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fc Rtoerrffbr |&t *# 



V* ft* A, 


book was written, originally and primarily, for use in 
a course entitled "Introduction to Contemporary Civilisa- 
tion/' required of all Freshmen in Columbia College. It is 
an attempt to give a birdV-eye view of the processes of human 
nature, from man's simple inborn impulses and needs to the 
most complete fulfillment of these in the deliberate activi- 
ties of religion, art, science, and morals. It is hoped that the 
book may give to the student and general reader a knowledge 
of the fundamentals of human nature and a sene of the pos- 
sibilities and limits these give to human enterprise. 

Part I consists of an analysis of the types of behavior, a 
survey of individual traits and their significance in social 
life, a brief consideration of the nature and development of 
the self, individual differences, language and communication, 
racial and cultural continuity. Those fruits of psychological 
|iry have boon stressed which bear most strikingly on the 
ms of men in our preaenfrday social and economic or-* 
Ition. In consequence, there has been a deliberate ex- 
Em of purely technical or controversial material, however 
ting. The psychological analysis is in general based 
t the results of the objective inquiries into human behav- 
ifer which have been so fruitfully conducted in the last twenty* 
five years by Thoradike and Woodworth- To the work of 
the fitBt-mentioned, the author is particularly indebted* 

Part II is a brief analysis, chiefly psychological in character, 
of the four great activities of the human mind and imagination 
~ religkm, ftrt, science, and morals. These are discussed as 
normal thottth complex activities developed, thwrgh the 
process of rwotttion, in the fulfillment of man's inborn im- 
pulses arid needs, .Thus descriptively to treat the#e spiritual 
enterprfeiss implies on the part of the author a naturalistic 
viewpoint whoso main outlines have boon 0xed for this gen* 
eration by James, Karitayana, and Dewey. To the liwet* 
nautcd the writer wtehcB te exprenn the very spj* ,' \ obligation 
that a pupil owe** to a grart teacher* 


The hook as a whole, m far as can he judged from the ex- 
perience the author and others have had in uing it during 
the past year a a text at Columbia, should fit well into any 
general course in social psychology. It. has been increasingly 
realized tlxat the student's urulerst ending of contemporary 
problei&s of government and industry is immensely clarified 
by a knowledge of the human factors which th^y involve* 
This volume supplies a brief account of the essential facts of 
human behavior with especial emphasis on their social eon- 
sequences. Part I may be independently used, as It has been 
with success, in a general course in tsoeial psychology. Part 1 1, 
the "Career of Reason," presents material which many in- 
structors find it highly desirable to ue in introductory phi- 
losophy courses, but for which no elementary texts are avail- 
able, The UBiial textbooks deal with the more metaphysical 
problems to the exclusion of religion, art, morals, and science* 
humanly the most interesting and significant of philosophi- 
cal problems. Where, as in many colleges, the introductory 
philosophy oourec is preceded by a course in psychology, the 
arrangement of the volume should prove particularly well 

The illustrative material has been drawn, poBsibly to an 
unusual extent, from literature* The latter eems to give the , 
student in the vivid reality of specific actuations facts which * 
the psychologist IB condemned, from the necessities of scien* 
tific method, to discuss in the abstract. 

The book follows more or less closely that part of the gylr 
labuu for the course in Contemporary Civilimtioz^H^ich is 
called "The World of Human Nature/' which section of th 
outline was chiefly the joint product of eoHabo>ti<ot 

J. Coes and the author* To the 
o express his large indebtedness* &teo to Mw& Ediifc 
0, Taber, for h(^r atreful and valuable editing of the 
script in prepamtkxu for the printer, to dauraB to convey 
deep appreciation. 

UjuvcrsUv, Jun* 1920. 






The human animal The number and variety of man's in- 
stincts Learning in animate and men The prolonged 
period of infancy * ConBciousneSH of self and reaction to 
ideas Human beings alone possess language Man the 
only maker and user of tools* 



Instinctive behavior The necessity for the control of in- 
Btinftt Habitual behavior The mechanism of habit 
The acquisition of new modes of response Trial and error 
and deliberate learning Some conditions of Jiabit-forma* 
tion Brill verms attentive repetition in learning ~*- Learn- 
ing affected by age, fatigue, and health Habit as a time- 
saver * Habit &B a fltabilisser of action Disaervic'eable habits 
in the individual Social inertia The importance of the 
learning habit The specificity of habite ~ The eonscioua 
transforence of habits Emotion, 


RuriiBcnoN ^ * .47 

Inatindt and habit v(*r#u& rdlceticai * Tho origin and nature of 
reflection B!ui*tration of tlie reSactive proems Eoflbction 
a th# mtxli^sr of imtinet Reflective behavior modifies 
habit *~* Th* Umits of reaction as a modifier of instinct and 
habit-*- How tetinetu and habits impair the proo^^ee af 
reflection * The value of reflection for life -*- l!%i social im* 
portanoe of reftectlve behavior Hirfketiaii removed from 


immediate application: science ~ The practical aspect of 
science The creation of beautiful objects and the expres- 
sion of ideas and feelings m beautiful form. 


Food, shelter, and sex Physical activity Mental activity 

Quiescence: fatigue Nervous and mental fatigue. 



Man aw a social being Grcgariousness Gregariousness im- 
portant for social solidarity Gregariousness may hinder the 
solidarity of large groups Gregariouness in belief Ore- 
gariousness in habits of action The effect of gregariousness 
on innovation ~ Sympathy (a specialization of gregarious- 
ness) - Praise and blame Praise and blame modify habit 

Desire for praise may lead to tho profession rather than 
the practice of virtue The social effectiveness of praise and 
blamo Booial estimates arid standards of conduct Im- 
portance of relating praise and blame to socially important 
conduct Education as the agency of social control Bo- 
ckl activity and tho social motive. 


Tho ittt^rpenetration of human traits The fighting instinct 

Pugnacity a menace when uncontrolled Pugnacity an a 
beneficent social force The "submissive mBtinct" Men 
display qualities of leadership Man pities and protects wimk 
and suffering things Fear Love and hate lx>ve Hate, 

Privacy and solitude Batiafactipn in personal pofiHCHvtion: tho 
acqumiUvo irmtmct Individuality in opinion and belief ~ 
Tho social importance) of individuality in opinion* 



Origin und dt*v!of>m(int of a mum of pron>il 8<4Fhood 

self Chanicti*r and will ' Th arihaniwnKntt of 
sell Kgoiam ivrruif altniiHin -""Htilf-satiKfai' 
faction Thts contrast IMweon tho rn'lf and athors - 


of self Self-display or boldness Self-sufficient modesty 
The positive and flexible self Dogmatism and self-asser- 
tion Enthusiasm The negative self Eccentrics The 
active and the contemplative Emotions aroused in the 
maintenance of the self The individuality of groups. 


iNIUVmtlAL DlFFEEENCES ,...*..., 186 
The meaning of individual differences Causes of individual 
differences The influence of sex The influence of race 
The influence of immediate ancestry or family The influ- 
ence of the environment Individual differences Democ- 
racy and education. 



language JIB a social habit Language and mental life The 
instability of language Changes in meaning Uniformities 
in language Standardization of language Counter-tend- 
encies toward differentiation ~~ Language as emotional and 
logical Language and logic. 


Rwitriction of population Cultural continuity Uncritical 
vcmoration of the past Romantic idealization of the past 
Change synonymous with evil " Order" versus change 
Personal or clafi opposition to change Uncritical disparage* 
immt Critical examination of the past Limitations of the 

~ Education w the transmitter of the past* 


*...* ...... 276 


The religion experience " The reality of the unseen" Ex- 
periences which frequently find religious expression Need and 
impotence ~~ FM* *&& awe Regret, remorse: repentance 
and pwumoft Joy and enthusiasm: festivals and thanksgiv- 
ings Theology -~ The description of the divine The divine 
an ttws human ideal -r The religious experience, theology m$ 
Mochaoiafcic science and theology Religion and 


science The church as a social institution The social con- 
sequences of institutionalized religion Intolerance and in- 
quisition * Quietism and consolation: other-worldlmess. 


Art versus nature The emergence of the fine arts The aes- 
thetic experience Appreciation versus action Sense satis- 
faction Form Expression Art as vicarious experience 
Art and aesthetic experience in the social order Art as an 
industry Art and morals. 



What science is Science as explanation Science and a 
world view The sesthetic value of science The danger of 
"pure science" Practical or applied science Analysis of 
scientific procedure Science and common sense Curios- 
ity and scientific inquiry Thinking begins with a prob- 
lem The quahty of thinking: suggestion Classification 
Experimental variation of conditions Generalizations, their 
elaboration and testing The quantitative basis of scientific 
procedure Statistics and probability Science as an instru- 
ment of human progress. 



Th# pre-conditions of morality: instinct, impulse, and desire 
The conflict of interests between men and groups The levels 
of moral action: custom; the establishment of "folkways" 
Morality as conformity to the established The values of 
customary morality The defects of customary morality 
Custom-and progress Origin and nature of reflective moral- 
ity Reflective reconstruction of moral standards The 
values of reflective morality Reflection transforms customs 
into principles Reflective action genuinely moral Reflec- 
tion sets up ideal standards The defects of reflective morality 

The inadequacy of theory in moral life The danger of ia- 
tdlectualism in morals Types of moral theory Absolutism 

RelatiYistic or teleological morality Utilitarianism 
Moral knowledge Intuitionalism Empiricism Ethioa 
and life Morality and human nature Morals, law, aad 


Human traits and civilization. Throughout the long en- 
terprise of civilization in which mankind have more or less 
consciously changed the world they found into one more in 
conformity with their deairen, two factors have remained 
constant: (t) the physical order of the universe, which we 
commonly call Nature, and (2) the native biological equip- 
ment of man, commonly known as human nature* Both of 
thane, we are almont unanimously assured by modern science, 
have remained eanentuilly the same from the dawn of history 
to the present. They are the raw material out of which is 
built tip the vast complex of government, industry, science, 
art all that we call civilisation. In a very genuine sense, 
there in nothing new under the sun. Matter and men remain 
the sanm. 

But while this fundamental material iff conntant, it may be 
givnn various forma; and both Nature itself and the nature of 
man may, with increasing knowledge, t>o increasingly eon- 
trolled in man's own interests* The railroad, the wireleas, 
and tho aeroplane aro striking and familiar testimonies to the 
efficacy of man'* informed mastery of the world into which 
ha w bom. In the field of physical Hcienco, man has, in the 
short p<$ri<xl of three centuries since Francis Bacon sounded 
the trumpet call to the study of Nature and Newton <ii* 
covered the law of motion, magnificently attained and ap- 
preciated the power to know exactly what the facts of Nature 
&m, what consequences follow from them, and how they may 
fon applied tx> enlarge tho boundaries of the " empire of man/* 

In hsft control of human nature, which i in Its outlines IMS 
fixed and contant an tha laws that govern the movements of 
the #t&r& man hat* Ixjen much less nonsdotiB and deliberate, 
and more frequently moved by pfuv&m and ignorance tton 
by nmeon and knowledge. Neverthelw*, custom and 


the conrt, the school, and ihomarkot haw similarly boon man'a 
ways of utilizing the original equipment of impulse and desire 
which Nature has given him. It, in hard to believe, but an cer- 
tain as it is incredible, that the modern professional awl busi- 
nessman, movingf reoly amid t he diverae contacts ami complex- 
ities pictured in any cawial newspaper, in a world of factories 
and parliaments and acroplanen, m by nature no different from 
the superntitiouw savage hunting precarious foo<l f living in 
caves, and finding every stranger an enemy* The difference 
between the civilisation of an American city and that of the 
barbarian tribes of Western Europe, thousand** of yearn ago 
is an accurate index of the extent to whieh man 1m* suc- 
ceeded in redirecting and controlling that fundamental human 
nature which ha in it essential structure remained the Htuttt) 
through history, 

Man's ways of annotation and mftpamtion, for the monfc 
part, havo not been deliberately <lcvolo|wd, since men lived 
and had to live together long Ixtfore a science of human rela* 
tions could havo boon dnianutd oL Only t<nJay are we begin- 
ning to have an inkling of the fundamental facts of human 
nature. But it has become; increasingly plain that progress 
depends not merely on increasing our knowledge and appli- 
cation of the laws which govern man's physical environment* 
Machinery, factories, and automatic reapers are, after nil, 
only instruments for man's welfare* If man IH ever to att&iu 
the, happiness and rationality of which philosophers and re- 
formers have continually Jxwn dreaming, there wutrt also 
U an understanding of the lawn winch govern nmn himself* 
law quite an conHtaxit an tlionij of phyi^icB and chemistry* 

IMucation and political organisation, the c<41egu itnd th^ 
e, howevi^r niinote they amy w*ni from the random 
eH to cry and cluteh at ran(!out o!>j(JtH with which a 
baby eomen into the world, nm*4 rtjiirt from junt wuch 
rials M thoHo* Tim wtno inipuk* which pmrnptH n five 
old to put hloftkHiittu a HymnN^trical nmn&mwnt i H* 
out of which architectH or great exi^utivvM an; nisuta. 


triotism and public spirit find their roots back in the same 
unlearned impulses which make a baby smile back when 
Binlled at, and makes it, when a little older, cry if left too 
long alone or in a strange place. All the native biological 
impulses, which are almost literally our birthright, may, when 
understood, be modified through education, public opinion, 
and law, and directed in the interests of human ideals. 

It i the aim of this book to indicate some of these more 
outntanding human traitB, and the factors which must be 
taken into account if they are to be controlled in the inter- 
estn of human welfare. It is too often forgotten that the prob- 
lems which are to be dealt with in the world of politics, of 
bumneBs, of law, and education, are much complicated by 
the fact that human beings are so constituted that given cer- 
tain bituatiouH, they will do certain thinga in certain inevitable 
ways. Thene problems are much clarified by knowing what 
these fundamental ways of men are. 




The human animal* Any attempt to understand what the 
nature of man is, apart from its training and education during 
tho life of the individual, must start with the realization that 
man fo a human animal As a human being he is strikingly 
sot off by his upright posture and his large and flexible hand. 
But chiefly he is distinguished by his plastic brain, upon 
which depcnda his capacity to perform the complex mental 
activities from administering a railroad to solving prob- 
lems in calculus which constitute man's outstanding and 
exclusive characteristic* 1 

But in his structure and functions man boars, as is now well 
known, a marked resemblance to the lower animals* His 
respiratory and digestive organs, for example, may be dupli- 
cated a far down in the animal scale as birds and chickens. 1 
Man's whole physical apparatus and mode of life, save in 
complexity and refinement of operations, are the same as 
thoBe of any of the higher mammals* But more important for 
the student of human behavior, man's mental life that is, 
Ms way of responding to and dealing with his environment - 
is in l&rge part identical with that of the lower animals, espe- 
cially of the most highly developed vertebrates, such as the 
monkey. They have, up to a certain point, precisely the 

* The tWtofclag procea I* discuwwxi in detail in chapters m and xiv. 

* With (wwrt&in modiftoatkms accounted lor in tMr tdatorioal **d*eewtT 
with modification from a common *act*tor. Sw Scott: Theory of Kwhttion* 


same equipment for adjusting themselves to {he conditions of 
life. Apart from education, both man and animal arc en- 
dowed with a set of more or lews fixed tcndencion to respond in 
specific waya to specific ntimulL Theno mix>rn or congenital 
tendencies are generally known as reftoxcB or itwtinetH. 1 
These arc unlearned ways, exhibited by both human and 
animal organisms, of renixmcling promptly and preeiBcly, and 
in a comparatively changeless manmtr to a given HtinwhiH 
from the environment. These tendencies to act, while they 
may be, and most frequently are of advantage to the organ- 
fern, arc not oonadmiR or acquired* They are irrwiHtible 
imputeentodo just such-and-such particular thingn in mich* 
and-Bitch particular ways when confronted with Jtint uc.h- 
ami-such particular HituatSww, In the well-known wordn of 

The cat rtmn aft or Um moupr% runn or thown fight Wore the dog, 
avoidn falling front wallH and fm*H, wbunn fire and water, He, twt 
hcH*iuiBe lie hiw any notion cither of life or d*>!tf h* or of w*lf-j>n*irvnr 
tSon* H hw probably attuin(*d to no ou< of tlip^r* eoiwptiom in 
fitieh a way UB to rc^a^t defiiutt'ly UIHI if-, Hi* af f j* in wuch C4im^ WI^H^* 
nttely, and Imply tmenu^ he ctwmot lw?Ij) it; l*wg HO fronwd that 
when that particular running thing onlletl a mourns Apjw^an* in Ilia 
field of v&ton he mtai purnutt; that whisn that particultur lurking and 
olwtrcparous thing called a <l<vg appc^nt tlicrt^ !w mmt r*tin% Jf at a 
<lit anw, anrJ ttcratch if clo by ; that h mwuf withdraw hi fiset from 
r, and 1m faco from 

Rimilurly, the biihy'n nu(?hing for mnrlom objftotH^ uud 
ckiuK thotn whoa Helssed* its tuniiug itH hwul as*Jd^ when it 
had enough foocl^ itn trying when atom) ad hungry, arc* 
nrt for tJiio nunst part, dtiUitttniU* uiidhock invented by tho 
infant to maintain it own welfare*, but ure almcmt an auto- 
matic UH th nunttxtr of Houiulrt omitted by tho cuckoo clock at 


of n^ikx*^ nuolt ilmi wlu-r* thn fimt w <*?t v/ff, th riumiuU^r w*> w>t aH 

, vol. n, p. 


Why do men always He down, when they can, on soft beds rather 
than on hard floors? Why do they sit round the stove on a cold day? 
. . . Why does the maiden interest the youth so that everything 
about her seems more important and significant than anything else 
in the world? Nothing more can be said than that these are human 
ways, and that every creature likes its own ways, and takes to the 
following of them as a matter of course, . . . Not one man in a bil- 
lion, when taking his dinner, thinks of utility. He eats because 
the food tastes good, and inakea him want more. If you ask him 
why he should want to eat more of what tastes like that, instead of 
revering you as a philosopher, he will probably laugh at you for a 

These inborn tendencies to act vary in complexity from the 
withdrawing of a hand from a hot stove or the jerking of the 
knee when touched in a particular spot to Btartlingly involved 
trains of action to be found in the behavior of certain of the 
lower animal*. Bcrgson cites the case of a species of wasp 
which with a skill, unconscious though it be, resembling that 
of the expert Burgeon, paralyzes a caterpillar without killing 
it, and carries it home for food for its young. 2 There are 
again many cases of "insects which invariably lay their eggs 
in the only places where the pubs, when hatched, will find the 
food they need and can eat, or where the larvae will be able to 
attach themselves as parasites to some host in a way that is 
unwary to their survival' * * In many instances these com- 
plicated trains of action are performed by the animal in a 
situation absolutely strange to it, without its ever having seen 
the act performed t>efore, having been born frequently after 
its parents had died, and itself destined to die long before its 
grubs will have hatched, 

The number and variety of man's instincts* Various at- 
tempts have l>een made, notably by such men as Jame$, 
McDougall, and Thorndike, to enumerate and classify the 
tendencies with which man is at birth endowed, or which, 

t 172, t 

Mcttuujptt: teiai JP*0aWw P- 34. (Except whom otherwise noted, 
references arc to the fourth edition*) 


like the sex instinct, make their appearance at a certain stage 
in biological growth, regardless of the particular training to 
which the individual has been subjected. Karlier clasmfica* 
tiona were inclined to speuk of inntinctn an very general and m 
half consciously purposeful in character. Thim it is still popu- 
larly customary to npe&k of the " instinct of self-preaerva-* 
tion," the "instinct of hunger/* and the " parental instinct/* 
The tendency of prenent-day psychology IB to note jut what 
responses take place in given 8{>ecific tutuationg* A$ a result 
of uch observation, particularly by Mich biologic a Watson 
and Jonningw, 1 inwtinctH have come to bo regarded not 843 
general and purposive but OH specific and automatic. Thus it 
is no Sntttinct of w!f-prtw*rvalion that drives the child to 
blink itn eyw at a blinding flash of light ; it is solely and Bimply 
the very direct and immediate Irmtanry to blink ito eyim in 
jwt that way whenever &w\\ a phr^nomonon Occam, It i no 
dclit Karate intent to inlialc the oxygi*u nm&Bary to the 
nanco of life that canno* tw i^* broatho. N<^ mom i it a 
ftckmfl plan to provide tho organinin with nourishment that 
prontptH m to oat our brnakfunt in the mottling; it in Bimply 
the immediate and irm&ttibto onticcwneut of food after a 
night's fitt. Not a dcHbenitc motive of maternity prompts 
the mother to carcms and can? for her baby, but an in<svitab!e 
and almoat invincible tendency to "cuddle it when it cries, 
smile when it umiles, fondle it and ooo to it in turn*" 

In the te few years, m a result of the observation of 
animals under Talxjratory crmcHttons, there how bwn increiiih 
ing evklenee of a large numtor of H|XH$ifu: totutenotott to aet in 
sptwifta wayti, in renponno to ftpociiic giv<*n stimuli* A no 
stimuli are ever quite alike, and no animal organkm m war in 
the Hfime phyNlcrHfhemiciit condition at two dJffarent 
there are nlight but iteftHi^lilo differonom In rewpontws* 
Allowing for them), uzmnaln may IK* mud to i>e eqtiipiw! with a 
wide variety of tandomww t<> do procimty fcho naiuo thinp 
Under wsurreiit Identical cir<sumteiic* The aim of tto 

X VVaUoo : ^cAamr, U- 13. J^ning*: 



experimental psychologist is to discover just what actions 
occur when an animal is placed in any given circumstances, 
precisely as the chemist notes what reaction occurs when two 
chemicals are combined. 

While experiments with the human infant are more difficult 
and rare (and while it is among infants alone among humans 
that original tendencies can be observed free from the modifi- 
cations to which they are so soon subjected by training and 
environment) careful observers find in the human animal also 
a great number of these specific ways of acting. Just which of 
the large number of observed universal modes of behavior are 
original and unlearned, is a matter still in controversy among 
psychologists. There is practically complete agreement 
among them, however, with respect to such comparatively 
simple acts as grasping, reaching, putting things in the mouth, 
creeping, standing and walking, and the making of sounds 
more or ICSH articulate. Most psychologists recognize oven 
such highly complicated tendencies as man's restlessness in 
the absence of other people, bin tendency to attract their at- 
tention when prtJBont, to be at once pitying and pugnacious, 
greedy and sympathetic, to take and to follow a lead* 

In general, it may bo said that man possesses not fewer 
instincte than animals, but more. His superiority consists in 
the fact that he has at once more tendencies to respond, and 
that in him these tendencies are more flexible and more sus- 
ceptible of modification than those of animals- A chicken lias 
at the start the advantage over the human; it can at first do 
more things and do them better. But it is the human baby 
who, though it cannot find food for itself at the start, can 
eventually be taught to distinguish between the nutritive 
values of food, secure food from remote sources, and make 
palatable food from materials which when raw are inedible. 

Aa inventory and classification of man's original tendencies 
is made more difficult precisely because these are so easily 
modifiable and are, even in earliest childhood, seldom seen ia 
their original and simple form. 


At any given time a human being is being acted upon by a 
wide variety of competing and contemporaneous Htnuuli* In 
walking down a street with a friend, for example, one may be 
attracted by the array of bright colon*, of flowers, jewelry and 
clothing in the shop windows, blink one*** cy<ts in the glare of 
the sun, feel a satisfaction in the prenewo of other p<x>ple and 
a lonelinesH for a particular friend, dodge before a panning 
automobile, be onvioua of its occupant, and milo lx?mvo- 
lently at a pacing child. It would bo difficult in BO complex 
and BO characteristically familiar a Bituation to pick out com- 
pletely and precisely the original human tendencies at work, 
and trace out all the modifications to which they have Imen 
subjected in the courne of individual experience* For wen 
mngle ronponhon in the udult an* not the wane in quality or 
scope aw they were to atari with. Even the nimplcMt Hi intuit 
of taste and of H<und are diffrwnt to tho adult from what 
they arc to the child. What for the adult in a printed pagft 
full of nigmfiCfUHw in for the baby a blur, or at most chaotic 
black marks on white paper. 

But while it in difficult to diwni angle out of <wn a wimple,, 
everyday occurrence the original untaurwni human impufons 
at work, experimentation on both humane and animate H*<*tns 
clearly to establish that "in the WUIMI organinin th wwnn 
atiou will always produce tho natuo n^jHuiKo." It al^o 
clear that in man thwcs native uulcftnKHci ntHjxmnt^ to givw* 
fitituuli arcs unuBually num<wiiw and wmwiaHy ivmtrtrflublo. 
Upon the poHBibiliiy of tho nnuiy nuniificatitm of tlw origi* 
rial (ilanontB m uian' behavior hin vtholu education and 
life depend* 

Learning In animals and men* Mi?n and lunfualn UFO 
not only in that they haw in common a larg$ number of taml* 
to rcnpond in doflnito wajw to ddhtite fltmmi!, but fchat 
eiponmiD may \& modifiix! y wwic Hitt*ngthonmi through 
UBC and othora wonkoiuxl or &ltogi*thf*r <Jim*j4r<liKj through 
dimiso* I both alar) the survival and wtrertgthenmg of mm& 
native tendencies, the weakening and ovcu the complete 


elimination of others, depends primarily upon the satisfaction 
which flows from their practice. 

It must be remembered that any situation, while it calls 
forth on the part of the organism a characteristic response, 
may also call out others, especially if the first response made 
fails to secure satisfaction, or if it places the animal in a posi- 
tively annoying situation. There are certain situations 
being fed when hungry, resting when weary, etc. which are 
immediate and original satisfiers; there are others such as bit- 
ter tastes, being looked at 'with scorn by others, etc., which 
are natural annoyers. The first type the animal will try vari- 
ous means of attaining; the second, various means of avoiding. 
Through "trial and error," through going through every re- 
sponse it can make to a given situation, the animal or human 
hits upon some response which will secure for it satisfaction or 
rid it of a positive annoyance. Once this successful response 
is hit upon, it tends to be retained and becomes habitual in 
that situation, while other random responses are eliminated. 

As will be pointed out in the following, man has developed 
in the process of reflection a much more effective and subtle 
mode of attaining desirable results, but a large part of human 
acquisition of skill, whether at the typewriter, the piano, the 
tennis court, or in dealing with other people, is still a matter 
of making every random response that the situation provokes 
until the appropriate and effective one is hit upon, and making 
this latter response more immediately upon repeated experi- 
ences in the same situation. Onco this effective response be* 
comes habitual it is just as automatic in character as if it had 
been made immediately the first time, and it is almost impos- 
sible without knowledge of the animal's or the human's 
earlier modes of response to detect the difference between an 
acquired response and one that is inborn, 

This process of trial and error is perhaps best illustrated in 
the behavior of the lower animals where careful experiments 
have been conducted for the purpose of tracing the process of 
learning- In the classic cases reported by Thorndike and 


Watson, when chickens, rate, and cats wore plaeod in situa- 
tions where tho first respond failed to bring satisfaction, 
tluir behavior was in rudi case marked by tht* following ?<*&- 
iuroH* At the first trial the itnimuLs in vvery case performed a 
wide variety of acts useless to wxuirc the satisfaction they 
were instinctively socking, whether it wan food m a box, or 
freedom from confinement in a cage, Upon repeated iri:tl 
the act appropriat e to mturing wit infactiun was performed wii h 
incrcaning elimination of welenH act H, and consequent deeratBO 
of the time required to perform the act requisite to neeure 
food, or freedom, or both, as the, C&KO might be* One of Thorn* 
dike's famous eat experiments is bent told in his own report: 

If we take a box twenty by fifteen by twelve inchw, replace it 
cover and front #ide by barn an inch apart, and make m thi front 
Hide a door arranged HO m to fall open %h<u a wooden button iiwkio 
is turnwl from a vertical lo n horizontal position, we blmll hav mcattft 
to ohwerve swell (learning by trial and error]. A kitten, fhn^ to 
ix tnonths ol(f, if put in thin i*ox when hungry, a hit of fiwh Mtift 
left (utHi(if% reacts as follows: ft triu^ to Htjt'c k K(* through U*fww*n 
the l)ar.M, dawn at tho bar^ aitti at IOOM* flange in and <if of thr Im^j 
tttn*t< l iu i itH pawn out N'twrn the barj*, and bites at iu coufhung 
walln. Homo, one of all tht*wt pnnUntou<* clawing h<juH^itg^> find 
bitings turiiH round th<i w<Klen button, and the kitten gaitw frmlom 
atid food. I5y re|xmting th <*xiHrwc(* agnin au<l again thi* nntnml 
gradually COUICH U omit all the unelej-w e!awiit^ y mrul thti like, and to 
nnftiufart only the particulttr tuipulHo (r.g, to ( 4 law hard at the top of 
the* button with the paw or to punh against oi nide of it with tho 
nomO whieh lim nmiU^ HiU'tM^HfwlIy* It timw the button arwind 
without delay whenever put in the l>ox, ft him formed an 
tioti bc*twc*oii th<t nituation wmftncd in n tw with mitAn 
iwtd t-ho it^iXHmf* of dnwing tti a dtrtot*n jvaH w/ //^4 fco^r m a 
drfinifa my* Popularly Hj^akiug, it \\m lennfiwl \w open ft (k^tr by 
preying a button, To the* uniuitmfoHl o!m*^rv?r tha t^ltiivior of ttwi 
nix kittens tliat thun fr(^*d thenwwlv(*H from BU< f h a IK^X would n*tin 
won(i(rful aiui <iuiti* unlike thfir ordinary acmomplihm*ntH of firnl- 
ing t'h(?ir way tc their fowl or IwAn* * * A certain situation tuwu*fw, 
by virtue of a^u<iittit or mont oftttu tnHtitUftivc^ iHiuipnwitt^ tfrTt&* 
C)n^ of thw hitpiKttiH t<j ix* an aft appropriate to mcwre 
It in wtamped in in eouitfuttitjii with tttat 

1 ThoruUiko: tiducrtwruti I'tychologijt Uritif^r C^urti p. 


Perhaps the most significant factor to be noted in this, and 
in similar cases, is that the successful response to a baffling 
situation is acquired, and that this acquisition remains a more 
or less permanent possession of the human or animal organ- 
ism. Particularly important for the problem and practice of 
education is the mechanism by which these learned modes of 
behavior are acquired. For, to attain skill, knowledge, in- 
tellect, character, is to attain certain determinate habits of 
action, certain recurrent and stable ways of responding to a 
situation. The reason why the cat in the box ceased to per- 
form the hundred and one random acts of clawing and biting, 
and after a number of trials got down to the immediately 
necessary business of turning the button was because it had 
learned that one thing only, out of the multitude of things it 
could do, would enable it to get out of the box and get its 
food. To say that it learned this is not to say that it con* 
sciously realized it; it means simply that when placed In such 
a situation again after having been placed in it a sufficient 
number of times, it will be set off to the turning of the button 
which gets it food, instead of biting bars and clawing at 
random actions which merely serve further to frustrate its 
hunger. The animal has not consciously learned, but its nerv* 
ous system has been mechanically directed. 

A large part of the education of humans as well as of ani- 
mals consists precisely in the modification of our original 
responses to situations by a trial-ancl-error discovery of ways 
of attaining satisfactory and avoiding annoying situations. 
Both animals and humans, when they have several times per- 
formed a certain act that brings satisfaction, tend, on the re- 
currence 9! a similar situation, to repeat that action immedi- 
ately and to eliminate with successive repetitions almost all 
the other responses which are possible, but which are ineffec- 
tive ia the attainment of some specific satisfaction. The 
whole training imposed by civilization on the individual is 
based ultimately on this fundamental fact that human beings 
can bo taught to modify their behavior, to change their origi* 


rial response to a situation in the light of the. consequences 
that follow it. This means that while man's nature remains 
on the whole constant, its operations may bo indefinitely 
varied by the results which follow the operation of any given 
instinct. The child has its original tendency to roach toward 
bright objects checked by the experience of putting its hand 
in the flame. Later his tendency to take all the food within 
reach may be checked by the looks of scorn which follow that 
manifestation of man's original greed, or the punishment and 
privation which are correlated with it. Through experience 
with punishment and reward, humans may be taught to do 
precisely the opposite of what would have been their original 
impulse in any given situation, just an the monkey reported 
by one experimenter may bo taught to go to the top of hid 
cage whenever a banana haw boon placed at the bottom, 

The prolonged period of infancy. Probably the numt sig- 
nificant and unique fact of human behavior is tho period of 
"prolonged infancy" which is characteristic of human beings 
alono* Flske and Butler in particular have stressed tho, im* 
portanee of this human trait. In the lower animals the iwriod 
of infancy that is, the period during which tho young are 
dependent upon their parents for food, care, and training 
is very bhort, extending even in the highest form of ape to not 
more than three months* This would appear, at first blush* 
to be a great advantage possessed by the lower animak 
They come into the world equipped with a variety of tenden- 
cies to act which, within a week, or, an in the* cswo of chick* 
ens, almost immediately after birth, arc porfwtly adapted to 
jBccuro for them food, flholter, and protection, Tlwy am 
mechanisms from tho beginning perfect lyjuijuwtel In their 

The human infant, while it is lx>rn with a greater iwmlw of 
instinctive activiticH than other animata, IH ubto to makv littlo 
uae of them junt as they stand. For yearn aftctr birth it m 
helptaly dependent on othturB to wipply it* mot I'fonwntwy 
needs* It mmt be fed, carried^ and aholtored; it cannot by 


Itself even reach for an object, and it cannot for nearly two 
years after birth specifically communicate its wants to other 
people* But this comparatively long helplessness of the hu- 
man infant in perhaps the chief source of human progress. 

The human baby, because it can do so little at the start, 
because it has so many tendencies to act and has them all so 
plastic, undeveloped, and modifiable, has to a unique degree 
the capacity to learn. This means that it can profit by the 
experience of others and adjust itself to a great variety and 
complexity of situations. The chicken or the bird can do a 
limited number of things perfectly, but it is as if it had a 
number of special keys opening special locks* The power of 
modifying thase instinctive adjustments, the capacity of 
learning, is like being put in possession of a pass-key. As 
Professor Dewey puts it, "An original specialized power of 
adjustment secures immediate efficiency, but, like a railway 
ticket, it is good for one route only. A being who, in order to 
UBC his eyes, ears, hands, and legs, ban to experiment in making 
varied combinations of their reactions, achieves a control 
that in flexible and varied." * 

The more complex the environment IB in which the Indi- 
vidual must live, the longer i the period of infancy needful in 
which the neeenHary habitn and capacities may be acquired. 
In the human being the period of infancy extorulft in a literal 
senBe through the fiwt five yearn of the individual's life* But 
in civilisKKi Hoeieto it cxtondH factually much longer. By the 
end of the firat five yearn the child's physical infancy JH over. 
It can take earn of itnelf BO far as actually feeding itaelf, mov- 
ing alxmt, and communicating with othom in concerned. But 
so complex are the habits to which it must become accus- 
tomed in our civilisation that it is dependent for a much 
longer period The whole duration of the child's education in 
& prolongation of the period of infancy* In most civilized 
countries, until at least the ago of twelve, the child is literally 
dependent on its parents. And with every advance in eivfti* 

* Dewev: Democracy and Educatwn, p. 53. 


jsation has come a lengthening in the period of education, or 

Intellectually, the period of infancy might IK> paid not. 
really to be over before the age of twenty-five, by which time 
habits of mind have become fairly well fixed. The brain and 
the nervous system remain fairly pioBtie up to thai, time, and 
if inquiry and learning have IhemnelveB become habitual, 
plasticity may last even longer. In the eases of tine great ent 
intellects, of a Darwin, or a Newton, one might almost nay 
the period of infancy lasts to old age. To be still learning at 
sixty is to be still a child in the best sense of the word. It is 
still to be open rather than rigid, still to be profiling by ex~ 

The great social advantages of the prolonged period of 
infancy lie in the fact that there is a unique opportunity lx>th 
for the acquisition by individuals and for the imposition on 
the part of society of a largo number of habits of great nodal 
value. The human being, born into a world whore there am 
many things to bo learned both of natural law and human re- 
lations, is, as it were, fortunately born ignorant, lie Imn in- 
stincts which are pliable enough to be modified into hnbiln, 
and in consequence socially useful habits can Iw delUjeraiely 
inculcated in the immature wemlierH of a society by their 
elders. The whole process of education is n utilization of 
man's prolonged period of infancy, for the deliberate acquisi- 
tion of habits. This is all the wont important since only by 
such habit formation during the long period of human Infancy 
can the achievements of civilization fw handed down from 
generation to generation. Art, science, iwluntrinl method**, 
social cHHtorttH, theno arc* not inherited by the individual M 
are the iiwlinets of sex, pugnacity, ol,a They are pren*rved 
only becuune they can be taught an habit H to Jhow betngK who 
come into the world with a plant-ie equipment of 
which lend themwelvtsH for a long time to modification* 

Consciousness of self and reaction to ideas* A 
ciifferonce between the actions of human Ijemp jiiid thomt of 


animals is that human beings are conscious of themselves as 
agents. They may be said not only to be the only creatures 
who know what they are doing, but the only ones who realize 
their individuality in doing it. Dogs and cats are not, so far 
as we can draw inferences from extended observation of even 
their most complex actions, conscious of themselves. It is 
not very long, however, before the human animal begins to 
set itself off against the remainder of the universe, to discover 
that it Is something different, from tho chairn, tablet*, and wir- 
rounding people arid fucen that at first constitute for it only a 
"blooming, buzzing confusion." A human being performs 
actions with a feeling of awareness; he is conscious of himself. 
This conaeiousnoHs of clf (BCC chapters vn and vni) becomes 
more acute as the individual grows older. It haa conne- 
quoncott of the gravest character in social, political, and 
economic life. It is a large factor at once in nueh different 
qualities of character an ambition, friendship, humility, and 
solf-sacrifice, and IB rcKponHible in large measure for what*- 
over truth there in in the familiarly Bpokcn-of conflict be- 
tween "ih<j individual and society-" 

Human lyings *iro, furthermore, wuuwpliblo tx> a unique 
stimulation to action, namcjly, kluaH. Animals respond to 
things only, that in, to tilings in gross; 

It may bo questioned whether a dog w?$* a ralulxw any more 
than ho apprehends the political constitution of the* country in which 
he lives, The name principle applies to the* kennel in which he wlee ps 
and the meat that ho oatn. When he IB ttlcepy, he goes to tho kftniwl; 
when be in hungry, ho in wited by the nmoH and color of meat; h** 
yond tliis, in wluit HeiiBt* <lt hci WK* Hti vbjwl't CfertainJy 1m (kw not 
sco a IiouHW f .* a thing with all the properties and relatioim of a 
pcrmamsnt nwiclcneo, mlm ho in capable of making what m prewnt 
a uniform Bign of what is abmsnt uulotw he w capable of thought. 1 

Human beingn can respond to object** as m"i/na of other 
thmp, and, what i porhapn more important, can abstract 
from those groj&j total objects certain qualities* features, ale* 

* Dowisy: Mow W* Think, p, 17, 


ments, which are universally associated with certain conse- 
quences. They can respond to the meaning or bearing of an 
object; they can respond to ideas. 

To respond to ideas meant? to respond to significant 
similarities in objects and also to significant difference's. It 
means to note certain qualities that objcsetH have in common, 
and to classify thene common qualities and their eonseqwnmM 
in the behavior of objects. To note siruilaritioH and differ- 
ences in the behavior of objectB i to enable individual to act 
in the light of the future* The printing on thin page would be 
to a dog or to a baby merely a blur. To the reader (he black 
imprints are signs or symbols. To the, animal a red lantern is 
a hazso of light; to a locomotive engineer it is a sign to halt* 
To respond to ideas is thus to nest in the light of a future, It 
makes possible acting in the light of the ecmsequenees that 
can be foreseen. Present objects or features of objects are 
responded to as signs of future or absent opportunities or 
dangers. Every time we read a letter, or act in roMponH# to 
something somebody has told us, we are responding not to 
physical stimuli as such, but to those stimuli as nign$ of other 

Human beings alone possess language. The value of thcs 
period of infancy in the acquisition of habits and the* unique 
ability of human beings to respond to ideas is 
connected with the fact that mnn alone possesses a 
both oral and written. That in to mty, man itlowt haw an in* 
strumonfc whereby to communicate to cah oilier frtalmgH, 
attitudes, ideas, information. To a very limited dogw% of 
course, animals have vocal and gesture* habits; Bjnsdfin <tri^ of 
hunger, of *m desire, or distress. But thoy cannot, with tlwnr 
limited number of vocal jtnehaiUBtn r ponmbly dcmibp Inn* 
guage habits, develop a nystem of HOUIK!B iuwooiatwl with <lif* 
nite actions and capable of controlling actions ( hily human 
beings can produces oven the mmplont Bytern of written yni* 
bole, by which visual stimuli become nymbols of a*ttion, tl> 
jeets, emotions, or ideas* Biologmta in particular the m* 


perimcntalist, Watson find, in the capacity for language, 
man's most important distinction from the brute. 

Language may be said, in fact, to be the most indispensable 
instrument of civilization. It is the means whereby the whole 
life of the past has been handed to us in the present. It is the 
means whereby we in turn record, preserve, and transmit our 
science, our industrial methods, our laws, our customs. If 
human relations were possible at all without a language, they 
would have to begin anew, without any cultural inheritance, 
in each generation. Education, the transmitter of the 
achievements of the mature generation to the one maturing, 
is dependent on this unique human capacity to make seen 
marks and heard sounds stand for other things* The extent 
to which civilization may advance is contingent upon the de- 
velopment of adequate language habits. And human beings 
have perfected a language sufficiently complicated to com- 
municate in precise and permanent form their discoveries of 
the complex relations between things and between men* 

Man the only maker and user of tools. One of the most 
important ways in which man is distinguished from the lower 
animals IB in his manufacture and use of tools, So far as we 
know the ability to manufacture and understand the uc of 
toota is posscwed by man alone. " Monkeys may be taught a 
few simple operations with tools, such as cracking mite with 
a Btono, but usually they merely mimic a man/' l Han't* 
uniqueness as the exclusive maker and user of tools is made 
poHsibta by two things. The first is his hand, which with its 
four fingers and a thumb, m contrasted with the monkey's 
five fingers, enables him to pick up objects. The second is his 
capacity for reflection, presently to bo discussed, which en* 
ables him to foresee the consequences of the things he does. 

The use of tool of increasing refinement and complexity is 
the chief method by which man has progressed from the lite 
of the cave man to the complicated industrial civilimtion of 
to-day. Berg#on writer in this connection: 

Mills: Tht IteaitiiM of Modem Science, p. 1* 


As regards human intelligence, if, has not been Kuffinenfly not PC! 
that mechanical invention has been from the fmst its went ml fea- 
ture, that even to-day our social life gravitates around the rnmm- 
facture and use of artificial m^trimicniH, that the itivcntioriH which 
strew the road of progress have also traced its direction. Thin we 
hardly realise, because it takes us longer to change ourwlvoH thau to 
change our tools. Our individual and even *wial ha hits survive a 
good while the circumstances for which they wen; made, HO that. <h 
ultimate effects of an invention are not observed until itn novelty 
is already out of sight. A century has elapsed www the invent Jon of 
the atcam engine, and we are only just beginning to feel tho depihn 
of the shock it gave us. But the revolution it has ef&wted iti huliif*- 
try has nevertheless upnet human relations altogether. New i<toiw 
are arising, new feehngH are on tho way to flower. Ta thouwmidtf of 
years, when, won from the distance, only the broad Ime.s of the pres- 
ent age will Klill be visible, our wans mid our revolutions will fount 
for little, even nupposing they are remembered at all; but the Htcam 
engine and the procession of iiivontionB that ac(fontpanic(! it, will 
^rhapn bo spoken of as we npeak of tho bronze or of the diipixtd 
stone of prehistoric times : it will nerve to define ja age. If wit csould 
rid oumdven of all pride, if, to define our spedon, wo kept; nf rid,!y to 
what tho historic and the prehistoric periods show UH to lx* the con* 
stant charackmti<5 of man and of intelligence, we should w$ Bay 
Homo sa'ptena, but Homo fi&w l 

Man's Intelligence, it has BO often Ix^n said, enahlfa him to 
control Nature, but Im intelligence in th0 control of natural 
resources iw dependent for effeetiveneBB on a<lc<juato niat4*,rial 
infltrumtmtfi. One may atibBcril>e, though with qualification, 
to Borgaon's further Ktatomont, tliat *' ini^ll^m^ tionmliwl 
in what seems to bo it original f<sal-ur(% is thft faculty of 
manufacturing artificial objects, CKpwiuIly fxjoln to inuke 
tooln^ azul of iu<l(^firntcly varying th<j manufacture" 

AnthropoIogiHtH <Hsl,inKuislx th pn*hlsU>ric cfX)chw f by 
termn aB the Htxme, (/oppor or Bronsjc^ and Iron AW 
ing thereby to indicate what progrenn man had nuuki in t,h<j 
utilization of tlu* natural r<^Hour<*CH al>out him. We tlafxt th^ 
remote pcriodn of nmnkind chicrfly by tlw, meiucnton w<* havo 
of the kinds of tooln th^y UBCH! and the tuottuidti tht*y Imd 


developed in the control of their environment. The knowl- 
edge of how to start and maintain a fire has been set down 
as the practical beginning of civilization. Certainly next in 
importance was the invention of the simplest tools. There 
came in succession, though seons apart, the use of chipped 
stone implements, bronze or copper instruments, and instru- 
ments made of iron. In the ancient world we find the inven- 
tion of such simple machines as the pulley, the use of rope, 
and the inclined plane* 

Without tracing the history of invention, it will suffice for 
our purpose to point out that agriculture and industry, men's 
modes of exploiting Nature, are dependent intimately on the 
effectiveness of the tools at their disposal. It is a far cry 
from the flint hatchet to the McCormick reaper and the mod- 
ern steel works, but these are two ends of the same process, 
that process which distinguishes man from all other animals, 
and makes human civilization possible: that is, the use and 
the manufacture of tools. 



Instinctive behavior. Wo have already noted the fact t hat 
both men and animals arc equipped with a wide variety of 
unlearned responses to given stimuli. In the case of human 
beings, this original equipment varies from mioh a specific re- 
action as pulling away the hand when it IB pinched or burned, 
to such general innate tendencies as thoHO of herding or play- 
ing with other people. In a later stage of thin diBOumum we 
shall examine the more important of thene primary mode** of 
behavior. At this point our chief concern is with certain 
general conttidcrations that apply to them all* 

The equipment of instincts with which a human bdng in at 
birth endowed rnunt be eonnidered in two wayn* It conwmtB, 
in the firnt place, of definite and unlearned inechanimtm of 
behavior, fixed original reKpouBen to givc*n Btimull ThtH0 
are, at the same time, the original driving forctiB of action* 
An instinct is at once an unearned mechanism for making & 
rcnponne and an unlearned tendency to make ii That in t 
given certain situations, human being** do not nimply utiltgo 
intern reactions, but exhibit mlx>rn drive** or dowmH to make 
those mactioua There m thus an identity in man T H native 
endowment txitween what he can do and what ho wants t<i <b* 
InntinctH mtwt thus l>e regarded an both native capuciti<tH and 
native ilcnircH, 

IttHtinctH dt^finc^, therefore, not only what mn can d(j, but 
what thoy want to do. They are at once th primary inntru* 
mont and the primary provocative** <o <icti<m. A# w<^ nhull 
pnmmtiy wee in nome detail, human hoingn nmy A<*<|uiro 
mochauinins of behavic^r with which thoy ur not at birth <m* 
dowed. Them) acquired mechammiut of n)MjK>imti an 


habits. And with the acquisition of new responses, new mo- 
tives or tendencies to action are established. Having learned 
how to do a certain thing, individuals at the same time learn 
to want to do it. But just as all acquired mechanisms of 
behavior are modifications of some original instinctive re- 
sponse, so all desires, interests, and ideals are derivatives of 
such original impulses as fear, curiosity, self-assertion, and 
sex. All human motives can be traced back to these primary 
inborn impulses to make these primary inborn responses. 1 

The necessity for the control of instinct. The human 
being's original equipment of impulses and needs constitutes 
at once an opportunity and a problem. Instincts are the 
natural resources of human behavior, the raw materials of 
action, feeling, and thought. All behavior, whether it be the 
"making of mud pies or of metaphysical systems/* is an 
expression, however complicated and indirect, of some of the 
elemcmtB of the native endowments of human bemgB. In- 
Btinolivo tendencies are, an we have aeon, the primary motives 
and the indinpensable instruments of action* Without thorn 
there could be no nueh thing a# human purpose or preference; 
without their utilization in some form no human purfwjne 
or preference could bo fulfilled But like other natural re* 
Hourcott, men's original tendencies munt be controlled and re- 
directed, if they are to be fruitfully utilized in the intercuts 
of human welfare* 

There are a nurnter of conditions that make imperative the 
control of native*, tendencies* The fimt of them* in intrinsic 
to the organization of instincts themselves* Human beings 
are born with a plurality of demrew, and happiness conning in 

* Th olftftront Htafc*m<wt <>f thft status of {natinctn ai both mcchaniimm of 
Action and * 4 drives " to nation hiM* lwn mfwto by Prufftmor Wood worth in hli 
/>l/nam&? PwA#&w No <aw olttfs to tho ln*nt of the author** knowiwlw?* ha* 
dinthintion with ih winw clarity mtd ^ntpha^i f though It lutn ixwn 
In th work of Thomdiko HW! M<*l>ou$itlU In Mol>ouair* 
of intitinot ht* rtt<tr>guivm both th i?wpoiiiv mlt and tho tend- 
ency to mkik the raaiKmwe. An inntinet in, for him, an inhwitini diHwrnition 
which det*nu!ntt ifc poiwcmiKir, in iwip^ot to ttny object, '* to iwt in rogarcl to 
it in a partloulw manner* or at I&at to experienoe an impulse to uoh aotioa.T 


an equilibrium of satisfactions. But impulses arc f imuJated 
at random and collide with one anof her. Of ton one impulse, 
be it that of curiosity or pugnacity or BOX, can be indulged 
only at the expense or frustration of many others just an nat- 
ural, normal, and inevitable. There in a certain whooi of 
philosophical radicals whg call UK back to Mature, to u life of 
uncontudered hupulne. They paint fho rapturous and pun- 
sionatc moments in which strong human impulses receive 
satisfaction without exhibiting the dincwe and ditior#am%a* 
tion of which these indulgence are BO often the direct ante- 
codontH. A life is a longtime enterprise and it contains u di- 
versity of denims. If all of these are to receive any measure of 
fulfillment there must ! w compromise and nd just menf between 
them; they muni all be nubjeeted to some inejintire of control* 

A second cause for the (Control of m.^l inct lies in the fact that 
people, live, and have to livn together. The clo,4e ?i;^ociatioii 
which is HO ehamct eristic, of human life l^ us \ve jjiall n*e ? 
partly attributable to a Hpecille ^repirioin In lirjet, prtrtiy to 
the increasing wwl for cooperation which murk^ the incn-rt-v* 
ing complexity of civilisation* But whatever U* itn rau^e*4 f 
group itHHoeiation rmiken it nc*c(HSfiry that men reflate th**ir 
impulncH and action** with nferenc;<^ to one another* K 
dowed as hutiiau Ixsingn are with mon* r^r lem ideuf ical nets *rf 
original native demirep the dcwin^ of one* cannot f>e freely ful- 
filled without frequently coming into conflict with the simi- 
lar dcniren of otlw^rn, (Jomprc^nine arid adjustment 
brought, alxmt by Home intf'lli^ent tnodifuittifn tKth of 
and deKin^- Tlu% chil<l'H curionity, the nnptiHUi verier or wex 
denire or w^lf-iu^ertivetiOHH of th<. adult must l* eJteeked ;UM! 
modified in tlw inten^tn of the group among whieh the indi* 
vidual livc^* One may take a simple itltuttmtKnt from tho 
everyday lifc^ of a large city, llww in, for mont imUvidunK 
an intruuttc wifciafaistiou hi fant and f nw itio venient. Hut t hat 
exhibited in an aut^mi<bi!<5 on a crowds! 

e ? will interfere with junt m normal, natural, and 
ble desires <m the part of other rnotormts 


Still another imperative reason for the control of our instinc- 
tive equipment lies in the fact that instincts as such are in- 
adequate to adjust either the individual or the group to con- 
temporary conditions. They were developed in the process 
of evolution as useful methods for enabling the human animal 
to cope with a radically different and incomparably simpler 
environment. While the problems and processes of his life 
and environment have grown more complex, man's inlx>rn 
equipment for controlling the world he lives in has, through 
the long history of civilization, remained practically un- 
changed. But as his equipment of mechanisms for reacting 
to situations is the name as that of his prehistoric ancestors, 
BO arc his basic desires. And the satisfaction of man's pri- 
mary imputes is l(\m and leas attainable through the simple, 
unmodified operation of the mechanisms of response with 
which they arc associated* In the satisfaction of the desire 
for food, for example, which rernahw the name an it wan under 
primitive forest/ conditions, much more complex traiim of 
behavior are required than are provided by man's native? 
equipment. To satisfy the hunger of the contemporary citi- 
zens of Now York or London requires the Ininsfornuilkm of 
capricious instinctive rcHpoiiHcs into systematic ami controlled 
proe<*HOH of habit and thought. The olalxmilo ByntemB of 
agriculture, transportation, and exchange whieh are neceBnary 
in the Batinfaction of the simplest wantH of men in civilization 
could never Ix* initiated or carried on if wo deluded on the 
hwtitustB with which we are born* 

There are thim Been to bo at leant three distinct reanonn why 
our native endowment of oapueltieB and deBlreB needB control 
and direction. In the life of the individual, instinctive de- 
sires must bo ad j anted to cue another in order that their har- 
monious fulfillment may bo made possible- The doBiren and 
native reactkma of individual** munt be chocked and modified 
if individuate are to Hi^ suceeBnfully and amiably in group 
association, in which they mut, in any cane, live* And, fi- 
nally, &o vastly complicated have become the physical and the 


social machinery of civilized life that it is literally i 
to depend on instincts to adjust us to an environment far dif- 
ferent from that to which they were in the process of cv< >luf ion 
adapted. In the light of these conditions men have found 
that if they are to live happily and fruitfully together, ccrtmn 
original tendencies must be stimulated and developed, oihera 
weakened, redirected, and modified, and Htill others, within 
limits possibly, altogether repressed. Individuals display at 
once curiosity and fear, pity and pugnacity, arquiMtivene&H 
and sympathy* Some of these it has bmi found useful to 
allow free play; others, even if moderately indulged, may 
bring; Injury to the individual and the group in which his own 
life is involved. Education, public opinion, mid law am 
more or less deliberate methods society has provided for ttm 
stimulation and repression of specific instinctive tendencies. 
Curiosity and sympathy arc valued arid enemint&cd because 
they contribute, respectively, to science and to conjuration; 
pugnacity and acquisitiveness must bo kept In cheek if people 
arc not winply to live, but to live together happily. 

But the Hubntitution of control for caprice in the living-out 
of our native possibilities in as difficult m it is iwjrwti\v. A 
already noted, instincts arc imperious driving form* m well 
as mechanmmB* While we can modify and redirect our nntivo 
tendencies of fear, curiosity, pugnacity, and the like,, they re- 
main an strong currents of human behavior, Ttusy can b*j 
turned into new channels; they cannot wmply l* blocked* 
Indeed, in some, CJUUIH, it in d<%ttrly th<* HOC hi cnvirontitertf that 
iMJodn to be modified rather than htunnn lx*h;wh>r* Though 
it be juvenile delinquency for a !x>y to play iMUw^mll on n 
<jn>wdl stnwt, it i not bcwatiw^ theru in infrumkaily atiy^ 
thing unwholcwonifii or harmful in play. What IH dearly dcv 
mandoci IB not a crushing of tho play instinct, but tx^iitr farili- 
tien for ite oxprtmion. A l>oy ? H nativo H<x;ui.htUty ntui gift for 
Jeademlup may nmko him, for want of a foettar opp^rtimity* & 
ganpter. But to cut off thorn* impulmtH altogether would bt 
to cut off the fcsourcos of good dUa0mhip, Tho 


clubs or the Boy Scout organizations in our large cities are in- 
stances of what may be accomplished in the way of providing 
a social environment in which native desires can be freely and 
fruitfully fulfilled. 

Social conditions can thus be modified so as to give satisfac- 
tion to a larger proportion of natural desires. On the other 
hand, civilization in the twentieth century remains so diver- 
gent from the mode of life to which man's inborn nature 
adapts him that the thwarting of instincts becomes inevita- 
ble. Impulses, in the first place, arise capriciously, and one 
of the conditions of our highly organized life is regularity and 
canalization of action* Our businesses and professions can- 
not be conducted on the spontaneous promptings of instinct- 
The engineer, the factory worker, the business man, cannot 
allow themselves to follow out whatever casual desire occurs 
to them whenever it occurs. Stability and regularity of pro 
eedurc, demanded in most professions, are incompatible with 
random impulsive behavior. To facilitate the effectiveness 
of certain industries, for example, it may bo necessary to 
chock impulses that commonly receive adequate satisfaction* 
Thus it may be essential to enforce silence, as in the case of 
telephone operators or motormen, simply because of the de- 
mands of the industry, not tecause there is anything intrinsi- 
cally deserving of repression in the impulse to talk. 

Again, the mere fact that a man lives in a group subjects 
him to a thousand restraints and restrictions of public opinion 
and law* A child may eome to restrain his curiosity when he 
finds it condemned as inquisitivenoss. We cannot, when we 
will, vent our pugnacity on those) who have provoked it; we 
c&nnot be ruthlessly solf-assertive in a group; or gratify our 
native acquwitiveniiss by appropriating anything and every- 
thing within our roach. 

But bemuse there are all these social forces making for the 
repression of instincts, it does not mean that these latter 
therefore disappear. If any one of them is unduly repressed, 
it does not simply vanish as a driving force in human bohav- 


ior. It will make its enduring prepuce Mi in roundabout 
ways, or in Kudden extreme and violent out hursts*. < h\ if it 
cannot find even nuch hporadir or Fruit he fuiiillmeuts, **a 
halked disposition" will leave the individual with ?in uneasi- 
ness and irritation that may range front were pique t> ^eriouH 
forms of morbidity and hysteria. A man may for eight or tn 
hours ho kept repeating the name operation ut a machine in a 
factory. He may thereby reprenn flume imlive denren for 
companioaship and for variety of reunion whirh 
bin biological inheritaneo* But i<K> oft tin poatponed ^a 
tion taken the violent form of lurid, overwriting 
mcnts and dkslpalioiu Tlw* nupprension of the w*x inntinet 
not infrequently rcultB in a morbid pruriency in ruuttrw of 
sex, a dintortion of all other intrnwts ami nctivitic^ hy n pm- 
occupation with the frustrated wtx motive, Amiulfn nnd 
lynehingB T and the whole calendar of crimes of violence with 
which our criminal courtn are crowded, nrt fnufUc^it evidt*rifO 
of the incompleteneHH wit It whirh uwnV* hfrong primnry in* 
BtinctB have fx*en HUppreHH< k <l jy thu nii'HH* of riviUxuiicm. 
The phenomenal outhurt <f i-ollw^ivf* vivacity nml i*xuUtr* 
anco which marked th(^ rejK^rled Kignitig (^f Ihi^ nriuiHtint &t 
the clone of the (Jreat War WUH $i striking hmtatiw of ihom 
Immenne primitive encirgieH which the control uiitl 
of civilimticm cannot altogether reprenn. 

There htw \tixm> furthermore 11 , a $reat deal *jf evidenm^ 
dticitx! in recent yearn by Btudentn of ahnormnl pnychol 
concerning the remtlttf of the frustration of native 
When the Individual m "Ijalkcd" m reHjwt fc partkular iin- 
pukiB or (IciHiHw, thiie may take furtive itn<J oh^tiri* fulfilJ- 
mentn; they may play Herioun thotigh otmnm* find 
havoc with a man's wh<Ic mental lif<t, rnfulftltwl 
may give riw to vurioun fonnn of "rompltix, diHtortiMiw 
thought, itetkm, ami emotion of whiith tins individitul 
may lx% unaware. They may make a man unduly w 
or fearful, or pugnaeioUH. He nmy> ff^r t^an*pl*% niv^r up 
of mortification at failure by an unwarranted <!t*gra* irf 


bluster and brag. A particular baffling of desire may be 
compensated by a bitterness against the whole universe or by 
a melancholy of whose origin the victim may be quite uncon- 
scious. These maladjustments between an individual's de- 
sires and his satisfactions are certainly responsible for a con- 
siderable degree of that irritation and neurasthenia which are 
so frequently observable in normal individuals, 1 

The facts enumerated above should make it clear why it is 
difficult to modify, much lews completely to overcome, these 
strong original drives to action. They serve to emphasize 
the fact that by control of instinctive responses is not meant 
their suppression. For just as instinctive tendencies are our 
basic instrument of action, so instinctive* desires are our 
basic ingrodientH of happiness. Just as all we can do is lim- 
ited by the mechanisma with which we arc endowed, so what 
we want is ultimately determined by the native desires with 
which we are born. The control of action and of desire i 
justified in so far as such control will the more surely promote 
a harmonious satisfaction of all our desires. A society whose 
arrangements are such that instincts are, on the whole, being 
repressed rather than stimulated and satisfied, is frustrating 
happiness rather than promoting it. At the very leant, a life 
whose natural impulses are not being fxilfilled is a life of bore- 
dom* The ennui which is so often and so conspicuously asso- 
ciated with the routine and desolate "gayeties" of society, 
the UstlesBness of those bored with thoir work or their play, or 
both, are symptoms of social conditions where the native en- 
dowments of man are handicaps rather than assets, dead 
weights rather than motive forces. It means that society is 
working against rather than with the $rain. Discontent, 
ranging from mere pique and irritability to overt violence, is 

White the evirtonTO In thw field UAH txvm takw* lar&oly from 
tholoftiflftl tituMff* tho dlntortiontf iui<l pwvi'rioni of mental hcrimviot, 
ticoubto in *uah Cttst>8, ar simply extreme forma of the typo of distortion 
that takot pluott in the of normal individuals whcwo desire* are w-riously 
thfs vry clftar ta<^xtte*nt on the*ubjeot of ** 

' in 1PL 1 


the penalty tnat is likely to ho paid by n nriefy the nwjnrily 
of whose members arc chronically prevented fmm JWtir'fyiNg 
their normal human denims. No one who has neen whole 
lives immeasurably brightened by the {sntinfueUou of a ^ui fa- 
ble employment, or melancholy and irritability removed by 
companionship and stimulating HurroundingH, win frI to 
realize how important it is to happiness that human inMineiH 
bo given generous opportunity for fulfillment. 

One may say, indeed, that the evils of too complete rc*prw- 
skm of individual impulses are more than that they produce 
nervous strain, diasutiKfaeHon, and, not infrequently, erime, 
Happinass, a Aristotle long ago pointed nut, IK u eompiete 
living-out, of nil a man's possibilities !t i<; tnn?.f in evident 
when people am, UN we say, doing wiwt they like to do. And 
people like to do that which they are prompted to do by tho 
nature which IB their inheritances. Pr&shm'M, originality, and 
spontaneity are perhaps particularly valued in our oxvn dvili-* 
zation because of the multiple reatnuntH of bunanew aiu! pro 
fesnional occupatioitH* Kv<m uncicjr 1 1m monf jierfert WH'bil 
arrungomont^ there will always exmt utnong men wmiliHti >f 
desire, Thoir control ovar thoir environtnent will t of 
sity, bo imperfect, as will their mnfttisry <tf their own 
and thoir clear tidjustment to ono another, That 
agreomont l)otwe(jn man* dmre and the cmvirfnini<*ut in 
which alone they can find thoir natMaetion rttmtiixw at Ix^t an 
idal But it IB an ideal which imitaatfM cleurly tlm ftinetion 
of control, 'J'hiH in obviourfy not to erunh nut i vet deHireH, but 
to organic tluur luinnoniouB fulfillnwut Wlmro rwu 
an opi>ortunity to utilize their native giftj< they will 
fied and interested; whore native* mpadtitfH nnri cKirt^ imt 
continually balked, men will fcx* clkcontoutini though wt?Ji* 
regimented machhum, 

Habitual behavior. Kx<tept for purpoH**8 of analyjib. Jiff* oit 
the purely iimtinativo level may be mid tmrtwly to xjjt iu 
contemporary m>ciety t or or that mnttcr f niiteo UMI 
tiitigs of recorded hintory- As bm 


while men are born with an even wider variety of tendencies 
to act than animals, these arc much more plastic and modifia- 
ble, more susceptible of training, and much more in need of it 
than those of the sub-human forms. Even among animals 
under conditions of domestication, instinct tends largely to be 
replaced by habitual or acquired modes of behavior* The 
human being, born with a nervous system and a brain in ex- 
tremely unformed and plastic condition, is HO Btisceptible to 
every influence current in his environment that most of his 
actions within a few years after birth arc, when they are not 
the result of deliberate* reflection, secondary or habitual rather 
than genuinely instinctive. That is, few of the Bhnplent ac- 
tionn of human beings are not in some degree modified by ex- 
perience. They may appear just as automatic and immediate 
an if they were instinctive, and indeed they are, but they are 
learned ways rather titan the unlearned ways man has as his 
pOHHOHHion at birth. 

The mechanism of habit The implications of habitual be- 
havior can letter be understood after a brief analysis of the 
mchanim of such action* An instinct han been defined as a 
tendency to act in a given way in roHpoiwe to a given Htimu- 
IUH. What happens when a stimuluB prompts the organiwn 
to renpmui in a given way, ia that Borne flcawory nerve, whether 
of tanto or touch or Bound, Bight, smell, or muncular Heiwitiv- 
ity, roooivoB a Htimulun which passes through the spinal cord 
to a motor nerve through which some muncle is "innervated 11 
and a rcspome made* In the simplcnt type of reflex action, 
such aa the winking of an eye in a blinding light, or the with- 
drawing of a hand from flame, such is the physiology of the 
process. But where an immediate adjustment cannot be 
made by an instinctive response, where satisfaction is not se- 
cured by the passage of a sensory stimulus to an immediate 
motor jwponne, the nervous impulse w, as it were, deflected 
to the brain area, auditory, visual, or whatever it may be, 
which is associated with that particular type of sensation. 
The path to the braiu area is far from simple; the nervous to- 


pulse, which might foe compared to nn elortric ninvnf , must 
pass through many nerve junctions known an '^HynnpH^/' uf 
which points thore is some not. eompleioly understood ehi'im* 
cal resistance offered to the pu^ageof th* wrveeurrenf. OH 
passing through the network of nerves in f ho brain areji, the 
current passes back again through a complicated maw of con- 
nections to a motor nerve which insures a mumihir nsponrnv 
The finst time a Hlimulus pannes through this net work the re- 
sistance offered at the nerve junHioa or synapse is very hij'h; 
at Huceeoding repetitions of Urn stimulus <h i re^iMnn< i e \ > re* 
duc<j<I, tlio nc^rvfj current passes mon k rapidly wi<! fiuently 
over the* paths it has already tntveletl, nnd the action reuilf* 
ing bccomas as direct and aufuinafic ns if if were an original 
reflex action. 1 

The acquisition of new modes of response. Kxpret.sed in 
lens technical language thin means pimply Hiaf human hemj^ 
can learn by experience, and that they (end to repeat urlintm 
they have, on<: learned Where nn animal in periWtlv ad- 
justed tx) itn <uvironment, all stimuli in iinmedin*e nm! 
nicely acljUHtcd renponnen, Thw happen* tmly \\here the i*n 
vironment in very mmpln and ntabte, and \Uw iii ronfi^ 
quftwto no complexity of structure or nrlii*!* in nenvMiry. In 
the clumjand the? oyntttr, and in Home of the lower vert*** 
porhapn, inHtinctivo activity i* 
. But in the cam cf man, HO fctinplimtri! are the 
atioim to which ho i cixponttd tlint random ii^tincfive n 
Bponnc'H will not ^fvo his problems He iniiHf, iw with hi* 
highly motlifiaWw m i rvfjttH wyHtem he ran, acquire uevv nunleM 
of re*,BponHO whicfi wilt^ in the Complexity of new 
serve an elTectively an IUH original tenderize,* to iu*t 
servo him in a nimpler and stabler environmerit, A 
being in a inodom <*i(y cannot Hvn by itiKtinH nlorne; he 
acquire an enormoun number of habitn to it the variety of 
complex ftituations hn mcKttH in daily life, A monkey *xjtn 
with fairly fixed native t^ndt*n<n fei act Hut 

to McDougall: 


could never have developed if in man^ncw ways could not be 
acquired to meet now situations, and if these new ways could 
not be retained and made habitual in the individual and the 

Trial and error and deliberate learning* Whenever, as 
happens a large number of times daily in the life of the aver- 
age man, old ways of response, inborn or formerly acquired, 
are inadequate to meet a new situation, there arc two mcthtxls 
of acquiring a new and more- adequate response. One is the 
method of trial and error, already dincunsed, whereby animals 
and humans try every ponnible instinctive rcnpouBO to a nitua- 
lion until one brings satisfaction and in retained as a habitual 
reaction when that situation recurs. The other ia a delay in 
during which delay reflection, a consideration of 
alternatives, and a conscious decision, take place. 
The technique of this latter process will be diseased moro 
specifically in the next chapter. 

Whether acquired by trial and error, or through reflection, 
learned actn are, the first time they are performed, frequently 
imix^rfect, only partly effective, and performed with some 
difficulty* With succemive repetition** their performance 
beeoiueB more rapid, more immediate, arid more adjusted to 
the Kpecific nituation to t>e met* And OH they Income more 
familiar njHjxmmm to familiar stimuli they oeane to bo eon* 
sdoiitf at all. They aro performed with almunt a** little diffi- 
culty or attention an normal breathing 

Some conditions of habit-formation* The acquinition of 
habitn m m important in the education of human being that 
tho condition** und<jr which they can to acquired and made* 
pcvnnammtly cffctiw have f>t^n closely studiod* From ox- 
perituontti certain fundamental concluwiona tand out. A 
liabit JB acquinxi by repetition, and this "CUWSB of loanunR 1 ' 
show certain rccuxTont ft^aturoai* In the firat few rojxjtitions 
of an acquired activity, thorci w progresH In tho rapidity, effee- 
tivenesw, and accuracy with which the response is made* 
There is, up to a <xsrtain point, an almost vertical rio in tho 


learning curve. After varying numbers of repetition^ de- 
pending somewhat on the particular individual, there occur 
what are known an "plateaux," during which no progress in 
speed or accuracy of response is to be observed. la experi- 
ments with the learning of typewriting, for example, it IKIR 
been found that the beginner maken rapid progress up to tins 
point, say, where he can write fifty words u minute without 
error; there IB a long interval not infrequently before he can 
raise Im efficiency to the point of writing seventy words a 
minute correctly. Analogous conditions have boon obmirvod 
in tho ttpeed with which the sending and receiving of tele- 
graphic inensagCH in learned* Thene "plateaux" of learning 
are sometimes to be accounted for by muscular fatigue* Fre- 
quently there in actual progress in learning during theno ap- 
parent interval of marking time. Some of tho 1m observ- 
able features of nkill in performance which only later become 
overt in speed and accuracy are being attained during these 
seemingly profitless and discouraging interval. Not infre- 
quently in the acquisition of skill in the playing; of tennis or 
tho piano, or in tho solution of mathematical problems, a 
decided gain in skill and npml eoww after what HWIUH to 
bo not only lack of progrens but decided backsliding 1 It w 
thia which led William James to quote with approval the 
aphorism that one learnn to skate in summer and swim in 

Drill verms attentive repetition in learning* The rapidity 
with which habite may be acquired and thu permanwiey with 
which they may be retained depend on other fitc.torH than 
Bimply that of repetition. Men* mechanical drill in ctffw tive 
in the inquisition of nimplo mechanical fatbits*. The uuwt at-* 
tontive appreciation of tlio projx^r thinp^ to 1m done in playing 
texmfe or tho piano will not by itnelf make onw an wtfwrt m 
those activitioH. The offectivo roHpoitKitH munt actually IMJ 
pcrfonned in order that tho appropriate conwctioim within 
the nenrouB system may be madt; t itiitl may bec k ouu) 

> Btxj Ladd and VVwxJ worth: ^hysiutoviciti /'*i/c/K^(/if, pp. f*4ii 


A habit is physiologically nothing but a certain set or direc- 
tion given to paths in the nervous system. These paths be- 
come fixed, embedded, and ingrained only when nerve cur- 
rents pass over them time and time again. 

Mere repetition, on the other hand, will not suffice in the 
acquisition of complex habits of action. The learning of 
these requires a deliberate noting and appreciation of the 
significant factors in the performance of an activity, and the 
consciously chosen repetition of these in succeeding instances 
until the habit in well fixed. One reason why animals cannot 
bo taught 80 wide a variety of complex habits as can the hu- 
man boing is that they cannot keep their attention fixed on 
successive repetitions, and that in learning they literally do 
not know what they arc doing. They cannot, as can humans, 
break up the activity which they are in process of learning 
into its significant factors, and attend to these in successive 
repetitions* The superiority of deliberate learning over the 
brute method of trial and error consists precisely in that the 
deliberate and attentive learner can pick out the important 
steps of any process, and learn rapidly to eliminate random 
and useless features of his early performances without waiting 
to have the right way " knocked into him" by experience* 
He will shortxureuit the process of learning by choosing ap- 
propriate responses in advance, noting how they may ba 
made more effective and discovering methods for making 
them so r and for eliminating useless, random, and ineffective 
acts, What we call the " capacity to learn" i evident in 
marked degree where there is alert attention to the steps of 
the process in successive repetitions. The truth in the asser** 
tiou that an intelligent man will shortly outclass the merely 
automatically skillful in any occupation or profession requir* 
ing training, lies not in any mysterious faculty, but in the pe- 
culiarly valuable habit of attending with discriminating inter- 
eat to any proews, and learning it thereby with vastly moro 
economical rapidity. Genius nmy b# more than what one 
writer described it, "a painstaking attention to detail"; but a 


painstaking attention to the meaning and bearing of details it 
most decidedly is. 

Learning affected by age, fatigue, and health. Thorn arc 
certain conditions not altogether within the control of the in- 
dividual which affect the rapidity with which habits arc 
acquned. One of the most important of these in fatigue. 
Connections among the fibers that go to make up the? nervous 
system cannot be made with cane and rapidity when the or- 
ganism is fatigued. At such times there Hraiw to l>e mi un- 
usually high resistance at the synapses or nerve junetkms 
(where there is a lowering of resistance to the pansuge of a 
nerve current when habits an* easily formed). After a cer- 
tain point of fatigue, whether in the acquisition of motor hnb- 
itn or the memorizing of information, in which the pronv^ is 
much the same, the rate of learning is much slower nnd Uw* 
degree of accuracy much l<m The length of lime through 
which habits are retained w f hen acquired during a state of 
fatigue IB also much lens than under a more healthy and resili- 
ent condition of the organism. 

The point of fatigue varies among different individuals and 
in consequence the conditions of habit-formation vary* Hud 
some conditions remain constant. For instance, in cxpcri- 
mcntn with memory tewta (memory Ixnng a form of habit in 
the nervoua system), material memorised in tho morning 
wnn to be most mpidiy acquired and mout pcniiammtiy ni- 

The age and health of the individual also are hnportiLul 
factom in the capa<*ity to learn, or habit -format ion, Condi- 
tionB during diseano arc Kimilur to those obtaining during 
fatigue, only to a morn acute drgrw. Tlw t-oxhw ami poi^tim 
in the nervous system at such times opemie to prwenf the 
formation of new habits and the breaking of old own. For 
whilo tho ftyiuipHOK (nerve jundioiw) may offer high rcmitftamw 
to the passage of a netw stimuluH, they will lend th<?mwtv 
mows and mow ryadily to the pa,go of stimuli by 
they have already been traveimni 


That the age of the individual should make a vast difference 
in the capacity to acquire new habits and to modify old ones 
is obvious from the physiology of habit already described. 
When the brain and nervous system are both young, there are 
few neural connections established, and the organism is plastic 
to all stimuli. As the individual grows older, connections 
once made tend to be repeated and to be, as it were, uncon- 
sciously preferred by the nervous system. The capacity to 
form habits is most pronounced in the young child in whose 
nervous structure no one action rather than another has yet 
had a chance to be ingrained. The more coiinectionB that are 
made, the more habits that are acquired, the less, in a sense, 
can be made. For the organism will tend to repeat those 
actions to which it has previously been stimulated, and the 
mom frequently it repeats them the more frequently it will 
tend to. So that, as William James pointed out, by twenty- 
five we are almost literally bundles of habits. When the 
majority of acts of life have become routine and fixed, it is 
almonfc impossible to acquire new ways of acting, since tho 
acquisition of new lutbltw Berioimly interferes with the old, and 
old habitn physiologically stay put* 

Habit as a time-saver. Thin fact, that habite can lw ac- 
quired most easily early in life, and that thoao early acquired 
become so fixed that they are almost inescapable, IB of su- 
preme importance to the individual and society. It IB in on 
80UKO a great advantage; it in an enormous saver of time* In 
the famous words of 

Tho great thing, then, in all education, i to make our nmow 
term our ally in&tead of our mwny* It IB to fund and capitalize our 
aequmitionH, ami live at cane upon the Interest of the fund. For this 
we mmt makti automatic and habikwd, <w early a pombU, as many 
mtftd actlww <m w ran, and guard againnt tho growing into waya 
that are likely to be dimukantageouH to u# m we would guard 
agaim*t tint plague. The more of thcs dotailw of our daily life w^ can 
hand ovc^r to tlu* ffortl<JM cuHtocly of autonmtinm, tlio nior our 
higher powwa of mind will !>a net fm* for their (jwn proper work* 
There is no more miserable huioau being than one in whom nothing 


is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, 
the drinking of every cup, the tiiuo of rising and going to lxd every 
day, and the beginning of e\< i ry bit of \\ork, are Mihjeds of express 
volitional deliberation. Full half the t inie of Mich a man goes to flic 
deciding, or regretting, of matters which ought to be so ingrained in 
him as practically not to for his consriousneHH at all. If there 
be such daily duties not yet ingrained in any one of my readers, let 
him begin this very hour to bet the mutter right, 1 

The ideal of efficiency is the ideal of having the effective 
thing habitually done with as little effort and difficulty as 
possible. This in the case of human beinga is, an Jamen points 
out, attained when good habits are early acquired and when 
as large a proportion an possible of purely routine activity is 
made effort lean and below the level of conseiouRnesB, To do 
as many thingn as possible without thinking is to free thinking 
for new mtuatiotiB, Our experiences would be very rewtrieted 
indeed if we could not reduce a large portion of the thingn we 
do to the mechanic of habit. Walking, eating, thene, though 
partly instinctive, wore once problems requiring thought, 
effort, and attention. If we had to upend all our HVM learn- 
ing to dross and undre&fy to find our way about our own houno 
or city, to wpoll and to pronounce correctly, it, IB clear how lit- 
tle variety and diversity we nhould over attain in our livrH, 
By the time wo are twenty these fundamental habits an* HO 
firmly fixed in us that, for better or for worn;, they are ours 
for life, and wo are free to give our attention to other 
Again in the words of Jaimm: 

We all of UH have? a definite routine manner of performing 
daily offices connected with the toilet, with the opening urnl 
of familiar cupboard**, and the like. Our lower ewitern know th 
order of these movements, and nhow their km>wl<tdg<* by Uwir "hur- 
pris4^** if the objuot are aliened HO a to oblige* tht* iitov<ttiutut to (>o 
macb in a difforont wuy But our high(r thouglit cwiiw kituw 
hardly anything about the* nwttw. F<?w nutn can tell ^fl4^nd 
which ttcx;k f Mh<xi, or trounftrH-log thc*y put on firnt Th^y naini iimt 
mentally roiutanio the act; aud evcu thut in often irHuifirlt v nt - tlw> 
p@r/vrmvd* So of th qumtiuim r Wl*ich vdvti of lay 

, vol. i, i>. 1^, 


double door opens first? Which way does my door swing? etc. I 
cannot tell the answer; yet my hand never makes a mistake. No 
one can describe the order in which he brushes his hair or teeth; yet 
it is likely that the order is a pretty fixed one in all of us. 1 

Habit as a stabilizer of action* Habit not only thus saves 
time, but stabilizes action, and where the habits acquired are 
effective ones, this is invaluable. Habits of prompt perform- 
ance of certain daily duties on the part of the individual are a 
distinct benefit both to him and to others, as certain custom- 
ary efficient office practices, when they are really habitual, im- 
mensely facilitate the operation of a business* On a larger 
scale habit is "society's most precious conservative agent." 
Individuals not only develop personal habits of dreBS, speech, 
etc,, but become habituated to social institutions, to certain 
occupations, to the prestige attaching to some types of action 
and the punishment correlated with others. Education in 
the broadest HOUBC is simply the acquisition of those habits 
which adapt an individual to his social environment. It is 
the hiHtrument soeiuty UHOH to hand clown the habits of think- 
ing, fooling, and action which characterize a civilisation. Ho~ 
ciety in protected from murder, theft, and pillage? by law and 
the police, but it IH oven better protected by the fact that liv- 
ing together peacefully and cooperatively is for moat adulte 
habitual. In a positive SOWBO the multifarious occupations 
and professions of a great modern city are carried on from 
day to (lay in all their accustomed detail, not tecauno the 
lawyers, the bunmeBB won, the teachers, who practice thorn 
eonlinuouHly reason them out, nor from continuous instinc- 
tive promptings* They arc striking testimony to the influ- 
ence of habit, As a recent English writer putB it: 

The population of I/>ndon would bo Htarved in a week if the fly-* 
wheel of habit wftro removed, if no signalman or elerk or policeman 
ever did anything which wan not BuggOHtwl by a firnt-hond impair, 
or if no one w#rc more* honowt or punctual or industrious than ho wa# 
led to be by hia conscious love, on that particular day, for his uutyter 

* Jamoa; lac. ctt., vol. i, p. 115, t 


or for his work, or by his religion, or by a conviction of danger from 
the criminal law. 1 

From etiquette and social distinction, from formal it ion of 
conversation and correspondence, of greeting and farewell, of 
condolence and congratulation to the most important <f euH~ 
toms of the country/' with renpect to marriages property, and 
the like, ways of acting are maintained by the meehanLsm of 
habit rather than by arbitrary law or equally arbitrary in- 
stinctive caprice. 

Disserviceable habits in the individual. Habitual behavior 
which can become HO completely controlling in the liven of BO 
many people is not without its dangera, The nervoun system 
IB originally neutral, and can be, involved on the ^ide either of 
good or evil. A human born with a plastic, brain mul nervmin 
system must acquire habits, but t hat he will acquire good hab- 
its (that, is, habits nerviceablo to Ins own happinmt nud to 
that of Inn followH) IH not, guaranteed by nature, H/ibitn aro 
indeed more notorious than famous, and examples are more 
frequently dhonen from evil omss titan from po<l. Prompt- 
iww in the {Xirfornmnce of one\s| professional or domestic i|u~ 
tien, care in npeech, iu drenn and in demeanor, are, once they 
are acquired, permanent ame-tH, But if thene fail to be de- 
veloped, dwhoncHty or superficiality* IovnilhwH in dre&n attij 
Bponh, and nurlineHH in manner, may and do become equally 
habitual. The Ri#mfiean<fe of thm }uut \nvn 
at the clone of Jamen'H famouB 

The hell to ho endured hereafter, of which th<olr^v fclln, 
worM' than f 1m hell \\c niake foronrHflvc,*: in this w>rl*l by 
fashionii^ our characters in the wrong way. < 'ould the ymnj# 
rculke how MXM they will bewmie nutrc wlkiiig htinitWtif 
tlwiy would give more heed to their conduct while in the }*hi*f in 
We are wpinniug <ur own fatcn, gcxxl or <wil f and mv**r to ! u 
Kvry HmallfHt stroke of virtu** or of vice leave* if* nevcr-aj "little 
i^car. Th drunken Hip Van Wirikfo, in Jitff**rMoitV piny, <%C 
hittwelf f<^r every frcnh dcrclicfi<m hy myin$ t "I won't count 
time!*' W<iU, he nmy not count it, and n kifj H<tav(u may 
* Graham Waliw; OVfaf *Vwi^|/ p* 74* 


count it, but it is being counted none the less. Down among his 
nerve cells and fibres, the molecules are counting it, registering and 
storing it up to be used against him when the next temptation conies. 
Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific litcralness, wiped out. 1 

Social inertia. If the acquisition of bad, that is, disservice- 
able habits, is disastrous to the individual, it is in some re- 
spects even worse in the group. The inertia of the nervous 
system, the tendency to go on repeating connections that 
have once been made is one of the strongest obstacles to 
change, however desirable. It is not only that habits of ac- 
tion have been established, but that with them go deep-seated 
habits of, thought and fooling. The repression of people's 
accustomed ways of doing things may bring with it a sense of 
frustration almost as complete and painful OB if these ob- 
structed activities wore instinctive. This is not true merely 
in the melodramatic instances of drug addicts and drunkards 
It. is true in the ease of social habits which have become estab- 
lished in a largo group. Any Utopian that dreams of revolu- 
tionising society overnight fails to take into account the 
enormous control of habits over groups which have acquired 
thorn, and the powerful emotions, amounting sometimes to 
passion, which aro aroused by their frustration. 

The importance of the learning habit. That habit is at 
once the connervor and the potrifier of society han long i>een 
recognised by social philosophers. There IB one habit, how- 
ever, the aoquiBition of which IB itnolf a preventive of the com- 
plete domination of tho individual or the group by hard and 
fant routine. Thin in the habit of learning, which in noeeKHary 
to the acquisition of any habiU at all, Man in learning new 
habits, "loanw to learn." HUH ability to loam in, of court*?*, 
correlated with a plasticity of brain and nerve iUwr which i 
most present in oarly youth. Tho disappearance of this ca- 
pacity IB hastened by tho pressure which force*) individuate in 
their business and professional life to cling (mi to certain 
habits which are prized and rewarded by the group* A 

x?, e& vol. i p, 12J7 


kms cultivation on the part of the individual of the habit of 
open-minded inquiry, of the habit of learning, and the en- 
couragement of this tendency by the group are the only anti- 
dotes that can be provided against this marked physiological 
tendency to fossiliasation and the frequent social tendencien in 
the same direction. 

Whether habits shall master us, or whether we shall be 
their masters, depends also on the method by which they 
were acquired. If they were learned merely through mccium- 
ical drill, they will be fixed and rigid. If they wore learned 
deliberately to meet new wtuationw, they will not be retained 
when the conditions they were acquired to meet aro utterly 

The specificity of habits. Ono important consideration, 
finally, that must bo brought in conKideration is that hubita 
are, like iiwtinctR, Hpeeific. They an* not genera! "open HCH- 
ames" which, learned in one situation, will apply with indis- 
criminate miraeuIoiiHnetis to a variety of of hero, Junf jts an 
instinct in a definite response to a definite stimulus, po in a 
habit. The chief and almost only observable different in 
that the fomujr in unlearned, while the latter in learned or 

But while habits ar< aptwific, they are within limits trans-* 
fcrablo. Such is the (me when a nituation whirl* enll wit a 
certain habitual response is paralleled in signifwuni points by 
another. Thus the situation, 

<'!<( hing, has suffleienUy similar Higniftrunt jH>int:4 to t lie nit na- 
tion, (HUj'HHjflint-liUi^retl^with-citieunjnitlH-old-let.terH-umiHi* 
Bcripts-bIu(*,printH-and-pror*fH, ix> eul! forth, if the htitiit hm 
teen established in one ease, the identical response if "tidy- 
ing up" in the other* But unless there are marked |H>int of 
similarity Imtwccn two difTereut sets of dmanHf awes, sjx^ufto 
habits remain Bpcdfic and non-tnuiH^rablcn There is in th 
lawn of habit no guarantee that au industrious application to 
the batting averages of the major leaguo on tlie part of &a 


alert twelve-year-old will provoke the same assiduous assimi- 
lation of the facts of the American Revolution; that a boy 
who works hard at his chemistry will work equally hard at his 
English, or that one who is careful about his manners and pro* 
nunciation in school will display the slightest heed to them 
among his companions on the ball-field. One of the most 
cogent arguments against the stereotyped teaching of Latin 
and Greek has been the serious doubt psychologists have held 
as to whether four years' training in Latin syntax will develop 
in the student general mental habits which will be applicable 
or useful outside the Latin classroom. 

The older "faculty" psychologists presumed that different 
subjects trained various so-called "faculties" of "memory/* 
"imagination/' and "intellect." It has now become dear on 
experimental evidence that in education we are training no 
isolated faculties, but arc training the individual to certain 
specific habits. The more widely applicable the habits are, 
obviously the more valuable or dangeroufi will th*y be in the 
conduct of life* But when habits do Income general, such as 
a habit of promptness, honesty, and regularity, not in one 
situation but "in general/' it is because they are something 
more than habits in the strict physiological nonse* They are 
intellectual as well as merely motor in character; they are 
deliberate and conscious methods rather than mechanical 
rul<# of thumb. Habits that have boon drilled into an indi* 
vicinal will appear only when the situation very closely 
approximate* the one in which the drill has been performed. 
The eat that has learned to got out of a certain typo of cage 
by proving a button will bo utterly at a IOBS if the familiar 
features of the cage are changed. The intelligent human 
will detect and take pains to detect among the minor differ* 
ences of tho situation some significant fact which he has met 
in another setting, and he will apply a habit useful in this new 
situation dmpito the slightly changed accompanying cJrcum- 
utancefl. The man who can drive an automobile with reflec- 
tive appreciation of the proeesnes involved, who knows, m 


we say, what he is doing, will not long be baffled by n ear 
with a slightly different arrangement, of lovers and steering- 
gear, nor be completely frustrated when the ear for nmw 
reason fails to move. As happened in many n* >tnb!e instances 
during the World War, trained executives were not long zit n 
loss when they shifted from the management of u t^teel plant 
to a shipyard, or from large-scale mining operations in Mon- 
tana to large-scale relief work in Belgium. 

The conscious transference of habits. When habits are 
consciously acquired, they may be consciously transferred 
with modifications to situations slightly different from those 
in which they were first learned. Merely mechanical habits 
arc a hindrance in any save the most mechanical work, 'An 
alert and conscious method of learning, which means the 
development of habits ,s methods of control, will enable f ho 
individual to modify habits acquired in slightly different cir- 
cumstances to new situations when* the major conditions re- 
main the name. To be merely habitual is to be nt best nu 
efficient machine, utterly unable to do anything except t-o run 
along certain grooves, to respond like an animal trained to 
certain tricks, It means, moreover* a IOM of richnrwH in 
experience. When a profession becomes routinutrd it be- 
comes meuningleHB; a mere making of the wheel;* go round* 
The Bpirit of alert and conndouH inquiry must be 
if life in not to become a mere repeated monotony* 

An alert and conscioun adjuHtmeut of habit* to a 
environment cotwlituteH intelligence, The technique of f hm 
adjustment in the technique of thinking or of reflective IHJ- 
havior, which we Hhall examine in more detail in the follow- 
ing chapter. 

Emotion* All human action, whether on the piun** of 
instinct, habit, or reflection, in, to a knner or greater degrnt, 
accompanied by emotion* While there in considerable eon* 
troverwy among pnydiologiBtB an to tho prmne nature of iiw* 
tion, and the precincs conditions of itn ^^auaation, itw Kr!itmt 
featuren and Hignifieanco are fairly clear* Emotion nmy to 


most generally defined as an awareness or consciousness on 
the part of the individual of his experiences, both thrw in 
which he is the actor and those in which ho in being passively 
acted upon. This awareness or consciousness is not del ached 
intellectual perception, but is accompanied by, us if is by 
some held to be merely the consciousness of, certain specific 
bodily disturbances. Thus the emotions of fear and grief 
are not cold and abstract percept ions of ritual ions that belong 
in the classes dangerous or deplorable, respectively. Thtt 
awareness of these situations by the individual is intimu fitly 
and invariably connected with certain outward bodily mani- 
festations and certain inner organic, disturbances. Fear, rage, 
pity, and the Ida* are not uniiupussioned judgments, but 
highly charged physical changes. Ho clone, indeed, in the con- 
nection between specific Ixxlily conditions and flu* nubjecf ive 
or inner consciousnehH that wo call emotion, that James and 
Lai i go simultanmusly came to the, conclusion that emotionn 
are nothing more nor JOHS than the blending of the complex 
organic changes that occur in any given emotional Htata 
TluiB James: 

What kind of an emotion of four would be left iftho feeling neither 
of quickened henrt-beatB nor of shallow breathing, neither of trem- 
bling lipH nor of weakened HmbH, neither of goow**ile*h nor of vis- 
ceral BtirringH, wore prenent, it Is impossible for me to think. < 'an 
anyone fancy th state of rage, imd picture no ebullition in the* fhwt, 
no Hushing of the face, no dilation of the nostrils no clenching of th 
teeth, no uupulso to vigorous ac.tior^ hut in th*ir ntcat! litnp 
culm breathing, itti<I u plncid fare? Tl prcwnt writer, Coronet, 
tuiniy cannot. f Vh<\ ntgc in jus complcfoly cvaponit^d H# thi* Ht 
tioim of its HtK'ttllwi jnutiifcstut ioim, urui tho only thing that can J 
Bihly IM* HUppoKdl to tuk itn pb'(^ is wotnc ctjifl blninlod arid ife 
aionaU) ju<licial ncntcnrc, confuuift <^utinIy to t! f mtellcctunl 
to the cITccst that u onrlain p^rnt^n or pcirunn merit chnHtthcmonff for 
their wm. In like, manner of ^riof; what would it lw* without it 
t<iarH, itHHotw, itsHuffocatton of thi* heart^ it^ pang in UKJ brmint-bono? 
A f<*dingic^H coguithm thai certain eircuumtttnee^ aru tlephirablo, ami 


Indeed, so completely did James think the emotions \u>n 
explicable as the inner feeling of the complex organic HoiiMa- 
tions which go to make up each of them that he did not ih'mk 
it misleading to say "we feel sorry because wo cry, anjxry 
because we strike, afraid because we tremble; v\e do not cry, 
strike, or tremble because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as 
the case may be." 

Whether or not emotions are completely to be explained 
as the inner or subjective aspect of the complex of organic 
disturbances which accompany fear, rage, ami the like, and 
which are caused immediately by the perception of the appro- 
priate objects of thtJrio emotions, it i certainly truo that 
emotional awarenoss and bodily disturbances arc very <*loMly 
connected. 1 

Various attempts have Ixion made to classify the Hnotionn 
which are, in ordinary iwqwritmw, infinitely subtle and com- 
plex. The Miblloty and variety of emotion Juiw* explain** 
as the roHult of the subtle and impwwptibfo diilenmms in the* 
complex of sensations which occur in any givt*n nituatknu In 
general, it has tern recognized thai* the emotions are vary 
closely connected with the primary tmtondow of man, 
McDougall, for example, ays that each of the groat primary 
impulses is accompanied by an emotion. Indeed, McDougall 
considers, as earlier noted, that the emotion in tho affect ivn 
or conscious aspect of an instinct which, at tho name tinm, has 
a perceptual and impulsive aspect; that, in the cano of fmr, 
the perceptual aspect is the instinctive mechanism for 

* Ttflccnt cxporimiflntft ly Hr, Otitnon at Hurvnn! hftvft hhowfi 
bodily <UHturbai;ic<w which aroontpuny tt* li f. fntr, nta lu t>nr(ir*iitnr I>r. 
('annon, an<l oth<TH r hitvti ot4*d thai w th* r<t<iif ir'^ml fotiii(itniH wf fwir nr**! 
anger th<* KlamlM Iocat'<l nt*ar tho kifln<iy (Hschnr^* a fluid into th"s* I4o*^t 
fttreuw, which fluid HUnnilutt'H tho Imirt. to nativity, t'urmtHvtw thf* \Aw*\ 
v<j(4H of tho internal organs, WWWH th Hv<*r U pmr mt iutt* th< !4wl i! 
attires of HUi?ar and alttwtjt i <u< v way or another all tin* *irg?tu < tht? t^Mly,, 
The gemiiul <*fTst*t w tt put th< horty into a Htiit^ f |tr**irtirMl<^i^ for th* 
iotivlil oomteoUd with th emotion, wh**tht*r iiiichi i Mm caw <*f fwtr, 
fttteflk a In th*$ caw of unwr* Thw ha l*tl I*roffj*0r W^^Jworth to di^uii 
emotion a at S<w*t in part, *'iJw way tht* Unly f<**tb whi^Ji St< i jr<^>arirtl to n 
Certain reaction." boo tho lattcr'n Ztymmio /-"aycAo^y, pp # 


nizing objects of danger, the impulsive aspect is the tendency 
toward flight, and the affective aspect is the inner feeling or 
awareness of fear. Thus, for McDougall, the tender emotion 
is the emotional aspect of the instinct of pity, anger of the 
instinct of pugnacity, which is, as an impulse, the tendency 
to strike and destroy. 

As a matter of fact, as McDougall himself admits, emo- 
tions arc seldom experienced in unmixed forms, and it is very 
difficult to reduce the infinite variety of emotional experience 
to any primary forms. One may well agree with James that 
"subdivisions [in the psychological demarcation of the emo- 
tions! are to a great extent either fictitious or unimportant, 
and . , . pretenses to accuracy, a sham/' In general, ono 
may say that* emotions are closely connected with the native 
tendencies of human beings and are aroused by both their 
fulfillment-, their conflict, and their frustration. The variety 
of emotions results from the fact that, no single one of our in- 
stincts is stimulated at a time, and that the peculiar specific 
quality of each emotional experience is due to the* specific 
point of conflict, fulfillment, or frustration in each particular 
cane. It may be further noted that thowe emotiorw art*, in 
general, pleunantly toned which accompany the fulfillment or 
the approach to the fulfillment of a native diHponition; and 
thone are unpleanantly toned which aocompany their frunt ra- 
tion or conflict- The depth and intensity of the emotional 
dinturbance ncjoin to depend on the degree and extent to which 
strong matinetive or habitual impulneB have tmeome involved. 
For an habitn of action may be acquired, BO alno may emotions 
txjeome aBBOoiatod habitually with them* The emotional 
dinturbancoH connected with the fulfillment, frustration, and 
conflict of habitw niay be just an mtenne aw those connected 
with similar phenomena in the cano of hwtinete, 

In one HOHBO thene emotional dinturbauces impede action, 
certainly action on the reflective level. It is the capacity 
and function of reflection to solve and adjust precisely tiwne 
conflicts of competing impulses during which emotional dis- 


turbances occur. But the reflect ivo process is confused and 
distorted in conflicts of native or habitual desires by Ihw* 
emotional disturbances which accompany them. It is pro- 
verbially difficult to think straight when angry; the surgeon 
in performing an operation must not be moved by pily or fear; 
;and love is notoriously blind. The facts wit h which ref lert i< n 
must deal are presented in distorted and exaggerated form 
under the stress of competing impulses. Stimuli become 
loaded with emotional associations. They are glaring ami 
conspicuous on the basis of their emotional urgency rut her 
than on the ground of their logical significance, The paraly- 
sis or complete disorganization of action which occurs m 
extreme c?uses of hysteria t tikes place to some extent in all less 
extreme instances of emotional disturbances. 

Emotions, on the other hand, serve to sustain, and, in their 
less violent form, to facilitate action. It has already \wn 
noted that the organic disturbances which arc HO conspicuous 
a feature of emotion are extremely important m preparing the 
body for the overt actions in which these emotions always 
tend to iHKue. And it is unquestionable that, emotion^ 
though in more or less obscure ways, call up reserves of energy 
in the service of the activity in connection with which the 
emotion has been aroused. While very violent emotions, m 
in the cane of extreme anger or fear or pity, confuse, dis- 
organize, and even paralyse action, in mow* moderate form 
they rather serve to stimulate and reinforce it. Kmoiiotn 
are, in many eases, merely the* inner or subject! vo awamte&s 
of one of thene great driving forces, or a complex of thfw. 
Anger, pity, and fear, in their loss extreme fornw, pour floods 
of energy into the activities in which they take overt expres- 
Hiwi. It needs no special knowledge to recognise the fnct 
that the normal interests and enterprises of life* are q 
and sustained when some great emotional drive ran be 
in their support* Ambition, loyalty, love, or hate may 
mc^ to and BUBtain them in long and difficult en 
which they would neither undertake nor continue wen? 


motive forces removed. The soldier does not fight persist- 
ently and well wholly, or often even in part, Idealise he has 
thought out the situation and found the cause of his country 
to bo just. He is stirred and sustained by the energies which 
the emotional complex called " patriotism 7 ' has roused and 
concentrated toward action. A scientist performing long and 
difficult researches, a father sacrificing rest and comfort that 
his children may be well provided for, a boy working to pay 
hw way through college, are, all persisting in courses of ac- 
tion, because of the driving power which the emotions, more 
or less mixed, of curiosity, or tenderness, or self-assertion 
have released. 

But just as the original nature with which man is born is 
modifiable, HO tins his emotional react ions, Kueh individual's 
emotional reactions are peculiar and specific, because of the 
particular contacts to which they have been exposed, and tho 
organisation of instincts and habits which have conm to be 
their more or h*ss llxed character. Any omof ional experience 
consists of an intermingling of many and diverse feelings. 
And these particular complexes of emotions become for each 
individual organised about particular jwrsoas or objects or 
situations. The emotional reactions of an individual an?, 
indeed, accurately symptomatic of the character of the indi- 
vidual and tho culture of his time- They are aroused, it goes 
without* saying, on very different owtaniona and by very 
different objects, among different men and different groups. 
In the sixteenth century pious persons could watch heretics 
being burned in oil with a sense of deep religious exaltation. 
Certain Fijian trilxw slaughter their aged parents with the 
most lender filial devotion. In certain savage communities, 
to eat in public arouses on tho part of the individual a BOIIHO 
of acute shame. 

Hince those emotions are, on the whole, pleasantly toned 
which accompany the fulfillment of instinctive and habitual 
impulses, and those miphmantly toned which accompany 
their frustration, it becomes, as Aristotle pointed out, of the 


most " serious importance" early to habituate mon to thp 
performance of socially useful actions. If good or useful 
actions are early made habitual, their performance will bring 
pleasure, and will thereby be bettor insured than by any 
amount of preaching or punishment. Jf the actions which 
the group approves are not early made habitual in t he younger 
members of the group, they will not be, enforced either through 
logic or electrocution, It is not enough t< > give pe< >ple reus< mn 
for doing good, they will only do it. consist willy if the < ppn*iin 
arouses in them more or loss abhorrence. People leuni to 
modify their actions on the basis of the pleasure or puia they 
find in their performance, and the pleasure or pain they will 
experience depends on the actions to which they nre habitu- 
ated and the emotions which have come to be their character-* 
istic accompaniments. 



Instinct and habit versus reflection. In the two typos of 
behavior already discussed, man is, as it were, "pushed from 
behind." In the case of instinct he performs an act ion simply 
because he must perform it. Willy-nilly lie withdraws his 
hand from fire, cats when hungry, and Hloeps when tired. In 
the case of habits, once they are acquired, he i also largely 
dominated by circumstances beyond his own control. The 
bottle Is to the confirmed drunkard almost an irresistible com- 
mand to drink, the alarm clock to one accustomed to it an 
equally imperative and not~to-be~diHregarded order to arine* 
The Btory of the old veteran who wan carrying home hin dinner 
and who dropped MB hands to hin Hide and his dinner to the 
gutter when a practical joker called " Attention " ; the pathetic 
plight of the superannuated business man who IB totally at a 
IOHH away from his familiar duties, am often quoted illustra- 
tions of how completely habit may determine a man's actions. 

But while in a large portion of our daily duties we are thus 
at the bock and call of the instincts which are our inheritance 
and the habits which wo have acquired, we may also control 
our actions, Instead of performing action** as immediate and 
automatic responses to accustomed stimuli, we may deter*- 
mine our actions, single or consecutive, in the light of al>ent 
and future results* To act thus IB to act reflectively, and to 
act reflectively is the only escape from random acts prompted 
by instinct and routine ones prompted by habit* 

To act reflectively is to delay response to an instinctive or 
habitual stimulus until the various possibilities of action and 
the re&uitu associated with each have been considered* An 
action performed instinctively or Ii&bitually i automatic; it 
IB performed not on the baas of what will be the result! but 


simply as an immediate response lo a present stimulus. But 
an act (or a series of acts) reflectively performed Is performs! 
in the light of the results that am prophetically associated 
with them. In the easo of instinct mid habit, the* individual 
almost literally does not know what he is about . In reflect i ve 
activity lie does know, and the more thorough the rcfieclivo 
process, the more thorough and precine in Ins knowledge, He 
performs actions bccauM they will achieve certain results, and 
ho is conscious of that causal connection, both before tin* 
action is performed when ho perceives the results imagina- 
tively, and after it is performed when he sees them in fart,, 

The origin and nature of reflection* HHIcrf ion, it iwH he 
noted in the first places is not. a thintf, but n, proems. l\ is a 
process whereby human beings adjust, themsehvH to a con* 
tinuously changing environment. Our inMiwtfs nnd habits 
suffice to adapt us to that large number of recurrent nmilar 
situatioiwof which our experience in no small measure exists. 
In such eaBen the! response will bring the UMiai sntirt- 
faction. Walking, dn^sshig, getting to familiar J}UM^, fauJ- 
ing the electric button in well-known rooms, opening often* 
opened combinations these operations nre all a(i<*quntely 
accomplished by the fixed mechanmitw of habit. But wt 
meet OH frequently with novel sifuationw where the accus- 
tomed or instinctive reactions will not bring the desired wit IM- 
fuction. OIKS rcsponsti or a nutulxT f^f renpom'es will not 
adjust the individual satisfactorily to external eondif ionw; or 
thcjns may bo a conflict between a manlier of iiupuls*s all 
clamoring for satisfaction at oner*. Keilf'Hioii tluiK 
either in a muladjUHtment !>ctvveen the, individual nitfi 
euvironnuint or in a conflict of impulse* within the 

Whom Much a maladjiwltnorit o< v curn t the imoaMirieHtt, din- 
comfort, and fruntration of action may b* removed in one of 
two ways, Adjuntimmt may bo ftchiuvwi, as we have alr<-atly 
*KJti^ through physical trial and error, through u hitatiii*inittHi 
oxperimoatatioii with every poraiblo ronponm 1 , until tho app 


priate one is made. This is the only way in which animals 
can learn to modify their instinctive tendencies into habits 
more adequate to their conditions. The more economical 
and effective process, one peculiar to human beings, is that 
of reflection. To think or to reflect means to postpone re- 
sponse to a given problematic situation until the possible con- 
sequences of the possible responses have been mentally traced 
out. Instead of actually making every response that occurs 
to us, we make all of thorn imaginatively. Instead of consum- 
ing time and energy in physical trial and error, we go through 
the process of mental trial and error. Wo make no response 
at all in action until wo have survoyod all the possibilities of 
action and thoir possible consequences. And when we do 
make a response we make it on the busis of those foreseen 
consequences. 1 

In other words, the situation is analysed. What IH the ond 
or adjustment sought, what are the possible responses, and 
how far is each of thorn suited as a means to achieving the 
satisfaction nought? Instead of going through every random 
course of action that suggests itself, each one is "dramatically 
rohearHwl" Finally, that response is made which gives mont 
promise in te,rnw of its prophesied consequences of adjusting 
UH to our situation. 

Illustration of the reflective process. A Btudent may, for 
example, be* seated at Inn study, preparing for an examina- 
tion, A friend entern and miggentH going for a walk or to the 
theater. If the Btudent wore to follow thiw firnt immediate 
impulse he would, before, IKS realbed it, Im off for an ovo- 
ning'B entertainment. But inntoad of renponding immediately, 
dropping hirt books, reaching for \m hat, opening the, door, 
and ringing for the elevator (a ncries of habitual uctK initiates! 
by tho inntinctivo desire for rent, variety, and companion* 

1 The !KMrtihiHtif*t of rcsponw thiit <lo occur to UH nr, <m th whole, <It*r 
luhiwl by jwt trtiiuSiiK arid native ditTf^uici'M in twnpram<mt. liwt part of 
tho proctuHW of wtfl*(ttioti i, aw wn Hhull Hiw *a ilw oluiptitr OM *'H* f itnc> ftn4 
M**t!ifHl/ f c<jrie<'m<Hl with dtIilMnH.ily oulttrgiutf the fluid of 
tho hulution of a givcu problem* 


ship), he may rehearse in imagination tho various posMhilit ten 
of action. In general terms, what happens is simply thl-; * 
On the one hand, the gregarious instinct, the desire for rest, 
native curiosity, imd un acquired interest in drama nuiy 
prompt him strongly to go to the theater. On the other 
hand, the habits of industry, ambition, self-iwwrtinn, and 
studying in the evening urge him to tay at home and study. 
The first course of action may, for the moment, be immedi* 
ately attractive and stimulating. But instead of responding 
to either immediately, the student rehearses dramatically the 
possibilities associated with each. On the one hand are tho 
immediate aatisfactionn of rest, amusement, and companion- 
ship. But as further consequences of the impulse to go out 
to the theater are seen or, rather, are foreseen failure in 
the examination, the loss of a scholarship, pain to one's family 
orfriendn, and chagrin at the, frustration of OUO'H deepest and 
most permanent ideate. Tho second course of action, to 
stay at home and study, though it is seen to have eoimeefexl 
with it certain immediate privatioiw, in foreseen to involve 
the further consoquenwB of passing the examination, keeping 
one's scholarship, and maintaining certain pwtwwal or intel- 
lectual standards one ha* nut OWJ'H wlf. Even if the Htttdeiit 
decide to follow the firat emmm of action to whiuh an immedi- 
ate impulse has prompted him, tun act in different in quality 
from what it would have been if he had not reflected at all 
The Btudont gocw out fully aware of the, eonnequenOT of what 
he in doing; he goen/or tho immediate pleasure and tV* *//ft* 
of the poasiblii failure in tho examination* Tho vory hturt 
of Deflective behavior in thiw Keen to lie in th fact t,htit prtwitt 
stimuli are reacted to, not for what they are m iimuntiato 
stimuli, but for what they signify, portend, imply, in tho way 
of eonHequenccH or rewrite. And a iwtponMf* made ujion reflex** 
tion is made on the lxii of Hum iniagi nativdy r^alissed cun- 
Wo coruusot what we do with tho rasult** that 

The titohnlquA of itriMtm will be diseuiNma la citiii in tkM> 



flow from the doing, and control our action in the light of that 
prophetically realized connection. 

The process is obviously not always so simple as that de- 
scribed in the above illustration. In the first place, more 
than two courses of action may suggest themselves. And the 
consequences of any one of them may be far more complex 
and far more obscure than any suggested in the alx>ve. For 
an individual to be able to decide a problem on the basis of 
consequences imaginatively foreseen, it is often necessary to 
institute a very elaborate system of connecting links between 
an immediately suggested course of action and its not at all 
obvious results. "Thinking a thing out" involves precisely 
this introduction of connecting links, or " middle terms," be- 
tween what la immediately given or suggested and what 
necessarily, though by no means obviously, follow*?. This 
is illustrated in the case of any more or ICHH theoretical problem 
and its solution. To perceive, for example, the connection 
between atmospheric pressure and the rise of water in 
suction pump involves the introduction of connect ing links 
in the form of the general law of gravitation, of which atmos- 
pheric pressure, is a special case. 

But the same is true of practical problems, A young man 
may be trying to decide whether or not to take a nomination 
to the training course at West Point. He may be attracted 
by the four years' training, and highly value the swults of it* 
He may think, however, that the training involves an oblige* 
turn to serve in the army; it may moan, for a long time, nerv- 
ice in some remote, army jyost. His decision may IKJ deter- 
mined by thin last consideration, which required a #c<rit># of 
intermediate, "linking" idea to bring to light* 

The technique of scientific or expert thinking is, in large 
part, concerned with devices for enabling the thinker more 
mcurely to trace the obscure* and remote connections between 
actions and their consequences, between causes and effects. 
But, whether simple or complex, the essential feature of 
reflective activity is that it ig action performed in the light of 


consequences foreseen in imagination. Physical stimuli am 
not responded to immediately with physical action* They 
arc responded to as symbols, signs, or portents; they are 
taken as symptoms of the results that would follow if they 
were acted upon. That is, they are, until decision is tiutdo, 
reacted to imaginatively. When an actual response L-* finally 
made, it is marie on the basin of the results that have been 
more or less accurately and directly anticipated in imagina- 

Reflection as the modifier of instinct Reflection is pri- 
marily a rcvoaler of consequences. Instead of yielding to 
the first impulse that occurs to him, the thinking man con- 
siders where that impulse, if followed out, will lead. And 
since man is moved by more than one impulse at a time, rHice- 
tion traces the consequences of each, and determines net inn 
on the basis of the relative satisfactions it can prophesy after 
careful inquiry into the situation. To reflect is primarily to 
query a stimulus, to find out what it means in terms of its 
consequences. The more alert, persistent, suit I careful thin 
inquiry, the more will instinctive, tendencies be checked und 
modified and adjusted to new sit uat ions. 

In the discussion of the acquisition of habits, it wan [>oint<ecl 
out that useful habits may be acquired most rapidly by an 
analysis of them into their significant- features* The speed 
with which random instinctive ne,tions are modified into a 
series of useful habitual ones depends intimately upon how 
clear and detailed is the individual's appreciation of fhe re* 
Bulls to bo achieved by one action rather than another, A 
large part of learning even among humaim is doubtless trial 
and error, random hit~or-miss attempts, until after HWWHMVI* 
repetitions, n successful response in made and retained* But 
human learning and habit-formation an* HO mueh more vari- 
ous and fruitful than those, of animals precisely because* hu* 
man beings ran and modify instinctive rcMpmiwti in tJiw 
light of consttquonwH which they atn fonsHw. These fonwtwn 
consequences aro, of course, derived from previous cxp<*ri<mct); 


that is, they are " remembered/ 1 But reflection short-circuits 
the process. The more deliberate and reflective the process 
of learning, the more the individual notes the connections be- 
tween the things he does and the results he gets, the fewer 
repetitions will he need in order effectively to modify his in- 
stinctive behavior into useful habits. He will anticipate 
results; he will experience them in imagination. He will not 
need to make every wrong move in paddling a canoe until he 
finally hitn upon the right one?, He will not need to alienate 
all his clients before learning to deal with them successfully* 
In any given Bet of circunmtanecB ho will form the effective 
habits rapidly. lie will calculate, "figure out/' find out in 
advance To keep one's temiwr under provocation, to re- 
frain from eating delieiouH and indigentible foods, to keep at 
work when one would like to play, and somdimrs to play 
when one in engrossed in work, arc familiar instances of how 
our first impulses become cheeked, restrained, or modified in 
the light of the results we have discovered io 1m 
with them. 

Reflective behavior modifies habit* The name 
breaking-lip of a new tyjw of action info its significant fejj^ 
turos, the name connect ion of a given action with a given 
rwilt which maken the intelligent heartier HO much wore 
quickly acquire effective new habits than the one who w 
mechanically drilled, leads also to a continuous criticism of 
habits, and their discontinuance when they am no longer ade- 
quate. Reflect ion, if it i itself a habit, m the most valuable 
one of all It IB an important countermine to the hardening 
and formication which repeated habitual actions bring about 
in the nervous system, 

In acting reflectively we subject our accustomed ways to 
deliberate analysis, however immediately persuasive ihtm 
may hive Imconte, and deliberately institute now habits in 
the !iht of the more desirable consequence** th*y will bring* 
Habits oomo to IKJ regarded not m final or as good in them- 
selves, but as methods of accomplishing good- If they fail 


to bring genuine satisfaction, reflection can indicate wherein 
they are inadequate, wherein they may bo changed, ami 
whether they should be altogether discarded. 

Reflection thus makes conduct conscious; it is not the aub~ 
stitute for instinct and habit; it is the guide and controller of 
both. When we act thoughtfully and intelligently, we art) 
doing things not because we have done them that way in tho 
past, or because it is the first response that oeeurn to UK, but 
because, in the light of analysis, that way will bring about tho 
most desirable results. 

The limits of reflection as a modifier of instinct and habit. 
While our impulses and habits may be subjected to the criti- 
cism of reflection in the light of tho eounequenceB which it 
can forecant, reflection is itself Heriounly limited by our orig- 
inal impulses and our acquired habitual onoH. On reflect ion, 
we may not follow our first impulse, but to act at, all IB to act 
on Homo original or acquired impulse or a combination of 
them. Which original tendency we shall follow reflection can 
toll UB; it cannot toll us to follow now*. In ihe illustration 
already used, the student may upon reflection study nil her 
than go out. But the roots of his stu< tying will also lie back 
in the instincts and habits which art*, for better or for worse, 
MB only equipment for action* They will lie back hi the 
tendencies to be curious, to gain the praiso of other people 
and to bo a leader among them, in tho habits of knowing work 
thoroughly, of studying in tho evening, of maintaining a 
scholarship average to which he has town accustomed. Ite- 
flection may weigh the relative pommionn of varibuK Sm- 
pulHen; it cannot ignore them* We may think in order to 
attain our doairoH, and may, through reflection, team to 
change thorn; we cannot alx>lih them. Whether we are 
curious about our neighbors' buHhuw or about the move* 
merits of tho Btara and tho poHnSMe maotiotw of a Htntiigjo 
chemical element, depends on our proviouB training and ilm 
extent to which inquiry itnelf has become a fixed awl JH^V 
sistent habit. But in any oaao wo art) curious Whether wu 


fight in street brawls or in campaigns against tuberculosis, 
we arc still, as it wero, born fighters 

Himihtrly, in th<* CUM* of habit, w<! may upon reflation dis* 
cover that our habits of walking, writing, or Fpeech an* badj 
that we ought not to nnioke, or drmk, or wahte time. Wo 
may come, through reflection, to realize with the utmost 
darity the advantages to oursdven of acquiring the habits of 
going to bod early, saving money, keeping our papers in order, 
and persisting; at work amid din! ructioiw, But the bad habits 
and the good are already fixed in our nervoua Ryntem, and in 
physiology also poHsoswon in nine tenths of the* law. We may 
intend to change, but by taking thought alone we rannot add 
a cubit to our stature. Reflection can do m> more than point 
the way we should go. For uulenn the wrong actions are By*v 
tenmi Scully and repeat-wily refrained from, and the proper 
ones made habitual, thinking remahm merely an impotent 
Humrnary of what can be dono. Conduct in governed, it must 
bo repeated, by the satisfactions action can bring UB, and 
union** action** are made habitual they will not bo performed 
with Hatinfactioa* 

How instincts and habits impair the processes of reflection* 
It in an important m it JH paradoxical that tlunking in impaired 
in ita efiieicncy by the inntiiuttH and habitn in whone Hrvice it 
ariwcjH, and whono conflictH atid malsuljuKtuientH it iutipn to 
ronolvo* This MituationK of ooufliut or i^rplxity which pro* 
voke thinking aro determined by tlwi particular UmAwmm 
which, by nature* or training, ar brought into pby in any 
givon mtuation* If w<i arc committed by tradition or habitual 
allegiance fa a protective tariff, we will bft concerned in our 
thinking with detail*, what article** need protection and how 
much do thoy iwwd; tlto ultimate (WrabiUty of a protecitive 
tariff will not bo a problem remotely occurring to iia, If we 
ar by training committed U) capital piminlimant, wo will lx$ 
l^ if wo think tvtxnit it at all, with mc*an# and im*th* 
wa will think niK>ut the r^lativo nuuitn of hmtgirig or 
electrocution; the ultimate juwtificattOB or desirability of cap* 


ital punishment will not be a problem or issue for us at all 
Thus, it may be said in a sense that our thinking is determined 
by what we do not think about as much as by what, we <lo 
think about. What WG take for gran tod limits the field within 
which we will inquire or reflect at all. But what we take for 
granted is, on the whole, settled by our habitual reactions 
And the more settled habitual conviction* we have, the nar- 
rower becomes the field within which reflection takes place. 
Force of habit may leave us blind to many situations genu- 
inely demanding solution. Originality in thinking consista, 
in part at least, in an ability to see a problem where others*, 
through routine, see none. Apples have fallen on the heads 
of others than Newton, but a habit-ridden rustic will not bo 
stirred by the falling of an apple to reflection on the problem 
of falling bodies. The countryman may live all hin life ae* 
rencly oblivious to a thousand problems that would pique 
the curiosity and reflection of a botanist or gt^ologmt, A man 
may go on for years accepting income on investments earned 
in very dubious ways without ever pausing to reflect ou tho 
sources or the justification of his wealth. 1 

Instincts and habits, furthermore, limit the field of pomnblo 
courses of action that suggest themHclvw, We come, through 
habit, to be alive only to certain poHHibilitWH to the practical 
exclusion of all others. Thinking hticonuw fruitful and ug~ 
gcHtive when it is freed from the limited number of 0ugg<wtioiui 
that occur through force of habit. But original thinking is 
rare precisely because habita do have much a compulsive 
power in determining the potabilities of action that nugget 
themselves to us* The man who movctt in a rut of habitual 
reactions will " never think' 1 of poHsihilitiw that "tttaro in the 
face" a leas habit-ridden thinker. Inventiwij8, originality, 

* According to the traditional tuwmlofi*, whw* Mrl<* Aj>trir<<tta wit told 
th&t the iwoptt) wwo clamoring bwauiw thy wiiUI not K**t /my trn'ttd, th 
one problem that oofurrod to hr wa why tlwy ilittit't vat <a*k^ JKmitt th# 
habitH and conditionH of lift* to wliloh ntu wa fi^uMUiKiitfli th**ri* hut) nvi*r 
ftrinmi a problem a to how to g*t food at all; it wan ixuif&iy a problum of wbt 
kind of food to oat* 


creative intelligence, whatever one chooses to call it , consists, 
in no smull measure, in this ability to remain alive to a wide 
variety of stimuli, to keep sensitive to all the possibilities that 
are in a situation, instead of those only to which we are im- 
mediately prompted by instinct or habit. The pownbility of 
using the current of a river as power is not the firat portability 
that flowing water suggests. 

Past training and individual different in temperament 
not only limit the possibilities that do occur to us; they furi- 
ously distort, color, and qualify those of which we I income 
conscious. Wo forecast differently and with differing decrees 
of accuracy the consequences of those possible* coupes of 
action which do occur to UH according to the influence and 
stimulation which particular native traits and acquired im- 
pulses have in our conduct. Ideally, the consequence** which 
we imaginatively forecast an following from a given course of 
action, should tally with the consequences which genuinely 
follow from it. But there is too often a sad discrepancy lx*- 
tween the consequences as they are foreseen by the individual 
concerned and the genuine consequences that could lx* fore- 
Been by any disinterested olwervor* The discrepancy IK?* 
tween the genuine and the imagined coimequenccB of given 
ideas or suggestions in caused more than anything else, by 
the hope# t fears, aversions, and preferences which, by nature 
or training, arc controlling in a man's behavior* Facts are 
weighed differently according m one or another of these 
psychological influences m present* We intend unconsciously 
to substitute a desired or expected eomequenee for the actual 
one; we tend to In* oblivious to eotmequences which we fear, 
and quick to imagine those for which we hope. On the day 
before* an election the campaign managers on lx>th sides* in 
the glow and momentum of their activities, an* confident of 
the morrow's victory. The opjwment of prohibition aaw 
nothing but drug fiend** an<l revolution an its oonHeciuc^icca; 
Ite extreme advocate &w it m the salvation of mankind* 

The causal of error in appraising the eoBuequeuces of any 


given course of action arc partly individual and partly nodal 
in character. From Francis Bacon down, there have- been 
various attempts to classify those factors m the distortion of 
the reflective process. In connection with the particular 
human traits, especially such as fear and gregariouBnenH, we 
shall have occasion to examine a few of the^e. 

It will suffice to point out here that the aim of reflectivo 
thinking is to discover the genuine eouHequenees of thing**, 
and to eliminate and discount those prejudices and prefer- 
ences, bred of early education and training, which might im- 
pair our discovery of those consequences. To tho untrahuttl, 
those things look most significant which stir their nnpulwg 
most strikingly. Tho beggar's sores seem much more impor- 
tant and terrible than a gifted youngster deprived of edurat ion 
through poverty. Instinctively we shrink hwk from the night 
of blood, but instinct is no safe clue in helping tin to dint in- 
guish between the poisons and tho panaceas among the 
brightly colored bottler of chemicals ranged along a whHf. 
The whole technique of scientific method an oppcmod to the 
shrewd but unreliable gucHses of common Hcnno m one of froo* 
ing us from the compulsions of random habitual imputa*** 
It substitutes for caprice tho meanurmg of <ttmH&]UCAO(xf, tho 
detailed knowing of what we are alx>ut* That impartial judg- 
ment has its difficulties is clear from the tmplo fact atom* that 
human beings start by being a bundle of inBtinct and wm 
grow into a bundle of habits. To the extent tit whiah th&y 
can control these they are maidm of thcmwhw&, 

The value of reflection for life* To many people there m 
something terrifying alx>ut tho idea of wmtrollinfl lift? by 
reason. Life (they point out correctly) in a vital pnxww* erf 
iriHtincta which appear before* thinking, and whieh are often 
more powerful than reasoned judgment*** Against a<!vi<?e to 
live consciously, to bo in control of ourHelvtw, to know whut 
we are about, comes tho call "Back to Nature/* A Ufa of 
reflection appears chilling and arbitrary* Becmio reflection 
so often reveala that iiaputo mmi bo checked if 


is not to result, it has come to he associated with a metal- 
lic and Stoic repression. To many a persuasive impulse we 
must, after reflection, say, "No." Because of this a certain 
school of philosophers, poets, and radicals urges us to trust 
nature, to follow our impulses, which, being natural, must 
be right. 

All of these rebels against reason make the mistake of sup- 
posing that the ami of reflective thinking in to quell instincts, 
which, with the best will in the, world, it cannot nueceed in 
doing. Instincts arc present and powerful. In themselves 
they are neither worth encouraging, nor ought they to be 
repressed. The satisfant ion of native deniren in what we want* 
The importance of reflective thinking in precindy that it. helps 
UR to Hecure those HutLsfaeUonH, To num-nder to every ran- 
dom impulse or every habitual prompting i to have neither 
satisfaction nor freedom. Reflection might IK? compared to 
the traffic policeman at the junction of two tiro we ied thorough* 
farcm. If every one were to drive* hi ear pell-mell through tho 
runh, if pedestrians, ntreet e,ans, and automobiles wrt* not to 
abide by the rules, no one would get anywhere, und the result 
would be perpetual aeeident and collision, In thinking we 
simply control and direct our impulses in the, light uf the con- 
sequences we can foroscsc. To thu guide and control action 
makcB UB genuinely free* 

If a mftn' aetiorm aw not guided hy thoughtful ctonehiHiomi, thay 
are guided by mcoxwidorato impute, unhnlanewl ap|Mtita eaj>rie#, 
or tho fiircuttwtaticcH of i ho tnoment. To cultivate unhinderdl, mm* 
flf?*Uv ftxtanml activity in t<* fo^kr (uirfavcniontj for It Imwm tto 
poraon at tUo mercy of appotitei tiiifvt and 

and habiin are fixcul renp<mB(*H; t>emg pla<^3 in 
and u<?h oircimiKtttnctw we muni do meh and mtch thingH. 
Only when we can vary our actions in Urn light of our own 
thinking are we laaKtero of our environment mther than 
mechanically controlled by it* 
The ftodal importance of reflectiw 

W* Think, 


in the life of the individual insures that he will not become the 
slave of his own habits. He will regard habits as methods 
to be followed when they produce good results, to be discarded 
or modified when they do not. But if habit in the life of the 
individual needs control lest it become dangerously control- 
ling, it needs it more conspicuously vStill in the life of the group. 
Unless the individuals that compose a society arc alert and 
^conscious of the bearingB of their actions, they will bo com- 
pletely and mechanically controlled by the customs to which 
they have been exposed in the early periods of their lives. 
What an individual regards as right or wrong, what he will 
cherish or champion in industry, government, and art, de- 
ponds in largo measure on his early education and training 
and on the opinions and beliefs of other people with whom he 
repeatedly comes In contact. A society may be democratic 
in its political form and still autocratic in fact if the majority 
of its citizens are merely machines which can be net off to 
respond in certain determinate ways to customary stimuli of 
names, leaders, and party slogans. A society becomes gen* 
uinely democratic, precisely to the extent to which there is 
on the part of its citizens participation in the important deci- 
sion** affecting all their liven* But the* participation will only 
be a formality if votes are decided and opinions formed on the 
basis of habit alone. 

Reflection removed from immediate application Science* 
Thus far thinking has been dictiHBod in itw more practical 
aspect H, And thinking in in its originB a very prad ieal matter* 
Literally, most people think when they have to, and only 
when they have to. Given a problem, a difficulty, a mat 
adjiiHtment between the individual and Im environment, 
thinking occurs. If every inntinetive aet brought HiitiKfadion, 
thinking would he much IOHH necuwHury and much IMH frti- 
qiujutly practiced* Thin m illuntmted in the performance of 
any aet that once required attention and duwrimmatum, and 
has late become habitual. We do not think how to walk> 
eat, and Bpell familiar wordy, how to find our way about 


familiar streets or even in familiar dark rooms. We do think 
about where we shall spend our evenings or our summer, 
which courses we shall choose at college, which profession 
we shall enter. Where we are uneasy, drawn by competing 
impulses, we consider alternatives, measure consequences, 
and choose our course of action in the light of the results we 
can forecast. But while a large proportion of reflective be- 
havior is thus practical in its origins and its results, it also 
occurs not infrequently where there is no immediate problem 
to be solved. Not all of men's energies are concerned in 
purely practical concerns. And part of man's superfluous 
vitality is expended in disinterested and curious inquiry 
into problems whose solutions afford no immediate practical 
benefits, but in the mere solving of which man findn 8&tia~ 

From the dawn of history, when some man a little more 
curious than his fellows, a little less absorbed in the hunting, 
the food-getting, and the fighting which were in those early 
days man's chief imperative business, first Iwgan to observe 
the mysterious recurrences in the world alx>ut him, the rising 
and setting of the sun, the return of the seasons, the move- 
ments of the tides and the stars, there have been individuals 
bom with a marked and sometimes a p^nionate desire to 
observe Nature arid to generalise their obsesrvations* They 
have noted that, given certain conditions, certain results fol- 
low< They observe that animals with given similarities of 
form and structure have certain identical ways of life, that 
some substances are malleable and other** not, that dew ap-* 
pears at certain times in the day on certain objects and not 
on others. They have generalised from them; and we now 
call such generalisations law, Those generalimtions when 
gathered into & system constitute a science. 

The sciences started out with unconfirmed guesses baaed 
on not very accurate information, As man's methods became 
more precise, he controlled the conditions under which ol>ei> 
vations were made, and the conditions under which gecierali* 


zations were drawn from them. The control of the conditions 
and methods of observation constitute what is known as 
induction in science. To this phase of the reflective proems 
belong all the instruments for precise observation which char- 
acterize the scientific laboratory. The control of the methods 
by which generalizations or theories are built up from these 
facts is also part of the logic of induction, and includes all the 
canons and regulations for inductive inference. 

But generalizations once made must be tested, and the 
elaboration of these generalizations, the analysis of them into 
their precise bearings, constitute that part of the process of 
reasoning known as deduction. The final verification is again 
inductive, an experimental corroboration of theories by the 
facts already at hand and by facts additionally sought out 
and observed. 

(These processes will be discussed in detail in the chapter 
on "Science and Scientific Method/ 1 ) 

However complicated the process of inquiry may become, 
the sciences remain essentially man*B mode of satisfying his 
disinterested curiosity about the world in which he fa living* 
Through the sciences man makes himself, as lias bcon so often 
said, at home in the world, Ha su Institutes for the * ' blooming, 
buzzing confusion" which is the world as ho first knows it, 
order, system, arid law* Primitive man, absurd as gooms to 
us his belief in a world of magic, of malicious demons and 
capricious gods, was trying to make sen&o out of the meaning** 
lens medley in which he seemed to find himself. Through 
science, modern man is likewise trying to make mnm out of 
his world. The more apparently disconnected and incongru- 
ous facts that can bo brought within the compass of simple 
and perfectly regular law, the leas threatening or capricious 
soems the world in which we live* Where everything that 
happens is part of a system, wa do not need, like the sav&ga 
tumbling in a thunderstorm, to be frightened at what will 
happen next* It is like moving In familiar iurroundinp 
among familiar people* 


but we can within limits predict what will happen, and are 
not puzzled and pained by continuous shocks and surprises. 
We like order in the places in which we live, in our homes, in 
our cities, in the universe. 

The sciences satisfy us not only in that they bring order 
into what at first seems the chaos of our surroundings, but in 
that they are themselves beautiful in their spaciousness and 
their' simplicity. We cannot pause here to consider the physi- 
ological facts which make us admire symmetry, but it is 
fundamental in our appreciation of music, poetry, and the 
plastic arts. From the sciences, likewise, we derive the satis- 
faction of symmetry on a magnificent scale. There is beauty 
as of a great symphony in the sweep and movement of the 
solar system. There is a quiet and infinite splendor about the 
changeless and comparatively simple structure which physics, 
In the broadest sense, reveals beneath the seeming multiplic- 
ity and variety of things. It is a desire for beauty as well as 
a thoroughgoing scientific passion which prompts men like 
Poincar6 and Karl Pearson to seek for one law, one formula 
which, like "one clear chord to reach the cars of God n ex- 
presses the whole universe* 

The practical aspect of science* But while the origins of 
science may lie m man's thirst for system, simplicity, and 
beauty in the world, the tremendous advance of science has 
a more immediate and practical cause* To understand the 
laws of Nature means to have the power of prediction; it 
means to know that, given certain circumstances, certain 
others follow always and inevitably; it means to discover 
causes and their effects. Man having attained through 
patient inquiry this capacity to tell in advance, may take 
advantage of it for his OWB good* The whole of modern 
industry with its phenomenal control of natural powers and 
resources is testimony to the use which man has found for 
the facts and laws which he would nwer have found out 
save for the eurforfty which was* his endowment and the 
inquiry which be made his habit* "Knowledge is power/ 1 


said Francis Bacon, and the three hundred years of science 
that have made possible the whole modern world of elec- 
tric transportation, air travel between two continents, and 
instantaneous communication between remote parts of the 
flrorld, have proved the aphorism. Man since his origin 
has tried to control his environment for his own good* The 
cave and the flint were his first rude attempts. In science 
with its accurate observation of facts not apparent to the un- 
aided eye, and its discovery and demonstration of laws not 
found by casual and unsystematic common sense, man has an 
incomparably more refined instrument, and an incomparably 
more effective one. Thus, paradoxically enough, man's moat 
disinterested and impartial activity IB at the same time his 
most practical asset, 

The creation of beautiful objects and the eacpressioix of 
ideas and feelings la beautiful form* Most men spend most 
of their lives necessarily in practical activity. Man's particu- 
lar equipment of instincts survived in "the struggle for exist** 
ence" precisely because they were practical, because they did 
help the human creature to maintain MB equilibrium in a 
half-friendly, halMiostile environment, Man acquires also, 
as already has been pointed out, habits that are useful to hlm f 
that bring him satisfactions not attainable through the ran- 
dom instinctive responses which are his at birth* Reflection, 
too, is, for the most part, severely practical in Its origins arid 
its responsibilities. It guides action into economical and use* 
ful channels. 

Most of man's actions are thus ways of modifying his envi* 
ronment for immediately practical purposes, Man has in* 
stmet$ and habits which enable him to live* But in making 
those changes in the world which enable him to live better, 
man, as it were by accident, makes them beautifully. Pot* 
tery begins, for example, as a practical art, but the skilled 
potter cannot help spending a little excess vitality and habit* 
ual skill m adding a quite unnecessarily graceful curve, a 
gratuitous decoration to the utilitarian vessel hi is making. 


In the words of Santayana, "What had to be done was, by 
imaginative races, done imaginatively; what had to be spoken 
or made was spoken or made fitly, lovingly, beautifully. . . . 
The ceaseless experimentation and fermentation of ideas, in 
breeding what it had a propensity to breed, came sometimes 
on figments that gave it delightful pause." * 

These accidental graces that man makes in the instinctive 
and habitual control to which he subjects his environment 
become the most cherished values of his experience. Men 
may first have come to speak poetry accidentally, for lan- 
guage arose, like other human habits, as a thing of use* But 
the charming and delightful expression of feelings and ideas 
came to be cherished in themselves, so that what was first an 
accident in man's life, may become a deliberate practice* 
When this creation of beautiful objects, or the beautiful ex- 
pression of feelings or ideas is intentional, we call it art* In 
such intentional creation and cherishing of the beautiful man's 
life becomes enriched and emancipated* He learns not only 
to live, but to live beautifully* 

In such activity men, as has been recognised by social re- 
formers from Plato to Bertrand Russell, are genuinely happy, 
and there alone find freedom. For in the creation of beauty 
man is not performing actions because he must, under the 
brutal compulsion of keeping alive. He is acting simply be- 
cause action is delightful both in the process and in the result. 
Whether in business, politics, or achokrship/meB are happy 
to the extent to which they have the sense of creation that is 
peculiarly the artist's, 

The products of art, moreover, are not desirable because 
they bring other goods, but because they themselves are in- 
trinsically delightful. Men love to live in a world in which 
their marble has been made into statues, in which their houses 
are things of beauty rather than merely places in which to 
live* Their lives are enriched by living m a sooiety where 
the thoughts and emotions which they oommuBicata to 

1 Saoitayana; R&mn tn Art, p. 16* 


another and which they must somehow express can be not 

infrequently expressed with nobility and music. Through 
science Nature becomes man's tool; through art it can be- 
come a beautiful instrument to work with, and a lovely thing 
in and for itself. 



Food, shelter, and sex. Thus far our analysis has been con* 
fined to the general types of human behavior. We have 
found that all human activity is conditioned by a native 
equipment consisting of certain more or less specific tenden- 
cies to action, and that these may be modified into acquired 
tendencies called u habits." We have found that through the 
processes of reflection, through imaginative trial and error, 
both of these may, within limits, be controlled. We must 
now proceed to an inventory of those elements of our native 
equipment which have an especial significance in social life* 

In the first place, we must note the three great primary 
drives of human action, the unlearned and native demands 
for food, shelter, and sex gratification, 1 Although the last- 
named does not display itself in human beings until a consid- 
erable degree of maturity has been attained there is indubita- 
ble evidence that it is an inborn and not an acquired reaction* 
The practical utility of the first two is apparent; they are the 
most essential features of the group of so-called self-preeerv* 
ative instincts, among which may be grouped the natural 
tendency to recover one's equilibrium arid the instmet of 
flight in the face of dangerous or threatening objeate. The 
utility of the sex instinct is racial rather than Individual* The 
instinctive satisfaction human beings find in sex gmtifioation 
is the natural guarantee of the continuance of the moa* 

In a general survey of this nature it is impossible, as It ii 

* The reader must be reminded that the simpler reflexes Involved ix* the 
use of the heart, lun&fl, intestines, and all the internal organs, must be cl&s^d 
as part of man's imtive equipment* They differ froaa those xmetioaii eom- 
moniy clashed as iatinot to th&t thuy &r nirapkr and stabler, that te thdr 
normal functioning they never rin to conciouene, mid that they are nlmoftt 
completely beyond the indi virtual ' modification or control. 


unnecessary, to examine in detail the physiological elements 
of the demand for food and shelter. It will suffice to point 
out that the first two are the ultimate biological bases of a 
large proportion of our economic activities. They are pri- 
mary, not in the sense that they are constantly conscious 
motives to action, but that their fulfillment is prerequisite to 
the continuance of any of the other activities of the organism* 
Agriculture and manufacture, the complicated systems of 
credit and exchange which human beings have devised, are, 
for the most part, contrivances for the fulfillment of these 
fundamental demands. With the complexity of civilization 
new demands, of course, arise, but these fundamental neeessH 
ties are still the ultimate mainsprings of economics production* 
The demand for sex gratification, IxwauHG of its enormous 
driving force and the emotional diHturbaneos connected with 
it, oilers a peculiarly acute mutants of the difficulties brought 
about in the control of man'a native endowment in MB own 
beat interest While the production of offspring is ita chief 
biological utility, satisfaction of the cx inwtinct itwclf fa fttimu* 
lated in human beings quite apart from conHido rations of the 
desirability or tmdewrability of offspring, Hinco tho BOX in* 
stinct is at once so deep-rooted and intense a driving foro a in 
human action, and its consctquonces of such crucial impor- 
tance to both those directly involved and to the group as a 
whole, societies have, through law and custom and tradition* 
built up elaborate codes for its control In civili^cl society 
the free operation of this instinct is chocked in a thousand 
ways* But, as in the ease of other primitive motives to a*> 
tion, the sex instinct, obvious an are the <15g&Bter$ of <liama 
and disorganization which follow an consequences of its un- 
controlled indulgence, cannot altogether be repressed* 

It Is generally recognised that in mm and animati alike the se& 
impulse in apt to manifest It$elf in very vigorous and 
aSorti toward ita natural eridj and that In oujmelven it m&y 
mine very strong desire^ m the control of whi^h all tha 
forces of the developed pemonaiity, all our moral fteutunent* and 


ideals, and all the restraining influences of religion, law, custom 
and convention too often are confronted with a task beyond their 
strength. 1 

There is considerable agreement among students of the 
subject that the emotional energies aroused in connection 
with the sex instinct may be drained off into other channels, 
and serve to quicken and sustain both artistic creation and 
appreciation and social and religious enthusiasms of various 
kinds. And the sex instinct, as we shall find in our discussion 
of Racial Continuity (see p. 243) is the basis of the family. 

Physical activity. The difference between sticks and stones 
and living beings consists primarily in the fact that the latter 
are positively active; the former are passively acted upon, 
The stone will stay put, unless moved by some external agent, 
but even the amoeba will do something to its environment. 
It will stretch out pseudopodia to reach solid objects to which 
to cling; it will attempt to return to these objects when dis- 
lodged; it will actively absorb food. Higher up in the animal 
scale, " Eats run about, smell, dig, or gnaw, without real refer- 
ence to the business in hand. In the name way Jack (a dog) 
scrabbles and jumps, the kitten wanders and picks, the otter 
slips about everywhere like ground lightning, the elephant 
fumbles ceaselessly, the monkey pulls things about." * "The 
most casual notice of the activities of a young child reveals a 
ceaseless display of exploring and tenting activity* Objects 
are sucked, fingered and thumped; drawn and pushed, haifc* 
died and thrown/ 1 s 

When vitality is at its height in the waking period of a 
young child, its environment is a succession of stimulations to 
activity. Man's "innate tendency to fool" is notorious, a 
tendency particularly noticeable in children* Objects are 
responded to, not as means to ends, not with reference to their 
use, but simply for the sheer satisfaction of manipulation. 

nth ed. pp 399-400- 
* Hobhouse: Mind in Ewlutwn t p. X95* 
: Hm$ We Think, p. $1* 


Facial expressions, sounds, gestures, are made almost on any 
provocation; they are the expressions of an abundant "physi- 
ological uneasiness." The two-year-old is a mechanism that 
simply must and will move about, make all kinds of super- 
fluous gestures and facial expressions, and random sounds, aa 
it were, just to get rid of its stored-up energy. Man's laziness 
and inertia are not infrequently commented on by moralists, 
but it is not laziness and inertia per se; certainly in nonnai in- 
dividuals in the temperate zone, to do something moat of their 
waking time is a natural tendency and one intrinsically pleas- 
ant to practice. That the tendency to be active should vary 
in different individuals and at different times is, of course, as 
important a fact as it Is a familiar one. Home of the causes of 
this variation will bo noted in tho succeeding* 

In adult life for casual and random activity in substituted 
activity directed by some end or purpose which determines 
the rcBpont&H called into play. Professional and business, do- 
mentie and social enterprises and obligations take up most of 
the adult's energy. The contrast Iwtwoen the play of the 
child and the work of the adult in that in the a*$e of the 
former actions are done for their own sake; and in the latter 
for some end. The child, we say, plays "for the fun of the 
thing," the adult works for pay, for professional success, for 
power, reputation, ate. 

But even in the adult the desire for play powerfully per- 
aitrtH. Not all the grown-up^ energy in Absorbed in his work, 
and even some types of work, like that of the poet or painter, 
or the? building-up of a great inwimw organisation, may be 
mtrmHieally delightful and fleltauf&rient activity* Under the 
conditions of modern industry, however, especially of machine 
production, much in many caa r most ~ of the activity 
by which an individual earns hin living, utilize* only nome of 
his native tendencies to act, while the working day d<m not, 
under normal conditions, absorb ail his energy. Whatever 
vitality is not, therefore! absorbed in necessary work goai into 
forms of purely gratuitous activity* Which form "pity* 


shall take in the adult depends on the degree to which certain 
impulses are in him stronger than others, either by native en- 
dowment or cultivation, and which impulses have not been 
sufficiently utilized in him during the day's work, A man 
musically gifted will find his recreation in some performance 
on a musical instrument, let us say; on the other hand, if his 
work is music, those impulses, strong though they be, that 
make him a musician, will have been sufficiently exhausted in 
the clay's work to make some other activity a more satisfac* 
tory recreation. 

The relations between play and work can be better under- 
stood by a consideration of the physiological importance of 
variety in activity. A certain regular recurrence of response 
may be pleasant, as in rowing or canoeing, or in listening to 
the rhythms of poetry or music, but a prolonged repetition of 
precisely the same stimulus or the same set of stimuli may 
make responses dissatisfying to the degree of pain. Ideal 
activity, biologically, would be one where every impulse was 
just sufficiently frequently called upon to make response easy, 
fluent, and satisfactory* 

The reason "work" has traditionally come to be regarded 
as unpleasant and " play " as pleasant is not because the former 
is activity and the second is torpor* Leisure does not neces- 
sarily mean laziness. Many a vacation, a camping party, a 
walking expedition, is literally more strenuous than the work 
an individual normally does* But work means human energy 
expended for the sole purpose of accomplishing some end. 
And an end involves the deliberate shutting-out of every 
impulse which does not contribute to its fulfillment. A man 
weeding a garden may tire of the weeding long before he is 
really physically exhausted* One response is being repeat* 
edly made, while at the same time a do&en other impulses are 
being stimulated* When Tom Sawyer, under the compulsion 
of his aunt, is whitewashing a fence, it fa shortly no fun for 
Mm. But h can make other boys pay him apple-oores 
jackkmves for th$ iwa of wielding the brush. 


What we call the feeling of boredom depends principally 
upon the too repeated stimulation of one set of activities to 
the exclusion of all others, the continuous presence of a kind of 
stimulation to which we have been rendered unsusceptible, as, 
for example, bad popular music to a cultivated musical taste, 
or intricate chamber music to an uncultivated one. The 
feeling of boredom may become physiologically acute, as in 
the case, so frequent in machine production, of literally mo- 
notonous or one-operation jobs. Long hours of labor at acts 
calling out only one very simple response may have very seri- 
ous effects. In the first place, in the work itself, since repeti- 
tions of one or one simple set of responses may impair speed 
and accuracy. On the part of the worker, it promotes vary- 
ing degrees of stupefaction or irritation. Excesses of drink, 
gambling, and dissipation among factory populations are 
often traceable to this continual frustration of normal in- 
stincts during working hours, followed by a violent search for 
stimulation and relaxation after work is over- Under condi- 
tions of machine production, the responses which the worker 
must make are becoming increasingly simple and automatic* 
Hence the problem of bringing variety into work and some- 
thing of the same vitality and spontaneity into industry that 
goes into play and art is becoming serious and urgent. 1 

Mental activity* Just as physical activity is a character- 
istic of all living beings, so, from almost earliest infancy of 
human beings, is mental activity. This does not mean that 
individuals from their babyhood are continually solving prob- 
lems. Deliberation and reflection are simply the mature and 
disciplined control of what goes on during all of our waking 
hours random play of the fancy, imagination. We are not 
always controlling our thought, but so long as we are awakr 
something is, as we say, passing through our heads, Every 
thing that happens about us provokes some suggestion or Idea, 
"Day-dreaming, building of castles in the air, that loose fluac 
of casual and disconnected material that floats through our 
1 See Helen Marot; Creative Impulse in Industry, 


mnds In relaxed moments, are, In this random wnsp, thinking. 
More of our waking life than we should earci to admit, evc'u to 
ourselves, is likely to be wlrilcd away in this iwonsequc'ntia! 
trifling with idle fancy and unsubstantial hope/ 1 1 

This play of the imagination is most uncontrolled and 
spontaneous in childhood, which is often eharaetemt iealiy 
defined as the period of make-believe or fancy. It in thin ca- 
pacity which enables the child to use chains as locomotive*, 
sticks as rifles, arid wheelbarrows an automobiles, AH w 
grow older we tend to discipline this vagrant dreaming, and to 
draw only those suggestions from object H which tally with the 
workaday world we live in. We Htop playing with our imagi* 
nation and put our minds to work. But in adult life desire 
for the play of the mind, like* the desire, for the play of the 
body, persists. The endeavor of education IB not to crush but 
to control it. 

Imagination, used here in the sense of random mental 
activity, may be controlled in two ways, lx>th significant for 
human welfare. When it is controlled with reference to Home 
emotional theme, as in fiction, drama, and potttry, it htu* no 
reference necessarily to actual objects or e.venfn; it in con- 
cerned only with producing the effect of emotional ctmgruity 
between incidents, objects* forms, or wnmdH. A great novel 
does not protend to be a literal transcript of expwienw), nor 
a, portrait of an actual person. When random mental activity 
is thus controlled, it IB 'Mmaginatkm/' in the popular nanne* 
the sense in which poeto, painter*, and dramatist* art* called 
imaginative artiste* 

Imagination controlled with refiwnee to facts produces 
genuine reflection and Hcicnco* To put it in another way, no 
matter how complicated thinking becomes, no matter how 
suggestions are examined and regulated with rrferenoe tc> the 
facts at hand, new ideas, thaoriw, and hyputhcNm wcur to 
the thinker precisely by this upuhoot erf inwponsible 
and suggestions. Tbm free and fertile play of the 

: Uow We Tkv*. p, a. 


tion is what characterizes the original thinker more than any 
other single fact. Suggestions arise, as it were, willy-nilly, 
depending on an individual's inheritance, his past experience, 
his social position, all at the moment uncontrollable features 
of his situation, We can, through scientific method, examine 
and regulate suggestions once they arise, but their appearance 
is in a sense casual and unpredictable, like the fancies in a clay* 
dream. The greatest scientific discoveries have been made in 
a sudden "flash of imagination/ 7 as when to the mind of Dar- 
win, after twenty years 7 painstaking collection of facts, their 
explanation through the single encompassing formula of evo- 
lution occurs, or when to the mind of Newton the hypothesis 
of gravitation suddenly suggests itself. 

The encouragement of a lively play of the mind over experi- 
ence, the stimulation of imagination or what Bertrand Rus- 
sell calls "the joy of mental adventure" is thus one of the 
most important sources of art and science. The arousing of 
imagination depends primarily on the inherited curiosity of 
man which varies from the random and restless exploring 
of the child to the careful and persistent investigation of the 
trained scientist. The curiosity which prompts the child to 
experiment with objects in a hit-or-miss fashion is little more 
than the physiological overflow of action which has been noted 

Curiosity becomes more distinctively mental when it m 
social in character, when the child explores and experiments 
not by its own manipulations but by communication, by ask* 
ing questions of other people. 

When the child learns that he can appeal to othern t<> eke out his 
store of experiences, so that, if objects fail to respond interestingly to 
Ms experiments, he may call upon persons to provide interesting ma- 
terial, a new epoch aets in. "What is that?" " Why ? f * become tha 
unfailing aigns of a child's presence. At first this questioning is 
hardly more than a projection into social relations of the physical 
overflow which earlier kept the child pushing and pulling, opening 
and shutting* He asks in succession what holds up the bouai, wfa&$ 
holds up the soil that holds the house, what holds tip tha earth that 


holds the soil; but his questions are not evidence of any genuine 
consciousness of rational connections. His why m not a remand 
for scientific explanation; the motive behind it in simply euf^rwrn 
for a larger acquaintance with the mysterious work! in which he m 
placed. The search is not for a law or principle, but only for a big- 
ger fact But in the feeling, however dim, that the facts whirh 

directly meet the sense are not the whole story, that thoro is more 
behind them and more to come from them, lim the germ of inidk^ 
ual curiosity. 1 

Curiosity passes thus from casual rudimentary inquiry 
into genuinely scientific investigation. Ai first it IB mtwly 
physical manipulation, then merely disconnected que*tt ion- 
ings; It becomes genuinely intellectual when it patron from 
"inquisiliveneH" to inquiry. To \m inquzMitivr means 
merely to want to know facts rather than to aolvo problems, 
To te scientifically inquiring is to neck on on*V own account 
the significant relations Ixstween thingR. But thews earlier 
and more ca&ual forma of curiosity an* not to he dpHpimtd. If 
developed and controlled they lead to genuinely dimntcit'ittpd 
study of Nature and of mem, to the* spirit and the methods of 
science. That free play of imagination which wa$ Bpukcn of 
above as the chief source of original thinking and discovery 
is stimulated by an active hunting*out of new HUftgroticm*. 
Curiosity might afao be defined m aggressive imagination, 
which, frequent enough in children, renmitw among adult* to 
a pronounced degree only in gcntumn of art and science* Wa 
may not agree with Bcrtrand EuBsell that " everything is don 
in education to kill it/' but the dogmatism and fixity of mind 
which so soon settle down on maturity* the inability to ba 
sensitive to new experiences, these aro dkoonrapii^ly famil- 
iar phenomena clearly inimical to science and to progress. 

An active imagination that fmda naw materials to play 
over is the basis of both geience and art* A altilif ul matiipuli^ 
tiftn of its materials in words or soundi! oolon y or lines nmkm 
its result art. Their controlled ecmmmatibB and wynimmlim* 
tion matos them scianea* 

1 Dowey: Iw. cii,, p. 32, 


Quiescence Fatigue, That all life, animal and human, 
is characterized by activity of a more or less persistent and 
positive kind has already been noted, But in human beings, 
as well as in animals, activity displays a "fatigue curve/' 
The repeated stimulation of certain muscles produces 
fatigue toxins which impair the efficiency of response and 
make further stimulation painful. Of the causes of thin les- 
sened functional efficiency we may quote from Miss Gold- 
mark's painstaking study; 

During activity, as will be shown later, the productn of chemical 
change increase, A tirccl person is literally and actually a poisoned 
person poisoned by his own waste products. But HO marvellously 
is the body constructed that, like a running at ream, it purifien itnelf, 
and during repose those toxic impurities are normally hurned up by 
the oxygen brought by the* blood, excreted by the kidneys, destroyed 
in the liver, or eliminated from the body through the lunga. So rent 
repaires fatigue. 1 

In physical activity, therefore, period** of lemoned activity 
or change of activity, or nearly complete inactivity an in 
sleep, are not only desirable but wwsssary, if dfidoncy m to IKS 
maintained* The demand fur rest IB an imperative phywo- 
logieai demand. The amount of recuperation demanded by 
the organism varies in different individuate, but that there are 
certain limits of human productivity him bean made incmw* 
ingly clear by a careful study of the effect** of fatigue upon 
output in industrial occupations* Repeatedly* the shortening 
of working hours, especially when they have previously num- 
bered more than eight, has been found to be correlated with 
an increase in efficiency. Likewise, the provision of rest pe* 
riods as in telephone-operating and the needle trails, hew in 
nearly every cane increased the amount and quality of the 
work performed. The human machine in order to be mcmt 
effective cannot be pressed too hard. A striking illustration 
was offered in England at the beginning of the war. Under 
pressure of war necessity, the munition factories ralwed all 
* Goldm&jrk* J.; ffati&w and Eflk&metti p. 13. 


restrictions on working hours and operated on a seven-day 
week. The folly of this procedure was tersely summarized by 
the British Commission investigating industrial fatigue, 
which reported : " It is almost a commonplace that seven days' 
labor produces six days 7 output." 

In the study of industrial conditions, the effects of pro- 
longed and repeated fatigue upon output have not been the 
only features taken into consideration. Not only are there 
immediately observable effects in the decreased output of the 
worker, but fatigue means, among other thing**, general loss 
of control. This has the effect of producing on the part of 
overworked factory hands dissipation and overstimulation In 
free time, with a consequent permanent impairment of effi- 
ciency. 1 Both for the laborer himself and for the efficiency 
of the industrial system, it has been increasingly recognized 
that limitation of working houw is imperatively demanded. 
Best is as fundamental a need as food, and its deprivation 
almost as serious in its effects. 

Nervous and mental fatigue. The conditions of nervous 
and mental fatigue have been lew adequately studied than 
the types of purely physiological fatigue just dirtcuKsedL It Is 
difficult in experiments to discount the effects of muscular 
fatigue, and to discover how far there is really impairment of 
nervous tissue and functions* Experimental studies do show 
that "nervous fatigue is an undoubted fact" 2 and that "we 
cannot deny fatigue to the psychic centers** 3 which, like any 
other part of the organism are subject to deterioration by 
fatigue toxins. Most students report, however, a higher de- 
gree of resistance to fatigue in the nerve fibers than in the 
muscles, and a like high resistance to fatigue in the brain 
centers, 4 

1 For a striking array of testimony oa this point 80 Goldmarfc; loc ciL 9 
pp* 220-35, 

* Frederick S, Lee : 4 ' PhySoai Bxercisa from tha Stmadpdnt of PhyiJotogy " 
Scimoet N,S, vol. acxix, no* 744, p. 525, 

* I*e: Fo$0i*. Harvey 3Uettir*i, 1905-06, p. 180, 

* For & nummary of rvou fatigue and ftxtwurfv* bibliography* sm Gold* 
mark; toe. tit,, p. 32, 


The conditions of mental fatigue, however, can be by no 
means as simply described as those of physical fatigue. Elab- 
orate experiments by Professor Thorndike and others tend to 
show that, in the strictest sense of the term, there is no such 
thing as mental fatigue. That Ls, any mental function may 
be performed for several hours with the most negligible de- 
crease in the efficiency of the results attained. The nubject of 
one experiment kept continuously for seven hours pel-forming 
mental multiplications of four-place numbers by four-place 
numbers with scarcely any perceptible decrease in speed or 
accuracy in results, 1 Professor Thorndike draws from thia 
and similar experiments the conclusion that it Is practically 
impossible to impair the efficiency of any mental function as 
such. What happens when wo say our mental efficiency is 
being impaired is rather that wo will not than that we <xiwwt 
perform any given mental function. The eaunen of loss of 
efficiency are rather competing impulses 2 than fatigue in 
specific mental functions. We are tired of ihe work, not by 
it. Continuous mental work of any given kind, writing a 
book, solving problems in calculus, translating French, etc., 
involves our being withheld from other activities, games, 
music, or companionship, to which by force of habit or in- 
stinct, we are diverted, and diverted more acutely the more 
we remain at a fixed task* That it is not mental " fatigue n so 
much as distraction that prevents UB from persisting at work 
is evidenced in the longer time we <tan fitick to work that 
really intcrcHtH TIB than to tanks in which we have only a per- 
functory or compulsory interest, The college student who m 
41 too dead tired" to Htay up studying trigonometry will, 
though in th Hain condition, Btoy up studying football 
strategy, rehejwHmg for a varnity ahow, or getting oujt the 
next morning's edition of his college paper, "If each man 
did the mental work for which ha was fit, and which ha en* 
Joyed, men would work willingly much longer than they now 

* T. Ami: Mmtal 

* Tkorndik; Mduwtimal PtyMtoWt Brtito Couaret , p. 823, 


do." * The effects of mental fatigue are, when analyzed, due 
chiefly to the physically injurious effects that do, but do not 
necessarily, accompany mental work. 

Proper air and light, proper posture and physical exercise, enough 
food and sleep, and work whose purpose is rational, whose difficulty 
is adapted to one's powers, and whose rewards are just, should be 
tried before recourse to the abandonment of work itself. It is indeed 
doubtful if sheer re&t is the appropriate remedy for a hundredth part 
of the injuries that icsult from mental work in our present irrational 
conduct of it. 2 

The study of the conditions of mental work seems to reveal, 
in brief, that the conditions of fatigue are essentially physical 
in character. Given adequate physical conditions, in particu- 
lar guarding against eye-strain, over-excitement (which means 
distraction from the work in hand), and loss of sleep, mental 
work is itself peculiarly unaffected by fatigue conditions. The 
degree in which mental work can be persisted in depends, 
therefore, other things being equal, on the individual's own 
interests, the number and intensity of rival interests which 
persist during a given piece of mental work, and the habits of 
mind with which the individual approaches his work* 

The experimental demonstration that so-called mental 
fatigue is largely physical in its conditions has thus a dual 
significance* It indicates how arduous and persistent mental 
endeavor may be and how wide are the possibilities of intellec- 
tual accomplishment. It is an important fact for human life 
that the brain is possibly the most tireless part of the human 
machine* What seems to be mental fatigue can be materially 
reduced if the physical conditions under which studying, 
writing, and all other kinds of mental work are performed are 
carefully regulated* Another large part of what passes for 
mental fatigue will be removed if the individual becomes 
trained to a reflective appreciation of the end of his work* A 
habit of alert and conscious attention, if it is really habitual* 

1 Thorndike: Educational Pavcholoay, Briefer Course, p. 326. 

* ibid., p. am 


will enable one to persist at work in the face of tempting dis- 
tractions. Learning to "tend to business" by an intelligent 
application to the aims of the work to be done, will be a 
healthy antidote against that yielding; to every dissuading 
impulse which so often passes for mental weariness. 


Man as a social being, Man has long been defined as the 
"social animal/' and it is certainly characteristic of human 
activity that it takes place largely with reference to other peo- 
ple. Many of man's native tendencies, such as those of sex, 
self-assertiveness, and the like, require the presence and con- 
tact of other people for their operation. Nineteenth-century 
philosophers attempted frequently to explain how individuals 
who were natively self-seeking ever came to act socially. The 
solution to this problem was usually found in the fact that pre- 
cisely those self-seeking and self-preservation instincts which 
governed man's activity could not find satisfaction except 
through cooperation with a group. All man's social activity 
was conceived as purely instrumental to the gratification, of 
his own egoistic desires. Man got on with his fellows simply 
because he could not get on without them. We shall see that, 
in the light of the specific and natural tendencies toward so- 
cial behavior which are part of man's original equipment, this 
sharp psychological isolation between the individual and the 
group is an altogether unwarranted assumption. For it is 
just as native to man to act socially as it is for him to be hun- 
gry, or curious, or afraid. The element of truth in the nine- 
teenth-century exaggeration of man's individuality lies in the 
fact that social activity is partly brought about in the satis- 
faction of the more egoistic impulses of the individual. u The 
fear motive drives men together in times of insecurity; the 
pugnacity motive bands them together for group combat; the 
economic motive brings industrial cooperation and organisa- 
tion ; the self-assertive and submissive tendencies bring emu- 
lation as well as "obedience; the expansion of the self to cover 
one's family, one's clique, one's class, one's country eontrib- 


utes to loyalty; while the parental instinct, expanding its 
scope to cover others besides children who are helpless, leads 
to self-sacrifice and altruism." l 

The fact is, however, that while social activity is promoted 
because individuals find in cooperation the possibility of the 
satisfaction of their egoistic desires, social activity is prima- 
rily brought about through the specifically social tendencies 
which are part of our native equipment. It is with these 
natural bases of social activity that we shall in this chapter be 
particularly concerned. We shall have to take note, in the 
first place, of a native tendency to bo with other people, to 
feel an unlearned sense of comfort in their presence, and un* 
easiness if too much separated from them, physically, or in 
action, feeling, or thought, Human beings tend, further- 
more, to reproduce sympathetically the emotion** of others, 
especially those of their own social and economic groups. 
Thirdly, man's conduct is natively social in that IKS J by na- 
ture specifically sensitive to praise and blame, that hi* will 
modify his conduct HO as to secure the one and avoid the 
other* Finally, besides the, specific tendencies to respond to 
the presence, the feelings, the actions, and the thoughts of 
others, man displays a " capacity for nodal Ixthavior." And, 
as is the case with all native capacities, man has, therefore, a 
native interest in group or nodal activity for its own sake, 

The predominantly social character of human behavior has 
thua a twofold explanation. It h bused, in the first place, on 
the group of native tendencies of a social character to which 
we have already referred. It is based, secondly, on the noca&* 
sily for group activity and cooperation which the individual 
experiences in the satisfaction of his egoistic impulses and d* 
sires* Man, because* of Im original tendencies, wants to live* 
act, think, ami feel with others; for the satisfaction of his non- 
social impulses he must live with others. And in civilised 
society human action from almost earliest childhood is in, and 
with reference to, a group* Human behavior is thua mm to 
* E* 8* Wood worth; Dgmmk Ptyriotow, p, 304* 


be that of an essentially social nature acting in an essentially 
social environment. And, as in the case of other instinctive 
and habitual activities, human beings experience in social 
activity an immediate satisfaction apart from any satisfac- 
tions toward which it may be the instrument. 

Gregariousness. The "herd instinct" is manifested by 
many animals very low in the scale of animal development. 
McDougall quotes in this connection Francis Galton's clas- 
sical account of this instinct in its crudest form: "Describ- 
ing the South African ox in Damaraland, he says he displays 
no affection for his fellows, and hardly seems to notice their 
existence, so long as he is among them; but, if he becomes 
separated from the herd, he displays an extreme distress that 
will not let him rest until he succeeds in rejoining it, when he 
hastens to bury himself in the midst of it, seeking the closest 
possible contact with the bodies of his fellows/ 7 1 

This original tendency exhibits itself among human beings 
in a variety of ways. The tendency of human beings to herd 
together, for which there is evidence in the earliest history of 
the race, may be observed on any crowded thoroughfare, or 
in any amusement park, or city. That group life has ex- 
panded partly through practical necessity, is, of course, true, 
but groups of humans tend to become, an in our monster cit- 
ies, larger than they need be, or can be for economic efficiency. 

The fascination of city life has not infrequently been set 
down to the multiplicity of opportunities offered in the way 
of companions, amusements, and occupations after one's own 
taste, But the fascination has clearly a more instinctive 
basis, the desire to be with other people. Many a man, as 
has been pointed out, lives in a large city as unsociable and 
secluded a life as if he were surrounded by miles of mountain 
or prairie, who yet eould not be happy elsewhere. Any one 
who has failed to be amused by a really good comedy when 
the theater was comparatively empty, or in the presence of 
thousands of others hugely enjoyed a second-rate baseball 

* McDcwgall: Social Psychology, p. 84- 


game, or gone down to the crowded shopping district to get 
what he could have purchased on a side-street uptown, can 
appreciate how instinctive is this undiscriminating desire for 

The native intensity of this desire is what makes rural 
isolation, on the other hand, BO unsatisfactory. The bleak- 
ness of New England country life UK pictured in Edith 
Wharton's Ethan Frame, or in Home of Robert Front V North 
of Boston, is due more than anything cine to thin privation 
from companionship* Perhaps nothing bettor could be said 
for the rural telephone, the interurban trolley, and the cheap 
automobile than that they make possible the fulfillment of 
this normal human longing to be near and with other people 
in body and spirit. The horror which maken it practically 
impossible in civilized countries to legalise punishment by 
solitary confinement and the nervous collapse* which such 
confinement brings about arc indication** of how deep-Heatiui 
is this desire. 

The, "herd hist met," like all the of her of inunV original 
tendencies, i edueable, It can be trained to respond to 
groups of various wizen and kinds, In its simplest manifesto 
tion it tendB to be arouwul by the family, but in the history 
of civilization the group tends progressively to enlarge, The 
family, the town, the nation the Kregarioutt instinct may be 
educated tc> respond to thee ever-widening group. The 
intensity ami controlling power of thin instinct over our ac- 
tions HecmB to vary with the degree of intimacy and inter- 
communication between the individual mid the group. In 
primitive society il is most hitenne among the family and 
clan, and the family still remains in civilized Hooiety, certainly 
in rural districts, a very closely knit primary group. But as 
intercommunication widens, & mmm of attachment to and 
solidarity with a larger group tegins to make itaeif felt. That 
intercommunication in largely important in xtandltig the 
group it* raqxmtje to which the herd instinct may be arotiiCKi, 
is well iliustmted by the utter lack of national group fooling 


exhibited during the Great War by recruits drafted from l&e* 
backwoods districts where they had been tied by no railroads 
or newspapers to the national civilization of which they were 
a part. 

The devotion of generous-hearted souls to "lost causes/ * 
whether political or religious, of the individual to his family 
or friends in the face of personal privation, are classic illus- 
trations of the power of men's gregarious instinct even in the 
face of the dictates of reason. In the perhaps extreme but 
nevertheless suggestive statement of Mr. Trotter: 

He [man] is more sensitive to the voice of the herd than to any 
other influence. It can inhibit or stimulate Ms thought and conduct* 
It is the source of his moral codes, of the sanctions of his ethics and 
philosophy. It can endow him with energy, courage and endurance, 
and can as easily take these away. It can make him acquiesce in his 
own punishment, and embrace his executioner, submit to poverty f 
bow to tyranny, find sink without complaint under starvation. Not 
merely can it make him accept hardship and suffering unresistingly, 
but it can make him awopt an truth tho explanation that his per- 
fectly preventable afflictions are sublimely just and genilo. It is 
this acme of the power of herd suggestion that is perhaps the most 
absolutely incontestable proof of the profoundly gregarious nature 
of man, 1 

To how largo a group the individual can respond with spon- 
taneous and instinctive loyalty i questionable. The small 
child throws out his arms and exclaims passionately, "I love 
the whole world," Auguste Comte could bo imbued with a 
fervor for " humanity " in the abstract. The idea of a League 
of Nations arouses in some minds a passionate devotion to a 
world order that to those thcmselvett habituated to an intense 
loyalty to the national group seems incredible. Certainly it is 
true that we rapidly outgrow that state of mind common to 
enthusiastic adolescence when we can develop a love for the 
universe in the abstract. The instinct of gregariousncas 
seems unquestionably to be most intense where there is in- 
timacy and vividness of group association. The primary 
* Trotter: Iwtimts oj tfa Herd in P&m and War* pp, 114*- 15, 


groups, as Professor Ross calls them, are face-toface associ- 
ations, the family, the play group, the neighborhood group. 
If " world patriotism" is a possibility, it is because rapid 
communication and the frequency of travel, and the educa- 
tion of the industrial classes to "the international mind" tend 
to break down barriers and to make distant countries and 
persons vivid and directly imaginable. But there seema to be 
no substitute for direct personal contact. Even devotion to 
a country tends to take the form of phrases, places, persons, 
and symbols, to which we have been familiarised. 

Gregariousness important for social solidarity. The gre- 
garious instinct, powerful as it is, in of the greatest significance 
for social solidarity, and, if misdirected, for seriously limiting 
it. It is, in the first place, the trait without* which social 
solidarity would bo ail most impoHsibU*, " In early times when 
population wan ncanty, it must have played an important 
part in aocial evolution by keeping men together, and thereby 
occasioning the need for ocinl lawn and hmtiiuf iom n * The 
coherence of national, political, or religious gwupn depends 
primarily on the extent to which the gregariotw instinct may 
be aroused, Allegiance, to a group may, of eourne, 1* twcurnd 
through participation hi common ideate. Thin it* iltuntratcd 
in the ease of the numeroim literary and Bekmtifk afwoeiations 
that cut across national boundaries and knit ink) groups im* 
ilarly interested persona all over th world* Groups may, 
again, ho formed through common economic interest^ aa in 
the ease 1 ; of labor unkmn, or employer** 1 associations Groups 
may tw knit and trttngt!iend through law and cuHtom. And 
all these, factors play a smaller or larger part in any important 
grouping of men in contemporary society. But unless thari 
is, on the part of the membcrfi of the group, a deep-seated 
emotional attachment to the group itnelf, solidarity will b 
very prec&rious. The intensity and solidarity of feolixi| 
exhibited so markedly during war4irne in made pcwibie l^y 
tha intens excitability of this inBtinet when the poup ii 

i; Social Psychology, p. 301. 


under conditions of stress or danger. Any scheme for enlist- 
ing a great number of individuals in modern society in a 
scheme of social reform or improvement, must and does, 
when it is successful, arouse in him a heightened sense of loy- 
alty to a group more than reasoned approval of a cause. 
Effective recruiting posters more often told the passer-by, 
"Your country needs you/' than they attempted to convince 
him in black-and-white logic of the justice of his country's 

Gregariousness may hinder the solidarity of large groups* 
While gregariousness is the foundation of group solidarity, it 
also interferes with the solidarity of large groups, and not in 
frequently brings about conflicts between them, and within 
groups themselves. Within even so small a community as 
a college class, cliques may form; and so in a country, at* 
tachment to the smaller group may inhibit attachment to 
the larger. An individual may be vaguely patriotic, but in- 
stinctively aroused more by his own economic or local or 
racial group than by the country as a whole* A man may at 
heart be more devoted to his town or home than to the United 
States. (Not infrequently his town or home is what the 
United States means to the citizen*) Even to-day the se<> 
tional feeling that exists in many parts of the country cannot 
be completely explained as occurring through separate eeo* 
nomic interests* The division of classes within a country is 
largely an economic matter, but even in such a situation a 
loyalty develops to the class as a class or group* 

Again, the same instinct to herd with his fellows that makes 
a man intensely loyal to his own group may operate to make 
him indifferent to the difficulties or jealous and suspicion of 
the aims of others Gregariousness is the basis not only of 
patriotism, but of chauvinism, not only of civic pride, but of 
provincialism. The narrowness and parochialism of group 
attachments is most pronounced where groups and communi- 
ties are rigidly set off one from another. In such circumstances 
community of feeling and understanding m largely reduced. 


This may bo seen even under contemporary conditions in the 
comparatively complete, inability of different professional, 
social, and economic groups within iho same society to under- 
stand each other, and the proverbial ignorance and careless- 
ness of one half of the population as to **how the other half 
lives." Narrowness of group feeling tends to grow less pro- 
nounced under the mobile conditions of modern industry, 
communication, and education, Trade relations knit the 
farthest parts of the globe together; this morning's newspaper 
puts us in touch with the whole of mankind. We have out* 
grown the days when every stranger was an enemy* But 
though the barriers between nations are tending to break 
down, within nations individuals tend, EB they grow older, to 
experience an insulated devotion to their own Bet or social 
group, a callous oblivion to the needs and dc sires of that great 
majority of mankind with whom they have a less keen senflg 
of "consciousness of kind." 

Gregariotisness in belief. Man's gregarious character, as 
already pointed out, is manifested not only in his desire to be 
physically with his fellows, but to be at ono with them in their 
actions, feelings, and thoughts. Beliefs onco OBtablinhcd tend 
to remain established if for no other reason than that they are 
believed in by the majority. That an opinion gains prattigo 
merely becaune we know other people believes it, in frequently 
illustrated by the facility with which rumor travels* At the 
end of tlus Great War, it wilt be* readied, the falsa nawn of th 
armttrticc report flaw from mouth to mouth and was accepted 
with the most amazing credulity Bimply because "everybody 
mud no." The spread of mipemtitionn and old wives* tales and 
their long lingering in the mindH even of intelligent people ii 
testimony tiiat men tend mentally as well as physically to 
herd together* 

The tendency to find comfort in the presence of ona*i fal- 
lows and uTicafinesft if too much separated from them, is ai 
pronounced in the sphere <rf moral and intellectual relation! 
as it is in the mm of merely physical prommity, We Wee tc 


be one of a crowd in our opinions and beliefs, as well as in our 
persons. There is hardly anything more painful than the 
sense of being utterly alone in one's opinions. Even the ex- 
treme dissenter from the accustomed ways of thinking and 
feeling of the majority is associated with or pictures some 
little group which agrees with him. And, if we cannot find 
contemporaries to share our extreme opinions, we at least 
imagine some ideal group now or in posterity to share it with 

Gregariousness in habits of action. But if men tend to 
think in groups they tend more % emphatically still to act in 
groups, to be acutely uncomfortable when acting in a fashion 
different from that customary among the majoritj? of their 
fellows. Habits of action are more deep-seated physiologically 
than habits of thought (which is one reason why our theories 
are so often in advance of our practice), People will accede 
intellectually to new ideas which they would not and could 
not practice, the mind being, as it were, more convertible 
than the emotions. Even in minor matters, in dress, speech, 
and manners, we like to do the accustomed thing. It is more 
painful for most people to use the wrong fork at dinner, or 
to be dressed in a business suit where every one else is in 
evening clothes, than to commit a fallacy, or to act upon 
prejudices rather than upon logical conclusions. 

The individual's instinctive desire to be identical in action 
with other members of his group, from the collars and clothes 
ha wears to the way he brings up his children, is greatly rein- 
forced by the punishment meted out to those who differ from 
the majority. This may vary from ridicule, as in the case of 
the laughter that greets the poet's proverbial long hair and 
flowing tie, the foreigner's accent, or a straw hat in April, to 
the confinement and privation that are the penalties for any 
marked infringement of the accepted modes of life. Even 
when the punishments are slight, they are effective* A man 
who has no moral or religious scruples with reference to gam* 
bling on any day of the week will, to avoid tb social ostracism 


of his neighbors, refrain from playing cards on his front porch 
on Sunday. For no other reason than to avoid being con- 
sciously different, many a man will not wear cool white 
clothes on a hot day in his office who will wear them on a cool 
evening at the seashore. 

The effect of gregarkmsness on innovation. A strong in- 
stinctive tendency to community of action and thought is in 
large part responsible for the comparative absence of inno- 
vation in either of these fields. A premium is put upon the 
conventional, the customary, the common, both in the mBtinc- 
tive satisfaction they give the individual, and in the high 
value set upon them by society. In advanced societies, how- 
ever, the habit of inquiry and originality may itsolf come to 
be endorsed by the majority, as it is among scientists and 
artists. The herd instinct need not always act on the side of 
unreason. Among the intellectual classes, it is already en- 
listed on the side of free inquiry, which among scholars is the 
fundamental common habit* 

If rationality wore once to become really respectable, if we feared 
the entertaining of an uriverifiable opinion with the warmth with 
which we fear using the wrong implement at the dinner table, if the 
thought of holding a prejudice disgusted UB as does a foul disease, 
then the dangers of man's suggestibility would be turned into 
advantages. 1 

Sympathy (a specialization of gregariousness). Sympa- 
thy, in the strict psychological sense of the term, moans a 
" siiffe^ng with, the experiencing of any feeling or emotion 
when and because we observe in other persons or creatures 
the expression of that feeling of emotion." 2 The behavior 
of animals exhibits the external features of sympathetic action 
very clearly* "Two dogs begin to growl or fight, and at one 
all the dogs within sound and sight stiffen themselves, and 
show every symptom of anger. Or one beast in a herd stands 
arrested, gazing in curiosity on some unfamiliar object, and 
presently his fellows also, to whom the object may be invin* 
* Trotter: ke. &, p. 45, MoDougiOl; loe. 0&, p. 93. 


ble, display curiosity and come up to join in the examination 
of the object." 1 

Human beings tend not only sympathetically to reproduce 
the instinctive actions of others/- but they tend, despite them- 
selves, to experience directly and immediately, often involun- 
tarily, the emotions experienced arid outwardly manifested 
by others. Almost every one lias hud his mood heightened 
to at least kindly joy by the presemetj hi a crowded street ear 
of a young child whose inquiring prattle 1 ami light-hearted 
laughter were subdued by the gray restraints and rcHponHibiii* 
ties of maturity. One melancholy fcu-e ran crush the joy of a 
boisterous and cheerful party; 5 the eagerness and enthusiasm 
of an orator can, irrespective of the merits of the cause ha is 
defending, provoke eagerness and enthusiasm for the name 
cause among an audience that dors not in the least understand 
what the orator is talking about. 

One brand of cigarettes wan recently advertised by the 
face of a young soldier, roguishly irresponsible, palpably and 
completely given over to joy, One found one's self trans- 
ported into something of this same mood before oiu; had a 
chance to speculate at all as to whether then* w*is any causal 
relation between the specific quality of tobacco the youngster 
was smoking, and that contagious, undeniable delight. What 
is called personal magnetism is perhaps more than anything 
else the ability to provoke in others sympathetic experiences 
of pleasant and exhilarating emotions. 

Sensibility to the emotions of others, though possessed by 

1 MoDougaii: to** ait,, p, 3* 

* **! maa infeatloiis laughter or yawning, walking in top. Imitating tJbt 
movement of a ropwulker, white wAtrhing him, funltng a tbook in oo*a Ig 
when on ua8 a man failing rmd a tin*Irl other oomiitimaMi of thin kind arc 
<j&se# of physiological iympftthy," Ittlmt i l'*yetofowi **/ *&# J8fmoliwi p 2S2, 

BaproducUon of the oiion of ottmr* htw by ovrtnin csba01 of pbil^opheri 
and psycholoifisU, notably Tardb, Lo Bon, find Baldwin, bm& iu*critKH,l to 
Imitation* But so experimental KttMirohfHi Imv rv*m!wl nny sueh ipscific? 
instittct to imltat (mm Thorndlka, p* 73 ft), and * l imitfttlotui of noU o&a 
generally be traced to sympathy, or tsuggftatioti which l nyuiptithy on an 
intellectual pUnft, 

* Such exprsidoi n "kill Joy/' **w bknkt t ** "Ufa of tht pmrty" iwm 
instances of the poptilwr uppreciAtioEi of the f&ct of 0dl 


almost all individuals, varies in degree. The complete ab- 
sence of it marks a man out as "stolid," "cold," "callous/* 
"brutal." Such a type of personality may be efficient and 
successful in pursuits requiring nothing besides a direct analy- 
sis of facts, uncolored by any irrelevant access of feeling, as in 
the case of mathematics and mechanics. But the geniuses 
even in strictly intellectual fields have frequently been men of 
sensitiveness, delicacy, and responsiveness to the feelings of 
others. That intellectual analysis, however, does frequently 
blunt the poignancy of feeling is illustrated in the case of John 
Stuart Mill, who writes in his Autobiography: 

Analytic habits may thus even strengthen the associations be- 
tween causes and effects, means and ends, but tend altogether to 
weaken those which arc, to speak familiarly, a mere matter of feeling* 
They are, therefore, I thought, favorable to prudence and clear-* 
sightedness, but a perpetual worm at the root both of the potions 
and of the virtues; and above all fearfully undermine all desires and 
. * . all except the purely physical and organic; of th entire insuffi- 
ciency of which to make life desirable, no one had a stronger eonvic** 
tion than I had. ... All those to whom I looked up were of the opin- 
ion that the pleasure of sympathy with human beings, and the 
feelings which made the good of others, and especially of mankind 
on a large scale, the object of existence, were the greatest and surest 
sources of happiness. Of the truth of this I was convinced, but to 
know that a feeling would make me happy if I had it, did not give 
me the feeling. 1 

A generous degree of susceptibility to the emotions of 
others makes a man what is variously called " mellow," "hu- 
mane/' "large-hearted," "gcneroua-soulod." The possession 
of such susceptibility is an asset, first, in that it enriches life 
for its possessor* It gives him a warm insight into the feel- 
ings, emotions, desires, habits of mind and action of other 
people, and gives to his experiences with them a vivid and 
personal significance not attainable by any hollow intellectual 
analysis. It is an asset, moreover, in the purely utilitarian 
business of dealing with men. The statesman or executive 
i Mill: Autcfoiogmvhy (Holt edition), p. 138, 


who deals with men as so many animate machine^ may 
achieve certain mechanical and arbitrary HHCCOSWJS. But he 
will be missing half the data on which hin decisions must \m 
based if he does not have a live and sensitive appreciation of 
how men feel when placed in given situations. The placing of 
women in positions of labor management where women chiefly 
are to be dealt with is an illustration of the recognition of the 
importance of sympathy, fellow-feeling in the management 
of human affairs. One of the reasons why many university 
scholars make poor teachers is because they cannot place 
themselves back at the point where a subject WHS as live and 
fresh and virgin to them as it is to their tud<*nt. 

An extraordinary degree or a decided hypertrophy of emo- 
tional susceptibility is as dangerous a trait EH its possession in 
a reasonable degree* is a utility and an enrichment of life* It 
results in the hysteria or Hentintentalinm which adds to tho 
real evils and difficulties of life fancied grievances arid din* 
asters. Such temperaments when confronted with any good 
or beautiful action dissolve into ecstasy, and when fared with 
a problem or a difficulty dissolve into team. Doctors will 
not treat their own children ln*euuse tin? overplus of sym- 
pathy is a hindrance, to action. Sentimental ladies arc not 
the most efficient charity workers or prisoner reformers, 

While there is a general tendency to cxix-dence Kympaf heli- 
cally the feelings of others, this lx*come specialised in inont 
people, and one tends to experience immt immediately and 
intensely the emotions of otie*$ own kind, physically, socially, 
and intellectually, Sympathy m a specialisation of man's 
general gregariou&nesf*, and Incomes more Kpc&iaH&ed aa one 
becomes habituated exclusively to a small group* Within 
this small group, individuals not only experience th emo* 
tions of others, but like to share and communicate their own 

The nearer people are to us in mode of life, social status, and 
intellectual interests, the closer is community of feeling and 
"consciousness of kind. 1 * Two Ainfiricsjas inciting in a for- 


eign country have a quick and sympathetic understanding of 
each other. Two alumni of the same college meeting in a 
distant city have a common basis of interest and feeling. 

This easy give-and-take of feeling and emotion makes the 
deep attractiveness of intimate companionship. Our com- 
panion has but to mention a name or a place, and we experi- 
ence the same associations, the pleasures, or antipathic which 
he does. A gesture, a curious glance of the eye, a pause*, we 
understand as quickly as if he had spoken a sentence. But 
not only do we understand his feelings; he (or nhe) under- 
stands ours. And for most people, all their interests and on- 
joyments are heightened by the presence of an intimately 
known companion. 

Many children manifest very clearly this tendency of active ym* 
pathy ; they demand that their every emotion shall bo shaml at onc. 
"Oh, come and look I" is their constant cry when out for a w*Uk t HIM! 
every object that excites their curiosity or admiration m brought at 
once, or pointed out, to their companion. . . , On the other hand, 
another child, brought up, perhapn, umkr identical conditions, but 
in whom this impulse is relatively weak, will exploit* a gnr<!on, 
interested and excited for hours together, without once fwling 
the need for sympathy, without once calling on others to rfiare 
Ms emotions* 1 

In adult life, few people care to go to theater or concert 
alone, and a man at a club will wander half through the dining* 
room until ho will find some one with whom he will feel like 
sitting through a dinner conversation. 

The fact that emotions exhibited in one individual are read* 
ily aroused In another makes art possible and mak<m it inter- 
esting. A poet by a phrase, a musician by a chord or melody, 
can suddenly reproduce in UB MB own feeling of gayaty or 
exaltation* A painter by disposition of line and color eaia 
suggest the majesty of mountains, or the sadness of a sunset 
as he himself has experienced it. In novels and dramas w 
can relive the feelings that the writer imagines to faavi beta 
* MoDougfcii: to, #. p. 172* 


experienced by others. It is testimony to the easy excit- 
ability of sympathy as well as to an artist's skill that this can 
sometimes be done in a few lines or paragraphs. Witness the 
famous opening of Poe's Fall of the House of Usher: 

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn 
of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively kw in the heavens, 
I had been passing alone on horseback, through a singularly dreary 
tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of evening 
drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not 
how it was but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of 
insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the 
feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, 
sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest 
natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene 
before me upon the mere house and the simple landscape features 
of the domain, upon the bleak walls, upon the vacant eye-like win- 
dows, upon a few rank sedges, and upon a few white trunks of de- 
cayed trees with an utter depression of soul which I can compare 
to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the 
reveller upon opium; the bitter lapse into everyday life, the^hideous 
dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening 
of the heart, an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading 
of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What 
was ft i paused to think what was it that so unnerved me in 
the contemplation of the House of Usher? 

To Aristotle tragedy seemed to afford a cleansing or 
"katharsis of the soul" through the sympathetic experience 
of pity or fear. To Schopenhauer music was the greatest of 
the arts because it made us at one with the sorrows and the 
strivings of the world. All the representative arts are vivid 
ways of making us feel with the passions or emotions that 
Btir mankind. And those men are poets, painters, or musi- 
cians who, besides having a unique gift of expression, whether 
in word, tone, or color, have themselves an unusually high 
sensitivity to the moods of other men and to the imagined 
moods of the natural scenes among which they move. 1 

1 Poets generally are so susceptible to emotional shades and nuances that 
they read them into situations where they are not present, and then repro- 
duce them sympathetically in their works. The so-called lt pathetic fallacy ,, 


In experience, the presence or absence of genuine sympathy 
with the emotions of others determines to no small extent the 
character of our dealings with them. Even courts of justice 
take motives into account and juries have been known to ask 
for clemency for a murderer because of their keen realization 
of the provocation which he had undergone. Fellow-feeling 
with others may again warp our judgments or soften them; 
in our judgment of the work of our friends, it is difficult alto- 
gether to discount our personal interest and affection. On 
the other hand, we may have the most sincere admiration and 
respect for a man, and yet be seriously hampered in our 
dealings with him, socially or professionally, by a total lack 
of sympathy with his motives and desires. 

Praise and blame. An important part of man's social 
equipment is his susceptibility to the praise and blame of his 
fellows. That is, among the things which instinctively sat- 
isfy men are objective marks of praise or approval on the part 
of other people; among the things which annoy them, some- 
times to the point of acute distress, are marks of disapproval, 
scorn, or blame. This is illustrated most simply and directly 
in the satisfaction felt at "intimate approval as by smiles, 
pats," kindly words, or epithets applied by other people to 
one's own actions or ideas, and the discomfort, amounting 
sometimes to pain, that is felt at frowns, hoots, sneers, and 
epithets of scorn or derision. One student of this subject 
notes "as early as the fourth month a l hurt* way of crying 
which seemed to indicate a sense of personal slight. It was 
quite different from the cry of pain or that of anger, but 
seemed about the same as the cry of fright. The slightest 
tone of reproof would produce it. On the other hand, if 
people took notice and laughed and encouraged, she was 
hilarious." * 

Man's sensitiveness to praise and blame is paralleled by his 
instinctive tendency to express them. 

is an excellent illustration of this. Poets sympathize with the emotions of a 
landscape, emotions which were, in the first place, their own. 


Smiles, respectful stares, and encouraging shouts occur, I think, as 
instinctive responses to relief from hunger, rescue from fear, gorgeous 
display, instinctive acts of strength and daring, victory, and other 
impressive instinctive behavior that is harmless to the onlooker. 
Similarly, frowns, hoots, and sneers seem bound as original responses 
to the observation of empty-handedness, deformity, physical mean- 
ness, pusillanimity, and defect. As m the case of all original tend- 
encies, such behavior is early complicated and in the end much dis- 
torted, by training; but the resulting total cannot be explained by 
nurture alone. 1 

Man's instinctive tendency to respond to praise and blame 
and to exhibit them is, next to gregariousness through 
which men in the first place are able to live together the 
individual human trait most significant for social life. For 
while the desire for praise, the avoidance of blame, and the 
expression of both are instinctive, the occasions on which they 
are called forth depend on the traditions and group habits to 
which the individual has been exposed. He soon learns that 
in the society in which he is living, certain acts will bring him 
the praise of others; certain other acts will bring him their 
disapproval. The whole scope of his activity may thus be 
profoundly modified by the penalties and prizes in the way 
of praise and blame which society attaches to different modes 
of action. And the more explicit and outward signs there are 
of the approval or scorn of others, the more will individual 
action be subject to social control. 

As Plato said so long ago and said so well: 

Whenever they [the public] crowd to the popular assembly, the 
law courts, the theaters, the camp, or any public gathering of large 
bodies, and there sit in a dense and uproarious mass to censure some 
of the things said or done, and applaud others, always in excess; 
shouting and clapping, until, in addition to their own noise, the rocks 
and the places wherein they are echo back redoubled the uproar of 
their censure and applause. At such a moment, how is a young man, 
think you, to retain his self-possession? Can any private education 
that he has received hold out against such a torrent of censure and 
applause, and avoid being swept away down the stream, wherever it 
1 Thorndike: Educational Psychology t Briefer Course, pp. 32-33. 


may lead, until he is brought to adopt the language of these men as 
to what is honorable and dishonorable, and to imitate all their prac- 
tices, and to become their very counterpart? l 

We have already had occasion to point out that education is 
the method by which society inculcates in its younger mem- 
bers habits which are regarded as socially beneficial. In its 
broadest sense the whole social environment is an individual's 
education. And it is an education chiefly through experience 
with other people, discovering what they will and will not 
tolerate, what they will cherish and what they will condemn. 

The elaborate paraphernalia and rites of fashion in clothes exist 
chiefly by virtue of their value as means of securing diffuse notice 
and approval. The primitive sex display is now a minor cause: 
women obviously dress for other women's eyes. Much the same is 
true of subservience to fashions in furniture, food, manners, morals, 
and religion. The institution of tipping, which began, perhaps, in 
kindliness and was fostered by economic self-interest, is now well-nigh 
impregnable because no mail is brave enough to withstand the scorn 
of a line of lackeys whom he heartily despises, or of a few onlookers 
whom he will never see again. 2 

One of the things we mean when we say a man is worldly- 
wise, shrewd, knows human nature, is that he knows what 
will win people's admiration, and knows, moreover, to dis- 
tinguish between that which they publicly condemn and 
secretly approve, and vice versa. In the passage quoted above 
Plato was trying to show how the young Athenian acquired 
not wisdom itself, but "worldly wisdom/ 7 the ability to get 
along in affairs. This he learned not from the professional 
teachers, but from the Athenian public, with whose approvals 
and disapprovals he came in daily contact. 

Praise and blame modify habit. In order to avoid censure 
and gain the expressed approval of others, people learn, either, 
as we say, through bitter experience, or deliberately, to mod- 
ify their actions. The well-brought-up child, even when 
its mother is not about and its appetite unsatisfied, may be 

1 Plato: Repubhc (Davies and Vaughn translation), p. 208. 
8 Thoradike: foe. <nt. t p. 32. 


ashamed to say "Yes " to a second offering of ice cream. The 
ten-year-old who likes to be coddled by his mother in private 
would be acutely embarrassed to be " babied" in the presence 
of other people. Among adults, likewise, actions are checked, 
prompted, or modified by the praise and blame that have be- 
come habitually associated with them. Men like to appear 
virtuous, even if they do not like to practice virtue. It is not 
only the professional politician who does generous acts for 
public approval, nor is even the most disinterested and con- 
scientious work altogether free from being affected by the 
expressed attitudes of approval or disapproval of other people. 
Even transportation companies have found that they can 
increase the efficiency of their employees by expressing in 
some form the approval of their employees' courtesy and 
loyalty. 1 "A man, again, . . . may fail to see any ' reason ' 
why an elementary-school teacher or a second-division clerk 
cannot do his work properly after he has been 'put in his 
place* by some official who happens to combine personal cal- 
lousness with social superiority. But no statesman who did 
so could create an effective educational or clerical service." 2 
To say that we are moved to action by praise and blame is 
not to indicate^that actions thus motivated are done in a spirit 
of hypocrisy or charlatanism. Even the most sincere acts are 
prompted or sustained, especially where their performance 
involves serious personal privation or sacrifice, by the imag- 
ined or actual approval of those whom we love, admire, or 
respect. Whose praise and blame individuals will care about 
depends on their education and temperamental differences. 
That there will be some group, however small, is almost sure 
to be the case. The poet who curls his lip at popular taste 
cherishes the more keenly the applause of those whom he 
regards as competent judges. The martyr will be unmoved 
by the curses, the jeers, and the hoots of the contemporary 

1 Many transportation companies maintain a merit system. Sometimes 
they award special insignia, as the green flag to the New York bus-drivers 
who save gasoline. 

9 Wallas: Great Society, p. 197. 


multitude so long as he has the trust of his small band of com- 
rades or faith that the Lord approves his ways. A man who 
is utterly alone in the approval of his actions is regarded as 
crazy or is driven so by the perpetual disesteem in which he is 
held. There have been cases in literature and life of accused 
criminals who could bear up against the belief of the whole 
world in their guilt so long as one friend or kinsman had faith 
in them. That faith gone, they completely collapsed. 

Desire for praise may lead to the profession rather than the 
practice of virtue. While the desire for social approval is 
strong in most men, so are other desires. It happens, more- 
over, that the actions to which men's instincts prompt them 
are not always such as would be approved by others. 1 In 
order, therefore, to have their cake and eat it, to do what they 
please and yet seem to please others, men often conceal the 
discrepancy between what they profess and what they prac- 
tice. One of the least agreeable features of civilized society 
is the extent to which the codes which men and groups profess 
differ from those by which they live. Men who have osten- 
sibly Christian codes of honor, and, indeed, practice them in 
their private lives, will have an actual " ethics" for business 
that they could not possibly sanction in their dealings as 
trustees of a church. There are practices within trades and 
professions, the familiar "trade" practices, and "ethics" of 
the profession, which, for social as well as for professional 
reasons, their practitioners would not want known. "Com- 
pany" manners are a trivial illustration of this, but there are 
more serious instances. One has but to recall the sensation 
created a few years ago when a minister of a fashionable con- 
gregation called upon his congregation to practice Christian- 
ity, or, on a superb scale, Tolstoy's leaving the estates and 
mode of life of a rich Russian noble, in order to live the simple 
life he regarded as prescribed by the Christian teaching. 2 

1 At least not publicly approved* There is, however, admiration, often 
unconcealed, for the man who does even an unusual act conspicuously well. 
One need only mention a Raffles or a Captain Kidd. 

* See Tolstoy's Diary and Confessions. 


Psychologically, therefore, the cause of the discrepancy 
between the codes which men preach and profess and those 
which they practice, is thus seen to be a desire to secure illicit 
(that is, socially unsanctioned) satisfactions without incurring 
the penalty of social disapproval. "Part of this discrepancy is 
not to be set down to the evils men actually do so much as 
the irrationality and fanaticism of the codes which they have 
been taught to profess. This is the case, for example, where 
excessive Puritanism or fanaticism, not possible for most men, 
is imposed upon them by an arbitrary and fanatical teaching. 
They will then pretend to types of action socially regarded as 
virtues in order to avoid the penalties incurred by not prac- 
ticing them. The desire for ''respectability" is responsible 
for no small amount of pretension, illustrated pathetically in 
cases where individuals, to satisfy the standards of their asso- 
ciates, live beyond their means physically, socially, or intel- 
lectually. 1 

Again, codes of action remain formally accepted long after 
they have ceased to be taken seriously. In States that went 
"dry" where there was no majority public sentiment in their 
favor, "bootlegging," the illicit making and selling of whis- 
key, was practiced freely, because not many people regarded 
prohibition as a serious matter, or its infringement as a serious 
crime. Legal codes remain not infrequently a generation 
behind public opinion, and many ideas are verbally professed 
that nobody takes quite seriously. 

The social effectiveness of praise and blame. How far the 
social estimates of approval and disapproval affect the con- 
duct of the individual depends on the degree to which, through 
education, public opinion, and law, he is made part of the 
group. In primitive society, even the slightest details of con- 
duct were regulated by the group, through an elaborate sys- 
tem of punishments for slight infringements. In civilized 

1 "Many Bostonians, crede experto (and inhabitants of other cities, too, I 
fear), would be happier men and women to-day if they could once for all 
abandon the notion of keeping up a Musical Self and without shame let peo- 
ple hear them call a symphony a nuisance.' ' James : Psychology, vol. i, p. 311. 


society, the development of a sense of personal selfhood and 
social recognition of its importance has to a degree freed indi- 
vidual action from complete domination by the group. This 
has in part been compensated by the education of the con- 
temporary citizen to national interests, and social sympathy, 
which render him susceptible to the praise and blame of pub- 
lic opinion. 

The effectiveness of praise and blame in determining action 
depends also on the explicitness with which they are ex- 
pressed. In contemporary life the control of public opinion 
is made precarious because there is so rarely complete or pal- 
pable unanimity on any subject among the variety of groups 
that constitute a modern society, In a large city there are so 
many groups, so many sets of opinion, that an individual may 
not feel any great pressure of praise and blame except from the 
small circle of people with whom he is associated. In small 
communities action is restrained by the fear of ostracism or 
contempt of the whole group among whom one is living. But 
in large cities, where one may not be known by one's next- 
door neighbor, this restraint is much reduced. The tempta- 
tions of a metropolis, so often referred to in the lurid literature 
of the day, consist not in temptations more numerous than or 
different from those in smaller places, but in the marked 
absence of social control as compared with small villages where 
every one knows every one else's business. 

The influence of the social estimate on individual conduct 
depends finally on individual differences in suggestibility. 
In normal individuals susceptibility to the praise and blame 
of others is very high, especially among the close circle of 
friends, professional and business associates among whom one 
moves. This susceptibility is heightened when the praise or 
blame comes from persons superior in social status, though 
here the element of fear of the consequences of displeasing is 
perhaps more important than the responsiveness to the praise 
and blame itself. To the praise and blame of close associates 
most men are also highly suggestible, not less so when there 


is equality in social status. " Birds of a feather flock together/' 
but humans tend to become similar because they flock together. 
There are few men who can withstand the pressure of doing 
what their group approves, and refraining from doing what it 

In some men susceptibility to the attitudes of others is 
extremely low, and of such are both criminals and martyrs 
made. In the prisons of this country there are a large number 
of men absolutely indifferent to the usual social standards, 
completely undeterred by the codes of conduct by which 
other people cannot help but be governed. Such absolute 
callousness to the feelings which govern the majority of man- 
kind as we read of every now and then in the trial of some 
desperate criminal, is not infrequently associated with abnor- 
mally low intelligence, the sodden stolidity of the traditional 
criminal type. Where it appears, as it sometimes does, in 
criminals of high intelligence, it is regarded by psychiatrists 
as a specific abnormality, comparable to color-blindness or a 
physical deformity. 

There are, on the other hand, individuals whose apparent 
low suggestibility is of the highest social value. There are 
striking instances, throughout the long struggle toward human 
liberty, of persons who could withstand the public opinion 
of their own day in the light of some ideal which they cher- 
ished, of men who needed no other approval than their con- 
sciences, their better selves, or their god, Socrates drinking 
the fatal hemlock, Christ upon the cross, the Christian saints, 
Joan of Arc, the extreme dissenters of every generation, are 
instances of men and women seemingly unmoved by the 
praise and blame of their contemporaries, Sustained by their 
deep inner conviction of the- justice and significance of their 
mission, they have been content to suffer scorn, ridicule, and 
martyrdom at the hands of their own generation in a persistent 
devotion to what in their eyes constituted the highest good of 

Social estimates and standards of conduct Individuals 


are early habituated to the customs of the society in which 
they live, and come to approve, as might be expected from 
the power of men's habits and from their instinctive gregari- 
ousness, those things which they or their companions have 
always done. That "people don't do such things/' or that 
"everybody does them," is a frequently assigned reason for 
the approval or condemnation of an act. Social approvals 
thus become affixed to acts which are regularly done by the 
majority, and divergences are subjected to varying degrees 
of censure. In civilized societies variations from customs 
that are not legally enforced are punished mainly by social 
ostracism. There is no law against walking down a crowded 
city street in Elizabethan costume, yet few would indulge 
their taste for beautiful but archaic dress in the face of all the 
ridicule they would incur. The whole system of etiquette, 
of the standard of living of respectable society, is maintained 
in large part because of the approvals and outward marks of 
admiration that go to some types of life and the contempt in 
which others are held. Much of the economic activity of the 
leisure class, as Professor Veblen has so well pointed out, is 
devoted to wasting time and spending money conspicuously 
as outward indications that the individual is living up to 
established and approved standards. 1 

The more significant folkways, standards of importance and 
unimportance, of the admirable and the despicable, the noble 
and the base, are determined by approvals and disapprovals 
that have become socially habitual. When we speak of a 
country being imperialistic or materialistic, we mean that 
most individuals in it, or at least those who are articulate or 
influential, perform or approve of actions leading to national 
or individual aggrandizement. The amount of money, time, 
and energy that is spent on amusement, public works, educa- 
tion, the army and navy is a fairly accurate gauge of the rela- 
tive group approvals they have respectively secured. In the 
same way the professions and occupations in which men ea- 

1 Veblen: Theory of the Leisure Class. 


gage are determined by the social prestige attaching to them * 
no less than by economic considerations. The pay of stenog- 
raphers is no less than that of primary-school teachers; it is 
often much more; yet many a girl remains a teacher for the 
gentility which is traditionally associated with the profession. 
In the same way many girls, in spite of the fact that they are 
economically and physically better off in domestic service 
than in factory work, still prefer the latter because of the 
social inferiority which is associated with the servant's posi- 

Approvals and disapprovals become fixed to acts, in the 
first place, because of some supposed danger or utility they 
possess. But whether the acts are really socially useful or not, 
approvals and censures once fixed tend to remain habitual, 
even though the conditions which first called them forth are 
utterly changed. We are to-day still more shocked by errors 
in etiquette than in logic; we are still horrified by the infringe- 
ment of a law which, if we stopped to consider it, is not now, 
if it ever was, of any genuine service to mankind. 

In advanced societies approvals are not always reserved for 
the habitual. Certainly in science original research and dis- 
covery are generally welcomed. In art originality is cher- 
ished, at least by the discriminating. 1 Variation in action is 
for reasons discussed in other connections less generally wel- 
comed. But in advanced societies, criticism and reflection 
upon social institutions and habits may themselves come to be 
sanctioned and encouraged. Already we are beginning to 
endow the scientific study of government and industrial rela- 
tions, and regarding with favor genuine inquiry into the possi- 
bilities of progress. 

Importance of relating praise and blame to socially impor- 

i Even in art most people's approvals and disapprovals are fixed by what 
is called "good taste," which consists not infrequently in approving what 
other people approve. Esthetic approval thus becomes approval of the 
customarily recognized. It took a Ruskin to make the neglected jpnnu .of 
Turner fashionable. Keats and Byron were bitterly attacked by the ortho- 
dox critics of their generation. 


taut conduct. What people approve and disapprove, if their 
approval becomes sufficiently emphatic, is fixed by law. Law 
is the official and permanent preservation and enforcement 
of public approval and condemnation. When certain acts are 
regarded as of crucial importance, the group does not depend 
on the precarious effectiveness of public opinion, but deliber- 
ately attaches punishments to the performance of undesired 
acts, and, more infrequently, rewards to the practices of others. 
Most of our laws are enforcement of social condemnations, 
for the performance or the non-performance of specific acts, 
rather than direct encouragements of action. But which laws 
will be passed depends in the first place on social approval or 
public opinion. And if, as happens in our complicated politi- 
cal machinery, laws are passed which have not the sanction 
of widespread public approval, they remain "dead letters." 

Outside the field of legal control, individual action is con- 
trolled primarily by public opinion. There are many prac- 
tices, strictly speaking "within the law/' that an increasingly 
enlightened public opinion will not sanction; there are many 
practices encouraged by an enlightened public which no law 
compels. There is no law forcing business establishments to 
close every Saturday during the summer, yet many now do. 
There are many courtesies practiced by them which are not 
ordained by law. That adverse public opinion may have 
economic consequences if disregarded is evidenced by the 
powerful instrument the Consumers' League found in adver- 
tising against firms that maintained particularly unsanitary 
and morally degrading working conditions for their employ- 
ees, or the dread that hotels and department stores have for 
adverse publicity. The phenomenal development of modern 
advertising is an instance of the direct economic values that 
have been found in winning public approval. There is more 
than metaphor in the statement made during the war that 
Lord Northcliffe, as owner of a chain of English newspapers 
with an immense circulation, was a "cabinet minister without 


The growth of humanitarian sentiment has frequently en- 
forced the improvement of labor and social conditions before 
improvements were made compulsory by law. And in that 
field of personal relations, which constitute so large a part of 
our daily life, our conduct is controlled almost entirely by 
the force of the public opinion with which we come in contact. 
There is much more courtesy and kindliness and cooperation 
manifested in the ordinary contacts of life of a modern city 
than is required, or ever could be secured by statute. 

Education as the agency of social control. There is enor- 
mous power in the habits of approval or disapproval to which 
we have, in our early days, been subjected by our parents, 
teachers, and companions. It is through education, in the 
broadest sense, that the young come to learn, and hence to 
practice, those actions which are socially approved, and by 
the same token to avoid those acts which are socially con- 
demned. Through formal education the adult members of a 
society impress upon the plastic minds of the immature those 
habits of thought and action which are currently recognized 
as desirable. Education thus becomes the crucial instrument 
by which social standards are established and transmitted. 

Society exists through a process of transmission quite as much as 
biological life. The transmission occurs by means of communica- 
tion of habits of doing, thinking, and feeling, from the older to the 
younger. Without this communication of ideals, hopes, expecta- 
tions, standards, opinions, from those members of society who are 
passing out of the group life to those who are coming into it, society 
could not survive. 1 

Society survives through education. Just as truly might 
it be said that the kind of society, art, culture, industry, reli- 
gion, science that does survive depends on the kind of likes 
and dislikes that are through education made habitual in the 

Education, however, may not only transmit existing stand- 
ards, but can be used to inculcate newer and better expecta- 
1 Dewey: Democracy and Education, pp. 3-4. 


tions and ideals. In the adult, habits are already set physio- 
logically, and kept rigid by the demands of economic life. In 
the young there is a " fairer and freer " field. Through educa- 
tion the immature may be taught to approve ways of action 
more desirable than those which have become habitual with 
their adult contemporaries. The children of to-day may 
acquire habits of action, feeling, and thought that will be their 
enlightened practice as the adults of to-morrow. All great 
social reformers, from Plato to our own contemporaries like 
Bertrand Russell, have seen in education, therefore, the chief 
instrument, as it is the chief problem, of social betterment. 
We may train the maturing generation to approve modes of 
behavior which the best minds of our time may have found 
reason to think desirable, but which could not be substituted 
immediately for the fixed habits of the already adult genera- 

Social activity, and the social motive. In our analysis of 
the social nature of man we have, thus far, been dealing with 
his specific social tendencies. But apart from these, or rather 
as an outgrowth of these, men exhibit what Professor Wood- 
worth has well described as a gift for "learning" social be- 

Possessing, as he eminently does, the capacity for group activity, 
man is interested in such activity. He needs no ulterior motive to 
attract him to it. It is play for him. . . . The social interest is part 
and parcel of the general elective interest of man, 1 

In other words, the activity of man as an individual is 
not simply deflected a little by man's native gregariousness, 
sympathy, and susceptibility to praise and blame. Rather, 
group activity becomes to the gregarious human, born into an 
environment where he must act with and among other human 
beings, an interesting and exciting activity in and for itself* 
Men enjoy working in a group or a society for joint and com- 
mon objects just as they enjoy food or musical composition 
or golf. 

1 Woodworth: Dynamic Psychology, pp. 202, 203. 


The social motive is of the same order as the musical or mathe- 
matical motive. Just as one who has the musical gift takes to music 
naturally and finds it interesting for its own sake, so the socially 
gifted individual understands other people, sees the possibilities of 
collective activity, and the ways of coordinating it, and enters 
into such doings with gusto. . . . The social gift is a capacity for 
learning social behavior. Individuals differ in degree in the social 
gift, as in other capacities; some arc capable of becoming creative 
artists or inventors along social lines. 1 

The social behavior of man is thus seen to be no curious 
anomaly and contradiction in the life of an otherwise thor- 
oughly egoistic individual. Man is instinctively social; he 
finds social activity useful in the satisfaction of his own 
desires, and he comes from his native tendencies and acquired 
habits of social behavior to enjoy and take part in social 
activities for their own sake. The individual does not have 
to be coerced into social activity; he finds in such behavior 
the same pleasure that attends the fulfillment of any of his 
native or acquired reactions. Society has been variously 
pictured as a force holding the individual in check, as an 
organism of which he is a part, as a machine of which he is a 
cog. Society consists rather as the collective name for the 
cooperative and associated activities of human beings who 
find sxich activity, by nature and by habit, interesting for its 
own sake. 

* Woodwork; Dynamic Psychology, p. 203. 


The interpenetration of human traits. This chapter is de- 
voted to a consideration of a number of individual human 
traits curiosity, pugnacity, leadership, fear, love, hate, 
etc., and some of their more important social consequences. 
These are seldom present in isolation. A man is not, under 
normal circumstances, simply and solely pugnacious, curious, 
tired, submissive, or acquisitive. One's desire to own a par- 
ticular house at a particular location may be complicated by 
the presence of several of these traits at once. The house 
may be wanted simply as a possession, a crude satisfaction of 
our native acquisitiveness. It may be sought further as a 
mode of self-display, an indication of how one has risen in the 
world. Its attractiveness may be heightened by the fact that 
it is situated next door to the house of a rather particularly 
companionable old friend. It may be peculiarly indispensa- 
ble to one's satisfaction because it is also being sought by a 
detested rival. Moreover, as we shall see in the discussion 
of the Self, these traits are interwoven with each other and 
attain varying degrees of power as motive forces in an individ- 
ual's character. 

But while these distinctive human traits are seldom appar- 
ent in isolation, it is worth while to consider them separately, 
not only because the elements of human behavior will thus 
stand out more clearly, but because in certain individuals one 
or another of these traits may be natively of especial strength. 
And further, in differing social situations, the possession or 
the cultivation of one or another of these native endowments 
may be of particular social value or danger. And in any given 
situation, one or another of them may be predominant, as 
when a man is intensely angry, or curious, or tired* Thus a 


individual may have a marked capacity for leadership, or an 
extraordinarily tireless curiosity, or an abnormally developed 
pugnacity or acquisitiveness. The capacity for leadership, 
as will later be discussed in some detail, will be of particular 
social value in large enterprises; patient and persistent inquiry 
may produce science; pugnacity when freely expressed may 
provoke quarrels, bickerings, and war. In the following dis- 
cussion, the continual interpenetration and qualification of 
these traits by one another in a complex situation must be 
recognized. Else it may appear in the discussion of any single 
trait, as if by means of it all human action were being ex- 
plained. Rather the aim is to trace them as one might the 
elements in the pattern of a tapestry, or the recurrent themes 
in the development of a symphony. But as the symphony is 
more than a single melody, the tapestry more than one ele- 
ment of line or color, so is human life more than any single 
trait. 1 

The fighting instinct. Almost all men exhibit in varying 
degrees the "fighting instinct"; that is, the tendency, when 
interfered with in the performance of any action prompted by 
any other instinct, to threaten, attack, and not infrequently, 
if successful in attack, to punish and bully the individual in- 

The most mean-spirited cur will angrily resent any attempt to 
take away its bone, if it is hungry; a healthy infant very early dis- 
plays anger if its meal is interrupted, and all through life most men 
find it difficult to suppress irritation on similar occasions. In the 
animal world the most furious excitement of this instinct is provoked 
in the male of many species by any interference with the satisfaction 
of the sexual impulse. 2 

1 Philosophers and others have time and again made the mistake of sim- 
plifying human life to a single motive or driving power. Hobbes rested his 
case on fear; Bain and Sutherland on sympathy, Tarde on imitation; Adam 
Smith and Bentham on enlightened self-interest. In our own day the Freud- 
ians interpret everything as being sexual in its motive. And most recently 
has come an interpretation of life, as in Bertrand Eussell and Helen Marot, 
in terms of the "creative impulse." 

* McDougali: loc, cit., p. 60, 


This original tendency to fight is very persistent in human 
beings, but is susceptible of direction, and is not, in civilized 
life, frequently revealed in its crude and direct form, save 
among children and among adults under intense provocation 
and excitement. Occasionally, however, pugnacity is dis- 
played in its simple animal form. "Man shares with many 
of the animals the tendency to frighten his opponent by loud 
roars or bellowings. . . . Many a little boy has, without ex- 
ample or suggestion, suddenly taken to running with open 
mouth to bite the person who has angered him, much to the 
distress of his parents." * As the individual grows older ; he 
learns to control the outward and immediate expression of 
this powerful and persistent human trait. He learns in his 
dealings with other people not to give way, when frustrated 
in some action or ambition, to mere animal rage. The cus- 
toms and manners to which a child is early subjected in 
civilized intercourse are effective hindrances to uncontrolled 
display of anger and pugnacity; superior intelligence and edu- 
cation find more refined ways than kicking, pummeling, and 
scratching of overcoming the interferences of others. But 
even in gentle and cultured persons, an insult, a disappoint- 
ment, a blow will provoke the tell-tale signs of pugnacity and 
anger, the flushing of the cheeks, the flash of the eye, the in- 
cipient clenching of the fists, the compressing of the teeth and 
lips, and the trembling of the voice. We substitute sarcasm 
for punching, and find subtly civilized, and, in the long run, 
more terrible, ways than bruises of punishing those who op- 
pose us in our play, our passions, our professions. But our 
ancestors were beasts of prey, and there is still "fighting in 
our blood." 

The fighting instinct is aroused by both personal and im- 
personal situations, and is occasioned even by very slight in- 
terferences, and even when the author of the interference is 
neither human nor animate. Quite intelligent men have been 
known to kick angrily at a door as if from pure malice it re- 

1 McDougaU; Joe. cit. t p. 61. 


fused to open. Irate commuters have glared vindictively at 
trains they have just missed. The glint of anger is roused in 
our eye by an insolent stare, an ironic comment, or an imperti- 
nent retort. The " boiling point" varies in different individ- 
uals and races, and pugnacity is generally more readily roused 
in men than in women. There are some persons, like the pro- 
verbial Irishman, who, seeing the slightest opportunity for a 
fight, "want to know whether it is private, or whether any- 
body can get in." In most men pugnacity is more intense 
when it is provoked by persons; except for a moment, one does 
not try to fight a chair struck in the dark. 

Under the conditions of civilized life the primitive expres- 
sion of pugnacity in physical combat has been outlawed and 
made unnecessary by law and custom. Individuals are pre- 
vented by the fear of punishment, besides their early training 
and habits, from settling disputes by physical force. But as 
the instinct itself remains strong, it must find some other out- 
let. This it secures in more refined forms of rivalry, in busi- 
ness and sport, or, all through human history, in fighting be- 
tween groups, from the squabbling and perpetual raids and 
killings, and the extermination of whole villages and tribes 
in Central Borneo, to the wars between nations throughout 
European history. 

Pugnacity a menace when uncontrolled. The strength and 
persistency of this human tendency, when uncontrolled or 
when fostered between groups, make it a very serious men- 
ace. Like all the other instincts, and more than most, it is 
frustrated and continually checked in the normal peace-time 
pursuits of contemporary civilization. Participation, imagi- 
native at least, in a great collective combat undoubtedly holds 
some fascination for the citizens of modern industrial society, 
despite the large-scale horror which war is in itself, and the 
desolation it leaves in its wake. During peace the fighting 
instinct for most men receives satisfaction on a small scale 
sometimes in nothing more important than small bickerings 
and peevishness, or in seeing at first hand or on the ticker a 


championship prize-fight. The pessimism which many writ- 
ers have expressed at the possibility of perpetual peace rests 
in part on their perception of the easy excitability and deep 
persistence of this impulse, especially among the vigorous and 

Not only may the fighting instinct be aroused by the possi- 
bility of international wars, but it may be used by fomenters 
and agitators to add a sense of intense pugnacity and violent 
anger to the genuine friction that does exist between conflict- 
ing interests in the same society. The theory of a "class 
war" possibly finds its appeal for many minds as much in its 
picturesque stimulation of their instincts of pugnacity as in 
the logic of its economics. 

Pugnacity as a beneficent social force* While the power of 
pugnacity and its easy stimulation makes this instinct a pe- 
culiarly inflammable and dangerous motive force in civilized 
society, it is, on the other hand, an indispensable source of 
social progress. Many psychologists and sociologists, such as 
McDougall, Bagehot, and Lang, attribute the superiority in 
culture and social organization of the European races over/ 
say, the Chinese and East Indians, to the fighting instinct. 
In the long series of wars that for centuries constituted much 
of the history of Europe, those nations which survived, as in 
earlier times those tribes which survived combat, were those 
which displayed marked qualities of superiority in allegiance, 
fidelity, and social cooperation. The intensity and effective- 
ness of social cooperation in our own country was never so 
well illustrated as during the Great War. In combat be- 
tween groups those groups survive which do stand out in 
these respects. 

William James in a famous essay 1 recognizes clearly the 
enormous value of the fighting instinct in stimulating action 
to an intense effectiveness exhibited under no other circum- 
stances, and proposes a "moral equivalent for war" an 
army devoted to constructive enterprises, reclaiming th0 

1 " A Moral Equivalent of War,'! in Memories and Studies, 


waste places of the land, warring against poverty and disease 
and the like. Certainly every great reform movement has 
been intensely stimulated and has gathered about it the ener- 
gies of men when it has become a "crusade for righteous- 
ness." Part of Theodore Roosevelt's power was in his pic- 
turesque phrasing of political issues as if they were great moral 
struggles. No one could forget, or fail to have his heart beat 
a trifle faster at Roosevelt's trumpet call in the 1912 cam- 
paign: "We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the 
Lord." His "Big Stick" became a potent political symbol. 
Astute political leaders have not failed to capitalize the fight- 
ing instinct, and any social project will enlist the wider en- 
thusiasm and the more energetic support if it is hailed as a 
battle or fight against somebody or something* 

In personal life also the instinct of pugnacity and the feel- 
ing of anger that goes with it seem to set loose immense floods 
of reserve energy. McDougall exaggerates but a trifle when 
he says it supplies the zest and determines the forms of all our 
games and recreations, and nine tenths of the world's work is 
done by it. " Our educational system is founded upon it ; it is 
the social force underlying an immense amount of strenuous 
exertion; to it we owe in a great measure even our science, our 
literature, and our art; for it is a strong, perhaps an essential, 
element of ambition, that last infirmity of noble minds." l 
In the overcoming of obstacles, whether in the work itself , or 
in the difficulties that a surgeon or a scholar meets with, or 
in frustrations deliberately put in our way by other people, 
pugnacity is an invaluable stimulant and sustainer of action. 
Every great personality of strong convictions and dominant 
energy has possessed it to some extent; in characters of great 
moral energy it sometimes takes the form of a volcanic and 
virtuous wrath, as in the case of the Prophets of the Old 
Testament, or of later religious and social reformers who 
brought an earnest and bitter anger against the wrongs they 
saw and literally fought to overcome. 

* McDougall: loo. cri., JK 294. 


The u submissive instinct." Of great importance in the 
ocial relations of men is their original tendency to find satis- 
action in following, partly submitting to, or completely sur- 
endering to a person or cause more dominating than the in- 
lividuaL Thorndike describes this instinct in its simplest 

There is an original tendency to respond to the situation, "the 
>resence of a human being larger than one's self, of angry or master- 
ag aspect," and to blows and restraint by submissive behavior. 
iVhen weak from wounds, sickness, or fatigue, the tendency is 
stronger. The man who is bigger, who can outyell and outstare us, 
;vho can hit us without our hitting him, and who can keep us from 
noving, does originally extort a crestfallen, abashed physique and 
nind. Women in general are thus by original nature submissive to 
men in general. Every human being thus tends by original nature 
bo arrive at a status of mastery or submission toward every other 
human being, and even under the more intelligent customs of cha- 
ined life somewhat of the tendency persists in many men. 1 

The impulse to follow and submit to something not our- 
selves and more dominating than ourselves is very strong in 
most men, and is called out by stimuli much less violent than 
those physical manifestations of power mentioned in the 
above quotation. Men instinctively long to be led, especially 
if, as happens in the case of most individuals, there is in them 
a marked absence of definite interest, conviction, or skilL 
This instinct is aroused by any sign of exceptional power, or, 
more generally still, by any exceptional conspicuousness, 
whether socially useful or not. Men follow leaders partly be- 
cause men live in groups with common interests and in any 
large-scale organization leadership is necessary. But the 
power of demagogues, the faithfulness with which men will fol- 
low a bad leader as well as a good, are evidence that men find 
an instinctive satisfaction in submission. Self-dependence 
stands out as a virtue or an accomplishment precisely because 
most men feel so utterly at sea without any loyalty, alle- 
giance, or devotion. Any one who has spent a summer at a 
1 Thorndike: Educational Psychology, briefer course, p. 34. 


boy's camp will recall the helplessness of youngsters to mark 
out a program for themselves and to keep themselves happy 
on the one afternoon when there was no official program of 
play. Half the mischief performed on such occasions is initi- 
ated by some boy with just a little more independence and 
persuasiveness than the others. And it is not only among 
children that there is evinced an almost pathetic bewilder- 
ment and unrest in the absence of a leader. There is an 
equally pathetic and sometimes dangerous attachment among 
adults to the first sign of leadership that makes its appearance* 
The demoralizing authority of the ward heeler is sometimes 
dependent on no more trustworthy an index of real power 
than a booming voice, a rough camaraderie, and a physically 
"big" personality. And there are, on the other hand, in- 
stances where lack of leadership seemed to be the chief reason 
why certain classes of labor were unable to make their de- 
mands effective at a much earlier date than they did* In the 
first really big strike in the telephone industry in Boston dur- 
ing the autumn of 1918 success seems to have been chiefly due 
to the remarkable leadership of one of the young women 
operators, a type of leadership which seems to have appeared 
nowhere else in the telephone industry. 1 

The instinct of submissiveness, as has been pointed out in 
connection with the discussion of all the other of man's origi- 
nal tendencies, is not only strong, but may find its outlets in 
attachment, both to desirable and to undesirable persons or 
objects. Once aroused, attachment and submission may be- 
come as stanch as they are blind. The signs which arouse our 
loyalty may be and most frequently are glaring rather than 
important. As Trotter phrases it: 

The rational basis of the relation [following a leader] is, however, 
seen to be at any rate open to discussion when we consider the quali- 
ties in a leader upon which his authority so often rests, for there can 
be little doubt that their appeal is more generally to instinct than 
to reason. In ordinary politics it must be admitted that the gift of 

* See the article by Wm. Hard in the N&w Republic* May 3, 1919. 


public speaking is of more decisive value than anything else. If a 
man is fluent, dextrous, and ready on the platform, he possesses the 
one indispensable requisite for statesmanship; if in addition he has 
the gift of moving deeply the emotions of his hearers, his capacity 
for guiding the infinite complexities of national life becomes undeni- 
able. Experience has shown that no exceptional degree of any other 
capacity is necessary to make a successful leader. There need be no 
specially arduous training, no great weight of knowledge, either of 
affairs or the human heart, no receptiveness to new ideas, no outlook 
into reality. 1 

Though these be picturesquely exaggerated statements, they 
do indicate the fact that the outward signs of leadership, of a 
conspicuously emotional sort, may be more significant in de- 
termining the attachments and loyalties of human beings, 
than are genuine marks of capacity in the direction of political 
and social affairs. 

This pronounced tendency on the part of human beings to 
follow a lead, and anybody's lead, as it were, has the most 
serious dangers. It means that a man with qualities that 
sway men's emotions and stir their imaginations can attach 
to himself the profoundest loyalties for personal or class ends. 
The gifts of personal magnetism, of a kindly voice, an air of 
confidence and calmness, exuberant vitality, and a sensitivity 
to other people's feelings, along with some of the genuine 
qualities of effective and expert control of men and affairs, 
may be used by a demagogue as well as by a really devoted 
servant of the popular good, by an Alcibiades as well as by a 
Garibaldi, by a conquering Napoleon as well as by a Lincoln. 

Our instincts of following and submission, apart from edu- 
cation, are as easily aroused by specious signs of social power 
and conspicuousness as by signs of mental effectiveness and 
genuine altruistic interest. The exploitation of these tenden- 
cies by selfish leaders is therefore particularly easy. The 
large circulation of the "yellow press," the power in politics 
of the unscrupulous, the selfish, and the second-rate, are 
symptoms of how men's natural tendency to follow has been 

X TWnf +iaf 1-1 11 A 


played upon in support of plans and ambitions which would 
not be sanctioned by their reason. The genius for leadership 
has been exhibited in criminal gangs, in conquests and in 
' fanaticism, as well as in the promotion of good government, 
of better labor conditions and better education. 

But progress in these last-named is dependent on the utili- 
zation of men's submissiveness by leaders interested in the 
promotion of desirable social enterprises. While men may be 
so easily led, they are responsive to leadership in good direc- 
tions as well as bad. No great social movements, the freeing 
of slaves, the gaining of universal suffrage, the bettering of 
factory conditions, freedom of thought and action, could have 
gained headway if men had been born unwilling to follow. 
There are (see chapter ix) ineradicable differences in capacity 
between men, and if the uninformed and the socially helpless 
could not be aroused to follow those great both in mind and 
magnanimity, it is difficult to see how the lot of mankind ever 
could have, or ever can improve. A good leader may make 
men support, out of instinctive loyalty, purposes and plans 
which, if they completely understood them, they would sup- 
port out of reason. Up to the present most people have been, 
and will probably remain for a long time to come, too ill- 
educated or too poorly endowed by nature to understand the 
bearings of the great social movements in which they are in- 
volved. In consequence, it is a matter of congratulation that 
their instinct of submission can be utilized in the interests of 
their welfare which they frequently not only do not know how 
to obtain, but do not understand. % The Roman populace, en- 
chanted by Augustus, follow him to greatness, without com- 
prehending the imperial destiny which they are helping to 
build. The barbarian hordes affectionately following the 
lead of Charlemagne incidentally help to build the whole edi- 
fice of European civilization. 

Men display qualities of leadership. The obverse of man's 
tendency to follow a lead is, of course, his tendency to take it. 
to disnlav Dersistentlv and conspicuously 


Just those qualities which will win them the allegiance of 

The instinct of self-display is manifested by many of the higher 
social or gregarious animals. . . . Perhaps among mammals the horse 
displays it most clearly. The muscles of all parts are strongly in- 
nervated, the creature holds himself erect, his neck is arched, his 
tail lifted, his motions become superfluously vigorous and extensive, 
he lifts his hoofs high in air as he parades before the eyes of his fellows. 
. . . Many children clearly exhibit this instinct of self-display; before 
they can walk or talk the impulse finds its satisfaction in the admir- 
ing gaze or plaudits of the family circle as each new acquirement is 
practiced; a little later it is still more clearly expressed by the fre- 
quently repeated command, "See me do this," or "See how well I 
can do so and so"; and for many a child more than half the delight 
of riding on a pony, of wearing a new coat, consists in the satisfaction 
of this instinct, and vanishes if there be no spectators. 1 

Individuals thus instinctively love to stand out from their 
fellows, to outdistance and outclass them. And the qualities 
01 leadership are not infrequently stimulated by this competi- 
tion with others, for place, power, distinction. To win the 
allegiance and loyal affection of men means that one's own 
personality is enhanced; one stands out as a man of affairs, a 
social or political leader, a guide to others in action or thought. 
As has already been pointed out, the qualities that will win 
the submission and loyalty of others vary widely. In the case 
of one man it may be a charming smile and a gift of saying 
striking and stirring rather than significant things. In the 
case of another it may be his air of immense confidence, 
restraint, and reserve. It may be brute force or a terrible 
earnestness; it may even be, as in the case of certain religious 
reformers, extraordinary gentleness. Garibaldi " inspired 
among men of the most various temperaments love that 
nothing could shake, and devotion that fell little short of 
idolatry." "He enjoyed the worship and cast the spell of 
a legendary hero." Alcibiades charmed, despite the patent 
evil he wrought, by his magical personal beauty and grace. 


Vandamme said of Napoleon: "That devil of a man exercises 
on me a fascination that I cannot explain to myself, and in 
such a degree that, though I fear neither God nor devil, when 
I am in his presence I am ready to tremble like a child, and he 
could make me go through the eye of a needle to throw myself 
into the fire." Augereau is stupefied at their first meeting, 
and confesses afterwards that "this little devil of a general" 
has inspired him with awe. 1 

Men's qualities of leadership depend, however, not only on 
their personal charm, but on certain seeming or genuine 
symptoms of effectiveness. Evidences of strong determina- 
tion, of a sweeping imagination, of calm, of confidence, of 
enthusiasm, of qualities possessed by the vast majority only in 
minor degrees, win men's admiration and devotion because 
they are associated with the ability to accomplish great ends, 
to do the unusual, to succeed where most people fail. Most 
men are so conscious of their limitations and the difficulties of 
any enterprise which they undertake that at any sign of ex- 
ceptional talent, whether real or apparent, they will commit 
their respect, their energies, and sometimes, as in the case of a 
religious crusade, their lives. 

For good or evil, the possession, the cultivation, and the 
exhibition of the qualities of leadership give men enormous 
power. There was in the nineteenth century a historical 
fashion, brilliantly exemplified by Carlyle, to assume that 
history was made by great men. Latterly, there has been 
wide dissent from this simplification of the processes of his- 
tory, but it is clear that innovations must be started by indi- 
viduals, and that a powerful leader is a matchless instrument 
for initiating, and getting wide and enthusiastic support for 
changes, whether good or bad. To quote Carlyle's eloquent 

For, as I take it, Universal History, the history of what man has 
accomplished in this world, is at the bottom the History of the Great 
Men who have worked here. They were the leaders of men, ... the 
* See chapter i on "Personality" in Ross's Social Control. 


eators of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or to 
btain; all things that we see standing accomplished in the world are 
roperly the outer material result, the practical realization and em- 
odiment, of thoughts that dwelt in the Great Men sent into the 
rorld: the soul of the whole world ; s history, it may justly be con- 
idered, was the history of these. . . . Could we see them well, we 
hould get some glimpses into the very marrow of the world's 
n'story. 1 

Later Nietzsche made much of this same idea, of the Super- 
nan striding through the world and changing its destiny, 
ilthough in Nietzsche the Superman was an end in himself 
ather than the servant of the world in which he lived. 

To most historical writers to-day the forces at work in his- 
tory are much too complex to be" dismissed with any such 
simple melodrama. But there remain striking testimonies 
of the influence of leaders. The sweep of Mohammedanism 
into Europe was initiated by the burning and contagious zeal 
of one religious enthusiast. The campaign against slavery 
in this country assumed large proportions through the strenu- 
ous leadership of the Garrisons and the Wendell Phillipses. 
In our own day we have seen the same phenomenon; the 
great political and social changes of the last generation have 
all had their special advocates and leaders who, if they were 
merely expressing the "spirit of the times," yet did give that 
spirit expression. Every reform or revolution has its leading 
spirits. That leadership is not the one essential goes without 
saying; there have been great guides of repeatedly lost causes. 
But many great causes may have been lost through the want 
of good leadership. 

In contemporary life leadership is not always directly per- 
sonal, but is carried on through the medium of the news- 
papers and periodicals. But this merely means that a leader 
may reach a wider audience; he reaches thousands through 
picture and print, instead of hundreds by word of mouth. 

Qualities of leadership may be utilized in the support of 
the customary or the established, as well as in initiation and 

fund. Hero-Worship, Lecture I, 


support of the novel. People ape the great, or those that pass 
for great, in manners and morals. The words of a distin- 
guished public man have prestige in the maintenance of the 
established. Men will follow, and if the socially conspicuous 
lead them along the ways of the established, they will follow 
there as readily and, being creatures of habit, often more 
readily than along new paths. The immense following among 
the lower social classes that the Conservative Party had in 
England all through the nineteenth century in the face of 
proposed changes that would have bettered their own con- 
ditions, is an interesting illustration of this. This is partly 
because the influence of leaders is dependent on their social 
status as well as their personal qualities. The opinions of 
inventors and big business men are taken with eagerness and 
credulity even when touching matters outside their own field. 
A man is made, as it were, ipso facto, a leader, by being rich, 
powerful, of a socially distinguished family, or the director of 
a large industry, although he may have, besides, qualities of 
leadership that do not depend on his social position. 

Man pities and protects weak and suffering things. Nearly 
all human beings exhibit a tendency to protect weak and 
suffering things. This impulse is closely related to, and prob- 
ably has its origin in the parental instinct, more common, of 
course, in women than in men. The feeling of affectionate 
pity and the impulse to rescue from pain are most intense 
when the distressed thing is a child, and particularly one's 
own. One of the most poignant instances extant is the speech 
of Andromache, one of the Trojan women in Euripides's play 
of that name, to her child who is about to be slain by the 

And none to pity thee! . . . Thou little thing, ^ 

That curlest in my arms, what sweet scents cling 

All round thy neck! Beloved; can it be 

All nothing, that this bosom cradled thee 

And fostered; all the weary nights wherethrough 

I watched upon thy sickness, till I grew 

Wasted with watching? Kiss me. This one time; 

Not ever again. Put up thine arms and climb 


About my neck; now kiss me, lips to lips . . . 
O ye have found an anguish that outstrips 
All tortures of the East, ye gentle Greeks! 
Why will ye slay this innocent that seeks 
No wrong? . . . x 

But the "tender emotion" as McDougall calls it, is aroused 
by other children than one's own, and by others than children. 
It is called out particularly by things that are by nature 
helpless and delicate, but may be aroused by adults who are 
placed in situations where they are suffering and powerless. 
Samson, shorn of his strength, has been a traditional occasion 
for pathos. The sick, the bereaved, the down~and-outers, the 
failures, the forlorn and broken-hearted, call out in most men 
an impulse to befriend and protect. Those who have been 
dealt with unjustly or severely by their associates and society 
and who have no redress, the poverty-stricken, the criminal 
who has been punished and remains an exile, the maimed 
and deformed, the widow and orphan, all these, arouse, apart 
from the restraining force exercised by other instincts and 
habits, such as anger and disgust, a natural tendency to pity 
and aid. 

The parental instinct in its direct and primitive form is 
responsible for the closeness of family relations, a most impor- 
tant consideration in the case of humans who have, as already 
discussed, a long period of infancy during which they are 
absolutely dependent on their elders. In the higher species, 
writes MeDougall, "The protection and cherishing of the 
young is the constant and all-absorbing occupation of the 
mother, to which she devotes all her energies, and in the 
course of which she will at any time undergo privation, pain, 
and death. The instinct becomes more powerful than any 
other, and can override any other, even fear itself." 2 Wher- 
ever the power of the parental instinct has waned, as in Greek 
and Roman society, the civilization in which that degenera- 
tion occurred was subjected to rapid decay. 3 

1 Euripides: Trojan Women (Gilbert Murray translation), p. 49, 
* McDougall: loo. cit. t p. 67, C/ IUd. t p, 271, 


The parental instinct in its more general form of pity and 
protectiveness toward all weak and suffering things is, in the 
minds of many moralists, the origin of all altruistic senti- 
ments and actions, and at the same time the moral indigna- 
tion which insists on the punishment of wrong-doers. It is 
clearly apparent in such movements as the Societies for the 
Prevention of Cruelty to Children or to Animals, the anti- 
vivisection crusade, and the like. But according to such a 
distinguished moralist as John Stuart Mill, the whole system 
of justice and punishment has its origins in this tender feeling 
for those who have been wronged. 

Fear. Fear is one of the least specialized of human traits, 
being called out in a great variety of situations, and resulting 
in a great variety of responses. The most obvious symptom 
of fear is flight, but there may be a dozen other responses, 
tl Crouching, clinging, starting, trembling, remaining stock 
still, covering the eyes, opening the mouth and eyes, a tem- 
porary cessation followed by an acceleration of the heart-beat, 
difficulty in breathing, paleness, sweating, and erection of the 
hair are responses of which certain ones seem bound, apart 
from training, to certain situations, such as sudden loud 
noises or clutches, the sudden appearance of strange objects, 
thunder and lightning, loneliness and the dark." l 

In general, the marked physical reactions and deep emo- 
tional disturbance that we call fear are aroused by anything 
loud or strange, or that has outward signs of possible danger 
to ourselves, such as a large wild animal approaching us. In 
civilized man, whose life is comparatively sheltered, there are 
considerable individual differences in susceptibility to fear, 
and in the intensity with which it controls the individual* 
But there are certain typical situations that call it forth. 
Among young children, and not much less so among adults, 
fear is aroused by any sudden loud noise, by strange men and 
strange animals, black things and dark places, "vermin," such 
as spiders and snakes, among a great many adults fear of 

i Thorndike: loc* ori., p. 20. 


high places, and, among a few agaraphobia or fear of open 
spaces. 1 The deep-seatedness of fear has been explained by 
the fact that most of the things which instinctively arouse 
fear were, in primitive lif e, the source of very real danger and 
that under those conditions, where it was absolutely essential 
to beware of the unfamiliar and the strange, only those ani- 
mals survived who were equipped with such a protective 
mechanism as fear provides. 

The instinct of fear has important social consequences, es- 
pecially as its influence is not infrequently clothed over with 
reasons. In savage life, as McDougall points out, "fear of 
physical punishment inflicted by the anger of his fellows must 
have been the great agent of discipline of primitive man; 
through such fear he must first have learned to control and 
regulate his impulses in conformity with the needs of social 
life." 2 In contemporary society fear is not so explicitly 
present, but it is still a deep-seated power over men's lives. 
Fear of punishment may not be the only reason why citizens 
remain law-abiding, but it is an important control over many 
of the less intelligent and the less socially minded. In an un- 
ideal society there are still many who will do as much evil as is 
"within the law," and fear of the consequences of failing a 
course is among some contemporary undergraduates still an 
indispensable stimulus of study. * 

Fear plays a part, however, not only in preventing people 
from breaking the law, but often from living their lives freely 
and after their own convictions. As has been strikingly 
pointed out by Hilaire Belloc and Hobson, one of the greatest 
evils of our present hit-or-miss methods of employment is 
the fear of "losing his job," the uncomfortable feeling of 
insecurity often felt by the workingman who, having so 
frequently nothing to store up against a rainy day, lives in- 
perpetual fear of sickness or discharge. 

In earlier times fear of the consequences of expressing dis~ 

1 For a discussion of theae, see James: Psychology^vol. n,p, 415 ff. 
l: lac. ctt., p. 303. 


sent from established opinions and beliefs was one of the 
chief sources of social inertia. Where excommunication, tor- 
ture, and death f oUowed dissent, it is not surprising that men 
feared to be dissenters. In contemporary society under 
normal conditions men have much less to fear in the way of 
punishment, but may accept the traditional and conven- 
tional because they fear the consequences of being different, 
even if those consequences are not anything more serious than 
a personal snub. 

While men fear to dissent because of the disapproval to 
which they may be subjected, dissent, the novel and strange 
in action and opinion are themselves feared by most men 
because of the unknown and unpredictable consequences to 
which they may lead. Men were at first afraid of the steam- 
engine and the locomotive. Men still fear novel political and 
social ideas before they can possibly understand what they 
have to be afraid of. The fact that thought so continually 
turns up the novel and the strange is, according to Bertrand 
Russell, precisely the reason why most men are afraid to 
think. And fear of the novel, the strange, the unaccustomed 
is, as in the case of many other instincts, a perfectly natural 
means of protection that would otherwise have to be sought 
by elaborate processes of reason. In what we call prudence, 
caution, and care, fear undoubtedly plays some part, and 
Plato long ago pointed out it is only the fool, not the brave 
man, who is utterly unafraid. 1 

Psychologists may be said to differ largely as to the utility 
of fear. They are nearly all agreed that in the forest life 
which was man's originally, fear had its specific marked 
advantages. Open spaces, dark caverns, loud noises were 
undoubtedly associated very frequently with danger to the 
primitive savage, and an instinctive recoil from these centers 
of disaster was undoubtedly of survival value. But there is 
an increasing tendency to discount the utility of fear in civi- 
lized life. "Many of the manifestations of fear must bo 

1 Protagoras. 


regarded as pathological, rather than useful. ... A certain 
amount of timidity obviously adapts us to the world we live 
in, but the fear paroxysm is surely altogether harmful to him 
who is its prey." l 

Fear and worry, which is a continuous form of fear, in gen- 
eral hinder action rather than promote it. In its extreme 
form it brings about complete paralysis, as in the case of 
terror-stricken hunted animals. When humans or animals are 
utterly terrified even death may result. This fact that fear 
hinders action, sometimes most seriously, seems to some 
philosophic writers, especially Bertrand Russell, a key fact 
for social life. "No institution," he writes, "inspired by 
fear, can further life." 2 And in another connection: "In the 
world as we have been imagining it, economic fear will be re- 
moved out of life. ... No one will be haunted by the dread of 
poverty. . . . The unsuccessful professional man will not live 
in terror lest his children should sink in the scale. ... In such 
a world, most of the terrors that lurk in the background of 
men's minds will no longer exist." 3 " In the daily lives of most 
men and women, fear plays a greater part than hope. It is not 
so that life should be lived." 4 

Love and hate. All human relations are qualified by the 
presence, more or less intense, of emotion. Human beings 
are not merely so many items that are coldly counted and 
handled, as one counts and handles pounds of sugar and 
pieces of machinery. A man may thus regard human beings 
when he deals with them in mass, or thinks of them in statis- 
tical tables or in the routine of a government office. But 
human beings experience some emotional accompaniment in 
their dealings with individuals, especially when face to face, 
and experience more especially, in varying degrees, the emo- 
tions of love or hate. These terms are here used in the general 
sense of the receptive, positive, or expansive attitude and the 

1 James: Psychology, vol. n, p. 419. 
* Bertrand Russell: Why Men Fight, p. 180. 

* Russell: Proposed Roads to Freedom, p. 203. 

* Ibid., p. 186. (Italics mine.) 


cold, negative, repellent, and contractual attitude toward 
others. These may both be intense and consciously noted, as 
in the case of long-cherished and deep affections or antipa- 
thies to different individuals. They may appear as a half- 
realized sense of pleasure in the mere presence and poise of a 
person, or a curious sense of discomfort and irritation at his 
appearance, his voice, or his gesture. These attitudes, even 
when slight, color and qualify our relations with other indi- 
viduals. They may, in their larger manifestations, play so 
large a part, that they must be considered separately, and in 

Love, Love, used in this broad sense, varies in intensity, 
It may be nothing more it certainly frequently starts as 
nothing more than the feeling, so native as to be fairly 
called ittBtinetive, of common sympathy, fellow feeling, im- 
mediate affinity with another- The psychological origins of 
thin disposition have already been noted in connection with 
man's tendency to experience sympathetically immediately 
the emotions of others. Every business man, lawyer, teacher, 
any one who comes much into contact with a wide variety 
of people, known how, antecedent to any experience with an 
individual's capacities or talents, or even before one had a 
chance to draw any inferences from a person's walk, his bear- 
ing, or his clothing, one may register an immediate like or dis* 
like. Kvery one hm had the experience IE crossing a college 
campus or riding in a train or street car of noting, in passing 
aoino one whom one haa never seen before, an immediate re- 
action of good-will and affection. This has been charmingly 
expressed by a well-known English poet: 

41 The fftreet sounds to tha soldiers* tread, 

Aad out w troop to see; 
A iingle recteat turns his head, 
He turns and looks at me. 

f*My mini, from sky to sky 's so far, 

W never crossed before; 
Such tefttM apart the world's e&ds are, 
We'n like to meet no uaom* 


"What thoughts at heart have you and I, 

We cannot stop to tell; 
But dead or living, drunk or dry, 
Soldier, I wish you well." l 

All affection for individuals probably starts in this immedi- 
ate instinctive liking. " The first note that gives sociability a 
personal quality and raises the comrade into an incipient 
friend is doiibtless sensuous affinity. Whatever reaction we 
may eventually make on an impression, after it has had time 
to soak in and to merge in some practical or intellectual 
habit, its first assault is always on the senses, and no sense is 
an indifferent organ. Each has, so to speak, its congenial 
rate of vibration, and gives its stimuli a varying welcome. 
Little as we may attend to these instinctive hospitalities of 
sense, they betray themselves in unjustified likes and dis- 
likes felt for casual persons and things, in the je ne sais quoi 
that makes instinctive sympathy." 2 From this immediate 
instinctive liking it may rise to deep personal attachments, 
strikingly manifested in friendship and love between the 
sexes, both immemorially celebrated by poets and novelists, 
Love is aroused chiefly by persons, and among persons, espe- 
cially in the case of sexual love, most frequently by more or 
less physical beauty and attractiveness. But affection may 
be aroused and is certainly sustained by other than merely 
physical qualities. 

It is provoked by what we call personal or social charm, a 
genuine kindliness of manner, an open-handed sincerity and 
frankness, considerateness, gentleness, whimsicality. Which 
particular social graces will win our affections depends of 
course on our own interests, equipment, and fund of instinc- 
tive and acquired sympathies. Popular psychology has in 
various proverbs hit at and not entirely missed some of the 
obvious and contradictory elements: "Opposites attract/* 
"Birds of a feather flock together," and so on. Intellectual 

1 A. E. Housman: The Shropshire Lad (John Lane edition), p. 32. 
* Santayana : Reason in Society, p, 151. 


qualities, in persons of marked intellectual interests, will also 
sustain friendship and deepen an instinctive liking, Friend- 
ships thus begin in accident and are continued through com- 
munity of interest. It is to be questioned whether merely 
striking intellectual qualities initial e a friendship. They may 
command admiration and respect, but liking, friendship, and 
love have a more emotional and personal ba&in. 

This fiame warm affectionate appreciation that nearly all 
people have for other persons, fower people great pools, 
philosophers, and enthusiastic leaders of men have for 
causes, institutions, and ideas. One feel in the works of great 
thinkers the aamo warmth and loyalty to idea** and causes 
that ordinary people dinplay toward their friends* Plato has 
given for all times the progress of love from attachment to & 
single individual through to mwtitutions, ideas, and what he 
called myHlicitlly the idea of beauty itself, 

For he who would prowd rightly in thin matter should fjpgin in 
youth to turn to beautiful fomin; and first, if his hwfrucfor gufeto 
him rightly, lit* should learn to love one Midi form only out of that 
he* nliould crwl* k fair thought^ find noon he will hiwwlf |xm*M that 
the* J#auty of one form m truly rHated to Uio bmify of another, 
ami then if Ixuiuty in general in his purnuit, how foolish would he* to 
not to m'ogttisw that the Ixmuty in every form in one and the name! 
And when he permvea thin he will ahntr hm violent love of the one, 
which he will dcHpwo and Ueeni a Bmall tiling, aiul will Utcoino a lover 
of nil beautiful forms; UIIH will 1cm! him on to csomicfar that the 
Inrnuty of the niul J more honorable than the ix*auty of the outward 
form* So that if a virtuoun aoul have !>ut a little mnmlmim $ ha will 
bo content to love and tend him * * * until hm i>olovoci is compelled 
to aoiitamplate and aeo the beauty of inHtitutions und Iaw f and 
unclcratand tot all m of one kindrotl; and that pemoual beauty i 
only a trifle; and after lawn and institutions, ha will lead him on to 
the* fwienoaii, that ho may m their beauty * * * until at length hd 
Iprows and waxw itrong f and at last the vision is revealed to him of a 
$kgle mhnm which fa the wietice of teauty 

There have hmn again great mmntmia who have had the 
sain w&rm affactioimta devotion for their subject-mattar 

< Plato: Svmixxivm (Jowttt translfttiaa), p. 602, 


that most men display toward persons. There are scholars 
almost literally in love with their subjects. There have been 
a greater number whose capacity for affection has extended to 
include the whole human race, and, indeed, all animate crea- 
tion. Such a type of character is beautifully exemplified in 
Saint Francis of Assisi: 

In Francis all living creatures may truly be said to have found a 
friend and benefactor; his great heart embraced all the men and 
women who sought his sympathy and advice, and his pity for the 
dumb helplessness of suffering animals was deep and true, He would 
lift the worm from his path lest a careless foot should crush it, and 
would encourage his " lit tie sister grasshopper' 7 to perch upon his 
hand, and chirp her song to his gentle car. He tamed the fierce wolf 
of Gubbio, and fed the robins with crumbs from his table. 1 

And Christ stands, of course, in the Christian world, as the 
supreme symbol of love for mankind. 

In ordinary men it is this generalized affection which IB at 
the basis of any sustained interest in philanthropic or altruistic 
enterprises* No less than a large and generous affection for 
humanity is required to enable men to endure for long the 
dreariness and disillusion so often incident to philanthropic 
work, the conflicts and disappointments of public administra- 
tion. Certainly this is true of the first rank of statesmen; no 
characterization of Lincoln fails to emphasize his essential 
humanity and tenderness. 

Disinterested love for humanity is normally most intense 
in the adolescent. 2 The pressure of private concerns, of one's 
narrowing interest in one's own career, one's own family, and 
small circle of friends, the restriction of one's sympathies by 
fixed habits and circumscribed experience, all tend to dampen 
by middle age the ardor of the man who as an undergraduate 
at eighteen set out to make the world "a better place to Uv 
in." But more effective in dampening enthusiasm is the dis- 
illusion and weariness that set in after a period of exuberant 

* OofiF and Kerr-Lawscm : Aui&i of Saint Francis , p. 12 1. 

* Simoon Strunsky has somewhere remarked; "At eighteen a man i intw* 
ested in causer, at twenty-eight in commutation tickets." 


and romantic benevolence to mankind in general. "We 
call pessimists/' writes a contemporary French philosopher, 
"those who are in reality only disillusioned optimists." l So 
the cynic may be fairly described as a disheartened lover of 
men. It is only an unusual gift of affectionate good-will 
that enables mature men, after rough and disillusioning experi- 
ences in public life, to maintain without sentimentality a gen- 
uine and persistent interest in the welfare of others. Those in 
whom the fund of human kindness is slender will, and easily 
do, become cynical and hard. 

The attitude of affection for others is profoundly influential 
in stimulating our interest in specific individuals, and modify- 
ing our attitudes toward them. We cannot help being more 
interested in those for whom we entertain affection than in 
those to whom we are indifferent. In the same way our judg- 
ments of our own friends, families, and children are qualified 
by our affection for them. Parents and lovers are notori- 
ously partial, and a fair judgment of the work of our friends 
demands unusual clarity, determination, and poise. 

In a larger way the generally friendly attitude towards 
others, genial expansive receptivity, is at the basis of what is 
called "charity for human weakness." The gentle cynic can 
see and tolerate other men's weaknesses: 

"He knows how much of what men paint themselves 
Would blister in the light of what they are; 
He sees how much of what was great now shares 
An eminence transformed and ordinary; 
He knows too much of what the world has hushed 
In others, to be loud now for himself." 2 

The devoutly religious have displayed keen psychological 
insight when they made man's salvation dependent on God's 
charity, and identified, as did Dante, charity with love. 3 

1 Georges Sorel: Reflection on Violence (English translation), p, 9. 

2 Edwin Arlington Robinson: "Ben Jonson Entertains a Man from Strat- 
ford," in his Man Against the Sky. 

a " Love and the gentle heart are one and the same thing." The New Life, 
xx (son xi) Amore e cor gentile son una co&a. To Dante the spontaneous im- 
pulse to love is the basis of all altruism. To feel and to follow this impulse ia 
to be truly noble, to have a "cor gentile" a gentle heart. 


Hate. Hate may be described as an extreme form of dis- 
affection usually provoked by some marked interference with 
our activities, desires, or ideals. But in less intense degree 
the negative feeling towards others may be provoked imme- 
diately and unmistakably by most casual evidence of voice, 
manner, or bearing. Such immediate revulsions of feeling 
contrast with the instances of "instinctive sympathy" pre- 
viously cited, and are as direct and uncontrollable. Even 
kindly disposed persons cannot help experiencing in the pres- 
ence of some persons they have never seen before, a half- 
conscious thrill of repulsion or a dislike colored with dread, 
A shifting gaze, a noticeably pretentious manner, a marked 
obsequiousness, a grating voice, a dullness of demeanor, a 
physical deformity, these, however little they may have to do 
with a person's genuine qualities, do affect our attitudes to- 
ward them. As the familiar verse has it: 

"I do not like you, Dr. Fell, 
The reason why I cannot tell, 
But this I know, and know full wrll, 
I do not like you, Dr. Fell," 

We may later revise our estimates, but the initial reaction 
is made, and often remains as a subconscious qualification of 
our general attitude toward another. People of worldly ex- 
perience learn to trust their first reactions, to "size a man up" 
almost intuitively, and to be surprised if their first impres- 
sions go astray. 

From this merely instinctive revulsion the negative atti- 
tude may rise to that terrible form of destructive antipathy 
which is "hate," as popularly understood. In between lie 
degrees of dislike depending partly on the strength of the ini- 
tial antipathy, but equally so on the degree to which others, 
whether persons, institutions, or ideas, interfere with our ac- 
tivities, desires, or ideals. The man who seriously obstructs 
our love, our pleasure, or our ambition, or who tries to do so 
provokes hate, and its concomitants of jealousy, rage, and 
pugnacity. It is not only that we dislike the mere presence 


of the person (in the opposite case the mere presence of th* 
beloved object is a joy), but we dislike it for what it portends 
in danger and threat to ourselves. The more serious the evi! 
or disaster for which a person comes to stand, the more vio- 
lent the hatred for him, despite his personal fascinations, 
The villain is not infrequently a "damned smiling villain." 

The provocation of hate is complicated by the fact that it 
is closely associated with fear. We dislike those who threaten 
our happiness partly because we fear them. And we fear, as 
was pointed out in more detail in the discussion of that power- 
ful human trait, the unfamiliar, the strange, the startling, the 
unexpected. The facility with which sensational newspapers 
can work up in an ignorant population a hate for foreign 
nations, especially those of a totally alien civilization, is made 
possible by the fear which these uninformed readers can feel 
at the dangerous possibilities of mysterious foreign hordes. 
The fomenting of fear is in nearly all such cases a prerequisite 
to the fomenting of hate. And the promotion of hate has his- 
torically been one of the frequent ingredients of international 

Like love, hate is profoundly influential in modifying our 
interest in persons and situations. To dislike a person mod- 
erately is, in his absence, to be indifferent to him. To dislike 
him intensely, in a sense increases our interest in him, though 
perversely. Just as we wish the beloved person to succeed, to 
gain honor and reputation and wealth, so we long for and 
rejoice in the downfall and discomfiture of our enemies. Thus 
writes the Psalmist: 

Arise, Lord, save me, my God; for thou has smitten all mine 
enemies upon the cheekbone; thou hast broken the teeth of the 

Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies that I might 
destroy those that hate me. 

Hate may be directed against persons, and usually it is. 
But hatred may be directed against institutions and ideas as 
well. For many persons it will be impossible for a decade to 


listen to German music or the German language, so closely 
have these become associated in their minds with ideas and 
practices which they detest. To a dogmatic Calvinist, in the 
sixteenth century, both an heretical creed and its practition- 
ers, were objects of abomination. Disappointed men may 
take out in a spleen and hatred of mankind their personal 
pique and balked desires. 

Great hates may be present at the same time and in 
the same persons as great loves. Indeed for some persons 
strength in the one passion is impossible without a corre- 
sponding strength in its opposite. We cannot help hating, 
more or less, not only those who interfere with our own wel- 
fare, but with the welfare of those who, being dear to us, have 
become, as we say, a part of our lives. Thus writes Bertrand 
Eusscll in the introduction to his treatment of some of the 
radical social tendencies of our own day; 

Whatever bitterness or hate may bo found in the movements which 
we are to examine, it is not bitterness or hate, but love, that in their 
mainspring. It is difficult not to hate those who torture the objects 
of our love. Though difficult, it is not impossible; but it requires a 
breadth of outlook, and a comprehensiveness of understanding which 
are not easy to preserve amid a desperate contest. 1 

Hate may thus be, as great religious and social reformers 
illustrate, invoked on the side of good as well as evil- The 
prophets burned with a " righteous indignation." But hate 
is a violent and consuming passion, bent on destroying ob- 
stacles rather than solving problems. It consumes in hatred 
for individuals such energy as might more expeditiously be 
devoted to the improvement of the circumstances which 
make -people do the mean or small or blind actions which 
arouse our wrath. The complete meekness and humility 
preached by Christ have not been taken literally by the na- 
tively pugnacious peoples of Europe. But as James says 

1 Russell; Proposed Roads to Freedom, pp. acviHtviii* 


"Love your enemies !" Mark you not simply tho^p who do not 
ippeu to be your friends, but your rnmnks, your positive and active 
lemies. Either this is a mere Oriental hyperbole, a bit of verbal 
rtravagance, meaning only that we should, in M> far as we can, 
>ate our animosities, or else it is sincere and literal. Outside, of 
>rtain cases of intimate Individual relation, it seldom Iius bcr*n 
,ken literally. Yet it makes one ask the question: ^an thorp in 
jnerul be a level of emotion so unifying, so obliterative of differences 
itween man and man, that even ermufy rnay e,ome, to be an im-Je- 
int circumstance and fail to inhibit the friendlier interestw urotwrj. 

positive well-wishing could attain so supreme* a do^wo of excite- 
ent, those who were swayed by it might \vell j-eem su[>erhunian 
?inga. Their life would be morally discrete from th<* lives of otlier 
>en, and there is no saying . . . wliat the efTeetn might Ixj; they 
light conceivably transform tlie workl. 1 

Dislikes, ilisaftr<jem<m<s, native ant!pathi( v H am not to IKS 
bolishod, lunnjwi differences Ixdn^; inerudi(*ahle and htnnan 
itereBts, even in jin wl<il society, Ixing in wm\\\t\L Bnl a 
oonor apprctcudion of other viewpoints, which is possible 
itough (jdue.ation, a \vm violcnit cona^rn with one's own pur- 
>nal in1x*roHtH to th<j oxchinion of all othcw, may groatjy n$- 
uce the amount of lmt current in the* world, and free 
Dcrgies in ptwBions more positive in their fruits. 
Yarictm of te 


Privacy and solitude. Although one of man's most power- 
ful tendencies, as has already been pointed out, is his desire to 
be with his fellows, this desire is not unqualified. Just as men 
can be satiated with too much eating, and irritated by too 
much inactivity, so men become "fed up" with companion- 
ship. The demand for solitude and privacy is thus funda- 
mentally a physiological demand, like the demand for rest, 
"The world is too much with us/' especially the human world. 
Companionship, even of the most desirable kind, exhausts 
nervous energy, and may become positively fatiguing and 
painful. To crave solitude is thus not a sign of man's unsocia- 
bility, but a sign merely that sociability, like any other human 
tendency, becomes annoying, if too long or too strenuously in- 
dulged. Much of the neurasthenia of city life has been at- 
tributed to the continual gontact with other people, and the 
total inability of most city dwellers to secure privacy for any 
considerable length of time. In some people a lifelong habit 
of close contact with large numbers of people makes them ab- 
normally gregarious, so that solitude, the normal method of 
recuperation from companionship, becomes unbearable. Few 
city dwellers have not felt after a period of isolation in some 
remote country place the need for the social stimulus of the 
city. But a normal human life demands a certain proportion 
of solitude just as much as it demands the companionship of 

With the spread of education and the general enhancement 
of the sense of personal selfhood and individuality among 
large numbers of people, the demand for privacy has in- 
creased. The modern reader is shocked to discover in the 
literature of the Elizabethan period the amazing lack of a 


sense of privacy there exhibited. In contemporary society 
this sense and the possibility of its satisfaction are variously 
displayed on different economic and social levels. In the con- 
gested life of the tenements it is almost impossible, and many 
social evils are to be traced to the promiscuous mingling of 
large families (and sometimes additional boarders) in con- 
gested quarters. 

The demand for privacy and solitude becomes acute among 
people who do a great deal of mental work. "Man," says 
Nietzsche, "cannot think in a herd," and the thinker has tra- 
ditionally been pictured as a solitary man. This is because 
quiet seems to be, for most men, an essential condition of 
really creative thought. There are some men who find it 
impossible to write when there is another person, even one of 
whom they are fond, in the same room. "No man/' writes 
Mr. Graham Wallas, " is likely to produce creative thoughts 
(either consciously or subconsciously) if he is constantly in- 
terrupted by irregular noises." Constant association with 
other people means, moreover, continual distraction by con- 
versation which seriously interrupts a consecutive train of 
thought. The insistence in public and college reading rooms 
on absolute quiet is a device for securing as nearly as may be 
privacy in intellectual work. 

Privacy is again demanded as a matter of emotional protec- 
tion in individuals in whom there is a highly sensitive develop- 
ment of personal selfhood. We like to keep our concerns to 
ourselves, or to share them only with those with whom we 
have a marked community of interest and feeling. Children 
love to "have secrets they won't tell," and older people, es- 
pecially sensitive and intelligent ones, feel a peculiar sense of 
irritation at having their personal affairs and feelings publicly 
displayed. Nearly every one must recall occasions where he 
was vividly communicative and loquacious with a friend, only 
to relapse into a clam-like silence on the entry of a third per- 
son. This is primarily due to the fact that while men are by 
nature gregarious, their gregariousness early becomes special' 


ized and aroused exclusively by people for whom they develop 
a sense of personal affection and common sympathy. Any 
intrusion from without this circle becomes an intrusion upon 


Satisfaction in personal possession: the acquisitive instinct. 
An almost universal human trait of considerable social conse- 
quence is the satisfaction men experience in having objects 
that are their own. Both animals and humans, apart from 
training, display a tendency to get and hold objects. This 
tendency may take extreme forms, as in the case of miserli- 
ness or kleptomania. It is evidenced in special ways in the 
collections that children, and some grown-ups, make of mis- 
cellaneous objects without any particular use, and with no 
particular aesthetic value. 

The objects which satisfy this instinct of possession may 
include material goods, family, or larger groups. In primi- 
tive tribes under the patriarchal system, the patriarch practi- 
cally owns the tribe. Our laws not so long ago recognized 
the marriage relation as a state in which the wife is pos- 
sessed or owned by the husband. 

Possession gives the owner various kinds of satisfaction. 
The instinctive satisfaction in possession itself may be quite 
irrespective of the values of the objects owned, and depriva- 
tion may be fiercely resisted out of all proportion to the value 
of the objects. Especially will this be the case if the object 
possessed has become surrounded with other emotional at- 
tachments, so that an individual may be as bitterly chagrined 
and piqued by being deprived of some slight memoir or keep- 
sake as of a large sum of money. In the same way the fight- 
ing spirit of a whole tribe or nation may be aroused by the in- 
vasion or seizure of a small and unimportant bit of land, or by 
the chance of its possession. 

The instinctive sense of satisfaction, as in the last men- 
tioned case is enhanced by the sense of importance which 
comes from possession, and which enhances one's own indi- 
viduality and personality. A man's vast holdings in wealth, 


land, factories, machinery, or private estates is, in a sense, re- 
garded by him as an extension of his personality. He is con- 
firmed in this impression because it is so regarded by his 
neighbors and the whole social group. A great landowner is 
a celebrity throughout the countryside, and, as Mr. Veblen 
points out, a large part of the luxurious display and expendi- 
ture of the leisure classes is their way of publicly and conspicu- 
ously indicating the amount of their possessions. 

As in the case of any other strong native tendency, inter- 
ference with the instinct of acquisition, whether displayed by 
the individual or the group, provokes often fierce anger and 
bitter combat. The history of wars of aggrandizement 
throughout the history of Europe are testimonies to the 
efficacy of this instinct at least in the initiation of war. 

The progress of civilization beyond its earliest states is 
held, by some sociologists and economists, to be ascribed to 
the power of the acquisitive instinct. The acquisition of 
material wealth or capital, the development of the institution 
of private property with its concomitant individual develop- 
ment of land and natural resources is maintained by Lester 
Ward to be of paramount importance in social advance: 

. . . Objects of desire multiplied themselves and their possession 
became an end of effort Slowly the notion of property came into 
being and in acquiring this, as history shows, the larger share of all 
human energy has been absorbed. The ruling passion has ^f or a 
time long anterior to any recorded annals always been proprietary 
acquisition. . . . Both the passion and the means of satisfying it were 
conditions to the development of society itself, and rightly viewed 
they have also been leading factors hi civilization. 1 

There are many other motives to activity than acquisition, 
but there are many evidences of its intense operation even in 
modern society. Many men go on working long after they 
have money enough to enable them to live in comfort, merely 
for the further satisfaction of this impulse. "While in^the 
course of satisfaction of most other desires, the point of satiety 

1 Lester Ward: The Psychic Factors of Civilization, p. 156. 


is soon reached, the demands of this one grow greater without 
limit, so that it knows no satiety." 1 

The power of this tendency to personal acquisition and 
possession seems an obstacle to all thoroughly communistic 
forms of political and social organization. The conception of 
a state where nobody owns anything, but where all is owned 
in common an idea which has been repeated in many mod- 
ern forms of socialism and communism, fails to note this pow- 
erful human difficulty. Many socialist writers, it must be 
noted, however, point out that they wish social ownership of 
the means of production rather than of every item of personal 
property, such as books, clothing, and the like. 

Individuality in opinion and belief. Men frequently dis- 
play with regard to their opinions and beliefs the same pas- 
sionate attachment that they exhibit with regard to their 
physical possessions. Like the latter, these come to be re- 
garded as an extension of the individual's personality, and 
the same tenacious defense may be made of them as of a house, 
land, or money. 

Individual opinions and beliefs are not themselves posses- 
sions, from a social point of view, so much as is the right to 
express them. A man's private opinion may influence his' 
own conduct; his conduct itself may be an expression of 
opinion. But unless an opinion is communicated, it cannot 
influence any one else's conduct, and society has never been 
much concerned about opinions that an individual harbored 
strictly in his own bosom. Silence, socially, is as good as as- 
sent. The insistence on the right to one's own opinions be- 
comes, therefore, an insistence on the right or the freedom to 
express them. 2 This right is cherished in varying degrees by 
different individuals in different ages. It becomes pro- 
nounced in persons in whom there is marked development 
of individuality, and, in general, where, as in Anglo-Saxon 

* MoDougall: toe. tit., p 323. 

* Beliefs and opinions may come to be regarded as important personal pos- 
sessions in themselves, as in the case of rival claimants to some theory or 
idea, as in the case of Leibnitz's and Newton's dispute over the calculus. 


countries, a social and political tradition of liberty and indi- 
viduality has become very powerful. 

Individuality in opinion and belief becomes critical chiefly 
when the opinions and beliefs expressed are at variance with 
those generally current among the group. For reasons al- 
ready discussed in connection with man's instinctive gregari- 
ousness and the emotional sway which habits of thought have 
over men, dissent is regarded with suspicion. Especially is 
this the case where the dissenting opinions have to do with 
new social organization and custom. The psychological 
causes of this opposition are various, but include among other 
things a positive feeling of fear. 

It is only recently that men have been abandoning the belief that 
the welfare of a state depends on rigid stability and on the preserva- 
tion of its traditions and institutions unchanged. Wherever that 
belief prevails, novel opinions are felt to be dangerous as well as 
annoying, and any one who asks inconvenient questions about the 
why and the wherefore of accepted principles is considered a pesti- 
lent person. 1 

Throughout history there has been a long struggle for 
freedom of thought and discussion, and there have been great 
landmarks in the degree with which freedom was attained, 
and the fields wherein it was permitted. For a long time in 
the history of Europe, dissent from the prevailing opinion on 
religious matters was regarded both as abominable and so- 
cially dangerous, and was severely punished. Since the mid- 
dle of the nineteenth century there has been no legal pun- 
ishment provided for dissent from established opinions in 
religion, although penalties for heterodoxy in countries where 
religious opinion is strong and fairly unanimous may be ex- 
erted in other ways. In social matters also, there has practi- 
cally ceased to be legal coercion of opinion. 2 The argument 
for the suppression of individual opinion has been tersely 
summarized by the author above quoted: 

1 Bury: History of Freedom of Thought, p, 9. 

J Except in the recent period of excitement and stress during the Great 
War, when suppression of opinion was, for better or for worse, taken as a 


Those who have the responsibility of governing a society can argue 
that it is incumbent on them to prohibit the circulation of pernicious 
opinions as to prohibit any anti-social actions. They can argue that 
a man may do far more harm by propagating anti-social doctrines 
than by stealing his neighbor's horse or making love to his neighbor's 
wife. . They are responsible for the welfare of the State, and if they 
are convinced that an opinion is dangerous ... it is their duty to 
protect society against it as against any other danger. 1 

The social importance of individuality in opinion. There 
have been many notable documents in support of the belief 
that society is the gainer and not the loser by permitting and 
encouraging individuality in thought and belief. The follow- 
ing, taken from one of the most famous of these, John Stuart 
Mill's Essay on Liberty, was written to illustrate the fatal re- 
sults of prohibiting dissenting opinions merely because most 
people think or call them immoral: 

Mankind can hardly be too often reminded that there was once a 
man named Socrates, between whom and the legal authorities and 
public opinion of his time there took place a memorable collision. 
Born in an age and country abounding in individual greatness, this 
man has been handed down to us by those who best knew both him 
and the age, as the most virtuous man in it. ... This acknowledged 
master of all the eminent thinkers who have since lived whose 
fame, still growing after two thousand years, all but outweighs the 
whole remainder of the names which make his native city illustrious 
was put to death by his countrymen, after a judicial conviction, 
for impiety and immorality. Impiety, in denying the gods recog- 
nized by the State. . . . Immorality, in being, by his doctrines and 
instructions, a " corrupter of youth." Of these charges the tribunal, 
there i$ every ground for believing, honestly found him guilty, and 
condemned the man who probably of all then born had deserved best 
of mankind to be put to death as a criminal 2 

Every important step in human progress has been a varia- 
tion from the normal or accustomed, something new. Most 
advances in science have been departures from older and 
accustomed ways of thinking. Through the permission and 
encouragement of individual variation in opinion we may 

1 Bury: loc. cit., p. 13. * J. S. Mill: Essay on Liberty, chap* u. 


discover in the first place that accepted beliefs are wrong. 
Galileo thought differently from the accepted Ptolemaic as- 
tronomy of his day, and the demonstration of Ms diverging 
belief proved the Ptolemaic astronomy to be wrong. The 
evolutionary theory, bitterly attacked in its day, replaced 
Cuvier's doctrine of the forms of life upon earth coming about 
through a series of successive catastrophes, Lyell, in the face 
of the whole scientific world of his day, insisted on the gradual 
and uniform development of the earth's surface. Half the 
scientific doctrines now accepted as axiomatic were bitterly 
denounced when they were first suggested by an inquiring 

Milton in his famous Areopagitica, an address to Parlia- 
ment written in 1644, protesting against the censorship of 
printing, stressed the importance of permitting liberty for the 
securing and developing of new ideas: 

What should ye do then, should ye suppress all this flowery crop 
of knowledge and new light sprung up and yet springing daily in this 
city? Should ye set an oligarchy of twenty engrossers [censors] over 
it, to bring a famine upon our minds again, when we shall know noth- 
ing but what is measured us by their bushel? . . . That our hearts 
are now more capacious, our thoughts more erected to the search and 
expectation of greatest and exactest things, is the issue of your own 
virtue propagated in us; ye cannot suppress that unless ye reenforce 
an abrogated and merciless law, . . . Give me the liberty to know, to 
utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. l 

Even if the currently accepted doctrines prove to be true, 
there is, as Mill pointed out, a vast social utility in permit- 
ting the expression of contrary opinion though it be an error. 
New ideas, however extreme, "may and commonly do possess 
some portion of truth"; they bring to light and emphasize 
some aspect or point of view which prevailing theories fail to 
note. Thus the possible over-emphasis of certain contem- 
porary writers on the socialization of man's life is a valuable 
corrective to the equal over-emphasis on individualism which 
was current among so many thinkers during the nineteenth 

1 Milton: Areopagitica. 


century. The insistence with which present-day psycholo- 
gists call our attention to the power of instinct, though it may 
possibly be over-emphasized, counterbalances that tendency 
exhibited by such earlier authors as Bentham to picture man 
as a purely rational being, whose every action was deter- 
mined by sheer logic. 

Finally, unless doctrines are subjected to criticism and 
inquiry, no matter how beneficial they are to society, they 
will become merely futile and empty formulae with very little 
beyond a mechanical influence on people's lives. The max- 
ims of conventional morality and religion which everybody 
believes and few practice are solemnly bandied about with 
little comprehension of their meaning and no tendency to act 
upon them. A belief becomes, as Mill pointed out, living, 
vital, and influential in the clash of controversy. Whether 
novel and dissenting doctrines are true or false, therefore, the 
encouragement of their expression provides vitality and varia- 
tion without which progress is not possible. 

The social appreciation of persons who display marked in* 
dividual opinions varies in different ages toward the same 
individual. The martyr stoned to death by one generation 
becomes the hero and prophet of the next. One has but to 
look back at the contemporary vilification and ridicule to 
which Lincoln was subjected to find an illustration. Or, on 
a more monumental scale: 

The event which took place on Calvary rather more than eighteen 
hundred years ago. The man who left on the memory of those who 
witnessed his life and conversation such an impression of his moral 
grandeur that eighteen subsequent centuries have done homage to 
him as the Almighty in person, was ignominiously put to death as 
what? As a blasphemer. 1 

One would suppose that men would have learned not only 
to tolerate and be receptive to novelty in belief after 'these 
repeatedly tardy recognitions of greatness. There are dozens 
of instances in the history of religious, social, and political 

1 Mill. Essay on Liberty, chap. n. 


belief, of men and women who, suppressed with the bitterest 
cruelty in one generation, have been in effect, and sometimes 
in fact, canonized by posterity. And a certain degree of tol- 
erance and receptiveness has come to be the result. But 
while we no longer burn religious and social heretics, con- 
demnation is still meted out in some form of ostracism. 
Prejudice, custom, and special interest frequently move men 
to suppress in milder ways extremists, expression of whose 
opinions seems to them, as unusual opinions have frequently 
seemed, fraught only with the greatest of harm. 


Origin and development of a sense of personal selfhood. 

The expression of individuality in opinion is only one way 
men have of expressing their personality, individuality, or 
self. From the beginnings of childhood, men experience an 
increasing sense of " personal selfhood" which finds various 
outlets in action or thought. So familiar, indeed, in the nor- 
mal man is his realization that he is a "self," that it seldom 
occurs to him that this conception was an attainment gradu- 
ally accomplished through long years of experience with the 
world about him. The very young baby does not distinguish 
between Itself and the Not-Self which constitutes the re- 
mainder of the universe. It is nothing but a stream of ex- 
periences, of moment to moment pulsations of desire, of hun- 
ger and satisfaction, of bodily comfort and bodily pain. As it 
grows older, it begins dimly to distinguish between Itself and 
Everything-Else; it finds itself to be something different, 
more vivid, more personal and interesting than the chairs and 
tables, the crib and bottle, the faces and hands, the smiles and 
rattles that are its familiar setting. It discovers that "I am 
I," and that everything else ministers to or frustrates or re- 
mains indifferent to its desires. It becomes a person rather 
than a bundle of reactions. It develops a consciousness of 

In its simplest form this consciousness of self is nothing 
more than a continuous stream of inner organic sensations, 
and the constant process of the body and limbs "and the 
special interest of these as the seat of various pleasures and 
pains." This is what James calls the "bodily self." As it 
grows older, the baby distinguishes between persons and 
things. And as, in setting off his own body from other things, 


it discovers its "bodily self," so in setting off its own opinions, 
actions, and thoughts from other people, it discovers its "so- 
cial self." It is because Nature does in some degree the 
"giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us," that we do 
discover our "selves " at all. " The normal human being, if it 
were possible for him to grow up from birth onward in a purely 
physical environment, deprived, that is, to say, of both ani- 
mal and human companionship, would develop but a very 
-_,rude and rudimentary idea of the self." 1 

The social self. A man's social self, that is, his conscious- 
ness of himself as set over against all the other individuals 
with whom he comes in contact, develops as his relations 
with other people grow more complex and various. A man's 
self, apart from his mere physical body, consists in his pecul- 
iar organization of instincts and habits. In common language 
this constitutes his personality or character. We can infer 
from it what he will, as we say, characteristically do in any 
given situation. And a particular organization of instincts 
and habits is dependent very largely on the individual's so- 
cial experience, on the types and varieties of contact with 
other people that he has established. There will be differ- 
ences, it goes without saying, that depend on initial differences 
in native capacity. But both the consciousness of self and 
the overt organization of instinctive and habitual actions are 
dependent primarily on the groups with which an individual 
comes in contact. In the formation of habits, both of action 
and thought, the individual is affected, as we have seen, 
largely by praise and blame. He very early comes to detect 
signs of approval and disapproval, and both his consciousness 
of his individuality and the character of that individuality 
are, in the case of most persons, largely determined by these 
outward signs of the praise and blame of others. And since, 
in normal experience, a man comes into contact with several 
distinct groups, with varying codes of conduct, he will really 
have a number of distinct personalities. The professor is a 

* McDougaU: Zoc. ctf,, p. 183. 


different man in his class and at his club; the judge displays a 
different character in the court and in the bosopa of his family. 

The self that comes to be most characteristic and distinc- 
tive of a man, however, is determined by the group with 
which he comes most habitually in contact, or to whose ap- 
provals he has become most sensitive. Thus there develop 
certain typical personalities or characters, such as those of 
the typical lawyer or soldier or judge. Their bearing, ac- 
tion, and consciousness of self are determined by the approv- 
als and disapprovals of the group to which they are most 
completely and intimately exposed. ^ 

Both the consciousness of self which most men experience 
and the overt expression of that selfhood in act are thus seen 
to be a more or less direct reflex of the praise and blame of the 
groups with which they are in contact. Men learn from 
experience with the praise and blame of others to " place J> 
themselves socially, to discover in the mirror of other men's 
opinions the status and locus of their own lives. As we shall 
see in a succeeding section, the degree of satisfaction which 
men experience in their consciousness of themselves is de- 
pendent intimately on the praise and blame by which their 
selfhood is, in the first place, largely determined. In the 
chapter on the "Social Nature of Man/' we examined in some 
detail the way in which praise and blame modified a man's 
habits. The total result of this process is to give a man a cer- 
tain fixed set of overt habits that constitute his character and 
a more or less fixed consciousness of that character. 

On the other hand, a man's character and self-conscious- 
ness may develop more or less independently of the immediate 
forces of the public opinion to which he is exposed. One 
comes in contact in the course of his experience not merely 
with his immediate contemporaries, but with a wide variety 
of moral traditions. Except in the rigidly custom-bound life 
of primitive societies, a man is, even in practical life, exposed 
to a diversity of codes, standards, and expectations of behav- 
ior. His family, his professional, his political, and his social 


groups expose him to various kinds of emphases and accents 
in behavior. And a man of some intelligence, education, and 
culture may be determined in his action by standards whose 
origin is remote in time, space, and intention from those opera- 
tive in the predominant public opinion of his day. He may 
come to act habitually on the basis of ideal standards which 
he has himself set up through reflection, or which he has ac- 
quired from some moral system or tradition, far in advance of 
those which are the staple determinants of character for most 
of his contemporaries. He may be one of those rare moral 
geniuses, singularly unsusceptible to praise and blame, who 
create a new ideal of character by the dominant individuality 
of their own. Or, as more frequently happens, he may follow 
the ideals set up by such a one, instead of accepting the ortho- 
doxies which are generally observed. He may follow Christ 
instead of the Pharisees, Socrates instead of the habit-crusted 
citizens of Athens. We are, indeed, inclined to think of a 
man as a peculiarly distinctive personality, when his sense of 
selfhood, and the overt actions in which that selfhood finds 
expression, are not determined by the current dogmas of his 
day, but by ideal standards to which he has reflectively given 
allegiance. But so much is the self, both in its consciousness 
and expression, socially produced that men acting on purely 
imagined ideal standards, current nowhere in their day and 
generation, have imagined a group, no matter how small or 
how remote, who would praise them or a God who noted and 
approved their ways. 

Character and will. From the foregoing it would appear 
that the self is an organization of habitual tendencies, devel- 
oped primarily through contact with other people and more 
specifically through their praise and blame. And conscious- 
ness of self is the awareness of the unique or specific character 
of the habit-organization one has acquired. Individuals dif- 
fer natively in given capacities, and differences in fully de- 
veloped personalities depend, certainly in part, on innate 
initial differences. But differences in the kinds of selfhood 


displayed and experienced by different men are due to some- 
thing more than differences in native capacities and native 
desires. The self that a man exhibits and of which he is con- 
scious, at any given period of his life, depends on the complex 
system of habits he has in the course of his experience devel- 
oped. One individual may, as we have seen, develop a num- 
ber of sets of organized dispositions, a multiple character^ as 
it were, as a consequence of the multiplicity of groups with 
which he has come in contact. But whether through deliber- 
ate or habitual conformity to one group as a norm, or the 
deliberate organization of habits of action and feeling and 
thought, on the basis of ideal or reflective standards, a man 
comes to develop a more or less "permanent self." That is, 
while men start with somewhat similar native equipments, 
each man's set of inborn tendencies comes to be fixed in a 
fairly definite and specific system. While all men start within 
limits equally responsive and similarly responsive to all stim- 
uli, certain stimuli come to have the "right of way." They 
are more or less easily and more or less readily responded to, 
according as they do or as they do not fit in with the habit- 
organization which the individual has previously acquired. 

When we say that a man has no character or individuality, 
we mean that he has developed no stable organization of ac~ 
tions, feelings, and thoughts, with reference to which and by 
the predominant drive of which his actions are determined. 
There is no particular system of behavior which he has come 
consciously to identify as his person or self; no interweaving 
of motives and stimuli by the persistent momentum of which 
his conduct is controlled; no single group of stimuli rather 
than another has, in his pulpy person, attained priority in 
stimulating power. Such men are chameleons rather than 
characters. Their actions do not flow from a selfhood or in- 
dividuality at all; they are merely the random results of the 
accidental situations in which such men find themselves. 

The self exists, then, as a well-defined, systematic trend of 
behavior. Impulses to action attain a certain order of prior- 


ity in an individual's conduct, and it is by the momentum of 
these primary drives to action that his life is controlled. 
What is commonly known as "will" is simply another name 
for the power and momentum of a man's "personal self." 
Will exists not as a thing, but as a process. To will an action 
means to identify it consciously with one's permanent self, to 
weigh and support it with all the emotions and energies con- 
nected with one's consciously realized habitual system of be- 
havior. A man may bring to bear on the accomplishment of 
a given action the deepest and most powerful motive forces of 
his developed personality. To pass a course or make a team 
a student may marshal all the habits of loyalty, of self-asser- 
tion (and the emotional energies associated with them) which 
have become the leading ingredients of his character. 

The "permanent self" becomes involved in the same way 
in the case of willing not to perform a certain action. Any 
stimulus may, on occasion, be strong even if it has ceased to 
be characteristic or habitual in a man's behavior. This is 
particularly the case with some of the primary physical drives 
to action. Even the ascetic feels the strong sting of sense- 
desire. A man in resisting temptation, in denying the pres- 
sure of an immediate stimulus, is setting up to block or in- 
hibit it all the contrary reactions and emotions which have 
become part of the "permanent self." In more familiar lan- 
guage he is setting will over against desire. The temporary 
desire may be strong, but it is consciously regarded by the 
individual as alien to his "real" or "better" self. And will 
is this whole complex organization of the permanent self set 
over against an alien intruding impulse. 

The phenomenon of will contending against desire occurs 
usually when a stimulus not characteristically powerful in a 
man's conduct becomes so through special conditions of ex- 
citement or fatigue. When a man is tired, or stirred by vio- 
lent emotion, his systematic organization of habits begins to 
break down. The ideal permanent or inclusive self is then 
brought into conflict with a temporary passion. Love con- 


flicts with duty, the lower with the higher self, flesh with 
spirit, desire with will. Few men have so thoroughly inte- 
grated a self that such conflicts altogether cease. Every one 
carries about with him a more or less divided soul. 

Fire and ice within me fight 
Beneath the suffocating night. 

There are, in the records of abnormal psychology, many cases 
of really divided personalities, cases of two or more completely 
separate habit-organizations inhabiting the same physical 
body. Such a complete Dr.-JekyU-and-Mr.-Hyde dissocia- 
tion of a personality is clearly abnormal. But it is almost as 
rare to find a completely integrated character. We are all of 
us more or less multiple personalities. Our various personali- 
ties usually keep their place and do not interfere with each 
other. Our professional and family selves may be different; 
they do not always collide. But the various characters that 
we are in various situations not infrequently do clash. The 
self whose keynote is ambition or learning may conflict with 
the self whose focus is love. 

"Resolve to be thyself; and know, that he 
Who finds himself, loses his misery!" 

wrote Matthew Arnold. And it does seem to be true that a 
man whose will is never divided or confused by contending 
currents of desire, whose character is unified and whose action 
is consistent, is saved from the perturbations, the confusions, 
the tossings of spirit which possess less organized souls. But 
to find one's self, and to keep one's self whole and undivided, 
is a difficult achievement and a rare one. Even men whose 
interests and activities are fairly well defined find their char- 
acters divided and their wills, consequent^, confused. A 
man's duties as a husband and father may conflict with his 
professional ambitions; his love of adventure, with his desire 
for wealth and social position; his artistic interests, with his 
philanthropic activities; his business principles, with his re- 
ligious scruples. A man can achieve a selfhood by thrusting 


out all interests save one, and achieving thereby unity at the 
expense of breadth. There are men who choose to be, and 
succeed in being, first and last, scholars or poets or musicians 
or doctors. All activities, interests, and ideals that do not 
contribute to that particular and exclusive self are practically 
negligible in their conduct. Such men, although they have 
attained a permanent self, have not achieved a broad, com- 
prehensive, or inclusive one. They are like instruments 
which can sound only one note, however clear that may be; 
or like singers with only a single song. All lives are neces- 
sarily finite and exclusive; every choice of an interest or ideal 
very possibly precludes some other. A man cannot be all 
things at once; "the philosopher and the lady-killer," as 
James merrily remarks, "could not very well keep house in 
the same tenement of clay." But a strong character need 
not necessarily mean a narrow one, nor need a determined will 
be the will of a fanatic. The self may be in the case of rare 
geniuses it has been diverse in its interests, activities, and 
sympathies, yet unified and consistent in action. A charac- 
ter may be various without being confused; versatility is not 
synonymous with chaos. A man's interests and activities 
may be given a certain order, rank, and proportion, so that 
his life may exhibit at once the color, consistency, clarity, and 
variety of a finished symphony. 

The consciousness of "self" which starts as a mere contin- 
uum of bodily sensations comes to be the net result of one's 
social and intellectual as well as physical activities. The 
" self" of which we are conscious ceases to be our merely phys- 
ical person, and comes to include our possessions. The house 
we live in and the garden we tend, our children, our friends, 
our opinions, creations* or inventions, these become exten- 
sions and more or less inalienable parts of our personalities. 
Our "selfhood" includes not simply us, but ours. 

Our possessions, and especially such as are the fruits of our 
own actions, are indications of what we are. We judge, and 
within limits correctly, of a man by the company he keeps, 


the clothe he wears, by the books he reads, the pictures with 
Which he decorates his home, the kind of home he builds or 
has built. And a man may feel as provoked by insult or in- 
jury to the person or things which have become an intimate 
part of his life as if he were being attacked in his physical 
person. Strip a man one by one of his physical acquisitions, 
of his associates, of the indications and mementos of the 
things he has thought and done, and there would be no " self " 
left. To speak of a man as a nonentity is to imply that he is 
no "self" worth speaking of; that he can be blown about 
hither and thither; that neither his opinions nor desires, nor 
possessions, nor associates make an iota of difference in the 
world. A man who is a "somebody," a "person to be reck- 
oned with," is one who is a "self." He is one whose physical 
possessions or personal abilities or standing in the community 
make him one of the "powers that be," And it is the desire 
to be a factor in the world, to increase the scope and conse- 
quence of one's self that is the leading ingredient in what we 
call ambition, and the desire for fame, and at least one in- 
gredient in the desire for wealth. Men may want wealth 
merely for the sake of possession, or for bodily comfort, but 
part of the desire consists in the ability thereby to spread one's 
influence, to be "one of the happy sons of earth, who lord it 
over land and sea, in the full-blown lustihood that wealth 
and power can give, and before whom, stiffen ourselves as 
we will ... we cannot escape an emotion, sneaking or open, 
of dread." * 

The enhancement of the self. The building-up of a more or 
less permanent self is natively satisfactory to most men, and 
every means will be taken to increase its scope and influence. 
Biologically we are so constituted as to perform many acts 
making for our self-preservation. The ordinary reflexes and 
instincts such as those which prompt us to eat, to defend our- 
selves against blows and the threatening approach of animals, 
to keep our equilibrium and recover our balance, are examples 
of these. 


The development and preservation of our social self is also 
made possible as it is initially prompted by our specifically 
social instincts. There is a native tendency, as already noted, 
to get ourselves noticed by other people, to seek their praise 
and avoid their blame. The instincts of self-display and 
leadership, and many of the non-social instincts, such as curi- 
osity and acquisitiveness, are frequently called into play in 
the service of the more directly social tendencies of the in- 
dividual. A large part of our activity, whatever be its other 
motives, is determined to some degree by the desire to de- 
velop the social self, to be a " somebody/' to cut a figure in the 

In the enlargement of the social self, various people use 
various means, and with varying degrees of vigor, intensity, 
and persistency. There are a few who go through life with 
almost no sense of selfhood, who go through their daily rou- 
tine with no more recognition of their acts as their own than 
that displayed by an animal or a machine. In most men the 
sense of their personality and their interest in it are high, and 
the development of the self is sought hi all possible or legiti- 
mate ways. The ways in which the self is developed, and the 
kind of self that is sought, help to determine whether a man is 
self-seeking in the lowest sense of that epithet, or idealistic 
and ambitious in the approved popular sense. 

The kind of self we seek to build up depends, as we have 
seen, largely on the type of praise and blame and the general 
character of the moral tradition to which we have been ex- 
posed. But whichever type of self a man does select as his 
ideal or permanent self, all his activities will be more or less 
consciously and more or less consistently controlled by it. 
His habits of action, his habitual choices, his habitual feelings, 
will be built up with this ideal self as a standard and control. 
He will do those things which " carry on" toward the ideal 
self, leave undone those things which do not. The man or 
'woman who wishes simply to cut a figure " socially" will culti- 
vate the wit, the gayety, the facility, the smartness, which are 


the familiar ingredients of such a personality. The same 
persons will be singularly blind to abysses of ignorance which 
would be painfully in the consciousness of those who had 
set up for themselves ideals of erudition and culture. A la- 
borer will live and move and have his being serenely in clothes 
and in surroundings that "would never do " for a professional 
man who had committed himself to live according to the 
social standards of his class. Sometimes a man's actions will 
be directed toward the construction of an ideal self, on stand- 
ards far in advance of those of his group. A man in devel- 
oping such a self is, indeed, in some cases practically com- 
mitting social suicide. The extreme dissenter from the 
current standards of action is attempting to build up what 
James has well called a " spiritual self," a self in the light 
of his own ideals, rather than those current among his 

Egoism versus altruism. The individual in developing his 
own personality need not, necessarily, be selfish, nor is the en- 
hancement of one's personality incompatible with altruism. 
One man may find his individuality sufficiently developed in a 
large bank account, another in discovering a cure for cancer; 
one man may seek nothing but gratification of his physical 
appetites; another may find his fulfillment on the battlefield 
in defense of the national honor. Since man is born with the 
original tendencies to herd with and have common sympa- 
thies with his fellows, and to pity those of them that are weak 
and distressed, there is nothing more unnatural about altru^ 
ism than about egoism. It is true that in some men the so- 
called altruistic impulses, the impulse to sympathize with 
the emotions, feelings, aspirations and difficulties of others, 
and to pity them in their distress, are comparatively weak; 
that in some men the more obviously egoistic impulses, such 
as the gratification of bodily desires, the acquisition of physi- 
cal possessions are strong and uncontrollable. But through 
education the altruistic and social impulses of men may be 
cultivated and strengthened, so that they may become more 


powerful and dominant than even the urgency of physical 
desire. "Man cannot live by bread alone/' and a man in 
whom a passion for reform or for religion, for a cause or for a 
conquest has become strong, will sacrifice food, sleep, and 
physical comfort, and may even find the satisfactory fulfill- 
ment of self in self-sacrifice and obliteration. 1 

The old distinction between egoism and altruism is thus an 
artificial one. A genuinely altruistic individual derives satis- 
faction from the beneficent things he does, though he does 
not, as Jeremy Bentham supposed, calculate the benefits he 
will derive from his beneficence. Altruism is just as natural 
as egoism in its origins, though the impulses of self-preserva- 
tion and personal pfiysical satisfaction are natively stronger 
and more numerous. But human beings can be educated to 
altruism, and find the same satisfaction in service to others as 
individuals reared in less humane conditions find in satisfying 
their immediate physical desires. 

Self-satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Since the develop- 
ment of selfhood plays so large a part in human action, it is 
natural that powerful emotions should be associated with it. 
Individuals become conscious of the kind of self they are and 
measure it favorably or unfavorably with the kind of self they 
would be. In so far as the actuality they conceive them- 
selves to be measures up to the ideal self, to the fulfillment of 
which they have dedicated themselves, they have a feeling of 
self-satisfaction, of elation. They are jubilant or crestfallen, 
satisfied or dissatisfied with themselves, in so far as they are 
in their own estimation making good. In normal individuals, 
these estimates of triumph and frustration are, of course, 
colored and qualified by signs of approval and disapproval 
from other people. There are very few and these insanely 
conceited in whom the opinions of others are not largely 
influential in determining their own estimates of themselves. 

1 This is partly because roan's sense of selfhood is so largely socially condi- 
tioned and affected by praise and blame Many a man in whom impulses 
of an egoistic sort are strong cannot resist the scorn of his gang, club, 01 
clique. In this sense even socially beneficial actions may be "selfish." 


The emotions themselves of self-satisfaction and abasement are of 
a unique sort . - . each has its own peculiar physiognomical expres- 
sion. In self-satisfaction the extensor muscles are innervated, the 
eye 'is strong and glorious, the gait rolling and elastic, the nostril 
dilated, and a peculiar smile plays upon the lips.^ This complex of 
symptoms is seen in an exquisite way in lunatic asylums, which 
always contain some patients who are literally mad with conceit, 
and whose fatuous expression and absurdly strutting or swaggering 
gait is in tragic contrast with their lack of any valuable personal 
quality. It is in these same castles of despair that we find the 
strongest examples of the opposite physiognomy, in good people who 
think they have committed "the unpardonable sin" and are lost 
forever, who crouch and cringe and slink from notice, and are unable 

to speak aloud or look us in the eye We ourselves know how the 

barometer of our self-esteem and confidence rises and falls from 
one day to another through causes that seem to be visceral and 
organic rather than rational, and which certainly answer to no cor- 
responding variations in the esteem in which we are held by oui 
friends. 1 

Self-satisfaction depends, as has been said, on the kind of 
self we are aiming at, and that in turn depends on the kind 
of self we are. A professional bank-robber may take a crafts- 
man's pride in the skill with which he has rifled a safe and 
made off with the booty, just as a surgeon may take pride in 
a delicate operation, or a dramatist in a play. The ideal and 
the measure of satisfaction will again be determined by the 
group among whom we move. The bank-robber will not 
boast of his exploits to a missionary conference; the surgeon 
will prefer to explain the details of his achievement to medical 
men who can critically appreciate its technique. The ideal 
self we set ourselves may far outreach our achievements, 
considerable and generally applauded though these be. A 
man may know in his heart how futile are his triumphs, how 
far from the goals he cherished as young ideals. Many a 
brilliant comedian longs to play Hamlet; the gifted and schol- 
arly musician knows how easy it*is to win an audience with 
sentimental and specious music. The humility of genius has 

1 James: loc. cti., vol. i f p. 307. 


again and again been noted. "The more one knows the less 
one knows one knows." 

Many men attain self-satisfaction through negation, 
through a serene surrender of the unattainable. As the Epi- 
cureans counseled, they increase their happiness by lessening 
their desires. The content which middle-aged people exhibit 
is not so frequently to be traced to the dazzling character of 
their achievement as to their resignation to their station. 
Young people are moody and unhappy not infrequentl} r be- 
cause they cannot make a reconciliation between what they 
would be and what they are. Others again attain satisfaction 
vicariously in the achievements of others, as mediocre fathers 
do in their brilliant children, or as sympathetic and interested 
people do in the whole world about them. 

The magnanimity of these expansive natures is often touching 
indeed. Such persons can feel a sort of delicate rapture in thinking 
that, however sick, ill-favored, mean-conditioned, and generally for- 
saken they may be, they are yet integral parts of the whole of this 
brave world, have a fellow's share in the strength of the dairy horses, 
the happiness of the young people, the wisdom of the wise ones, and 
are not altogether without part or lot in the good fortunes of the 
Vanderbilts and the Hohenzollerns themselves. 1 

In some men a modicum of success will give a dispropor- 
tionate sense of confidence and power. The man to whom suc- 
cess has always come easily is not baffled by problems that 
would appall those who, in middle life, "lie among the failures 
at the foot of the hill." As Goethe, who had always been 
miraculously successful, said to one who came to complain 
to him about the difficulty of an undertaking: "You have 
but to blow on your hands," In a crowd one can hardly fail 
to note the easy air of competence and confidence that dis- 
tinguishes the successful man of affairs. 

The contrast between the self and others. The conscious- 
ness of self increases with the expression of personal opinion 
and power. The man whose books are translated into half a 

i James: loc. tit., vol. I, p. 313 (written in 1890). 


dozen languages, to whose lectures people come from all parts 
of the world, cannot help feeling an increased sense of im- 
portance, although he may combine this consciousness with a 
sense of personal humility. In the same way a man who ex- 
erts great social power, who controls the economic lives of 
thousands of employees, or whose benefactions in the way of 
libraries and charitable institutions dot the land, develops in- 
evitably a sense of his own selfhood as over against that of the 
group. He begins to realize that he does make a significant 
difference in the world. This was curiously illustrated in a 
speech delivered by Andrew Carnegie when, after a prolonged 
absence in Europe, he came back to the opening of the Carne- 
gie Institute, the building of which had cost him six million 

He said he could not bring himself to a realization of what had 
been done. He felt like Aladdin when he saw this building and was 
aware that lie had put it up, but he could not bring himself to con- 
sciousness of having done it any more than if he had produced the 
same effect by rubbing a lamp. He could not feel the ownership of 
what he had given, and he could not feel that he had given it away, 1 

This sense of incredulity at one's actions or achievements 
is rarer than the consciousness of self which it promotes. 
The intensity of this self-awareness is increased when opinion 
is expressed or power exerted in the face of opposition. The 
man who finds himself standing out against the community 
in which he lives, who is a freethinker among those who are 
intensely religious, an extremist among those who are custom- 
ridden, spiritualistic among people who are controlled by 
materialistic ideas, finds the sense of his own personality 
heightened by contrast. When dissenting opinions are stead- 
fastly maintained in the face of the opposition of a powerful 
majority, there develops a personality with edge and strength. 
The man who can persist in his belief against the prevailing 
winds of doctrine and of action may be wrong, but he is a 

1 Quoted from the obituary of Andrew Carnegie in the New York Timea 
of August 12, 1919. 


personality. He is intensely and persistently aware of him- 
self* Similarly, the exertion of power in the face of opposition 
increases the sense of one's own power and helps to consoli- 
date it. One derives from it the same exhilaration that one 
has in feeling a canoe under the impulsion of one's paddle 
overcome the resistance of the water. In the same way, the 
exertion of social power in the face of obstacles makes half the 
exhilaration of politics and business for some types of men in 
business and political life. One admires the ruthlessness of a 
Napoleon at war or of a captain of industry in the sharp indus- 
trial competition of the nineteenth century, not because it is 
ruthless, but because it is power. Such men are at least not 
neutral; they are positive forces. 

The contrast between the "self" and the others may be 
friendly, with a recognition of all other selves as equally en- 
titled to existence. One pursues the even tenor of one's way, 
and is content to let others pursue theirs. Men of very pow- 
erful personality have exhibited the utmost gentleness and 
consideration of others. Lincoln, the typical strong, silent 
man, displayed a tenderness for the suffering and distressed 
that has already become proverbial. 

The contrast between one's self and the world may be one of 
bitter opposition, as when one's ideas or actions are subjected 
to social censure. As Mill argued over half a century ago, the 
forceful suppression of opinion produces a more violent tuani- 
festation of it. Socrates was put to death, but the Socratic 
philosophy rose like the sun in the heavens. A sense of injus- 
tice, of unfairness, will not only intensify a man's opinions but 
his consciousness of his own personality. To meet with oppo- 
sition is to feel acutely the outlines of one's own person; to 
be forced to recognize the differences between ourselves and 
others is to discover what sort of people we ourselves are. 

The contrast is likewise one of opposition, sometimes to 
bitterness, when the individual seeks to impose his own 
opinions or his own personality forcibly on others. A Mo- 
hammed, fired with tbe zeal of a religious enthusiasm, may 


spread his doctrine by fire and sword and be resisted by simi- 
lar violence. Others than the Germans have betaken them- 
selves to arms to spread a specific and arbitrary type of life. 
On a small scale it is seen wherever a fanatical parent tries to 
force his own belief and type of life upon his children, reared 
in a younger and freer generation. In contemporary society 
most individuals are neither tempted nor permitted to coerce 
people to their own way of thinking, although economic pres- 
sure and social ostracism are still powerful instruments by 
which strategically situated individuals can force their own 
opinions or types of life upon others. 

Types of self. The consciousness of self varies in its ex- 
pression and intensity and at different times may display 
different types or combinations of types. No one is ever 
utterly consistent, and different situations, different groups, 
provoke different selves in us. Nobody writes quite the same 
kind of letter to his different friends, or is, as has been pointed 
out, the same person in different situations. But, except for 
those intellectual will-o'-the-wisps, or moral ne'er-do-wells 
who take on the color of every new circumstance in which they 
happen to be cast, men do develop predominantly one type of 
self which constitutes, in familiar language, their character* 

The manner of our consciousness of our personality may 
vary in quality, even though it be intense in degree. One 
may be aware even of one's importance, without being "self- 
important." One may be quite conscious of one's significance 
in the world and yet not be " self -conscious." It is indeed 
usually the little man who has a great air about him. The 
officiousness and pettiness of the small soul invested with 
authority has often been commented on. Proverbial wisdom 
has succinctly recorded the fact that empty barrels make the 
most noise. Latterly, Freudian psychology has pointed out 
the mechanisms by which insignificant people compensate for 
the poverty of their person by bluster and brag. 1 

1 On this point see an illuminating brief discussion by Hart in The Psycho!* 
cgy of Insanity, 


Self-display or boldness. The most obvious type of con- 
sciousness of self is found in individuals who seek mere social 
eonspicuousness, who spend no inconsiderable part of their 
energy in deliberate display. The child says with naive 
frankness, "See how high I can jump." Many adults find 
more conspicuous or subtle ways of saying the same thing. 
One need only to take a ride in a bus or street car to find the 
certain symptoms of self-display. These may consist in 
nothing more serious than a peculiarly conspicuous collar or 
hatband, or particularly high heels. It may consist in a loud 
voice full of pompous references to great banquets recently 
attended or great sums recently spent. It may be in a raised 
eyebrow or a disdainful smile. There are people among 
every one's acquaintance whose conversation is largely made 
up of reminiscences of more or less personal glory, of deliber- 
ate allusions to large salaries and famous friends, to glorious 
prospects and past laurels. 1 

On a larger scale this is to be found in the almost universal 
desire to see one's name in print: 

There is a whole race of beings to-day whose passion is to keep * 
their names in the newspapers, no matter under what heading, "arri- 
vals and departures/' "personal paragraphs/' "interviews" gos- 
sip, even scandal will suit them if nothing better is to be had. 
Guiteau, Garfield's assassin, is an example of the extremity to which 
this craving for notoriety may go in a pathological case. The news- 
papers bounded his mental horizon; and in the poor wretch's prayer 
on the scaffold, one of the most heartfelt expressions was: "The 
newspaper press of this land has a big bill to settle with thee, 
Lord!" 2 

As was pointed out in connection with praise and blame, 
more of our actions than we should care to admit are deter- 
mined by this desire for recognition. The loud, the vulgar, 
the notoriety seekers are merely extreme illustrations of a 
type of self that most of us are some of the time. 

1 Almost every college class has one or two members who enter vocifer- 
ously and continuously into discussions, less for the contribution of ideas or 
information than for the propagation of their own personalities. 

a James: loc. mt, t vol. i p. 308. 


Self-sufficient modesty. The other extreme is exhibited 
by the type of personality that is markedly averse to display 
and shrinks from observation. In its intensest and possibly 
least appealing form it is exhibited by people who become 
awkwardly embarrassed in the presence of a stranger, how- 
ever fluent and vivacious they may be with their friends. 
This type at its best may be described by the epithet of self- 
sufficient modesty. To be such a person may be said to be an 
achievement rather than a weakness. To be self-sufficient 
and modest at the same time means that one is going about 
one's business, that one is too absorbed in one's work to be 
continually and anxiously noting what sort of figure one cuts 
in the world. To quote Matthew Arnold's well-known lines: 

"Unaffrighted by the silence round them, 
Undistracted by the sights they see, 
These demand not that the things without them 
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy." x 

There are in every great university quiet great men who 
steadily pursue vital and difficult researches without the 
slightest reference or desire for cheap conspicuousness. In 
every profession and business there are known to the dis- 
criminating men who are experts, even geniuses in their own 
field, but who shrink back from the loudness of publicity as 
from a plague. There are a number of wealthy philanthro- 
pists in all our large cities who consistently and steadily do 
good works in almost complete anonymity. One finds in al- 
most every department of human activity these types of self- 
effacing men who find their fulfillment in the work they do 
rather than in moving in the aura of other people's admiration. 

The positive and flexible self. But in order to be effective 
in affairs, some positive force must be displayed, and mod- 
esty need not mean pusillanimity. A frequently observable 
type of personality and socially one of a highly desirable 
sort is the type of man who, himself standing for positive 
convictions, ideas, and principles of action, and not casually 



to be deflected from them, has sufficient flexibility and sensi- 
tivity to the feelings of others, to accept modification. Such 
a self not only has its initial force and momentum, but gams 
as it goes by the experience of others. A personality must be 
positive to contribute to the solution of difficulties and the 
management of enterprises, but it must be receptive in order 
to benefit by the ideas of others and cooperate with them. 
To have power and humility at once is sometimes sufficient to 
make a leader among men. Humility prevents us from rush- 
ing headlong along the paths of our own dogmatic errors; it 
enables us further to deal with other people who would be 
simply antagonized by our flat-footed insistence on every de- 
tail of our own initial position. The history of great states- 
manship is in part, at least, the history of wise compromise. 
Nor does this mean sordid temporizing and opportunism. As 
John Morley puts it: 

It is the worst of political blunders to insist on carrying an ideal 
set of principles into execution, where others have rights of dissent, 
and those others persons whose assent is as indispensable to success 
as it is difficult to attain. But to be afraid or ashamed of holding 
such an ideal set of principles in one's mind in their highest and most 
abstract expression, does more than any other one cause to stunt or 
petrify those elements of character to which life should owe most of 
its savor. 1 

Dogmatism and self-assertion. Too often, however, a 
person of powerful and distinctive opinions is so moved by 
the momentum of his own strong enthusiasms, so fixed by the 
habitual definiteness of his own position that he cannot be 
swayed. In its worst form this is rampant egoism and dogma- 
tism. All of us have met the loud-mouthed exponent of his 
own opinions, who speaks whatever be the subject, as if his 
position only were plausible or possible, and as if all who gain- 
said him were either fools or knaves. 

If we examine the mental furniture of the average man we shall 
find it made up of a vast number of judgments of a very precise kind 
* Morley: On Compromise, p. 123. 


upon subjects of very great variety, complexity, and difficulty. He 
will have fairly settled views upon the origin and nature of the uni- 
verse, and upon what he will probably call its meaning; he will have 
conclusions as to what is to happen to him at death and after, as to 
what is and what should be the basis of conduct. He will know how 
the country should be governed, and why it is going to the dogs, why 
this piece of legislation is good and that bad. He will have strong 
views upon military and naval strategy, the principles of taxation, 
the use of alcohol and vaccination, the treatment of influenza, the 
prevention of hydrophobia, upon municipal trading, the teaching of 
Greek, upon what is permissible in art, satisfactory in literature, and 
hopeful in science. 

The bulk of such opinions must necessarily be without rational 
basis, since many of them are concerned with problems admitted by 
the expert to be still unsolved, while as to the rest it is clear that the 
training and experience of no average man caa qualify him to have 
any opinion on them at all. 1 

In action as well as opinion dogmatism and unbridled self- 
assertion may be the dominant characteristics of a personal- 
ity. The man who has a strong will and little social sympa- 
thy will be ruthlessly insistent on the attainment of his own 
ends. This type of self has indeed been set up as an ideal by 
such philosophers as Nietzsche and Max Stirner, who urged 
that the really great man should express his own personality 
irrespective of the weaklings whom he might crush in his 
comet-hke career. Thus writes Nietzsche in one of his char- 
acteristic passages: 

The Superman I have at heart; that is the first and only thing to 
me and not man: not the neighbor, not the poorest, not the sorri- 
est, not the best. , 

In that ye have despised, ye higher men, that maketh me hope. 
... In that ye have despaired, there is much to honor. For ye have 
not learned to submit yourselves, ye have not learned petty policy. 

For to-day have the petty people become master; they all preach 
submission, and humility, and policy, and diligence, and considera- 
tion, and the long et cetera of petty virtues. 

These masters of to-day surpass them, my brethren these 
petty people: they are the Superman's greatest danger! 2 

i Trotter: Instincts of the Herd, p. 36. 

* Thus Spake Zarathustra (Macmillan edition), pp. 351-52. 


It need scarcely be noted that even if the genius or Super- 
man were justified, as this philosophy insists, on ruthlessly 
asserting his priority, it is a dangerous procedure to identify 
one's ambitions with one's desserts. As already noted, a 
flamboyant assurance of one's own importance is sometimes a 
ludicrous symptom of the reverse. 

The more legitimate manifestation of strong individualism 
in action or opinion is in the case of deeply conscientious 
natures, who will not compromise by a hair's breadth from 
what they conceive to be the right. The fanatic is seldom an 
appealing character, but he is a type that enforces admiration. 
Of such unflinching insistence are martyrs and great leaders 
made. There are in every community men who will regard it 
as treachery to their highest ideals to compromise at all from 
the inviolable principles to which they feel themselves com- 
mitted. Such men are difficult to deal with in human situa- 
tions involving cooperation and compromise, and they exhibit 
frequently a rigid austerity, bitterness, and hate that do not 
readily win sympathy. But it is to such men as these that 
many religious and social reforms owe their initiation. Ber- 
trand Russell, who, whether one agrees with him or not, ex- 
hibits a puritanical devotion to his social beliefs, has finely 
described the type: 

The impatient idealist and without some impatience a man will 
hardly prove effective is almost sure to be led into hatred by the 
oppositions and disappointments which lie encounters in his en- 
deavors to bring happiness to the world. The more certain he is of 
the purity of his motives and the truth of Ms gospel, the more indig- 
nant will he become when his teaching is rejected. . , . The intense 
faith ^Mch enables Kirn to withstand persecution for the sake of Ms 
beliefs makes him consider these beliefs so luminously obvious that 
any thinking man who rejects them must be dishonest and must be 
actuated by some sinister motive of treachery to the cause. 1 

Enthusiasm. The enthusiast is another type of self that 
plays an important part in social life and makes not the least 

1 Bussell: Proposed Roads to Freedom, pp. xiu-xiv. 


attractive of its figures. The exuberant exponent of ideas, 
causes, persons, or institutions is an effective preacher, 
teacher, or leader of men, and may be, apart from his utility, 
intrinsically of the utmost charm. Emotions vividly dis- 
played are, as already pointed out in connection with sym- 
pathy, readily duplicated in others, and the ardors of the 
enthusiast are, when they have the earmarks of sincerity, 
contagious. A genuinely enthusiastic personality kindles 
his own fire in the hearts of others, and makes them appre- 
ciate as no mere formal analysis could, the vital and moving 
aspects of things. Good teaching has been defined as com- 
munication by contagion, and the teachers whom students 
usually testify to have influenced them most are not those 
who doled out flat prescribed wisdom, but those whose own 
informed ardor for their subject-matter communicated to the 
student a warm sense of its significance. Leaders of great 
movements who have been successful in controlling the ener- 
gies and loyalties of millions of men have been frequently 
men of this high and contagious voltage. It certainly consti- 
tuted part of Theodore Roosevelt's political strength, and, in 
more or less genuine form, is the asset of every successful po- 
litical speaker and leader. 

Both for the one controlled by enthusiasm and for the 
others to whom it spreads, experience becomes richer in sig- 
nificance. Poets and the poetically-minded have to a singu- 
lar degree the power of clothing with imaginative enthusiasm 
all the items of their experience. 

Enthusiasm does not necessarily connote hysteria or senti- 
mentalism. The unstable enthusiast is a familiar type, the 
man who has another object of eagerness and loyalty each 
week. Mark Twain describes the type in the person of his 
brother, who had a dozen different ambitions a year. But 
enthusiasm may be a long-sustained devotion to a single ideal. 
A curious instance of it was seen in the case of an Armenian 
scholar who, so it is reported to the writer by a student of 
Armenian culture, spent forty years in mastering cuneiform 


script in order to prove that the Phrygians were descended 
from the Armenians, and not vice versa. 

Shelley could kindle the spirit of revolution in thousands 
who would have been bored to death with the same fiery doc- 
trines in the abstract and cold pages of Godwin, from whom 
Shelley derived his ideas of " political justice." The enthusi- 
ast, since he instinctively likes to share his emotions, not in- 
frequently displays an intense desire for leadership, not so 
much that he may be a leader as that he may win converts to 
his own cause or creed. Such a personality finds its satisfac- 
tion in some form of proselyting zeal, be it for a religion, for 
a favorite charity, for good books, poetry, or social justice. 
A well-known literary scholar who died recently was thus 
described by one of his former students: 

Dr. Gummere was not a teacher; he was a vital atmosphere and 
his lectures, as one considered them from an intellectual or emo- 
tional angle, were revelations or adventures. There never were 
such classes as his, we believed. Who could equal him in readiness 
of wit? Where was there such a raconteur? Who else could put the 
feel of a poem into one's heart? . . . His voice was very deep, and 
exceedingly free and flexible. It always seemed to brim up as from 
a spirit overflowing. Everything about Hm was individual and 
spontaneous. He was perhaps most like a powerful river that braced 
one's energies, and carried one along without the slightest desire to 
resist. 1 

The negative self. All the types of personality or self that 
have thus far been discussed are in some way positive or 
assertive. But the self may be exhibited negatively, in a 
shrinking, not only from observation, but -from any positive 
or pronounced action. This has already been noted in con- 
nection with submissiveness. Most people in the presence of 
their intellectual and social or even their physical superior, 
experience a sense of, to use McDougalTs term, "negative 
self-feeling." In some people this negation or effacement of 
the self is a predominant characteristic. 

It may be mere social timidity, which, in the case of those 

i Charles Wharton Stork; "A Great Teacher," The Nation, July 26, 1919. 


continually placed in servile positions, as in the case of the 
proverbial "poor relation," may become chronic. In its most 
disagreeable form it is exhibited as an obsequious flattering 
and a pretentious humility. Of this the classic instance is 
Uriah Heep in David Copperfield: 

"I suppose you are quite a great lawyer," I [David Copperfield] 
said, after looking at him for some time. 

"Me, Master Copperfield?" said Uriah. "Oh, no! I'm a very 
unable person." 

It was no fancy of mine about his hands, I observed; for he fre- 
quently ground the palms against each other, as if to squeeze them 
dry and warm, besides often wiping them, in a stealthy way, on his 

"I am well aware that I am the umblest person going," said Uriah 
Heep modestly, "let tjfie other be where he may. My mother is 
likewise a very umble person. We live in a numble abode, Master 
Copperfield, but have much to be thankful for. My father's former 
calling was umble. He was a sexton." 

"What is he now?" I asked. 

"He is a partaker of glory, at present, Master Copperfield, but we 
have much to be thankful for. How much have I to be thankful for, 
in living with Mr. Wickfield." 

Negative self -feeling may be provoked by a genuine sense 
of unworthiness or modesty, and when this takes place among 
religious people, it may become a complete and rapturous 
submissiveness to God. The records of many mediaeval and 
of some modern mystics emphasize this complete yielding to 
the will of God, and in His will finding peace. James quotes 
in this connection Pascal's Priere pour Uen user les maladies; 

I ask you, neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; 
but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and 
my death, for your glory. . . . You alone know what is expedient 
for me; you are the sovereign master; do with me according to your 
will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to 
yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and 
bad to offend you Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad 
in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or 
sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That 
discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden 


among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not 
seek to fathom. 1 

Self-surrender, however, takes other forms than religious 
absorption or devotion. "Saintliness" is not unknown in 
secular forms of life, in the devotion of men to any ideal, 
despite pain and privation of worldly goods and successes. 
The doctor sacrificing his life in a leper colony is an extreme 
example. But something of the same humility and submis- 
siveness is exhibited every time a man makes a choice which 
places the welfare of other people before his own immediate 
success. It is shown by the thousands of physicians and 
settlement workers and teachers who spend their lives in 
patient devotion to labors that bring little remuneration and 
as little glory. Men of affairs and a large proportion of other 
men generally measure worth by worldly success. But even 
from the worldly, such signs of self-surrender elicit admiration. 

Eccentrics. There is one type of self so various and miscel- 
laneous that it can only be subsumed under the general epi- 
thet, " eccentric." These are the unexpectedly large number 
of individuals in our civilization who do not come under any 
of the usual categories, who display some small or great ab- 
normality which sets them off from the general run of men. 
That some of these are accounted eccentric is to be explained 
in the light of man's tendency, as a gregarious animal, to 
think "queer" and "freakish" anything off the beaten track. 
Some are clearly and unmistakably abnormal in some physio- 
logical or psychological respect. From these are recruited 
the inmates of our penitentiaries and insane asylums and the 
candidates for them. But there are eccentricities of social 
behavior, types of personality which though they cannot be 
classed as either insane or criminal, yet definitely set an 
individual apart. 

These include what Trotter has caUed the "mentally un- 
stable," as set over against "the great class of normal, sen- 
sible, reliable middle age, with its definite views, its resiliency 

i Quoted in James: Vanetiea of Religious Experience, p. 286. 


to the depressing influence of facts, and its gift for forming 
the backbone of the State." There are the large group of 
slightly neurasthenic, made so, in part, by the high nervous 
tension under which modern, especially modern urban, life is 
lived. These include what are commonly called the hyster- 
ical or over-emotional, or " temperamental" types. In a 
civilization where most professions demand regularity, re- 
straint, punctuality, and directness, ^instability and excess 
emotionalism are necessarily at a discount. There are the 
vagabond types who, like young Georges, Jean-Christophe's 
protg6, regard a profession as a prison house, in which most 
of one's capacities are cruelly confined. There are again 
those who, possessing singular and exclusive sensitivity to 
aesthetic values, to music, art, and poetry, find the world out- 
side their own lyric enthusiasms fiat, stale, and unprofitable. 
If, as so frequently happens, these combine, along with their 
peculiar temperaments, little genius and slender means, social 
and economic life becomes for them a blind alley. Every year 
at our great universities we see small groups of young men, 
who, having spent three or four years on philosophy, litera- 
ture, and the liberal arts, and having no interest in academic 
life, are put to it to find a profession in which they can find a 
genuine interest or possible success. 

Among these " eccentrics 7 ' a few have been reckoned gen- 
iuses by their contemporaries or by posterity. In such cases 
society hesitates to apply its usual formulae. One cannot 
condemn out of hand a Shelley. He is not of the run of men. 

Shelley was one of those spokesmen of the a pn'on, one of those 
nurslings of the womb, like a bee or a butterfly, a dogmatic, inspired, 

perfect, and incorrigible creature Being a finished child of 

nature, not a joint product, like most of us, of nature, history, and 
society, lie abounded miraculously in his own clear sense, but was 
obtuse to the droll miscellaneous lessons of fortune. The cannonade 
of hard inexplicable facts that knocks into most of us what little 
wisdom we have, left Shelley dazed and sore, perhaps, but uniu- 
etructed. 1 

1 Santayana: Winds of Doctrine, Shelley, p. 159, 


It is difficult to draw the line in some cases between genius 
and insanity. 1 There have been time and again in society 
Cassandras who have spoken true prophecies and have been 
thought mad. There have been, on the other hand, those 
who, having some of the external eccentricities of genius, 
have given an illusive impression of greatness. The pro- 
fessional Bohemian likes to make himself great by wearing 
his hair long and living in a garret. But it is unquestionably 
true that a highly sensitive and creative mind is often ill at 
ease in the world of action, and remains a vagabond, an 
enfant terrible or an eccentric all through life. It remains 
a fact that in contemporary society there are a small number 
of people, some of them of considerable talents, who simply 
cannot be made to fit into the social routine. For such 
Bertrand Russell suggests a " vagabond's wage." This he 
conceives as being just large enough to enable them to get 
along, to give them a chance to wander and experiment, but 
sufficiently small to penalize them for not settling down to 
the accustomed social routines. 2 

Mill has generalized the situation of the genius: 

Persons of genius, it is true, are, and are always likely to be, a 
small minority; but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve 
the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an 
atmosphere of freedom. Persons of genius are, ex vi termini, more 
individual than any other people less capable, consequently, of 
fitting themselves, without hurtful compression, into any of the small 
number of moulds which society provides in order to save its mem- 
bers the trouble of forming their own character. ... If they are of a 

1 Thus Plato: "But he who, not being inspired and having no touch of 
madness in his soul, comes to the door and thinks that he will get into the 
temple by the help of art he, I say, and his poetry are not admitted; the 
sane man is nowhere at all when he enters into rivalry with the madman." 
PHcedrus (Jowett tianslation), p 550. 

2 Russell: Proposed Roads to Freedom, p. 177. There was recently intro- 
duced to the writer a boy, aged nineteen, for whom this would be an admir- 
able solution Brought up in a tenement and working as a clerk, this 
youngster wrote what competent judges pronounced to be really extraordi- 
nary lyrics He was at the same time utterly helpless in the world of affairs. 
Even at college his casual habits and absorption would have prevented him 
from getting through his freshman year. 


strong character, and break their fetters, they become a mark for 
the society which has not succeeded in reducing them to common- 
place, to point at with solemn warning as "wild," "eiratic," and the 
like; much as if one should complain of the Niagara River for not 
flowing smoothly between its banks, like a Dutch canal. 1 

The active and the contemplative. One final distinction 
must be made, one that cuts across all the types of self hith- 
erto discussed, namely, the distinction between the man of 
action and the man of thought. One need not go far in liter- 
ature or in life to find the contrast made. In the Scriptures 
Mary is set over against Martha, Rachel against Leah. 
Hamlet and Ulysses are permanent representations of the 
melancholy thinker and the exuberant adventurer. The 
business man and the executive may be put over against the 
poet and the scholar; the strenuous organizer and adminis- 
trator over against the quiet philosopher. Both have their 
outstanding uses, and, in their extreme forms, their out* 
standing defects. The active type, as we say, "gets things 
done." He builds bridges and industries; he manages mar- 
kets and men. His eye is on the practical; he is dependable, 
rapid, and efficient. In an industrial civilization he is the 
great heroic type. The statesman and the railroad builder, 
the newspaper editors and the political leaders captivate the 
imaginations as they control the destinies of mankind. 

On the other hand, there are those who stand aside (either 
from incapacity or disinclination or both) from the manage- 
ment of affairs and the life of action, and spend their lives in 
observation and contemplation. Plato and Aristotle regarded 
this as the highest type of life; it may have been because they 
were themselves both philosophers. In its extreme form it 
is exhibited in such men as Spinoza or Kant, spending their 
lives in practical obscurity, speculating on time and space and 
eternity. But it is apparent in less extreme types. The 
"patient observer/' the genial spectator of other men's actions 
is not infrequent. When he has literary gifts he is a phi- 

1 Mill. Essay on Liberty, chap. HI. 


losopher or a poet. Lucretius in a famous passage stated the 
contemplative ideal, contrasting it with its opposite: 

Sweet it is when on the great seas the winds are buffeting, to gaze 
from the land on another's great struggles; not because it is pleasure 
or joy that any one should be distressed, but because it is sweet to per- 
ceive from what misfortunes you yourself are free. Sweet is it, too, 
to behold great contests of war m full array over the plains, when you 
have no part in the danger. But nothing is more gladdening than 
to dwell in the calm high places, firmly embattled on the heights by 
the teaching of the wise, whence you can look down on others, and 
see them wandering hither and thither and going astray, as they seek 
the way of life, in strife matching their wits or rival claims of birth, 
struggling night and day by surpassing effort to rise up to the height 
of power and gain possession of the world. 1 

But in the two types it is not the fruit of action or contem- 
plation, but action and contemplation themselves that the 
two types find respectively interesting. The man of action 
finds an immediate satisfaction in movement, change, the 
clamor of affairs, the contacts with other people, the making 
of changes in the practical world. The man of thought finds 
as immediate enjoyment in noting the ways of men, and re- 
flecting upon them. 

That contemplation, disinterested thinking, also has its use 
goes without saying. The thinker and the dreamer may be 
something at least of what the Irish poet boasts: 

"... the movers a^d shakers 
Of the world, forever, it seems." 

The scholar, the thinker, the man who stands aside from 
immediate action, may, often does, help the world of action 
in a far-reaching way. The researches of a Newton make 
possible eventually the feats of modern engineering and teleg- 
raphy; the abstruse study of the calculus helps to build 
bridges and skyscrapers. 

Both types, in their extremes, have their weaknesses. The 
extremely practical man "may cut off the limb upon which 
he is sitting/' or "see no further than the end of his nose." A 

i Lucretius: De Rerum Natura (Bailey translation), book n, lines 1-12. 


really great administrator is not penny-wise; he thinks far 
ahead, around and into a problem. He is concerned for to- 
morrow as well as to-day. The contemplative man may 
come to be "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought." 
There is the hero of one Russian novel who reflects through 
three hundred pages on his wasted life, all at the ripe age of 
twenty-three. 1 The practical man gains width and insight 
by checking himself with reflection; the contemplative finds 
thought called home and made meaningful by contacts with 
the world. It was something of this balance which Plato 
had in mind when he insisted that his future philosopher-king 
should, after fifteen years' study, go for fifteen years into the 
"cave" or world to learn to deal with men and affairs. The 
"mere theorist" is often an absurd if not a dangerous char- 
acter; the practical man may come to make the wheels go 
round without ever taking note of his direction. 

As pointed out in the beginning of this discussion, no one 
of these types is exclusively exemplified in any one individual. 
To be exclusively any one of these would be to be a caricature 
rather than a character. 2 But to be no one of these types to 
any degree at all is to be no character at all, is to be socially a 
nonentity, a minus quantity; it is to be determined by the 
vicissitudes of chance or circumstance; it is to be a succession 
of vacillations rather than a distinctive self-determined per- 
sonality. Each of these types, moreover, if not extreme, has 
its specific excellences, and their various presence lends rich- 
ness and diversity to social life. 

Emotions aroused in the maintenance of the self. These 
various types of self may be defended with bitterness and 

1 Contchareff : Oblomoff. 

2 Dickens's success lay, perhaps chiefly, in Ms ability to draw these unfor- 
gettable exaggerations, these outstanding types; "Micawber" waiting for 
something to turn up; the fiendish cruelty of "Bill Sikes"; the angelic self- 
effacement of "Little Nell"; the hypocritical "Mr. Pecksniff"; the gossipy 
_ bairy Gamp. He had a unique gift for representing psychological traits 
in large The so-called psychological novelists like Meredith, trace a char- 
acter through its moods and fluctuations, making truer, more composite, 
though less memorable characters. *"*w t 


pertinacity, and in their support the most powerful emotions 
may be enlisted. As pointed out in connection with individu- 
ality in opinion, men may be willmg to die for their beliefs. 
Similarly invasion of one's home, infringement or threat 
against what one regards as one's rights or one's possessions, 
whether physical or social, may be bitterly contested. And 
in this conflict in support of the integrity of the self, anger, 
hate, fear, submissiveness, all the nuances of emotion may be 
aroused. The themes of great tragedy are built largely on 
this theme of insistent selfhood. Any obstruction of the self- 
integrity one has set one's self may provoke a violent reaction. 
It may be interference with one's love, as in the case of Medea 
or Othello, the pain of ingratitude as in Lear, the conflict 
between "the lower and the higher self," as in the case of 
Macbeth's loyalty and his ambition. These are the staple 
materials of drama. In common experience, an insult to one's 
wife or friend, an obstacle placed in the way of one's profes- 
sional career, deprivation of one's liberty or one's property, 
or one's unhindered " pursuit of happiness," are the provoca- 
tions to violent emotions in the sustaining of the self. How 
violent or what form the reaction will take depends on the 
situation of the "self" involve! If one has been grossly in- 
sulted by another upon whom one is utterly dependent so- 
cially and economically, a rankling and impotent rage may be 
the only outlet. To a person gifted with humility, the disil- 
lusions of a false friendship may provoke nothing more than 
a deep but resigned disappointment. Where passion and 
determination run high, and retaliation is feasible, a violent 
hate may find violent fulfillment. In earlier and more 
bloodthirsty days, the dagger, the duel, and poison were, as 
illustrated in the history of the Borgias, ways of maintain- 
ing the self and venting one's anger or revenge. Even in 
modern society the still distressingly large number of crimes 
of violence may be traced in many, perhaps most cases, to 
blind and bitter hate. To any deep personal injury, hate, 
whether it takes overt form or not, is still the instinctive 


answer; just such hate as Euripides represents in the jealous 
Medea, when she, a barbarian captive among the Greeks, 
sees Jason, her lover, about to be married to a Greek princess: 
"... But I, being citiless, am cast aside, 
By him that wedded me, a savage bride. 

"I ask one thing. If chance yet ope to me 
Some path, if even now my hand can win, 
Strength to requite this Jason for his sin, 
Betray me not' Oh, in all things but this, 
I know how full of fears a woman is, 
And faints at need, and shrinking from the light 
Of battle; but once spoil her of her right 
In man's love, and there moves, I warn thee well, 
No bloodier spirit between Heaven and Hell." * 

In defense of the self in its narrower or broader sense, cour- 
age and heroism may be displayed. The martyr will die 
rather than submit; there have been many to whom Patrick 
Henry's "Give me Liberty or give me death," was something 
more than rhetoric. The self for which we will fight, of course, 
varies. A spoilt child will go into a paroxysm of rage if its 
toy is taken away. Older people will fight for smaller or 
larger points of social position. There is the familiar citizen 
who will insist on his rights, often of a petty sort, in a hotel, 
theater, or department store. Or a man may display the last 
extremity of courage in defense of some ideal, as in a man's 
surrender of his life for his country. Something of the same 
heroism is displayed by individuals who stand out against 
their group in the face of ridicule or persecution. It is the 
general sympathy with the desire to preserve one's selfhood 
untarnished that gives point to Henley's lines: 
"Out of the night that covers me, 

Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 

For my unconquerable soul. 

"It matters not how strait the gate, 

How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 

I am the captain of my soul." 2 
1 Euripides: Medea (Gilbert Murray translation), p, 16. 


In the same way as the emotions fear, anger, and hate, and 
their variations and degrees, may be aroused by attack or 
threat against the self, so help and encouragement of an indi- 
vidual's selfhood arouse love, affection, and gratitude. Even 
our affection for our parents, though in part instinctive, is 
undoubtedly increased by the care and persistence with which 
they have fostered our own life and hopes, have educated us, 
and made possible for us a career. The same motives play a 
part in our affection for teachers who have beneficently influ- 
enced our lives, for other older people who "give us a start," 
advice and encouragement or financial aid. Even the love of 
God has in religious ritual been colored with gratitude for 
God's mercies and benevolences. 

The individuality of groups. Groups may display the same 
individuality and sense of selfhood as is exhibited by indi- 
viduals. And the members of the group may come to regard 
the group life as something quite as important and inalienable 
as their own personalities and possessions. Indeed in defense 
of the integrity of the group life, as in the case, for example, 
of national honor, the individual life and possession may come 
to be reckoned as naught. Man's gregariousness and his 
instinctive sympathy with his own kind make it easy for the 
individual to identify his own life with that of the group. 
What threatens or endangers the group will in consequence 
arouse in him the same emotions as are aroused by threats or 
dangers that concern his own personality. An insult to the 
flag may send a thrill of danger through the millions who 
read about it, just as would an insult to themselves or their 

Group feeling may exist on various levels. It may be 
nothing more momentous than local pride, having the tallest 
tower, the finest amusement park, the best baseball team, or 
being the " sixth largest city." It may be a belligerent im- 
perialism, a "desire for a place in the sun." It may be a 
desire for independence and an autonomous group life, mani- 
fested so strikingly recently by such small nationalities as 


Poland and Czechoslovakia and influential in keeping Swit- 
zerland alive as a nationality through hundreds of years, 
though surrounded by powerful neighbors. 1 While a group 
does not exist save as an abstraction, looked at as a whole it 
may exhibit the same outstanding traits, or the same types 
of selfhood as an individual. It may be fiercely belligerent 
and dogmatic; it may, like literary exponents of the German 
ideal, desire to spread its own conception of Kultur through- 
out the world, 2 It may be insistent on its own position, or 
its own possessions or its own glory. It may be fanatic in 
aggrandizement. It may be interested in the welfare of other 
groups, as in the case of large nationalities championing and 
protecting the causes of small or oppressed ones, such an ideal 
as was expressed, for example, by President Wilson in his 
address to Congress on the entrance of America into the 
Great War: 

... We shall fight for the things which we have always carried 
nearest our hearts for democracy, for the right of those who mib~ 
mit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for ^ the 
rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right 
by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all 
nations and make the world itself at last free, 3 

The selfhood displayed by various groups varies with the 
degree and integration of the individual within the group* 
In extreme cases, such as that of Germany under the imperial 
regime, the group individuality may completely overshadow 
and engulf that of the individual This ideal was not infre- 
quently expressed by German political writers: 

1 Group feeling may be displayed under the most difladvantagroun condi- 
tions, as in the strong sentiment for nationalism current among the Jews, 
even through all the centuries of dispersion. 

2 Thorstein Veblen has pointed out how the "common man" pomes to 
identify his interest with that of the group: " The common man who m ta&dt 
himself to the aggressive enhancement of the national Culture and ifci prei** 
tige has nothing of a material kind to gain from the increase of renown that 
comes to his sovereign, his language, his countrymen's art or soienc, his die- 
tary, or his God. There are no sordid motives in all this* These spirffeunjl 
assets of self-complacency arc indeed to be rated as grounds of h!gh*mijKld 
patriotism without afterthought " (The Nature of Peace, p. 56.) 

* Woodrow Wilson: Address to Congress, April 2, 1917, 


To us the state is the most indispensable as well as highest requi- 
site of our earthly existence. ... All individualistic endeavor must 
be unreservedly subordinated to this lofty claim. . . . The state 
eventually is of infinitely more value than the sum of the individuals 
within its jurisdiction. This conception of the state which is as 
much a part of our life as the blood in our veins, is nowhere to be 
found in the English constitution, and is quite foreign to English 
thought, and to that of America as well. 1 

While custom-bound and feudal regimes may emphasize 
the tendency to suppress development of individuality, and 
insist on regimentation in thought and action an ideal 
proclaimed with increasing generality in Germany from Hegel 
down 2 there may be on the part of both individuals and 
groups the tendency to promote individuality as itself a social 
good. In such a case the social structure and educational 
systems and methods will be designed to promote individual- 
ity rather than to suppress it. Individual variations, if it be 
generally recognized that they are the only source of progress, 
will be utilized and cultivated instead of suppressed. 3 

Throughout the nineteenth century (indeed throughout 
the history of political theory), the pendulum swung beween 
individualism and complete socialization. Spencer long ago 
proclaimed the dominance of the individual; T. H. Green, 
following the German philosophers, the dominance of the 
state. Like the contrast between egoism and altruism, an 
emphasis on either side is bound to be artificial The indi- 
vidual can only be a self in a social order; the individual is 
only an individual in contrast with others. It is doubtful, for 
example, whether a man living all his life alone on a desert 
island would discover any individuality at all. A man's 
character is displayed in action, and his actions are always, 
or nearly always, performed with reference to other people. 
And a man's best self-realization cannot be achieved save in 

1 Eduard Meyer: England, Its Political Organization and Development and 
the War Against Germany (English translation), pp 30-31. 

2 See Dewey: German Philosophy and Politics. 

Individuality is the theme of Montessori kindergarten methods. s 


congenial social order. A man will not readily grow into a 
saint among a society of sinners, and unless the social order 
provides opportunities for the highest type of life, it will exist 
only in a very fortunate and favored few. One of the charges 
that has been laid against democracy is that it fails to en- 
courage the highest types of scientific and artistic interests, 
that it is the gospel of the mediocre. 1 

It is too often forgotten, on the other hand, by those who 
emphasize the importance of society, that society is, after all, 
nothing more than an aggregate of selves. The "state," the 
"social order" is nothing but the individuals who make it up, 
and their relations to each other. 

The group exists, after all, even as the most completely 
socialized political doctrines insist, for the realization of in- 
dividual selves, for freedom of opportunity and initiative. ^ It 
is when "individualism" runs rampant, when self-realization 
on the part of one individual interferes with self-realization 
on the part of all others that individualism becomes a menace. 
Individuality is itself valuable, in the first place, because as 
Mill pointed out in his essay on Liberty earlier quoted: 

What has made the European family an improving instead of ^a 
stationary portion of mankind? Not any superior excellence irt 
them, which, when it exists, exists as the effect, not the cause; but 
their remarkable diversity of character and culture. Individuals, 
classes, nations, have been extremely unlike one another; they have 
struck out a great variety of paths, each leading to something valu- 
able; and although at every period those who traveled in different 
paths have been intolerant of one another, and each would have 
thought it an excellent thing if all the rest could have been compelled 
to travel his road, their attempts to thwart each other's development 
have rarely had any permanent success, and each has endured ill 
time to receive the good which the others have offered. 3 

Apart from the variations in group customs and traditions, 
and their progressive application to changing circumstances 

1 This Is the essence of the aristocratic position, that a choke life lived by a 
few is better than a vulgar one shared by the many, 
1 Mill, Essay on Liberty, chap, in. 


which individuality makes possible, it cannot be too strongly 
emphasized that society is the name for the process by which 
individuals live together. It is the individuals who are the 
realities and the happiness of individuals which is the aim of 
social organization. Such happiness is only attainable when 
individuals are allowed to make the most of their native ca- 
pacities and individual interests. The social group as a group 
will be more interesting, colorful, and various when every 
experimentation and variety of life are encouraged and pro- 
moted. And the individuals in such a society will be person- 
alities, not the mere mechanisms of a regimented routine. 



The meaning of individual differences. The major part of 
this volume has been devoted to a consideration of those 
traits, interests, and capacities which all individuals share, and 
which may in general be described as the "original nature of 
man." These distinctive inborn tendencies were treated, for 
purposes of analysis, in the most general terms, and, on the 
whole, as if they appeared in the same strength and variety in 
all individuals. When we thus stand off and abstract those 
characteristics which appear universally in all individuals, 
human nature appears constant. But there are marked vari- 
ations in the specific content of human nature with which 
each individual is at birth endowed. Put in another way, one 
might say that to be a human being means to be by nature 
pugnacious, curious, subject to fatigue, responsive to praise 
and blame, etc., and susceptible to training in all these re- 
spects. By virtue of the fact that we are all members of the 
human race, we have common characteristics; by virtue that 
we are individuals, we all display specific variations in specific 
human capacities. There is, save abstractly, no such thing as 
a standard human being. We may intellectually set up a 
norm or standard, but it will be a norm or standard from 
which every individual is bound to vary. 

The fact that individuals do differ, and in specific and de- 
finable respects, has most serious consequences for social life. 
It means, briefly, that while general inferences may be drawn 
from wide and accurate observations of the workings of !m* 
man nature, these inferences remain general and tentative, 
and if taken as rigid rules are sure to be misleading. Theories 
of education and social reform certainly gain from the general 
laws that can be formulated about original human trait, 


fatigue, memory, learning capacity, and the like. But they 
must, if they are to be applicable, take account also, in a pre- 
cise and systematic way, of the variety of men's interests and 
capacities. To this fact of variety in the original nature of 
different men social institutions and educational methods 
must be adapted. Arbitrary rules that apply to human na- 
ture in general do not apply to the specific cases and specific 
types of talent and desires. Educational and social organiza- 
tions can mould these, but the result of these environmental 
influences will vary with individual differences in original 
capacities. We can waste an enormous amount of time and 
energy trying to train a person without mechanical or mathe- 
matical gifts to be an engineer. We not only save energy and 
time, but promote happiness, if we can train individuals so 
that their specific gifts will be capitalized at one hundred per 
cent. They will be at once more useful to society and more 
content with themselves, when they are using to the full their 
own capacities. They will at once be unproductive and un- 
happy when they find themselves in activities or social situa- 
tions where their genuine talents are given no opportunity 
and where their defects put them at a conspicuous handicap. 
Individuals differ, it must further be noted, not only in 
specific traits, but in that complex of traits which is commonly 
called " intelligence." In the broadest terms, we mean by an 
individual's intelligence his competence and facility in dealing 
with his environment, physical, social, and intellectual* This 
competence and facility, in so far as it is a native endowment, 
consists of a number of traits present in a more or less high 
degree, traits, for example, such as curiosity, flexibility of na- 
tive and acquired reactions, sociability, sympathy, and the 
like. In a sense an individual possesses not a single intelli- 
gence, but many, as many as there are types of activity in 
which he engages. But one may classify intelligence under 
three heads, as does Thorndike: 1 mechanical intelligence, in- 
volved in dealing with things; social intelligence, involved in 

1 " Measuring Intelligence," Harper's Magazine, March, 1920. 


dealing with other persons; and abstract intelligence, in- 
volved in dealing with the relations between ideas. Each of 
these types of intelligence involves the presence in a high de- 
gree of a group of different traits. Thus, in social intelligence, 
a high degree of sympathy, sensitivity to praise and blame, 
leadership, and the like, are more requisite than they are for 
intelligent behavior in the realm of mechanical operations or 
of mathematical theory. A person may be highly intelligent 
in one of these three spheres and mentally helpless in the 
others. Thus, a brilliant philosopher may be nonplused by a 
stalled motor; a successful executive may be a babe in the 
realm of abstract ideas. But what we rate as a person's gen- 
eral intelligence is a kind of average struck between his vari* 
ous competences, an estimate of his general ability to control 
himself in the miscellaneous variety of situations of which 
his experience consists. 

There have been a number of tests devised for the purpose 
of estimating an individual's general intelligence. 1 On a 
rating scale such as is used in these examinations most 
individuals will come up to a certain standard that may be 
called average or normal. There will be a certain number so 
far below the normal rating in a complex of traits that go to 
produce intelligent (competent and facile) behavior that they 
will have to be classed as subnormal, ranging from feeble- 
mindedness to idiocy. A certain number will be found so 
extraordinarily gifted in general traits and in specific abili- 
tiesin given subject-matters, as, for example, in mathe- 
matics and music that they will be marked out as geniuses. 
Following the laws of probability, the greater the inferiority 
or superiority, the more exceptional it will be. 

* These, in large part, deal with words and ideas and are, therefore 
weighted in favor of abstract intelligence, and put at a discount individuals 
whose experience and whose intelligence are predominantly social or mechan- 
ical in character. Some of the tests are fairly adequate for mechanical intelli 
gence, bat no good tests have been devised for social intelligence These 
tests, however, as used in the army and for appraising college entrants, *ft 
' demonatrated to be fairly good indices of 


Individual differences are, therefore, seen to be not simply 
differences with respect to given mental traits, but differences 
with respect to general mental capacity. Experimental in- 
vestigation points to a graded difference in mental capacity, 
ranging from idiocy to genius, the largest group being normal 
or average, the size of the group diminishing with further 
deviation from the average in either direction. 

Certain important correlations, furthermore, have been 
found between the level of intelligence and the level of charao- 
ter. The great in mind, it may be said briefly, are also great 
in spirit. " General moral defect commonly involves intellec- 
tual inferiority. Woods and Pearson find the correlation be- 
tween intellect and character to be about .5. ... General 
moral defect is due in part to a generally inferior nervous 
organization." 1 

One other important correlation must be noted. While 
gifts and capacities are specific, superiority in a given trait 
commonly involves superiority in most others. Exceptional 
talent in one direction in most cases involves exceptionality 
in many other respects. While talents are not indiscrimi- 
nately transferable from one field to another, the same com- 
plex of traits which makes a person stand out preeminently in 
a given field, say law, would make him stand out in any one of 
half a dozen different fields into which he might have gone. 
There seems to be no evidence that extraordinary capacity in 
one direction is balanced by extraordinary incapacity and 
stupidity in others. The fact that individuals differ not only 
in specific traits but in general mental capacity has, also, cer- 
tain obvious practical consequences. It means that there are 
present in society, in the light of recent tests in the army, an 
unexpectedly large number of individuals below the level of 
normal intelligence. One in five hundred, Thorndike esti- 
mates, is the "frequency of intellectual ability so defective as 
to disturb the home, resist school influence, and excite popu- 
lar derision." These are clearly liabilities in the social order. 

* Thomdike: Educational Psychology (1910), p. 224. 


On the other hand, there is a large number above the level of 
average intelligence. The importance of this group for hu- 
man progress can hardly be overestimated. As we have seen 
in other connections, progress is contingent upon variation 
from the "normal" or the accustomed, and such variation 
from the normal is initiated in the majority of cases by mem- 
bers of this comparatively small super-normal group. If 
civilization is to advance it must capitalize its intelligence; 
that is, educate up to the highest point of native ability. But 
in any case, its chief guarantee of progress lies in the com- 
paratively small group in whom native ability is exception- 
ally high. For it is among this group that original thinking, 
invention, aod discovery almost exclusively occur. 

Causes of individual differences. Among the chief causes 
of individual differences may, in general, be set down the fol- 
lowing: (1) Sex, (2) Race, (3) Near Ancestry or Family, 
(4) Environment. The particular fund of human nature 
which an individual displays, that is, his specific native en- 
dowments, as they appear in practice, will be a resultant of 
these various causes, In the study of each of these charac- 
teristics, we should be able ideally to eliminate all the others 
and to consider them each in isolation. 

The influence of sex. In the case of sex, for example, we 
should not confuse individual differences due to the fact of sex 
with individual differences due to divergent training given to 
each of the sexes. In scientific experiments to determine sex 
differences in mental traits, there have been careful attempts 
to eliminate everything but the factor of sex itself. Thus in 
Karl Pearson's studies of fifty twin brothers and sisters, the 
factors of ancestry and difference of training and age were 
practically eliminated. 

In so far as allowance can be made for other contributing 
factors, studies of individual differences due to sex have re- 
vealed, roughly speaking, the following results. There have 
been, in the field of sensory discrimination and accuracy of 
motor response, slight and negligible differences of re- 


sponses made by male and female. The subjects stated were, 
in most cases, selected so far as possible from the same social 
strata, social and intellectual interest, and background. 1 

Thorndike reports the general results of such tests as fol- 

The percentages of males reaching or exceeding the median ability 
of females in such traits as have been subjected to exact investigation 
are roughly as follows: 

In speed of naming colors and sorting cards by color and 

discriminating colors as m a test for color blindness . 24 

In finding and checking small visual details such as letters 33 

In spelling 33 

In school "marks" in English * . . . 35 

In school "marks" in foreign languages 40 

In memorizing for immediate recall ........ 42 

In lowness of sensory thresholds .43 

In retentiveness 47 

In tests of speed and accuracy of association ... 48 

In tests of general information 50 

In school "marks" in mathematics ........ 50 

In school "marks" (total average) 50 

In tests of discrimination (other than for color) ... 51 

In range of sensitivity 52 

In school "marks" in history 55 

In tests of ingenuity 63 

In accuracy of arm movements 66 

In school " marks " in physics and chemistry .... 68 

In reaction time .............. 70 

In speed of finger and arm movement ....... 71 

The most important characteristic of these differences is their 
small amount. The individual differences within one sex so enor- 
mously outweigh the differences between the sexes in these intel- 
lectual and semi-intellectual traits that for practical purposes the sex 
difference may be disregarded. So far as ability goes, there could 
hardly be a stupider way to get two groups alike within each group 
but differing between the groups than to take the two sexes. As is 
well known, the experiments of the past generation in educating wo- 
men have shown their equal competence in school work of elementary, 
secondary, and collegiate grade. The present generation's experi- 
ence is showing the same fact for professional education and business 

* As, for example, the members of the graduating and junior classes of the 
co-educational college at the University of Chicago, studied by Dr. Thompson. 


service. The psychologists' measurements lead to the conclusior 
that this equality of achievement comes from an equality of nature 
gifts, not from an overstraining of the lesser talents of women. 1 

That is, so far as experiments upon objectively measurable 
traits have been conducted, the specific differences that in- 
dividuals display have comparatively nothing to do with the 
fact that an individual happens to be a man or a woman. 
These experiments have been conducted with boys and girls 
as young as seven, and with men and women ranging up to the 
age of twenty-five. 2 

These experiments have been conducted to test sensory 
discrimination, precision of motor response and some of the 
simpler types of judgment, such as those involved in the solu- 
tion of simple puzzles with blocks, matches, etc. The fact 
of the negligibility of sex difference with regard to certain 
minor measurable traits has been adequately demonstrated 
by a wide variety of experiments. The fact of sex equality or 
mental capacity has been less accurately but fairly universally 
noted by popular consensus of observation and opinion of the 
work of women in the various trades and professions. There 
are differences between men and women in physical strength 
and in consequent susceptibility to fatigue. These are im- 
portant considerations in qualifying the amount of work a 
woman can do as compared with that of a man, and have 
justly resulted in the regulation of hours for women, as a 
special class. But there do not seein to be, on the average, 
significant original differences in mental capacity. 3 

There do exist, as a matter of practical fact, some of the 
special attributes commonly ascribed to the masculine and 
feminine mental life, but it is generally agreed by investigators 
that these are to be accounted for by the different environ- 

1 Thorndike: Educational Psychology briefer course, pp. 345-46, 
* There seems, as might be expected to be, a slightly higher differentiation 
between the two sexes after adolescence than before. 

^On this subject there has been collected a large amount of accurate ex- 
perimental data. See Goldmark: Fatigue and Efffamcy, part n, pp, 1-22. 
These refer to physiological differences. 


ment and standards socially established for men and for 
women. There are radical and subtle differences in training 
to which boys and girls are subjected from early childhood. 
There are deeply fixed traditions as to the standards of action* 
feeling, and demeanor to which boys and girls are respectively 
trained and to which they are expected to conform. If a boy 
should not live up to this training and expectation, he may be 
marked out as " effeminate." If a girl does not conform, she 
is defined as a "hoyden" or a "tomboy." 

These social distinctions, which are emphasized even in the 
behavior of young boys and young girls, grow more pro- 
nounced as individuals grow older. One need hardly call at- 
tention to actions regarded as perfectly legitimate for men 
which provoke disapproval if practiced by women. Rigid 
training in these different codes of behavior may cause ac- 
quired characteristics to seem inborn. But whether these 
general features commonly held to distinguish the mental life 
of man or woman are or are not intrinsic and original, they 
have been marked out by certain investigators as socially 
fundamental. Thus Heymans and Wiersma, two German 
investigators, set down as the differentia of feminine mental 
life (1) greater activity, (2) greater emotionality, (3) greater 
unselfishness of the female. 1 

There are some general differences noted by both layman 
and psychologist, which, though notjjsubject to quantitative 
determination, yet seem to differentiate somewhat definitely 
between fcminme^and masculine mental activity. These 
may be set down in general as occurring in the field of emo- 
tional susceptibility. Thorndike traces them back to the 
varying intensity of two human traits earlier discussed: the 
fighting instinct, relatively much stronger in the male, and 
the nursing or mothering instinct, much stronger in the fe- 
male. With this fact are associated important differences in 
the conduct of men and women in social relations. The ma- 
ternal instinct is held by some writers, for instance, to be in 
* See Thorndike'a Educational Psychology (1910), p. 136. 


large measure the basis of altruism, and is closely associated 
with sensitivity to the needs and desires of others. Thorn- 
dike writes: 

It has been common to talk of women's dependence. This is, I am 
sure, only an awkward name for less resentment at mastery. The 
actual nursing of the young seems likewise to involve equally un- 
reasoning tendencies to pet, coddle, and "do for 7 ' others. The 
existence of these two instincts has been long recognized by litera- 
ture and common knowledge, but their importance in causing differ- 
ences in the general activities of the two sexes has not. The fighting 
instinct is in fact the cause of a very large amount of the world's 
intellectual endeavor. The financier does not think merely for 
money, nor the scientist for truth, nor the theologian to save souls. 
Their intellectual efforts are aimed in great measure to outdo the 
other man, to subdue nature, to conquer assent. The maternal 
instinct in its turn is the chief source of woman's superiorities in the 
moral life. The virtues in which she excels are not so much due to 
either any general moral superiority or any set of special moral tal- 
ents as to her original impulses to relieve, comfort, and console. 1 

Ordinary observation reveals, as literature has in general 
recorded, what Havelock Ellis has called the " greater affecta- 
bility of the female mind." There is evidenced in many 
women a singular and immediate responsiveness to other 
people's emotions, a quick intuition, a precise though non- 
logical discrimination, which, though shared to some extent 
by all individuals gifted with sympathy and affection, is a 
peculiarly feminine quality. Indeed when a man possesses 
it, it is common to speak of him as possessing "almost a 
woman's intuition." Such emotional susceptibility is mani- 
fested in the higher frequency of emotional instability and 
emotional outbreaks among women than among men, and the 
decreased power of inhibition which women have over in- 
stinctive and emotional reactions. Further than this, women 
more than men may be said to qualify their judgments of per- 
sons and situations by their emotional reactions to them* 

The common suspicion that in general women's abilities 
are less than those of men has seemed to gain strength from 

1 Thorndike: loc. cti., pp. 48-49. 


the greater number of geniuses and eminent persons there 
have been among men than among women. Professor Cat- 
tell writes in this connection: 

I have spoken throughout of eminent men as we lack in English 
words including both men and women, but as a matter of fact women 
do not have an important place on the list. They have in all thirty- 
two representatives in the thousand* Of these eleven are hereditary 
sovereigns, and eight are eminent through misfortunes, beauty, or 
other circumstances* Belles-lettres and fiction the only depart- 
ment in which woman has accomplished much give ten names as 
compared with seventy-two men, Sappho and Joan d'Arc are the 
only other women on the list. It is noticeable that with the excep- 
tion of Sappho a name associated with certain fine fragments 
women have not excelled in poetry or art. Yet these are the depart- 
ments least dependent on environment, and at the same time those 
in which the environment has been perhaps as favorable to women 
an to men. Women depart less from the normal than men a fact 
that usually holds for the female throughout the animal series; in 
many closely related species only the male can be readily dis- 

In the facts of higher variability among males, and the 
hitherto restricted social opportunities provided for women 
are to be found the chief reasons for the comparatively high 
achievement of the male sex as compared with the female. 
But on the average the difference between the two sexes with 
respect to mental capacity is slight. 

The influence of race. A second factor in determining in- 
dividual differences in mental traits is race. There are cer- 
tain popular presuppositions as to the inherent differences in 
the mental activity of different races. The Irishman's wit, 
the negro's joyousness, the emotionality of the Latin races, 
the stolidity of the Chinese, are all supposed to be funda- 
mental And in a sense they are. That is, in the life and 
culture of these groups, such traits may stand out distinc- 
tively. But most psychologists and anthropologists question 
seriously whether these traits are to be traced to radical differ- 

i Ottttell : " A Statistical Study of Eminent Men," Popular Science Monthly, 
vol. went, pp 375-77* 


ences in racial inheritance. For the most part they seem 
rather to be the result of radical differences in environment. 
"Many of the mental similarities of an Indian to Indians and 
of his differences from Anglo-Saxons disappear, if he happens 
to be adopted and brought up as an Anglo-Saxon." 1 

There have been various experimental studies made to 
determine how much divergences in the mental activity of 
different races are determined by differences in racial in- 
heritance. Such experiments have been conducted chiefly 
upon very simple traits and capacities. The accuracy of 
sensory response among different races has, for example, been 
examined. There have proved to be, in regard to these, slight 
differences in the effectiveness and accuracy of response. 
There are racial differences in hearing, as tested by the ticking 
of a watch or clock artificially made. In this test, Papuans, 
to take an instance, were inferior to Europeans. The sense 
of touch has been similarly tested, and comparatively negligi- 
ble differences have been found. In regard to the five senses, 
their efficiency seems to be about equal in all the races of man- 
kind. The proverbial keenness of vision of the Indian, for 
example, is found to be due to a superior training in its use, a 
training made imperative by the conditions of Indian life. In 
reaction time tests that is, tests in the speed of simple men- 
tal and motor performances the time consumed in response 
has been found to be about the same for all races tested. The 
results have been similar with regard to certain simple proc- 
esses of judgment or inference: 

There are a number of illusions and constant errors of judgment 
which are well known in the psychological laboratory, and which 
seem to depend, not on peculiarities of the sense organs, but on 
quirks and twists in the process of judgment. A few of these have 
been made the matter of comparative tests, with the result that 
peoples of widely different cultures are subject to the same errors, 
and in about the same degree. There is an illusion which occurs 
when an object, which looks heavier than it is, is lifted by the hand; 
it then feels, not only lighter than it looks, but even lighter than it 
1 Thorndike: kc. tit., p. 52. 


really is. The contrast between the look and the feel of the thing 
plays havoc with the judgment. Women are, on the average, more 
subject to this illusion than men. The amount of this illusion has 
been measured in several peoples, and found to be, with one or two 
exceptions, about the same in all. Certain visual illusions, in which 
the apparent length or direction of a line is greatly altered by the 
neighborhood of other lines, have similarly been found present in all 
races tested, and to about the same degree. As far as they go, these 
results tend to show that simple sorts of judgment, being subject 
to the same disturbances, proceed in the same manner among various 
peoples; so that the similarity of the races in mental processes ex- 
tends at least one step beyond sensation. 1 

Professor Woodworth also points out that these simple 
tests are not adequate to measure general intelligence. 

A good test for intelligence would be much appreciated by the 
comparative psychologist, since, in spite of equal standing in such 
rudimentary matters as the senses and bodily movement, attention 
and the simpler sorts of judgment, it might still be that great differ- 
ences in mental efficiency existed between different groups of men. 
Probably no single test could do justice to so complex a trait as 
intelligence. Two important features of intelligent action are quick- 
ness in seizing the key to a novel situation, and firmness in limiting 
activity to the right direction, and suppressing acts which are obvi- 
ously useless for the purpose in hand. A simple test which calls for 
these qualities is the so-called "form test." There are a number of 
blocks of different shapes, and a board with holes to match the 
blocks. The blocks and board are placed before a person, and he is 
told to put the blocks in the holes in the shortest possible time. The 
key to the situation is here the matching of blocks and holes by their 
shape; and the part of intelligence is to hold firmly to this obvious 
necessity, wasting no time in trying to force a round block into a 
square hole. The demand on intelligence certainly seems slight 
enough; and the test would probably not differentiate between a 
Newton and you or me; but it does suffice to catch the feeble-minded, 
the young child, or the chimpanzee, as any of these is likely to fail 
altogether, or at least to waste much time in random moves and 
vain efforts. This test was tried on representatives of several races 
and considerable differences appeared. As between whites, Indians, 
Eskimos, Ainus, Filipinos, and Singhalese, the average differences 

1 Woodworth" " Racial Differences in Mental Traits," Science, New Series, 
vol. 31, pp. 179-81. 


were small, and much overlapping occurred. As between these 
groups, however, and the Igorot and Negrito from the Philippines 
and a few reputed Pygmies from the Congo, the average differences 
were great, and the overlapping small. 1 

Equality among races in the various traits that have been 
measured by psychologists does not imply that common 
observation is wrong in counting one race as intellectually 
superior to another. There have, as yet, been no measure- 
ments of such general features of social life as energy, self-re- 
liance, inventiveness, and the like. But from indications of 
experiments already made, these so-called (and for practical 
purposes genuine) intellectual differences between the indi- 
viduals of different races must be attributed to differences in 
environment. Races as races seem to be equally gifted. 

Professor Boas points out that civilized investigators trav- 
eling among savage tribes commit one serious fallacy in in- 
sisting on the inferiority of these primitive peoples. They 
are said to be irrational, for example, when they are quite 
logical in their way of dealing with the material which is at 
their disposal. Without any scientific information available, 
for example, anthropomorphism, or the tendency to interpret 
cosmic phenomena in human terms is quite natural and rea- 
sonable. Again: 

The difference in the mode of thought of primitive man and that 
of civilized man seems to consist largely in the difference of character 
of the traditional material with which the new perception associates 
itself. The instruction given to the child of primitive man is not 
based on centuries of experimentation, but consists of the crude ex- 
perience of generations. When a new experience enters the mind of 
primitive man, the same process which we observe among civilized 
man brings about an entirely different series of associations, and 
therefore results in a different type of explanation. A sudden explo- 
sion will associate itself in his mind, perhaps, with the tales he has 
heard in regard to the mythical history of the world, and conse- 
quently will be accompanied by superstitious fear. When we recog- 
nize that neither among civilized men nor among primitive men the 
average individual carries to completion the attempt at causal 
1 Woodworth: loc. cit., pp. 171-86. 


explanation of phenomena, but carries it only so far as to amalga- 
mate it with other previously known facts, we recognize that the 
result of the whole process depends entirely upon the character of 
the traditional material. 1 

This may be illustrated by our immediate reactions of pleas- 
ure or disgust at customs or ideas that provoke directly op- 
posite reactions among races reared in another tradition. 

Again primitive races have been accused of lacking self- 
control. The fact is that they exhibit self-control about 
matters which they regard as important, and lack of it in 
respect to matters which they regard as trivial. "When an 
Eskimo community is on the point of starvation, and their 
religious proscriptions forbid them to make use of the seals 
that are basking on the ice, the amount of self-control of the 
whole community which restrains them from killing those 
seals is certainly very great." 2 The case is similar with re- 
gard to nearly all the alleged inferiorities of primitive man, his 
improvidence, unreliability, and the like. In nearly every in- 
stance, it has been found that we are holding him to account 
for not being able to persist in courses of action which do not 
seem to him, with his training and education, worth persist- 
ing in, and for not conforming to standards which, given his 
background, are meaningless. 

But if differences in racial attainments are due to differ- 
ences in environment, it might be said that this itself is testi- 
mony to the superiority of the race that has the more complex 
and exacting environment. This is not by any means clearly 
the case. The " culture" or civilization which a race exhibits 
is a very uncertain index of its gifts or its capacities. The 
culture found in a race is, it may be said without exaggera- 
tion, largely a matter of accident or circumstance rather than 
of heredity. 

Some of the environmental causes for differences in culture 
may be explicitly noted. Any modern culture is the result 
of mterminglings of many different cross-streams and cross- 

* Boas: Mind of Primitive Man, pp. 203-04. * Ibid., p. 108. 


borrowings. Races that have long been isolated as, for ex- 
ample, the African negroes, have no possibility of picking up 
all the acquisitions to which races that intermingle have 
access. Progress in the developments of arts, sciences, and 
institutions depends on fortunate individual variations. The 
smaller the race the less the number of variations possible, 
including those on the side of what we call genius. Again 
fortunate variations depend not so much on the general aver- 
age intellectual capacities of the race as on its variability. 
So one race may possess a relative superiority of achievement 
because of its high variability, just as, as we have already 
pointed out, the greater preeminence of the male sex with 
regard to intellectual accomplishment is due to the greater 
number of variations both above and below the norm which 
it displays. The reasons for variability are again, according 
to Professor Boas, largely environmental. "We have seen, 
when a people is descended from a small uniform group, that 
then its variability will decrease; while on the other hand, 
when a group has a much-varied origin or when the ancestors 
belong to entirely distinct types the variability may be con- 
siderably increased." l 

Again a race may be placed in such geographical conditions 
that a fortuitous variation on the part of one individual may 
prove of enormous value in the development of its civiliza- 
tion. Or fortunate geographical conditions may stimulate 
types of activity that lie dormant, although possible, among 
other races. Thus by some investigators the flexibility and 
emancipation of the Greek genius were attributed to their 
access to the sea and their constant intermingling with other 
cultures, especially the Egyptian. 

On the subject qf the fundamental equality of races despite 
their seeming disparity, as that at present, let us say, between 
whites and negroes, Professor Boas writes: 

Much has been said of the hereditary characteristics of the Jews, 
1 Boas; loc, tit., p 93. 


of the Gypsies, of the French and Irish, but I do not see that the 
external and social causes which have moulded the character of 
members of these people have ever been eliminated satisfactorily; 
and, moreover, I do not see how this can be accomplished. A num- 
ber of external factors that influence body and mind may easily be 
named climate, nutrition, occupation but as soon as we enter 
into a consideration of social factors and mental conditions we are 
unable to tell definitely what is cause and what is effect. 

The conclusions reached are therefore, on the whole, negative. We 
are not inclined to consider the mental organization of different races 
of man as differing in fundamental points. Although, therefore, the 
distribution of faculty among the races of man is far from being 
known, we can say this much: the average faculty of the white race 
is found to the same degree in a large proportion of individuals 
of all other races, and although it is probable that some of these 
races may not produce as large a proportion of great men as our 
own race, there is no reason to suppose that they are unable to 
reach the level of civilization represented by the bulk of our own 
people. 1 

In contrast must be cited the opinions of a large class of 
psychologists and anthropologists who are inclined to regard 
racial differences as intrinsic and original. Of such, for ex- 
ample, is Francis Galton, who claims in his Hereditary Genius, 
that taking negroes on their own ground they still are inferior 
to Europeans by about one eighth the difference, say, be- 
tween Aristotle and the lowest idiot. Recent psychological 
experiments in the army reveal, again, certain fundamental 
intellectual inferiorities of negroes, though whether this is 
environmental or to be traced to hereditary causes is open to 

The fact remains that there are, despite the lack of evidence 
for hereditary mental differences, practical differences in the 
mental activity of different races that are of social importance. 
These differences, which seem so fundamental, have been 
explained primarily by the powerful control exercised over the 
individual by the habits which he acquires even before the 

* Boae: loc. ctf., pp. 116, 123. 


age of five years. These, though unconscious, may be, as the 
Freudian psychologists maintain, all the more important for 
that reason. This would appear to be the only explanation of 
significant racial differences. Cultural differences cannot, 
biologists are generally agreed, be transmitted in the germs 
that pass from generation to generation. One may say, in 
effect, that an individual is differentiated in his mental traits 
by early association with a certain race, and by his immediate 
ancestry or family, rather than by the fact of belonging physi- 
cally to a certain race. 

The influence of immediate ancestry or family. A factor 
that is, on experimental evidence, rated to be of high impor- 
tance in the determination of the differences of the mental 
make-up of human beings, is "immediate ancestry" or fam- 
ily- Stated in the most simple and general terms this means 
that children of the same parents tend to display marked like- 
nesses in mental traits, and to exhibit less variation among 
themselves than is exhibited in the same number of individu- 
als chosen at random. A great number of experiments have 
been conducted to determine how far resemblances in mental 
traits are due to common parentage. The correlation be- 
tween membership in the same family and resemblances of 
social traits has been found to be uniformly high. 

The inference was made that children of the same family 
would show great resemblances in mental traits, when accu- 
rate experiments showed marked similarity in physical traits 
under the same conditions. The coefficient of correlation 
between brothers in the color of the eye, is, according to the 
results obtained by Karl Pearson, .52. l The coefficient of 
fraternal correlation in the case of the cephalic index (ratio 
of width to length of head) is .40. The correlation of hair 

1 These facts are based on the reports of Karl Pearson in his On the Laws 
of Inheritance in Man, What is meant by coefficient of correlation may be 
explained as follows- If the coefficient of correlation between father and son 
is .3 and the coefficient of correlation between brother and brother is .5 we 
may say a aon on the average deviates from the general trend of the popula- 
tion by .3 of the amount of his father's deviation, a brother by .5 of the 
amount of his brother. 


color is found to be .55. The fact of high correlation be- 
tween resemblance of physical traits and membership in the 
same family is of crucial importance, because these traits 
are clearly due to ancestry, and not to environmental differ- 
ences. If physical traits show such a correlation, it is likely 
that mental traits will also, mental traits being ultimately de- 
pendent on the brain and the nervous system, which are both 
affected by ancestry. 

Measurements of measurable traits and observations of less 
objectively measurable ones, have revealed that immediate 
ancestry is in itself an influential factor in producing likenesses 
and differences among men with respect to mental traits. 
One interesting case, interesting because it was a test of a 
capacity that might be expected to be largely environmental 
in its origins, was that of the spelling abilities of children in 
the St. Xavier School in New York. Thorndike thus reports 
the test: 

As the children of this school commonly enter at a very early age, 
and as the staff and the methods of teaching remain very constant, 
we have in the case of the 180 brothers and sisters included in the 600 
children closely similar school training. Mr. Earle measured the 
ability of any individual by his deviation from the average for his 
grade and sex, and found the co-efficient of correlation between chil- 
dren of the same family to be .50 . That is, any individual is .on the 
average fifty per cent as much above or below the average for his age 
and sex as his brother or sister. 

Similarities in home training might theoretically account for this, 
but any one experienced in teaching will hesitate to attribute much 
efficacy to such similarities. Bad spellers remain bad spellers though 
their teachers change. Moreover, Dr. J. M. Rice in his exhaustive 
study of spelling ability found little or no relationship between good 
spelling and any one of the popular methods, and little or none be- 
tween poor spelling and foreign parentage. Yet the training of a 
home where parents do not read or spell the language well must be a 
home of relatively poor training for spelling. Cornman's more care- 
ful study of spelling supports the view that ability to spell is little 
influenced by such differences in school or home training as com- 
monly exist. 1 

1 Thorndike: Zoc. cit., p. 78, 


In general the influence of heredity may be said far to out- 
weigh the influence of home training. In all the cases re- 
ported, the resemblances were about the same in traits subject 
to training, and in those not subject to training. Thus indus- 
try and conscientiousness and public spirit, which are clearly 
affected by environment, show no greater resemblance than 
such practically xinmodifiable traits as memory, original sen- 
sitiveness to colors, sounds, and distances. 

The influence of parentage, it must be added, consists in the 
transmission of specific traits, not of a certain "nature" as a 
whole. There are in the germ and the ovum which constitute 
the inheritance of each individual, certain determinant ele- 
ments. The elements that determine the original traits with 
which each individual will be born vary, of course, in the 
germs produced by a single parent less than among individu- 
als chosen at random, but they vary none the less. In this 
variation of the determining elements in the germs of the 
same iridividual is to be found the cause of the variation in 
the physical and mental traits among children of the same 

Since the determining elements, the unit characters that 
appear in the sperm or ovum of each individual, do not ap- 
pear uniformly even in children of the same parents, brother 
and sister may resemble each other in certain mental traits, 
and differ in others. "A pair of twins may be indistinguisha- 
ble in eye color and stature, but be notably different in hair 
color and tests of intellect." 

Mental inheritance, as well as physical, is, then, organized 
in detail. It is not the inheritance of gross total natures, but 
of particular " mental traits." If we had sufficient data, we 
should be able to analyze out the unit characters of an in- 
dividual's mental equipment, so as to be able to predict with 
some accuracy the mental inheritance of the children of any 
two parents. In the case of physical inheritance, the laws of 
the hereditary transmission of any given traits are known in 
considerable detail. The detailed quantitative investigations 


of inheritance, following the general lines set by Mendel, have 
given striking results. 

Physical traits have been found to be analyzable into unit- 
characters (that is, traits hereditarily transmitted as units), 
such as "curliness of hair," "blue eyes," and the like. Men- 
tal traits, however, do not seem analyzable into the fixed 
unit-characters prescribed by the Mendelian laws of inherit- 

The success which breeders have had in the control of the 
reproduction of plants and animals, in the perpetuation of a 
stock of desirable characteristics and the elimination of the 
undesirable, has given rise to a somewhat analogous ideal in 
human reproduction. That eugenics has at least its theo- 
retical possibilities with regard to physical traits, few biolo- 
gists will question. However difficult it may be in practice 
to regulate human matings on the exclusive basis of the kind 
of offspring desired, it is a genuine biological possibility. In a 
negative way, it has already in part been initiated in the pre- 
vention of the marriage of some extreme types of flie physi- 
cally unfit, by the so-called eugenic marriage laws in some 
states in this country. 1 

But whether scientific regulation of marriages for the 
production of eugenic offspring is feasible, even apart from the 
personal and emotional questions involved, is open to ques- 
tion. No mental trait such as vivacity, musical ability, 
mathematical talent, or artistic sense, has been analyzed into 
such definitely transmissible unit-characters as "blue eyes" 
and " curliness of hair/ 7 So many unit-characters seem to be 
involved in any single mental trait that it will be long before 
a complete analysis of the hereditary invariable determinants 
of any single trait can be made. 

It is thus impossible to tell as yet with any security or pre- 
cision the biological components of any single mental trait. 

* There have been laws, as there is a fairly decided public opinion, adverse 
to reproduction by the feeble-minded and the morally defective. But (see 
Richardson: The Etiology of Arrested Mental Development, p. 9) there have 
been a number of cases of feeble-minded parents producing normal children. 


The evidence at our disposal, however, does confirm us in the 
belief that one of the most significant and certain causes of 
individual differences, whether physical or mental, is immedi- 
ate ancestry or family. Individuals are made by what they 
are initially, and, as we shall presently see, therefore largely 
by their inheritance. With the latter, environment can do 
just so much, and no more. And the most significant and 
effective part of an individual's inheritance is his family for 
some generations back, rather than the race to which he be- 

The influence of the environment. Those factors so far 
discussed which determine individual differences are inde- 
pendent of the particular conditions of life in which an indi- 
vidual happens to be placed. An individual's race, sex, fam- 
ily are beyond modification by anything that happens to him 
after birth. Maturity, in so far as it is mere growth inde- 
pendent of training, is also largely a fixed and unmodifiable 

The original nature, determined by race, sex, and immedi- 
ate ancestry, with which a man starts life is subject to modifi- 
cation by his social environment, by the ideas, customs, com- 
panions, beliefs, by which he is surrounded, and with which 
he comes continuously in contact. Commonly the influence 
of environment is held to be very high. It is difficult, how- 
ever, accurately to distinguish between effects which are due 
to original nature and effects which are due to environment. 

Differences in training are important, but the results vary 
with the natures trained. Precisely the same environment 
will not have the same consequences for two different natures. 
Two approximately same natures will show something like 
the same effects in dissimilar environments. Human beings 
are certainly differentiated by the customs, laws, ideals, 
friends, and occupations to which they are exposed. But 
what the net result will be in a specific case, depends on the 
individual's equipment to start with, an equipment that is 
fixed before the environment has had a chance to act at all. 


The kindliness and indulgence that save some children de- 
moralize others. In some people a soft answer turneth away 
wrath ; in others it will kindle it. Andrew Carnegie starts as a 
bobbin boy, and becomes a millionaire; but there were many 
other bobbin boys. The sunset that stirs in one man a lyric, 
leaves another cold. The same course in biology arouses in 
one student a passion for a life of science; it leaves another 
hoping never to see a microscope again. On the other hand, 
the same types of original capacity thrown into different en- 
vironments will yet attain somewhat comparable results, in 
the way of character and achievement. The biographies of 
a few poets, painters, philosophers, and scientists chosen at 
random, show the most diverse antecedents. 1 

An individual, again, to a certain extent, makes his own 
environment. What kind of an environment he will make 
depends on the kinds of capacities and interests he has to 
Btart with. Similarity of original tendencies and interests 
brings men together as differences among these keep them 
apart. The libraries, the theaters, and the baseball parks 
are all equally possible and accessible features of their envi- 
ronment to individuals of a given economic or social class. 
Yet a hundred individuals with the same education and 
social opportunities will make themselves by choice a hun- 
dred different environments. They will select, even from 
the same physical environment, different aspects. The 
Grand Cafion is a different environment to the artist and to 
the geologist; a crowd of people at an amusement park con- 
stitutes a different environment to the man who has come 
out to make psychological observations', and the man who 
has come out for a day's fun. A dozen men, teachers and 

1 Taking the social and professional status of a distinguished man's father 
*as some index of the social environment to which he was subjected during his 
youth, we find some interesting examples* The father of John Keats was a 
hvery stable-keep; his mother the daughter of one. Byron's father was a 
captain in the Boyal Guards; his mother a Scottish heiress. Newton's 
father was a tanner; Pasteur's, a tanner, Darwin's, a doctor of considerable 
means, Francis Bacon's father was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal ; Newton's 
was a farmer and the headmaster of a school; Turner was th* son of a barber. 


students, selected at random on a university campus, might 
well be expected to note largely different though overlap- 
ping facts, as the mdt significant features of the life of the 

The environment is the less important in the moulding of 
character, the less fixed and unavoidable it becomes. If an 
individual has the chance to change his environment to suit 
his own original demands and interests, these are the less 
likely to undergo modification. This is illustrated in the ani- 
mal world by the migratory birds, which change their habita- 
tions with the seasons. Similarly human beings, to suit the 
original mental traits with which they are endowed, can and 
do exchange one environment for another. There are a very 
large number of individuals living in New York City, in the 
twentieth century, for example, for whom a multiplicity of 
environments are possible. The one that becomes habitual 
with an individual is a matter of his own free choice. That is, 
it is choice, in the sense that it is independent of the circum- 
stances of the individual's life. But an individual's choice of 
his environment must be within the limited number of al- 
ternatives made possible by the original nature with which he 
is endowed. As pointed out in connection with our discus- 
sion of "Instinctive Behavior," we do originally what gives 
satisfaction to our native impulses, and avoid what irritates 
and frustrates them. We may be trained to find satisfactions 
in acquired activities, but there is a strong tendency to ac- 
quire habits that "chime in," as it were, with the tendencies 
we have to start with. 

There is, for example, to certain individuals, intrinsic 
satisfaction in form and color; to others in sound. To the 
former, pictures and paintings will tend to be the environ- 
ment selected; to the latter the hearing and the playing of 
music. To those gifted with sensitivity in neither of these 
directions, pictures may be through all their lives a bore, and 
a piano a positive nuisance. 
These facts of original nature, therefore, determine initially, 


and consequently in large part, what our environment is 
going to be. Once we get into, or select through instinctive 
desires, a certain kind of environment, those desires become 
strengthened through habit, and that environment becomes 
fixed through fulfilling those habitual desires. A man may, 
in the first place, choose artists or scholars as companions 
because his own gifts and interests are similar* But such an 
environment will become the more indispensable for him 
when it has the reinforcement of habit to confirm what is 
already initially strong in him by birth. " To him who hath 
shall be given " is most distinctly true of the opportunities and 
environment open to those with native gifts to begin with. 

Original nature thus sets the scope and the limits of an 
individual's character and achievement. It tells "how 
much" and, in the most general way, "what" his capacities 
are. Thus a man born with a normal vocal apparatus can 
speak; a man born with normal vision can see. But what 
language he shall speak, and what sights he shall see, depend 
on the social and geographical situation in which he happens 
to be placed. Again, if a man is born with a "high general 
intelligence," that is, with keen sensory discriminations and 
motor responses, precise and accurate powers of analysis of 
judgment, a capacity for the quick and effective acquisition 
and modification of habits, we can safely predict that he will 
excel in some direction. But whether he will stand out as a 
lawyer, doctor, philosopher, poet, or executive, it is almost 
impossible from original nature to tell. 1 

Individual differences Democracy and education. The 
fact that individuals differ in ability and interest has impor- 
tant consequences for education and social progress. It 
means, in the first place, that while current optimistic doc- 
trines about the modifiability of human nature are true, they 
are true within limits limits that vary with the individual. 

1 The psychological tests used in the army, and being used now with 
modifications in the admission of students to Columbia College, are " general 
intelligence" tests. That is, they show general alertness and intellectual 
promise, but are not prophetic of any specialized talents or capacities. 


Whether or not we shall ever succeed, through the science or 
the practice of eugenics, in eliminating low ability and per- 
petuating high exclusively, the fact remains that there are in 
contemporary society the widest variations both in the kinds 
of interest and ability displayed, and in their relative efficacy 
under present social and industrial conditions. 

There are, it must be noted at the outset, a not inconsider- 
able number of individuals who must be set down as absolute 
social liabilities. Even if existing social and educational 
arrangements were perfect, these would remain unaffected 
and unavailable for any useful purpose. They would have to 
be endowed, cared for, or confined. There is the quite con- 
siderable class, who, while normal with respect to sensory and 
motor discrimination, seem to be seriously and irremediably 
defective in their powers of judgment. These also seem to 
offer invulnerable resistance to education, and their original 
natures would not be subject to modification even by an 
education perfectly adapted to the needs of normal people. 

But the more significant fact, more significant because it 
affects so many, is the fact that within the ranks of the great 
class of normal people, there are fundamental inherited differ- 
ences in ability and interest. Next in importance to the fact 
that an individual is human is the fact that he is an individual, 
with very specific initial capacities and desires. For educa- 
tion the implications are serious. Education aims, among 
other things, to give the individual habits that will enable 
him to deal most effectively with his environment. But an 
individual can be trained best, it goes without saying, in the 
capacities and interests he has to begin with. Education can- 
not, therefore, be wholesale in its methods. It must be so ad- 
justed as to utilize and make the most of the multifarious 
variety of native abilities and interests which individuals dis- 
play. If it does not utilize these, and instead sets up arbi- 
trary moulds to which individuals must conform, it will be 
crushing and distorting the specific native activities which 
are the only raw material it has to work upon. 


There have not as yet been many detailed quantitative 
studies of individual differences that would enable educators, 
if they were free to do so, scientifically to adapt education to 
specific needs and possibilities. Beginnings in this direction 
are being made, though rather in advanced than in more 
elementary education. Professional and trade schools, and 
group-electives in college courses are attempts in this direc- 
tion. Any attempt, of course, to adapt education to specific 
needs and interests, instead of crushing them into a priori 
moulds, requires, of course, a wider social recognition and 
support of education than is at present common. For indi- 
vidual differences require attention. And where millions are 
to be educated, individual attention requires an immense 
investment in teaching personnel. 

But in this utilization of original interests and capacities 
lies the only possibility of genuinely effective education. 1 
In the first place to try in education to give individuals habits 
for which they have no special innate tendencies to begin with, 
is costly. Secondly, to train individuals for types of life or 
work for which their gifts and desires are ill adapted is to 
promote at once inefficiency and unhappiness. One reason 
why the chance to identify one's life with one's work (as is the 
case with the artist and the scholar) is so universally recog- 
nized as good fortune, is because it is so rare. A general and 
indiscriminate training of men, as if they were all fitted with 
the same talents and the same longings, does as much as un- 
derpayment or overwork to impair the quality of the work 
done and the satisfaction derived from it. 

It has latterly been recognized that industry offers the 
crucial opportunity to utilize to the fullest individual differ- 

1 A beginning in the application of this principle has been made by the 
vocational guidance and employment management work which is being done 
with increasing scientific accuracy throughout the United States. Individual 
differences and intorostB are studied with a view to putting " the right man 
in the right place." This slogan is borrowed from the Committee on Classi- 
fication and Personnel, which during the Great War, through its trade testa 
and other machinery of differentiation, utilized for the national welfare the 
specific abilities of thousands of drafted men. 


ences. By "getting the right man in the right place," we at 
once get the work done better and make the man better satis- 
fied. If adequate attention is given to "placement/' to the 
specific demands put upon men by specific types of work, and 
to the specific capacities of individuals for fulfilling those de- 
mands, we will be capitalizing variations among men instead 
of being handicapped by them. As it is, specific differences 
do exist, and men enter occupations and professions ignoring 
them. As a result both the job and the man suffer; the 
former is done poorly, and the latter is unsuccessful and un- 

It must be noted that the existence of specific differences 
between individuals does not altogether, or often even in part, 
imply superiority or inferiority. It implies in each case in- 
feriority or superiority with respect to the performance of a 
particular type of work. Whether scientific insight and ac- 
curacy is better than musical skill, whether a gift for sales- 
manship surpasses a gift for mathematics, depends on the 
social situation and the standards that happen to be current 
among the group. An intensely disagreeable person may be 
the best man for a particular job. All scientific observation 
can do is to note individual differences, to note what work 
makes demands upon what capacities, and try to bring the 
man and the job together. 

It must be emphasized that, while individual capacities 
determine what an individual can do, social ideals and tradi- 
tions determine what he will do, because they determine what 
he will be rewarded and encouraged to do. There is no 
question but that in our industrial civilization certain types 
of ability, that of the organizer, for example, have a high 
social value. There is no question but that there are other 
abilities, which under our present customs and ideals we 
reward possibly beyond their merit, as, to take an extreme 
case, that of a championship prize fighter. We can through 
education and vocational guidance utilize all native capaci- 
ties. To make provision for the utilization of all native 


capacities is to have an efficient social life. But to what end 
our efficient human machinery shall be used depends on the 
ideals and customs and purposes that happen to be current in 
the social order at any given time. 

In the words of Professor Thorndike, "we can invest in 
profitable enterprises the capital nature provides." But 
what profiteth a man or a society, is a matter for reflective 
determination; it is not settled for us, as are our limitations, 
at birth. 

The net result of scientific observation in this field is the 
discovery, in increasingly precise and specific form, that men 
are most diverse and unequal in interest and capacity. The 
ideal of equality comes to mean, under scientific analysis, 
equality of opportunity, leveling all social inequalities; the 
fact of natural inequalities and divergences remains incon- 

There may even be, as recent psychological tests seem to 
indicate, a certain proportion of individuals who are not 
competent to take an intelligent part in democratic govern- 
ment, who, having too little intellectual ability to follow the 
simplest problem needing coQperative and collective decision, 
must eternally be governed by others. If these facts come to 
be authenticated by further data, it merely emphasizes the 
fact that in a country professedly democratic it is essential ^ 
to devise an education that will, in the case of each individual, 
educate up to the highest point of native ability. 

Where a country is ostensibly democratic, a few informed 
citizens will govern the many uninformed, unless the latter 
are educated to an intelligent knowledge and appreciation of 
their political duties and obligations. Furthermore, the citi- 
zens of a community who are prevented from using their na- 
tive gifts will be both useless and unhappy. Certainly this is 
an undesirable condition in a society where all individuals are 
expected, so far as possible, to be ends in themselves and not 
merely means for the ends of others. 



IT was earlier pointed out that human beings alone possess 
language. They alone can make written symbols and heard 
sounds stand for other things, for objects, actions, qualities, 
and ideas. In this chapter the consideration of language may 
best be approached from the spoken tongue, under the influ- 
ence of which, except in the simplest type of pictorial writing, 
the written form develops. 2 

From the point of view of the student of behavior, language, 
spoken language especially, is a habit, acquired like walking 
or swimming. It is made possible primarily by the fact that 
human beings possess a variety and flexibility of vocal reflexes 
possessed by no other animal. All the higher animals have a 
number of vocal reflexes, which are called out primarily in the 
expression of emotion or desire. Cries of pain, hunger, rage, 
sex desire or desire for companionship, are common to a great 
number of the animal species. But these cries and vocal 
utterances are limited, and comparatively unmodifiable. 
They are moreover expressed, so far as experimental observa- 
tion can reveal, with no consciousness of the specific signifi- 
cance of particular sounds and are used as the involuntary 
expression of emotion rather than as a specific means of 

. . . The primates have a much larger number of such vocal in- 
stincts than the other mammals, and a much larger number of stimuli 
can call them out, e.g., injury to bodily tissue calls out one group; 
hunger calls out a certain group; sex stimuli (mate, etc.) another; 
and similarly cold, swiftly moving objects, tones* strange animals 

1 Much of the technical material for this chapter is drawn from Xeonard 
Bloomfield's The Study of Language, and W. D. Whitney's The Life and 
Growth of Language. 

* Bloomfield: loc. c&, pp. 7-8. 


call out others. When attachments are formed between the female 
and her offspring another largo group is called into action. There is 
no evidence to show in the case of mammals that these vocal instincts 
are modified by the sounds of other animals. . . . These throat habits 
may be cultivated to such an extent in birds that we may get an 
approximation, more or less complete, to a few such habits possessed 
by the human being. Such throat habits, however, are not language 
habits. 1 

In human beings language, it is clear, may attain extraor- 
dinary refinement and complexity, and may convey ex- 
tremely iane shades and subtleties of emotion or idea. This 
results from the fact that man is born with a vocal appa- 
ratus far superior in development to that of any of the 

It is pretty clear that the mutant man, when thrown off from the 
primate stock, sprang forth with a vocal apparatus different from 
that of the parent stock, and possessing abundant richness in reflexes, 
even far surpassing that found in the bird. It is interesting to ob- 
serve, too, in this connection, that within the narrow space occupied 
by the vocal apparatus we have a system of muscular mechanisms 
which has within it, looking at it now as a whole, the same possibili- 
ties of habit formation that we find in the remaining portion of bodily 
musculature. ... It is probable that in a few years we shall under- 
take the study of such habits from exactly the same standpoint that 
we now employ in studies upon the acquisition of skill in the human 
being. 2 

The human baby starts its expressive habits by emitting 
with wide-open mouth an undifferentiated shriek of pain. A 
little later it yells in the same way at any kind of discomfort- 
It begins before the end of the first year to croon when it is 
contented. As it grows older it begins to make different 
sounds when it experiences different emotions. And with 
remarkable rapidity its repertoire of articujatory movements 
has greatly increased. 

Speech that begins in the child as a mere vague vocal 
expression of emotion soon begins to exhibit a marked element 
of mimicry. The child begins to associate the words uttered 

i Watson: Behavior* p. 323. ' ' a Thd., pp. 323-24. 


by his nurse or parents with the specific objects they point to. 
He comes to connect "milk," "sleep," "mother" with the 
experiences to which they correspond. The child thus learns 
to react to certain sounds as significant of certain experiences. 
Unlike Adam, he does not have to give names to animals, or 
for that matter to anything else on earth. They all have spe- 
cific names in the particular language in which he happens 
to be brought up. In the case of other habits, largely through 
trial and error, he learns to associate given sounds expressed 
by other people about him with given experiences, pleasant 
or unpleasant. He learns further to imitate, so far as possi- 
ble, these sounds, as a means of more precisely communicating 
his wants or securing their fulfillment 

In this connection students of language frequently have 
raised the question of how man first came to associate a given 
sound-sequence with a given experience. Like fire, language 
was once conceived to be a divine gift. Another theory 
postulated a genius who took it into his head to give the 
things of earth their present inevitable names. One other 
theory equally dubious held that language started in onomato- 
poetic expressions like "Bow-wow," for dog. Still another 
hypothesis once highly credited held that the sounds first 
uttered were the immediate and appropriate expressions 
called out by particular types of emotional experience. The 
validity of the last two theories has been rendered particu- 
larly dubious. The very instances of imitative words cited, 
words like "cuckoo," "crash," "flash," were, in their original 
forms, quite other than they are now. And that words are 
not immediately apposite expressions of the emotions which 
they represent, has been generally recognized. In gesture 
language, the gesture has to remain fairly imitative or expres- 
sive to be intelligible. But an examination of half a dozen 
casual words in contemporary languages shows how arbitrary 
are the signs used, and how little appositeness or relevance 
they bear in their sound to the sense which they represent. 
The detailed study of the perfectly regular changes that so 


largely characterize the evolution of language, have revealed 
the inadequacy of any of these views. There seems to be, in 
fact, no explanation of the origin of the language any more 
than there is of the origin of life. All that linguistic science 
can do is to reveal the history of language. And in this his- 
tory, human language stands revealed as a highly refined 
development of the crude and undifterentiated expressions 
which, under emotional stress, are uttered by all the animals. 
Language as a social habit. Language, as has repeatedly 
been pointed out, is essentially social in character. It is, in 
the first place, primarily an instrument of communication 
between individuals, and is cultivated as such. In human 
speech, interjections like " Oh! " or "Ah! " are still involuntary 
escapes of emotion, but language develops as a vehicle of 
communication to others rather than as a mere emotional out- 
let for the individual. Even if it were possible for the myth- 
ical man brought up in solitude on a desert island to have a 
language, it is questionable whether he would use it. Since 
language is a way of making our wants, desires, information 
known to others, it is stimulated by the presence of and con- 
tact with others. Excess vitality may go into shouting or 
song, 1 but language as an instrument of specific utterance 
comes to have a more definite use and provocation. Man, 
as already pointed out, is a highly gregarious animal, and 
language is his incomparable instrument for sharing bis emo- 
tions and ideas and experience with others. The whole proc- 
ess of education, of the transmission of culture from the 
mature to the younger members of a society, is made possible 
through this instrument, whereby achievements and tradi- 
tions are preserved and transmitted in precise and public 


Secondly, language is social in that, for the individual at 
least, it is socially acquired. The child first imitates sounds 
without any consciousness of their meaning, just as he imi- 

* Human song is by some linguistic experts, including Bloomfield, held to 
have originated in the chant of rhythmic labor, as in rowing or threshing. 


tates other actions in sheer "physiological sympathy/' But 
he learns soon, by watching the actions of other people, that 
given, sounds are always performed when these others do given 
actions. He learns that some sounds are portents of anger 
and punishment ; still others of satisfaction and pleasure. He 
learns soon to specify his utterances, to use sounds as specific 
stimuli, to attain through other people specific satisfactions. 
The child is born with a flexible set of reflexes. In which way 
they shall be developed depends entirely on the accident of the 
child's environment. Whether he shall call it "bread" or 
"pain" or "brod," depends on the particular social environ- 
ment in which he from the first hears that particular item of 
experience referred to. A child of American missionaries in 
Turkey picks up the language of that country as well as that 
of his own. An English child brought up under a French 
nurse may learn with perfect ease the foreign tongue, and to t 
the exclusion of that of his native country. Indeed, so com- 
pletely subject is one in this regard to one's early environ- 
ment, that it is not only difficult in later life to acquire a new 
pronunciation, but one finds it impossible to breathe freely, 
as it were, in the whole psychological atmosphere of a foreign 
language. Its grammatical categories, its spelling, its logic 
seem hopelessly irrational. It was perfectly natural of the 
Englishman in the story, when he was told that the French 
called it "pain/' to insist, "Well, it's bread, anyhow/' Many 
a reader of a foreign language which has become habitual can 
still not refrain from translating, as he reads, what seem to 
him irrational idioms into the familiar, facile, and sensible 
modes of his native tongue. 

Language and mental life. The connection of language 
with thought has repeatedly been noted. It has even been 
questioned whether thought in any effective sense is possible 
without words. In general it may be said that thinking de- 
mands clean-cut and definite symbols to work with, and that 
language offers these in incomparable form. A word enables 
one to isolate in thought the dominant elements of an experi- 


ence and prevents them from "slipping through one's fin- 


The importance of having words by which concepts may be 
distinguished and isolated from one another will become 
clearer by a brief reminder of the nature of reflection. Think- 
ing is in large part (as will be discussed in detail in chapter 
xm) concerned with the breaking-up of an experience into 
its significant elements. But experience begins with objects, 
and so far as perceptual experience is concerned; ends there. 
We perceive objects, not qualities, actions, or ideas apart from 
objects. And the elements into which thinking analyzes an 
experience are never present, save in connection with, as 
parts of, a sensibly perceived object. Thus we never perceive 
whiteness save in white objects; warmth save in warm ob- 
jects; red save in red objects. We never, for that matter, 
perceive so abstract a thing as an "object." We experience 
red houses or red flags; white flowers, white shoes, white 
paper; warm stoves, warm soup, and warm plates. Even 
houses and stoves and shoes are, in a sense, abstractions. No 
two of these are ever alike. But it is of the highest impor- 
tance for us to have some means of identifying and preserving 
in memory the significant resemblances between our experi- 
ences. Else we should be, as it were, utterly astounded every 
time we saw a chair or a table or a fork. Though they may, 
in each case in which we experience them, differ in detail, 
chairs, tables, forks have certain common features which we 
can "abstract" from the gross total experience, and by a 
word or " term," define, record, communicate, and recall. The 
advantage of a precise technical vocabulary over a loose 
"popular" one is that we can by means of the former more 
accurately single out the specific and important elements of 
an experience and distinguish them from one another. The 
common nouns, or "general names" in a language indicate 
to what extent tod in what manner that language, through 
some or other of its users, classifies its experiences. Highly 
developed languages make it possible to classify similarities 


not easily detected in crude experience. They make it 
possible to identify other things than merely directly sensed 

In primitive languages experience is described and classified 
,only in so far as it is perceptual. In other words, primitive 
languages have names for objects only, not for ideas, qualities, 
or relations. Thus it is impossible in some Indian languages 
to express the concept of a "brother" by the same word, un- 
less the "brother" is in every case in the same identical cir- 
cumstances. One cannot use the same word for "man" in 
different relations: "man-eating," "man-sleeping," "man- 
standing-here," and "man-running-there" would all be sepa- 
rate compound words. Among the Fuegians there is one 
word which means "to look at one another, hoping that each 
will offer to do something which both parties desire but are 
unwilling to do." x Marett writes in this connection: 

Take the inhabitants of that cheerless spot, Tierra del Fuego, 
whose culture is as rude as that of any people on earth. A scholar 
who tried to put together a dictionary of their language found that 
he had got to reckon with more than thirty thousand words, even 
after suppressing a large number of forms of lesser importance. And 
no wonder that the tally mounted up. For the Fuegians had more 
than twenty words, some containing four syllables, to express what 
for us would be either "he" or "she"; then they had two names for 
the sun, two for the moon, and two more for the full moon, each of 
the last named containing four syllables and having no elements in 
common. 2 

It is easy to see how very little refinement or abstraction 
from experience could be made with such a cumbersome and 
inflexible vocabulary. The thirty thousand word vocabulary 
expressed a poverty of linguistic technique rather than a rich- 
ness of ideas. 

At the other extreme stands a language like English, which 
is, to an extraordinary degree, an "analytic " language. It has 
comparatively no inflections. This means that words can be 
used and moved about freely in different situations and rela- 

1 Marett: Anthropology, p. 140. 2 /&wi, pp, 138-39* 


tions. Thus the dominant elements of an experience can be 
freely isolated. A noun standing for a certain object or rela- 
tion is not chained to a particular set of accompanying circum- 
stances. "Man" stands as a definite concept, whether it be 
used with reference to an ancient Greek, a wounded man, a 
brave, a wretched, a competent, or a tall man. We can give 
the accompanying circumstances by additional adjectives, 
which are again freely movable verbally and intellectually. 
Thus we can speak of a brave child and a tall tower as well as 
a brave man and a tall man. In Marett's words: 

The evolution of language then, on this view, may be regarded as a 
movement away from the holophrastic [compound] in the direction 
of the analytic. When every piece in your playbox of verbal bricks 
can be dealt with separately, because it is not joined on in all sorts of 
ways to the other pieces, then only can you compose new construc- 
tions to your liking. Order and emphasis, as is shown by English, 
and still more conspicuously by Chinese, suffice for sentence-build- 
ing. Ideally, words should be individual and atomic. Every modi- 
fication they suffer by internal change of sound, or by having pre- 
fixes or suffixes tacked on to them, involves a curtailment of their 
free use and a sacrifice of distinctness. It is quite easy, of course, 
to think confusedly, even whilst employing the clearest type of lan- 
guage. ... On the other hand, it is not feasible to attain a^high 
degree of clear thinking, when the only method of speech available 
is one that tends toward wordlessness that is to say, one that is 
relatively deficient in verbal forms that preserve their identity in all 
contexts. 1 

Languages differ not only in being more or less analytic, 
but in their general modes of classification. That is, not only 
do they have more or less adequate vocabularies, but in their 
syntax, their sentence structure, their word forms, they vari- 
ously organize experience. It is important to note that in 
these divergent classifications no one of them is more final 
than another. We are tempted, despite this fact, to think 
that the grammar, spelling, and phonetics of our own lan- 
guage constitute the last word in the rational conveyance of 

* Marett: Zoc. ct'e., pp. 141-42. 


The instability of language. Language being a social habit, 
it is to be expected that it should not stay fixed and change- 
less. The simpler physiological actions are not performed in 
the same way by any two individuals, and no social practice 
is ever performed in the same way by two members of a group, 
or by two different generations. In this connection writes 
Professor Bloomfield: 

The speech of former times, wherever history has given us records 
of it, differs from that of the present. When we read Shakspere, 
for example, we are disturbed by subtle deviations from our own 
habits in the use of words and in construction; if our actors pro- 
nounced their lines as Shakspere and his contemporaries did we 
should say that they had an Irish or German brogue. Chaucer we 
cannot read without some grammatical explanation or a glossary; 
correctly pronounced his language would sound to us more like Low 
German than like our English. If we go back only about forty gen- 
erations from our time to that of Alfred the Great, we come to Eng- 
lish as strange to us as modern German, and quite unintelligible, 
unless we study carefully both grammar and lexicon, 1 

There are, in general, three kinds of changes that take place 
in a language. "Phonetic" changes, that is, changes in the 
articulation of words, regardless of the meaning they bear. 
This is illustrated simply by the word "name" which, in the 
eighteenth century was pronounced ne'm. "Analogic" 
changes, that is, changes in the articulation of words under 
the influence of words somewhat similar in meaning. The 
word "flash," for example, became what it is because of the 
sound of words associated in meaning, "crash," "dash," 
"smash." The third process of change in language alters 
not only the articulate forms of words, not only their sound, 
but their sense. All these changes, as will be presently pointed 
out, can easily be explained by the laws of habit early dis- 
cussed in this book, these laws being applicable to the habit of 
language as well as to any other. 

In the case of phonetic change, it is only to be expected th$,t 
the sounds of a language will not remain eternally changeless. 

1 Bloomfield: loc. cit n p. 195, 


A language is spoken by a large number of individuals, no 
two of whom are gifted with precisely the same vocal appa- 
ratus. In consequence no two of them will utter words in 
precisely the same way. Before writing and printing were 
general, these slight variations in articulation were bound to 
have an effect on the language. People more or less uncon- 
sciously imitate the sounds they hear, especially if they are 
not checked up by the written forms of words. Even to-day 
changes are going on, and writing is at best a poor representa- 
tion of phonetics. The Georgian, the Londoner, the Welsh- 
man and the Middle Westerner can understand the same 
printed language, precisely because it does not at all represent 
their peculiarities of dialect. Variant sounds uttered by one 
individual may be caught up in the language, especially if the 
variant articulation is simpler or shorter. Thus the shorten- 
ing of a word from several syllables to one, though it starts 
accidentally, is easily made habitual among a large number 
of speakers because it does facilitate speech. In the classic 
example, pre-English, "habeda" and "habedun" became in 
Old English, " hsefde " and " hsefdon," and are in present Eng- 
lish (I, we) " had." l In the same way variations that reduce 
the unstressed syllables of a word readily insinuate themselves 
into the articulatory habits of a people. In the production 
of stressed syllables, the vocal chords are under high tension 
and the breath is shut in. It is easier, consequently, to pro- 
duce the unstressed syllables " with shortened, weakened ar- 
ticulations . * . lessening as much as possible all interference 
with the breath Stream." 2 Thus "contemporaneous pro- 
hibition" becomes " kntempa'iejnjas pihe'bifn." Sound 
changes thus take place, in general, as lessenings of the la- 
bor of articulation, by means of adaptation to prevailing rest 
positions of the vocal organs. They take place further in 
more or less accidental adaptations to the particular speech 
habits of a people. That is, those sounds become discarded 
that do not fit in with the general articulatory tendencies of 

> Bloomfield: loc. cU. 9 p. 211. * J&wl,, p. 212. 


a language. Of this the weakening of unstressed syllables in 
English and palatalization in Slavic are examples. 1 

These changes of sound in language so far discussed are 
made independently of the meaning of words. Other changes 
in articulation occur, as already noted, by analogy of sound or 
meaning. That is, words that have associated meanings 
come to be similarly articulated. This is simply illustrated in 
the case of the child who thinks it perfectly natural to assim- 
ilate by analogy "came" to "come." Thus the young child 
will frequently say, until he is corrected, he "corned," he 
"brmged," he "fighted." In communities where printing 
and writing and reading are scarce, such assimilation by 
analogy has an important effect in modifying the forms of 

Changes in meaning. The changes in language most im- 
portant for the student of human behavior are changes in 
meaning. Language, it must again be stressed, is an instru- 
ment for the communication of ideas. The manner in which 
the store of meanings in a language becomes increased and 
modified (the etymology of a language) is, in a sense, the his- 
tory of the mental progress of the people which use it. For 
changes in meaning are primarily brought about when the 
words in a language do not suffice for the larger and larger 
store of experiences which individuals within the group desire 
to communicate to one another. The meanings of old words 
are stretched, as it were, to cover new experiences; old words 
are transferred bodily to new experiences; they are slightly 
modified in form to apply to new experiences analogous to the 
old; new words are formed after analogy with ones already 
in use. 

A simple illustration of the application of a word already 
current to a wider situation is the application of the word 
"head" as a purely objective name, to a new experience, 
which has certain analogies with the old; as when we speak 
of a "head" of cabbage, the "head" of an army, the "head" 

. t p. 218. 


of the class, or the "headmaster." In many such cases the 
transferred meaning persists alongside of the old. Thus the 
word "capital" used as the name for the chief city in a 
country, persists alongside of its use in "capital" punish- 
ment, "capital" story, etc. But sometimes the transferred 
meaning of the word becomes dominant and exclusive. Thus 
"disease" (dis-ease) once meant discomfort of any kind. 
Now it means specifically some physical ailment. The older 
use has been completely discarded. To "spill" once meant, 
in the most general sense, to destroy. Now all the other uses, 
save that of pouring out, have lapsed. "Meat" which once 
meant any kind of nourishment has now come to refer almost 
exclusively (we still make exceptions as in the case of sweet- 
meat) to edible flesh. Whenever the special or novel applica- 
tion of the word becomes dominant, then we say the meaning 
of the word has changed. 

Mental progress is largely dependent on the transfer of 
words to newer and larger spheres of experience, the modifica- 
tion of old words or the formation of new ones to express the 
increasing complexity of relations men discover to exist be- 
tween things. In the instances already cited some of the 
transferred words lost their more general meaning and became 
specialized, as in the case of "meat," "spill," etc. Other 
words, like "head," though they may keep their specific objec- 
tive meaning, may come to be used in a generalized intellec- 
tual sense. One of the chief ways by which a language remains 
adequate to the demands of increasing knowledge and experi- 
ence of the group is through the transfer of words having 
originally a purely objective sense to emotional and intel- 
lectual situations. These words, like "bitter," "sour," 
"sharp," referring originally only to immediate physical 
experiences, to objects perceived through the senses, come to 
have intellectual and emotional significance, as when we speak 
of a "sour" face, a "bitter" disappointment, a "sharp" 
struggle. Most of our words that now have abstract emo- 
tional or intellectual connotations were once words referring 


exclusively to purely sensible (sense perceptual) experiences. 
"Anxiety" once meant literally a "narrow place," just as 
when we speak of some one having "a close shave." To 
"refute" once meant literally "to knock out" an argument. 
To "understand" meant "to stand in the midst of." To 
" confer" meant " to bring together." Sensation words them- 
selves were once still more concrete in their meaning. "Vio- 
let" and "orange" are obviously taken as color names from 
the specific objects to which they still refer. Language has 
well been described as "a book of faded metaphors." The 
history of language has been to a large extent the assimilation 
and habitual mechanical use of words that were, when first 
used, strikingly figurative. 

The novel use of a word that is now a quite regular part 
of the language may in many cases first be ascribed to a dis- 
tinguished writer. Shakespeare is full of expressions which 
have since, and because of his use of them, become literally 
household words. Many words that have now a general 
application arose out of a peculiar local situation, myth, or 
name. c l Boycott J 9 which has become a reasonably intelligible 
and universal word, only less than fifty years ago referred 
particularly and exclusively to Boycott, a certain unpopular 
Irish landowner who was subjected to the kind of discrimina- 
tion for which the word has come to stand. "Burke" used 
as a verb has its origin in the name of a notorious Edinburgh 
murderer. Characters in fiction or drama, history or legend 
come to be standard words. Every one knows what we 
mean when we speak of a Quixotic action, a Don Juan, 
a Galahad, a Chesterfield. To tantalize arises from the 
mythical perpetual frustration of Tantalus in the Greek 
story. Expressions that had a special meaning in the 
works of a philosopher or litterateur come to be generally 
used, as "Platonic love." l Again words that arise as mere 
popular witticisms or vulgarisms may be brought into the 
language as permanent acquisitions. "Mob," now a quite 
1 Though this is very loosely and inaccurately used. 


legitimate word, was originally a shortening of mobile vul- 
gum, and was, only a hundred years ago, suspect in polite dis- 

Outside the deliberate invention by scientists of terms for 
the new relations they have discovered, more or less spon- 
taneous variation in the use of words and their unconscious 
assimilation by large numbers with whose other language 
habits they chance to fit, is the chief source of language 
growth. One might almost say words are wrenched from 
their original local setting, and given such a generalized appli- 
cation that they are made available for an infinite complexity 
of scientific and philosophical thought. 

Uniformities in language. Thus far we have discussed 
changes in language from the psychological viewpoint, that is, 
we have considered the human tendencies and habits which 
bring about changes in the articulation and meaning, in the 
sound and the sense, of words. It is evident from these con- 
siderations that there can be no absolute uniformity in 
spoken languages, not even in the languages of two persons 
thrown much together. Within a country where the same 
language is ostensibly spoken, there are nevertheless differ- 
ences in the language as spoken by different social strata, by 
different localities. There are infinite subtle variations be- 
tween the articulation and the word uses of different individ- 
uals. There are languages within languages, the dialects of 
localities, the jargon of professional and trade groups, the 
special pronunciations and special and overlapping vocabu- 
laries of different social classes. 

But while there are these many causes, both of individual 
difference and of differing social environments, why languages 
do not remain uniform, there are similar causes making for a 
certain degree of uniformity within a language. There is one 
very good reason why, to a certain extent, languages do attain 
uniformity; they are socially acquired. The individual learns 
to speak a language from those about him, and individuals 
brought up within the same group will consequently learn to 


speak, within limits, the same tongue; they will learn to 
articulate through imitation, and, while no individual ever 
precisely duplicates the sounds of others, he duplicates them 
as far as possible. He learns, moreover, as has already been 
pointed out, to attach given meanings to given words, not for 
any reason of their peculiar appositeness or individual caprice, 
but because he learns that others about him habitually attach 
certain meanings to certain sounds. And since one is stimu- 
lated to expression primarily by the desire and necessity of 
communication of ideas a premium is put upon uniformity. 
It is of no use to use a language if it conceals one's thoughts. 
In consequence, within a group individual variations, unless 
for reasons already discussed they happen to lend themselves 
to ready assimilation by the group, will be mere slips of the 
tongue. They will be discarded and forgotten, or, if the indi- 
vidual cannot rid himself of them, will like stammering or 
stuttering or lisping be set down as imperfections and social 
handicaps. The uniformity of language within groups whose 
individual members have much communication with each 
other is thus to a certain extent guaranteed. A man who is 
utterly individualistic in his language might just as well have 
no language at all, unless for the satisfaction of expressing to 
himself his own emotions. 1 Language is learned from the 
group among whom one moves, and those sounds and senses 
of words are, on the whole, retained, which are intelligible to 
the group. Those sounds and meanings will best be under- 
stood which are already in use. No better illustration could 
be found of how custom and social groups preserve and en- 
force standards of individual action, i 

The obverse of the fact that intercommunication promotes 
uniformity in language is that lack of communication brings 
about language differentiation. The less the intercommuni- 
cation between groups, the more will the languages of the 

1 There have been a few poets, like Emily Dickinson, or mystics like Blake, 
some of whose work exhibits almost complete unintelligibihty to most read- 
ers, though doubtless it had a very specific meaning and vividness to the 
wnters concerned. 


groups differ, however uniform they may be within the groups 
themselves. The most important factor in differentiation of 
language is local differentiation. In some European countries 
every village speaks its own dialect. In passing from one 
village to another the dialects may be mutually intelligible, 
but by the time one has passed from the first village in the 
chain to the last, one may find that the dialect of the first 
and last are utterly unintelligible to each other. A real break 
in language, as opposed to dialect variations, occurs where 
there is a considerable barrier between groups, such as a 
mountain range, a river, a tribal or political boundary. The 
more impenetrable the barriers between two groups the more 
will the languages differ, and the less mutually intelligible will 
they be. 

Looking back over the history of language the student of 
linguistics infers that those languages which bear striking or 
significant similarities are related. Thus Spanish, Italian, 
French, Portuguese, and Roumanian are traceable directly 
back to the Latin. This does not mean that all over the areas 
occupied by the speakers of these languages Latin was origi- 
nally spoken. But the Romans in their conquests, both mili- 
tary and cultural, were able to make their own language 
predominant. The variations which make French and Rou- 
manian, say, mutually unintelligible, are due to the fact that 
Latin was for the natives in these conquered territories as- 
similated to their own languages. So that, in the familiar 
example, the Latin "homo" becomes "uomo" in Italian, 
"homme" in French, "hombre" in Spanish, and "om" in 
Roumanian. Similarly related but mutually unintelligible 
languages among the American Indians have been traced to 
three great source-languages. 

The history of European languages offers an interesting 
example of differentiation. English and German, for exam- 
ple, are both traceable back to West-Germanic; from that 
in turn to a hypothecated primitive West-Germanic. All 
the European languages are traceable back to a hypothe- 


cated Primitive Indo-European. * The theory held by most 
students of this subject is that the groups possessing this 
single uniform language spread over a wider and wider area, 
gradually became separated from each other by geographical 
barriers and tribal affiliations; and gradually (and on the 
part of individual speakers unconsciously) modified their 
speech so that slight differences accumulated, and resulted 
finally in widely different and mutually unintelligible lan- 

The process of differentiation in the languages of different 
groups is very marked. We find, for example, in the early 
history of Greece and Rome, a number of widely different 
dialects. There seems every evidence that these were derived 
from some more primitive tongue. We find, likewise, on the 
American continent, several hundred different languages, 
which to the untrained observer bear not the slightest 
resemblance to each other. This welter and confusion can 
also be traced back to a few primitive and uniform languages. 

Thus the history of civilization reveals this striking 
differentiation in the language of different groups, a coun- 
ter-tendency making for a wider uniformity of particular lan- 
guages. One "favored dialect" becomes standard, predom- 
inant and exclusive. Thus out of all the French dialects, the 
one that survives is the speech of Paris; Castilian becomes 
standard Spanish, and in ancient Greece the language of 
Athens supersedes all the other dialects. The reasons for the 
survival of one out of a great welter of dialects may be various. 
Not infrequently the language of a conquering people has, in 
more or less pure form, succeeded the language of the con- 
quered. This was the case in the history of the Romance 
languages, which owe their present forms to the spread of 
Roman arms and culture. There was, as is well known, a 

*By the word "primitive" the linguistic experts mean a language the 
existence of which is inferred from common features of several related lan- 
guages, of which written records are current, but of which no actual records 
exist. Thus, if there were no written records of Latin the apprpximate recon- 
etruction of it by linguists would be called "Primitive Romance." 


similar development in the case of the English language. The 
Norman Conquest introduced, under the auspices of a socially 
superior and victorious group, a language culturally superior 
to the Anglo-Saxon. The latter was, of course, not entirely 
replaced, but profoundly modified, especially in the enrich- 
ment and enlargement of its vocabulary. One has but to 
note such words as " place," " choir," "beef," etc., which 
came entirely to replace in the language the indigenous Anglo- 
Saxon names for those objects. 

Colonization and commercial expansion may bring about 
the replacement of the native language of special localities by 
the language of the colonizers, at least in hybrid form. The 
spread of English through Australia, and through the larger 
part of North America, the spread of Spanish through South 
America, in each instance practically replacing the native 
tongues, are cases in point. 1 

Standardization of language. At the present time, and for 
some time in the past, the differentiation of language has been 
greatly lessened by the stabilizing influence of print. The 
printed word continually recalls the standard pronunciation 
and meaning, and the changes in language (save those delib- 
erately introduced by the addition of scientific terms, or the 
official modifications of spelling, etc., as in some European 
countries 2 ) are much less rapid, various, and significant than 
hitherto. It is true that differences in articulation and usage, 
especially the former, do still, to a degree, persist and develop. 
Our Southern accent, with its drawling of words and slurring 
of consonants, our Middle-Western accent, with its stressed 
articulation of "rV and its nasalizing tendencies, are in- 
stances of this persistence. 

But the printed language English, for example the 
official language, which is published in the newspapers, peri- 

1 Dialects and jargons are often the result of the partial assimilation by 
the speakers of one language of another language to which they are exposed. 
French-Canadian and Pennsylvania Dutch are examples of such a mixture. 

3 In France the Ministry of Education from time to time settles points of 
orthography definitely. 


odicals, and books, which is taught in the schools, and spoken 
from the pulpit, the platform, on the stage, in cultivated 
society, is more or less alike all over the United States and 
wherever English is spoken. It is, of course, only a standard, 
a norm, an ideal, which like the concept of the circle, never 
quite appears in practice. The language which is spoken, 
even in the conversation of the educated, by no means con- 
forms to the ideal of " correct usage." But the important 
fact is that the standard language is a standard, that it is, 
moreover, a widely recognized and effective standard. The 
dictionaries and the grammars become authoritative, and are 
referred to when people consciously set about discovering 
what is the accepted or correct meaning or pronunciation. 
But a more effectual authority is exerted by the teaching they 
receive at school, and the continuous, though unnoticed, influ- 
ence of the more or less standard language which they read 
in print. 

Even phonetic changes, though they persist, are checked 
from spreading to the point of mutually unintelligible dialects 
by the standards enforced in print. The "accents'* in vari* 
ous parts of the United States, for example, differ, but not to 
the point of becoming absolutely divergent languages. The 
Southerner and the Westerner may be conscious in each 
other's speech of a quaint and curious difference in pronun- 
ciation, but they can, except in extreme cases, completely 
understand each other, 1 

The most important stabilizing influence of print, however, 
is its fixation of meanings. It makes possible their mainte- 
nance uncorrupted and unmodified over wide stretcher in 
which there are phonetic variations. These variant articula- 
tions in different parts of a large country where the same hn- 
guage is spoken, would, if unchecked, eventually modify the 

* Some of the isolated districts in the Kentucky mountains reveal dialects 
with some important differences in vocabulary and construction, Thews art 
shown most strikingly in some of the ballads of that region whtah have bm& 
collected by William Aspmwall Bradley, and by Howard Brookwuy, Hurml 
schools and the breakdown of complete isolation will probably i time 
nate this divergence. 


sense of words. Print largely prevents this from happening. 
One can read newspapers published in Maine, California, 
Virginia, and Iowa, without noticing any significant, or, in 
many cases, even slight differences in vocabulary or construc- 
tion. There are, of course, local idioms, but these persist in 
conversation, rather than in print, save where they are caught 
up and exploited for literary purposes by a Bret Harte, a 
Mark Twain, or an 0. Henry. 

Counter-tendencies toward differentiation. While the 
standard language does become fixed and stable, there are, 
in the daily life of different social groups, varying actual lan- 
guages. Every class, or profession, every social group, 
whether of interest, or occupation, has its slight individuality 
in articulation or vocabulary. We still observe that mem- 
bers of a family talk alike; sometimes households have liter- 
ally their own household words. And on different economic 
and social levels, in different sports, intellectual, professional, 
and business pursuits, we notice slightly different "actual" 
languages* These partly overlap. The society lady, the 
business man, the musician, the professor of literature, the 
mechanic, have specializations of vocabulary and construc- 
tion, but there is, for each of them, a great common linguistic 
area* Every individual's speech is a resultant of the various 
groups with whom he associates. He is affected in his speech 
habits most predominantly, of course, by his most regular 
associates, professional and social. In consequence we still 
mark out a man, as much as anything, by the kind of lan- 
guage he speaks. The mechanic and the man of letters are 
not likely to be mistaken for each other, if overheard in a 
street car. Many literary and dramatic characters are memo- 
rable for their speech habits, Such types are successful when 
they do hit upon really significant linguistic peculiarities. 
Their frequent failures lie in making the language of a par- 
ticular social type artificially stable. No one ever talks quite 
as the conventional stage policeman, stage professor, and 
stage Englishman talk. 


These actual variations in the language, as it is used by 
various groups who are brought up under the same standard 
language, operate to prevent complete stabilization of lan- 
guage. Such variations are remarkably influential, consider- 
ing the conservative influences upon language of the repeated 
and continuous suggestion made by the printed page. The 
language is, in the first place, being continually enriched 
through increments of new words and modifications of old 
ones, from the special vocabularies of trades, professions, 
sciences, and sports. Through some accidental appositeness 
to some contemporaneous situation, these may become gen- 
erally current. A recent and familiar example is the term 
"camouflage," which from its technical sense of protective 
coloration has become a universally understood name for 
moral and intellectual pretense. The vocabulary of baseball 
has by this time already given to the language words that 
show promise of attaining eventual legitimacy. An increas- 
ingly large source of enrichment of the native tongue comes 
from the "spontaneous generation" of slang, which, starting 
in the linguistic whimsicality of one individual, gets caught 
up in conversation, and finds its ultimate way into the lan- 
guage. Important instruments, certainly in the United 
States, in spreading such neologisms are the humorous and 
sporting pages of the newspapers, in which places they not 
infrequently originate. 1 Whether a current slang expression 
will persist, or perish (as do thousands initiated every year), 

1 H. L Mencken in his suggestive book, The American Language, sees in 
this upshoot of phrases indigenous to the soil and the temper of the American 
people, and of grammatical constructions also, symptoms of the increasing 
divergence of the American from the English language That there are a 
large number of special expressions exclusively used in the United States, 
and parts of the United States, that are not found in use in England, goes 
without saying. Every one knowe that the Englishman says ' ' lift ' ' where we 
say "elevator," "shop," where we are likely to say "store " There are sig- 
nificant differences to be found even in the casual expressions of American 
and English newspapers. But it is doubtful whether the divergence can go 
very far, in view of the constant intercommunication, the rapidity of travel 
between the two countries, and the promiscuous reading of English books 
in America, and American books in England. 


depends on accidents of contemporary circumstances. If the 
expression happens to set off aptly a contemporary situation, 
it may become very widespread until that situation, such as a 
political campaign, is over. But it may, like the metaphor 
of a poet, have some universal application. "Log-rolling," 
"graft," "bluff," have come into the language to stay. Roose- 
velt's "pussy-foot," and "Ananias Club" are, perhaps, re- 
membered, but show less promise of permanency. " Movies " 
has already ceased to be a neologism, its ready adoption illus- 
trating a point already mentioned, namely, that a variation 
that facilitates speech (as " movies" does in comparison with 
" moving pictures," or " motion pictures ") has a high poten- 
tiality of acceptance. 

Language as emotional and logical. Since language is 
primarily useful as an instrument of communication, it should 
ideally be a direct and clean-cut representation of experience. 
It should be as unambiguous, and immediate, as telegraphy, 
algebra, or shorthand. But language has two functions, 
which interfere with one another. Words not only represent 
logical relations; they provoke emotional responses. They 
not only explicitly tell; they implicitly suggest. They are not 
merely skeletons of thought; they are clothed with emotional 
values. They are not, in consequence, transitive vehicles of 
thought. Words should, from the standpoint of communica- 
tion, be mere signals to action, which should attract attention 
only in so far as they are signals. They should be no more 
regarded as things in themselves than is the green lamp which 
signals a locomotive engineer to go ahead. They should be as 
immediate signals to action as, at a race, the "Ready, set, go" 
of the starter is to the runner. Yet this rarely happens in the 
case of words. They frequently impede or mislead action by 
arousing emotions irrelevant to their intellectual significance, 
or provoke action on the basis of emotional associations rather 
than on their merits, so to speak, as logical representations of 

To take an example: England, as an intellectual symbol, 


may be said to be a name given to a small island bounded by 
certain latitudes and longitudes, having a certain distribution 
of raw materials and human beings, and a certain topogiaphy. 
It might just as well be represented by X for all practical 
purposes. Thus in the secret code of the diplomatic corps if 
X were agreed on as the symbol for England, it would be just 
as adequate and would even save time. But England (that 
particular sound) for a large number of individuals who have 
been brought up there, has become the center of deep and 
far-reaching emotional associations, so that its utterance in 
the presence of a particular listener may do much more than 
represent a given geographical fact. It may be associated 
with all that he loves, and all that he remembers with affec- 
tion; it may suggest landscapes that are dear to him, a familiar 
street and house, a particular set of friends, and a cherished 
historical tradition of heroic names and storied places. It 
may arouse such ardor and devotion as Henley expresses in 
his famous England, my England : 

"What have I done for you, 

England, my England, 
What is there I would not do, 

England, my own? 
With your glorious eyes austere, 
As the Lord were walking near, 
Whispering terrible things and dear, 

As the song on your bugles blown, 


Round the world on your bugles blown I" 

Words thus become powerful provocatives of emotion. 
They become loaded with all the energies that are aroused by 
the love, the hate, the anger, the pugnacity, the sympathy, 
for the persons, objects, ideas, associated with them. People 
may be set off to action by words (just as a bull is set off by a 
red rag), although the words may be as little freighted with 
meaning as they are deeply weighted with emotion. 

Poets and literary men in general exploit these emotional 
values that cling to words. Indeed, in epithets suggesting 


illimitable vistas, inexpressible sorrows, and dim-remembered 
joys, lies half the charm of poetry. 

" Before the beginning of years, 

There came to the making of man, 
Time with a gift of tears, 

Grief with a glass that ran; 
Pleasure with pain for a leaven, 

Summer with flowers that fell; 
Bemembrance fallen from Heaven, 

And madness risen from Hell, 
Strength without hands to smite, 

Love that endures for a breath, 
Night the shadow of light, 

And hfe, the shadow of death." * 

Swinburne does not, to be sure, give us much information, 
and what there is is mythical, but he uses words that are fairly 
alive with suggested feeling. 

But this emotional aura in which words are haloed, beauti- 
ful though it is in literature, and facile though it makes the 
communication of common feelings, is a serious impediment 
in the use of words as effective instruments of communication. 
Language oscillates, to speak metaphorically, between algebra 
and music. To be useful as an instrument of thought it 
should keep to the prosaic terseness of a telegraphic code. One 
should be able to pass immediately from the word to the thing, 
instead of dissolving in emotions at the associations that the 
mere sound or music of the epithet arouses. Words should, 
so to speak, tend to business, which, in their case, is the com- 
munication of ideas. But words are used in human situa- 
tions. And they accumulate during the lifetime of the indi- 
vidual a great mass of psychological values. Thus, to take 
another illustration, " brother" is a symbol of a certain rela- 
tionship one person bears to another. " Your " is also a sym- 
bolic statement of a relation. But if a telegram contains the 
statement " Your brother is dead," it is less a piece of informa- 
tion to act on than a deep emotional stimulus to which one 
responds. Bacon long ago pointed out how men "worshipped 
1 Swinburne: Atalanto in Calydon (David Mackay edition), p. 393, 


words." As we shall see presently, he was thinking of errors 
in the intellectual manipulation of words. Perhaps as serious 
is the inveterate tendency of men to respond to the more or 
less irrelevant emotions suggested by a word, instead of to its 
strict intellectual content. If the emotions stirred up by an 
epithet were always appropriate to the word's significance, 
this might be an advantage. But not infrequently, as we shall 
see immediately, words suggest and may be used to suggest 
emotions that, like "the flowers that bloom in the spring," 
have nothing to do with the case. 

In practice, political and social leaders, and all who have 
to win the loyalties and support of masses of men have appre- 
ciated the use and misuse that might be made of the 
emotional fringes of words. Words are not always used as 
direct and transparent representations of ideas; they are as 
frequently used as stimuli to action. A familiar instance is 
seen in the use of words in advertisements. Even the honest 
advertiser is less interested in giving an analysis of his product 
that will win him the rational estimation and favor of the 
reader than in creating in the reader through the skillful use of 
words, emotions and sympathies favorable to his product. 
The name of a talcum powder or tobacco is the subject of 
mature consideration by the advertising expert, because he 
knows that the emotional flavor of a word is more important 
in securing action than its rational significance. 1 "Ask Dad! 
He knows!" does not tell us much about the article it adver- 
tises, but it gives us the sense of secure trust that we had as 
a boy in those mysterious things in an almost completely un- 
known world which our fathers knew and approved. 

On a larger scale, in political and social affairs words are 
powerful provocatives of emotion and of actions, determining 
to no small degree the allegiances and loyalties of men and 

* It has been pointed out that such an expression as "cellar door,'* con- 
sidered merely from the viewpoint of sound, is one of the most romantically 
suggestive words in the English language. A consideration of some of the 
names of biscuits and collars will show a similar exploitation of both the 
euphony and the emotional fringes of words. 


the satisfaction and dissatisfactions which they experience in 
causes and leaders. A word remains the nucleus of all the 
associations that have gathered round it in the course of an 
individual's experience, though the object for which it stands 
may have utterly changed or vanished. This is illustrated in 
the history of political parties, whose personnel and principles 
change from decade to decade, but whose names remain stable 
entities that continue to secure unfaltering respect and loy- 
alty. In the same way, the name of country has emotional 
reverberations for one who has been brought up in its tradi- 
tions. Men trust old words to which they have become accus- 
tomed just as they trust old friends. To borrow an illustra- 
tion from Graham Wallas, for many who call themselves 
Socialists, Socialism is something more than 

a movement towards greater social equality, depending for its force 
upon three main factors, the growing political power of the working 
classes, the growing social sympathy of many members of all classes, 
and the belief, based on the growing authority of scientific method, 
that social arrangements can be transformed by means of conscious 
and deliberate contrivance. 1 


the need for something for which one may love and work has created 
for thousands of workingmen a personified Socialism: Socialism, a 
winged goddess with stern eyes and a drawn sword, to be the hope 
of the world, and the protector of those that suffer. 3 

Political leaders and advertising experts, no less than poets, 
have recognized the importance of the suggestive power of 
words. Half the power of propaganda lies in its arousing of 
emotions through suggestion, rather than in its effectiveness 
as an instrument of intellectual conversion. 3 

Language and logic. Even where words are freed from 

1 Wallas: Human Nature in Politics, p. 92. 2 Ibid., p, 93. 

1 During the recent Liberty Loan campaigns, for example, when it was of 
the most crucial practical importance that bonds be bought, the stimuli used 
were not in the form of reasoned briefs, but rather emotional admonition: 
"Finish the job,*' "Every miser helps the Kaiser," "If you were out in 
No Man's Land," 


irrelevant emotional associations, they are still far from being 
adequate instruments of thought. To be effectively repre- 
sentative, words must be clean-cut and definitive; they must 
stand for one object, quality, or idea. Words, if they are to 
be genuine instruments of communication, must convey the 
same intent or meaning to the listener as they do to the 
speaker. If the significance attached to words is so vague 
and pulpy that they mean different things to different men, 
they are no more useful in inquiry and communication than 
the shock of random noise or the vague stir and flutter of 
music. Words must have their boundaries fixed, they must 
be terms, fixed and stable meanings, or they will remain instru- 
ments of confusion rather than communication. Francis 
Bacon stated succinctly the dangers involved in the use of 

For men imagine that their reason governs words, whilst in fact 
words react upon the understanding; and this has rendered phi- 
losophy and the sciences sophistical and inactive. Words are gen- 
erally formed in a popular sense, and define things by those broad 
lines which are most obvious to the vulgar mind; but when a more 
acute understanding or more diligent observation is anxious to vary 
these lines, and adapt them more accurately to nature, words oppose 
it. Hence the great and solemn disputes of learned men terminate 
frequently in mere disputes about words and names, in regard to 
which it would be better to proceed more advisedly in the first 
instance, and to bring such disputes to a regular issue by definitions. 
Such definitions, however, cannot remedy the evil ... for they con- 
sist themselves of words, and these words produce others. . * . 

If, to take an extreme case, a speaker said the word "chair," 
and by "chair" his listener understood what we commonly 
mean by the word "table," communication would be impos- 
sible. There must be some common agreement in the words 
used. In the case of simple terms referring to concrete ob- 
jects there are continual concrete reminders of the meaning 
of a word. We do not make mistakes as to the meaning of 
words such as chair, river, stone, stove, books, forks, knives, 

1 Novum Organum r bk. i, aphorism 69. 


because we so continually meet and use them. We are con- 
tinually checked up, and the meanings we attach to these 
cannot go far astray. 

But the further terms are removed from physical objects, 
the more opportunity is there for ambiguity. In the realm of 
politics and morals, as Socrates was fond of pointing out, the 
chief difficulties and misunderstandings of men have come 
from the ambiguities of the terms they use. "Justice," "lib- 
erty," " democracy," "good," "true," "beautiful," these 
have been immemorial bones of contention among philoso- 
phers. They are accepted, taken for granted, without any 
question as to their meaning by the individual, until he finds, 
perhaps, in discussion that his acceptation of the term is 
entirely different from that of his opponent. Thus many an 
argument ends with "if that's what you mean, I agree with 
you." Intellectual inquiry and discussion to be fruitful must 
have certain definitive terms to start with. 

Discussion . . . needs to have the ground or basis of its various 
component statements brought to consciousness in such a way as to 
define the exact value of each. The Socratic contention is the need 
compelling the common denominator, the common subject, under- 
lying the diversity of views to exMbit itself. It alone gives a sure 
standard by which the claims of all assertions may be measured. 
Until this need is met, discussion is a self-deceiving play with un- 
judged, unexamined matters, which, confused and shifting, impose 
themselves upon us. 1 

To define our terms means literally to know what we are 
talking about and what others are talking about. One of the 
values of discussion is that it enables us more clearly to realize 
the meaning of the words with which we constantly operate. 
A man may entertain for a long while a half -conscious defini- 
tion of democracy as meaning political equality, and suddenly 
come face to face with another who means by it industrial 
cooperation and participation on the part of all workers. 
Whether he agrees with the new definition or not, at least his 
own becomes clearer by contrast. 

1 Dewey: Essays in Experimental Logic, p. 200. 


"Science," wrote Condillac, "is a well-made language." 
No small part of the technique of science lies in its clear defini- 
tion of its terms. The chemist knows what he means by an 
"acid," the biologist by a "mammal" Under these names 
he classifies all objects having certain determinable properties. 
Social science will never attain the precision of the physical 
sciences until it also attains as clear and unambiguous a ter- 
minology. As we shall see in the chapter on science, however, 
the definitions in the physical sciences are arrived at through 
precise inquiries not yet possible in the field of social phe- 


THAT the history of the race is an unbroken continuum goes 
without saying. What this means in the way of transmission 
of the arts, the sciences, the religion, the ideas, the customs of 
one generation to the next, we shall presently see. Cultural 
continuity is made possible by the more fundamental fact of 
the actual biological continuity of the race. This biological 
continuity extends back, as far as we can infer from the sci- 
entific evidence, unbrokenly through the half million years 
since man has left traces of his presence on earth. The con- 
tinuity of life itself goes back to that still more remote time 
when man and ape were indistinguishable, indeed to that 
postulated epoch when life as it existed on earth was no more 
complex than it is as it now appears in the one-celled animal. 
Evolution has taught us that Me, however it started, has been 
one long continuous process which has increased in complex- 
ity from the unicellular animals to man. 

The continuity of the human race is a contrivance of nature 
rather than of man. It is, as it were, a by-product of the sex 
instinct. Man is endowed natively with a powerful desire for 
sex gratification, and though offspring are the chief utility of 
this instinct, desire for reproduction is not normally its pri- 
mary stimulus. But while the production of offspring may 
thus be said to be an incidental result of the sex instinct, hu- 
man reproduction may be subjected to rational consideration 
and control, according as offspring are or are not considered 

The sense of the desirability of offspring may, in the first 
place, be determined by social rather than individual consid- 
erations. To the group or the state a large birth-rate, a 
steady increase of the number of births over the number of 


eaths 3 may be made desirable by the need of a large popu- 
ition for agriculture, herding, or war. In primitive tribes, 
uperiority in numbers must have been, under conditions of 
ompetitive warfare, a pronounced asset. In any imperialis- 
ic regime, where military conquest is highly regarded, the 
namtenance and replenishment of large armies is a factor that 
las entered into reflection on the question of population. 

In cases where a small ruling class is benefited by the labor 
>f a slave or serf class, there is, at least for the ruling classes, 
i marked utility in the increase in population, It means just 
so much opportunity for increase of wealth on the part of 
landowning and slaveholding or serf-controlling classes. In 
any country, increase in the labor supply means just so much 
more human energy for the control of natural resources, so 
coany more units of energy for the production of national 

Offspring may come to be reflectively desired by the indi- 
vidual as a means of perpetuating property, family, or fame. 
A man cannot nonchalantly face the prospect of obliteration, 
and the biological fact of death may be circumvented by the 
equally real fact of reproduction. A man's individuality, we 
have already had occasion to see, is enhanced by his posses- 
sions, and if his fortune or estate is handed down he shall not 
altogether have been obliterated from the earth. Similarly, 
where a family has become a great tradition, there may be a 
deliberate desire on the part of an individual to have the 
name and tradition carried on, to keep the old lineage current 
and conspicuous among men. A man may think through his 
children to keep his own fame alive in posterity. At least his 
name shall be known, and if, as so often happens, a son fol- 
lows in his father's profession, carries on his father's business, 
farm, or philanthropies, the individual attains at least some 
measure of vicarious immortality. His own ways, habits, 
traditions are carried on. 

A man may, moreover, come to desire offspring for the 
pleasures and responsibilities of domesticity and parenthood. 


There is a parental instinct as such, certainly very strong in 
most women, and not lacking to some degree in most men. 
The joys of caring for and rearing a child have too often been 
celebrated in literature and in life by parents both young and 
old to need more explicit statement here. 

Restriction of population. But reproduction has been in 
human history promiscuous, and increase of population has 
been less a problem to moralists and economists than has its 
restriction. The danger of over-increase in population ws 
first powerfully stated by Malthus in his Essay on Population. 
Malthus contended in effect that population always tends to 
increase up to the limit of subsistence, and gives indications, 
unless increase is checked, of increasing beyond it. In its 
extreme form, as it appeared in Malthus's first edition of his 
Essay, it ran somewhat as follows: 

As things are now, there is a perpetual pressure by population on 
the sources of food. Vice and misery cut down the number of men 
when they grow beyond the food. The increase of men is rapid and 
easy; the increase of food is in comparison, slow, and toilsome. They 
are to each other as a geometrical increase to an arithmetical; in 
North America, the population double their number in twenty years. 1 

Malthus's pessimistic prophecy of the increase of popula- 
tion beyond the means of subsistence has been subjected to 
refutation by various causes. For one thing, among civilized 
races at least, the birth-rate is declining. Again, intensive 
agriculture has vastly increased the possibilities of our natural 
resources. On this point, writes Kropotkin, who is better 
acquainted with agricultural conditions than are most social 

They [market gardeners] have created a totally new agriculture. 
They smile when we boast about the rotation system having per- 
mitted us to take from the field one crop every year, or four crops 
each three years, because their ambition is to have six and nine crops 
from the very same plot of land during the twelve months. The^i 
do not understand our talk about good and bad soils, because they 
make the soils themselves, and make it in such quantities as to be 

* Bonar: Philosophy and Political Economy in their Historic Relations, p. 205. 


jompelled yearly to seed some of it; otherwise it would raise up the 
evels of their gardens by half an inch, every year. They aim at 
jropping, not five or six tons of grass on the acre as we do, but from 
ifty to one hundred tons of various vegetables on the same space; 
aot 51 pounds worth of hay, but 100 pounds worth of vegetables of 
uhe plainest description, cabbages and carrots. 1 

Of intensive industry the same might be said. Where for- 
merly a man could produce only enough for one man's con- 
sumption, under conditions of machine production one man's 
work can supply quantities sufficient for many. With a de- 
clining birth-rate and the vastly increased productivity of 
industry and agriculture, there is a greatly reduced danger of 
the population growing beyond their possible sustenance by 
the available food supply. 

Under certain economic and social conditions there are 
marked variations in the birth-rate. This may be due to 
various causes which are, by different writers, variously 
assigned. The variation of the birth-rate among different 
classes is again a matter of common observation and statisti- 
cal certainty. Higher standards of living are found regularly 
to be correlated with a decrease in the number of children in 
a family. An important factor in the voluntary restriction of 
population is the desire to give children that are brought 
into the world adequate education, environment, and social 

Cultural continuity* To the very young the world seems an 
unprecedented novelty. It seems scarcely older than their , 
own memories, which are few and short, and their own experi- 
ence, which is necessarily limited and confined. Through 
education our experience becomes immeasurably widened; we 
can vicariously live through the experiences of other people 
through hearing or reading, and can acquire the racial mem- 
ory which goes back as far as the records of history, or an- 
thropological research. As we grow older we come to learn 
that our civilization has a history; that our present has a past. 

1 Kropotkin; Fields, Factories, and Workshops, p. 74. 


This past extends back through the countless aeons before 
man walked upright. The past of human life on earth goes 
back itself over nearly half a million years. With this long 
past, the present is continuous, being as it were, additional 
pages in process of being written. 

The physical continuity of the race is insured, as we have 
just seen, by a mechanism, which, though it may be subjected 
to rational consideration, is instinctive in its operation. The 
human beings that people the earth to-day are offspring of 
human ancestors reaching back to the appearance of the 
human animal in the long process of the evolution of life on 
earth. So far as we can see, posterity will be for countless 
generations physically similar to ourselves, as they certainly 
will, unless all records or evidences of the fact are obscured, 
trace their ancestry continuously back to us. 

Not only is there continuity of physical descent, however, 
but 'continuity of cultural achievement. The past, in any 
literal temporal sense, is over and done with. The Romans 
are physically dead, as are the generations of barbarians of 
the Dark Ages, and all the inhabitants of mediaeval and 
modern Europe, save our own contemporaries. Yesterdays 
are irrevocably over. The past, in any real sense, exists 
only in the form of achievements that have been handed down 
to us from previous generations. The only parts of the past 
that survive physically are the actual material products and 
achievements of bygone generations, the temples and the 
cathedrals, the sculptures and the manuscripts, the roads 
and the relics of earlier civilizations. Even these exist in the 
present; they are evidences, memorials, mementos of the 
past. These heritages from past civilizations may be inter- 
esting, intrinsically, as in the case of paintings and statues, or 
useful, as in the case of roads, reservoirs, or harbors. 

But we inherit the past in a more vital sense. We inherit 
ways of thought and action, social systems, scientific and in- 
dustrial methods, manners and morals, educational bequests 
and ideals, all that we have and are. Without these, each 


generation would have to start anew. If the whole of existing 
society were destroyed, and a newborn generation could be 
miraculously preserved to maturity, its members would have 
to start on the same level, with the same ignorances, uncer- 
tainties, and impotences as primitive savages. 

In order to make the nature and variety of our abject dependence 
on the past clear, we have only to consider our language, our laws, 
our political and social institutions, our knowledge and education, 
our view of this world and the next, our tastes and the means of 
gratifying them. On every hand the past dominates and controls 
us, for the most part unconsciously and without protest on our part. 
We are in the main its willing adherents. The imagination of the 
most radically-minded cannot transcend any great part of the ideas 
and customs transmitted to him. When once we grasp this trnth, 
we shall, according to our mood, humbly congratulate ourselves 
that ... we are permitted to stand on the giant's shoulders, and 
enjoy an outlook that would be quite hidden to us, if we had to trust 
to our own short legs; or we may resentfully chafe at our bonds and, 
like Prometheus, vainly strive to wrest ourselves from the rock of the 
past, in our eagerness to bring relief to the suffering children of men. 

In any case, whether we bless or curse the past, we are inevitably 
its offspring, and it makes us its own long before we realize it. It is, 
indeed, almost all that we can have. 1 

The cultural achievements of the past, which we inherit 
chiefly as social habits, are obviously not transmitted to us 
physically, as are the original human traits with which this 
volume has so far been chiefly concerned. They are not in our 
blood; they are acquired like other habits, through contact 
with others and through repeated practice. 

We are thus to a very large extent conditioned by the past. 
It is as if we had inherited a fortune composed of various kinds 
of properties, houses, books, automobiles, warehouses, mu~ 
sical instruments, and in addition, trade concessions, business 
secrets, formulas, methods, and good-will. Our activities will 
be limited in measure by the extent of the property, its con- 
stituent items, and the repair in which we keep it. We may 
squander or misinvest our principal, as when we use scientific 

1 Robinson: The New History, pp. 256-57, 


knowledge for dangerous or dubious aims, for example, for 4 
conquest or rapine. We may add to it, as in the development 
of the sciences and industrial arts. We may, so to speak, live 
on the income. Such is the case when a society ceases to be 
progressive, and fails to add anything to a highly developed 
traditional culture, as happened strikingly in the case of 
China. Again we may have inherited " white elephants/' 
which may be of absolutely no use to us, encumbrances of 
which we cannot easily rid ourselves, influential ideas which 
are no longer adequate to our present situation, obsolete 
emotions, methods, or institutions. We may allow our cultural 
inheritance, through bad education, to fall into disrepair and 

Since we are so dependent on the past, our attitude toward 
it, which in turn determines the use we make of it, is of the most 
crucial significance. The several characteristic and varying 
attitudes toward the past which are so markedly current are 
not determined solely by logical considerations. For individ- 
uals and social groups particular features of their heritage have 
great emotional associations. The living past is composed of 
habits, traditions, values, which are vivid and vital issues to 
those who practice them. Traditions, customs, or social 
methods come to have intrinsic values; they become the cen- 
ter of deep attachments and strong passion. They are a rich 
element of the atmosphere of the present; they are woven into 
the intimate fabric of our lives. The awe which we feel in 
great cathedrals is historical as well as religious. Those vast 
solemn arches are the voices of the past speaking to us. The 
moral appeal of tradition appears with beautiful clarity in the 
opening chapter of Pater's Marius the Epicurean. 

A sense of conscious powers external to ourselves, pleased or dis- 
pleased by the right or wrong conduct of every circumstance of daily 
life that conscience, of which the old Roman religion was a formal, 
habitual recognition, had become in him a powerful current of feeling 
and observance. The old-fashioned, partly Puritanic awe, the power 
of which Wordsworth noted and valued so highly in a northern 


peasantry, had its counterpart in the feeling of the Roman lad, a she 
passed the spot, "touched of heaven," where the lightning had 
struck dead an aged laborer in the field : an upright stone, still with 
moldering garlands about it, marked the place. He brought to that 
system of symbolic usages, and they in turn developed in him further, 
a great seriousness, an impressibility to the sacredness of time, of life 
and its events, and the circumstances of family fellowship of such 
gifts to men as fire, water, the earth from labor on which they live, 
really understood by him as gifts a sense of religious responsibility 
in the reception of them. It was a religion for the most part of fear, 
of multitudinous scruples, of a year-long burden of forms. 1 

To the past, as it is made familiar to us through song, study, 
and traditional practice, we may experience a piety amount- 
ing almost to religious devotion. In some individuals and in 
some nations, this sense for tradition is very strong. 

Every one has felt more or less keenly this sense of being a 
link in a great tradition, whether of a college, family, or coun- 
try. Sometimes this sense for tradition takes an aesthetic form, 
as in the case of ritual, whether social or religious. Old streets, 
ivied towers, ancient rooms, become symbols of great and 
dignified achievements; ceremonies come to be invested with 
a serious beauty and memorable charm. They become re- 
minders of a "torch to be carried on," of a spirit to be cher- 
ished and kept alive, of a history to be carried on or a purpose 
or an ideal to be fulfilled. As we shall see in a moment, this 
sense for the past, which, as Santayana says, makes a man 
loyal to the sources of his being, has both its virtues and vices. 
It is of immense value in preserving continuity and cultural 
integration, in keeping many men continuously moving to- 
ward a single fixed end, It may also wrap dangerously ir- 
relevant habits and institutions in a saving and illusive 

There are, on the other hand, individuals with very little 
sense for tradition. This may be accounted for in some cases 
by a marked aesthetic insensibility, which sees in ritual, cere- 
mony, or habit, merely the lateral, without any appreciation 

1 Walter Pater: Mariw the Epicurean (A. L. Burt edition), pp. 3-4. 


at all of its symbolic significance, 1 In other cases, individ- 
uals are unsusceptible and hostile to tradition, because they 
have themselves been socially disinherited. JJhis is illustrated 
not infrequently in the case of foreigners who, for one reason 
or another, have left and lost interest in their native land, and 
become men without a country. 

There are others by temperament rebellious and iconoclas- 
tic, who combine a keen sense of present difficulties and prob- 
lems with small reverence, use for, or interest in the past, and 
small imaginative sympathy with it. The past is to them a 
"sea of errors." They regard all past achievements as bad 
scribblings which must be erased, so that we may start with 
a clean slate. There have been included among such, great 
historical reformers. Bentham's enthusiasm for progress led 
him into most intemperate attacks on history and historical 
method. The most noted of the eighteenth-century philoso- 
phers saw nothing but evil in tradition. Such sentiments 
were echoed in the early nineteenth century by Shelley, God* 
win, and their circle, as expressed, for example, in Shelley's 

"The world's great age begins anew, 

The golden years return, 
The earth doth like a snake renew 

Her winter weeds outworn; 
Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam, 
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream. 

"Another Athens shall arise, 

And to remoter time 
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies, 

The splendor of its prime; 
And leave, if nought so bright can live, 
All earth can take or Heaven can give." 

It is not surprising that men with an eye fixed on the future 

1 This is illustrated by the crass excesses of certain radical satirists of reli- 
gious forms. Those who are the enemies of religion for economic, social, 01 
intellectualistic reasons combine a singular sense of the literal absurdities of 
religious forms with a marked insensibility to their symbolic values. One 
may find interesting examples, from Voltaire to Robert IngersolL 


should develop a contempt or an obliviousness of the past. 
Utopians nearly always start with "a world various and beau- 
tiful and new." 

Perhaps the chief ingredient in such discounting of all past 
history is the rebel temperament which wants to break away 
from what it regards as the chains, the dead weight, the ruts of 
tradition. It cheerfully says, "Nous changerons tout cela," 
and does not stop to discriminate between the roads and the 
ruts that have been made by people in the past. 

These two temperaments, 1 play a large part in determining 
attitudes toward the past. The one regards with awe and 
reverence past achievement, and rests his faith on the experi- 
ments which have been tested and proved by time. The 
other, to state the position extremely, regards each day as the 
possible glorious dawn of a completely new world. The first 
attitude, when intemperately preached and practiced, be- 
comes an uncritical veneration of the past; the second, an un- 
critical disparagement. We shall briefly examine each. 

Uncritical veneration of the past. The extreme form of un- 
critical veneration of the past may be said to take the position 
that old things are good simply because they are old; new 
things are evil simply because they are new. Institutions, 
Ideas, Customs are, like wines, supposed to attain quality 
with age. A custom, a law, a code of morals is defined or 

maintained on the ground of its ancient and honorable 

history, of the great span of years during which it has been 
current, of the generation after generation that has lived un- 
der its auspices. The ways of our fathers, the old time-tested 
ways, these, we are told, must be our ways. 

^ The psychological origins of this position have in part been 
discussed. There is in some individuals a highly developed 

- !^m e i re ^ d ^ of the song of the 8entr y before ta e House of Parliament 
in Gilbert and Sullivan's "lolanthe": 

'* *T is strange how Nature doth contrive 

That every little boy or gal, 
That's born into the world alive, 
Is either a little Liberal, 
Or else a little Conservative! " 


sentiment and reverence for tradition as such, and an aesthetic 
sensibility to the mellowness, ripeness, and charm that so often 
accompany old things. 1 The new seems, as it often is, loud, 
brassy, vulgar, and hard. But there are other and equally 
important causes. Men trust and cherish the familiar in 
ideas, customs, and social organization, just as they trust and 
cherish old friends. They know what to expect from them; 
they have their well-noted excellences, and, while they have 
their defects, these also are definitely known and can be defi- 
nitely reckoned with. The old order may not be perfect, but 
it is an order, and an order whose outlines and possibilities 
are known and predictable. Change means change to the 
unaccustomed and the unfamiliar. And the unaccustomed 
and the unfamiliar, as already pointed out, normally arouse 
fear. One of the conventional phrases (which has become 
conventional because it is accurate) with which changes have 
been greeted is the clichb, "we view with alarm." No small 
part of genuine opposition to change comes from the cautious 
and conscientious types of mind which will not sanction the 
reckless taking of chances, especially where the interests of 
large groups are concerned, which want to know precisely 
where a change will lead. Such a mind holds off from com- 
mitting society to making changes that will put a situation 
beyond control and lead to unforeseen and uncontrollable 
dangers. Especially is this felt by the administrator, by the 
man who has experience with the difficulties of putting ideas 
in practice, who knows how vastly more difficult it is to oper- 
ate with people than with paper. 2 The man of affairs knows 

1 "Oxford," said a distinguished visitor to that venerable institution, 
"looks just as it ought to look." And one is reminded of the story of the 
American lady who, admiring the smooth lawns at Oxford, asked a gardener 
how they managed to give them that velvet gloss. *' We roll them, madam,' 
he said, "for eight hundred years." 

2 Thus writes Catharine II, in a letter to Diderot, the French philosopher 
and humanitarian: "M. Diderot, in all your schemes of reform, you entirely 
forget the difference in our position; you work only on paper, which endurea 
all things, it offers no obstacle, either to your pen or your imagination. But 
I, poor Empress that I am f work on a far more delicate and irritable sub- 
stance, the human skin." 


how easy it is to check and change ideas in one's mind, but 
knows also the uncontrollable momentum of ideas when they 
are acted upon by vast numbers of men. 

Again, the maintenance of ways that have been practiced 
in the past has a large hold over people, for reasons already 
discussed in the chapter on Habit. The old and the accus- 
tomed are comfortable and facile; change means inconven- 
ience and frustration of habitual desires. This is in part 
the explanation of the increasing conservatism of men as 
they grow older. Not only do they have a keener sense of 
the difficulty of introducing changes, but their own fixed 
habits of mind and emotion make part of the difficulty. 
They like the old ways and persist in them just as they like 
and keep old books, old friends, and old shoes. 

Romantic idealization of the past. Reverence for the past 
may also be due to a romantic idealization of it. In such 
cases, it is not an interest in maintaining the present order; 
it is rather a contempt for the present and wistful yearning 
for the "good old days." Every one indulges more or less 
in such idealization. Such halos are made possible because 
we retain the pleasant rather than the painful and dreary 
aspects of our past experience. The college alumnus return- 
ing to the campus tells of the since unsurpassed intellectual 
and athletic feats of the freshman class of which he was a 
member* The elderly gentleman sighs over his newspaper 
at the bad ways into which the world is degenerating, and 
yearns for the old days when the plays were better, con- 
versation more interesting, houses more comfortable, and 
men more loyal In similar trivial instances we are all in- 
clined to indulge in such mythology. The universality and 
age of this tendency has been well described by a student of 
Greek civilization. 

This is the belief of the old school of every age there was one a 

good 7 tune; and it matters not at all in the study of moral ideals 

that no such time can be shown to have existed. The men of the 


say it was in the sixth; and so on infinitely. The same ideal was at 
work when William Morris looked to the thirteenth century, forget- 
ting that Dante looked to a still earlier period; and both forgot that 
the men of that earlier period said the same "not now, indeed, 
but before us men were happy." So simpler men incline to say that 
their grandfathers were fine fellows, but the "old college is going to 
the dogs," or "the House of Commons is not what it was once," for 
reverence and faith and manliness once ruled the world. The old 
school lives upon an ignorance of history; it is genuinely moved by 
a simple moral ideal of life and character which its own imagination 
has created. And when evil becomes obvious, it is the new-fangled 
notions that are to blame. "Trying new dodges" has brought 
Athens down in the world as Aristophanes in 393 B.C. makes his 
protagonist say: 

"And would it not have saved the Athenian state, 
If she kept to what was good, and did not try 
Always some new plan?" * 

On a large scale the romantic idealization of the past has 
been made into a philosophy of history. The "golden age," 
instead of being put in a roseate and remote future, is put in an 
equally remote and roseate past. The Greek legends were 
fond of a golden age when the gods moved among men. The 
Garden of Eden is the Christian apotheosis of the world's 
perfections. Various philosophers have pointed out the 
fallacy of finding such a mythological locus for our ideals, and 
evolution and the general revelations of history have indicated 
the completely mythical character of the golden age. His- 
tory may, in general, be said to reveal that, whatever the 
imperfections of our own age, we have immeasurably im- 
proved in many pronounced respects over conditions earlier 
than our own. The idealized picture of , the Middle Ages with 
its guardsmen and its courtly knights and ladies, is coming, 
with increasing historical information, to seem insignificant 
and untrue in comparison with the unspeakable hardships of 
the mass of men, the evil social and sanitary conditions, the 
plagues and pestilences which were as much a part of it. The 
picture of the ideally gentle and benevolent attitude of the 


master to his slaves is by no means regarded as a typical pic- 
ture of conditions of slave labor in the South. We know, 
positively, on the other hand, tha,t our medicine and surgery, 
our scientific and industrial methods, our production and our 
resources aie incomparably greater than those of any earlier 
period in history, as are the possibilities of the control of 
Nature still unrealized. 

If there were time I might try to show that progress in knowledge 
and its application to the alleviation of man's estate is more rapid 
now than ever before. But this scarcely needs formal proof; it is so 
obvious. A few years ago an eminent French litterateur, BrunetieTe, 
declared science bankrupt. This was on the eve of the discoveries 
in radio-activity which have opened up great vistas of possible human 
readjustments if we could but learn* to control and utilize the inex- 
haustible sources of power that lie in the atom. It was on the eve 
of the discovery of the function of the white blood corpuscles, which 
clears the way for indefinite advance in medicine. Only a poor dis- 
couraged man of letters could think for a moment that science was 
bankrupt. # No one entitled to an opinion on the subject believes 
that we have made more than a beginning in penetrating the secrets 
of the organic and inorganic worlds. 1 

Even in the face of these facts, reverence for the past may 
amount to such religious veneration that change may come 
literally to be regarded as sacrilegious. In primitive tribes 
the reasons for this insistence are clear. Rites and rituals are 
used to secure the favor of the gods and any departure from 
traditional customs is looked upon as fraught with actual dan- 
ger. But the past, as it lives in established forms and prac- 
tices, is still by many, and in highly advanced societies, al- 
most religiously cherished, sustained, and perpetuated. Every 
college, religion, and country has its traditional forms of life 
and practice, any infringement of which is regarded with the 
gravest disapproval. * In social life, generally, there are fixed 
forms for given occasions, forms of address, greeting, convex 
sation, and clothes, all that commonly goes under the name of 

1 Robinson: The New History, p. 262. 

2 It has been said that a custom repeated on a college campus two years in 
succession constitutes a tradition. 


the "conventions" or "proprieties." In law, as is well known, 
there is developed sometimes to an almost absurd degree a 
ritual of procedure. In religion, traditional values become 
embodied in fixed rituals of music, processional, and prayer. 
In education, especially higher education, there has developed 
a fairly stable tradition in the granting of degrees, the ele- 
ments of a curriculum, the forms of examination, and the 
like. To certain types of mind, fixed forms in all these fields 
have come to be regarded as of intrinsic importance. Love 
of " good form," the classicist point of view at its best, may 
develop into sheer pedantry and Pharisaism, an insistence on 
the fixed form when the intent is changed or forgotten, a re- 
gard for the letter rather than the spirit of the law. In a large 
number of cases, the fixed modes of life and practice which 
are our inheritance come to be regarded as symbols of eternal 
and changeless values* Thus many highly intelligent men 
find ritual in religion and traditional customs in education 
or in social life freighted with symbolic significance, and any 
infringement of them as almost sacrilegious in character. 

Change synonymous with evil. Change, again, may be dis- 
couraged by those who hold, with more or less sincerity, that 
no good can come of it. Such a position may, and frequently 
is, maintained by those in whom fortunate accident of birth, 
favored social position, exuberant optimism, or a stanch and 
resilient faith, induces the belief that the social order and 
social practices, education, law, customs, economic condi- 
tions, science, art, et al, are completely satisfactory. Like 
Pippa, in Browning's poem, they are satisfied that "God's 
in His Heaven; all's right with the world." That there 
are no imperfections, in manners, politics, or morals, in 
our present social order, that there are no improvements 
which good-will, energy, and intelligence can effect, few will 
maintain without qualification. To do so implies, when sin- 
cere, extraordinary blindness to the facts, for example, of 
poverty and disease, which, though they do not happen to 
touch a particular individual, are patent and ubiquitous 


enough. In the face of undeniable evils the position that the 
ways we have inherited are completely adequate to our con- 
temporary problems cannot be ingenuously maintained. 

The position more generally expounded by the opponents of 
change is that our present modes of life give us the best possi- 
ble results, considering the limitations of nature and human 
nature, and that the customs, institutions, and ideas we now 
have are the fruits of a ripe, a mellow, and a time-tested wis- 
dom, that any radical innovations would, on the whole, put 
us in a worse position than that in which we find ourselves, 
Persons taking this attitude discount every suggested im- 
provement on the ground that, even though intrinsically 
good, it will bring a host of inevitable evils with it, and that, 
all things considered, we had better leave well enough alone. 
Some extreme exponents of this doctrine maintain, as did 
some of the Hebrew prophets, that whatever evils are ours are 
our own fault, that fault consisting in a lapse from the accus- 
tomed ancient ways. To continue without abatement the 
established ways is the surest road to happiness. Education, 
social customs, political organization, these are sound and 
wholesome as they are; and modification means interference 
Vith the works and processes of reason. 

"All Nature is but art, unknown to thee; 
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see; 
All discord, harmony not understood; 
All partial evil, universal good; 
And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, 
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right." * 

Later Hegel developed an elaborate philosophy of history 
in which he tried to demonstrate that the history of the past 
was one long exemplification of reason; that each event that 
happened was part of the great cosmic scheme, an indispensa- 
ble syllable of the Divke Idea as it moved through history; 
each action part of the increasing purpose that runs through 
the ages. That these contentions are, to say the least, ex- 

1 Pope: Essay on Man, epistle i, lines 289 ff. 


treme, will appear presently in the statement of the opposite 
position which sees nothing in the past but a long succession 
of blunders, evils, and stupidities. 

" Order " versus change. Finally, genuine opposition to 
change arises from those who fear the instability which it im- 
plies. Continuation in established ways makes for integra- 
tion, discipline, and stability. It makes possible the con- 
verging of means toward an end, it cumulates efforts resulting 
in definite achievement. In so far as we do accomplish any- 
thing of significance, we must move along stable and determi- 
nate lines; we must be able to count on the future. 1 It has 
already been pointed out that it is man's docility to learning, 
his long period of infancy 2 which makes his eventual achieve- 
ments possible. But it is man's persistence in the habits 
he has acquired that is in part responsible for his progress. 
In individual life, the utility of persistence, and concentra- 
tion of effort upon a definite piece of work, have been suffi- 
ciently stressed by moralists, both popular and professional. 
"A rolling stone gathers no moss/' is as true psychologi- 
cally as it is physically. Any outstanding accomplishment, 
whether in business, scholarship, science, or literature, de- 
mands perseverance in definite courses of action. We are 
inclined, and usually with reason, to suspect the effective- 
ness of a man who has half a dozen professions in half as 
many years. Such vacillations produce whimsical and scat- 
tered movements; but they are fruitless in results; they liter- 
ally "get nowhere." 

Just as, in the case of individuals, any significant achieve- 
ments require persistent convergence of means toward a defi- 
nite end, so is it in the case of social groups* No great busi- 
ness organizations are built up through continual variations 
of policy* Similarly, in the building up of a university, a 
government department, a state, or a social order, consecutive 
and disciplined persistence in established ways is a requisite 
of progress. Without such continuous organization of efforts 

* The uncertainty that business men feel during a presidential campaign 
is an illustration. a See ante, p. 10. 


toward fixed goals, action becomes frivolous and fragmentary, 
a wind along a waste. The history of the English people has 
elicited the admiration of philosophers and historians because 
it has been such a gradual and deliberate movement, such a 
measured and certain progress toward political and social 
freedom. To those who appreciate the value of unity of 
action, of the assured fruits of cumulative and consistent 
action along a given path, change as such seems fraught with 
danger. Nor is it specific dangers they fear so much as the 
loss of moral fiber, the scattering of energies, the waste and 
futility that are frequently the net result of casual drifting^ 
with every wind that blows. No one has more eloquently 
expressed this view than Edmund Burke in his Reflections on 
the French Revolution: 

But one of the first and most leading principles on which the com- 
monwealth and the laws are consecrated, is lest the temporary pos- 
sessors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received 
from their ancestors, or of what is due to their posterity, should act 
as if they were the entire masters; that they should think it among 
their nghts to cut off the entail, or commit waste on the inheritance, 
by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their 
society; hazarding to leave to those who come after them a ruin 
instead of a habitation and teaching these successors as little to 
respect their contrivances, as they had themselves respected the 
institutions of their forefathers. By this unprincipled facility of 
changing the state as often, and as much, and in as many ways, as 
there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity 
of the commonwealth would be broken. No one generation could 
link with the other. Men would be little better than the flies of a 

To avoid, therefore, the evils of inconstancy and versatility, ten 
thousand times worse than those of obstinacy and the blindest preju- 
dice, we have consecrated the state, that no man should approach 
to look into its defects or corruptions, but with due caution; that he 
should never dream of beginning its reformation by its subversion; 
that he should approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds 
of a father, with pious awe and trembling solicitude. 1 

* Edmund Burke' Reflections on the French Revolution (George Bell & Sons, 
1888), pp. 366-68. ^ 


Personal or class opposition to change. Sincere fear of the 
possible evils of novelty in the disorganization which it pro- 
motes, habituation to established ways, or a sentimental and 
aesthetic allegiance to them all these are factors that deter- 
mine genuine opposition to change. But aversion to change 
may be generalized into a philosophical attitude by those who 
have special personal or class reasons for disliking specific 
changes. The hand-workers in the early nineteenth century 
stoned the machinists and machines which threw them out of 
employment. Every change does discommode some class or 
classes of persons, and part of the opposition to specific 
changes comes from those whom they would adversely affect. 
It is not surprising that liquor interests should be opposed to 
prohibition, that theatrical managers should have protested 
against a tax on the theater, or those with great incomes 
against an excess profits tax. Selfish opposition to specific 
changes is, indeed, frequently veiled in the disguise of plausi- 
ble reasons for opposition to change in general. Those who 
fear the results to their own personal or class interests of some 
of the radical social legislation of our own day may disguise 
those more or less consciously realized motives under the form 
of impartial philosophical opposition to social change in gen- 
eral. They may find philosophical justification for maintain- 
ing unmodified an established order which redounds to their 
own advantage. 

Uncritical disparagement The other extreme is repre- 
sented by the position that old things are bad because they 
are old, and new things good because they are new. This is 
illustrated in an extreme though trivial form by faddists of 
every kind. There are people who chiefly pride themselves 
on being up-to-the-minute, and exhibit an almost pathological 
fear of being behind the times. This thirst for the novel is 
seen on various levels, from those who wear the newest styles, 
and dine at the newest hotels, to those who make a point of 
reading only the newest books, hearing only the newest music, 
and discussing the latest theories. For such temperaments, 


and more or less to most people, there is an intrinsic glamour 
about the word "new." The physical qualities that are so 
often associated with newness are carried over into social and 
intellectual matters, where they do not so completely apply. 
The new is bright and unfrayed; it has not yet suffered senil- 
ity and decay. The new is smart and striking; it catches the 
eye and the attention. Just as old things are dog-eared, worn, 
and tattered, so are old institutions, habits, and ideas. Just 
as we want the newest books and phonographs, the latest 
conveniences in housing and sanitation, so we want the lat- 
est modernities in political, social, and intellectual matters. 
Especially about new ideas, there is the freshness and infinite 
possibility of youth; every new idea is as yet an unbroken 
promise. It has not been subjected to the frustrations, dis- 
illusions, and compromises to which all theory is subjected in 
the world of action. 1 Every new idea is an experiment, a 
possibility, a hope. It may be the long-awaited miracle; it 
may be the prayed-for solution of all our difficulties. 

This susceptibility to the novel is peculiarly displayed by 
those who see nothing but evil in the old. Against the out- 
worn past with Its disillusions, its errors, its evils, and its 
hypocrisies, the new shines out in glorious contrast. There 
are persons who combine a very genuine sense of present evils 
with a resilient belief in the possibilities of change. The 
classic instance of this is seen in the Messianic idea* Even in 
the worst of times, the pious Jew could count on the saving 
appearance of the Messiah. Every Utopian is as sure of the 
salvation promised by his prize solution as he is of the evils 
which it is intended to rectify. The ardent Socialist may 

* **Real life is, to most men t a long second-best, a perpetual compromise 
between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no 
compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity em- 
bodying ia splendid edifices the passionate aspiration after the perfect from 
which all great work springs. Remote from human passions, remote even 
from tbe pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created an 
ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, and 
where one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape from the dreary exile 
of the actual world/' (Bertrand Kussett: Mysticism and Itogic, pp. 60-6J.) 


equally divide his energies between pointing out the evils of 
the capitalist system, and the certain bliss of his Socialist 
republic. The past is nothing but a festering mass of evils; 
industry is nothing but slavery, religion nothing but supersti- 
tion, education nothing but dead traditional formalism, social 
life nothing but hypocrisy. 

Where the past is so darkly conceived, there comes an un- 
critical welcoming of anything new, anything that will take 
men away from it. Nothing could be worse than the present 
or past; anything as yet untried may be better. As Karl 
Marx told the working classes: "The proletarians have 
nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win." 

The past is, by its ruthless critics, conceived not infre- 
quently as enchaining or enslaving. Particularly, the radical 
insists, are men enslaved by habits of thought, feeling, and 
action which are totally inadequate to our present problems 
and difficulties. War-like emotions, he points out, may have 
been useful in an earlier civilization, but are now a total dis- 
utility. Belief in magic may have been an asset to primitive 
man in his ignorance; it is not to modern man with his science. 
The institution of private property may have had its values 
in building up civilization; its utility is over. We still make 
stereotyped and archaic reactions where the situation has 
utterly changed. The institutions, ideas, and habits of the 
past are at once so compelling and so obsolete that we must 
make a clear break with the past; we must start with a clean 
slate. To continue, so we are told, is merely going further 
and further along the wrong paths; it is like continuing with 
a broken engine, or without a rudder. 

Critical examination of the past That both positions just 
discussed are extreme, goes without saying. The past is 
neither all good nor all bad; it has achieved as well as it has 
erred. But it is, in any case, all we have. Without the 
knowledge, the customs, the institutions we have inherited, 
we should have no advantage at all over our ancestors of ten 
thousand years ago. Biologically we have not changed. The 


past is our basic material. Each generation starts with 
what it finds in the way of cultural achievement, and builds 
upon that. 

Antiquity deserve* ft at reverence, that men should take a stand 
thereupon, and discover what is the best way; but when the dis- 
covery is well-taken, then to make progression. And to speak truly, 
antiquitas sceculi iuventus mundi. These times are the ancient times, 
when the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient 
online retrograde, by a computation backwards from ourselves. 1 

The past, save what we discover in our generation, is our 
sole storehouse of materials. And a very small part of our 
useful knowledge in the industrial arts, in science, in social 
organization and administration does come from our own 
generation. It is the accumulated experience of generations 
of men. We can, out of this mass of materials, select what- 
ever is useful in clarifying the issues of the present, whatever 
helps us to accomplish those purposes which we have, after 
critical consideration, decided to be useful and serviceable. 
If, for example, we decide to build a bridge, it is of importance 
that we know all that men have in the past discovered of 
mechanical relations and industrial art which will enable us to 
build a bridge well If we want to establish an educational 
system in some backward portion of the world, it is useful for 
us to know what methods men have used in similar situations., 
Whatever we decide to do, we are so much the better off, if 
we know all that men before us have learned in analogous 

But to use the inheritance of the past implies an analysis 
of present problems, and an acceptance of the course to be 
pursued. The experience of the past, the heritage of knowl- 
edge that has come down to us, is so various and extensive 
that choices must be made. The historian in writing even 
a comprehensive history of a country must still make choices 
and omissions. Similarly, in using knowledge inherited from 
the past as materials, we must have specific problems to 

^ 1 Bacon; The Advancement of Learnmg t Collected Works, vol. i, p 172t 


govern our choice. The statistician could collect innumerable 
statistics; he collects only those which have a bearing on his 
subject. The lawyer searches out that part of the legal tradi- 
tion which is applicable to his own case. Without some lead 
or clue we should lose ourselves in the multifariousness of 
transmitted knowledge at our disposal. 

To use the past as an instrument for furthering present 
purposes implies neither veneration nor disparagement of it. 
We neither condemn nor praise the past as a whole; we regard 
specific institutions, customs, or ideas, as adequate or inade- 
quate, as serviceable or disserviceable. In general, it may be 
said that the value of any still extant part of the past, be it a 
work of art, a habit, a tradition, has very little to do with its 
origin. The instinct of eating is still useful though it has a 
long history. The works of the Old Masters are not really 
great because they are old, nor are the works of contempora- 
ries either good or bad because they are new. Man himself is 
to be estimated no differently, whether he is descended from 
the angels or the apes. 

If we would appreciate our own morals and religion we are often 
advised to consider primitive man and his institutions. If we would 
evaluate marriage or property, we are often directed to study our 
remote ancestors. . . . Such considerations as these have diverse 
effects according to our temperaments. The quite uniformly pro- 
duce, however, disillusionment and sophistication. . . , This exalta- 
tion of the past, as the ancestral home of all that we are, may make 
us regret our loss of illusions and our disconcerting enlightenment. 
We may break with the past, scorn an inheritance so redolent of 
blood and lust and superstition, revel in an emancipation imguided 
by the discipline of centuries, strive to create a new world every day, 
and imagine that, at last, we have begun to make progress. 1 

The standards of value of the things we have or do or say, 
the approvals or disapprovals we should logically accord them, 
are determined not by their history, not by their past, but by 
their uses in the living present in which we live. An institu- 
tion may have served the purposes of a bygone generation; it 

* Woodbridge: The Purpose of History, p. 72. 


may come generally to be regarded as impediments to prog- 
ress. 1 The unprejudiced observer, scientifically interested in 
preserving those forms and mechanisms of social life which 
are of genuine service to his own generation, will not condemn 
or applaud "the past" en masse. He will, rather, examine it 
in specific detail. He win not, for example, dismiss classical 
education, because it is classical or old. He will rather try 
experimentally to determine the actual consequences in the 
case of those who study the classics. N He will examine the 
claims made for the study, try in specific cases to find out 
whether those claims are fulfilled, and condemn or approve 
the study, say, of Latin and Greek, according to his estimate 
of the desirability or undesirability of those consequences. 
If he finds, for example, that the study of Latin does promote 
general literary appreciation, his decision that it should or 
should not be continued will depend on his opinion of the value 
of general literary appreciation as compared with other values 
in an industrial civilization. Similarly, with " freedom of con- 
tract, 77 "freedom of the seas/ 7 military service, bi-cameral 
systems, party caucuses, presidential veto, and all the other 
political and social heritages of the past. 

But a man who impartially examines the past will usually 
exhibit also an appreciation of its attainments and a sense of 
the present good to which it has been instrumental. He will 
not glibly dismiss institutions, habits, methods of life that 
are the alow accumulations of centuries. He will have a 
sense of the continuous efforts and energies that have gone 
into the making of contemporary civilization. He will have, 
in suggesting ruthless innovations, a sobering sense of the 
gradual evolution that has made present institutions, habits, 
ideas, what they are. 

The student of the past knows, moreover, that the present 
without its background of history is literally meaningless. 

1 The situation in the case of outworn social institutions is paralleled in the 
case of the human appendix, once possessing a function in the digestive sys- 
tem of primitive man, but now useless and likely on occasion to become a 
positive disutility. 


In the words of a well-known student of the development of 
human culture: 

Progress, degradation, survival, modification, are all modes of the 
connection that binds together the complex network of civilization. 
It needs but a glance into the trivial details of our own daily life to 
set us thinking how far we are really its originators, and how far 
but the transmitters and modifiers of the results of long past ages 
Looking round the rooms we live in, we may try here how far he who 
knows only his own time can be capable of rightly comprehending 
even that. Here is the honeysuclde of Assyria, there the fleur-de-lis 
of Anjou, a cornice with a Greek border runs round the ceiling, the 
style of Louis XIV and its parent the Renaissance share the looking 
glass between them. Transformed, shifted or jnutilated, such ele- 
ments of art still carry their history plainly stamped upon them. . . . 
It is thus even with the fashion of the clothes men wear. The ridicu- 
lous little tails of the German postilion's coat show of themselves 
how they came to dwindle to such absurd rudiments; but the English 
clergyman's bands no longer so convey their history to the eye, and 
look unaccountable enough till one has seen the intermediate stages 
through which they came down from the more serviceable wide 
collars, such as Milton wears in his portrait, and which gave their 
name to the "band-box " they used to be kept in. In fact, the books 
of costume showing how one garment grew or shrank by gradual 
stages and passed into another, illustrate with much force and clear- 
ness the nature of the change and growth, revival and decay, which 
go on from year to year in more important matters of life. In books, 
again, we see each writer not for and by himself, but occupying his 
proper place in history; we look through each philosopher, mathe- 
matician, chemist, poet, into the background of his education 
through Leibnitz into Descartes, through Dalton into Priestly, 
through Milton into Homer. 1 

Besides understanding the present better in terms of its 
history, there is much in the heritage of the past, especially 
of its finished products, that the citizen of contemporary 
civilization will wish preserved for its own sake. The works 
of art, of music, and of literature which are handed down to us 
are "possessions forever." Whatever be the limitations of 
our social inheritance, as instruments for the solution of our 
difficulties, those finished products which constitute the "best 

1 Tylor, Edward B.; Primitive Cuttuire, vol. I, pp. 17 ff. 


that has been known and thought" in the world are beyond 
cavil. They may not solve our problems, but they immensely 
enrich and broaden our lives. They are enjoyed because they 
are intrinsically beautiful, but also because they widen men's 
sympathies and broaden the scope of contemporary purposes 
and ideals. 

culture that this transmission of racial experience makes pos- 
sible, can be made perfect by the critical spirit alone, and, indeed, 
may be said to be one with it. For who is the true critic but he who 
bears within himself the dreams and ideas and feelings of myriad 
generations, and to whom no form of thought is alien, no emotional 
impulse obscure. And who is the true man of culture, if not he in 
whom fine scholarship and fastidious rejection . . . develops that 
spirit of disinterested curiosity which is the real spirit, as it is the 
real fruit of the intellectual life, and thus attains to intellectual clar- 
ity; and having learned the best that is known and thought in the 
world, lives it is not fanciful to say so among the Immortals. 1 

The student of Greek life knows that the Greeks in their 
view of Nature and of morals, in their conception of the way 
life should be lived, in their discrimination of the beautiful, 
have still much to teach us* He knows, however much we 
may have outlived the hierarchy of obedience which consti- 
tutes mediaeval social and political life, we should do well to 
recover the humility in living, the craftsmanship in industry, 
and precision in thinking which constituted so conspicuous 
features of mediaeval civilisation. He knows that progress 
is not altogether measured by flying machines and wireless 
telegraphy. He is aware that speed and quantity, the key 
values in an industrial civilization, are not the only values 
that ever have been, or ever should be cherished by mankind. 

Limitations of the past Along with a sensitive appre- 
ciation of the achievements and values of the past, goes, in 
the impartial critic, an acknowledgment of its limitations. 
We can appreciate the distinctive contributions of Greek cul- 
ture without setting up Greek life as an ultimate ideal. We 
know that with all the beauty attained and expressed in 

1 Oscar Wilde: Intentions, pp. 192-93. 


their art and, to a certain extent, in their civilization, the 
Athenians yet sacrificed the majority to a life of slavery in 
order that the minority might lead a life of the spirit, that 
their religion had its notable crudities and cruelties, that 
their science was trivial, and their control of Nature neg- 
ligible. In the words of one of their most thoroughgoing 

The harmony of the Greeks contained in itself the factors of its 
own destruction. And in spite of the fascination which constantly 
fixes our gaze on that fairest and happiest halting place in the secular 
march of man, it was not there, any more than here, that he was 
destined to find an ultimate reconciliation and repose. 1 

Again, we know the many beautiful features of mediaeval 
life through its painting and poetry and religion. We know 
Saint Francis and are familiar with the heroic records of 
saintliness and renunciation. We know, the great cathedrals, 
the pageantry and splendor, the exquisite handicraft, the 
tapestries and illuminated manusqripts, the vast learning 
and the incomparable dialectic. We know also the social 
injustices, the misery and squalor, the ignorance in which 
the mass of the people lived. 

We can stop, therefore, neither in perpetual adoration of nor 
perpetual caviling at the past. Each age had its special excel- 
lences and its special defects, both from the point of view 
of the ideals then current, and those current in our own day. 
In so far as the past is dead and over with, we cannot legiti- 
mately criticize it with standards of our own day. We cannot 
blame the Greeks for sanctioning slavery, nor criticize Jamjes I 
because he was not a thoroughgoing democrat. But in so far 
as the past still lives, it is open to critical examination and 
revision. Traditions, customs, ideas, and institutions in- 
herited from the past, which still control us, are subject to 
modification. We are justified in welcoming changes and 
modifications which, after careful inquiry, seem clearly to 
promise betterment in the life of the group. Thus to welcome 

1 G. Lowes Dickinson: Greek View of Life, p. 248. 


changes which upon experimental evidence show clearly the 
benefits that will accrue to the group, is not radicalism, Nor 
is opposition to changes on the ground that upon critical 
examination they give promise of harmful consequences, con- 
servatism. Verdicts for or against change reached on such a 
basis reflect the spirit and technique of experimental science. 
They reflect the desire to settle a course of action on the basis 
of its results in practice rather than on any preconceived 
prejudices in favor either of stability or change. To the crit- 
ical mind, neither stability nor change is an end in itself. 
There is no hypnotism about "things as they are"; no lure 
about things as they have not yet been. The problem is 
shifted to a detailed and thoroughgoing inquiry into the con- 
sequences of specific changes in social habits, ideas and insti- 
tutions, education, business, and industry. Whether changes 
should or should not win critical approval depends on the kind 
of ideals or purposes we set ourselves and, secondly, on the 
practicability of the proposed changes. Change may thus 
be opposed or approved, in a given case, on the grounds of 
desirability or feasibility. Whether a change is or is not de- 
sirable depends on the ideals of the individual or the group. 
Whether it is or is not feasible is a matter open increasingly to 
scientific determination. Thus a city may hire experts to 
discover what kind of transportation or educational system 
will best serve the city's needs. But whether it will or will not 
spend the money necessary depends on the social interests 

Education as the transmitter of the past: Education is the 
process by which society undertakes the transmission of its 
social heritage. Indeed the main function of education in 
static societies is the initiation of the young into already 
established customs and traditions. It is the method used 
to hand down those social habits which the influential and 
articulate classes in a society regard as important enough to 
have early fixed in its young members. The past is simply 
transmitted, handed down en masse. It is a set of patterns 


to be imitated, of ideals to be continued, of mechanisms for 
attaining the fixed purposes which are current in the group. 
In progressive societies education may be used not simply 
to hand down habits of doing, feeling, and thinking, from the 
older generation to the younger, but to make habitual in the 
young reflective consideration of the ends which must be 
attained, and reflective inquiry into the means for attaining 
them. The past will not be handed down in indiscriminate 
completeness. The present and its problems are regarded as 
the standard of importance, and the past is considered as an 
incomparable reservoir of materials and methods which may 
contribute to the ends sought in the present. But there is so 
much material and so little time, that selection must be made. 
Many things in the past, interesting on their own merits, must 
be omitted in favor of those habits, traditions, and recorded 
files of knowledge which are most fruitful and enlightening in 
the attainment of contemporary purposes. What those pur- 
poses are depends, of course, on ideals of the group in control 
of the process of education. But these purposes of ideals may 
be derived from present situations and not taken merely be- 
cause they have long been current in the group. Thus, in a 
predominantly industrial civilization, it may be found more 
advisable and important to transmit the scientific and tech- 
nical methods of control which men have acquired in recent 
generations than the traditional liberal arts. Science may be 
found more important than the humanities, medicine than 
moral theory. Even such education that tends to call itself 
"liberal" or "cultural" is effective and genuine education 
just in so far as it does illuminate the world in which we live. 
The religion and art, the literature and life of the past broaden 
the meaning and the background of our lives. They are valu- 
able just because they do enrich the lives of those who are 
exposed to their influence. If studying the great literature 
and the art of the past did not clarify the mind and emanci- 
pate the spirit, enabling men to live more richly in the pres- 
ent, they would hardly be as studiously cherished and trans- 


.mitted as they are. We are, after all, living in the present. 
The culture of the past either does or does not illuminate it. 
If it does not it is a competing environment, a shadow world 
in which we may play truant from actuality, but which 
brings neither "sweetness nor light" to the actual world in 
which we live. 



THE foregoing analysis of human behavior might thus be 
briefly summarized. We found that man is born a creature 
with certain tendencies to act in certain definite ways, tenden- 
cies which he largely possesses in common with the lower ani- 
mals. We found also that man could learn by trial and error, 
that his original instinctive equipment could be modified. 
Thus far in his mental life man is indistinguishable from the 
beasts. But man's peculiar capacity, it appeared, lay in his 
ability to think, to control his actions in the light of a future, 
to choose one response rather than another because of its 
consequences, which he could foresee and prefer. This capac- 
ity for reflection, for formulating a purpose and being able to 
obtain it, we found to be practical in its origins, but persisting 
on its own account in the disinterested inquiry of philosophy 
and science and the free imaginative construction of art. And 
in all man's behavior, whether on the plane of instinct, habit, 
or reflection, we found action to be accompanied by emotion, 
by love and hate, anger and awe, which might at once impede 
action by confusing it, or sustain it by giving it a vivid and 
compelling motive. 

The second part of the book was devoted to an analysis of 
the various specific traits which human beings display and the 
consequences that these have in men's relations with one 
another. Under certain conditions, one or another of these 
may become predominant; in particular historical conditions, 
one or another of them may have a high social value or the 
reverse. , These traits vary in different individuals; in any of 
them,a man maybe totally defective or abnormally developed. 
But taken in general, they constitute the changeless pattern 


of hum#B nature, and fix the conditions and the limits of 

But while these universal traits determine what man may 
do, and fix definitively the boundaries of human possibility, 
within these limits the race has a wide choice of ideals and 
attainments. The standards of what man will and should do, 
within the bouiidaries of the nature which is his inheritance, 
^e to be found not in his original impulses, but in his mind 
and imag^aation. The human being is gifted with the ability 
to imagine a future more desirable than the present, and to 
contrive ingeniously in behalf of anticipated or imagined 

These anticipated goods we call ideals, and these ideals 
arise, in the last analysis, Out of the initial and inborn hungers 
and cravings of men. " Intellect is of the same flesh and blood 
with all the instincts, a brother whose superiority lies in his 
power to appreciate, harmonize, and save them all" The 
function of reason is not to set itself over against men's orig- 
inal desires, but to envisage ideals and devise instruments 
whereby they may all, so far as nature allows, be fulfilled. 

Man's reason, then, which has its roots in his instincts, is 
the means of their harmonious fulfillment. It attempt^ in 
the various fields of experience, to effect an adjustment bef 
tween man's competing desires, and between man and his en T 
vironment. If instincts were left each to its own free course, 
they would all be frustrated; if man did not learn reflectively 
to control his environment, and to make it subserve his own 
ends, he would be a helpless pygmy soon obliterated by the 
incomparably more powerful forces of Nature. 

These various attempts of man to effect an adjustment of 
his passions with one another, and his life to his environment, 
may be described as the " Career of Reason/' In this career 
man has formulated many ideals, not a small number of which 
have led Mm into error, disillusion, and unhappiness. Some- 
times they h&ve misled him by promising him fulfillments 
.that mre m the nature of things unattainable. They have 


added to the real evils of life a longing after impossible goods, 
;oods which an informed intelligence would early have dis- 
missed as unattainable. Man has disappointed himself by 
counting on joys which, had he been less incorrigibly addicted 
to imaginative illusions, he should never have expected. 
Sometimes he has framed ideals which could b$ fulfilled, but 
only at the expense of a large proportion of natural and irre- 
pressible human desires. Such, for example, have been the 
one-sided ascetic ideals of Stoicism or Puritanism, which in 
their attempt to give order and form to life, crush and distort 
a considerable portion of it. The same is true of mysticism 
which seeks frequently to attain life by altogether denying its 
instinctive animal basis. Yet though reason has led men 
astray, it is the only and ultimate hope of man's happiness. 
It is responsible for whatever success man has had in master- 
ing the turmoil of his own passions and the obstacles of an 
environment "which was not made for him but in which he 
grew." It has given point and justice to Swinburne's exult- 
ant boast: 

"Glory to man in the highest! For man is the master of things! 1 ' 

This Career of Reason has taken various parallel fulfill- 
ments, and in each of them man has in varying degrees at- 
tained mastery. Religion arose as one of the earliest ways by 
which man attempted to win for himself a secure place in the 
cosmic order. Science, in its earliest forms hardly distinguish- 
able from religion, is man's persistent attempt to discover the 
nature of things, and to exploit that discovery for bis own 
good. Art is again an instance of man's march toward mas- 
tery. Beginning, in the broadest sense, in the industrial arts, 
in agriculture and handicrafts, it passes, as it were by acci- 
dent, from the necessary to the beautiful. Having in his 
needful business fortuitously created beautiful objects, man 
comes to create them intentionally, both for their own sake 
and for the sheer pleasure of creation. 

Finally in morals men have endeavored to construct for 


themselves codes of conduct, ideals of life, in which no possible 
good should be needlessly or recklessly sacrificed, and in which 
men might live together as happily as is permitted by the 
nature which is at once their life and their habitation. The 
Career of Reason in these various fields we shall briefly trace 
ami describe. We must expect to find, as in any career, how- 
ever successful, failures along with the triumphs, and, as in 
any notable career still unfinished, possibility and great 
promise. Man's reason and imagination have a long past; 
they have also an indefinite future. Man has in the name of 
reason made many errors; but to reiason he owes his chief 
success, and with increasing experience he may be expected 
to attain continually to a more certain and effective wisdom. 
With these provisos, let us address ourselves to the Career of 
Eeason, beginning with religion. 


The religious experience* Since human nature remains 
constant in its essential traits, despite the variations it exhib- 
its among different individuals, it is to be expected that cer- 
tain experiences should be fairly common and recurrent among 
all human beings. Joy and sorrow, love and hate, jubilance 
and despair, disillusion and rapture, triumph and frustration, 
these occur often, and to every man. They are, as it were, 
the sparks generated by the friction of human desires with the 
natural world in which they must, if anywhere, find fulfill- 
ment, Just such a normal, inevitable consequence of human 
nature in a natural world is the religious experience. It is 
common in more or less intense degree to almost all men, and 
may be studied objectively just as may any of the other uni- 
versal experiences of mankind* 

There are, however, certain peculiar difficulties in the study 
of the religious experience. Most men are by training emo- 
tionally committed to one particular religious creed which it is 
very difficult for them impartially to examine or to compare 
with others. In the second place, there is a confusion in the 
minds of most people between the personal religious experi- 
ence, and the formal and external institution we commonly 
have in mind when we speak of "religion/ 1 When we ordi- 
narily use the term, we imply a set of dogmas, an institution, 
a reasoned theology, a ritual, a priesthood, all the apparatus 
and earmarks of institutionalized religion. We think of 
Christianity, Mohammedanism, Judaism, the whole welter 
of churches and creeds that have appeared in the history of 
mankind. But these are rather the outward vehicles^ and 
vestments of the religious experience than the experience 
itself. They are the social expressions and external instru- 


ments of the inner spiritual occurrence. But the latter is 
primary. If man had not first been religious, these would 
never have arisen. In the words of William James: 

In one sense at least, the personal religion will^ prove itself more 
fundamental than either theology or ecclesiasticism^ Churches 
when once established live at second hand upon tradition, but the 
fmmd&rs o! every Church owed their power originally to the fact of 
their direct personal communion with the divine. Not only the 
superhuman founders, the Christ, the Buddha, Mahomet, but all 
the originators of Christian sects have been in this case; so personal 
religion should still seem the primordial thing, even to those who 
esteem it incomplete* 1 

Before we examine the social institutions and fixed appara- 
tus of ritual and of reasoned theology in which the religious 
experience has become variously embodied, we must pause to 
analyse the experience itself. To be religious, as a personal 
experience, is, like being philosophical, to take a total attitude 
toward the universe. But the religious attitude is one of a 
somewhat specific kind. It is, one may arbitrarily but also 
somewhat fairly say, to sense or comprehend one's relation to 
the divine, however the divine be conceived. It is to have this 
sense and comprehension not only deeply, as one might in a 
poetic or a philosophical mood, but to have it suffused with 
reverence. We shall presently see that the objects of venera- 
tion have had a different meaning for different individuals, 
groups, and generations* But whatever be tKe conception of 
the divine object, the religious attitude seems to have this 
stable feature. It is always an awed awareness on the part 
of the individual of his relation to that "something not him?- 
self," and larger than himself, with whom the destinies of the 
universe seem to rest. This somehow sensed relation to the 
divine appears throughout all the varieties of religion that 
have appeared in the world, and among many individuals not 
popularly accounted religious. 

It is just such an experience, for example, that Wordsworth 

1 James: Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 30. 


expresses when he says in the " Lines Written Above Tintera 

"... And I have felt 
A presence that disturbs me with the joy 
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime 
Of something far more deeply interfused, 
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, 
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; 
A motion and a spirit, that impels 
All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 
And rolls through all things." 

It is the same sense that comes over so-called worldly peo- 
ple when oppressed suddenly by a great sorrow, or uplifted 
by a sudden great joy, an awareness of a divine power that 
moves masterfully and mysteriously through the events of 
life, provoking on the part of finite creatures a strange and 
compelling reverence. This " divinity that shapes our ends' 1 
may be variously conceived. It may be an intimately real- 
ized personal God, "Our Father which art in Heaven.' 7 It 
may be such an abstract conception as the Laws of Nature or 
Scientific Law, such a religion as is expounded by the Tran- 
scendentalists, in particular by Emerson: 

These laws execute themselves. They are out of time, out of 
space, and not subject to circumstance: thus m the soul of man there 
is a justice whose retributions are instant and entire. ... If a man is 
at heart just, then, in so far is he God; the safety of God, the immor- 
tality of God, the majesty of God, do enter into that man with jus- 
tice. , * . For all things proceed out of the same spirit, which is differ- 
ently named, love, justice, temperance, in its different applications, 
just as the ocean receives different names on the several shores^ whicn 
it washes. . . . The perception of this law awakens in the mind a 
sentiment which we call the religious sentiment, and which makes 
our highest happiness. Wonderful is its power to charm and to 
command. It is a mountain air, It is the embalmer of the world. 
It makes the sky and the hills sublime, and the silent song of the 
stars is it. It is the beatitude of man. It makes him illimitable. 1 

It may be conceived as Nature itself, as it was by Spinoza, 
; Miscellanies^ quoted by James in Varieties* pp. 32-33. 


reflective satisfaction with the fruits of the moment would 
find these moments less satisfactory were they not set in a 
background of reasonably fair promise. The exuberant opti- 
mist, when he stops to reflect, has a buoyant and inclusive 
faith in the essential goodness of man and the universe. 
Whitman stands out in this connection as the classic type. 
Evil and good were to him indifferently beautiful. He main- 
tained an incredibly large-hearted and magnanimous recep- 
tivity to all things great or small, charming or ugly, that 
lightened or blackened the face of the planet. 

While the average man accepts the universe with a less 
wholesale and indiscriminate appreciation, yet he does feel 
vaguely assured that the nature of things is ordered, har- 
monious, dependable, and regular, that affairs are, cosmically 
speaking, in a sound state. He feels a vast and comfortable 
solidity about the frame of things in which his life is set; he 
can depend on the familiar risings and settings of the sun, the 
recurrent and assured movement of the seasons. Were this 
trust suddenly removed, were the cosmic guarantee with- 
drawn, to live would be one long mortal terror. That this is 
precisely what does happen under such circumstances, the 
voluminous literature of melancholia sufficiently proves. 

The sense of insecurity takes various forms. Sometimes 
the patient experiences a profound and intimate conviction 
of the unreality of the world about him. His whole physical 
environment comes to seem a mere phantasy and a delusion. 
In some cases he finds himself unmoved by the normal inter-* 
ests and excitements of men, unable to find any stimulus, 
value, or significance in the world. 

Esquirol observed the case of a very intelligent magistrate. . . , 
Every emotion appeared dead within him. He manifested neither 
perversion nor violence, but a complete absence of emotional reaction. 
If he went to the theater, which he did out of habit, he could find no 
pleasure there. The thought of his house, of his home, of his wife, 
and of his absent children, moved him as little, he said, as a theo- 
rem of Euclid. 1 

* Ribot: Psychology of the Emotions, p. 54. 


The sense of futility, of the flatness, staleness, and unprofit- 
ableness of the world, which is felt in such extreme forms by 
pronounced melancholiacs, is experienced sometimes, though 
to a lesser degree, by every sensitive mind that reflects much 
upon life. Such an attitude, it is true, arises principally dur- 
ing moments of fatigue and low vitality, and is undoubtedly 
organic in its origins, as for that matter is optimism. Again 
such a sense of world-weariness comes often in moments of 
personal disappointment and disillusion, when friends have 
proved false, ambitions empty, efforts wasted. At such times 
even the normal man echoes Swinburne's beautiful melan* 

"We are not sure of sorrow, 

And joy was never sure, 
To-day will die to-morrow, 

Time stoops to no man's lure; 
And love grown faint and fretful, 
With lips but half regretful, 
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful, 

Weeps that no loves endure* 

"From too much love of living, 

From hope and fear set free, 
We thank with brief thanksgiving, 

Whatever gods may be, 
That no life lives, forever; 
That dead men rise up never; 
That even the weariest river, 

Winds somewhere safe to sea." * 

Even the eager and exuberant, if sufficiently philosophical 
and generous-minded, may come, despite their own success, 
to a deep realization of the utter futility, meaninglessness, and 
stupidity of life, of the essential blindnesses, cruelties, and 
insecurities which seem to characterize the nature of things. 
Unless against this dark insight some reassuring faith arises, 
life may become almost unbearable. In extreme eases it has 
driven men to suicide* Take, for example, the picture of the 
universe as modern materialism presents it; 

1 From A. Garden oj Proserpine. 


Purposeless . , . and void of meaning is the world which science 

reveals for our belief That man is the product of causes that had 

no prevision of the end they were achieving, that his origin, his 
growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome 
of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no in- 
tensity of thought or feeling can preserve an individual hf e beyond 
the grave, that al the labors of the ages, all the devotion, aU the 
inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined 
to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the 
whole temple of man's achievements must inevitably be buried be- 
neath the de*bris of a universe in ruins all these things if not quite 
beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which 
rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these 
truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the 
souFs habitation henceforth be safely built. 1 

Sucsh a prospect to the serious-minded and sensitive-spirited 
cannot but provoke the profoundest melancholy. There is, 
even for the most healthy-minded of us, sufficient ground for 
pessimism, bitterness, insecurity. Even if we personally 
largely through the accidents of circumstance happen to 
be successful, " our joy is a vulgar glee, not unlike the snicker 
of any rogue at his success." The utter futility and evanes- 
cence of earthly goods, beauties, and achievements is sensed 
at least sometimes by normally complacent souls* And so 
patent and 'ubiquitous are the evidences of decay, disease, and 
death at our disposal, that they may easily be erected into a 
thoroughgoing philosophy of life: 

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is 

What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the 
sun? . . * 

All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and 
to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to 
him feat sacrificeth and to him that sacrifieeth not: as is the good so 
is the sinner ; and he that sweareth as he that feareth an oath. . . . 

Fo^the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not 
anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of 
them is forgotten. 

1 Bertram! Eussell; PWesopkical Essays, pp. 60-61 ("The ffree Man's 
Worship* )* 


Also their love and their hatred and their envy is now perished; 
neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is 
done under the sun* 1 

Religion offers solace to those perturbed and passionate 
souls, among others, to whom these futilities have become a 
rankling, continuous torment and depression. When life on 
earth appears fragmentary and disordered, not only nonsense 
but terrifying nonsense, full of hideous injustices, sickening 
uncertainties, and cruel destructions, men have not infre- 
quently found a refuge in the divine. "Come unto me all 
ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
In the religious experience man finds life to be made clear, 
complete, and beautiful. What seems a contradictory frag- 
ment finds its precise niche in the divine scheme, what seems 
dark and cruel shines out in a setting of eternal beneficence 
and wisdom. The experience of the individual, even the hap- 
piest, is always partial, broken, and disordered* No ideal is 
ever completely realized, or if realized leaves some perfection 
to be desired. Men living in a natural existence imagine 
values and ideals which can never be realized there. In reli- 
gion, if anywhere, men have found perfection, and ultimate 

This perfection, completion, and clarification of life has been 
attained in various ways. The religious experience itself, 
when intense, may give to the individual apart from a rea- 
soned judgment, or from any actual change in his physical 
surroundings, a translucent insight during which he sees 
deeply, calmly, joyously into the beautiful eternal order of 
things. This mystic insight has been experienced on occasion 
by quite normal and prosaic men and women. While it lasts, 
reality seems to take on new colors and dimensions. It be- 
comes vivid, luminous, and intense. The mystic seems to 
rise to a higher level of consciousness, in which he experiences 
a universe more significant, ordered, and unified than any 
commonly experienced through the senses. One may take, 

* Ecclesiastes. 


as an example, such an instance autobiographically and anony- 
mously reported a few years ago, and well documented; 

It was not that for a few keyed-up moments I imagined all exist- 
ence as beautiful, but that my inner vision was cleared to the truth 
so that I saw the actual loveliness which is always there, but which 
we so rarely perceive; and I knew that every man, woman, bird, and 
tree, every living tiling before me, was extravagantly beautiful, and 
extravagantly important. And as I beheld, my heart melted out of 
me in a rapture of love and delight, A nurse was walking past; the 
wind caught a strand of her hair and blew it out in a momentary 
gleam of sunshine, and never in my life before had I seen how beau- 
lif ul beyond all belief is a woman's hair. Nor had I ever guessed 
how marvelous it is for a human being to walk. As for the internes 
in their white suits, I had never realized before the whiteness of 
white linen; but much more than that, I had never so much as 
dreamed of the beauty of young mannood. A little sparrow chirped 
and flew to a near-by branch, and I honestly believe that only "the 
morning stars singing together, and the sons of God shouting for 
joy" can in the least express the ecstasy of a bird's flight. I cannot 
express it, but I have seen it. 

Once out of all the gray days of my life I have looked into the 
heart of reality; I have witnessed the truth; I have seen life as it 
really is ravishingly, ecstatically, madly beautiful, and filled to 
overflowing with a wild joy, and a value unspeakable. For those 
glorified moments I was in love with every living thing before me 
the trees in the wind, the little birds flying, the nurses, the internes, 
the people who came and went. There was nothing that was alive 
that was not a miracle. Just to be alive was in itself a miracle. My 
very soul flowed out of me in a great joy. 1 

The mystic experience is important in the study of religion 
because it has so frequently given those who have had it a 
very real feeling of "cosmic consciousness." The individual 
feels "for one luminously transparent conscious moment/' at 
one with the universe; he has a realization at once rapturous 
and tranquil of the passionate and wonderful significance of 
things. He has moved "from the chill periphery to the radi- 
ant core." All the discrepancies which bestrew ordinary life 
are absent. All the negations of disappointment, all conflicts 

1 "Twenty Minutes of ReaEty," The Atlantic Monthly, vol. 117, p, 592. 


of desire disappear. The mystic lives perfection at first 

"The One remains, the many change and pass, 
Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly, 
Life, like a dome of many colored glass, 
Stains the white radiance of eternity." 

This sense of splendid unity in which all the divisive and 
corroding elements of selfhood are obliterated has "to those 
who have been there " no refutation. " It is," writes William 
James, "an open question whether mystic states may not be 
superior points of view, windows through which the mind 
looks out on a more extensive and inclusive world." 

Whatever be the logical validity of the intense mystical 
insight, of his singular gift for a vivid and intimate union with 
eternity which has been known by so many mystics, the fruits 
of this insight are undeniable. During such a vision the world 
is perfect. There is no fever or confusion, but rapture and 
rest. And to some degree, at a religious service, a momentous 
crisis, joy at deliverance or resignation at calamity, during 
beatific interludes of friendship or of love, men have felt a 
clear enveloping oneness with divinity. 

Such states of intense religious experience, however, are as 
transient as they are ineffable. Though they recur, they are 
not continuous, and something more than occasional vivid 
unions with the divine enter into the constant perfection with 
which the world, as it appears to the religious man, is endowed. 
He feels himself, in the first place, to be part of a world schema 
in which ultimate perfection is secured. It has already been 
pointed out that any individual human life is characterized 
by negation, conflict, and disappointment. Our lives seem 
largely to be at the mercy of circumstance. Our inheritance 
is fixed for us without our connivance in the matter; accident 
determines in which social environment we happen to be born. 
And these two facts are the chief determinants of our careers. 
Even when successful we realize either the emptiness of the 
prize we had desired, or the distance we are in reality from 


the goal we had set ourselves. Generalizing thus from his 
own experience, the individual notes the similar disheartening 
discrepancies throughout human life. He sees the good 
suffer, and the wicked prosper; the innocent die, and the 
guilty escape. Disease is no respecter of persons, and death 
comes to the just and the unjust alike. 

Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? 
Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring 

before their eyes. 

Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. 
Their bull gendereth and fadleth not; their cow calveth and qasteth 

n*t her calf. 

They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. 
They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the 

They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the 

Therefore they say unto God; depart from us, for we desire not the 

knowledge of thy ways. 
What is the Almighty that we should serve him? And what profit 

should we have if we pray unto him? l 

In contrast, In the religious experience man. feels himself to 
be a part of a world scheme in which justice and righteousness 
are assured by an incontestable and invulnerable power; 
"God 's in his Heaven; all's right with the world/' Despite 
the grounds he has for doubt, Job robustly avers: "Though 
he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Calamities are but tem- 
porary; God will bring all things to a beautiful fruition. 

Or a man may feel that the evils he or others experience 
here are not real evils, that, seen sub specie ceternitatis, they 
would cease to be regarded as such. He may feel that God 
moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform, that 
"somehow good may come of ill." He may feel, as does the 
Christian believer, that all the evils and pains unjustly experi- 
enced in this world will be adjusted in the next. Whatever 
be my privations from earthly good, "in my Father's house 

1 Job, chap. xxi. 


are many mansions." Immortality is, indeed, the religious 
man's faith in a second chance. The surety of a world to 
come, in which the blessed shall live in eternal bliss, is a com- 
pensation and a redress for the ills and frustrations of life in 
this world. Whatever be the seeming ills or injustices of life, 
there is eventual retribution, both to the just and the imjusi 
Once more to quote Emerson; 

And yet the compensations of calamity are made apparent to the 
understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutHar 
tion, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems 
at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years 
reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts. ^The death 
of a dear friend, wife, brother, lover, which seemed nothing but pri- 
vation, somewhat later assumes the aspect of a guide or genius; for 
it commonly operates revolutions in our way of life, terminates an 
epoch of infancy or of youth which was waiting to be closed, breaks 
up a wonted occupation, or a household, or style of living, and 
allows the formation of new ones more friendly to the growth of 
character. It permits or constrains the formation of new acquaint- 
ances, and the reception of new influences that prove of the first 
importance to the next years; and the man or woman who would 
have remained a sunny garden flower, with no room for its roots and 
too much sunshine for its head, by the falling of the walls and the 
neglect of the gardener, is made the banian of the forest, yielding 
shade and fruit to wide neighbourhoods of men. 1 

On a larger scale, from the cosmic rather than from the 
personal point of view, an individual, gifted with a large and 
charitable interest in the future of mankind, is secured and 
sustained by the feeling that he is a part of that procession 
headed to the "one far-off divine event to which the whole 
creation moves/' The lugubrious picture of an utterly mean- 
ingless world, blind, purposeless, and heart ess winch mate- 
fistic science reveals, is sufficient to wreck the equanmuty 
of a sensitive and thoughtful mind. 
That b the sting of it, that in the vast drifting of the eosime 

* Emerson; 


even as our world now lingers for our joy yet when these transient 
products are gone, nothing, absolutely nothing remains* Dead and 
gone are they, gone utterly from the very sphere and room of being. 
Without an echo, without a memory; without an influence on aught 
that may come after, to make it care for similar ideals. This utter 
wreck and tragedy is of the essence of scientific materialism, as at 
present understood. 1 

A belief that a divine power governs the universe, that all 
these miscellaneous and inexplicable happenings will be 
gathered up into a smooth and ultimate perfection, gives 
faith, comfort, and solace. We are on the side of the angels, or 
rather the angels are on our side. Human passion, purpose, 
and endeavor are not wasted. They are small but not alto- 
gether negligible contributions to eventual cosmic good. And 
good is eventual. Perfection may be long delayed, but God's 
presence assures it. "Weeping may endure for a night, but 
joy cometh in the morning." 

A world with a God in it to say the last word may indeed burn up 
or freeze, but we then think of Him as still mindful of the old ideals, 
and sure to bring them elsewhere to fruition; so that where He is, 
tragedy is only provisional and'partial, and shipwreck and dissolu- 
tion not the absolutely final things. 2 

Amid tragic errors and pitiful disillusions, men have yearned 
for "a benediction perfect and complete where they might 
cease to suffer and desire." This perfection religion has, as 
we have seen, accorded them in various ways. Some have 
found it in the immediate vision, the ecstatic union with the 
divine that, in intense degree, is peculiarly the mystic's. Some 
have found it in the assured belief that evil is itself an illu- 
sion, and, if rightly conceived, a beautiful dark shadow to set 
off by contrast the high lights of a divinely ordered cosmos, a 
minor note giving lyric and lovely poignancy to the celestial 
music. Some have rested their faith in a perfect world not 
here, but hereafter, "where the blessed would enter eternal 
bliss with God their master." Thus man has in religion found 

* James: Pragmatism, p. 105. a Ibid. t p, 106* 


the fulfillment of his ideals, which always outrun the actual- 
ities amid which he lives. In the religious experience, in all of 
its forms throughout the ages, man has had the experience 
of perfection at first hand, in the immediate and rich in- 
tensity of the mystic ecstasy, in the serene faith of a life- 
long intuition or of a reasoned belief in the ultimate di- 
vinely assured rightness of things. 

Besides experiencing perfection, man has, in the sense of 
security and trust afforded by the religious experience, found 
release from the fret, the fever, the compulsion, and constric- 
tion under which so much of life must be lived. Whatever 
happens, the truly devout man has no fears or qualms. He 
has attained equanimity; the Lord is his shepherd; he shall 
not want. There is a serenity experienced by the genuinely 
faithful that the faithless may well envy. God is the believ- 
er's eternal watcher; a wise and merciful Providence, his in- 
finite guarantee. 

Whoever not only says but feels, " God's will be done" is mailed 
against every weakness; and the whole historic array of martyrs, 
missionaries and religious reformers is there to prove the tranquil- 
mindedness, under naturally agitating or distressing circumstances, 
which self-surrender brings. 1 

But peace is attained not only through faith in the fulfill- 
ment of desire, but in a marked lessening in the tension of 
desire itself, in a large and spacious freedom attained through 
release from the confinement of self. We saw in the chapter 
on the Consciousness of Self how much exertion and energy 
may be devoted to the enhancement of Self through fame, 
achievement, social distinction, power, or possession. We 
saw how, in the frustration of self, the germ of great tragedy 
lay. From the tragedy and bitterness of such frustration 
men have often been reassured by a genuine conversion to 
the religious life. Through the negation of self rather than 
through its fulfillment men have found solace and rest. Aad 

i James: Varieties oj Religious Experience, p. 285. 


this negation, when it takes religious form, has consisted in 
a rapturous submission to the will of God. 

"Outside, the world is wild and passionate. 

Man's weary laughter and his sick despair 
Entreat at their impenetrable gate, 
They heed no voices in their dream of prayer. 

"Calm, sad, secure, with faces worn and mild, 

Surely their choice of vigil is the best. 
Yea' for our roses fade, the world is wild; 
But there beside the altar there is rest." * 

Experiences which frequently find religious expression. 

The religious experience, as pointed out in the beginning of 
this discussion, has its roots in the same impulses which cause 
men to love and to hate, to be jubilant and sorrowful, exalted 
and depressed. All these human experiences sometimes take 
a religious form, that is, their expressions have some reference 
to the supernatural and the divine. We find, in surveying the 
history of religion, that certain experiences more than others 
tend to find religious expression. We shall examine a few of 
the chief of these. 

Need and impotence. An awed, almost frightened sense of 
dependence overcomes even the most robust and healthy- 
minded man when he sees the forces of Nature suddenly un- 
loosed on a magnificent scale. A terrific peal of thunder, an 
earthquake or a cyclone will send thrills of terror through the 
normally calm and self-sufficient. Even apart from such 
vivid and terrifying examples of the range and scale of non- 
human power, there comes to the reflective a sense of the 
frailty of human life, of the utter dependability of all human 
purposes and plans on conditions beyond human control. In 
our most fundamental industry, agriculture, an untimely frost 
can undo the work of the most ingenious industry and thrift* 
A tornado or a snowstorm can disorganize the cunning and 
subtle, swift mechanisms of communication which men have 
invented. In the field of humanly built-up relations, again, a 

1 Ernest Dowson: Nuns of the Pervetual Adoration- 


fortune or a friendship may depend on some chance meeting; 
a man's profession and ideals are fixed by a single fortuitous 
conversation, by a chance encouragement, opportunity or 

There is thus a psychological though perhaps not literal 
truth in the figure of Fate, or in the metaphor that speaks of 
human destiny as lying on the knees of the gods. Action so 
often wanders from intent, so much in the best-laid plans is at 
the mercy of external circumstance! A creature whose being 
can be snuffed out in a moment, whose life is less than an 
instant in the magnificent perspective of eternity, comes not 
unnaturally to be aware of his own insignificance as compared 
with those vast forces, some auspicious and some terrible, 
which are patently afoot in the world. 

But as patent a fact as man's impotence is his desire. The 
individual realizes how powerless is a human being to fulfill, 
independently of external forces, those impulses with which 
these same inexplicable forces have launched him into the 
world. Thus do we feel even to-day when we have learned 
that the forces of Nature, obdurate to the ignorant, yet be- 
come flexible and fruitful under the knowing manipulation 
of science. We realize that despite our cunning and contriv- 
ance, our successes are, as it were, largely matters of grace; 
the changes we can make in Nature are as nothing to the slow, 
gradual processes by which Nature makes mountains into 
molehills, builds and destroys continents, develops man out of 
the lower animals, and, by varying climates and topogra- 
phies, affects the destinies of nations. 

To primitive man the sense of impotence and need were not 
derived from any general reflections upon the insecurity of 
man's place in the cosmos, but rather from the sharp pressure 
of practical necessity. 

The helplessness of primitive man set down in the midst of a uni- 
verse of which he knew not the laws, may perhaps be brought home 
to the mind of modern man, if we compare the universe to a vast 
workshop full of the most various and highly-complicated machinery 


working at full speed. The machinery, if properly handled, is ca* 
pable of producing everything that the heart of primitive man can 
wish for, but also, if he sets hand to the wrong part of the machin- 
ery, is capable of whirling him off between its wheels, and crushing 
and killing him in its inexorable and ruthless movement. ^ Further, 
primitive man cannot decline to submit himself to the perilous test: 
he must make his experiments or perish, and even so his survival is 
conditional on his selecting the right part of the machine to handle. 
Nor can he take his own time and study the dangerous mechanism 
long and carefully before setting his hand to it: his needs are pressing 
and his action must be immediate. 1 

The very food of primitive man was to him as precarious as 
it was essential. His He was practically at the mercy of wind 
and rain and sun. His food and shelter were desperately 
lucky chances. Not having attained as yet to a conception of 
the impersonality of Nature, he regarded these forces which 
helped and hindered him as friendly and alien powers which 
it was in the imperative interests of his own welfare to placate 
and propitiate. It was in this urgent sense of helplessness and 
need that there were developed the two outstanding modes of 
communication with the supernatural, sacrifice and prayer. 

Primitive man conceived his universe to be governed by 
essentially human powers; powers, of course, on a grand scale, 
but human none the less, with the same weaknesses, moods, 
and humors as human beings themselves. They could be 
flattered and cajoled; they could be bribed and paid; they 
could be moved to tenderness, generosity, and pity, " Holi- 
ness/' says Socrates in one of Plato's dialogues, " is an art in 
which gods and men do business with each other. f . . Sacri- 
fice is giving to the gods, prayer is asking of them." 2 In 
Frazer's Golden Bough one finds the remarkably diverse sacri- 
ficial rites by which men have sought to win the favor of the 
divine. Primitive man believed literally that the universe 
was governed by superhuman personal powers; he believed 
literally that these are human in their motives. He believed 

1 Jevcms* An Introduction to the History of Religion, p. 17. 

2 See Plato's Euthyphro. 


in consequence that sacrifices to the gods would help him to 
control the controlling powers of Nature for his own good, 
just as modern man believes that an application of the laws of 
electricity and mechanics will help him to control the natural 
world for his own purposes. The sacrifices of primitive man 
were immensely practical in character; they were made at the 
crucial moments and pivotal crises of life, at sowing and at 
harvest time, at the initiation of the young into the responsi- 
bilities of maturity, at times of pestilence, famine, or danger. 
The gods were given the choice part of a meal; the prize calf; 
in some cases, human sacrifices; the sacrifice, moreover, of the 
beautiful and best. The chief sacrificial rites of almost all 
primitive peoples are connected with food, the sustainer, and 
procreation or birth, the perpetuator, of life. 
As Jane Harrison puts it: 

If man the individual is to live, he must have food; if his race is to 
persist, he must have children. To live and to cause to live, to eat 
food and beget children, these were the primary wants of man in the 
past, and they will be the primary wants of man in the future, so 
long as the world lasts. Other things may be added to enrich and 
beautify life, but unless these wants are first satisfied, humanity 
itself must cease to exist. These two things, therefore, were what 
men chiefly sought to procure by the performance of magical rites 
for the regulation of the seasons. . . . What he realizes first and fore- 
most is that at certain times the animals, and still more the plants, 
which form his food, appear, at certain others they disappear. It is 
these times that become the central points, the f ocusses of his inter- 
est, and the dates of his religious festivals. 1 

Sacrifice is only one way primitive man contrives of winning 
the favor of the gods toward the satisfaction of his desires* 
Another common method is prayer. In its crudest form 
prayer is a direct petition from the individual to divinity for 
the grant of a specific favor. The individual seeks a kindness 
from a supernatural power whose motives are human, and 
who may, therefore, be moved by human appeals; whose 
power is superhuman and can therefore fulfill requests. 

1 Jane Harrison. Ancient Art and Ritual* p. 31. 


Prayer may become profoundly spiritualized, but in its primi- 
tive form it is, like sacrifice, a certain way of getting things 
done. They are both to primitive man largely what our 
science is to us. 

Both prayer and sacrifice arise in primitive man's need and 
helplessness and terror before mysterious supernatural pow- 
ers, but they may rise, in the higher form of religion, to genuine 
nobility, from this crass commerce with divinity, this religion 
of bargaining and quid pro quo. Sacrifice may change from a 
desperate reluctant offering made to please a jealous god, to a 
thanksgiving and a jubilation, an overflowing of happiness, 
gratitude, and good-will. 

Greek writers of the fifth century B.C. have a way of speaking of 
an attitude toward religion, as though it were wholly a thing of joy 
and confidence, a friendly fellowship with the gods, whose service is 
but a high festival for man. In Homer, sacrifice is but, as it were, 
the signal for a banquet of abundant roast flesh and sweet wine; we 
hear nothing of fasting, cleansing, and atonement. This we might 
explain as part of the general splendid unreality of the Greek saga, 
but sober historians of the fifth century B.C. express the same spirit. 
Thucydides is by nature no reveller, yet religion is to him, in the 
main, a rest from toil. He makes Pericles say of the Athenians: 
Moreover we have provided for our spirit very many opportunities 
of recreation, by the celebration of games and sacrifices throughout 
the year. 1 

Sacrifice may become spiritualized, as it is in Christianity, 
" instead of he-goats and she-goats, there are substituted offer- 
ings of the heart for all these vain oblations/' The sacrificial 
heart has at all times been accounted germane to nobility. 
There is something akin to religion in the laying down of a 
life for a cause or a country or a friend, in surrendering one's 
self for others. It is this power and beauty of renunciation 
that is the spiritual value behind all the rituals of sacrifice 
that still persist, as in the sacraments of Christianity. It is 
the tragic necessity of self-negation that haloes, even in secu* 
lar life, the sacrificial attitude: 

1 Jane Harrison; Prolegomena to Greek Religion* p. 1, 


But there is in resignation a further good element. Even real 
goods when they are attainable ought not to be fretfully desired, 
To every man comes sooner or later the great renunciation. For 
the young there is nothing unattainable; a good thing desired with 
the whole force of a passionate will, and yet unattainable, is to them 
not credible. Yet by death, by illness, by poverty, or, by the voice 
of duty, we must learn, each one of us, that the world was not made 
for us, and that, however beautiful may be the things we crave, 
Fate may nevertheless forbid them. It is the part of courage, when 
misfortune comes, to bear without repining the ruin of our hopes, 
to turn away our thoughts from vain regrets. This degree of sub- 
mission to power is not only just and right; it is the very gate of wis- 
dom. 1 

The spiritual meaning and value of sacrifice is thus seen to 
lie in self-surrender. The human being, born into a world 
where choices must be made, must make continual abnega- 
tion. And when the temporary good is surrendered in the 
maintenance of an ideal, sacrifice becomes genuinely spiritual 
in character. 

Prayer, also, becomes genuinely spiritual in its values when 
one ceases to believe in its practical efficacy and comes to 
think it shameful to traffic with the divine. Prayer beauti- 
fully illustrates a point previously noted, how speech oscillates 
between the expression of feeling and the conveyance of ideas. 
Beginning in primitive religion as a crude and cheap petition 
for favors, it becomes in more spiritual religious experience, a 
lyric cry of emotion, a tranquil and serene expression of the 
soul's desire. Prayer is, moreover, "religion in act." That 
deep sense of an awed relationship to divine power which was, 
in the beginning of this discussion, noted as constituting cer- 
tainly one of the outstanding characteristics of the religious 
experience, finds its most adequate emotional expression in 

Religion is nothing [writes Auguste Sabatier] if it be not the vital 

act by which the entire mind seeks to save itself by clinging to the 

principle from which it draws life. This act is prayer, by which I 

understand no vain exercise of words, no mere repetition of certain 

* Bertrand Russell: Philosophical .Etesoj/a, p. 6& 


Bacred formulas, but the very movement itself of the soul, putting 
itself in a personal relation of contact with the mysterious power of 
which it feels the presence it may be even before it has a name 
by which to call it. Wherever this mterior prayer is lacking, there 
is no religion; wherever, on the other hand, this prayer rises and 
stirs the soul, even in the absence of forms or doctrines, we have 
religion. 1 

In prayer, furthermore, we may hope to find not the ful- 
fillment of our desires, but what our desires really are. We 
are released temporarily from tension of temporal and selfish 
longings. We hold a tranquil and reverential speech with a 
power not ourselves, and in communion with the infinite 
purge ourselves of the dross of immediate personal needs. 
In such a peaceful interlude we may find at once clarity and 
rest. Prayer, at its highest, might be defined as audible medi- 
tation, controlled by the sense of the divinity of the power we 
are addressing. So that the truly spiritual man prays not for 
the fulfillment of his own accidental longings, but pleads 
rather: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of 
my heart be acceptable in thy sight, Lord, my strength and 
my redeemer." 

Fear and awe, Man's attitude toward the divine was 
noted to have arisen partly in his feeling of dependence on 
personal forces incomparably superior to himself, and in his 
urgent need for winning their favor. In primitive man this 
sense of dependence was certainly bound up with a feeling of 

It must be borne in mind that uncivilized peoples had 
pathetically little understanding or control of the forces of 
Nature. In consequence on being afflicted with some sudden 
catastrophe of famine or disease, on experiencing a sudden 
revelation in storm, wind, or volcanic eruption, of the terrible 
magnificence of elemental forces, he must have been struck 
with dread. He was living in a world that appeared to him 
much less ordered and regular than ours appears to us. His 

1 A. Sabatier: Esquisse d'une Philosophic de la Religion (ed 1897), pp. 


prayers and sacrifices were not always friendly and confidential 
intercourse with the gods; they were as often ways of averting 
the evils of malicious and terrifying demons. The enemies of 
religion have been fond of pointing out how much of it has 
been a quaking fear of the supernatural It is in this spirit 
that Lucretius's bitter attack is conceived. 

When the life of man lay foul to see and grovelling upon the earth, 
crushed by the weight of religion, which showed her face from the 
realms of heaven, lowering upon mortals with dreadful mien, 't was 
a man of Greece who dared first to raise his mortal eyes to meet her, 
and first to stand forth to meet her, Mm neither the stories of the 
gods nor thunderbolts checked, nor the sky with its revengeful roar, 
but all the more spurred the eager daring of his mind to yearn to 
be the first to burst through the close-set bolts upon the doors of 
nature. 1 

Primitive man feared the gods as much as he needed them, 
Jane Harrison points out, for example, that as great a part of 
Greek religion was given over to the exorcising of the evil and 
jealous spirits of the underworld, as in friendly communion 
with the beautiful and gracious Olympians. 

But what appears in the ignorant and harassed savage as 
fear may be transformed in civilized man into awe. Long 
after man's crouching physical terror of the divine has passed 
away, he may still live awed by the ultimate power that orders 
the universe. He may, " at twilight, or in a mountain gorge," 
at a canon or waterfall, experience an involuntary thrill and 
breathlessness, a deepened sense of the divinity which so 
orders these things. He may have the same feeling at the 
crises of life, at birth, disease, and death. He may sense on 
occasion that overwhelming and infinite power of which Job 
becomes aware, as he listens to the voice out of the whirlwind; 

Who hath divided a water course for the overflowing of waters, or a 

way for the lightning of thunder? 
To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, 

wherein there is no man; 

1 Lucretius: De Rerum Naiura t book i, lines 28-38. 


To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the 

tender herb to spring forth? ... 
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the 

bands of Orion? ... 
Knowest thou the ordinances of Heaven? Canst thou set the 

dominion thereof in the earth? . . . 
Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, 

Here we are? . 

Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who natn given 

understanding to the heart? 

Where man experiences such awe, he will become reveren- 
tial, and, if articulate, will express his reverence in prayer, 
again not the prayer of practical requests for favors from God, 
but a hushed meditation upon the assured eternity in which 
the precarious and finite lives of men are set. 

Regret, remorse Repentance and penance. Regret is a 
sufficiently common human experience. There are for most 
men wistful backward glances in which they realize what 
might have been, what might have been done, what might 
have been accomplished. For many this never rises above 
pique and bitterness over personal failure, a chagrin, as it 
were, over having made the wrong move. But to some regret 
may take on a deeply spiritual quality. Instead of regretting 
merely the successes which he hoped, as it proved vainly, to 
attain, a man may become passionately aware of his own 
moral and spiritual shortcomings. This sense of dereliction 
and delinquency may take extreme forms. James quotes a 
reminiscence of Father Gratry, a Catholic philosopher: 

... All day long without respite I suffered an incurable and intol- 
erable desolation, verging on despair. I thought myself, in fact, 
rejected by God, lost, damned! I felt something like the suffering 
of hell Before that I had never even thought of hell. . . < Now, 
and all at once, I suffered in a measure what is suffered there. 1 

Normal individuals may come to a deep consciousness of 
having left undone the things they ought to have done, of 
having done the things they ought not to have done. This 

1 Quoted by James in his Varieties, p. 140. 


realization may be at once a "consciousness of sin/ ? and a 
desire for a new life. If it is the consciousness of sin which 
becomes predominant, then a desolate and tormenting re- 
morse engulfs the individual. But the consciousness of sin 
for the religious becomes simply a prelude to entrance upon a 
better life. The awareness of past sins is combined in the 
religious, especially in devout Christians, with faith in God's 
mercy, and in his welcoming of the penitent sinner: 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite 

heart, God, thou wilt not despise. 
Have mercy upon me, God; according to thy loving kindness, blot 

out my transgressions. 
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my 


For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be 

whiter than snow. 

Again the New Testament call to repentance is symbolic of 
the experience of millions of religious people. " Repent ye, 
for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." There is a terrible 
intensity and immediate imperativeness about this call. But 
to all there comes at one time or another an urgent sense of 
spiritual shortcoming and the desire to lead a better life. 
The lamenting of sins becomes the least part; what is impor- 
tant is the immense new impetus toward a better life. The 
records of religious conversion are full of instances where men 
by this sudden penitential revulsion from their past life and a 
startled realization of new spiritual possibilities, have broken 
away permanently from lifelong habitual vices. James cites 
a case of an exceedingly belligerent and pugilistic collier 
named Richard Weaver, who was by a sudden conversion to 
religion not only made averse to fighting, but persistently 
meek and gentle under provocation. Similar cases, genuine 
and well documented, fill the archives of religious psychology. 

The religious man in repenting knows that God will, if his 
repentance is sincere, forgive him, and sustain and support 
in his new life. 


I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner 
that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which 
need no repentance, 

I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God 
over one shiner that repenteth. 1 

While regret over sin, alienation from a past life of evil, and 
a persistent dedication to a purified and righteous existence 
constitute, spiritually, the phenomena of repentance and con- 
version, repentance has had in religion certain fixed outward 
forms. If sin had been committed, merely inward spiritual 
realization was not sufficient, penance must be done. Pen- 
ance in the early days of the Christian Church was public. 
Later penance became a private matter (public penance was 
suppressed by an ordinance of Pope Leo I in 461 A.D.). 

Private penance took various familiar forms, such as scourg- 
ings, fastings on bread and water, reciting a given number 
of psalms, prayers, and the like. Later penalties could be 
redeemed by alms. A penitent would be excused from the 
prescribed works of penance at the cost, e. g. t of equipping a 
soldier for the crusade, of building a bridge or road. Grad- 
ually in the history of the Christian religion, penances have 
been lightened. In the Protestant Church, with the enun- 
ciation of the principle of justification through faith alone 
there could be no sacrament of penance. 

One form in which the penitential mood receives expression 
is in confession in which the penitent acknowledges his sins. 
There is no space here to trace the development of this prac- 
tice in religion. It must suffice to point out that psychologi- 
cally it is a cleansing or purgation. It clears the moral at- 
mosphere. It is a relief to the tormented and remorseful 
soul to say "Peccavi," and to confide either directly or in- 
directly to the divine the burden of his sins. It is for many 
people the necessary pre-condition, as it is in the Catholic 
Church, to penitence and the actual performance of penance. 

The psychological value of confession varies with individual 

1 Luke, 15: 7,10. 


temperaments ; for many it is high. There are few so self-con- 
tained and self -sufficient that they do not seek to express then- 
emotions to others. It is not surprising that the gregarious 
human creature should find confession a restorative and a 
solace. Human beings are not only natively responsive to 
the emotions of others, but by nature tend to express their 
own emotions and to be gratified by a sympathetic response. 
Emotions of any sort, joyous or sorrowful, find some articula- 
tion. The oppressive consciousness of sin particularly must 
find an outlet in expression. And the expression of sin must 
somewhere be received. The wrong done rankles heavily in 
the private bosom. The crucified soul demands a sympa- 
thetic spirit to receive its painful and personal revelation. 
He that would confess his sins requires a listener of a large 
and understanding heart. Just such a merciful, forgiving, and 
understanding friend is the God whom Christianity pictures* 
God waits with infinite patience for the confessions and the 
surrender of the contrite heart. The normal human desire 
to rid one's self of a tormenting secret, to "exteriorize one's 
rottenness," finds satisfaction on an exalted plane in confes- 
sion to God, or to his appointed ministers. 

Joy and enthusiasm Festivals and thanksgivings. So 
far our account has been confined to experiences in which man 
felt the need or fear of the divine, because of his own desires, 
weaknesses, or sins. But humans find religious expression 
for more joyous emotions. Even primitive man lives not 
always in terror or in tribulation. There are occasions, such 
as plentiful harvests, successful hunting, the birth of children, 
wHich stir him to expressions of enthusiastic appreciation and 
gratitude toward the divine. Some of the so-called Dionysiae 
festivals in ancient Greece are examples of the enthusiasm, 
joy, and abounding vitality to which religion has, among so 
many other human experiences, given expression. In the 
religion of the Old Testament, again, we find that the Psalmist 
is time and again filled with rejoicing: 


give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endureth 

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from 

the hand of the enemy. 
And he gathered them out of the lands from the east and from the 

west, from the north and from the south. 
They wandered m the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no 

city to dwell in. 

Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them. 
Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered 

them out of their distresses. 
And he led them forth by the right way that they might go to a city 

of habitation, 
that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his 

wonderful works to the children of men. 
For he satisfieth the longing soul and filleth the hungry heart with 


Nor need this rejoicing be always an explicit thanksgiving 
for favors received. It may be, as were the dithyrambic 
festivals of Greece, the riotous overflow of enthusiasm, a 
joyous, sympathetic exuberance with the vital processes of 
Nature. Dionysos stood for fertility, life, gladness, all the 
positive, passionate, and jubilant aspects of Nature. And the 
well-known satyr choruses, the wine and dance and song of 
the Greek spring festivals, are classic and beautiful illustra* 
tions of the religion of enthusiasm. Euripides gives voice to 
this spirit in the song of the Maenads in the Bacchce; 

"Will they ever come to me, ever again, 

The long, long dances, 

On through the dark till the dim stars wane? 
Shall I feel the dew on my throat and the stream 
Of wind in my hair? Shall our white feet gleam 

In the dim expanses? 
feet of a fawn to the greenward fled, 

Alone in the grass and the loveliness?" * 

Every religion has its festival as well as its fast days. Sac- 
rifices come to be held less as offerings to jealous gods than as 
sacrificial feasts, in which the worshipers themselves partake, 
1 Euripides: Bacchce (Gilbert Murray translation). 


as opportunities for communal rejoicings and for friendly 
fellowship with divinity. At sacrificial feasts it is as if the 
gods themselves were at table. 

Dance and song are a regular accompaniment of primitive 
religion. Students of Greek drama, such as Jane Harrison 
and Gilbert Murray, trace Greek tragedy back to the choruses 
and dances of early Dionysiac festivals. Throughout the 
history of religion not only have man's sorrow and need been 
expressed, but also his sympathetic gladness with vitality, 
fertility, and growth, his rejoicings over the fruitions and glad 
eventualities of experience. Man has felt the decay and 
evanescence of human goods. He has felt also the exuber- 
ance of natural processes, the triumph of life over death when 
a child is born, the renewal of life by food, the recurrence of 
growth and fertility in the processes of the seasons, of sowing 
and of harvest. And for all these enrichments and enlarge- 
ments of life, he has rejoiced, and found rituals to express his 
rejoicings. He has had the impulse and the energy to sing 
unto the Lord a new song. 

Theology. Thus far we have discussed the religious expe- 
rience as an experience, as normal, natural, and inevitable as 
are love and hate, melancholy and exaltation, joy and sorrow. 
Like these latter, the religious experience is subjected to 
rationalization. Like all other emotions, that of religion 
finds for itself a logic and a justification. But so profoundly 
influential is "cosmic emotion" on men's lives that when it is 
reasoned upon, the results are nothing less than an attitude 
taken toward the whole of reality. Theology arises as a 
world view formulated in accordance with a reasoned inter- 
pretation of the religious experience. It must be noted again 
that the experience is primary. If men had not first had the 
experience of religion, they would not have reflected about it. 
Every contact of the individual with the world to some degree 
arouses emotion and provokes thought. It is not different 
with religion. That theologies should differ and conflict is not 
surprising. No two individuals, no two groups or ages have 


precisely the same experiences of the world, and their reason- 
ings upon their religious feelings are bound to differ, overlap, 
and at times to conflict. The variety of world views are 
testimony to the genuineness of the religious experience as it 
fulfills the different needs, emotions, and desires of different 
ages, groups, and generations of men. 

The description of the divine. Reasonings upon religion 
exhibit, like the religious emotions, certain recurrent features. 
There is, in the first place, a certain universality in the de- 
scription of the objects of veneration. These are nearly al- 
ways regarded as self-sufficient in contrast with man. Man 
seeks, strives, desires, has partial triumphs and pitiful fail- 
ures, is always in travail after some ideal. His life is incom- 
plete; at best it is a high aspiration; it is never really fulfilled. 
But divinity has nearly always been regarded as seeking 
nothing, asking nothing, needing nothing. This is what 
infinity in practical terms means. And, with certain ex- 
ceptions presently to be noted, the divine power has always 
been regarded as infinite. Thus Aristotle says that in man's 
best moments, when he lives in reflection a life of self-suffi- 
ciency, he lives just such a life as God lives continually, And 
Plato describes the philosopher as a man who because he can 
live, at least temporarily, amid eternal, changeless beauty 
and truth, " lives in recollection among those things among 
which God always abides, and in beholding which God is 
what he is." Lucretius also gives a simple picture of the 
even calmness and still, even security of the life of the gods 
as he and all the Epicureans conceived it. Tennyson para- 
phrases the picture: 

"... The Gods, who haunt 
The lucid interspace of world and world, 
Where never creeps a cloud, or moves a wind, 
Nor ever falls the least white star of snow, 
Nor ever lowest roll of thunder moans, 
Nor sound of human sorrow mounts to mar 
Their sacred everlasting calm!" l 

1 Tennyson: Lucretius. 


Divinity has, again, quite universally been recognized as 
exerting over the individual a compelling power, and of in- 
sistently arousing his veneration. The psychological origins 
of this phenomenon have already been noted. Men fear, 
need, feel themselves dependent on the gods. But further 
than this many religious thinkers hold that man cannot even 
be aware of the divine power without wishing to adjust him- 
self harmoniously to it. And they hold, as did Immanuel 
Kant, that man is born with an awareness of the divine. 

The attributes of divinity have been differently assigned at 
different times in the history of religion. In general two 
qualities have been regarded as characteristic: power and 
goodness. In primitive belief, the first received the predomi- 
nant emphasis; the higher religions have emphasized the 
second. For savage man, as we have seen, the divine person- 
ages were conceived in effect as human beings with superhu- 
man powers. They were feared and flattered, needed and 
praised. Adjustment to them was a practical, imperative 
necessity. They combined infinite capacity with human and 
finite caprice. The attention they received from humans was 
distinctly utilitarian in character. These forces of wind and 
sun and rain might be brutal or benignant. Primitive man 
established, therefore, a system of magic, sacrifice, and prayer, 
whereby he might minimize the precariousness of existence, 
and keep the gods on his side. 

In the more spiritualistic monotheistic religions, while the 
power of God has been insistently reiterated, there has been 
an increasing emphasis upon the divine goodness. The 
Psalmist is Continually referring to both: 

Praise ye the Lord. give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: 

for his mercy endureth forever. 
Who can. utter the mighty acts of the Lord? 

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his 

wonderful works to the children of men! 
For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in 



Wrath and terror gradually give place to mercy and benevo- 
lence as the primary attributes of the divine. The power of 
God, in Christianity, for example, is still regarded as unlimited, 
but it is completely expended in the loving salvation of man- 
kind. Where the divinity has ceased to be a willful power and 
has become instead the God of mercy and lovingkindness, it is 
no longer necessary to placate him by material sacrifice, to 
win his favor by trivial earthly gifts. Divine favor is sought 
rather by aspiration after and the practice of a better life. 
The mighty but capricious deity gives place to the God of 
unf ailing charity and love* One earns God's mercies by walk- 
ing in the ways of the Lord. "Blessed are the pure in heart, 
for they shall see God. . . . Blessed are they which do hun- 
ger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." 
In both Christianity and Judaism, God's grace and mercies 
go always to the pure in heart, and the righteous in spirit 
"What doth the Lord require of thee," proclaims Micah," but 
to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy 

The divine as the human ideal. There has been in certain 
latter-day philosophies, a tendency to interpret the divine aa 
the objectification of human ideals. That is, according to this 
theory, men have found in their imagined divinities the ful- 
fillment of ideals that they could never have realized on earth. 
Men, says this theory, long to be immortal, so they imagine 
gods who are. Finite man has infinite desires. In God is 
infinite fulfillment through eternity. No men are all good; 
some desire to be. Such fulfillment they find in the divine. 
Our conception of God is an index of our own ideals. When 
men were savages, their divinity was a jealous monster. In 
the refinement and spiritualization of the human imagination, 
divinity becomes all-beautiful and all-benevolent as well as 
the wielder of infinite power. John Stuart Mill gives possibly 
the clearest expression to this attitude which is, if not in tfet0 
strictest sense religious, at least deeply spiritual; 


Religion and poetry address themselves, at least in one of their 
aspects, to the same part of the human constitution; they both 
supply the same want, that of ideal conceptions grander and more 
beautiful than we see realized in the prose of human life. Religion, 
as distinguished from poetry, is the product of the craving to know 
whether these imaginative conceptions have realities, answering to 
them in some other world than ours. The mind, in this state, eagerly 
catches at any rumors respecting other worlds, especially when deliv- 
ered by persons whom it deems wiser than itself. To the poetry of 
the supernatural, comes to be thus added a positive belief and expec- 
tation, which unpoetical minds can share with the poetical. Belief 
in a God or gods, and in a life after death, becomes the canvas which 
every mind, according to its capacity, covers with such ideal pictures 
as it can either invent or copy. In that other life each hopes to find 
the good which he has failed to find on earth, or the better which is 
suggested to him by the good which on earth he has partially seen 
and known. More especially this belief supplies the finer minds with 
material for conceptions of beings more awful than they can have 
known on earth, and more excellent than they probably have known. 1 

In his religion, Mill maintains, man thus finds the fulfillment 
of unfulfilled desire. Religion is thus conceived as an im- 
aginative enterprise of a very high and satisfying kind. It 
peoples the world with perfections, not true perhaps to actual 
experience, but true to man's highest aspirations. It gives 
man companionship with divinity at least in imagination. 
It enables him to live, at least spiritually, in such a universe as 
his highest hopes and desires would have him live in, in fact, 
It must be pointed out, however, that the devoutly religious 
do not regard their God as a beautiful fiction, but as a dear 
reality whom they can serenely trust and love, and whose 
existence is the certain faith by which they live. 

The religious experience, theology, and science. It has 
already been pointed out that theology is the reasoned formu- 
lation of the religious experience which comes to men with 
varying degrees of intensity, or the revelation by which some 
man, a Moses or a Mohammed, has been inspired. Such a 
formulation has a dual importance. For the individual it 
brings clarity, order, and stability into his religious experience. 

1 Mill: Three Essays on Religion (Henry Holt & Co.), pp 103-04. 


For the group, it makes possible the social transmission of 
religious conceptions and ideals. 

Reason in a man's religion, as in any other experience,^ in- 
troduces stability, consistency, and order. It makes distinc- 
tions; it resolves doubts, confusions, and uncertainties. It 
is true that there have been in religion, as in politics and 
morals, rebels against reason. There have been mystics who 
preferred their warm ecstatic visions to the cold formulations 
and abstractions of theology. But there have been, on the 
other hand, those gifted or handicapped, according to one's 
point of view, by an insistence on reason as well as rapture in 
their religion. These have not been satisfied with an intui- 
tion of God. They have wished to know God, as the highest 
possible object of knowledge. Thus in the Middle Ages 
philosophy and science were regarded as the Handmaids of 
Theology. All was dedicated to, as nothing could be more 
important than, a knowledge of God. So we have, in contrast 
with ecstatic visions of God, the plodding analysis of the 
scholastics, the subtle and clean-cut logic by which such men 
as Saint Anselm sought to give form, clarity, and ultimacy 
to their sense of the reality of God. There has possibly no- 
where in the history of thought been subtler and more thor- 
oughgoing analysis than some of the mediaeval schoolmen 
lavished upon the clarification and demonstration of the 
concept of God, The necessity for reasoning upon one's sense 
of the reality of the divine, as it was felt by many medieval 
schoolmen, is thus stated by one historian: 

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury ... is the true type of the 
schoolman; firmly convinced of the truth of the dogmas and yet 
possessed of a strong philosophical impulse, he seeks to prove to 
reason what has to be accepted on authority. He bravely includes 
in Ms attempt to rationalize the faith not only such general proposi- 
tions as the existence of God, but the entire church scheme of salva* 
tion, the Trinity, and Incarnation, and the Redemption of man. We 
must believe the Catholic doctrine that is beyond cavil but we 
should also try to understand what we believe, understand why it is 
true. 1 

Thilly : History of Philosophy, p, 169, 


But theology has public as well as purely private impor- 
tance. It must not be forgotten that religion is a social habit 
as well as a personal activity. From primitive life down to 
our own day, religion has been intimately associated with the 
other social activities of a people, and has indeed been one of 
the chief institutions of moral and social control. Ethical 
standards have been until very recent times in the history of 
Christian Europe almost exclusively derived from religion. 
Where the religious experience is of such crucial importance, it 
has been necessary to give it a fixed form and content which 
might be used to initiate the young and the outsider. 

Theology, though essentially a product of reflection upon 
the religious experience itself, tends to incorporate extra- 
religious material into its system. In its demonstration of the 
divine order and of man's relationship to the divine, it incor- 
porates both science and history. Science becomes for it the 
manifestation of the divine arrangements of the universe; 
history becomes a revelation of the divine purpose and its 
realization. In primitive belief science and religion are prac- 
tically indistinguishable from each other. The way of the 
gods is the way of the universe. The attribution of personal 
motives to the gods was primitive man's literal and serious 
way of conceiving the government of the cosmos. He believed 
himself actually to be living in a world governed by living 
and personal powers, an animistic world. The myths which 
describe the birth and life of the gods, the creation of 
man, the bestowing of the gift of fire are conceived as the 
literal and natural history of creation. 

Christianity affords a striking example of how theology 
incorporates science and natural history into its world view* 
For the early Christian Fathers, natural science was interest- 
ing and useful in so far as it illustrated, which it did, the ways 
of God upon earth. 

"The sole interest [of the Fathers] in natural fact," writes Henry 
Osborn Taylor, "lay in its confirmatory evidence of Scriptural truth. 
They were constantly impelled to understand facts in conformity 


with their understanding of Scripture, and to accept or deny accord- 
ingly. Thus Augustine denies the existence of Antipodes, men on 
the opposite side of the earth, who walk with their feet opposite to 
our own. That did not harmonize with his general conception of 
spiritual cosmogony." * 

All the natural science current, as represented, for example, 
in the compilation called the Physailogus, is used as sym- 
bolical of the ways of the Lord to man. 

The Pelican is distinguished by its love for its young. As these 
begin to grow they strike at their parents' faces, and the parents 
strike back and kill them. Then the parents take pity, and on the 
third day the mother comes and opens her side and lets the blood 
flow on the dead young ones, and they become alive again. Thus 
God cast off mankind after the Fall, and delivered them over to 
death; but he took pity on us, as a mother, for by the Crucifixion Ha 
awoke us with His blood to eternal life. 2 

History is treated in the same way. Nearly all the histories 
written by the early Christian Fathers were written in deHber-* 
ate advocacy of the Faith. It was to silence the heresies of 
those wjio attributed to the Church the entrance of Alaric into 
Rome that Augustine wrote bis famous City of God* Th& 
whole of history is a revelation of the divine purpose which is 
eventually to be fulfilled. Orosius, again, a disciple of Augus- 
tine, wrote his Seven Books of Histories against the Pagans to 
prove the abundance of calamities which had afflicted mai* 
kind before the birth of Christ. He gathers togrthet all the 
evidence he can to exhibit at once the patience and the power 
of God. "Straitened and anxious minds n might not be &bte 
to see the purpose always, but all was ordained for one end* 
Thus he writes at the beginning of his seventh book: 

The human race from the beginning was so created $nd appointed 
that living under religion with peace without labor, by the fruit of 
obedience it might merit eternity; but it abused the Creator's good* 
ness, turned liberty into wilful license, and through disdain fell iato 
forgetfukess; now the patience of God is just and doubly just, 

1 H. 0. Taylor: The Medimd Mind, vol. i f pp, 7W0 


ating that this disdain might not wholly ruin those whom He wished 
to spare . . . and also so that He might always hold out guidance 
although to an ignorant creature, to whom if penitent He would 
mercifully restore the means to grace, 1 

History thus comes to reveal the fulfillment of the divine 
purpose, as science reveals the divine arrangements of the 

It has already been noted that theology, certainly Christian 
theology, maintains that God is all-good. In consequence the 
natural world which scientific inquiry reveals must be all- 
good in its operations and its fruits. The history of the uni- 
verse must be a steady and unf altering fulfillment of the 
divine, of the beneficent eternal purpose. The ways of the 
Almighty, so theology tells us, are just ways, and the uni- 
verse in which we live, so theology tells us, is a revelation of 
that justice. The eighteenth century "natural theologians" 
spent much energy in demonstrating how perfectly adapted to 
his needs are man's natural environment and his organic struc- 
ture. They pointed to the eye with its delicate membranes 
go subtly adapted to the function of sight. All Nature was 
a continuous and magnificent revelation of God's designs, 
which were good. Christian Wolff, for example, a rational- 
istic theologian of the late eighteenth century, writes: 

God has created the sun to keep the changeable conditions on the 
earth in such an order that living creatures, men and beasts, may 
inhabit its surface. , . . The sun makes daylight not only on our 
earth, but also on the other planets; and daylight is of the utmost 
utility to us; for by its means we can commodiously carry on those 
occupations which in the night-time would either be quite impossible, 
or at any rate impossible without our going to the expense of artificial 
light. 2 

Mechanistic science and theology* With the rise of mech- 
anistic science there has come about a sharp collision between 

1 Orosfas: Swen Books of Histories against the Pagans, n, 3. 

* Christian Wolff: Vern&nftige G&fanken von den Absichten der natQrUchen 
fringe, 1782, pp. 74 ff.; Quoted by James in Varieties of Rehgiow Experience, 
p. 492. 


the conception of the goodness of the universe as theology de- 
clares it, and of its blindnesses and indifference as science seems 
to unfold it to us. Contrast the picture of a cosmos which 
was deliberately and considerately made by God to serve 
every exigency of man's welfare, with the picture earlier 
quoted from Bertrand Russell as the natural scientist gives it 
to us. It is no longer easy to say the Heavens declare the 
glory of God ; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. As 
far as we can see natural processes go on without the slightest 
reference to the welfare of man, who is but an accidental 
product of their indifferent forces. The universe is a system 
of blind regularities. " Omnipotent matter rolls on its relent- 
less way." Nature is thoroughly impersonal, and indeed, 
were it to be judged by personal or human standards, it could 
with more accuracy be maintained that it is evil than that it is 
good. As Mill puts it in a famous passage: 

In sobet truth, nearly all the things which men are hanged or im* 
prisoned for doing to one another, are Nature's everyday perform- 
ances. Killing, the most criminal act recognized by human laws, 
Nature does onee to every being that lives, and in a large proportion 
of cases, after protracted tortures such as only the greatest monsters 
whom we read of ever purposely inflicted on their living fellow- 
creatures. . . . Nature impales men, breaks them as if on the wheel 
casts them to be devoured by wild beasts, bums them to death 
crushes them with stones like the first Christian martyr, starves 
them with hunger, freezes them with cold, poisons them by the quick 
or slow venom of her exhalations. ... A single hurricane destroys 
the hopes of a season; a flight of locusts or an inundation desolates a 
district ; a trifling chemical change m an edible root starves a million 
01 people. 1 

The theology which insists on the patent and ubiquitous 
evidences of God's beneficent purpose, attempts, as already 
pointed out, to demonstrate that purpose in the histoty of 
mankind. Orthodox Christian doctrine, for example, insists 
that man has been especially created by God, as were the 
other animals each after their kind, and that man's ultinmte 

* Mill; Three Essays on Religion (Holt), pp, 28-30, 


and unique destiny is salvation through God's grace. Man 
was created in perfection in the Garden of Eden, sinned, and 
will, through God's mercy, find eventual redemption. 

Following the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species, in 
1859, the rapid spread of evolutionary doctrine aroused vio- 
lent opposition on the part of Christian thinkers and devout 
Christians generally. In the first place it conflicted sharply 
with the orthodox version of special creation. Secondly, it 
made more difficult the insistence on marks of design or pur- 
pose in Nature. These two points will be clearer after a brief 
consideration of the nature of Darwinian evolution, with 
whose thoroughgoing mechanical principles nineteenth-cen- 
tury theology came most bitterly in conflict. The theory 
explains the origins of species, somewhat as follows: 

The variety of species now current developed out of simpler 
forms of animal life, from which they are lineally descended. 
Their present forms and structures are modifications from the 
common forms possessed by their remote ancestors. These, 
modifications are, in the stricter forms of Darwinian evolu- 
tion, explained in mechanical terms by the theory of the "sur- 
vival of the fittest." That is, those animals with variations 
adapted to their environment survive; those without, perish-, 
In consequence when any individual in a species happens to be 
born with a variation specially adapted to its environment, in 
the sharp "struggle for existence" that characterizes animal 
life in a state of nature, it alone will be able to survive and re- 
produce its kind. All the variations of species current are, 
therefore, examples of this continuous process of descent with 
adaptive modifications. The origin of the human species 
came about through just such a variation or mutation from 
one of the higher mammals (we have reason to believe, a 
species similar to that of the anthrapoid ape). Man's an- 
cestry, it seems, from the scientific evidence which has been 
marshaled, may be traced back biologically, in an almost un- 
broken chain to unicellular animals, 1 

* For detailed discussion see Scott: Theory of Evolution, 


This theory profoundly affected theological thinking. In 
the first place, the evolutionary account not only of the origin 
of man, but of the origin of all species, as a descent with modi- 
fication from simpler animal forms, conflicts with the account 
of special creation, certainly in the literal form of the Biblical 
story. Secondly, the arguments from design which had been 
drawn from the adaptation of organic life to environment were, 
if not disproved, at least rendered dubious* Although evo* 
hition did not account for the first appearance of life on earth, 
it did account for the processes of adaptation, and without 
invoking design or purpose. 

The eye, for example, as explained by the theory of evo- 
lution, came to its present perfection through a series of for*- 
tunate and cumulative variations through successive gene^* 
tions. Even in its imperfect form, it was a variation with 
high "survival value." Even when it was no more thm & 
pigmented spot peculiarly sensitive to light, so the theory 
holds, it was a variation that enabled a species to survive and 
perpetuate its kind. Those not possessing these fortunate 
variations were wiped out. The process of Nature, certainly, 
in the development of biological life thus appears to be no 
economical convergence of means upon an end Nature has 
been recklessly prodigal. Millions more seeds of life are pro* 
duced than ever come to fruition. And only animals perfectly 
adapted to their environment survive, while an ineompiurably 
greater number perish. 

Theology, when it incorporates science and sets itself up as 
tf direct and factual description of the universe, thus comes 
sharply in rivalry with modem mechanistic science, Tte 
conflict is crucial with regard to the purpose which theology 
holds to be evident in the universe, and the lack of purpose, 
the purely blind regularity, which scte&ee aeems to reveal. 
The mechanical laws by which natural proeeiiei take place 
exhibit a fixed and changeless regularity, in which man's good 
or ai counts absolutely nothing. The earth instead of being 
the center of the solar system, is a cosmic accident thrown 


out into space. Man instead of being a little lower than the I 
angels is revealed by science as a little higher than the ape. * 
There is no space in these pages to trace the various recon- 
ciliations that have been made between theology and science. 
It must be pointed out, however, that Christian theology has 
increasingly accepted modern mechanistic doctrines, includ- 
ing the doctrine of evolution. But it has attempted to show 
that, granting all the facts of physical science, the universe 
does still exhibit the divine purpose and its essential benefi- 
cence. The very order and symmetry of physical law have 
been taken as testimony of divine instigation. Mechanism 
was set in motion by God. In answer to this, it is pointed 
out by the non-theologian that then God's goodness cannot 
be maintained. Mechanical processes are indiscriminate in 
their distribution of goods and evils to the just and the unjust: 

All this Nature does with the most supercilious disregard both of 
mercy and of justice, emptying her shafts upon the best and noblest, 
indifferently with the meanest and worst; upon those who are 
engaged in the highest and worthiest enterprises, and often as the 
direct consequence of the noblest acts; and it might almost be imag- 
ined as a punishment for them. She mows down those on whose 
existence hangs the well-being of a whole people; perhaps the pro&- 
pects of the human race for generations to come, with as little com- 
punction as those whose death is a relief to themselves, or a blessing 
to those under their noxious influence* 1 

Modern theology sometimes grants the apparent reality of 
the evils which are current in a mechanistic world, but insists 
that they are making for goods which we with our finite 
understanding cannot comprehend. Were our intelligence 
infinite, as is God's, we should see how " somehow good will 
be the final goal of ill." 

Evolution has also been explained as God's method of 
accomplishing his ends. By some evolutionists, Driesch and 
Bergson for example, evolution itself, in its steady production 
of higher types, h&s been held to be too purposive in character 

* Mill: Three Essay* on Religion' (Holt), p. 29. 


to permit of a purely mechanical explanation. The process of 
evolution has itself thus come to be taken by some theologians 
as a clear manifestation of God's beneficent power at work 
in the universe. 

But theology, in the more spiritualistic religions, has al- 
ways insisted on the primacy of God's goodness. There has 
been, therefore, in certain theological quarters the tendency 
to surrender the conception of divine omnipotence in the face 
of the genuine human evils that are among the fruits of blind 
mechanical forces. The idea of a finite God who is infinitely 
good in his intentions, but limited in his powers, has been 
advocated by such various types of mind as John Stuart Mill, 
William James, and H. G. Wells. The first mentioned of 
these writes: 

One only form of belief in the supernatural one theory respect- 
ing the origin and government of the universe stands wholly clear 
both of intellectual contradiction and of moral obliquity. It is that 
which, resigning irrevocably the idea of an omnipotent creator, re* 
gards Nature and Life not as the expression throughout of the moral 
character and purpose of the Deity, but as the product of a struggle 
between contriving goodness and an intractable material, as was 
believed by Plato, or a principle of evil as was believed by the Mimi- 
cheans. A creed like this . , , allows it to be believed that all the 
massif evils which exists was undesigned by, and exists not by the 
appointment of, but in spite of the Being whom we are called upon 
to worship, 1 

Religion and science* While there have thus been genuine 
points of conflict between theology and science, these are 
essentially irrelevant to the religious experience itself* Man 
is still moved by the same emotions, sensations, needs, and 
desires which have, from the dawn of history, provoked in 
him a sense of his relationship with the divine. There comes 
to nearly all individuals at some time, not without rapture, 
a sudden awareness of divinity. 

It is the terror and beauty of phenomena, the "promise" of the 
dawn and of the rainbow, the "voice" of the thunder, the "gentte* 
Mdl; loo. <$. . lie. 


ness" of the summer rain, the "sublimity" of the stars, and not the 
physical laws which these things follow, by which the religious mind 
continues to be most impressed; and just as of yore, the devout man 
tells you that in the solitude of his room or of the fields he still feels 
the divine presence, that inflowing of help come m reply to his 
prayers, and that sacrifices to this unseen reality fill him with se- 
curity and peace. 1 

Modern man, just as his savage ancestor cowering before 
forces he did not understand, realizes sometimes some 
persons realize it always how comparatively helpless is man 
amid the magnificent and eternal forces in which his own 
life is infinitesimally set. Even when one has been educated 
to the sober prose of science, one feels still the ancient emo- 
tions of joy, sorrow, and regret. Birth and death, sowing and 
harvest, conquest or calamity, as of old, evoke a sympathetic 
feeling with the movement of cosmic processes. All of these 
emotions to-day, as in less sophisticated times, may take 
religious form. 

Nor does the universe because we understand it better 
seem, to many, less worthy of worship. The most thorough- 
going scientific geniuses have felt most deeply the nobility 
and grandeur of that infinite harmony and order which their 
own genius has helped to discover. It has been well said the 
"undevout astronomer is mad." And it is not only the stu- 
dent of the stars who has intimations of divinity. As Pro- 
fessor Keyser puts it: "The cosmic times and spaces of mod- 
ern science are more impressive and more mysterious than 
a Mosaic cosmogony or Plato's crystal spheres. Day is just 
as mysterious as night, the mystery of knowledge is more 
wonderful and awesome than the darkness of the unknown." 2 
It is significant that such men as Newton, Pasteur, and Fara- 
day, giants of modern physical inquiry, were devoutly reli- 

It would appear indeed that the objects which men revere 
are not the subject-matter of science. Physics and chemistry 

1 James: Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 498. 
* Keyser; Science and Religion, p. 30, 


can tell us what Nature is like; they cannot tell us to what in 
Nature we shall give our faith and our allegiance. Religion 
remains, as ever, " loyalty to the highest values of life." Sci- 
ence instead of making the world less awesome has made it 
more mysterious than ever. Origins and destinies are still 
unknown. Science tells how; it describes. It does not tell 
why things occur as they do; or what is the significance of 
their occurrence. Worship can never be reduced to molecules 
or atoms. While man lives and wonders, hopes and fears, 
feels the clear beauty, the infinite mystery, and the eternal 
significance of things, the religious experience wiU remain, and 
men will find objects worthy of their worship. 

The church as a social Institution. Religion bemg 00 era- 
cial a set of social habits, institutions arise for the perpetua- 
tion of its traditions, and for the social expression of the reli- 
gious life. The churches perpetuate the religious tradition in 
a number of ways. Fixed ecclesiastical systems, recitals ami 
definitions of creeds, the regular and meticulous performance 
of rites and ceremonies, became powerful instrume&ts for the 
transmission of religious ideas and standards. Rites fre- 
quently performed by men in ma$s have a deep and moving 
influence. They have at once all the pressure and prestige of 
custom, confirmed by tb^ mystery and awe that attends my 
expression of man ? s relationship to the divine. The ehiiroh, 
moreover* by the mere fact of being an institution, having & 
hierarchy, an ordered procedure, a definite a$sJprot and 
division of ecclesiastical labor, becomes thereby an i00m* 
parable preserver and transmitter of traditional v$$$m* 

Churches, ecclesiastical organisations in %$wt&iy m&y be 
said to arise because of the necessity felt by mm &t 
mediades between themselves and the divine. W0 
already seen of what vast practical moment in savage life 
communication with the gods. Upon the success of sueh ad- 
dresses to deity, depended not only the salvation of the soul, 
but the actual welfare of the body shelter, harvest, and 
victory. The gods among many tribes were held to be 


meticulous about the forms and ceremonies which men ad- 
dressed to them. In consequence it became important to have, 
as it were, experts in the supernatural, men who knew how to 
win the favor of these watchful powers. The priests were 
originally identical with medicine men and magicians. They 
knew the workings of the providential forces. In their hands 
lay, at least indirectly, the welfare of the tribe. Their princi- 
pal duties were to administer and give advice as to the worship 
of the gods. Often it was necessary for them to point out to 
the lay members of the tribe which gods to worship on special 
occasions* The priests being accredited with a superior 
knowledge of the ways of the gods, they were required to in- 
fluence the wind and rain, to cause good growth, to ensure 
success in hunting and fishing, to cure illness, to foretell the 
future, to work harm upon enemies. 1 

There is more than one criterion by which men may be set 
apart as priests. Sometimes they are those who in a mystic 
state of ecstasy are supposed to be inspired by the gods. 
During their trance such men are questioned as to the will of 
the divine. Sometimes they become renowned through their 
reputed performance of an occasional miracle. Again, as 
magical and religious ceremonies become more complicated, 
there is a deliberate training of an expert class to perform 
these essential acts. And, whatever be the source of the 
selection of the priestly class, the immense influence which 
their functions are regarded as having on the welfare of the 
tribe causes them to be particularly revered and often feared 
by the lay members of the tribe. In more civilized and 
spiritual religions, the priestly or professional ecclesiastical 
class is no longer regarded as possessed of magical powers by 
which it can coerce divinity. It is the official administrator 
of the ceremonies of religion, is especially trained, versed and 
certificated in doctrine, is empowered to receive confession, 
fix penance, and the like. It is still an intermediary between 

* For a detailed discussion see Hastings: Encyclopaedia of BeUgion ar& 
Ethics, vol, H, pp. 278-*33& 


man and the divine, although itself not possessing my super- 
natural powers. 

Where ecclesiastical organization is highly developed and 
has become controlling in the life of a people, it may be one of 
the most powerful forces in social life. Such, for example, 
might be said of the Catholic Church during the Middle 

A life in the Church, for the Church, through the Church; a life 
which she blessed in mass at morning and sent to peaceful rest by 
the vesper hymn; a life which she supported by the constantly recur- 
ring stimulus of the sacraments, relieving it by confession, purifying 
it by penance, admonishing it by the presentation of visible objects 
for contemplation and worship this was the life which they of the 
Middle Ages conceived as the rightful life of Man; it was the actual 
Me of many, the ideal of all. 1 

Churches may also come to acquire political functions, 
The history of the Church is for many centuries the leading 
factor in the political history of Europe, nor is it only in 
Christendom that political institutions have been inextricably 
associated with religion. 

Religious institutions may, as pointed out in the mm of 
primitive tribes, acquire educational functions* The initi** 
tion ceremonies in Australian tribes have a markedly religiouf 
character. In the higher and more modem reUgpbiis educa* 
tional functions still persist. The Catholic Church baa btea 
regarded as the educator of Europe. Chariemag&e's endow* 
ment and encouragement of education w*0 bqply m&da 
effectual through the Church. The grammarians luad didao* 
tic writers, the poets, the encyclopedists, the te&otes whom 
Charlemagne endowed and gathered about him, the fae&di of 
the schools which he folded, were all ehurohmm* Until 
very recently in the history of Europe the wuventtkft wd 
education in general were nearly all under the dominatkm of 
the Church, The secularisation of primary 0du<mtkm in 
England took place only kte in the nineteenth century, and it 

* Bryce: ffcfy Rman JBtopw* p, 423> 


is not yet a generation since the battle over the seculariza- 
tion of education was waged in France. All religious sects 
maintain on a smaller or larger scale educational functions* 
Parochial and convent schools and denominational colleges 
are contemporary examples. 

The social consequences of institutionalized religion. The 
consequences of institutionalized religion in social develop- 
ment have been very marked. The mere association of large 
groups in a common faith and a common religious interest has 
been a considerable factor in their integration* There is to 
be noted in the first place the common emotional sympathies 
aroused by the participation of great numbers in identical 
rites and ceremonies. Any widespread social habit becomes 
weighted with emotional values for its members. Particu- 
larly is this true of religious habits, the mystery and magnifi- 
cence associated with which deeply intensify their emotional 
influence. Again religious habits are given a unanimous and 
high social approval, especially where the prohibitions and 
commands enforced by religion are conceived intimately to 
affect the welfare of the tribe. The prophets reiterated to the 
people of Israel that their calamities were the result of their 
having ceased to follow in the ways of the Lord. The posses- 
sion of a common religious history and tradition may also give 
a people a deepened sense of group solidarity. The national 
development of the ancient Hebrews was undoubtedly pro- 
moted by their sense of being the chosen people, of possessing 
exclusively the law of Jehovah. 

Again religious sanction is given to codes of belief, modes of 
conduct, and to institutions, thus at once strengthening them 
and making change difficult. It is not merely customs that 
are obeyed and disobeyed, but the sacred commands. A 
premium is put upon the regular and traditional because of 
the divine sanction associated with them. To violate a 
prohibition, even a slight one, becomes thus the most terrible 
sacrilege. Customs that, like the hygienic rules of the Mosaic 
code, may have started as genuine social utilities are main- 


tained because they have become fixed in the religious tradi* 
tions as enjoined by the Lord. In consequence there may be a 
Pharisaical insistence on the performance of the letter of the 
law, long after its practical utility or spiritual significance is 
forgotten. It is this persistence in the literal fulfillments of 
religious commands at the expense of the spirit, that the 
Hebrew prophets so vehemently condemned. Thus pro- 
claims Isaiah; 

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saifcl* 
the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of r&ras, and the fat of fed 

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomimticm 
me. . . . 

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my sotd bateth: 
are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. . . . 

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doisp from 
before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge tto 
fatherless, plead for the widow* 1 

Institutions and modes of life, erven when they a#e not, 
strictly speaking, part of the religious tradition propr, tv* 
given tremendous sanction and <^nfinnati<m when tfa^y be- 
come embodied in the reigious tradition. 
the family, for example, through tlie 

(especially the mairiage sacrament of the Catholic Chtimh), 
comes to be strongly fortified and entrenched. Cfaaage in 
the form of an institution so hallowed by religion ia something 
more than change; it is sacrilege. Governments and dymfcs* 
ties, again, when they have a religious sanction, whea tht 
King rules by "divine right, 7 ' acquire a strong additional 
stwroe of persistence and power. The imperial chaisoter of 
the Japanese government to-day, for example, is d to fot 
greatly enhanced in prestige by the widespread popular WW 
that the Bmperor is lineally descended from divinity. 
Sometimes religious sanctions have inspired md $wm*$ift 

* Isaiah H 11-17* 


j&eaJ for social enterprise* The Crusades stand out as classic 
instances, but in the name of religion men have done more 
than build cathedrals and go on pilgrimages. In the Middle 
Ages, bridges and roads were constructed, alms were given, 
pictures were painted, books illuminated, encyclopaedias 
made, education conducted, all under the auspices and in- 
spiration of the Church. The mediaeval universities started 
as church schools. In our own day, the expansion of the 
churches in the direction of welfare work and social reform, 
the use of the church as a community center, are examples of 
this development. Men have found justification by good 
works as well as faith, 

Intolerance and inquisition. The influence of religious 
tradition over the minds of its followers has had, among many 
noble and beautiful consequences, the dark fruits of intoler- 
ance, persecution, inquisition, and torture. Part of the bitter 
narrow-mindedness which has characterized the history of 
ecclesiastical institutions is not to be attributed specifically 
to religion. It is rather to be explained by the general un- 
easiness which the gregarious human creature feels at any 
deviation from the accustomed. In addition men have felt 
frequently that any divergence from the divinely ordained 
would bring de$truction upon the whole group. In the Chris- 
tian tradition there was an additional reason for intolerance: 
the heretic was willfully losing his own soul, and it was only 
humane to compel him to come "into the fold, to rescue him 
from the pains he would otherwise suffer in Hell/' 

The profound conviction that those who did not believe in its doc- 
trines would be damned eternally, and that God punishes theological 
error aa if it were the most heinous of crimes, led naturally to perse- 
cution. It was a duty to impose on men the only true doctrine, see* 
ing that their own eternal interests were at stake, and to hinder errors 
from spreading. Heretics were more than ordinary criminals, aad 
the pains that man could inflict on them were as nothing to the tor- 
tures awaiting them in hell. 1 

1 Bury: History of Freedom of Thouoht t pp. 62-63. 


In fevered zeal for the Faith began that long hunting and 
punishment of heresy, which has done so much to darken the 
history of religion in Western Europe, There were, as ia the 
Albigensian Crusade, wholesale burnings and hangings of men, 
women, and children. 1 Heresy was hunted out in secret re- 
treats, "It was the foulest of crimes; to prevail against it 
was to prevail against the legions of HelL" The culmination 
of intolerance was, of course, the Inquisition. One need not 
pause to recall its espionagesystem, its search for the spreaders 
of false doctrine, its use of any and every witness against the 
suspect, its granting of indulgences to any one who should 
bear witness against him, its "relaxing of the criminal to the 
secular arm, " which unfailingly punished him with death* Ifc 
must be pointed out that in the instance of the Inquisition, 
just as in the case of all religious persecution, the motives 
were most frequently of the noblest "In the Middle Ages 
and after, men of kindly temper and the purest sseal war$ 
absolutely devoid of mercy when heresy was suspected/* Nor 
axe intolerance and persecution to be laid exdusively at the 
door of any one religion. In Protestant countries, in Bbgtoi 
and Scotland, the persecution and torture of alleged witches is 
one of the most painful instances of the enieltfes into which 
men can be led by loyalty to their religious <x>mrcti0m And 
Mohammedanism vividly taught men how a faith might bn 
spread by fire and sword. 

Quietism and eoni^teti<m^0^ Jinny 

religions, including Christianity, have emphasised "other* 
worldliness." This has most frequently tetoa the form of 
emphasis on the life to come. This world has Bern <&iwhred f 
as it were, as a prelude to etermty. la tte ChiMaa worid 
scheme, as most; dearfy xp0TOted d m|vam% accepted 
during the Middle Ages, man's chief imperative business wm 
salvation. AH else was trivial in oomparfsoB wiffe tfa&t to- 
comparable eternal bliss which would be the rwai-d of tba 
virtuous, and that unending agony which would be tibte |>Qilty 


for the damned. "Salvation was the master Christian mo- 
tive. The Gospel of Christ was a gospel of salvation unto 
eternal life. It presented itself in the self-sacrifice of divine 
love, not without warnings touching its rejection." 1 

Where interest is centered on a world to come, there not 
infrequently results a loss of interest and discrimination in the 
goods of earthly life. "For what shall it profit a man if he 
shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" The 
beauties, goods, and distinctions of ithis world coalesce into an 
indiscriminate triviality in comparison with that infinite glory 
hereafter to be attained. One does not trouble one's self 
about the furniture of earthly life any more than one would 
take pains with the beautification of a room in which one hap- 
pens to be lodged for a night. 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and 
rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. 

But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth 
nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor 

Though on earth you may live in squalor, poverty, and dis- 
ease, yet "in my Father's house are many mansions." 

Poverty, indeed, became in the Middle Ages one of the vows 
of monastic orders. In the New Testament it is prescribed, 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit *' and the doctrine was in many 
cases literally accepted. 

If any one of you wiH know whether he is really poor in spirit, let 
him consider whether he loves the ordinary consequences and effects 
of poverty, which are hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue, and the demida^ 
tion of all conveniences. See if you are glad to wear a worn-out 
habit full of patches. See if you are glad when something is lacking 
to your meal, when you are passed by in serving it, when what you 
receive is distasteful to you, when your cell is out of repair. If you 
are not glad of these things, if instead of loving them you avoid 
them, then there is proof that you have not attained the perfection 
of poverty of spirit. 2 

H. (X Taylor: Medimdl Mind, vol. I, p. 61. 

* Alfonso Rodriguez: Pratique de la Perfection Chr&ienne, part in, treatise 
m, chap, vi ; quoted in Jamea'e Vwrietie* of&eUgiow Experience, p. 316* 


Contempt for this world's goods, when generalized, pro- 
motes an attitude of indifference to the social conditions m 
which men live. The history of the saints is filled with refer- 
ences to their endurance of pain, ill health, poverty, and 
disease. And the "world, the flesh, and the devil" are for 
some types of religious mind all ona For such, to be en* 
gaged in social betterment is an irrelevant business, it is to 
be lost in the world. People's souls must be saved ; not their 

Religions, on the other hand, have frequently emphasised 
man's social duty. In Christianity this is largely a derivative 
bf the highly regarded virtue of Charity* Interest in one's 
own well-being was a prerequisite for the devout, but interest 
in the welfare of others was equally enjoined. To help tht 
poor and the needy, the widowed and the fatherless, to bring 
succor to the oppressed and justice to the downtrodden, have 
feeen part of the religion whose Founder taught that all men 
w^re the children of their Fathet in Heaven, The me&dicaat 
or<Jersof the Middle Ages were devoted to philanthropic works; 
w& with religious institutions, throughout thw faistoiy, have 
beea associated works of philanthropy and social welfare. 

w ^--^R^einpha^ 

g&efaJ <<&Speiofc rather ifea& as ^a aloof * 

ponent of dogmatic theology. It is tlte Heal of aome Mbeml 
tfe>%iaagt;t^ iwt the <4raehe^ chiefly aa ii^slramente for 
giving social efifectivmess to the reKgicms impitee and at the 
same time for making social betterment a spiritual e&terprisa 


Art versus nature. In the Career of Reason man has grad- 
ually learned to control the world in which he lives in the in- 
terests of his own welfare as he imaginatively contemplated it. 
Deliberate control has been made necessary because of the 
fact that man is born into a world which was not made for 
him., but in which he must, if anywhere, grow; in a world which 
was not designed to fulfill his desires, but where alone bis 
desires can find fulfillment. Art may thus, in the broadest 
sense, be set over against Nature. It is the activity by which 
man realizes ideals. He may realize them practically, as when 
he builds a house which he has first imagined, or reaps a har- 
vest in anticipation of which he has first sown the seeds. He 
may realize them imaginatively, as when in color, form, or 
sound he creates some desiderated beauty out of the crude 
miscellaneous materials of experience. Art/ in the broad 
sense of control or direction of Nature, arises in the double 
fact of man's instinctive activities and desires and the inade- 
quacy of the environment as it stands to afford them satis- 
faction. Because nature is not considerate of his needs, maH 
must himself take forethought, and devise means by which 
the forces and the materials of Nature may be exploited to his 
own good. And the realization of this forethought is made 
possible through the fact that natural conditions do lend them- 
selves to modification. Nature, though indifferent to man's 
welfare, is yet partly congruous with it. While the wind 
blows careless of the good or ill it does to him, yet man may 
learn by means of windmills or sailboats to turn the wind to 
his own interest. Though the river may flow pn forever, 
oblivious to the men that come and go along its shores, yet 
the passing generations may transform this undeliberate 


flowing into the power that yields them clothing, machinery, 
and transportation. All civilization is, as Mill says, an exhibi- 
tion of Art or Contrivance; it is illustrated by 

the junction by bridges of shores winch Nature had made separate, 
the draining of Nature^ marshes, the excavation of her welk, the 
dragging to light of what she has buried at immense depths the 
eLtMh* turning away of her thunderbolts by hghtmng rods; of her 
inunctions by embankments, of her oceans by breakwaters.* 

By irrigation man has learned to make the "wilderness HOB- 
som as the rose," By railways, telegraphs, and telephones, he 
has learned to minimize the obstacles that time and space off et 
to the fulfillment of his desires. By controlling, by means of 
education and social organization, his own instincts in the 
light of the purposes he would attain, by studying " the secret 
processes of Nature/' man has learned to make the world & fit 
habitation for himself. To dig, to plough, to sow, to mp f are 
instances of the means whereby man has applied intelligent 
control to his half-friendly, half-hostile environment 

Man's deliberate control of Nature arises thus trader the 
sharp pressure of practical necessity. Man is inherently 
active, but, as pointed out in an earlier connectioB, his activity 
ta^es coherent and consecutive form prta&rUy under the com- 
pulsion of satisfying his physical wants f of finding food, doth* 
wg r and shelter* , T&e gwifcer part of human tiQfrgy, easv 
triply uncles primitive condition^ is devoted to mamtakung a 
precarious equOibriutn among tb$ mysterious &ad terrifying 
forp^s of a haJf-undepcstood environment* Thw is not mueh 
time for leisure, play, or art, where food fe a eontmiiouriy 
urgeptprobj^m, where one's pheltepr fe likely to be d4ipyi by 


of prey, a?^ as primitive noan supposed, by e&prieknis supa^ 
natural powep, Uncfer such cimmistoow, life ii largely 
spet in jbastnpcxental -or ^p^ativ ptirndts* A<rtioii to 
fixed by neeessity* Jtisx^i^U^,wii^imi^ 

* Mill: 


' reference to the business of keeping alive. There is scarcely 
time for the activity of art, which is spontaneous and free. 

In civilized life, also, the greater part of human energy 
must be spent in necessary or instrumental business. Men 
must, as always, be fed, clothed, and housed, and the fulfill- 
ment of these primary human demands absorbs the greater 
part of the waking hours of the majority of mankind. Our 
civilization is predominantly industrial; it is devoted almost 
entirely to the transforming of the world of nature into prod- 
ucts for the gratification of the physical wants of men. These 
wants have, of course, become much complicated and refined : 
men wish not only to live, but to live commodiously and well. 
They want not merely a roof over their heads, but a pleasant 
and comfortable house in which to live. They want not 
merely something to stave off starvation, but palatable foods* 
In the satisfaction of these increasingly complicated demands 
a great diversity of industries arises. With every new want to 
be fulfilled, there is a new occupation, pursued not for its own 
sake, but for the sake of the good which it produces. There 
are industrial leaders, of course, who find in the development 
and control of the productive energies of thousands of men, 
in the manipulation of immense natural resources, satisfac- 
tions analogous to that of the fine artist. But for most 
men engaged in the routine operations of industry, the work 
they do is clearly not pursued on its own account. Industry, 
viewed in the total context of the activities of civilization, 
is a practical rather than a fine art. Its ideal is efficiency, 
which means economy of effort. Its interest is primarily in 
producing many goods cheaply. 

The emergence of the fine arts. In~the sharp struggle of 
man with his environment, those instincts survived which 
were of practical use. The natural impulses with which a 
human being is at birth endowed, are chiefly those which 
enable him to cope successfully and efficiently with his envi- 
ronment. But even in primitive life, so exuberant and resilient 
is human energy that it is not exhausted by necessary labors. 


The plastic arts, for example, began in the practical business 
of pottery and weaving. The weaver and the potter who 
have acquired skill and who have a little more vitality than 
is required for turning out something that is merely useful, 
turn out something that is also beautiful. The decorations 
which are made upon primitive pottery exhibit the excess vi- 
tality and skill of the virtuoso. Similarly, religious ritual, 
which, as we have seen, arises in practical commerce with 
the gods, comes to be in itself cherished and beautiful The 
chants which are prescribed invocations of divinity, become 
songs intrinsically interesting to singer and listener alike; the 
dance ceases to be merely a necessary religious form and be- 
comes an occasion of beauty and delight Jane Harmon has 
shown in detail how ritual arises out of praetieal need, and 
art out of ritual. 1 Thus the Greek drama had its bepoafap 
in Greek religion; the incidental beauty of the choruses of 
the Greek festivals, developed into the eventual toggle &rt of 
Jfechylus, Sophocles, and Euripides* Ceasiag to be a prac- 
tical invocation to the gods it became an artistic enterprise 
in and for itself. Repeatedly we find in primitive IM e that 
activity is not exhausted in agriculture, hunting, and handi- 
craft, or in a desperate commerce with divioity* Harvest 
becomes a festival, pottery becomes aa opportunity for deeo* 
ration, and prayer, for poetry* Even w prirotive life mm 
find the leisure to let their imftgimtions loiter ovs? thaw 
intrinsically lovely episodes in ijheir experience. 

The potter may be more interested in m&fcfag & be&tttSf t% 
ipoulded and decorated vessel than merely I& taaiog out * 
thing of use; the maker of basket may comt tp,f< pliiy with 
his materials," |x> make J^aakefe mi so mwh for $Mr ^^^ 
ne^ior ( %|>o!^^ Wlwthii 

interest in beauty becomes highly developed &&$ wbm d#* 
cumstences pranit^ the fine arts arise. The etaft* $om0 to 
be practiced as iniiiuasi^Jly k'leawtmg emptoymrat ol tito 
imagjnat^pn, the motjld% ftf 



rials into beautiful forms becomes a beloved habitual practice. 
The context in which art appears in primitive life is paral- 
leled in civilized society. The energies of men are still largdy 
consumed in necessary pursuits. Men must, as of old, by the 
inadequacy of the natural order in which they find them- 
selves, find means by which to live; and, being by nature con- 
stituted so that they must live together, they must find wa^s 
of living together justly and harmoniously* " Industry/' 
writes Santayana, " merely gives to Nature that form which* 
if more thoroughly humane, she might already have possessed 
for our benefit." It is creative in so far as it transforms matter 
from its crude indifferent state to forms better adapted to 
human ideals. It makes cotton into cloth, wool into clothing^ 
wheat into flour, leather into shoes, coal into light and power, 
iron into skyscrapers. It is devoted to annulling the dis- 
crepancies between nature and human nature. It turns refrac- 
tory materials and obdurate forces into commodious goods 
and useful powers. 

But, in the broadest sense, industry is a means to an end. 
Interesting and attractive it may well become, as when a 
bookbinder or a printer takes a craftsman's proud delight in 
the manner in which he performs his work, and in the quality 
of its product. But the industrial arts, for the most part, 
serve more ultimate purposes. It is imaginable that N&turfc 
might have provided clothing, food, and shelter ready to our 
hand. It is questionable whether under such cdrcismstaaces 
men would out of deliberate choice continue indtisfcries whiofe 
are now made imperative through necessity . The mines and 
the stockyards are necessary rather than beautiful or intrinsi- 
cally attractive occupations. But in the world of fact, tlxoste 
things which are necessary to us are not ready to our hand. 
Our civilization is predominantly industrial, and must be so, 
if the billion and a half inhabitants of our world are to be 
maintained by the resources at our command. 

Nevertheless despite the absorption of a large proportion of 
contemporary society in activities pursued not for their own 


_3, but for the goods which are their fruits, there is st0I, as 
it w<&e, energy left ova:. This excess vitality may, as it does 
for graft men, take the form of mere unorganized play or 
iL But not so for those born with a singular gift for 
k eoter or I orm or sound the ideal values which they 
mamd. P6r these "play" is creative production. 
The SOB arts *re, in a sense, the play of the race. They are 
the fruits of such energy as is, through some fortunate acci- 
jEfeai of temperament or circumstance, not caught up in the 
touting <aad mechanics of industry or the trivialities of sport 
or pleasure. They are human activities, freed from the limita- 
tions imposed by the exigencies of practical life, and controlled 
only by the artist's imagined visions. Creative activity is 
most explicit and most successful in the fine arts, because in 
these there are fewer obstacles to the material realization of 
imagined perfections, "The liberal arts bring to spiritual 
fraitioathe matter which either nature or industry has pre- 
pared and rendered propitious." 

i, The industrial arts are/as already pointed out, man's 
jferan^omatioR of natural resources to ideal uses. In the same 
w% political a#d social organization are human arts, entert 
{tafyafcttdte best, in the inotdding of men's natures to their 
Mgfaes^ ^pospble realkatjba. But te the world of action, 
wfaelteixtftSelil^indiffitriid, there are incomparably greater 
farndsanoeEi t the realization IB practice of imagined goods 
.than there^e, ofc ka&fp iiie gifted, in the fine arts. Every 
|dteaifop*wMch menittempt 'to find fulfillment in the world of 
E&tiea is subject to a thousand accidental deflections of cir- 
daastaaee. Every enterprise involves conflicting wills; the 
^^^1femteprise,'the more various and probably the more 
interests involved^ Social movements have 

t tiw<^wss<tete3ed by factors altogether beyond the con- 
tsd of Aefa? joriginatois. Statesmen eat start wars, but can- 
Bot define thefr evaitol f^aits* A m&& may found a political 
$rf9V*&i&re W see4 wwder jEeart fsw* the id&al which he 
( tod firmed. Biit m tbef fioe arts, t& fe wagwtively 


technically endowed, the materials are prepared and con- 
trollable. In the hands of a master, action does not wander 
from intent. Language to the poet, for example, is an im- 
mediate and responsive instrument; he can mould it precisely 
to his ideal intention* The enterprise of poetry is less de- 
pendent almost than any other undertaking on the accidents 
of circumstance, outside the poet's initial imaginative re- 
sources. In music, evea so simple an instrument as a flute 
can yield perfection of sound. The composer of a symphony 
can invent a perpetual uncorroded beauty; the sculptor an 
immortality of irrefutably persuasive form. This explains in 
part why so many artists, of a reflective turn of mind, axe 
pessimists in practical affairs. The world of action with its 
perpetual and pitiful frustrations, failures, and compromises, 
seems incomparably poor, paltry, and sordid, in comparison 
with the perfection that is attainable in art. 

Haunting foreshadowings of the temple appear in the realm of 
imagination, in music, in architecture, in the untroubled kingdom of 
reason, and in the golden sunset magic of lyrics, where beauty shines 
and glows, remote from the touch of sorrow, remote from the fear of 
change, remote from the failures and disenchantment of the world of 
fact. In the contemplation of these things the vision of heaven will 
shape itself in our hearts, giving at once a touchstone to judge the 
world about us, and an inspiration by which to fashion to our needa 
whatever is capable of serving as a stone in the sacred temple. 1 

The creative artist gives such form to the miscellaneous 
materials at his disposal that they give satisfaction not only 
to the senses or the intellect, but to the imagination. What 
constitute some of the chief elements in the sestfaetac experi- 
ence, we shall presently examine. It must first be pointed 
out that in general in the fine arts creative genius has found 
ways of imaginatively attaining perfections not usually ac- 
corded in the experiences of the senses, in the life of society, 
or in the life of the mind. 

The region called imagination has pleasures more airy 
* Bertrand Russell: Philosophical Essays, pp. 65-66. 


nous than those of sense, more massive and rapturous than those of 
intelligence. The values inherent in imagination, in instant intui- 
tion, in sense endowed with form, are called esthetic values; they are 
found mainly in nature and in living beings, but also in man's arti- 
ficial works, in images evoked by language, and in the realm of 
sound. 1 

The painter imagines and seeks to realize hues and intensi- 
ties of color more satisfying and more suggestive than those 
commonly experienced in nature, save in the occasional grace 
of sunset on a mountain lake, or the miracle of moonlight 
on the ocean. The artist takes his hints from nature, but 
clothes the suggestions of sefcse with the values and motives 
which exist only in his own mind and imagination* A Turner 
sunset is, as Oscar Wilde points out, in a sense incomparably 
superior to one provided by nature. It not only gives the 
beautiful sensations to be had in a landscape suffused with 
the sunset glow; it infuses into this experience the passionate 
and penetrating insight of a genius, The artist, to an extent, 
imitates mature. But, if that were all he did, he would be no 
more than a photographer. He pictures nature, but givas it 
"tint and melody and breath"; he gives it a value tod signi- 
ficance derived from his own imaginative vision* The must* 
ci&n combines sounds more sigoificant, ordered, and rhyth- 
mical than those miscellaneous noises wbieh, I& ordinary 
experience, beat indifferently or painfully upon our aars* 
Hie poet $elect& words whose specific music, rfiythmlo&l 
combinations, and lyrical eontext produce a acroetiiiiig mom 
evocative, compelling, and euphonic than tfa mmmi 
raucous instrument of eommunicatioB whS0fa 
Qrd&ary speech, 
Not only do poets giro imgin&tive and 

experience; they d0 as mmh with md for jadal !{fe. 
In the dreaming of Utopias, in the bufldiag of tito P^f art 
City, men have found compensations for the imperfeot ettiei 
which have been their experience on wtb. Ttoy build 


themselves in imagination a world where all injustices are 
erased, where beauty is perennial, where truth, courage, 
kindliness, and merriment are the pervasive colors of life. 
In the activity of creative art, man's imagination has reached 
out beyond the confines of nature and of history, and built 
itself, in marble and in music, in lyrics and in legends, hints 
of that enchanting possible, of which the impoverished actual 
gives tentative and tenuous hints. 

In some men sensitivity to the imaginative possibilities of 
the materials of Nature is so high, that they can find satis- 
factory activity nowhere else than in one or another of the 
fine arts. These are the poets, the musicians, and the sculp- 
tors, who seek to give realization in the arts in the technique 
of which they are especially gifted, to that imagined beauty 
by the intimate experience of which they live. In one way or 
another the creative artist seeks to give form and dimension to 

"The light that never was on sea or land, 
The consecration and the poet's dream." 

This creative impulse may find its realization, as already 
pointed out, in industry, though, with the highly routine 
character of most men's occupations in present-day industrial 
life, there is not much opportunity for imaginative activity. 
That both work and happiness would be promoted by the 
encouragement of the craftsman ideal goes without saying. 
Whether or not it is possible to utilise the creative impulses 
in the processes of industry as now organized, there are in- 
stances where the joy of craftsmanship may be exploited both 
for the happiness of the worker and the good x>f the work. 
The William Morris ideal of the artist-worker may be hard to 
attain, but it is none the less desirable, both for the sake of the 
worker and his work. 

In science the uses of the imagination have been fre- 
quently commented on, not least by scientists. The pa- 
tient collection of facts, the digging and measurement and 
inquiry that characterise so much of scientific investigation 


are not the whole of it. Inference, the forming of a generali- 
zation, is frequently described "as a leap from the known to 
the unknown," and this discovery of a binding principle that 
brings together a wide variety of disconnected facts is not un- 
like the process of the creative artist. The same unconscious 
method by which a poet hits upon an appropriate epithet, a 
musician upon a melody, a painter upon an effect of color 
or line is displayed in that sudden vivid flash of insight by 
which a scientist sees a mass of facts that have long seemed 
baffiingly contradictory, gathered up under a single luminous 
law. In his famous essay on "The Scientific Uses of the 
Imagination," Tyndall writes: 

We are gifted with the power of Imagination, * . , and by this 
power we can lighten the darkness which surrounds the world of the 
senses. There are tories even in science who regard imagination m 
a faculty to be feared and avoided rather than employed. They had 
observed its action in weak vessels and were unduly impressed by its 
disasters. But they might with equal justice point to exploded 
boilers as an argument against the use of steam* Bounded m& con 
ditioned by codperant Reason, imagination becomes the mightiest 
instrument of the physical discoverer, Newton's passage from a 
falling apple to a falling moon was, at the outset, a leap of th 
imagination. When William Thomson tries to place the ultimate 
particles of matter between his compass points, and to apply fco them 
a scale of millimetres, he is powerfully aided by this faculty,* And 
m much that has been recently said about protoplasm md life, wa 
have the outgoings of the imagination guided and controlled by the 
known analogies of science. In fact, without this power, our toowl* 
edge of Nature would be a mere tabulation of coeAtoeai mA 
sequences. We should still believe m the succession of day and 
night of summer and winter; but the soul of Poroo would be dm* 
-.f S. ^ our . unw * rBe ? <H"1 relations would disappear and 

As we shall presently see, this imaginative leap is guarded 
and controlled, so that no flash of insight, however attractive 
is uncritically accepted. But the origin of every eventual^ 

ll: Fragment* ofSderut, pp. 180*31. 


accepted hypothesis lies in the upshoot of irresponsible fancy, 
differing not at all from the images in the mind of a poet or 
painter or the melodies that unpredictably occur to a musi- 

The aesthetic experience. Art is, on its creative side, as we 
have seen, the control of Nature in the practical or imagina- 
tive realization of ideals. The industrial arts are pursued out 
of necessity, because man must find himself ways of living 
in a world which he must inhabit, though it is not a prior 
arranged for his habitation. The fine arts are pursued as 
ends in themselves. 1 The genuinely gifted sing, paint, write 
poetry, apart from fame and reward, for the sheer pleasure of 
creation. But the products of these creative activities them- 
selves become satisfactions on a par with other natural goods. 
The objects of art poems, paintings, statues, symphonies 
are themselves prized and sought after. They afford sat- 
isfaction to that large number of persons who are sensitive to 
the beautiful without having a gift for its creation. 

-Esthetic appreciation is indeed shared by all men, and is 
called out by other objects than paintings or poems. There is 
hardly anything men do which is not affected by what has 
been called " an irrelevant access of aesthetic feeling." We saw 
in another connection how our estimates of persons and situa- 
tions are qualified by love and hate, sympathy and revulsion, 
In the same way all our experiences have an aesthetic coloring* 

1 Many industrial processes exhibit elements of the fine arts. This is the 
<*ase whenever there is opportunity for"the worker to feel, and to hare some 
ground for the feeling, that he is not merely turning out a product, but turn- 
ing out a well-made or a beautiful one, to which his own skill is contributing. 
The makers of fine books or bindings or furniture, of fine embroidery and the 
like, are examples. But such conditions occur chiefly in the so-called luxury 
trades. There is very little opportunity for the display of creative talent in 
quantity manufacture. 

On the other hand, every fine art involves some elements of merely tech* 
nical skill or craftsmanship, which is important in achieving an imaginative 
result, but is the skill of the mechanic rather than the vision of the artist, 
In surveying the finished product of art as it appears in a painting by a 
Turner or a Cezanne, we may forget the "dust and ointment of the calling, 7 ' 
but it is none the less there. The drudgery of art, the practicing of scales, 
the mixing of colors, the rehearsing of plays, are, as it were, the necessary 
* preliminary industry in art* 


It may be nothing more than the curious jubilance and 
vivacity, the thrill and tingle of the blood that comes upon a 
crisp autumn day. It may be, as Mill pointed out, the large- 
ness of thought and vision promoted by habitually working 
in a spacious and dignified room. ^Esthetic influences are 
always playing upon us; they determine not only our tastes in 
the decoration of our houses, our choices of places to walk and 
to eat, but even such seemingly remote and abstract matters 
as a scientific theory or a philosophy of life. Even the indus- 
trial ideal of efficiency has, "with its suggestion of Dutch 
neatness and cleanliness," order and symmetry, an aesthetic 
flavor. Similarly is there an appeal to our aesthetic sensibili- 
ties in the grouping of a wide variety of facts under sweeping 
inclusive and simple generalizations. There is, as has often 
been pointed out, scarcely anything to choose from as regards 
the relative plausibility of the Copernican over the Ptolemaic 
system. The former we choose largely because of its greater 
symmetry and simplicity in accounting for the facts. Even a 
world view may be chosen on account of its artistic appeal. 
One feels moved imaginatively, even if one disagrees with the 
logic of those philosophies which see reality as one luminously 
transparent conscious whole, in which every experience is 
delicately reticulated with every other, where discord and 
division are obliterated, and the multiple variety of mundane 
facts are gathered up into the symmetrical unity of the eter- 

Appreciation versus action. Every human experience has 
thus its particular and curious aesthetic flavor, as an inevitable 
though undetected obligate. .Esthetic values enter into and 
qualify our estimates of persons and situations,and help to 
determine that general sympathy or revulsion, that love or 
hate for people, institutions, or ideas, which make the per- 
vasive atmosphere of all human action. But in the world of 
action, we cannot emphasize these irrelevant esthetic feelings* 
The appreciative and the practical moods are sharply con- 
trasted. In the latter we are interested in results, and insist 


on the exclusion of all considerations that do not bear on 
their accomplishment. The appreciative or aesthetic mood is 
detached; it is interested not to act, but to pause and consider; 
it does not want to use the present as a point of departure. 
It wants to bask in the present perfection of color, word, or 
sound. The practical man is interested in a present situation 
for what can be done with it," he wants to know, in the ver- 
nacular, " What comes next? " " Where do we go from here? " 
The appreciator wishes to remain in the lovely interlude of 
perfection which he experiences in music, poetry, or painting. 
The aesthetic mood is obviously at a discount in the world 
of action. To bask in the charm of a present situation, to 
linger and loiter, as it were, in the sun of beauty, is to accom- 
plish nothing, to interrupt action. It is precisely for this 
reason that persons with extremely high aesthetic sensibilities 
are at such a discount in practical life. They are too easily 
dissolved in appreciation. They are too much absorbed, for 
practical efficiency, in the tragic, the whimsical, the beautiful, 
or the comic aspects of men and affairs. The same sensi- 
tivity to the innuendoes and colors of life that enable some of 
such men to give an exquisite and various portraiture of ex- 
perience, incapacitates them for action. The practical man 
must not observe anything irrelevant to his immediate busi- 
ness. He must not be dissolved, at every random provoca- 
tion, into ecstacy, laughter, or sorrow. There is too much to 
be done in business, government, mechanics, and the labora- 
tory, to allow one's attention to wandlP dreamingly over the 
tragic, the beautiful, the pathetic, the comic, and the gro- 
tesque qualities of the day's work. To take an extreme case, 
it would, as Jane Harrison observes, be a monstrosity, when 
our friend was drowning, to note with lingering appreciation 
the fluent white curve of his arm in the glimmering waters of 
the late afternoon. The man to whom every event is flooded 
with imaginative possibilities and emotional suggestions is a 
useless or a dangerous character in situations where it is 
essential to discriminate the immediate and important bear* 


ings of facts. We cannot select an expert Accountant on the 
basis of a pleasant smile, nor a chauffeur for his sense of 

But while, in the larger part of the lives of most men, ob- 
servation of facts is controlled with reference to their practical 
bearings, observation may sometimes take place for its own 
sake. The glory of a sunset is not commonly prized for any 
good that may come of it; nobody but a general on a cam- 
paign or a fire warden looks out from a mountain peak upon 
the valley below for reasons other than the pleasure of the 
beholding. In the case of persons, also, we are not alwaya 
interested in them for their uses; we are sometimes delighted 
with them in themselves. We pause to watch merry or 
quaint children, experts at tennis, beautiful faces, for their 
own sakes. 

While even in nature and in social experience, we thus some- 
times note specifically aesthetic values, the objects of fine art 
have no other justification than the immediate satisfactions 
they produce in their beholder. Those intrinsic pleasures 
which go by the general name of beauty are various and com- 
plicated. Our joy may be in the sheer delight of the senses, 
as in the hearing of a singularly lucid and sustained note of a 
clarinet, a flute, a voice, or a violin. It may be in the appre- 
ciation of form, as in the case of the symmetry of a temple, a$ 
arch, or an altar. It may be in the simultaneous stirring of 
the senses, the imagination, and the intellect, by the presenta- 
tion of an idea suffused with music and emotion, as in the ease 
of an ode by Wordsworth or a sonnet by Milton. 

In all these instances we are not interested in anything be- 
yond the experience itself. The objects of the fine arts are 
not drafts on the future, anticipations of future satisfactions 
eventually to be cashed in. They are immediate and intrinsic 
goods, absolute fulfillments. They are not signals to action; 
they are releases from it. A painting, a poem, a symphony' 
do not precipitate movement or change. They invite a restf td 
absorption. It was this that made Schopenhauer regard art 


as a rest from reality. During these interludes, at least, we 
live amid perfections, and are content there to move and have 
our being. 

Sense satisfaction. Appreciation of the arts begins in the 
senses. Sight and sound, these are unquestionably the chief 
avenues by which the imagination is stirred. 1 

In the words of Santayana: 

For if nothing not once in sense is to be found in the intellect, 
Jnuch less is such a thing to be found in the imagination. If the 
cedars of Lebanon did not spread a grateful shade, or the winds 
rustle through the maze of their branches, if Lebanon had never 
been beautiful to sense, it would not now be a fit or poetic subject of 
allusion. . . . Nor would Samarcand be anything but for the mystery 
of the desert, and the picturesqueness of caravans, nor would an 
argosy be poetic if the sea had no voices and no foam, the winds and 
oars no resistance, and the rudder and taut sheets no pull. Erom 
these real sensations imagination draws its life, and suggestion its 
power. 2 

Satisfaction in sounds arises from the regular intervals of 
the vibrations of the air by which it is produced. The rapidity 
of these regular beats determines the pitch. But sounds also 
differ in timbre or quality, depending on the number of over- 
tones which occur in different modes of production. This ex- 
plains why a note on the scale played on the piano, differs 
from the same note played on the y cello or the organ. From 
these fundamental sensuous elements of sound, elaborate 
symphonic compositions may be built up, but they remain 
primary nevertheless. Unless the sensuous elements of sound 
were themselvespleasing it is difficult toimagine that a musical 
composition could be. Music would then be like an orchestra 
whose members played in unison, but whose violins were 
raucous and whose trumpets hoarse. 

Color again illustrates the aesthetic satisfactions that are 
found in certain kinds of sense stimulation, apart from the 

i The so-called lower senses are not regarded as yielding aesthetic values. 
Smell, taste, and touch are not generally, certainly in Occidental art, made 
much of. 

* Santayana; Sense of Beauty , p. 68. 


form they are given or the emotions or ideas they express. 
The elements of color, as color, may be reduced to three simple 
elements: First may be noted hue, as yellow or blue; second, 
value (or notari) dark or light red; and third intensity (or 
brightness to grayness), as vivid blue or dull blue. Specific 
vivid aesthetic combinations and variations are made possible 
by variations or combinations of these three elements of 
color. If a color scheme is displeasing, the fault may be in the 
wrong selection of hues, in weak values, in ill-matched inten- 
sities or all three. 

Dutch tiles, Japanese prints and blue towels, Abruzzi towels, 
American blue quilts, etc., are examples of harmony built up with 
several values of one hue, 

With two hues innumerable variations are possible. Japanese 
prints of the "red and green" period are compositions in light 
yellow-red, middle green, black, and white* , . . 

Color varies not only in hue and value [notan] but in intensity 
ranging from bright to gray. Every painter knows that a brilliant 
bit of color, set in grayer tones of the same or neighboring hues, will 
illuminate the whole group a distinguished and elusive harmony . 
The fire opal has a single point of intense scarlet, melting into pearl ; 
tie dear evening sky is like this when from the sunken sun the red* 
orange %Kt grades away through yellow and green to steel gray* 1 

These Variations in hue, value, and Intensity of color afford 
specific esthetic satisfactions. The bhianess of the sky is Its 
specific beauty; the greenness of foliage in springtime is its 
characteristic and quite essential charm. Apart from any- 
thing e!s&, sensations themselves afford jmtisfaetlon or th$ 
reverse. A loud color, a strident or a shrill sound may cause 
a genuine revulsion of feeling. A soft hue or a pelkeid note 
may be an intrinsic pleasure, though a formless one, and one 
expressive of no meaning at aH. 

Form. While the imagination is stirred most directly by 
the immediate material beauty, by the satisfaction of thf 
senses, beauty of form is, an important element in the en- 
hancement of appreciation. 


it is, next to the immediate appeal of the sensuous elements 
involved, the chief ingredient in the effects produced. And 
even in those arts which are notable for their expressive val- 
ues, poetry, fiction, drama and painting, the appeal of form, as 
in the plot of a drama, or the structure of an ode or a sonnet 
is still very high. Certain dispositions of line and color in 
painting; of harmony and counterpoint in music; rhythm, 
refrain, and recurrence in poetry; symmetry and balance in 
sculpture; all have their specific appeal, apart from the mate- 
rials used or the emotions or ideas expressed. Certain har- 
monic relations are interesting in music apart from the par- 
ticular range of notes employed, or the particular melody upon 
which variations are made. The pattern of a tapestry may 
be interesting, apart from the color combinations involved. 
The structure of a ballade or a sonnet may be beautiful, apart 
from the melody of the words or the persuasiveness of the 
emotion or idea. Out of the factors which enter into the 
appreciation of form certain elements stand out. 

There is, in the first place, symmetry, the charm of which 
lies partly in recognition and rhythm. "When the eye runs 
over a fa$ade, and finds the objects that attract it at equal 
intervals, an expectation, like the anticipation of an inevi- 
table note or requisite word, arises in the mind, and its non- 
satisfaction involves a shock." * 

Similarly, form given to material brings a variety of details 
under a comprehensive unity, enabling us to have at once the 
stimulation of diversity and the clarification of a guiding 
principle. We cherish sensations in themselves, when they 
consist of elements like limpidness of color and lucidity of 
sound. But too much miscellany of sensation is disquieting; 
it has an effect analogous to noise. A baby or a barbarian 
may delight in loud heterogeneity and vivid confusion, but 
extravagance of sensation does not constitute an aesthetic 

The discovery of the one in the many, the immediate appre- 

1 Santayanai The Sense of Beauty, p. 92; 


tension of the fluent traeirig of a pattern, a form, or a struc- 
ture, is intrinsically delightful. The pattern of a tapestry 
design is as striking and suggestive as the colors themselves. 
When musical taste has passed from a sentimental intoxica- 
tion with the sensuous beauty of the sounds themselves, the 
beauty we admire is primarily beauty of form or structure. 
The musical connoisseur likes to trace the recurrence of a 
theme in a symphony, its deviations and disappearances, its 
distribution in the various choirs of wood-wind, brass, and 
strings, its interweaving with other themes, its resilient, sur- 
prising, and apposite emergences, its pervasive penetration of 
the total scheme. 

The aesthetic experience, indeed, as specifically aesthetic, 
rather than merely sensuous or intellectual, is, it might be 
said, almost wholly a matter of form. It is the artist's func- 
tion, as it is occasionally his achievement, to give satisfying, 
deterrninate forms to the indeterminate and miscellaneous 
materials at hfe command. Formlessness is for the creator of 
beauty the unpardonable sin. To give clarity and coherence 
to the vague ambiguous scintillations of sound, to chisel a 
specific perfection out of the indefinite inviting possibilities 
of marble, to form precise and consecutive suggestions out of 
the random and uncertain music of words, is to achieve, in so 
far, success in art. Nor does form mean formality. Experi- 
ence is so Various and fertile, and so far outruns the types un- 
der which human invention and imagination can apprehend 
it, that inexhaustible novelty is possible. Novelty, on the 
other band, does not mean formlessness. The artist must, if 
fee is to be successful, always remain something of an artisan. 
However Jbeautfful his vision, he must have sufficient com- 
mand of the technical resources to his craft to give a specific 
and determinate embodiment to his ideal. 

Every one has haunting premonitions of beauty; it is the 
business of the artist to give realization in form to the hints of 
the beautiful which are preset id matter as we meet it in ex- 
perience, and to the imaginative Magings which they pro vpke. 


In which forms different individuals will find satisfaction 
depends on all the circumstances which go to make one indi- 
vidual different from another. There cannot be in the case of 
art, any more than in any other experience, absolute stand- 
ards. We canbe pleased only with those arrangements of sound 
or color to which our sensibilities have early been educated. 
Even the most catholic of tastes becomes restricted in the 
course of education. To Western ears, there is at first no 
music at all in Chinese music, and Beethoven would appear to 
the Chinese as barbarous as their compositions appear to us* 

But while in a wide sense, conformity to the average deter- 
mines or limits our possible appreciation of the beautiful, 
within these limits certain elements are intrinsically more 
pleasing than others. Those elements of experience, in the 
first place, more readily acquire aesthetic values, which in 
themselves strikingly impress the senses. Thus tallness in a 
man, because it is in the first place striking, becomes readily 
incorporated into our standard of the beautiful. And all ele- 
ments in themselves beautiful, the human eye, the curve of 
the arm, the wave of the hair, come to be emphasized. These 
outstanding elements may themselves become convention- 
alized and standardized, so that objects of art which conform 
to them are insured thereby of a certain degree of recognition 
as beautiful. Too close a conformity produces monotonous 
formalities, cloying classicisms. Too wide a divergence re- 
sults in shock and unpleasantness. The history of all the arts, 
however, is full of instances of how the taste of a people can be 
educated to new forms. Buskin had to educate the English 
people to an appreciation of Turner. The poets of the Ro- 
mantic period were condemned by the critics brought up on 
the rigid classic models. The so-called Romantic movements 
in the arts are, at their best, departures from old forms, not 
into formlessness, but into new, various, and more fruitful 
forms. Romanticism at its worst dissolves into mere form- 
lessness and inarticulate ecstacies. Infinite variety of forms 
the world of experience may be made to wear, but sexisations, 


emotions, and ideas must be given some form, if they are to 
pass from a fruitless yearning *f ter beauty into its positive 
incarnation in objects of art. 

All forms have their characteristic emotional effects, as have 
all materials, even apart from the emotions or ideas they ex* 
press. The glitter of gold and the sparkle of diamonds, the 
strength of marble, the sturdiness of oak we hardly can 
think of these materials without thinking of the associations 
which go with them. Similarly the symmetry of the colon- 
nades of a temple, the multiplicity and variety of Gothic 
architecture, even so simple a form as a circle, provoke a 
great or slight characteristic emotional reaction. Likewise, 
a staccato or a fluent rhythm in music, a march, or a dance 
movement, have, even apart from their unconscious or in- 
tentional expressiveness, specific emotional values. In lit- 
erature, also, where the value of the words themselves might 
be expected to give place entirely to the emotions or ideas of 
which they are the expressive instruments, poems may them- 
selves, by their form and music, be provocative of specific 
emotional effects. 

" . , . And over them the sea wind sang, 
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down 
By zigzag paths and juts of pointed rocki 
Came on the shining levels of the lake. 

Dry clashed his harness in the icy 

And barren chasms, and all to left and right, 

The bare black cliff clanged round him, as he based 

His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang, 

Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels 

And on a sudden, lol the level lake, 

And the long glories of the winter moon." l 

Here the effect lies partly in the form, but more especially ii* 
the timbre and reverberation of the words themselves. la 
other cases, it is the form that is the chief ingredient in the 
effect produced. In Alfred Noyes's " The Barrel Organ/' 
^part from the meaning, it is the rhythmic form that is of chief 
aesthetic value: . 

1 From Tennyson's Morte & Arthur* 


"Come dovra to Kew in lilac time, in lilac time, in lilac time, 
Come down to Kew m like time, it is n't far from London, 
And you shall wander hand-in-hand with love in summer'sVoaderland. 
Come down to Kew in lilac time; it is n't far from London. 

" The cherry trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume. 
The cherry trees are seas of bloom (and oh, so near to London!) 
And there they say, when dawn is high, and all the world's a blaze of sky, 
The cuckoo, though he's very shy, will sing a song for London." 

Apart from all considerations of meaning, set the easy fluent 
grace of this lyric over against the march and majesty of the 
"Battle Hymn of the Republic/' 

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; 
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; 
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; 
His truth is marching on. 

"He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; 
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat; 
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him I be jubilant, my feet I 
Our God is marching on.** 

Expression* The objects of art, as we have seen, are in- 
teresting and attractive in themselves, for the material of 
which they are formed, and for the form which the artist has 
given them. But they are interesting in another and possibly 
as important a way: they are instruments of expression. 
That is, a painting is something more than an intrinsically 
interesting disposition of line and color, a statue something 
more than an exquisite or sublime chiseling of marble, a poem 
more than a rhythmic combination of the music of words. 
All of these are expressive. Something in their form is 
associated with something in our past experience. Thus, as 
James somewhere suggests, "a bare figure by Michelangelo, 
with unduly flexed joints, may come somehow to suggest the 
moral tragedy of life." Something in the face of an old man 
painted by Rembrandt may recall to us a similar outward 
evidence of inner seriousness, wistfulness, and resignation 
which we have ourselves beheld in living people. And we 
clearly value the poems of a Wordsworth, a Milton, a Mat* 


thew Arnold, not solely for the magnificent form and music 
of their words, but also for the sober beauty of their meaning. 
We may come to appreciate even the highly immediate 
sensuous and formal pleasure of music for the reverie or rap- 
ture into which by suggestion it throws us. l ' Expression may, 
therefore, make beautiful by suggestion, things in themselves 
indifferent, or it may come to heighten the beauty which they 
already possess." 

The objects of art may be appreciated chiefly either for 
their material and form, or for the values which they express. 
In some cases the actual object may be beautiful; sometimes 
the beauty may lie almost wholly in the image, emotion, or 
idea evoked, "Home, Sweet Home," for example, may be 
plausibly held to win admiration rather for the sentimental 
associations which it evokes in the singer or hearer than for its 
verbal or melodic beauty, The enjoyment which people with- 
out any musical gifts, out on a camping or canoeing trip, 
experience from singing a rather cheap and frayed repertory 
is obviously for sentimental rather than for aesthetic satis- 
faction. Similarly, we may cherish the mementos of a lost 
friend or child, not for their intrinsic worth, but for the ten- 
derness of the memories they arouse. The situation is 
delicately described in Eugene Field's "Little Boy Blue"; 

*'The little toy dog fa covered with dust, 

But. sturdy and staunch jbe stands, 
And the little toy soldier is red with rust, 

And his musket moulds in his hands. 
Time was when the httle toy dog was new, 

And the soldier was passing fair, 
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue 

Kissed them and put them there." 

Some objects of art may indeed become beautiful almost 
completely through their expressiveness. There are certain 
poets whose music is raucous and who make little appeal 
through clarity of form. These survive almost completely by 
virtue of the persistent strength and enduring sublimity of thQ 
ideas which they express. Much of Whitman may be put 10 


this class, and also much of Browning. Similarly a sculptor 
may not captivate us by the fluent beauty of his marble, but 
by the power and passion which his crude mighty figures ex- 
press. In such cases we may even come to regard what, from 
a purely formal point of view, is unlovely, as a thing of the 
most extreme beauty. Even the roughness in such direct 
revelations of strength, may come to be regarded as elements 
of the beautiful. And where massiveness of effect does not 
suffice to retrieve a work of art from its essential crudities, we 
may still come to accept it as beautiful, as it were, in inten- 
tion, and for what comes to be regarded as its essence, namely, 
the idea or emotion it expresses. We forgive the imperfeo 
tions of form as we forgive the stammerings and stutterings of 
persons whose broken sayings are yet full of wisdom. 

Usually even where the object, emotion, or idea expressed is 
beautiful, we demand certain formal and material elements of 
beauty. A telegram may convey the very apex of felicity, 
yet be not at all felicitous in its form or in the music of its 
words. If in such cases, we speak of beauty, the term is 
altogether metaphorical and imputed; we are using it in the 
same analogical sense as when we speak o" a "beautiful opera- 
tion" or a "beautiful deed"; it is a moral rather than an 
Aesthetic term. We may find the letter of a friend expressive of 
the gentleness, fidelity, and charm that have endeared him to 
us, but unless these have attained sufficiently clear and ex- 
plicit form and determinate unmistakable music, the letter will 
have a meaningful beauty only in the light of the peculiar re- 
lation existing between us and the writer. From an impar- 
tial aesthetic point of view, the epistle can only by affec- 
tionate exaggeration be called beautiful. 

But the arts, through their beauty of form, may present 
pleasingly objects, emotions, ideas, not in themselves beauti- 
ful or pleasing. The clearest case of this kind is tragedy, 
where we may enjoy at arm's length and through the medium 
of art, experiences which would in the near actualities of life be 
only unmitigated horror. Refracted through the medium of 


and drama, they may appear beautiful pervasively 
and long. 

We are enabled through the arts to survey sympathetically 
universal emotions, those by which our own lives have been 
touched, or to which they are liable; we are enabled to survey 
bitterness and frustration calmly because they are set in a per* 
spective, a beautiful perspective, in which they shine out clear 
and persuasive, purified of that bitter personal tang which 
makes sorrow in real life so different in tone from the beauty 
with which in tragedy it is halved, Any sensation, as Max 
Eastman justly remarks in his " Enjoyment of Poetry," may, 
if sufficiently mild, become pleasing. And there is hardly any 
human action or experience, however terrible, which cannot 
in the hands of a master be made appealing and sublime in its 
emotional effect. 

The beauty of Tragedy does but make visible a quality which, 
in more or less obvious shapes, is present always and everywhere in 
life. In the spectacle of death, in the endurance of intolerable pain, 
and in the irrevocableness of a vanished past, there is a sacredness, 
an overpowering awe, a feeling of the vastness, the depth, the inex- 
haustible mystery of existence, in which, as by some strange marriage 
of pain, the sufferer is bound to the world by bonds of sorrow. la 
these moments of insight we lose all eagerness of temporary desire, 
all straggling and striving for petty ends, all care for the little trivial 
things that, to a superficial view, make up the common life of day 
by day; we see, surrounding the narrow raft, illumined by the flick- 
ering light of human comradeship, the dark ocean on whose rolling 
Vaves we toss for a brief hour. 1 

But emotions and experiences that in real life are displeas- 
ing can be made pleasing in art chiefly by virtue of the qual- 
ities of material and form already discussed. The disappoint- 
ment, disillusion, or terror which tragedy so vividly reveals is 
made tolerable chiefly through the intrinsic beauty of the ve- 
hicle in which it is set forth. The high and breathless beauty 
of rhythm,, the verve, the mystery, and music with which evils 
are set forth, may make them not only tolerable but, tender 

* Bertrand Russell: Philosophical Essay*, pp. 07-68. 


and appealing. What would be as immediate experience 
altogether heartrending, for example the torturing remorse of 
a Macbeth, is made splendid and moving in the incisive 
majesty and penetration of his monologues. At the end of 
Hamlet, the utter wreck, unreason, and confusion is made 
bearable and beautiful by the tender finality of Hamlet's 
dying words to Horatio: 

"Absent thee from felicity awhile 

AruJ in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, 
, To tell my story/ 1 

Greek tragedy had the additional accoutennents of a 
chorus, of music, of production in a vast amphitheater to give 
an atmosphere of outward grandeur to the glory of its intent. 
Tragedy often relieves the net horror which is its burden by 
the pomp and circumstance of the associations it suggests: 

We have palaces for our scene, rank, beauty, and virtues in our 
heroes, nobility in their passions and in their fate, and altogether a 
sort of glorification of life without which tragedy would lose both in 
depth of pathos since things so precious are destroyed and in 
subtlety of charm, since things so precious are manifested. 1 

Tragedy still more subtly attains the beauty of expressive- 
ness by making the very evils and confusions and terrors it 
presents 'somehow the exemplifications of a serene eternal 
order. The function of the chorus in Greek tragedy was in- 
deed chiefly to indicate in solemn strophe and antistrophe the 
ordered and harmonious verities of which these particular 
follies and frustrations were so tender and terrible an illus- 
tration. They catch up the present and particular evil into 
the calm and splendid interplay of cosmic forces. Thus at the 
end of Euripides's play Medea, when the heroine has slain 
the children she has borne to Jason and in her fury refuses to 
let him gather up their dead bodies, when Jason in utter 
inconsolable despair, casts, himself upon the earth, out of all 
this wrack and torture the chorus raises the audience into a 

1 Santayana: Sense of Beauty, p. 228. 


contemplation of the ordered eternity by which these things 
coine to be. It sings: 

"Great treasure halls hath Zeus In Heaven, 
From whence to man strange dooms be given, 

Past hope or fear; 

And the end men looked for cometh not, 
And a path is there where no man thought: 

So hath it fallen here." * 

Ar^ as vicarious experience. The drama, art, and painting 
are, in general, ways by which we can vicariously experience 
the emotions of others. All of the expressive arts are made 
possible by the fundamental psychological fact that human 
beings give certain instinctive and habitual signs of emotion 
and instinctively respond to them. In consequence, through 
#rt experience may be immeasurably broade&ed, deepened, 
and mellowed. Through the medium of art, modes of life long 
past away can leave their imperishable and living mementos* 
Dante opens to the citizen of the twentieth century the mind 
and imagination of the Middle Ages* A Grecian turn can 
aifouse, at least to a Keats, the whole stilled magic erf the 
Greek spirit And not only can we live through the if e and 
emotion of times long dead, but the fiction and drama and 
poetry of our owji day permit us to enter into realms of ex* 
peiience which m, extent and variety would not be possible to 
*one mail. Indeed, the possibility of vio&riously e&Iiwrgfng ear~ 
fierience wone of tlie cMef appeals of art. We caix&ot all be 
]fdves> but we can fa&vte in re&ding Maaefldd a punga&t ^iae 
of rojtontic open spaces, the salt winds, the perilous motion 
or the broad calm of the sea. We feel scteetMag of the sani 
as that of the author when we read: 

4 1* yawl jfa> 3 wn to ^te seas a$ain, 

f. aslc 1$ #4a& iMp msd a tfm to teer hw by, 

^Aixd a gray mist oa t^ seaV f ee att4 a 

e avenues of pos^ffoffityj it $$mmmim& 
to wMah a parti^diii 1 wodt of Mf% 


dental niche in a business or profession has committed us. It 
enables us vividly to experience and sympathetically to ap- 
preciate the lives which are led by other men, and in which 
something in our own personalities could have found fulfill- 

While the objects of art thus broaden our experience by 
their precise and contagious communication of emotion, they 
may also express ideas. Thus a play may have a message, a 
poem a vision, a painting an allegory. Art is both at an 
advantage and at a disadvantage in the communication of 
ideas. Ideas, if they are to be accurately conveyed, should 
be devoid of emotional flourish, and presented with telegraphic 
directness and precision. They should have the clarity of 
formulas, rather than the distracting array and atmosphere 
of form. But ideas presented in the persuasive garb of 
beauty, gain in their hold over men what they lose in pre- 
cision. Thus an eloquent orator, a touching letter, a vivid 
poem, may do more than volumes of the most definitive and 
convincing logic to insinuate an idea into men's minds. Com- 
pare in effectiveness the most thoroughgoing treatise on the 
status of the agricultural laborer with the stirring momentum 
of Edwin Markham's " The Man With the Hoe"; 

''Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans 
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground, 
The emptiness of ages in his face, 
And on his back the burden of the world. ^ 
Who made him dead to rapture and despair, 
A thing that grieves not, and that never hopes, 
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox? 
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw? 
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow? 
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain? 

"Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave 
To have dominion over sea and land; 
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power, 
To feel the passion of Eternity? 
Is this the Dream he dreamed who shaped the suns, 
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep? 
Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf 


There is no shape more terrible than this 
More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed 
More filled with signs and portents for the soul 
More fraught with menace to the universe*" 

An idea clothed with such music and passion is an incom- 
parably effective means of arousing a response. It is this 
which makes art so valuable an instrument of propaganda. 
People will respond actively to ideas set forth with fervor by 
a Tolstoy or an Ibsen who would be left cold by the flat and 
erudite accuracy of a volume on economics. A$d the con- 
firmed Platonist is made so perhaps less by the convincingness 
of Plato's logic, than by the inevitable and irrefutable grace 
of his dramatic art. 

There is, for certain persons educated in the arts, a satis- 
faction that "is neither sensuous nor emotional, but intellec- 
tual. These come to discriminate form with the abstract 
though warm interest of the expert. The well-informed con- 
cert-goer begins to appreciate beauties hidden to the umni- 
tiate. He notes with eager anticipation the technical genius 
of a composition as it unfolds, admiring the craft and skill 
as well as the vision of the artist. In extreme cases this may, 
of course, degenerate into mere pedantry. But at its best, 
it is the satisfaction of the man who, having a keen eye for 
beauty, is all tike more solicitous for its accurate realization. 
The satisfactions of the connoisseur are merely a refinement 
of less sophisticated forms of appreciation. To appreciate 
the bare sounds of music, or the vividness of color in a paint- 
ing is the prelude to more discriminating tastes. It is im- 
possible for most men to have in all the arts expert judgment, 
but the ability to be able to discriminate with authority the 
technical achievements of a work of genius, while it does not 
supplant the emotional and sense satisfaction derived from 
the arts, nevertheless enhances them. 

Art and aesthetic experience in the social order. The 
creative activity which is, to a peculiar extent, the artist's, 
is sought and practiced to some degree by all men. Genius 


is rare, but talent of a minor sort is frequent. In the playing 
of a musical instrument, in the practice of a handicraft, in 
the cultivation of a garden, ordinary men in modern society 
find an outlet for invention, craftsmanship, and imagination. 
To give this joy of creation, in smaller or larger measure, to 
all men is to promote social happiness. In the discussion of 
instinct it was pointed out that men come nearest to attaining 
happiness when they are doing what is their bent by original 
nature, when they are acting out of sheer love of the activity 
rather than from compulsion. And since all men possess, 
although in moderate degree, the creative impulse, to give 
this impulse a chance is a distinct social good. 

The employment of the creative imagination demands both, 
leisure and training. Leisure is needed because, in the routine 
activities of industry, men's actions are determined not by 
their imagination, but by the immediacies of practical de- 
mands. There may be, as Helen Marot suggests, a possibility 
of a wide utilization of the creative impulse in industry* But 
a large part of industrial life must of necessity remain routine, 
In consequence, during their leisure hours alone, can men 
find free scope for some form of sesthetic interest and activity* 
The second requisite is training. Even the poor player of an 
instrument can derive some pleasure from his performance. 
And, under the accidents of economic and social circumstance, 
many a flower may really be bom to blush unseen through the 
fact that its talents receive no opportunity. The occasional 
" discovery " by a wealthy man of a genius in the sltims, indi- 
cates how a more liberal and general provision of tarainiixg ia 
the arts might redound to the general good. And a mom 
widespread endowment of training in the fine arts, if it did 
not produce many geniuses, might at least produce a number 
of competent painters and musicians, who, in the practice of 
their skfll, during their leisure, would derive considerable and 
altogether wholesome pleasure. 

While high aesthetic capacity may be lacking in most people, 
aesthetic appreciation is widely diffused, and the education of 


taste and the growth in appreciation of the arts have been 
marked. The museums of art in our large cities report a 
constantly increasing attendance, both of visitors to the gal- 
leries and attendants at lectures, And the crowds which 
regularly attend musical programs of a sustainedly high char- 
acter in many cities, winter and summer, are evidence of how 
widespread and eager is appreciation of the fine arts. In 
the Scandinavian countries and in Germany one of the most 
remarkable social phenomena has been the growth of a 
widely supported people's theater movement, in which there 
has been consistent support of the highest type of operas and 

Art as an industry. The fact that objects of art are them- 
selves immediate satisfactions and supply human wants, 
makes their provision for large numbers an important social 
enterprise. Certain forms of art, therefore, become highly 
industrialized. The provision of the objects of art becomes 
a profitable business, as it is also made possible only by a large 
economic outlay. Tolstoy in his What is Artf brings out 
strikingly the economic basis of artistic enterprises in con- 
temporary society: 

For the support of art in Russia [1898], the government grants 
Bullions of roubles in subsidies to academies, conservatories, and 
theatres. In France, twenty million francs are assigned for art, and 
similar grants are made in Germany and England. 

In every large town enormous buildings are erected for museums, 
academies, conservatories, dramatic schools, and for performances 
and concerts. Hundreds of thousands of workmen carpenters, 
masons, painters, joiners, paperhangers, tailors, hairdressers, jewell- 
ers, molders, type-setters spend their whole lives in hard labor to 
satisfy the demands of art, so that hardly any other department of 
human activity, except the military, consumes so much energy as thi$. 

Not only is enormous labor spent on this activity, but in it, as m 
$var, the very lives of men are sacrificed. Hundreds of thousands of 
people devote their lives from childhood to learning to twirl their legs 
rapidly (dancers), pr to touch notes and -strings very rapidly (musi 
ci&ns) or to turn every phrase inside out and find a rhyme for every 

ToUtoy; What is Art f pp. a-2 (written in 1898), 


Tolstoy's point iix thus emphasizing the immense energies 
devoted to artistic enterprises is to lead us to consider what is 
the end of all this labor. He points out scathingly the ugli- 
ness, frivolity, and crudity of much that passes for drama m 
the theater, for music in the concert hall, and for literature 
between covers. He pleads for a simple art that shall express 
with sincerity the genuine emotions of the great mass of men. 

Whatever be our estimate of Tolstoy 's sweeping condemna* 
tion of so much of what has come to be regarded as classic 
beauty, the point he makes about the commercialization of 
art is incontrovertible. If art is an industry, the good is de- 
termined, as it were, by popular vote. The many must be 
pleased rather than the discriminating. While, as has been 
noted, aesthetic appreciation is fairly general, appreciation of 
the subtler forms of art requires training, The glaring, the 
conspicuous, the broad effect, is more likely to win rapid 
popular approval than the subtle, the quiet, and the fragile 
That taste is readily educable is true. But when immediate 
profits are the end, one cannot pause to educate th& public* 
And publishing and the theater are two conspicuous instances 
of the conflicts that not infrequently arise between standaixte 
of economic return ami standards of aesthetic merit. Btaetf 
where there is no deliberate selection of the worse rather than 
the better, commercial standards operate to put the novel in art 
at a discount As already pointed out, we tend to appiwiate 
forms and ideas to which we are accustomed* In conse- 
quence, where commercial demands make immediate wide* 
spread appreciation necessary, the untried, the o<$d ? ifce radi- 
cal innovation in music, literature, or dram% fe a 
venture* There are notable instances of works which, 
eventually recognized as great, had to go be^bg at fimt for 
a publisher or a producer. This was the ca$ witb jsoi^e of 
Meredith's earlier novels; later Meredith, as a 
turned down some of Shaw. The 


Art and morals. Attention has already been called to the 
act that objects of art are powerful vehicles for social prop- 
aganda. Indeed some works become famous less for their in- 
rinsic beauty than for their moral force, l The effectiveness 
>f art forms as instruments of propaganda lies in the fact, 
previously noted, that the ideas presented, with all the accou- 
terments of color, form, and movement, are incomparably 
effective in stimulating passion; ideas thus aroused in the be- 
holder have the vivid momentum of emotion to sustain them, 
rhere is only rhetorical exaggeration in the saying, " Let me 
sing a country's songs, and I care not who makes its laws. 77 
Plato was one of the first to recognize how influential art 
could be in influencing men's actions and attitudes. So keenly 
did he realize its possible influence, that in constructing his 
ideal state he provided for the rigid regulation of all artistic 
production by the governing power, and the exile of all poets, 
He felt deeply how insinuatingly persuasive poets could be- 
came with their dangerous " beautiful lies." Artists have, 
indeed, not infrequently been revolutionaries, at least in the 
sense that the world which they so ecstatically pictured makes 
even the best of actual worlds look pale and paltry in com- 
parison. The imaginative genius has naturally enough been 
discontented with an existing order that could not possibly 
measure up to his ardent specifications* Shelley is possibly 
the supreme example of the type; against his incorrigible 
construction of perfect worlds in imagination he set the real 
world in which men live, and found it hateful. 

In consequence of this discontent which the imaginative 
artist so often expresses with the real world, and the power of 
his enthusiastic visions to win the loyalties and affections of 
men, many moralists and statesmen have, like Plato, regarded 
the creative artist with suspicion. They have half believed 
the lyric boast of the Celtic poet who wrote: 

1 The classic instance of a work that certainly was notable in its early 
history for its propaganda value is Uncle Tom's Cabin An extreme instance 
of a book famo\is almost exclusively for its vivid propaganda ia Upton Sin- 
clair's The Jungle. 


"One man with a dream at pleasure, 

Shall go forth and conquer a crown, 
And three with a new song's measure, 
Can trample an empire down, 

"We, in the ages lying, 

In the buried past of the earth, 
Built Nineveh with our sighing, 

And Babel itself with our mirth; 
We overthrew them with prophesying 

To the old of the new world's worth, 
For each age is a dream that is dying, 

Or one that is coming to birth/' 1 

Many, therefore, who have reflected upon art Plato first 
and chiefly have insisted that art must be used to express 
only those ideas and emotions which when acted upon would 
have beneficent social consequences. Only those stories are 
to be told, those pictures to be painted, those songs to be sung, 
which contribute to the welfare of the state. Many artists 
have similarly felt a Puritanical responsibility; they have told 
only those tales which could be pointed with a moral. The 
supreme example of this dedication of art to a moral purpose 
is found in the Middle Ages, when all beauty of architecture, 
painting, and much of literature and drama, was pervaded, as 
it was inspired, with the Christian message. Later Milton 
writes at the beginning of Paradise Lost: 

"... What in me is dark, 
Illumine, what is low raise and support, 
That to the height of this great argument 
I may assert Eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to man.*' * 

In a sense, the supreme achievements of creative genius 
have been notable instances of the expression of great moral 
or religious or social ideals. Lucretius's On the Nature of 
Things is the noblest and most passionate extant rendering 
of the materialistic conception of life. Goethe's Faust ex- 
presses in epic magnificence a whole romantic philosophy 

1 0'Shaughnessy: Ode to 

* Milton: Paradise Lost, book i, lines 22-26. 


of endless exploration and infinite desire. Dante's Divine 
Comedy sums up in a single magnificent epic the spirit and 
meaning of the mediaeval point of view. As Henry Osborn 
Taylor writes of it: 

Yet even the poem itself was a climax long led up to. The power 
of its feeling had been preparing in the conceptions, even in the rea- 
sonings, which through the centuries had been gaining ardour as 
they became part of the entire natures of men and women. Thus 
had mediseval thought become emotionalized and plastic and living 
in poetry and art. Otherwise, even Dante's genius could not have 
fused the contents of mediseval thought into a poem. How many 
passages in the Commedia illustrate this like the lovely picture of 
Lia moving in the flowering meadow, with her fair hands making her 
a garland. The twenty-third canto of the Paradise, telling of the 
triumph of Christ and the Virgin, yields a larger illustration; and 
within it, as a very concrete lyric instance, floats that flower of 
angelic love, the song of Gabriel circling the Lady of Heaven with its 
melody, and giving quintessential utterance to the love and adora- 
tion which the Middle Ages had intoned to the Virgin, Yes, if it be 
Dante's genius, it is also the gathering emotion of the centuries, 
which lifts the last cantos of the Paradiso from glory to glory, and 
makes this closing singing of the Commedia such supreme poetry. 
Nor is it the emotional element alone that reaches its final voice in 
Dante. Passage after passage of the Paradiso is the apotheosis of 
scholastic thought and ways of stating it, the very apotheosis, for 
example, of those harnessed phrases in which the line of great scho- 
lastics had endeavoured to put in words the universalities of sub- 
stance and accident and the absolute qualities of God. 1 

In these supreme instances the ideas have been given a gen- 
uinely aesthetic expression. They are beautiful in form and 
music, as well as in content and vision* But not infrequently 
>vhere propaganda appears, art flies out of the window. Many 
modern plays and novels might be cited, which in their serious 
devotion to the enunciation of some social ideal, lapse from 
song into statistics. The artist with his eye on the social con- 
sequences of his work may come altogether to cease to regard 
standards of beauty. It is only the rare genius who can make 

* Taylor- The Medimal Mind, vol. u, pp. 688-80. 


poetry out of politics. Even Shelley lapses into deadly and 
arid prosiness when his chief interest becomes the presenta- 
tion of the political ideas of Godwin. 

In contrast with the theory that art has a social responsi- 
bility, that so powerful an instrument must be used exclu- 
sively in the presentation of adequate social ideals, must be 
set the doctrine, widely current in the late nineteenth century, 
of "art for art's sake." To the exponents of this point of view, 
the artist has only one responsibility, the creation of beauty. 
It is his to realize in form every pulsation of interest and 
desire, to provide every possible exquisite sensation. The 
artist must not be a preacher; he must not tell men what is 
the good; he must show them the good, which is identical 
with the beautiful. And he must exhibit the beautiful ia 
every unique and lovely posture which can be imagined, 
and which he can skillfully realize in color, in word, or in 
sound. Art is its own justification; " a thing of beauty is a 
joy forever." 

Where art is governed by such intentions, form and ma- 
terial become more important than expression. Thus there 
develops in France in the late nineteenth century a school of 
Symbolists and Sensationalists in poetry, whose single aim is 
the production of precise and beautiful sensations through 
the specific use of evocative words. The form and the style 
become everything in literature, in painting, and the plastic 
arts. The emphasis is put upon exquisiteness in decoration, 
upon precision in technique, upon loveliness of materiaL The 
Pre-Raphaelite movement in poetry, with its emphasis on the 
use of picturesque and decorative epithets, the exclusive em- 
phasis in some modern music on subtlety of technique in tone 
and color, are recent examples. 

The position taken has clearly this much justification. A 
work does not become a work of art through the fact that it 
expresses noble sentiments. The most righteous sermon may 
not be beautiful. Whatever be the source of its inspiration, 
art must make its appeal through the palpable and undent 


able beauty of the formal embodiment it lias given to its 
vision. However much an object be prized as a moral instru- 
ment, unless it stirs the senses and the imagination, it hardly 
can be called a work of art. On the other hand, things intrin- 
sically beautiful do seem to be their own justification. A 
poem of Keats, a Japanese print, a delicate vase, or an ex- 
quisite song demand no moral justification. They are their 
own sufficient excuse for being. 

But the "art for art's sake" doctrine, carried to extremes, 
results in mere decadence or triviality. It produces at best 
exquisite decorative trifles rather than works of a large and 
serious beauty. Music seems to be the art where sheer beauty 
of form is its own justification, for music can hardly be used as 
a specific medium of communication, Those compositions 
that purport to be " program music/' to convey definite 
impressions of particular scenes or ideas, are somewhat 
baiting attempts to use music as one uses language. Yet 
even in music, though we may enjoy ingenious and fluent 
melodic trifles, we regard them less highly than the earnest 
and magnificent beauty of a Beethoven symphony. 

But because art is only effective when it appeals to the 
senses and to the imagination does not mean that the senses 
and the imagination must be stirred by insignificance. The 
artist may use the rhythms of music, line and color, the sug- 
gestiveness of words, in the interests of ideal values. Gifted, 
as he is, with imaginative foresight to imagine a world better 
than the one in which he is living, he may, by picturing ideals 
in persuasive form, not only bring them before the mind of 
man, but insinuate them into his heart. The rational artist 
may note the possibilities afoot in his environment. He may 
treasure these hints of human happiness, and by giving them 
vivid reality in the forms of art indicate eaptiv&tingly to men 
where possible perfections lie. *' For your young men shall 
see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams/' The artist 
may become the most influential of prophets, for his prophe- 
cies come to men not as arbitrary counsels, but as pictures of 


Perfection intrinsically lovely and intriguing. When Socrates 
is asked whether or not his perfect city exists, he replies that 
it exists only in Heaven, but that men in beholding it may, in 
the light of that divine pattern, learn to attain in their earthly 
cities a not dissimilar beauty. 



What science is. Science may be considered either as the 
product of a certain type of human activity, or as a human 
activity satisfactory even apart from its fruits. As an activ- 
ity, it is a highly refined form of that process of reflection by 
which man is, in the first place, enabled to make himself at 
home in the world. It differs from the ordinary or common- 
sense process of thinking, as we shall presently see, in being 
more thoroughgoing, systematic, and sustained. It is com- 
mon sense of a most extraordinarily refined and penetrating 
kind. But before examining the procedure of science, we 
must consider briefly its imposing product, that science whose 
vast structure seems to the layman so final, imposing, and 

From the point of view of the product which is the fruit of 
reflective activity, Science may be defined as a body of sy$~ 
tmatized and verified knowledge, expressing in general terms the 
relatiow of exactly defined phenomena. In all the respects here 
noted, science may be contrasted with those matters of com- 
mon knowledge, of opinion or belief which are the fruit of our 
casual daily thinking and experience. Science is, in the first 
place, a body of systematized knowledge. One has but to 
contrast the presentation of facts in an ordinary textbook in 
zoology with the random presentation of facts in a newspaper 
or in casual conversation. In science the facts bearing on a 
given problem are presented as completely as possible and 
are classified with reference to their significant bearings upon 
the problem. Moreover the facts gathered and the classifi- 
cations of relationship made are not more or less accurate, more 
or less true; they are tested and verified results. That putre- 
faction, for example, is due to the life of micro-organisms in 


the rotting substance is not a mere assumption. It has been 
proved, tested, and verified by methods we shall have occasion 
presently to examine. 

Scientific knowledge, moreover, is general knowledge. The 
relations it expresses are not true in some cases of the precise 
kind described, untrue in others. The relations hold true 
whenever these precise phenomena occur. This generality 
of scientific relations is closely connected with the fact that 
science expresses relations of exactly defined phenomena. 
When a scientific law expresses a certain relation between A 
and B t it says in effect: Given A as meaning this particular 
set of conditions and no others, and B as meaning this par- 
ticular set of conditions and no others, then this relation holds 
true. The relations between exactly defined phenomena 
are expressed in general terms, that is, the relations expressed 
hold true, given certain conditions, whatever be the accom- 
panying circumstances. It makes no difference what be the 
kind of objects, the law of gravitation still holds true: the at- 
traction between objects is directly proportional to the prod- 
uct of their masses and inversely proportional to the square 
of the distance between them. 

Thus science as an activity is marked off by its method and 
its intent rather than by its subject-matter. As a method it 
is characterized by thoroughness, persistency, completeness, 
generality, and system. As regards its intent, it is charac- 
terized by its freedom from partiality or prejudice, and its in- 
terest in discovering what the facts are, apart from personal 
expectations and desires. In the scientific mood we wish to 
know what the nature of things is. There are men who seem 
to have a boundless, insatiable curiosity, who have a lifelong 
passion for acquiring facts and understanding the relationship 
between them. 

Science as explanation. The satisfactions which scientific 
investigators derive from their inquiries ai'e various. There 
is, in the first place, the sheer pleasure of gratifying the normal 
human impulse of curiosity, developed in some people to an 


extraordinary degree. Experience to a sensitive and in- 
quiring mind is full of challenges and provocations to look 
further. The appearance of dew, an eclipse of the sun, a flash 
of lightning, a peal of thunder, even such commonplace phe- 
nomena as the falling of objects, or the rusting of iron, the 
evaporation of water, the melting of snow, may provoke in- 
qufryv may suggest the question, " Why ? " Experience, as it 
comes to us through the senses, is broken and fragmentary. 
The connections between the occurrences of Nature seem 
casual, and connected, as it were, purely by accident. A 
black sky portends rain. But such an inference made by the 
untrained mind is merely the result of habit. A black sky 
has been followed by rain in the past; the same sequence of 
events may be expected in the future. But the connection 
between the two is not really understood. Sometimes ex- 
periences seem to contradict each other. The straight stick 
looks crooked or broken in water. The apparent anomalies 
and contradictions, the welter of miscellaneous facts with 
which we come in contact through the experiences of the 
senses, are clarified by the generalizations of science. The 
world of facts ceases to be random, miscellaneous, and incal- 
culable. Every phenomenon that occurs is seen to be an 
instance of a general kw that holds among all phenomena that 
resemble it in certain definable respects. Thus the apparent 
baiding of the stick in water is seen to be a special case of the 
laws of the refraction of light; the apparent anomaly or con- 
tradiction of our sense experiences is, as we say, explained, 
What seemed to be a contradiction and an exception is seen 
to be a clear case of a regular law. 

The desire for explanation in some minds is very strong. 
Science expla&m in the sense that it reduces a phenomenon to 
the terms of a general printipk, whatever that principle may be* 
When we meet a phenomenon that seems to come under no 
general law, we are confronted with a mystery and a miracle, 
We do not know what to expect from it, But when we can 
ptftce a phenomenon under a general law, applicable in a widte 


variety of instances, everything that can be said of all the 
other instances in which the law applies, applies also to this 
particular case. 

Think of heat as motion, and whatever is true of motion will be 
true of heat; but we have had a hundred experiences of motion for 
every one of heat. Think of the rays passing through this lens as 
bending toward the perpendicular, and you substitute for the com- 
paratively unfamiliar lens the very familiar notion of a particular 
change in direction of a line, of which motion every day brings us 
countless examples, 1 

It must be noticed that the explanation which science gives, 
is really in answer to the question, " How ? " not the ques- 
tion, " Why ? " We are said to understand phenomena when 
we understand the laws which govern them. But to say that 
certain given phenomena the appearance of dew, the fall- 
ing of rain, the flash of lightning, the putrefaction of animal 
matter obey certain laws is purely metaphorical. Phenom- 
ena do not obey laws in the sense in which we say the child 
follows the commands of his parents, or the soldier those of 
his officer. The laws of science simply describe the relations 
which have repeatedly been observed to exist between phe- 
nomena. They are laws in the sense that they are invari- 
ably observed successions. When it has been found that 
whenever A is present, B is also present, that the presence of 
A is always correlated with the presence of B, and the pres- 
ence of B is always correlated with the presence of A, we say 
we have discovered a scientific law. 

Science thus explains in the sense that it reduces the multi- 
plicity and variety of phenomena to simple and general laws. 
The ideal of unity and simplicity is the constant idefil toward 
which science moves, and its success in thus reducing the mis- 
cellaneous facts of experience has been phenomenal. The 
history of science in the nineteenth century offers some in- 
teresting examples. The discovery of the conservation of 
energy and its transformations has revealed to us the unity 
1 James: PaycholoQUt vol. n, p. 342. 


of force. It has shown, for example, that the phenomenon of 
heat could be explained by molecular motions. "Electricity 
annexed magnetism, " Finally the relations of electricity and 
light are now known; "the three realms of light, of electricity 
and of magnetism, previously separated, form now but one; 
and this annexation seems final," 

There has been thus an increasing approach toward unity, 
toward the summation of phenomena under one simple, gen- 
eral formula. 1 PoincarS, in reviewing this progress, writes: 

The better one knows the properties of matter the more one sees 
continuity reign. Since the labors of Andrews and Van der Wals, we 
get an idea of how the passage is made from the liquid to the gaseous 
state and that this passage is not abrupt. Similarly there is no gap 
between the liquid and solid states, and in the proceedings of a recent 
congress is to be seen, alongside of a work on the rigidity of liquids, 
a memoir on the flow of solids, . 

Finally the methods of physics have invaded a new domain, that 
of chemistry; physical chemistry is born. It is still very young, but 
we already see that it will enable us to connect such phenomena as 
electrolysis, osmosis, and the motions of ions. 

From this rapid exposition what shall we conclude? 

Everything considered, we have approached unity; we have not 
been as quick as we had hoped fifty years ago, we have not always 
taken the predicted way; but, finally, we have gained ever so much 
ground. 2 

The satisfaction which disinterested science gives to the 
investigator is thus, in the first place, one of clarification. 
Science, by enabling us to see the wide general laws of which " 
all phenomena are particular instances, emancipates the 
imagination. It frees us from being bound by the accidental 
suggestions which come to us from mere personal caprice, 

1 Poiucare" nates also the opposite tendency, for science to grow more com- 
plex. As he says: "And Newton's law itself? Its simplicity, so long un- 
detected, is perhaps only apparent. Who knows whether it ia not due to 
some complicated mechanism, to the impact of some subtile matter animated 
by irregular movements, and whether it has not become simple only through 
the action of averages and of great numbers? In any case it is difficult not to 
suppose that the true law contains complementary terms, which would be- 
come sensible at small distances " (Foundations of Science, p. 132.) 

*Poincar6; lot. ctt., pp. 153-64. 


habit, and environment, and enables us to observe facts un- 
colored by passions and hope, and to discover those laws of 
the universe which, in the words of Karl Pearson, "hold for 
all normally constituted minds." In ordinary experience, 
our impressions and beliefs are the results of inaccurate sense 
observation colored by hope and fear, aversion and revulsion, 
and limited by accidental circumstance. Through science 
we are enabled to detach ourselves from the personal and the 
particular and to see the world, as, undistorted, it must ap- 
pear to any man anywhere: 

The scientific attitude of mind involves a sweeping away of all 
other desires in the interests of the desire to know it involves sup- 
pression of hopes and fears, loves and hates, and the whole subjective 
emotional life, until we become subdued to the material, able to see 
it frankly, without preconceptions, without bias, without any wish 
except to see it as it is, and without any belief that what it is must be 
determined by some relation, positive or negative, to what we should 
like it to be, or to what we can easily imagine it to be. 1 

Besides the satisfactions of system and clarity which the 
sciences give, they afford man power and security. " Knowl- 
edge is power," said Francis Bacon, meaning thereby that to 
know the connection between causes and effects was to be 
able to regulate conditions so as to be able to produce desira- 
ble effects and eliminate undesirable ones. Even the most 
disinterested inquiry may eventually produce practical re- 
sults of a highly important character. "Science is/' as 
Bertrand Russell says, " to the ordinary reader of newspapers, 
represented by a varying selection of sensational triumphs, 
such as wireless telegraphy and aeroplanes, radio-activity, 
etc." But these practical triumphs in the control of natural 
resources are often casual incidents of patiently constructed 
systems of knowledge which were built up without the slight- 
est reference to their fruits in human welfare. Wireless 
telegraphy, for example, was made possible by the disinter- 
ested and abstract inquiry of three men, Faraday, Maxwell, 
and Hertz. 


In alternating layers of experiment and theory these three men 
built up the modern theory of electromagnetism, and demonstrated 
the identity of light with electromagnetic waves. The system which 
they discovered is one of profound intellectual interest, bringing 
together and unifying an endless variety of apparently detached 
phenomena, and displaying a cumulative mental power which cannot 
but atford delight to every generous spirit. The mechanical details 
which remained to be adjusted in order to utilize their discoveries 
for a practical system of telegraphy demanded, no doubt, very con- 
siderable ingenuity, but had not that broad sweep and that univer- 
sality which could give them intrinsic interest as an object of disin- 
terested contemplation. 1 

Science and a world view. One of the' values of disinter- 
ested science that is of considerable psychological importance 
is the change in attitude it brings about in man's realization 
of his place in the universe. Lucretius long^ago thought to 
free men's minds from terror and superstition by showing 
them how regular, ordered, and inevitable was the nature of 
things. The superstitious savage walks in dread among nat- 
ural phenomena. He lives in a world which he imagines to be 
governed b capricious and incalculable forces. To a certain 
extent he can, as we have seen, control these. But he is ill at 
ease. He is surrounded by vast ambiguous forces, and moves 
in a trembling ignorance of what will happen next. 

To those educated to the scientific point of view, there is a 
solidity and assurance about the frame of things. Beneath 
the variability and flux, which they continually perceive, is - 
the changeless law which they have learned to comprehend. 
Although they discover that the processes of Nature move on 
indifferent to the welfare of man, they know, nevertheless, 
that they are dependable and certain, that they are fixed con- 
ditions of life which, to a certain extent, can be controlled, and 
the incidental goods and ills of which are definitely calculable. 
Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, noted the eternal 
flux, yet perceived the steady order beneath, so that he could 
eventually assert that all things changed save the law of 

I Bertrand Kussell: Mysticism and Logic, p. 34 ("Science and Culture"). 


change. The magnificent regularity of natural processes has 
been repeatedly remarked by students of science. 

The aesthetic value of science. As pointed out in the 
chapter on Art, scientific discovery is more than a mere tabu- 
lation of facts. It is also a work of the imagination, and 
gives to the worker in the scientific field precisely the same 
sense of satisfaction as that experienced by the creative artist. 
Of Kelvin his biographer writes: 

Like Faraday and the other great masters in science, he was accus- 
tomed to let his thoughts become so filled with the facts on which hid 
attention was concentrated that the relations subsisting between 
the various phenomena gradually dawned upon him, and he saw 
them, as if by some process of instinctive vision denied to others. 
. , . His imagination was vivid; in his intense enthusiasm, he seemed 
to be driven rather than to drive himself- The man was lost in his 
subject, becoming as truly inspired as is the artist in the act of 
creation. 1 

In the working-out of a principle, the systematizing of 
many facts under a sweeping generalization, the scientist 
finds a creator's joy. He is giving form and significance to 
the disordered and chaotic materials of experience. The 
scientific imagination differs from the artistic imagination 
simply in that it is controlled with reference to facts. The 
first flash is subjected to criticism, examination, revision, and 
testing. But the grand generalizations of science originate 
in just such an unpredictable original vision. The discovery 
* of the fitting formula which clarifies a mass of facts hitherto 
chaotic and contradictory is very closely akin to the process 
by which a poet discovers an appropriate epithet or a musi- 
cian an apposite chord. 

But in its products as well as in its processes, scientific in- 
vestigations have a high aesthetic value. There is symmetry, 
order, and splendor in the relations which science reveals, 
The same formal beauty that appeals to us in a Greek statue 
or a Beethoven symphony is to be found in the universe, but 

* Sylvanua P. Thompson ; The Life of WiUiam Thomson, Baron Keivtn of 
Lwg*, pp. U26 fl. 


on a far more magnificent scale. There is, in the first place, 
the sense of rhythm and regularity: 

There comes [to the scientific investigator] a sense of pervading 
order. Prbbahly this began at the very dawn of human reason 
when man first discovered the year with its magnificent object- 
lesson of regularly recurrent sequences, and it has been growing ever 
since. Doubtless the early forms that this perception of order took 
referred to somewhat obvious uniformities ; but is there any essential 
difference between realizing the orderliness of moons and tides, of 
seasons and migrations! and discovering BooWs law of the relations 
of the planets, or MendelePs "Periodic Law" of the relations of 
the atonic weights of the chemical dements? 1 

Ever since Newton's day the harmony of the spheres has 
been a favorite poetic metaphor. The spaciousness of the 
solar system has captivated the imagination, as have the time 
cycles revealed by the paths of comets and meteors. The 
universe seems indeed, as revealed by science, to present that 
quality of aesthetic satisfaction which is always derived from 
unity in multiplicity. The stars are as innumerable as they 
are ordered. And it was Lucretius, the poet of naturalism, 
who was wakened txTwxmder and admiration at the ceaseless 
productivity, inventiveness, and fertility of Nature. We find 
in the revelations of science again the same examples- of deli- 
&ey and fineness of structure that we admire so much in the 
ifae arts, ite brain of an ant, as Darwin said, is perhaps the 
most marvelous speck of inatter in the umvejrse. Ag^m " the 
jptysieists tell us that tie behaviour of hydrogea gas make it 
necessary to suppose that an atom of it must haye a constitu- 
tion as complex as a constellation, with about eight hmdrqd 
separate corpuscles/' * , 

The dagger of "pure science," The fascination of dis- 
infjer^tecj inquiry are so ^reaithat they may lead to $ kind of 
aefent&c intemperance. The Abstracted scientific interest 
may become so absorbed in the working-out of small details 
tftai i| be^mes over-$pecialize<^ narrow, awi pedantic, The 
pure theorisf has a%ays he^n regarded with suspicion by the 


practical man. His concern over details of flora or fauna, 
over the precise minutiae of ancient hieroglyphics, seem 
absurdly trivial in comparison with the central passions and 
central purposes of mankind* There are workers in every 
department of knowledge who become wrapt up in their 
specialties, forgetting the forest for the trees. There are men 
so absorbed in probing the crevices of their own little niche of 
knowledge that they forget the bearings of their researches* 
Especially in time of stress, of war or social unrest, men have 
felt a certain callousness about the interests of the abstrusely 
remote scholar. We shall have occasion to note presently 
that it is in this coldness and emancipation from the pressing 
demands of the moment that science has produced its most 
pronounced eventual benefits for mankind. But an uncon- 
trolled passion for facts and relations may degenerate into a 
mere play and luxury that may have its fascination for the 
expert himself, but affords neither sweetness nor light to any 
one else. One has but to go over the lists of doctors' disserta- k 
tions published by German universities during the late nine- 
teenth century to find examples of inquiry that seem to afford 
not the slightest justification in the way of eventual good to 
mankind. 1 

Practical or applied science* Thus far we have been con- 
sidering science chiefly as an 'activity which satisfies some 
men as an activity in itself, by the aesthetic, emotional, and 
intellectual values they derive from it. But a fact at once 
paradoxical and significant in the history of human progress is 
that this most impersonal and disinterested of man's activi- 
ties has been profoundly influential in its practical fruits. 
The practical application of the sciences rests on the utilisa- 
tion of the exact formulations of pure science* Through these 
formulations we can control phenomena by artificially setting 
up relations of which science has learned the consequences, 

i It is only fair to say that literary studies have been marked by more 
barren and fruitless investigations (purely philological inquiry, Cor example) 


thus attaining the consequences we desire, and avoiding those 
we do not 

t The direct influence of pure science on practical life is enormous. 
The observations of Newton on the relations between a falling stone 
and the moon, of Galvani on the convulsive movements of frogs' legs 
in contact with iron and copper, of Darwin on the adaptation of 
woodpeckers, of tree-frogs, and of seeds to their surroundings, of 
Kirchhoff on certain lines which occur in the spectrum of sunlight, 
of other investigators on the life-history of bacteria these and 
kindred observations have not only revolutionized our conception 
of the universe, but they have revolutionized or are revolutionizing, 
our practical life, our means of transit, our social conduct, our 
treatment of disease. 1 

Francis Bacon was one of the first to appreciate explicitly 
the possibilities of the control of nature in the interests of 
human welfare. He saw the vast possibilities which a careful 
and comprehensive study of the workings of nature had in the 
eitfargementof human comfort, security, and power. In The 
New A&antfa he envisages an ideal commonwealth, whose 
imique and pingular institution is a House of Solomon, a kind 
0f Carnegie Foundation devoted to inquiry, the fruits of 
which might be, as they were, exploited in the interests of 
" Tfuman happiness; " The end of our foundation is the knowl- 
edge of eauses and the secret motions of things; and the 
enlarging of the ^op&ds of human empire to the effecting 
of afl thln^ possible." a 

Science spmetimes appears so remote and alien to the im- 
mediate concrete objects which meet and interest us in daily 
gxperienee that we tend to forget that historically it was out of 
<K$LC3*ete needs and practical interests that science arose, Ge- 
mii^gly a clear case of abstract and theoretical 
arose out of the requirements of practical surveying 
and mensttyatioi^ among the Egyptians, In the same way 
botany grew- out of h^j-b gathering and gardening. 

The application of the exact knowledge gained by the pure 
science^ may, if properly directed, immeasurably increase the 

1 &d Bearsoa: 27w Grammar o/cienc, pp. 85-36, 


sum of human welfare. One has but to review briefly the 
history of invention to appreciate this truth with vividness 
and detail. The great variety of the "applied sciences" 
shows the extent and multiplicity of the fruits of theoretical in- 
quiry. Astronomy plays an important part in navigation ; but 
it also earns its living by helping the surveyor and the map- 
maker and by supplying the world with accurate time. In- 
dustrial chemistry offers, perhaps, the most striking examples. 
There is, for example, the fixation of nitrogen, which makes 
possible the artificial production of ammonia and potash; 
the whole group of dye industries made possible through the 
chemical production of coal tar; the industrial utilization of 
cellulose in the paper, twine, and leather industries; the prom- 
ise of eventual production on a large scale of synthetic rubber; 
the electric furnace, which, with its f ourteen-thousand-degree 
range of heat, makes possible untold increase in the effective- 
ness of all the chemical industries. 

Industrial chemistry is only one instance. The application 
of theoretical inquiry in physics has made possible the tele* 
graph, the telephone, wireless telegraphy, electric motors, and 
flying machines. Mineralogy and oceanography have opened 
up new stores of natural resources. Biological research has 
had diverse applications. Bacteriological inquiry has been 
fruitfully applied in surgery, hygiene, agriculture, and the 
artificial preservation of food. The principles of Mendelian 
inheritance have been used in the practical improvement of 
domestic animals and cultivated plants. The list might be 
indefinitely extended. The sciences arose a$ attempts, more 
or less successful, to solve man's practical problems. They 
became historically cut off, as they may in the case of the pure 
scientist still be cut off, from practical considerations. But no 
matter how remote and abstract they become, they yield 
again practical fruits. 

Applied science, if it becomes too narrowly interested in 
practical results, limits its own resources. Purely theoretical 
inquiry may be of the most immense ultimate advantage. la 


ft sense the more abstract and remote science becomes, the 
more eventual promise it contains. By getting away from the 
confusing and irrelevant details of particular situations, sci- 
ence is enabled to frame generalizations applicable to a wide 
array of phenomena differing in detail, but having in common 
significant characteristics. Men can learn fruitfully to con- 
trol their experience precisely because they can emancipate 
themselves from the immediate demands of practical life, 
from the suggestions that arise in the course of instinctive and 
habitual action* "A certain power of abstraction, of deliber- 
ate turning away from the habitual responses to a situation, 
was required before men could be emancipated to follow up 
suggestions that in the end are fruitful" 1 

Too complete absorption in immediate problems may oper* 
ate to deprive action of that sweeping and penetrating vision 
which a freer inquiry affords. The temporarily important 
may be the less important in the long run. A practical adjust- 
ment of detail may produce immediate benefits in the way of 
improved industrial processes and more rapid and economical 
production, but some seemingly obscure discovery in the most 
abstruse reaches of scientific theory may eventually be of 
untold practical significance. 

* Only tlie extremely ignorant can question the utility of, let us say 
ife prolonged application of the Greek intellect to the laws of conic 
sedans, Wither we think of bridges or projectiles, of the curves 
*&m or of iterates of navigation, we must think of conic sections 
^e^ of navigation, for instance, are in part based on astronomy 
Kepler * Laws are foundation stones of that science, but Kepler dta- ' 
o^eI Oat Mars moves in an ellipse round the sun m one of the 
forty a .deduction from conic sections. , . . Yet the historical fact 
xs*ai ft** come sections were studied as m abstract science for 
e$g$$m centres bsfee they eajne to be erf their highest use,* 

taferf, Whose researches ara of such immediate consequence 
human health, began his studies in the crystalline forms 
of telrates. The tremendous commercial uses which faave 

i Dewey: 


been made of benzene had their origin "in a single idea, ad- 
vanced in a masterly treatise by Auguste Kekule in the year 
1865." l 

Practical life has been continually enriched by theoretical 
inquiry. Scientific descriptions increase in value as they 
become absolutely impersonal, absolutely precise, and espe- 
cially as they become condensed general formulas, which will 
be applicable to an infinite variety of particular situations. 
And such descriptions are necessarily abstract and theoretical. 
Analysis of scientific procedure. Scientific method is 
merely common sense made more thoroughgoing and system- 
atic. Reflection of a more or less effective kind takes place 
in ordinary experience wherever instinctive or habitual action 
is not adequate to meet a situation, whenever the individual 
has a problem to solve, an adjustment to make. Thinking, 
of some kind, goes on continually. Scientific thinking merely 
means careful, saf eguarded, systematic thinking. It is think- 
ing alert and critical of its own methods. As contrasted 
with ordinary common-sense thinking, it is distinguished by 
"caution, carefulness, thoroughness, definiteness, exactness, 
orderliness, and methodic arrangement." We think, in any 
case, because we have to, being creatures born with a set of 
instincts not adequate to meet the conditions of our environ- 
ment. We can think carelessly and ineffectively, or carefully 
and successfully. 

Scientific method, or orderly, critical, and systematic 
, thinking, is not applicable to one subject-matter exclusively. 
Examples are commonly drawn from the physical or chemical 
or biological laboratory, but the elements of scientific method 
may be illustrated in the procedure of a business man meeting 
a practical problem, a lawyer sifting evidence, a statesman 
framing a new piece of legislation. In all these cases the 
difference between a genuinely scientific procedure and mer$ 
casual and random common sense is the same. 

* Quoted by Thomson from aa address on "Technical Chemistry" by 
C. E. Munroe. 


Science is nothing but trained md organized common sense, dfffer- 
wg from, the late* only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: 
and its methods differ from those of common sense only so far as the 
guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage 
wields Ms club. The primary power is the same in each case, and 
perhaps the untutored savage has the more brawny arm of the two. 
The red advantage lies in the point and polish of the swordsman's 
weapon; in the trained eye quick to spy out the weakness of the 
adversary; in the ready hand prompt to follow it on the instant. 
But, after all, the sword exercise is only the hewing and poking of the 
clubman refined and developed. 

So, the vast results obtained by science are won by ... no mental 
processes, other than those which are practiced by every one of us, 
is the humblest and meanest affairs of life. A detective policeman 
discovers a burglar from the marks made by his shoe, by a mental 
pi-ocess identical with that by which Cuvier restored the extinct ani- 
mals of Montmartre from fragments of their bones. . . . Nor does 
that process of induction and deduction by which a lady finding a 
stain of a peculiar kind upon her dress, concludes that somebody has 
upset the inkstand thereon, differ, in any way, in kind, from that by 
which Adams and Leverrier discovered a new planet. 

The man ol science, in fact, simply uses with scrupulous exactness 
the methods which we all, habitually and at every moment, use 
carelessly; and the man of business must as much avail himself of 
tfcte scientific method must as truly be a man of science as the 
veriest bookworm of us all. 1 

. The scientific procedure becomes, as we shall see, highly 
explicated, involving elaborate processes of observation, 
eiassife&tion^ generalimtion, deduction or development of 
id^as, mA testing. But it remains thinking just the same, 
mid ori^nates in some problem or perplexity, just as thinking 
do$s m ordinary life. 

Science and common sense. It is profitable to note in 
pne detail the ways in which scientific method, in spirit and 
MuAw, differs fasn <5ommon-sense thinking. It is more 
tauten* in^t pl^e on including the whole range of 
relevant data, of bringing to light aU the f aets that be&r on a 

77 > 7 * * " 


given problem. In common-sense thinking we make, as we 
say, snap judgments; we jump at conclusions. Anything 
plausible is accepted as evidence; anything heard or seen is 
accepted as a fact. The scientific examiner insists on exam- 
ining and subjecting to scrutiny the facts at hand, on search- 
ing for further facts, and on distinguishing the facts genuinely ' 
significant in a given situation from those that happen to be { 
glaring or conspicuous. This is merely another way of saying 
that both accuracy and completeness of observation are 
demanded, accuracy in the examination of the facts present, 
and completeness in the array of facts bearing on the question 
at hand. 

Scientific thinking is thus primarily inquiring and skeptical. 
It queries the usual; it tries, a$ we say, to penetrate beneath 
the surface. Common sense, for example, gives suction as the 
explanation of water rising in a pump. But where, as at a great 
height above sea level, this mysterious power of suction does 
not operate, or when it is found that it does not raise water 
above thirty-two feet, common sense is at a loss. Scientific 
thinking tries to analyze the gross fact, and by accurately and 
completely observing all the facts bearing on the phenomenon 
endeavors to find out " what special conditions are present 
when the effect occurs " and absent when it does not occur. 
Instead of tfrying to fit all unusual, contradictory, or excep- 
tional facts into a priori ideas based on miscellaneous and un- 
sifted facts, it starts without any fixed conclusions before- 
hand, but carefully observes all the facts which it can secure 
with reference to a particular problem, deliberately seeking 
the exceptional and unusual as crucial instances. Thus in a 
sociological inquiry, the scientist, instead of accepting com- 
mon-sense " judgments (based on a variety of miscellaneous, 
incomplete, and unsifted facts) that certain races are inferior 
or superior, tries, by specific inquiries, to establish the facts 
of racial capacities or defects. Instead of accepting pro- 
verbial wisdom and popular estimates of the relative capaci- 
ties of men and women, he tries by careful observation and 


experiment accurately to discover all the facts bearing on 
the question, and to generalize from those facts. 

Scientific method thus discounts prejudice or dogmatism. 
A prejudice is literally a pre-judgment. Common sense sizes 
up the situation beforehand. Instead of examining a situa- 
tion in its own terms, and arriving at a conclusion, it starts 
with one. The so-called hard-headed man of common sense 
knows beforehand. He has a definite and stereotyped reac- 
tion for every situation with which h comes in contact. 
These rubber-stamp responses, these unconsidered generali- 
zations, originate in instinctive desires, or in preferences ac* 
quired through habit. Common sense finds fixed pigeon holes 
into which to fit all the variety of specific circumstances and 
conditions which characterize experience. "When its judg- 
ments happen to be correct, it is almost as much a matter of 
good luck as of method. . . . That potatoes should be planted 
only during the crescent moon, that near the sea people are 
born at high tide and die at low tide, that a comet is &B 
omen of danger, that bad luck follows the cracking of a 
mirror," all these are the results of common-sense observation. 
Matters of common knowledge are thus not infrequently 
matters of common misinformation. 

Ommoh-senke knowledge is largely a matter of uncritical 
b&Bet 'When there is absent scientific examination of the 
gfturees and grotmds of belief, those judgments and eonclu* 
fifths are likely to be accepted which happen to have wide 
sdcial currency and authority. In an earlier chapter, it was 
"shown how the mere fact of an opinion prevailing among a 
large number of one's group or class gives it peat emotional 
weight. Where opinions are not determined by intelligent 
examination and decision* they are determined by force of 
habit, early education, and the social influences to which oae 
is constantly exposed. 

" The scientific spirit is A spint of emancipated impiry M 
contrasted with blind acceptance of belief upoa authority, 
phenomenal devda$fo6&te of modem ' smeuc began 


when men ceased to accept authoritatively their beliefs &bout 
man and nature, and undertook to examine phenomena in 
their own terms. The phenomenal rise of modern science is 
coincident with the collapse of unquestioning faith as the 
leading ingredient of intellectual life. 

Common sense renders men peculiarly insensitive to the 
possibilities of the novel, peculiarly susceptible to the influ- 
ence of tradition. It was common sense that credited the 
influence of the position of the stars upon men's welfare, the 
power of old women as witches, and the unhealthiness of night 
air. It was common sense also that ridiculed Fulton's steam- 
boat, laughed at the early attempts of telegraphy and teleph- 
ony, and dismissed the aeroplane as an interesting toy* The 
characteristic feature of common sense or empirical thinking 
is its excess traditionalism, its wholesale acceptance of author- 
ity, 1 its reliance upon precedent. Where beliefs are not sub- 
jected to critical revision and examination, to the constant 
surveillance of the inquiring intelligence, there will be no cri- 
terion by which to estimate the true and the false, the impor- 
tant and the trivial. All beliefs that have wide social sanc- 
tion, or that chime in with immediate sense impressions, 
established individual habits, or social customs will be accepted 
with the same indiscriminate hospitality. To common sense 
the sun does appear to go round the earth; the stick does ap- 
pear broken in water. Thus "totally false opinions may 
appear to the holder of them to possess all the character of 
rationally verifiable truth." 

The dangers and falsities of rommon-sense judgments are 
conditioned not only by expectations and standards fixed by 
the social environment, but by one's own personal predilec- 
tions and aversions. Recent developments in psychology 
have' made much of the fact that many of our so-*jaUe4 
reasoned judgments are rationalizations, secondary reasons 

i "Authority" in this sense of social prestige must be distinguished from 
"authority" in the sense of scientific authority. The acceptance of the 
authority of the expert is the acceptance of opinions fljat we have good reason 
to believe are the result of scientific inquiry. 


found after our initial, primary, and deep-seated emotional 
responses have been made. They are the result of emotional 
"complexes/' fears, expectations, and desires of which we are 
not ourselves conscious. 1 It is from these limiting conditions 
of personal preference and social environment that scientific 
method frees us. 

Again, even where common-sense judgments are not paj> 
ticularly qualified by such conditions, they are frequently 
based upon the observation of purely accidental conjunctions 
of circumstances. A sequence once or twice observed is taken 
as the basis of a causal relation. This gives rise to what is 
known in technical logic as the post hoc ergo propter hoc 
fallacy; that is, the assumption that because one thing hap- 
pens after another, therefore it happens became of it. Many 
superstitions probably had their origin in such chance obser- 
vations, and belief in them is strengthened by some acci- 
dental confirmation. Thus if a man walks under a ladder one 
day and dies the next, the believer in the superstition that 
walking under a ladder brings fatal results will find in this 
instance a clear ratification of his belief. There seems to be 

> 14 *When a party politician is called upon to consider a new rawmre, hfe 
terdiet is largely determined by certain constant systems of ideas and feren<$* 
of t tbought r constituting what is generally known as 'party bias/ Wf 
should describe these systems in our newly acquired terminology as h! 
Apolitical com^ex/ The complex "canse* him to take up *m attitude towaiwl 
the proposed measure which is quite independent of any absolute merits* that 
the latter may possess. If we argue with our politician, w shall find that 
the complex will reinforce in hid mind those arguments whioh support the 
view of his party, while it will infallibly prevent him from mWa|; the feme 
of the arguments propounded by the opposite side. Now, it ihoold b ob- 
served that the individual himself !s probably quite unaware of tW* m&an- 
Ism in his mind. He fondly imagines that his opinion ifl formed solely by the 
logical proa and cons of the measure before him. "We sm, in faxifc, that not 
only is his thinking detained by a complex of whoe iw^ioa &a Is unoo^ 
scious, bu tk^ b believes his thoughts to be the result of ot3ar oauss wltioh 
are in reality insufficient and illusory, This latter process of ielif-doptioa 

which the individual conceals the real foundation of hf tlioiifbt by a 

4i The two mechanisms which manifest themselves in our example of 
politician, the unconscious origin of beliefs and actions, and the aubsequetit 
process of rationalization to which they are subjected, are of 
importance in psychology." (Bdrnajrd Hart: Ffo 
pp. 64-46.) 


an inveterate human tendency to seek for causes, and by 
those who are not scientific inquirers causes are lightly 
assigned. It is easiest and most plausible to assign as a cause 
an immediately preceding circumstance. Exceptional or con- 
tradictory circumstances are then either unnoticed or pared 
down to fit the belief. 

Scientific method does not depend on such chance con- 
junctions of circumstance, but controls its observations or 
experimentally arranges conditions so as to discover what are 
the conditions necessary to produce given effects, or what 
effects invariably follow from given causes. It does not 
accept a chance conjunction as evidence of an invariable rela- 
tion, but seeks, under regulated conditions, to discover what 
the genuinely invariable relations are. This method of con- 
trolling our generalizations about the facts of experience, we 
shall presently examine in some detail. 

Curiosity and scientific inquiry. Curiosity, the instinctive 
basis of the desire to know, is the basis of scientific inquiry. 
Without this fundamental desire, there could be no sustaining 
motive to deep and thoroughgoing scientific research, for the- 
oretical investigations do not always give promise of immedi- 
ate practical benefits. The scientific interest is a develop- 
ment of that restless curiosity for a knowledge of the world in 
which they are living which children so markedly exhibit. 
Beginning as a kind of miscellaneous and omnivorous appe- 
tite for facts of whatever description, it grows into a desire to 
understand the unsuspected and hidden relations between 
facts, to penetrate to the unities discoverable beneath the 
mysteries and multiplicities of things. 

The scientific mood is thus in the first place a sheer instinc- 
tive curiosity, a basic passion for facts. It is this which sus- 
tains the scientific worker in the sometimes long and dreary 
business of collecting specimens, instances, details. Many of 
the most notable scientific advances, as Lord Kelvin pointed 
out, must be attributed to the most protracted and unmiti- 
gated drudgery in the collection of facts, a thoroughgoing and 


iaying labor in which the scientific worker could persist only 
wbeti fortified by an eager and insistent curiosity. This 
"hodman's work" is the basis of the great generalizations 
which constitute the framework of the modern scientific sys- 
tems. "The monotonous and quantitative work of star- 
cataloguing has been continued from Hipparchus, who began 
his work more than a century before Christ, work which is 
continued even to the present day. This work, uninspiring 
as it seems, is yet an essential basis for the applications of 
astronomy, the determination of time, navigation, surveying. 
Furthermore, without good star places, we can have no the- 
ory of the motions of the solar system, and without accurate 
catalogues of the stars we can know nothing of the grander 
problems of the universe, the motion of our sun among the 
stars, or of the stars among themselves." 1 

Not only is curiosity a sustaining motive in the drudgery of 
collection and research incident and essential to scientific 
generalization; it alone makes possible that suspense of judg- 
ment which is necessary to fruitful scientific inquiry. This 
suspense is, as we have already seen, difficult for most men. 
Action demands immediate decision, and inquiry deliberately 
postpones decision. It is only a persistent desire to "get at 
the bottom of the matter" that will act as a check upon the 
demands of social life and of individual impatience which rush 
m to conclusions; In most men, as earlier noted, the sharp 
edge of curiosity becomes easily blunted, They are content, 
outside their own immedi&fce personal interests, "to take 
things for granted." They glide over the surfaces of events, 
they cease to query the authenticity of facts, or to examine 
their relevance and their significance, or to be concerned about 
their completeness. For an example, one has but to listen to 
or partake in the arerage discussion of any political or so0W 
issue of the present day. There are few mem who retain, even 
as far as middle life, a genuinely inquiring interest in men and 
afiairs. Their curiosity is dulletf by fatigue and the 

* Hinfcs: 


' of their own interests and preoccupations, and they allow 
their prejudices and formulas to pass for judgments and con- 
clusions. The scientist is the man in whom curiosity has 
become a permanent passion, who, as long as he lives, is un- 
willing tq forego inquiry into the processes of Nature, or of 
human relations. 

Thinking begins with a problem* While the general habit 
of inquiry is developed in the satisfaction of the instinct of 
curiosity, any particular investigation begins with a felt 
difficulty. By difficulty is not meant one of an imperative 
and practical kind, but any problem whether theoretical or 
practical. For many men, it is true, thinking occurs only 
when instinct and habit are inadequate to adjust them to 
their environment. Any problem of daily ,iife affords an 
example. To borrow an illustration from Professor Dewey; 

A man traveling in an unfamiliar region comes to a branching of 
the roads. Having no sure knowledge to fall back upon, he is 
brought to a standstill of hesitation and suspense. Which road is 
right? And how shall the perplexity be resolved? There are but 
two alternatives. He must either blindly and arbitrarily take his 
course, trusting to luck for the outcome, or he must discover grounds 
for the conclusion that a given road is right. 1 

To the inquiring mind, purely theoretical difficulties or 

discrepancies will provoke thought. To the astronomer an 

unaccounted-for perturbation in the path of a planet provokes 

Jnquiry; the chemist is challenged by a curious unexplained 

reaction of two chemical elements, the biologist, anterior to 

the discovery of micro-organisms, by the putrefaction of 

animal tissues. The degree to which curiosity persists and 

the extent of training a man has had in a given field largely 

determine the kind of situations that will provoke inquiry. 

" A primrose by the river's brim" may be simply a primrose 

to one man, while to another, a botanist, it may suggest an 

interesting and complex problem of classification. 

But however remote and recondite thinking becomes, how- 

* Deweyzjffow We Ttink, p. 10- 


ever far removed from immediate practical concerns, it occurs 
essentially in a situation analogous to the "forked-road situa- 
tion" described above. The situation as it stands is confused, 
ambiguous, uncertain. In a practical problem, for example, 
there are two or more courses of action open to us, all of them 
giving promise as solutions of our difficulties. We aim through 
reflection to reduce the uncertainty, to clarify the situation, 
to discover more clearly the consequences of the various 
alternatives which suggest themselves to us. When action is 
unimpeded, suggestions flow on just as they arise m our 
minds. This is illustrated best in the reveries of a day-dreara 
when casual and disconnected fancies follow, each other in 
random and uncontrolled succession. But when there is a 
problem to be settled, an ambiguity to be resolved, sugges- 
tions are held in check and controlled with reference to the 
end we have in view; each suggestion is estimated with regard 
to its relevance to the problem in hand. Every idea that 
arises is, so to speak, queried: "Is it or is it not a solution to 
our present difficulty? " 

We are indebted to Professor Dewey, for an analysis of the 
thought process. Every instance of thinking reveals five 


(1) A felt difficulty, (2) its location and definition, (3) sug- 
gestions of possible solutions, (4) development by reasoning 
of the bearings of the most promising suggestion, (5) further 
9bservation or experiment leading to its acceptance or rejec- fl 
tion, that is a conclusion either of belief or disbelief. 

When instinct or habit suffices to adjust us to our environ- 
ment, action runs along smoothly, freely, uninterruptedly. In 
consequence the provocation to thinking may at first be a 
mere vague shock or disturbance. We are, as it were, in 
trouble without knowing precisely what the trouble is* We 
must carefully inquire into the nature of the problem before 
undertaking a solution. To take a simple instance, an auto- 
mobile may suddenly stop. We know there is a difficulty, 
but whether it is a difficulty with the transmission, with the 


carburetor, or with the supply of gasoline, we cannot at first 
tell. Before we do anything else in solving our problem, we 
find out literally and precisely what the trouble is. To take a 
different situation, a doctor does not undertake to prescribe 
for a patient until he has diagnosed the difficulty, found out 
precisely what the features of the problem are. 

The second step after the situation has been examined and 
its precise elements defined, is suggestion. That is, we con- 
sider the various possibilities which suggest themselves as solu- 
tions to our problem* There may be several ways of tempo- 
rarily repairing our engine; the doctor may think of two or 
three possible treatments for a disease. In one sense, sugges- 
tion is uncontrollable. The kind of suggestions that occur to 
an individual depend on his "genius or temperament," on his 
past experiences, on his hopes or fears or expectations when 
that particular situation occurs. We can, however, through 
the methods of science, control suggestions indirectly. We 
can do this, in the first place, by reexamining the facts which 
give rise to suggestion* If upon close examination, the facts 
appear differently from what they did at first, we will derive 
different inferences from them. Different suggestions will 
arise from the facts A, B, C, than from the facts A 1 , B', C". 
Again we can regulate the conditions under which credence is 
given to the various suggestions that arise. These sugges- 
tions are entertained merely as tentative, and are not accepted 
* until experimentally verified, "The suggested conclusion as 
only tentatively entertained constitutes an idea/' 

After the variety of suggestions that proffer themselves as 
solutions to a problem have been considered, the third step is 
the logical development of the idea or suggestion that gives 
most promise of solving the difficulty. That is, even before 
further facts are sought, the idea that gives promise of being a 
solution is followed out to its logical consequences. Thus, for 
example, astronomers were for a long time puzzled by unex- 
plained perturbations in the path of the planet Uranus, The 
suggestion occurred that an unseen planet was deflecting it 


from the path it should, from observation and calculation, 
be following. If this were the case, from the amount of deflec- 
tion it was mathematically calculated, prior to any further 
observation, that the supposed planet should appear at a cer- 
tain point in space. It was by this deductive elaboration that 
the planet Neptune was discovered. It was figured out deduc- 
tively that a planet deflecting the path of the planet Uranus 
by just so-and-so much should be found at just such and such 
a particular point in the heavens. When the telescopes were 
turned in that direttion, the planet Neptune was discovered 
at precisely the point deductively forecast. 

The elaboration of an idea through reasoning it out may 
sometimes lead to its rejection. But in thinking out its 
details we may for the first time note its appositeness to the 
solution of the problem in hand. The gross suggestion may 
seem wild and absurd, but when its bearings and conse- 
quences are logically developed there may be some item in 
the development which dovetails into the problem as its 
solution. William James gives as the outstanding feature of 
reasoning, " sagacity, or the perception of the essence." * By 
this he meant the ability to single out of a complex situation 
or idea the significant or key feature. It is only by a logical 
development of a ( suggested solution to a problem that it is 
possible to hit upon tjbe essence of the matter for a particular 
situation, to single QUt of a gross total situation, the key to 
the phenomenon. "In reasoning, A may suggest B; but B, 
instead of being an Idea which is eimply obeyed by u% is an 
idea which suggests the distinct additional idea C. And 
where the train of suggestion is one of reasoning distinctively 
so-called as contrasted wit|i pa^e 'revery/ * * . the i<Jeas bear 
certain, inward relations fr> each other which we must care- 
fully examine. The result C yielded by a true act of reason* 
ing is apt to be a thing vohmtarily wupJU, such as the means 
to a proposed end, tfre .ground for an qb$erved effect, or tib$ 
effect of an adorned ^B> W * .Tkjs what at first sight might 

Jfaroes: Psychology, vol. nj, p, $&, B&f , f 


seem a fantastic suggestion may, when its bearings are logi- 
cally followed out, be seen in one of its aspects to be the key 
to the solution of a problem. To primitive man it might have 
seemed absurd to suggest that flowing water might be used 
as power; to the man in Franklin's day that the same force 
that was exhibited in the lightning might be used in trans- 
portation and in lighting houses. 1 

But no thinking is conclusive until after the experimental 
certification and warranting of the idea which has been held 
in mind as the solution of the problem. By deduction, by 
logical elaboration of an idea, we find its adoption involves 
certain consequences. Some of the logical consequences 
which follow from an idea may indicate that it is a plausible 
solution of our problem. But no matter how plausible a 
suggestion looks, until it is verified by observation or experi- 
ment the thinking process is not concluded, is not finished, 
as we say, conclusively. When an idea or a suggestion has 
been developed, and seen to involve as an idea certain 
inevitable logical consequences, the idea must be tested bjr 
further observation and experiment. Suggestions arise from 
facts and must be tested by them. Until the suggestion is 
verified, it remains merely a suggestion, a theory, a hypothe- 
sis, an idea. It is only when the consequences implied logi- 

* James gives an illuminating passage on the importance of the effective- 
ness of reasoning things out: "I have a student's lamp, of which the flame 
vibrates most unpleasantly unless the collar which bears the chimney be 
raised about a sixteenth of an inch. I learned the remedy after much toj> 
merit by accident, and now always keep the collar up with a small wedge, 
But my procedure is a mere association of twq totals, diseased object and 
remedy. One learned in pneumatics could have named the cause of the dis- 
ease, and thence inferred the remedy immediately By many measurements 
of triangles, one might find their area always equal to their height multiplied 
by half their base, and one might formulate an empirical law to that effect*, 
But a reasouer saves himself all this trouble, by seeing that it is the essence 
(pro hac vice) of a triangle to be the half of a parallelogram whose area is the 1 
height into the entire base. To see this he must invent additional lines; and 
the geometer must often draw such to get at the essential properties he may 
require in a figure. The essence consists in some relation of ike figure to the 
new Unes, a relation not obvious at all until they are put in. The geometer's 
eaffacity lies m the invention of the new lines." (Psychology, vol. n, pp. 33$- 


cally in the very idea itself are found in the actual situation 
that the idea is accepted as a solution to the problem. Some- 
times the suggestion may be verified by observation; some- 
times conditions must be deliberately arranged for testing its 
adequacy. In either case it is only when the facts of the situ- 
ation correspond to the conditions theoretically involved that 
the tentative idea is accepted as a conclusion. 

Thus a treatment that is regarded by the doctor as a pos- 
sible cure can be called an actual cure only when its benef- 
icent results are observed. The supposition about the planet 
Neptune is only verified when the planet is actually observed 
in the heavens. Thinking ends, as it begins, in observation. 
At the beginning the facts are carefully examined to see pre- 
cisely where the difficulty lies; at the end they are again 
examined to see whether an idea, an entertained hypothesis, 
a suggested solution, can be verified in actual observable 

The quality of thinking Suggestion, Thequality of think* 
ing varies, first, with the fertility of suggestion of the analyzing 
mind. Ease of suggestion, in the first place, depends on in* 
nate individual differences, There are some minds so con* 
$tituted that every fact provokes a multitude of suggestions. 
Readiness in responding with " ideas ;; to any experience is 
dependent primarily on initial differences in resilience and 
responsiveness* But differences in training and past experi- 
ence are also contributory. A man who has much experience 
in a given field, say in automobile repairing, will, given a 
difficulty, not only think of more suggestions, but think more 
rapidly in that field. 

Again persons differ in range or number of suggestions that 
occur. The quality of the thinking process and of the results 
it produces depends, in part, on the variety of suggestions which 
occur to an individual in the solution of a given problem. If 
too few suggestions occur one may fail to hit upon any prom* 
feing solution. If too many suggestions occur one msy be 
too confused to arrive at any conclusion at all- Whether an 


individual has few or many suggestions depends largely on 
native differences. It depends, also, however in part, on 
acquaintance with a given field. And the fertility of sugges- 
tions may be increased by a careful survey and re-survey of 
the facts at hand, and by the deliberate searching-out of fur- 
ther facts from which further suggestions may be derived. 
Suggestions differ, finally, in regard to depth or significance; 
by nature and by training, individuals produce ideas of vary- 
ing degrees of significance in the solution of problems. Ease 
and versatility of suggestion not infrequently connote super- 
ficiality ; to make profound and far-reaching suggestions takes 

It is further requisite, as already pointed out, that the ana- 
lyzing mind be free from prejudice. Thinking is continually 
qualified, as we have seen, by preferences and aversions. 
Every prejudice, every a priori belief we have, literally pre- 
judges the inquiry. Whenever we are moved by a "pre- 
dominant passion," we cannot survey the facts impartially. 
It is hard to think clearly and justly about people whom we 
love or hate, or to estimate with precision the morality of 
actions toward which we are moved by very strong impulses, 
It is only the mind that remains resolutely emancipated from 
the compulsions of habit and circumstances, that persists in 
surveying facts as they are, letting the chips, so to speak, fall 
where they will, that can be really effective in thinking. In 
the physical sciences it is comparatively easy to start with no 
prejudices; in social inquiries where we are bound by tradi- 
tions, loyalties, and antipathies it is much more difficult. 

Not the least essential to effective thinking is persistence 
and thoroughness of investigation. Since we are primarily 
creatures of action, we crave definiteness and immediacy of 
decision, and there is a constant temptation to rush to a con- 
clusion. In order to attain genuine completeness of the facts 
and certainty and accuracy as to what the facts are, long, un- 
wavering persistence is required. There must be persistence, 
moreover, not merely because of the length of time and the 


amount of labor involved in the collection of data; steadiness 
is required in holding in mind the end or purpose of the inves- 
tigation. Too often in inquiry into the facts of human rela- 
tions, the specific problem is forgotten and facts are collected 
with an indiscriminate omnivorousness. There is in such 
cases plodding, but of an unenlightened and fruitless sort. 
Not only persistency but consistency is required. The inves- 
tigation must be steadily carried on with persistent and un- 
wavering reference to the specific business in hand* 

Effective thinking depends further on familiarity with the 
field of facts under investigation. Even the most ready and 
fertile of minds, the most orderly habits of thought, are at a 
Ios3 without a store of material; that is ? facts from which 
suggestions may arise. And this store of materials can only 
be attained through a thoroughgoing acquaintance with the 
particular field of inquiry. Thinking aims to explain the 
relations between facts, and an intimate acquaintance with 
facts involved in a given situation is prerequisite to any gen* 
eralisation whatsoever. 

White the native fertility of given minds cannot be con- 
trolled, suggestions can be controlled indirectly. Suggestions 
arise from the data at hand, but the data themselves change 
unite more precise conditions of observation, and tfaa sugges- 
tfeE$ that arise from them change in consequence. The 
wWe elaborate apparatus of scie&ce, its instruments of pre- 
cision, are designed ta yield an axact detembmtloi* of the 
predsemtureofthedataathaBd. The scientist attempts to 
prevent " reading^ " of meanings- " Readiug-ia " of mean- 
tags may be due to various causes. In the first place there 
may b$ purely pfeymcaJ eawes: a dim light, a fog, & emefced 
window-pane are examples of how, ordinary observation may 
lead us astray. Again, |>hyaak^eal causes may b at work 
to distort pertsaAum: im,^feions m the set orgam, fa 
%ie, illness, and the like are ^wapte. But not teart amoug 
1$& era** of error must beset p^o%ieal mmm, Tfatt it, 



like or dislike, expect or recall We see things the way we 
want them to be, or the way previous experience has taught 
us to expect them to be, 

Both physiological and psychological causes maybe checked 
up by instruments. Indeed, one of the chief utilities of instru- 
ments of precision is that they do serve to check up personal 
error. They prevent scientific inquirers from reading in 
meanings to which they are led by hope, fear, preference, or 
aversion. They help us to see the facts as they are, not as for 
various social and personal reasons we want or expect them 
to be. They help to give precise and permanent impressions 
which are not dependent for their discovery or for their preser- 
vation on the precariousnessof human observation ormemory. 

Classification. Next only in importance to accurate obser- 
vation of the facts is their classification. Objects of experi- 
ence as they come to us through the senses appear in a se- 
quence which is random and chaotic. But in order to deal 
effectively with our experience we must arrange facts accord- 
ing to their likenesses and differences. Whenever we dis- 
cover certain striking similarities between facts, we classify 
them, place them in a class, knowing that what will apply to 
one will apply to all Some logicians go so far as to say that 
science cannot go any further than accurate classification. 
In the words of Poincar6: 

The most interesting facts are those which may serve many times; 
these are the facts which Have a chance of coming up agaipu We 
have been so fortunate as to have been bom in a world where tliere 
are such. Suppose that instead of sixty chemical elements there 
were sixty milliards of them, that they were not some common, the 
others rare, but tha,t they were equally distributed. Then, every 
time we picked up a new pebble there would be great probability of 
its being formed of some unknown substance; all that we blew of 
other pebbles would be worthless for it; before each new object w;e 
should be as the new-bora babe; like it we could only obey our ca- 
prices or our needs. Biologists would be just as much at a loss if 
there were only individuals and no species, and if heredity did not 
make sons like their fathers. 1 

* Poincar; Foundations of Science, p, 363. 


The aim of classification in science is grouping in such a way 
as to make manifest at once similarities in the behavior of 
objects. That characteristic is selected as a basis of classi- 
fication with which is correlated the greatest number of other 
characteristics belonging to the facts in question. It would 
be possible to classify all living things according to color, but 
such a classification would be destitute of scientific value. 
Biology offers some interesting examples of how an illuminat- 
ing classification may be made on the basis of a single charac- 
teristic. It has been found, for example, that the differences 
or resemblances of animals are correlated with corresponding 
differences or resemblances in their teeth. In general, the 
function of classification may be summarized in Huxley's 
definition as modified by Jevons: 

By the classification of any series of objects is meant the actual 
or ideal arrangement together of those things which are like and the 
separation of those things which are unlike, the purpose of the 
arrangement being, primarily, to disclose the correlations or laws of 
union of properties and circumstances, and, secondarily, to facilitate 
the operations of the mind in clearly conceiving and retaining in 
memory the characters of the object in question, 

It should be noted that the object of classification is not 
simply to indicate similarities but to indicate distinctions or 
differences. In scientific inquiry, differences are as crucial in 
the forming of generalizations as similarities. It is only pos- 
sible to classify a given fact under a scientific generalization 
when the given fact is set off from other facts, when it is seea 
to be the result of certain special conditions. 

If a man infers from a single sample of grain as to the grade of 
wheat of the car as a whole, it is induction, and under certain circum* 
stances, a sound induction; other cases are resorted to simply for the 
sake of rendering that induction more guarded and correct. la the 
case of the various samples of grain, it is the fact that the samples 
are unlike, at least in the part of the carload from which they are 
taken, that is important. Were it not for this unlikeaess, their like* 
ness in quality would be of no avail in assisting inference. 1 
*Dewey: Bow We Think, pp, 89-90. 


Experimental variation of conditions. In forming our gen- 
eralizations from the observation of situations as they occur 
in Nature, we are at a disadvantage. If we observe cases 
just as we find them, there is much present that is irrelevant 
to our problem; much that is of genuine importance in its 
solution is hidden or obscure. In experimental investigation 
we are, in the words of Sir John Herschel, "active observers"; 
we deliberately invent crucial or test cases. That is, we de- 
liberately arrange conditions so that every factor is definitely 
known and recognized. We then introduce into this set of 
completely known conditions one change, one new circum- 
stance, and observe its effect. In Mill's phrase, we "take a 
phenomenon home with us," and watch its behavior. Mill 
states clearly the outstanding advantage of experimentation 
over observation: 

When we can produce a phenomenon artificially, we can take it, as 
it were, home with us, and observe it in the midst of circumstances 
with which in all other respects we are accurately acquainted. If 
we desire to know what are the effects of the cause A, and are able to 
produce A by means at our disposal, we can generally determine at 
our own discretion . . . the whole of the circumstances which shall 
be present along with it; and thus, knowing exactly the simultaneous 
state of everything else which is within the reach of A's influence, 
we have only to observe what alteration is made in that state by the 
presence of A. 

For example, by the electric machine we can produce, in the midst 
of known circumstances, the phenomena which Nature exhibits on 
a grander scale in the form of lightning and thunder. Now let any 
one consider what amount of knowledge of the effects and laws of 
electric agency mankind could have obtained from the mere observa- 
tion of thunderstorms, and compare it with that which they have 
gained, and may expect to gain, from electrical and galvanic experi- 
ments. . . . 

When we have succeeded in isolating the phenomenon wMch is 
the subject of inquiry, by placing it among known circumstances, 
we may produce further variations of circumstances to any extent, 
and of such kinds as we think best calculated to bring the laws of the 
phenomenon into a clear light. By introducing one well-defined 
circunistance after another into the experiment, we obtain assurance 


of the manner in which the phenomenon behaves under an indefinite 
variety of possible circumstances. Thus, chemists, after having 
obtained some newly discovered substance in a pure state, . . . Intro 
duce various other substances, one by one, to ascertain whether i1 
will combine with them, or decompose them, and with wh^t result 
and also apply heat or electricity or pressure, to discover what wil 
happen to the substance under each of these circumstances. 1 

Through experiment, we are thus enabled to observe the 
relation of specific elements in a situation. We are, further- 
more, enabled to observe phenomena which are so rare in oc- 
currence that it is impossible to form generalizations from 
them or improbable that we should even notice them; "We 
might have to wait yeara or centuries to meet accidentally 
with facts which we can readily produce at any moment in a 
laboratory; and it is probable that many of the chemical sub- 
stances now known, and many excessively useful products 
would never have been discovered at all, by waiting till Na- 
ture presented them spontaneously to our observation." And 
phenomena, such as that of electricity, which can only be 
understood when th conditions of their occurrence are va- 
ried, are presented to us in Nature most frequently in & 
fixed and invariable form. 

Generalizations, their elaboration and testing. So far 
we have been concerned with the steps in the control of sug- 
gestion, the reexamination of the facts so that significant 
suggestions may be derived, and the elimination of the sig- 
nificant from the insignificant in the elements of the situation 
as it first confronts us. In logically elaborating a suggestion 
as we have already seen, we trace out the bearings of a given 
situation. We expand it; we see what it implm, what it 
means. Thus, if we came, for example, to a meeting that 
had been scheduled, and found no one present, we might 
have several solutions arise in our minds. The meeting we 
might suppose, had been transferred to another room ' If 
that were the case, there would probably be $ome notice 
posted. In all cases of deductive elaboration, we go through 

' Mill; 


what might be called the If-Then process. If such-and-siich is 
the case, then such-and-such will follow, We can then verify 
our suggested solution to a problem, by going back to the 
facts, to see whether they correspond with the implications 
of our suggestion. We may, to take another example, think 
that a man who enters our office is an insurance agent, or a 
book solicitor who had said he would call upon us at a definite 
date. If such is the case, he will say such-and-such things. 
If he does say them, then our suggestion is seen to be correct* 
The advantages of developing a suggestion include the fact 
that some link in the logical chain may bear a more obvious 
relation to our problem than did the undeveloped suggestion 

The systematic sciences consist of such sets of principles 
so related that any single term implies certain others, which 
imply certain others and so on ad infinitum. 

After the facts have been elaborated, the generalization, 
however plausible it may seem, must be subjected to experi- 
mental eorroboration. That is, if a suggestion is found 
through local elaboration to mean -A, #, C, then the situation 
must be reexamined to see if the facts to be found tally with 
the facts deduced. In the case cited, the suggestion that the 
man who entered the room was the insurance agent we ex- 
pected would be verified if he immediately broached the sub- 
ject and the fact, say, of a previous conversation. In the case 
of disease, if the illness is typhoid, we shall find certain specific 
conditions in the patient. If these are found, the suggestion 
of typhoid is verified. 

The rdiability of generalizations made by this scientific 
procedure varies according to several factors. It varies, in 
the first place, according to the correspondence of the pre- 
dictions made on the basis of the generalization, with subse- 
quent events. The reason we say the law of gravitation holds 
true is because in every instance where observations or ex- 
periments have been made, the results have tallied precisely 
with expectations based upon the generalization. We can, to 


a certain extent, determine the reliability of a generalization 
before comparing our predictions with subsequent events. 
If a generalization made contradicts laws that have been 
established in so many instances that they are practically be- 
yond peradventure, it is suspect. A law, for example, that 
should be an exception to the laws of motion or gravitation, 
is a priori dubious* 

If an induction conflicts with stronger inductions, or with conclu- 
sions capable of being correctly deduced from them, then, unless on 
reconsideration it should appear that some of the stronger inductions 
have been expressed with greater universality than their evidence war- 
rants, the weaker one must give way. The opinion so long preva- 
lent that a comet, or any other unusual appearance in the heavenly 
regions, was the precursor of calamities to mankind, or to those at 
least who witnessed it; the belief in the veracity of the oracles of 
Delphi or Dodona; the reliance on astrology, or on the weather 
prophecies in almanacs, were doubtless inductions supposed to be 
grounded on experience. . * , What has really put an end to these 
insufficient inductions is their inconsistency with the stronger induc- 
tions subsequently obtained by scientific inquiry, respecting the 
causes on which terrestrial events really depend. 1 

The quantitative basis of scientific procedure. Science is 
science, some scientists insist, in so far as it is mathematical. 
That is, in the precise determination of facts, and in their 
repetition with a view to their exact determination, quanti* 
ties must be known. The sciences have developed in exact- 
ness, in so far as they have succeeded in expressing their 
formulations in numerical terms. The physical sciences ; such 
as physics and chemistry, which have been able to frame their 
generalizations from precise quantities, have been immeasur- 
ably more certain and secure than such sciences as psychology 
and sociology, where the measurement of exact quantities is 
more difficult and rare. Jevons writes in his Principles of 

As physical science advances, it becomes more and more accurately 
quantitative. Questions of simple logical fact resolve themselves 

1 Mill; Logic (London, 1872), vol. i, pp. 370-7L 


after a while into questions^ degree, time, distance, or weight. 
Forces hardly suspected to exist by one generation are clearly recog- 
nized by the next, and precisely measured by the third generation. * 
The history of science exhibits a constant progress from 
rude guesses to precise measurement of quantities. In the 
earliest history of astronomy there were attempts at quanti- 
tative determinations, very crude, of course, in comparison 
with the exactness of present-day scientific methods. 

Every branch of knowledge commences with quantitative notions 
of a very rude character. After we have far progressed, it is often 
amusing to look back into the infancy of the science, and contrast 
present with past methods. At Greenwich Observatory in the pres- 
ent day, the hundredth part of a second is not thought an inconsider- 
able portion of time. The ancient Chaldseans recorded an eclipse to 
the nearest hour, and the early Alexandrian astronomers thought it 
superfluous to distinguish between the edge and center of the sun. 
By the introduction of the astrolabe, Ptolemy, and the later Alex- 
andrian astronomers could determine the places of the heavenly 
bodies within about ten minutes of arc. Little progress then ensued 
for thirteen centuries, until Tycho Brahe made the first great step 
toward accuracy, not only by employing better instruments, but 
even more by ceasing to regard an instrument as correct. ... He 
also took notice of the effects of atmospheric refraction, and suc- 
ceeded in attaining an accuracy often sixty times as great as that of 
Ptolemy. Yet Tycho and Hevelius often erred several minutes in 
the determination of a star's place, and it was a great achievement of 
Roemer and Flamsteed to reduce this error to seconds. Bradley, the 
modern Hipparchus, carried on the improvement, his errors in right 
ascension, according to Bessel, being under one second of time, and 
those of declination under four seconds of arc. In the present day 
the average error of a single observation is probably reduced to the 
half or the quarter of what it was in Bradley's time; and further 
extreme accuracy is attained by the multiplication of observations, 
and their skilful combination according to the theory of error. Some 
of the more important constants . , . have been determined within 
a tenth part of a second of space. 2 

The precise measurement of quantities is important because 
we can, in the first place, only through quantitative determi- 
nations be sure we have made accurate observations, observa- 

* Jevons; Principle* of 8cience, p. 270, * Ibid., pp. 271-72, 


tions uncolored by personal idiosyncrasies. Both errors of 
observation and errors of judgment are checked up and 
averted by exact quantitative measurements. The relations 
of phenomena, moreover, are so complex that specific causes 
and effects can only be understood when they are given pre- 
cise quantitative determination. In investigating the solubil- 
ity of salts, for example, we find variability depending on dif- 
ferences in temperature, pressure, the presence of other salt$ 
already dissolved, and the like. The solubility of salt in 
water differs again from its solubility in alcohol, ether, carbon, 
bisulphide. Generalization about the solubility of salt, 
therefore, depends on the exact measurement of the phenom- 
enon under all these conditions. 1 

The importance of exact measurement in scientific discov- 
ery and generalization may be illustrated briefly from one 
instance in the history of chemistry. The discovery of the 
chemical element argon came about through some exact meas- 
urements by Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay of the 
nitrogen and the oxygen in a glass flask. It was found that 
the nitrogen derived from air was not altogether pure; that 
is, there were very minute differences in the weighings of ni- 
trogen made from certain of its compounds and the weight 
obtained by removing oxygen, water, traces of carbonic mid t 
and other impurities from the atmospheric air. It was found 
that the very slightly heavier weight in one case was e&used 
by the presence of argon (about one and one third times as 
heavy as nitrogen) and some other elementary gases. The 
discovery was here clearly due to the accurate maaaurameat 
which made possible the discovery of this minute discrepancy. 
, It must be noted in general that accuracy to measurement 
is immediately dependent on the instruments of precision 
available. It has frequently been pointed out that the Greeks, 
although incomparably f re^t, fertile, and direct fa thdr tMak- 
ing, yet made such a combatively slender <wtrffonti0a to 
scientific tno wledge precisely beeaose they had && iMteimenti 
* See Jerows, ps $79 it 


for exact measurement. The thermometer made possible the 
science of heat. The use of the balance has been in large part 
responsible for advances in chemistry. 

The degree to which sciences have attained quantitative 
accuracy varies among the physical sciences. The phenom- 
ena of light are not yet subject to accurate measurement; 
many natural phenomena have not yet been made the subject 
of measurement at all Such are the intensity of sound, the ' 
phenomena of taste and smell, the magnitude of atoms, the 
temperature of the electric spark or of the sun's atmosphere. 1 

The sciences tend, in general, to become more and more 
quantitative. All phenomena " exist in space and involve 
molecular movements, measurable in velocity and extent." 
The ideal of all sciences is thus to reduce all phenomena to 
measurements of mass and motion. This ideal is obviously 
far from being attained- Especially in the social sciences 
are quantitative measurements difficult, and in these sciences 
we must remain therefore at best in the region of shrewd 
guesses or fairly reliable probability. 

Statistics and probability. While in the social sciences, 
exact quantitative measurements are difficult, they are to an 
extent possible, and to the extent that they are possible we 
can arrive at fairly accurate generalizations as to the probable 
occurrence of phenomena. There are many phenomena where 
the elements are so complex that they cannot be analyzed 
and invariable causal relations established. 

In a study of the phenomena of the weather, for example, the phe- 
nomena are so exceedingly complex that anything approaching a 
complete statement of their elements is quite out of the question, 
The fallibility of most popular generalisations in these fields is evi- 
dence t>f the difficulty of dealing with such facts. Must we be con* 
tent then simply to guess at such phenomena? ... In instances of 
this sort, another method * , . becomes important: The Metkxl of 
Statistics. In statistics w have an exact enumeration of cases. If 
a small number of cases does not enable us to detect the causal rela- 
tions of a phenomenon, it sometimes happens that a large number, 

See Jevonfl, p. 273. 


accurately counted, and taken from a field widely extended in time 
and space, will lead to a solution of the problem. 1 

If we find, in a wide variety of instances, two phenomena 
occurring in a certain constant correlation, we infer a causal 
relation. If the variations in the frequency of one correspond 
to variations in the frequency of the other, there is probability 
of more than connection by coincidence. 

The correlation between phenomena may be measured 
mathematically; it is possible to express in figures the exact 
relations between the occurrence of one phenomenon and 
the occurrence of another. The number which expresses this 
relation is called the coefficient of correlation. This coeffi- 
cient expresses relationship in terms of the mean values of the 
two series of phenomena by measuring the amount each indi- 
vidual phenomenon varies from its respective mean. Sup* 
pose, for example, that in correlating crime and unemploy- 
ment, the coefficient of correlation were found to be .47. If in 
every case of unemployment crime were found and in every 
case of crime, unemployment, the coefficient of correlation 
would be +L If crime were never found in unemployment, 
and unemployment never in crime, the coefficient of correla- 
tion would be ~1, indicating a perfect inverse relationship. 
A coefficient of would indicate that there is no relationship. 
The coefficient of .47 would accordingly indicate a significant 
but not a "high'* correlation between crime and unemploy- 

We cannot consider here all the details of statistical meth- 
ods, but attention may be called to a few of the more signifi- 
cant features of the process. Statistics is a science, and con* 
sists in much more than the mere counting of cases. 

With the collection of statistical data, only the first step has been 
taken. The statistics in that condition are only raw material show* 
ing nothing. They are not an instrument of investigation any more 
than a kiln of bricks is a monument of architecture* Tbey J*eed to 

1 Jones; Logw t Inductive and Deductive p. 190, 


be arranged^classified, tabulated, and brought into connection with 
other statistics by the statistician. Then only do they become an 
instrument of investigation, just as a tool is nothing more than a 
mass of wood or metal, except in the hands of a skilled workman. 1 

The essential steps in a statistical investigation are: (1) the 
collection of material, (2) its tabulation, (3) the summary, 
and (4) a critical examination of the results. The terms are 
almost self-explanatory. There are, however, several general 
points of method to be noted. 

In the collection of data a wide field must be covered, to be 
sure that we are dealing with invariable relations instead of 
with mere coincidences, "or overemphasizing the importance 
of one out of a number of cooperating causes." Tabulation 
of the data collected is very important, since classification of 
the data does much to suggest the causal relations sought* 
The headings under which data will be collected depend on 
the purposes of the investigation. In general, statistics can 
suggest generalizations, rather than establish them. They 
indicate probability, not invariable relation. 2 

Science as an instrument of htjman progress. We have, in 
an earlier section of this chapter, referred to the practical 
value of science. "Man's power of deliberate control of his 
own affairs depends upon ability to direct energies to use; an 
ability which is, in turn, dependent upon insight into nature's 
processes. Whatever natural science may be for the special- 
ist, ... it is knowledge of the conditions of human action." s 
1 And the wider, the more complete and the more penetrating 
our knowledge of the world in which we live, the more ex- 
tended become the boundaries of human action. Through 
a knowledge of natural processes, men have passed from a 
frightened subjection to Nature to its conscious control. And 
the fruits of that control are, as we have already had occa- 
sion to notice, all-pervading in practical life- That complete 
transformation of life known as the Industrial Revolution, 

* Mayo-Smith: Statistics and Sociology, p. 18. 

* See Jones: Logic, pp. 213-25, for a discussion of Probability. 

* Dewey: Democracy and Education, p, 267. 


which came about with such swiftness and completeness in 
the early nineteenth century, and whose effects have not yet 
ceased to accumulate, was the direct outcome of the appli- 
cation of the experimental science which had begun in the 
sixteenth. Some of the consequences of the application of 
theoretical investigation to practical life have already been 
noted. There are first the more obvious facts of the inven- 
tions, great and small the railways, steamships, electric 
transportation, automobiles, and telephones which have 
changed in countless details our daily life. There are the 
profound and all-pervasive changes which have been brought 
about in industrial and social relations: the building-up of 
our vast industrial centers, the change from small-scale 
handicrafts to large-scale machine production, the factory 
system, with its concomitants of immensely increased re- 
sources and immensely complicated problems of human 
life. Science in the short span of three centuries has shown 
how rapid and immediate could be the fruits of human con- 
trol of Nature, and its further fruits are incalculable. 

Science has indeed already begun to affect men's attitude 
towards experience as well as their material progress.^ It is 
only when men set out with the conscious realization that in- 
telligence does make a difference in the world, that science 
becomes articulate. Science is the guarantee of progress. It 
has shown men that the future is to some extent in their own 
hands; that by dint of a laborious and detailed application of 
intelligence to the processes of nature, those processes can be 
controlled in the interests of human welfare, 

Science has led inen to look to the future instead of the past* ^ The 
coincidence of the ideal of progress with the advance of science is not 
a mere coincidence. Before tHs advance men placed the golden age 
in remote antiquity. How they face the future with a firm belief 
that intelligence properly used can do away with evils once thought 
inevitable. To subjugate devastating disease is no longer a dream j 
the hope of abolishing poverty is not Utopian. 1 

1 Bewey: Democracy and MucaMon, pp. 262-63. 


But science may be used for any end. It reveals the rela- 
tions of phenomena, relations which hold for all men. It 
shows what causes are connected with what consequents, and, 
as already pointed out, in the knowledge of causes lies the 
possible control of effects. We can secure the results we de- 
sire, by discovering what antecedents must first be established. 
Science is thus a fund of common resources. Specific causes 
are revealed to be connected with specific effects, and men, by 
making a choice of antecedents, can secure the consequences 
they desire. But which effects they will desire depends on the 
instincts, standards, and habits of the individual, and the 
traditions and ideals of the group. A knowledge of chemistry 
may be used for productive industrial processes, or in the i&* 
vention of poison gas. Expert acquaintance with psychology 
and educational methods may be used to impress upon a 
nation an arbitrary type of life (an accusation justly brought 
against the Prussian educational system), or to promote the 
specific possibilities that each individual displays. 

Not only are the fruits of scientific inquiry used in different 
ways by different individuals and groups, but scientific in- 
quiry is itself affected by the prevailing interests and mode 
of life. What inquiries shall be furthered depends on what 
the individual or group feels it important to know, From 
a social point of view, certain scientific developments are of 
more urgency and imperativeness than others. During an 
emergency, as during the Great War, it might be necessary 
to turn all the energies of scientific men into immediately 
productive pursuits. And, since the pursuit of inquiry on a 
large scale demands large resources, those researches which 
give promise of beneficent human consequences will the more 
readily command social sanction and approval and will be 
developed at the expense of more remote speculations how- 
ever intrinsically interesting these latter may be. 

Science has proved so valuable a human instrument that it 
fcas attained a moral responsibility. Men have increasingly 
come to reaJw that the pressing problems of our industrial 


life require for their solution not the confusions and incompe- 
tences of passion and prejudice, but an application of the 
fruits of scientific inquiry. Science has already so completely 
demonstrated its vast fruitfulness in human welfare, that it 
must be watched with jealous vigilance. It must result as it 
began, in the improvement of human welfare. 1 But what 
constitutes human welfare is a question which leads us into 
the final activity of the Career of Reason, Morals and Moral 
Valuation, man's attempt to determine what happiness is, 
and how he may attain it. 

1 We have already noted the danger of too complete a commitment of 
science to immediately practical results. This narrows instead of broadening 
possibility. As Mr. F. P. Keppel points out in a recent article, ** Scholarship 
in War " (Columbia University Quarterly, July, 1919) , some of the moat im- 
portant and immediately practical contributions during the Great War came 
from the ranks of those who would be regarded as " pure theorists/* 


The pre-conditions of morality Instinct, impulse, and 
desire. In Art and Science, man attempts to transform the 
world of nature into conditions more in conformity with his 
desires. In the enterprise of Morals, man attempts to dis- 
cover how to control his own nature in the attainment of hap- 
piness. We have already had occasion to see that Art, in the 
broad sense of human contrivance, is made necessary by the 
incongruity between nature and human nature. We shall 
examine now the conditions which make it necessary and 
make it possible for man to consider and to control those 
elementary impulses with which he is endowed. 

The origin of the moral problem will become clearer after 
a brief recapitulation of those elements of original nature 
which form the basis of all human action. We have seen 
that human beings are equipped, apart from education or 
training, with certain tendencies to act in certain definite 
ways, given certain definite stimuli. Any single activity of 
an average human being in a modern civilized community is 
compounded of so many modifications of original tendencies 
to action that these latter seem often altogether obliterated. 
The conditions of civilized life, moreover, place continual 
checks on the free activity of any given impulse, and there 
are so many stimuli playing upon an individual at once that 
the responses called out tend to injiibit each other. The 
particular thing we say to an acquaintance we happen to 
meet i$ not determined by a single original impulse, by love 
or hate, fear or sympathy, pugnacity or pity. It is a com* 
pound of some or of most of these* On the other hand, no 
matter how complicated or sophisticated human action be- 
comes, it is built out of these same impulses, which wete 


operative when human beings had not yet passed out of 
savagery. We may check and control our responses through 
habitual repressions, through deliberate forethought, through 
conscious or mechanical acquiescence in the ways of the 
group among which we live. But these original impulses are 
still the mainspring of our activities. 

The complex, highly artificial character of our civilization 
often obscures the presence of these powerful instinctive 
tendencies, but that they are present and powerful several 
facts bear witness. They manifest themselves, as the newer 
psychology of the subconscious has repeatedly pointed out, 
in roundabout ways; they are, in the technical phrase, sub- 
limated. Instincts find, as it were, substitute ^ realizations. 
This process of sublimation of unfulfilled desire has been 
noted particularly with regard to the sex instinct, but the 
principle applies to the others. 

The continual suppression of instincts results in various 
forms of morbidity, in what Graham Wallas calls "baulked 
dispositions," To say that instincts are repressed, is to say 
there is a maladjustment between the individual as he comes 
into the world, and the world as he finds it. This maladjust- 
ment may vary in intensity. It may be exhibited in nothing 
more serious than boredom, or petulance, or hyper-sensitive-- 
ness. It may be a chronic sense of not fitting in, of being 
to&t in a blind alley. One has but to review bne's list of 
acquaintances to see how many people there are who feel 
somehow frustrated in the work they happen to be doing, 
who feel themselves inexplicably at odds with the world. 
Grajiam Walla$ well describes the situation when he writes: 

-For V?Q caj^rt; in Saint Paul's sense mortify our dispositions. If 
ihey are not stimulated, they <Jd not therefore die, aor is the human 
beiiig what he would be if they had never existed. If we leave im- 
Stimulated, or, to ttoe a shorter tern, if we *' baulk" any one of out 
main disposition, Curiosity, Property, Trial and Error, Sex, a&d the 
rest, we pwjuce in ouiselves a, state af nervous strain* It may be 
desirable in any particular ea$e of conduct that we should do so, but 
we ought to know what we are doing. 


The baulking of each disposition produces its own type of strain: 
but the distinctions between the types are, so far, unnamed and un- 
recognized, and a trained psychologist would do a real service to 
civilized life if he would carefully observe and describe them. 1 

The presence of instinctive activities is seen in stark im- 
mediacy and directness every now and then in civilized life. 
Lynchings and mob violence in general are illustrations of 
what happens when groups throw to the winds the multiple 
inhibitions of custom and law. And the records of the crimi- 
nal courts exhibit more cases than are commonly realized of 
sheer crimes of violence. In some instances these can be set 
down as pathological, but in many more they are normal 
instincts breaking through the fixed channels set by public 
opinion, tradition, and legal compulsion. On a smaller scale 
an outburst of anger, a fit of temper, sulk or spleen, exhibits 
the enduring though often obscured presence of instinctive 
tendencies in civilized life. 

The conflict of interests between men and groups. How 
comes it, then, that men whose whole activity is a complica- 
tion of these powerful original tendencies to action should not 
follow these native impulses freely? The answer is that men 
not only live, but live together. Wherever human wants, as 
in any group, even a small one, must be filled through co*- 
operation, accommodation, compromise, give-and-take, ad- 
justment must be made. "Han," to adapt Kant's phrase, 
*' cannot get on with his fellows; and he cannot get on without 
them." Other men are necessary to help us fulfill our desires, 
and yet our desires conflict with theirs. The dual fact of co- 
operation and conflict is, in a sense, the root of the moral 
problem. How is one individual to attain happiness without 
at the same time interfering with the happiness of ottos? 
How can the desires with which all men come into the world be 
fulfilled for all men? 

The adjustment of these problems is at once compHcate4 
and facilitated by the fact that one of man's most powerful 

* Wftllae: The Great Society, p. 6& 


operative when human beings had not yet passed out of 
savagery. We may check and control our responses through 
habitual repressions, through deliberate forethought, through 
conscious or mechanical acquiescence in the ways of the 
group among which we live. But these original impulses are 
still the mainspring of our activities. ^ 

The comply highly artificial character of our civilization 
often obscures the presence of these powerful instinctive 
tendencies, but that they are present and powerful several 
facts bear witness. They manifest themselves, as the newer 
psychology of the subconscious has repeatedly pointed out, 
in roundabout ways; they are, in the technical phrase, sub- 
limated. Instincts find, as it were, substitute realizations. 
This process of sublimation of unfulfilled desire has been 
noted particularly with regard to the sex instinct, but the 
principle applies to the others. 

The continual suppression of instincts results in various 
f6rms of morbidity, in what Graham Wallas calls "baulked 
tiisposftions," To say that instincts are repressed, is to say 
there is a maladjustment between the individual as he comes 
into the world, and the world as he finds it. This maladjust- 
ment may vary in intensity. It may be exhibited in nothing 
more serious than boredom, or petulance, or hypersensitive-* 
Bess. It may be a chronic sense 6f not fitting in, of being 
lost in a blind afley. One has but to review bne's list of 
^equaintaaces to see how many people there are who feel 
Somehow frustrated in the work they happen to be doing, 
who feel themselves inexplicably at odds with th0 wrM 
Graham Wallas well describes the situation when he writes: 

J*or we cannot in Saint Paul's sense mortify our depositions. If 
they are not stimulated, they do not therefore die, fcor is the toman 
being what he wcmld be if they had never existed. If TO leave un* 
stimulated, or, to use a shorter term, if we "baulk" aay OB of our 
main dispositions, Curiosity, Property, Trial and Error, Sex, and the 
rest, we produce in ourselves a state of nervous strain. It may be 
desirably IB any particular case of conduct that we should do so, but 
,we ought to know what we are doing. 


The baulking of each disposition produces its own ft* of strain* 
but the distinction between the types are, so te, mSSdaSS 
recognised and a trained psychologist would do a real service to 
civilized Me if he would carefully observe and describe 

The presence of instinctive activities is seen in stark im- 
mediacy and directness every now and then in civilised life, 
Lynchings and mob violence in general are illustrations of 
what happens when groups throw to the winds the multiple 
inhibitions of custom and law, And the records of the crimi- 
nal courts exhibit more cases than are commonly realized of 
sheer crimes of violence. In some instances these can be set 
down as pathological, but in many more they are normal 
instincts breaking through the fixed channels set by public 
opinion, tradition, and legal compulsion. On a smaller scale 
an outburst of anger, a fit of temper, sulk or spleen, exhibits 
the enduring though often obscured presence of instinctive 
tendencies in civilized life. 

The conflict of interests between men and groups. How 
comes it, then, that men whose whole activity is a complica- 
tion of these powerful original tendencies to action should not 
follow these native impulses freely? The answer fa that men 
not only live, but live together. Wherever human wants, as 
in any group, even a small one, must be filled through co~ 
operation, accommodation, compromise, give-and-take, ad- 
justment must be "Man," to adapt Kant's phrase, 
w cannot get on with his fellows; and he cannot get on without 
them," Other men are necessary to help us fulfill our desires* 
and yet our desires conflict with theirs. The dual feet of co- 
operation and conflict is, in a sense, the root of the ipojral 
problem. How is one individual to attain happiness without 
at the same time interfering with the iiappiness of others? 
How can the desires with which all men come into the world be 
fulfilled for aU men? 

The adjustment of these problems is at once complicated 
and facilitated by the fact that one of man's most powerful 

* Wallas: Tfo Great &kJ&ty, p. 6& 


Native desires is, as we have already seen, his desire to please 
other men. This extreme sensitivity to the praise and blame 
of his fellows operates powerfully to qualify men's other in- 
stincts. The ruthlessness with which men might otherwise 
fulfill their desires is checked by the fact that within them- 
selves there is a conflict between the desire to win other sorts 
of gratification, and the desire to win the praise of others and 
to avoid their blame. This is simply one instance of what we 
shall have occasion presently to note, that not only is there a 
conflict between men in the fulfillment of their native instincts, 
but within individuals an adjustment must be made between 
competing impulses themselves. 

The kinds of conflict that occur between men in the ful- 
fillment of their original native tendencies, are as various as 
those tendencies and their combinations. It may be a con- 
flict, as in primitive life, between individuals seeking food 
from the same source. It may be a clash in the pursuit of one 
forth; or another of self-enhancement, enhancement which 
can come to only some individual out of a group* The sex 
instinct has afforded, in the case of the "eternal triangle/* 
an example of the sharing by two people of an imperious de- 
sire for precisely the same dbject of satisfaction. These eon* 
fliets of interest are an inevitable result of the constitution, 
of human nature. It is perfectly natural th&t human beings 
constituted with largely identical impulses should not in- 
frequently seek identical satisfactions. Groups as well as 
individuals may come into collision,, and for analogous rear 
sons. Class divisions over the distribution <tf wealth, inter- 
national wars over the distribution of femtory, are sufficiently 
familiar examples* , s , , , n 

Tbe levels ol moral aetiom Custom Ttte establish- 
ment of " folkways." No Anthropologist seems to .have di? 
covered anywhere individuals living totally alofoe-oar fn tptel 
oblivion to the needs or interests of others. The humw ne- 
cessity for cooperation and the human desire for coj&pnio$fe 
$up bring individuals together*, And individuals, once living 


together, find some modm Vivendi. Adjustments are, in gen- 
eral, effected through established and authoritative "folk- 
ways." l That is, certain acts come to be recognized as sanc- 
tioned or as disapproved by the group. And these sanctions 
or disapprovals are powerful in the control of human action. 
The fact that individuals live and must live together is thus 
the surest guarantee that they will not, once they have grown 
old enough to communicate with other people, altogether fol- 
low their immediate capricious desires. 

The reason for the power of social approvals and disap- 
provals over individuals lies partly in the fact, already noted, 
of the human being's extremely high sensitivity to the praise 
and blame of others, But part of the explanation is social 
rather than psychological. , Even primitive tribes take special 
pains to make public and pervasive the commands and pro- 
hibitions which have become affixed to given acts. The mere 
fact that an act is customary is itself a sufficiently strong 
guarantee that it will be practiced, since the human being 
tends to perform, as he likes to perform, the habitual. But 
in primitive life, the enforcement of custom is not left to the 
influence of habit. The prohibitions and sanctions, both in 
gavago and in civilized society, are made into law. In the 
former instance, there are most elaborate devices and insti- 
tutions for enforcing the traditional approvals and disap- 
provals. Tabus are one important instrument of the en* 
forcemeat of social checks upon individual action; "tabus 
are perhaps not so much a means for enforcing custom as they 
are themselves customs invested with peculiar and awful 
sanction* They prohibit or ban any contact with certain 
persons or objects under penalty of danger from unseen 

Through ritual certain acts come to be performed with 
great regularity, thoroughness, detail, and solemnity. "In 
primitive life it [ritual] is widely and effectively used to insure 
for educational, political, and domestic customs obedience to 

* Frofesaor Stunner's convenient term. 


the group standards." In contemporary life, certain socia 
forms and observances, as well as certain religious ceremo 
nies, are examples of the enforcement of given acts, by ritual 

Praise and blame are equally effective enforcements o 
certain types of action and of the avoidance of others. Ii 
primitive life, praise is as likely as not to take the form o, 
art decorations, costumes, songs, and tattoos. In moderr 
life, as we have seen, praise and blame take the form of public 
opinion, as expressed by friends, acquaintances, newspapers 
and the like. 1 Praise and blame are not so fixed and rigid 
in civilized communities; individuals move freely among di- 
verse groups whose standards differ. But group approval is 
none the less effective. 

In primitive life and, though lass patently, in contem- 
porary society, physical force is the ultimate power for en- 
forcing custom. Primitive chiefs are usually the strong men 
of the tribes; and behind law in modern social organization 
is the physical power of the State to enforce it. 

Morality as conformity to the established. The beginning 
of morals is thus to be found in conformity to the established 
or customary^ The criterion of morality is compliance 
compliance with the regular* the socially approved, the com* 
>(thn$ i% the communal} ways of action, Apart from 
^6BQ$ of vioW^viplatm per se is impure, m 
,, ii^pral f ITie^erw are, in some cases, Interchange- 
In r priipitive life, violations are regarded with partic- 
ular horror, because ijhey are frequently bdkj to be not only 
kfnuge^ents of established ways of the tribe, but as offenses 
against the gods, offenses which involve the whole tribe in 
the j^tributive pun%hnieat$ of the gods. Violation of the 
customary may, indeed, apart frpm arousing intellectual dis- 
approval, provokaa genniB%reOTlsii>n of feeling ott the part 
of a group which has acqppip! wkfe tod habits. We still 
fed emotionally qfao<4wcLAp ti^mfm^mnt of a 
tJmtwe4Q.i3&tifctelto II W ermine 


moral furniture we find it made up of an immense number of 
early acquired inhibitions or "checks/' These not only pre- 
vent us from violating, at least without qualms, standards to 
which we have early been trained; they make deviations or 
irregularities on the part of others appear as "immoral/* even 
before or without our intellectually classifying them as such. 
There are adults, for example, who cannot outgrow the feeling 
to which they have early been habituated, that card-playing 
at any time, or baseball-playing on Sunday, is "evil/* even 
though they are no longer intellectually affected by scruples 
in those respects. There is significance in the fact that by 
speaking of "irregularities'* in a man's conduct, we signify 
or imply moral disapproval. 

The group, in any stage of civilization, rewards in some 
form conformity to group standards, and punishes infringe- 
ments of them* Punishment may be nothing more tangible 
than disrepute or ostracism; it may be as serious as execution. 
Reward may range from a decoration or a chorus of praise 
to all forms of compensation in the way of wealth, rank, and 

We have noted how sanctions and prohibitions are made 
public and effective among the members of a group. But 
it is further regarded as important by the group that these 
customs, positive and negative, should be handed down from 
the current to succeeding generations. In primitive life 
transmission of the traditional practices is made a very special 
occasion in the form of initiation ceremonies- 

[Initiation ceranonfe&J lire held with the purpose of inducting 
boys into the privileges of manhood and into the full life of the group. 
They are calculated at every step to impress upon the initiate bis 
own ignorance and helplessnes3 in contrast with the wisdom and 
power of the group; and as the mystery with which they are con- 
ducted imposes reverence for the elders and the authorities of the 
group, ao the recital of the traditions and performances of the tribe, 
the long neries of rituai acts, common participation in the mystie 
dance and song and decorations, serve to reinforce the ties that bind 
the tribe** 

anrt Tnf+iw' W/JWrtA. r 


In civilized life, the whole institution of education, as 
has been repeatedly emphasized in these pages, is designed 
to transmit to the young those habits of thought, feeling, 
and action which their influential elders wish to perpetuate. 
As was noted in connection with man's gregariousness, the 
normal becomes the "respectable," the regular becomes the 
"proper." We still speak of things that it is not "nice" to 
do. This tendency to identify the moral with the customary 
is brought about through early habituating the members of 
the group to the group standards and securing for them 
thereby the emotional support that goes with all habitual 

Morality at this stage is clearly social in its origins and 
its operations. The standards are group standards, and the 
individual's single duty is obedience and conformity to the 
established social sanctions. 

The values of customary morality. The problem of morals 
begins, as we have seen, in the collision of interests of similarly 
constituted individuals living together. Adjustments of 
conflicting interests are effected by group standards more or 
less consciously transmitted and enforced by education, pub- 
lic opinion, and law. We shall note presently that reflec- 
tion operates to modify and criticize these customary ap- 
provals and disapprovals and to substitute more effective 
standards. But whether on the level of custom or reflection 
the moral problem is essentially a social problem, the problem 
of the adjustment of the desires of individuals living together. 
For an individual living altogether alone in the world there 
could hardly be a moral problem, a question of "ought." 
There might be problems of how to attain satisfaction, but no 
sense of duty or moral obligation. Custom is the first great 
stage through which morality passes, and the only form in 
which morality exists for many people. In civilized life there 
is, to be sure, considerable reflection and querying of custom, 
but for the vast majority of men "right" and "wrong " are 
determined by the standards to which their early education 


and environment have accustomed them. In primitive life 
reflective criticism on the part of the individual is almost un- 
known, and custom remains the great arbiter of action, the 
outstanding source of social and moral control. 

The values of custom as a moral force are, in both primitive 
and civilized life, notable and not to be despised. Custom 
is, in the first place, frequently rational in its origin. That 
is, in general, those acts are made habitual in the group 
which are associated with the general welfare. The cus- 
tomary is the "right/ 7 but those activities most frequently 
come to be regarded as "right" which are favorable to the 
welfare of the group. In the literal struggle for existence 
which characterizes primitive life, those tribes may alone 
be expected to survive whose customs do promote the wel- 
fare of their members. Persistence by a group in customs 
like infanticide or excessive restriction of population will re- 
sult in their extinction. Customs are, for the most part, 
standards of action established in the light of the conceptions 
of well-being as understood at the time of their origin. The 
intensity with which they are maintained, enforced, and trans- 
mitted is an indication of how supremely and practically 
important they are regarded by primitive groups. 

Custom is valuable, if for nothing else, in the fact that 
it makes possible some accommodation or adjustment of 
competing individual interests and on the basis of $ widely 
considered social welfare. Customs are social, they are bind- 
ing on all; they apply to all, and to the extent that they do 
promote welfare, they promote, within limits, the welfare 
of all. A man conforming to custom is thereby consulting 
something other than his arbitrary caprice or personal de- 
sire. On the level of customary morality, action through 
conformity to custom is referred to a wider context than 
unconsidered individual impulse; it is, for better or worse, 
performed with reference U> the group with whose standards 
it is in conformity. It is the beginning of the socialization - 
of human interests. Though unconsciously, the man con- 


fcinafag to a custom fe considering his fellows, and the values 
and traditions which have become current among them. 

Customs, moreover, are the first invasion of moral chaos. 
They establish enduring standards; they give common and 
permanent bases of action. It is only through the establish- 
ment and transmission of customary standards that one gfen- 
eration is in any way superior to its predecessors. Cus- 
toms, in civilized life, include all the established effective 
ways of civilization, its arts, its sciences, its industries, and 
its useful modes of cooperation. 

If a plague carried off the members of a society all at once, it is 
obvious that the group would be permanently done for. Yet the 
death of each of its constituent members is as certain as if a plague 
took them off all at once. But the graded difference in age, the fact 
that some are born as some die, makes possible through transmission 
of ideas and practices the constant reweaving of the social fabric. 
Yet this renewal is not automatic. Unless pains axe taken to see 
that genuine and thorough transmission takes place, the most civi- 
lized group will relapse into barbarism and then into savagery. 1 

In all levels of civilization, there is a conscious trans- 
mission of those social habits which are regarded as of im- 
portance. If this transmission were suddenly to cease, not 
only wotdd each generation have to start afresh, but it would 
be altJQgether impossible for it to grow to maturity. 

lEfae defects d customiy mxa&ty. While custom is thus 
vriwWe as a moa&l agent in establishing standards of social 
life md rendering them continuous and enduring, a morality 
feat is completely based upon it has serious defects. Though 
customs may start as allegedly or actually useful practices, 
t!*ey lead, so strong & ttte influence of habit over the indi- 
vidual, to outlve tfaeii? usfcftfluess, ad may become, indeed, 
altogether disadvantage^ conventions. "Dr. Arthur Smith 
tels of the advantage it would be In some parts of Cfai&a to 
build a door on the south side of the house, in order to get 
tbe teeese, in hot weather" The simple and mffick&t 


answer to such a suggestion is, "We don't build doors on the 
south side." 

We have but to examine our own civilization to' see that 
there are many customs which are practiced not for any 
good assignable reason, but simply because they have be- 
come fixed and traditional. This is not to say that every- 
thing that has become "merely conventional" is evil. It is 
to suggest how, even in civilized society, groups may fall 
into modes of action that are practiced simply because they 
have been practiced, rather than from any reasoned con- 
sideration that they should be. An illustration may be taken 
from the experience of civilians drawn into the military 
routine during the Great War. Men engaged in war work 
at Washington in civilian capacities reported repeatedly 
their impatience at the "red tape" of tradition with which 
certain classes of business were conducted by the military, 
establishment. In law also, progressive practitioners and 
students have pointed out the well-known fact of the im- 
mense and beclogging ritual which has come to surround 
legal procedure. It is the contention of critics of one or 
another- of our contemporary social habits and institutions 
that traditionalism, the persistence of custom simply be- 
cause it is custom, is responsible for many of the anachro- 
nisms in our social, political, and industrial life. Space does 
not permit here a detailed consideration of this question, 
but it must be noted that social habits, when they are ac- 
quired, as they are, unrcflectively by the vast majority of 
people, will tend to be repeated and supported, apart from 
any consideration of their consequences. This tendency 
toward social inertia, earlier noted in connection with habit, 
can only be checked by reflective criticism and appraise- 
ment of our current accustomed ways of action. 1 

In the case of the group, too complete a domination by 
custom is dangerous in that it sanctions and promotes the 
continuance of habits that have become useless or harmful. 

See chapter on " Cultural Continuity." 


In the case of the individual, the determination of action by 
custom alone has its specific dangers and defects. Even 
though the individual happens to conform to useful customs, 
his conformity is purely mechanical. It involves no intelli- 
gent discrimination. Merely to conform places one at 
the disposition of the environment in which one chances to 
be* There is not necessary any intelligent analysis on the 
part of the agent, of the bearings and consequences of his 
actions. He takes on with fatal facility the color of his 
environment. To all men, however critical and reflective, a 
certain degree of conformity to custom is both necessary and 
useful. There must, in any social enterprise, be some common 
basis of action. Because taking the right-hand side of the road 
is a convention, it is none the less a useful one. But reflective 
acquiescence in a custom differs from merely mechanical 
conformity. It transforms a custom from a blind mechanism 
into a consciously chosen instrument for achieving good. 

The trivial and the important in a morality based upon 
custom receive the same unconsidered support. "Tithing 
mint, anise, and cummin are quite likely to involve the neglect 
of weightier matters of the law," Physical, emotional, and 
moral energies that should be devoted to matters genuinely 
affecting human welfare are lavished upon the trivial and the 
incidental We may come to be concerned more with man- 
ners than with morals; with ritual, than with right. Cus- 
tomary morality tends to emphasize, moreover, the letter 
rather than the spirit of the law. It implies complete and 
punctilious obedience, meticulous conformity. It empha- 
sizes form rather than content. Since conformity is the only 
criterion, the appearance of conformity is all that is required. 
The individual may fear to dissent openly rather than actu- 
ally. This is seen frequently in the ritualistic performance 
or fulfillment of a duty in all its external details, rather 
than the actual and positive performance of its content. It 
is just such Pharisaism that is protested against in the Sermon 
on the Mount: 


And when thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites axe; 
for they love to pray standmg in the synagogues and in the corners 
of the streets that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, 
They have their reward. ... ' 

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for 
they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 

Formalism in morality has periodically roused protest from 
the Prophets down, and formalism is the result of an uncon- 
sidered mechanical acquiescence in custom, or deliberate in- 
sistence on traditional details when the spirit and motive are 

Custom and progress. Emphasis upon customs as already 
established tends to promote fixity and repetition, and to dis- 
courage change regardless of the benefits to be derived from 
specific changes. Custom is supported by the group merely 
because it is custom; and the ineffective modes of life are 
maintained along with those which are more useful. Progress 
comes about through individual variation, and conformity 
and individual variation are frequently in diametrical col- 
lision. It is only when, in Bagehot's phrase, "the cake of 
custom" is broken, that changes making for good have a 
possibility of introduction and support. Where the only 
moral sanctions are the sanctions of custom, change of 
whatever sort is at a discount. For change implies devia- 
tion from the ways of life sanctioned by the group, and 
deviation is itself, in a custom-bound morality, regarded with 

It is clear that complete conformity is impossible save in 
a society of automata. There will be some individuals who 
will not be able to curb their desires to fit the inhibitions 
fixed by the group; there will be some who will deliberately 
stand out against the group commands and prohibitions, and 
assert their own imperious impulses against their fellows. 
Where such men are powerful or persuasive they may indeed 
bring about a transvaluation of all values; they may create 
a new morality. There are geniuses of the moral as well 


as the intellectual life, whose sudden insight becomes a stand- 
ard for succeeding generations. 

There may, again, be more infringement of the moral code 
than is overtly noticeable. Frequently, as in a Puritanical 
rgime> there may be, along with fanatic public professions 
and practice of virtue, private violation of the conventional 
moral codes. Our civilization is unpleasantly decorated with 
countless examples of this discrepancy between professed 
and practiced codes. The desire for praise and the fear of 
blame and its consequences, the desire, as we say, for the 
"good-will" and "respect of others/ 1 will lead to all the public 
manifestations of virtue, "with a private vice or two to ap- 
pease the wayward flesh/' The utterance of conventional 
moral formulas by men in public, and the infringement of 
those high doctrines in private, needs unfortunately not to 
be illustrated. Moliere drew Tartuffe from real life. 

Origin and nature of reflective morality. If the customs 
current were adequate to adjust men to their environment, 
reflection upon them might never arise. Reflection does 
arise precisely because customs are not, or do not remain, 
adequate. An individual is brought up to believe that cer- 
tain actions are good, and that their performance promotes 
human happiness. He discovers, by an alert and unclouded 
insight, that in specific cases the virtues highly regarded by 
his jpmip do not bring the felicitous results which they are 
ceraaonly and proverbially held to produce. He observes, 
let us say, that meekness, humility, honesty are not modes 
of adaptation that bring happy results. Bfe observes, as 
Job observed, that the wicked prosper; he notes that those 
wbo follow tike path called righteous bring unhappiness to 
themselves and to others. 

Or the individtml's first reflection upon moral standards 
may arise in his discovery that moral standards are not 
absolute, that what is virtue in the Occident is vice in the 
Orient, and vice versa* He discovers that those actions which 
fee regards as virtuous axe so regarded by Mm simply because 


he has been trained to their acceptance. Given another en- 
vironment, his moral revulsions and approvals might be 
diametrically reversed. He makes the discovery that Pro- 
tagoras made two thousand years ago: "Man is the measure 
of all things^; standards of good and evil depend on the 
accidents of time, space, and circumstance. In such a discov- 
ery an individual may well query, What is the good? Not 
what passes for good, but what is the essence of goodness? 
What is justice? Not what is accredited justice in the courts 
of law, or in the market-place, or in the easy generalizations 
of common opinion. But what constitutes justice essentially? 
What is the standard by which actions may be rated just and 

Where individuals are habituated to one single tradition 
or set of customs, such questions may not arise. But where 
one, through personal experience or acquaintance with his- 
tory and literature, discovers the multiplicity of standards 
which have been current with regard to the just and the good 
in human conduct, the search for some reasonable standard ; 
arises. The great historical instance of the discovery of the! 
relativity and irrationality of customary morality and the 
emergence of reflective standards of moral value is the Athe* 
nian period of Greek philosophy. The Sophists pointed out 
with merciless perspicuity the welter, the confusion, the es^ 
sential irrationality of current social and religious traditions 
and beliefs. They went no further in moral analysis than 
destructive criticism. They pointed out the want of authen- 
ticity or reason in the traditional morality by which men liv^. 
Socrates went a step further. If current customs are not 
authoritative, he said, let us find those that have and ougU to 
have enduring authority over men. If the traditional stand- 
ards are proved to be futile arid inefficacious, let us find the 
unfaltering standards authenticated by reason. Let us sub- 
stitute relevant and adequate codes and creeds for those 
which have by reason been shown to be unreasonable.^ Be 
te multiply of contradictory and often vicious 


customs, reason must be able to discover ways of life, which, 
if followed, will lead men to eventual happiness. 

There are thus two stages in the process of reflection upon 
morals. In the first stage reflection does no more than to 
point out the essential discrepancies and absurdities of the 
current moral codes. Reflection upon morals begins by 
being critical and querying. It starts when an individual, 
a little more thoughtful and perspicacious than his fellows, 
note the discrepancies between the customs of different 
men, and notes also the discrepancies between the threatened 
results of the violation of traditional codes and the actual 
results. He may then come to the cynic's conclusion that 
morality is a myth and a delusion, and, in the words of the 
Sophist in Plato's Republic, "justice is merely the right of 
the stronger." Men in whom reflection or social sympathy 
extends not very far may, as they frequently do, stop at this 
point. These are the worldly wise; they are interested not 
in goodness, truth, and justice, but in those effective repre- 
sentations of those things publicly aecounted'good, true, and 
just which will win them public approval and increase their 
own wealth or power and position. Plato,, in the Republic, 
pictures the type with magnificent irony: 

All those mercenary adventurers who, as we know, are called 
sophist by the multitude, and regarded as rivals, really teach nothing 
but the opinions of the majority to which expression is given when 
large masses are collected, and dignify them with the title of wisdom. 
As well might a person investigate the caprices and desires of some 
huge and powerful monster in his keeping, studying how it is to be 
approached, and how handled, at what tunes and under what 
circumstances it becomes most dangerous, or most gentle on what 
occasions it is in the habit of uttering its various cries, and further, 
what sounds uttered by another person soothe or exasperate it, - 
and when 3be has mastered all these particulars, by long-continued 
intercourse, as well might he call his results wisdom, systematize 
them into an art, and open a school, though in reality he is wholly 
ignorant which of these humours and desires is fair, and which foul, 
which good and wMcIt evil, which just and which unjust; and there* 
fpre is eoafceat fo> affix all %>se names to the fancies of 


animal, calling what it likes good, and what it dislikes evil, without 
being able to render any other account of them, nay, giving the 
titles of " just [' and "fair" to things done under compulsion, because 
he has not discerned himself, and therefore cannot point out to 
others, that wide distinction which really holds between the nature 
of the compulsory and the good. 1 

Throughout human history, there have been periods of 
individualism, of self-assertion against the traditional mo- 
rality, which have been marked by loss of moral restraints, 
by a breakdown of the old standards without a substitution 
of new and sounder ones. There has been, in the beginning 
of almost every advance toward a new stage of moral valua- 
tion, the accompaniment of liberty by license. 

Reflection upon morals is not likely to produce immediately 
good results. The established morality is at least established. 
In so far as it is controlling in men's actions, it keeps those 
actions ordered and regular* The traditional code by which 
a man's life is governed may be a poor code, but it is more 
satisfactory than no code at all. On discovering the inade- 
quacy of the morality by which he has lived, a man may re- 
ject morality altogether. From that time forth he may have 
no other standard than his own selfish desires. When a whole 
society, as at the time of the Renaissance, throws its tradi- 
tional morality to the winds, it may make havoc of its free- 
dom. In place of a bad moral order it may cease to have any 
moral order at all. 

The discovery that the codes by which we have lived are 
misleading and delusive may lead us to have nothing what- 
soever to do with morals* The individual may decide simply 
to employ his superior insight in the exploitation of other peo- 
ple. It is something of this point of view that is expressed 
in the rampant individualism of Nietzsche and Max Stimer, 
The customary morality is meant for .slaves; the Superman 
must stride above the signs and shibboleths by which men 
are led, and create himself a morality more adequate to his 
own superb and insolent welfare. 

* Plato; Republic (Golden Treasury edition), pp. 209-10. 


For the reconstruction of a morality more adequate tha 
the prevailing codes, more is demanded than merely a re 
fleetive criticism of prevailing standards. Where reflectio 
goes no further than this, the net result is merely cynicisr 
and libertinism. For moral progress there is needed "a pei 
son who is individual in choice, in feeling, in responsibility 
and at the same time social in what he regards as good, in hi 
sympathies and in his purposes/' 

Reflective reconstruction of moral standards. The secon< 
stage of reflection upon morals consists in the reconstruc 
tion of moral standards, in a deliberate discovery of codes b; 
which men can live together happily. It attempts to ea 
tablish standards of action which are enforced and recom 
mended not because they have been current and are currently 
approved, but because they give promise, upon critical exami 
nation, of contributing to human happiness. It must be re 
called here that reflective morality is not a substitute for ac 
tioji based upon instinct or custom* It merely modifies thes< 
types of action in the light of the desirable consequences whicl 
would result from such modification. 

The establishment of reflective standards is limited by tw< 
general conditions. The first, previously mentioned, is tha 
iumaa beings come into the world with certain fixed tend 
^ncies to act* These original impulses may be obscured 
but cannot be abolished. Secondly, reflection upon morali 
always mu$t occur in a given social situation, that is, in i 
Citation where certain habits of mind, emotion and action 
-are already ,in operation. Moral standards are not fresl 
xonstruciions; they are recomtrndions* W$ may want t< 
jchcmge current customs and traditions; but that is simply 
another way of iterating the fact that they are there to h 
ehmged* The moral reformer who would improve society 
must tajce into account the fact that there exist among th< 
adult members of a generation, powerful habits, which maj 
be improved or amended, but which cannot be ignored, AW 
attempt to improve men's ways of action starts witbir 


processes of action already going on. It is not as if we coukl 
hold up the processes of human life, and say, "Let us begin 
afresh." The generation whose habits are to be changed 
consists of living men, who are acting on the basis of cus- 
toms which have become intimately and powerfully control- 
ling in their lives. These customs, though they may not 
be altogether satisfactory, are yet great social economies. 
They give men certain determinate and efficacious modes of 
action. Reflection must start with them and from them. 
Unless men, furthermore, did act according to custom, they 
would have to reflect in detail about every step of their con- 
duct. The aim of reflection is simply to transform existing 
customs into more effective methods for achieving the good. 
Reflection, indeed, must move within certain limits; it muat 
take certain things for granted. We have already seen that 
reflection arises in a crisis of greater or lesser degree; it settles 
ambiguities, resolves the obscure and doubtful phases of situa- 
tions. It is designed to secure adjustments where instinct and 
habit are inadequate to adapt the individual to his environ- 
ment. But unless there were certain fixed, determined points 
to start with, certain limits within which reflection could 
operate, and which it could use as points of reference or de- 
parture, all would be chaos, and reflection would be impossible. 
It is precisely because we do take certain things as settled, 
because, as the phrase runs, ' ' they go without saying," that we 
can think to any purpose whatsoever. Useful customs owe 
established provide precisely these fixed points. If wbitoar 
tion of labor disputes has become a fixed social habit, for 
example, attention can be turned to ways and means. K 
education has become a generally approved social habit, we 
can spend our time on instruments and methods. Every use, 
ful custom firmly established gives a ba of operations 
That much is settled; that much does not <^^ J"* 
attention and inquiry. A society without any fixad hato 
Cidbesheeramrchy. Theaimofintelhgentconjdera^ 
d Corals is not to abolish customs, but to bmg about their 


modification so that they will be the most ^effective adjust- 
ment of the individual and the group to their environment. 

Indeed, in advanced societies, reflection may itself become 
a custom, and the most highly valued of all. For where alert 
and conscious criticism of existing folkways is habitual among 
all the members of a society, that society is saved from sub- 
jection through inertia to disserviceable habits. It acts as 
a continual check and control; it prevents social and moral 
stagnation. The habit of reflection upon conduct, if it could 
be made generally current, would insure social progress. 
For customs would be regarded merely as tools, as instru- 
ments to be modified and adapted to new circumstances, as 
provisional modes of attaining the good. Fixity and rigidity 
in social life would give place to flexibility and wise continual 

The values of reflective morality. Some of these have al- 
ready been noted. We may briefly summarize the foregoing 
discussion, and call attention to some additional values of a 
morality based upon reason, as contrasted with a morality of 
mere mechanical conformity to custom. It has already been 
pointed out that intellectual preferences and valuations are 
rooted in primary impulses; that is, our desires are anterior to 
reflection. What we intellectually value and prefer has its 
roots in primary impulses. Reason can discover how man 
may attain the good; but what is good is determined by the 
desires with which man is, willy-nilly, endowed. Our pref- 
erences are, within limits, fixed for us. As Santayana writes; 

Reason was born, as it has since discovered, into a world already 
wonderfully organized, in which it found its precursor in what is 
called life, its seat in an animal body of unusual plasticity, and its 
function in rendering that body's volatile instincts and sensations 
harmonious with one another and with the outer world on whieb 
they depend. 1 

Our chief aim in reflective behavior is to discover ways and 
means by which a harmony may be achieved, a harmony of 

1 Santayana: Uje of Reason, rol, x* p. 40# 


those very instincts which, left to themselves, would be in 
perpetual collision, frustrating and checking each other. 

Reflection not only seeks to find a way of life in which no 
natural impulse shall be frustrated, but it is through reflection 
that desires are broadened, and that new desires arise. Out 
of reflection upon social relations, which is in the first instance 
prompted by man's innate gregariousness, arise the concep- 
tion of ideal friendship and the thirst for and movement 
toward ideal society. Out of reflection upon the animal 
passion of sex may rise Dante's beatific vision of Beatrice* 
Conduct, consciously controlled, finds not only ways by which 
animal desires may be fulfilled without catastrophe; it trans- 
mutes animal desires into ideal values. 

Reflection transf onns customs into principles. In reflec- 
tive behavior, as contrasted with that which is controlled by 
instinct and custom, there are established standards of action 
to which the individual consciously conforms. That is, in- 
stead of merely conforming to custom, an individual comes to 
act upon principles, consciously avowed and maintained. A 
man who sets up a standard of action in his professional or 
business relations is not conforming to an arbitrary code; he is 
living according to a way of life which he has deliberately and 
consciously chosen. When a man acts upon principles be- 
cause he has consciously adopted them in view of the conse- 
quences which he believes to be associated with them, he will 
not make his standard an idol. Reflection establishes stand- 
ards, but it is not mastered by them. It is persistently critical. 
Standards are tools, instruments toward the achievement 
of the good. They are merely general rules, derived from 
experience and retained so long as they bear desirable fruits 
in experience. Moral laws are not regarded as arbitrary and 
eternal, but as good only in so far as they produce good. A 
virtue is a virtue because it is conducive to human well-being. 
Standards are not absolute, but relative - relative to their 
fruits in practice. . 

Reflective action genuinely moraL Action is most sen- 


trinely moral when it is reflective. It is only then that the 
individual is a conscious and controlling agent. It is only 
then that he knows what he is doing. When a machine per- 
forms actions that happen to have useful results, we do not 
speak of the action as moral or virtuous. And action in con- 
formity with custom is purely mechanical and arbitrary. An 
individual who is merely conforming to the customary is no 
more moral than an automaton. Given a certain situation, 
he makes a certain response. It makes no difference that the 
act happens to have fruitful consequences. It is not a matter 
of individual choice, of conscious volition. Aristotle long ago 
stated the indispensable conditions of moral actions: 

It is necessary that the agent at the time of performing them 
should satisfy certain conditions, i.e. in the first place that he should 
know what he is doing, secondly that he should deliberately choose 
to do it and to do it for its own sake, and thirdly that he should do 
it as an instance of a fixed and immutable moral state. 1 

Only when the individual is aware of the consequences of 
bk action, and deliberately chooses those consequences, is 
there &ny individuality, any exhibition of choice in other 
words* any moral value in the act. When an act is prompted 
by mere habit and custom, we have an evidence of an indi- 
vidual's environment r&ther than of his character. Creatures 
thus moved by eaUricious and arbitrary impulse are hardly 
persons, aad certainly not personalities. They are played 
upon by every whimsicality of circumstance; their own char- 
acter makes no difference at all in the world in which they live* 
To act reflectively is to be the controlling rather than the 
controlled element in a situation, Action, guided by intelli- 
gence is freed from the enslavement of passion, prejudice, and 
routine. It becomes genuinely free. The individual, eman- 
cipated fuom emotion, sense^ and circirostance, from the acci- 
dental environment w , w&fadi h$ happens to be bom, fe in comr 
mand of his conduct. * Though shakes the magnet, steady is 

* Ariatotle: $$Mcs, ioofe bt pt 43 


the pole." Morally, at least, he is " the master of his fate, the 
captain of his soul." 

Reflection sets up ideal standards. Reflection constantly 
sets up ideal standards by which current codes of conduct are 
judged and corrected. It is clear that ideals of life, even when 
sincerely entertained, are not always possible of immediate 
fulfillment. Theory tends continually to outrun practice, 
since human reflection tends to set up goals in advance of its 
achievement. For many individuals, anxious to attain im- 
mediate self-enhancement, the current codes are not criti- 
cized at all, but are taken for granted, as inevitable and irre- 
fragable bases of operation. 

Many men, perhaps after a first flush of altruistic rebellion 
in adolescence, settle down with more or less complacency to 
the current moral codes. They do in Rome as the Romans do* 
They may have an intellectual awareness of the crassness, the 
stupidity, the essential injustice and inadequacy of the codes 
by which men in contemporary society live, but they may also, 
out of selfish preoccupation with their own interests, let things 
go at that. If the established ways are not as they ought to 
be, at least they are as they are. And since the current sys- 
tem is the one by which a man must live, assent is the better 
part of wisdom. There are comparatively few who .persist in 
a .criticism of prevailing standards, or who are troubled very 
much beyond their early twenties by a tormenting conviction 
that things are not done as they ought to be done* It is from 
the few who realize intellectually the inadequacies of prevail- 
ing customs, and are emotionally disturbed by them, that 
moral criticism arises. And it is only by such criticism that 
moral progress is made possible. " The duty of some exercise 
of discriminating intelligence as to existing customs, for the 
sake of improvement and progress, is thus a mark of reflective 
morality of the rfigiftte of conscience as over against cus- 
tom/' * 

Reflection is thus the process by which progress is made 
Pewey and Tufts; Mthic*, pp. 


possible, although, as we shall presently see, it is not thereby 
insured. The function of intelligence is precisely to indicate 
anticipated goods, " to imagine a future which is the pro- 
jection of the desirable in the present." Even the best or- 
dered life or society reveals some maladjustment, some re- 
move, near or far, from perfection. It is the business of 
reflection and imagination to note the discrepancy between 
what is, and what ought to be, and assiduously to foster the 
vision of the latter, so that in the light of that imagined good, 
men's ways of life may be amended, 

Nor does the setting-up of ideal standards mean the con- 
struction of fruitless Utopias. Reflection upon the present 
ways of life and the prospect of their improvement does not 
mean a mere wistful yearning after better things. It means 
careful inquiry into those elements of established ways which 
may be incorporated into the construction of the ideal It 
means the resolute application of intelligence to an analysis of 
present maladjustments in the interests of preserving out of 
Piherited and current ways those factors which point towards 
the goal desired. It means to be eager for perfection, and 
sensitive to current imperfections. Moral progress demands a 
vision of the desirable future, and a persistent and discrimi- 
nating reflection upon the means of its attainment out of the 
materials of the present. 

The defects of reflective morality. Reflection, as already 
pointed out, tends to stop with merely destructive criticism. 
Provoked by maladjustment and imperfection, it frequently 
goes no further than to note these, with cynicism or despair* 
Criticism of established customs and ways of life frequently 
rests with the exhibition of absurdities in men's ways, finding 
refuge in laughter or rebellion, There is no one so cynical as 
the man who ha$ been recently wakened out of dogmatic and 
innocent faith in the traditions to which he has been reared. 

The child receives from the herd the doctrines, let us say, that 
truthfulness is the most valuable of all the virtues, that honesty is 
the best policy, that to the religipus naan death has no terrors, and 


that there is in store a future life of perfect happiness and delieht 
And yet experience tells him with persistence that truthfulness as 
often as not brings him punishment, that his dishonest playfellow has 
as good if not a better time than he, that the religious man shrinks 
from death with as great a terror as the unbeliever, is as broken- 
hearted by bereavement, and as determined to continue his hold 
upon this imperfect life rather than trust himself to what he declares 

to be the certainty of future bliss Who of us is there who cannot 

remember the vague feeling of dissatisfaction, the obscure and elu- 
sive sense of something being wrong, which is left by these and 
similar conflicts ? l 

A little reflection is, in morals, a dangerous thing. It dis- 
covers difficulties, and does not solve them. It finds that 
human life is darkly strewn with hypocrisies, with shams, with 
makeshifts and compromises. And having made this dis- 
covery, it sighs or satirizes or forgets. It is notorious with 
what frequency men "go to pieces " when they are loosed from 
the moorings of their childhood moralities, before they have 
had a chance to acquire new and more reasonable constraints* 
Plato, in protesting that young men should not study phi- 
losophy too early, has well described the dangers of shallow 
analysis. 2 

The inadequacy of theory in moral life. Reflection upon 
morals, even when it goes beyond the stage of criticism and 
proceeds to the reconstruction of habits and customs upon a 
more reasonable basis, is yet inadequate. However logically 
convincing a code of morals may be, it is not efficacious simply 
as logic. In Aristotle's still relevant words: 

It may fairly be said then that a just man becomes just by doing 

1 Trotter: Instincts of the Herd in Peace and, War, p. 49. 

* *' And will it not be one great precaution to forbid their meddling with It 
[philosophy] while young? For I suppose you have noticed, that whenever 
boys taste dialectic for the first time, they pervert it into an amusement, and 
always employ it for purposes of contradiction, and imitate in their own per- 
son* the artifices of those who study refutation, delighting, like puppies, 
in pulling and tearing to pieces with logic any one who comes near them, . , . 
Hence, when they have experienced many triumphs and many defeats, they 
fall, quickly and vehemently, into an utter disbelief of their former senti- 
ments: and thereby both they and the whole cause of philosophy have been 
prejudiced in the eyes of the world." (Plato; Republic, Golden Treasurer 
edition, p. 267.) 


what is just and a temperate man becomes temperate by doing wha 
is temperate, and if a man did not so act, he would not have so muc 
as a chance of becoming good. But most people, instead of dom 
such actions, take refuge in theorizing; they imagine that they ar 
philosophers and that philosophy will make them virtuous; in fac 
they behave like people who listen attentively to their doctors, bu 
never do anything that their doctors tell them. But it is as improfc 
able that a healthy state of the soul will be produced by this kind c 
philosophizing as that a healthy state of the body will be produce 
by this kind of medical treatment. 1 

Moral standards, in order to be effective, must have emo 
tional support and be constantly applied. Men must be ia 
love with the good, if good is to be their habitual practice 
And only when the good is an habitual practice, can men h 
said to be living a moral life instead of merely subscribing 
verbally to a set of moral ideals* Justice, honesty, charity 
mercy, benevolence, these are names for types of behavior 
and are real in so far as they do describe men's actions. Ai 
Aristotle says, in another connection: "A person must fo 
utterly senseless if he does not know that moral states an 
formed by the exercise of the powers in one way or another** 
The virtues are not static or frozen; they are names we grv< 
to varieties of action, and are exhibited, as they exist, only h 
action. 2 

* Aristotle: Ethics, book n* chap, in, pp. 42-43 (Weldon translation). 

* *'But the virtues we acquire by first exercising them, as is the ease wit-I 
all the arts, for it is by doing what we ought to do when we have learned th< 
arts, that we learn the arts themselves; we become, e.g. builders by building 
and harpists by playing the harp* Similarly it is by doing just acts that w* 
become just, by doing temperate acts that we become temperate, by doini 
courageous acts that we become courageous. . , . Again th causes and mean! 
by which any virtue is produced, and by which it is destroyed, are th oamo 
and it is equally so with any art; for it is by playing the harp that both gooc 
and bad harpists are produced, and the case of builders and all other artisan* 
is similar, as it is> by building well that they wiU be good builders, and b$ 
building badly that they will be bad builder . , It is. by acting m sttd 
transactions as take place between man and man that we become either jusi 
or unjust. It is by acting in the face of danger and habituating ourselroe tt 
fear or courage that we become either cowardly or courageous. It is muel: 
the same with our desires and angry passions. Borne peo|$ bwom tem- 
perate and gentle, others become licentious and passionate, a^ooording ai 
they conduct themselves in one- way or another way in particular dbemuB*' 
stances." (Aristotle; Eihic9 f pp. 35-36, Weldon translation*) 


The mere preaching of virtue will thus not produce its 
practice. Those standards which reflection discovers, how- 
ever useful in the guidance of life, are not sufficient to im- 
prove human conduct. They must, as noted above, be emo- 
tionally sanctioned to become habitual, and, on the other 
hand, only if they are early acquired habits, will the emo- 
tions associated with them be pleasant rather than painful. 
"Accordingly the difference between one training of habits 
and another from early days is not a light matter, but is seri- 
ous or rather all-important. " l Ideals of life, when they re- 
main mere closet-ideals, are interesting academic specimens, 
but are hardly effective in the helpful amendment of the lives 
of mankind. "Whoever contemplates the world in the light 
of an ideal/' writes Bertrand Russell, "whether what he seeks 
be intellect or art, or love, or simple happiness, or all together, 
muHt feel a great sorrow in the evils which men allow need- 
lessly to continue and if he is a man of force and vital 
energy an urgent desire to lead men to the realization of 
the good which inspires his creative vision." Great thinkers 
upon morals have not been content to work out interesting 
systems which were logically conclusive, abstract methods of 
attaining happiness. They have worked out their ethical 
systems as genuinely preferred ways of life, they have offered 
them as solutions of the difficulties men experience in control- 
ling thoir own p&saions and m adapting their desires to the 
* conditions which limit their fulfillment, 

"Our present study," writes Aristotle, "is not, like other 
studies, purely speculative in ite intention; for the object 
of our inquiry is not to know the nature of virtue, but to 
become oumelves virtuous, as that is the sole benefit which 
it conveys," * Reflection upon morals can map out the road; 
it cannot make people travelit For that, an eariy habit- 
ation to tho gf>od IB necessary. 

But it should bo noted further that the greatest ethical 
reformers have not bean those who have convinced 


through the impeccability of their logic. They have been 
rather the supreme seers, the Hebrew prophets, Christ, Saint 
Francis, who have won followers not so much by the conclu- 
siveness of their demonstration as through the persuasive 
fervor and splendor of their vision. 

The danger of intellectualism in morals. There has been 
throughout the history of ethical theory a tendency to over- 
simplify life by cramping it into the categories fixed by reason. 
Reflection tends to set up certain standards which the infi- 
nite variety of human experience tends to outrun. In the mere 
fact of setting up generalizations, reflection is arbitrary. Any 
generalization, by virtue of the very fact that it does apply 
to a wide variety of situations, must forego concern with the 
peculiar colors and qualities inhering in any specific experi- 
ence. Various ethical writers have set up general rules, which 
they have attempted to apply to life with indiscriminate ruth- 
lessness. They have tried to shear down the endless ricl 
variety of human situations to fit the categories which the$ 
assume to start with. Unsophisticated men have complainec 
with justice against the recurrent attempts of moralists to se 1 
up absolute laws, standards, virtues, which were to be appliec 
"regardless of the specific? circumstances of specific situations 
It was such formalism that Aristotle protested agains 
throughout his Etivics. 

There is the same sort of uncertainty with regard to good things 
as it often happens that injuries result from them; thus there hav 
been cases in which people were ruined by wealth, or again by coui 
age. As our subjects [moral inquiries] then and our premises are c 
this nature, we must be content to indicate the truth roughly an 
in outline. 1 

He points out repeatedly that situations are specific, tha 
laws or generalization can only be tentatively made. 

Questions of practice and expediency no more admit of invariabl 
rules than questions of health. But if this is true of general reasonio 
upon Ethics, still more true is it that scientific exactitude is impose 
1 Aristotle: lot. cit,, pp. &-4. 


ble in reasoning upon particular ethical cases. They do not fall 
under any art or any law, but the agents themselves are always 
bound to pay regard to the circumstances of the moment, as much 
as in medicine or navigation. 1 

Instead of framing absolute general rules, Aristotle points 
out those specific conditions which must be taken into ac- 
count in any act that can, without quibbling, be called good 
or virtuous. 

It SH possible to go too far, or not to go far enough, in respect of 
four, courage, desire, anger, pity, and pleasure and pain, generally, 
and tho OXCOKS and the deficiency are alike wrong; but to experience 
these emotions at the right time, and on the right occasions and 
towards the right iwrsons, and for the right causes and in the right 
manner is the mean or the supreme good, which is characteristic of 

Reflection thus unduly simplifies the moral problem by 
Betting up general standards which are not adequate to the 
multiple variety of specific situations which constitute human 
experience. But in reasoning upon the conduct of life, there 
ban Ixsfttt displayed, furthermore, by ethical writers an inveter- 
ate tendency to identify the processes of life with the process 
of roanon. One may cite as a classic instance of this point 
of view the ethical theory of Jeremy Bentham and the Utili- 
tttriaim. According to the Utilitarians human beings judged 
act** lu terms of their utility, as measured in the amount of 
pleasure and pain produced by an action. The individual 
figured out the pleasures and pains that would be the conse- 
quouww of his action. We shall in the next section examine 
thm point of view in more detail; we are referring to it here 
ttimply tut an illustration of intellectualizing of morals* Few 
individuals go through anything remotely resembling the 
11 tM'donic calculus " laid down by Bentham, 3 The individual 

i Aristotle 6*, <>&,* 87. ^ ,^ 

* TU h*tau!e ddeulue of Beuthara was, briefly, the following: Every 
proj^'d twt IN to bo viewed with reference to its probable consequences^ in 
<t> inli*ity of plwmm and pftin*, (2) their duration, (3) their certaanty & 
im*rlnlnty f (4) their noaruess or remoteness, (5) their ffoundity, t^, the 
timricwy o( a pieftmw to b0 followed by others, or ft pain by other pains, 


is not a static being, mathematically considering the amount 
of pleasure and pain associated with the performance of spe- 
cific actions. We are, in the vast majority of cases, prompted 
to specific responses, not by any mathematical considerations 
of pleasures and pains, but by the immediate urgency of in- 
stinctive and habitual desires. Reflection arises in the proc- 
ess of adjustment of competing impulses, in the effecting of 
a harmony between various desires that are much more pri- 
mary and fundamental than the reflection that arises upon 
them. We may largely agree with McDougall when he 

We may say, then, that directly or indirectly, the instincts are the 
prime movers of all human activity; by the conative or impulsive 
force of some instinct (or of some habit derived from an instinct) 
every train of thought, however cold and passionless it may seem, 
is borne along towards its end, and every bodily activity is initiated 
and sustained. The instinctive impulses determine the ends of all 
activities and supply the driving power by which all mental activities 
are sustained; and all the complex intellectual apparatus of the most 
highly developed mind is but a means towards these ends, is but the 
instrument by which these impulses seek their satisfactions, while 
pleasure and pain do but serve to guide them in their choice of the 

Take away these instinctive dispositions with their powerful im- 
pulses, and the organism would become incapable of activity of 
any kind; it would lie inert and motionless, like a wonderful clock- 
work whose mainspring had been removed, or a steam-engine whose 
fires had been drawn. 1 

Reflection is last rather than first; it is provoked and sus- 
tained by instinctive desires, and is the means whereby they 
may be fulfilled. 

(6) their purity, ., the tendency of a pleasure to be followed by pains and 
**ce ^*; (7) their extent, that is, the number or range of persons whose 
happiness is affected with reference to wJbose pleasures and pains each 
one of the first six items ought in strictness also to be calculated. Then sum 
up all the pleasures which stand to the credit side of the account; add the 
pains which are the debit items, or liabilities, on the other; then take their 
Algebraic sum, and the balance <?f it on the side of pleasure will be the good 
tendency of the act upon the whole." (Dewey and Tufts: Ethics, pp, 275-76*) 
1 McDougalh Social Psycholoffy, p, 44 


Types of moral theory. Reflection upon morals produces 
certain characteristic types of moral theory. These may be 
classified, although, because of the complexity of factors in- 
volved in any moral theory, cross-division is inevitable. But 
in the long history of human reflection upon a reasonable way 
of life, certain divisions stand out clearly. The first great 
contrast that may be mentioned is that existing between Abso- 
lutism and Relativism, the contrast, namely, between theo- 
ries of morals that regard right and wrong as absolute and 
a priori, unconditioned by time, place, and circumstance; and 
theories of morals that judge the Tightness and wrongness of 
acts in terms of their consequences, in the happiness or wel- 
fare of human beings, however that be conceived. These two 
points of view represent radically different temperaments and 
differ radically in their fruits. The contrast will stand out 
more clearly after a brief discussion of each. 

Absolutism. Absolutistic moralities are distinguished by 
their maintenance of the fundamental moral idea of Duty, 
Duty consisting in an obligation to conform to the Right. 
Implied in this obligation of absolute conformity is the con- 
ception that the Bight is unalterable, universally binding, ad 
imperative. Good and evil are not discoverable in experi- 
ence, but are standards to which human beings must in experi- 
ence' conform. The right is not simply the desirable - fre- 
quently it is, from the standpoint of impulses and emotion, 
the undesirable; but it is a universal, an a prtoiriaa^ to 
which human beings must in experience conform. Morafc 
are "eternal and immutable" principles, absolutely imfcit, 
able and indefectible in experience. We shall, in approaching 
the problem from the standpoint of moral knowledge, see 
that most absolutist moral philosophers hav^ also supposed 
that these eternal principles of right action axe intuitively per- 
ceivod What concerns us in this connection, however, is m 
this absolutist conception, and its bearings on the 
of human conduct- ' 

to the absolutist, the "good***" of m ** 


not at all affected by its immediate consequences. The value 
of a good or a mor^l act does not consist in its results. The 
moral value of an act consists in the "good-will" of the agent, 
and the "good-will" of the agent consists in his willing and 
conscious conformity to the absolute moral principle involved. 
"Nothing is fundamentally good but the good-will." That is, 
an act to be moral, must be the conscious conformity of a 
rational agent to the moral law, which he recognizes to be 
morally binding. To Kant, the classic exponent of this posi- 
tion, an act performed out of mere inclination, if not immoral, 
certainly was not moral. A moral act could only flow from 
reason, and reason would dictate to an individual conformity 
to the moral law, which was a law of reason. Conduct that 
is determined by mere circumstance is not moral conduct* 
Morality is above the domain of circumstance. And the 
moral agent is above the defeats and compromises imposed 
by time and place. He is a free agent, that is, morally free* 
fie accepts no commands, except those of reason. A man, in 
following impulse or being dictated to by circumstance, is a 
mere animal or a machine. He is only a reasonable, that is, a 
moral being, when he conforms to the laws which are above 
tim$ and place and circumstance, and above the whirls and 
eddies of personal inclination. 

Concretely, one may take the absolutistic attitude toward 
a specific virtue: honesty. The morality of telling the truth 
consists in a conscious conformity to the moral standard of 
honesty in the face of all deflections of inclination and par- 
ticular situations. It makes no iota of difference what the 
result of telling the truth in a particular instance may be. 
It makes no difference what urgent and plausible and prac- 
tically decent reason one has for not telling the truth- The 
truth must be told, as justice must be done, though the 
heavens fall. We have a case, let us suppose, where telling 
bad news to a very , sick man may kill hinL That temporally 
disastrous consequence is, from an absolutistic point of view, 
a totally irrelevant consideration, as is also the pain we fed 


in telling the truth under such conditions. But the single 
moral course is clear; there is no alternative; in absolutistic 
morals there are no extenuating circumstances. The truth 
must be told, whatever be the consequences. For to tell 
the truth is a universal moral law, and conformity to that law 
a universal moral obligation. 

The defects of this position, if they are not obvious from 
its bare statement, will become clearer from the analysis of 
the relativist or teleological positions. But its specific virtues 
deserve attention. The Kantian or absolutistic position, by 
its emphasis on the indefeasible and unwavering character of 
moral action, suggests something that rouses admiration from 
common sense, unsophisticated by moral theory. We do not 
think highly of the man who is at the mercy of every chance 
appetite, or every casual incident. Morality must be con- 
stituted of more enduring stuff. We do not deeply admire the 
caliber of a man who yields to every pressing exigency, sur- 
rendering thereby every ideal, principle, or value, the attain- 
ment of which demands some postponement or some privation 
of the fulfillment of immediate desire. The man who compro- 
iKiificH h political ideals in the attainment of his personal 
fluceeHB in a Hoornful figure morally. And we estimate more 
hiffhly the character of an individual who can persist m the 
Btrc.mK>UH attainment of an ideal in the face of the coun^- 
inclinatlonofpasBingpkasures. In its emphasis on the auton- 
omy and integrity of moral action, even its opponents credi 
? f Kantian or absolute position with having fat upon, 
moral aspect of human action. It is, as we Art 
to > rigidity and formalism of its concern in * 

5i t * v** 8tandards > aud v lts ,t 
rf Riven ways of action, that the theo^ is 

eor. Contrasted with the 


explicitly to discover a way of life by which human happiness 
in this world of time and place and circumstance may be 
attained. To know what is the supreme good, and to dis- 
cover what are the means of its attainment, are, as Aristotle 
long ago and justly observed, of great importance in the regu- 
lation of life, Jt is this knowledge and discovery that consti- 
tute, according to Aristotle, the business of ethics. Regard- 
ing this "supreme good," we may quote his own expressions: 

We speak of that which is sought after for its own sake, as more 
final than that which is sought after as a means to something else; 
we speak of that which is never desired as a means to something else 
as more final than the things which are desired both in themselves 
and as means to something else; and we speak of a thing as absolutely 
final, if it is always desired in itself and never as a means to something 

It seems that happiness preeminently answers to this description, 
as we always desire happiness for its own sake, and never as a means 
to something else, whereas we desire honour, pleasure, intellect, and 
every virtue, partly for their own sakes, ... but partly also as being 
means to happiness, because we suppose they will prove the instru- 
ments of happiness. Happiness, on the other hand, nobody desires 
for the sake of these things, nor indeed aa a means to anything else 

Happiness may, as Aristotle observes, be differently con- 
ceived by different people. To some it may mean a life of 
sejisuaj. enjoyment; to some men a life of money-making, 
But it is the attainment of complete satisfaction and self- 
realization by the individual that ethical theories should 
promote; for such self-realization constitutes happiness. It is 
sufficient here to point out that all so-called "teleologieaP 
or " relativistic " moralities, insist that the morality of an 
action is not determinable a priori, or absolutely. They are 
relativisUc in the sense that they insist on taking into account 
the specific circumstances of action in the determination of its 
moral value. They axe tekological in that they insist o meas- 
uring the moral value of an action in terms of its consequence 

* Aristotle; toe. <j&, pp. 13-44. 


in human well-being or happiness, however those be conceived* 
To revert to the illustration used in connection with the dis- 
cussion of Absolutism, to lie in order to save a life would, on 
this basis, be construed as good rather than evil. 

tTtilitarianism. One of the classic statements of relativistia 
and teleological morality is "Utilitarianism. According to the 
Utilitarians the criterion of the worth of a deed was to be 
found in an estimation of the relative pleasures and pains pro- 
duced by it. The view is thus stated by John Stuart MD1; 

The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or 
the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in 
proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to 
produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, 
and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain and the privation of 
pleasure. To give a clear view of the inoral standard set up by the 
theory much more requires to be said; in particular, what things it 
includes in the idea* of pain and pleasure; and to what extent tiro 
is loft an open question, But these supplementary explanations do 
not affect the theory of life on which this theory of morality is 
Bounded -namely, that pleasure and freedom from pain are the 
only things desirable SB ends; and that all desirable thmgs (wluch 
m as numerous fo the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are defin- 
able either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or aa means to- 
the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pauu 1 

Simply stated, Utilitarianism says: "Add together all the 
pleasure* promised by a contemplated course of acto, then 


< will determine whether the course is right or wrong. Pleas- 
are thus conceived as bang open to caatA 
Action is determined 

in advance of the 
Bentham's name is particularly associated 

um nhegreat^t h^^ 
But two impttcaticms of this doctrine must betaken 
?U SB Bottom interpreted it. ^" 
meant the wmm amomt of pleasure, 

, pp* 0-10, 


eac'h individual could desire the greatest happiness, only in 
so far as it contributed to his own happiness or pleasure. 
And, for Bentham, as for all strict Utilitarians, there was no 
qualitative distinction in the amounts of pleasure. "The 
quantity being the same," said Bentham, "pushpin is as good 
as poetry." 

Utilitarianism is here considered as an instance of a type 
of ethical theory that set human happiness as the end, and 
made its judgments of actions depend on their consequences 
in human welfare. It must be pointed out, however, that its 
conception of happiness was dependent on a psychology now 
almost unanimously recognized as false: Bentham's assump- 
tion that the reason human beings performed certain actions 
was became they desired certain pleasures, completely re- 
verses the actual situation. It puts, as it were, the cart 
before the horse. Pleasure is psychologically the accompani- 
ment, what psychologists call the "feeling tone" of the satis- 
faction of any instinctive or habitual impulse. Human be- 
ings have certain native or habitual tendencies to action, and 
pleasure attends the performance of these. It is not be- 
cause we want the pleasure of eating, that we decide to eat ; 
we want to eat, and eating is therefore pleasant. 

If the good Samaritan cared about the present feelings or the fu- 
ture welfare of the man fallen among thieves, it would no doubt give- 
foiTn some pleasure to satisfy that desire for his welfare; if he had 
desired his good as little as the priest and the Levite, there would 
have been nothing to suggest the strange idea that to relieve him, to 
bind up his nasty wounds, and to spend money upon him, would be 
a source of more pleasure to himself than to pass by on the other side 
and spend the money upon himself. In the case of the great major- 
% of our pleasures, it will probably be found that the desire is the 
condition of the pleasure, not the pleasure of the desire. 1 

As has been previously pointed out in this and other chap- 
ters, action does not start with reflection upon pleasures, or, 
fbr that matter, upon anything else. Action is fundamentally 

; Ethics, p, 18. 


initiated by instinctive promptings, or the promptings of 
habit. Satisfaction or pleasure attends the fulfillment of any 
inborn or acquired impulse, and dissatisfaction or pain its 
obstruction or frustration. Apart from the satisfactions 
experienced in the fulfillment in action of such impulses, 
pleasure does not exist. Actions, situations, persons, or ideas 
can be pleasant to us, but " pleasure" as a separate objective 
entity cannot be said to exist at all. The Utilitarians, again, 
made the intellectualist error of supposing that men dispas- 
sionately and mathematically weighed the consequences of 
their actions, whereas their relative impulsions to action are 
determined by the instincts they inherit and the habits they 
have already acquired. 

Despite its false psychology, Utilitarianism does stand out 
as one of the great classic attempts to build an ethical theory 
squarely designed to promote human happiness. An execu- 
tion of the same worthy intention, more acceptable to those 
trained in the modern psychology of instinct, is that moral 
conception variously known as Behaviorism, or Energism y 
a point of view maintained by thinkers from Aristotle to 
Professor Dewey in our own day. All behavioristic theories 
take the position that in order to find put what is good for 
man, we must begin by finding out what man is. In order to 
discover what will give man satisfaction, *we must discover 
what his natural impulses and capacities are. In the utiliza^ 
, tion and fulfillment of these will man find his most complete 
realization and happiness. The standard of goodness, there-* 
fore, is measured in terms of th^ extent to which action pro-^ 
motes a complete and harmonious utilization of natural im- 
pulses and natural capacities. Ethics, from such a viewpoint, 
cannot set up arbitrary standards, but must form its stand- 
ards by inquiries into the fundamental and natural needs and 
desires of men* Instead of laying down eternal principles to 
which human beings must be made to conform, it must derive 
its principles from observations of human experience, and test 
them there. The good is what does good; the bad what does 


harm. And what is good for men, and bad for men, depends 
not on rigid a priori intellectual standards, but on the original 
nature which is each man's inheritance. 

To base ethics upon an analysis of the conditions of human 
nature, as scientific inquiry reveals it, carries with it two impli- 
cations. It means that nothing that is shown to be a part of 
man's inevitable original equipment can with justice to man's 
welfare be ruled out. Every instinct taken by itself is as good 
as any other. It is only when one instinct competes with 
another, so that excessive indulgence of one, as, for example, 
that of sex or pugnacity, interferes with all a man's other 
instincts or interests (or with those of other men), that an 
instinct becomes evil. It means, secondly, that since indi- 
viduals differ, and since situations are infinitely various and 
individual, no arbitrary and fixed laws can be laid down as 
fundamental eternal principles. 

Moral knowledge. The contrast between the two types 
of morality that have been historically current may be ap- 
proached from the standpoint of moral knowledge. That is, 
moral theories may be classified on the basis of their answer 
to the question: How do moral judgments arise? The chief 
<2ontrast to be drawn is that between Intuitionalism on the 
one hand, and Empiricist on the other. Intuitionalism! holds 
briefly that the mdral quality of an act is intuitively perceived, 
and is recognized apart from experience of its consequences. 
Tlte empirical theory holds that moral judgments come to be 
attached to acts as a result of experience, and particularly 
experiences of the approval and disapproval of other people. 
The contrast will again become clearer by a discussion of each 
tfi&ory separately. 

Intuitionalism. Intuitionalism takes two chief forms. The 
&$&, Perceptual Intuitionalism, as Sidgwick calls it, holds that 
the lightness of each particular act is immediately known. 
Tfae second, called by the same author Dogmatic Intuition- 
alism, holds that the general laws of common-sense moral- 
ity are immediately perceived. The popular view of "con- 


science," well illustrates the first-mentioned position of the 


We commonly think of the dictates of conscience as relating to 
particular actions, and when a man is bidden in a particular case to 
"trust to his conscience," it commonly seems to be meant that he 
should exercise a faculty of judging morally this particular case 
without reference to general rules, and even in opposition to conclu- 
sions obtained by systematic deduction from such rules. 1 

Conscience, this organ of immediate moral perception, is 
frequently taken to be divinely given at birth. There is no 
one so certain or immovable as the man whose actions are 
dictated by his "conscience." He does not have to think 
about his actions; he knows immediately what is right and 
what is wrong. The intuitionalist does not go into the nat- 
ural history of scruples for or against the performance of 
certain actions. He takes these immediate aversions or 
promptings to act as the revelations of immediate and unques- 
tionable knowledge, frequently presumed to be divinely im- 
planted. Most Intuitionalists hold not that we experience an 
Immediate intuition of the rightness or wrongness of action 
in every single situation, but that the common rules of moral- 
ity, such common rules as good faith and veracity, are imme- 
diately recognized and assented to as moral. They insist 
that these are not determined by experience or by reflection, 
since stealing, lying, and murder are known to be wrong by 
every one, though most men could not tell why. 

Intuitionalism carried out to logical extremes is represented 
by such men as Tolstoy, and, in general, those who genuinely 
and persistently act according to the dictates of their con- 
science, "who hold, and so far as they can, act upon the prin- 
ciple that we must never resist force by force, never arrest a 
thief, must literally give to him that asketh, up to one's last 
penny, and so on," 

Empiricism. To explain the grounds of the Empirical 
position is to exhibit the arguments in refutation of Intui* 
* SidgwiOk: Methods of Mtiwx (4th edition), p. 90. 


tionalism. The most obvious and frequent line of attack 
that empirical moralists make upon Intuitionalism is to 
examine and compare the various "intuitions" of right con- 
duct which have been held by men in different ages and 

The traditional method of combating intuitionalism from the time 
of John Locke to that of Herbert Spencer has been to present the 
reader with a list of cruel and abominable savage customs, ridiculous 
superstitions, acts of religious .fanaticism and intolerance, which 
have all alike seemed self-evidently good and right to the peoples or 
individuals who have practised them. There is hardly a vice or a 
crime (according to our own moral standard) which has not at some 
time or other in some circumstances been looked upon as a moral 
and religious duty. Stealing was accounted virtuous for the young 
Spartan, and among the Indian caste of Thugs. In the ancient 
world, piracy, that is, robbery and murder, was a respectable pro- 
fession. To the mediaeval Christian, religious persecution was the 
highest of duties, and so on. 1 

The Empiricist asks; If all these intuitions are absolute; 
if men at various times and at various places, indeed, if, 
as is the case, men of different social classes and situations at 
the present time, differ so profoundly in their "intuitions" of 
the just, the noble, and the base, which of the conflicting intui- 
tions, all equally absolute, is the absolute? The Intuitionalist 
continually appeals to the universal intuition and assent of 
Mankind. But there is scarcely a single moral law for which 
universal *assent in even a single generation can be found. 
One has but to survey the heterogeneous collection of customs 
and prohibitions collected in such a work as Frazer's Golden 
Bough, to see how little unanimity there is in the moral 
intuitions of mankind. 

, The Empiricist finds the origin of these divergent moral 
convictions in the divergent environments to which indi- 
viduals in different places, times, and social situations are ex- 
posed. The intensity and apparent irrefutability of these 
convictions, which the Intuitionalist ascribes to their innate- 

Kashdall; loc. cit. t p. 59. 


ness, the Empiricist ascribes to their early acquisition, and 
the deep emotional hold which early acquired habits have 
over the individual. Those moral beliefs which we hold with 
the utmost conviction and intensity are, instead of being 
thereby guaranteed as most reasonable and genuinely moral, 
thereby rendered, says the Empiricist, the more suspect. 
They are evidences of the effectiveness of our early education, 
or of our high degree of sensitiveness to our fellows. Con- 
science is thus reduced to habitual emotional reactions pro- 
duced by the contact of a given individual temperament with 
a given environment. 

Thus acts come by the individual to be recognized as right 
or wrong, according to the tradition to which he has been 
educated and the contacts with other people to which he is 
continually exposed. The Empiricist does not deny that 
there are intuitions, or apparent intuitions. He denies thei? 
ultimacy, their unquestionable validity. 

When ... we find ourselves entertaining an opinion about the 
basis of which there is a quality of feeling which tells us that to in- 
quire into it would be absurd, obviously unnecessary, unprofitable, 
undesirable, bad form, or wicked, we may know that that opinion is 
a non-rational one, and probabtyj therefore, founded upon inade- 
quate evidence. 1 

These so powerful convictions are the immediate promptings 
of instincts, or of the habits into which they Jiave been modi- 
fied. The humane Christian, had he been brought up in the 
Eskimo tradition, would with the most tender solicitude 
slaughter his aged parents, just as the humane Christian in 
the Middle Ages thought it his duty to slay heretics. There 
is no limit to the excesses to which men have gone on the dic- 
tates of conscience. To put actions on the basis of conscience 
is to put them beyond the control of reflection or the check 
of inquiry. It is to reduce conduct to caprice; to exalt im- 
pulse foto a ttioral command. And the results of accepting 

* Trotter; Instinct* of the Herd, p. 44. 


intuitions as rational knowledge have been in many 
cases catastrophic* 

If reas6n has slain its thousands, the acceptance of instinct as 
evidence has slain its tens of thousands. Day by day, in the ordi- 
nary direction of their lives, men have learned during hundreds of 
generations how untrustworthy is the interpretation of fact which 
Instinct offers, and how bitter is the truth contained in such prov- 
erbs as "Anger is a bad counsellor," or "Love is blind." . . . Wars 
are often started and maintained, neither from mere blind anger, 
nor because those on either side find that they desire the results 
which a cool calculation of the conditions makes them regard as 
probable, but largely because men insist on treating their feelings as 
evidence of fact and refuse to believe that they can be so angry with- 
out sufficient cause. 1 

The Empiricist insists that the morality of an act cannot 
be told from the intensity of approval or disapproval which 
it arouses in the individual. Actions are not moral or im- 
moral in themselves, but in their consequences or relations, 
which are only discoverable in experience. The goodness or 
badness of an act is measurable in terms of its consequences^ 
and the consequences of action are discoverable only in experi- 
ence. This does not imply that we calculate the results of 
every action before performing it, or measure the conse- 
quences of the acts of other persons before judging them. 
Our immediate reactions are frequently not the result of refleo 
tion at all, but are responses prpmpted by previously formed 
itabits, or by instinctive caprice. These immediate intuitions 
are not to be relied upon as moral standards, precisely because 
reflection frequently comes to an estimate of an act, directly 
at variance with our instinctive reaction to it. We come, 
upon reflection, to approve acts that we are, by instinct, 
moved to condemn. And the reverse holds true. 

When we see that a child's clothes have caught fire, we do nofc 

need to reflect on any consequences for universal well-beiag befee 

we make up our minds that it is a duty to extinguish the flames, even, 

at thfe cost of some risk to ourselves. It is clear that the act wilf 

* Graham Wallas: The Great Society, pp. 224-25. 


conduce to pleasure and to the avoidance of pain, We should fed 
an equally u*tinctive desire to kick out of the room a^SlS 

that he was a surgeon, and that the making of incisi S tS to 
save the man's life. Were a compet^hysician toS 
the burning of the child's clothes upon fij Lk woSd S 
fever every reasonable person would consider it his dut7to 
eider his pnm^fode view of the situation.* 

The Empiricist insists that moral standards are matters of 
discovery; that the laws of conduct must be derived from 
experience, just as must the laws of the physical sciences. 
To condemn an act as evil means that the performance of that 
act has in experience been found to produce harmful results. 
Those moral laws which at the present stage of civilised soci- 
ety seem to have attained universal assent, hove attained it 
because they axe rules whose practice has, in the history of 
the race, repeatedly been found to produce desirable results. 
Even the conception of justice, which has by so many think- 
ers been held to be absolute, to inhere somehow in the nature 
of things, is by Mill demonstrated at length to be merely a 
particularly highly regarded utility: 

It appears * . * that justice is a name for certain moral require- 
ments, which, regarded collectively, stand higher in the scale of 
social utility, and are therefore of more paramount obligation than' 
any others; though particular cases may occur where some othef 
social duty is so important as to overrule any one of the general 
maaam of justice, Thus,isavealife,itinaynotonlybeallowalfe, 
but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine,, 
or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical 
practitioner. 1 

Indeed it is clear, that in the processes of natural selection 
those tribes would survive whose rules of morality did in 
general promote welfare. And it is the business of reflection, 
says the Empiricist^ not to accept either his own conviction* 
or those of others on ethical questions, but in cases of ambi- 

* Hashdall; Ettvfas, pp, 51-52. 

* Mill; Ctaftfer&fttow (London, 1907), p. 05, 


guity to" establish, after inquiry, a standard the practice of 
which promises the widest benefits in human happiness. 

Ethics and life. All ethical theories are more or less de- 
liberately intended as definitions of the good, and as instru- 
ments for its attainment. They must, therefore, be im- 
mediately tested by their fruits in life. An ethical theory 
that is only verbally concerned with the good, but does not 
in practice promote human welfare, is futile pedantry or worse. 
Reflection upon conduct arises in man's attempt to control 
the nature which is his inheritance in the interests of his 
happiness. Men have learned through experience that to 
follow each impulse without forethought brings them pain, 
misery, and sometimes destruction. They have found that 
to achieve happiness some harmony must be established 
between competing desires, and that only by balances, ad- 
justment, and control, can they make the most of the nature 
which is theirs inescapably. This nature consists, as we have 
seen, in certain specific tendencies to action. Men are na- 
tively endowed with instincts to love, to fight, to be curious, 
to long for and enjoy the companionship of their fellows, to 
wish privacy and solitude, to follow a lead and to take it, 
to fear and hate, and sympathize with others. The satis- 
faction of any one of these impulses gives pleasure. Any one 
of these may become a dominant passion. But it is not 
through yielding to a single imperious impulse that men attain 
genuine happiness. To be excessively pugnacious or amor- 
ous or fearful is to court unhappiness, both for the individual 
and his fellows. It is only by giving each instinct its propor- 
tionate chance in the total context, of all the instincts, that 
happiness is to be found. 

It is for this reason that, as Aristotle first pointed out, a 
study of what is good for man must start with a study of 
what man himself is. The study of ethics must consequently 
fall back for its data upon psychology. It must note with pre- 
cision the things that men can do, before it tells them what 
they ought to do. For the things they ought to do, are 


dependent on the conditions which limit and determine their 
ideals. Any ethical system that deliberately excludes from 
its formulation natural human desires and capacities, is 
denying the very sources of all morality. For every ideal 
has its root back in some unlearned human impulse, and an 
ideal that has no basis in the nature of man, is not an ideal, 
but a negation. The ideal " way of life" is one that provides 
for the harmonious utilization of all those possibilities which 
lie in man's original nature. To deny a place to the sex im- 
pulse is to deny a place to ideal love. To deny the moral 
legitimacy of the fighting instinct is to take away the basis 
of that immense energy which goes to sustain great moral 
reformers. The place of ethical theory is not to deny human 
impulses, but to turn them to uses in which they will not 
hinder other impulses either of the individual or of others. 
Through physical science, men have sought to make the most 
of their physical environment; through moral science, they 
can try to make the most of the human equipment which is 
theirs for better or for worse. This human equipment is an 
opportunity; and the utilization of this opportunity consti- 
tutes happiness. It is in the realization of the possibilities 
offered by our original human nature that reflection upon 
morals is justified. It is in the effective fulfillment of this 
opportunity that its success must be measured. 

Morality and human nature. A moral theory that is 
merely coercive and arbitrary, therefore, is not in a genuine 
mnm moral A morality, to justify itself, must appeal to 
the heart of man. The good which it recommends must be 
a good which man can without sophistry approve. And the 
good for which man can whole-heartedly strive is not deter- 
mined by logic, but, in the last analysis, by biology, thiman 
beings cannot freely call good that to which they have no 
spontaneous prompting. Those ascetics who have denied 
the floah may have displayed a certain degree of heroism, but 
they displayed an equal lack of insight. For it is -out of 
physical impulses alone that any ideal values can arise. 


It is only when one instinct interferes with its neighbors, 
or one individual with his fellows, that instincts or activi- 
ties can be called evil. They are called evil in relation, in 
context, with reference to their consequences. In itself no 
natural impulse is subject to condemnation. It is just as 
natural as thunder or sunshine, and is to be taken as a point 
of departure, as a basis for action, rather than as a chance 
for censure. Impulses demand control simply because, left 
to themselves, they collide with each other, just as indi- 
viduals uncontrolled by custom, law, and education, collide 
with each other in the pursuit of satisfaction. The ideal ia 
a way of life, which will allow as much spontaneity as the 
conditions of nature and life allow, and provide as much con- 
trol as they make necessary. To be thus in control of one's 
desires is to be free. It is to utilize one's interests and capac- 
ities in the light of a harmony both of one's own desires, and 
in so far as this harmony is universal, of the desires of all men. 
It is to lead the Life of Reason: 

Every one leads the Life of Reason in so far as he finds a steady 
light behind the world's glitter, and a clear residuum of joy beneath 
pleasure and success. No experience not to be repented of falls 
without its sphere. Every solution to a doubt, in so far as it is not 
a new error, every practical achievement not neutralized by a second 
maladjustment consequent upon it, every consolation not the seed 
of another, greater sorrow, may be gathered together and built into 
this edifice. The Life of Reason is the happy marriage of two ele- 
ments impulse and ideation which if wholly divorced would 
reduce man to a brute or to a maniac. The rational animal is gen- 
erated by the union of these two monsters. He is constituted by 
ideas which have ceased to be visionary and actions which have 
ceased to be vain. 1 

Nor does the leading of a moral life, as Kant and other 
moralists said or implied, demand a stern and lugubrious 
countenance and a sad, resigned determination to be good. 
A moral system should promote rather a hallelujah than a 
Jlalo* One may suspect the adequacy to human happiness of 

1 Santayana: Reason in Common Sense, p. 6. 


those moral systems which promote in their holders or practi- 
tioners a virtuous somberness and a moral melancholy. A 
morality that demands such unwholesome outward evidences 
is inwardly not beautiful As art is an attempt to give per- 
fect ion and fulfillment to matter, so is morals an attempt to 
give perfect and complete fulfillment to human possibility. 
A genuine morality will, in consequence, be spontaneous and 
free. In Matthew Arnold's well-known lines: - 

"Then, when the clouds are off the soul, 
When thou dost bask in Nature's eye, 
Ask, how she view'd thy self-control, 
"Thy struggling task'd morality. 
Nature, whose free, light, cheerful air 
Oft made tbee, in thy gloom, despair. 

"There is no effort on my brow 
I do not strive, I do not weep. 
I rush witii the swift spheres, and glow 
In joy, and when I will, I sleep." * 

law, and education. No moral code, however 
adequate in its theoretical formulation or the means of its 
attainment, is socially effective merely as theory. No matter 
how completely it takes into account all the natural desires 
and possibilities which demand fulfillment, it remains merely 
an academic yearning. It becomes an instrument of happi- 
now only whe,n it haw been made the habitual mode of life of 
the individual and the group, through the long continuous 
pmeoBmtfJ of education and law. There is a familiar discrep- 
ancy between theory and practice, even when the discrepancy 
w not duo to insincerity. Philosophy cannot make a man 
virtuous, however much it may convince him of the path to 
virtue Socrates thought that if men only knew the good 
they would follow it* But modern psychologists and ordinary 
Ittymon know better* The good must become a habitual 
practice if men are to follow it, sad it can only become a 
habitual practice if education and social conditions in general 


provide for the early habituation of the individual to con- 
duct that is socially useful. Aristotle, who himself framed a 
theory of morals that was built on the firm foundation of 
human possibility, was aware of the inadequacy of theory 
by itself to make men good: 

Some people think that men are made good by nature, others by 
habit, others again by teaching. 

Now it is clear that the gift of Nature is not in our own power, 
but is bestowed through some divine power upon those who are 
truly fortunate. It is probably true also that reason and teaching 
are not universally efficacious; the soul of the pupil must first have 
been cultivated by habit to a right spirit of pleasure and aversion, 
like the earth that is to nourish the seed. 1 

It is only when people find pleasure in the right actions,