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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

the use of the voice have physical bases. But it is, nevertheless, certain
that in virtue of their patent transmission by imitation they must be
regarded as mainly dependent upon a cultural inheritance. It is
interesting to note that in Hitler's book Mein Kampf his " racial"
characterizations and differentiations, more especially of the Jews,
are based not on any biological concept of physical descent—as to
the essential nature and meaning of which he exhibits complete
ignorance—but almost entirely on social and cultural elements.
The Myth of an "Aryan Race"
Apart from these general considerations, certain fallacies of un-
scientific "racial" conceptions, and in particular the myth of an
"Aryan race/' call for separate discussion.
In 1848 the young German scholar Friedrich Max Miiller (1823-
1900) settled in Oxford, where he remained for the rest of his life.
The high character and great literary and philological gifts of Max
Miiller are well known. About 1853 ne introduced into English usage
the unlucky term Aryan? as applied to a large group of languages.
His use of this Sanskrit word contains in itself two assumptions—one
linguistic, that the Indo-Persian sub-group of languages is older or
more primitive than any of its relatives; the other geographical, that
the cradle of the common ancestor of these languages was the Ariana
of the ancients, in Central Asia. Of these the first is now known to
be certainly erroneous and the second now regarded as probably
erroneous. Nevertheless, around each of these two assumptions a
whole library of literature has arisen.
Moreover, Max Miiller threw another apple of discord. He intro-
duced a proposition which is demonstrably false. He spoke not only
of a definite Aryan language and its descendants, but also of a corre-
sponding "Aryan race." The idea was rapidly taken up both in
Germany and in England. It affected to some extent a certain
number of the nationalist historical and romantic writers, none of
whom had any ethnological training. It was given especial currency
by the French author de Gobineau. Of the English group it will
be enough to recall some of the ablest: Thomas Garlyle (1795-1881),
J. A. Froude (1818-94), Charles Eangsley (1819-75), and J. R. Green
(1837-83). What these men have written on the subject has been cast
by historians into the limbo of discarded and discredited theories.
In England and America the phrase "Aryan race" has quite ceased
to be used by writers with scientific knowledge, though it appears
1 The word Aryan was first used quite correctly by Sir William Jones (1746-94)
as a name for the speakers of a group of Indian languages.