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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

LECTURE   FOUR

THE CONFLICT OF TECHNIQUE
AND HUMAN NATURE
MAN differs from other animals in many ways. One
of these is, that he is willing to engage in activities
that are unpleasant in themselves, because they are
means to ends that he desires. Animals do things
that, from the point of view of the biologist, seem
to be labour for a purpose: birds build nests, and
beavers build dams. But they do these things from
instinct, because they have an impulse to do them,
and not because they perceive that they are useful.
They do not practise self-control or prudence or
foresight or restraint of impulses by the will. Human
beings do all these things. When they do more of
them than human nature can endure, they suffer a
psychological penalty. Part of this penalty is un-
avoidable in a civilized way of life, but much of it is
unnecessary, and could be removed by a different
type of social organization.
Early man had little of this conflict between means
and impulses. Hunting, combat, and propagation were
necessary for survival and for evolutionary progress,
but that was not his reason for engaging in these
activities: he engaged in them because they gave him
pleasure. Hunting became, in time, an amusement of
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