Skip to main content

Full text of "Authority and the individual"

See other formats

not diminished in the same degree. There are still
wars, oppressions, and hideous cruelties, and greedy
men still snatch wealth from those who are less
skilful or less ruthless than themselves. Love of
power still leads to vast tyrannies, or to mere
obstruction when its grosser forms are impossible.
And fearódeep, scarcely conscious fearóis still the
dominant motive in very many lives.
All this is unnecessary; there is nothing in human
nature that makes these evils inevitable, I wish to
repeat, with all possible emphasis, that I disagree
completely with those who infer from our combative
impulses that human nature demands war and other
destructive forms of conflict. I firmly believe the
very opposite of this. I maintain that combative
impulses have an essential part to play, and in their
harmful forms can be enormously lessened.
Greed of possession will grow less when there is'
no fear of destitution. ,Love of power -can be satisfied
in many jways ,jhat.ioialy,e no injury to others: by
the power over nature that results from discovery
and invention, by the production of admired books
or works of art, and by successful persuasion. Energy
and^the^wish jto^be effective are beneficent if tKey can
find the right outlet, and harmful if notólike steam,
which can either drive the train or burst the boiler.
Our emancipation from bondage to external nature
has made possible a greater degree of human well-
iĽeing than has ever hitherto existed. But if this
possibility is to be realized, there must be freedgjn