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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY   AND   THE   INDIVIDUAL
I do not think that ordinary human beings can be
happy without competition, for competition has
been, ever since the origin of Man, the spur to most
serious activities. We should not, therefore, attempt
to abolish competition, but only to see to it that it
takes forms which are not too injurious. Primitive
competition was a conflict as to which should murder
the other man and his wife and children; modern
competition in the shape of war still takes this form.
But in sport, in literary and artistic rivalry, and in
constitutional politics it takes forms which do very
little harm and yet offer a fairly adequate outlet for
our combative instincts. What is wrong in this
respect is not that such forms of competition are
bad, but that they form too small a part of the lives
of ordinary men and women.
Apart from war, modern civilization has aimed
increasingly at security, but I am not at all sure that
the elimination of all danger makes for happiness. I
should like at this point to quote a passage from Sir
Arthur Keith's New Theory of Human Evolution:
*'Those who have visited the peoples living under
a reign of 'wild justice' bring back accounts of happi-
ness among natives living under such conditions.
Freya Stark, for example, reported thus of South-
Arabia: 'When I came to travel in that part of the
country where security is non-existent, I found a
people, though full of lament over their life of per-
petual blackmail and robbery, yet just as cheerful
and as full of the ordinary joy of living as anywhere
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