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Social Forces

( Originally Published 1915 )

PHYSICAL science has accustomed us to look for the causes of phenomena in forces. It has taught us that wherever there are effects of any kind in the physical world there must be forces producing them. The discovery of physical forces so simplified the difficulties of understanding the physical universe that we naturally ask in the presence of social phenomena - What forces have produced these results? Accepting the term forces " as a helpful analogy, but recognizing that when used with reference to social phenomena it is but an analogy, we may designate the causes of social phenomena as " social forces." By this term we mean strictly speaking the forces which influence individuals in their social relations. While strictly interpreted, the term should be applied only to those psychical products called desires, which influence men in their relations one with another.' It is worth while to consider those influences also arising outside of man and society which modify social action. These forces which condition social processes should be clearly differentiated from the social forces. Baldwin has called these external factors " the socionomic forces," including in the meaning of this term, however, not only the influence of the physical environment, but also the influence of other groups . With this understanding of the nature of these environing conditions we may properly discuss them here.

Classification of Social Forces. — Various classifications of social forces have been proposed. Below is a parallel conspectus of a number of such classifications.

An incisive criticism of certain of these schemes has been made by Professor Ross. He objects to Professor Small's classification on the ground that it classes together demands which are specific and not logically included under the categories given, and cites in support of that criticism hunger and love, which are not a desire for health. He also objects that desire for wealth is secondary to desire for the things money will buy, and that under sociability are grouped such different desires as the affective craving for companionship and the egotic desire for appreciation.

Ratzenhofer's classification of the forces which impel living beings is comprehensive, but Ross criticizes this classification of the desires operative in human societies, since it is not satisfactory to group impulses solely with reference to their concrete objects, such as species, organism, self, society, and the cosmos.

Ross pronounces Ward's the best for philosophic purposes, but prefers one based more immediately upon the nature of the desires than upon the functions which they prompt.

Stuckenberg's classification would be satisfactory if the so called " fundamental " forces were omitted. Ross says that it is an error to call the desire for wealth one of the original social forces, urging similar objection to it here as in the case of Small's classification. Moreover, Ross objects to political interests being classified as fundamental, inasmuch as the state appeals to no one group of desires. In fact the desires that later cause political activities manifest themselves first in other ways ; al-most every group of social forces seeks expression through the state only after it has already come to be used for cultural purposes. Ross prefers to arrange the springs of action in two planes, desires and interests. He relegates the study of natural wants to anthropology, reserving to sociology only the cultural wants in connection with association and the presence of culture.

Professor Ellwood in his recent work has treated the subject of the classification of the social forces. His classification briefly presented is as follows :'

I. The physical factors: passive factors operating over long periods and only indirectly :

(a) Geographic environment, — climate, topography, water-courses, rainfall, fauna, flora, etc.

(b) Biological factors, — selection, variation, heredity, etc.

II. The psychical factors: active factors operating directly and once:

(a) Impulses. (a) Primary forces impulses. 1. Original.

(b) Feelings. 2. Acquired.

(c) Beliefs.

(d) Interests. (b) Secondary forces —feelings.

(e) Desires.

Ellwood properly points out that the physical factors must be included in any comprehensive list of the forces which influence society. These forces have an influence on society in the long run. While they act only indirectly upon the impulses, desires, feelings, and beliefs of the individual, which are the active social forces, nevertheless, in the long run they are of considerable influence on the type. While Ellwood does not include a discussion of these factors in his book, he omits them simply because he is dealing only with the psychological aspects of the subject.'

In a text of this character, we shall include the physical factors in the belief that the student should have as comprehensive a conception of the various forces which influence the formation and development of society as possible. The task is to set forth clearly the various influences which affect social life. The difficulty is to get a classification which at once takes into account the subjective forces driving the individual to social action, and which at the same time makes room for a clear exposition of the functions they perform in society. With the practical purpose in view of making clear to the student the forces that cooperate in the building of society and with a keen appreciation of its many shortcomings, we venture to submit a classification which owes much to those which have preceded it.

I. External Conditions of the Physical Environment affecting man's impulses, feelings, thoughts, and actions.

(a) Climate.

(b) Soil.

(c) Physical configuration,— mountains, valleys, watercourses, etc.

(d) Water supply.

(e) Flora.

(f) Fauna.

II. External Social Factors affecting man as a social being.

(a) Presence or absence of other groups.

(b) Attitude of other groups, — hostility or friendliness.

III Forces in Man's Psychical Nature.

(a) Appetitive, hunger, thirst, and sex appetite.

(b) Hedonic, fear, aversion to pain, love of warmth, ease, and sensuous pleasure.

(c) Egotic, ambition, shame, envy, pride, vanity, love of liberty, of power, and of glory.

(d) Affective, — sympathy, sociability, love, hate, spite, jealousy, anger, revenge.

(e) Recreative, — play impulses, desire for self-expression.

(f) Religious, desire for relationship with the Unknown either through ecstasy or through relations of patronage and submission.

(g) Ethical, — love of fair play, sense of justice.

(h) AEsthetic, desire for enjoyment of the pleasures of perception, or the beautiful.

(i) Intellectual,— curiosity, love of knowing, learning, and teaching.

IV. Interests growing out of combinations of human desires in large part socially conditioned and directed towards the objects presented by physical stimuli and the external social factors.

(a) The wealth interests, — directed towards securing wealth.

(b) The political interests, — looking towards protection in the exercise of complete, individual self-expression.

(c) The religious interests, — looking toward alliance with the Unknown for release, protection, or advantage.

(d) The intellectual interests, — yearnings for diversified experience, for interpretation of the mysterious, release from fear and control through understanding.

(e) The welfare interests, — centering on measures intended to conserve the group and contribute to its welfare.'

Natural Conditions that Influence Society. — In an earlier chapter of this book, certain physical conditions which affect society have been treated at length, and in the previous chapter, those which condition the formation of social aggregates have been mentioned. The factors dealt with before were water, food, topographical features, and climate.

In addition to water, food, and climate, the natural resources of the earth, such as forests, mines, water power, and means of transportation, have been important influences in causing people to settle on a certain territory. Consequently these resources have been instrumental in the development of social order. Upon the whole, the direction taken by the social life, the forms of industry, and to some extent the nature of the social bonds and even the forms of thought are conditioned by the physical surroundings. Again, the physical influences on life and character in the creation of like temperaments and the inspiration of the same desires have made people alike and caused them to go in the same way, and thus have established social order. Racial characteristics, while dependent entirely upon this group of causes, have been developed largely by differences of environment. The ancient Greek owed something of his character to the climatic conditions of the little peninsula on which he lived. The small fertile valleys, the soft air, influenced by proximity to the sea, the sunny skies, together with the semitropical vegetation, lent a charm to his life and influenced his character. Likewise, the valley of the Nile, where the river overflows the desert, made Egypt and largely determined the Egyptian character as well. The Sphinx and the Pyramids could not have existed in Greece, Italy, or Switzerland. India, with its lofty mountains, extensive plains, great rivers, fearful storms, and terrible droughts which parched the vegetation, causing famines and pestilences, has had a vast influence on the character and the mind of the native. It was a land of fear and " a land of regrets." Indian philosophy, literature, and the Indian gods, creations of the mind of this people, depended largely for their character on physical environment.2 So it might be shown that the freedom-loving Swiss owes something to his mountain home, that the Scotch character is influenced by the climate, and that even the American character as well owes much to sunshine and ozone, to mountain and plain, and the diversified resources of the nation. The result of this influence is that people subjected to the same physical environment to a degree tend to become similar in type of mind and character, to develop similar reactions to stimuli and to develop similar ideas and institutions.

The Influence of the Social Environment. — Even more important in conditioning the development of society are the other social groups with which an aggregate of people come into contact. If the contact is not hostile in its nature, there is interchange of goods, ideas, and customs, pleasurable communication and imitation of one by the other. In most cases, however, contact with another group has meant conflict. There-fore, hostile groups have much the same effect as the unfriendly desert or wilderness and hostile beasts, except that greater intellectual efforts are excited in the attempt to outwit them. The presence of an enemy demands close organization on the part of the group, submission to the war-leader, and gives rise to the beginnings of government and division of labor. More-over, hostility often begets reaction against the ideas, customs, and institutions of the enemy, except such of them as appear to be really necessary to survival. The latter are borrowed — but usually are made to appear as an invention. The presence of other groups determine in what directions the group shall develop, where it shall settle, and to a degree the forms of its industry, and its ideals of a social personality. The gods of the enemy are said to be demons, their ethics perverse, their culture barbaric, and their social customs degrading. All opposition affects the direction which the social forces shall take and to a degree the ways in which they shall express themselves.

Individual Desires Instinctive in Origin. — Those social forces that arise from individual desires operating in social relations are considered by some to be the real social forces, — forces originating in the social organism, as well as operating upon it.

(a) Appetitive Desires. Primary among these in order of action are the desire to satisfy hunger. The attempt to satisfy hunger caused people to work together in obtaining food. This simple act has had tremendous results in the development of social and economic life. So important is this that were it not for the impelling force of hunger, one half of the industries would suddenly disappear.

(b) Hedonic Desires. Not less fundamental than the desire to appease hunger is the sexual appetite. This is a true animal instinct, universal in all, and powerful in its influence in the development of social order. Although primarily an animal instinct, it gives rise to all the love sentiments and the refined sexual relationships which lie at the foundation of the home. Only a physical passion in its primary consideration, it may become a generalized sentiment stimulating the whole emotional life of man.

The sexual appetite is the method of nature for the perpetuation of the species, but the reproductive forces resulting therefrom become varied and widely differentiated from the original purpose. While the home is primarily for the production and rearing of children, it has given rise to the family, and has formed the basis of the gens and the historical foundation of states. The sociological importance of children extends beyond the mere idea of perpetuating the race. They form the center of social activity and cause intense effort in their rearing and culture. Nor does this influence decline in the progress of civilization, but grows greater, generation after generation, until to-day the child stands at the center of civilization. For him we work and save, we sacrifice and struggle, that he may be better developed than his ancestors and that he may have opportunities equal to his abilities. The ideal society is always in the future, and men spend their lives largely for future generations. It is this careful preparation for those who follow that causes much of the increasing industrial activity of each succeeding generation.

Moreover, the effect of the love sentiment on the individual — the love of husband and wife, of father and mother, of family and home — is great, making man a new creature of sympathy and cooperation. The social life improves just to the extent that the love sentiment extends beyond mere physical passion and becomes diffused through the entire being as a psychical activity as well as a physical passion.'

There is also a deep significance in the gradual changing of the characteristics of individuals through the operation of sexual selection. The differentiation of races has been strongly influenced by this change and the social as well as the physical characteristics probably have been varied by the force of selective mating. After conflict had made the warrior the admired man, the women, so far as they exercised a choice, selected as a mate the man who was most warlike, or the most battle scarred. In times of peace other ideals of virility came to dominate, and the women selected mates more or less according to these newer ideals. Thus, with the passing of war as an occupation and the coming of industry and the arts of peace the fathers of the families were chosen in accordance with peaceful, industrious, and home loving characteristics. Thus was laid the biological basis whereby the love forces expanded beyond the family and extended to the larger social world. The parental love which is the source of sympathy for others extends at first to the kindred and establishes a unity of the group. When the family expands into the tribe, while there is primarily a unity arising through the demands of protection, the love of kindred still dominates and expands until it becomes a patriotic sentiment for the race. When the tribe has a permanent location, this sentiment extends to the land. So that the love of family, of home, of tribe and people, and of the land of birth makes the universal sentiment of patriotism. While this restraint never dies out in normal national life, it frequently is transformed into humanitarianism extending to all members of the human race regardless of geographic and national boundaries.

Next to this in importance among the hedonic desires is the avoidance of pain, fear of enemies, love of warmth, ease, and sensuous pleasure. These desires lead men to build homes, devise shelter in cave and tree and house, to make clothing, and to cooperate together for purposes of defense against a common enemy. The desire for shelter and for protection of the body has been very strong in the development of social unity. It has caused the introduction of artificial heat, with all of its mechanical devices ; by the demand for fuel it created the great industry of coal mining. It has grouped people together under the same roof, necessitating social order, resulting in an increased sociability on the one hand, and on the other it has separated them into households and made the household the unit of early social groups. The social activities of the home led to the establishment of the rights of property, and a development of the family life with the consequent great growth of social tradition, example, and suggestion. Its influence is observed in the development of language, in the creation of special communication, and in the beginnings of economic and social life. It has been far-reaching in its direct consequences, for the attempt to secure protection from cold has led to the development of architecture and home decorations. In cooperating against a common enemy man learned to widen his sympathies and to work with fellow man.

Individual; Desires : Instinctive-Social in Origin. (c) The egotic desires are directed towards the satisfaction of self-centered interests also, but in contrast with the appetitive and hedonic desires, the egotic draw their intensity from their social value. In a world where there was no one else but a lone individual, a Crusoe, these desires would never arise. They have their origin in the emulation, ambition, envy, pride, vanity, love of liberty, of power, and of glory, which are possible only in the presence of others. We prize certain things only because they give us distinction in comparison with the possessions of others. Much of the value of clothing comes from the feeling of superiority to others which its possession confers. Clothing of the body originated in the desire for ornament, but this soon came to be supplemented by the wish to protect the person against cold, storm, or heat. Later the need of clothing was felt through the sense of modesty, arising from conformity to what had become conventional and to which had been attached a sex taboo. To-day, while the idea of protecting the body from the influence of climate is primary in importance, much more attention and time are devoted to the artistic effect of clothing and to ornamentation than to the utilitarian results. While a coarse garment costing but a few dollars would sufficiently protect the wearer against wind and storm, there is worn in the place of it an artistic gown which costs hundreds of dollars. While the extent of ornamentation is somewhat dependent upon economic and social station, some of the poorer classes of humanity wearing the simplest garments, the richer people only dressing in silks, satins, and laces and wearing costly jewels, yet, to a certain degree, the ornamental motive still survives everywhere. The savage began by scarifying, tattooing, or painting the body. Then he inserted various articles, such as coarse ornaments of shells, bones, or stones into various parts of his person — his nose, his lips, or his ears. The first garments woven from leaves or the bark of trees were inartistic ; later these were colored with some degree of artistic effect, or cut in fanciful shapes. No matter how poor people may be today, the desire for adornment is very strong, and they will frequently spend much more time on the trimmings and decorations of the garment than on the original cost of the garment itself. A man may wear a thirty-dollar suit of clothes, but a hundred-dollar diamond ring.

(d) Affective Desires. — The affective desires, rooted partly in the same soil of craving for social superiority as the egotic, differ from the latter in that they terminate upon others, in-stead of upon one's self. They include sympathy, sociability, love, hate, spite, jealousy, anger, and revenge. Primarily the desire for sociability is a causal force in society building. There is an individual satisfaction, a pleasure in mere association. Whatever dispute there may be concerning the social qualities of man, it must be assumed that he has always had a desire for companionship, and while the desire for association may have been comparatively weak in primitive society, it has always existed and it increases with the development of civilization. The desire for sociability has led man to seek after pleasure and to strive for position in order to reach a desired standard of social life. This striving has had great influence in the arrangement of people in groups.

Originally growing out of sympathy, the craving for companionship develops a number of derivative desires. On the one hand the cravings for love, esteem, and the approval of sympathetic souls, and on the other the desire to vent upon despicable or hostile individuals a feeling of spite, jealousy, anger, hate, and revenge grows out of the craving for sympathy from one's fellows. As the desire for sociability develops association and cooperation, so the wish to vent the feelings of anger, spite, etc., upon others leads to the formation of classes, and to social differentiation, which lends variety to social groups and stimulates the making of devices for social control and cooperation, and thus tends in the end to promote conscious socialization. Out of the desire for sociability develops a special phase of it, viz., the desire for the approval of our fellows, — what Giddings calls " desire for recognition."'

While it is difficult to estimate to what extent the desire for the approval of our fellows influences our lives, we know that it is one of the strongest motives of human action. Take away the recognition of our actions by our fellow men from our life, and it is reduced to a dull monotony without charm or object of existence. Granting, even, that man does all things because he desires to do them or because he thinks they are right and ought to be done, yet we shall find a source of this desire and of this " ought " in the approval or disapproval of others. How this is exemplified in every simple act of life ! One scarcely buys a garment or toils at any occupation, or pursues any course of life without thinking how others will look upon it. Perhaps this influence is most strikingly observed in the choice of companions and associates. A man seeks the companionship of those who approve his conduct rather than those who disapprove it. Or, having chosen associates whose life and character he admires and who satisfy his desire for companionship, he will seek to do that which is approved by them.

In the choice of a course of life or profession, social approval or disapproval is also important. The struggle for wealth is greatly modified by the approbation of our fellows. Men follow literary pursuits because they wish to meet with the approval of the community. A striving after political preferment is often to be explained by the fact that man desires to be before the public eye and receive the admiration and plaudits of the state or nation. It is true that this desire is more powerful in some people than in others, but for that very reason it has its strong influence in determining the life course of the individual and in segregating people into groups. There is no greater evidence that man has a social nature and that he is a social being in sympathy with his social life and surroundings than the fact that he borrows ideals from others and allows his own ideals to be modified by those current in his group.

(e) Recreative Desires. — The play impulse occupies a larger place in the list of social forces than we have been accustomed to admit. The desire roots itself physically in the pleasure derived from the stimulation of unused muscles and nerves ; biologically in the fact that multiplication of activities gives a larger number of trials at adaptation to the conditions of the environment, thus improving the chances of survival ; psycho-logically in the emotional response to all activities, whether they be old and familiar in the experience of the race, and hence restful to the organism, or novel, providing intenser reaction by reason of diversity of satisfaction and rest from the weariness induced by the habitual overwork of other mucles and nerves. The factor, however, which gives the desire to play its greatest scope and intensity is that play is not solitary, but social. Consider the play of a Crusoe, how limited would be its diversity, how dwarfed the emotional returns to the player ! As a matter of fact, play has developed in groups. Only in groups does it get its compelling and socially useful intensity. The presence of the other players greatly stimulates the activity and increases the pleasure experienced. Add to that the presence of the spectators and the stress of the emotional tension induced by the desire for their approval and fear of their disapproval. Complete the machinery for the stimulation of nervous effort with rhythmic yells and calls, the pulsations of stirring music, the massing of banners with shibboleths concentrating the hopes and fears of a whole community, and you have an emotional result to which no individual effort could possibly approach. A per-son may have an alcoholic " spree " all by himself, but an emotional " spree " such as can be experienced at a football game or a boat race requires a crowd.'

Who that has ever played or witnessed games can doubt that the recreative desires have a specific and powerful socializing effect? Releasing the pent-up emotions and the stress and strain of vocational effort, breaking up the monotony of life incident to close confinement to a task, and stimulating the age-long impulses to active physical or mental activity, play opens up the fountains of human nature and gives opportunity to the passion for self-expression in pleasant contact with one's fellows in the delightful land of make-believe, where the actual failures of life are forgotten in the successes of the game, and where all things become possible. Moreover, with the stimulation of the emotions it makes possible relationships which, under different circumstances, could not be formed. It provides that fellow-ship which builds attachments bridging over into the serious business of life, and which lies at the basis of democracy. It breaks down the reserve by which we shut ourselves off from each other for self-defense in the ordinary business relationships of life. By stirring the emotions it lifts us over national boundaries and levels for us race prejudices. From primitive times down to the present play has developed sociability and paved the way for understandings and covenants. It breaks down " the middle wall of partition " between the " Greek and Barbarian," Irish and German, Italian and American, as may be seen by a visit to any municipal playground in any of our large cities.

Moreover, labor apart from that which is necessary to secure the wherewithal to satisfy the simplest natural wants historically began in play. Says Bόcher, " Labour among primitive peoples is something very ill-defined. The further we follow it back, the more closely it approaches in form and substance to play." He points out that the taming of animals by the primitive man begins with those which he keeps for his amusement. He says, further, " All regularly sustained activity finally takes on a rhythmic form and becomes fused with music and song in an indivisible whole. It is in play that technical skill is developed, according to this author. Even among the more highly developed primitive peoples when work and play begin to be differentiated from each other the dance still precedes or follows important pieces of work, like war, the hunt, and the harvest. He concludes, with these striking words, which show how even economic wants are based in developed society upon social functions, " But even our wants, considered from an economic point of view, exist only in very small part naturally it is only in the matter of bodily nourishment that our consumption is a necessity of nature , all else is the product of civilization, the result of the free creative activity of the human mind."

Surviving among many peoples to this day are labor songs, significant testimony to the part which rhythmic play has had in the development of industrious activity. In ancient times these labor songs alleviated the labor of the toiler. Aristophanes quotes one of these songs,1 the song of a miller, thus :

" Grind, grind, my good mill, grind ;
Pittacus turns a mill as we all find.
Grind, grind, my good mill, grind,
This miller-king, oh, he's the man to my mind."

It is said that negro laborers laying rails on a railroad in West Virginia chanted a song as they worked together in moving and placing the rails. Sven Hedin, the Asiatic traveler, says that the Thibetan boatman, as he rowed him across Lake Amchoktso, cried out " in time with the oars, 'Shubasa, ys aferin, bismillah, ya barkadiallah ' to cite only a few words of his inexhaustible repertoire." He heard the workmen who stir the tea in the giant caldrons in the monastery at Shigatse, Thibet, singing a rhythmical song. Kidd describes the Kaffirs at Cape Town, South Africa, seemingly a lazy lot, when called to their work of moving railway rails from one heap to another, thus : " The natives all advance in a well-dressed line to the first rail, and then begin to chant a droning tune. At a certain note in the song all twenty natives stoop down and take hold of the rail, chanting as they stoop. When this is done they continue the chant, and, at another note, all raise the rail with great merriment and fun. They then continue the chant, and, at another note, all raise their right feet, and when the chant comes to the next period they advance one step and laugh again. Continuing the chant, they lift their left leg this time, raise it high in the air, laugh, chant, and take a step forward. When they have moved the rail to the new position they chant till they come to a certain phrase or 'Motif ' in their Wagnerian song, and with a yell and a volley of sound, drop the rail into its place, and then look at one another and laugh."

Individual Desires: Instinctive-Cultural in Origin. — (f) Religious Desires. — Having in mind the sectarianism of the last four centuries one might think that religion is essentially a divisive factor. Like all the other desires of which mention has been made, the religious desires under certain circumstances inspire division and make for social differentiation. It must not be forgotten, however, that social differentiation is as important in the development of society as social unification. Nevertheless, on the whole the desires which find satisfaction in religion have played an important part in the development of social unity.

By the religious desires is meant the craving for intimate relationship with the Unknown either through ecstasy or by means of rites of propitiation and submission. These relations have for their end release from the limitations of human weakness and ignorance through the help of the Unknown.

The desires which give us the religious interests affect almost every phase of man's life, especially during the early stages of social development. At first religion provides a means of defense against the unknown and dreadful powers of the Universe. With the growth of groupal life religion becomes a means of group defense against its enemies. Then public worship develops. Bound up with man's economic interests through his endeavors to bring his god to his aid in wresting a subsistence from a grudging nature, religion instituted feasts and the rites of communion. As soon as children became an asset either to the group or to the individual, the god was looked to for defense against childlessness. Hence, the religious feasts became sexual orgies, continued long after the belief which gave rise to them was forgotten, and after a quickened ethical conscience had begun to condemn such practices.'

Moreover, with the rise of ancestor worship, and the increased importance which that belief gave to sons, religion became a stay of the family and of the authority of the father, thus strengthening social control through another avenue, the family,2 in addition to that through the group.

After ethics and religion had joined hands, the latter supplied new and powerful sanctions to conduct. On the other hand, ethics transformed religion from being the instrument whereby the gods were made to minister to the lust and greed of men into an instrument of socialized personality. Not blessings in basket and store, but " clean hands and a pure heart " now became the subject of prayer. Finally in such men as Socrates, Amos, Jesus, and Paul, religion became a socializing influence which moved them to sacrifice themselves in the interest of the state, and of humanity. It still remains one of the most potent sources of inspiration for lofty deeds, for quiet endurance of hard conditions, and for tasks at once heroic and seemingly hopeless.

(g) Ethical Desires. — Growing out of group sanctions and developing in the individual through the " dialectic of personal growth," as already explained, the ethical desires remain an important factor in the building of society.' From the stand-point of society the ethical desires, expressing themselves chiefly as a passion for justice and a curbing of the egoistic impulses, make for social solidarity and stability of social relationships. They supply those less sordid motives which contribute to the perfection of social relationships. Ideals of service to others, of unselfish cooperation, and of abstract idealism in social relationships take the place of the greed of gain, fear of enemies, and of " looking out for number one." Joined with religion the ethical desires give to religion such content as is implied in " the Kingdom of God," an ideal society. They cut through the other social forces and modify them. For example, the ethical desires curb the appetitive both by curbing hunger and love and by placing strict limits on the craving for wealth, that complex of appetitive and egotic desires. They triumph over the hedonic desires for the soft enjoyments of the senses, and send men out into adventures of daring which can be accomplished only by overcoming fear and aversion to pain. They turn play into fair play," without which the recreative desires would find but poor satisfaction. They changed ancient religion into something different from a cheap form of life insurance, and transform modern religion from a spiritual " fire escape " into a mighty engine of social regeneration through a purging of the choked springs of human endeavor for social righteousness. They redeem the aesthetic desires from the curse of aristocratic snobbery by making art unconsciously minister to the solution of the deep problems of social relationships, for example, the saving of childhood and motherhood, the stimulation of sympathy for the poor and the vicious. Who that has ever looked upon the picture of a Madonna and Child has gone away with the same ideal of motherhood and the same feeling about child-hood? Who can read Hood's Song of the Shirt, or Mrs. Browning's Cry of the Children, and fail to feel sympathy for the over worked seamstress and for the poor children driven to work in the factories in order that Greed might have its dividends? Finally, the ethical desires have mellowed the keen enjoyment of the exercise of the intellect with the tender feelings of sympathy and given them value and proportion.

(h) AEsthetic Desires. Ward has shown how the aesthetic desires are grounded in animal life where they are real biotic forces working through selection and heredity.' There they manifest themselves in love of glorious plumage, of beautiful flowers, of sweet perfume, and of attractive fruits. The significance of beauty lay originally in the survival advantage which it conferred upon its possessors whether in plant or animal. Then the sthetic desires became ideals with all connection lost with their utilitarian origin. As ideals working their way out into all realms of human life they became social, or what Ward calls " sociogenetic," forces. We say that an ideal concerning a form of government or a plan of education is beautiful. We thus testify that we have carried the aesthetic over into the intellectual and the practical realms of life.

The aesthetic desires among primitive men are largely what they are among animals, a means whereby sexual selection secures a race suited to meet the conditions of survival. Their satisfaction led to an increase of the slowly diminishing birth rate of the genus homo as compared with that of most of the lower animals. With a dawning reason, however, mankind undertook to assist the slow and devious ways of nature. Hence arose the cuttings, paintings, and ornamentations of primitive peoples. Hence arose clothing with all its benefits and draw-backs. As soon as there arose artificial methods of stimulating the love of the beautiful by such means as those just mentioned, great impetus was given to man's inventive powers. When one thinks of the amount of pain suffered by the people of every age in order to satisfy their cravings for what to them is beautiful, the mighty power of this set of desires becomes apparent.

And when one remembers that this ideal of beauty is backed by two such sanctions as the appeal of the novel and the weight of the customary combined, one is prepared to appreciate its force as a socializing agency.

Beginning with personal beauty, the craving for satisfaction was stimulated by what it fed upon. It could not stop with the person. It must extend to all other things with which man came into contact. The boat in which he worked or played must be adorned. The cave or the hut in which he dwelt, the weapons and tools, however crude, all felt the touch of his creative imagination and of his passion to realize in wood and stone, in color and form, his ideals of beauty. Moreover, often his religion gave the motif for his ideals of the beautiful, and thus two powerful desires found at once satisfaction in his creations.

From the standpoint of social achievement two results appeared, — each man's intellect was stimulated and directed toward distinctively individual creative effort, whereas the group ideals were unified. And so two seemingly incompatible results were obtained from the attempt to satisfy his esthetic passions, — tremendous growth of the activity of his intellect with corresponding increase of independent practical activity and at the same time a new growth of social activities in which he was forced to conform to the manners of his neighbors.

Who can enumerate the social results of the attempts of man to satisfy these cravings? What cathedrals and temples have risen at the behest of these dominant desires ! The architecture of cities, the pictures of a thousand galleries, the music of unnumbered symphonies, the literature of all the nations, in short, art in all its forms would not be even a name without the magic potency of the originally sexually conditioned aesthetic desires. The rhythm of the millions of looms that weave the beautiful fabrics with which our bodies are clothed would never have been heard. We all would still be cave dwellers or animals of arboreal habits living for the day without knowledge of the beauties of Nature or care for them.

(i) Intellectual Desires. — If our interpretation of the origin of religion presented in a previous chapter is correct, it throws light also upon the development of intellect. Primitive man in the presence of forces which he did not understand first feared instinctively, then acted impulsively, and, after the danger was past, thought. As an animal he may not have been able to do the last. As a man his developing mind was not content that danger no longer threatened. It first asked, What was it? and then, Why was it? His first " guesses at the riddle of existence " we have already referred to in connection with the development of religion. His religion was shot through and through with a rude philosophy and adumbrations of science. He answered these questions of his developing curiosity in the only way possible to him, in terms of personality. In a way analogous to the nascent curiosity of the growing child and especially like the gormandizing interest in facts manifested by the pubescent youth the primitive man who had developed to the animistic stage of culture hungered and thirsted for knowledge of this world in which he at last had come to have an intellectual interest. It gave him pleasure to guess at, what all these phenomena meant which his observation had 'collected. He found a joy now not only in getting away from the danger which nature held, but in explaining in his way its mystery.

Once a single individual had reached the stage of finding his curiosity satisfied by an explanation which he had himself created in his own mind, he was marked as a superior man. Long before that stage was reached the medicine than, who acted as though he knew what to do in a crisis, had appeared upon the scene and because of his superior magic had secured the prestige which comes in every age to the man who does not hesitate when all others falter, but decides quickly, grasps the oars and pulls the sinking boat to safety. In a crisis which demanded action of some kind, to relieve the emotional tension of inaction and hesitation, he acted and secured such release. Probably it was the same man, although that is not certain, who offered the first explanation to awakening curiosity about the phenomena of this puzzling old world. At that stage any explanation served, as in the case of the awakening intellect of the child. The hungering souls about him were glad for any solution.

Since intellectual efforts brought their own reward at such a time, a great spur was thereby given to all struggling human intellects apart from the joy which such creation gave to its author. With a certain type of mind the pleasure experienced from such feats added to the range of enjoyments, — none too many, — of primitive man, and added a refinement of pleasure not to be found in the satisfaction of any other of his desires. This pleasure consisted in part of the rich emotional reaction following the resolution of his own bewildered mind. Where before had been confusion was now order ; where had been uncertainty now was the clear, peaceful confidence of infallible truth. In part the pleasure consisted of the joy he experienced in resolving the uncertainties and confusion of others who had been in a like state of bewilderment with its emotional stress. His explanation was the trigger which released the spring of intellectual interest long held back. In this case, however, his pleasure came to him through the representative reconstruction of his own previous emotional stress of uncertainty and his own release. Again the satisfaction of his desires gave him pleasure and at the same time brought him social prestige.

Moreover, every development of his mind which such exercises accomplished made for survival. Man's intellect gave him dominion over Nature, over " the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."' Not only could he outwit them in the contest for survival, but he was enabled to capture them and by domestication subject them to his service. He now perceived more clearly advantageous relationships. Natural selection was supplemented and accelerated by rational selection. Now he could quicken cuts in his development by his own will. Conscious rather than sympathetic social relationships became possible. Inventions in cooperation and social organization now arose with all the social and economic results which have followed intellectual activity in the history of mankind. Every other desire of man was now modified by reason of its being made the subject of rational thought. The gods in the heavens above or in the earth beneath and in the forest and mountain now changed their characters. Ethics and aesthetics now underwent transformations revolutionary in their nature. Rea-son took the place of instinct, at first to the detriment of man-kind in many ways, but in the end to its advantage, bringing every instinct and appetite under the control of rationalized social standards.

Out of these various desires grew by the formations of complexes of desires of various kinds certain great interests. They are the economic or wealth interests, the health interests, the political interests, the religious interests, and the intellectual interests.

The Wealth Interests. Compounded of certain appetitive, hedonic, egotic, and affective desires the wealth interests are among the most prominent that influence social life. As be-fore related, we have passed from the struggle for mere existence to the struggle for wealth. Men desire wealth for the power or comfort it will bring them in the use of material goods. There are all degrees of desire for wealth and its uses. In some in-stances it amounts to pure avarice, the hoarding and worshiping of gold. In others it is a desire to satisfy the pleasures of the fleeting hour. Between these two extremes there are all degrees and varieties of desire. In most instances wealth is wanted for what it will do, that is, for what it will give in pleasure or profit to the one who possesses it. It brings means of learning, of gratifying aesthetic taste, of travel, of satisfying the appetite for food or drink, of possessing the works of art and industry ; and, perhaps most important of all from the social point of view, it furnishes the means whereby is gained social prestige. For it men toil and make sacrifices and temporarily deny themselves privileges and pleasures. For it men organize themselves into companies and shape their social life to meet the demands of the wealth-getting process. It is a marvelous social force modifying all the social processes of man.

The Political Interests. Under certain conditions political organization originated in the opportunity it offered to man's desire for economic gain.' Historically not only the hope of gain, but also the fear of enemies, did much to bring government into being. Then there combined with these two the ambition of the masterful leader with his love of power and display. Thus greed, fear, ambition, and vanity all combined to provide those interests which we call political.

More recently the state is coming to be looked upon as the socialized means whereby the power of the few and rich may be curbed in the interests of the many. The state is the guarantee to the common man as well as to the powerful that he shall have opportunity for the richest possible self-expression. It is the ideal not only of a benevolent but of a wise and rational father who presides over his growing and therefore immature and selfish children in order to see that they develop a socialized personality in the interest of the common good.

What stupendous results these interests have wrought in human history ! The social organization, which in the early period of social development became so all-inclusive that it engulfed for the first time tribes and races entirely diverse, cast a spell over the imagination of man which he has never escaped. The very bigness of it has made even the lust for empire of social significance in the development of society. Rooted in the love of booty and in the ambition of the leader, the passion for empire has drawn men together into closer social bonds, started the process of race amalgamation by the violent but effective methods of tyranny and oppression, and has tended towards the socialization of the world by developing a consciousness of kind among men as men. In the struggle for domination which characterized the nation-building age social organization has been perfected and men have learned how to conform to one another even though by compulsion.

How the idea of the state as a social organization has affected all social organization ! The idea of world dominion which found expression in the Roman Empire survived long after the Empire, itself had forever vanished, and this idea gave shape to that loose confederation of states known as the Holy Roman Empire, which Voltaire characterized as neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.' Long before that, however, the idea had taken possession of the Western Christian church and had begun to transform it into an organization modeled upon the earlier Roman Empire. Furthermore, the subtle influence of its glory on some of the modern European states is to be seen in the corrupted names of Czar and Kaiser, by which these states have paid tribute to the magic name of its rulers, the Csars. In so doing, however, both the modern nations of Europe and the medieval church but followed the earlier example of the Jewish and Christian churches. Even after return from the Exile the Jews could not forget that they were descendants of those who once knew a Hebrew kingdom. To the early Christians following the example of their Master, the new society of Christians was a kingdom. On the other hand, in this republic, the United States, what voluntary organizations apart from certain religious denominations are not organized in theory at least upon the representative republican basis?

If that is true of the influence of the form of political institutions, how much more true is it of the spirit. There was no real basis in the Roman Empire for a democracy of men, and for that reason, the simple democracy formed by Jesus and the early disciples could not continue out in the Roman world. Consider the difference, for example, between the theory of equality of the sexes held by St. Paul and his actual practice in the face of views held by the members of his churches.' The Gentile Christians had no basis in their experience for such a democracy as the theory demanded, and therefore in the course of three centuries the church in the thought of Augustine be-came " the City of God," instead of a brotherhood, and the city which was the prototype of the church was not Jerusalem, but Rome.2 The close analogy between the type of government in an early New England church and in the town meeting has often been remarked. More often than we think, unless we stop to consider, the political interests have influenced our social forms and our essential social spirit.

The Religious Interests. — Developing from the desire of the soul for alliance with the Unknown in order to secure protection, advantage, or release from the uncertainties of life, religion has played a great rτle in the building of society. While religious organizations took their form from the type of current political organization, religion in turn exerted an influence upon the social structure and the social ideals. Fear and ambition, chiefly, the affective, recreative, and religious desires, secondarily, combine to form that group of social interests known as the religious interests.

As a method whereby the safety and preservation of the group were insured, religious rites and ceremonies contributed to the formation of habits of cooperation. Once a priesthood had grown up, the basis of an organization was laid, which, with its political connections, its control of the supernatural sanctions, and its alliance with the ruler of the group, greatly increased submission to a leading spirit and led on to social unity. Worship at a common shrine stimulated common feelings and the generation of common sentiments. The first great artistic impulse finding permanent expression was aroused by religion. Temples and shrines growing out of graves perhaps were the world's first architecture. As has been indicated before, religion and philosophy to begin with were undifferentiated.

The influence of religion has varied at different times in the history of society. In its origin it was the child of the doubt, and of mystery born of a crisis, of hope deferred, and of oppression. The human soul refused to believe that it was destined for defeat either at the hands of men or the forces of Nature. Religion has continued to be the handmaid of those whose lot it has been to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and of those who had no helper. Its gods have been the helpers summoned by the unconquered human spirit, against the enemy and against those powers of Nature which were seen to be hostile. Religion has ever been exercised because it " giveth power to the faint." As an instrument armed with which the natural powers of men may prove equal to a need or crisis it has survived. Otherwise how has it happened that, if religion is a useless thing, if it plays no part in the means whereby survival is secured, that it has itself survived the shock of skepticism, the changes of form made necessary by the vicissitudes of social and intellectual readjustments throughout the ages? More and more religion has ceased to be a philosophy of the universe. It ceases to be what it was to primitive mari, a means whereby he thought to understand a puzzling world. Science reigns over that sphere. Does Religion remain only a means whereby the things Science has not yet conquered may be explained? If so, is it not doomed to extinction? Is it merely a confession of the limitations of the human intellect in the presence of unsolved mysteries of life, death, and the Universe? Does it remain merely a limbo of the unexplained? If it is merely that, its task is nearly done, for Philosophy and Science have not labored in vain.

On the other hand, is its usefulness limited to the softening of the rigors of continued human oppression ? Is it only a solace of the downtrodden in the place of social justice? Is it merely an angel of hope pointing a wistful finger from earth to heaven ? If so, again, its task is nearly done. If it is only a poor substitute for social adjustment, what will happen to it when social justice shall have taken the place of oppression, when no longer hungry children shall cry for bread, and naked bodies shiver from cold, and when the oppressed of all nations shall have found a way to have their wants satisfied here on earth? True, that glorious state of affairs does not seem to be imminent, but there are those — and they are not a few — who labor in the faith that such a state of things is possible. But when that state comes, where, then, will be the place for religion?

Let us begin by accepting all that Science has to teach — certainly scientific people can do no less. Let us confess that Religion the faith that there is " a power that makes for righteousness not ourselves " in the world — is merely the result of man's experience with the world. Even so, can we not say at least that man believes that good will triumph over evil because such a belief has made him better able to survive? Let us say that man believes in a god because such belief has made him better able to bear " the buffetings of outrageous fortune," better able to survive in a world of brutal and sometimes hostile forces by calling out the exertion of his best efforts in this struggle, by making him invoke not only the cooperation of the higher powers of his nature, but also the help of his fellows, and that he believes this because through natural selection those who had not that faith, who had not the belief that unlocked the hidden resources of their souls and released the unknown powers of their beings, were exterminated as a general type.'

Then the question arises, Why has the world as constituted selected that attitude rather than the irreligious? What is it in the nature of things which makes faith a better characteristic from the standpoint of survival than doubt, belief better than skepticism, confidence that righteousness is stronger than wrong better than the contrary belief, a belief in the possibility of progress better than a philosophy of despair? Why does not the Universe, if it is a chaos of blind forces, governed by the law of chance distribution, implant in man by the process of natural selection a working belief that the dominating power of the world is bad rather than good, that progress is impossible, that faith is vain and that all is vanity? Why has such a postulate never produced a conquering people? Pessimism has won no victories. Why? Perhaps that is a question we cannot answer at this time. It may, however, be suggestive to observe that the nature of man is such that a belief that some-thing better than he has now reached is possible, has made him that irresistible, ever struggling being who has become to a degree lord of the world. Religious faith may be a delusion, but if so, it is a beneficent one. It has made the common man struggle on when there was no earthly hope, it has stirred his flagging energies even by admitting that only heaven was left to him, making him a fighting, struggling being to the very end, in the face of despair and of certain death.

When faith has ceased to hold out for him any hope of material advantage, it has inspired in him the hope of a nobler personality. After social adjustment of happy chance has made him independent of the help of the gods for material blessings, religion has held out to him the hope of a clean heart and an unselfish life and called him to the useless but inspiring work of building a character. Religion has at least the advantage that it has proved to be a working philosophy of life. Moreover, it has drawn together into cooperation by means of the two most powerful social motives, compelling fear and deathless hope, men who could not be moved by conscience and who possessed no ability to secure their survival alone. Without it what would society be? What victories it bas won in spurring on the tired spirit !

The Intellectual Interests. — Modern social life demonstrates over and over again that knowledge is useful in every department of life and therefore must be attained if man is to reach what is called " success." Acquaintance with the world surrounding man, both physical and social, is absolutely necessary to the attainment of the desired end of life. But there is a love of knowledge for its own sake which causes people to spend hours of toil and sacrifice and which yields to them great happiness and pleasure. These two ideas, namely, the desire of knowledge for practical purposes and the love of learning, have caused the building of our universities and colleges and the creation of our literature as well as the accumulation of scientific knowledge, all of which are powerful in influencing our social life. Besides this there are many wants arising from the activity of the intellect which are far reaching in their influence on the social life.

Welfare Interests. Numerous desires, some of them belonging to the class we have called instinctive as to origin, like the fear of pain, desire for food, fear of enemies, and others belonging to the group, denominated instinctive-social in origin, such as the desire for sympathy and sociability, love and hate, and the desire for self-expression, and still others from the last group in our classification, the instinctive-cultural group, like the religious and the ethical desires, combine to form what may be called the welfare interests of society. These interests modify the social activities in many ways, not only in modern civilization, but to a less extent also in all social groups as soon as the leaders of the group come to see, if only in a dim way, the bearing of these interests on the welfare of the community.

An important group of welfare interests is the health interests, which very early are recognized as of vital concern to the community. The preservation of the body, its protection from cold and heat, and other detrimental climatic effects occupies the attention of man to a considerable extent. The desire to in-crease physical well-being becomes not only an individual, but a social, function. It develops all forms of housing and clothing and city building which pertain to the health of the community. Sanitation and sanitary societies, the art of medicine and medical societies, are all based upon this desire for health. It has a vast influence, too, on the advancement of knowledge and causes scientific investigation and the development of scientific societies. In our educational institutions it develops athletic sports, and provides systems of physical exercise in the gymnasium. It lies at the basis of the eugenics movement. In these and many other ways these interests cause the development of social activities.

Akin in many ways is the group of moral interests which serve to satisfy a desire for righteousness. It is based upon ideals of human conduct. People are influenced in their conduct in the satisfaction of this desire. It becomes a social force and as such enters into social ideals, thus furnishing a standard of action. It helps to determine social choices and social aims, and leads the community forward toward a standard of excellence.

Yet another group of interests which may be classed here are the educational interests. They lie partly in the realm of intellectual interests, but serve also the general welfare. When education is looked at from the social point of view rather than from that of individual culture, there is then seen to be a basis for making education a social matter. The welfare of the group politically depends on the development of the citizens of the country. Economic prosperity of the group demands that the educational process take into consideration the vocational needs of the youth of society. It is coming to be held by many that even the moral development of society must be attended to in part by the school system. Thus, our educational interests are welfare interests and play an important rτle in giving shape to social ideals and social structures.

Conscious Social Effort. — Besides the forces of physical nature and those arising from individual desires, society as a unit exercises a general influence in causing its own development. There has always been a social pressure causing aggregation, combination, and organization. While there is no " transcendent ego" called the social mind, the members of a community slowly learn to feel, think, will, and act together. This unity of feeling and action was at first an unconscious force impelling society to do certain things, to observe customs, law, and order. In the beginning there was no conscious concerted action to build society according to certain ideals or cause it to move in a certain direction. But, impelled by the influences of physical nature and by the effort of each individual to satisfy his own desires, society developed, became more and more settled in habit and custom, and acted increasingly as a unit. Finally, as customs became more regular and more universally observed, there developed a public sentiment which the individual was obliged to follow or else be denounced as working against the whole community. As this social judgment became more clearly defined, and the sentiment became more clearly expressed, public action was manifested so that the whole community observed the same habits and customs, and unconsciously acted together for the advancement of the whole social body. There sprang up an unwritten code of ceremonies, forms, and customs that was rigidly adhered to as a natural expression of social unity and cooperation. Also the economic conditions forced people through a certain course or along certain lines of conduct and modified all of the crude social activities of the group. Habituated to act together, there finally arose an instinctive social choice whereby all members of the group who became subjected to the same conditions of life went the same way. That is, they made the same choices regarding self-preservation and social order, and observed the customs of their predecessors. In all this there was no formal attempt to regulate or reconstruct society.

The process by which a group of social interests developed from the instinctive to socially conscious stage is illustrated by the welfare interests discussed above. At first concern for the general welfare was probably instinctive. Probably this concern grew up unconsciously by a process of natural selection. Rather early, however, the cleverest minds began to perceive the advantage of taking thought about certain measures for the welfare of the whole group. At first such minds were few in number, and often they perceived its importance only in a dim fashion. Perhaps some of these now clearly perceived interests were but chance discoveries from activities inspired by superstitions arising from activities in the face of a crisis. Gradually, however, out of the jumble of actions and ceremonies thus arising there were selected by the growing intelligence of man certain ideals and activities which were perceived to have survival value. That is the beginning of social consciousness. The social mind then recognized itself and its power to modify and control social action. The telic idea of progress then appeared. Public opinion found expression in public decrees and laws for the order of social conduct. Social aims were made clear and the will of society was invoked to accomplish them. As public law became the organized force of public opinion, society was made subservient to a coercive rule of action. The government now became the active agent for the enforcement of the will of the community. Gradually the question of the well-being of. society became prominent as the goal of conscious social effort. Behind the government that was instituted to enforce the law or public judgment was the standing army to support it. Society was determined to direct its own course even though it might be necessary to use physical force to accomplish its purposes.

Besides this general social force that exercises social control arose many minor expressions of social order, such as private and voluntary organizations of religious societies, labor organizations, and fraternal orders, whose purposes are to impel society in a chosen direction. Public education also became a positive force in improving the types of liberty and in perpetuating the institutions of the state, while the religious organization had its societies for the propagation of doctrines and its educational institutions for the promotion and perpetuation of belief.

As the forces of society became more exact they showed a tendency to return to more or less automatic social action. Organic society becomes to a certain degree a self-acting body, moving forward with its own momentum. Hence conscious effort was always limited in what it might do to change or modify social action. The social structure has been built and cannot be rebuilt in a day though society should will it. A law may be passed by the representatives of the people, but if it is not in accordance with the existing social forces or the normal progress of society, it will become useless and obsolete. Those who set out to reform society in accordance with a formula soon find they can do very little against the tide of social opinion or the underlying forces of social growth, because all reforms consist in the slow evolution of society and are dependent upon the action of constant social forces and well-established social laws.


BALDWIN, J. M. Social and Ethical Interpretations, Chap. XI.

GIDDINGS, F. H. Principles of Sociology, pp. 79-194, 263-375.

Ross, E. A. Social Control, pp. 1-4o, 87-360; Foundations of Sociology, Chaps. VII, VIII.

SMALL, A. W. General Sociology, pp. 532-536.

SMALL and VINCENT. Introduction to the Study of Society, pp. 173-177, 237-366.

SPENCER, HERBERT. Principles of Sociology, Vol. I, pp. 564-575.

WARD, LESTER F. Dynamic Sociology, Vol. I, pp. 468-482 ; Psychic Factors of Civilization, pp. 116-124; Pure Sociology, Chap. XII.


1. What is the difference between a physical force and a social force?

2. Classify the social forces, i.e. the forces which cause people to co-operate together in their social relationships, in a small community of say 500 people. Estimate the importance of each of these forces in that community. If possible make a better classification than any of those pro-posed, but be prepared to defend your classification against those given in the text.

3. What social force or forces give rise to the formaton of a bank? A woman's club? A literary society? A political party? A farmers' marketing cooperative association? An art society? A sewing society?

4. What social forces, if any, may be cited to account for a decreasing birth rate?

Outlines Of Sociology:
Theory And Function Of The State

Social Phases Of Production And Consumption Of Wealth

Exchange As A Social Function

Evolution Of Ethics

Social Origin Of Religion

Development Of Religion

Processes Of Socialization

Social Forces

Social Laws

Social Mind

Read More Articles About: Outlines Of Sociology

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