Skip to main content

Full text of "Authority and the individual"

See other formats

on earth.' Dr. H. K. Fry had a similar experience
among the aborigines of Australia. *A native in his
wild state,' he reports, flives in constant danger;
hostile spirits are about him constantly. Yet he is
light-hearted and cheerful . . . indulgent to his
children and kind to his aged parents.' My third
illustration is taken from the Crow Indians of
America, who have been living under the eye of
Dr. R. Lowrie for many years. They are now living in
the security of a reserve. 'Ask a Crow,' reports
Dr. Lowrie, 'whether he would have security as now,
or danger as of old, and his answer is—' 'danger as of
old . . . there was glory in it." ' I am assuming that
the wild conditions of life I have been describing
were those amid which mankind lived through the
whole of the primal period of its evolution. It was
amid such conditions that man's nature and character
were fashioned, one of the conditions being the
practice of blood-revenge."
Such effects of human psychology account for
some things which, for me at least, were surprising
when in 1914 I first became aware of them. Many
people are happier during a war than they are in
peace time, provided the direct suffering entailed by
the fighting does not fall too heavily upon them
personally. A quiet life may well be a boring life.
The unadventurous existence of a well-behaved
citizen, engaged in earning a moderate living in a
humble • capacity, leaves completely unsatisfied all
that part of his nature which, if he had lived 400,000