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Title: Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War
Author: Trotter, Wilfred
Language: English
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_First Published_ _February, 1916_

_Second Impression_ _March, 1917_

_Third Impression_ _July, 1917_

_Second Edition_ _November, 1919_

_Fifth Impression_ _March, 1920_

_Sixth Impression_ _February, 1921_

(_All rights reserved_)


The first two essays in this book were written some ten years ago
and published in the _Sociological Review_ in 1908 and 1909. They
had formed a single paper, but it was found necessary to publish in
two instalments at an interval of six months, and to cut down to a
considerable extent the total bulk.

It was lately suggested to me that as the numbers of the review in
which the two essays appeared were out of print, the fact that the
subject concerned was not without some current interest might justify a
republication. It was not possible to do this without trying to embody
such fruits as there might be of ten years’ further speculation and
some attempt to apply to present affairs the principles which had been
sketched out.

The new comment very soon surpassed by far in bulk the original text,
and constitutes, in fact, all but a comparatively few pages of this
book. This rather minute record is made here not because it has any
interest of its own, but especially to point out that I have been
engaged in trying to apply to the affairs of to-day principles which
had taken shape ten years ago. I point this out not in order {6} to
claim any gift of foresight in having suggested so long ago reasons
for regarding the stability of civilization as unsuspectedly slight,
but because it is notorious that the atmosphere of a great war is
unfavourable to free speculation. If the principles upon which my
argument is based had been evolved during the present times, the reader
would have had special reason to suspect their validity, however
plausible they might seem in the refracting air of national emergency.

The general purpose of this book is to suggest that the science of
psychology is not the mass of dreary and indefinite generalities of
which it sometimes perhaps seems to be made up; to suggest that,
especially when studied in relation to other branches of biology, it is
capable of becoming a guide in the actual affairs of life and of giving
an understanding of the human mind such as may enable us in a practical
and useful way to foretell some of the course of human behaviour.
The present state of public affairs gives an excellent chance for
testing the truth of this suggestion, and adds to the interest of the
experiment the strong incentive of an urgent national peril.

If this war is becoming, as it obviously is, daily more and more
completely a contest of moral forces, some really deep understanding of
the nature and sources of national morale must be at least as important
a source of strength as the technical knowledge of the military
engineer and the maker of cannon. One is apt to suppose that the chief
function of a sound morale is the maintenance of {7} a high courage
and resolution through the ups and downs of warfare. In a nation
whose actual independence and existence are threatened from without
such qualities may be taken for granted and may be present when the
general moral forces are seriously disordered. A satisfactory morale
gives something much more difficult to attain. It gives smoothness
of working, energy and enterprise to the whole national machine,
while from the individual it ensures the maximal outflow of effort
with a minimal interference from such egoistic passions as anxiety,
impatience, and discontent. A practical psychology would define these
functions and indicate means by which they are to be called into

The more we consider the conduct of government in warfare the clearer
does it become that every act of authority produces effects in two
distinct fields—that of its primary function as directed more or
less immediately against the enemy, and that of its secondary action
upon the morale of the nation. The first of these two constituents
possesses the uncertainty of all military enterprises, and its success
or failure cannot be foretold; the influence of the second constituent
is susceptible of definition and foresight and need never be wholly
ambiguous to any but the ignorant or the indifferent.

The relative importance of the military and the moral factors in any
act or enterprise varies much, but it may be asserted that while the
moral factor may sometimes be enormously the more important, it is
never wholly absent. This constant and admittedly significant factor
in all acts of {8} government is usually awarded an attention so
thoroughly inexpert and perfunctory, as to justify the feeling that
the customary belief in its importance is no more than a conventional

The method I have used is frankly speculative, and I make no apology
for it because the facts are open to the observation of all and
available for confirmation or disproof. I have tried to point out a
way; I have tried not to exhort or persuade to the use of it—these are
matters outside my province.

 _November, 1915._


A few errors in the text of the First Edition have been corrected, and
a sentence which had caused misunderstanding has been omitted. No other
change has been made. A Postscript has been added in order to point out
some of the directions in which the psychological inquiry made during
the war gave a practical foresight that was confirmed by the course
of events, and in order to examine the remarkable situation in which
society now finds itself.

In the Preface to the First Edition I ventured to suggest that some
effective knowledge of the mind might be of value to a nation at war;
I take this opportunity of suggesting that such knowledge might be
not less useful to a tired nation seeking peace. At the same time
it should perhaps be added that this book is concerned wholly with
the examination of principles, is professedly speculative in methods
and conclusions, and is quite without pretensions to advise upon the
conduct of affairs.

 _August, 1919._



 PREFACE                                                    5

 PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION                                  8


 INTRODUCTION                                              11

   PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF INSTINCT                       15









   THE BIOLOGY OF GREGARIOUSNESS                          101

   MAN                                                    112



   GREGARIOUS SPECIES AT WAR                              139

   ENGLAND AGAINST GERMANY—GERMANY                        156

   ENGLAND AGAINST GERMANY—ENGLAND                        201


   PREJUDICE IN TIME OF WAR                               214

   PSYCHOLOGICAL ANTICIPATIONS                            224

   AFTER THE WAR                                          235

   THE INSTABILITY OF CIVILIZATION                        241


 INDEX                                                    261




Few subjects have led to discussion so animated and prolonged as has
the definition of the science of sociology. It is therefore necessary,
as it is hoped that this essay may be capable of sociological
applications, that the writer should define the sense in which he uses
the term. By calling it a science is, of course, denoted the view
that sociology is a body of knowledge derived from experience of its
material and co-ordinated so that it shall be useful in forecasting
and, if possible, directing the future behaviour of that material. This
material is man in society of associated man.

Sociology, therefore, is obviously but another name for psychology, in
the widest sense, for, that is to say, a psychology which can include
all the phenomena of the mind without the exception even of the most
complex, and is essentially practical in a fuller sense than any
orthodox psychology which has yet appeared.

Sociology has, of course, often been described as social psychology
and has been regarded as differing from ordinary psychology in being
{12} concerned with those forms of mental activity which man displays
in his social relations, the assumption being made that society brings
to light a special series of mental aptitudes with which ordinary
psychology, dealing as it does essentially with the individual, is
not mainly concerned. It may be stated at once that it is a principal
thesis of this essay that this attitude is a fallacious one, and has
been responsible for the comparative sterility of the psychological
method in sociology. The two fields—the social and the individual—are
regarded here as absolutely continuous; all human psychology, it is
contended, must be the psychology of associated man, since man as a
solitary animal is unknown to us, and every individual must present the
characteristic reactions of the social animal if such exist. The only
difference between the two branches of the science lies in the fact
that ordinary psychology makes no claim to be practical in the sense
of conferring useful foresight; whereas sociology does profess to deal
with the complex, unsimplified problems of ordinary life, ordinary life
being, by a biological necessity, social life. If, therefore, sociology
is to be defined as psychology, it would be better to call it practical
or applied psychology than social psychology.

The first effect of the complete acceptance of this point of view is
to render very obvious the difficulty and immensity of the task of
sociology; indeed, the possibility of such a science is sometimes
denied. For example, at an early meeting of the Sociological Society,
Professor Karl Pearson expressed the opinion that the birth of the
science of sociology must await the obstetrical genius of some one man
of the calibre of Darwin or Pasteur. At a later meeting Mr. H. G. Wells
went farther, and maintained that as a science sociology not only does
not but cannot exist. {13}

Such scepticism appears in general to be based upon the idea that
a practical psychology in the sense already defined is impossible.
According to some this is because the human will introduces into
conduct an element necessarily incommensurable, which will always
render the behaviour of man subject to the occurrence of true variety
and therefore beyond the reach of scientific generalization; according
to another and a more deterministic school, human conduct, while not
theoretically liable to true variety in the philosophic sense or to
the intrusion of the will as a first cause, is in fact so complex that
no reduction of it to a complete system of generalizations will be
possible until science in general has made very great progress beyond
its present position. Both views lead in practice to attitudes of equal
pessimism towards sociology.

The observable complexity of human conduct is, undoubtedly, very
great and discouraging. The problem of generalizing from it presents,
however, one important peculiarity, which is not very evident at first
sight. It is that as observers we are constantly pursued by man’s
own account of his behaviour; that of a given act our observation
is always more or less mixed with a knowledge, derived from our own
feelings, of how it seems to the author of the act, and it is much
more difficult than is often supposed to disentangle and allow for the
influence of this factor. Each of us has the strongest conviction that
his conduct and beliefs are fundamentally individual and reasonable
and in essence independent of external causation, and each is ready to
furnish a series of explanations of his conduct consistent with these
principles. These explanations, moreover, are the ones which will occur
spontaneously to the observer watching the conduct of his fellows.

It is suggested here that the sense of the {14} unimaginable
complexity and variability of human affairs is derived less than is
generally supposed from direct observation and more from this second
factor of introspectual interpretation which may be called a kind of
anthropomorphism. A reaction against this in human psychology is no
less necessary therefore than was in comparative psychology the similar
movements the extremer developments of which are associated with the
names of Bethe, Beer, Uexküll and Nuel. It is contended that it is this
anthropomorphism in the general attitude of psychologists which, by
disguising the observable uniformities of human conduct, has rendered
so slow the establishment of a really practical psychology. Little as
the subject has been studied from the point of view of a thorough-going
objectivism, yet even now certain generalizations summarising some of
the ranges of human belief and conduct might already be formulated.
Such an inquiry, however, is not the purpose of this essay, and these
considerations have been advanced, in the first place, to suggest that
theory indicates that the problem of sociology is not so hopelessly
difficult as it at first appears, and secondly, as a justification for
an examination of certain aspects of human conduct by the deductive
method. The writer would contend that while that method is admittedly
dangerous when used as a substitute for a kind of investigation
in which deductive processes are reduced to a minimum, yet it has
its special field of usefulness in cases where the significance of
previously accumulated facts has been misinterpreted, or where the
exacter methods have proved unavailing through the investigator having
been without indications of precisely what facts were likely to be
the most fruitful subject for measurement. This essay, then, will be
an attempt to obtain by a deductive consideration of conduct some
guidance for the application of those methods of {15} measurement and
co-ordination of facts upon which all true science is based.

A very little consideration of the problem of conduct makes it plain
that it is in the region of feeling, using the term in its broadest
sense, that the key is to be sought. Feeling has relations to instinct
as obvious and fundamental as are the analogies between intellectual
processes and reflex action; it is with the consideration of instinct,
therefore, that this paper must now be occupied.


Many years ago, in a famous chapter of his Text Book of Psychology,
William James analysed and established with a quite final delicacy and
precision the way in which instinct appears to introspection. He showed
that the impulse of an instinct reveals itself as an axiomatically
obvious proposition, as something which is so clearly “sense” that any
idea of discussing its basis is foolish or wicked.[A]

     [A] Not one man in a billion, when taking his dinner, ever thinks
     of utility. He eats because the food tastes good and makes him
     want more. If you ask him why he should want to eat more of what
     tastes like that, instead of revering you as a philosopher he
     will probably laugh at you for a fool. The connexion between the
     savoury sensation and the act it awakens is for him absolute
     and _selbstverständlich_, an “_a priori_ synthesis” of the most
     perfect sort needing no proof but its own evidence. . . . To the
     metaphysician alone can such questions occur as: Why do we smile,
     when pleased, and not scowl? Why are we unable to talk to a crowd
     as to a single friend? Why does a particular maiden turn our wits
     so upside down? The common man can only say, “_Of course_ we
     smile, _of course_ our heart palpitates at the sight of the crowd,
     _of course_ we love the maiden, that beautiful soul clad in that
     perfect form, so palpably and flagrantly made from all eternity to
     be loved” (W. James, “Principles of Psychology” vol. ii. p. 386).

When we recognize that decisions due to instinct come into the mind in
a form so characteristic and easily identifiable we are encouraged at
once to ask {16} whether all decisions having this form must be looked
upon as essentially of instinctive origin. Inquiry, however, reveals
the fact that the bulk of opinion based upon assumptions having these
introspectual characters is so vast that any answer but a negative one
would seem totally incompatible with current conceptions of the nature
of human thought.[B]

     [B] This introspectual quality of the “_a priori_ synthesis of
     the most perfect sort” is found, for example, in the assumptions
     upon which is based the bulk of opinion in matters of Church and
     State, the family, justice, probity, honour, purity, crime, and so
     forth. Yet clearly we cannot say that there is a specific instinct
     concerned with each of these subjects, for that, to say the least,
     would be to postulate an unimaginable multiplicity of instincts,
     for the most part wholly without any conceivable biological
     usefulness. For example, there are considerable difficulties
     in imagining an instinct for making people Wesleyans or Roman
     Catholics, or an instinct for making people regard British family
     life as the highest product of civilization, yet there can be no
     question that these positions are based upon assumptions having
     all the characters described by James as belonging to the impulses
     of instinct.

Many attempts have been made to explain the behaviour of man as
dictated by instinct. He is, in fact, moved by the promptings of such
obvious instincts as self-preservation, nutrition, and sex enough
to render the enterprise hopeful and its early spoils enticing. So
much can so easily be generalized under these three impulses that
the temptation to declare that all human behaviour could be resumed
under them was irresistible. These early triumphs of materialism soon,
however, began to be troubled by doubt. Man, in spite of his obvious
duty to the contrary, would continue so often not to preserve himself,
not to nourish himself and to prove resistant to the blandishments
of sex, that the attempt to squeeze his behaviour into these three
categories began to involve an increasingly obvious and finally
intolerable amount of pushing and pulling, as well as so much pretence
that he was altogether “in,” {17} when, quite plainly, so large a part
of him remained “out,” that the enterprise had to be given up, and it
was once more discovered that man escaped and must always escape any
complete generalization by science.

A more obvious inference would have been that there was some other
instinct which had not been taken into account, some impulse, perhaps,
which would have no very evident object as regarded the individual,
but would chiefly appear as modifying the other instincts and leading
to new combinations in which the primitive instinctive impulse was
unrecognizable as such. A mechanism such as this very evidently would
produce a series of actions in which uniformity might be very difficult
to recognize by direct observation, but in which it would be very
obvious if the characters of this unknown “x” were available.

Now, it is a striking fact that amongst animals there are some
whose conduct can be generalized very readily in the categories of
self-preservation, nutrition, and sex, while there are others whose
conduct cannot be thus summarized. The behaviour of the tiger and the
cat is simple, and easily comprehensible, presenting no unassimilable
anomalies, whereas that of the dog, with his conscience, his humour,
his terror of loneliness, his capacity for devotion to a brutal
master, or that of the bee, with her selfless devotion to the hive,
furnishes phenomena which no sophistry can assimilate without the
aid of a fourth instinct. But little examination will show that the
animals whose conduct it is difficult to generalize under the three
primitive instinctive categories are gregarious. If then it can be
shown that gregariousness is of a biological significance approaching
in importance that of the other instincts, we may expect to find in it
the source of these anomalies of conduct, and if we can also show {18}
that man is gregarious, we may look to it for the definition of the
unknown “x” which might account for the complexity of human behaviour.


The animal kingdom presents two relatively sudden and very striking
advances in complexity and in the size of the unit upon which natural
selection acts unmodified. These advances consist in the aggregation of
units which were previously independent and exposed to the full normal
action of natural selection, and the two instances are, of course,
the passage from the unicellular to the multicellular, and from the
solitary to the social.

It is obvious that in the multicellular organism individual cells
lose some of the capacities of the unicellular—reproductive capacity
is regulated and limited, nutrition is no longer possible in the old
simple way and response to stimuli comes only in certain channels. In
return for these sacrifices we may say, metaphorically, that the action
of natural selection is withdrawn from within the commune. Unfitness
of a given cell or group of cells can be eliminated only through its
effect upon the whole organism. The latter is less sensitive to the
vagaries of a single cell than is the organism of which the single
cell is the whole. It would seem, therefore, that there is now allowed
a greater range of variability for the individual cells, and perhaps,
therefore, an increased richness of the material to be selected from.
Variations, moreover, which were not immediately favourable would now
have a chance of surviving.

Looked at in this way, multicellularity presents itself as an escape
from the rigour of natural selection, which for the unicellular
organism had narrowed {19} competition to so desperate a struggle
that any variation outside the straitest limits was fatal, for even
though it might be favourable in one respect, it would, in so small
a kingdom, involve a loss in another. The only way, therefore, for
further advantageous elaboration to occur was by the enlargement of
the competing unit. Various species of multicellular organisms might
in time be supposed in turn to reach the limit of their powers.
Competition would be at its maximum, smaller and smaller variations
would be capable of producing serious results. In the species where
these conditions prevail an enlargement of the unit is imminent if
progress is to occur. It is no longer possible by increases of physical
complexity and the apparently inevitable sequence is the appearance
of gregariousness. The necessity and inevitableness of the change are
shown by its scattered development in very widely separated regions
(for example, in insects and in mammals) just as, we may suspect,
multicellularity appeared.

Gregariousness seems frequently to be regarded as a somewhat
superficial character, scarcely deserving, as it were, the name of an
instinct, advantageous it is true, but not of fundamental importance
or likely to be deeply ingrained in the inheritance of the species.
This attitude may be due to the fact that among mammals at any rate the
appearance of gregariousness has not been accompanied by any very gross
physical changes which are obviously associated with it.[C]

     [C] Among gregarious insects there are of course physical changes
     arising out of and closely dependent on the social organization.

To whatever it may be due, this method of regarding the social habit
is, in the opinion of the present writer, not justified by the facts,
and prevents the attainment of conclusions of considerable fruitfulness.

A study of bees and ants shows at once how {20} fundamental the
importance of gregariousness may become. The individual in such
communities is completely incapable, often physically, of existing
apart from the community, and this fact at once gives rise to the
suspicion that even in communities less closely knit than those of
the ant and the bee, the individual may in fact be more dependent on
communal life than appears at first sight.

Another very striking piece of general evidence of the significance
of gregariousness as no mere late acquirement is the remarkable
coincidence of its occurrence with that of exceptional grades
of intelligence or the possibility of very complex reactions to
environment. It can scarcely be regarded as an unmeaning accident
that the dog, the horse, the ape, the elephant, and man are all
social animals. The instances of the bee and the ant are perhaps the
most amazing. Here the advantages of gregariousness seem actually to
outweigh the most prodigious differences of structure, and we find
a condition which is often thought of as a mere habit, capable of
enabling the insect nervous system to compete in the complexity of its
power of adaptation with that of the higher vertebrates.

If it be granted that gregariousness is a phenomenon of profound
biological significance and one likely therefore to be responsible
for an important group of instinctive impulses, the next step in our
argument is the discussion of the question as to whether man is to
be regarded as gregarious in the full sense of the word, whether,
that is to say, the social habit may be expected to furnish him with
a mass of instinctive impulse as mysteriously potent as the impulses
of self-preservation, nutrition, and sex. Can we look to the social
instinct for an explanation of some of the “_a priori_ syntheses of the
most perfect sort needing no proof but their own evidence,” which are
not explained by the three {21} primitive categories of instinct, and
remain stumbling-blocks in the way of generalizing the conduct of man?

The conception of man as a gregarious animal is, of course, extremely
familiar; one frequently meets with it in the writings of psychologists
and sociologists, and it has obtained a respectable currency with the
lay public. It has, indeed, become so hackneyed that it is the first
duty of a writer who maintains the thesis that its significance is
not even yet fully understood, to show that the popular conception
of it has been far from exhaustive. As used hitherto the idea seems
to have had a certain vagueness which greatly impaired its practical
value. It furnished an interesting analogy for some of the behaviour
of man, or was enunciated as a half serious illustration by a writer
who felt himself to be in an exceptionally sardonic vein, but it was
not at all widely looked upon as a definite fact of biology which
must have consequences as precise and a significance as ascertainable
as the secretion of the gastric juice or the refracting apparatus of
the eye. One of the most familiar attitudes was that which regarded
the social instinct as a late development. The family was looked
upon as the primitive unit; from it developed the tribe, and by the
spread of family feeling to the tribe the social instinct arose. It is
interesting that the psychological attack upon this position has been
anticipated by sociologists and anthropologists, and that it is already
being recognized that an undifferentiated horde rather than the family
must be regarded as the primitive basis of human society.

The most important consequence of this vague way of regarding the
social habit of man has been that no exhaustive investigation of
its psychological corollaries has been carried out. When we see the
enormous effect in determining conduct that the gregarious inheritance
has in the bee, the ant, the {22} horse, or the dog, it is quite
plain that if the gregariousness of man had been seriously regarded
as a definite fact a great amount of work would have been done in
determining precisely what reactive tendencies it had marked out in
man’s mind. Unfortunately, the amount of precise work of this kind has
been very small.

From the biological standpoint the probability of gregariousness being
a primitive and fundamental quality in man seems to be considerable. As
already pointed out, like the other great enlargement of the biological
unit, but in a much more easily recognizable degree, it would appear to
have the effect of enlarging the advantages of variation. Varieties not
immediately favourable, varieties departing widely from the standard,
varieties even unfavourable to the individual may be supposed to be
given by it a chance of survival. Now the course of the development
of man seems to present many features incompatible with its having
proceeded amongst isolated individuals exposed to the unmodified
action of natural selection. Changes so serious as the assumption of
the upright posture, the reduction in the jaw and its musculature, the
reduction in the acuity of smell and hearing, demand, if the species
is to survive, either a delicacy of adjustment with the compensatingly
developing intelligence so minute as to be almost inconceivable, or
the existence of some kind of protective enclosure, however imperfect,
in which the varying individuals were sheltered from the direct
influence of natural selection. The existence of such a mechanism would
compensate losses of physical strength in the individual by the greatly
increased strength of the larger unit, of the unit, that is to say,
upon which natural selection still acts unmodified.

A realization, therefore, of this function of gregariousness relieves
us from the necessity of {23} supposing that the double variations of
diminishing physical and increasing mental capacity always occurred
_pari passu_. The case for the primitiveness of the social habit would
seem to be still further strengthened by a consideration of such widely
aberrant developments as speech and the æsthetic activities, but a
discussion of them here would involve an unnecessary indulgence of
biological speculation.


(_a_) Current Views in Sociology and Psychology.

If we now assume that gregariousness may be regarded as a fundamental
quality of man, it remains to discuss the effects we may expect it
to have produced upon the structure of his mind. It would be well,
however, first, to attempt to form some idea of how far investigation
has already gone in this direction. It is of course clear that no
complete review of all that has been said concerning a conception so
familiar can be attempted here, and, even if it were possible, it would
not be a profitable enterprise, as the great bulk of writers have
not seen in the idea anything to justify a fundamental examination
of it. What will be done here, therefore, will be to mention a few
representative writers who have dealt with the subject, and to give in
a summary way the characteristic features of their exposition.

As far as I am aware, the first person to point out any of the less
obvious biological significance of gregariousness was Professor Karl
Pearson.[D] {24}

     [D] Many references to the subject will be found in his published
     works, for example in “The Grammar of Science,” in “National Life
     from the Standpoint of Science,” and in “The Chances of Death.” In
     the collection of Essays last named the essay entitled “Socialism
     and Natural Selection” deals most fully with the subject.

He called attention to the enlargement of the selective unit effected
by the appearance of gregariousness, and to the fact that therefore
within the group the action of natural selection becomes modified.
This conception had, as is well known, escaped the insight of Haeckel,
of Spencer, and of Huxley, and Pearson showed into what confusions in
their treatment of the problems of society these three had been led by
the oversight.[E] For example may be mentioned the famous antithesis
of the “cosmical” and the “ethical” processes expounded in Huxley’s
Romanes Lecture. It was quite definitely indicated by Pearson that the
so-called ethical process, the appearance, that is to say, of altruism,
is to be regarded as a directly instinctive product of gregariousness,
and as natural, therefore, as any other instinct.

These very clear and valuable conceptions do not seem, however, to have
received from biologists the attention they deserved, and as far as I
am aware their author has not continued further the examination of the
structure of the gregarious mind, which would undoubtedly have yielded
in his hands further conclusions of equal value.

We may next examine the attitude of a modern sociologist. I have chosen
for this purpose the work of an American sociologist, Lester Ward, and
propose briefly to indicate his position as it may be gathered from his
book entitled “Pure Sociology.”[F] {25}

     [E] “Socialism and Natural Selection” in “The Chances of Death.”

     [F] Lester F. Ward, “Pure Sociology: a Treatise on the Origin and
     Spontaneous Development of Society.” New York: The Macmillan Co.
     1903. I do not venture to decide whether this work may be regarded
     as representative of orthodox sociology, if there be such a thing;
     I have made the choice because of the author’s capacity for fresh
     and ingenious speculation and his obviously wide knowledge of
     sociological literature.

The task of summarizing the views of any sociologist seems to me to be
rendered difficult by a certain vagueness in outline of the positions
laid down, a certain tendency for a description of fact to run into
an analogy, and an analogy to fade into an illustration. It would
be discourteous to doubt that these tendencies are necessary to the
fruitful treatment of the material of sociology, but, as they are very
prominent in connection with the subject of gregariousness, it is
necessary to say that one is fully conscious of the difficulties they
give rise to, and feels that they may have led one into unintentional

With this proviso it may be stated that the writings of Ward produce
the feeling that he regards gregariousness as furnishing but few
precise and primitive characteristics of the human mind. The mechanisms
through which group “instinct” acts would seem to be to him largely
rational processes, and group instinct itself is regarded as a
relatively late development more or less closely associated with a
rational knowledge that it “pays.” For example, he says: “For want of
a better name, I have characterized this social instinct, or instinct
of race safety, as religion, but not without clearly perceiving that
it constitutes the primordial undifferentiated plasm out of which have
subsequently developed all the more important human institutions. This
. . . if it be not an instinct, is at least the human homologue of
animal instinct, and served the same purpose _after the instincts had
chiefly disappeared_, and when the egotistic reason would otherwise
have rapidly carried the race to destruction in its mad pursuit of
pleasure for its own sake.”[G]

     [G] “Pure Sociology,” p. 134. Italics not in original. Passages
     of a similar tendency will be found on pp. 200 and 556.

That gregariousness has to be considered amongst {26} the factors
shaping the tendencies of the human mind has long been recognized by
the more empirical psychologists. In the main, however, it has been
regarded as a quality perceptible only in the characteristics of actual
crowds—that is to say, assemblies of persons being and acting in
association. This conception has served to evoke a certain amount of
valuable work in the observation of the behaviour of crowds.[H]

Owing, however, to the failure to investigate as the more essential
question the effects of gregariousness in the mind of the normal
individual man, the theoretical side of crowd psychology has remained
incomplete and relatively sterile.

There is, however, one exception, in the case of the work of Boris
Sidis. In a book entitled “The Psychology of Suggestion”[I] he has
described certain psychical qualities as necessarily associated with
the social habit in the individual as in the crowd. His position,
therefore, demands some discussion. The fundamental element in it is
the conception of the normal existence in the mind of a subconscious
self. This subconscious or subwaking self is regarded as embodying the
“lower” and more obviously brutal qualities of man. It is irrational,
imitative, credulous, cowardly, cruel, and lacks all individuality,
will, and self-control.[J] This personality takes the place of the
normal personality during hypnosis and when the individual is one of an
active crowd, as, for example, in riots, panics, lynchings, revivals,
and so forth. {27}

     [H] For example, the little book of Gustave Le Bon—“Psychologie
     des Foules,” Paris: Felix Alcan—in which are formulated many

     [I] “The Psychology of Suggestion: a Research into the
     Subconscious Nature of Man and Society,” by Boris Sidis, with an
     Introduction by Prof. Wm. James. New York. 1903.

     [J] “Psychology of Suggestion,” p. 295.

Of the two personalities—the subconscious and the normal—the former
alone is suggestible; the successful operation of suggestion implies
the recurrence, however transient, of a disaggregation of personality,
and the emergence of the subwaking self as the controlling mind (pp.
89 and 90). It is this suggestibility of the subwaking self which
enables man to be a social animal. “Suggestibility is the cement of
the herd, the very soul of the primitive social group. . . . Man is a
social animal, no doubt, but he is social because he is suggestible.
Suggestibility, however, requires disaggregation of consciousness,
hence society presupposes a cleavage of the mind. Society and mental
epidemics are intimately related; for the social gregarious self is the
suggestible subconscious self” (p. 310).

Judged from our present standpoint, the most valuable feature of
Sidis’s book is that it calls attention to the undoubtedly intimate
relation between gregariousness and suggestibility. The mechanism,
however, by which he supposes suggestibility to come into action is
more open to criticism. The conception of a permanent subconscious self
is one to which it is doubtful whether the evidence compels assent.[K]
The essential difference, however, which Sidis’s views present from
those to be developed below, lies in his regarding suggestibility as
being something which is liable to intrude upon the normal mind as the
result of a disaggregation of consciousness, instead of as a necessary
quality of every normal mind, continually present, and an inalienable
accompaniment of human thought. A careful reading of his book gives
a very clear impression that he looks upon suggestibility as a {28}
disreputable and disastrous legacy of the brute and the savage,
undesirable in civilized life, opposed to the satisfactory development
of the normal individuality, and certainly in no way associated at its
origin with a quality so valuable as altruism. Moreover, one gets the
impression that he regards suggestibility as being manifested chiefly,
if not solely, in crowds, in panics, revivals, and in conditions
generally in which the element of close association is well marked.

     [K] In this connexion the “Symposium on the Subconscious” in the
     _Journal of Abnormal Psychology_, vol. ii. Nos. 1 and 2, is of
     much interest. The discussion is contributed to by Münsterberg,
     Ribot Jastrow, Pierre Janet, and Morton Prince.

(_b_) Deductive Considerations

The functions of the gregarious habit in a species may broadly be
defined as offensive or defensive, or both. Whichever of these modes it
has assumed in the animal under consideration, it will be correlated
with effects which will be divisible into two classes—the general
characteristics of the social animal, and the special characteristics
of the form of social habit possessed by the given animal. The dog and
the sheep illustrate well the characteristics of the two simple forms
of gregariousness—offensive and defensive.

1. _Special Characteristics of the Gregarious Animal._

These need not be dealt with here, as they are the qualities which
for the most part have been treated of by psychologists in such work
as has been done on the corollaries of gregariousness in man. This is
because they are qualities which are most evident in man’s behaviour
when he acts in crowds, and are then evident as something temporarily
superadded to the possibilities of the isolated individual. Hence
it has come about that they have been taken for the most part as
constituting the whole of man’s gregarious inheritance, while the
possibility that that inheritance might have {29} equally important
consequences for the individual has been relatively neglected.

2. _General Characteristics of the Gregarious Animal._

The cardinal quality of the herd is homogeneity. It is clear that
the great advantage of the social habit is to enable large numbers
to act as one, whereby in the case of the hunting gregarious animal
strength in pursuit and attack is at once increased to beyond that
of the creatures preyed upon,[L] and in protective socialism the
sensitiveness of the new unit to alarms is greatly in excess of that of
the individual member of the flock.

     [L] The wolf pack forms an organism, it is interesting to note,
     stronger than the lion or the tiger; capable of compensating for
     the loss of members; inexhaustible in pursuit, and therefore
     capable by sheer strength of hunting down without wile or artifice
     the fleetest animals; capable finally of consuming all the food it
     kills, and thus possessing another considerable advantage over the
     large solitary carnivora in not tending uselessly to exhaust its
     food supply. The advantages of the social habit in carnivora is
     well shown by the survival of wolves in civilized countries even

To secure these advantages of homogeneity, it is evident that the
members of the herd must possess sensitiveness to the behaviour of
their fellows. The individual isolated will be of no meaning, the
individual as part of the herd will be capable of transmitting the
most potent impulses. Each member of the flock tending to follow its
neighbour and in turn to be followed, each is in some sense capable
of leadership; but no lead will be followed that departs widely from
normal behaviour. A lead will be followed only from its resemblance to
the normal. If the leader go so far ahead as definitely to cease to be
in the herd, he will necessarily be ignored.

The original in conduct, that is to say resistiveness to the voice of
the herd, will be suppressed {30} by natural selection; the wolf which
does not follow the impulses of the herd will be starved; the sheep
which does not respond to the flock will be eaten.

Again, not only will the individual be responsive to impulses coming
from the herd, but he will treat the herd as his normal environment.
The impulse to be in and always to remain with the herd will have the
strongest instinctive weight. Anything which tends to separate him
from his fellows, as soon as it becomes perceptible as such, will be
strongly resisted.

So far, we have regarded the gregarious animal objectively. We have
seen that he behaves as if the herd were the only environment in which
he can live, that he is especially sensitive to impulses coming from
the herd, and quite differently affected by the behaviour of animals
not in the herd. Let us now try to estimate the mental aspects of these
impulses. Suppose a species in possession of precisely the instinctive
endowments which we have been considering, to be also self-conscious,
and let us ask what will be the forms under which these phenomena
will present themselves in its mind. In the first place, it is quite
evident that impulses derived from herd feeling will enter the mind
with the value of instincts—they will present themselves as “_a
priori_ syntheses of the most perfect sort needing no proof but their
own evidence.” They will not, however, it is important to remember,
necessarily always give this quality to the same specific acts, but
will show this great distinguishing characteristic that they may
give to _any opinion whatever_ the characters of instinctive belief,
making it into an “_a priori synthesis_”; so that we shall expect to
find acts which it would be absurd to look upon as the results of
specific instincts carried out with all the enthusiasm of instinct, and
displaying {31} all the marks of instinctive behaviour. The failure
to recognize this appearance of herd impulse as a tendency, as a power
which can confer instinctive sanctions on any part of the field of
belief or action, has prevented the social habit of man from attracting
as much of the attention of psychologists as it might profitably have

In interpreting into mental terms the consequences of gregariousness,
we may conveniently begin with the simplest. The conscious individual
will feel an unanalysable primary sense of comfort in the actual
presence of his fellows, and a similar sense of discomfort in their
absence. It will be obvious truth to him that it is not good for the
man to be alone. Loneliness will be a real terror, insurmountable by

Again, certain conditions will become secondarily associated with
presence with, or absence from, the herd. For example, take the
sensations of heat and cold. The latter is prevented in gregarious
animals by close crowding, and experienced in the reverse condition;
hence it comes to be connected in the mind with separation, and
so acquires altogether unreasonable associations of harmfulness.
Similarly, the sensation of warmth is associated with feelings of
the secure and salutary. It has taken medicine many thousands of
years to begin to doubt the validity of the popular conception of
the harmfulness of cold; yet to the psychologist such a doubt is
immediately obvious.[M]

     [M] Any one who has watched the behaviour of the dog and the cat
     towards warmth and cold cannot have failed to notice the effect of
     the gregarious habit on the former. The cat displays a moderate
     liking for warmth, but also a decided indifference to cold, and
     will quietly sit in the snow in a way which would be impossible to
     the dog.

Slightly more complex manifestations of the same tendency to
homogeneity are seen in the desire for identification with the herd
in matters of opinion. {32} Here we find the biological explanation
of the ineradicable impulse mankind has always displayed towards
segregation into classes. Each one of us in his opinions and his
conduct, in matters of dress, amusement, religion, and politics, is
compelled to obtain the support of a class, of a herd within the herd.
The most eccentric in opinion or conduct is, we may be sure, supported
by the agreement of a class, the smallness of which accounts for his
apparent eccentricity, and the preciousness of which accounts for his
fortitude in defying general opinion. Again, anything which tends to
emphasize difference from the herd is unpleasant. In the individual
mind there will be an unanalysable dislike of the novel in action or
thought. It will be “wrong,” “wicked,” “foolish,” “undesirable,” or
as we say “bad form,” according to varying circumstances which we can
already to some extent define.

Manifestations relatively more simple are shown in the dislike of
being conspicuous, in shyness and in stage fright. It is, however,
sensitiveness to the behaviour of the herd which has the most important
effects upon the structure of the mind of the gregarious animal.
This sensitiveness is closely associated with the suggestibility of
the gregarious animal, and therefore with that of man. The effect of
it will clearly be to make acceptable those suggestions which come
from the herd, and those only. It is of especial importance to note
that this suggestibility is not general, and that it is only herd
suggestions which are rendered acceptable by the action of instinct.
Man is, for example, notoriously insensitive to the suggestions of
experience. The history of what is rather grandiosely called human
progress everywhere illustrates this. If we look back upon the
development of some such thing as the steam-engine, we cannot fail to
be struck by the extreme obviousness of each advance, and how {33}
obstinately it was refused assimilation until the machine almost
invented itself.

Again, of two suggestions, that which the more perfectly embodies the
voice of the herd is the more acceptable. The chances an affirmation
has of being accepted could therefore be most satisfactorily expressed
in terms of the bulk of the herd by which it is backed.

It follows from the foregoing that anything which dissociates a
suggestion from the herd will tend to ensure such a suggestion being
rejected. For example, an imperious command from an individual known
to be without authority is necessarily disregarded, whereas the same
person making the same suggestion in an indirect way so as to link it
up with the voice of the herd will meet with success.

It is unfortunate that in discussing these facts it has been necessary
to use the word “suggestibility,” which has so thorough an implication
of the abnormal. If the biological explanation of suggestibility here
set forth be accepted, the latter must necessarily be a normal quality
of the human mind. To believe must be an ineradicable natural bias
of man, or in other words an affirmation, positive or negative, is
more readily accepted than rejected, unless its source is definitely
dissociated from the herd. Man is not, therefore, suggestible by fits
and starts, not merely in panics and in mobs, under hypnosis, and
so forth, but always, everywhere, and under any circumstances. The
capricious way in which man reacts to different suggestions has been
attributed to variations in his suggestibility. This in the opinion of
the present writer is an incorrect interpretation of the facts which
are more satisfactorily explained by regarding the variations as due to
the differing extent to which suggestions are identified with the voice
of the herd.

Man’s resistiveness to certain suggestions, and {34} especially to
experience, as is seen so well in his attitude to the new, becomes
therefore but another evidence of his suggestibility, since the new has
always to encounter the opposition of herd tradition.

The apparent diminution in direct suggestibility with advancing years,
such as was demonstrated in children by Binet, is in the case of the
adult familiar to all, and is there usually regarded as evidence of a
gradually advancing organic change in the brain. It can be regarded, at
least plausibly, as being due to the fact that increase of years must
bring an increase in the accumulations of herd suggestion, and so tend
progressively to fix opinion.

In the early days of the human race, the appearance of the faculty of
speech must have led to an immediate increase in the extent to which
the decrees of the herd could be promulgated, and the field to which
they applied. Now the desire for certitude is one of profound depth
in the human mind, and possibly a necessary property of any mind, and
it is very plausible to suppose that it led in these early days to
the whole field of life being covered by pronouncements backed by the
instinctive sanction of the herd. The life of the individual would be
completely surrounded by sanctions of the most tremendous kind. He
would know what he might and might not do, and what would happen if
he disobeyed. It would be immaterial if experience confirmed these
beliefs or not, because it would have incomparably less weight than
the voice of the herd. Such a period is the only trace perceptible
by the biologist of the Golden Age fabled by the poet, when things
happened as they ought, and hard facts had not begun to vex the soul
of man. In some such condition we still find the Central Australian
native. His whole life, to its minutest detail, is ordained for him by
the voice of the herd, and he must not, under the most dreadful {35}
sanctions, step outside its elaborate order. It does not matter to him
that an infringement of the code under his very eyes is not followed
by judgment, for with tribal suggestion so compactly organized, such
cases are in fact no difficulty, and do not trouble his belief, just
as in more civilized countries apparent instances of malignity in the
reigning deity are not found to be inconsistent with his benevolence.

Such must everywhere have been primitive human conditions, and upon
them reason intrudes as an alien and hostile power, disturbing the
perfection of life, and causing an unending series of conflicts.

Experience, as is shown by the whole history of man, is met by
resistance because it invariably encounters decisions based upon
instinctive belief, and nowhere is this fact more clearly to be seen
than in the way in which the progress of science has been made.

In matters that really interest him, man cannot support the suspense
of judgment which science so often has to enjoin. He is too anxious
to feel certain to have time to know. So that we see of the sciences,
mathematics appearing first, then astronomy, then physics, then
chemistry, then biology, then psychology, then sociology—but always
the new field was grudged to the new method, and we still have the
denial to sociology of the name of science. Nowadays, matters of
national defence, of politics, of religion, are still too important for
knowledge, and remain subjects for certitude; that is to say, in them
we still prefer the comfort of instinctive belief, because we have not
learnt adequately to value the capacity to foretell.

Direct observation of man reveals at once the fact that a very
considerable proportion of his beliefs are non-rational to a degree
which is immediately obvious without any special examination, and with
{36} no special resources other than common knowledge. If we examine
the mental furniture of the average man, we shall find it made up of a
vast number of judgments of a very precise kind upon subjects of very
great variety, complexity, and difficulty. He will have fairly settled
views upon the origin and nature of the universe, and upon what he will
probably call its meaning; he will have conclusions as to what is to
happen to him at death and after, as to what is and what should be the
basis of conduct. He will know how the country should be governed, and
why it is going to the dogs, why this piece of legislation is good and
that bad. He will have strong views upon military and naval strategy,
the principles of taxation, the use of alcohol and vaccination, the
treatment of influenza, the prevention of hydrophobia, upon municipal
trading, the teaching of Greek, upon what is permissible in art,
satisfactory in literature, and hopeful in science.

The bulk of such opinions must necessarily be without rational basis,
since many of them are concerned with problems admitted by the expert
to be still unsolved, while as to the rest it is clear that the
training and experience of no average man can qualify him to have any
opinion upon them at all. The rational method adequately used would
have told him that on the great majority of these questions there could
be for him but one attitude—that of suspended judgment.

In view of the considerations that have been discussed above, this
wholesale acceptance of non-rational belief must be looked upon as
normal. The mechanism by which it is effected demands some examination,
since it cannot be denied that the facts conflict noticeably with
popularly current views as to the part taken by reason in the formation
of opinion.

It is clear at the outset that these beliefs are invariably regarded by
the holder as rational, and {37} defended as such, while the position
of one who holds contrary views is held to be obviously unreasonable.
The religious man accuses the atheist of being shallow and irrational,
and is met by a similar reply; to the Conservative, the amazing thing
about the Liberal is his incapacity to see reason and accept the
only possible solution of public problems. Examination reveals the
fact that the differences are not due to the commission of the mere
mechanical fallacies of logic, since these are easily avoided, even by
the politician, and since there is no reason to suppose that one party
in such controversies is less logical than the other. The difference
is due rather to the fundamental assumptions of the antagonists being
hostile, and these assumptions are derived from herd suggestion; to
the Liberal, certain basal conceptions have acquired the quality
of instinctive truth, have become “_a priori_ syntheses,” because
of the accumulated suggestions to which he has been exposed, and a
similar explanation applies to the atheist, the Christian, and the
Conservative. Each, it is important to remember, finds in consequence
the rationality of his position flawless, and is quite incapable of
detecting in it the fallacies which are obvious to his opponent, to
whom that particular series of assumptions has not been rendered
acceptable by herd suggestion.

To continue further the analysis of non-rational opinion, it should be
observed that the mind rarely leaves uncriticized the assumptions which
are forced on it by herd suggestion, the tendency being for it to find
more or less elaborately rationalized justifications of them. This is
in accordance with the enormously exaggerated weight which is always
ascribed to reason in the formation of opinion and conduct, as is very
well seen, for example, in the explanation of the existence of altruism
as being due to man seeing that it “pays.” {38}

It is of cardinal importance to recognize that in this process of
the rationalization of instinctive belief, it is the belief which is
the primary thing, while the explanation, although masquerading as
the cause of the belief, as the chain of rational evidence on which
the belief is founded, is entirely secondary, and but for the belief
would never have been thought of. Such rationalizations are often, in
the case of intelligent people, of extreme ingenuity, and may be very
misleading unless the true instinctive basis of the given opinion or
action is thoroughly understood.

This mechanism enables the English lady, who, to escape the stigma
of having normal feet, subjects them to a formidable degree of
lateral compression, to be aware of no logical inconsequence when she
subscribes to missions to teach the Chinese lady how absurd it is to
compress her feet longitudinally; it enables the European lady who
wears rings in her ears to smile at the barbarism of the coloured
lady who wears her rings in her nose; it enables the Englishman who
is amused by the African chieftain’s regard for the top hat as an
essential piece of the furniture of state to ignore the identity of his
own behaviour when he goes to church beneath the same tremendous ensign.

The objectivist finds himself compelled to regard these and similar
correspondences between the behaviour of civilized and barbarous man as
no mere interesting coincidences, but as phenomena actually and in the
grossest way identical, but such an attitude is possible only when the
mechanism is understood by which rationalization of these customs is

The process of rationalization which has just been illustrated by some
of its simpler varieties is best seen on the largest scale, and in
the most elaborate form, in the pseudosciences of political economy
and ethics. Both of these are occupied in deriving {39} from eternal
principles justifications for masses of non-rational belief which are
assumed to be permanent merely because they exist. Hence the notorious
acrobatic feats of both in the face of any considerable variation in
herd belief.

It would seem that the obstacles to rational thought which have been
pointed out in the foregoing discussion have received much less
attention than should have been directed towards them. To maintain
an attitude of mind which could be called scientific in any complete
sense, it is of cardinal importance to recognize that belief of
affirmations sanctioned by the herd is a normal mechanism of the human
mind, and goes on however much such affirmations may be opposed by
evidence, that reason cannot enforce belief against herd suggestion,
and finally that totally false opinions may appear to the holder of
them to possess all the characters of rationally verifiable truth, and
may be justified by secondary processes of rationalization which it may
be impossible directly to combat by argument.

It should be noticed, however, that verifiable truths may acquire the
potency of herd suggestion, so that the suggestibility of man does
not necessarily or always act against the advancement of knowledge.
For example, to the student of biology the principles of Darwinism
may acquire the force of herd suggestion through being held by
the class which he most respects, is most in contact with and the
class which has therefore acquired suggestionizing power with him.
Propositions consistent with these principles will now necessarily
be more acceptable to him, whatever the evidence by which they are
supported, than they would be to one who had not been exposed to
the same influences. The opinion, in fact, may be hazarded that the
acceptance of any proposition is invariably the resultant of suggestive
influences, whether the {40} proposition be true or false, and that
the balance of suggestion is usually on the side of the false, because,
education being what it is, the scientific method—the method, that is
to say, of experience—has so little chance of acquiring suggestionizing

Thus far sensitiveness to the herd has been discussed in relation to
its effect upon intellectual processes. Equally important effects are
traceable in feeling.

It is obvious that when free communication is possible by speech,
the expressed approval or disapproval of the herd will acquire the
qualities of identity or dissociation from the herd respectively. To
know that he is doing what would arouse the disapproval of the herd
will bring to the individual the same profound sense of discomfort
which would accompany actual physical separation, while to know that
he is doing what the herd would approve will give him the sense of
rightness, of gusto, and of stimulus which would accompany physical
presence in the herd and response to its mandates. In both cases it
is clear that no actual expression by the herd is necessary to arouse
the appropriate feelings, which would come from within and have, in
fact, the qualities which are recognized in the dictates of conscience.
Conscience, then, and the feelings of guilt and of duty are the
peculiar possessions of the gregarious animal. A dog and a cat caught
in the commission of an offence will both recognize that punishment is
coming; but the dog, moreover, knows that he has done _wrong_, and he
will come to be punished, unwillingly it is true, and as if dragged
along by some power outside him, while the cat’s sole impulse is to
escape. The rational recognition of the sequence of act and punishment
is equally clear to the gregarious and to the solitary animal, but
it is the former only who understands {41} that he has committed a
_crime_, who has, in fact, the _sense of sin_. That this is the origin
of what we call conscience is confirmed by the characteristics of the
latter which are accessible to observation. Any detailed examination
of the phenomena of conscience would lead too far to be admissible
here. Two facts, however, should be noticed. First, the judgments
of conscience vary in different circles, and are dependent on local
environments; secondly, they are not advantageous to the species to
the slightest degree beyond the dicta of the morals current in the
circle in which they originate. These facts—stated here in an extremely
summary way—demonstrate that conscience is an indirect result of the
gregarious instinct, and is in no sense derived from a special instinct
forcing men to consider the good of the race rather than individual



It was shown in the previous essay that the gregarious mental
character is evident in man’s behaviour, not only in crowds and
other circumstances of actual association, but also in his behaviour
as an individual, however isolated. The conclusions were arrived
at that man’s suggestibility is not the abnormal casual phenomenon
it is often supposed to be, but a normal instinct present in every
individual, and that the apparent inconstancy of its action is due to
the common failure to recognize the extent of the field over which
suggestion acts; that the only medium in which man’s mind can function
satisfactorily is the herd, which therefore is not only the source of
his opinions, his credulities, his disbeliefs, and his weaknesses, but
of his altruism, his charity, his enthusiasms, and his power.

The subject of the psychological effects of herd instinct is so
wide that the discussion of it in the former essay covered only a
comparatively small part of the field, and that in a very cursory way.
Such as it was, however, it cannot be further amplified here, where an
attempt will rather be made to sketch some of the practical corollaries
of such generalizations as were laid down there.

In the first place, it must be stated with emphasis that deductive
speculation of this sort finds its principal value in opening up new
possibilities for {43} the application of a more exact method. Science
is measurement, but the deductive method may indicate those things
which can be most profitably measured.

When the overwhelming importance of the suggestibility of man is
recognized our first effort should be to obtain exact numerical
expressions of it. This is not the place to attempt any exposition
of the directions in which experiment should proceed; but it may be
stated that what we want to know is, how much suggestion can do in the
way of inducing belief, and it may be guessed that we shall ultimately
be able to express the force of suggestion in terms of the number of
undifferentiated units of the herd it represents. In the work that has
already been done, chiefly by Binet and by Sidis, the suggestive force
experimented with was relatively feeble, and the effects consequently
were rendered liable to great disturbance from the spontaneous action
of other forces of suggestion already in the mind. Sidis, for example,
found that his subjects often yielded to his suggestions out of
“politeness”; this source of difficulty was obviously due to his use of
pure individual suggestion, a variety which theory shows to be weak or
even directly resisted.

The next feature of practical interest is connected with the
hypothesis, which we attempted in the former article to demonstrate,
that irrational belief forms a large bulk of the furniture of the
mind, and is indistinguishable by the subject from rational verifiable
knowledge. It is obviously of cardinal importance to be able to
effect this distinction, for it is the failure to do so which, while
it is not the cause of the slowness of advance in knowledge, is the
mechanism by which this delay is brought about. Is there, then, we may
ask, any discoverable touchstone by which non-rational opinion may be
distinguished from rational? Non-rational judgments, being the product
of suggestion, will have {44} the quality of instinctive opinion, or,
as we may call it, of belief in the strict sense. The essence of this
quality is obviousness; the truth held in this way is one of James’s
“_a priori_ syntheses of the most perfect sort”; to question it is to
the believer to carry scepticism to an insane degree, and will be met
by contempt, disapproval, or condemnation, according to the nature of
the belief in question. When, therefore, we find ourselves entertaining
an opinion about the basis of which there is a quality of feeling
which tells us that to inquire into it would be absurd, obviously
unnecessary, unprofitable, undesirable, bad form, or wicked, we may
know that that opinion is a non-rational one, and probably, therefore,
founded upon inadequate evidence.

Opinions, on the other hand, which are acquired as the result of
experience alone do not possess this quality of primary certitude. They
are true in the sense of being verifiable, but they are unaccompanied
by that profound feeling of truth which belief possesses, and,
therefore, we have no sense of reluctance in admitting inquiry into
them. That heavy bodies tend to fall to the earth and that fire burns
fingers are truths verifiable and verified every day, but we do not
hold them with impassioned certitude, and we do not resent or resist
inquiry into their basis; whereas in such a question as that of the
survival of death by human personality we hold the favourable or the
adverse view with a quality of feeling entirely different, and of such
a kind that inquiry into the matter is looked upon as disreputable by
orthodox science and as wicked by orthodox religion. In relation to
this subject, it may be remarked, we often see it very interestingly
shown that the holders of two diametrically opposed opinions, one of
which is certainly right, may both show by their attitude that the
belief is held {45} instinctively and non-rationally, as, for example,
when an atheist and a Christian unite in repudiating inquiry into the
existence of the soul.

A third practical corollary of a recognition of the true gregariousness
of man is the very obvious one that it is not by any means necessary
that suggestion should always act on the side of unreason. The despair
of the reformer has always been the irrationality of man, and latterly
some have come to regard the future as hopeless until we can breed a
rational species. Now, the trouble is not irrationality, not a definite
preference for unreason, but suggestibility—that is, a capacity for
accepting reason or unreason if it comes from the proper source.

This quality we have seen to be a direct consequence of the social
habit, of a single definite instinct, that of gregariousness, the same
instinct which makes social life at all possible and altruism a reality.

It does not seem to have been fully understood that if you attack
suggestibility by selection—and that is what you do if you breed for
rationality—you are attacking gregariousness, for there is at present
no adequate evidence that the gregarious instinct is other than a
simple character and one which cannot be split up by the breeder. If,
then, such an effort in breeding were successful, we should exchange
the manageable unreason of man for the inhuman rationality of the tiger.

The solution would seem rather to lie in seeing to it that suggestion
always acts on the side of reason; if rationality were once to become
really respectable, if we feared the entertaining of an unverifiable
opinion with the warmth with which we fear using the wrong implement at
the dinner table, if the thought of holding a prejudice disgusted us
as does a foul disease, then the dangers of man’s suggestibility would
be turned into advantages. We {46} have seen that suggestion already
has begun to act on the side of reason in some small part of the life
of the student of science, and it is possible that a highly sanguine
prophetic imagination might detect here a germ of future changes.

Again, a fourth corollary of gregariousness in man is the fact
expounded many years ago by Pearson that human altruism is a natural
instinctive product. The obvious dependence of the evolution of
altruism upon increase in knowledge and inter-communication has led to
its being regarded as a late and a conscious development—as something
in the nature of a judgment by the individual that it pays him to be
unselfish. This is an interesting rationalization of the facts because
in the sense in which “pay” is meant it is so obviously false. Altruism
does not at present, and cannot, pay the individual in anything but
feeling, as theory declares it must. It is clear, of course, that as
long as altruism is regarded as in the nature of a judgment, the fact
is overlooked that necessarily its only reward can be in feeling.
Man is altruistic because he must be, not because reason recommends
it, for herd suggestion opposes any advance in altruism, and when it
can the herd executes the altruist, not of course as such but as an
innovator. This is a remarkable instance of the protean character of
the gregarious instinct and the complexity it introduces into human
affairs, for we see one instinct producing manifestations directly
hostile to each other—prompting to ever advancing developments of
altruism, while it necessarily leads to any new product of advance
being attacked. It shows, moreover, as will be pointed out again later,
that a gregarious species rapidly developing a complex society can be
saved from inextricable confusion only by the appearance of reason and
the application of it to life. {47}

When we remember the fearful repressing force which society has always
exercised on new forms of altruism and how constantly the dungeon, the
scaffold, and the cross have been the reward of the altruist, we are
able to get some conception of the force of the instinctive impulse
which has triumphantly defied these terrors, and to appreciate in some
slight degree how irresistible an enthusiasm it might become if it were
encouraged by the unanimous voice of the herd.

In conclusion we have to deal with one more consequence of the social
habit in man, a consequence the discussion of which involves some
speculation of a necessarily quite tentative kind.

If we look in a broad, general way at the four instincts which
bulk largely in man’s life, namely, those of self-preservation,
nutrition, sex, and the herd, we shall see at once that there is a
striking difference between the mode of action of the first three
and that of the last. The first three, which we may, for convenience
and without prejudice, call the primitive instincts, have in common
the characteristic of attaining their maximal activities only over
short periods and in special sets of circumstances, and of being
fundamentally pleasant to yield to. They do not remain in action
concurrently, but when the circumstances are appropriate for the
yielding to one, the others automatically fall into the background,
and the governing impulse is absolute master. Thus these instincts
cannot be supposed at all frequently to conflict amongst themselves,
and the animal possessing them alone, however highly developed his
consciousness might be, would lead a life emotionally quite simple, for
at any given moment he would necessarily be doing what he most wanted
to do. We may, therefore, imagine him to be endowed with the feelings
of free-will and reality to a superb degree, wholly unperplexed by
doubt and wholly secure in his unity of purpose. {48}

The appearance of the fourth instinct, however, introduces a profound
change, for this instinct has the characteristic that it exercises a
controlling power upon the individual from without. In the case of
the solitary animal yielding to instinct the act itself is pleasant,
and the whole creature, as it were body and soul, pours itself out in
one smooth concurrence of reaction. With the social animal controlled
by herd instinct it is not the actual deed which is instinctively
done, but the order to do it which is instinctively obeyed. The deed,
being ordained from without, may actually be unpleasant, and so be
resisted from the individual side and yet be forced instinctively into
execution. The instinctive act seems to have been too much associated
in current thought with the idea of yielding to an impulse irresistibly
pleasant to the body, yet it is very obvious that herd instinct at once
introduces a mechanism by which the sanctions of instinct are conferred
upon acts by no means necessarily acceptable to the body or mind. This,
of course, involves an enormous increase of the range through which
instinct can be made use of. Its appearance marks the beginning of
the multifarious activities of man and of his stupendous success as a
species; but a spectator watching the process at its outset, had he
been interested in the destiny of the race, might have felt a pang of
apprehension when he realized how momentous was the divorce which had
been accomplished between instinct and individual desire. Instinctive
acts are still done because they are based on “_a priori_ syntheses of
the most perfect sort,” but they are no longer necessarily pleasant.
Duty has first appeared in the world, and with it the age-long conflict
which is described in the memorable words of Paul: “I delight in the
law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members
{49} warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity
to the law of sin which is in my members.”

Into the features and consequences of this conflict it is now necessary
for us to probe a little farther.

The element of conflict in the normal life of all inhabitants of a
civilized state is so familiar that no formal demonstration of its
existence is necessary. In childhood the process has begun. The child
receives from the herd the doctrines, let us say, that truthfulness
is the most valuable of all the virtues, that honesty is the best
policy, that to the religious man death has no terrors, and that there
is in store a future life of perfect happiness and delight. And yet
experience tells him with persistence that truthfulness as often as
not brings him punishment, that his dishonest playfellow has as good
if not a better time than he, that the religious man shrinks from
death with as great a terror as the unbeliever, is as broken-hearted
by bereavement, and as determined to continue his hold upon this
imperfect life rather than trust himself to what he declares to be the
certainty of future bliss. To the child, of course, experience has but
little suggestive force, and he is easily consoled by the perfunctory
rationalizations offered him as explanations by his elders. Yet who of
us is there who cannot remember the vague feeling of dissatisfaction,
the obscure and elusive sense of something being wrong, which is left
by these and similar conflicts?

When the world begins to open out before us and experience to flow
in with rapidly increasing volume, the state of affairs necessarily
becomes more obvious. The mental unrest which we, with a certain
cynicism, regard as normal to adolescence is evidence of the heavy
handicap we lay upon the developing mind in forcing it to attempt
to assimilate with {50} experience the dicta of herd suggestion.
Moreover, let us remember, to the adolescent experience is no longer
the shadowy and easily manipulable series of dreams which it usually
is to the child. It has become touched with the warmth and reality of
instinctive feeling. The primitive instincts are now fully developed
and finding themselves balked at every turn by herd suggestion;
indeed, even products of the latter are in conflict among themselves.
Not only sex, self-preservation, and nutrition are at war with the
pronouncements of the herd, but altruism, the ideal of rationality, the
desire for power, the yearning for protection, and other feelings which
have acquired instinctive force from group suggestion.

The sufferings entailed by this condition are commonplace knowledge,
and there is scarcely a novelist who has not dealt with them. It is
around matters of sex and of religion that the conflict is most severe,
and while it is no part of our purpose to make any detailed survey of
the condition, it may be of interest to point out some of the more
obvious significances of this localization.

Religion has always been to man an intensely serious matter, and when
we realize its biological significance we can see that this is due to
a deeply ingrained need of his mind. The individual of a gregarious
species can never be truly independent and self-sufficient. Natural
selection has ensured that as an individual he must have an abiding
sense of incompleteness, which, as thought develops in complexity,
will come to be more and more abstractly expressed. This is the
psychological germ which expresses itself in the religious feelings, in
the desire for completion, for mystical union, for incorporation with
the infinite, which are all provided for in Christianity and in all
the successful sub-varieties of Christianity which modern times have
{51} seen develop. This need seems with the increasing complexity of
society to become more and more imperious, or rather to be satisfiable
only by more and more elaborately rationalized expressions. The
following is a representative passage from a recent very popular book
of mystical religion: “The great central fact in human life, in your
life and in mine, is the coming into a conscious vital realization of
our oneness with the Infinite Life and the opening of ourselves fully
to this divine inflow.” It is very interestingly shown here to what
lengths of rationalization may be forced the consequences of that
yearning in us which is identical with the mechanism that binds the
wolf to the pack, the sheep to the flock, and to the dog makes the
company of his master like walking with God in the cool of the evening.

Did an opportunity offer, it would be interesting to inquire into the
relation of the same instinctive impulse to the genesis of philosophy.
Such an attempt would, however, involve too great a digression from the
argument of this essay.

That sex should be a chief field for the conflicts we are discussing is
comprehensible not only from the immense strength of the impulse and
the fact that it is a mode of man’s activity which herd suggestion has
always tried to regulate, but also because there is reason to believe
that the sex impulse becomes secondarily associated with another
instinctive feeling of great strength, namely, altruism. We have seen
already that altruism is largely antagonized by herd tradition, and
it is plausible to suppose that the overwhelming rush of this feeling
which is usually associated with sex feelings is not altogether
sexual in quality, but secondarily associated therewith as being
the only outlet through which it is allowed by the herd to indulge
manifestations of really passionate intensity. {52} If this were so
it would clearly be of great practical importance should the rational
method ever come to be applied to the solution of the problems for the
sociologist and statesman which surround the relations of the sexes.

The conflicts which we are discussing are of course by no means limited
to the periods of childhood and adolescence, but are frequently carried
over into adult life. To understand how the apparent calm of normal
adult life is attained, it is necessary to consider the effects upon
the mind of these processes of contention.

Let us consider the case of a person caught in one of those dilemmas
which society presents so abundantly to its members—a man seized
with a passion for some individual forbidden to him by the herd, or
a man whose eyes have been opened to the vision of the cruelty which
everywhere lies close below the surface of life, and yet has deeply
ingrained in him the doctrine of the herd that things, on the whole,
are fundamentally right, that the universe is congruous with his
moral feelings, that the seeming cruelty is mercy and the apparent
indifference long-suffering. Now, what are the possible developments in
such a tormented soul?

The conflict may end through the subsidence of either antagonist.
Years, other instincts, or grosser passions may moderate the intensity
of ungratified love or take away the sharpness from the sight of
incomprehensible pain.

Again, scepticism may detect the nature of the herd suggestion and
deprive it of its compelling force.

Thirdly, the problem may be shirked by the easy mechanism of
rationalization. The man may take his forbidden pleasure and endow a
chapel, persuading himself that his is a special case, that at any rate
he is not as bad as X, or Y, or Z, who {53} committed such and such
enormities, that after all there is Divine mercy, and he never beat
his wife, and was always regular with his subscriptions to missions
and the hospitals. Or, if his difficulty is the ethical one, he will
come to see how right the herd view really is; that it is a very narrow
mind which cannot see the intrinsic excellence of suffering; that the
sheep and cattle we breed for eating, the calf we bleed to death that
its meat may be white, the one baby out of four we kill in the first
year of life, that cancer, consumption, and insanity and the growing
river of blood which bathes the feet of advancing mankind, all have
their part in the Increasing Purpose which is leading the race ever
upwards and onwards to a Divine consummation of joy. Thus the conflict
ceases, and the man is content to watch the blood and the Purpose go on
increasing together and to put on flesh unperplexed by the shallow and
querulous scruples of his youth.

Of these three solutions that of scepticism is unquestionably the least
common, though the impression that this is not the case is created by
the frequency of apparent scepticism, which, in fact, merely masks the
continuation of conflict in the deeper strata of the mind. A man the
subject of such submerged conflict, though he may appear to others,
and, of course, to himself, to have reached a secure and uncontested
basis of stability, may, after a period of apparently frictionless
mental life, betray by unmistakable evidence the fact that conflict has
continued disastrously below the surface.

The solutions by indifference and by rationalization or by a mixture of
these two processes are characteristic of the great class of normal,
sensible, reliable middle age, with its definite views, its resiliency
to the depressing influence of facts, and its gift for forming the
backbone of the State. In {54} them herd suggestion shows its capacity
to triumph over experience, to delay the evolution of altruism, and to
obscure the existence and falsify the results of the contest between
personal and social desires. That it is able to do so has the advantage
of establishing existing society with great firmness, but it has also
the consequence of entrusting the conduct of the State and the attitude
of it towards life to a class which their very stability shows to
possess a certain relative incapacity to take experience seriously,
a certain relative insensibility to the value of feeling and to
suffering, and a decided preference for herd tradition over all other
sources of conduct.

Early in history the bulk of mankind must have been of this type,
because experience, being still relatively simple, would have but
little suggestive force, and would therefore readily be suppressed
by herd suggestion. There would be little or no mental conflict, and
such as there was would be readily stilled by comparatively simple
rationalizations. The average man would then be happy, active, and
possessed of an inexhaustible fund of motive and energy, capable of
intense patriotism and even of self-immolation for the herd. The
nation consequently, in an appropriate environment, would be an
expanding one and rendered ruthless and formidable by an intense,
unshakable conviction of its divine mission. Its blindness towards
the new in experience would keep its patriots narrow and fierce, its
priests bigoted and bloodthirsty, its rulers arrogant, reactionary,
and over-confident. Should chance ordain that there arose no great
environmental change rendering necessary great modifications, such a
nation would have a brilliant career of conquest as has been so often
demonstrated by history.

Amongst the first-class Powers to-day the mentally stable are still the
directing class, and their {55} characteristic tone is discernible
in national attitudes towards experience, in national ideals and
religions, and in national morality. It is this possession of the power
of directing national opinion by a class which is in essence relatively
insensitive towards new combinations of experience; this persistence of
a mental type which may have been adequate in the simpler past, into
a world where environments are daily becoming more complex—it is this
survival, so to say, of the waggoner upon the footplate of the express
engine, which has made the modern history of nations a series of such
breathless adventures and hairbreadth escapes. To those who are able to
view national affairs from an objective standpoint, it is obvious that
each of these escapes might very easily have been a disaster, and that
sooner or later one of them must be such.

Thus far we have seen that the conflict between herd suggestion and
experience is associated with the appearance of the great mental
type which is commonly called normal. Whether or not it is in fact
to be regarded as such is comparatively unimportant and obviously a
question of statistics; what is, however, of an importance impossible
to exaggerate is the fact that in this type of mind personal
satisfactoriness or adequacy, or, as we may call it, mental comfort, is
attained at the cost of an attitude towards experience which greatly
affects the value to the species of the activities of minds of this
type. This mental stability, then, is to be regarded as, in certain
important directions, a loss; and the nature of the loss resides
in a limitation of outlook, a relative intolerance of the new in
thought, and a consequent narrowing of the range of facts over which
satisfactory intellectual activity is possible. We may, therefore, for
convenience, refer to this type as the resistive, a name which serves
as a reminder of the exceedingly important fact that, {56} however
“normal” the type may be, it is one which falls far short of the
possibilities of the human mind.

If we now turn to a consideration of the mental characteristics of the
constituents of society other than those of the resistive type, we
shall find a common quality traceable, and another great type capable
of broad definition. We must at once, however, guard ourselves against
being misled by the name “normal” as applied to the resistant into
the supposition that this type is in a numerical majority in society.
Intellectually unquestionably of inferior value, there is good reason
to suppose that in mere numbers it has already passed its zenith,
as may be gathered from the note of panic which what is called the
increase of degeneracy is beginning to excite.

Outside the comfortable and possibly diminishing ranks of the “normal,”
society is everywhere penetrated by a steadily increasing degree of
what we may call in the broadest possible way mental instability. All
observers of society, even the most optimistic, are agreed that the
prevalence of this mental quality is increasing, while those who are
competent to trace its less obtrusive manifestations find it to be very

When the twenty years just past come to be looked back upon from the
distant future, it is probable that their chief claim to interest will
be that they saw the birth of the science of abnormal psychology. That
science, inconspicuous as has been its development, has already given
us a few generalizations of the first importance. Amongst such, perhaps
the most valuable is that which has taught us that certain mental and
physical manifestations which have usually been regarded as disease in
the ordinary sense are due to the effects upon the mind of the failure
to assimilate the {57} experience presented to it into a harmonious
unitary personality. We have seen that the stable-minded deal with
an unsatisfactory piece of experience by rejecting its significance.
In certain minds such successful exclusion does not occur, and the
unwelcome experience persists as an irritant, so to say, capable
neither of assimilation nor rejection. Abnormal psychology discloses
the fact that such minds are apt to develop the supposed diseases we
have just referred to, and the fact that these and other manifestations
of what we have called mental instability are the consequences of
mental conflict.

Now, we have already seen that a gregarious animal, unless his society
is perfectly organized, must be subject to lasting and fierce conflict
between experience and herd suggestion.[N] It is natural, therefore,
to assume that the manifestations of mental instability are not
diseases of the individual in the ordinary sense at all, but inevitable
consequences of man’s biological history and exact measures of the
stage now reached of his assimilation into the gregarious life. The
manifestations of mental instability and disintegration were at first
supposed to be of comparatively rare occurrence and limited to certain
well-known “diseases,” but they are coming to be recognized over a
larger and larger field, and in a great variety of phenomena.

     [N] The word “experience” is used here in a special sense that
     perhaps renders necessary a word or two of definition. The
     experience meant is everything that comes to the individual, not
     only his experience of events in the external world, but also his
     experience of the instinctive and often egoistic impulses at work
     within his own personality. 1915.

Conditions which at first sight give rise to no suspicion of being
acquired injuries to the mind, when they are looked at in the light of
the facts we have been considering, reveal themselves as being scars
inflicted by conflict as certainly as are some {58} forms of insanity.
Characteristics which pass as vices, eccentricities, defects of temper,
peculiarities of disposition, come when critically examined to be
explicable as minor grades of defective mental stability, although, on
account of their great frequency, they have been looked upon as normal,
or at any rate in the natural order of things.

Few examples could be found to illustrate better such conditions than
alcoholism. Almost universally regarded as either, on the one hand, a
sin or vice, or on the other hand, as a disease, there can be little
doubt that in fact it is essentially a response to a psychological
necessity. In the tragic conflict between what he has been taught to
desire and what he is allowed to get, man has found in alcohol, as he
has found in certain other drugs, a sinister but effective peacemaker,
a means of securing, for however short a time, some way out of the
prison house of reality back to the Golden Age. There can be equally
little doubt that it is but a comparatively small proportion of the
victims of conflict who find a solace in alcohol, and the prevalence
of alcoholism and the punishments entailed by the use of that dreadful
remedy cannot fail to impress upon us how great must be the number of
those whose need was just as great, but who were too ignorant, too
cowardly, or perhaps too brave to find a release there.

We have seen that mental instability must be regarded as a condition
extremely common, and produced by the mental conflict forced upon
man by his sensitiveness to herd suggestion on the one hand and to
experience on the other. It remains for us to estimate in some rough
way the characteristics of the unstable, in order that we may be able
to judge of their value or otherwise to the State and the species.
Such an estimate must necessarily be exaggerated, over-sharp in its
outlines, omitting {59} much, and therefore in many respects false.
The most prominent characteristic in which the mentally unstable
contrast with the “normal” is what we may vaguely call motive. They
tend to be weak in energy, and especially in persistence of energy.
Such weakness may translate itself into a vague scepticism as to
the value of things in general, or into a definite defect of what
is popularly called will power, or into many other forms, but it is
always of the same fundamental significance, for it is always the
result of the thwarting of the primary impulses to action resident
in herd suggestion by the influence of an experience which cannot
be disregarded. Such minds cannot be stimulated for long by objects
adequate to normal ambition; they are apt to be sceptical in such
matters as patriotism, religion, politics, social success, but the
scepticism is incomplete, so that they are readily won to new causes,
new religions, new quacks, and as readily fall away therefrom.

We saw that the resistive gain in motive what they lose in
adaptability; we may add that in a sense the unstable gain in
adaptability what they lose in motive. Thus we see society cleft by
the instinctive qualities of its members into two great classes, each
to a great extent possessing what the other lacks, and each falling
below the possibilities of human personality. The effect of the
gradual increase of the unstable in society can be seen to a certain
extent in history. We can watch it through the careers of the Jews and
of the Romans. At first, when the bulk of the citizens were of the
stable type, the nation was enterprising, energetic, indomitable, but
hard, inelastic, and fanatically convinced of its Divine mission. The
inevitable effect of the expansion of experience which followed success
was that development of the unstable and sceptical which ultimately
allowed the nation, no longer {60} believing in itself or its gods, to
become the almost passive prey of more stable peoples.

In regard to the question of the fundamental significance of the two
great mental types found in society, a tempting field for speculation
at once opens up, and many questions immediately arise for discussion.
Is, for example, the stable normal type naturally in some special
degree insensitive to experience, and if so, is such a quality inborn
or acquired? Again, may the characteristics of the members of this
class be the result of an experience relatively easily dealt with by
rationalization and exclusion? Then again, are the unstable naturally
hypersensitive to experience, or have they met with an experience
relatively difficult to assimilate? Into the discussion of such
questions we shall here make no attempt to enter, but shall limit
ourselves to reiterating that these two types divide society between
them, that they both must be regarded as seriously defective and as
evidence that civilization has not yet provided a medium in which the
average human mind can grow undeformed and to its full stature.


Thus far we have attempted to apply biological conceptions to man and
society as they actually exist at present. We may now, very shortly,
inquire whether or not the same method can yield some hint as to the
course which human development will take in the future.

As we have already seen reason to believe, in the course of organic
development when the limits of size and efficiency in the unicellular
organism were reached, the only possible access of advantage to the
competing organism was gained by the appearance of combination. In
the scale of the metazoa {61} we see the advantages of combination
and division of labour being more and more made use of, until the
individual cells lose completely the power of separate existence,
and their functions come to be useful only in the most indirect
way and through the organisms of which the cells are constituents.
This complete submergence of the cell in the organism indicates
the attainment of the maximum advantages to be obtained from this
particular access in complexity, and it indicates to us the direction
in which development must proceed within the limits which are produced
by that other access of complexity—gregariousness.

The success and extent of such development clearly depend on the
relation of two series of activities in the individual which may in
the most general way be described as the capacity for varied reaction
and the capacity for communication. The process going on in the
satisfactorily developing gregarious animal is the moulding of the
varied reactions of the individual into functions beneficial to him
only indirectly through the welfare of the new unit—the herd. This
moulding process is a consequence of the power of intercommunication
amongst the individual constituents of the new unit. Intercommunication
is thus seen to be of cardinal importance to the gregarious, just as
was the nervous system to the multicellular.

Moreover, in a given gregarious species the existence of a highly
developed power of reaction in the individual with a proportionately
less developed capacity for communication will mean that the species
is not deriving the advantages it might from the possession of
gregariousness, while the full advantages of the type will be attained
only when the two sets of activities are correspondingly strong.

Here we may see perhaps the explanation of the astounding success
and completeness of {62} gregariousness in bees and ants. Their
cycle of development was early complete because the possibilities
of reaction of the individual were so small, and consequently the
capacity for intercommunication of the individual was relatively soon
able to attain a corresponding grade. The individual has become as
completely merged in the hive as the single cell in the multicellular
animal, and consequently the whole of her activities is available for
the uses of the State. It is interesting to notice that, considered
from this aspect, the wonderful society of the bee, with its perfect
organization and its wonderful adaptability and elasticity, owes its
early attainment of success to the smallness of the brain power of the

For the mammals with their greater powers of varied reaction the
path to the consummation of their possibilities must be longer, more
painful, and more dangerous, and this applies in an altogether special
degree to man.

The enormous power of varied reaction possessed by man must render
necessary for his attainment of the full advantages of the gregarious
habit a power of intercommunication of absolutely unprecedented
fineness. It is clear that scarcely a hint of such power has yet
appeared, and it is equally obvious that it is this defect which gives
to society the characteristics which are the contempt of the man of
science and the disgust of the humanitarian.

We are now in a position to understand how momentous is the question
as to what society does with the raw material of its minds to
encourage in them the potential capacity for intercommunication which
they undoubtedly by nature possess. To that question there is but
one answer. By providing its members with a herd tradition which is
constantly at war with feeling and with experience, {63} society,
drives them inevitably into resistiveness on the one hand, or into
mental instability on the other, conditions which have this in common,
that they tend to exaggerate that isolation of the individual which is
shown us by the intellect to be unnatural and by the heart to be cruel.

Another urgent question for the future is provided by the steady
increase, relative and absolute, of the mentally unstable. The danger
to the State constituted by a large unstable class is already generally
recognized, but unfortunately realization has so far only instigated
a yet heavier blow at the species. It is assumed that instability is
a primary quality, and therefore only to be dealt with by breeding
it out. With that indifference to the mental side of life which is
characteristic of the mentally resistant class, the question as to the
real meaning of instability has been begged by the invention of the
disastrous word “degenerate.” The simplicity of the idea has charmed
modern speculation, and the only difficulty in the whole problem has
come to be the decision as to the most expeditious way of getting rid
of this troublesome flaw in an otherwise satisfactory world.

The conception that the natural environment of man must be modified
if the body is to survive has long been recognized, but the fact that
the mind is incomparably more delicate than the body has scarcely been
noticed at all. We assume that the disorderly environment with which
we surround the mind has no effect, and are ingenuously surprised when
mental instability arises apparently from nowhere; but although we know
nothing of its origin our temerity in applying the cure is in no sense

It has already been pointed out how dangerous it would be to breed
man for reason—that is, against suggestibility. The idea is a fit
companion for the {64} device of breeding against “degeneracy.” The
“degenerate”—that is, the mentally unstable—have demonstrated by the
mere fact of instability that they possess the quality of sensitiveness
to feeling and to experience, for it is this which has prevented them
from applying the remedy of rationalization or exclusion when they
have met with experience conflicting with herd suggestion. There can
be no doubt as to the value to the State of such sensitiveness were
it developed in a congruous environment. The “degeneracy,” therefore,
which we see developed as a secondary quality in these sensitive
minds is no evidence against the degenerate, but an indictment of the
disorderly environment which has ruined them, just as the catchword
associating insanity and genius tells us nothing about genius but a
great deal about the situation into which it has had the misfortune to
be born.

Sensitiveness to feeling and experience is undoubtedly the necessary
antecedent of any high grade of that power of intercommunication which
we have seen to be necessary to the satisfactory development of man.
Such sensitiveness, however, in society as it now is, inevitably leads
merely to mental instability. That such sensitiveness increases with
civilization is shown by the close association between civilization
and mental instability. There is no lack, therefore, of the mental
quality of all others most necessary to the gregarious animal. The
pressing problem which in fact faces man in the immediate future is how
to readjust the mental environment in such a way that sensitiveness
may develop and confer on man the enormous advantages which it holds
for him, without being transformed from a blessing into the curse and
menace of instability. To the biologist it is quite clear that this can
be effected only by an extension of the rational method to the whole
field of experience, a {65} process of the greatest difficulty, but
one which must be the next great variation in man’s development if that
development is to continue to be an evolution.

Outside this possibility the imagination can see nothing but grounds
for pessimism. It needs but little effort of foresight to realize that
without some totally revolutionary change in man’s attitude towards
the mind, even his very tenure of the earth may come to be threatened.
Recent developments in the study of disease have shown us how blind and
fumbling have been our efforts against the attacks of our immemorial
enemies the unicellular organisms. When we remember their capacities
for variation and our fixity, we can see that for the race effectually
and permanently to guard itself against even this one danger are
necessary that fineness and complexity of organization, that rendering
available of the utmost capacity of its members, against which the
face of society seems at present to be so steadily set. We see man
to-day, instead of the frank and courageous recognition of his status,
the docile attention to his biological history, the determination to
let nothing stand in the way of the security and permanence of his
future, which alone can establish the safety and happiness of the race,
substituting blind confidence in his destiny, unclouded faith in the
essentially respectful attitude of the universe towards his moral code,
and a belief no less firm that his traditions and laws and institutions
necessarily contain permanent qualities of reality. Living as he does
in a world where outside his race no allowances are made for infirmity,
and where figments however beautiful never become facts, it needs but
little imagination to see how great are the probabilities that after
all man will prove but one more of Nature’s failures, ignominously to
be swept from her work-table to make way for another venture of her
tireless curiosity and patience.




As the nineteenth century draws away into the past and it is possible
to get a comprehensive view of the intellectual legacies it has left
to its successor, certain of its ideas stand out from the general mass
by reason of the greatness of their scale and scope. Ideas of the
first order of magnitude are from their very greatness capable of full
appreciation only in a comparatively distant view. However much they
have been admired and studied by contemporary thought, it is with the
passage of time only that all their proportions come gradually into
focus. The readjustments of thought as to what used to be called man’s
place in nature, which were so characteristic a work of the latter
half of the nineteenth century, embodied an idea of this imperial type
which, fruitful as it has proved, has even now yielded far less than
its full harvest of truth.

The conception of man as an animal, at first entertained only in a
narrow zoological sense, has gradually extended in significance, and is
now beginning to be understood as a guiding principle in the study of
all the activities of the individual and the species. In the early days
such a conception was regarded by non-scientific thought as degrading
to man, and as denying to him the possibility of moral progress {67}
and the reality of his higher æsthetic and emotional capabilities;
at the same time, men of science found themselves compelled, however
unwillingly, to deny that the moral activities of man could be made
consistent with his status as an animal. It may still be remembered
how even the evolutionary enthusiasm of Huxley was baffled by the
incompatibility he found to subsist between what he called the ethical
and the cosmical processes, and how he stood bewildered by the sight
of moral beauty blossoming incorrigibly amidst the cruelty, lust, and
bloodshed of the world.

The passage of time has tended more and more to clear up these
lingering confusions of an anthropocentric biology, and thought is
gradually gaining courage to explore, not merely the body of man but
his mind and his moral capacities, in the knowledge that these are
not meaningless intrusions into an otherwise orderly world, but are
partakers in him and his history just as are his vermiform appendix and
his stomach, and are elements in the complex structure of the universe
as respectably established there, and as racy of that soil as the
oldest saurian or the newest gas.

Man is thus not merely, as it were, rescued from the inhuman loneliness
which he had been taught was his destiny and persuaded was his pride,
but he is relieved from perplexities and temptations which had so long
proved obstacles to his finding himself and setting out valiantly on
an upward path. Cut off from his history and regarded as an exile into
a lower world, he can scarcely fail to be appalled and crushed by the
discrepancy between his lofty pretensions and his lowly acts. If he but
recognize that he himself and his virtues and aspirations are integral
strands in the fabric of life, he will learn that the great tissue of
reality loses none of its splendour by the fact that near by where the
pattern {68} glows with his courage and his pride it burns with the
radiance of the tiger, and over against his intellect and his genius it
mocks in the grotesques of the ape.

The development of an objective attitude towards the status of man
has had, perhaps, its most significant effect in the influence it has
exercised upon the study of the human mind.

The desire to understand the modes of action of the mind, and to
formulate about them generalizations which shall be of practical value,
has led to inquiries being pursued along three distinct paths. These
several methods may be conveniently distinguished as the primitive, the
human, and the comparative.

What I have called the primitive method of psychological inquiry is
also the obvious and natural one. It takes man as it finds him, accepts
his mind for what it professes to be, and examines into its processes
by introspection of a direct and simple kind. It is necessarily subject
to the conditions that the object of study is also the medium through
which the observations are made, and that there is no objective
standard by which the accuracy of transmission through this medium can
be estimated and corrected. In the result the materials collected are
subjected to a very special and very stringent kind of censorship. If
an observation is acceptable and satisfactory to the mind itself, it
is reported as true; if it contains material which is unwelcome to the
mind, it is reported as false; and in both cases the failure is in no
sense due to any conscious dishonesty in the observing mind, but is a
fallacy necessarily inherent in the method. A fairly characteristic
product of inquiries of this type is the conception, which seems so
obvious to common sense, that introspection does give access to all
mental processes, so that a conscious motive must be discoverable for
all the acts of the subject. Experience {69} with more objective
methods has shown that when no motive is found for a given act or no
motive consistent with the mind’s pretensions as to itself, there will
always be a risk of a presentable one being extemporized.

Psychology of this primitive type—the naïve psychology of common
sense—is always necessarily tainted with what may be called in a
special sense anthropomorphism; it tells us, that is to say, not what
man is but what he thinks and feels himself to be. Judged by its fruits
in enabling us to foretell or to influence conduct, it is worthless.
It has been studied for thousands of years and infinite ingenuities
have been expended on it, and yet at its best it can only tell us
how the average man thinks his mind works—a body of information not
sensibly superior in reality to the instructions of a constitutional
monarch addressed to an unruly parliament. It has distracted thought
with innumerable falsifications, but in all its secular cultivation has
produced no body of generalizations of value in the practical conduct
of life.



Until comparatively recent years the fact that what was called
psychology did not even pretend to be of any practical value in affairs
was tolerated by its professors and regarded as more or less in the
nature of things. The science, therefore, outside a small class of
specialists was in very dismal reputation. It had come to comprise two
divergent schools, one which busied itself with the apparatus of the
experimental physiologist and frankly studied the physiology of the
nervous system, the other {70} which occupied itself with the faded
abstractions of logic and metaphysics, while both agreed in ignoring
the study of the mind. This comparative sterility may in a broad way
be traced back to the one fundamental defect from which the science
suffered—the absence of an objective standard by which the value of
mental observations could be estimated. Failing such a standard, any
given mental phenomenon might be as much a product of the observing
mind as of the mind observed, or the varying degrees in which both of
these factors contributed might be inextricably mixed. Of late years
the much-needed objective standard has been sought and to some extent
found in two directions. What I have called “human” psychology has
found it in the study of diseases of the mind. In states of disease
mental processes and mechanisms which had eluded observation in the
normal appear in an exaggerated form which renders recognition less
difficult. The enlightenment coming from the understanding of such
pathological material has made it possible to argue back to the less
obtrusive or more effectively concealed phenomena of the normal and
more or less to exclude the fallacies of the observing mind, and, at
any rate in part, to dissipate the obscurity which for so long had
successfully hidden the actual mental phenomena themselves.

The most remarkable attack upon the problems of psychology which has
been made from the purely human standpoint is that in which the rich
genius of Sigmund Freud was and still is the pioneer. The school which
his work has founded was concerned at first wholly with the study of
abnormal mental states, and came into notice as a branch of medicine
finding the verification of its principles in the success it laid
claim to in the treatment of certain mental diseases. It now regards
itself as possessing a body {71} of doctrine of general applicability
to mental phenomena, normal or abnormal. These principles are the
product of laborious and minute inquiries into the working of the
mind, rendered possible by the use of a characteristic method known
as psycho-analysis. This method, which constitutes a definite and
elaborate technique of investigation, is looked upon by those who
practise it as the sole means by which access can be obtained to the
veritable phenomena of the mind, and as rendering possible a truly
objective view of the facts. It is no part of my purpose to examine the
validity of psycho-analysis as a scientific method. It is enough to
notice that the exponents of it completely repudiate the teachings of
what I have called “common-sense” psychology, that they maintain that
objectivity in the collection and collation of psychical facts is in
no way to be obtained by the light of nature but demands very special
methods and precautions, and that their claims to the possession of a
truly objective method appear to be open to verification or disproof by
actual experiment in the treatment of disease. Whatever value, then,
psycho-analysis may ultimately prove to possess in solving the peculiar
difficulties of psychological research, the evolution of it marks a
very definite advance in principle and shows that it is the product of
a mind determined by whatever effort to get to close quarters with the

The body of doctrine enunciated by Freud concerns us more directly than
the peculiarities of his method. Some very general and summary account
may therefore be attempted as illustrating the characteristics of this
vigorous, aggressive, and essentially “human” school of research.

The Freudian psychology regards the mind of the adult as the outcome of
a process of development the stages of which are within limits, orderly
{72} and inevitable. The trend of this development in each individual
is determined by forces which are capable of precise definition, and
the final product of it is capable of yielding to expert examination
clear evidence of the particular way in which these forces have acted
and interacted during the developmental process. The mind of the adult,
then, is like the body in bearing traces which betray to the skilled
observer the events of its developmental history. Inconspicuous and
apparently insignificant structures and peculiarities in the one no
less than in the other prove to have had a meaning and a function in
the past, however little significance their final form may seem to
possess, and thus the psychologist is able to reconstruct the history
of a given subject’s mind, although the most important stages of its
development are hidden from direct observation as effectively as is the
prenatal growth of the body.

It seems to be a fundamental conception of the Freudian system that
the development of the mind is accompanied and conditioned by mental
conflict. The infant is regarded as being impelled by instinctive
impulses which at first are solely egoistic. From the earliest moments
of its contact with the world resistance to the full indulgence of
these impulses is encountered. With the growth and intensification
of such impulses, the resistance from external interference—the
beginnings of social pressure—becomes more formidable, until at
a quite unexpectedly early age a veritable condition of mental
conflict is established—egoistic impulses fatally pressing for
indulgence regardless of their acceptability to the environment, while
environmental influences bear equally heavily against any indulgence
unwelcome to surrounding standards of discipline, taste, or morality.

Of the two parties in this conflict—the instinctive {73} impulse and
the repressive force—the first, according to Freud, is wholly the
product of the sex instinct. This instinct is conceived of as being
much more active and potent in the infant and child than had been
suspected by any previous investigator. The normal sexual interest and
activity as manifested in the adult are developed out of the sexual
impulse of the child by a regular series of modifications, which appear
to be regarded as due partly to a process of natural development and
partly to the influence of external repressive forces. In the infant
the instinct is egocentric and the object of its interest is the
individual’s own body; with the increase of the mental field consequent
on enlarging experience the instinctive activity is externalized,
and its object of interest changes so that the child acquires a
specific inclination towards other individuals without distinction
of sex; finally, as a last stage of development the instinctive
inclination is localized to members of the opposite sex. This series of
transformations is regarded as normal by Freud, and as essential to the
appearance of the “normal” adult type. The evolution of this series is
sensitive to interference by outside influences, and any disturbance
of it either by way of anticipation or delay will have profound
effects upon the ultimate character and temperament of the subject.
The psychical energy of an instinct so important as that of sex is
very great, and is not dissipated by the forces of repression brought
to bear upon it, but transformed into activities ostensibly quite
different and directed into channels having no obvious connection with
their source. It is a fundamental characteristic of the mind to be able
to accept these substitutes for the actual indulgence of the instinct,
and to enjoy a symbolical gratification in manifestations which have
no overt sexual significance. When development proceeds normally the
{74} surplus energy of the sex instinct finds an outlet in activities
of social value—æsthetic, poetic, altruistic; when development is
interfered with the outflow of energy is apt to result in definite
disease of the mind or in peculiarities of character scarcely to be
distinguished therefrom.

Thus the mind of the adult, according to Freud, in addition to
activities which are conscious and fully accessible to the subject,
carries on activities and holds memories which are unconscious
and totally inaccessible to the subject by any ordinary method of
introspection. Between these two fields there is a barrier sedulously
guarded by certain repressive forces. The unconscious is the realm
of all the experiences, memories, impulses, and inclinations which
during the subject’s life have been condemned by the standards of the
conscious, have proved incompatible with it and have therefore been
outlawed from it. This banishment in no way deprives these excluded
mental processes of their energy, and they constantly influence the
feelings and behaviour of the subject. So strict, however, is the
guard between them and the conscious that they are never allowed to
pass the barrier between one sphere and the other except in disguised
and fantastically distorted forms by which their true meaning is
closely concealed. It has been perhaps Freud’s most remarkable thesis
that dreams are manifestations of this emergence of desires and
memories from the unconscious into the conscious field. During sleep
the repressing force which guards the frontier between conscious and
unconscious is weakened. Even then, however, such ideas as emerge into
the conscious can do so only in a worked up and distorted form, so
that their significance can be disengaged from the grotesque jumble
of the actual dream only by a minute inquiry according to a difficult
and highly technical method. {75} By this method, however, is to be
obtained a deep insight into the otherwise irrecoverable emotional
history of the individual, the structure of his temperament, and, if he
is mentally abnormal, the meaning of his symptoms.


The foregoing enumeration of the chief doctrines of the Freudian
psychology is intended to be no more than a mere outline to serve as
a basis for certain comments which seem to be relevant to the general
argument of this essay. The point of view from which this slight sketch
is made, that of an interested but detached observer, is naturally
somewhat different from that of the actual authorities themselves. Here
it is desired to get the broadest possible view in the most general
terms, and as we have no concern with immediate problems of practical
therapeutics—which remain at least the chief preoccupation of writers
of the psycho-analytic school—an effort has been made to avoid the use
of the rich and rather forbidding technical vocabulary in which the
writings of the school abound. It may well be that this generalized
method of description has yielded an ill-proportioned or distorted
picture. The subject has proved to be so much at the mercy of prejudice
that the least impassioned spectator, however completely he may believe
himself to be free from advocacy or detraction, is far from being able
to claim immunity from these influences.

Keeping constantly in mind this general caution, which is at least as
necessary in the field of criticism as in that of mere description, we
may pass on to make certain comments on the psychology of Freud which
are relevant to the general argument being followed out here. {76}

A discussion in any way detailed of this immense subject is very
obviously impossible here, but it is desirable to say a few words as
to the general validity of Freud’s chief thesis. However much one may
be impressed by his power as a psychologist and his almost fierce
resolution to get at the actual facts of mental processes, one can
scarcely fail to experience in reading Freud’s works that there is a
certain harshness in his grasp of facts and even a trace of narrowness
in his outlook which tend to repel the least resistant mind and make
one feel that his guidance in many matters—perhaps chiefly of detail—is
open to suspicion. He seems to have an inclination for the enumeration
of absolute rules, a confidence in his hypotheses which might be
called superb if that were not in science a term of reproach, and a
tendency to state his least acceptable propositions with the heaviest
emphasis as if to force belief upon an unwilling and shrinking mind
were an especial gratification. All these traits of manner—at the worst
mere foibles of a distinguished and successful investigator—appear to
exercise some considerable effect on the acceptance his writings meet
with, and are perhaps indications in which direction, if he is open to
fallacy, such might be looked for.

Nevertheless with regard to the main propositions of his system there
can be little doubt that their _general validity_ will be increasingly
accepted. Among such propositions must be put the conception of the
significance of mental conflict, the importance of the emotional
experiences of infancy and childhood in the determination of character
and the causing of mental disease, and his conception of the general
structure of the mind as comprising conscious and unconscious fields.

The comments which I shall venture to make upon the work of Freud
will be such as are suggested {77} by the biological point of view
of which this essay is intended to be an exposition. The standard of
interest upon which they are based will therefore necessarily differ
to some extent from that which is usually adopted in writings of the
psycho-analytic school.

To the biologist perhaps the most striking characteristic of the
work of this school is its complete acceptance of what one may call
the human point of view. It seems to be satisfied that no useful
contribution to psychology is to be obtained outside the limits of
human feeling and behaviour, and to feel no impatience to expand its
inquiries into a still larger field. It is not that the school has
failed to show an extremely vigorous movement of expansion. Beginning
as a mere province of medicine, and while its foothold there was
still far from general recognition, it invaded the regions of general
psychology, of æsthetics, ethnology, the study of folklore and myth,
and indeed of all matters in which it could find its essential
material—the records of human feeling and conduct. Beyond the human
species it has shown remarkably little of this aggressive spirit, and
it seems to feel no need of bringing its principles into relation with
what little is known of the mental activities of the non-human animals.

The absence of any strong pressure in the direction of establishing a
correlation of all mental phenomena, whether human or not, is not a
matter of merely theoretical interest. The actual practical success to
be obtained to-day in such an attempt might possibly be insignificant
and yet of great value in moulding the whole attitude of mind of the
investigator towards matters lying wholly within the sphere of human
psychology. However much one may be impressed by the greatness of
the edifice which Freud has built up and by the soundness of {78}
his architecture, one can scarcely fail, on coming into it from the
bracing atmosphere of the biological sciences, to be oppressed by the
odour of humanity with which it is pervaded. One finds everywhere a
tendency to the acceptance of human standards and even sometimes of
human pretensions which cannot fail to produce a certain uneasiness
as to the validity, if not of his doctrines, at any rate of the forms
in which they are expounded. The quality I am trying to describe is
extremely difficult to express in concrete terms without exaggeration
or distortion. To those who have approached Freud’s work solely by
the path of medicine the idea that it can give any one the feeling of
a certain conventionality of standard and outlook and of a certain
over-estimation of the objectivity of man’s moral values will seem
perhaps merely absurd. That this is an impression which I have not been
able altogether to escape I record with a good deal of hesitation and
diffidence and without any wish to lay stress upon it.

Psycho-analytic psychology has grown up under conditions which may
very well have encouraged the persistence of the human point of view.
Originally its whole activity was concentrated upon the investigation
and treatment of disease. Many of its early disciples were those who
had received proof of its value in their own persons, those, that is
to say, who had been sufferers from their very susceptibility to the
influence of human standards. The objective standard of validity by
which the system was judged was necessarily that of the physician,
namely the capacity to restore the abnormal mind to the “normal.”
Normal in this sense is of course no more than a statistical expression
implying the condition of the average man. It could scarcely fail,
however, to acquire the significance of “healthy.” If once the
statistically {79} normal mind is accepted as being synonymous with
the psychologically healthy mind (that is, the mind in which the full
capacities are available for use), a standard is set up which has a
most fallacious appearance of objectivity. The statistically normal
mind can be regarded only as a mind which has responded in the usual
way to the moulding and deforming influence of its environment—that
is, to human standards of discipline, taste, and morality. If it is to
be looked upon as typically healthy also, the current human standards
of whose influence it is a product must necessarily be accepted as
qualified to call forth the best in the developing mind they mould.
Writers of the psycho-analytic school seem in general to make some such
assumption as this.


The conception of mental conflict is the central feature of the
Freudian system. Of its importance and validity there can be no doubt.
In a general way the idea is familiar and even commonplace, but Freud
had developed it and shown how deeply the principle penetrates the
structure and development of the mind from the earliest period and to
an extent quite unsuspected by earlier psychologists.

From an early period of life the child finds the gratification of
its instinctive impulses checked or even prevented by the pressure
of its environment. Conflict is thus set up between the two forces
of instinctive pressure within and social pressure from without.
Instinctive impulses which thus come into conflict with the repressing
force are not destroyed but are deflected from their natural outlet,
are repressed within the mind and ultimately prevented from rising
into the conscious field at all except in disguised or symbolic forms.
To the adult his childhood seems to have been altogether free from
{80} any kind of sexual activity or interest, not because, as is
generally supposed, such has never existed, but because it proved
incapable of persisting in the conscious field and was suppressed into
the unconscious with the increase of the social repressing forces.
Similarly impulses experienced in adult life which are for the same
reason incompatible with conscious recognition do not become conscious,
but live their life in the unconscious, though they may exercise the
profoundest influence on the happiness and health of the subject.

The work of Freud has been concentrated chiefly upon the one party in
these conflicts—the instinctive impulse of which the only considerable
one according to him is the sexual. To the other party—the repressing
forces—he has given very much less attention, and in them has found
apparently much less interest. By most writers of his school also they
seem to be taken very much as a matter of course.

When we consider, however, what they can accomplish—how they can
take the immensely powerful instinct of sex and mould and deform its
prodigious mental energy—it is clear that the repressing forces are no
less important than the antagonist with which they contend.

It is desirable, perhaps, to discuss a little more closely the nature
of mental conflict, and especially first to define the precise meaning
of the conception.

It may readily be granted that the young child’s mind is wholly
egocentric, though the proposition is not without a certain element of
assumption which it is not wise altogether to ignore. He experiences
certain desires and impulses which he assumes with the blandest
unconsciousness of any other desires but his own are there to be
gratified. The failure to gratify such an impulse may come about
in several ways, not all of which are equally significant in {81}
establishing mental conflict. The gratification may be physically
impossible. Here there is no basis for internal conflict. The
resistance is wholly external; the whole child still desires its
pleasure and its whole resources, mental and physical, are directed
to gain the object. Mere failure may be painful and may lead to an
outburst of rage which possibly even discharges some of the mental
energy of the wish, but the situation psychically is simple and the
incident tends of itself to go no farther.

The gratification may prove to be physically painful in itself. This
seems to promise certain elements of mental conflict in balancing the
pleasure of the gratification against the remembered pain it involves.
We are assuming that the pain is the immediate consequence of the
act, as when, for example, a child makes the immemorial scientific
discovery that fire burns fingers. Such a direct experience without
the interposition of a second person or the pointing of a moral does
not in fact involve any real mental conflict. The source of the
pain is external, its only emotional quality is that of its simple
unpleasantness, and this cannot, as it were, enter into the child’s
mind and divide it against itself.

True conflict, the conflict which moulds and deforms, must be actually
within the mind—must be endopsychic to use a term invented by Freud,
though not used by him in this exact application. In order that
a desire may set up conflict it must be thwarted, not by a plain
impossibility or by a mere physical pain, but by another impulse within
the mind antagonizing it. It seems clear that the counter-impulse to be
strong enough to contend with an impulse having in it the energy of the
sex instinct must itself derive its force from some potent instinctive
mechanism. We cannot suppose that the immense power of the sex impulse
can be {82} controlled, moulded, and directed by any influence except
such as have access to the stores of psychical energy which the
instinctive activities alone possess.

We are thus led to the proposition that the essence of mental conflict
is the antagonism of two impulses which both have instinct behind them,
and are both, as it were, intimate constituents in the personality
of the subject. Thus only can the mind become, in the worn but still
infinitely appropriate metaphor, a house divided against itself. The
counter-impulses to the developing sexual interest and activity of
the child are, as we have seen, the result of social pressure—that is
to say, the result of the influence of the human environment. This
influence is manifested, not merely in direct precept, in warning, in
punishment, in expressions of disapproval or disgust, but in the whole
system of secrecy, of significant silences, of suppressions, of nods
and winks and surreptitious signallings, of sudden causeless snubs and
patently lame explanations amid which such sexual interest as the child
possesses has to find a _modus vivendi_ and an intelligible meaning.

Whence does this environmental pressure obtain the power which
enables it to exercise in the child’s mind the regal functions of
instinct? Clearly it can do so only if the mind possesses a specific
sensitiveness to external opinion and the capacity to confer on
its precepts the sanction of instinctive force. In the two earlier
essays of this book I attempted to show that the essential specific
characteristic of the mind of the gregarious animal is this very
capacity to confer upon herd opinion the psychical energy of instinct.
It is this sensitiveness, then, which lays the child’s mind open to the
influence of his environment and endows for him the mental attitude
of that environment with all the sanction of instinct. Thus do the
repressing forces {83} become actually constituent in the child’s
personality, and as much a part of his being as the egoistic desires
with which they are now able to contend on equal terms.

The specific sensitiveness of the gregarious mind seems, then, to be a
necessary condition for the establishment of true mental conflict, and
a character which must be taken into account if we are to develop a
complete theory of the evolution of the individual mind.

Assuming the validity of the proposition that there are two primary
factors in the development of the mind in each individual—the egoistic
impulses of the child and his specific sensitiveness to environing
influences—it may well be asked why it is that the product, the
“normal” adult mind, is so uniform in its characters. It is true
that this uniformity may very easily be exaggerated, for in a very
considerable number of cases gross “abnormalities” are the result of
the process of development, but, as I pointed out in an earlier essay,
the result on the whole is to produce two broadly distinguishable
types of mind—the unstable and the stable—the latter on account of its
numerical superiority being also dignified as normal. A considerable
uniformity in the final products must therefore be accepted. If,
however, environmental influences are an essential factor in the
production of this result, there seems no little difficulty in
accounting for the uniformity seeing that environments vary so much
from class to class, nation to nation, and race to race. Where, we may
ask, is the constant in the environmental factors which the uniformity
of the outcome leads us to expect? Assuming with Freud that of the
egoistic impulses of the child, the sexual alone seriously counts
in the formation of character, can it be shown that the influences
which surround the child are uniform {84} in their general direction
against this? At first sight it would seem certainly not. Even in the
same country the variations in taste, reticence, modesty, and morality
towards matters of sex interest vary greatly from class to class, and
presumably are accompanied by corresponding variations in the type of
influence exercised by the environment of the child.

Adequately to deal with this difficulty would involve examining in
detail the actual mental attitude of the adult towards the young,
especially in regard to matters directly or indirectly touching
upon interests of sex. The subject is a difficult one, and if we
limit ourselves to the purely human standpoint, ugly and depressing.
The biologist, however, need not confine himself to so cramped an
outlook, and by means of collecting his observations over a much
larger field is able to some extent to escape the distorting effects
of natural human prejudice. Viewed in a broad way, it is neither
surprising nor portentous that there should naturally exist a strong
and persistent jealousy between the adult and the young. Indeed, many
of the superficial consequences of this fact are mere commonplaces.
Throughout most of the lower animals the relation is obvious and
frankly manifested. Indeed, it may be regarded as a more or less
inevitable consequence of any form of social life among animals. As
such, therefore, it may be expected to appear in some form or other in
the human mind. The manifestations of it, however, will by no means
necessarily take easily recognizable forms. The social pressure to
which the mind is subject will tend to exclude such a feeling from at
any rate full consciousness, and such manifestations as are allowed it
will be in disguised and distorted forms.

It seems difficult to avoid the conclusion that some dim and unrealized
offshoot of such a jealousy {85} between adult and young is
responsible for the unanimity with which man combines to suppress and
delay the development of any evidence of sexual interest by the young.
The intensity of the dislike which is felt for admitting the young to
share any part of the knowledge of the adult about the physiology of
sex is well illustrated by the difficulty parents feel in communicating
to their children some of the elementary facts which they may feel very
strongly it is their duty to impart. A parent may find himself under
these circumstances trying to quiet his conscience with all sorts of
excuses and subterfuges while he postpones making the explanations
which duty and affection urge upon him as necessary for the health and
happiness of his child. An unwillingness so strong and irrational as
this must have its root in subconscious processes charged with strong

The tendency to guard children from sexual knowledge and experience
seems to be truly universal in civilized man and to surpass all
differences of morals, discipline, or taste. Amongst primitive savages
the principle has not acquired the altruistic signification which
civilized man has given it, but operates as a definite exclusion to be
overcome only by solemn ceremonies of initiation and at the price of
submission to painful and sometimes mutilating rites.

The constancy of attitude of the adult towards the young, which is thus
seen to be so general, evidently gives to the environmental influences
which surround the child a fundamental uniformity, and as we have seen,
the theory of the development of the individual mind demands that such
a uniformity of environmental influence should be shown to be in action.

This is no place to follow out the practical consequences of the
fact that every adult necessarily {86} possesses a primary bias in
his attitude towards the young, and a bias which is connected with
instinctive impulses of great mental energy. However much this tendency
is overlaid by moral principles, by altruism, by natural affection,
as long as its true nature is unrecognized and excluded from full
consciousness its influence upon conduct must be excessive and full
of dangerous possibilities. To it must ultimately be traced the
scarcely veiled distrust and dislike with which comparative youth is
always apt to be met where matters of importance are concerned. The
attitude of the adult and elderly towards the enthusiasms of youth is
stereotyped in a way which can scarcely fail to strike the psychologist
as remarkable and illuminating in its commonplaceness. The youthful
revolutionary, who after all is no more essentially absurd than the
elderly conservative, is commonly told by the latter that he too at
the same age felt the same aspirations, burnt with the same zeal, and
yearned with the same hope until he learnt wisdom with experience—“as
you will have, my boy, by the time you are my age.” To the psychologist
the kindly contempt of such pronouncements cannot conceal the pathetic
jealousy of declining power. Herd instinct, inevitably siding with the
majority and the ruling powers, has always added its influence to the
side of age and given a very distinctly perceptible bias to history,
proverbial wisdom, and folklore against youth and confidence and
enterprise and in favour of age and caution, the immemorial wisdom of
the past, and even the toothless mumblings of senile decay.

Any comprehensive survey of modern civilized life cannot fail to yield
abundant instances of the disproportionate influence in the conduct
of affairs which has been acquired by mere age. When we remember how
little in actual practice man proves himself capable of the use of
reason, how very little {87} he actually does profit by experience
though the phrase is always in his mouth, it must be obvious that
there is some strong psychological reason for the predominance of age,
something which must be determinative in its favour quite apart from
its merits and capacity when competing with youth. The “monstrous
regiment” of old men—and to the biologist it is almost as “monstrous”
as the regiment of Mary Stuart was to poor indignant Knox—extends into
every branch of man’s activity. We prefer old judges, old lawyers,
old politicians, old doctors, old generals, and when their functions
involve any immediacy of cause and effect and are not merely concerned
with abstractions, we contentedly pay the price which the inelasticity
of these ripe minds is sometimes apt to incur.


If the propositions already laid down prove to be sound, we must regard
the personality of the adult as the resultant of three groups of forces
to which the mind from infancy onwards is subject; _first_ the egoistic
instincts of the individual pressing for gratification and possessing
the intense mental energy characteristic of instinctive processes,
_secondly_ the specific sensitiveness to environmental influences
which the mind as that of a gregarious animal necessarily possesses,
a quality capable of endowing outside influences with the energy of
instinct and, _thirdly_ the environmental influences which act upon the
growing mind and are also essentially determined in their intensity and
uniformity by instinctive mechanisms.

The work of Freud has been directed mainly to the elucidation of the
processes included in the first group—that is to say, to the study
of the primarily egoistic impulses and the modifications {88} they
develop under restraint. He has worked out, in fact, a veritable
embryology of the mind.

The embryology of the body is to those who have had no biological
training far from being a gratifying subject of contemplation. The
stages through which the body passes before reaching its familiar
form have a superficial aspect of ugly and repulsive caricature with
which only a knowledge of the great compressed pageant of nature they
represent can reconcile the mind. The stages through which, according
to the doctrines of Freud, the developing mind passes are not less
repulsive when judged from the purely human point of view than are
the phases of the body, which betray its cousinship with the fish and
the frog, the lemur and the ape. The works of Nature give no support
to the social convention that to be truly respectable one must always
have been respectable. All her most elaborate creations have “risen
in the world” and are descended in the direct line from creatures of
the mud and dust. It is characteristic of her method to work with the
humblest materials and to patch and compromise at every step. Any given
structure of her making is thus not by any means necessarily the best
that could conceivably be contrived, but a workable modification of
something else, always more or less conditioned in its functioning by
the limitations of the thing from which it was made.

To the biologist, therefore, the fact that Freud’s investigations
of the development of the mind have shown it passing through stages
anything but gratifying to self-esteem will not be either surprising
or a ground for disbelief. That Freud’s conclusions are decidedly
unpalatable when judged by a narrowly human standard is very obvious
to any one who is at all familiar with the kind of criticism they
have received. It must be acknowledged, moreover, that his methods of
exposition have not always tended {89} to disguise the nauseousness
of the dose he attempts to administer. Such matters, however, lie
altogether apart from the question whether his conclusions are or
are not just, though it is perhaps justifiable to say that had these
conclusions been immediately acceptable, the fact would be presumptive
evidence that they were either not new or were false.

The work of Freud embodies the most determined, thorough, and
scientific attempt which has been made to penetrate the mysteries
of the mind by the direct human method of approach, making use
of introspection—guided and guarded, it is true, by an elaborate
technique—as its essential instrument. To have shaped so awkward
and fallacious an instrument into an apparatus for which accuracy
and fruitfulness can be claimed is in itself a notable triumph of
psychological skill.

The doctrines of Freud seem to be regarded by his school as covering
all the activities of the mind and making a complete, though of course
not necessarily exhaustive, survey of the whole field. I have already
pointed out directions in which it appears to me that inquiries by
other methods than those of the psycho-analytic school can be pursued
with success. Regarded in a broad way, the Freudian body of doctrine
which I have already ventured to describe as essentially an embryology
of the mind gives one the impression of being mainly descriptive and
systematic rather than dynamic, if one may with due caution use such
words. It is able to tell us how such and such a state of affairs
has arisen, what is its true significance, and to describe in minute
detail the factors into which it can be analysed. When the question
of acting upon the mind is raised its resources seem less striking.
In this direction its chief activities have been in the treatment of
abnormal mental states, and these are dealt with by a laborious process
of analysis {90} in which the subject’s whole mental development is
retraced, and the numerous significant experiences which have become
excluded from the conscious field are brought back into it.

When the unconscious processes which underlie the symptoms have
been assimilated to the conscious life of the patient, the symptoms
necessarily disappear, and the patient’s mind gains or regains the
“normal” condition. However precious such a cure may be to the patient,
and however interesting to the physician, its value to the species has
to be judged in relation to the value of the “normal” to which the
patient has been restored—that is, in relation to the question as to
whether any move, however small, in the direction of an enlargement
of the human mind has been made. Until some clearer evidence has been
furnished of a capacity for development in this direction the Freudian
system should, perhaps, be regarded as more notably a psychology of
knowledge than a psychology of power.

It is interesting to notice that in discussing the mechanism of
psycho-analysis in liberating the “abnormal” patient from his symptoms,
Freud repeatedly lays stress on the fact that the efficient factor
in the process is not the actual introduction of the suppressed
experiences into the conscious field, but the overcoming of the
resistances to such an endeavour. I have attempted to show that these
resistances or counter-impulses are of environmental origin, and owe
their strength to the specific sensitiveness of the gregarious mind.
Resistances of similar type and identical origin are responsible for
the formation of the so-called normal type of mind. It is a principal
thesis of an earlier essay in this book that this normal type is far
from being psychologically healthy, is far from rendering available
the full capacity of the mind for foresight and {91} progress, and
being in exclusive command of directing power in the world, is a
danger to civilization. An investigation of the resistant forces that
are encountered by the developing mind is clearly, then, a matter
of the utmost importance. They are now allowed to come into being
haphazard, and while they undoubtedly contain elements of social
value and necessary restraints, they are the products, not of a
courageous recognition of facts but of fears, prejudices, and repressed
instinctive impulses, and are consolidated by ignorance, indolence, and
tribal custom.

The interest of the psycho-analytic school has been turned remarkably
little into this field. The speculation may be hazarded that in this
direction it might find the sources of a directer power over the
human mind, and at least some attenuation of that atmosphere of the
consulting-room and the mad-house which does so much to detract from
its pretensions to be a psychological system of universal validity.


The third method by which it has been attempted to attack the problems
of psychology is that which I have called the comparative. Its
characteristic note is a distrust of that attitude towards phenomena
which I have called the human point of view. Man’s description and
interpretation of his own mental experience being so liable to
distortion by prejudice, by self-esteem, by his views as to his own
nature and powers, as well as so incomplete by reason of his incapacity
to reach by ordinary introspection the deeper strata of his mind, it
becomes necessary to make action as far as possible the subject of
observation rather than speech, and to regard it as a touchstone of
motive more important than the actor’s own views. The principle {92}
may be exemplified in a simple and concrete form. If a given piece of
human behaviour bears the closest resemblance to behaviour which is
characteristic of the ape, the sheep, or the wolf, the biologist in
attempting to arrive at the actual cause will ascribe an importance
to this resemblance at least no less than that he will give to any
explanation of the action as rational and deliberate which may be
furnished by the actor or by his own intelligence.

A second principle of the method will be by a study of the whole range
of animal life, and especially of forms whose conduct presents obvious
resemblances to that of man, to discover what instinctive impulses may
be expected to operate in him.

A third principle will be to search for criteria, whereby instinctive
impulses or their derivatives arising in the mind can be distinguished
from rational motives, or at any rate motives in which the instinctive
factor is minimal. Thus will be furnished for the method the objective
standard for the judgment of mental observations which is the one
indispensable requirement in all psychological inquiries.

When it is known what types of instinctive mechanisms are to be
expected, and under what aspects they will appear in the mind, it is
possible to press inquiry into many of the obscurer regions of human
behaviour and thought, and to arrive at conclusions which, while they
are in harmony with the general body of biological science, have the
additional value of being immediately useful in the conduct of affairs.

At the very outset of such researches we are met by an objection which
illustrates how different the biological conception of the mind is from
that current amongst those whose training has been {93} literary and
philosophic. The objection I am thinking of is that of the ordinary
intellectualist view of man. According to this we must regard him as
essentially a rational creature, subject, it is true, to certain feeble
relics of instinctive impulsion, but able to control such without any
great expense of will power, irrational at times in an amiable and
rather “nice” way, but fundamentally always independent, responsible,
and captain of his soul. Most holders of this opinion will of course
admit that in a distant and vague enough past man must have been much
more definitely an instinctive being, but they regard attempts to trace
in modern man any considerable residue of instinctive activities as a
tissue of fallacious and superficial analogies, based upon a shallow
materialism and an ignorance of the great principles of philosophy or a
crudeness which cannot assimilate them.

This objection is an expression of the very characteristic way in which
mankind over-estimates the practical functioning of reason in his mind
and the influence of civilization on his development. In an earlier
essay I have tried to show to how great an extent the average educated
man is willing to pronounce decided judgments, all of which he believes
himself to have arrived at by the exercise of pure reason, upon the
innumerable complex questions of the day. Almost all of them concern
highly technical matters upon none of which has he the slightest
qualification to pronounce. This characteristic, always obvious enough,
has naturally during the war shown the exaggeration so apt to occur
in all non-rational processes at a time of general stress. It is not
necessary to catalogue the various public functions in regard to which
the common citizen finds himself in these days moved to advise and
exhort. They are numerous, and for the most part highly technical.
Generally the {94} more technical a given matter is, the more vehement
and dogmatic is the counsel of the utterly uninstructed counsellor.
Even when the questions involved are not especially such as can be
dealt with only by the expert, the fact that the essential data are
withheld from the public by the authorities renders all this amateur
statecraft and generalship more than usually ridiculous. Nevertheless,
those who find the materials insufficient for dogmatism and feel
compelled to a suspense of judgment are apt to fall under suspicion
of the crime of failing to “realize” the seriousness of the war. When
it is remembered that the duty of the civilian is in no way concerned
with these matters of high technique, while he has very important
functions to carry out in maintaining the nation’s strength if he could
be brought to take an interest in them, it seems scarcely possible to
argue that such conduct is that of a very highly rational being. In
reality the objective examination of man’s behaviour, if attention is
directed to the facts and not to what the actors think of them, yields
at once in every field example after example of similar irrational

When the influence of civilization is looked upon as having rendered
man’s instincts of altogether secondary importance in modern life,
it is plain that such a conclusion involves a misconception of the
nature of instinct. This well-worn term has come to have so vague
a connotation that some definition of it is necessary. The word
“instinct” is used here to denote inherited modes of reaction to bodily
need or external stimulus. It is difficult to draw a sharp distinction
between instinct and mere reflex action, and an attempt to do so with
exact precision is of no particular value. In general we may say that
the reactions which should be classed under the head of instinct are
delayed (that is, not necessarily carried out with fatal promptitude
{95} immediately upon the stimulus), complex (that is, consist of
acts rather than mere movements), and may be accompanied by quite
elaborate mental processes. In a broad way also it may be said that
the mental accompaniments of an instinctive process are for the most
part matters of feeling. During the growth of the need or stimulus
there will be a desire or inclination which may be quite intense, and
yet not definitely focused on any object that is consciously realized;
the act itself will be distinguished to the actor by its rightness,
obviousness, necessity, or inevitableness, and the sequel of the act
will be satisfaction. This mere hint of the psychical manifestations
of instinctive activity leaves quite out of account the complex
effects which may ensue when two instinctive impulses that have come
to be antagonistic reach the mind at the same time. The actual amount
of mental activity which accompanies an instinctive process is very
variable; it may be quite small, and then the subject of it is reduced
to a mere automaton, possessed, as we say, by an ungovernable passion
such as panic, lust, or rage; it may be quite large, and sometimes the
subject, deceived by his own rationalizations and suppressions, may
suppose himself to be a fully rational being in undisputed possession
of free will and the mastery of his fate at the very moment when he
is showing himself to be a mere puppet dancing to the strings which
Nature, unimpressed by his valiant airs, relentlessly and impassively

The extent of the psychical accompaniments of instinctive activity
in civilized man should not, therefore, be allowed to obscure the
fact that the instincts are tendencies deeply ingrained in the very
structure of his being. They are as necessarily inherited, as much
a part of himself, and as essential a condition for the survival of
himself and his race, as are the vital organs of his body. {96} Their
persistence in him is established and enforced by the effects of
millions of years of selection, so that it can scarcely be supposed
that a few thousand years of civilized life which have been accompanied
by no steady selection against any single instinct can have had any
effect whatever in weakening them. The common expression that such an
effect has been produced is doubtless due to the great development in
civilized man of the mental accompaniments of instinctive processes.
These mental phenomena surround the naked reality of the impulse
with a cloud of rationalized comment and illusory explanation. The
capacity which man possesses for free and rational thought in matters
untainted by instinctive inclination is of course indubitable, but he
has not realized that there is no obvious mental character attached
to propositions having an instinctive basis which should expose them
to suspicion. As a matter of fact, it is just those fundamental
propositions which owe their origin to instinct which appear to the
subject the most obvious, the most axiomatic, and the least liable to
doubt by any one but an eccentric or a madman.

It has been customary with certain authors—perhaps especially such as
have interested themselves in sociological subjects—to ascribe quite
a large number of man’s activities to separate instincts. Very little
consideration of most of these propositions shows that they are based
upon too lax a definition or a want of analysis, for most of the
activities referred to special instincts prove to be derivatives of the
great primal instincts which are common to or very widely distributed
over the animal kingdom. Man and a very large number of all animals
inherit the capacity to respond to physical need or emergency according
to the demands which we classify, as the three primary instincts of
self-preservation, nutrition, and {97} reproduction. If a series
of animals of increasing brain power be examined, it will be found
that a growth of intelligence, while it does nothing to enfeeble the
instinctive impulse, modifies the appearances of it by increasing the
number of modes of reaction it may use. Intelligence, that is to say,
leaves its possessor no less impelled by instinct than his simpler
ancestor, but endows him with the capacity to respond in a larger
variety of ways. The response is now no longer directly and narrowly
confined to a single path, but may follow a number of indirect and
intricate ways; there is no reason, however, to suppose that the
impulse is any the weaker for that. To mistake indirectness of response
for enfeeblement of impulse is a fundamental error to which all inquiry
into the psychology of instinct is liable.

To man his big brain has given a maximal power of various response
which enables him to indulge his instinctive impulses in indirect and
symbolic activities to a greater extent than any other animal. It is
for this reason that the instincts of man are not always obvious in
his conduct and have come to be regarded by some as practically no
more than vestigial. Indirect modes of response may indeed become
so involved as to assume the appearance of the negation of the very
instincts of which they are the expression. Thus it comes to be no
paradox to say that monks and nuns, ascetics and martyrs, prove the
strength of the great primary instincts their existence seems to deny.

Man and a certain number of other species widely distributed
throughout the animal kingdom show, in addition to the instincts of
self-preservation, nutrition, and sex, specialized inherited modes
of response to the needs, not directly of the individual but of the
herd to which he belongs. These responses, which are perfectly well
marked and characteristic, are those of the herd instinct. It is
{98} important to grasp clearly the relation of this instinct to
the individual. It must be understood that each separate member of
a gregarious species inherits characters deeply rooted in his being
which effectually differentiate him from any non-gregarious animal.
These characters are such that in presence of certain stimuli they
will ensure his responding in a specialized way which will be quite
different from the response of a solitary animal. The response when
examined will be found not necessarily to favour the survival of
the individual as such, but to favour his survival as a member of a
herd. A very simple example will make this plain. The dog and the cat
are our two most familiar examples of the social and the solitary
animal respectively. Their different attitudes towards feeding must
have been observed by all. The cat takes her food leisurely, without
great appearance of appetite and in small amounts at a time; the dog
is voracious and will eat hurriedly as much as he can get, growling
anxiously if he is approached. In doing so he is expressing a deeply
ingrained characteristic. His attitude towards food was built up
when he hunted in packs and to get a share of the common kill had
to snatch what came in his way and gulp it down before it could be
taken from him. In slang which has a sound biological basis we say he
“wolfs” his food. When in domestication his food supply is no longer
limited in the primitive way, his instinctive tendency persists; he
is typically greedy and will kill himself by overeating if he is
allowed to. Here we have a perfect instance of an instinctive response
being disadvantageous to the survival of the individual as such, and
favouring his survival only as a member of a herd. This example,
trivial as it may seem, is worthy of close study. It shows that the
individual of the gregarious species, as an individual and in {99}
isolation, possesses indelible marks of character which effectually
distinguish him from all solitary animals.

The same principle applies with equal force to man. Whether he is
alone or in company, a hermit philosopher or a mere unit of a mob, his
responses will bear the same stamp of being regulated by the existence
and influence of his fellows.

The foregoing considerations, elementary and incomplete as they are,
suggest that there is a strong prima facie case for rejecting the
common conceptions that man is among animals the least endowed with
an inheritance of instinct, and that civilization has produced in
him profound modifications in his primitive instinctive impulses. If
the conception which I have put forward be correct, namely, that man
is not at all less subject to instinctive impulsions than any other
animal but disguises the fact from the observer and from himself by
the multiplicity of the lines of response his mental capacity enables
him to take, it should follow that his conduct is much less truly
variable and much more open to generalization than has generally been
supposed. Should this be possible, it would enable the biologist to
study the actual affairs of mankind in a really practical way, to
analyse the tendencies of social development, to discover how deeply
or superficially they were based in the necessity of things, and above
all, to foretell their course. Thus might be founded a true science of
politics which would be of direct service to the statesman.

Many attempts have been made to apply biological principles to the
interpretation of history and the guidance of statecraft, especially
since the popularization of the principles associated with the name
of Darwin. Such attempts have generally been undertaken less in the
spirit of the scientific {100} investigator than in that of the
politician; the point of departure has been a political conviction and
not a biological truth; and as might be expected, when there has been
any conflict between political conviction and biological truth it is
the latter that has had to give way. Work of this kind has brought the
method into deserved contempt by its crudity, its obvious subservience
to prejudice, and its pretentious gestures of the doctrinaire. England
has not been without her examples of these scientific politicians and
historians, but they cannot be said to have flourished here as they
have in the more scholastic air of Germany. The names of several such
are now notorious in this country and their works are sufficiently
familiar for it to be obvious that their claims to scientific
value do not admit of discussion. It is not necessary to consider
their conclusions, they are condemned by their manner; and however
interesting their political vociferation may be to fellow-patriots,
it plainly has no meaning whatsoever as science. In face of the
spectacle presented by these leather-lunged doctrinaires, it needs
some little hardihood to maintain that it is possible profitably to
apply biological principle to the consideration of human affairs;
nevertheless, that is an essential thesis of this essay.

In attempting to illuminate the records of history by the principles
of biology, an essential difficulty is the difference of scale in time
upon which these two departments of knowledge work. Historical events
are confined within a few thousands of years, the biological record
covers many millions; it is scarcely to be expected, therefore, that
even a gross movement on the cramped historical scale will be capable
of detection in the vast gulf of time the biological series represents.
A minor difficulty is the fact that the data of history come to us
through a dense and reduplicated veil of human {101} interpretation,
whereas the biological facts are comparatively free from this kind of
obscuration. The former obstacle is undoubtedly serious. It is to be
remarked, however, that there is strong reason to suppose that the
process of organic evolution has not been and is not always infinitely
slow and gradual. It is more than suspected that, perhaps as the result
of slowly accumulated tendency or perhaps as the result of a sudden
variation of structure or capacity, there have been periods of rapid
change which might have been perceptible to direct observation. The
infinitely long road still tending upwards comes to where it branches
and meets another path, tending perhaps downwards or even upwards at
a different slope. May not the meeting or branching form, as it were,
a node in the infinite line, a resting place for the eye, a point in
the vast extension capable of recognition by a finite mind and of
expression in terms of human affairs? It is the belief of the writer
that the human race stands at such a nodal point to-day.


In order to set forth the evidence on which is based the conclusion
that the present juncture of affairs is not merely, as it very
obviously is, a meeting-place of epochs in the historical series,
but also marks a stage in the biological series which will prove to
have been a moment of destiny in the evolution of the human species,
it will be necessary to inquire somewhat closely into the biological
meaning of the social habit in animals. In an earlier essay certain
speculations in the same subject were indulged, and a certain amount
of repetition will be necessary. The point of view then taken up,
however, was different from that from which I shall now attempt to
review the facts. Then the main {102} interest lay in an examination
of the meaning of gregariousness for the individual mind, and although
reasons enough were found for uneasiness at the course of events,
and at the instability of civilization which any radical examination
displayed, the inquiry was not pursued under any immediate imminence of
disaster to the social fabric as it must be now. Naturally, therefore,
at the present time certain aspects of the subject which before were
of no special relevance become of great importance and demand close

In a general view of the social habit in animals certain outstanding
facts are readily to be observed. It is of wide distribution and
sporadic occurrence, it varies much in the completeness of its
development, and there seems to be an inverse relation between its
completeness and the brain power of the animal concerned.

From the wideness of its distribution the social habit may be supposed
to represent a forward step in complexity which comes about readily. It
has the appearance of being upon a path which species have a natural
tendency to follow, a line of evolution which is perhaps rendered
possible by constantly occurring small variations common to all animals
and taken advantage of only under certain circumstances of pressure
or increase. It seems not to depend on any sudden large variation of
type, and such is not necessary to account for it. It differs from
many other modifications which we know animal life to have undergone
in being immediately useful to the species from its very beginning and
in its least perfect forms. Once started, however imperfectly, the new
habit will have a natural tendency to progress towards fuller forms of
sociality by reason of special selective forces which it inevitably
sets going. The fact that it is valuable to the species in which it
develops even in its most larval forms, {103} combined with its
tendency to progress, no doubt accounts for the wonderful series of all
degrees of gregariousness which the field of natural history presents.

I have pointed out elsewhere that the fundamental biological meaning of
gregariousness is that it allows of an indefinite enlargement of the
unit upon which the undifferentiated influence of natural selection is
allowed to act, so that the individual merged in the larger unit is
shielded from the immediate effects of natural selection and is exposed
directly only to the special form of selection which obtains within the
new unit.

There seems little doubt that this sheltering of the individual allows
him to vary and to undergo modifications with a freedom which would
have been dangerous to him as an isolated being, but is safe under the
new conditions and valuable to the new unit of which he now is a part.

In essence the significance of the passage from the solitary to the
gregarious seems to be closely similar to that of the passage from the
unicellular to the multicellular organism—an enlargement of the unit
exposed to natural selection, a shielding of the individual cell from
that pressure, an endowment of it with freedom to vary and specialize
in safety.

Nature has thus made two great experiments of the same type, and if one
be reasonably careful to avoid arguing from analogy, it is possible
to use one case to illuminate the other by furnishing hints as to
what mechanisms may be looked for and in what directions inquiry may
profitably be pursued.

The sporadic occurrence of gregariousness at widely separated points
of the animal field—in man and sheep, in ant and elephant—inclines one
to suppose that multicellularity must have arisen also at multiple
points, and that the metazoa did not arise from the protozoa by a
single line of descent. It {104} suggests also that there is some
inherent property in mobile living organisms that makes combination
of individuals into larger units a more or less inevitable course
of development under certain circumstances and without any gross
variation being necessary to initiate it. The complex evolution which
multicellularity made possible, and perhaps enforced, can scarcely
fail to make one wonder whether the gregarious animal has not entered
upon a path which must of necessity lead to increasing complexity and
co-ordination, to a more and more stringent intensity of integration or
to extinction.

The varying degrees to which the social habit has developed among
different animals provide a very interesting branch of study. The class
of insects is remarkable in furnishing an almost inexhaustible variety
of stages to which the instinct is developed. Of these that reached by
the humble bee, with its small, weak families, is a familiar example of
a low grade; that of the wasp, with its colonies large and strong, but
unable to survive the winter, is another of more developed type; while
that of the honey bee represents a very high grade of development in
which the instinct seems to have completed its cycle and yielded to the
hive the maximum advantages of which it is capable. In the honey bee,
then, the social instinct may be said to be complete.

It is necessary to examine somewhat closely into what is denoted by the
completeness or otherwise of the social habit in a given species.

To return for a moment to the case of the change from the unicellular
to the multicellular, it is obvious that in the new unit, to get the
full advantage of the change there must be specialization involving
both loss and gain to the individual cell; one loses power of digestion
and gains a special sensitiveness to stimulation, another loses
locomotion {105} to gain digestion, and so forth in innumerable
series as the new unit becomes more complex. Inherent, however, in
the new mechanism is the need for co-ordination if the advantages
of specialization are to be obtained. The necessity of a nervous
system—if progress is to be maintained—early becomes obvious, and it
is equally clear that the primary function of the nervous system is
to facilitate co-ordination. Thus it would seem that the individual
cell incorporated in a larger unit must possess a capacity for
specialization, the ability to originate new methods of activity,
and a capacity for response—that is, the ability to limit itself to
action co-ordinated suitably to the interests of the new unit rather
than to those that would have been its own if it had been a free unit
in itself. Specialization and co-ordination will be the two necessary
conditions for success of the larger unit, and advance in complexity
will be possible as long only as these two are unexhausted. Neither, of
course, will be of avail without the other. The richest specialization
will be of no good if it cannot be controlled to the uses of the whole
organism, and the most perfect control of the individual cells will
be incapable of ensuring progress if it has no material of original
variation to work on.

The analogy is helpful in the consideration of the mechanisms brought
into play by the social habit. The community of the honey bee bears a
close resemblance to the body of a complex animal. The capacity for
actual structural specialization of the individuals in the interests of
the hive has been remarkable and has gone far, while at the same time
co-ordination has been stringently enforced, so that each individual
is actually absorbed into the community, expends all its activities
therein, and when excluded from it is almost as helpless as a part of
the naked flesh of an animal {106} detached from its body. The hive
may, in fact, without any very undue stretch of fantasy, be described
as an animal of which all the individual cells have retained the power
of locomotion. When one watches the flight of a swarm of bees its
unanimity and directness very easily produce the illusion that one is
witnessing the migration of a single animal usually sedentary but at
times capable of undertaking journeys with a formidable and successful
energy. This new animal differs from the other animals of the metazoa
which it has outdistanced in the race of evolution, not merely in
its immense power, energy, and flexibility, but also in the almost
startling fact that it has recovered the gift of immortality which
seemed to have been lost with its protozoal ancestors.

The extent to which the hive makes use of the powers of its individuals
is the measure of the completeness with which the social habit is
developed in it. The worker bee has practically no activities which are
not directly devoted to the hive, and yet she goes about her ceaseless
tasks in a way that never fails to impress the observer with its
exuberant energy and even its appearance of joyfulness. It is thought
that the average worker bee _works herself to death_ in about two
months. That is a fact which can scarcely fail to arouse, even in the
least imaginative, at any rate a moment of profound contemplation.

If we could suppose her to be conscious in the human sense, we
must imagine the bee to be possessed by an enthusiasm for the hive
more intense than a mother’s devotion to her son, without personal
ambitions, or doubts or fears, and if we are to judge by the
imperfect experience man has yet had of the same lofty passion, we
must think of her consciousness, insignificant spark as it is, as a
little fire ablaze with altruistic feeling. Doubtless, such {107}
an attribution of emotion to the bee is a quite unjustified fallacy
of anthropomorphism. Nevertheless, it is not altogether valueless
as a hint of what social unity might effect in an animal of larger
mental life. There can be little doubt that the perfection to which
the communal life of the bee has attained is dependent on the very
smallness of the mental development of which the individuals are
capable. Their capacity to assimilate experience is necessarily from
their structure, and is known by experience to be, small and their
path is marked out so plainly by actual physical modifications that
the almost miraculous absorption of the worker in the hive is after
all perhaps natural enough. If she were able to assimilate general
experience on a larger scale, to react freely and appropriately to
stimuli external to the hive, there can be little doubt that the
community would show a less concentrated efficiency than it does
to-day. The standing miracle of the bee—her sensitiveness to the voice
of the hive and her capacity to communicate with her fellows—would
undoubtedly be less marvellously perfect if she were not at the same
time deaf to all other voices.

When we come to consider animals in which the anatomist can recognize
a brain and the psychologist an individual mind, the types of
gregariousness we meet with are found to have lost the magnificent
intensity of the bee. This decline in intensity seems to be due to
the greatly increased variety of reaction of which the individual
is capable. The gregarious mammalia are most of them relatively
intelligent, they are capable of assimilating experience to a certain
extent and have a definite capacity for individual existence. In them
the social habit shows comparatively little tendency to a gradual
intensification, but is a more static condition. Doubtless, there are
other conditions {108} which also limit it. For example, the slowness
of multiplication and fixity of structure in the mammalia obviously
deprive them of the possibility of undergoing a continuous social
integration as the insects have. Be this as it may, we find in them
the social habit but little or scarcely at all expressed in physical
specialization but shown as a deeply ingrained mental character which
profoundly influences their habits and their modes of reaction to
bodily and external impressions. Among the mammalia other than man
and possibly apes and monkeys, gregariousness is found in two broadly
distinguishable types according to the function it subserves. It may
be either protective as in the sheep, the deer, the ox, and the horse,
or aggressive as in the wolf and allied animals. In both forms it will
involve certain common types of capacity, while the distinguishing
characteristic of each will be a special kind of reaction to certain
stimuli. It is important to understand that these peculiarities are
possessed by each individual of the larger unit, and will be displayed
by him in a characteristic way whether he is in the company of his
fellows or not. It is not necessary to repeat here in any detail the
characters of the gregarious mammal. They have been dealt with in an
earlier essay, but it is desirable to emphasize here certain features
of exceptional importance and some which were but little discussed

The quite fundamental characteristic of the social mammal, as of the
bee, is sensitiveness to the voice of his fellows. He must have the
capacity to react fatally and without hesitation to an impression
coming to him from the herd, and he must react in a totally different
way to impressions coming to him from without. In the presence of
danger his first motion must be, not to fly or to attack as the case
may be, but to notify the herd. This characteristic is beautifully
demonstrated in the low {109} growl a dog will give at the approach of
a stranger. This is obviously in no way part of the dog’s programme of
attack upon his enemy—when his object is intimidation he bursts into
barking—but his first duty is to put the pack on its guard. Similarly
the start of the sheep is a notification and precedes any motion of

In order that the individual shall be sensitive in a special degree
to the voice of the herd, he must have developed in him an infallible
capacity for recognizing his fellow-members. In the lower mammalia
this seems almost exclusively a function of the sense of smell, as is
natural enough since that sense is as a general rule highly developed
in them. The domestic dog shows admirably the importance of the
function of recognition in his species. Comparatively few recognize
even their masters at any distance by sight or sound, while obviously
with their fellows they are practically dependent on smell. The extent
to which the ceremonial of recognition has developed in the dog is, of
course, very familiar to every one. It shows unmistakable evidence of
the rudiments of social organization, and is not the less illuminating
to the student of human society for having a bodily orientation and
technique which at first sight obscures its resemblance to similar, and
it is supposed more dignified, mechanisms in man.

Specialization fitting the animal for social life is obviously in
certain directions restrictive; that is, it denies him certain
capacities and immunities which the solitary animal possesses;
equally obviously is it in certain directions expansive and does it
confer qualities on the social which the solitary does not possess.
Among qualities of restrictive specialization are inability to live
satisfactorily apart from the herd or some substitute for it, the
liability to loneliness, a dependence on leadership, custom, and
tradition, a {110} credulity towards the dogmas of the herd and an
unbelief towards external experience, a standard of conduct no longer
determined by personal needs but influenced by a power outside the
ego—a conscience, in fact, and a sense of sin—a weakness of personal
initiative and a distrust of its promptings. Expansive specialization,
on the other hand, gives the gregarious animal the sense of power and
security in the herd, the capacity to respond to the call of the herd
with a maximum output of energy and endurance, a deep-seated mental
satisfaction in unity with the herd, and a solution in it of personal
doubts and fears.

All these characters can be traced in an animal such as the dog. The
mere statement of them, necessarily in mental terms, involves the
liability to a certain inexactitude if it is not recognized that no
hypothesis as to the consciousness of the dog is assumed but that the
description in mental terms is given because of its convenient brevity.
An objective description of the actual conduct on which such summarized
statements are founded would be impossibly voluminous.

       *       *       *       *       *

The advantage the new unit obtains by aggressive gregariousness is
chiefly its immense accession of strength as a hunting and fighting
organism. Protective gregariousness confers on the flock or herd
advantages perhaps less obvious but certainly not less important. A
very valuable gain is the increased efficiency of vigilance which is
possible. Such efficiency depends on the available number of actual
watchers and the exquisite sensitiveness of the herd and all its
members to the signals of such sentries. No one can have watched a
herd of sheep for long without being impressed with the delicacy with
which a supposed danger is detected, transmitted throughout the herd,
and met {111} by an appropriate movement. Another advantage enjoyed
by the new unit is a practical solution of the difficulties incident
upon the emotion of fear. Fear is essentially an enfeebling passion,
yet in the sheep and such animals it is necessarily developed to a high
degree in the interests of safety. The danger of this specialization is
neutralized by the implication of so large a part of the individual’s
personality in the herd and outside of himself. Alarm becomes a
passion, as it were, of the herd rather than of the individual, and the
appropriate response by the individual is to an impulse received from
the herd and not directly from the actual object of alarm. It seems
to be in this way that the paralysing emotion of fear is held back
from the individual, while its effect can reach him only as the active
and formidable passion of panic. The gregarious herbivora are in fact
timid but not fearful animals. All the various mechanisms in which the
social habit shows itself apparently have as their general function
a maximal sensitiveness to danger of the herd as a whole, combined
with maintaining with as little interruption as possible an atmosphere
of calm within the herd, so that the individual members can occupy
themselves in the serious business of grazing. It must be doubted
whether a truly herbivorous animal of a solitary habit could ever
flourish when we remember how incessant must be his industry in feeding
if he is to be properly nourished, and how much such an occupation will
be interfered with by the constant alarms he must be subject to if he
is to escape the attacks of carnivorous enemies. The evidence suggests
that protective gregariousness is a more elaborate manifestation of the
social habit than the aggressive form. It is clear that the security
of the higher herbivora, such as the ox and especially the horse and
their allies, is considerable in relation to the carnivora. One may
{112} permissibly perhaps indulge the speculation that in the absence
of man the horse possibly might have developed a greater complexity
of organization than it has actually been able to attain; that the
facts should seem to contain this hint is a curious testimony to the
wonderful constructive imagination of Swift.

Setting aside such guesses and confining ourselves to the facts, we
may say in summary that we find the infrahuman mammalia to present two
distinctly separable strains of the social habit. Both are of great
value to the species in which they appear, and both are associated with
certain fundamentally similar types of reactive capacity which give a
general resemblance of character to all gregarious animals. Of the two
forms the protective is perhaps capable of absorbing more fully the
personality of the individual than is the aggressive, but both seem to
have reached the limit of their intensification at a grade far lower
than that which has been attained in the insects.


When we come to consider man we find ourselves faced at once by some
of the most interesting problems in the biology of the social habit.
It is probably not necessary now to labour the proof of the fact that
man is a gregarious animal in literal fact, that he is as essentially
gregarious as the bee and the ant, the sheep, the ox, and the horse.
The tissue of characteristically gregarious reactions which his conduct
presents furnishes incontestable proof of this thesis, which is thus an
indispensable clue to an inquiry into the intricate problems of human

It is desirable perhaps to enumerate in a summary {113} way the more
obvious gregarious characters which man displays.

1. He is intolerant and fearful of solitude, physical or mental.
This intolerance is the cause of the mental fixity and intellectual
incuriousness which, to a remarkable degree for an animal with so
capacious a brain, he constantly displays. As is well known, the
resistance to a new idea is always primarily a matter of prejudice,
the development of intellectual objections, just or otherwise, being
a secondary process in spite of the common delusion to the contrary.
This intimate dependence on the herd is traceable not merely in matters
physical and intellectual, but also betrays itself in the deepest
recesses of personality as a sense of incompleteness which compels the
individual to reach out towards some larger existence than his own,
some encompassing being in whom his perplexities may find a solution
and his longings peace. Physical loneliness and intellectual isolation
are effectually solaced by the nearness and agreement of the herd. The
deeper personal necessities cannot be met—at any rate, in such society
as has so far been evolved—by so superficial a union; the capacity
for intercommunication is still too feebly developed to bring the
individual into complete and soul-satisfying harmony with his fellows,
to convey from one to another

 Thoughts hardly to be packed
 Into a narrow act,
 Fancies that broke through language and escaped.

Religious feeling is therefore a character inherent in the very
structure of the human mind, and is the expression of a need which must
be recognized by the biologist as neither superficial nor transitory.
It must be admitted that some philosophers and {114} men of science
have at times denied to the religious impulses of man their true
dignity and importance. Impelled perhaps by a desire to close the
circle of a materialistic conception of the universe, they have tended
to belittle the significance of such phenomena as they were unable to
reconcile with their principles and bring within the iron circle of
their doctrine. To deal with religion in this way has not only been an
outrage upon true scientific method, but has always led to a strong
reaction in general opinion against any radical inquiry by science into
the deeper problems of man’s nature and status. A large and energetic
reaction of this kind prevails to-day. There can be little doubt that
it was precipitated, if not provoked, by attempts to force a harsh and
dogmatic materialism into the status of a general philosophy. As long
as such a system is compelled to ignore, to depreciate, or to deny
the reality of such manifestly important phenomena as the altruistic
emotions, the religious needs and feelings, the experiences of awe and
wonder and beauty, the illumination of the mystic, the rapture of the
prophet, the unconquerable endurance of the martyr, so long must it
fail in its claims to universality. It is therefore necessary to lay
down with the strongest emphasis the proposition that the religious
needs and feelings of man are a direct and necessary manifestation
of the inheritance of instinct with which he is born, and therefore
deserve consideration as respectful and observation as minute as any
other biological phenomenon.

2. He is more sensitive to the voice of the herd than to any other
influence. It can inhibit or stimulate his thought and conduct. It
is the source of his moral codes, of the sanctions of his ethics and
philosophy. It can endow him with energy, courage, and endurance, and
can as easily take these away. {115} It can make him acquiese in his
own punishment and embrace his executioner, submit to poverty, bow to
tyranny, and sink without complaint under starvation. Not merely can
it make him accept hardship and suffering unresistingly, but it can
make him accept as truth the explanation that his perfectly preventable
afflictions are sublimely just and gentle. It is in this acme of
the power of herd suggestion that is perhaps the most absolutely
incontestable proof of the profoundly gregarious nature of man. That
a creature of strong appetites and luxurious desires should come to
tolerate uncomplainingly his empty belly, his chattering teeth, his
naked limbs, and his hard bed is miracle enough. What are we to say of
a force which, when he is told by the full-fed and well-warmed that
his state is the more blessed can make him answer, “How beautiful! How
true!” In the face of so effectual a negation, not merely of experience
and common sense but also of actual hunger and privation, it is not
possible to set any limits to the power of the herd over the individual.

3. He is subject to the passions of the pack in his mob violence and
the passions of the herd in his panics. These activities are by no
means limited to the outbursts of actual crowds, but are to be seen
equally clearly in the hue and cry of newspapers and public after some
notorious criminal or scapegoat, and in the success of scaremongering
by the same agencies.

4. He is remarkably susceptible to leadership. This quality in man
may very naturally be thought to have a basis essentially rational
rather than instinctive if its manifestations are not regarded with
a special effort to attain an objective attitude. How thoroughly
reasonable it appears that a body of men seeking a common object
should put themselves under the guidance of some strong and expert
{116} personality who can point out the path most profitably to be
pursued, who can hearten his followers and bring all their various
powers into a harmonious pursuit of the common object. The rational
basis of the relation is, however, seen to be at any rate open to
discussion when we consider the qualities in a leader upon which his
authority so often rests, for there can be little doubt that their
appeal is more generally to instinct than to reason. In ordinary
politics it must be admitted that the gift of public speaking is of
more decisive value than anything else. If a man is fluent, dextrous,
and ready on the platform, he possesses the one indispensable requisite
for statesmanship; if in addition he has the gift of moving deeply
the emotions of his hearers, his capacity for guiding the infinite
complexities of national life becomes undeniable. Experience has shown
that no exceptional degree of any other capacity is necessary to make
a successful leader. There need be no specially arduous training,
no great weight of knowledge either of affairs or the human heart,
no receptiveness to new ideas, no outlook into reality. Indeed, the
mere absence of such seems to be an advantage; for originality is apt
to appear to the people as flightiness, scepticism as feebleness,
caution as doubt of the great political principles that may happen
at the moment to be immutable. The successful shepherd thinks like
his sheep, and can lead his flock only if he keeps no more than the
shortest distance in advance. He must remain, in fact, recognizable
as one of the flock, magnified no doubt, louder, coarser, above
all with more urgent wants and ways of expression than the common
sheep, but in essence to their feeling of the same flesh with them.
In the human herd the necessity of the leader bearing unmistakable
marks of identification is equally essential. Variations from the
normal standard in intellectual matters are tolerated {117} if they
are not very conspicuous, for man has never yet taken reason very
seriously, and can still look upon intellectuality as not more than
a peccadillo if it is not paraded conspicuously; variations from the
moral standard are, however, of a much greater significance as marks
of identification, and when they become obvious, can at once change a
great and successful leader into a stranger and an outcast, however
little they may seem to be relevant to the adequate execution of
his public work. If a leader’s marks of identity with the herd are
of the right kind, the more they are paraded the better. We like to
see photographs of him nursing his little grand-daughter, we like to
know that he plays golf badly, and rides the bicycle like our common
selves, we enjoy hearing of “pretty incidents” in which he has given
the blind crossing-sweeper a penny or begged a glass of water at a
wayside cottage—and there are excellent biological reasons for our

In times of war leadership is not less obviously based on instinct,
though naturally, since the herd is exposed to a special series of
stresses, manifestations of it are also somewhat special. A people
at war feels the need of direction much more intensely than a people
at peace, and as always they want some one who appeals to their
instinctive feeling of being directed, comparatively regardless
of whether he is able in fact to direct. This instinctive feeling
inclines them to the choice of a man who presents at any rate the
appearance and manners of authority and power rather than to one who
possesses the substance of capacity but is denied the shadow. They
have their conventional pictures of the desired type—the strong,
silent, relentless, the bold, outspoken, hard, and energetic—but at
all costs he must be a “man,” a “leader who can lead,” a shepherd, in
fact, who, by his gesticulations and {118} his shouts, leaves his
flock in no doubt as to his presence and his activity. It is touching
to remember how often a people in pursuit of this ideal has obtained
and accepted in response to its prayers nothing but melodramatic
bombast, impatience, rashness, and foolish, boasting truculence; and
to remember how often a great statesman in his country’s need has had
to contend not merely with her foreign enemies, but with those at home
whose vociferous malignity has declared his magnanimous composure to
be sluggishness, his cautious scepticism to be feebleness, and his
unostentatious resolution to be stupidity.

5. His relations with his fellows are dependent upon the recognition
of him as a member of the herd. It is important to the success of a
gregarious species that individuals should be able to move freely
within the large unit while strangers are excluded. Mechanisms to
secure such personal recognition are therefore a characteristic feature
of the social habit. The primitive olfactory greeting common to so many
of the lower animals was doubtless rendered impossible for man by his
comparative loss of the sense of smell long before it ceased to accord
with his pretensions, yet in a thriving active species the function of
recognition was as necessary as ever. Recognition by vision could be of
only limited value, and it seems probable that speech very early became
the accepted medium. Possibly the necessity to distinguish friend
from foe was one of the conditions which favoured the development
of articulate speech. Be this as it may, speech at the present time
retains strong evidence of the survival in it of the function of herd
recognition. As is usual with instinctive activities in man, the actual
state of affairs is concealed by a deposit of rationalized explanation
which is apt to discourage merely superficial inquiry. The function
of conversation is, it is to be supposed, ordinarily regarded {119}
as being the exchange of ideas and information. Doubtless it has come
to have such a function, but an objective examination of ordinary
conversation shows that the actual conveyance of ideas takes a very
small part in it. As a rule the exchange seems to consist of ideas
which are necessarily common to the two speakers, and are known to be
so by each. The process, however, is none the less satisfactory for
this; indeed, it seems even to derive its satisfactoriness therefrom.
The interchange of the conventional lead and return is obviously very
far from being tedious or meaningless to the interlocutors. They can,
however, have derived nothing from it but the confirmation to one
another of their sympathy and of the class or classes to which they

Conversations of greeting are naturally particularly rich in the
exchange of purely ceremonial remarks, ostensibly based on some
subject like the weather, in which there must necessarily be an
absolute community of knowledge. It is possible, however, for a long
conversation to be made up entirely of similar elements, and to contain
no trace of any conveyance of new ideas; such intercourse is probably
that which on the whole is most satisfactory to the “normal” man and
leaves him more comfortably stimulated than would originality or
brilliance, or any other manifestation of the strange and therefore of
the disreputable.

Conversation between persons unknown to one another is also—when
satisfactory—apt to be rich in the ritual of recognition. When one
hears or takes part in these elaborate evolutions, gingerly proffering
one after another of one’s marks of identity, one’s views on the
weather, on fresh air and draughts, on the Government and on uric
acid, watching intently for the first low hint of a growl, which will
show one belongs to the wrong pack {120} and must withdraw, it is
impossible not to be reminded of the similar manœuvres of the dog, and
to be thankful that Nature has provided us with a less direct, though
perhaps a more tedious, code.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may appear that we have been dealing here with a far-fetched and
laboured analogy, and making much of a comparison of trivialities
merely for the sake of compromising, if that could be done, human
pretensions to reason. To show that the marvel of human communion
began, perhaps, as a very humble function, and yet retains traces of
its origin, is in no way to minimize the value or dignity of the more
fully developed power. The capacity for free intercommunication between
individuals of the species has meant so much in the evolution of man,
and will certainly come in the future to mean so incalculably more,
that it cannot be regarded as anything less than a master element in
the shaping of his destiny.


It is apparent after very little consideration that the extent of man’s
individual mental development is a factor which has produced many novel
characters in his manifestations of the social habit, and has even
concealed to a great extent the profound influence this instinct has in
regulating his conduct, his thought, and his society.

Large mental capacity in the individual, as we have already seen, has
the effect of providing a wide freedom of response to instinctive
impulses, so that, while the individual is no less impelled by instinct
than a more primitive type, the manifestations of these impulses in
his conduct are very varied, and his conduct loses the appearance of a
{121} narrow concentration on its instinctive object. It needs only
to pursue this reasoning to a further stage to reach the conclusion
that mental capacity, while in no way limiting the impulsive power
of instinct, may, by providing an infinite number of channels into
which the impulse is free to flow, actually prevent the impulse from
attaining the goal of its normal object. In the ascetic the sex
instinct is defeated, in the martyr that of self-preservation, not
because these instincts have been abolished, but because the activity
of the mind has found new channels for them to flow in. As might be
expected, the much more labile herd instinct has been still more
subject to this deflection and dissipation without its potential
impulsive strength being in any way impaired. It is this process which
has enabled primitive psychology so largely to ignore the fact that
man still is, as much as ever, endowed with a heritage of instinct and
incessantly subject to its influence. Man’s mental capacity, again,
has enabled him as a species to flourish enormously, and thereby to
increase to a prodigious extent the size of the unit in which the
individual is merged. The nation, if the term be used to describe
every organization under a completely independent, supreme government,
must be regarded as the smallest unit on which natural selection now
unrestrictedly acts. Between such units there is free competition,
and the ultimate regulator of these relations is physical force. This
statement needs the qualification that the delimitation between two
given units may be much sharper than that between two others, so that
in the first case the resort to force is likely to occur readily, while
in the second case it will be brought about only by the very ultimate
necessity. The tendency to the enlargement of the social unit has been
going on with certain temporary relapses throughout human history.
{122} Though repeatedly checked by the instability of the larger
units, it has always resumed its activity, so that it should probably
be regarded as a fundamental biological drift the existence of which is
a factor which must always be taken into account in dealing with the
structure of human society.

The gregarious mind shows certain characteristics which throw some
light on this phenomenon of the progressively enlarging unit. The
gregarious animal is different from the solitary in the capacity
to become conscious in a special way of the existence of other
creatures. This specific consciousness of his fellows carries with
it a characteristic element of communion with them. The individual
knows another individual of the same herd as a partaker in an entity
of which he himself is a part, so that the second individual is in
some way and to a certain extent identical with himself and part of
his own personality. He is able to feel with the other and share his
pleasures and sufferings as if they were an attenuated form of his own
personal experiences. The degree to which this assimilation of the
interests of another person is carried depends, in a general way, on
the extent of the intercommunication between the two. In human society
a man’s interest in his fellows is distributed about him concentrically
according to a compound of various relations they bear to him which
we may call in a broad way their nearness. The centrifugal fading of
interest is seen when we compare the man’s feeling towards one near
to him with his feeling towards one farther off. He will be disposed,
other things being equal, to sympathize with a relative as against a
fellow-townsman, with a fellow-townsman as against a mere inhabitant of
the same county, with the latter as against the rest of the country,
with an Englishman as against a European, with a European as against
an Asiatic, and so on until a limit is reached beyond {123} which
all human interest is lost. The distribution of interest is of course
never purely geographical, but is modified by, for example, trade and
professional sympathy, and by special cases of intercommunication
which bring topographically distant individuals into a closer grade
of feeling than their mere situation would demand. The essential
principle, however, is that the degree of sympathy with a given
individual varies directly with the amount of intercommunication with
him. The capacity to assimilate the interests of another individual
with one’s own, to allow him, as it were, to partake in one’s own
personality, is what is called altruism, and might equally well perhaps
be called expansive egoism. It is a characteristic of the gregarious
animal, and is a perfectly normal and necessary development in him of
his instinctive inheritance.

Altruism is a quality the understanding of which has been much obscured
by its being regarded from the purely human point of view. Judged
from this standpoint, it has been apt to appear as a breach in the
supposedly “immutable” laws of “Nature red in tooth and claw,” as a
virtue breathed into man from some extra-human source, or as a weakness
which must be stamped out of any race which is to be strong, expanding,
and masterful. To the biologist these views are equally false,
superfluous, and romantic. He is aware that altruism occurs only in a
medium specifically protected from the unqualified influence of natural
selection, that it is the direct outcome of instinct, and that it is a
source of strength because it is a source of union.

In recent times, freedom of travel, and the development of the
resources rendered available by education, have increased the general
mass of intercommunication to an enormous extent. Side by side with
this, altruism has come more and more into recognition as a supreme
moral law. There is {124} already a strong tendency to accept
selfishness as a test of sin, and consideration for others as a test of
virtue, and this has influenced even those who by public profession are
compelled to maintain that right and wrong are to be defined only in
terms of an arbitrary extra-natural code.

Throughout the incalculable ages of man’s existence as a social animal,
Nature has been hinting to him in less and less ambiguous terms that
altruism must become the ultimate sanction of his moral code. Her
whispers have never gained more than grudging and reluctant notice from
the common man, and from those intensified forms of the common man, his
pastors and masters. Only to the alert senses of moral genius has the
message been at all intelligible, and when it has been interpreted to
the people it has always been received with obloquy and derision, with
persecution and martyrdom. Thus, as so often happens in human society,
has one manifestation of herd instinct been met and opposed by another.

As intercommunication tends constantly to widen the field of action
of altruism, a point is reached when the individual becomes capable
of some kind of sympathy, however attenuated, with beings outside the
limits of the biological unit within which the primitive function of
altruism lies. This extension is perhaps possible only in man. In
a creature like the bee the rigidly limited mental capacity of the
individual and the closely organized society of the hive combine to
make the boundary of the hive correspond closely with the uttermost
limit of the field over which altruism is active. The bee, capable of
great sympathy and understanding in regard to her fellow-members of
the hive, is utterly callous and without understanding in regard to
any creature of external origin and existence. Man, however, with his
infinitely greater capacity for assimilating {125} experience, has not
been able to maintain the rigid limitation of sympathy to the unit, the
boundaries of which tend to acquire a certain indefiniteness not seen
in any of the lower gregarious types.

Hence tends to appear a sense of international justice, a vague feeling
of being responsibly concerned in all human affairs and by a natural
consequence the ideas and impulses denoted under the term “pacifism.”

One of the most natural and obvious consequences of war is a hardening
of the boundaries of the social unit and a retraction of the vague
feelings towards international sympathy which are a characteristic
product of peace and intercommunication. Thus it comes about that
pacifism and internationalism are in great disgrace at the present
time; they are regarded as the vapourings of cranky windbags who have
inevitably been punctured at the first touch of the sword; they are,
our political philosophers tell us, but products of the miasm of
sentimental fallacy which tends to be bred in the relaxing atmosphere
of peace. Perhaps no general expressions have been more common since
the beginning of the war, in the mouths of those who have undertaken
our instruction in the meaning of events, than the propositions
that pacifism is now finally exploded and shown always to have been
nonsense, that war is and always will be an inevitable necessity in
human affairs as man is what is called a fighting animal, and that not
only is the abolition of war an impossibility, but should the abolition
of it unhappily prove to be possible after all and be accomplished, the
result could only be degeneration and disaster.

Biological considerations would seem to suggest that these
generalizations contain a large element of inexactitude. The doctrine
of pacifism is {126} a perfectly natural development, and ultimately
inevitable in an animal having an unlimited appetite for experience
and an indestructible inheritance of social instinct. Like all moral
discoveries made in the haphazard, one-sided way which the lack of
co-ordination in human society forces upon its moral pioneers, it
has necessarily an appearance of crankiness, of sentimentality, of
an inaptitude for the grasp of reality. This is normal and does not
in the least affect the value of the truth it contains. Legal and
religious torture were doubtless first attacked by cranks; slavery
was abolished by them. Advocacy by such types does not therefore
constitute an argument of any weight against their doctrines, which
can adequately be judged only by some purely objective standard.
Judged by such a standard, pacifism, as we have seen, appears to be a
natural development, and is directed towards a goal which unless man’s
nature undergoes a radical change will probably be attained. That its
attainment has so far been foreseen only by a class of men possessing
more than the usual impracticability of the minor prophet is hardly to
be considered a relevant fact.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is impossible to leave this subject without some comment on the
famous doctrine that war is a biological necessity. Even if one knew
nothing of those who have enunciated this proposition, its character
would enable one to suspect it of being the utterance of a soldier
rather than a biologist. There is about it a confidence that the vital
effects of war are simple and easy to define and a cheerful contempt
for the considerable biological difficulties of the subject that remind
one of the bracing military atmosphere, in which a word of command is
the supreme fact, rather than that of the laboratory, {127} where
facts are the masters of all. It may be supposed that even in the
country of its birth the doctrine seemed more transcendently true in
times of peace amid a proud and brilliant regime than it does now after
more than twelve months of war. The whole conception is of a type to
arouse interest in its psychological origin rather than in a serious
discussion of its merits. It arose in a military State abounding in
prosperity and progress of very recent growth, and based upon three
short wars which had come closely one after another and formed an
ascending series of brilliant success. In such circumstances even
grosser assumptions might very well flourish and some such doctrine was
a perfectly natural product. The situation of the warrior-biologist
was in some way that of the orthodox expounder of ethics or political
economy—his conclusions were ready-made for him; all he had to do was
to find the “reasons” for them. War and war only had produced the best
and greatest and strongest State—indeed, the only State worthy of the
name; therefore war is the great creative and sustaining force of
States, or the universe is a mere meaningless jumble of accidents. If
only wars would always conform to the original Prussian pattern, as
they did in the golden age from 1864 to 1870—the unready adversary,
the few pleasantly strenuous weeks or months, the thumping indemnity!
That is the sort of biological necessity one can understand. But twelve
months of agonizing, indecisive effort in Poland and Russia and France,
might have made the syllogism a little less perfect, the new law of
Nature not quite so absolute.

These matters, however, are quite apart from the practical question
whether war is a necessity to maintain the efficiency and energy
of nations and to prevent them sinking into sloth and degeneracy.
The {128} problem may be stated in another form. When we take a
comprehensive survey of the natural history of man—using that term to
include the whole of his capacities, activities, and needs, physical,
intellectual, moral—do we find that war is the indispensable instrument
whereby his survival and progress as a species are maintained? We are
assuming in this statement that progress or increased elaboration is to
continue to be a necessary tendency in his course by which his fate,
through the action of inherited needs, powers, and weaknesses, and of
external pressure is irrevocably conditioned. The assumption, though
commonly made, is by no means obviously true. Some of the evidence
justifying it will be dealt with later; it will not be necessary here
to do more than note that we are for the moment treating the doctrine
of human progress as a postulate.

Man is unique among gregarious animals in the size of the major unit
upon which natural selection and its supposedly chief instrument,
war, is open to act unchecked. There is no other animal in which the
size of the unit, however laxly held together, has reached anything
even remotely approaching the inclusion of one-fifth or one-quarter
of the whole species. It is plain that a mortal contest between two
units of such a monstrous size introduces an altogether new mechanism
into the hypothetical “struggle for existence” on which the conception
of the biological necessity of war is founded. It is clear that
that doctrine, if it is to claim validity, must contemplate at any
rate the possibility of a war of extremity, even of something like
extermination, which shall implicate perhaps a third of the whole human
race. There is no parallel in biology for progress being accomplished
as the result of a racial impoverishment so extreme, even if it were
accompanied by a closely specific {129} selection instead of a mere
indiscriminate destruction. Progress is undoubtedly dependent mainly on
the material that is available for selection being rich and varied. Any
great reduction in the amount and variety of what is to be regarded as
the raw material of elaboration necessarily must have as an infallible
effect, the arrest of progress. It may be objected, however, that
anything approaching extermination could obviously not be possible in
a war between such immense units as those of modern man. Nevertheless,
the object of each of the two adversaries would be to impose its
will on the other, and to destroy in it all that was especially
individual, all the types of activity and capacity which were the
most characteristic in its civilization and therefore the cause of
hostility. The effect of success in such an endeavour would be an
enormous impoverishment of the variety of the race and a corresponding
effect on progress.

To this line of speculation it may perhaps further be objected that the
question is not of the necessity of war to the race as a whole, but to
the individual nation or major unit. The argument has been used that
when a nation is obviously the repository of all the highest gifts and
tendencies of civilization, the race must in the end benefit, if this
nation, by force if necessary, imposes its will and its principles on
as much of the world as it can. To the biologist the weakness of this
proposition—apart from the plain impossibility of a nation attaining
an objective estimate of the value of its own civilization—is that it
embodies a course of action which tends to the spread of uniformity
and to limit that variety of material which is the fundamental quality
essential for progress. In certain cases of very gross discrepancy
between the value of two civilizations, it is quite possible that the
destruction of the simpler by the more elaborate does not result in
any great {130} loss to the race through the suppression of valuable
varieties. Even this admission is, however, open to debate, and it
may well be doubted whether in some ways the wholesale extermination
of “inferior” races has not denied to the species the perpetuation of
lines of variation which might have been of great value.

It seems remarkable that among gregarious animals other than man direct
conflict between major units such as can lead to the suppression of
the less powerful is an inconspicuous phenomenon. They are, it may be
supposed, too busily engaged in maintaining themselves against external
enemies to have any opportunities for fighting within the species.
Man’s complete conquest of the grosser enemies of his race has allowed
him leisure for turning his restless pugnacity—a quality no longer
fully occupied upon his non-human environment—against his own species.
When the major units of humanity were small the results of such
conflict were not perhaps very serious to the race as a whole, except
in prolonging the twilight stages of civilization. It can scarcely be
questioned that the organization of a people for war tends to encourage
unduly a type of individual who is abnormally insensitive to doubt,
to curiosity, and to the development of original thought. With the
enlargement of the unit and the accompanying increase in knowledge
and resources, war becomes much more seriously expensive to the race.
In the present war the immense size of the units engaged and their
comparative equality in power have furnished a complete _reductio ad
absurdum_ of the proposition that war in itself is a good thing even
for the individual nation. It would seem, then, that in the original
proposition the word “war” must be qualified to mean a war against a
smaller and notably weaker adversary. The German Empire was founded on
such wars. {131} The conception of the biological necessity of war
may fairly be expected to demonstrate its validity in the fate of that
Empire if such a demonstration is ever to be possible. Every condition
for a crucial experiment was present: a brilliant inauguration in the
very atmosphere of military triumph, a conscious realization of the
value of the martial spirit, a determination to keep the warrior ideal
conspicuously foremost with a people singularly able and willing to
accept it. If this is the way in which an ultimate world-power is to
be founded and maintained, no single necessary factor is lacking. And
yet after a few years, in what should be the very first youth of an
Empire, we find it engaged against a combination of Powers of fabulous
strength, which, by a miracle of diplomacy no one else could have
accomplished, it has united against itself. It is an irrelevance to
assert that this combination is the result of malice, envy, treachery,
barbarism; such terms are by hypothesis not admissible. If the
system of Empire-building is not proof against those very elementary
enemies, any further examination of it is of course purely academic.
To withstand those is just what the Empire is there for; if it falls
a victim to them, it fails in its first and simplest function and
displays a radical defect in its structure. To the objectivist practice
is the only test in human affairs, and he will not allow his attention
to be distracted from what did happen by the most perfectly logical
demonstration of what ought to have happened. It is the business of an
Empire not to encounter overwhelming enemies. Declaring itself to be
the most perfect example of its kind and the foreordained heir of the
world will remain no more than a pleasant—and dangerous—indulgence, and
will not prevent it showing by its fate that the fruits of perfection
and the promise of permanence are not demonstrated in the wholesale
{132} manufacture of enemies and in the combination of them into an
alliance of unparalleled strength.

       *       *       *       *       *

The doctrine of the biological necessity of war may, then, be regarded
as open to strong suspicion on theoretical grounds of being contrary
to the evolutionary tendency already plainly marked out for the human
species. The fact that the nation in which its truth was most generally
accepted has been led—and undoubtedly to some extent by it—into a
war which can scarcely fail to prove disastrous suggests that in the
practical field it is equally fallacious. It may well, therefore, be
removed to the lumber-room of speculation and stored among the other
pseudo-scientific dogmas of political “biologists”—the facile doctrines
of degeneracy, the pragmatic lecturings on national characteristics, on
Teutons and Celts, on Latins and Slavs, on pure races and mixed races,
and all the other ethnological conceits with which the ignorant have
gulled the innocent so long.


The study of man as a gregarious animal has not been pursued with the
thoroughness and objectivity it deserves and must receive if it is to
yield its full value in illuminating his status and in the management
of society. The explanation of this comparative neglect is to be
found in the complex irregularity which obscures the social habit as
manifested by man. Thus it comes to be believed that gregariousness
is no longer a fully functional and indispensable inheritance,
but survives at the present day merely in a vestigial form as an
interesting but quite unimportant relic of primitive activities. We
have already shown that man is ruled by instinctive impulses just as
imperative and just as {133} characteristically social as those of
any other gregarious animal. A further argument that he is to-day as
actively and essentially a social animal as ever is furnished by the
fact that he suffers from the disadvantages of such an animal to a more
marked degree perhaps than any other. In physical matters he owes to
his gregariousness and its uncontrolled tendency to the formation of
crowded communities with enclosed dwellings, the seriousness of many
of his worst diseases, such as tuberculosis, typhus, and plague; there
is no evidence that these diseases effect anything but an absolutely
indiscriminate destruction, killing the strong and the weakly, the
socially useful and the socially useless, with equal readiness, so that
they cannot be regarded as even of the least selective value to man.
The only other animal which is well known to suffer seriously from
disease as a direct consequence of its social habit is the honey bee—as
has been demonstrated by recent epidemics of exterminating severity.

In mental affairs, as I have tried to show, man owes to the social
habit his inveterate resistiveness to new ideas, his submission to
tradition and precedent, and the very serious fact that governing power
in his communities tends to pass into the hands of what I have called
the stable-minded—a class the members of which are characteristically
insensitive to experience, closed to the entry of new ideas, and
obsessed with the satisfactoriness of things as they are. At the time
when this corollary of gregariousness was first pointed out—some
ten years ago—it was noted as a serious flaw in the stability of
civilization. The suggestion was made that as long as the great
expert tasks of government necessarily gravitated into the hands of
a class which characteristically lacked the greater developments of
mental capacity and efficiency, the course of {134} civilization must
continue to be at the mercy of accident and disaster. The present
European war—doubtless in the actual state of affairs a remedy no less
necessary because of its dreadfulness—is an example on the greatest
possible scale of the kind of price the race has to pay for the way in
which minds and temperaments are selected by its society.

When we see the great and serious drawbacks which gregariousness
has entailed on man, it cannot but be supposed that that course
of evolution has been imposed upon him by a real and deep-seated
peculiarity of his nature—a fatal inheritance which it is impossible
for him to repudiate.

       *       *       *       *       *

When we inquire why it is that the manifestations of gregariousness in
man are so ambiguous that their biological significance has been to
a great extent overlooked, the answer seems to be furnished by that
capacity for various reaction which is the result of his general mental
development, and which has tended almost equally to obscure his other
instinctive activities. It may be repeated once more that in a creature
such as the bee the narrow mental capacity of the individual limits
reaction to a few and relatively simple courses, so that the dominance
of instinct in the species can to the attentive observer never be long
in doubt. In man the equal dominance of instinct is obscured by the
kaleidoscopic variety of the reactions by which it is more or less
effectually satisfied.

While to a superficial examination of society the evidences of man’s
gregarious inheritance are ambiguous and trivial, to the closer
scrutiny of the biologist it soon becomes obvious that in society as
constituted to-day the advantageous mechanisms rendered available by
that inheritance are not being made use of to anything approaching
their full possibilities. To such an extent is this the case {135}
that the situation of man as a species even is probably a good deal
more precarious than has usually been supposed by those who have
come to be in charge of its destinies. The species is irrevocably
committed to a certain evolutionary path by the inheritance of instinct
it possesses. This course brings with it inevitable and serious
disadvantages as well as enormously greater potential advantages. As
long as the spirit of the race is content to be submissive to the
former and indifferent to the discovery and development of the latter,
it can scarcely have a bare certainty of survival and much less of
progressive enlargement of its powers.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the society of the bee two leading characteristics are evident—an
elaborate and exact specialization of the individual, and a perfect
absorption of the interests of the individual in those of the hive;
these qualities seem to be the source of the unique energy and power
of the whole unit and of the remarkable superiority of intelligence
it possesses over the individual member. It is a commonplace of human
affairs that combined action is almost invariably less intelligent than
individual action, a fact which shows how very little the members of
the species are yet capable of combination and co-ordination and how
far inferior—on account, no doubt, of his greater mental capacity—man
is in this respect to the bee.

This combination of specialization and moral homogeneity should be
evident in human society if it is taking advantage of its biological
resources. Both are, in fact, rather conspicuously absent.

There is abundant specialization of a sort; but it is inexact, lax,
wasteful of energy, and often quite useless through being on the one
hand superfluous or on the other incomplete. We have large numbers of
experts in the various branches of science {136} and the arts, but
we insist upon their adding to the practice of their specialisms the
difficult task of earning their living in an open competitive market.
The result is that we tend to get at the summit of our professions only
those rare geniuses who combine real specialist capacity with the arts
of the bagman. An enormous proportion of our experts have to earn their
living by teaching—an exhausting and exacting art for which they are
not at all necessarily qualified, and one which demands a great amount
of time for the earning of a very exiguous pittance.

The teaching of our best schools, a task so important that it should be
entrusted to none but those highly qualified by nature and instruction
in the art, is almost entirely in the hands of athletes and grammarians
of dead languages. We choose as our governors amateurs of whom we
demand fluency, invincible prejudice, and a resolute blindness to
dissentient opinion. In commerce we allow ourselves to be overrun by a
multitude of small and mostly inefficient traders struggling to make
a living by the supply of goods from the narrow and ageing stocks
which are all they can afford to keep. We allow the supply of our
foodstuffs to be largely in the hands of those who cannot afford to
be clean, and submit out of mere indifference to being fed on meat,
bread, vegetables which have been for an indefinite period at the
mercy of dirty middlemen, the dust and mud and flies of the street,
and the light-hearted thumbing errand-boy. We allow a large proportion
of our skilled workers to waste skill and energy on the manufacture of
things which are neither useful nor beautiful, on elaborate specialist
valeting, cooking, gardening for those who are their inferiors in
social activity and value.

The moral homogeneity so plainly visible in the {137} society of the
bee is replaced in man by a segregation into classes which tends always
to obscure the unity of the nation and often is directly antagonistic
to it. The readiness with which such segregation occurs seems to be due
to the invincible strength of the gregarious impulse in the individual
man and to the immense size and strength of the modern major unit of
the species. It would appear that in order that a given unit should
develop the highest degree of homogeneity within itself it must be
subject to direct pressure from without. A great abundance of food
supply and consequent relaxed external pressure may in the bee lead
to indiscriminate swarming, while in man the size and security of the
modern State lead to a relaxation of the closer grades of national
unity—in the absence of deliberate encouragement of it or of the
stimulus of war. The need of the individual for homogeneity is none the
less present, and the result is segregation into classes which form, as
it were, minor herds in which homogeneity is maintained by the external
pressure of competition, of political or religious differences and so
forth. Naturally enough such segregations have come to correspond in
a rough way with the various types of imperfect specialization which
exist. This tendency is clearly of unfavourable effect on national
unity, since it tends to obscure the national value of specialization
and to give it a merely local and class significance. Segregation in
itself is always dangerous in that it provides the individual with a
substitute for the true major unit—the nation—and in times when there
is an urgent need for national homogeneity may prove to be a hostile

It has been characteristic of the governing classes to acquiesce in
the fullest developments of segregation and even to defend them by
force and to fail to realize in times of emergency that national {138}
homogeneity must always be a partial and weakly passion as long as
segregation actively persists.

       *       *       *       *       *

Class segregation has thus come to be regarded as a necessary and
inevitable part of the structure of society. Telling as it does much
more in the favour of certain classes than others, it has come to be
defended by a whole series of legal and moral principles invented
for the purpose, and by arguments that to objective examination are
no more than rationalized prejudice. The maintenance of the social
system—that is, of the segregation of power and prestige, of ease and
leisure, and the corresponding segregations of labour, privation, and
poverty—depends upon an enormously elaborate system of rationalization,
tradition, and morals, and upon almost innumerable indirect mechanisms
ranging from the drugging of society with alcohol to the distortion of
religious principle in the interests of the established order. To the
biologist the whole immensely intricate system is a means for combating
the slow, almost imperceptible, pressure of Nature in the direction
of a true national homogeneity. That this must be attained if human
progress is to continue is, and has long been, obvious. The further
fact that it can be attained only by a radical change in the whole
human attitude towards society is but barely emerging from obscurity.

The fact that even the immense external stimulus of a great war now
fails to overcome the embattled forces of social segregation, and
can bring about only a very partial kind of national homogeneity in
a society where segregation is deeply ingrained, seems to show that
simple gregariousness has run its course in man and has been defeated
of its full maturity by the disruptive power of man’s capacity for
varied reaction. No state of equilibrium can be reached in a gregarious
society short of complete {139} homogeneity, so that, failing the
emergence of some new resource of Nature, it might be suspected that
man, as a species, has already begun to decline from his meridian.
Such a new principle is the conscious direction of society by man,
the refusal by him to submit indefinitely to the dissipation of his
energies and the disappointment of his ideals in inco-ordination and
confusion. Thus would appear a function for that individual mental
capacity of man which has so far, when limited to local and personal
ends, tended but to increase the social confusion.

A step of evolution such as this would have consequences as momentous
as the first appearance of the multicellular or of the gregarious
animal. Man, conscious as a species of his true status and destiny,
realizing the direction of the path to which he is irrevocably
committed by Nature, with a moral code based on the unshakable natural
foundation of altruism, could begin to draw on those stores of power
which will be opened to him by a true combination, and the rendering
available in co-ordinated action of the maximal energy of each


The occurrence of war between nations renders obvious certain
manifestations of the social instinct which are apt to escape notice
at other times. So marked is this that a certain faint interest in the
biology of gregariousness has been aroused during the present war, and
has led to some speculation but no very radical examination of the
facts or explanation of their meaning. Expression, of course, has been
found for the usual view that primitive instincts normally vestigial
or dormant are aroused into activity by the stress of war, and that
there is a process of rejuvenation of “lower” instincts at the expense
of “higher.” All such views, apart {140} from their theoretical
unsoundness, are uninteresting because they are of no practical value.

It will be convenient to mention some of the more obvious psychological
phenomena of a state of war before dealing with the underlying
instinctive processes which produce them.

The war that began in August 1914 was of a kind peculiarly suitable
to produce the most marked and typical psychological effects. It had
long been foreseen as no more than a mere possibility of immense
disaster—of disaster so outrageous that by that very fact it had come
to be regarded with a passionate incredulity. It had loomed before the
people, at any rate of England, as an event almost equivalent to the
ultimate overthrow of all things. It had been led up to by years of
doubt and anxiety, sometimes rising to apprehension, sometimes lapsing
into unbelief, and culminating in an agonized period of suspense,
while the avalanche tottered and muttered on its base before the final
and still incredible catastrophe. Such were the circumstances which
no doubt led to the actual outbreak producing a remarkable series of
typical psychological reactions.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first feeling of the ordinary citizen was fear—an immense, vague,
aching anxiety, perhaps typically vague and unfocused, but naturally
tending soon to localize itself in channels customary to the individual
and leading to fears for his future, his food supply, his family, his
trade, and so forth. Side by side with fear there was a heightening
of the normal intolerance of isolation. Loneliness became an urgently
unpleasant feeling, and the individual experienced an intense and
active desire for the company and even physical contact of his fellows.
In such company he was aware of a great accession of confidence,
courage, and moral power. It was possible for an observant person
to trace the actual {141} influence of his circumstances upon his
judgment, and to notice that isolation tended to depress his confidence
while company fortified it. The necessity for companionship was
strong enough to break down the distinctions of class, and dissipate
the reserve between strangers which is to some extent a concomitant
mechanism. The change in the customary frigid atmosphere of the railway
train, the omnibus, and all such meeting-places was a most interesting
experience to the psychologist, and he could scarcely fail to be struck
by its obvious biological meaning. Perhaps the most striking of all
these early phenomena was the strength and vitality of rumour, probably
because it afforded by far the most startling evidence that some other
and stronger force than reason was at work in the formation of opinion.
It was, of course, in no sense an unusual fact that non-rational
opinion should be so widespread; the new feature was that such opinion
should be able to spread so rapidly and become established so firmly
altogether regardless of the limits within which a given opinion tends
to remain localized in times of peace. Non-rational opinion under
normal conditions is as a rule limited in its extent by a very strict
kind of segregation; the successful rumours of the early periods of the
war invaded all classes and showed a capacity to overcome prejudice,
education, or scepticism. The observer, clearly conscious as he might
be of the mechanisms at work, found himself irresistibly drawn to the
acceptance of the more popular beliefs; and even the most convinced
believer in the normal prevalence of non-rational belief could scarcely
have exaggerated the actual state of affairs. Closely allied with this
accessibility to rumour was the readiness with which suspicions of
treachery and active hostility grew and flourished about any one of
even foreign appearance or origin. It is not intended to {142} attempt
to discuss the origin and meaning of the various types of fable which
have been epidemic in opinion; the fact we are concerned with here is
their immense vitality and power of growth.

We may now turn to some consideration of the psychological significance
of these phenomena of a state of war.

The characteristic feature of a really dangerous national struggle for
existence is the intensity of the stimulus it applies to the social
instinct. It is not that it arouses “dormant” or decayed instincts, but
simply that it applies maximal stimulation to instinctive mechanisms
which are more or less constantly in action in normal times. In most
of his reactions as a gregarious animal in times of peace, man is
acting as a member of one or another class upon which the stimulus
acts. War acts upon him as a member of the greater herd, the nation,
or, in other words, the true major unit. As I have repeatedly pointed
out, the cardinal mental characteristic of the gregarious animal is
his sensitiveness to his fellow-members of the herd. Without them his
personality is, so to say, incomplete; only in relation to them can
he attain satisfaction and personal stability. Corresponding with
his dependence on them is his openness towards them, his specific
accessibility to stimuli coming from the herd.

A threat directed towards the whole herd is the intensest stimulus
to these potentialities, and the individual reacts towards it in the
most vigorous way.[O] The first response is a thrill of alarm which
{143} passes through the herd from one member to another with magic
rapidity. It puts him on the alert, sets him looking for guidance,
prepares him to receive commands, but above all draws him to the herd
in the first instinctive concentration against the enemy. In the
presence of this stimulus even such partial and temporary isolation as
was possible without it becomes intolerable. The physical presence of
the herd, the actual contact and recognition of its members, becomes
indispensable. This is no mere functionless desire, for re-embodiment
in the herd at once fortifies courage and fills the individual with
moral power, enthusiasm, and fortitude. The meaning that mere physical
contact with his fellows still has for man is conclusively shown in
the use that has been made of attacks in close formation in the German
armies. It is perfectly clear that a densely crowded formation has
psychological advantages in the face of danger, which enable quite
ordinary beings to perform what are in fact prodigies of valour.
Even undisciplined civil mobs have, on occasion, proved wonderfully
valorous, though their absence of unity often causes their enterprise
to alternate with panic. A disciplined mob—if one may use that word
merely as a physical expression, without any derogatory meaning—has
been shown in this war on innumerable occasions to be capable of facing
dangers the facing of which by isolated individuals would be feats of
fabulous bravery. {144}

     [O] War in itself is by no means necessarily a maximal stimulus
     to herd instinct if it does not involve a definite threat to the
     whole herd. This fact is well shown in the course of the South
     African War of 1899–1901. This war was not and was not regarded
     as capable of becoming a direct threat to the life of the nation.
     There was consequently no marked moral concentration of the
     people, no massive energizing of the Government by a homogeneous
     nation, and therefore the conduct of the war was in general
     languid, timid, and pessimistic. The morale of the people was as
     a whole bad; there was an exaggerated hunger for good news, and
     an excessive satisfaction in it; an exaggerated pessimism was
     excited by bad news, and public fortitude was shaken by casualties
     which we should now regard as insignificant. Correspondingly the
     activity and vitality of rumour were enormously less than they
     have been in the present war. The weaker stimulus is betrayed
     throughout the whole series of events by the weakness of all the
     characteristic gregarious responses.

The psychological significance of the enormous activity of rumour in
this war is fairly plain. That rumours spread readily and are tenacious
of life is evidence of the sensitiveness to herd opinion which is so
characteristic of the social instinct. The gravity of a threat to the
herd is shown by nothing better than by the activity of rumour. The
strong stimulus to herd instinct produces the characteristic response
in the individual of a maximal sensitiveness to his fellows—to their
presence or absence, their alarms and braveries, and in no less degree
to their opinions. With the establishment of this state of mind the
spread and survival of rumours become inevitable, and will vary
directly with the seriousness of the external danger. Into the actual
genesis of the individual rumours and the meaning of their tendency to
take a stereotyped form we cannot enter here.

The potency of rumour in bearing down rational scepticism displays
unmistakably the importance of the instinctive processes on which it
rests. It is also one of the many evidences that homogeneity within
the herd is a deeply rooted necessity for gregarious animals and is
elaborately provided for by characteristics of the gregarious mind.

The establishment of homogeneity in the herd is the basis of morale.
From homogeneity proceed moral power, enthusiasm, courage, endurance,
enterprise, and all the virtues of the warrior. The peace of mind,
happiness, and energy of the soldier come from his feeling himself to
be a member in a body solidly united for a single purpose. The impulse
towards unity that was so pronounced and universal at the beginning of
the war was, then, a true and sound instinctive movement of defence. It
was prepared to sacrifice all social distinctions and local prejudices
if it could liberate by doing so Nature’s inexhaustible stores of
moral power for the defence {145} of the herd. Naturally enough its
significance was misunderstood, and a great deal of its beneficent
magic was wasted by the good intentions which man is so touchingly
ready to accept as a substitute for knowledge. Even the functional
value of unity was, and still is, for the most part ignored. We are
told to weariness that the great objection to disunion is that it
encourages the enemy. According to this view, apparent disunion is as
serious as real; whereas it must be perfectly obvious that anything
which leads our enemy to under-estimate our strength, as does the
belief that we are disunited when we are not, is of much more service
to us than is neutralized by any more or less visionary disservice we
do ourselves by fortifying his morale. The morale of a nation at war
proceeds from within itself, and the mere pharisaism and conceit that
come from the contemplation of another’s misfortunes are of no moral
value. Modern civilians in general are much too self-conscious to
conduct the grave tragedy of war with the high, preoccupied composure
it demands. They are apt to think too much of what sort of a figure
they are making before the world, to waste energy in superfluous
explanations of themselves, in flustered and voluble attempts to make
friends with bystanders, in posing to the enemy, and imagining they
can seriously influence him by grimaces and gesticulations. As a
matter of fact, it must be confessed that if such manœuvres could be
conducted with a deliberate and purposeful levity which few would now
have the fortitude to employ, there would be a certain satisfaction to
be obtained in this particular war by the knowledge of our adversary
conscientiously, perhaps a little heavily, and with immense resources
of learning “investigating our psychology” upon materials of a wholly
fantastic kind. Such a design, however, is very far from being the
intention of {146} our interpreters to the world, and as long as they
cannot keep the earnest and hysterical note out of their exposition it
were much better for us that they were totally dumb.

To the psychologist it is plain that the seriousness of disunion is the
discouragement to ourselves it necessarily involves. In this lies its
single and its immense importance. Every note of disunion is a loss of
moral power of incalculable influence; every evidence of union is an
equally incalculable gain of moral power. Both halves of this statement
deserve consideration, but the latter is incomparably the more
important. If disunion were the more potent influence, a great deal
might be done for national morale by the forcible control of opinion
and expression. That, however, could yield nothing positive, and we
must rely upon voluntary unity as the only source of all the higher
developments of moral power.

It was towards this object that we dimly groped when we felt in the
early weeks of the war the impulses of friendliness, tolerance, and
goodwill towards our fellow-citizens, and the readiness to sacrifice
what privileges the social system had endowed us with in order to enjoy
the power which a perfect homogeneity of the herd would have given us.

A very small amount of conscious, authoritative direction at that time,
a very little actual sacrifice of privilege at that psychological
moment, a series of small, carefully selected concessions none of which
need have been actually subversive of prescriptive right, a slight
relaxation in the vast inhumanity of the social machine would have
given the needed readjustment out of which a true national homogeneity
would necessarily have grown.

The psychological moment was allowed to pass, and the country was
spared the shock of seeing its {147} moral strength, which should of
course be left to luck, fortified by the hand of science. The history
of England during the first fourteen months of the war was thus left
to pursue its characteristically English course. The social system
of class segregation soon repented of its momentary softness and
resumed its customary rigidity. More than that, it decided that, far
from the war being a special occasion which should penetrate with a
transforming influence the whole of society from top to bottom, as
the common people were at first inclined to think, the proper pose
before the enemy was to be that it made no difference at all. We were
to continue imperturbably with the conduct of our business, and to awe
the Continent with a supreme exhibition of British phlegm. The national
consciousness of the working-man was to be stimulated by his continuing
to supply us with our dividends, and ours by continuing to receive
them. It is not necessary to pursue the history of this new substitute
for unity. It is open to doubt whether our enemies were greatly
appalled by the spectacle, or more so than our friends; it is certain
that the stimulant supplied to the working-man proved to be inadequate
and had to be supplemented by others. . . .

The problem of the function of the common citizen in war was of course
left unsolved. It was accepted that if a man were unfit for service
and not a skilled worker, he himself was a mere dead weight, and
his intense longing for direct service, of however humble a kind, a
by-product of which the State could make no use.

That the working classes have to a certain extent failed to develop a
complete sense of national unity is obvious enough. It is contended
here that what would have been easy in the early days of the war and
actually inexpensive to prescriptive right, has steadily become more
and more costly to effect {148} and less and less efficiently done.
We are already faced with the possibility of having to make profound
changes in the social system to convince the working-man effectually
that his interests and ours in this war are one.

That a very large class of common citizens, incapable of direct
military work, has been left morally derelict during all these
agonizing months of war has probably not been any less serious a fact,
although the recognition of it has not been forced unavoidably on
public notice. It must surely be clear that in a nation engaged in an
urgent struggle for existence, the presence of a large class who are
as sensitive as any to the call of the herd, and yet cannot respond in
any active way, contains very grave possibilities. The only response to
that relentless calling that can give peace is in service; if that be
denied, restlessness, uneasiness, and anxiety must necessarily follow.
To such a mental state are very easily added impatience, discontent,
exaggerated fears, pessimism, and irritability. It must be remembered
that large numbers of such individuals were persons of importance in
peace time and retain a great deal of their prestige under the social
system we have decided to maintain, although in war time they are
obviously without function. This group of idle and flustered parasites
has formed a nucleus from which have proceeded some of the many
outbursts of disunion which have done so much to prevent this country
from developing her resources with smoothness and continuity. It is not
suggested that these eruptions of discontent are due to any kind of
disloyalty; they are the result of defective morale, and bear all the
evidences of coming from persons whose instinctive response to the call
of the herd has been frustrated and who, therefore, lack the strength
and composure of those whose souls are uplifted by a satisfactory
{149} instinctive activity. Moral instability has been characteristic
of all the phenomena of disunion we are now considering, such as
recrudescences of political animus, attacks on individual members
of the Government, outbursts of spy mania, campaigns of incitement
against aliens and of blustering about reprisals. Similar though less
conspicuous manifestations are the delighted circulation of rumours,
the wild scandalmongering, the eager dissemination of pessimistic
inventions which are the pleasure of the smaller amongst these moral
waifs. Of all the evidences of defective morale, however, undoubtedly
the most general has yet to be mentioned, and that is the proffering
of technical advice and exhortation. If we are to judge by what we
read, there are few more urgent temptations than this, and yet it is
easy to see that there are few enterprises which demand a more complete
abrogation of reason. It is almost always the case that the subject
of advice is one upon which all detailed knowledge is withheld by the
authorities. This restriction of materials, however, seems generally
to be regarded by the volunteer critic as giving him greater scope and
freedom rather than as a reason for silence or even modesty.

It is interesting to notice in this connection what those who have the
ear of the public have conceived to be their duty towards the nation
and to try to estimate its value from the point of view of morale. It
is clear that they have in general very rightly understood that one
of their prime functions should be to keep the Government working in
the interests of the nation to the fullest stretch of its energy and
resources. Criticism is another function, and advice and instruction a
third which have also been regarded as important.

The third of these activities is, no doubt, that which has been most
abused and is least important. {150} It tends on the one hand to get
involved in technical military matters and consequent absurdity, and on
the other hand, in civil matters, to fall back into the bad old ways of
politics. Criticism is obviously a perfectly legitimate function, and
one of value as long as it keeps to the field of civil questions, and
can free itself of the moral failure of being acrimonious in tone. In a
government machine engaged upon the largest of tasks there will always
be enough injustice and inhumanity, fraud and foolishness to keep
temperate critics beneficially employed.

It is in the matter of stimulating the energy and resolution of the
Government that the psychologist might perhaps differ to some extent
from the popular guides of opinion. In getting work out of a living
organism it is necessary to determine what is the most efficient
stimulus. One can make a man’s muscles contract by stimulating them
with an electric battery, but one can never get so energetic a
contraction with however strong a current as can be got by the natural
stimulus sent out from the man’s brain. Rising to a more complex level,
we find that a man does not do work by order so well or so thoroughly
as he does work that he desires to do voluntarily. The best way to get
our work done is to get the worker to want to do it. The most urgent
and potent of all stimuli, then, are those that come from within the
man’s soul. It is plain, therefore, that the best way to extract the
maximum amount of work from members of a Government—and it is to yield
this, at whatever cost to themselves, that they are there—is not by the
use of threats and objurgations, by talk of impeachment or dismissal,
or by hints of a day of reckoning after the war, but by keeping their
souls full of a burning passion of service. Such a supply of mental
energy can issue only from a {151} truly homogeneous herd, and it is
therefore to the production of such a homogeneity of feeling that we
come once more as the one unmistakable responsibility of the civilian.

We have seen reason to believe that there was a comparatively
favourable opportunity of establishing such a national unity in the
early phases of the war, and that the attainment of the same result
at this late period is likely to be less easy and more costly of
disturbance to the social structure.

The simplest basis of unity is equality, and this has been an
important factor in the unity which in the past has produced the
classically successful manifestations of moral and military power, as
for example in the cases of Puritan England and Revolutionary France.
Such equality as obtained in these cases was doubtless chiefly moral
rather than material, and it can scarcely be questioned that equality
of consideration and of fundamental moral estimation is a far more
efficient factor than would be equality of material possessions. The
fact that it is difficult to persuade a man with thirty shillings a
week that he has as much to lose by the loss of national independence
as a man with thirty thousand a year, is merely evidence that the
imagination of the former is somewhat restricted by his type of
education, and that we habitually attach an absurd moral significance
to material advantages. It seems certain that it would still be
possible to attain a very fair approximation to a real moral equality
without any necessary disturbance of the extreme degree of material
inequality which our elaborate class segregation has imposed upon us.

A serious and practical attempt to secure a true moral unity of the
nation would render necessary a general understanding that the state
to be striven for was something different, not only in degree but
also in quality, from anything which has yet {152} been regarded as
satisfactory. A mere intellectual unanimity in the need for prosecuting
the war with all vigour, we may be said actually to possess, but its
moral value is not very great. A state of mind directed more to the
nation and less immediately to the war is what is needed; the good
soldier absorbed in his regiment has little inclination to concern
himself with the way the war is going, and the civilian should be
similarly absorbed in the nation. To attain this he must feel that he
belongs to the country and to his fellow-citizens, and that it and
they also belong to him. The established social system sets itself
steadily to deny these propositions, and not so much by its abounding
material inequalities as by the moral inequalities that correspond
with them. The hierarchies of rank, prestige, and consideration, at
all times showing serious inconsistencies with functional value,
and in war doing so more than ever, are denials of the essential
propositions of perfect citizenship, not, curiously enough, through
their arbitrary distribution of wealth, comfort, and leisure, but
through their persistent, assured, and even unconscious assumption that
there exists a graduation of moral values equally real and, to men of
inferior station, equally arbitrary. To a gregarious species at war
the only tolerable claim to any kind of superiority must be based on
leadership. Any other affectation of superiority, whether it be based
on prescriptive right, on tradition, on custom, on wealth, on birth, or
on mere age, arrogance, or fussiness, and not on real functional value
to the State, is, however much a matter of course it may seem, however
blandly it may be asserted or picturesquely displayed, an obstacle to
true national unity.

Psychological considerations thus appear to indicate a very plain duty
for a large class of civilians who have complained of and suffered
patriotically {153} from the fact that the Government has found
nothing for them to do. Let all those of superior and assured station
make it a point of honour and duty to abrogate the privileges of
consideration and prestige with which they are arbitrarily endowed.
Let them persuade the common man that they also are, in the face of
national necessity, common men. The searching test of war has shown
that a proportion of the population, serious enough in mere numbers,
but doubly serious in view of its power and influence, has led an
existence which may fairly be described as in some degree parasitic.
That is to say, what they have drawn from the common stock in wealth
and prestige has been immensely larger than what they have contributed
of useful activity in return. Now, in time of war, they have still less
to give proportionally to what they have received. Their deplorably
good bargain was in no way of their making; no one has the slightest
right to attack their honour or good faith; they are as patriotically
minded as any class, and have contributed their fighting men to the
Army as generously as the day labourer and the tradesman. It is
therefore not altogether impossible that they might come to understand
the immense opportunity that is given them by fate to promote a true,
deep, and irresistibly potent national unity.

       *       *       *       *       *

A further contribution to the establishment of a national unity of this
truly Utopian degree might come from a changed attitude of mind towards
his fellows in the individual. There would have to be an increased
kindliness, generosity, patience, and tolerance in all his relations
with others, a deliberate attempt to conquer prejudice, irritability,
impatience, and self-assertiveness, a deliberate encouragement of
cheerfulness, composure, and fortitude. All these would be tasks for
the individual {154} to carry out for himself alone; there would be
no campaign-making, no direct exhortation, no appeals. Towards the
Army and the Navy the central fact of each man’s attitude would be the
question, “Am I worth dying for?” and his strongest effort would be the
attempt to make himself so.

That question may perhaps make one wonder why it has not been heard
more often during the war as a text of the Church. There is little
doubt that very many men whose feeling towards the Church is in no
way disrespectful or hostile are conscious of a certain uneasiness
in hearing her vigorously defending the prosecution of the war and
demonstrating its righteousness. They feel, in spite of however
conclusive demonstrations to the contrary, that there is a deep-seated
inconsistency between war for whatever object and the Sermon on the
Mount, and they cannot but remember, when they are told that this is a
holy war, that that also the Germans say. They perhaps feel that the
justification of the war is, after all, a matter for politicians and
statesmen, and that the Church would be more appropriately employed
in making it as far as she can a vehicle of good, rather than trying
to justify superfluously its existence. A people already awed by the
self-sacrifice of its armies may be supposed to be capable of profiting
by the exhortations of a Church whose cardinal doctrine is concerned
with the responsibility that attaches to those for whose sake life
has voluntarily been given up. One cannot imagine an institution more
perfectly qualified by its faith and its power to bring home to this
people the solemnity of the sanction under which they lie to make
themselves worthy of the price that is still being unreservedly paid.
If it were consciously the determination of every citizen to make
himself worth dying for, who can doubt that a national unity of the
sublimest kind would be within reach? {155}

Of all the influences which tend to rob the citizen of the sense of his
birthright, perhaps one of the strongest, and yet the most subtle, is
that of officialism. It seems inevitable that the enormously complex
public services which are necessary in the modern State should set up
a barrier between the private citizen and the official, whereby the
true relation between them is obscured. The official loses his grasp
of the fact that the mechanism of the State is established in the
interests of the citizen; the citizen comes to regard the State as a
hostile institution, against which he has to defend himself, although
it was made for his defence. It is a crime for him to cheat the State
in the matter of tax-paying, it is no crime for the State to defraud
him in excessive charges. Considered in the light of the fundamental
relation of citizen and State, it seems incredible that in a democratic
country it is possible for flourishing establishments to exist the
sole business of which is to save the private individual from being
defrauded by the tax-gathering bureaucracy. This is but a single and
rather extreme example of the far-stretching segregation effected by
the official machine. The slighter kinds of aloofness, of inhuman
etiquette, of legalism and senseless dignity, of indifference to the
individual, of devotion to formulæ and routine are no less powerful
agents in depriving the common man of the sense of intimate reality in
his citizenship which might be so valuable a source of national unity.
If the official machine through its utmost parts were animated by an
even moderately human spirit and used as a means of binding together
the people, instead of as an engine of moral disruption, it might be of
incalculable value in the strengthening of morale. {156}


In an earlier part of this book the statement was made that the present
juncture in human affairs probably forms one of those rare nodes of
circumstance in which the making of an epoch in history corresponds
with a perceptible change in the secular progress of biological
evolution. It remains to attempt some justification of this opinion.

England and Germany face one another as perhaps the two most typical
antagonists of the war. It may seem but a partial way of examining
events if we limit our consideration to them. Nevertheless, it is in
this duel that the material we are concerned with is chiefly to be
found, and it may be added Germany herself has abundantly distinguished
this country as her typical foe—an instinctive judgment not without

By the end of September 1914 it had become reasonably clear that the
war would be one of endurance, and the comparatively equal though
fluctuating strength of the two groups of adversaries has since shown
that in such endurance the main factor will be the moral factor rather
than the material. An examination of the moral strength of the two
arch-enemies will therefore have the interest of life and death behind
it, as well as such as may belong to the thesis which stands at the
head of this chapter.

Germany affords a profoundly interesting study for the biological
psychologist, and it is very important that we should not allow what
clearness of representation we can get into our picture of her mind to
be clouded by the heated atmosphere of national feeling in which our
work must be done. As I have said elsewhere, it is merely to encourage
fallacy to allow oneself to believe that one is without prejudices. The
most one can do is to recognize {157} what prejudices are likely to
exist and liberally to allow for them.

If I were to say that at the present moment I can induce myself to
believe that it will ever be possible for Europe to contain a strong
Germany of the current type and remain habitable by free peoples, the
apparent absence of national bias in the statement would be a mere
affectation, and by no means an evidence of freedom from prejudice. I
am much more likely to get into reasonable relations with the truth
if I admit to myself, quite frankly, my innermost conviction that
the destruction of the German Empire is an indispensable preliminary
to the making of a civilization tolerable by rational beings. Having
recognized the existence of that belief as a necessary obstacle to
complete freedom of thought, it may be possible to allow for it and to
counteract what aberrations of judgment it may be likely to produce.

       *       *       *       *       *

In making an attempt to estimate the relative moral resources of
England and Germany at the present time it is necessary to consider
them as biological entities or major units of the human species in
the sense of that term we have already repeatedly used. We shall have
to examine the evolutionary tendencies which each of these units has
shown, and if possible to decide how far they have followed the lines
of development which psychological theory indicates to be those of
healthy and progressive development for a gregarious animal.

I have already tried to show that the acquirement of the social habit
by man—though in fact there is reason to believe that the social habit
preceded and made possible his distinctively human characters—has
committed him to an evolutionary process which is far from being
completed yet, but which {158} nevertheless must be carried out to
its consummation if he is to escape increasingly severe disadvantages
inherent in that biological type. In other words, the gregarious
habit in an animal of large individual mental capacity is capable
of becoming, and indeed must become a handicap rather than a bounty
unless the society of the species undergoes a continuously progressive
co-ordination which will enable it to attract and absorb the energy and
activities of its individual members. We have seen that in a species
such as man, owing to the freedom from the direct action of natural
selection within the major unit, the individual’s capacity for varied
reaction to his environment has undergone an enormous development,
while at the same time the capacity for intercommunication—upon which
the co-ordination of the major unit into a potent and frictionless
mechanism depends—has lagged far behind. The term “intercommunication”
is here used in the very widest sense to indicate the ties that bind
the individual to his fellows and them to him. It is not a very
satisfactory word; but as might be expected in attempting to express
a series of functions so complex and so unfamiliar to generalization,
it is not easy to find an exact expression ready made. Another phrase
applicable to a slightly different aspect of the same function is “herd
accessibility,” which has the advantage of suggesting by its first
constituent the limitation, primitively at any rate, an essential part
of the capacities it is desired to denote. The conception of herd
accessibility includes the specific sensitiveness of the individual to
the existence, presence, thought, and feelings of his fellow-members
of the major unit; the power he possesses of reacting in an altruistic
and social mode to stimuli which would necessarily evoke a merely
egoistic response from a non-social animal—that is to say, the power to
deflect and modify egoistic {159} impulses into a social form without
emotional loss or dissatisfaction; the capacity to derive from the
impulses of the herd a moral power in excess of any similar energy he
may be able to develop from purely egoistic sources.

Intercommunication, the development of which of course depends upon
herd-accessibility, enables the herd to act as a single creature whose
power is greatly in excess of the sum of the powers of its individual

Intercommunication in the biological sense has, however, never been
systematically cultivated by man, but has been allowed to develop
haphazard and subject to all the hostile influences which must infest a
society in which unregulated competition and selection are allowed to
prevail. The extravagance of human life and labour, the indifference
to suffering, the harshness and the infinite class segregation of
human society are the result. The use of what I have called conscious
direction is apparently the only means whereby this chaos can be
converted into organized structure.

Outside the gregarious unit, the forms of organic life at any given
time seem to be to some considerable extent determined by the fact that
the pressure of environmental conditions and of competition tends to
eliminate selectively the types which are comparatively unsuited to the
conditions in which they find themselves. However much or little this
process of natural selection has decided the course which the general
evolutionary process has taken, there can be no doubt that it is a
condition of animal life, and has an active influence. The suggestion
may be hazarded that under circumstances natural selection tends rather
to restrict variation instead of encouraging it as it has sometimes
been supposed to do. When the external pressure is very severe it
might be supposed that anything like free variation {160} would be a
serious disadvantage to a species, and if it persisted might result
in actual extermination. It is conceivable, therefore, that natural
selection is capable of favouring stable and non-progressive types at
the expense of the variable and possibly “progressive,” if such a term
can be applied to species advancing towards extinction. Such a possible
fixative action of natural selection is suggested by the fact that the
appearance of mechanisms whereby the individual is protected from the
direct action of natural selection seems to have led to an outburst of
variation. In the multicellular animal the individual cells passing
from under the direct pressure of natural selection become variable,
and so capable of a very great specialization. In the gregarious unit
the same thing happens, the individual member gaining freedom to vary
and to become specialized without the risk that would have accompanied
such an endowment in the solitary state.

Within the gregarious unit, then, natural selection in the strict
sense is in abeyance, and the consequent freedom has allowed of a
rich variety among the individual members. This variety provides the
material from which an elaborate and satisfactory society might be
constructed if there were any constant and discriminating influence
acting upon it. Unfortunately, the forces at work in human society
to-day are not of this kind, but are irregular in direction and
fluctuating in strength, so that the material richness which would
have been so valuable, had it been subject to a systematic and
co-ordinate selection, has merely contributed to the confusion of the
product. The actual mechanism by which society, while it has grown in
strength and complexity, has also grown in confusion and disorder, is
that peculiarity of the gregarious mind which automatically brings
into the monopoly of power the mental type which I have called the
{161} stable and common opinion calls normal. This type supplies our
most trusted politicians and officials, our bishops and headmasters,
our successful lawyers and doctors, and all their trusty deputies,
assistants, retainers, and faithful servants. Mental stability is their
leading characteristic, they “know where they stand” as we say, they
have a confidence in the reality of their aims and their position,
an inaccessibility to new and strange phenomena, a belief in the
established and customary, a capacity for ignoring what they regard as
the unpleasant, the undesirable, and the improper, and a conviction
that on the whole a sound moral order is perceptible in the universe
and manifested in the progress of civilization. Such characteristics
are not in the least inconsistent with the highest intellectual
capacity, great energy and perseverance as well as kindliness,
generosity, and patience, but they are in no way redeemed in social
value by them.

In the year 1915 it is, unfortunately, in no way necessary to enumerate
evidences of the confusion, the cruelty, the waste, and the weaknesses
with which human society, under the guidance of minds of this type,
has been brought to abound. Civilization through all its secular
development under their rule has never acquired an organic unity of
structure; its defects have received no rational treatment, but have
been concealed, ignored, and denied; instead of being drastically
rebuilt, it has been kept presentable by patches and buttresses, by
paint, and putty, and whitewash. The building was already insecure, and
now the storm has burst upon it, threatens incontinently to collapse.

The fact that European civilization, approaching what appeared to
be the very meridian of its strength, could culminate in a disaster
so frightful as the present war is proof that its development was
radically unsound. This is by no means to say that {162} the war
could have been avoided by those immediately concerned. That is almost
certainly not the case. The war was the consequence of inherent
defects in the evolution of civilized life; it was the consequence of
human progress being left to chance, and to the interaction of the
heterogeneous influences which necessarily arise within a gregarious
unit whose individual members have a large power of varied reaction.
In such an atmosphere minds essentially resistive alone can flourish
and attain to power, and they are by their very qualities incapable of
grasping the necessities of government or translating them into action.

The method of leaving the development of society to the confused welter
of forces which prevail within it is now at last reduced to absurdity
by the unmistakable teaching of events, and the conscious direction of
man’s destiny is plainly indicated by Nature as the only mechanism by
which the social life of so complex an animal can be guaranteed against
disaster and brought to yield its full possibilities.

A gregarious unit informed by conscious direction represents a
biological mechanism of a wholly new type, a stage of advance in the
evolutionary process capable of consolidating the supremacy of man and
carrying to its full extent the development of his social instincts.

Such a directing intelligence or group of intelligences would take
into account before all things the biological character of man,
would understand that his condition is necessarily progressive along
the lines of his natural endowments or downward to destruction. It
would abandon the static view of society as something merely to be
maintained, and adopt a more dynamic conception of statesmanship as
something active, progressive, and experimental, reaching out towards
new powers for human activity and new conquests for the human will.
{163} It would discover what natural inclinations in man must be
indulged, and would make them respectable, what inclinations in him
must be controlled for the advantage of the species, and make them
insignificant. It would cultivate intercommunication and altruism on
the one hand, and bravery, boldness, pride, and enterprise on the
other. It would develop national unity to a communion of interest and
sympathy far closer than anything yet dreamed of as possible, and by
doing so would endow the national unit with a self-control, fortitude,
and moral power which would make it so obviously unconquerable
that war would cease to be a possibility. To a people magnanimous,
self-possessed, and open-eyed, unanimous in sentiment and aware of
its strength, the conquest of fellow-nations would present its full
futility. They would need for the acceptable exercise of their powers
some more difficult, more daring, and newer task, something that
stretches the human will and the human intellect to the limit of their
capacity; the mere occupation and re-occupation of the stale and
blood-drenched earth would be to them barbarians’ work; time and space
would be their quarry, destiny and the human soul the lands they would
invade; they would sail their ships into the gulfs of the ether and lay
tribute upon the sun and stars.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is one of the features of the present crisis that gives to it its
biological significance, that one of the antagonists—Germany—has
discovered the necessity and value of conscious direction of the social
unit. This is in itself an epoch-making event. Like many other human
discoveries of similar importance, it has been incomplete, and it has
not been accompanied by the corresponding knowledge of man and his
natural history which alone could have given it full fertility and
permanent value. {164}

It seems to have been in no way a revelation of genius, and, indeed,
the absence of any great profundity and scope of speculation is rather
remarkable in the minds of the numerous German political philosophers.
The idea would appear rather to have been developed out of the
circumstances of the country, and to have been almost a habit before it
became a conception. At any rate, its appearance was greatly favoured
by the political conditions and history of the region in which it
arose. If this had not been the case, it is scarcely conceivable that
the principle could have been accepted so readily by the people, and in
a form which was not without its asperities and its hardships for them,
or that it could have been discovered without the necessary biological
corollaries which are indispensable to the successful application of it.

Germany in some ways resembles a son who has been educated at home,
and has taken up the responsibilities of the adult, and become bound
by them without ever tasting the free intercourse of the school and
university. She has never tasted the heady liquor of political liberty,
she has had no revolution, and the blood of no political martyrs calls
to her disturbingly from the ground. To such innocent and premature
gravity the reasonable claims of what, after all, had to her the
appearance of no more than an anxiously paternal Government could not
fail to appeal.

Explain it how we may, there can be no doubt that to the German
peoples the theoretical aspects of life have long had a very special
appeal. Generalizations about national characteristics are notoriously
fallacious, but it seems that with a certain reserve one may fairly
say that there is a definite contrast in this particular between the
Germans and, let us say, the English.

To minds of a theoretical bias the appeal of a {165} closely
regulative type of Government, with all the advantages of organization
which it possesses, must be very strong, and there is reason to believe
that this fact has had influence in reconciling the people to the
imposition upon it of the will of the Government.

Between a docile and intelligent people and a strong, autocratic,
and intelligent Government the possibilities of conscious national
direction could scarcely fail to become increasingly obvious and to
be increasingly developed. A further and enormously potent factor in
the progress of the idea was an immense accession of national feeling,
derived from three almost bewilderingly successful wars, accomplished
at surprisingly small cost, and culminating in a grandiose and no less
successful scheme of unification. Before rulers and people an imperial
destiny of unlimited scope, and allowing of unbounded dreams, now
inevitably opened itself up. Alone, amongst the peoples of Europe,
Germany saw herself a nation with a career. No longer disunited and
denationalized, she had come into her inheritance. The circumstances
of her rebirth were so splendid, the moral exaltation of her new unity
was so great that she could scarcely but suppose that her state was the
beginning of a career of further and unimagined glories and triumphs.
There were not lacking enthusiastic and prophetic voices to tell her
she was right.

The decade that followed the foundation of the Empire was, perhaps,
more pregnant with destiny than that which preceded it, for it saw the
final determination of the path which Germany was to follow. She had
made the immense stride in the biological scale of submitting herself
to conscious direction; would she also follow the path which alone
leads to a perfect concentration of national life and a permanent moral
stability? {166}

To a nation with a purpose and a consciously realized destiny some
principle of national unity is indispensable. Some strand of feeling
which all can share, and in sharing which all can come into communion
with one another, will be the framework on which is built up the
structure of national energy and effort.

The reactions in which the social instinct manifests itself are not
all equally developed in the different social species. It is true
that there is a certain group of characteristics common to all social
animals; but it is also found that in one example there is a special
development of one aspect of the instinct, while another example will
show a characteristic development of a different aspect. Taking a broad
survey of all gregarious types, we are able to distinguish three fairly
distinct trends of evolution. We have the aggressive gregariousness
of the wolf and dog, the protective gregariousness of the sheep and
the ox, and, differing from both these, we have the more complex
social structure of the bee and the ant, which we may call socialized
gregariousness. The last-named is characterized by the complete
absorption of the individual in the major unit, and the fact that the
function of the social habit seems no longer to be the simple one of
mere attack or defence, but rather the establishment of a State which
shall be, as a matter of course, strong in defence and attack, but a
great deal more than this as well. The hive is no mere herd or pack,
but an elaborate mechanism for making use by co-ordinate and unified
action of the utmost powers of the individual members. It is something
which appears to be a complete substitute for individual existence,
and as we have already said, seems like a new creature rather than a
congeries united for some comparatively few and simple purposes. The
hive and the ant’s nest stand to the flock and the {167} pack as the
fully organized multicellular animal stands to the primitive zooglœa
which is its forerunner. The wolf is united for attack, the sheep is
united for defence, but the bee is united for all the activities and
feelings of its life.

Socialized gregariousness is the goal of man’s development. A
transcendental union with his fellows is the destiny of the human
individual, and it is the attainment of this towards which the
constantly growing altruism of man is directed. Poets and prophets
have, at times, dimly seen this inevitable trend of Nature, biology
detects unmistakable evidence of it, and explains the slowness of
advance, which has been the despair of those others, by the variety
and power of man’s mind, and consoles us for the delay these qualities
still cause by the knowledge that they are guarantees of the exactitude
and completeness that the ultimate union will attain.

When a nation takes to itself the idea of conscious direction, as by
a fortunate combination of circumstances Germany has been induced to
do, it is plain that some choice of a principle of national unity
will be its first and most important task. It is plain, also, from
the considerations we have just laid down, that such a principle of
national unity must necessarily be a manifestation of the social
instinct, and that the choice is necessarily limited to one of three
types of social habit which alone Nature has fitted gregarious animals
to follow. No nation has ever made a conscious choice amongst these
three types, but circumstances have led to the adoption of one or
another of them often enough for history to furnish many suggestive

The more or less purely aggressive or protective form has been adopted
for the most part by primitive peoples. The history of the natives of
North America and Australia furnishes examples of {168} almost pure
types of both. The aggressive type was illustrated very fully by the
peoples who profited by the disintegration of the Roman Empire. These
northern barbarians showed in the most perfect form the lupine type
of society in action. The ideals and feelings exemplified by their
sagas are comprehensible only when one understands the biological
significance of them. It was a society of wolves marvellously
indomitable in aggression but fitted for no other activity in any
corresponding degree, and always liable to absorption by the peoples
they had conquered. They were physically brave beyond belief, and
made a religion of violence and brutality. To fight was for them
man’s supreme activity. They were restless travellers and explorers,
less out of curiosity than in search of prey, and they irresistibly
overran Europe in the missionary zeal of the sword and torch, each
man asking nothing of Fate but, after a career of unlimited outrage
and destruction, to die gloriously fighting. It is impossible not to
recognize the psychological identity of these ideals with those which
we might suppose a highly developed breed of wolves to entertain.

With all its startling energy, and all its magnificent enterprise, the
lupine type of society has not proved capable of prolonged survival.
Probably its inherent weakness is the very limited scope of interest
it provides for active and progressive minds, and the fact that it
tends to engender a steadily accumulating hostility in weaker but more
mentally progressive peoples to which it has no correspondingly steady
resistiveness to oppose.

The history of the world has shown a gradual elimination of the lupine
type. It has recurred sporadically at intervals, but has always been
suppressed. Modern civilization has shown a constantly increasing
manifestation of the socialized type of gregariousness in spite of the
complexities {169} and disorders which the slowness of its development
towards completeness has involved. It may be regarded now as the
standard type which has been established by countless experiments,
as that which alone can satisfy and absorb the moral as well as the
intellectual desires of modern man.

From the point of view of the statesman desiring to enforce an
immediate and energetic national unity, combined with an ideal of
the State as destined to expand into a larger and larger sphere, the
socialized type of gregarious evolution is extremely unsatisfactory.
Its course towards the production of a truly organized State is slow,
and perplexed by a multitudinous confusion of voices and ideals; its
necessary development of altruism gives the society it produces an
aspect of sentimentality and flabbiness; its tendency slowly to evolve
towards the moral equality of its members gives the State an appearance
of structural insecurity.

       *       *       *       *       *

If Germany was to be capable of a consistent aggressive external
policy as a primary aim, the peculiarity of her circumstances rendered
her unable to seek national inspiration by any development of the
socialized type of instinctive response, because that method can
produce the necessary moral power only through a true unity of its
members, such as implies a moral, if not a material, equality among
them. That the type is capable of yielding a passion of aggressive
nationalism is shown by the early enterprise and conquests of the
first French Republic. But that outburst of power was attained only
because it was based on a true, though doubtless imperfect, moral
equality. Such a method was necessarily forbidden to the German Empire
by the intense rigidity of its social segregation, with its absolute
differentiation between the aristocracy and the common people. In such
a society there could {170} be no thought of permitting the faintest
hint of even moral equality.

This is the reason, therefore, why the rulers of Germany, of course in
complete ignorance of how significant was their choice, were compelled
to abandon the ideals of standard civilization, to relapse upon the
ideals of a more primitive type of gregariousness, and to throw
back their people into the anachronism of a lupine society. In this
connection it is interesting to notice how persistently the political
philosophers of Germany have sought their chief inspiration in the
remote past, and in times when the wolf society and the wolf ideals
were widespread and successful.

It is not intended to imply that there was here any conscious choice.
It is remarkable enough that the rulers of Germany recognized the
need for conscious direction of all the activities of a nation which
proposes for itself a career; it would have been a miracle if they
had understood the biological significance of the differentiation
of themselves from other European peoples that they were to bring
about. To them it doubtless appeared merely that they were discarding
the effete and enfeebling ideals which made other nations the fit
victims of their conquests. They may be supposed to have determined to
eradicate such germs of degeneracy from themselves, to have seen that
an ambitious people must be strong and proud and hard, enterprising,
relentless, brave, and fierce, prepared to believe in the glory of
combat and conquest, in the supreme moral greatness of the warrior,
in force as the touchstone of right, honour, justice, and truth. Such
changes in moral orientation seem harmless enough, and it can scarcely
be suspected that their significance was patent to those who adopted
them. They were impressed upon the nation with all the immense power of
suggestion at the disposal of {171} an organized State. The readiness
with which they were received and assimilated was more than could be
accounted for by even the power of the immense machine of officials,
historians, theologians, professors, teachers, and newspapers by which
they were, in season and out of season, enforced. The immense success
that was attained owed much to the fact that suggestion was following a
natural, instinctive path. The wolf in man, against which civilization
has been fighting for so long, is still within call and ready to
respond to incantations much feebler than those the German State could
employ. The people were intoxicated with the glory of their conquests
and their imposing new confederation; if we are to trust the reputation
the Prussian soldier has had for a hundred years, they were perhaps
already less advanced in humanity than the other European peoples.
The fact is unquestionable that they followed their teachers with

It may be well for us, before proceeding farther, to define precisely
the psychological hypothesis we are advancing in explanation of the
peculiarities of the German national character as now manifested.

Herd instinct is manifested in three distinct types, the aggressive,
the protective, and the socialized, which are exemplified in Nature by
the wolf, the sheep, and the bee respectively. Either type can confer
the advantages of the social habit, but the socialized is that upon
which modern civilized man has developed. It is maintained here that
the ambitious career consciously planned for Germany by those who had
taken command of her destinies, and the maintenance at the same time
of her social system, were inconsistent with the further development
of gregariousness of the socialized type. New ideals, new motives, and
new sources of moral power had therefore to be sought. They were found
in a {172} recrudescence of the aggressive type of gregariousness—in a
reappearance of the society of the wolf. It is conceivable that those
who provided Germany with her new ideals thought themselves to be
exercising a free choice. The choice, however, was forced upon them by
Nature. They wanted some of the characters of the wolf; they got them
all. One may imagine that those who have so industriously inculcated
the national gospel have wondered at times that while it has been easy
to implant certain of the desired ideals, it has not been possible to
prevent the appearance of others which, though not so desirable, belong
to the same legacy and must be taken up with it.

Before examining the actual mental features of Germany to-day, it
may be desirable to consider _a priori_ what would be the mental
characteristics of an aggressive gregarious animal were he to be
self-conscious in the sense that man is.

The functional value of herd instinct in the wolf is to make the pack
irresistible in attacking and perpetually aggressive in spirit. The
individual must, therefore, be especially sensitive to the leadership
of the herd. The herd must be to him, not merely as it is to the
protectively gregarious animal, a source of comfort, and stimulus, and
general guidance, but must be able to make him _do things_ however
difficult, however dangerous, even however senseless, and must make him
yield an absolute, immediate, and slavish obedience. The carrying out
of the commands of the herd must be in itself an absolute satisfaction
in which there can be no consideration of self. Towards anything
outside the herd he will necessarily be arrogant, confident, and
inaccessible to the appeals of reason or feeling. This tense bond of
instinct, constantly keyed up to the pitch of action, will give him
a certain simplicity of character and even ingenuousness, a {173}
coarseness and brutality in his dealings with others, and a complete
failure to understand any motive unsanctioned by the pack. He will
believe the pack to be impregnable and irresistible, just and good, and
will readily ascribe to it any other attribute which may take his fancy
however ludicrously inappropriate.

The strength of the wolf pack as a gregarious unit is undoubtedly, in
suitable circumstances, enormous. This strength would seem to depend
on a continuous possibility of attack and action. How far it can be
maintained in inactivity and mere defence is another matter. . . .

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the beginning of this war attracted a really concentrated
attention to the psychology of the German people, it has been very
obvious that one of the most striking feelings amongst Englishmen
has been bewilderment. They have found an indescribable strangeness
in the utterances of almost all German personages and newspapers,
in their diplomacy, in their friendliness to such as they wished
to propitiate, in their enmity to those they wished to alarm and
intimidate. This strange quality is very difficult to define or even
to attempt to describe, and has very evidently perplexed almost all
writers on the war. The only thing one can be sure of is that it is
there. It shows itself at times as a simplicity or even childishness,
as a boorish cunning, as an incredible ant-like activity, as a sudden
blast of maniacal boasting, a reckless savagery of gloating in blood,
a simple-minded sentimentality, as outbursts of idolatry, not of the
pallid, metaphorical, modern type, but the full-blooded African kind,
with all the apparatus of idol and fetish and tom-tom, and with it all
a steady confidence that these are the principles of civilization, of
truth, of justice, and of Christ. {174}

I have tried to put down at random some of the factors in this curious
impression as they occur to the memory, but the mere enumeration of
them is not possible without risking the objective composure of one’s
attitude—an excellent incidental evidence that the strangeness is a

The incomprehensibility to the English of the whole trend of German
feeling and expression suggests that there is some deeply rooted
instinctive conflict of attitude between them. One may risk the
speculation that this conflict is between socialized gregariousness
and aggressive gregariousness. As the result of the inculcation of
national arrogance and aggression, Germany has lapsed into a special
type of social instinct which has opened a gulf of separation in
feeling between her and other civilized peoples. Such an effect is
natural enough. Nothing produces the sense of strangeness so much as
differences of instinctive reaction. A similar though wider gap in
instinctive reaction gives to us the appearance of strangeness and
queerness in the behaviour of the cat as contrasted with the dog, which
is so much more nearly allied in feeling to ourselves.

If, then, we desire to get any insight into the mind and moral power of
Germany, we must begin with the realization that the two peoples are
separated by a profound difference in instinctive feeling. Nature has
provided but few roads for gregarious species to follow. Between the
path England finds herself in and that which Germany has chosen there
is a divergence which almost amounts to a specific difference in the
biological scale. In this, perhaps, lies the cause of the desperate
and unparalleled ferocity of this war. It is a war not so much of
contending nations as of contending species. We are not taking part in
a mere war, but in one of Nature’s august experiments. It is as if she
had {175} set herself to try out in her workshop the strength of the
socialized and the aggressive types. To the socialized peoples she has
entrusted the task of proving that her old faith in cruelty and blood
is at last an anachronism. To try them, she has given substance to the
creation of a nightmare, and they must destroy this werewolf or die.[P]

     [P] It may be noted that the members of the small group of
     so-called “pro-German” writers and propagandists for the most
     part make it a fundamental doctrine, either explicit or implicit,
     that there is no psychological difference between the English
     and the Germans. They seem to maintain that the latter are moved
     and are to be influenced by exactly the same series of feelings
     and ideals as the former, and show in reality no observable
     “strangeness” in their expressions and emotions. By arguments
     based on this assumption very striking conclusions are reached.
     All moral advancement has been the work of unpopular minorities,
     the members of which have been branded as cranks or criminals
     until time has justified their doctrine. Even the greatest of
     such pioneers have not, however, been invariably right. Their
     genius has usually been shown most clearly in matters with which
     they have been most familiar, while in matters less intimately
     part of their experience their judgments have often not stood the
     test of time any better than those of smaller men. If therefore
     our “pro-Germans” include amongst them men of moral genius, we
     may expect that such of their psychological intuitions as deal
     with England are more likely to prove true than those that deal
     with Germany. The importance of this reservation lies in the
     probability that the chief psychological problems connected with
     the origin and prosecution of this war relate to the Germans
     rather than to the English.

In attempting to estimate the actual phenomena of the German mind
at the present time, we must remember that our sources of knowledge
are subject to a rigid selection. Those of us who are unable to give
time to the regular reading of German publications must depend on
extracts which owe their appearance in our papers to some striking
characteristic which may be supposed to be pleasing to the prejudices
or hopes of the English reader. The main facts, however, are clear
enough to yield {176} valuable conclusions, if such are made on broad
lines without undue insistence on minor points.

An intense but often ingenuous and even childish national arrogance
is a character that strikes one at once. It seems to be a serious and
often a solemn emotion impregnably armoured against the comic sense,
and expressed with a childlike confidence in its justness. It is
usually associated with a language of metaphor, which is almost always
florid and banal, and usually grandiose and strident. This fondness for
metaphor and inability to refer to common things by plain names affects
all classes, from Emperor to journalist, and gives an impression of
peculiar childishness. It reminds one of the primitive belief in the
transcendental reality and value of names.

The national arrogance of the German is at the same time peculiarly
sensitive and peculiarly obtuse. It is readily moved by praise or
blame, though that be the most perfunctory and this the most mild, but
it has no sense of a public opinion outside the pack. It is easily
aroused to rage by external criticism, and when it finds its paroxysms
make it ridiculous to the spectator it cannot profit by the information
but becomes, if possible, more angry. It is quite unable to understand
that to be moved to rage by an enemy is as much a proof of slavish
automatism as to be moved to fear by him. The really extraordinary
hatred for England is, quite apart from the obvious association of its
emotional basis with fear, a most interesting phenomenon. The fact that
it was possible to organize so unanimous a howl shows very clearly
how fully the psychological mechanisms of the wolf were in action. It
is most instructive to find eminent men of science and philosophers
bristling and baring their teeth with the rest, and would be another
proof, if such were needed, of the infinite insecurity of the hold of
{177} reason in the most carefully cultivated minds when it is opposed
by strong herd feeling.[Q]

     [Q] I have not included in these pages actual quotations from
     German authors illustrative of the national characteristics they
     so richly display. Such material may be found in abundance in the
     many books upon Germany which have appeared since the beginning
     of the war. The inclusion of it here would therefore have been
     superfluous, and would have tended perhaps to distract attention
     from the more general aspects of the subject which are the main
     objects of this study. During the process of final revision I am,
     however, tempted to add a single illustration which happens just
     to have caught my eye as being a representative and not at all an
     extreme example of the national arrogance I refer to above.

     In an article on “The German Mind” by Mr. John Buchan I find the
     following quotations from a Professor Werner Sombart, of Berlin:―

     “When the German stands leaning on his mighty sword, clad in steel
     from his sole to his head, whatsoever will may, down below, dance
     around his feet, and the intellectuals and the learned men of
     England, France, Russia, and Italy may rail at him and throw mud.
     But in his lofty repose he will not allow himself to be disturbed,
     and he will reflect in the sense of his old ancestors in Europe:
     _Oderint dum metuant_.”

     “We must purge from our soul the last fragments of the old ideal
     of a progressive development of humanity. . . . The ideal of
     humanity can only be understood in its highest sense when it
     attains its highest and richest development in particular noble
     nations. These for the time being are the representatives of God’s
     thought on earth. Such were the Jews. Such were the Greeks. And
     the chosen people of these centuries is the German people. . . .
     Now we understand why other peoples pursue us with their hatred.
     They do not understand us, but they are sensible of our enormous
     spiritual superiority. So the Jews were hated in antiquity because
     they were the representatives of God on earth” (“The German Mind,”
     _Land and Water_, November 6, 1915).

     These passages are almost too good to be true, and give one
     some of the pleasure of the collector who finds a perfect
     specimen. Here we have the gusto in childish and banal metaphor,
     the conception of the brutal conqueror’s state as permanently
     blissful—the colonizing principle of Prussia—the naïve
     generalizations from history, the confident assumption of any
     characteristic which appears desirable in morals or religion, the
     impenetrable self-esteem, and I think we should add the intense
     and honest conviction.

     If we judge from the standpoint of our own feelings and ideals
     such utterances as these, we cannot ignore the maniacal note
     in them, and we seem forced to assume some actually lunatic
     condition in the German people. Indeed, this is a conclusion which
     Mr. Buchan in the article from which I quote does not hesitate
     definitely and persuasively to draw.

     When we remember, however, that the definition of insanity is
     necessarily a statistical one, that in the last analysis we can
     but say that a madman is a man who behaves differently from the
     great bulk of his neighbours, we find that to describe a nation as
     mad—true as it may be in a certain sense—leaves us without much
     addition to our knowledge. In so far, however, as it impresses
     upon us the fact that some of that nation’s mental processes are
     fundamentally different from our own it is a useful conception.
     The statesman will do well to carry the analysis a stage farther.
     The ravings of a maniac do not help us much in forecasting his
     behaviour, the howlings of a pack of wolves, equally irrational,
     equally harsh, even, in the original sense, equally lunatic,
     betray to us with whom we have to deal, betray their indispensable
     needs, their uncontrollable passions, the narrow path of instinct
     in which they are held, enable us to foresee, and, foreseeing, to
     lay our plans.

It is important, however, not to judge the functional value of these
phenomena of herd arrogance and herd irritability and convulsive rage
from the point of view of nations of the socialized gregarious type
such as ourselves. To us they would be disturbants of judgment, and
have no corresponding emotional recompense. In the wolf pack, however,
they are indigenous, and represent a normal mechanism for inciting
national enthusiasm and unity. The wolf, whose existence depends on
the daily exercise of pursuit and slaughter, cannot afford {178} to be
open to external appeals and criticisms, must be supremely convinced of
his superiority and that whoever dies he must live, and must be easily
stimulated to the murderous rages by which he wins his food.

Another difficulty in the understanding of the German mind is its
behaviour with regard to influencing non-German opinion. There can
be no doubt that it desires intensely to create impressions {179}
favourable to itself, not merely for the sake of practical advantages
in conducting the war, but also because of the desire for sympathy.
In considering the latter motive it is important that one’s attention
should not be too much attracted by the comic aspects of the searchings
of heart, publicly indulged by Germans, as to why they are not regarded
with a more general and sincere affection, and of the answers which
they themselves have furnished to this portentous problem. That they
are too modest, too true, too self-obliterating, too noble, too brave,
and too kind are answers the psychological significance of which should
not be altogether lost in laughter. That they are honest expressions of
belief cannot be doubted; indeed, there is strong theoretical reason to
accept them as such, when we remember the fabulous[R] impenetrability
of lupine herd suggestion. In default of such an explanation they seem
to be utterly incomprehensible.

     [R] The use of this adjective may perhaps call to mind how
     often the wolf has appeared in fable in just this mood. Usually,
     however, the fabulist—being of the unsympathetic socialized
     type—has ascribed the poor creature’s yearnings to hypocrisy.

In her negotiations with other peoples, and her estimates of
national character, Germany shows the characteristic features of her
psychological type in a remarkable way. It appears to be a principal
thesis of hers that altruism is, for the purposes of the statesman,
non-existent, or if it exists is an evidence of degeneracy and a source
of weakness. The motives upon which a nation acts are, according to
her, self-interest and fear, and in no particular has her “strangeness”
been more fully shown than in the frank way in which she appeals to
both, either alternately or together.

This disbelief in altruism, and over-valuation of fear and
self-interest, seem to be regarded by her {180} as evidence of a
fearless and thorough grasp of biological truth, and are often fondly
referred to as “true German objectivity” or the German “sense for
reality.” How grossly, in fact, they conflict with the biological
theory of gregariousness is clear enough. It is interesting that the
German negotiators have been almost uniformly unsuccessful in imposing
their wishes on States in which the socialized type of gregariousness
is highly developed—Italy, the United States—and have succeeded
with barbarous peoples of the lupine type, with the Turk, whose
“objectivity” and appetite for massacre remain ever fresh, patriarch
among wolves as he is, with Bulgaria, the wolf of the second Balkan War.

There is strong reason to believe that defective insight into the
minds of others is one of the chief disadvantages of the aggressive as
compared with the socialized type of gregariousness. This disadvantage
is so great, and yet so deeply inherent, as to justify the belief that
the type is the most primitive of those now surviving, and that its
present resuscitation in man is a phenomenon which will prove to be no
more than transient.

It would be of little value to enumerate the well-known instances in
which failure of insight, and ignorance of the psychology of the herd,
has been misleading or disadvantageous to Germany. It is relevant,
however, to note the superb illustration of psychological principle
which is afforded by the relations of Germany to England during the
last fifteen years. That England was the great obstacle to indefinite
expansion was clearly understood by those whom the conception of a
consciously directed and overwhelmingly powerful German Empire had
inspired. I have tried to show how great a conception this was, how
truly in the line of natural evolution, how it marks an epoch even on
the biological scale. Unfortunately for Germany, her social {181} type
was already fixed, with such advantages and defects as it possessed,
and amongst them the immense defect of the lupine attitude towards
an enemy—the over-mastering temptation to intimidate him rather than
to understand, and to accept the easy and dangerous suggestions of
hostility in estimating his strength.

There is in the whole of human history perhaps no more impressive
example of the omnipotence of instinct than that which is afforded by
the reactions of Germany towards England. An intelligent, educated,
organized people, directed consciously towards a definite ambition,
finds its path blocked by an enemy in chief. Surely there are two
principles of action which should at once be adopted: first, to
estimate with complete objectivity the true strength of the enemy, and
to allow no national prejudice, no liking for pleasant prophesying to
distort the truth, and secondly, to guard against exasperating the
enemy, lest the inevitable conflict should ultimately be precipitated
by her at her moment.

Both these principles the instinctive impulsions to which Germany
was liable compelled her to violate. She allowed herself to accept
opinions of England’s strength, moral and physical, which were pleasant
rather than true. She listened eagerly to political philosophers and
historians—the most celebrated of whom was, by an ominous coincidence,
deaf—who told her that the Empire of England was founded in fraud
and perpetuated in feebleness, that it consisted of a mere loose
congeries of disloyal peoples who would fly asunder at the first
touch of “reality,” that it was rotten with insurgency, senile decay
and satiety, and would not and could not fight. Even if these things
had been a full statement of the case, they must have been dangerous
doctrines. They were defective because the {182} observers were
unaware that they were studying different instinctive reactions from
their own, and were, therefore, deaf to the notes which might have put
them on their guard.

At the same time, Germany allowed herself to indulge the equally
pleasant expression of her hostility with a freedom apparently
unrestrained by any knowledge that such indulgences cannot be enjoyed
for nothing. She produced in this country a great deal of alarm,
and a great deal of irritation, an effect she no doubt regarded as
gratifying, but which made it quite certain that sooner or later
England would recognize her implacable enemy, though, inarticulate as
usual, she might not say much about it. . . .

       *       *       *       *       *

Another feature of Germany’s social type, which has an important
bearing on her moral strength, is the relation of the individual
citizens to one another. The individual of the wolf pack is of
necessity fierce, aggressive, and irritable, otherwise he cannot
adequately fulfil his part in the major unit. Apparently it is beyond
the power of Nature to confine the ferocity of the wolf solely to
the external activities of the pack, as would obviously be in many
ways advantageous, and to a certain extent therefore it affects the
relations of members of the pack to one another. This is seen very well
even in the habits of domesticated dogs, who are apt to show more or
less suppressed suspicion and irritability towards one another even
when well acquainted, an irritability moreover which is apt to blaze
out into hostility on very slight provocation.

Most external commentators on modern German life have called attention
to the harshness which is apt to pervade social relations. They
tell us of an atmosphere of fierce competition, of ruthless {183}
scandalmongering and espionage, of insistence upon minute distinctions
of rank and title, of a rigid ceremonious politeness which obviously
has little relation to courtesy, of a deliberate cultivation by
superiors of a domineering harshness towards their inferiors, of
habitual cruelty to animals, and indeed of the conscious, deliberate
encouragement of harshness and hardness of manner and feeling as
laudable evidences of virility. The statistics of crime, the manners
of officials, the tone of newspapers, the ferocious discipline of
the Army, and the general belief that personal honour is stained by
endurance and purified by brutality are similar phenomena.

Nothing in this category, however, is more illuminating than the
treatment by Germany of colonies and conquered territories. To the
English the normal method of treating a conquered country is to
obliterate, as soon as possible, every trace of conquest, and to
assimilate the inhabitants to the other citizens of the empire by
every possible indulgence of liberty and self-government. It is,
therefore, difficult for him to believe that the German actually likes
to be reminded that a given province has been conquered, and is not
unwilling that a certain amount of discontent and restiveness in the
inhabitants should give him opportunities of forcibly exercising his
dominion and resuscitating the glories of conquest. Although this fact
has no doubt been demonstrated countless times, it was first displayed
unmistakably to the world in the famous Zabern incident. Those who have
studied the store of psychological material furnished by that affair,
the trial and judgments which followed it, and the ultimate verdict
of the people thereon, cannot fail to have reached the conclusion
that here is exposed in a crucial experiment a people which is either
totally incomprehensible, or is responding to the calls of herd
instinct by a series of reactions almost {184} totally different from
those we regard as normal. When the biological key to the situation
is discovered the series of events otherwise bizarre to the pitch of
incredibility becomes not only intelligible and consistent, but also

The differences in instinctive social type between Germany and England
are betrayed in many minor peculiarities of behaviour that cannot be
examined or even enumerated here. Some of them are of little importance
in themselves, though all of them are significant when the whole bulk
of evidence to which they contribute a share is considered. Indeed,
some of the less obviously important characteristics, by the very
nicety with which they fulfil the conditions demanded by the biological
necessities of the case, have a very special value as evidence in
favour of the generalizations which I have suggested. I permit myself
an illustration of this point. The use of war cries and shibboleths
doubtless seems in itself an insignificant subject enough, yet I think
an examination of it can be shown to lead directly to the very central
facts of the international situation.

Few phenomena have been more striking throughout the war than the
way in which the German people have been able to take up certain
cries—directed mostly against England—and bring them into hourly
familiar and unanimous use. The phrase “God punish England!” seems
actually to have attained a real and genuine currency, and to have
been used by all classes and all ages as a greeting with a solemnity
and gusto which are in no way the less genuine for being, to our
unsympathetic eyes, so ludicrous. The famous “Hymn of Hate” had, no
doubt, a popularity equally wide, and was used with a fervour which
showed the same evidence of a mystic satisfaction.

Attempts have been made to impose upon England {185} similar
watchwords with the object of keeping some of the direst events of
the war before our eyes, and fortifying the intensity and scope of
our horror. We have been adjured to “remember” Belgium, Louvain, the
_Lusitania_, and latterly the name of an heroic and savagely murdered
nurse. Horrible as has been the crime to which we have been recalled by
each of these phrases, there has never been the slightest sign that the
memory of it could acquire a general currency of quotation, and by that
mechanism become a stronger factor in unity determination or endurance.

An allied phenomenon which may perhaps be mentioned here is the
difference in attitude of the German and the English soldier towards
war songs. To the German the war song is a serious matter; it is for
the most part a grave composition, exalted in feeling, and thrilling
with the love of country; he is taught to sing it, and he sings it
well, with obvious and touching sincerity and with equally obvious
advantage to his morale.

The attempt to introduce similar songs and a similar attitude towards
them to the use of the English soldier has often been made, and exactly
as often lamentably failed. On the whole it has been, perhaps, the
most purely comic effort of the impulse to mimic Germany which has
been in favour until of late with certain people of excellent aims but
inadequate biological knowledge. The English soldier, consistently
preferring the voice of Nature to that of the most eminent doctrinaire,
has, to the scandal of his lyrical enemies, steadily drawn his
inspiration from the music-hall and the gutter, or from his own rich
store of flippant and ironic realism.

The biological meaning of these peculiarities renders them intelligible
and consistent with one another. The predaceous social animals
in attack {186} or pursuit are particularly sensitive to the
encouragement afforded by one another’s voices. The pack gives tongue
because of the functional value of the exercise, which is clearly
of importance in keeping individuals in contact with one another,
and in stimulating in each the due degree of aggressive rage. That
serious and narrow passion tends naturally to concentrate itself
upon some external object or quarry, which becomes by the very fact
an object of hate to the exclusion of any other feeling, whether of
sympathy, self-possession, or a sense of the ludicrous. The curious
spectacle of Germans greeting one another with “God punish England!”
and the appropriate response is therefore no accidental or meaningless
phenomenon, but a manifestation of an instinctive necessity; and
this explanation is confirmed by the immensely wide currency of the
performance, and the almost simian gravity with which it could be
carried out. It succeeded because it had a functional value, just as
similar movements in England have failed because they have had no
functional value, and could have none in a people of the socialized
type, with whom unity depends on a different kind of bond.

The wolf, then, is the father of the war song, and it is among
peoples of the lupine type alone that the war song is used with real
seriousness. Animals of the socialized type are not dependent for
their morale upon the narrow intensities of aggressive rage. Towards
such manifestations of it as concerted cries and war songs they feel
no strong instinctive impulsion, and are therefore able to preserve
a relatively objective attitude. Such cryings of the pack, seeming
thus to be mere functionless automatisms, naturally enough come to be
regarded as patently absurd.

Examples of behaviour illustrating these deep differences of reaction
are often to be met with in the {187} stories of those who have
described incidents of the war. It is recorded that German soldiers
in trenches within hearing of the English, seeking to exasperate and
appal the latter, have sung in an English version their fondly valued
“Hymn of Hate.” Whereupon the English, eagerly listening and learning
the words of the dreadful challenge, have petrified their enemies by
repeating it with equal energy and gusto, dwelling no doubt with the
appreciation of experts upon the curses of their native land.

It would scarcely be possible to imagine a more significant
demonstration of the psychological differences of the two social types.

The peculiarities of a state of the wolfish type are admirably suited
to conditions of aggression and conquest, and readily yield for those
purposes a maximal output of moral strength. As long as such a nation
is active and victorious in war, its moral resources cannot fail,
and it will be capable of an indefinite amount of self-sacrifice,
courage, and energy. Take away from it, however, the opportunities
of continued aggression, interrupt the succession of victories by a
few heavy defeats, and it must inevitably lose the perfection of its
working as an engine of moral power. The ultimate and singular source
of _inexhaustible_ moral power in a gregarious unit is the perfection
of communion amongst its individual members. As we have seen, this
source is undeveloped in units of the aggressive type, and has been
deliberately ignored by Germany. As soon, if ever, as she has to submit
to a few unmistakable defeats in the field, as soon as, if it should
happen, all outlets for fresh aggression are closed, she will become
aware of how far she has staked her moral resources on continuous
success, and will not be able for long to conceal her knowledge from
the world. {188}

That she herself has always been dimly aware of the nature of her
strength—though not perhaps of her potential weakness—is shown by her
steady insistence upon the necessity of aggression, upon maintaining
the attack at whatever cost of life. This is a principle she has
steadily acted upon throughout the war. It is exemplified by the
whole series of terrible lunges at her enemies she has made. The
strategic significance of these has, perhaps, become less as the moral
necessity for them has become greater. France, Flanders, Russia, and
the Balkans have in turn had to supply the moral food of victory and
attack without which she would soon have starved. There is a quality
at which the imagination cannot but be appalled in this fate of a
great and wonderful nation, however much her alienation of herself
from the instincts of mankind may have frozen the natural currents of
pity. Panting with the exhaustion of her frightful blow at Russia, she
must yet turn with who knows what weariness to yet another enterprise,
in which to find the moral necessities which the Russian campaign
was already ceasing to supply. It is to a similar mechanism that we
must look to trace the ultimate source of the submarine and aircraft
campaigns against England. Strategically, these proceedings may or
may not have been regarded hopefully; possibly they were based on a
definite military plan, though they do not to us have that appearance.
Very probably they were expected to disorganize English morale. Behind
them both, however, whether consciously or not, was the moral necessity
to do something against England. This is indicated by the circumstances
and the periods of the war at which they were seriously taken up.
As both the submarine and the Zeppelin campaigns involve no great
expenditure or dissipation of power, the fact that their value is moral
rather than military, and concerned {189} with the morale of their
inventors rather than that of their victims, is chiefly of academic
interest as throwing further light on the nature of Germany’s strength
and weakness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Its attitude towards discipline displays the German mind in a relation
sufficiently instructive to merit some comment here. When Germany
has been reproached with being contented to remain in what is, by
comparison with other peoples, a condition of political infantilism,
with allowing the personal liberty of her citizens to be restricted on
all hands, and their political responsibility to be kept within the
narrowest limits, the answer of the political theorists has generally
contained two distinct and contradictory apologetic theses. It has been
said that the German, recognizing the value of State organization, and
that strict discipline is a necessary preliminary to it, consciously
resigns the illusory privileges of the democrat in order to gain power,
and submits to a kind of social contract which is unquestionably
advantageous in the long run. The mere statement of such a proposition
is enough to refute it, and we need give no further attention to an
intellectualist fallacy so venerable and so completely inconsistent
with experience. It is also said, however, that the German has a
natural aptitude for discipline amounting to genius. In a sense a
little less flattering than it is intended to have, this proposition is
as true as that of the social contract is false. The aggressive social
type lends itself naturally to discipline, and shows it in its grossest
forms. The socialized type is, of course, capable of discipline,
otherwise a State would be impossible, but the discipline that prevails
in it is apt to become indirect, less harshly compulsory and more
dependent on goodwill.

It is perhaps natural that units within which {190} ferocity
and hardness are tolerated and encouraged should depend on a
correspondingly savage method of enforcing their will. The flock of
sheep has its shepherd, but the pack of hounds has its _Whips_. In
human societies of the same type we should expect to find, therefore,
a general acquiescence in the value of discipline, and a toleration
of its enforcement, because, rather than in spite of, its being
harsh. This seems to be the mechanism which underlies what is to
the Englishman the mystery of German submission to direction and
discipline. That an able-bodied soldier should submit to being lashed
across the face by his officer for some trivial breach of etiquette—a
type of incident common and well witnessed to—is evidence of a state
of mind in _both_ parties utterly incomprehensible to our feelings.
The hypothesis I am suggesting would explain it by comparison with
the only available similar phenomenon—the submission of a dog to a
thrashing administered by his master. The dog illustrates very well
that in a predaceous social animal the enforcement of a harsh and
even brutal discipline is not only a possible but also a perfectly
satisfactory procedure in the psychological sense. That other common
victim of man’s brutality—the horse—provides an interesting complement
to the proposition by showing that in a protectively social animal a
savage enforcement of discipline is psychologically unsatisfactory.
It seems justifiable, therefore, to conclude that the aggressive
gregariousness of the Germans is the instinctive source of the
marvellous discipline of their soldiers, and the contribution it makes
to their amazing bravery. It must not be taken as any disrespect for
that wonderful quality, but as a desire to penetrate as far as possible
into its meaning, that compels one to point out that the theoretical
considerations I have advanced are confirmed by the generally admitted
dependence of {191} the German soldier on his officers and the at
least respectably attested liability he shows to the indulgence of an
inhuman savagery towards any one who is not his master by suggestion or
by force of arms.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the attempt I have made to get some insight into the German mind,
and to define the meaning of its ideals, and needs, and impulses in
biological terms, I have had to contend with the constant bias one has
naturally been influenced by in discussing a people not only intensely
hostile, but also animated by what I have tried to show is an alien
type of the social habit. Nevertheless, there seem to be certain
broad conclusions which may be usefully recalled in summary here as
constituting reasonable probabilities. My purpose will have been
effected if these are sufficiently consistent to afford a point of view
slightly different from the customary one, and yielding some practical
insight into the facts.

Germany presents to the biological psychologist the remarkable paradox
of being in the first place a State consciously directed towards a
definite series of ideals and ambitions, and deliberately organized
to obtain them, and in the second place a State in which prevails
a primitive type of the gregarious instinct—the aggressive—a type
which shows the closest resemblance in its needs, its ideals, and its
reactions to the society of the wolf pack. Thus she displays, in one
respect, what I have shown to be the summit of gregarious evolution,
and in another its very antithesis—a type of society which has always
been transient, and has failed to satisfy the needs of modern civilized

When I compare German society with the wolf pack, and the feelings,
desires, and impulses of the individual German with those of the wolf
or dog, I am not intending to use a vague analogy, but {192} to call
attention to a real and gross identity. The aggressive social animal
has a complete and consistent series of psychical reactions, which will
necessarily be traceable in his feelings and his behaviour, whether he
is a biped or a quadruped, a man or an insect. The psychical necessity
that makes the wolf brave in a massed attack is the same as that which
makes the German brave in a massed attack; the psychical necessity
which makes the dog submit to the whip of his master and profit by it
makes the German soldier submit to the lash of his officer and profit
by it. The instinctive process which makes the dog among his fellows
irritable, suspicious, ceremonious, sensitive about his honour, and
immediately ready to fight for it is identical in the German and
produces identical effects.

The number and minuteness of the coincidences of behaviour between the
German and other aggressive social species, the number and precision
of the differences between the German and the other types of social
animals make up together a body of evidence which is difficult to

Moreover, we see Germany compelled to submit to disadvantages,
consequent upon her social type, which, we may suppose, she would
have avoided had they not been too deeply ingrained for even her
thoroughness to remove. Thus she is unable to make or keep friends
amongst nations of the socialized type; her instinctive valuation
of fear as a compelling influence has allowed her to indulge the
threatenings and warlike gestures which have alienated all the strong
nations, and intimidated successfully only the weak—England, for
example, is an enemy entirely of her own making; she has been forced
to conduct the war on a plan of ceaseless and frightfully costly
aggression, because her morale could have survived no other method.

The ultimate object of science is foresight. It may fairly be asked,
therefore, supposing these speculations to have any scientific
justification, what light do they throw on the future? It would
be foolish to suppose that speculations so general can yield, in
forecasting the future, a precision which they do not pretend to
possess. Keeping, however, to the level of very general inference, two
observations may be hazarded.

First, the ultimate destiny of Germany cannot be regarded as very much
in doubt. If we are content to look beyond this war, however it may
issue, and take in a longer stretch of time, we can say with quite a
reasonable degree of assurance that Germanic power, of the type we know
and fear to-day, is impermanent. Germany has left the path of natural
evolution, or rather, perhaps, has never found it. Unless, therefore,
her civilization undergoes a radical change, and comes to be founded
on a different series of instinctive impulses, it will disappear from
the earth. All the advantages she has derived from conscious direction
and organization will not avail to change her fate, because conscious
direction is potent only when it works hand in hand with Nature, and
its first task—which the directors of Germany have neglected—is to find
out the path which man must follow.

Secondly, a word may be ventured about the war in so far as the
consideration of Germany alone can guide us. As I have tried to show,
her morale is more rigidly conditioned than that of her opponents.
They have merely to maintain their resistance, to do which they have
certain psychological advantages, and they must win. She must continue
aggressive efforts, and if these can be held by her enemies—not
more—she must go on galvanizing her weary nerves until they fail to
respond. I am not for a moment venturing to suppose myself {194}
competent to give the slightest hint upon the conduct of the war; I am
merely pointing out what I regard as a psychological fact. Whether it
has any practical military value is not in my province to decide.

If one claimed the liberty of all free men, to have over and above
considered judgment a real guess, one would be inclined to venture the
opinion that, however well things go with the enemies of Germany, there
will not be much fighting on German soil.

The proposition that the strength and weakness of Germany are rigidly
conditioned by definite and ascertainable psychological necessities is,
if it is valid, chiefly of interest to the strategist and those who are
responsible for the general lines of the campaign against her. We may
well, however, ask whether psychological principle yields any hint of
guidance in the solution of the further and equally important problem
of how her enemies are to secure and render permanent the fruits of the
victory upon which they are resolved.

This problem has already been the subject of a good deal of
controversy, which is likely to increase as the matter comes more and
more into the field of practical affairs.

Two types of solution have been expounded which, apart from what
inessential agreement they may show in demanding the resurrection of
such small nations as Germany has been able to assassinate, differ
profoundly in the treatment they propose for the actual enemy herself.
Both profess to be based upon the desire for a really permanent peace,
and the establishment of a truly stable equilibrium between the
antagonists. It is upon the means by which this result is to be secured
that differences arise.

The official solution, and that almost universally accepted by the
bulk of the people, insists that the {195} “military domination of
Prussia,” “German militarism,” or the “German military system” as
it is variously phrased, must be wholly and finally destroyed. This
doctrine has received many interpretations. In spite, however, of
criticism by moderates on the one hand and by unpractically ferocious
root-and-branch men on the other, it seems to remain—significantly
enough—an expression of policy which the common man feels for the time
to be adequate.

The most considerable criticism has come from the small class of
accomplished and intellectual writers who from their pacifist and
“international” tendencies have to some extent been accused, no
doubt falsely, of being pro-German in the sense of anti-English. The
complaint of this school against the official declaration of policy is,
that it does not disclose a sufficiently definite object or the means
by which this object is to be attained. We are told that as a nation
we do not know what we are fighting for, and, what amounts to the same
thing, that we cannot attain the object we profess to pursue by the
exercise of military force however drastically it may be applied. We
are warned that we should seek a “reasonable” peace and one which by
its moderation would have an educative effect upon the German people,
that to crush and especially in any way to dismember the German
Empire would confirm its people in their belief that this war is a
war of aggression by envious neighbours, and make revenge a national

Such criticism has not always been very effectually answered, and the
generally current feeling has proved disconcertingly inarticulate in
the presence of its agile and well-equipped opponents. Indeed, upon
the ordinary assumptions of political debate, it is doubtful whether
any quite satisfactory answer {196} can be produced. It is just,
however, these very assumptions which must be abandoned and replaced
by more appropriate psychological principles when we are trying to
obtain light upon the relations of two peoples of profoundly different
social type and instinctive reaction. The common man seems to be dimly
aware of this difference though he cannot define it; the intellectual
of what, for want of a better term, I may call the pacifist type in
all its various grades, proceeds upon the assumption that no such
difference exists. Much as one must respect the courage and capacity of
many of these latter, one cannot but recognize that their conceptions,
however logical and however ingenious, lack the invigorating contact
with reality which the instinctive feelings of the common man have not
altogether failed to attain.

Let us now consider what guidance in the solution of the problem can be
got from a consideration of the peculiarities of the social type which
the Germans of the present day so characteristically present.

Regarded from this point of view, the war is seen to be directed
against a social type which, when endowed with the technical resources
of modern civilization, is, and must continue to be, a dangerous
anachronism. A people of the aggressive social habit can never be in a
state of stable equilibrium with its neighbours. The constitution of
its society presents a rigid barrier to smooth and continuous internal
integration; its energy, therefore, must be occupied upon essentially,
though not always superficially, external objects, and its history
will necessarily be made up of alternating periods of aggression
and periods of preparation. Such a people has no conception of the
benign use of power. It must regard war as an end in itself, as the
summit of its national activities, as the recurring apogee {197} of
its secular orbit; it must regard peace as a necessary and somewhat
irksome preparation for war in which it may savour reminiscently the
joys of conquest by dragooning its new territories and drastically
imposing upon them its national type. This instinctive insistence upon
uniformity makes every conquest by such a people an impoverishment
of the human race, and makes the resistance of such aggression an
elementary human duty.

In every particular Germany has proved true to her social type, and
every detail of her history for the last fifty years betrays the lupine
quality of her ideals and her morals.

We have seen that in all gregarious animals the social instinct must
follow one of three principal types, each of which will produce a
herd having special activities and reactions. The major units of the
human species appear limited to a similar number of categories, but it
is probable that the perpetuation of a given type in a given herd is
not chiefly a matter of heredity in the individual. The individual is
gregarious by inheritance; the type according to which his gregarious
reactions are manifested is not inherited, but will depend upon the
form current in the herd to which he belongs, and handed down in it
from generation to generation. Thus it has happened that nations have
been able in the course of their history to pass from the aggressive
to the socialized type. The change has perhaps been rendered possible
by the existence of class segregation of a not too rigid kind, and
has doubtless depended upon a progressive intercommunication and the
consequently developing altruism. The extremely rigid Prussian social
system seems clearly to be associated with the persistence of the
aggressive form of society.

In considering the permanent deliverance of Europe from the elements
in Germany for which {198} there can be no possible toleration, we
therefore have not to deal with characters which must be regarded as
inherited in the biological sense. We have to deal rather with a group
of reactions which, while owing their unity, coherence, and power to
the inherited qualities of the gregarious mind, owe their perpetuation
to organized State suggestion, to tradition, and to their past success
as a national method.

There can be no doubt that the success of the German Empire has
consolidated the hold of the aggressive social type upon its people,
and has guarded it from the eroding effects of increasing communication
with other peoples and knowledge of the world. As I have already tried
to show, the moral power of such peoples is intimately associated with
the continuance of aggression and of success. The German Empire has had
no experience of failure, and for this reason has been able to maintain
its ideals and aspirations untouched by modern influences. It needs no
psychological insight to foretell that if the result of this war can
be in any way regarded as a success for Germany, she will be thereby
confirmed in her present ideals, however great her sufferings may have
been, and however complete her exhaustion. It must be remembered that
this type of people is capable of interpreting facts in accordance with
its prejudices to an almost incredible extent, as we have seen time and
again in the course of the war. The proof that the aggressive national
type is intolerable in modern Europe, if it can be afforded by force
of arms, must therefore be made very plain, or it will have no value
as a lesson. Proof of failure adequate to convince a people of the
socialized type might be quite inadequate to convince a people of the
lupine type in whom, from the nature of the case, mental resistiveness
is so much more {199} impenetrable. This is the psychological fact of
which the statesmen of Europe will have to be, above all things, aware
when questions of peace come seriously to be discussed, for otherwise
they will risk the loss of all the blood and treasure which have been
expended without any corresponding gain for civilization.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have been warned that to “humiliate” Germany will merely be to set
her upon the preparation of vengeance, and to confirm her belief in
the supreme value of military strength. This opinion affects to be
based on a knowledge of human nature, but its pretensions are not very
well founded. The passion of revenge is habitually over-estimated as a
motive—possibly through the influence of the novelists and playwrights
to whom it is so useful. When we examine man’s behaviour objectively
we find that revenge, however deathless a passion it is vowed to be at
emotional moments, is in actual life constantly having to give way to
more urgent and more recent needs and feelings. Between nations there
is no reason to suppose that it has any more reality as a motive of
policy, though it perhaps has slightly more value as a consolatory pose.

It is curious that the naïve over-estimation of the revenge ideal
should have been uninfluenced by so obvious an example as the relations
of France and Germany. In 1870 the former was “humiliated” with brutal
completeness and every element of insult. She talked of revenge, as
she could scarcely fail to do, but she soon showed that her grasp on
reality was too firm to allow her policy to be moved by that childish
passion. Characteristically, it was the victorious aggressor who
believed in her longing for revenge, and who at length attacked her
again. {200}

A psychological hint of great value may be obtained from our knowledge
of those animals whose gregariousness, like that of the Germans, is
of the aggressive type. When it is thought necessary to correct a dog
by corporal measures, it is found that the best effect is got by what
is rather callously called a “sound” thrashing. The animal must be
left in no doubt as to who is the master, and his punishment must not
be diluted by hesitation, nervousness, or compunction on the part of
the punisher. The experience then becomes one from which the dog is
capable of learning, and if the sense of mastery conveyed to him is
unmistakable, he can assimilate the lesson without reservation or the
desire for revenge. However repulsive the idea may be to creatures of
the socialized type, no sentimentalism and no pacifist theorizing can
conceal the fact that the respect of a dog can be won by violence.
If there is any truth in the view I have expressed that the moral
reactions of Germany follow the gregarious type which is illustrated
by the wolf and the dog, it follows that her respect is to be won by a
thorough and drastic beating, and it is just that elementary respect
for other nations, of which she is now entirely free, which it is
the duty of Europe to teach her. If she is allowed to escape under
conditions which in any way can be sophisticated into a victory, or, at
any rate, not a defeat, she will continue to hate us as she continued
to hate her victim France.

To the politician, devoted as he necessarily is to the exclusively
human point of view, it may seem fantastic and scandalous to look for
help in international policy to the conduct of dogs. The gulf between
the two fields is not perhaps so impassably profound as he would
like to think, but, however that may be, the analogy I have drawn is
not unsupported by evidence of a more respectable kind. {201} The
susceptibility of the individual German to a harsh and even brutally
enforced discipline is well known. The common soldier submits to be
beaten by his sergeant, and is the better soldier for it; both submit
to the bullying of their officer apparently also with profit; the
common student is scarcely less completely subject to his professor,
and becomes thereby a model of scientific excellence; the common
citizen submits to the commands of his superiors, however unreasonably
conceived and insultingly conveyed, and becomes a model of disciplined
behaviour; finally the head of the State, combining the most drastic
methods of the sergeant, the professor, and the official, wins not
merely a slavish respect, but a veritable apotheosis.

Germany has shown unmistakably the way to her heart; it is for Europe
to take it.


It is one of the most impressive facts about the war, that while
Germany is the very type of a perfected aggressive herd, England is
perhaps the most complete example of a socialized herd. Corresponding
with this biological difference is the striking difference in their
history. Germany has modelled her soul upon the wolf’s, and has rushed
through the possibilities of her archetype in fifty feverish years of
development; already she is a finished product, her moral ideal is
fulfilled and leaves her nothing to strive for except the imposition of
it upon the world. England has taken as her model the bee, and still
lags infinitely far behind the fulfilment of her ideal. In the unbroken
security of her land, for near a thousand years, she has leisurely,
perhaps lazily, and with infinite slowness, pursued her path towards a
social integration of an {202} ever closer and deeper kind. She has
stolidly, even stupidly, and always in a grossly practical spirit, held
herself to the task of shaping a society in which free men could live
and yet be citizens. She has had no theory of herself, no consciousness
of her destiny, no will to power. She has had almost no national
heroes, and has always been constitutionally frigid to her great men,
grudging them the material for their experimentations on her people,
indifferent to their expositions of her duty and her imperial destiny,
granting them a chance to die for her with no more encouragement than
an impatient sigh. She has allowed an empire to be won for her by her
restless younger sons, has shown no gratification in their conquests,
and so far from thrilling with the exultation of the conqueror, has
always at the earliest moment set her new dominions at work upon the
problem in which her wholly unromantic absorption has never relaxed.
And after a thousand years she seems as far as ever from her goal. Her
society is irregular, disorganized, inco-ordinate, split into classes
at war with one another, weighted at one end with poverty, squalor,
ignorance, and disease, weighted at the other end by ignorance,
prejudice, and corpulent self-satisfaction. Nevertheless, her patience
is no more shaken by what she is lectured upon as failure than was her
composure by what she was assured was imperial success. She is no less
bound by her fate than is Germany, and must continue her path until
she reaches its infinitely remoter goal. Nations may model themselves
on her expedients, and found the architecture of their liberty on the
tabernacles she has set up by the wayside to rest in for a night—she
will continue on her road unconscious of herself or her greatness,
absent-mindedly polite to genius, pleasantly tickled by prophets with
very loud voices, but apt to go to sleep under {203} sermons, too
awkward to boast or bluster, too composed to seem strong, too dull
to be flattered, too patient to be flurried, and withal inflexibly
practical and indifferent to dreams.

       *       *       *       *       *

No more perfect illustration of the characteristics of the two nations
could be found than their attitude before the war. England the empiric,
dimly conscious of trouble, was puzzled, restless, and uneasy in the
face of a problem she was threatened with some day having to study;
Germany, the theorist, cool, “objective,” conscious of herself, was
convinced there was no problem at all.

In studying the mind of England in the spirit of the biological
psychologist, it is necessary to keep in mind the society of the bee,
just as in studying the German mind it was necessary to keep in mind
the society of the wolf.

One of the most striking phenomena which observers of the bee have
noticed is the absence of any obvious means of direction or government
in the hive. The queen seems to be valued merely for her functions,
which are in no way directive. Decisions of policy of the greatest
moment appear, as far as we can detect, to arise spontaneously among
the workers, and whether the future is to prove them right or wrong,
are carried out without protest or disagreement. This capacity for
unanimous decisions is obviously connected with the limited mental
development of the individual, as is shown by the fact that in man it
is very much more feeble. In spite of this, the unanimity of the hive
is wonderfully effective and surprisingly successful. Speculators upon
the physiology and psychology of bees have been forced—very tentatively
of course—to imagine that creatures living in such intensely close
communion are able to communicate to one another, and, as it were, to a
common stock, such extremely {204} simple conceptions as they can be
supposed to entertain, and produce, so to say, a communal mind which
comes to have, at any rate in times of crisis, a quasi-independent
existence. The conception is difficult to express in concrete terms,
and even to grasp in more than an occasional intuitive flash. Whether
we are to entertain such a conception or are to reject it, the fact
remains that societies of a very closely communal habit are apt to give
the appearance of being ruled by a kind of common mind—a veritable
spirit of the hive—although no trace of any directive apparatus can be

A close study of England gives the impression of some agency comparable
with a “spirit of the hive” being at work within it. The impression
is not perhaps to be taken as altogether fantastic, when we remember
how her insular station and her long history have forced upon her a
physical seclusion and unity resembling, though of course far less
complete than, that of the hive. I am of course not unaware that
disquisitions upon the national spirit are very familiar to us. These,
however, are so loosely conceived, so much concerned with purely
conventional personifications of quite imaginary qualities, that I
cannot regard them as referring to the phenomenon I am trying to

The conception in my mind is that of an old and isolated people,
developing, by the slow mingling and attrition of their ideas, and
needs, and impulses, a certain deeply lying unity which becomes a
kind of “instinct” for national life, and gives to national policy,
without the conscious knowledge of any individual citizen, without the
direction of statesmen, and perhaps in spite of them all, a continuity
of trend, and even an intelligence, by which events may be influenced
in a profoundly important way.

The making of some such assumption, helped as it is by the analogy
of the bee, seems to be {205} necessary when we consider at all
objectively the history of England and her Empire. She has done so
much without any leading, so much in spite of her ostensible leaders,
so often a great policy or a successful stroke has been apparently
accidental. So much of her work that seemed, while it was doing, to
be local and narrow in conception and motive displays at a distance
evidences of design on the great scale. Her contests with Philip
of Spain, with Louis XIV, with Napoleon, and the foundation of her
Colonial Empire, would seem to be the grandiose conceptions of some
supreme genius did we not know how they were undertaken and in what
spirit pursued.

It appears, then, that England has something with which to retort upon
the conscious direction to which Germany owes so much of her strength.
Among the number of embattled principles and counter principles which
this war has brought into the field, we must include as not the least
interesting the duel between conscious national direction on the one
side and unconscious national will and knowledge on the other.

It is quite outside my province to touch upon the diplomatic events
which led up to the war. They seem to me to be irrelevant to the
biological type of analysis we are trying to pursue. There can be no
doubt at all that the ordinary consciousness of the vast majority of
citizens of this country was intensely averse from the idea of war.
Those who were in general bellicose were for the moment decidedly out
of influence. Can we suppose, however, that the deep, still spirit of
the hive that whispers unrecognized in us all had failed to note that
strange, gesticulating object across the North Sea? In its vast, simple
memory would come up other objects that had gone on like that. It would
remember a mailed fist that had been {206} flourished across the Bay
of Biscay three hundred years ago, a little man in shining armour who
had strutted threateningly on the other shore of the Channel, and the
other little man who had stood there among his armies, and rattled his
sabre in the scabbard. It had marked them all down in their time, and
it remembered the old vocabulary. It would turn wearily and a little
impatiently to this new portent over the North Sea. . . . Wise with the
experience of a thousand years, it would know when to strike.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such deeply buried combined national impulses as we are here glancing
at are far removed from the influence of pacifist or jingo. Any attempt
to define them must be a matter of guesswork and groping, in which the
element of speculation is far in excess of the element of ascertained
fact. It seems, however, that, as in the case of the bee, they concern
chiefly actual decisions of crucial matters of policy. To put this
suggestion in another form, we might say the spirit of the people
makes the great wars, but it leaves the statesman to conduct them. It
may make, therefore, a decision of incredible profundity, launch the
people on the necessary course at the necessary moment, and then leave
them to flounder through the difficulties of their journey as best
they can. Herein is the contrast it presents with the German resource
of conscious direction—superficial, apt to blunder in all the larger,
deeper matters of human nature, but constant, alert, and ingenious in
making immediate use of every available means and penetrating every
department of activity.

During the conduct of war it is only in the simplest, broadest matters
that the spirit of the people can bring its wisdom to bear. One of the
most striking manifestations of it has, for example, been {207} the
way in which it has shown a knowledge that the war would be long and
hard. The bad news has been, in general, received without complaint,
reproach, or agitation, the good news, such as it has been, with a
resolute determination not to exult or rejoice. That so many months
of a deadly war have produced no _popular_ expression of exultation
or dismay is a substantial evidence of moral power, and not the less
impressive for being so plainly the work of the common man himself.

Such manifestations of the spirit of the people are rare, and meet with
very little encouragement from those who have access to the public.
It is astonishing how absent the gift of interpretation seems to be.
A few, a very few, stand out as being able to catch those whispers of
immemorial wisdom; many seem to be occupied in confusing them with a
harsh and discordant clamour of speech.

       *       *       *       *       *

If we are correct in our analogy of the bee and the wolf, England
has one great moral advantage over Germany, namely, that there is in
the structure of her society no inherent obstacle to perfect unity
among her people. The utmost unity Germany can compass is that of the
aggressive type, which brings with it a harsh, non-altruistic relation
among individuals, and can yield its full moral value only during the
maintenance of successful attack. England, on the other hand, having
followed the socialized type of gregariousness, is free to integrate
her society to an indefinite extent. The development of the altruistic
relation among her individuals lies in her natural path. Her system of
social segregation is not necessarily a rigid one, and if she can bring
about an adequate acceleration of the perfectly natural consolidation
towards which she is, and has slowly been, tending, she will {208}
attain access to a store of moral power literally inexhaustible,
and will reach a moral cohesion which no hardship can shake, and an
endurance which no power on earth can overcome.

These are no figures of speech, but plain biological fact, capable
of immediate practical application and yielding an immediate result.
It must be admitted that she has made little progress towards this
consummation since the beginning of the war. Leaders, including not
only governing politicians but also those who in any way have access
to public notice, tend to enjoin a merely conventional unity, which is
almost functionless in the promotion of moral strength. It is not much
more than an agreement to say we are united; it produces no true unity
of spirit and no power in the individual to deny himself the indulgence
of his egoistic impulses in action and in speech, and is therefore as
irritating as it is useless. It is unfortunate that the education and
circumstances of many public men deny them any opportunity of learning
the very elementary principles which are necessary for the development
of a nation’s moral resources. Occasionally one or another catches an
intuitive glimpse of some fragment of the required knowledge, but never
enough to enable him to develop any effective influence. For the most
part their impulses are as likely to be destructive of the desired
effect as favourable to it. In the past England’s wars have always been
conducted in an atmosphere of disunion, of acrimony, and of criticism
designed to embarrass the Government rather than, as it professes, to
strengthen the country. It is a testimony to the moral sturdiness of
the people, and to the power and subtlety of the spirit of the hive,
that success has been possible in such conditions. When one remembers
how England has flourished on domestic discord in {209} critical
times, one is tempted to believe that she derives some mysterious
power from such a state, and that the abolition of discord might not
be for her the advantageous change it appears so evidently to be.
Consideration, however, must show that this hypothesis is inadmissible,
and that England has won through on these occasions in spite of the
handicap discord has put upon her. In the present war, tough and hard
as is her moral fibre, she will need every element of her power to
avoid the weariness and enfeeblement that will otherwise come upon her
before her task is done.

Throughout the months of warfare that have already passed no evidence
has become public of any recognition that the moral power of a
nation depends upon causes which can be identified, formulated, and
controlled. It seems to be unknown that that domination of egoistic
impulses by social impulses which we call a satisfactory morale is
capable of direct cultivation as such, that by it the resources of the
nation are made completely available to the nation’s leaders, that
without it every demand upon the citizen is liable to be grudgingly met
or altogether repudiated.

We are told by physicians that uninstructed patients are apt to insist
upon the relief of their symptoms, and to care nothing for the cure
of their diseases, that a man will demand a bottle of medicine to
stop the pain of an ulcer in his stomach, but will refuse to allow
the examination that would establish the nature of his disease. The
statesman embarrassed by the manifestations of an imperfect morale
seems to incline to a similar method. When he finds he cannot get
soldiers at the necessary rate, he would invent a remedy for that
particular symptom. When he has difficulties in getting one or another
industrial class to suspend its charters in the interests of the State,
he must have a new {210} and special nostrum for that. When he would
relax the caution of the capitalist or restrain the wastefulness of the
self-indulgent, again other remedies must be found. And so he passes
from crisis to crisis, never knowing from moment to moment what trouble
will break out next, harassed, it is to be supposed, by the doubt
whether his stock of potions and pills will hold out, and how long
their very moderate efficiency will continue.

None of these troubles is a disease in itself; all are evidences
of an imperfect national morale, and any attempt to deal with them
that does not reach their common cause will necessarily therefore be
unsatisfactory and impermanent.

The sole basis of a satisfactory morale in a people of the social type
that obtains in England is a true national unity, which is therefore
the singular and complete remedy for all the civil difficulties
incident upon a great and dangerous war.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is impossible to form any guess whether England will keep to her
traditional methods or will depart so far from them as to take a bold
and comprehensive view of her present and her growing moral needs. A
carefully conceived and daringly carried out organization of a real
national unity would have no great difficulty in a country so rich in
practical genius; it would make an end once for all of every internal
difficulty of the State, and would convert the nation into an engine of
war which nothing could resist.

The more probable and the characteristic event will be a mere
continuation in the old way. It will exemplify our usual and often
admirable enough contempt for theoretical considerations and dreams,
our want of interest in knowledge and foresight, our willingness to
take any risk rather than endure the horrid pains of thought. {211}

When we remember how costly is our traditional method, how long and
painful it makes the way, how doubtful it even makes the goal, it is
impossible for the most philosophic to restrain a sigh for the needless
suffering it entails, and a thrill of alarm for the dangers it gives
our path, the darkness around us and ahead, the unimaginable end.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the student, the end of the chapter is a chance to turn from the
study of detail and allow his mind to range through a larger atmosphere
and over a longer sequence. Closing our small chapter, we also may
look at large over the great expanse of the biological series in
whose illimitable panorama the war that covers our nearer skies with
its blood-red cloud is no bigger than a pin point. As we contemplate
in imagination the first minute spot of living jelly that crept and
hungered in the mud, we can see the interplay of its necessities and
its powers already pushing it along the path at the end of which we
stand. Inherent in the dot of magic substance that was no longer mere
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and a little phosphorus,
was the capacity to combine with its fellows and to profit by the
fellowship, however loose. In the slow process of time combination
brought freedom which, just like ours, was freedom to vary and,
varying, to specialize. So in time great States of cells grew up, their
individual citizen cells specialized to the finest pitch, perfect
in communion with one another, co-ordinate in all their activities,
incorporated with the State.

These new and splendid organizations, by the very fact of giving
freedom to the individual cells, had lost it themselves. Still, they
retained their capacity for combination, and where the need of {212}
freedom was greatest they found it again in a new combination on a
bigger scale. Thus again was obtained freedom to vary, to specialize,
to react. Over the world fellowships of all grades and almost all
types of creatures sprang up. Specialization, communion, co-ordination
again appeared on the new plane. It was as if Nature, to protect her
children against herself, was trying to crowd as much living matter
into one unit as she could. She had failed with her giant lizards,
with the mammoth and the mastodon. She would try a new method which
should dispense with gross physical aggregations, but should minister
to the same needs and afford the same powers. The body should be left
free, the mind alone should be incorporated in the new unit. The
non-material nexus proved as efficient as the physical one had been.
The flock, the herd, the pack, the swarm, new creatures all, flourished
and ranged the world. Their power depended on the capacity for
intercommunication amongst their members and expanded until the limits
of this were reached. As long as intercommunication was limited the
full possibilities of the new experiment were concealed, but at length
appeared a creature in whom this capacity could develop indefinitely.
At once a power of a new magnitude was manifest. Puny as were his
individuals, man’s capacity for communication soon made him master of
the world. The very quality, however, which gave him success introduced
a new complication of his fate. His brain power allowed him to speak
and understand and so to communicate and combine more effectively
than any other animal; his brain power gave him individuality and
egoism, and the possibility of varied reaction which enabled him to
obey the voice of instinct after the fashion of his own heart. All
combination therefore was irregular, inco-ordinate, and only very
slowly progressive. He has even at {213} times wandered into blind
paths where the possibility of progressive combination is lost.

Nevertheless the needs and capacities that were at work in the primeval
amœba are at work in him. In his very flesh and bones is the impulse
towards closer and closer union in larger and larger fellowships.
To-day he is fighting his way towards that goal, fighting for the
perfect unit which Nature has so long foreshadowed, in which there
shall be a complete communion of its members, unobstructed by egoism
or hatred, by harshness or arrogance or the wolfish lust for blood.
That perfect unit will be a new creature, recognizable as a single
entity; to its million-minded power and knowledge no barrier will be
insurmountable, no gulf impassable, no task too great.

{214} POSTSCRIPT OF 1919


With the exception of the two preliminary essays, the foregoing
chapters were written in the autumn of 1915. As the chief purpose of
the book was to expound the conception that psychology is a science
practically useful in actual affairs, it was inevitable that a great
deal of the exemplary matter by which it was attempted to illustrate
the theoretical discussion should be related to the war of 1914–1918.
Rich, however, as this subject was in material with which to illustrate
a psychological inquiry, it presented also the great difficulty of
being surrounded and permeated by prejudices of the most deeply
impassioned kind, prejudices, moreover, in one direction or another
from which no inhabitant of one of the belligerent countries could
have the least expectation of being free. To yield to the temptation
offered by the psychological richness of war themes might thus be to
sacrifice the detachment of mind and coolness of judgment without which
scientific investigation is impossible. It had to be admitted, in fact,
that there were strong grounds for such epistemological pessimism, and
it will perhaps be useful in a broad way to define some of these here.

In normal times a modern nation is made up of a society in which no
regard is paid to moral unity, and in which therefore common feeling
is to {215} a great extent unorganized and inco-ordinate. In such
a society the individual citizen cannot derive from the nation as a
whole the full satisfaction of the needs special to him as a gregarious
animal. The national feeling he experiences when at home among his
fellows is too vague and remote to call forth the sense of moral vigour
and security that his nature demands. As has already been pointed
out[S] the necessary consequence is the segregation of society into
innumerable minor groups, each constituting in itself a small herd, and
dispensing to its members the moral energy that in a fully organized
society would come from the nation as a whole. Of such minor herds some
are much more distinct from the common body than others. Some engage a
part only of the life of their members, so that the individual citizen
may belong to a number of groups and derive such moral energy as he
possesses from a variety of sources. Thus in a fully segregated society
in time of peace the moral support of the citizen comes from his social
class and his immediate circle, his professional associations, his
church, his chapel, his trade union and his clubs, rather than directly
from the nation in which he is a unit. Indeed, so far from looking
to the nation at large for the fulfilment of its natural function of
providing “all hope, all sustainment, all reward,” he is apt to regard
it as embodied by the tax-gatherer, the policeman, and the bureaucrat,
at its best remote and indifferent, at its worst hostile and oppressive.

     [S] Pp. 137, 138 _supra_.

The more distinct of these intra-national groups may not only be
very fully isolated from the common body, but may be the seat of an
actual corporate hostility to it, or rather to the aggregated minor
groups which have come officially to represent it. When war breaks
upon a society thus constituted {216} the intense stimulation of herd
instinct that results tends to break down the moral restrictions set up
by segregation, to throw back the individual citizen on to the nation
at large for the satisfaction of his moral needs, and to replace class
feeling by national feeling. The apprehended danger of the given war is
the measure of the completeness with which occurs such a solution of
minor groups into the national body. The extent of such solution and
the consequently increased homogeneity it effects in the nation will
determine the extent to which national feeling develops, the degree
to which it approaches unanimity, and consequently the vigour with
which the war is defended and conducted. If a minor group has already
developed a certain hostility to the common body and resists the
solvent effect of the outbreak of war, it becomes a potential source
of anti-national feeling and of opposition to the national policy.
Surrounded as it necessarily will be by an atmosphere of hostility,
its character as a herd becomes hardened and invigorated, and it can
endow its members with all the gifts of moral vigour and resistiveness
a herd can give. Thus we may say, that in a country at war _every_
citizen is exposed to the extremely powerful stimulation of herd
instinct characteristic of that state. In the individual who follows
in feeling the general body of his fellows, and in him who belongs
to a dissentient minority, the reactions peculiar to the gregarious
animal will be energetically manifested. Of such reactions, that which
interests us particularly at the moment is the moulding of opinion in
accordance with instinctive pressure, and we arrive at the conclusion
that our citizen of the majority is no more—if no less—liable to the
distortion of opinion than our citizen of the minority. Whence we
conclude that in a country at war _all_ opinion is necessarily more or
less subject to prejudice, and that this liability to {217} bias is a
herd mechanism, and owes its vigour to that potent instinct.

It is undoubtedly depressing to have to recognize this universality
of prejudice and to have to abandon the opinion sometimes held that
the characteristics of herd belief are limited to the judgments of the
vulgar. The selectness of a minority in no way guarantees it against
the fallacies of the mob. A minority sufficiently unpopular is, in
a sense, a mob in which smallness is compensated for by density.
The moral vigour and fortitude which unpopular minorities enjoy are
evidences of herd instinct in vigorous action; the less admirable
liability to prejudice being a part of the same instinctive process is
a necessary accompaniment. We may lay it down, then, as fundamental
that all opinion among the members of a nation at war is liable to
prejudice, and when we remember with what vehemence such opinion
is pronounced and with what fortitude it is defended we may regard
as at least highly probable that such opinion always actually is
prejudiced—rests, that is to say, on instinct rather than reason. Now,
it is common knowledge that in the present state of society opinion in
a given country is always divided as to the justice of an actual war.
All of it sharing the common characteristic of war opinion in being
prejudiced, some will pronounce more or less clearly that the war is
just and necessary, some will pronounce more or less clearly against
that view; there will be a division into what we may call pro-national
and anti-national currents of opinion, each accompanied respectively
by its counterpart of what we may call anti-hostile and pro-hostile
opinion. It is a significant fact that the relative development of
pro-national and anti-national feeling varies according to the degree
in which the given war is apprehended as dangerous. A {218} war
apprehended as dangerous produces a more complete solution of the
minor herds of society into the common body than does a war not so
regarded; in consequence there is a nearer approach to homogeneity,
and pro-national opinion is far in excess of anti-national opinion,
which, if recognizable, is confined to insignificant minorities. A war
regarded as not dangerous produces a less complete solution in the
common body, a less degree of homogeneity, and allows anti-national
opinion, that is, doubt of the justice of the war and opposition to the
national policy, to develop on a large scale. These phenomena have been
clearly visible in the history of recent wars. The South African War
of 1899–1902 was not apprehended as dangerous in this country, and in
consequence, though pro-national opinion prevailed among the majority,
anti-national opinion was current in a large and respectable minority.
The war of 1914–1918, regarded from the first as of the greatest
gravity, gave to pro-national opinion an enormous preponderance,
and restricted anti-national opinion within very narrow limits. The
Russo-Japanese War provided an excellent double illustration of these
mechanisms. On the Russian side regarded as not dangerous, it left
national opinion greatly divided, and made the conduct of the war
confused and languid; on the Japanese side apprehended as highly
dangerous, it produced an enormous preponderance of pro-national
opinion, and made the conduct of the war correspondingly vigorous. In
the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 a further point is illustrated.
The essential factor in the stimulation of herd instinct by war is not
the actual danger of a given war, but the apprehended danger of it.
The Prussians were dangerous enough to France, but were not generally
regarded as such by the French, and in consequence national {219}
homogeneity did not develop as it did on a later occasion in face of
the same menace.

If pro-national and anti-national opinion, if belief and doubt in the
justice of a given war, vary in relation to a single predominantly
important psychological factor—the apprehended danger to the nation of
the war in question—it is obvious that the ostensible and proclaimed
grounds upon which such opinion is founded are less decisive than is
commonly supposed. Finding, as we do, that the way in which a people
responds to the outbreak of war depends certainly in the main and
probably altogether on a condition not necessarily dependent on the
causes of the war, it is obvious that the moral justifications which
are usually regarded as so important in determining the people’s
response are in fact comparatively insignificant. This conclusion
agrees with the observed fact that no nation at war ever lacks the
conviction that its cause is just. In the war of 1914–1918 each of
the belligerents was animated by a passion of certainty that its
participation was unavoidable and its purpose good and noble; each side
defended its cause with arguments perfectly convincing and unanswerable
to itself and wholly without effect on the enemy. Such passion, such
certitude, such impenetrability were obviously products of something
other than reason, and do not in themselves and directly give us any
information as to the objective realities of the distribution of
justice between the two sides. The sense of rectitude is in fact and
manifestly a product of mere belligerency, and one which a nation at
war may confidently expect to possess, no matter how nefarious its
objects may ultimately appear to be in the eyes of general justice.
The fact that such a sense of rectitude is a universal and inevitable
accompaniment of war, and as strong in a predatory and {220} criminal
belligerent as in a generally pacific one, gives us a convenient
measure of the extent to which prejudice must prevail in warfare.[T]

     [T] It is important that it should be quite clear that we have
     been speaking here of the reaction of the general body of a nation
     to the occurrence of war, and not of the reasons for which a given
     war was undertaken. In England and in Germany the feeling of
     the people that the late war was just and necessary was equally
     intense and equally a direct consequence of the danger to the
     herd it represented. It was therefore a non-rational instinctive
     response without reference to objective justice in either case.
     Had the threat to the herd on either side seemed less grave,
     opinion as to the justice of the war would in that country have
     been correspondingly more divided. By her calculated truculence
     in the years before the war Germany—intending doubtless to
     intimidate a decaying people—had made it certain that when the
     threat to this country did come it should be apprehended at once
     as dangerous to the last degree, and had thus herself organized
     the practical unanimity of her chief enemy. All such reactions
     upon the outbreak of war are instinctively determined. It is the
     burden of the statesman that his decision in a crisis in favour of
     war _automatically_ renders impossible _rational_ confirmation by
     the people.

We thus arrive at the discouraging conclusion that in a belligerent
country all opinion in any way connected with the war is subject to
prejudice, either pro-national or anti-national, and is very likely in
consequence to be of impaired validity. Must we then conclude further
that speculation upon war themes is so liable to distortion that
reasoned judgments of any practical value are impossible? Now, it is
guidance in just such a difficulty as this that a psychology having any
pretensions to be called practical may fairly be expected to yield, and
psychology does in fact provide certain broad precautionary principles,
which, although by no means infallible guides, do profess to be able
to keep within bounds the disturbing effects of prejudice on judgment
and so render possible the not wholly unprofitable discussion even of
matters the most deeply implicated by war-time passion.

First among such principles is the recognition of the fact that
prejudice does not display itself as such to direct introspection. One
who is being {221} influenced by prejudice will never be able to detect
his biassed judgments by an apparent defect in their plausibility or
by any characteristic logical weakness. Agreement or disagreement
with common opinion will as such be no help, since prejudice infests
minorities no less than majorities. To suppose that when one has
admitted the liability to prejudice one can free oneself from it by a
direct voluntary effort is a common belief and an entirely fallacious
one. Such a task is far beyond the powers of the most fully instructed
mind, and is not likely to be undertaken except by those who have
least chance of success. Prejudice, in fact, is for the individual
like the ether of the physicist, infinitely pervasive and potent, but
insusceptible of direct detection; its presence is to be assumed as
general, but it escapes before immediate search by introspection as the
ether eludes the balance and the test-tube.

Secondly, it is possible for the investigator, having admitted the
existence of prejudice as a condition of thought, to recognize the
general direction of its action in his own mind, to recognize, that is
to say, whether the tone of it is pro-national or anti-national, and
thus to obtain a certain orientation for his efforts to neutralize it.
Having frankly recognized this general tendency in his thinking, he
will be able to do something towards correcting it by making allowance
for it in his conclusion as a whole. If his tendency of feeling is
pro-national, he will say to himself of any judgment favourable to
his country, “This is a conclusion likely to have been influenced
by prejudice, therefore for all the precautions I may have taken in
forming it, and whatever scientific care and caution I may have used,
in spite even of its agreeable appearance of self-evident truth, I must
regard its validity as subject to some subtraction before it {222} can
safely be made the basis for further speculation.” If his tendency of
feeling is anti-national, he will have a similar task of attenuation to
carry out upon the conclusions unfavourable to his country that he may
reach, and will be prudent to make very drastic deductions in view of
the supposed immunity to prejudice with which minorities are rather apt
to assume the absence of vulgar approval endows them.[U]

     [U] It is perhaps of interest to note in passing that war-time
     opinion and prejudice are characteristically pro-national
     and anti-national, rather than anti-hostile and pro-hostile
     respectively. The impulse that might have led an isolated German
     to defend the English at the expense of his countrymen, or an
     isolated Englishman to defend the Germans at the expense of his
     countrymen, was in its psychological essence anti-national and
     animated by no love of the enemy; it was an instinctive revolt
     against his country, or rather the groups which in the process
     of social segregation had come to represent it. Such terms,
     therefore, as pro-German, and in another association pro-Boer,
     though doubtless convenient implements of abuse, were inexactly
     descriptive psychologically. “Anti-English” would have been
     more just, but immensely less effective, as vituperation, for
     the prejudice it was desired to decry was for the most part a
     hostility not to the nation, but to its official embodiment.
     Probably, however, it was the very element of injustice in the
     term pro-German that made it so satisfactory a vehicle for
     exasperated feeling.

Finally, one who attempts to deal usefully with matters in which strong
feeling is inevitable will do well, however thoroughly he may try to
guard himself from the effects of prejudice, to bring his speculative
conclusions into such form that they are automatically tested by the
progress of events. Symmetry and internal consistency are unfortunately
but too often accepted as evidences of objective validity. That the
items of a series of conclusions fit into one another neatly and
compose a system logically sound and attractive to the intellect gives
us practically no information of their truth. For this a frequently
repeated contact with external reality is necessary, and of such
contacts the most thoroughly satisfactory one is the power to foretell
the course of events. Foresight is the supreme {223} test of scientific
validity, and the more a line of argument is liable to deflection by
non-rational processes the more urgent is the need for it constantly
to be put into forms which will allow its capacity for foresight to
be tested. This was the one great advantage amongst heavy handicaps
enjoyed by those who ventured into speculation upon the international
situation during the late war. Events were moving so quickly from
crisis to crisis that it was possible for the psychologist to see his
judgments confirmed or corrected almost from day to day, to see in the
authentic fabric of reality as it left the loom where he had had any
kind of foreknowledge, where he had been altogether unprepared, and
where he had failed in foresight of some development that should have
been within his powers.

These three principles were those in accordance with which it was
attempted to conduct the discussion in this book of topics connected
with the war. The writer was aware that neither was he by nature or
art immune to prejudice nor able by some miracle of will power to
lay down passion when he took up the pen, and he admitted to himself
with what frankness he could command the liability under which his
conclusions would lie of having been arrived at under the influence of
pro-national prejudice. He hoped, however, that a liberal allowance
for the direction of his instinctive bias and a grateful use of the
diurnal corrective of events might enable him to reach at any rate some
conclusions not altogether without a useful tincture of validity.

It was possible, moreover, to put certain conclusions in a form
which the development of the war must confirm or disprove, and it
may be interesting as a test of what was put forward as an essay in
an essentially practical psychology briefly {224} to review these
theoretical anticipations in the light of what actually has happened.


The hypothesis was put forward that in the German people the reactions
in which the herd instinct was manifesting itself were in accordance
with the type to be seen in the predaceous social animals rather
than the type which seems to be characteristic of modern Western
civilizations. The next step was naturally to inquire whether the known
characters of what we called aggressive gregariousness were able to
account for the observed German peculiarities in reaction, and then to
indicate what special features we might expect to appear in Germany
under the developing stress of war if our hypothesis was sound.

Under the guidance of the hypothesis we found reason to believe
that the morale of the German people was of a special kind, and
essentially dependent for the remarkable vigour it then showed upon
the possibility of continued successful aggression. This suggestion
was borne out by the long series of offensive movements, increasing
in weight and culminating in the spring of 1918, in the great attacks
on which Germany broke herself. From the way in which these movements
were announced and expected it became evident that during an enforced
defensive the morale of Germany declined more rapidly than did that of
her opponents. This was the essential confirmation of the psychological
view we had put forward. Apart from all question of the strategic
and merely military advantages of the offensive it was plain that
Germany’s moral need for the posture of attack was peculiarly and
characteristically great. That she continually and convincedly—though
perhaps injudiciously—declared the war to be one of defence only, that
she had {225} everything to hope from disunion among her enemies and
little to fear from disunion among her friends, that she was in assured
possession of the most important industrial districts of France,
that she had successfully brought into something like equilibrium
the resistance to the effects of the blockade, and had proved like
her animal prototypes only to be more fierce and eager when she was
hungry—all of these strong objective reasons for fighting a defensive
delaying war were over-whelmed by the crucially important requirement
of keeping the aggressive spirit strung up to the highest pitch. The
fighting spirit must be that of attack and conquest, or it would break
altogether. Our hypothesis, therefore, enabled us to foresee that she
would have to go on torturing her declining frame with one great effort
after another until she had fought herself to a standstill, and then,
if her enemies but just succeeded in holding her, her morale would
begin to decline, and to decline with terrible abruptness. We were
even able to regard it as probable that for all the talk of the war on
the German side being defensive only, for all the passionate devotion
to the Fatherland and the profound belief in the sanctity of its
frontiers, as a matter of cold and dry reality, if it came to invasion,
Germany would not be defended by its inhabitants.

Another subject upon which the psychological method of inquiry
professed to yield some degree of foresight was that—at that
time—fruitful cause of discussion, the objects for which the enemies
of Germany were fighting. Opinion at that time was much ruled by the
conception of a Germany gradually forced back upon and beyond her
frontiers, grim, implacable, irreconcilable, her national spirit
energized and made resilient by humiliation, and clinging unconquerably
to the thought of a resurrection of her glory through the {226} faith
of her sons. Under the influence of ideas of this romantic type, it was
not always possible for opinion to be very precise upon what was to be
made the object of the war in order to secure from Germany the safety
of the civilizations opposed to hers. Psychologically, however, the
moral condition of a beaten Germany seemed relatively easy to foretell.
If the behaviour of other predaceous types was of any value as a guide,
it was plain that a sound beating alone and in itself would produce all
the effect that was needful. There could be no fear of the national
morale being invigorated by defeat, but an enemy successfully invading
Germany would necessarily find the one essential condition on which any
subsequent security must be set up—the replacement of the aggressive
and predaceous morale by complete moral collapse. These were the
considerations that enabled one to say that considered psychologically
the mere beating of Germany was the single object of the war. The
completeness of the moral collapse which accompanied her beating seems
to have been found remarkable and astonishing by very many, but can
have been so only to those who had not interested themselves in the
psychological aspects of the problem.

In stating, in 1915, these conclusions as to the social type and
moral structure of Germany and in formulating the indications they
seemed to give of the course of future events, it was necessary to
make considerable deductions from the precision and detail with which
one made one’s small efforts at foresight in order to allow for the
effects one’s pro-national bias may have had in deflecting judgment.
Enough, however, was stated definitely to enable the progress of events
very clearly to confirm or disprove the conclusions arrived at. The
not inconsiderable correspondences between the {227} theoretical
considerations and the actual development of events is perhaps enough
to suggest that the method of speculation used has a certain validity.

       *       *       *       *       *

In considering the psychological case of England we came to the
conclusion that her morale depended on mechanisms different from those
which were in action in Germany, and indicating that social development
had in her followed a different type. We saw reason to suppose that
this social type would be very much more resistant to discouragement
and disaster than the aggressive type embodied in Germany, and that
if England won the war it would be by virtue of the toughness of her
nerve. The form of social organization represented by England was seen
to contain a germ of strength not possessed by her enemy, an intensely
resistant nucleus of moral power that underlay the immeasurable waste
and the inextricable confusion of her methods. If the moral structure
of Germany was of its kind fully developed, it was also primitive; if
the moral structure of England was embryonic, it was also integrative
and still capable of growth. If it was very obvious at that time how
immensely responsive to intelligent and conscious direction the moral
powers of England would have been, if it was obvious how largely such
direction would have diminished the total cost of the war in time and
suffering, if it was obvious that such direction would not, and almost
certainly could not, be forthcoming, it was equally clear that the
muddle, the mediocrity, the vociferation with which the war was being
conducted were phenomena within the normal of the type and evolutionary
stage of our society, and were not much more than froth on the surface
of an invisible and unsounded stream.

If one had been content to estimate the moral condition of England
at that time by the utterance of {228} all ordinary organs of
expression—public speeches, leading articles and so forth—one
could scarcely have failed to reach the gloomiest conclusions. So
common were ill-will, acrimony, suspicion and intrigue, so often
was apparent self-possession mere languor, and apparent energy mere
querulousness, so strong, in fact, were all the ordinary evidences
of moral disintegration that an actual collapse might have seemed
almost within sight. As a matter of fact, from the very necessities
of her social type, in England the organs of public expression were
characteristically not representative of the national mood; probably
far less than were those of Germany representative of the German
mood. Thus it came about that the actual driving force—the will of
the common man, as inflexible as it was inarticulate—remained intact
behind all the ambiguous manifestations which went forth as the voice
of England. This is the psychological secret of the socialized type
of gregarious animal. As evolved in England to-day, this type cannot
attain to the conscious direction of its destiny, and cannot submit to
the fertilizing discipline of science; it cannot select its agents or
justly estimate their capacity, but it possesses the power of evolving
under pressure a common purpose of great stability. Such a common
purpose is necessarily simple, direct, and barely conscious; high-flown
imperialism and elaborate policies are altogether beyond its range, and
it can scarcely accomplish an intellectual process more complex than
the recognition of an enemy. The conviction that the hostility between
England and Germany was absolute and irreconcilable, and the war a
matter of national life and death, was just such a primitive judgment
as could be arrived at, and it gave rise to a common purpose as stable
as it was simple.[V] {229}

     [V] There can be little doubt that national consciousness with
     regard to the war was very much less developed in this country
     than in Germany. The theory of his country’s purpose in the war
     was far less a matter of interest and speculation to the average
     Englishman than it was to the average German. The German was far
     more fully aware of the relation the situation bore to general
     politics and to history, and was much more preoccupied with the
     defence of his country’s case by rational methods and accepted
     principles, and he displayed from the first great faith in the
     value of a propaganda which should appeal to reason. Clumsy and
     futile as so much of this intellectual effort was ultimately seen
     to be, it did show that the interest in national affairs was more
     conscious and elaborate, and stood from the intellectual point of
     view at a higher level than it did in England.

The relatively complex national consciousness that is necessary
to evolve a positive movement of national expansion or a definite
policy of colonization and aggrandisement seems to be hostile to the
development of a common purpose of the most powerful kind. Thus we
find moral vigour and stability attaining their greatest strength in a
nation that has no definite theory of its destiny, and that is content
to allow confusion of thought and vagueness of aim to be common and
even characteristic in its public life. In such a people national
consciousness is of the most elementary kind, and only the simplest
conceptions can be effectively apprehended by it. Negative judgments
are in general simpler than positive ones, and the simplest of all,
perhaps, is the identification of an enemy. The history of England
seems to show with remarkable constancy that the national consciousness
has been in its most effective action limited to those elementary
conceptions which have been simple and broad enough to manifest
themselves in a common purpose of great strength and tenacity. England
has, in fact, been made by her enemies. Rightly or wrongly, Philip
of Spain, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Germany, impressed themselves on the
elementary consciousness of England as enemies, and excited in response
a unity of purpose that was characteristically as immune from the
effects of discouragement, disaster and fatigue as it was independent
of reasoned political theory. {230}

Each of these enemies, in contrast with England, had the definite
consciousness of a more or less elaborate political aim, and some of
them embodied principles or methods in advance of those which obtained
in England in corresponding fields. Whatever loftiness of aim they
had availed them no more than their respect for principle and the
intellect, and they all came to regret the mostly inadvertent effect
of their pretensions in exciting the hostility of a people capable
of an essential moral cohesion. The power of England would seem to
have resided almost exclusively in this capacity for developing under
pressure a common purpose. The immense moral energy she has been able
to put forth in a crisis has enabled her to inspire such leaders as
she has needed for the moment, but she has been characteristically
infertile in the production of true leaders who could impose themselves
upon her efficiently. Thus among her great men, for one true leader,
such as Oliver Cromwell, who failed, there have been a score of
successful mouthpieces and instruments of her purpose, such as Pitt
and Wellington. The vigour of her great moments has always been the
product of moral unity induced by the pressure of a supposed enemy,
and therefore it has always tended to die down when the danger has
passed. As the greatness of her leaders has been less a product of
their own genius than that of the moral stimulus which has reached
them from the nation at large, when the stimulus has been withdrawn
with the cessation of danger, these men have almost invariably come
to appear in times of peace of a less dominating capacity than their
performance during the stress of war might have indicated. The great
wars of England have usually, then, been the affair of the common man;
he has supplied the impulse that has made and the moral vigour that
has conducted {231} them, he has created and inspired his leaders and
has endowed his representatives in the field and on the sea with their
stern and enduring pugnacity.

These conclusions have been confirmed by the way in which the war
progressed and came to an end. The war became more and more fully
a contest of moral forces until it ended in the unique event of a
surrender practically unconditional that was not preceded by a total
physical defeat. German morale proved throughout extremely sensitive to
any suspension of the aggressive posture, and showed the unsuitability
of its type in modern conditions by undergoing at the mere threat of
disaster a disintegration so absolute that it must remain a classical
and perfect example in the records of psychology. There can be no doubt
that had there been among her enemies the least understanding of her
moral type and state, her collapse could have been brought about with
comparative ease at a much earlier date. English morale, on the other
hand, seemed actually to be invigorated by defeat, and even remained
untouched by the more serious trials of uninspired and mediocre
direction, of ill-will, petty tyranny, and confusion.

       *       *       *       *       *

The confrontation in war of two types of social structure differing
so radically and by such clearly defined characters as did Germany
and England was, as has been already suggested, a remarkable instance
of statecraft being forced into a region of very much greater
reality than that in which it usually operates. The historical scale
of events, with its narrow range, its reckoning by dynasties and
parliaments, its judgments in terms of tribal censure and approbation,
was found momentarily to march with the biological scale where
events are measured by the survival or extinction of species, where
time acquires a new meaning, and the individual man, {232} however
conspicuous historically, takes on the insect-like sameness of his
fellows. Here was an experiment set out in Nature’s laboratory, and
for the first time the issues were so narrowly focussed as to be
within the apprehension of the very subjects of the research. The
matter to be tested concerned the whole validity of gregariousness.
Two types were confronted. In one the social habit had taken a form
that limited the participation of the individual in the social unit;
a rigid segregation of the society made it impossible to admit the
moral equality of its members, and resulted in the activities of the
social instinct being available solely through leadership; it was a
led society where internal cohesion and integration were replaced by
what we may call external cohesion—a migratory society developing its
highest manifestations of the herd when it was being successfully led.
In the other type the social habit had tended, however slowly and
incompletely, towards the unlimited participation of the individual in
the social unit. The tendency of the society was towards integration
and internal cohesion; it was therefore unaggressive, refractory to
leadership, and apt to develop its highest herd manifestations when
threatened and attacked. The former enjoyed all the advantages of a
led society. It was tractable, and its leaders could impose upon it a
relative uniformity of outlook and a high standard of general training.
The latter had no advantage save the potentiality—and it was little
more—of unlimited internal cohesion. It was intractable to leadership,
and in consequence knowledge and training were limited and extremely
localized within it; it had no approach to unity of outlook, and its
interests were necessarily concentrated on its internal rather than its
external relations.

If the former type proved the stronger, any progressive evolution of
society in a direction that {233} promised the largest extension of
human powers would become very, improbable; the internal cohesion of
social units would have appeared to be subject to limits, and the most
hopeful prospective solution of human difficulties would have vanished.
Conceivably accidental factors might have decided the issue of the
experiment and left the principle still in doubt. As it happened, every
element of chance that intruded went against the type that ultimately
proved the stronger, and in the final decision the moral element was so
conspicuously more significant than the physical that the experiment
has yielded a result which seems to be singularly conclusive and

     [W] Anxiety has frequently been expressed since the armistice of
     November, 1918, as to whether Germany has properly assimilated the
     lesson of her defeat, and undergone the desired change of heart.
     In the face of such doubts it is well to remember that there is
     another conclusion about the assimilation of which there need
     be no anxiety. It is at any rate clearly proved that Germany’s
     enemies were able to beat her in spite of all the disadvantages
     of exterior lines, divided counsels, divergent points of view
     and inadequate preparation. The prestige of invulnerability need
     never be allowed again to accumulate about a social group of the
     aggressive migratory type, and to sit like an incubus upon a
     terrorized world.

The result of the experiment has been decisive, and it is still a
possibility that the progressive integration of society will ultimately
yield a medium in which the utmost needs of the individual and of the
race will be reconciled and satisfied. Had the more primitive social
type—the migratory, aggressive society of leadership and the pack—had
this proved still the master of the less primitive socialized and
integrative type, the ultimate outlook for the race would have indeed
been black. This is by no means to deny that German civilization
had a vigour, a respect for knowledge, and even a benignity within
which comfortable life was possible. But it is to assert that it was
a regression, a choice of the easy path, a surrender to the tamer
platitudes of {234} the spirit that no aggressive vigour could
altogether mask. To live dangerously was supposed to be its ideal, but
dread was the very atmosphere it breathed. Its armies could be thrown
into hysterical convulsions by the thought of the _franc-tireur_, and
the flesh of its leaders made to creep by such naïve and transpontine
machinations as its enemies ambitiously called propaganda. The minds
that could make bugbears out of such material were little likely to
attempt or permit the life of arduous and desperate spiritual adventure
that was in the mind of the philosopher when he called on his disciples
to live dangerously.

This great experiment was conducted under the very eyes of humanity,
and the conditions were unique in this that they would have permitted
the effective intervention of the conscious human will. As it happened
the evolution of society had not reached a stage at which an informed
and scientific statecraft was possible. The experiment, therefore,
went through without any general view of the whole situation being
attained. Had such been possible, there can be no doubt at all that the
war could have been shortened enough to keep the world back from the
neighbourhood of spiritual and even material bankruptcy in which it
finds itself to-day. The armed confrontation of the two types, while it
has yielded a result that may well fill us with hope, took place at a
moment of human evolution when it was bound to be immensely expensive.
Material development had far exceeded social development, mankind, so
to say, had become clever without becoming wise, and the war had to be
fought as a purely destructive effort. Had it come at a later stage of
evolution, so great a mobilization of social power as the war caused
might have been taken advantage of to unify the nation to a completely
coherent structure which the cessation of {235} the external
stimulating pressure would have left firmly and nobly established.


The psychological situation left by the conclusion of the war is likely
to attract an increasing amount of attention as time passes, and it may
be of interest to examine it in the light of the principles that we
have been making use of in dealing with the war.

It is a fact fundamental in psychology that the state of war furnishes
the most powerful of all stimuli to the social instinct. It sets in
motion a tide of common feeling by the power of which union and energy
of purpose and self-sacrifice for the good of the social unit become
possible to a degree unknown under any other circumstances. The war
furnished many instances of the almost miraculous efficacy of this
stimulus. Perhaps the most effective example of all, even by the side
of the steely fortitude of France and the adventurous desperation
of England, was the fact that the dying Austrian Empire could be
galvanized for four years into aggressive gestures lifelike beyond

The effect of this great liberation of feeling was to supersede the
precarious equilibrium of society by a state very much more stable.
Before the war moral power had come to the individual chiefly from the
lesser herds in which he took part, and but little from the nation as
a whole. Society had the appearance of stability because the forces
at work were relatively small in proportion to the inertia of the
whole fabric. But the actual firmness of the structure was small,
and the individual led a life emotionally thin and tame because the
social feelings were localized and faint. With the outbreak of war the
national unit became the source of moral power, social feeling became
wide in its {236} basis and strong in intensity. To the individual
life became more intense and more significant, and in essence, in spite
of horror and pain, better worth living; the social fabric, moreover,
displayed a new stability and a capacity for resisting disturbances
that would have effectually upset its equilibrium in time of peace.
The art of government, in fact, became actually easier to practise,
though it had a superficial appearance of being more difficult from the
comparative rapidity with which the progress of events unmasked the
quack. Successful practitioners were, it will be remembered, always
ready to call attention to the unprecedented difficulty of their
labours, while shrewdly enough profiting by the fact that in the actual
tasks of government—the creation of interest, the development of unity
and the nourishing of impulse—their difficulties had wholly disappeared.

With the cessation of war this great stream of moral power began
rapidly to dry up at its source. Thinly continuing to trickle for
a time as it were from habit, it is already almost dry. There is
doubtless a tendency among responsible personages to persuade
themselves that it still flows with all the power that made the war a
veritable golden age of government. Such a persuasion is natural and
fully to be expected. It would be difficult for those who have directed
with whatever want of skill a power so great to avoid coming in time to
be a little confused between the direction of power and the production
of it, and to think that they still command the moral resources which
war gave so abundantly. Such a mistake is likely to prove one of the
elements of danger, though perhaps only a minor one, in the present

Western society, with perhaps even Western civilization, is in a
situation of great interest to the sociologist, and probably also of
some considerable {237} danger. There are certain chief elements of
danger which we may attempt to define.

First, with the end of the war the mental orientation of the individual
has undergone a great change. National feeling is no longer able to
supply him with moral vigour and interest. He must turn once more
to his class for what the nation as a whole has been so much more
efficiently supplying. Life has regained for him much of its old
tameness, the nation in which he has lived vividly during the war is
resuming its vagueness and becoming once more merely the state, remote
and quasi-hostile. But the war has shown him what interest and moral
vigour are in life, and he will not easily accept the absence of these;
he has acquired the appetite for them, he has, so to speak, tasted
blood. The tasteless social dietary of pre-war England is not likely to
satisfy his invigorated palate.

Secondly, the transition from war to peace is in an imperfectly
organized society a process necessarily dangerous because it involves
the change from a condition of relative moral stability to one of
relative moral instability. To get back to the precise state of
delicately balanced but essentially insecure equilibrium of society
before the war would seem, in fact, already shown to be impossible.
The war ran its course without any attempt being made to replace the
system of class segregation, through which the social instinct works
in our society, by any more satisfactory mechanism. Before the war
class segregation had reached a condition in which the individual
had ceased to be conscious of the national unit as possessing any
practical significance for himself while his class was the largest
unit he was capable of recognizing as a source of moral power and
an object of effort. There was no class which as such and {238} in
relation to other classes was capable of submitting to any restraint or
self-sacrifice in the interests of the nation as a whole. Of course,
in each case it was possible for a class by a very easy process of
rationalization to show that its interests were those of the nation at
large, but this was merely the effect of the moral blindness to which
class segregation inevitably leads. Since every one of us is classified
somehow, it is not easy to grasp how completely class segregation
obtains throughout our society, and how fully in times of peace it
replaces national unity. Those occupying the lower social strata may
be very fully aware of the intensity of class feeling and how complete
a substitute for national feeling it affords at the upper end of the
social scale, just as those in the upper strata may be very much alive
to the class bitterness of their inferiors; but it is difficult for
both to believe how complete are segregation and its consequences
throughout the whole social gamut.

It is to this state of society that the return from the relative unity
of war must be. The few conventional restraints upon the extremity of
class feeling that were in any kind of activity before the war have
been very greatly weakened. Change has become familiar, violence has
been glorified in theory and shown to be effective in practice, the
prestige of age has been undermined, and the sanctity of established
things defied.

It would, indeed, seem that to re-establish a society based solely on
class segregation, and relying upon the maintenance by it of a state of
equilibrium, will be a matter of some difficulty, and it will probably
be a mistake to depend altogether on fatigue, on the relaxation of
feeling, and on the celebration of victory as stabilizing forces.

Thirdly, there is no reason to suppose that the {239} tendencies of
society which made possible so huge a disaster as the war have been in
any way corrected by it. Great efforts are being made at present to
establish conditions which will prevent future wars. Such efforts are
entirely admirable, but it must be remembered that after all war is no
more than a symptom of social defects. If, therefore, war as a symptom
is merely suppressed, valuable as that will be in controlling the waste
and destruction of life and effort, indeed indispensable to any kind of
vigorous mental life, it may leave untouched potentialities of disaster
comparable even with war itself.

It was pointed out many years ago in the essays incorporated in this
book that human society tends to restrict influence and leadership to
minds of a certain type, and that these minds tend to have special
and characteristic defects. Thus human affairs are in general under
the direction of a class of thought that is not merely not the best
of which the mind is capable, but tends to certain characteristic
fallacies and to certain characteristic kinds of blindness and
incapacity. The class of mind to which power in society gravitates
I have ventured to describe as the stable type. Its characteristic
virtues and deficiencies have been described more than once in
this book, and we need do no more here than recall its vigour and
resistiveness, its accessibility to the voice of the herd and its
resistiveness to and even horror of the new in feeling and experience.
The predominance of this type has been rigorously maintained throughout
the war. This is why the war has been fought with a mere modicum of
help from the human intellect, and why the result must be regarded as
a triumph for the common man rather than for the ruling classes. The
war was won by the inflexible resolution of the common citizen and
the common soldier. No {240} country has shown itself to be directed
by the higher powers of the intellect, and nowhere has the continued
action of clear, temperate, vigorous, and comprehensive thought made
itself manifest, because even the utmost urgency of warfare failed
to dislodge the stable-minded type from its monopoly of prestige and
power. What the necessities of war could not do there is certainly
no magic in peace to bring about. Society, therefore, is setting out
upon what is generally regarded as a new era of hope without the
defect that made the war possible having in any degree been corrected.
Certain supposedly immutable principles such as democracy and national
self-determination are regarded by some as being mankind’s guarantees
against disaster. To the psychologist such principles represent
mere vague and fluctuating drifts of feeling, arising out of deep
instinctive needs, but not fully and powerfully embodying such; as
automatic safeguards of society their claims are altogether bogus, and
cannot be ranked as perceptibly higher than those of the ordinary run
of political nostrums and doctrinaire specifics. Society can never be
safe until the direction of it is entrusted only to those who possess
high capacity rigorously trained and acute sensitiveness to experience
and to feeling.

Statecraft, after all, is a difficult art, and it seems unreasonable to
leave the choice of those who practise it to accident, to heredity, or
to the possession of the wholly irrelevant gifts that take the fancy
of the crowd. The result of such methods of selection is not even a
mere random choice from the whole population, but shows a steady drift
towards the establishment in power of a type in certain ways almost
characteristically unfitted for the tasks of government. The fact that
man has always shirked the heavy intellectual and moral {241} labour
of founding a scientific and truly expert statecraft may contain a
germ of hope for the future, in that it shows where effort may be
usefully expended. But it cannot but justify uneasiness as to the
immediate future of society. The essential factor in society is the
subordination of the individual will to social needs. Our statecraft is
still ignorant of how this can be made a fair and honest bargain to the
individual and to the state, and recent events have convinced a very
large proportion of mankind that accepted methods of establishing this
social cohesion have proved to them at any rate the worst of bargains.


The foregoing considerations are enough, perhaps, to make one wonder
whether, after all, Western civilization may not be about to follow
its unnumbered predecessors into decay and dissolution. There can be
no doubt that such a suspicion is oppressing many thoughtful minds at
the present time. It is not likely to be dispelled by the contemplation
of history or by the nature of recent events. Indeed, the view can be
maintained very plausibly that all civilizations must tend ultimately
to break down, that they reach sooner or later a period when their
original vigour is worn out, and then collapse through internal
disruption or outside pressure. It is even believed by some that
Western civilization already shows the evidences of decline which in
its predecessors have been the forerunners of destruction. When we
remember that our very short period of recorded history includes the
dissolution of civilizations so elaborate as those of the Chaldeans,
the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and of the Incas, that a social structure
so complex as that but lately disclosed in Crete could leave no trace
in human {242} memory but a faint and dubious whisper of tradition,
and that the dawn of history finds civilization already old, we can
scarcely resist the conclusion that social life has, more often than
one can bear to contemplate, swung laboriously up to a meaningless
apogee and then lapsed again into darkness. We know enough of man to
be aware that each of these unnumbered upward movements must have been
infinitely painful, must have been at least as fruitful of torture,
oppression, and anguish as the ones of which we know the history, and
yet each was no more than the swing of a pendulum and a mere fruitless
oscillation landing man once more at his starting point, impoverished
and broken, with perhaps more often than not no transmissible vestige
of his greatness.

If we limit our view to the historical scale of time and the
exclusively human outlook, we seem almost forced to accept the dreadful
hypothesis that in the very structure and substance of all human
constructive social efforts there is embodied a principle of death,
that there is no progressive impulse but must become fatigued, that
the intellect can provide no permanent defence against a vigorous
barbarism, that social complexity is necessarily weaker than social
simplicity, and that fineness of moral fibre must in the long run
succumb to the primitive and coarse.

Let us consider, however, what comments may be made on this hypothesis
in view of the biological conceptions of man which have been put
forward in this book. At the same time an opportunity is afforded to
put in a more continuous form the view of society that has necessarily
been touched on so far in an interrupted and incidental way.

Whatever may be one’s view as to the larger pretensions that are
put forward as to the significance and destiny of man, there can
be no doubt {243} that it is indispensable to recognize the full
implications of his status as an animal completely indigenous in the
zoological series. The whole of his physical and mental structure is
congruous with that of other living beings, and is constantly giving
evidence of the complicated network of relationships by which he is
bound to them.

The accumulation of knowledge is steadily amplifying the range over
which this congruity with the natural order can be demonstrated, and is
showing more and more fully that practical understanding and foresight
of man’s behaviour are attained in proportion as this hypothesis of the
complete “naturalness” of man is adhered to.

The endowment of instinct that man possesses is in every detail cognate
with that of other animals, provides no element that is not fully
represented elsewhere, and above all—however little the individual
man may be inclined to admit it—is in no degree less vigorous and
intense or less important in relation to feeling and activity than it
is in related animals. This supremely important side of mental life,
then, will be capable of continuous illustration and illumination by
biological methods. It is on the intellectual side of mental life that
man’s congruity with other animals is least obvious at first sight.
The departure from type, however, is probably a matter of degree only,
and not of quality. Put in the most general terms, the work of the
intellect is to cause delay between stimulus and response, and under
circumstances to modify the direction of the latter. We may suppose
all stimulation to necessitate response, and that such response must
ultimately occur with undiminished total energy. The intellect,
however, is capable of delaying such response, and within limits of
directing its path so that it may superficially show no relation to
the stimulus of which it is the discharge. If we extend {244} the
word stimulation to include the impulses arising from instinct, and
grant that the delaying and deflecting influence of the intellect
may be indefinitely enlarged, we have an animal in which instinct
is as vigorous as in any of its primitive ancestors, but which is
superficially scarcely an instinctive animal at all. Such is the case
of man. His instinctive impulses are so greatly masked by the variety
of response that his intellect opens to him that he has been commonly
regarded until quite recent times as a practically non-instinctive
creature, capable of determining by reason his conduct and even his
desires. Such a conception made it almost impossible to gain any help
in human psychology from the study of other animals, and scarcely less
difficult to evolve a psychology which would be of the least use in
foreseeing and controlling the behaviour of man.

No understanding of the causes of stability and instability in human
society is possible until the undiminished vigour of instinct in man is
fully recognized.

The significance of this rich instinctive endowment lies in the fact
that mental health depends upon instinct finding a balanced but
vigorous expression in functional activity. The response to instinct
may be infinitely varied, and may even, under certain circumstances, be
not more than symbolic without harm to the individual as a social unit,
but there are limits beyond which the restriction of it to indirect and
symbolic modes of expression cannot be carried without serious effects
on personality. The individual in whom direct instinctive expression
is unduly limited acquires a spiritual meagreness which makes him the
worst possible social material.

All recorded history shows that society developing under the conditions
that have obtained up {245} to the present time—developing, that is
to say, spontaneously under the random influences of an uncontrolled
environment of the individual—does not permit to the average man
that balanced instinctive expression which is indispensable for the
formation of a rich, vigorous, and functionally active personality.
It has been one of my chief efforts in this book to show that the
social instinct, while in itself the very foundation of society,
takes, when its action is undirected and uncontrolled, a principal
part in restricting the completeness and efficacy of the social
impulse. This instinct is doubly responsible for the defects which
have always inhered in society through the personal impoverishment
of its individual constituents. In the first place, it is the great
agent by which the egoistic instincts are driven into dwarfed,
distorted, and symbolic modes of expression without any regard for
the objective social necessity of such oppressive regulation. In the
second place, it is an instinct which, while it embodies one of the
deepest and potentially most invigorating passions of the soul, tends
automatically to fall out of vigorous and constant activity with the
expansion of societies. It is the common character of large societies
to suffer heavily from the restrictive effect on personality of the
social instinct, and at the same time to suffer in the highest degree
from the debilitation of the common social impulse. Only in the
smallest groups, such as perhaps was early republican Rome, can the
common impulse inform and invigorate the whole society. As the group
expands and ceases to feel the constant pressure of an environment
it no longer has to fear, the common impulse droops, and the society
becomes segregated into classes, each of which a lesser herd within
the main body and under the reciprocated pressure of its fellows, now
yields to its members the social feeling which the main body {246} can
no longer provide. The passage of the small, vigorous, homogeneous
and fiercely patriotic group into the large, lax, segregated and
ultimately decadent group is a commonplace of history. In highly
segregated peoples the restrictive effect of the social instinct upon
personality has usually been to some extent relaxed, and a relatively
rich personal development has been possible. Such an amplification has
always, however, been limited to privileged classes, has always been
accompanied by a weakening of the national bond, and a tendency of
the privileged class to the sincere conviction that its interests are
identical with those of the nation. No nation has ever succeeded in
liberating the personality of its citizens from the restrictive action
of the social instinct and at the same time in maintaining national
homogeneity and common impulse. In a small community intercommunication
among its individual members is free enough to keep common feeling
intense and vigorous. As the community increases in size the general
intercommunication becomes attenuated, and with this common feeling is
correspondingly weakened. If there were no other mechanism capable of
inducing common action than the faint social stimulus coming from the
nation at large, a segregated society would be incapable of national
enterprise. There is, however, another mechanism which we may call
leadership, using the word in a certain special sense. All social
groups are more or less capable of being led, and it is manifest that
the leadership of individuals, or perhaps more usually of classes,
has been a dominant influence in the expansion and enterprise of all
civilizations of which we have any knowledge. It is only in the small
communities that we can detect evidence of a true common impulse shared
alike by all the members acting as the cause of expansion. In larger
groups, {247} autocracies and dynasties, Pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzars
have imposed the impulse of expansion upon the people, and by virtue of
human susceptibility to leadership have secured a virtual, though only
a secondary, common purpose.

Now leadership, potent as it undoubtedly is in calling forth the
energy of the social instinct, is essentially a limited and therefore
an exhaustible force. It depends for continued vigour upon successful
enterprise. While it is succeeding there are only wide limits to the
moral power it can set free and command, but in the face of misfortune
and disaster its limitations become obvious, and its power inevitably
declines. On the other hand, the moral power yielded by a true
community of feeling, and not imposed by leadership, is enormously more
resistant and even indestructible by failure and defeat. History gives
many examples of the encounters of communities of these two types—the
led society and the homogeneous society—and in spite of the invariably
greater size and physical power of the former, frequently records the
astoundingly successful resistance its greater moral vigour has given
to the latter. This is perhaps why Carthage beat in vain against little
Rome, and certainly why Austria failed to subdue Switzerland.

All large societies that have had their day and have fallen from their
zenith by internal dissolution or outward attack have been given their
impulse to expansion by leadership and have depended on it for their
moral power. If society is to continue to depend for its enterprise
and expansion upon leadership, and can find no more satisfactory
source of moral power, it is, to say the least, highly probable that
civilizations will continue to rise and fall in a dreadful sameness of
alternating aspiration and despair until perhaps some lucky accident
of {248} confusion finds for humanity in extinction the rest it could
never win for itself in life.

There is, however, reason to suppose that susceptibility to leadership
is a characteristic of relatively primitive social types, and tends
to diminish with increasing social complexity. I have already
called attention to and attempted to define the apparently specific
psychological differences between Germany and England before and
during the war. These differences I attributed to variations in the
type of reaction to herd instinct shown by the two peoples. The
aggressive social type represented by Germany and analogous with that
characteristic of the predaceous social animals I regarded as being
relatively primitive and simple. The socialized type represented by
England and presenting analogies with that characteristic of many
social insects I regarded as being, though imperfect as are all the
human examples available for study up to the present time, more
complex and less primitive, and representing at any rate a tendency
towards a satisfactory solution of the problems with which man as a
gregarious animal is surrounded. Now, it is a very obvious fact that
the susceptibility to leadership shown by Germany and by England
before the war was remarkably different. The common citizen of Germany
was strikingly open to and dependent upon discipline and leadership,
and seemed to have a positive satisfaction in leaving to his masters
the management of his social problems and accepting with alacrity
the solutions that were imposed upon him. The nation consequently
presented a close knit uniformity of purpose, a singleness of national
consciousness and effort that gave it an aspect of moral power of the
most formidable kind. In England a very different state of affairs
prevailed. The common citizen was apt to meet with indifference or
resentment all efforts to change the social {249} structure, and it
had long been a political axiom that “reform” should always await
an irresistible demand for it. Instances will be within every one’s
memory of politicians who met with crushing rebuffs through regarding
the supposed desirability of a reform as a justification for imposing
it. This almost sullen indifference to great projects and ideals,
this unwillingness to take thought in the interests of the nation
and the empire in spite of the apostolic zeal of the most eloquent
political prophets, was generally regarded as evidence of a weakness
and slackness in the body politic that could not but threaten disaster.
And yet in the trials of the war the moral stability of England showed
itself to be superior to that of Germany, which, in those rough waters,
it jostled as mercilessly and as effectually as did the brass pot the
earthen crock in the fable.

During the war itself the submission to leadership that England showed
was characteristic of the socialized type. It was to a great extent
spontaneous, voluntary, and undisciplined, and gave repeated evidence
that the passage of inspiration was essentially from the common people
to its leaders rather than from the leaders to the common people. When
the current of inspiration sets persistently in this direction, as it
unquestionably did in England, it is very plain that the primitive type
of leadership that has led so many civilizations to disaster is no
longer in unmodified action.

Germany has provided the most complete example of a culture of
leadership that has ever been recorded, and has gone through the
phases of her evolution with a precision which should make her case
an illustration classical for all history. With a people showing
strongly the characteristics of the aggressive social type, and a
social structure deeply and rigidly segregated, the nation was ideally
{250} susceptible to discipline and leadership, and a leading class
was available which possessed an almost superhuman prestige. The
opportunity given to leadership was exploited with great energy and
thoroughness and with an intelligence that by its intensity almost
made up for being nowhere really profound. With all these advantages
and the full uses of the huge resources science has made available
to intelligently concerted effort, an extremely formidable power was
created. The peoples of the socialized type towards whom from the first
its hostility was scarcely veiled were under obvious disadvantages
in rivalry with it. Their social type made it impossible for them to
combine and organize themselves against what was to them no more than
a vaguely hypothetical danger. Against peaceful conquest by Germany
in the industrial sphere England was therefore practically helpless,
and to it would probably in time have succumbed. Paradox as it may
seem, there can be no doubt that it was in war only that England could
contend with Germany on equal terms. Paradoxically again, it was war
for which England was reluctant and Germany was eager.

War brought Germany into contact with the, to her, inexplicable
ferocity of peoples of the socialized type under attack, and it was
by this disappointment that the first blow to her morale was struck.
The wastage of modern warfare must very soon have begun to impair the
isolation and prestige of the officer class through increasingly free
importation from without the pale. With this necessarily began to be
sapped the absolute and rigid segregation on which leadership of the
type we are considering so largely depends. At the same time, the
general tendency of the increasing pressure of war is to wear down
class segregation over the whole social field. This tendency which
intensified {251} and invigorated the morale of her enemies would work
steadily against the leadership morale of Germany. These factors must
no doubt be added to the moral need for aggression, the exhaustion
consequent upon forced offensives, and the specific intolerance of
failure and retreat that combined to bring down the strongest example
of the predaceous led society that history records.


If the foregoing discussion has been sound, we may attribute the
impermanence of all civilizations of which we have knowledge to the
failure of society to preserve with increasing magnitude of its
communities a true homogeneity and a progressive integration of its
elements. We have seen that there is a type of society—distinguished
here as the socialized type—in which a trace of this integrative
tendency can be detected at work. Under the threat of war this tendency
is accelerated in its action, and can attain a moderate, though very
far indeed from a complete, degree of development. In the absence of
such a powerful stimulus to homogeneity, however, segregation reasserts
itself, and the society, necessarily deprived by its type of the
advantages of leadership, becomes confused, disunited, and threatened
with disruption. It seems probable, indeed, that the integrative
tendency unaided and uncontrolled is too weak to surmount the obstacles
with which it has to contend, and to anticipate disruption by welding
the elements of society into a common life and common purpose. It has
already been repeatedly suggested that these difficulties, due as they
are to the human power of various reaction, can be met only by the
interposition of the intellect as an active factor in the problem of
the direction of society. In other words, the progressive evolution of
society has reached a point where the {252} construction and use of a
scientific statecraft will become an indispensable factor in further
development and the only means of arresting the dreary oscillations
between progress and relapse which have been so ominous a feature
in human history. We are perhaps in a position to-day to suggest
tentatively some of the principles on which such a statecraft might be

It would have to be based on a full recognition of the biological
status of man, and to work out the tendencies which as an animal he
is pursuing and must pursue. If we have evidence of the only course
evolution can follow satisfactorily, then it is clear that any social
and legislative effort not in line with that course must be entirely
wasted. Moreover, since we are proceeding on the hypothesis that
direct conscious effort is now a necessary factor in the process,
we must clear our minds of the optimistic determinism which regards
man as a special pet of nature and the pessimistic determinism which
would reduce him to a mere spectator of his destiny. The trained and
conscious mind must come to be regarded as a definite factor in man’s
environment, capable of occupying there a larger and larger area.

Such a statecraft would recognize how fully man is an instinctive
being and how his mental vigour and stability depend entirely upon
instinctive expression being adequate. The tyrannous power of the
social instinct in repressing and distorting instinctive expression
would have to be controlled and directed with the purpose of enlarging
the personal and social effectiveness of the individual to the maximum
extent; the social instinct would no longer be left to operate on the
individual under the random direction of custom and habit, of fashion
and social whim, or for the satisfaction of the jealousy of age. {253}

Perhaps most important of all, a scientific statecraft would understand
that the social instinct itself is as deep and powerful as any, and
hungrily demands intense and positive gratification and expression.
The social instinct drives the individual to seek union with some
community of his fellows. The whole national body is in the present
state of society the smallest unit in which the individual can find
complete and permanent satisfaction. As long as the average man’s sense
of possession in the state is kept so low as it is at present, as long
as the sense of moral inequality between himself and his fellows is
so vigorously maintained, so long will he continue to make his class
rather than his nation the object of social passion, and so long will
society continue to breed within itself a principle of death.

The exploration of the psychology of man’s social relations has been
left almost exclusively to the operation of what we may call the method
of prophetic intuition, and there is no branch of knowledge where
the fumbling methods of unclarified intuition have introduced more
confusion. Intuitions in the sphere of feeling—moral intuitions—have
more than the usual tendency of intuitions to appear as half-truths
surrounded and corrupted by fantasies of the seer and isolated from
correlation with the rest of knowledge. Let us consider, for example,
the intuitional doctrine of philosophic anarchism. The nucleus of truth
in this is the series of perfectly sound psychological conceptions that
all social discipline should be, as experienced by the individual,
spontaneous and voluntary, that man possesses the instinctive endowment
which renders possible a voluntary organization of society, and that in
such a society order would be more effectively maintained than under
our present partially compulsory system. This nucleus, which of course
is not understood or expressed in these {254} definite psychological
terms by the anarchist, is apt to be associated with dogmas which
altogether obscure its strictly unassailable truth. Communism, again,
is another doctrine which contains its core of psychological truth,
namely, that individual property is an economic convention rather than
a psychological necessity, and that social inequality is an infirmity
of the state rather than its foundation stone. As it is exemplified in
practice, however, communism is so deeply tainted by the belief in an
inverted class segregation of its own, and by a horror of knowledge,
that its elements of reality are wholly obscured and rendered useless.

Every doctrine that makes disciples freely must contain in it some
embodiment of psychological reality, however exiguous; but where
it has been arrived at by the methods of the prophet, there is no
reason to expect that stress will be laid on the true more than on
the false elements of the doctrinal scheme, and experience shows that
the inessential falsity has for the expositor as many, if not more,
attractions than the essential truth. An expert statecraft would be
able to identify the real elements of discovery that were present in
any fresh prophetic appeal to public belief, and would be able at any
rate to save the state from the condition of petrified embarrassment
into which it now falls when faced by social dogmas and experiments
which win attention and adhesion while at the same time they outrage
convention and common sense.

       *       *       *       *       *

The examination of the functional satisfactoriness of society, which
has been a chief object of this book, has yielded a certain general
body of conclusions. An attempt will now be made to summarize these in
a compact and even dogmatic form, and to add what further element of
definition seems indispensable for clearness. {255}

1. All societies of which we have any knowledge have shown two
general defects—they have proved unable to develop and direct more
than a small fraction of the resources they theoretically possess,
and they have been impermanent, so that time after time laborious
accumulations of constructive effort have been wasted. According to our
analysis these defects are due to the drift of power into the hands
of the stable-minded class, and to the derivation of moral power and
enterprise from the mechanisms of leadership and class segregation.

2. A society, in order to have stability and full functional
effectiveness, must be capable of a continually progressive absorption
of its individual members into the general body—an uninterrupted
movement towards a complete moral homogeneity.

3. A tendency towards a progressive integration of this kind can be
detected in society to-day by direct observation. It is weak and
its effects are fluctuating, so that there is doubt whether it can,
unless directly encouraged by human effort, counteract the forces
which up till now have always limited social evolution to movements of
oscillation rather than of true progress.

4. The only way in which society can be made safe from disruption or
decay is by the intervention of the conscious and instructed intellect
as a factor among the forces ruling its development.

       *       *       *       *       *

This last doctrine has been repeatedly stated, but we have perhaps
scarcely defined it precisely enough to avoid misunderstanding. Some
such definition is our concluding task. Of all the elements we find
in a general examination of the whole biological series the human
intellect is the one that most clearly gives the impression of a
new and intrusive factor. The instinctive side of man, with its
derivatives, such as his morals, his altruism, and his aspirations,
{256} falls very easily into line with the rest of the natural order,
and is seen to be at work in modes which nowhere show any essential
new departure. The intellect, however, brings with it a capacity
for purpose as distinct from and additional to desire, and this
does apparently introduce a factor virtually new to the biological
series. The part that the purposive foresight of the intellect has
been allowed to take in human affairs has always been limited by
instinctive inhibitions. This limitation has effectually prevented man
from defining his situation in the world, and he remains a captive
in the house of circumstance, restrained as effectually by the mere
painted canvas of habit, convention, and fear as by the solid masonry
of essential instinctive needs. Being denied the freedom, which is
its indispensable source of vigour, the intellect has necessarily
failed to get a clear, comprehensive, and temperate view of man’s
status and prospects, and has, of course, shrunk from the yet more
exacting task of making itself responsible for his destiny. Nowhere
has been and is the domination of the herd more absolute than in the
field of speculation concerning man’s general position and fate, and
in consequence prodigies of genius have been expended in obscuring the
simple truth that there is no responsibility for man’s destiny anywhere
at all outside his own responsibility, and that there is no remedy for
his ills outside his own efforts. Western civilization has recently
lost ten millions of its best lives as a result of the exclusion of the
intellect from the general direction of society. So terrific an object
lesson has made it plain enough how easy it is for man, all undirected
and unwarned as he is, to sink to the irresponsible destructiveness of
the monkey.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such ostensible direction as societies obtain derives its sanction from
one or more of three {257} sources—the hereditary, the representative,
and the official. No direction can be effective in the way needed
for the preservation of society unless it comes from minds broad
in outlook, deep in sympathy, sensitive to the new and strange in
experience, capable of resisting habit, convention, and the other
sterilizing influences of the herd, deeply learned in the human mind
and vividly aware of the world. Plainly enough, neither of the classes
enumerated above is any more likely to possess these characteristics
than any one else. To the representative and official classes there
even attaches, at any rate theoretically, the suspicion that the
methods by which they are chosen and promoted, while they obviously
in no way favour fitness, may actually tend to favour unfitness. Of
the hereditary class it may at any rate be said that while it does
not in any special degree include the fit, its composition is random
and in no way tainted by popular standards of suitability or by the
prejudices and conventions of the examination room. It would seem,
then, that none of the methods by which society appoints its directors
shows any promise of working towards the effective intervention of
the intellect in social affairs. In reaching this conclusion we have
perhaps passed too lightly over the claims of the trained official as a
possible nucleus of an ultimate scientific statecraft. The present-day
controversies as to the nationalization of various industries give an
especial interest to this very problem, and illustrate how unpromising
a source of knowledge is political discussion. One group of advocates
points to the obvious economies of conducting industry on the great
scale and without the destructive effects of competition; the other
group points to the infirmities which always have infected officially
conducted enterprises. Both sides would seem to be perfectly right
so far and both to be wrong when {258} the first goes on to affirm
that governments as they now are can and do conduct industrial affairs
quite satisfactorily, and the second goes on to affirm that the only
mechanism by which society can get its work effectively done is
commercial competition, and that the only adequate motive is greed. It
seems to have escaped the notice of both parties to the controversy
that no civilized country has evolved, or begun to evolve, or thought
of evolving a method of selecting and training its public servants that
bears any rational relation to their fitness for the art of government.
It is not here denied that selection and training are both of them
severe in many countries. Mere severity, however, as long as it is
quite without relevance, is manifestly worthless. We are forced to the
conclusion, therefore, that to expect an effective statecraft to be
evolved from the official, whether of the Chinese, the Prussian, or
any other type, is a mere dream. To encourage such a hope would be to
strengthen the grip of the unsatisfactory stable-minded class upon the
gullet of society. The evidence then shows that among the mechanisms
whereby the directors of society are chosen there is none that favours
that intervention of the conscious and instructed intellect that we
have suggested is necessary to the effective evolution of civilization.
Nowhere in the structure of society is there a class tending to develop
towards this goal. Since from the point of view of social effectiveness
segregation into classes has been entirely random, the appearance of
such a class would have been indeed an extraordinary accident. Good as
are the grounds for hoping that human society may ultimately mature
into a coherent structure possessed of comprehensive and intelligent
direction, it would be no more than idle optimism to suppose that there
is any institution or class now existing which promises to inspire a
fundamental {259} reconstruction. If the effective intrusion of the
intellect into social affairs does happily occur, it will come from
no organ of society now recognizable, but through a slow elevation of
the general standard of consciousness up to the level at which will be
possible a kind of freemasonry and syndicalism of the intellect. Under
such circumstances free communication through class barriers would
be possible, and an orientation of feeling quite independent of the
current social segregation would become manifest.

       *       *       *       *       *

Throughout the enormously long period during which modern man has
been established on the earth human society has been left to the
uncontrolled contention of constructive and destructive forces, and in
the long run the destructive have always proved the stronger. Whether
the general level of consciousness will reach the height necessary to
give a decisive predominance to constructive tendencies, and whether
such a development will occur in time to save Western civilization from
the fate of its predecessors, are open questions. The small segment of
the social process of which we have direct knowledge in the events of
the day has no very encouraging appearance. Segregation has reasserted
itself effectively; the dominion of the stable and resistive mind is
as firmly established as ever, and no less dull and dangerous; while
it is plain how far, in the atmosphere of relaxation and fatigue, the
social inspiration of the common man has sunk from the high constancy
of spirit by which throughout the long pilgrimage of war so many weary
feet have been upborne, so many dry lips refreshed.

{261} INDEX

 AFFIRMATIONS of the herd, belief in normal, 39

 AGE and the herd instinct, 86

 ――, the predominance of, 87

 AGE AND YOUTH, jealousy between, 86

 ――, reactions of, in relation to sex, 84, 85

 ALCOHOLISM, psychological meaning of, 58

 ALTRUISM, instinctive meaning of, 122–124

 ――, a natural instinctive product, 46

 ――, not a judgment, 46

 ――, energy of, 47

 ANARCHISM, psychological basis of, 253

 ANTHROPOMORPHISM in psychology, 14

 BEER, and comparative psychology, 14

 BELIEF, non-rational and rational, distinction of, 43, 44

 ――, characters of, 44

 BETHE, and comparative psychology, 14

 BINET, 34

 BREEDING against degeneracy, objections to, 64

 ―― for rationality, objections to, 45

 CAT AND DOG, instinctive differences in feeling, 98

 CERTITUDE and knowledge, 35

 CHURCH, the, in wartime, 154

 CIVILIZATION, its influence on instinct in man, 93

 CIVILIZATIONS, the decline of, 241, 242

 COMMUNISM, psychological basis of, 254

 CONFLICT in the adult, superficial aspects of, 52, 53

 ―― in childhood and adolescence, 49

 ―― in civilized man, 49

 CONSCIENCE, peculiar to gregarious animals, 40

 CONVERSATION as a mode of recognition, 119

 DARWINISM as a herd affirmation, 39

 DEDUCTIVE METHOD in psychology, 14

 DUTY, 48

 ENGLAND, social type, 201, 202

 ――, morale of, 207–209

 ――, and the spirit of the hive, 203–206

 ENVIRONMENT OF THE MIND, importance of, 63

 ――, need for rational adjustment of, 64

 FREUD’S PSYCHOLOGY, general discussion of, 76

 ――, as an embryology of the mind, 88

 ――, biological criticism of, 77, 78

 ――, evolution of the “normal” mind, 73

 ――, hypothesis of mental development, 72

 ――, importance of conflict, 72

 ――, nature of mental conflict, 73

 ――, suggested deficiencies of, 88, 89

 ――, the unconscious, 74

 GERMANY, features of government, 163–165

 ――, aggressive social type, 167, 168

 ――, social structure, 169, 170

 ――, observed mental characters, 173 _et seq._

 ――, conscious direction of the State, 163, 169, 191

 ――, in relation to other nations, 179–182

 ――, morale of, 182–188

 ――, discipline, 189–191

 ――, conditions of morale in, 193, 194

 ――, objects of war with, 194–201

 GOVERNMENT, Sources of, 257

 GREGARIOUSNESS, not a superficial character, 19

 ――, widespread occurrence in nature, 20

 ―― in man, probably primitive, 22

 ――, mental equivalents of, 31–33

 ――, biological meaning of, 101, 102

 ――, analogy to multicellular structure, 103

 ――, meaning of wide distribution of, 103, 104

 ――, specialization and co-ordination, 105, 106

 ――, varieties of, 107, 108

 ――, in insects, 105–107

 ――, in mammals, 107, 108

 ――, protective and aggressive, 110, 111

 ―― in man, disadvantages of:
   disease, 133;
   resistiveness, 133

 ―― in man, defects of specialization, 135;
   of homogeneity, 137

 ――, aggressive, protective, socialized, 166, 167

 GREGARIOUS ANIMAL, special characteristics of, 28

 ――, general characteristics of, 29

 ――, characters of, 108, 109

 ――, fear in, 111

   intolerance of solitude, 113;
   religion, 113;
   sensitiveness to the herd, 114;
   mob violence and panic, 115;
   susceptibility to leadership, 115;
   recognition by the herd, 118


 HERD INSTINCT, contrasted with other instincts, 47

 ――, mode of action of, 48

 ―― in the individual, special character of, 98

 HISTORY, biological interpretation of, 99, 100

 HUMAN CONDUCT, apparent complexity of, 13, 14

 HUXLEY, antithesis of cosmical and ethical processes, 24

 INSTINCT, definition of, 94

 ――, mental manifestations of, 95

 ――, disguised but not diminished in man, 99

 INSTINCTIVE ACTIVITIES, obscured in proportion to brain-power, 97

 INSTINCTIVE EXPRESSION, essential to mental health, 244, 245

 INTELLECT, the, essential function of, 243

 ――, biological aspect of, 255

 JAMES, WILLIAM, introspective aspect of instinct, 15

 LEADERSHIP, 116, 117

 ―― in society, 246

 ―― a substitute for common impulse, 247

 ――, defects of, 247

 ―― in Germany and in England, 248–250


 MAN as an animal, a fundamental conception, 66, 67, 243

 ―― as a gregarious animal, vagueness of earlier conceptions, 21

 ―― as an instinctive animal, current view of, 93

 MENTAL CAPACITY and instinctive expression, 121

 MENTAL CONFLICT, discussed in relation to Freud’s doctrines, 79–81

 ――, the antagonism to instinctive impulses, 82

 MENTAL CONFLICT, source of the repressive impulse in, 82, 83

 MENTAL INSTABILITY, and conflict, 57

 ――, in modern society, 56, 57

 MINORITIES and prejudice, 216, 217

 MORALE, in England, 207–209

 ――, in Germany, 182–188

 ――, maintenance of, 147–155

 ――, relation of homogeneity to, 144–147

 ―― and officialism, 155

 MULTICELLULARITY and natural selection, 18


 NATIONAL consciousness, 228

 ――, simplicity of, in England, 228

 NATIONAL feeling in war, 216–218

 ――, growth and common impulse, 245, 246

 NATIONAL industry and private enterprise, 257

 NATIONAL types contrasted, 232

 NON-RATIONAL OPINION, frequency of, 35, 36, 93, 94

 “NORMAL” type of mind, 53, 54

 NUEL and comparative psychology, 14


 PEARSON, KARL, biological significance of gregariousness, 23, 24

 ――, possibility of sociology as a science, 12

 PERSONALITY, elements in the evolution of, 87

 PREJUDICE, precautions against, 220–222

 PRIMITIVE MAN, rigidity of mental life, 34

 PSYCHO-ANALYSIS, characteristics of, 70, 71

 PSYCHOLOGICAL ENQUIRY, biological method, 91, 92

 ――, primitive introspective method, 68, 69

 ――, objective introspective method of Freud, 70

 PSYCHOLOGY of instinctive man, failure of earlier speculations, 16


 RATIONAL statecraft, need of, 241, 251

 ――, basis of, 252, 253

 RECOGNITION, 118, 119

 RELIGION and the social animal, 50, 51

 SEGREGATION of society, effects of, 215

 SENSITIVENESS to feeling, importance and danger of, 64

 SIDIS, BORIS, and the social instinct in man, 26, 27

 SOCIAL EVOLUTION, in insects, relation to brain-power, 62

 ――, in man, delayed by capacity for reaction, 62

 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, continuous with individual psychology, 12

 SOCIAL stability, an effect of war, 235, 236

 SOCIAL instability, a sequel of war, 236, 237

 SOCIOLOGY, definition of, 11

 ――, psychological principles of, 255

 SOLITARY AND GREGARIOUS ANIMALS, elementary differences, 17

 SOMBART, WERNER, Germans the representatives of God, 177

 SPEECH in man, and gregariousness, 34, 40


 STABLE-MINDED type, 54, 55

 SUGGESTION and reason not necessarily opposed, 45

 UEXKÜLL and comparative psychology, 14

 UNSTABLE-MINDED type, 58, 59

 VARIED REACTION and capacity for communication,
 importance to the herd of, 61

 WAR, instinctive reactions to, 140–143

 ―― and rumour, 144

 ―― as a biological necessity, 126–132

 WARD, LESTER, views on gregariousness in man, 24, 25

 WELLS, H. G., impossibility of sociology as a science, 12

 WOLF PACK, the, as an organism, 29

_Printed in Great Britain by_



Original spelling and grammar have been generally retained, with
some exceptions noted below. Original printed page numbers are shown
like this: {52}. Original small caps are now uppercase. Italics look
_like this_. Footnotes have been relabeled A–W, and moved from within
paragraphs to nearby locations between paragraphs. A few full stops
and commas were added where they were required but were not clearly
visible in the original print. The transcriber produced the cover image
and hereby assigns it to the public domain. Original page images are
available from archive.org—search for "instinctsofherdi00trot".

Page 239. The phrase “but it is must be remembered” was changed to “but
it must be remembered”.

Page 264. Index entry “UEXKULL” was changed to “UEXKÜLL” to agree with
the text on page 14.

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