Skip to main content

Full text of "Authority and the individual"

See other formats

ture. The problem is rather to combine that degree
of security which is essential to the species, with
forms of adventure and danger and contest which are
compatible with the civilized way of life. And in
attempting to solve this problem we must remember
always that, although our manner of life and our
institutions and our knowledge have undergone pro-
found changes, our instincts both for good and evil
remain very much what they were when our ances-
tors' brains first grew to their present size. I do not
think the reconciliation of primitive impulses with
the civilized way of life is impossible, and the studies
of anthropologists have shown the very wide adapta-
bility of human nature to different culture patterns.
But I do not think it can be achieved by complete ex-
clusion of any basic impulse. A life without adventure
is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adven-
ture is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure
to be short.
I think perhaps the essence of the matter was
given by the Red Indian whom I quoted a moment
ago, who regretted the old life because "there was
glory in it." Every energetic person wants some-
thing that can count as "glory." There are those
who get itófilm stars, famous athletes, military
commanders, and even some few politicians, but they
are a small minority, and the rest are left to day-
dreamsóday-dreams of the cinema, day-dreams of
wild west adventure stories, purely private day-
dreams of imaginary power. I am not one of those