Skip to main content

Full text of "Authority and the individual"

See other formats

years ago, would have found ample scope in the
search for food, in cutting off the heads of enemies,
and in escaping the attentions of tigers. When war
comes the bank clerk may escape and become a
commando, and then at last he feels that he is living
as nature intended him to live. But, unfortunately,
science has put into our hands  such enormously
powerful means of satisfying our destructive instincts,
that to allow them free play no longer serves any
evolutionary purpose,  as  it  did  while men were
divided into petty tribes.  The problem of making
peace with our anarchic impulses is one which has
been too little studied, but one which becomes more
and more imperative as scientific technique advances.
From the purely biological point of view it is unfor-
tunate that the destructive  side  of technique has
advanced so very much more rapidly than the creative
side. In one moment a man may kill 500,000 people,
but he cannot have children any quicker than in the
days of our savage ancestors. If a man could have
500,000 children as quickly as by an atomic bomb he
can destroy 500,000 enemies, we might, at the cost
of enormous suffering, leave the biological problem
to the struggle Jfor existence and the survival of the
fitte^But in the modern world the old mechanism
of evolution can no longer be relied upon.
The problem of the social reformer, therefore, is
not mexely to seek means of security, for if these
means when found provide no deep satisfaction the
security will be thrown away for the glory of adven-