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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE  MODERN  WORLD
wherein are localized the reception of relayed sensory information and
the emission of executive messages for action. It is this, it seems,
which has made possible self-consciousness and true conceptual
thought.
During the course of their evolution, the cerebral hemispheres in-
creased from zero to a mass which exceeds that of all the rest of the
central nervous system taken together, and became one of the larger
organs of the body.
Our brain analogy undoubtedly illuminates the social problem in
an extremely valuable way. In the first place, the highest stage of
evolution in this respect which has as yet been reached by any society
is, by biological standards, extremely primitive. It corresponds with
a quite early stage in the development of cerebral hemispheres and
cortex: higher than that of a fish, but certaii ily not beyond that found
in reptiles. Before humanity can obtain on the collective level that
degree of foresight, control, and flexibility which on the biological
level is at the disposal of human individuals, it must multiply at least
tenfold, perhaps fiftyfold, the proportion of individuals and organiza-
tions devoted to obtaining information, to planning, correlation,
and the flexible control of execution. The chief increases are
needed in respect of correlation and planning and of soe.ial self
consciousness. In these respects, wholly new social organs must be
evolved, whose nature we can only envisage in the most general
terms.
In respect of planning and correlation, we can dimly perceive that
some large single central organization must be superposed on the
more primitive system of separate government departments and other
single-function organizations; and that this, like the cerebral cortex,
must be at one and the same time unified and functionally specialized.
It will thus contain units concerned with particular social and econ-
omic functions, but the bulk of its personnel will be occupied in
studying and effecting the interrelations between these various
functions.
As regards social self-consciousness, the course of evolution must be
'quite different. Newspapers and books, radio, universal education—
these and other points of technological and social advance have given
us, in primitive form, the mechanisms needed. At the moment, how-
ever, they are being, in the light of biological analogy, largely mis-
applied. Education stops dead for most people in early adolescence,
and concerns itself mainly with providing specialized techniques,
together with a froth of obsolescentec culture.5' The cinema to-day is
primarily an escape mechanism. Newspapers distort the balance of
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