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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY   AND   THE    INDIVIDUAL
effects in the world. And so he can if, being a man of
science, he persuades some government that his work
may be useful in war. But the man who works with-
out the help of an organization, like a Hebrew
prophet, a poet, or a solitary philosopher such as
Spinoza, can no longer hope for the kind of impor-
tance which such men had in former days. The
change applies to the scientist as well as to other
men. The scientists of the past did their work very
largely as individuals, but the scientist of our day
needs enormously expensive equipment and a labora-
tory with many assistants. All this he can obtain
through the favour of the government, or, in America,
of very rich men. He is thus no longer an independent
worker, but essentially part and parcel of some large
organization. This change is very unfortunate, for the
things which a great man could do in solitude were
apt to be more beneficial than those which he can
only do with the help of the powers that be. A man
who wishes to influence human aflfairs finds it dijBficult
to be successful, except as a slave or a tyrant: as a
politician he may make himself the head of a State,
or as a scientist he may sell his labour to the govern-
ment, but in that case he must serve its purposes and
not his own.
And this applies not only to men of rare and
exceptional greatness, but to a wide range of talent.
In the ages in which there were great poets, there
were also large number? of little poets, and when
there were great painters there were large ntunbers