Sociology And Evolution
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Sociology is the science which treats of the desires which are common to all men. The social forces are individual human desires correlated. Thus the social forces are the desires and ideas which govern society. Sociology is the science which considers the natural development of social forces.
All the other sciences have been defined and formulated before this science of Sociology and are tributary to it. Before there could be any such science, regular, natural laws governing mankind in their social relations had to be discovered. Sociology treats of all the desires or forces which have made men congregate. These forces may be divided for consideration into industrial, companionable, intellectual, religious and political desires.
All mankind need food, clothing and shelter. These individual needs have gradually evolved social, forces, as the manner of production evolved from individual to social effort. Social labor is far more productive than isolated effort. Any individual working alone can barely sustain life. Cooperation is necessary to produce Wealth. Division of labor has given expertness and increased the out-put. Special machines adapted to each part of the process of manufacture have further increased the results. The rocess of exchange of products has followed the same evolution. As a general result, the whole machinery of production and distribution has now evolved into a social force of immense magnitude and importance.
THE FORCES OF COMPANIONSHIP.
The desire for other human companionship is one of the primary social forces. The pleasures of companionship are profoundly attractive and impelling to action. The longing for association appears in all societies and entertainments. It is repulsive to the majority of people to live alone. Solitariness is considered a punishment or a curse. The desire for companionship ranges from mere association as acquaintances to the strongest friendship, affinity, and love.
In addition to the desire for companionship in itself, it is universally recognized that greater opportunities for individuals may generally be found in larger towns and cities. Mutual interest is the motive for the organization of industries and governments.
The power of love is beyond all analysis, computation and description. The evolution of this force in each individual makes up the larger and most important part of his or her life. Love may be a sentiment, a principle, or a passion. It may be all three. As a sentiment, it controls many lives almost irresistibly. As a principle, it makes the patriots, the philanthropists, the religious workers. Love is the passion that makes the hero, the martyr, the saint. Love is the highest, best and purest thing in the world. Its polar opposites are hate and lust, which make so much evil.
The general desire for Knowledge as well as love for Literature, Music and Art must be reckoned among the social forces. The social, revolutionary and constructive force created by some writers, artists and musicians has been incalculable. "Knowledge is power." And when love for Knowledge, Music, Art, Culture and Beauty has been increased to a passion, it has resulted in the production of power of the highest order. The force created and expended by a genuine thinker is enormous in productive power.
The great Religions of the world have been among the most powerful factors in affecting individuals and nations. They have appealed to every personal emotion and to all other social forces. They have appealed to every motive from intense selfishness to the purest altruism. They have relied upon peaceful preaching, beautiful music and art, upon Crusades and Inquisitions. They have made converts by appeals to conscience and to reason, as well as by fire and sword. Religious intuitions, desires, convictions, passions, and aspirations are among the very strongest individual and social forces.
(The above brief remarks consider Religion only from the Sociological standpoint.)
For centuries, political changes were effected largely as the result of personal quarrels of Kings, or national conflicts for territory. Through all past history, the desire for more of self-government, or democracy, has finally emerged
Sociology and Evolution 239 as the greatest, ever-present issue. The victories of this principle have been gradual and secured by great efforts, and the end is not yet in sight.
There are objections to popular government at the present stage of human development, and it is well rightly to estimate the difficulties in the way of forming genuinely democratic institutions of the highest merit. The majority have never recognized their greatest minds nor chosen their own best interests. The words of Socrates as recorded in Plato's Republic indicate a great truth. (Remember that his "kings" were considered as educated and elected by the people.)
"Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils—no, nor the human race, as I believe, and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day."
THREE GREAT MASTER PASSIONS.
"In each human breast, deep-seated,
There are Three Great Master Passions which have made and unmade nations, changed the history of the world, and altered the boundaries of countries repeatedly :
1. Greed for gold,
2. Love of conquest and power (including adventure, discovery, colonization and war),
3. Religious zeal (accompanied by more or less knowledge and sincerity) .
In studying history and sociology, the mingled operations of Trade, War and Religion can ever be discerned.
MISDIRECTED SOCIAL FORCES.
Probably the greatest evil resulting from misdirected Social Forces is the opportunity allowed the few who possess financial ability, to pile up enormous fortunes from private monopoly in the things which all the people need. There is an antagonism between the selfish and unintelligent, apparent interests of individuals and the genuine interests of society. By allowing too much license to those who have the one qualification of financial ability, society permits the masses to be deprived of economic freedom. Labor power is nearly the sole property of the mass of workers. The rights of each man to the control of his labor power, and assurance of securing adequate returns, must be established. The greatness and worth of a community do not consist in the number of millionaires, but in the character and comfort of all. This is the rational social end.
Inadequate social intelligence results in inadequate social control. The idea of a social industrial organization with collective control is a step in advance even of political democracy. The principle of continuity in human progress demands this logical development. The progressive adjustment of social organization to industrial development and human need, requires equality of opportunity, and reward in proportion to labor productivity. The right of the laborer to the full reward of his labor is the revolutionary principle which progress will seek to establish more and more.
Collectivism and Individualism are two philosophies of life. A little knowledge of either will make partisans. A deeper knowledge of both will show that each has formulated truths of immense value, and the reconciliation depends upon the development of the individual intelligence.
The subject of the Right Direction of Social Forces will be considered in Chapter XVIII.
THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY.
The wise man will correlate the truths from every philosophy for his own personal philosophy and rule of life. Individuals should not be bound down to mediocrity by society. Indeed, society cannot wholly prevent individual supremacy in wisdom, knowledge and character. Inequality in characteristics, abilities and attainments is a law of nature. Equal right of access to nature's store and equal opportunity to labor will never reduce men to "one dead level," as some pessimists pretend to fear.
"Genius brings with it sufficient energy to educate itself." The inalienable right of the individual is self-completion, even in the midst of an uncomprehending and hostile environment. This is not antagonistic to any duty toward society, but rather complementary to it. For example, what is thought of a physician who has barely graduated from a college, but who is too busy with his practice to study further? He is not discharging his personal responsibility to those who trust their health, and their lives in his hands. His duty to his patients requires him conscientiously to develop mental and manual skill. Nor is he exempt, because of his professional duties to others, from an imperative duty to himself as a man and not as a physician.
Probably the greatest factor in Evolution today is man's ability and determination to cooperate in his own development. This itself is one result of Evolution. All the powers that have operated throughout the process of making the world what it is today, have been engaged in affecting and developing this latest factor. This Force must be fully considered in any adequate science of society. It shows itself most clearly in the growing desire for more of self-government, politically and industrially. This leads naturally to the pursuit of self-development or self realization.
Probably the best field for rational and high self-development is that of cooperative, altruistic efforts in controlling the Social Forces for the uplifting of humanity.