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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE  MODERN WORLD
early settlers in Virginia and Carolina were pre-selected on other
lines, though some of the characters involved were the same. After
the first settlements were made, further immigrants until near the end
of the nineteenth century were pre-selected for restlessness, initiative,
adventurousness, and the qualities making up the pioneer spirit. The
easily contented, the unadventurous and the timid, were pre-selected
to remain behind. So, too, on the average, must have been those
with artistic, philosophic, literary, or mathematical gifts. Even if the
mean differences between those who went and those who stayed were
not large, they must have been significant.
Once the immigrants were established in the country, selection
continued. This post-selection, so long as there was an open physical
frontier to the west, and an open economic frontier in the more settled
regions, must on the whole have encouraged and discouraged the
same qualities favoured by pre-selection: in addition, assertiveness
and ambition were encouraged in the acute phase of "rugged in-
dividualism," while artistic and literary endowment still were at a
discount. Of course the direct moulding effect of the social environ-
ment must have acted in the same sense as its selective effect; so that
here again genetic differences would be masked. Yet on deductive
grounds we can be certain that the selective effect would be at work,
and would produce genetic differences: the only question is the
extent of those differences.
Whenever there are mass-movements of population, we are sure to
find similar selective effects. The difference between the sputhern
Irish in America and in Ireland strikes every observer: we can hardly
doubt that it is due in part (though doubtless not entirely) to a sifting
of more from less adventurous types. And the same holds true of the
obvious differences between rural and urban population in a country
like our own. Whatever be the effect of country life and labour on a
man's temperament, we can be sure that those who stayed behind
were not as a group genetically identical with those who ventured
away into the new life of the towns.
One of the profoundest selective influences ever brought to bear on
the human population of the globe must have been that exerted by
the invention and spread of agriculture, as has been well stressed by
Ellsworth Huntington.1
A settled agricultural civilization demands qualities in its members
very different from those demanded by a nomadic or a hunting exist-
ence.  Agriculture demands constant application; the pastoral life is
freer, and hunting demands rather occasional outbursts of maximum
1 Huntington, 1928, chapter xiv.
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