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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

EUGENICS AND SOCIETY
this social category seems definitely selective in that it attracts and
encourages men and women of an intellectualist and academic type*
This is partly because there are not sufficient outlets provided else-
where in our social system for such types, partly because the educa-
tional profession as at present constituted does not provide sufficient
attraction for contrasted types. This restriction of type among those
responsible for the upbringing of the next generation cannot be satis-
factory, and an altered status for the educational profession so that its
genetic basis is broadened is an important task for social biology, and,
since it involves genetics, legitimately part of the eugenic movement.
Still more important for the comparatively immediate future is the
relation of the dominant group-incentive to reproductive morality,
law, and practice. We all know that certain schools of Christian
thought to-day are opposed on grounds of religious principle to birth-
control, that indispensable tool of eugenics as well as of rational
control of population, and even to the very notion of eugenics itself.
But even if this opposition could be overcome, there would remain in
this field grave obstacles, both to the spread of the eugenic idea and
to the rate of its progress in practice, These are the prevailing
individualist attitude to marriage, and the conception, based on this
and on the long religious tradition of the West, of the subordination of
personal love to procreation. The two influences together prevent us
collectively from grasping the implications of the recent advances in
science and technique which now make it possible to separate the
individual from the social side of sex and reproduction. Yet it is
precisely and solely this separation that would make real eugenics
practicable, by allowing a rate of progress yielding tangible encour-
agement in a reasonable time, generation by generation.
The recent invention of efficient methods on the one hand of birth-
control and on the other of artificial insemination have brought man
to a stage at which the separation of sexual and reproductive func-
tions could be used for eugenic purposes- But it is of real interest to
note that these inventions represent merely the last steps in an evolu-
tionary process which started long before man ever existed.
In lower mammals, the existence of limited breeding seasons, and,
during these, the restriction of mating to the oestrous phase in the
female's reproductive cycle, do in fact link sexual behaviour firmly
with reproduction. But in the great primate stock to which we belong,
a new trend early becomes apparent. Breeding seasons are less
definite, and mating may occur at any time during the female cycle,
so that most acts of union are in fact and of necessity infertile, without
reproductive consequences. This trend becomes more marked as we
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