a man's special
distinction, and to provide for him on the strength of his prevalent
aspect as being on the whole poietic, kinetic, or what not. In a
world of hasty judgments and carping criticism, it cannot be
repeated too often that the fundamental ideas of a modern Utopia
imply everywhere and in everything, margins and elasticities, a
certain universal compensatory looseness of play.

Section 3

Now these Utopian statesmen who founded the World State put the
problem of social organisation in the following fashion:--To
contrive a revolutionary movement that shall absorb all existing
governments and fuse them with itself, and that must be rapidly
progressive and adaptable, and yet coherent, persistent, powerful,
and efficient.

The problem of combining progress with political stability had never
been accomplished in Utopia before that time, any more than it has
been accomplished on earth. Just as on earth, Utopian history was a
succession of powers rising and falling in an alternation of
efficient conservative with unstable liberal States. Just as on
earth, so in Utopia, the kinetic type of men had displayed a more or
less unintentional antagonism to the poietic. The general
life-history of a State had been the same on either planet. First,
through poietic activities, the idea of a community has developed,
and the State has shaped itself; poietic men have arisen first in
this department of national life, and then that, and have given
place to kinetic men of a high type--for it seems to be in their
nature that poietic men should be mutually repulsive, and not
succeed and develop one another consecutively--and a period of
expansion and vigour has set in. The general poietic activity has
declined with the development of an efficient and settled social and
political organisation; the statesman has given way to the
politician who has incorporated the wisdom of the statesman with his
own energy, the original genius in arts, letters, science, and every
department of activity to the cultivated and scholarly man. The
kinetic man of wide range, who has assimilated his poietic
predecessor, succeeds with far more readiness than his poietic
contemporary in almost every human activity. The latter is by his
very nature undisciplined and experimental, and is positively
hampered by precedents and good order. With this substitution of the
efficient for the creative type, the State ceases to grow, first in
this department of activity, and then in that, and so long as its
conditions remain the same it remains orderly and efficient. But it
has lost its power of initiative and change; its power of adaptation
is gone, and with that secular change of conditions which is the law
of life, stresses must arise within and without, and bring at last
either through revolution or through defeat the release of fresh
poietic power. The process, of course, is not in its entirety
simple; it may be masked by the fact that one department of activity
may be in its poietic stage, while another is in a phase of
realisation. In the United States of America, for example, during
the nineteenth century, there was great poietic activity in
industrial organisation, and none whatever in political philosophy;
but a careful analysis of the history of any period will show the
rhythm almost invariably present, and the initial problem before the
Utopian philosopher, therefore, was whether this was an inevitable
alternation, whether human progress was necessarily a series of
developments, collapses, and fresh beginnings, after an interval of
disorder, unrest, and often great unhappiness, or whether it was
possible to maintain a secure, happy, and progressive State beside
an unbroken flow of poietic activity.

Clearly they decided upon the second alternative. If, indeed, I am
listening to my Utopian self, then they not only decided the problem
could be solved, but they solved it.

He tells me how they solved it.

A modern Utopia differs from all the older Utopias in its
recognition of the need of poietic activities--one sees this new
consideration creeping into thought for the first time in the
phrasing of Comte's insistence that "spiritual" must precede
political reconstruction, and in his admission of the necessity of
recurrent books and poems about Utopias--and at first this
recognition appears to admit only an added complication to a problem
already unmanageably complex. Comte's separation of the activities
of a State into the spiritual and material does, to a certain
extent, anticipate this opposition of poietic and kinetic, but the
intimate texture of his mind was dull and hard, the conception
slipped from him again, and his suppression of literary activities,
and his imposition of a rule of life upon the poietic types, who are
least able to sustain it, mark how deeply he went under. To a large
extent he followed the older Utopists in assuming that the
philosophical and constructive problem could be done once for all,
and he worked the results out simply under an organised kinetic
government. But what seems to be merely an addition to the
difficulty may in the end turn out to be a simplification, just as
the introduction of a fresh term to an intricate irreducible
mathematical expression will at times bring it to unity.

Now philosophers after my Utopian pattern, who find the ultimate
significance in life in individuality, novelty and the undefined,
would not only regard the poietic element as the most important in
human society, but would perceive quite clearly the impossibility of
its organisation. This, indeed, is simply the application to the
moral and intellectual fabric of the principles already applied in
discussing the State control of reproduction (in Chapter the Sixth,
section 2). But just as in the case of births it was possible for
the State to frame limiting conditions within which individuality
plays more freely than in the void, so the founders of this modern
Utopia believed it possible to define conditions under which every
individual born with poietic gifts should be enabled and encouraged
to give them a full development, in art, philosophy, invention,
or discovery. Certain general conditions presented themselves as
obviously reasonable:--to give every citizen as good an education
as he or she could acquire, for example; to so frame it that the
directed educational process would never at any period occupy the
whole available time of the learner, but would provide throughout
a marginal free leisure with opportunities for developing
idiosyncrasies, and to ensure by the expedient of a minimum wage
for a specified amount of work, that leisure and opportunity did
not cease throughout life.

But, in addition to thus making poietic activities universally
possible, the founders of this modern Utopia sought to supply
incentives, which was an altogether more difficult research, a
problem in its nature irresolvably complex, and admitting of no
systematic solution. But my double told me of a great variety of
devices by which poietic men and women were given honour and
enlarged freedoms, so soon as they produced an earnest of their
quality, and he explained to me how great an ambition they might

There were great systems of laboratories attached to every municipal
force station at which research could be conducted under the most
favourable conditions, and every mine, and, indeed, almost every
great industrial establishment, was saddled under its lease with
similar obligations. So much for poietic ability and research in
physical science. The World State tried the claims of every living
contributor to any materially valuable invention, and paid or
charged a royalty on its use that went partly to him personally, and
partly to the research institution that had produced him. In the
matter of literature and the philosophical and sociological
sciences, every higher educational establishment carried its
studentships, its fellowships, its occasional lectureships, and to
produce a poem, a novel, a speculative work of force or merit, was
to become the object of a generous competition between rival
Universities. In Utopia, any author has the option either of
publishing his works through the public bookseller as a private
speculation, or, if he is of sufficient merit, of accepting a
University endowment and conceding his copyright to the University
press. All sorts of grants in the hands of committees of the most
varied constitution, supplemented these academic resources, and
ensured that no possible contributor to the wide flow of the Utopian
mind slipped into neglect. Apart from those who engaged mainly in
teaching and administration, my double told me that the world-wide
House of Saloman [Footnote: The New Atlantis.] thus created
sustained over a million men. For all the rarity of large fortunes,
therefore, no original man with the desire and capacity for material
or mental experiments went long without resources and the stimulus
of attention, criticism, and rivalry.

"And finally," said my double, "our Rules ensure a considerable
understanding of the importance of poietic activities in the
majority of the samurai, in whose hands as a class all the real
power of the world resides."

"Ah!" said I, "and now we come to the thing that interests me most.
For it is quite clear, in my mind, that these samurai form the real
body of the State. All this time that I have spent going to and fro
in this planet, it has been growing upon me that this order of men
and women, wearing such a uniform as you wear, and with faces
strengthened by discipline and touched with devotion, is the
Utopian reality; but that for them, the whole fabric of these fair
appearances would crumble and tarnish, shrink and shrivel, until at
last, back I should be amidst the grime and disorders of the life
of earth. Tell me about these samurai, who remind me of Plato's
guardians, who look like Knights Templars, who bear a name that
recalls the swordsmen of Japan ... and whose uniform you yourself are
wearing. What are they? Are they an hereditary caste, a specially
educated order, an elected class? For, certainly, this world turns
upon them as a door upon its hinges."

Section 4

"I follow the Common Rule, as many men do," said my double,
answering my allusion to his uniform almost apologetically. "But my
own work is, in its nature, poietic; there is much dissatisfaction
with our isolation of criminals upon islands, and I am analysing the
psychology of prison officials and criminals in general with a view
to some better scheme. I am supposed to be ingenious with expedients
in this direction. Typically, the samurai are engaged in
administrative work. Practically the whole of the responsible rule
of the world is in their hands; all our head teachers and
disciplinary heads of colleges, our judges, barristers, employers of
labour beyond a certain limit, practising medical men, legislators,
must be samurai, and all the executive committees, and so forth,
that play so large a part in our affairs are drawn by lot
exclusively from them. The order is not hereditary--we know just
enough of biology and the uncertainties of inheritance to know how
silly that would be--and it does not require an early consecration
or novitiate or ceremonies and initiations of that sort. The samurai
are, in fact, volunteers. Any intelligent adult in a reasonably
healthy and efficient state may, at any age after five-and-twenty,
become one of the samurai, and take a hand in the universal

"Provided he follows the Rule."

"Precisely--provided he follows the Rule."

"I have heard the phrase, 'voluntary nobility.'"

"That was the idea of our Founders. They made a noble and privileged
order--open to the whole world. No one could complain of an unjust
exclusion, for the only thing that could exclude from the order was
unwillingness or inability to follow the Rule."

"But the Rule might easily have been made exclusive of special
lineages and races."

"That wasn't their intention. The Rule was planned to exclude the
dull, to be unattractive to the base, and to direct and co-ordinate
all sound citizens of good intent."

"And it has succeeded?"

"As well as anything finite can. Life is still imperfect, still a
thick felt of dissatisfactions and perplexing problems, but most
certainly the quality of all its problems has been raised, and there
has been no war, no grinding poverty, not half the disease, and an
enormous increase of the order, beauty, and resources of life since
the samurai, who began as a private aggressive cult, won their way
to the rule of the world."

"I would like to have that history," I said. "I expect there was
fighting?" He nodded. "But first--tell me about the Rule."

"The Rule aims to exclude the dull and base altogether, to
discipline the impulses and emotions, to develop a moral habit and
sustain a man in periods of stress, fatigue, and temptation, to
produce the maximum co-operation of all men of good intent, and, in
fact, to keep all the samurai in a state of moral and bodily health
and efficiency. It does as much of this as well as it can, but, of
course, like all general propositions, it does not do it in any case
with absolute precision. On the whole, it is so good that most men
who, like myself, are doing poietic work, and who would be just as
well off without obedience, find a satisfaction in adhesion. At
first, in the militant days, it was a trifle hard and uncompromising;
it had rather too strong an appeal to the moral prig and harshly
righteous man, but it has undergone, and still undergoes, revision
and expansion, and every year it becomes a little better adapted to
the need of a general rule of life that all men may try to follow.
We have now a whole literature, with many very fine things in it,
written about the Rule."

He glanced at a little book on his desk, took it up as if to show it
me, then put it down again.

"The Rule consists of three parts; there is the list of things that
qualify, the list of things that must not be done, and the list of
things that must be done. Qualification exacts a little exertion, as
evidence of good faith, and it is designed to weed out the duller
dull and many of the base. Our schooling period ends now about
fourteen, and a small number of boys and girls--about three per
cent.--are set aside then as unteachable, as, in fact, nearly
idiotic; the rest go on to a college or upper school."

"All your population?"

"With that exception."


"Of course. And they pass out of college at eighteen. There are
several different college courses, but one or other must be followed
and a satisfactory examination passed at the end--perhaps ten per
cent. fail--and the Rule requires that the candidate for the samurai
must have passed."

"But a very good man is sometimes an idle schoolboy."

"We admit that. And so anyone who has failed to pass the college
leaving examination may at any time in later life sit for it
again--and again and again. Certain carefully specified things
excuse it altogether."

"That makes it fair. But aren't there people who cannot pass

"People of nervous instability----"

"But they may be people of great though irregular poietic

"Exactly. That is quite possible. But we don't want that sort of
people among our samurai. Passing an examination is a proof of a
certain steadiness of purpose, a certain self-control and

"Of a certain 'ordinariness.'"

"Exactly what is wanted."

"Of course, those others can follow other careers."

"Yes. That's what we want them to do. And, besides these two
educational qualifications, there are two others of a similar kind
of more debateable value. One is practically not in operation now.
Our Founders put it that a candidate for the samurai must possess
what they called a Technique, and, as it operated in the beginning,
he had to hold the qualification for a doctor, for a lawyer, for a
military officer, or an engineer, or teacher, or have painted
acceptable pictures, or written a book, or something of the sort. He
had, in fact, as people say, to 'be something,' or to have 'done
something.' It was a regulation of vague intention even in the
beginning, and it became catholic to the pitch of absurdity. To play
a violin skilfully has been accepted as sufficient for this
qualification. There may have been a reason in the past for this
provision; in those days there were many daughters of prosperous
parents--and even some sons--who did nothing whatever but idle
uninterestingly in the world, and the organisation might have
suffered by their invasion, but that reason has gone now, and the
requirement remains a merely ceremonial requirement. But, on the
other hand, another has developed. Our Founders made a collection of
several volumes, which they called, collectively, the Book of the
Samurai, a compilation of articles and extracts, poems and prose
pieces, which were supposed to embody the idea of the order. It was
to play the part for the samurai that the Bible did for the ancient
Hebrews. To tell you the truth, the stuff was of very unequal merit;
there was a lot of very second-rate rhetoric, and some nearly
namby-pamby verse. There was also included some very obscure verse
and prose that had the trick of seeming wise. But for all such
defects, much of the Book, from the very beginning, was splendid and
inspiring matter. From that time to this, the Book of the Samurai
has been under revision, much has been added, much rejected, and
some deliberately rewritten. Now, there is hardly anything in it
that is not beautiful and perfect in form. The whole range of noble
emotions finds expression there, and all the guiding ideas of our
Modern State. We have recently admitted some terse criticism of its
contents by a man named Henley."

"Old Henley!"

"A man who died a little time ago."

"I knew that man on earth. And he was in Utopia, too! He was a great
red-faced man, with fiery hair, a noisy, intolerant maker of
enemies, with a tender heart--and he was one of the samurai?"

"He defied the Rules."

"He was a great man with wine. He wrote like wine; in our world he
wrote wine; red wine with the light shining through."

"He was on the Committee that revised our Canon. For the revising
and bracing of our Canon is work for poietic as well as kinetic men.
You knew him in your world?"

"I wish I had. But I have seen him. On earth he wrote a thing ... it
would run--

  "Out of the night that covers me,
     Black as the pit from pole to pole,
   I thank whatever Gods may be,
     For my unconquerable soul...."

"We have that here. All good earthly things are in Utopia also. We
put that in the Canon almost as soon as he died," said my

Section 5

"We have now a double Canon, a very fine First Canon, and a Second
Canon of work by living men and work of inferior quality, and a
satisfactory knowledge of both of these is the fourth intellectual
qualification for the samurai."

"It must keep a sort of uniformity in your tone of thought."

"The Canon pervades our whole world. As a matter of fact, very much
of it is read and learnt in the schools.... Next to the intellectual
qualification comes the physical, the man must be in sound health,
free from certain foul, avoidable, and demoralising diseases, and in
good training. We reject men who are fat, or thin and flabby, or
whose nerves are shaky--we refer them back to training. And finally
the man or woman must be fully adult."

"Twenty-one? But you said twenty-five!"

"The age has varied. At first it was twenty-five or over; then the
minimum became twenty-five for men and twenty-one for women. Now
there is a feeling that it ought to be raised. We don't want to take
advantage of mere boy and girl emotions--men of my way of thinking,
at any rate, don't--we want to get our samurai with experiences,
with a settled mature conviction. Our hygiene and regimen are
rapidly pushing back old age and death, and keeping men hale and
hearty to eighty and more. There's no need to hurry the young. Let
them have a chance of wine, love, and song; let them feel the bite
of full-bodied desire, and know what devils they have to reckon

"But there is a certain fine sort of youth that knows the
desirability of the better things at nineteen."

"They may keep the Rule at any time--without its privileges. But a
man who breaks the Rule after his adult adhesion at five-and-twenty
is no more in the samurai for ever. Before that age he is free to
break it and repent."

"And now, what is forbidden?"

"We forbid a good deal. Many small pleasures do no great harm, but
we think it well to forbid them, none the less, so that we can weed
out the self-indulgent. We think that a constant resistance to
little seductions is good for a man's quality. At any rate, it shows
that a man is prepared to pay something for his honour and
privileges. We prescribe a regimen of food, forbid tobacco, wine, or
any alcoholic drink, all narcotic drugs----"


"In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to
be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughter-houses. And, in
a population that is all educated, and at about the same level of
physical refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who
will hew a dead ox or pig. We never settled the hygienic question of
meat-eating at all. This other aspect decided us. I can still
remember, as a boy, the rejoicings over the closing of the last

"You eat fish."

"It isn't a matter of logic. In our barbaric past horrible flayed
carcases of brutes dripping blood, were hung for sale in the public
streets." He shrugged his shoulders.

"They do that still in London--in _my_ world," I said.

He looked again at my laxer, coarser face, and did not say whatever
thought had passed across his mind.

"Originally the samurai were forbidden usury, that is to say the
lending of money at fixed rates of interest. They are still under
that interdiction, but since our commercial code practically
prevents usury altogether, and our law will not recognise contracts
for interest upon private accommodation loans to unprosperous
borrowers, it is now scarcely necessary. The idea of a man growing
richer by mere inaction and at the expense of an impoverishing
debtor, is profoundly distasteful to Utopian ideas, and our State
insists pretty effectually now upon the participation of the lender
in the borrower's risks. This, however, is only one part of a series
of limitations of the same character. It is felt that to buy simply
in order to sell again brings out many unsocial human qualities; it
makes a man seek to enhance profits and falsify values, and so the
samurai are forbidden to buy to sell on their own account or for any
employer save the State, unless some process of manufacture changes
the nature of the commodity (a mere change in bulk or packing does
not suffice), and they are forbidden salesmanship and all its arts.
Consequently they cannot be hotel-keepers, or hotel proprietors, or
hotel shareholders, and a doctor--all practising doctors must be
samurai--cannot sell drugs except as a public servant of the
municipality or the State."

"That, of course, runs counter to all our current terrestrial
ideas," I said. "We are obsessed by the power of money. These rules
will work out as a vow of moderate poverty, and if your samurai are
an order of poor men----"

"They need not be. Samurai who have invented, organised, and
developed new industries, have become rich men, and many men who
have grown rich by brilliant and original trading have subsequently
become samurai."

"But these are exceptional cases. The bulk of your money-making
business must be confined to men who are not samurai. You must have
a class of rich, powerful outsiders----"

"_Have_ we?"

"I don't see the evidences of them."

"As a matter of fact, we have such people! There are rich traders,
men who have made discoveries in the economy of distribution, or who
have called attention by intelligent, truthful advertisement to the
possibilities of neglected commodities, for example."

"But aren't they a power?"

"Why should they be?"

"Wealth _is_ power."

I had to explain that phrase.

He protested. "Wealth," he said, "is no sort of power at all unless
you make it one. If it is so in your world it is so by inadvertency.
Wealth is a State-made thing, a convention, the most artificial of
powers. You can, by subtle statesmanship, contrive what it shall buy
and what it shall not. In your world it would seem you have made
leisure, movement, any sort of freedom, life itself, _purchaseable_.
The more fools you! A poor working man with you is a man in
discomfort and fear. No wonder your rich have power. But here a
reasonable leisure, a decent life, is to be had by every man on
easier terms than by selling himself to the rich. And rich as men
are here, there is no private fortune in the whole world that is
more than a little thing beside the wealth of the State. The samurai
control the State and the wealth of the State, and by their vows
they may not avail themselves of any of the coarser pleasures wealth
can still buy. Where, then, is the power of your wealthy man?"

"But, then--where is the incentive----?"

"Oh! a man gets things for himself with wealth--no end of things.
But little or no power over his fellows--unless they are
exceptionally weak or self-indulgent persons."

I reflected. "What else may not the samurai do?"

"Acting, singing, or reciting are forbidden them, though they may
lecture authoritatively or debate. But professional mimicry is not
only held to be undignified in a man or woman, but to weaken and
corrupt the soul; the mind becomes foolishly dependent on applause,
over-skilful in producing tawdry and momentary illusions of
excellence; it is our experience that actors and actresses as a
class are loud, ignoble, and insincere. If they have not such
flamboyant qualities then they are tepid and ineffectual players.
Nor may the samurai do personal services, except in the matter of
medicine or surgery; they may not be barbers, for example, nor inn
waiters, nor boot cleaners. But, nowadays, we have scarcely any
barbers or boot cleaners; men do these things for themselves. Nor
may a man under the Rule be any man's servant, pledged to do
whatever he is told. He may neither be a servant nor keep one; he
must shave and dress and serve himself, carry his own food from the
helper's place to the table, redd his sleeping room, and leave it

"That is all easy enough in a world as ordered as yours. I suppose
no samurai may bet?"

"Absolutely not. He may insure his life and his old age for the
better equipment of his children, or for certain other specified
ends, but that is all his dealings with chance. And he is also
forbidden to play games in public or to watch them being played.
Certain dangerous and hardy sports and exercises are prescribed for
him, but not competitive sports between man and man or side and
side. That lesson was learnt long ago before the coming of the
samurai. Gentlemen of honour, according to the old standards, rode
horses, raced chariots, fought, and played competitive games of
skill, and the dull, cowardly and base came in thousands to admire,
and howl, and bet. The gentlemen of honour degenerated fast enough
into a sort of athletic prostitute, with all the defects, all the
vanity, trickery, and self-assertion of the common actor, and with
even less intelligence. Our Founders made no peace with this
organisation of public sports. They did not spend their lives to
secure for all men and women on the earth freedom, health, and
leisure, in order that they might waste lives in such folly."

"We have those abuses," I said, "but some of our earthly games have
a fine side. There is a game called cricket. It is a fine, generous

"Our boys play that, and men too. But it is thought rather puerile
to give very much time to it; men should have graver interests. It
was undignified and unpleasant for the samurai to play conspicuously
ill, and impossible for them to play so constantly as to keep hand
and eye in training against the man who was fool enough and cheap
enough to become an expert. Cricket, tennis, fives, billiards----.
You will find clubs and a class of men to play all these things in
Utopia, but not the samurai. And they must play their games as
games, not as displays; the price of a privacy for playing cricket,
so that they could charge for admission, would be overwhelmingly
high.... Negroes are often very clever at cricket. For a time, most
of the samurai had their sword-play, but few do those exercises now,
and until about fifty years ago they went out for military training,
a fortnight in every year, marching long distances, sleeping in the
open, carrying provisions, and sham fighting over unfamiliar ground
dotted with disappearing targets. There was a curious inability in
our world to realise that war was really over for good and all."

"And now," I said, "haven't we got very nearly to the end of your
prohibitions? You have forbidden alcohol, drugs, smoking, betting,
and usury, games, trade, servants. But isn't there a vow of

"That is the Rule for your earthly orders?"

"Yes--except, if I remember rightly, for Plato's Guardians."

"There is a Rule of Chastity here--but not of Celibacy. We know
quite clearly that civilisation is an artificial arrangement, and
that all the physical and emotional instincts of man are too strong,
and his natural instinct of restraint too weak, for him to live
easily in the civilised State. Civilisation has developed far more
rapidly than man has modified. Under the unnatural perfection of
security, liberty and abundance our civilisation has attained, the
normal untrained human being is disposed to excess in almost every
direction; he tends to eat too much and too elaborately, to drink
too much, to become lazy faster than his work can be reduced, to
waste his interest upon displays, and to make love too much and too
elaborately. He gets out of training, and concentrates upon egoistic
or erotic broodings. The past history of our race is very largely a
history of social collapses due to demoralisation by indulgences
following security and abundance. In the time of our Founders the
signs of a world-wide epoch of prosperity and relaxation were
plentiful. Both sexes drifted towards sexual excesses, the men
towards sentimental extravagances, imbecile devotions, and the
complication and refinement of physical indulgences; the women
towards those expansions and differentiations of feeling that find
expression in music and costly and distinguished dress. Both sexes
became unstable and promiscuous. The whole world seemed disposed to
do exactly the same thing with its sexual interest as it had done
with its appetite for food and drink--make the most of it."

He paused.

"Satiety came to help you," I said.

"Destruction may come before satiety. Our Founders organised motives
from all sorts of sources, but I think the chief force to give men
self-control is Pride. Pride may not be the noblest thing in the
soul, but it is the best King there, for all that. They looked to it
to keep a man clean and sound and sane. In this matter, as in all
matters of natural desire, they held no appetite must be glutted, no
appetite must have artificial whets, and also and equally that no
appetite should be starved. A man must come from the table
satisfied, but not replete. And, in the matter of love, a straight
and clean desire for a clean and straight fellow-creature was our
Founders' ideal. They enjoined marriage between equals as the
samurai's duty to the race, and they framed directions of the
precisest sort to prevent that uxorious inseparableness, that
connubiality which will reduce a couple of people to something
jointly less than either. That Canon is too long to tell you now. A
man under the Rule who loves a woman who does not follow it, must
either leave the samurai to marry her, or induce her to accept what
is called the Woman's Rule, which, while it excepts her from the
severer qualifications and disciplines, brings her regimen of life
into a working harmony with his."

"Suppose she breaks the Rule afterwards?"

"He must leave either her or the order."

"There is matter for a novel or so in that."

"There has been matter for hundreds."

"Is the Woman's Rule a sumptuary law as well as a regimen? I
mean--may she dress as she pleases?"

"Not a bit of it," said my double. "Every woman who could command
money used it, we found, to make underbred aggressions on other
women. As men emerged to civilisation, women seemed going back
to savagery--to paint and feathers. But the samurai, both men
and women, and the women under the Lesser Rule also, all have a
particular dress. No difference is made between women under either
the Great or the Lesser Rule. You have seen the men's dress--always
like this I wear. The women may wear the same, either with the hair
cut short or plaited behind them, or they may have a high-waisted
dress of very fine, soft woollen material, with their hair coiled up

"I have seen it," I said. Indeed, nearly all the women had seemed to
be wearing variants of that simple formula. "It seems to me a very
beautiful dress. The other--I'm not used to. But I like it on girls
and slender women."

I had a thought, and added, "Don't they sometimes, well--take a good
deal of care, dressing their hair?"

My double laughed in my eyes. "They do," he said.

"And the Rule?"

"The Rule is never fussy," said my double, still smiling.

"We don't want women to cease to be beautiful, and consciously
beautiful, if you like," he added. "The more real beauty of form and
face we have, the finer our world. But costly sexualised

"I should have thought," I said, "a class of women who traded on
their sex would have arisen, women, I mean, who found an interest
and an advantage in emphasising their individual womanly beauty.
There is no law to prevent it. Surely they would tend to counteract
the severity of costume the Rule dictates."

"There are such women. But for all that the Rule sets the key of
everyday dress. If a woman is possessed by the passion for gorgeous
raiment she usually satisfies it in her own private circle, or with
rare occasional onslaughts upon the public eye. Her everyday mood
and the disposition of most people is against being conspicuous
abroad. And I should say there are little liberties under the Lesser
Rule; a discreet use of fine needlework and embroidery, a wider
choice of materials."

"You have no changing fashions?"

"None. For all that, are not our dresses as beautiful as yours?"

"Our women's dresses are not beautiful at all," I said, forced for a
time towards the mysterious philosophy of dress. "Beauty? That isn't
their concern."

"Then what are they after?"

"My dear man! What is all my world after?"

Section 6

I should come to our third talk with a great curiosity to hear of
the last portion of the Rule, of the things that the samurai are
obliged to do.

There would be many precise directions regarding his health, and
rules that would aim at once at health and that constant exercise of
will that makes life good. Save in specified exceptional
circumstances, the samurai must bathe in cold water, and the men
must shave every day; they have the precisest directions in such
matters; the body must be in health, the skin and muscles and nerves
in perfect tone, or the samurai must go to the doctors of the order,
and give implicit obedience to the regimen prescribed. They must
sleep alone at least four nights in five; and they must eat with and
talk to anyone in their fellowship who cares for their conversation
for an hour, at least, at the nearest club-house of the samurai once
on three chosen days in every week. Moreover, they must read aloud
from the Book of the Samurai for at least ten minutes every day.
Every month they must buy and read faithfully through at least one
book that has been published during the past five years, and the
only intervention with private choice in that matter is the
prescription of a certain minimum of length for the monthly book or
books. But the full Rule in these minor compulsory matters is
voluminous and detailed, and it abounds with alternatives. Its aim
is rather to keep before the samurai by a number of sample duties,
as it were, the need of, and some of the chief methods towards
health of body and mind, rather than to provide a comprehensive
rule, and to ensure the maintenance of a community of feeling and
interests among the samurai through habit, intercourse, and a living
contemporary literature. These minor obligations do not earmark more
than an hour in the day. Yet they serve to break down isolations of
sympathy, all sorts of physical and intellectual sluggishness and
the development of unsocial preoccupations of many sorts.

Women samurai who are married, my double told me, must bear
children--if they are to remain married as well as in the
order--before the second period for terminating a childless marriage
is exhausted. I failed to ask for the precise figures from my double
at the time, but I think it is beyond doubt that it is from samurai
mothers of the Greater or Lesser Rule that a very large proportion
of the future population of Utopia will be derived. There is one
liberty accorded to women samurai which is refused to men, and that
is to marry outside the Rule, and women married to men not under the
Rule are also free to become samurai. Here, too, it will be manifest
there is scope for novels and the drama of life. In practice, it
seems that it is only men of great poietic distinction outside the
Rule, or great commercial leaders, who have wives under it. The
tendency of such unions is either to bring the husband under the
Rule, or take the wife out of it. There can be no doubt that these
marriage limitations tend to make the samurai something of an
hereditary class. Their children, as a rule, become samurai. But it
is not an exclusive caste; subject to the most reasonable
qualifications, anyone who sees fit can enter it at any time, and
so, unlike all other privileged castes the world has seen, it
increases relatively to the total population, and may indeed at last
assimilate almost the whole population of the earth.

Section 7

So much my double told me readily.

But now he came to the heart of all his explanations, to the will
and motives at the centre that made men and women ready to undergo
discipline, to renounce the richness and elaboration of the sensuous
life, to master emotions and control impulses, to keep in the key of
effort while they had abundance about them to rouse and satisfy all
desires, and his exposition was more difficult.

He tried to make his religion clear to me.

The leading principle of the Utopian religion is the repudiation of
the doctrine of original sin; the Utopians hold that man, on the
whole, is good. That is their cardinal belief. Man has pride and
conscience, they hold, that you may refine by training as you refine
his eye and ear; he has remorse and sorrow in his being, coming on
the heels of all inconsequent enjoyments. How can one think of him
as bad? He is religious; religion is as natural to him as lust and
anger, less intense, indeed, but coming with a wide-sweeping
inevitableness as peace comes after all tumults and noises. And in
Utopia they understand this, or, at least, the samurai do, clearly.
They accept Religion as they accept Thirst, as something inseparably
in the mysterious rhythms of life. And just as thirst and pride and
all desires may be perverted in an age of abundant opportunities,
and men may be degraded and wasted by intemperance in drinking, by
display, or by ambition, so too the nobler complex of desires that
constitutes religion may be turned to evil by the dull, the base,
and the careless. Slovenly indulgence in religious inclinations, a
failure to think hard and discriminate as fairly as possible in
religious matters, is just as alien to the men under the Rule as it
would be to drink deeply because they were thirsty, eat until
glutted, evade a bath because the day was chilly, or make love to
any bright-eyed girl who chanced to look pretty in the dusk. Utopia,
which is to have every type of character that one finds on earth,
will have its temples and its priests, just as it will have its
actresses and wine, but the samurai will be forbidden the religion
of dramatically lit altars, organ music, and incense, as distinctly
as they are forbidden the love of painted women, or the consolations
of brandy. And to all the things that are less than religion and
that seek to comprehend it, to cosmogonies and philosophies, to
creeds and formulae, to catechisms and easy explanations, the
attitude of the samurai, the note of the Book of Samurai, will be
distrust. These things, the samurai will say, are part of the
indulgences that should come before a man submits himself to the
Rule; they are like the early gratifications of young men,
experiences to establish renunciation. The samurai will have emerged
above these things.

The theology of the Utopian rulers will be saturated with that same
philosophy of uniqueness, that repudiation of anything beyond
similarities and practical parallelisms, that saturates all their
institutions. They will have analysed exhaustively those fallacies
and assumptions that arise between the One and the Many, that have
troubled philosophy since philosophy began. Just as they will have
escaped that delusive unification of every species under its
specific definition that has dominated earthly reasoning, so they
will have escaped the delusive simplification of God that vitiates
all terrestrial theology. They will hold God to be complex and of an
endless variety of aspects, to be expressed by no universal formula
nor approved in any uniform manner. Just as the language of Utopia
will be a synthesis, even so will its God be. The aspect of God is
different in the measure of every man's individuality, and the
intimate thing of religion must, therefore, exist in human solitude,
between man and God alone. Religion in its quintessence is a
relation between God and man; it is perversion to make it a relation
between man and man, and a man may no more reach God through a
priest than love his wife through a priest. But just as a man in
love may refine the interpretation of his feelings and borrow
expression from the poems and music of poietic men, so an individual
man may at his discretion read books of devotion and hear music that
is in harmony with his inchoate feelings. Many of the samurai,
therefore, will set themselves private regimens that will help their
secret religious life, will pray habitually, and read books of
devotion, but with these things the Rule of the order will have
nothing to do.

Clearly the God of the samurai is a transcendental and mystical God.
So far as the samurai have a purpose in common in maintaining the
State, and the order and progress of the world, so far, by their
discipline and denial, by their public work and effort, they worship
God together. But the fount of motives lies in the individual life,
it lies in silent and deliberate reflections, and at this, the most
striking of all the rules of the samurai aims. For seven consecutive
days in the year, at least, each man or woman under the Rule must go
right out of all the life of man into some wild and solitary place,
must speak to no man or woman, and have no sort of intercourse with
mankind. They must go bookless and weaponless, without pen or paper,
or money. Provisions must be taken for the period of the journey, a
rug or sleeping sack--for they must sleep under the open sky--but
no means of making a fire. They may study maps beforehand to guide
them, showing any difficulties and dangers in the journey, but
they may not carry such helps. They must not go by beaten ways or
wherever there are inhabited houses, but into the bare, quiet places
of the globe--the regions set apart for them.

This discipline, my double said, was invented to secure a certain
stoutness of heart and body in the members of the order, which
otherwise might have lain open to too many timorous, merely
abstemious, men and women. Many things had been suggested, swordplay
and tests that verged on torture, climbing in giddy places and the
like, before this was chosen. Partly, it is to ensure good training
and sturdiness of body and mind, but partly, also, it is to draw
their minds for a space from the insistent details of life, from the
intricate arguments and the fretting effort to work, from personal
quarrels and personal affections, and the things of the heated room.
Out they must go, clean out of the world.

Certain great areas are set apart for these yearly pilgrimages
beyond the securities of the State. There are thousands of square
miles of sandy desert in Africa and Asia set apart; much of the
Arctic and Antarctic circles; vast areas of mountain land and frozen
marsh; secluded reserves of forest, and innumerable unfrequented
lines upon the sea. Some are dangerous and laborious routes; some
merely desolate; and there are even some sea journeys that one may
take in the halcyon days as one drifts through a dream. Upon the
seas one must go in a little undecked sailing boat, that may be
rowed in a calm; all the other journeys one must do afoot, none
aiding. There are, about all these desert regions and along most
coasts, little offices at which the samurai says good-bye to the
world of men, and at which they arrive after their minimum time of
silence is overpast. For the intervening days they must be alone
with Nature, necessity, and their own thoughts.

"It is good?" I said.

"It is good," my double answered. "We civilised men go back to the
stark Mother that so many of us would have forgotten were it not for
this Rule. And one thinks.... Only two weeks ago I did my journey
for the year. I went with my gear by sea to Tromso, and then inland
to a starting-place, and took my ice-axe and rucksack, and said
good-bye to the world. I crossed over four glaciers; I climbed three
high mountain passes, and slept on moss in desolate valleys. I saw
no human being for seven days. Then I came down through pine woods
to the head of a road that runs to the Baltic shore. Altogether it
was thirteen days before I reported myself again, and had speech
with fellow creatures."

"And the women do this?"

"The women who are truly samurai--yes. Equally with the men. Unless
the coming of children intervenes."

I asked him how it had seemed to him, and what he thought about
during the journey.

"There is always a sense of effort for me," he said, "when I leave
the world at the outset of the journey. I turn back again and again,
and look at the little office as I go up my mountain side. The first
day and night I'm a little disposed to shirk the job--every year
it's the same--a little disposed, for example, to sling my pack from
my back, and sit down, and go through its contents, and make sure
I've got all my equipment."

"There's no chance of anyone overtaking you?"

"Two men mustn't start from the same office on the same route within
six hours of each other. If they come within sight of each other,
they must shun an encounter, and make no sign--unless life is in
danger. All that is arranged beforehand."

"It would be, of course. Go on telling me of your journey."

"I dread the night. I dread discomfort and bad weather. I only begin
to brace up after the second day."

"Don't you worry about losing your way?"

"No. There are cairns and skyline signs. If it wasn't for that, of
course we should be worrying with maps the whole time. But I'm only
sure of being a man after the second night, and sure of my power to
go through."

"And then?"

"Then one begins to get into it. The first two days one is apt to
have the events of one's journey, little incidents of travel, and
thoughts of one's work and affairs, rising and fading and coming
again; but then the perspectives begin. I don't sleep much at nights
on these journeys; I lie awake and stare at the stars. About dawn,
perhaps, and in the morning sunshine, I sleep! The nights this last
time were very short, never more than twilight, and I saw the glow
of the sun always, just over the edge of the world. But I had chosen
the days of the new moon, so that I could have a glimpse of the
stars.... Years ago, I went from the Nile across the Libyan Desert
east, and then the stars--the stars in the later days of that
journey--brought me near weeping.... You begin to feel alone on the
third day, when you find yourself out on some shining snowfield, and
nothing of mankind visible in the whole world save one landmark, one
remote thin red triangle of iron, perhaps, in the saddle of the
ridge against the sky. All this busy world that has done so much and
so marvellously, and is still so little--you see it little as it
is--and far off. All day long you go and the night comes, and it
might be another planet. Then, in the quiet, waking hours, one
thinks of one's self and the great external things, of space and
eternity, and what one means by God."

He mused.

"You think of death?"

"Not of my own. But when I go among snows and desolations--and
usually I take my pilgrimage in mountains or the north--I think very
much of the Night of this World--the time when our sun will be red
and dull, and air and water will lie frozen together in a common
snowfield where now the forests of the tropics are steaming.... I
think very much of that, and whether it is indeed God's purpose that
our kind should end, and the cities we have built, the books we have
written, all that we have given substance and a form, should lie
dead beneath the snows."

"You don't believe that?"

"No. But if it is not so----. I went threading my way among gorges
and precipices, with my poor brain dreaming of what the alternative
should be, with my imagination straining and failing. Yet, in those
high airs and in such solitude, a kind of exaltation comes to
men.... I remember that one night I sat up and told the rascal stars
very earnestly how they should not escape us in the end."

He glanced at me for a moment as though he doubted I should

"One becomes a personification up there," he said. "One becomes the
ambassador of mankind to the outer world.

"There is time to think over a lot of things. One puts one's self
and one's ambition in a new pair of scales....

"Then there are hours when one is just exploring the wilderness like
a child. Sometimes perhaps one gets a glimpse from some precipice
edge of the plains far away, and houses and roadways, and remembers
there is still a busy world of men. And at last one turns one's feet
down some slope, some gorge that leads back. You come down, perhaps,
into a pine forest, and hear that queer clatter reindeer make--and
then, it may be, see a herdsman very far away, watching you. You
wear your pilgrim's badge, and he makes no sign of seeing

"You know, after these solitudes, I feel just the same queer
disinclination to go back to the world of men that I feel when I
have to leave it. I think of dusty roads and hot valleys, and being
looked at by many people. I think of the trouble of working with
colleagues and opponents. This last journey I outstayed my time,
camping in the pine woods for six days. Then my thoughts came round
to my proper work again. I got keen to go on with it, and so I came
back into the world. You come back physically clean--as though you
had had your arteries and veins washed out. And your brain has been
cleaned, too.... I shall stick to the mountains now until I am old,
and then I shall sail a boat in Polynesia. That is what so many old
men do. Only last year one of the great leaders of the samurai--a
white-haired man, who followed the Rule in spite of his one hundred
and eleven years--was found dead in his boat far away from any land,
far to the south, lying like a child asleep...."

"That's better than a tumbled bed," said I, "and some boy of a
doctor jabbing you with injections, and distressful people hovering
about you."

"Yes," said my double; "in Utopia we who are samurai die better than
that.... Is that how your great men die?"

It came to me suddenly as very strange that, even as we sat and
talked, across deserted seas, on burning sands, through the still
aisles of forests, and in all the high and lonely places of the
world, beyond the margin where the ways and houses go, solitary men
and women sailed alone or marched alone, or clambered--quiet,
resolute exiles; they stood alone amidst wildernesses of ice, on the
precipitous banks of roaring torrents, in monstrous caverns, or
steering a tossing boat in the little circle of the horizon amidst
the tumbled, incessant sea, all in their several ways communing with
the emptiness, the enigmatic spaces and silences, the winds and
torrents and soulless forces that lie about the lit and ordered life
of men.

I saw more clearly now something I had seen dimly already, in the
bearing and the faces of this Utopian chivalry, a faint persistent
tinge of detachment from the immediate heats and hurries, the little
graces and delights, the tensions and stimulations of the daily
world. It pleased me strangely to think of this steadfast yearly
pilgrimage of solitude, and how near men might come then to the high
distances of God.

Section 8

After that I remember we fell talking of the discipline of the Rule,
of the Courts that try breaches of it, and interpret doubtful
cases--for, though a man may resign with due notice and be free
after a certain time to rejoin again, one deliberate breach may
exclude a man for ever--of the system of law that has grown up about
such trials, and of the triennial council that revises and alters
the Rule. From that we passed to the discussion of the general
constitution of this World State. Practically all political power
vests in the samurai. Not only are they the only administrators,
lawyers, practising doctors, and public officials of almost all
kinds, but they are the only voters. Yet, by a curious exception,
the supreme legislative assembly must have one-tenth, and may have
one-half of its members outside the order, because, it is alleged,
there is a sort of wisdom that comes of sin and laxness, which is
necessary to the perfect ruling of life. My double quoted me a verse
from the Canon on this matter that my unfortunate verbal memory did
not retain, but it was in the nature of a prayer to save the world
from "unfermented men." It would seem that Aristotle's idea of a
rotation of rulers, an idea that crops up again in Harrington's
Oceana, that first Utopia of "the sovereign people" (a Utopia that,
through Danton's readings in English, played a disastrous part in
the French Revolution), gets a little respect in Utopia. The
tendency is to give a practically permanent tenure to good men.
Every ruler and official, it is true, is put on his trial every
three years before a jury drawn by lot, according to the range of
his activities, either from the samurai of his municipal area or
from the general catalogue of the samurai, but the business of this
jury is merely to decide whether to continue him in office or order
a new election. In the majority of cases the verdict is
continuation. Even if it is not so the official may still appear as
a candidate before the second and separate jury which fills the
vacant post....

My double mentioned a few scattered details of the electoral
methods, but as at that time I believed we were to have a number of
further conversations, I did not exhaust my curiosities upon this
subject. Indeed, I was more than a little preoccupied and
inattentive. The religion of the samurai was after my heart, and it
had taken hold of me very strongly.... But presently I fell
questioning him upon the complications that arise in the Modern
Utopia through the differences between the races of men, and found
my attention returning. But the matter of that discussion I shall
put apart into a separate chapter. In the end we came back to the
particulars of this great Rule of Life that any man desiring of
joining the samurai must follow.

I remember how, after our third bout of talking, I walked back
through the streets of Utopian London to rejoin the botanist at our

My double lived in an apartment in a great building--I should judge
about where, in our London, the Tate Gallery squats, and, as the day
was fine, and I had no reason for hurry, I went not by the covered
mechanical way, but on foot along the broad, tree-set terraces that
follow the river on either side.

It was afternoon, and the mellow Thames Valley sunlight, warm and
gentle, lit a clean and gracious world. There were many people
abroad, going to and fro, unhurrying, but not aimless, and I watched
them so attentively that were you to ask me for the most elementary
details of the buildings and terraces that lay back on either bank,
or of the pinnacles and towers and parapets that laced the sky, I
could not tell you them. But of the people I could tell a great

No Utopians wear black, and for all the frequency of the samurai
uniform along the London ways the general effect is of a
gaily-coloured population. You never see anyone noticeably ragged or
dirty; the police, who answer questions and keep order (and are
quite distinct from the organisation for the pursuit of criminals)
see to that; and shabby people are very infrequent. People who want
to save money for other purposes, or who do not want much bother
with their clothing, seem to wear costumes of rough woven cloth,
dyed an unobtrusive brown or green, over fine woollen underclothing,
and so achieve a decent comfort in its simplest form. Others outside
the Rule of the samurai range the spectrum for colour, and have
every variety of texture; the colours attained by the Utopian dyers
seem to me to be fuller and purer than the common range of stuffs on
earth; and the subtle folding of the woollen materials witness that
Utopian Bradford is no whit behind her earthly sister. White is
extraordinarily frequent; white woollen tunics and robes into which
are woven bands of brilliant colour, abound. Often these ape the cut
and purple edge that distinguishes the samurai. In Utopian London
the air is as clear and less dusty than it is among high mountains;
the roads are made of unbroken surfaces, and not of friable earth;
all heating is done by electricity, and no coal ever enters the
town; there are no horses or dogs, and so there is not a suspicion
of smoke and scarcely a particle of any sort of dirt to render white

The radiated influence of the uniform of the samurai has been to
keep costume simple, and this, perhaps, emphasises the general
effect of vigorous health, of shapely bodies. Everyone is well grown
and well nourished; everyone seems in good condition; everyone walks
well, and has that clearness of eye that comes with cleanness of
blood. In London I am apt to consider myself of a passable size and
carriage; here I feel small and mean-looking. The faint suspicions
of spinal curvatures, skew feet, unequal legs, and ill-grown bones,
that haunt one in a London crowd, the plain intimations--in yellow
faces, puffy faces, spotted and irregular complexions, in nervous
movements and coughs and colds--of bad habits and an incompetent or
disregarded medical profession, do not appear here. I notice few old
people, but there seems to be a greater proportion of men and women
at or near the prime of life.

I hang upon that. I have seen one or two fat people here--they are
all the more noticeable because they are rare. But wrinkled age?
Have I yet in Utopia set eyes on a bald head?

The Utopians have brought a sounder physiological science than ours
to bear upon regimen. People know better what to do and what to
avoid, how to foresee and forestall coming trouble, and how to evade
and suppress the subtle poisons that blunt the edge of sensation.
They have put off the years of decay. They keep their teeth, they
keep their digestions, they ward off gout and rheumatism, neuralgia
and influenza and all those cognate decays that bend and wrinkle men
and women in the middle years of existence. They have extended the
level years far into the seventies, and age, when it comes, comes
swiftly and easily. The feverish hurry of our earth, the decay that
begins before growth has ceased, is replaced by a ripe prolonged
maturity. This modern Utopia is an adult world. The flushed romance,
the predominant eroticisms, the adventurous uncertainty of a world
in which youth prevails, gives place here to a grave deliberation,
to a fuller and more powerful emotion, to a broader handling of

Yet youth is here.

Amidst the men whose faces have been made fine by thought and
steadfast living, among the serene-eyed women, comes youth,
gaily-coloured, buoyantly healthy, with challenging eyes, with fresh
and eager face....

For everyone in Utopia who is sane enough to benefit, study and
training last until twenty; then comes the travel year, and many are
still students until twenty-four or twenty-five. Most are still, in
a sense, students throughout life, but it is thought that, unless
responsible action is begun in some form in the early twenties, will
undergoes a partial atrophy. But the full swing of adult life is
hardly attained until thirty is reached. Men marry before the middle
thirties, and the women rather earlier, few are mothers before
five-and-twenty. The majority of those who become samurai do so
between twenty-seven and thirty-five. And, between seventeen and
thirty, the Utopians have their dealings with love, and the play and
excitement of love is a chief interest in life. Much freedom of act
is allowed them so that their wills may grow freely. For the most
part they end mated, and love gives place to some special and more
enduring interest, though, indeed, there is love between older men
and fresh girls, and between youths and maturer women. It is in
these most graceful and beautiful years of life that such freedoms
of dress as the atmosphere of Utopia permits are to be seen, and the
crude bright will and imagination of youth peeps out in ornament and

Figures come into my sight and possess me for a moment and pass, and
give place to others; there comes a dusky little Jewess, red-lipped
and amber-clad, with a deep crimson flower--I know not whether real
or sham--in the dull black of her hair. She passes me with an
unconscious disdain; and then I am looking at a brightly-smiling,
blue-eyed girl, tall, ruddy, and freckled warmly, clad like a stage
Rosalind, and talking gaily to a fair young man, a novice under the
Rule. A red-haired mother under the Lesser Rule goes by, green-gowned,
with dark green straps crossing between her breasts, and her two
shock-headed children, bare-legged and lightly shod, tug at her
hands on either side. Then a grave man in a long, fur-trimmed robe,
a merchant, maybe, debates some serious matter with a white-tunicked
clerk. And the clerk's face----? I turn to mark the straight,
blue-black hair. The man must be Chinese....

Then come two short-bearded men in careless indigo blue raiment,
both of them convulsed with laughter--men outside the Rule, who
practise, perhaps, some art--and then one of the samurai, in
cheerful altercation with a blue-robed girl of eight. "But you
_could_ have come back yesterday, Dadda," she persists. He is deeply
sunburnt, and suddenly there passes before my mind the picture of a
snowy mountain waste at night-fall and a solitary small figure under
the stars....

When I come back to the present thing again, my eye is caught
at once by a young negro, carrying books in his hand, a
prosperous-looking, self-respecting young negro, in a trimly-cut
coat of purple-blue and silver.

I am reminded of what my double said to me of race.


Race in Utopia

Section 1

Above the sphere of the elemental cravings and necessities, the soul
of man is in a perpetual vacillation between two conflicting
impulses: the desire to assert his individual differences, the
desire for distinction, and his terror of isolation. He wants to
stand out, but not too far out, and, on the contrary, he wants
to merge himself with a group, with some larger body, but not
altogether. Through all the things of life runs this tortuous
compromise, men follow the fashions but resent ready-made uniforms
on every plane of their being. The disposition to form aggregations
and to imagine aggregations is part of the incurable nature of man;
it is one of the great natural forces the statesman must utilise,
and against which he must construct effectual defences. The study of
the aggregations and of the ideals of aggregations about which men's
sympathies will twine, and upon which they will base a large
proportion of their conduct and personal policy, is the legitimate
definition of sociology.

Now the sort of aggregation to which men and women will refer
themselves is determined partly by the strength and idiosyncrasy of
the individual imagination, and partly by the reek of ideas that
chances to be in the air at the time. Men and women may vary greatly
both in their innate and their acquired disposition towards this
sort of larger body or that, to which their social reference can be
made. The "natural" social reference of a man is probably to some
rather vaguely conceived tribe, as the "natural" social reference of
a dog is to a pack. But just as the social reference of a dog may be
educated until the reference to a pack is completely replaced by a
reference to an owner, so on his higher plane of educability the
social reference of the civilised man undergoes the most remarkable
transformations. But the power and scope of his imagination and the
need he has of response sets limits to this process. A highly
intellectualised mature mind may refer for its data very
consistently to ideas of a higher being so remote and indefinable as
God, so comprehensive as humanity, so far-reaching as the purpose in
things. I write "may," but I doubt if this exaltation of reference
is ever permanently sustained. Comte, in his Positive Polity,
exposes his soul with great freedom, and the curious may trace how,
while he professes and quite honestly intends to refer himself
always to his "Greater Being" Humanity, he narrows constantly to his
projected "Western Republic" of civilised men, and quite frequently
to the minute indefinite body of Positivist subscribers. And the
history of the Christian Church, with its development of orders and
cults, sects and dissents, the history of fashionable society with
its cliques and sets and every political history with its cabals and
inner cabinets, witness to the struggle that goes on in the minds of
men to adjust themselves to a body larger indeed than themselves,
but which still does not strain and escape their imaginative

The statesman, both for himself and others, must recognise this
inadequacy of grasp, and the necessity for real and imaginary
aggregations to sustain men in their practical service of the order
of the world. He must be a sociologist; he must study the whole
science of aggregations in relation to that World State to which his
reason and his maturest thought direct him. He must lend himself to
the development of aggregatory ideas that favour the civilising
process, and he must do his best to promote the disintegration of
aggregations and the effacement of aggregatory ideas, that keep men
narrow and unreasonably prejudiced one against another.

He will, of course, know that few men are even rudely consistent in
such matters, that the same man in different moods and on different
occasions, is capable of referring himself in perfect good faith,
not only to different, but to contradictory larger beings, and that
the more important thing about an aggregatory idea from the State
maker's point of view is not so much what it explicitly involves as
what it implicitly repudiates. The natural man does not feel he is
aggregating at all, unless he aggregates _against something. He
refers himself to the tribe; he is loyal to the tribe, and quite
inseparably he fears or dislikes those others outside the tribe. The
tribe is always at least defensively hostile and usually actively
hostile to humanity beyond the aggregation. The Anti-idea, it would
seem, is inseparable from the aggregatory idea; it is a necessity of
the human mind. When we think of the class A as desirable, we think
of Not-A as undesirable. The two things are as inevitably connected
as the tendons of our hands, so that when we flatten down our little
fingers on our palms, the fourth digit, whether we want it or not,
comes down halfway. All real working gods, one may remark, all gods
that are worshipped emotionally, are tribal gods, and every attempt
to universalise the idea of God trails dualism and the devil after
it as a moral necessity.

When we inquire, as well as the unformed condition of terrestrial
sociology permits, into the aggregatory ideas that seem to satisfy
men, we find a remarkable complex, a disorderly complex, in the
minds of nearly all our civilised contemporaries. For example, all
sorts of aggregatory ideas come and go across the chameleon surfaces
of my botanist's mind. He has a strong feeling for systematic
botanists as against plant physiologists, whom he regards as lewd
and evil scoundrels in this relation, but he has a strong feeling
for all botanists, and, indeed, all biologists, as against
physicists, and those who profess the exact sciences, all of whom he
regards as dull, mechanical, ugly-minded scoundrels in this
relation; but he has a strong feeling for all who profess what is
called Science as against psychologists, sociologists, philosophers,
and literary men, whom he regards as wild, foolish, immoral
scoundrels in this relation; but he has a strong feeling for all
educated men as against the working man, whom he regards as a
cheating, lying, loafing, drunken, thievish, dirty scoundrel in this
relation; but so soon as the working man is comprehended together
with those others, as Englishmen--which includes, in this case, I
may remark, the Scottish and Welsh--he holds them superior to all
other sorts of European, whom he regards, &c....

Now one perceives in all these aggregatory ideas and rearrangements
of the sympathies one of the chief vices of human thought, due to
its obsession by classificatory suggestions. [Footnote: See Chapter
the First, section 5, and the Appendix.] The necessity for marking
our classes has brought with it a bias for false and excessive
contrast, and we never invent a term but we are at once cramming it
with implications beyond its legitimate content. There is no feat of
irrelevance that people will not perform quite easily in this way;
there is no class, however accidental, to which they will not at
once ascribe deeply distinctive qualities. The seventh sons of
seventh sons have remarkable powers of insight; people with a
certain sort of ear commit crimes of violence; people with red hair
have souls of fire; all democratic socialists are trustworthy
persons; all people born in Ireland have vivid imaginations and all
Englishmen are clods; all Hindoos are cowardly liars; all
curly-haired people are good-natured; all hunch-backs are energetic
and wicked, and all Frenchmen eat frogs. Such stupid generalisations
have been believed with the utmost readiness, and acted upon by
great numbers of sane, respectable people. And when the class is
one's own class, when it expresses one of the aggregations to which
one refers one's own activities, then the disposition to divide all
qualities between this class and its converse, and to cram one's own
class with every desirable distinction, becomes overwhelming.

It is part of the training of the philosopher to regard all such
generalisations with suspicion; it is part of the training of the
Utopist and statesman, and all good statesmen are Utopists, to
mingle something very like animosity with that suspicion. For crude
classifications and false generalisations are the curse of all
organised human life.

Section 2

Disregarding classes, cliques, sets, castes, and the like minor
aggregations, concerned for the most part with details and minor
aspects of life, one finds among the civilised peoples of the world
certain broad types of aggregatory idea. There are, firstly, the
national ideas, ideas which, in their perfection, require a
uniformity of physical and mental type, a common idiom, a common
religion, a distinctive style of costume, decoration, and thought,
and a compact organisation acting with complete external unity. Like
the Gothic cathedral, the national idea is never found complete with
all its parts; but one has in Russia, with her insistence on
political and religious orthodoxy, something approaching it pretty
closely, and again in the inland and typical provinces of China,
where even a strange pattern of hat arouses hostility. We had it in
vigorous struggle to exist in England under the earlier Georges in
the minds of those who supported the Established Church. The idea of
the fundamental nature of nationality is so ingrained in thought,
with all the usual exaggeration of implication, that no one laughs
at talk about Swedish painting or American literature. And I will
confess and point out that my own detachment from these delusions is
so imperfect and discontinuous that in another passage I have
committed myself to a short assertion of the exceptionally noble
quality of the English imagination. [Footnote: Chapter the Seventh,
section 6.] I am constantly gratified by flattering untruths about
English superiority which I should reject indignantly were the
application bluntly personal, and I am ever ready to believe the
scenery of England, the poetry of England, even the decoration and
music of England, in some mystic and impregnable way, the best. This
habit of intensifying all class definitions, and particularly those
in which one has a personal interest, is in the very constitution of
man's mind. It is part of the defect of that instrument. We may
watch against it and prevent it doing any great injustices, or
leading us into follies, but to eradicate it is an altogether
different matter. There it is, to be reckoned with, like the coccyx,
the pineal eye, and the vermiform appendix. And a too consistent
attack on it may lead simply to its inversion, to a vindictively
pro-foreigner attitude that is equally unwise.

The second sort of aggregatory ideas, running very often across the
boundaries of national ideas and in conflict with them, are
religious ideas. In Western Europe true national ideas only emerged
to their present hectic vigour after the shock of the Reformation
had liberated men from the great tradition of a Latin-speaking
Christendom, a tradition the Roman Catholic Church has sustained as
its modification of the old Latin-speaking Imperialism in the rule
of the pontifex maximus. There was, and there remains to this day, a
profound disregard of local dialect and race in the Roman Catholic
tradition, which has made that Church a persistently disintegrating
influence in national life. Equally spacious and equally regardless
of tongues and peoples is the great Arabic-speaking religion of
Mahomet. Both Christendom and Islam are indeed on their secular
sides imperfect realisations of a Utopian World State. But the
secular side was the weaker side of these cults; they produced no
sufficiently great statesmen to realise their spiritual forces, and
it is not in Rome under pontifical rule, nor in Munster under the
Anabaptists, but rather in Thomas a Kempis and Saint Augustin's City
of God that we must seek for the Utopias of Christianity.

In the last hundred years a novel development of material forces,
and especially of means of communication, has done very much to
break up the isolations in which nationality perfected its
prejudices and so to render possible the extension and consolidation
of such a world-wide culture as mediaeval Christendom and Islam
foreshadowed. The first onset of these expansive developments has
been marked in the world of mind by an expansion of political
ideals--Comte's "Western Republic" (1848) was the first Utopia that
involved the synthesis of numerous States--by the development of
"Imperialisms" in the place of national policies, and by the search
for a basis for wider political unions in racial traditions and
linguistic affinities. Anglo-Saxonism, Pan-Germanism, and the like
are such synthetic ideas. Until the eighties, the general tendency
of progressive thought was at one with the older Christian tradition
which ignored "race," and the aim of the expansive liberalism
movement, so far as it had a clear aim, was to Europeanise the
world, to extend the franchise to negroes, put Polynesians into
trousers, and train the teeming myriads of India to appreciate the
exquisite lilt of The Lady of the Lake. There is always some
absurdity mixed with human greatness, and we must not let the fact
that the middle Victorians counted Scott, the suffrage and
pantaloons among the supreme blessings of life, conceal from us the
very real nobility of their dream of England's mission to the

We of this generation have seen a flood of reaction against such
universalism. The great intellectual developments that centre upon
the work of Darwin have exacerbated the realisation that life is a
conflict between superior and inferior types, it has underlined the
idea that specific survival rates are of primary significance in the
world's development, and a swarm of inferior intelligences has
applied to human problems elaborated and exaggerated versions of
these generalisations. These social and political followers of
Darwin have fallen into an obvious confusion between race and
nationality, and into the natural trap of patriotic conceit. The
dissent of the Indian and Colonial governing class to the first
crude applications of liberal propositions in India has found a
voice of unparalleled penetration in Mr. Kipling, whose want of
intellectual deliberation is only equalled by his poietic power. The
search for a basis for a new political synthesis in adaptable
sympathies based on linguistic affinities, was greatly influenced by
Max Muller's unaccountable assumption that language indicated
kindred, and led straight to wildly speculative ethnology, to the
discovery that there was a Keltic race, a Teutonic race, an
Indo-European race, and so forth. A book that has had enormous
influence in this matter, because of its use in teaching, is J. R.
Green's Short History of the English People, with its grotesque
insistence upon Anglo-Saxonism. And just now, the world is in a sort
of delirium about race and the racial struggle. The Briton
forgetting his Defoe, [Footnote: The True-born Englishman.] the Jew
forgetting the very word proselyte, the German forgetting his
anthropometric variations, and the Italian forgetting everything,
are obsessed by the singular purity of their blood, and the danger
of contamination the mere continuance of other races involves. True
to the law that all human aggregation involves the development of a
spirit of opposition to whatever is external to the aggregation,
extraordinary intensifications of racial definition are going on;
the vileness, the inhumanity, the incompatibility of alien races is
being steadily exaggerated. The natural tendency of every human
being towards a stupid conceit in himself and his kind, a stupid
depreciation of all unlikeness, is traded upon by this bastard
science. With the weakening of national references, and with the
pause before reconstruction in religious belief, these new arbitrary
and unsubstantial race prejudices become daily more formidable. They
are shaping policies and modifying laws, and they will certainly be
responsible for a large proportion of the wars, hardships, and
cruelties the immediate future holds in store for our earth.

No generalisations about race are too extravagant for the inflamed
credulity of the present time. No attempt is ever made to
distinguish differences in inherent quality--the true racial
differences--from artificial differences due to culture. No lesson
seems ever to be drawn from history of the fluctuating incidence of
the civilising process first upon this race and then upon that. The
politically ascendant peoples of the present phase are understood to
be the superior races, including such types as the Sussex farm
labourer, the Bowery tough, the London hooligan, and the Paris
apache; the races not at present prospering politically, such as the
Egyptians, the Greeks, the Spanish, the Moors, the Chinese, the
Hindoos, the Peruvians, and all uncivilised people are represented
as the inferior races, unfit to associate with the former on terms
of equality, unfit to intermarry with them on any terms, unfit for
any decisive voice in human affairs. In the popular imagination of
Western Europe, the Chinese are becoming bright gamboge in colour,
and unspeakably abominable in every respect; the people who are
black--the people who have fuzzy hair and flattish noses, and no
calves to speak of--are no longer held to be within the pale of
humanity. These superstitions work out along the obvious lines of
the popular logic. The depopulation of the Congo Free State by the
Belgians, the horrible massacres of Chinese by European soldiery
during the Pekin expedition, are condoned as a painful but necessary
part of the civilising process of the world. The world-wide
repudiation of slavery in the nineteenth century was done against a
vast sullen force of ignorant pride, which, reinvigorated by the
new delusions, swings back again to power.

"Science" is supposed to lend its sanction to race mania, but it is
only "science" as it is understood by very illiterate people that
does anything of the sort--"scientists'" science, in fact. What
science has to tell about "The Races of Man" will be found compactly
set forth by Doctor J. Deinker, in the book published under that
title. [Footnote: See also an excellent paper in the American
Journal of Sociology for March, 1904, The Psychology of Race
Prejudice, by W. I. Thomas.] From that book one may learn the
beginnings of race charity. Save for a few isolated pools of savage
humanity, there is probably no pure race in the whole world. The
great continental populations are all complex mixtures of numerous
and fluctuating types. Even the Jews present every kind of skull
that is supposed to be racially distinctive, a vast range of
complexion--from blackness in Goa, to extreme fairness in
Holland--and a vast mental and physical diversity. Were the Jews
to discontinue all intermarriage with "other races" henceforth
for ever, it would depend upon quite unknown laws of fecundity,
prepotency, and variability, what their final type would be, or,
indeed, whether any particular type would ever prevail over
diversity. And, without going beyond the natives of the British
Isles, one can discover an enormous range of types, tall and short,
straight-haired and curly, fair and dark, supremely intelligent and
unteachably stupid, straightforward, disingenuous, and what not. The
natural tendency is to forget all this range directly "race" comes
under discussion, to take either an average or some quite arbitrary
ideal as the type, and think only of that. The more difficult thing
to do, but the thing that must be done if we are to get just results
in this discussion, is to do one's best to bear the range in

Let us admit that the average Chinaman is probably different in
complexion, and, indeed, in all his physical and psychical
proportions, from the average Englishman. Does that render their
association upon terms of equality in a World State impossible? What
the average Chinaman or Englishman may be, is of no importance
whatever to our plan of a World State. It is not averages that
exist, but individuals. The average Chinaman will never meet the
average Englishman anywhere; only individual Chinamen will meet
individual Englishmen. Now among Chinamen will be found a range of
variety as extensive as among Englishmen, and there is no single
trait presented by all Chinamen and no Englishman, or vice versa.
Even the oblique eye is not universal in China, and there are
probably many Chinamen who might have been "changed at birth," taken
away and educated into quite passable Englishmen. Even after we have
separated out and allowed for the differences in carriage, physique,
moral prepossessions, and so forth, due to their entirely divergent
cultures, there remains, no doubt, a very great difference between
the average Chinaman and the average Englishman; but would that
amount to a wider difference than is to be found between extreme
types of Englishmen?

For my own part I do not think that it would. But it is evident that
any precise answer can be made only when anthropology has adopted
much more exact and exhaustive methods of inquiry, and a far more
precise analysis than its present resources permit.

Be it remembered how doubtful and tainted is the bulk of our
evidence in these matters. These are extraordinarily subtle
inquiries, from which few men succeed in disentangling the threads
of their personal associations--the curiously interwoven strands of
self-love and self-interest that affect their inquiries. One might
almost say that instinct fights against such investigations, as it
does undoubtedly against many necessary medical researches. But
while a long special training, a high tradition and the possibility
of reward and distinction, enable the medical student to face many
tasks that are at once undignified and physically repulsive, the
people from whom we get our anthropological information are rarely
men of more than average intelligence, and of no mental training at
all. And the problems are far more elusive. It surely needs at least
the gifts and training of a first-class novelist, combined with a
sedulous patience that probably cannot be hoped for in combination
with these, to gauge the all-round differences between man and man.
Even where there are no barriers of language and colour,
understanding may be nearly impossible. How few educated people seem
to understand the servant class in England, or the working men!
Except for Mr. Bart Kennedy's A Man Adrift, I know of scarcely any
book that shows a really sympathetic and living understanding of the
navvy, the longshore sailor man, the rough chap of our own race.
Caricatures, luridly tragic or gaily comic, in which the
misconceptions of the author blend with the preconceptions of the
reader and achieve success, are, of course, common enough. And then
consider the sort of people who pronounce judgments on the moral and
intellectual capacity of the negro, the Malay, or the Chinaman. You
have missionaries, native schoolmasters, employers of coolies,
traders, simple downright men, who scarcely suspect the existence
of any sources of error in their verdicts, who are incapable of
understanding the difference between what is innate and what is
acquired, much less of distinguishing them in their interplay. Now
and then one seems to have a glimpse of something really living--in
Mary Kingsley's buoyant work, for instance--and even that may be no
more than my illusion.

For my own part I am disposed to discount all adverse judgments and
all statements of insurmountable differences between race and race.
I talk upon racial qualities to all men who have had opportunities
of close observation, and I find that their insistence upon these
differences is usually in inverse proportion to their intelligence.
It may be the chance of my encounters, but that is my clear
impression. Common sailors will generalise in the profoundest way
about Irishmen, and Scotchmen, and Yankees, and Nova Scotians, and
"Dutchies," until one might think one talked of different species of
animal, but the educated explorer flings clear of all these
delusions. To him men present themselves individualised, and if they
classify it is by some skin-deep accident of tint, some trick of the
tongue, or habit of gesture, or such-like superficiality. And after
all there exists to-day available one kind at least of unbiassed
anthropological evidence. There are photographs. Let the reader turn
over the pages of some such copiously illustrated work as The Living
Races of Mankind, [Footnote: The Living Races of Mankind, by H. N.
Hutchinson, J. W. Gregory, and R. Lydekker. (Hutchinson.)] and look
into the eyes of one alien face after another. Are they not very
like the people one knows? For the most part, one finds it hard to
believe that, with a common language and common social traditions,
one would not get on very well with these people. Here or there is
a brutish or evil face, but you can find as brutish and evil in
the Strand on any afternoon. There are differences no doubt, but
fundamental incompatibilities--no! And very many of them send out
a ray of special resemblance and remind one more strongly of this
friend or that, than they do of their own kind. One notes with
surprise that one's good friend and neighbour X and an anonymous
naked Gold Coast negro belong to one type, as distinguished from
one's dear friend Y and a beaming individual from Somaliland, who
as certainly belong to another.

In one matter the careless and prejudiced nature of accepted racial
generalisations is particularly marked. A great and increasing
number of people are persuaded that "half-breeds" are peculiarly
evil creatures--as hunchbacks and bastards were supposed to be in
the middle ages. The full legend of the wickedness of the half-breed
is best to be learnt from a drunken mean white from Virginia or the
Cape. The half-breed, one hears, combines all the vices of either
parent, he is wretchedly poor in health and spirit, but vindictive,
powerful, and dangerous to an extreme degree, his morals--the mean
white has high and exacting standards--are indescribable even in
whispers in a saloon, and so on, and so on. There is really not an
atom of evidence an unprejudiced mind would accept to sustain any
belief of the sort. There is nothing to show that the children of
racial admixture are, as a class, inherently either better or worse
in any respect than either parent. There is an equally baseless
theory that they are better, a theory displayed to a fine degree of
foolishness in the article on Shakespeare in the Encyclopaedia
Britannica. Both theories belong to the vast edifice of sham science
that smothers the realities of modern knowledge. It may be that most
"half-breeds" are failures in life, but that proves nothing. They
are, in an enormous number of cases, illegitimate and outcast from
the normal education of either race; they are brought up in homes
that are the battle-grounds of conflicting cultures; they labour
under a heavy premium of disadvantage. There is, of course, a
passing suggestion of Darwin's to account for atavism that might go
to support the theory of the vileness of half-breeds, if it had ever
been proved. But, then, it never has been proved. There is no proof
in the matter at all.

Section 3

Suppose, now, there is such a thing as an all-round inferior race.
Is that any reason why we should propose to preserve it for ever in
a condition of tutelage? Whether there is a race so inferior I do
not know, but certainly there is no race so superior as to be
trusted with human charges. The true answer to Aristotle's plea for
slavery, that there are "natural slaves," lies in the fact that
there are no "natural" masters. Power is no more to be committed to
men without discipline and restriction than alcohol. The true
objection to slavery is not that it is unjust to the inferior but
that it corrupts the superior. There is only one sane and logical
thing to be done with a really inferior race, and that is to
exterminate it.

Now there are various ways of exterminating a race, and most of them
are cruel. You may end it with fire and sword after the old Hebrew
fashion; you may enslave it and work it to death, as the Spaniards
did the Caribs; you may set it boundaries and then poison it slowly
with deleterious commodities, as the Americans do with most of their
Indians; you may incite it to wear clothing to which it is not
accustomed and to live under new and strange conditions that will
expose it to infectious diseases to which you yourselves are immune,
as the missionaries do the Polynesians; you may resort to honest
simple murder, as we English did with the Tasmanians; or you can
maintain such conditions as conduce to "race suicide," as the
British administration does in Fiji. Suppose, then, for a moment,
that there is an all-round inferior race; a Modern Utopia is under
the hard logic of life, and it would have to exterminate such a race
as quickly as it could. On the whole, the Fijian device seems the
least cruel. But Utopia would do that without any clumsiness of race
distinction, in exactly the same manner, and by the same machinery,
as it exterminates all its own defective and inferior strains; that
is to say, as we have already discussed in Chapter the Fifth,
section 1, by its marriage laws, and by the laws of the minimum
wage. That extinction need never be discriminatory. If any of the
race did, after all, prove to be fit to survive, they would
survive--they would be picked out with a sure and automatic justice
from the over-ready condemnation of all their kind.

Is there, however, an all-round inferior race in the world? Even the
Australian black-fellow is, perhaps, not quite so entirely eligible
for extinction as a good, wholesome, horse-racing, sheep-farming
Australian white may think. These queer little races, the
black-fellows, the Pigmies, the Bushmen, may have their little
gifts, a greater keenness, a greater fineness of this sense or that,
a quaintness of the imagination or what not, that may serve as their
little unique addition to the totality of our Utopian civilisation.
We are supposing that every individual alive on earth is alive in
Utopia, and so all the surviving "black-fellows" are there. Every
one of them in Utopia has had what none have had on earth, a fair
education and fair treatment, justice, and opportunity. Suppose that
the common idea is right about the general inferiority of these
people, then it would follow that in Utopia most of them are
childless, and working at or about the minimum wage, and some will
have passed out of all possibility of offspring under the hand of
the offended law; but still--cannot we imagine some few of these
little people--whom you must suppose neither naked nor clothed in
the European style, but robed in the Utopian fashion--may have found
some delicate art to practise, some peculiar sort of carving, for
example, that justifies God in creating them? Utopia has sound
sanitary laws, sound social laws, sound economic laws; what harm are
these people going to do?

Some may be even prosperous and admired, may have married women of
their own or some other race, and so may be transmitting that
distinctive thin thread of excellence, to take its due place in the
great synthesis of the future.

And, indeed, coming along that terrace in Utopia, I see a little
figure, a little bright-eyed, bearded man, inky black, frizzy
haired, and clad in a white tunic and black hose, and with a mantle
of lemon yellow wrapped about his shoulders. He walks, as most
Utopians walk, as though he had reason to be proud of something, as
though he had no reason to be afraid of anything in the world. He
carries a portfolio in his hand. It is that, I suppose, as much as
his hair, that recalls the Quartier Latin to my mind.

Section 4

I had already discussed the question of race with the botanist at

"But you would not like," he cried in horror, "your daughter to
marry a Chinaman or a negro?"

"Of course," said I, "when you say Chinaman, you think of a creature
with a pigtail, long nails, and insanitary habits, and when you say
negro you think of a filthy-headed, black creature in an old hat.
You do this because your imagination is too feeble to disentangle
the inherent qualities of a thing from its habitual associations."

"Insult isn't argument," said the botanist.

"Neither is unsound implication. You make a question of race into a
question of unequal cultures. You would not like your daughter to
marry the sort of negro who steals hens, but then you would also not
like your daughter to marry a pure English hunchback with a squint,
or a drunken cab tout of Norman blood. As a matter of fact, very few
well-bred English girls do commit that sort of indiscretion. But you
don't think it necessary to generalise against men of your own race
because there are drunken cab touts, and why should you generalise
against negroes? Because the proportion of undesirables is higher
among negroes, that does not justify a sweeping condemnation. You
may have to condemn most, but why _all_? There may be--neither of us
knows enough to deny--negroes who are handsome, capable,

"Ugh!" said the botanist.

"How detestable you must find Othello!"

It is my Utopia, and for a moment I could almost find it in my heart
to spite the botanist by creating a modern Desdemona and her lover
sooty black to the lips, there before our eyes. But I am not so sure
of my case as that, and for the moment there shall come nothing more
than a swart-faced, dusky Burmese woman in the dress of the Greater
Rule, with her tall Englishman (as he might be on earth) at her
side. That, however, is a digression from my conversation with the

"And the Chinaman?" said the botanist.

"I think we shall have all the buff and yellow peoples intermingling
pretty freely."

"Chinamen and white women, for example."

"Yes," I said, "you've got to swallow that, anyhow; you _shall_
swallow that."

He finds the idea too revolting for comment.

I try and make the thing seem easier for him. "Do try," I said, "to
grasp a Modern Utopian's conditions. The Chinaman will speak the
same language as his wife--whatever her race may be--he will wear
costume of the common civilised fashion, he will have much the same
education as his European rival, read the same literature, bow to
the same traditions. And you must remember a wife in Utopia is
singularly not subject to her husband...."

The botanist proclaims his invincible conclusion: "Everyone would
cut her!"

"This is Utopia," I said, and then sought once more to tranquillise
his mind. "No doubt among the vulgar, coarse-minded people outside
the Rule there may be something of the sort. Every earthly moral
blockhead, a little educated, perhaps, is to be found in Utopia. You
will, no doubt, find the 'cut' and the 'boycott,' and all those nice
little devices by which dull people get a keen edge on life, in
their place here, and their place here is somewhere----"

I turned a thumb earthward. "There!"

The botanist did not answer for a little while. Then he said, with
some temper and great emphasis: "Well, I'm jolly glad anyhow that
I'm not to be a permanent resident in this Utopia, if our daughters
are to be married to Hottentots by regulation. I'm jolly glad."

He turned his back on me.

Now did I say anything of the sort? ...

I had to bring him, I suppose; there's no getting away from him in
this life. But, as I have already observed, the happy ancients went
to their Utopias without this sort of company.

Section 5

What gives the botanist so great an advantage in all his
Anti-Utopian utterances is his unconsciousness of his own
limitations. He thinks in little pieces that lie about loose, and
nothing has any necessary link with anything else in his mind. So
that I cannot retort upon him by asking him, if he objects to this
synthesis of all nations, tongues and peoples in a World State, what
alternative ideal he proposes.

People of this sort do not even feel the need of alternatives.
Beyond the scope of a few personal projects, meeting Her again, and
things like that, they do not feel that there is a future. They are
unencumbered by any baggage of convictions whatever, in relation to
that. That, at least, is the only way in which I can explain our
friend's high intellectual mobility. Attempts to correlate
statesmanship, which they regard with interest as a dramatic
interplay of personalities, with any secular movement of humanity,
they class with the differential calculus and Darwinism, as things
far too difficult to be anything but finally and subtly wrong.

So the argument must pass into a direct address to the reader.

If you are not prepared to regard a world-wide synthesis of all
cultures and polities and races into one World State as the
desirable end upon which all civilising efforts converge, what do
you regard as the desirable end? Synthesis, one may remark in
passing, does not necessarily mean fusion, nor does it mean

The alternatives fall roughly under three headings. The first is to
assume there is a best race, to define as well as one can that best
race, and to regard all other races as material for extermination.
This has a fine, modern, biological air ("Survival of the Fittest").
If you are one of those queer German professors who write insanity
about Welt-Politik, you assume the best race is the "Teutonic";
Cecil Rhodes affected that triumph of creative imagination, the
"Anglo-Saxon race"; my friend, Moses Cohen, thinks there is much to
be said for the Jew. On its premises, this is a perfectly sound and
reasonable policy, and it opens out a brilliant prospect for the
scientific inventor for what one might call Welt-Apparat in the
future, for national harrowing and reaping machines, and
race-destroying fumigations. The great plain of China ("Yellow
Peril") lends itself particularly to some striking wholesale
undertaking; it might, for example, be flooded for a few days, and
then disinfected with volcanic chlorine. Whether, when all the
inferior races have been stamped out, the superior race would not
proceed at once, or after a brief millennial period of social
harmony, to divide itself into sub-classes, and begin the business
over again at a higher level, is an interesting residual question
into which we need not now penetrate.

That complete development of a scientific Welt-Politik is not,
however, very widely advocated at present, no doubt from a want of
confidence in the public imagination. We have, however, a very
audible and influential school, the Modern Imperialist school, which
distinguishes its own race--there is a German, a British, and an
Anglo-Saxon section in the school, and a wider teaching which
embraces the whole "white race" in one remarkable tolerance--as the
superior race, as one, indeed, superior enough to own slaves,
collectively, if not individually; and the exponents of this
doctrine look with a resolute, truculent, but slightly indistinct
eye to a future in which all the rest of the world will be in
subjection to these elect. The ideals of this type are set forth
pretty clearly in Mr. Kidd's Control of the Tropics. The whole world
is to be administered by the "white" Powers--Mr. Kidd did not
anticipate Japan--who will see to it that their subjects do not
"prevent the utilisation of the immense natural resources which they
have in charge." Those other races are to be regarded as children,
recalcitrant children at times, and without any of the tender
emotions of paternity. It is a little doubtful whether the races
lacking "in the elementary qualities of social efficiency" are
expected to acquire them under the chastening hands of those races
which, through "strength and energy of character, humanity, probity,
and integrity, and a single-minded devotion to conceptions of duty,"
are developing "the resources of the richest regions of the earth"
over their heads, or whether this is the ultimate ideal.

Next comes the rather incoherent alternative that one associates in
England with official Liberalism.

Liberalism in England is not quite the same thing as Liberalism in
the rest of the world; it is woven of two strands. There is
Whiggism, the powerful tradition of seventeenth-century Protestant
and republican England, with its great debt to republican Rome, its
strong constructive and disciplinary bias, its broad and originally
very living and intelligent outlook; and interwoven with this there
is the sentimental and logical Liberalism that sprang from the
stresses of the eighteenth century, that finds its early scarce
differentiated expression in Harrington's Oceana, and after fresh
draughts of the tradition of Brutus and Cato and some elegant
trifling with noble savages, budded in La Cite Morellyste, flowered
in the emotional democratic naturalism of Rousseau, and bore
abundant fruit in the French Revolution. These are two very distinct
strands. Directly they were freed in America from the grip of
conflict with British Toryism, they came apart as the Republican and
Democratic parties respectively. Their continued union in Great
Britain is a political accident. Because of this mixture, the whole
career of English-speaking Liberalism, though it has gone to one
unbroken strain of eloquence, has never produced a clear statement
of policy in relation to other peoples politically less fortunate.
It has developed no definite ideas at all about the future of
mankind. The Whig disposition, which once had some play in India,
was certainly to attempt to anglicise the "native," to assimilate
his culture, and then to assimilate his political status with that
of his temporary ruler. But interwoven with this anglicising
tendency, which was also, by the bye, a Christianising tendency, was
a strong disposition, derived from the Rousseau strand, to leave
other peoples alone, to facilitate even the separation and autonomy
of detached portions of our own peoples, to disintegrate finally
into perfect, because lawless, individuals. The official exposition
of British "Liberalism" to-day still wriggles unstably because of
these conflicting constituents, but on the whole the Whig strand now
seems the weaker. The contemporary Liberal politician offers cogent
criticism upon the brutality and conceit of modern imperialisms, but
that seems to be the limit of his service. Taking what they do not
say and do not propose as an indication of Liberal intentions, it
would seem that the ideal of the British Liberals and of the
American Democrats is to favour the existence of just as many petty,
loosely allied, or quite independent nationalities as possible, just
as many languages as possible, to deprecate armies and all controls,
and to trust to the innate goodness of disorder and the powers of an
ardent sentimentality to keep the world clean and sweet. The
Liberals will not face the plain consequence that such a state of
affairs is hopelessly unstable, that it involves the maximum risk of
war with the minimum of permanent benefit and public order. They
will not reflect that the stars in their courses rule inexorably
against it. It is a vague, impossible ideal, with a rude sort of
unworldly moral beauty, like the gospel of the Doukhobors. Besides
that charm it has this most seductive quality to an official British
Liberal, that it does not exact intellectual activity nor indeed
activity of any sort whatever. It is, by virtue of that alone, a far
less mischievous doctrine than the crude and violent Imperialism of
the popular Press.

Neither of these two schools of policy, neither the international
laisser faire of the Liberals, nor "hustle to the top" Imperialism,
promise any reality of permanent progress for the world of men. They
are the resort, the moral reference, of those who will not think
frankly and exhaustively over the whole field of this question. Do
that, insist upon solutions of more than accidental applicability,
and you emerge with one or other of two contrasted solutions, as the
consciousness of kind or the consciousness of individuality prevails
in your mind. In the former case you will adopt aggressive
Imperialism, but you will carry it out to its "thorough" degree of
extermination. You will seek to develop the culture and power of
your kind of men and women to the utmost in order to shoulder all
other kinds from the earth. If on the other hand you appreciate the
unique, you will aim at such a synthesis as this Utopia displays, a
synthesis far more credible and possible than any other
Welt-Politik. In spite of all the pageant of modern war, synthesis
is in the trend of the world. To aid and develop it, could be made
the open and secure policy of any great modern empire now. Modern
war, modern international hostility is, I believe, possible only
through the stupid illiteracy of the mass of men and the conceit and
intellectual indolence of rulers and those who feed the public mind.
Were the will of the mass of men lit and conscious, I am firmly
convinced it would now burn steadily for synthesis and peace.

It would be so easy to bring about a world peace within a few
decades, was there but the will for it among men! The great empires
that exist need but a little speech and frankness one with another.
Within, the riddles of social order are already half solved in books
and thought, there are the common people and the subject peoples to
be educated and drilled, to be led to a common speech and a common
literature, to be assimilated and made citizens; without, there is
the possibility of treaties. Why, for example, should Britain and
France, or either and the United States, or Sweden and Norway, or
Holland, or Denmark, or Italy, fight any more for ever? And if there
is no reason, how foolish and dangerous it is still to sustain
linguistic differences and custom houses, and all sorts of foolish
and irritating distinctions between their various citizens! Why
should not all these peoples agree to teach some common language,
French, for example, in their common schools, or to teach each
other's languages reciprocally? Why should they not aim at a common
literature, and bring their various common laws, their marriage
laws, and so on, into uniformity? Why should they not work for a
uniform minimum of labour conditions through all their communities?
Why, then, should they not--except in the interests of a few rascal
plutocrats--trade freely and exchange their citizenship freely
throughout their common boundaries? No doubt there are difficulties
to be found, but they are quite finite difficulties. What is there
to prevent a parallel movement of all the civilised Powers in the
world towards a common ideal and assimilation?

Stupidity--nothing but stupidity, a stupid brute jealousy, aimless
and unjustifiable.

The coarser conceptions of aggregation are at hand, the hostile,
jealous patriotisms, the blare of trumpets and the pride of fools;
they serve the daily need though they lead towards disaster. The
real and the immediate has us in its grip, the accidental personal
thing. The little effort of thought, the brief sustained effort of
will, is too much for the contemporary mind. Such treaties, such
sympathetic international movements, are but dream stuff yet on
earth, though Utopia has realised them long since and already passed
them by.


The Bubble Bursts

Section 1

As I walk back along the river terrace to the hotel where the
botanist awaits me, and observe the Utopians I encounter, I have no
thought that my tenure of Utopia becomes every moment more
precarious. There float in my mind vague anticipations of more talks
with my double and still more, of a steady elaboration of detail, of
interesting journeys of exploration. I forget that a Utopia is a
thing of the imagination that becomes more fragile with every added
circumstance, that, like a soap-bubble, it is most brilliantly and
variously coloured at the very instant of its dissolution. This
Utopia is nearly done. All the broad lines of its social
organisation are completed now, the discussion of all its general
difficulties and problems. Utopian individuals pass me by, fine
buildings tower on either hand; it does not occur to me that I may
look too closely. To find the people assuming the concrete and
individual, is not, as I fondly imagine, the last triumph of
realisation, but the swimming moment of opacity before the film
gives way. To come to individual emotional cases, is to return to
the earth.

I find the botanist sitting at a table in the hotel courtyard.

"Well?" I say, standing before him.

"I've been in the gardens on the river terrace," he answers, "hoping
I might see her again."

"Nothing better to do?"

"Nothing in the world."

"You'll have your double back from India to-morrow. Then you'll have

"I don't want it," he replies, compactly.

I shrug my shoulders, and he adds, "At least with him."

I let myself down into a seat beside him.

For a time I sit restfully enjoying his companionable silence, and
thinking fragmentarily of those samurai and their Rules. I entertain
something of the satisfaction of a man who has finished building a
bridge; I feel that I have joined together things that I had never
joined before. My Utopia seems real to me, very real, I can believe
in it, until the metal chair-back gives to my shoulder blades, and
Utopian sparrows twitter and hop before my feet. I have a pleasant
moment of unhesitating self-satisfaction; I feel a shameless
exultation to be there. For a moment I forget the consideration the
botanist demands; the mere pleasure of completeness, of holding and
controlling all the threads possesses me.

"You _will_ persist in believing," I say, with an aggressive
expository note, "that if you meet this lady she will be a person
with the memories and sentiments of her double on earth. You think
she will understand and pity, and perhaps love you. Nothing of the
sort is the case." I repeat with confident rudeness, "Nothing of the
sort is the case. Things are different altogether here; you can
hardly tell even now how different are----"

I discover he is not listening to me.

"What is the matter?" I ask abruptly.

He makes no answer, but his expression startles me.

"What is the matter?" and then I follow his eyes.

A woman and a man are coming through the great archway--and
instantly I guess what has happened. She it is arrests my attention
first--long ago I knew she was a sweetly beautiful woman. She is
fair, with frank blue eyes, that look with a sort of tender
receptivity into her companion's face. For a moment or so they
remain, greyish figures in the cool shadow, against the sunlit
greenery of the gardens beyond.

"It is Mary," the botanist whispers with white lips, but he stares
at the form of the man. His face whitens, it becomes so transfigured
with emotion that for a moment it does not look weak. Then I see
that his thin hand is clenched.

I realise how little I understand his emotions.

A sudden fear of what he will do takes hold of me. He sits white and
tense as the two come into the clearer light of the courtyard. The
man, I see, is one of the samurai, a dark, strong-faced man, a man I
have never seen before, and she is wearing the robe that shows her a
follower of the Lesser Rule.

Some glimmering of the botanist's feelings strikes through to my
slow sympathies. Of course--a strange man! I put out a restraining
hand towards his arm. "I told you," I say, "that very probably, most
probably, she would have met some other. I tried to prepare

"Nonsense," he whispers, without looking at me. "It isn't that.
It's--that scoundrel----"

He has an impulse to rise. "That scoundrel," he repeats.

"He isn't a scoundrel," I say. "How do you know? Keep still! Why are
you standing up?"

He and I stand up quickly, I as soon as he. But now the full meaning
of the group has reached me. I grip his arm. "Be sensible," I say,
speaking very quickly, and with my back to the approaching couple.
"He's not a scoundrel here. This world is different from that. It's
caught his pride somehow and made a man of him. Whatever troubled
them there----"

He turns a face of white wrath on me, of accusation, and for the
moment of unexpected force. "This is _your_ doing," he says. "You
have done this to mock me. He--of all men!" For a moment speech
fails him, then; "You--you have done this to mock me."

I try to explain very quickly. My tone is almost propitiatory.

"I never thought of it until now. But he's---- How did I know he was
the sort of man a disciplined world has a use for?"

He makes no answer, but he looks at me with eyes that are positively
baleful, and in the instant I read his mute but mulish resolve that
Utopia must end.

"Don't let that old quarrel poison all this," I say almost
entreatingly. "It happened all differently here--everything is
different here. Your double will be back to-morrow. Wait for him.
Perhaps then you will understand----"

He shakes his head, and then bursts out with, "What do I want with a
double? Double! What do I care if things have been different here?

He thrusts me weakly back with his long, white hand. "My God!" he
says almost forcibly, "what nonsense all this is! All these dreams!
All Utopias! There she is----! Oh, but I have dreamt of her! And

A sob catches him. I am really frightened by this time. I still try
to keep between him and these Utopians, and to hide his gestures
from them.

"It's different here," I persist. "It's different here. The emotion
you feel has no place in it. It's a scar from the earth--the sore
scar of your past----"

"And what are we all but scars? What is life but a scarring? It's
_you_--you who don't understand! Of course we are covered with
scars, we live to be scarred, we are scars! We are the scars of the
past! These _dreams_, these childish dreams----!"

He does not need to finish his sentence, he waves an unteachable
destructive arm.

My Utopia rocks about me.

For a moment the vision of that great courtyard hangs real. There
the Utopians live real about me, going to and fro, and the great
archway blazes with sunlight from the green gardens by the
riverside. The man who is one of the samurai, and his lady, whom the
botanist loved on earth, pass out of sight behind the marble
flower-set Triton that spouts coolness in the middle of the place.
For a moment I see two working men in green tunics sitting on a
marble seat in the shadow of the colonnade, and a sweet little
silver-haired old lady, clad all in violet, and carrying a book,
comes towards us, and lifts a curious eye at the botanist's
gestures. And then----

"Scars of the past! Scars of the past! These fanciful, useless

Section 2

There is no jerk, no sound, no hint of material shock. We are in
London, and clothed in the fashion of the town. The sullen roar of
London fills our ears....

I see that I am standing beside an iron seat of poor design in that
grey and gawky waste of asphalte--Trafalgar Square, and the
botanist, with perplexity in his face, stares from me to a poor,
shrivelled, dirt-lined old woman--my God! what a neglected thing she
is!--who proffers a box of matches....

He buys almost mechanically, and turns back to me.

"I was saying," he says, "the past rules us absolutely. These

His sentence does not complete itself. He looks nervous and

"You have a trick at times," he says instead, "of making your
suggestions so vivid----"

He takes a plunge. "If you don't mind," he says in a sort of
quavering ultimatum, "we won't discuss that aspect of the
question--the lady, I mean--further."

He pauses, and there still hangs a faint perplexity between us.

"But----" I begin.

For a moment we stand there, and my dream of Utopia runs off me like
water from an oiled slab. Of course--we lunched at our club. We came
back from Switzerland by no dream train but by the ordinary Bale
express. We have been talking of that Lucerne woman he harps upon,
and I have made some novel comment on his story. I have touched
certain possibilities.

"You can't conceivably understand," he says.

"The fact remains," he goes on, taking up the thread of his argument
again with an air of having defined our field, "we are the scars of
the past. That's a thing one can discuss--without personalities."

"No," I say rather stupidly, "no."

"You are always talking as though you could kick the past to pieces;
as though one could get right out from oneself and begin afresh. It
is your weakness--if you don't mind my being frank--it makes you
seem harsh and dogmatic. Life has gone easily for you; you have
never been badly tried. You have been lucky--you do not understand
the other way about. You are--hard."

I answer nothing.

He pants for breath. I perceive that in our discussion of his case I
must have gone too far, and that he has rebelled. Clearly I must
have said something wounding about that ineffectual love story of

"You don't allow for my position," he says, and it occurs to me to
say, "I'm obliged to look at the thing from my own point of

One or other of us makes a move. What a lot of filthy, torn paper is
scattered about the world! We walk slowly side by side towards the
dirt-littered basin of the fountain, and stand regarding two grimy
tramps who sit and argue on a further seat. One holds a horrible old
boot in his hand, and gesticulates with it, while his other hand
caresses his rag-wrapped foot. "Wot does Cham'lain _si_?" his words
drift to us. "W'y, 'e says, wot's the good of 'nvesting your kepital
where these 'ere Americans may dump it flat any time they

(Were there not two men in green sitting on a marble seat?)

Section 3

We walk on, our talk suspended, past a ruthlessly clumsy hoarding,
towards where men and women and children are struggling about a
string of omnibuses. A newsvendor at the corner spreads a newspaper
placard upon the wood pavement, pins the corners down with stones,
and we glimpse something about:--






Dear old familiar world!

An angry parent in conversation with a sympathetic friend jostles
against us. "I'll knock his blooming young 'ed orf if 'e cheeks me
again. It's these 'ere brasted Board Schools----"

An omnibus passes, bearing on a board beneath an incorrectly drawn
Union Jack an exhortation to the true patriot to "Buy Bumper's
British-Boiled Jam." ...

I am stunned beyond the possibility of discussion for a space. In
this very place it must have been that the high terrace ran with the
gardens below it, along which I came from my double to our hotel. I
am going back, but now through reality, along the path I passed so
happily in my dream. And the people I saw then are the people I am
looking at now--with a difference.

The botanist walks beside me, white and nervously jerky in his
movements, his ultimatum delivered.

We start to cross the road. An open carriage drives by, and we see a
jaded, red-haired woman, smeared with paint, dressed in furs, and
petulantly discontented. Her face is familiar to me, her face, with
a difference.

Why do I think of her as dressed in green?

Of course!--she it was I saw leading her children by the hand!

Comes a crash to our left, and a running of people to see a
cab-horse down on the slippery, slanting pavement outside St.
Martin's Church.

We go on up the street.

A heavy-eyed young Jewess, a draggled prostitute--no crimson flower
for her hair, poor girl!--regards us with a momentary speculation,
and we get a whiff of foul language from two newsboys on the

"We can't go on talking," the botanist begins, and ducks aside just
in time to save his eye from the ferule of a stupidly held umbrella.
He is going to treat our little tiff about that lady as closed. He
has the air of picking up our conversation again at some earlier

He steps into the gutter, walks round outside a negro hawker, just
escapes the wheel of a hansom, and comes to my side again.

"We can't go on talking of your Utopia," he says, "in a noise and
crowd like this."

We are separated by a portly man going in the opposite direction,
and join again. "We can't go on talking of Utopia," he repeats, "in
London.... Up in the mountains--and holiday-time--it was all right.
We let ourselves go!"

"I've been living in Utopia," I answer, tacitly adopting his tacit
proposal to drop the lady out of the question.

"At times," he says, with a queer laugh, "you've almost made me live
there too."

He reflects. "It doesn't do, you know. _No_! And I don't know
whether, after all, I want----"

We are separated again by half-a-dozen lifted flagstones, a burning
brazier, and two engineers concerned with some underground business
or other--in the busiest hour of the day's traffic.

"Why shouldn't it do?" I ask.

"It spoils the world of everyday to let your mind run on impossible

"I wish," I shout against the traffic, "I could _smash_ the world of

My note becomes quarrelsome. "You may accept _this_ as the world of
reality, _you_ may consent to be one scar in an ill-dressed compound
wound, but so--not I! This is a dream too--this world. _Your_ dream,
and you bring me back to it--out of Utopia----"

The crossing of Bow Street gives me pause again.

The face of a girl who is passing westward, a student girl, rather
carelessly dressed, her books in a carrying-strap, comes across my
field of vision. The westward sun of London glows upon her face. She
has eyes that dream, surely no sensuous nor personal dream.

After all, after all, dispersed, hidden, disorganised, undiscovered,
unsuspected even by themselves, the samurai of Utopia are in this
world, the motives that are developed and organised there stir
dumbly here and stifle in ten thousand futile hearts....

I overtake the botanist, who got ahead at the crossing by the
advantage of a dust-cart.

"You think this is real because you can't wake out of it," I say.
"It's all a dream, and there are people--I'm just one of the first
of a multitude--between sleeping and waking--who will presently be
rubbing it out of their eyes."

A pinched and dirty little girl, with sores upon her face, stretches
out a bunch of wilting violets, in a pitifully thin little fist, and
interrupts my speech. "Bunch o' vi'lets--on'y a penny."

"No!" I say curtly, hardening my heart.

A ragged and filthy nursing mother, with her last addition to our
Imperial People on her arm, comes out of a drinkshop, and stands a
little unsteadily, and wipes mouth and nose comprehensively with the
back of a red chapped hand....

Section 4

"Isn't _that_ reality?" says the botanist, almost triumphantly, and
leaves me aghast at his triumph.

"_That_!" I say belatedly. "It's a thing in a nightmare!"

He shakes his head and smiles--exasperatingly.

I perceive quite abruptly that the botanist and I have reached the
limits of our intercourse.

"The world dreams things like that," I say, "because it suffers from
an indigestion of such people as you."

His low-toned self-complacency, like the faded banner of an
obstinate fort, still flies unconquered. And you know, he's not even
a happy man with it all!

For ten seconds or more I am furiously seeking in my mind for a
word, for a term of abuse, for one compendious verbal missile that
shall smash this man for ever. It has to express total inadequacy of
imagination and will, spiritual anaemia, dull respectability, gross
sentimentality, a cultivated pettiness of heart....

That word will not come. But no other word will do. Indeed the word
does not exist. There is nothing with sufficient vituperative
concentration for this moral and intellectual stupidity of educated

"Er----" he begins.

No! I can't endure him.

With a passionate rapidity of movement, I leave his side, dart
between a carriage and a van, duck under the head of a cab-horse,
and board a 'bus going westward somewhere--but anyhow, going in
exactly the reverse direction to the botanist. I clamber up the
steps and thread my swaying way to the seat immediately behind the

"There!" I say, as I whack myself down on the seat and pant.

When I look round the botanist is out of sight.

Section 5

But I am back in the world for all that, and my Utopia is done.

It is good discipline for the Utopist to visit this world

But from the front seat on the top of an omnibus on a sunny
September afternoon, the Strand, and Charing Cross corner, and
Whitehall, and the great multitude of people, the great uproar of
vehicles, streaming in all directions, is apt to look a world
altogether too formidable. It has a glare, it has a tumult and
vigour that shouts one down. It shouts one down, if shouting is to
carry it. What good was it to trot along the pavement through this
noise and tumult of life, pleading Utopia to that botanist? What
good would it be to recommend Utopia in this driver's preoccupied

There are moments in the life of every philosopher and dreamer when
he feels himself the flimsiest of absurdities, when the Thing in
Being has its way with him, its triumphant way, when it asks in a
roar, unanswerably, with a fine solid use of the current vernacular,
"What Good is all this--Rot about Utopias?"

One inspects the Thing in Being with something of the diffident
speculation of primitive man, peering from behind a tree at an angry

(There is an omen in that image. On how many occasions must that
ancestor of ours have had just the Utopist's feeling of ambitious
unreality, have decided that on the whole it was wiser to go very
quietly home again, and leave the big beast alone? But, in the end,
men rode upon the elephant's head, and guided him this way or
that.... The Thing in Being that roars so tremendously about Charing
Cross corner seems a bigger antagonist than an elephant, but then we
have better weapons than chipped flint blades....)

After all, in a very little time everything that impresses me so
mightily this September afternoon will have changed or passed away
for ever, everything. These omnibuses, these great, stalwart,
crowded, many-coloured things that jostle one another, and make so
handsome a clatter-clamour, will all have gone; they and their
horses and drivers and organisation; you will come here and you will
not find them. Something else will be here, some different sort of
vehicle, that is now perhaps the mere germ of an idea in some
engineer student's brain. And this road and pavement will have
changed, and these impressive great buildings; other buildings will
be here, buildings that are as yet more impalpable than this page
you read, more formless and flimsy by far than anything that is
reasoned here. Little plans sketched on paper, strokes of a pen or
of a brush, will be the first materialisations of what will at last
obliterate every detail and atom of these re-echoing actualities
that overwhelm us now. And the clothing and gestures of these
innumerable people, the character of their faces and bearing, these
too will be recast in the spirit of what are now obscure and
impalpable beginnings.

The new things will be indeed of the substance of the thing that is,
but differing just in the measure of the will and imagination that
goes to make them. They will be strong and fair as the will is
sturdy and organised and the imagination comprehensive and bold;
they will be ugly and smeared with wretchedness as the will is
fluctuating and the imagination timid and mean.

Indeed Will is stronger than Fact, it can mould and overcome Fact.
But this world has still to discover its will, it is a world that
slumbers inertly, and all this roar and pulsation of life is no more
than its heavy breathing.... My mind runs on to the thought of an

As my omnibus goes lumbering up Cockspur Street through the clatter
rattle of the cabs and carriages, there comes another fancy in my
mind.... Could one but realise an apocalyptic image and suppose an
angel, such as was given to each of the seven churches of Asia,
given for a space to the service of the Greater Rule. I see him as a
towering figure of flame and colour, standing between earth and sky,
with a trumpet in his hands, over there above the Haymarket, against
the October glow; and when he sounds, all the samurai, all who are
samurai in Utopia, will know themselves and one another....

(Whup! says a motor brougham, and a policeman stays the traffic with
his hand.)

All of us who partake of the samurai would know ourselves and one

For a moment I have a vision of this resurrection of the living, of
a vague, magnificent answer, of countless myriads at attention, of
all that is fine in humanity at attention, round the compass of the

Then that philosophy of individual uniqueness resumes its sway over
my thoughts, and my dream of a world's awakening fades.

I had forgotten....

Things do not happen like that. God is not simple, God is not
theatrical, the summons comes to each man in its due time for him,
with an infinite subtlety of variety....

If that is so, what of my Utopia?

This infinite world must needs be flattened to get it on one
retina. The picture of a solid thing, although it is flattened and
simplified, is not necessarily a lie. Surely, surely, in the end, by
degrees, and steps, something of this sort, some such understanding,
as this Utopia must come. First here, then there, single men and
then groups of men will fall into line--not indeed with my poor
faulty hesitating suggestions--but with a great and comprehensive
plan wrought out by many minds and in many tongues. It is just
because my plan is faulty, because it mis-states so much, and omits
so much, that they do not now fall in. It will not be like _my_
dream, the world that is coming. My dream is just my own poor dream,
the thing sufficient for me. We fail in comprehension, we fail so
variously and abundantly. We see as much as it is serviceable for us
to see, and we see no further. But the fresh undaunted generations
come to take on our work beyond our utmost effort, beyond the range
of our ideas. They will learn with certainty things that to us are
guesses and riddles....

There will be many Utopias. Each generation will have its new
version of Utopia, a little more certain and complete and real, with
its problems lying closer and closer to the problems of the Thing
in Being. Until at last from dreams Utopias will have come to be
working drawings, and the whole world will be shaping the final
World State, the fair and great and fruitful World State, that will
only not be a Utopia because it will be this world. So surely it
must be----

The policeman drops his hand. "Come up," says the 'bus driver, and
the horses strain; "Clitter, clatter, cluck, clak," the line of
hurrying hansoms overtakes the omnibus going west. A dexterous lad
on a bicycle with a bale of newspapers on his back dodges nimbly
across the head of the column and vanishes up a side street.

The omnibus sways forward. Rapt and prophetic, his plump hands
clasped round the handle of his umbrella, his billycock hat a trifle
askew, this irascible little man of the Voice, this impatient
dreamer, this scolding Optimist, who has argued so rudely and
dogmatically about economics and philosophy and decoration, and
indeed about everything under the sun, who has been so hard on the
botanist and fashionable women, and so reluctant in the matter of
beer, is carried onward, dreaming dreams, dreams that with all the
inevitable ironies of difference, may be realities when you and I
are dreams.

He passes, and for a little space we are left with his egoisms and
idiosyncrasies more or less in suspense.

But why was he intruded? you ask. Why could not a modern Utopia be
discussed without this impersonation--impersonally? It has confused
the book, you say, made the argument hard to follow, and thrown
a quality of insincerity over the whole. Are we but mocking at
Utopias, you demand, using all these noble and generalised hopes
as the backcloth against which two bickering personalities jar and
squabble? Do I mean we are never to view the promised land again
except through a foreground of fellow-travellers? There is a common
notion that the reading of a Utopia should end with a swelling heart
and clear resolves, with lists of names, formation of committees,
and even the commencement of subscriptions. But this Utopia began
upon a philosophy of fragmentation, and ends, confusedly, amidst a
gross tumult of immediate realities, in dust and doubt, with, at the
best, one individual's aspiration. Utopias were once in good faith,
projects for a fresh creation of the world and of a most unworldly
completeness; this so-called Modern Utopia is a mere story of
personal adventures among Utopian philosophies.

Indeed, that came about without the writer's intention. So it was
the summoned vision came. For I see about me a great multitude of
little souls and groups of souls as darkened, as derivative as my
own; with the passage of years I understand more and more clearly
the quality of the motives that urge me and urge them to do whatever
we do.... Yet that is not all I see, and I am not altogether bounded
by my littleness. Ever and again, contrasting with this immediate
vision, come glimpses of a comprehensive scheme, in which these
personalities float, the scheme of a synthetic wider being, the
great State, mankind, in which we all move and go, like blood
corpuscles, like nerve cells, it may be at times like brain cells,
in the body of a man. But the two visions are not seen consistently
together, at least by me, and I do not surely know that they exist
consistently together. The motives needed for those wider issues
come not into the interplay of my vanities and wishes. That greater
scheme lies about the men and women I know, as I have tried to make
the vistas and spaces, the mountains, cities, laws, and order of
Utopia lie about my talking couple, too great for their sustained
comprehension. When one focuses upon these two that wide landscape
becomes indistinct and distant, and when one regards that then the
real persons one knows grow vague and unreal. Nevertheless, I cannot
separate these two aspects of human life, each commenting on the
other. In that incongruity between great and individual inheres the
incompatibility I could not resolve, and which, therefore, I have
had to present in this conflicting form. At times that great scheme
does seem to me to enter certain men's lives as a passion, as a real
and living motive; there are those who know it almost as if it was a
thing of desire; even for me, upon occasion, the little lures of the
immediate life are seen small and vain, and the soul goes out to
that mighty Being, to apprehend it and serve it and possess. But
this is an illumination that passes as it comes, a rare transitory
lucidity, leaving the soul's desire suddenly turned to presumption
and hypocrisy upon the lips. One grasps at the Universe and
attains--Bathos. The hungers, the jealousies, the prejudices and
habits have us again, and we are forced back to think that it is so,
and not otherwise, that we are meant to serve the mysteries; that in
these blinkers it is we are driven to an end we cannot understand.
And then, for measured moments in the night watches or as one walks
alone or while one sits in thought and speech with a friend, the
wider aspirations glow again with a sincere emotion, with the
colours of attainable desire....

That is my all about Utopia, and about the desire and need for
Utopia, and how that planet lies to this planet that bears the daily
lives of men.



A Portion of a Paper read to the Oxford Philosophical Society,
November 8, 1903, and reprinted, with some Revision, from the
Version given in Mind, vol. xiii. (N.S.), No. 51.

(See also Chapter I., Section 6, and Chapter X., Sections 1 and 2.)

It seems to me that I may most propitiously attempt to interest you
this evening by describing very briefly the particular metaphysical
and philosophical system in which I do my thinking, and more
particularly by setting out for your consideration one or two points
in which I seem to myself to differ most widely from current
accepted philosophy.

You must be prepared for things that will strike you as crude, for a
certain difference of accent and dialect that you may not like, and
you must be prepared too to hear what may strike you as the clumsy
statement of my ignorant rediscovery of things already beautifully
thought out and said. But in the end you may incline to forgive me
some of this first offence.... It is quite unavoidable that, in
setting out these intellectual foundations of mine, I should lapse
for a moment or so towards autobiography.

A convergence of circumstances led to my having my knowledge of
concrete things quite extensively developed before I came to
philosophical examination at all. I have heard someone say that a
savage or an animal is mentally a purely objective being, and in
that respect I was like a savage or an animal until I was well over
twenty. I was extremely unaware of the subjective or introverted
element in my being. I was a Positivist without knowing it. My early
education was a feeble one; it was one in which my private
observation, inquiry and experiment were far more important factors
than any instruction, or rather perhaps the instruction I received
was less even than what I learnt for myself, and it terminated at
thirteen. I had come into pretty intimate contact with the harder
realities of life, with hunger in various forms, and many base and
disagreeable necessities, before I was fifteen. About that age,
following the indication of certain theological and speculative
curiosities, I began to learn something of what I will call
deliberately and justly, Elementary Science--stuff I got out of
Cassell's Popular Educator and cheap text-books--and then, through
accidents and ambitions that do not matter in the least to us now, I
came to three years of illuminating and good scientific work. The
central fact of those three years was Huxley's course in Comparative
Anatomy at the school in Exhibition Road. About that as a nucleus I
arranged a spacious digest of facts. At the end of that time I had
acquired what I still think to be a fairly clear, and complete and
ordered view of the ostensibly real universe. Let me try to give you
the chief things I had. I had man definitely placed in the great
scheme of space and time. I knew him incurably for what he was,
finite and not final, a being of compromises and adaptations. I had
traced his lungs, for example, from a swimming bladder, step by
step, with scalpel and probe, through a dozen types or more, I had
seen the ancestral caecum shrink to that disease nest, the appendix
of to-day, I had watched the gill slit patched slowly to the
purposes of the ear and the reptile jaw suspension utilised to eke
out the needs of a sense organ taken from its native and natural
water. I had worked out the development of those extraordinarily
unsatisfactory and untrustworthy instruments, man's teeth, from the
skin scutes of the shark to their present function as a basis for
gold stoppings, and followed the slow unfolding of the complex and
painful process of gestation through which man comes into the world.
I had followed all these things and many kindred things by
dissection and in embryology--I had checked the whole theory of
development again in a year's course of palaeontology, and I had
taken the dimensions of the whole process, by the scale of the
stars, in a course of astronomical physics. And all that amount of
objective elucidation came before I had reached the beginnings of
any philosophical or metaphysical inquiry, any inquiry as to why I
believed, how I believed, what I believed, or what the fundamental
stuff of things was.

Now following hard upon this interlude with knowledge, came a time
when I had to give myself to teaching, and it became advisable to
acquire one of those Teaching Diplomas that are so widely and so
foolishly despised, and that enterprise set me to a superficial, but
suggestive study of educational method, of educational theory, of
logic, of psychology, and so at last, when the little affair with
the diploma was settled, to philosophy. Now to come to logic over
the bracing uplands of comparative anatomy is to come to logic with
a lot of very natural preconceptions blown clean out of one's mind.
It is, I submit, a way of taking logic in the flank. When you have
realised to the marrow, that all the physical organs of man and all
his physical structure are what they are through a series of
adaptations and approximations, and that they are kept up to a level
of practical efficiency only by the elimination of death, and that
this is true also of his brain and of his instincts and of many of
his mental predispositions, you are not going to take his thinking
apparatus unquestioningly as being in any way mysteriously different
and better. And I had read only a little logic before I became aware
of implications that I could not agree with, and assumptions that
seemed to me to be altogether at variance with the general scheme of
objective fact established in my mind.

I came to an examination of logical processes and of language with
the expectation that they would share the profoundly provisional
character, the character of irregular limitation and adaptation that
pervades the whole physical and animal being of man. And I found the
thing I had expected. And as a consequence I found a sort of
intellectual hardihood about the assumptions of logic, that at first
confused me and then roused all the latent scepticism in my

My first quarrel with the accepted logic I developed long ago in a
little paper that was printed in the Fortnightly Review in July
1891. It was called the "Rediscovery of the Unique," and re-reading
it I perceive not only how bad and even annoying it was in manner--a
thing I have long known--but also how remarkably bad it was in
expression. I have good reason for doubting whether my powers of
expression in these uses have very perceptibly improved, but at any
rate I am doing my best now with that previous failure before

That unfortunate paper, among other oversights I can no longer
regard as trivial, disregarded quite completely the fact that a
whole literature upon the antagonism of the one and the many, of the
specific ideal and the individual reality, was already in existence.
It defined no relations to other thought or thinkers. I understand
now, what I did not understand then, why it was totally ignored. But
the idea underlying that paper I cling to to-day. I consider it an
idea that will ultimately be regarded as one of primary importance
to human thought, and I will try and present the substance of that
early paper again now very briefly, as the best opening of my
general case. My opening scepticism is essentially a doubt of the
objective reality of classification. I have no hesitation in saying
that is the first and primary proposition of my philosophy.

I have it in my mind that classification is a necessary condition of
the working of the mental implement, but that it is a departure from
the objective truth of things, that classification is very
serviceable for the practical purposes of life but a very doubtful
preliminary to those fine penetrations the philosophical purpose, in
its more arrogant moods, demands. All the peculiarities of my way of
thinking derive from that.

A mind nourished upon anatomical study is of course permeated with
the suggestion of the vagueness and instability of biological
species. A biological species is quite obviously a great number of
unique individuals which is separable from other biological species
only by the fact that an enormous number of other linking
individuals are inaccessible in time--are in other words dead and
gone--and each new individual in that species does, in the
distinction of its own individuality, break away in however
infinitesimal degree from the previous average properties of the
species. There is no property of any species, even the properties
that constitute the specific definition, that is not a matter of
more or less. If, for example, a species be distinguished by a
single large red spot on the back, you will find if you go over a
great number of specimens that red spot shrinking here to nothing,
expanding there to a more general redness, weakening to pink,
deepening to russet and brown, shading into crimson, and so on, and
so on. And this is true not only of biological species. It is true
of the mineral specimens constituting a mineral species, and I
remember as a constant refrain in the lectures of Prof. Judd upon
rock classification, the words "they pass into one another by
insensible gradations." That is true, I hold, of all things.

You will think perhaps of atoms of the elements as instances of
identically similar things, but these are things not of experience
but of theory, and there is not a phenomenon in chemistry that is
not equally well explained on the supposition that it is merely the
immense quantities of atoms necessarily taken in any experiment that
mask by the operation of the law of averages the fact that each atom
also has its unique quality, its special individual difference. This
idea of uniqueness in all individuals is not only true of the
classifications of material science; it is true, and still more
evidently true, of the species of common thought, it is true of
common terms. Take the word chair. When one says chair, one thinks
vaguely of an average chair. But collect individual instances, think
of armchairs and reading chairs, and dining-room chairs and kitchen
chairs, chairs that pass into benches, chairs that cross the
boundary and become settees, dentists' chairs, thrones, opera
stalls, seats of all sorts, those miraculous fungoid growths that
cumber the floor of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition, and you will
perceive what a lax bundle in fact is this simple straightforward
term. In co-operation with an intelligent joiner I would undertake
to defeat any definition of chair or chairishness that you gave me.
Chairs just as much as individual organisms, just as much as mineral
and rock specimens, are unique things--if you know them well enough
you will find an individual difference even in a set of machine-made
chairs--and it is only because we do not possess minds of unlimited
capacity, because our brain has only a limited number of
pigeon-holes for our correspondence with an unlimited universe of
objective uniques, that we have to delude ourselves into the belief
that there is a chairishness in this species common to and
distinctive of all chairs.

Let me repeat; this is of the very smallest importance in all the
practical affairs of life, or indeed in relation to anything but
philosophy and wide generalisations. But in philosophy it matters
profoundly. If I order two new-laid eggs for breakfast, up come two
unhatched but still unique avian individuals, and the chances are
they serve my rude physiological purpose. I can afford to ignore the
hens' eggs of the past that were not quite so nearly this sort of
thing, and the hens' eggs of the future that will accumulate
modification age by age; I can venture to ignore the rare chance of
an abnormality in chemical composition and of any startling
aberration in my physiological reaction; I can, with a confidence
that is practically perfect, say with unqualified simplicity "two
eggs," but not if my concern is not my morning's breakfast but the
utmost possible truth.

Now let me go on to point out whither this idea of uniqueness tends.
I submit to you that syllogism is based on classification, that
all hard logical reasoning tends to imply and is apt to imply a
confidence in the objective reality of classification. Consequently
in denying that I deny the absolute validity of logic. Classification
and number, which in truth ignore the fine differences of objective
realities, have in the past of human thought been imposed upon
things. Let me for clearness' sake take a liberty here--commit, as
you may perhaps think, an unpardonable insolence. Hindoo thought
and Greek thought alike impress me as being overmuch obsessed by
an objective treatment of certain necessary preliminary conditions
of human thought--number and definition and class and abstract
form. But these things, number, definition, class and abstract
form, I hold, are merely unavoidable conditions of mental
activity--regrettable conditions rather than essential facts. The
forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a
little in taking hold of it.

It was about this difficulty that the mind of Plato played a little
inconclusively all his life. For the most part he tended to regard
the _idea_ as the something behind reality, whereas it seems to me
that the idea is the more proximate and less perfect thing, the
thing by which the mind, by ignoring individual differences,
attempts to comprehend an otherwise unmanageable number of unique

Let me give you a rough figure of what I am trying to convey in this
first attack upon the philosophical validity of general terms. You
have seen the results of those various methods of black and white
reproduction that involve the use of a rectangular net. You know the
sort of process picture I mean--it used to be employed very
frequently in reproducing photographs. At a little distance you
really seem to have a faithful reproduction of the original picture,
but when you peer closely you find not the unique form and masses of
the original, but a multitude of little rectangles, uniform in shape
and size. The more earnestly you go into the thing, the closer you
look, the more the picture is lost in reticulations. I submit the
world of reasoned inquiry has a very similar relation to the world I
call objectively real. For the rough purposes of every day the
net-work picture will do, but the finer your purpose the less it
will serve, and for an ideally fine purpose, for absolute and
general knowledge that will be as true for a man at a distance with
a telescope as for a man with a microscope it will not serve at

It is true you can make your net of logical interpretation finer and
finer, you can fine your classification more and more--up to a
certain limit. But essentially you are working in limits, and as you
come closer, as you look at finer and subtler things, as you leave
the practical purpose for which the method exists, the element of
error increases. Every species is vague, every term goes cloudy at
its edges, and so in my way of thinking, relentless logic is only
another phrase for a stupidity,--for a sort of intellectual
pigheadedness. If you push a philosophical or metaphysical inquiry
through a series of valid syllogisms--never committing any generally
recognised fallacy--you nevertheless leave a certain rubbing and
marginal loss of objective truth and you get deflections that are
difficult to trace, at each phase in the process. Every species
waggles about in its definition, every tool is a little loose in its
handle, every scale has its individual error. So long as you are
reasoning for practical purposes about the finite things of
experience, you can every now and then check your process, and
correct your adjustments. But not when you make what are called
philosophical and theological inquiries, when you turn your
implement towards the final absolute truth of things. Doing that is
like firing at an inaccessible, unmarkable and indestructible target
at an unknown distance, with a defective rifle and variable
cartridges. Even if by chance you hit, you cannot know that you hit,
and so it will matter nothing at all.

This assertion of the necessary untrustworthiness of all reasoning
processes arising out of the fallacy of classification in what is
quite conceivably a universe of uniques, forms only one introductory
aspect of my general scepticism of the Instrument of Thought.

I have now to tell you of another aspect of this scepticism of the
instrument which concerns negative terms.

Classes in logic are not only represented by circles with a hard
firm outline, whereas they have no such definite limits, but also
there is a constant disposition to think of negative terms as if
they represented positive classes. With words just as with numbers
and abstract forms there are definite phases of human development.
There is, you know, with regard to number, the phase when man can
barely count at all, or counts in perfect good faith and sanity upon
his fingers. Then there is the phase when he is struggling with the
development of number, when he begins to elaborate all sorts of
ideas about numbers, until at last he develops complex superstitions
about perfect numbers and imperfect numbers, about threes and sevens
and the like. The same is the case with abstracted forms, and even
to-day we are scarcely more than heads out of the vast subtle muddle
of thinking about spheres and ideally perfect forms and so on, that
was the price of this little necessary step to clear thinking. You
know better than I do how large a part numerical and geometrical
magic, numerical and geometrical philosophy has played in the
history of the mind. And the whole apparatus of language and mental
communication is beset with like dangers. The language of the savage
is, I suppose, purely positive; the thing has a name, the name has a
thing. This indeed is the tradition of language, and to-day even,
we, when we hear a name, are predisposed--and sometimes it is a very
vicious disposition--to imagine forthwith something answering to the
name. We are disposed, as an incurable mental vice, to accumulate
intension in terms. If I say to you Wodget or Crump, you find
yourself passing over the fact that these are nothings, these are,
so to speak, mere blankety blanks, and trying to think what sort of
thing a Wodget or a Crump may be. And where this disposition has
come in, in its most alluring guise, is in the case of negative
terms. Our instrument of knowledge persists in handling even such
openly negative terms as the Absolute, the Infinite, as though they
were real existences, and when the negative element is ever so
little disguised, as it is in such a word as Omniscience, then the
illusion of positive reality may be complete.

Please remember that I am trying to tell you my philosophy, and not
arguing about yours. Let me try and express how in my mind this
matter of negative terms has shaped itself. I think of something
which I may perhaps best describe as being off the stage or out of
court, or as the Void without Implications, or as Nothingness or as
Outer Darkness. This is a sort of hypothetical Beyond to the visible
world of human thought, and thither I think all negative terms reach
at last, and merge and become nothing. Whatever positive class you
make, whatever boundary you draw, straight away from that boundary
begins the corresponding negative class and passes into the
illimitable horizon of nothingness. You talk of pink things, you
ignore, if you are a trained logician, the more elusive shades of
pink, and draw your line. Beyond is the not pink, known and
knowable, and still in the not pink region one comes to the Outer
Darkness. Not blue, not happy, not iron, all the not classes meet in
that Outer Darkness. That same Outer Darkness and nothingness is
infinite space, and infinite time, and any being of infinite
qualities, and all that region I rule out of court in my philosophy
altogether. I will neither affirm nor deny if I can help it about
any not things. I will not deal with not things at all, except by
accident and inadvertence. If I use the word 'infinite' I use it as
one often uses 'countless,' "the countless hosts of the enemy"--or
'immeasurable'--"immeasurable cliffs"--that is to say as the limit
of measurement rather than as the limit of imaginary measurability,
as a convenient equivalent to as many times this cloth yard as you
can, and as many again and so on and so on. Now a great number of
apparently positive terms are, or have become, practically negative
terms and are under the same ban with me. A considerable number of
terms that have played a great part in the world of thought, seem to
me to be invalidated by this same defect, to have no content or an
undefined content or an unjustifiable content. For example, that
word Omniscient, as implying infinite knowledge, impresses me as
being a word with a delusive air of being solid and full, when it is
really hollow with no content whatever. I am persuaded that knowing
is the relation of a conscious being to something not itself, that
the thing known is defined as a system of parts and aspects and
relationships, that knowledge is comprehension, and so that only
finite things can know or be known. When you talk of a being of
infinite extension and infinite duration, omniscient and omnipotent
and Perfect, you seem to me to be talking in negatives of nothing
whatever. When you speak of the Absolute you speak to me of nothing.
If however you talk of a great yet finite and thinkable being, a
being not myself, extending beyond my imagination in time and space,
knowing all that I can think of as known and capable of doing all
that I can think of as done, you come into the sphere of my mental
operations, and into the scheme of my philosophy....

These then are my first two charges against our Instrument of
Knowledge, firstly, that it can work only by disregarding
individuality and treating uniques as identically similar objects in
this respect or that, so as to group them under one term, and that
once it has done so it tends automatically to intensify the
significance of that term, and secondly, that it can only deal
freely with negative terms by treating them as though they were
positive. But I have a further objection to the Instrument of Human
Thought, that is not correlated to these former objections and that
is also rather more difficult to convey.

Essentially this idea is to present a sort of stratification in
human ideas. I have it very much in mind that various terms in our
reasoning lie, as it were, at different levels and in different
planes, and that we accomplish a large amount of error and confusion
by reasoning terms together that do not lie or nearly lie in the
same plane.

Let me endeavour to make myself a little less obscure by a most
flagrant instance from physical things. Suppose some one began to
talk seriously of a man seeing an atom through a microscope, or
better perhaps of cutting one in half with a knife. There are a
number of non-analytical people who would be quite prepared to
believe that an atom could be visible to the eye or cut in this
manner. But any one at all conversant with physical conceptions
would almost as soon think of killing the square root of 2 with a
rook rifle as of cutting an atom in half with a knife. Our
conception of an atom is reached through a process of hypothesis and
analysis, and in the world of atoms there are no knives and no
men to cut. If you have thought with a strong consistent mental
movement, then when you have thought of your atom under the knife
blade, your knife blade has itself become a cloud of swinging
grouped atoms, and your microscope lens a little universe of
oscillatory and vibratory molecules. If you think of the universe,
thinking at the level of atoms, there is neither knife to cut, scale
to weigh nor eye to see. The universe at that plane to which the
mind of the molecular physicist descends has none of the shapes or
forms of our common life whatever. This hand with which I write is
in the universe of molecular physics a cloud of warring atoms and
molecules, combining and recombining, colliding, rotating, flying
hither and thither in the universal atmosphere of ether.

You see, I hope, what I mean, when I say that the universe of
molecular physics is at a different level from the universe of
common experience;--what we call stable and solid is in that world a
freely moving system of interlacing centres of force, what we call
colour and sound is there no more than this length of vibration or
that. We have reached to a conception of that universe of molecular
physics by a great enterprise of organised analysis, and our
universe of daily experiences stands in relation to that elemental
world as if it were a synthesis of those elemental things.

I would suggest to you that this is only a very extreme instance of
the general state of affairs, that there may be finer and subtler
differences of level between one term and another, and that terms
may very well be thought of as lying obliquely and as being twisted
through different levels.

It will perhaps give a clearer idea of what I am seeking to convey
if I suggest a concrete image for the whole world of a man's thought
and knowledge. Imagine a large clear jelly, in which at all angles
and in all states of simplicity or contortion his ideas are
imbedded. They are all valid and possible ideas as they lie, none in
reality incompatible with any. If you imagine the direction of up or
down in this clear jelly being as it were the direction in which one
moves by analysis or by synthesis, if you go down for example from
matter to atoms and centres of force and up to men and states and
countries--if you will imagine the ideas lying in that manner--you
will get the beginning of my intention. But our Instrument, our
process of thinking, like a drawing before the discovery of
perspective, appears to have difficulties with the third dimension,
appears capable only of dealing with or reasoning about ideas by
projecting them upon the same plane. It will be obvious that a great
multitude of things may very well exist together in a solid jelly,
which would be overlapping and incompatible and mutually
destructive, when projected together upon one plane. Through the
bias in our Instrument to do this, through reasoning between terms
not in the same plane, an enormous amount of confusion, perplexity
and mental deadlocking occurs.

The old theological deadlock between predestination and free-will
serves admirably as an example of the sort of deadlock I mean. Take
life at the level of common sensation and common experience and
there is no more indisputable fact than man's freedom of will,
unless it is his complete moral responsibility. But make only the
least penetrating of analyses and you perceive a world of inevitable
consequences, a rigid succession of cause and effect. Insist upon a
flat agreement between the two, and there you are! The Instrument

It is upon these three objections, and upon an extreme suspicion of
abstract terms which arises materially out of my first and second
objections, that I chiefly rest my case for a profound scepticism of
the remoter possibilities of the Instrument of Thought. It is a
thing no more perfect than the human eye or the human ear, though
like those other instruments it may have undefined possibilities of
evolution towards increased range, and increased power.

So much for my main contention. But before I conclude I may--since I
am here--say a little more in the autobiographical vein, and with
a view to your discussion to show how I reconcile this fundamental
scepticism with the very positive beliefs about world-wide issues I
possess, and the very definite distinction I make between right and

I reconcile these things by simply pointing out to you that if there
is any validity in my image of that three dimensional jelly in which
our ideas are suspended, such a reconciliation as you demand in
logic, such a projection of the things as in accordance upon one
plane, is totally unnecessary and impossible.

This insistence upon the element of uniqueness in being, this
subordination of the class to the individual difference, not only
destroys the universal claim of philosophy, but the universal claim
of ethical imperatives, the universal claim of any religious
teaching. If you press me back upon my fundamental position I must
confess I put faith and standards and rules of conduct upon exactly
the same level as I put my belief of what is right in art, and what
I consider right practice in art. I have arrived at a certain sort
of self-knowledge and there are, I find, very distinct imperatives
for me, but I am quite prepared to admit there is no proving them
imperative on any one else. One's political proceedings, one's moral
acts are, I hold, just as much self-expression as one's poetry or
painting or music. But since life has for its primordial elements
assimilation and aggression, I try not only to obey my imperatives,
but to put them persuasively and convincingly into other minds, to
bring about _my_ good and to resist and overcome _my_ evil as though
they were the universal Good and the universal Evil in which
unthinking men believe. And it is obviously in no way contradictory
to this philosophy, for me, if I find others responding
sympathetically to any notes of mine or if I find myself responding
sympathetically to notes sounding about me, to give that common
resemblance between myself and others a name, to refer these others
and myself in common to this thing as if it were externalised and
spanned us all.

Scepticism of the Instrument is for example not incompatible with
religious association and with organisation upon the basis of a
common faith. It is possible to regard God as a Being synthetic in
relation to men and societies, just as the idea of a universe of
atoms and molecules and inorganic relationships is analytical in
relation to human life.

The repudiation of demonstration in any but immediate and verifiable
cases that this Scepticism of the Instrument amounts to, the
abandonment of any universal validity for moral and religious
propositions, brings ethical, social and religious teaching into the
province of poetry, and does something to correct the estrangement
between knowledge and beauty that is a feature of so much mental
existence at this time. All these things are self-expression. Such
an opinion sets a new and greater value on that penetrating and
illuminating quality of mind we call insight, insight which when it
faces towards the contradictions that arise out of the imperfections
of the mental instrument is called humour. In these innate,
unteachable qualities I hold--in humour and the sense of
beauty--lies such hope of intellectual salvation from the original
sin of our intellectual instrument as we may entertain in this
uncertain and fluctuating world of unique appearances....

So frankly I spread my little equipment of fundamental assumptions
before you, heartily glad of the opportunity you have given me of
taking them out, of looking at them with the particularity the
presence of hearers ensures, and of hearing the impression they make
upon you. Of course, such a sketch must have an inevitable crudity
of effect. The time I had for it--I mean the time I was able to give
in preparation--was altogether too limited for any exhaustive finish
of presentation; but I think on the whole I have got the main lines
of this sketch map of my mental basis true. Whether I have made
myself comprehensible is a different question altogether. It is for
you rather than me to say how this sketch map of mine lies with
regard to your own more systematic cartography....

Here followed certain comments upon Personal Idealism, and Mr. F. C.
S. Schiller's Humanism, of no particular value.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Modern Utopia" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.