HOME SOCIAL CRITICISM LIB. CAT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE REMAKING OF MAN
SCIENCE, which has transformed the material world, gives man the power of transforming himself. It has unveiled some of the secret mechanisms of his life. It has shown him how to alter their motion, how to mold his body and his soul on patterns born of his wishes. For the first time in history, humanity, helped by science, has become master of its destiny. But will we be capable of using this knowledge of ourselves to our real advantage? To progress again, man must remake himself. And he cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor. In order to uncover his true visage he must shatter his own substance with heavy blows of his hammer. He will not submit to such treatment unless driven by necessity. While surrounded by the comfort, the beauty, and the mechanical marvels engendered by technology, he does not understand how urgent is this operation. He fails to realize that he is degenerating. Why should he strive to modify his ways of being, living, and thinking?
Fortunately, an event unforeseen by engineers, economists, and politicians took place. The superb edifice of American finance and economics suddenly collapsed. At first, the public did not believe in the reality of such a catastrophe. Its faith was not disturbed. The explanations given by the economists were heard with docility. Prosperity would return. But prosperity has not returned. Today, the more intelligent heads of the flock are beginning to doubt. Are the causes of the crisis uniquely economic and financial? Should we not also incriminate the corruption and the stupidity of the politicians and the financiers, the ignorance and the illusions of the economists? Has not modern life decreased the intelligence and the morality of the whole nation? Why must we pay several billions of dollars each year to fight criminals? Why do the gangsters continue victoriously to attack banks, kill policemen, kidnap, ransom, or assassinate children, in spite of the immense amount of money spent in opposing them? Why are there so many feeble-minded and insane among civilized people? Does not the world crisis depend on individual and social factors that are more important than the economic ones? It is to be hoped that the spectacle of civilization at this beginning of its decline will compel us to ascertain whether the causes of the catastrophe do not lie within ourselves, as well as in our institutions. And that we will fully realize the imperativeness of our renovation.
Then, we will be faced by a single obstacle, our inertia. And not by the incapacity of our race to rise again. In fact, the economic crisis came before the complete destruction of our ancestral qualities by the idleness, corruption, and softness of life. We know that intellectual apathy, immorality, and criminality are not, in general, hereditary. Most children, at their birth, are endowed with the same potentialities as their parents. We can develop their innate qualities if we wish earnestly to do so. We have at our disposal all the might of science. There are still many men capable of using this power unselfishly. Modern society has not stifled all the focuses of intellectual culture, moral courage, virtue, and audacity. The flame is still burning. The evil is not irreparable. But the remaking of the individual demands the transformation of modern life. It cannot take place without a material and mental revolution. To understand the necessity of a change, and to possess the scientific means of realizing this change, are not sufficient. The spontaneous crash of technological civilization may help to release the impulses required for the destruction of our present habits and the creation of new modes of life.
Do we still have enough energy and perspicacity for such a gigantic effort? At first sight, it does not seem so. Man has sunk into indifference to almost everything except money. There are, however, some reasons for hope. After all, the races responsible for the construction of our world are not extinct. The ancestral potentialities still exist in the germ-plasm of their weak offspring. These potentialities can yet be actualized. Indeed, the descendants of the energetic strains are smothered in the multitude of proletarians whom industry has blindly created. They are in small number. But they will not succumb. For they possess a marvelous, although hidden, strength. We must not forget the stupendous task we have accomplished since the fall of the Roman Empire. In the small area of the states of western Europe, amid unceasing wars, famines, and epidemics, we have succeeded in keeping, throughout the Middle Ages, the relics of antique culture. During long, dark centuries we shed our blood on all sides in the defense of Christendom against our enemies of the north, the east, and the south. At the cost of immense efforts we succeeded in thrusting back the sleep of Islamism. Then a miracle happened. From the mind of men sharpened by scholastic discipline, sprang science. And, strange to say, science was cultivated by those men of the Occident for itself, for its truth and its beauty, with complete disinterestedness. Instead of stagnating in individual egoism, as it did in the Orient and especially in China, this science, in four hundred years, has transformed the world. Our fathers have made a prodigious effort. Most of their European and American descendants have forgotten the past. History is also ignored by those who now profit from our material civilization. By the white who, in the Middle Ages, did not fight beside us on the European battlefields, by the yellow, the brown, and the black, whose mounting tide exaggeratedly alarms Spengler. What we accomplished once we are capable of accomplishing again. Should our civilization collapse, we would build up another one. But is it indispensable to suffer the agony of chaos before reaching order and peace? Can we not rise again, without undergoing the bloody regeneration of total overthrow? Are we capable of renovating ourselves, of avoiding the cataclysms which are imminent, and of continuing our ascension?
We cannot undertake the restoration of ourselves and of our environment before having transformed our habits of thought. Modern society has suffered, ever since its origin, from an intellectual fault--a fault which has been constantly repeated since the Renaissance. Technology has constructed man, not according to the spirit of science, but according to erroneous metaphysical conceptions. The time has come to abandon these doctrines. We should break down the fences which have been erected between the properties of concrete objects, and between the different aspects of ourselves. The error responsible for pur sufferings comes from a wrong interpretation of a genial idea of Galileo. Galileo, as is well known, distinguished the primary qualities of things, dimensions and weight, which are easily measurable, from their secondary qualities, form, color, odor, which cannot be measured. The quantitative was separated from the qualitative. The quantitative, expressed in mathematical language, brought science to humanity. The qualitative was neglected. The abstraction of the primary qualities of objects was legitimate. But the overlooking of the secondary qualities was not. This mistake had momentous consequences. In man, the things which are not measurable are more important than those which are measurable. The existence of thought is as fundamental as, for instance, the physicochemical equilibria of blood serum. The separation of the qualitative from the quantitative grew still wider when Descartes created the dualism of the body and the soul. Then, the manifestations of the mind became inexplicable. The material was definitely isolated from the spiritual. Organic structures and physiological mechanisms assumed a far greater reality than thought, pleasure, sorrow, and beauty. This error switched civilization to the road which led science to triumph and man to degradation.
In order to find again the right direction we must return in thought to the men of the Renaissance, imbue ourselves with their spirit, their passion for empiric observation, and their contempt for philosophical systems. As they did, we have to distinguish the primary and secondary qualities of things. But we must radically differ from them and attribute to secondary qualities the same importance as to primary qualities. We should also reject the dualism of Descartes. Mind will be replaced in matter. The soul will no longer be distinct from the body. Mental manifestations, as well as physiological processes, will be within our reach. Indeed, the qualitative is more difficult to study than the quantitative. Concrete facts do not satisfy our mind, which prefers the definitive aspect of abstractions. But science must not be cultivated only for itself, for the elegance of its methods, for its light and its beauty. Its goal is the material and spiritual benefit of man. As much importance should be given to feelings as to thermodynamics. It is indispensable that our thought embraces all aspects of reality. Instead of discarding the residues of scientific abstractions we will utilize those residues as fully as the abstractions. We will not accept the tyranny of the quantitative, the superiority of mechanics, physics, or chemistry. We will renounce the intellectual attitude generated by the Renaissance, and its arbitrary definition of the real. But we must retain all the conquests made since Galileo's day. The spirit and the techniques of science are our most precious possessions.
It will be difficult to get rid of a doctrine which, during more than three hundred years, has dominated the intelligence of the civilized. The majority of men of science believe in the reality of the Universals, the exclusive right to existence of the quantitative, the supremacy of matter, the separation of the mind from the body, and the subordinated position of the mind. They will not easily give up this faith. For such a change would shake pedagogy, medicine, hygiene, psychology, and sociology to their foundations. The little garden which each scientist easily cultivates would be turned into a forest, which would have to be cleared. If scientific civilization should leave the road that it has followed since the Renaissance and return to the naive observation of the concrete, strange events would immediately take place. Matter would lose its supremacy. Mental activities would become as important as physiological ones. The study of moral, esthetic, and religious functions would appear as indispensable as that of mathematics, physics, and chemistry. The present methods of education would seem absurd. Schools and universities would be obliged to modify their programs. Hygienists would be asked why they concern themselves exclusively with the prevention of organic diseases, and not with that of mental and nervous disturbances. Why they pay no attention to spiritual health. Why they segregate people ill with infections, and not those who propagate intellectual and moral maladies. Why the habits responsible for organic diseases are considered dangerous, and not those which bring on corruption, criminality, and insanity. The public would refuse to be attended by physicians knowing nothing but a small part of the body. Specialists would have to learn general medicine, or work as units of a group under the direction of a general practitioner. Pathologists would be induced to study the lesions of the humors as well as those of the organs. To take into account the influence of the mental upon the tissues, and vice versa. Economists would realize that human beings think, feel, and suffer, that they should be given other things than work, food, and leisure, that they have spiritual as well as physiological needs. And also that the causes of economic and financial crises may be moral and intellectual. We should no longer be obliged to accept the barbarous conditions of life in great cities, the tyranny of factory and office, the sacrifice of moral dignity to economic interest, of mind to money, as benefactions conferred upon us by modern civilization. We should reject mechanical inventions that hinder human development. Economics would no longer appear as the ultimate reason of everything. It is obvious that the liberation of man from the materialistic creed would transform most of the aspects of our existence. Therefore, modern society will oppose with all its might this progress in our conceptions.
However, we must take care that the failure of materialism does not bring about a spiritual reaction. Since technology and worship of matter have not been a success, the temptation may be great to choose the opposite cult, the cult of mind. The primacy of psychology would be no less dangerous than that of physiology, physics, and chemistry. Freud has done more harm than the most extreme mechanicists. It would be as disastrous to reduce man to his mental aspect as to his physiological and physiochemical mechanisms. The study of the physical properties of blood serum, of its ionic equilibria, of protoplasmic permeability, of the chemical constitution of antigens, etc., is as indispensable as that of dreams, libido, mediumistic states, psychological effects of prayer, memory of words, etc. Substitution of the spiritual for the material would not correct the error made by the Renaissance. The exclusion of matter would be still more detrimental to man than that of mind. Salvation will be found only in the relinquishing of all doctrines. In the full acceptation of the data of observation. In the realization of the fact that man is no less and no more than these data.
These data must be the basis of the construction of man. Our first task is to make them utilizable. Every year we hear of the progress made by eugenists, geneticists, statisticians, behaviorists, physiologists, anatomists, biological chemists, physical chemists, psychologists, physicians, hygienists, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, immunologists, educators, social workers, clergymen, sociologists, economists, etc. But the practical results of these accomplishments are surprisingly small. This immense amount of information is disseminated in technical reviews, in treatises, in the brains of men of science. No one has it in his possession. We have now to put together its disparate fragments, and to make this knowledge live within the mind of at least a few individuals. Then, it will become productive.
There are great difficulties in such an undertaking. How should we proceed to build up this synthesis? Around what aspect of man should the others be grouped? What is his most important activity? The economic, the political, the sociological, the mental, or the organic? What particular science should be caused to grow and absorb the others? Obviously, the remaking of man and of his economic and social world should be inspired by a precise knowledge of his body and of his soul --that is, of physiology, psychology, and pathology.
Medicine is the most comprehensive of all the sciences concerning man, from anatomy to political economy. However, it is far from apprehending its object in its full extent. Physicians have contented themselves with studying the structure and the activities of the individual in health and in disease, and attempting to cure the sick. Their effort has met, as we know, with modest success. Their influence on modern society has been sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, always secondary. Excepting, however, when hygiene aided industry in promoting the growth of civilized populations. Medicine has been paralyzed by the narrowness of its doctrines. But it could easily escape from its prison and help us in a more effective manner. Nearly three hundred years ago a philosopher, who dreamed of consecrating his life to the service of man, clearly conceived the high functions of which medicine is capable. "The mind," wrote Descartes in his Discourse on Method, "so strongly depends on temperament and the disposition of bodily organs, that if it is possible to find some means which will make men generally more wise and more clever than they have been till now, I believe that it is in medicine one should seek it. It is true that the medicine now practiced contains few things having so remarkable a usefulness. But, without having any intention of scorning it, I am confident that there is no one, even among those whose profession it is, who does not admit that everything already known about it is almost nothing in comparison with what remains to be learned, and that people could be spared an infinity of diseases, both bodily and mental, and perhaps even the weakening of old age, if the causes of those troubles and all the remedies with which nature has provided us were sufficiently well known." Medicine has received from anatomy, physiology, psychology, and pathology the more essential elements of the knowledge of ourselves. It could easily enlarge its field, embrace, in addition to body and consciousness, their relations with the material and mental world, take in sociology and economics, and become the very science of the human being. Its aim, then, would be not only to cure or prevent diseases, but also to guide the development of all our organic, mental, and sociological activities. It would become capable of building the individual according to natural laws. And of inspiring those who will have the task of leading humanity to a true civilization. At the present time, education, hygiene, religion, town planning, and social and economic organizations are entrusted to individuals who know but a single aspect of the human being. No one would ever dream of substituting politicians, well-meaning women, lawyers, literary men, or philosophers for the engineers of the steel-works or of the chemical factories. However, such people are given the incomparably heavier responsibility of the physiological, mental, and sociological guidance of civilized men, and even of the government of great nations. Medicine aggrandized according to the conception of Descartes, and extended in such a manner as to embrace the other sciences of man, could supply modern society with engineers understanding the mechanisms of the body and the soul of the individual, and of his relations with the cosmic and social world.
This superscience will be utilizable only if, instead of being buried in libraries, it animates our intelligence. But is it possible for a single brain to assimilate such a gigantic amount of knowledge? Can any individual master anatomy, physiology, biological chemistry, psychology, metapsychics, pathology, medicine, and also have a thorough acquaintance with genetics, nutrition, development, pedagogy, esthetics, morals, religion, sociology, and economics? It seems that such an accomplishment is not impossible. In about twenty-five years of uninterrupted study, one could learn these sciences. At the age of fifty, those who have submitted themselves to this discipline could effectively direct the construction of the human being and of a civilization based on his true nature. Indeed, the few gifted individuals who dedicate themselves to this work will have to renounce the common modes of existence. They will not be able to play golf and bridge, to go to cinemas, to listen to radios, to make speeches at banquets, to serve on committees, to attend meetings of scientific societies, political conventions, and academies, or to cross the ocean and take part in international congresses. They must live like the monks of the great contemplative orders, and not like university professors, and still less like business men. In the course of the history of all great nations, many have sacrificed themselves for the salvation of the community. Sacrifice seems to be a necessary condition of progress. There are now, as in former times, men ready for the supreme renunciation. If the multitudes inhabiting the defenseless cities of the seacoast were menaced by shells and gases, no army aviator would hesitate to thrust himself, his plane, and his bombs against the invaders. Why should not some individuals sacrifice their lives to acquire the science indispensable to the making of man and of his environment? In fact, the task is extremely difficult. But minds capable of undertaking it can be discovered. The weakness of many of the scientists whom we meet in universities and laboratories is due to the mediocrity of their goal and to the narrowness of their life. Men grow when inspired by a high purpose, when contemplating vast horizons. The sacrifice of oneself is not very difficult for one burning with the passion for a great adventure. And there is no more beautiful and dangerous adventure than the renovation of modern man.
The making of man requires the development of institutions wherein body and mind can be formed according to natural laws, and not to the prejudices of the various schools of educators. It is essential that the individual, from infancy, be liberated from the dogmas of industrial civilization and the principles which are the very basis of modem society. The science of the human being does not need costly and numerous organizations in order to start its constructive work. It can utilize those already existing, provided they are rejuvenated. The success of such an enterprise will depend, in certain countries, on the attitude of the government and, in others, on that of the public. In Italy, Germany, or Russia, if the dictator judged it useful to condition children according to a definite type, to modify adults and their ways of life in a definite manner, appropriate institutions would spring up at once. In democratic countries progress has to come from private initiative. When the failure of most of our educational, medical economic, and social beliefs becomes more apparent, the public will probably feel the necessity of a remedy for this situation.
In the past, the efforts of isolated individuals have caused the ascent of religion, science, and education. The development of hygiene in the United States is entirely due to the inspiration of a few men. For instance, Hermann Biggs made New York one of the most healthful cities of the world. A group of unknown young men, under the guidance of Welch, founded the Johns Hopkins Medical School, and initiated the astonishing progress of pathology, surgery, and hygiene in the United States. When bacteriology sprang from Pasteur's brain, the Pasteur Institute was created in Paris by national subscription. The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research was founded in New York by John D. Rockefeller, because the necessity for new discoveries in the domain of medicine had become evident to Welch, Theobald Smith, T. Mitchell Prudden, Simon Flexner, Christian Herter, and a few other scientists. In many American universities, research laboratories, destined to further the progress of physiology, immunology, chemistry, etc., were established and endowed by enlightened benefactors. The great Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations were inspired by more general ideas. To develop education, raise the scientific level of universities, promote peace among nations, prevent infectious diseases, improve the health and the welfare of everybody with the help of scientific methods. Those movements have always been started by the realization of a need, and the establishment of an institution responding to that need. The state did not help in their beginnings. But private institutions forced the progress of public institutions. In France, for example, bacteriology was at first taught exclusively at the Pasteur Institute. Later, chairs and laboratories of bacteriology were established in all state universities. The institutions necessary for the rebuilding of man will probably develop in a similar manner. Some day, a school, a college, a university may understand the importance of the subject. Slight efforts in the right direction have already been made. For instance, Yale University has created an Institute for the study of human relations. The Macy Foundation was established for the development of integrative ideas concerning man, his health, and his education. Greater advance has been realized in Genoa by Nicola Pende in his Institute for the study of the human individual. Many American physicians begin to feel the necessity for a broader comprehension of man. However, this feeling has by no means been formulated as clearly here as in Italy. The already existing organizations have to undergo important changes in order to become fitted for the work of human renovation. They must, for instance, eliminate the remnants of the narrow mechanisticism of the last century, and understand the imperativeness of a clarification of the concepts used in biology, of a reintegration of the parts into the whole, and of the formation of true scholars, as well as of scientific workers. The direction of the institutions of learning, and of those which apply to man the results of the special sciences, from biological chemistry to political economy, should not be given to specialists, because specialists are exaggeratedly interested in the progress of their own particular studies, but to individuals capable of embracing all sciences. The specialists must be only the tools of a synthetic mind. They will be utilized by him in the same way as the professor of medicine of a great university utilizes the services of pathologists, bacteriologists, physiologists, chemists, and physicists in the laboratories of his clinic. None of these scientists is ever given the direction of the treatment of the patients. An economists, an endocrinologist, a social worker, a psychoanalyst, a biological chemist, are equally ignorant of man. They cannot be trusted beyond the limits of their own field.
We should not forget that our knowledge of man is still rudimentary, that most of the great problems mentioned at the beginning of this book remain unsolved. However, an answer must be given to the questions which concern the fate of hundreds of millions of individuals and the future of civilization. Such an answer can be elaborated only in research institutes dedicated to the promotion of the science of man. Our biological and medical laboratories have so far devoted their activities to the pursuit of health, to the discovery of the chemical and physiochemical mechanisms underlying physiological phenomena. The Pasteur Institute has followed with great success the road opened by its founder. Under the direction of Duclaux and of Roux, it has specialized in the investigation of bacteria and viruses, in the means of protecting human beings from their attacks, in the discovery of vaccines, sera, and chemicals for the prevention or the cure of diseases. The Rockefeller Institute undertook the survey of a broader field. The study of the agents responsible for diseases, and of their effects on animals and men, was pursued simultaneously with that of the physical, chemical, physiochemical, and physiological activities manifested by the body. Such investigations should now progress further. The entire man has to be brought into the domain of biological research. Each specialist must freely continue the exploration of his own field. But no important aspect of the human being should remain ignored. The method used by Simon Flexner in the direction of the Rock-feller Institute could be profitably extended to the organization of the biological or medical institutes of tomorrow. At the Rockefeller Institute, living matter is being studied in an exhaustive manner, from the structure of the molecules to that of the human body. However, in the organization of this vast ensemble of researchers, Flexner did not impose any program on the staff of his Institute. He was content with selecting scientists who had a natural propensity for the exploration of these different fields. A similar policy could lead to the development of laboratories for the investigation of the psychological and sociological activities, as well as the chemical and physiological.
The biological institutes of the future, in order to be productive, will have to guard against the confusion of concepts, which we have mentioned as one of the causes of the sterility of medical research. The supreme science, psychology, needs the methods and the concepts of physiology, anatomy, mechanics, chemistry, physical chemistry, physics, and mathematics-- that is, of all sciences occupying a lower rank in the hierarchy of knowledge. We know that the concepts of a science of higher rank cannot be reduced to those of a science of lower rank, that large-scale phenomena are no less fundamental than small-scale phenomena, that psychological events are as real as physiochemical ones. Mathematics, physics, and chemistry are indispensable but not basic sciences in the researches concerning living organisms. They are as indispensable as, but not more basic than, speaking and writing are, for instance, to a historian. They are not capable of constructing the concepts specific to the human being. Like the universities, the research institutions entrusted with the study of man in health and disease should be led by scientists possessing a broad knowledge of physiology, chemistry, medicine, and psychology. The biological workers of tomorrow must realize that their goal is the living organism and not merely artificially isolated systems or models. That general physiology, as considered by Bayliss, is a very small part of physiology. That organismal and mental phenomena cannot be dismissed. The studies to be undertaken in the laboratories for medical research should include all the subjects pertaining to the physical, chemical, structural, functional, and psychological activities of man, and to the relations of those activities with the cosmic and social environment.
We know that the evolution of humanity is very slow, that the study of its problems demands the lifetime of several generations of scientists. We need, therefore, an institution capable of providing for the uninterrupted pursuit for at least a century of the investigations concerning man. Modern society should be given an intellectual focus, an immortal brain, capable of conceiving and planning its future, and of promoting and pushing forward fundamental researches, in spite of the death of the individual researchers, or the bankruptcy of the research institutes. Such an organization would be the salvation of the white races in their staggering advance toward civilization. This thinking center would consist, as does the Supreme Court of the United States, of a few individuals; the latter being trained in the knowledge of man by many years of study. It should perpetuate itself automatically, in such a manner as to radiate ever young ideas. Democratic rulers, as well as dictators, could receive from this source of scientific truth the information that they need in order to develop a civilization really suitable to man.
The members of this high council would be free from research and teaching. They would deliver no addresses. They would dedicate their lives to the contemplation of the economic, sociological, psychological, physiological, and pathological phenomena manifested by the civilized nations and their constitutive individuals. And to that of the development of science and of the influence of its applications to our habits of life and of thought. They would endeavor to discover how modern civilization could mold itself to man without crushing any of his essential qualities. Their silent meditation would protect the inhabitants of the new city from the mechanical inventions which are dangerous for their body or their mind, from the adulteration of thought as well as food, from the whims of the specialists in education, nutrition, morals, sociology, etc., from all progress inspired, not by the needs of the public, but by the greed or the illusions of their inventors. An institution of this sort would acquire enough knowledge to prevent the organic and mental deterioration of civilized nations. Its members should be given a position as highly considered, as free from political intrigues and from cheap publicity, as that of the justices of the Supreme Court. Their importance would, in truth, be much greater than that of the jurists who watch over the Constitution. For they would be the defenders of the body and the soul of a great race in its tragic struggle against the blind sciences of matter.
We must rescue the individual from the state of intellectual, moral, and physiological atrophy brought about by modern conditions of life. Develop all his potential activities. Give him health. Reestablish him in his unity, in the harmony of his personality. Induce him to utilize all the hereditary qualities of his tissues and his consciousness. Break the shell in which education and society have succeeded in enclosing him. And reject all systems. We have to intervene in the fundamental organic and mental processes. These processes are man himself. But man has no independent existence. He is bound to his environment. In order to remake him, we have to transform his world.
Our social frame, our material and mental background, should be rebuilt. But society is not plastic. Its form cannot be changed in an instant. Nevertheless, the enterprise of our restoration must start immediately, in the present conditions of our existence. Each individual has the power to modify his way of life, to create around him an environment slightly different from that of the unthinking crowd. He is capable of isolating himself in some measure, of imposing upon himself certain physiological and mental disciplines, certain work, certain habits, of acquiring the mastery of his body and mind. But if he stands alone, he cannot indefinitely resist his material, mental, and economic environment. In order to combat this environment victoriously, he must associate with others having the same purpose. Revolutions often start with small groups in which the new tendencies ferment and grow. During the eighteenth century such groups prepared the overthrow of absolute monarchy in France. The French Revolution was due to the encyclopedists far more than to the Jacobins. Today, the principles of industrial civilization should be fought with the same relentless vigor as was the ancien régime by the encyclopedists. But the struggle will be harder because the mode of existence brought to us by technology is as pleasant as the habit of taking alcohol, opium, or cocaine. The few in-
dividuals who are animated by the spirit of revolt might organize in secret groups. At present, the protection of children is almost impossible. The influence of the school, private as well as public, cannot be counterbalanced. The young who have been freed by intelligent parents from the usual medical, pedagogical, and social superstitions, relapse through the example of their comrades. All are obliged to conform to the habits of the herd. The renovation of the individual demands his affiliation with a group sufficiently numerous to separate from others and to possess its own schools. Under the impulse of the centers of new thought, some universities may perhaps be led to abandon the classical forms of education and prepare youth for the life of tomorrow with the help of disciplines based on the true nature of man.
A group, although very small, is capable of eluding the harmful influence of the society of its epoch by imposing upon its members rules of conduct modeled on military or monastic discipline. Such a method is far from being new. Humanity has already lived through periods when communities of men or women separated from others and adopted strict regulations, in order to attain their ideals. Such groups were responsible for the development of our civilization during the Middle Ages. There were the monastic orders, the orders of chivalry, and the corporations of artisans. Among the religious organizations, some took refuge in monasteries, while others remained in the world. But all submitted to strict physiological and mental discipline. The knights complied with rules varying according to the aims of the different orders. In certain circumstances, they were obliged to sacrifice their lives. As for the artisans, their relations between themselves and with the public were determined by exacting legislation. Each corporation had its customs, its ceremonies, and its religious celebrations. In short, the members of these communities renounced the ordinary forms of existence. Are we not capable of repeating, in a different form, the accomplishments of the monks, the knights, and the artisans of the Middle Ages? Two essential conditions for the progress of the individual are relative isolation and discipline. Each individual, even in the new city, can submit himself to these conditions. One has the power of refusing to go to certain plays or cinemas, to send one's children to certain schools, to listen to radio programs, to read certain newspapers, certain books, etc. But it is chiefly through intellectual and moral discipline, and the rejection of the habits of the herd, that we can reconstruct ourselves. Sufficiently large groups could lead a still more personal life. The Doukhobors of Canada have demonstrated that those whose will is strong can secure complete independence, even in the midst of modern civilization.
The dissenting groups would not need to be very numerous to bring about profound changes in modern society. It is a well-established fact that discipline gives great strength to men. An ascetic and mystic minority would rapidly acquire an irresistible power over the dissolute and degraded majority. Such a minority would be in a position to impose, by persuasion or perhaps by force, other ways of life upon the majority. None of the dogmas of modern society are immutable. Gigantic factories, office buildings rising to the sky, inhuman cities, industrial morals, faith in mass production, are not indispensable to civilization. Other modes of existence and of thought are possible. Culture without comfort, beauty without luxury, machines without enslaving factories, science without the worship of matter, would restore to man his intelligence, his moral sense, his virility, and lead him to the summit of his development.
A choice must be made among the multitude of civilized human beings. We have mentioned that natural selection has not played its part for a long while. That many inferior individuals have been conserved through the efforts of hygiene and medicine. But we cannot prevent the reproduction of the weak when they are neither insane nor criminal. Or destroy sickly or defective children as we do the weaklings in a litter of puppies. The only way to obviate the disastrous predominance of the weak is to develop the strong. Our efforts to render normal the unfit are evidently useless. We should, then, turn our attention toward promoting the optimum growth of the fit. By making the strong still stronger, we could effectively help the weak; For the herd always profits by the ideas and inventions of the elite. Instead of leveling organic and mental inequalities, we should amplify them and construct greater men.
We must single out the children who are endowed with high potentialities, and develop them as completely as possible. And in this manner give to the nation a non-hereditary aristocracy. Such children may be found in all classes of society, although distinguished men appear more frequently in distinguished families than in others. The descendants of the founders of American civilization may still possess the ancestral qualities. These qualities are generally hidden under the cloak of degeneration. But this degeneration is often superficial. It comes chiefly from education, idleness, lack of responsibility and moral discipline. The sons of very rich men, like those of criminals, should be removed while still infants from their natural surroundings. Thus separated from their family, they could manifest their hereditary strength. In the aristocratic families of Europe there are also individuals of great vitality. The issue of the Crusaders is by no means extinct. The laws of genetics indicate the probability that the legendary audacity and love of adventure can appear again in the lineage of the feudal lords. It is possible also that the offspring of the great criminals who had imagination, courage, and judgment, of the heroes of the French or Russian Revolutions, of the high-handed business men who live among us, might be excellent building stones for an enterprising minority. As we know, criminality is not hereditary if not united with feeble-mindedness or other mental or cerebral defects. High potentialities are rarely encountered in the sons of honest, intelligent, hard-working men who have had ill luck in their careers, who have failed in business or have muddled along all their lives in inferior positions. Or among peasants living on the same spot for centuries. However, from such people sometimes spring artists, poets, adventurers, saints. A brilliantly gifted and well-known New York family came from peasants who cultivated their farm in the south of France from the time of Charlemagne to that of Napoleon.
Boldness and strength suddenly appear in families where they have never before been observed. Mutations may occur in man, just as they do in other animals and in plants. Nevertheless, one should not expect to find among peasants and proletarians many subjects endowed with great developmental possibilities. In fact, the separation of the population of a free country into different classes is not due to chance or to social conventions. It rests on a solid biological basis, the physiological and mental peculiarities of the individuals. In democratic countries, such as the United States and France, for example, any man had the possibility during the last century of rising to the position his capacities enabled him to hold. Today, most of the members of the proletarian class owe their situation to the hereditary weakness of their organs and their mind. Likewise, the peasants have remained attached to the soil since the Middle Ages, because they possess the courage, judgment, physical resistance, and lack of imagination and daring which render them apt for this type of life. These unknown farmers, anonymous soldiers, passionate lovers of the soil, the backbone of the European nations, were, despite their great qualities, of a weaker organic and psychological constitution than the medieval barons who conquered the land and defended it victoriously against all invaders. Originally, the serfs and the chiefs were really born serfs and chiefs. Today, the weak should not be artificially maintained in wealth and power. It is imperative that social classes should be synonymous with biological classes. Each individual must rise or sink to the level for which he is fitted by the quality of his tissues and of his soul. The social ascension of those who possess the best organs and the best minds should be aided. Each one must have his natural place. Modern nations will save themselves by developing the strong. Not by protecting the weak.
Eugenics is indispensable for the perpetuation of the strong. A great race must propagate its best elements. However, in the most highly civilized nations reproduction is decreasing and yields inferior products. Women voluntarily deteriorate through alcohol and tobacco. They subject themselves to dangerous dietary regimens in order to obtain a conventional slenderness of their figure. Besides, they refuse to bear children. Such a defection is due to their education, to the progress of feminism, to the growth of short-sighted selfishness. It also comes from economic conditions, nervous unbalance, instability of marriage, and fear of the burden imposed upon parents by the weakness or precocious corruption of children. The women belonging to the oldest stock, whose children would, in all probability, be of good quality, and who are in a position to bring them up intelligently, are almost sterile. It is the newcomers, peasants and proletarians from primitive European countries, who beget large families. But their offspring are far from having the value of those who came from the first settlers of North America. There is no hope for an increase in the birth rate before a revolution takes place in the habits of thinking and living, and a new ideal rises above the horizon.
Eugenics may exercise a great influence upon the destiny of the civilized races. Of course, the reproduction of human beings cannot be regulated as in animals. The propagation of the insane and the feeble-minded, nevertheless, must be prevented. A medical examination should perhaps be imposed on people about to marry, as for admission into the army or the navy, or for employees in hotels, hospitals, and department stores. However, the security given by medical examination is not at all positive. The contradictory statements made by experts before the courts of justice demonstrate that these examinations often lack any value. It seems that eugenics, to be useful, should be voluntary. By an appropriate education, each one could be made to realize what wretchedness is in store for those who marry into families contaminated by syphilis, cancer, tuberculosis, insanity, or feeble-mindedness. Such families should be considered by young people at least as undesirable as those which are poor. In truth, they are more dangerous than gangsters and murderers. No criminal causes so much misery in a human group as the tendency to insanity. Voluntary eugenics is not impossible. Indeed, love is supposed to blow as freely as the wind. But the belief in this peculiarity of love is shaken by the fact that many young men fall in love only with rich girls, and vice versa. If love is capable of listening to money, it may also submit to a consideration as practical as that of health. None should marry a human being suffering from hidden hereditary defects. Most of man's misfortunes are due to his organic and mental constitution and, in a large measure, to his heredity. Obviously, those who are afflicted with a heavy ancestral burden of insanity, feeblemindedness, or cancer should not marry. No human being has the right to bring misery to another human being. Still less, that of procreating children destined to misery. Thus, eugenics asks for the sacrifice of many individuals. This necessity, with which we meet for the second time, seems to be the expression of a natural law. Many living beings are sacrificed at every instant by nature to other living beings. We know the social and individual importance of renunciation. Nations have always paid the highest honors to those who gave up their lives to save their country. The concept of sacrifice, of its absolute social necessity, must be introduced into the mind of modern man.
Although eugenics may prevent the weakening of the strong, it is insufficient to determine their unlimited progress. In the purest races, individuals do not rise beyond a certain level. However, among men, as among thoroughbred horses, exceptional beings appear from time to time. The determining factors of genius are entirely unknown. We are incapable of inducing a progressive evolution of germ-plasm, of bringing about by appropriate mutations the appearance of superior men. We must be content with facilitating the union of the best elements of the race through education and certain economic advantages. The progress of the strong depends on the conditions of their development and the possibility left to parents of transmitting to their offspring the qualities which they have acquired in the course of their existence. Modern society must, therefore, allow to all a certain stability of life, a home, a garden, some friends. Children must be reared in contact with things which are the expression of the mind of their parents. It is imperative to stop the transformation of the farmer, the artisan, the artist, the professor, and the man of science into manual or intellectual proletarians, possessing nothing but their hands or their brains. The development of this proletariat will be the everlasting shame of industrial civilization. It has contributed to the disappearance of the family as a social unit, and to the weakening of intelligence and moral sense. It is destroying the remains of culture. All forms of the proletariat must be suppressed. Each individual should have the security and the stability required for the foundation of a family. Marriage must cease being only a temporary union. The union of man and woman, like that of the higher anthropoids, ought to last at least until the young have no further need of protection. The laws relating to education, and especially to that of girls, to marriage, and divorce should, above all, take into account the interest of children. Women should receive a higher education, not in order to become doctors, lawyers, or professors, but to rear their offspring to be valuable human beings.
The free practice of eugenics could lead not only to the development of stronger individuals, but also of strains endowed with more endurance, intelligence, and courage. These strains should constitute an aristocracy, from which great men would probably appear. Modern society must promote, by all possible means, the formation of better human stock. No financial or moral rewards should be too great for those who, through the wisdom of their marriage, would engender geniuses. The complexity of our civilization is immense. No one can master all its mechanisms. However, these mechanisms have to be mastered. There is need today of men of larger mental and moral size, capable of accomplishing such a task. The establishment of a hereditary biological aristocracy through voluntary eugenics would be an important step toward the solution of our present problems.
Although our knowledge of man is still very incomplete, nevertheless it gives us the power to intervene in his formation, and to help him unfold all his potentialities. To shape him according to our wishes, provided these wishes conform to natural laws. Three different procedures are at our disposal. The first comprises the physical and chemical factors, which cause definite changes in the constitution of the tissues, humors, and mind. The second sets in motion, through proper modifications in the environment, the adaptive mechanisms regulating all human activities. The third makes use of psychological factors, which influence organic development or induce the individual to build himself up by his own efforts. The handling of these agencies is difficult, empirical, and uncertain. We are not as yet well acquainted with them. They do not limit their effects to a single aspect of the individual. They act slowly, even during childhood and youth. But they always produce profound modifications of the body and of the mind.
The physical and chemical peculiarities of the climate, the soil, and the food can be used as instruments for modeling the individual. Endurance and strength generally develop in the mountains, in the countries where seasons are extreme, where mists are frequent and sunlight rare, where hurricanes blow furiously, where the land is poor and sown with rocks. The schools devoted to the formation of a hard and spirited youth should be established in such countries, and not in southern climates where the sun always shines and the temperature is even and warm. Florida and the French Riviera are suitable for weaklings, invalids, and old people, or normal individuals in need of a short rest. Moral energy, nervous equilibrium, and organic resistance are increased in children when they are trained to withstand heat and cold, dryness and humidity, burning sun and chilling rain, blizzards and fog--in short, the rigors of the seasons in northern countries. The resourcefulness and hardihood of the Yankee were probably due, in a certain measure, to the harshness of a climate where, under the sun of Spain, there are Scandinavian winters. But these climatic factors have lost their efficiency since civilized men are protected from inclemencies of the weather by the comfort and the sedentariness of their life.
The effect of the chemical compounds contained in food upon physiological and mental activities is far from being thoroughly known. Medical opinion on this point is of little value, for no experiments of sufficient duration have been made upon human beings to ascertain the influence of a given diet. There is no doubt that consciousness is affected by the quantity and the quality of the food. Those who have to dare, dominate, and create should not be fed like manual workers, or like contemplative monks who, in the solitude of monasteries, endeavor to repress in their inner self the turmoil of the secular passions. We have to discover what food is suitable for human beings vegetating in offices and factories. What chemical substances could give intelligence, courage, and alertness to the inhabitants of the new city. The race will certainly not be improved merely by supplying children and adolescents with a great abundance of milk, cream, and all known vitamines. It would be most useful to search for new compounds which, instead of uselessly increasing the size and weight of the skeleton and of the muscles, would bring about nervous strength and mental agility. Perhaps some day a scientist will discover how to manufacture great men from ordinary children, in the same manner that bees transform a common larva into a queen by the special food which they know how to prepare. But it is probable that no chemical agent alone is capable of greatly improving the individual. We must assume that the superiority of any organic and mental form is due to a combination of hereditary and developmental conditions. And that, during development, chemical factors are not to be separated from psychological and functional factors.
We know that adaptive processes stimulate organs and functions, that the more effective way of improving tissues and mind is to maintain them in ceaseless activity. The mechanisms, which determine in certain organs a series of reactions ordered toward an end, can easily be set in motion. As is well known, a muscular group develops by appropriate drill. If we wish to strengthen not only the muscles, but also the apparatuses responsible for their nutrition and the organs which enable the body to sustain a prolonged effort, exercises more varied than classical sports are indispensable. These exercises are the same as were practiced daily in a more primitive life. Specialized athletics, as taught in schools and universities, do not give real endurance. The efforts requiring the help of muscles, vessels, heart, lungs, brain, spinal cord, and mind--that is, of the entire organism--are necessary in the construction of the individual. Running over rough ground, climbing mountains, wrestling, swimming, working in the forests and in the fields, exposure to inclemencies, early moral responsibility, and a general harshness of life bring about the harmony of the muscles, bones, organs, and consciousness.
In this manner, the organic systems enabling the body to adapt itself to the outside world are trained and fully developed. The climbing of trees or rocks stimulates the activity of the apparatuses regulating the composition of plasma, the circulation of the blood, and the respiration. The organs responsible for the manufacture of red cells and hemoglobin are set in motion by life at high altitudes. Prolonged running and the necessity of eliminating acid produced by the muscles release processes extending over the entire organism. Unsatisfied thirst drains water from the tissues. Fasting mobilizes the proteins and fatty substances from the organs. Alternation from heat to cold and from cold to heat sets at work the multiple mechanisms regulating the temperature. The adaptive systems may be stimulated in many other ways. The whole body is improved when they are brought into action. Ceaseless work renders all integrating apparatuses stronger, more alert, and better fitted to carry out their many duties.
The harmony of our organic and psychological functions is one of the most important qualities that we may possess. It can be acquired by means varying according to the specific characteristics of each individual. But it always demands a voluntary effort. Equilibrium is obtained in a large measure by intelligence and self-control. Man naturally tends toward the satisfaction of his physiological appetites and artificial needs, such as a craving for alcohol, speed, and ceaseless change. But he degenerates when he satisfies these appetites completely. He must, then, accustom himself to dominate his hunger, his need of sleep, his sexual impulses, his laziness, his fondness for muscular exercise, for alcohol, etc. Too much sleep and food are as dangerous as too little. It is first by training and later by a progressive addition of intellectual motives to the habits gained by training, that individuals possessing strong and well-balanced activities may be developed. A man's value depends on his capacity to face adverse situations rapidly and without effort. Such alertness is attained by building up many kinds of reflexes and instinctive reactions. The younger the individual, the easier is the establishment of reflexes. A child can accumulate vast treasures of unconscious knowledge. He is easily trained, incomparably more so than the most intelligent shepherd dog. He can be taught to run without tiring, to fall like a cat, to climb, to swim, to stand and walk harmoniously, to observe everything exactly, to wake quickly and completely, to speak several languages, to obey, to attack, to defend himself, to use his hands dexterously in various kinds of work, etc. Moral habits are created in an identical manner. Dogs themselves learn not to steal. Honesty, sincerity, and courage are developed by the same procedures as those used in the formation of reflexes-- that is, without argument, without discussion, without explanation. In a word, children must be conditioned.
Conditioning, according to the terminology of Pavlov, is nothing but the establishment of associated reflexes. It repeats in a scientific and modern form the procedures employed for a long time by animal trainers. In the construction of these reflexes, a relation is established between an unpleasant thing and a thing desired by the subject. The ringing of a bell, the report of a gun, even the crack of a whip become for a dog the equivalent of the food he likes. A similar phenomenon takes place in man. One does not suffer from being deprived of food and sleep in the course of an expedition into an unknown country. Physical pain and hardship are easily supported if they accompany the success of a cherished enterprise. Death itself may smile when it is associated with some great adventure, with the beauty of sacrifice, or with the illumination of the soul that becomes immersed in God.
The psychological factors of development have a mighty influence on the individual, as is well known. They can be used at will for giving both to the body and to the mind their ultimate shape. We have mentioned how, by constructing proper reflexes in a child, one may prepare that child to face certain situations advantageously. The individual who possesses many acquired, or conditioned, reflexes reacts successfully to a number of foreseen stimuli. For instance, if attacked, he can instantaneously draw his pistol. But he is not prepared to respond properly to unforeseen stimuli, to unpredictable circumstances. The aptitude for improvising a fitting response to all situations depends on precise qualities of the nervous system, the organs, and the mind. These qualities can be developed by definite psychological agencies. We know that mental and moral disciplines, for instance, bring about a better equilibrium of the sympathetic system, a more complete integration of all organic and mental activities. These agencies can be divided into two classes: those acting from without, and those acting from within. To the first class belong all reflexes and states of consciousness imposed on the subject by other individuals or by his social environment. Insecurity or security, poverty or wealth, effort, struggle, idleness, responsibility, create certain mental states capable of molding human beings in an almost specific manner. The second class comprises the factors which modify the subject from within, such as meditation, concentration, will to power, asceticism, etc.
The use of mental factors in the making of man is delicate. We can, however, easily direct the intellectual shaping of a child. Proper teachers, suitable books, introduce into his inner world the ideas destined to influence the evolution of his tissues and his mind. We have already mentioned that the growth of other mental activities, such as moral, esthetic and religious senses, is independent of intelligence and formal teaching. The psychological factors instrumental in training these activities are parts of the social environment. The subjects, therefore, have to be placed in a proper setting. This includes the necessity of surrounding them with a certain mental atmosphere. It is extremely difficult today to give children the advantages resulting from privation, struggle, hardship, and real intellectual culture. And from the development of a potent psychological agency, the inner life. This private, hidden, not-to-be-shared, undemocratic thing appears to the conservatism of many educators to be a damnable sin. However, it remains the source of all originality. Of all great actions. It permits the individual to retain his personality, his poise, and the stability of his nervous system in the confusion of the new city.
Mental factors influence each individual in a different manner. They must be applied only by those who fully understand the psychological and organic peculiarities which distinguish human beings. The subjects who are weak or strong, sensitive or insensitive, selfish or unselfish, intelligent or unintelligent, alert or apathetic, etc., react in their own way to every psychological agency. There is no possibility of a wholesale application of these delicate procedures for the construction of the mind and the body. However, there are certain general conditions, both social and economic, which may act in a beneficial, or harmful, way on each individual in a given community. Sociologists and economists should never plan any change in the conditions of life without taking into consideration the mental effects of this change. It is a primary datum of observation that man does not progress in complete poverty, in prosperity, in peace, in too large a community, or in isolation. He would probably reach his optimum development in the psychological atmosphere created by a moderate amount of economic security, leisure, privation, and struggle. The effects of these conditions differ according to each race and to each individual. The events that crush certain people will drive others to revolt and victory. We have to mold on man his social and economic world. To provide him with the psychological surroundings capable of keeping his organic systems in full activity.
These factors are, of course, far more effective in children and adolescents than in adults. They should constantly be used during this plastic period. But their influence, although less marked, remains essential during the entire course of life. At the epoch of maturity, when the value of time decreases, their importance becomes greater. Their activity is most beneficial to aging people. Senescence seems to be delayed when body and mind are kept working. In middle and old age, man needs a stricter discipline than in childhood. The early deterioration of numerous individuals is due to self-indulgence. The same factors that determine the shaping of the young human being are able to prevent the deformation of the old. A wise use of these psychological influences would retard the decay of many men, and the loss of intellectual and moral treasures, which sink prematurely into the abyss of senile degeneration.
There are, as we know, two kinds of health, natural, and artificial. Scientific medicine has given to man artificial health, and protection against most infectious diseases. It is a mar-velous gift. But man is not content with health that is only lack of malady and depends on special diets, chemicals, endocrine products, vitamines, periodical medical examinations, and the expensive attention of hospitals, doctors, and nurses. He wants natural health, which comes from resistance to infectious and degenerative diseases, from equilibrium of the nervous system. He must be constructed so as to live without thinking about his health. Medicine will achieve its greatest triumph when it discovers the means of rendering the body and the mind naturally immune to diseases, fatigue, and fear. In remaking modern human beings we must endeavor to give them the freedom and the happiness engendered by the perfect soundness of organic and mental activities.
This conception of natural health will meet with strong opposition because it disturbs our habits of thought. The present trend of medicine is toward artificial health, toward a kind of directed physiology. Its ideal is to intervene in the work of tissues and organs with the help of pure chemicals, to stimulate or replace deficient functions, to increase the resistance of the organism to infection, to accelerate the reaction of the humors and the organs to pathogenic agencies, etc. We still consider a human being to be a poorly constructed machine, whose parts must be constantly reenforced or repaired. In a recent address, Henry Dale has celebrated with great candor the triumphs of chemical therapeutics during the last forty years, the discovery of antitoxic sera and bacterial products, hormones, insulin, adrenalin, thyroxin, etc., of organic compounds of arsenic, vitamines, substances controlling sexual functions, of a number of new compounds synthetized in the laboratory for the relief of pain or the stimulation of some flagging natural activity. And the advent of the gigantic industrial laboratories where these substances are manufactured. There is no doubt that those achievements of chemistry and physiology are extremely important, that they throw much light on the hidden mechanisms of the body. But should they be hailed as great triumphs of humanity in its striving toward health? This is far from being certain. Physiology cannot be compared with economics. Organic, humoral, and mental processes are infinitely more complex than economic and sociological phenomena. While directed economics may ultimately be a success, directed physiology is a failure and will probably remain so.
Artificial health does not suffice for human happiness. Medical examinations, medical care, are troublesome and often ineffectual. Drugs and hospitals are expensive. Men and women are constantly in need of small repairs, although they appear to be in good health. They are not well and strong enough to play their part of human beings fully. The growing dissatisfaction of the public with the medical profession is, in some measure, due to the existence of this evil. Medicine cannot give to man the kind of health he needs without taking into consideration his true nature. We have learned that organs, humors, and mind are one, that they are the result of hereditary tendencies, of the conditions of development, of the chemical, physical, physiological, and mental factors of the environment. That health depends on a definite chemical and structural constitution of each part and on certain properties of the whole. We must help this whole to perform its functions efficiently rather than intervene ourselves in the work of each organ. Some individuals are immune to infections and degenerative diseases, and to the decay of senescence. We have to learn their secret. It is the knowledge of the inner mechanisms responsible for such endurance that we must acquire. The possession of natural health would enormously increase the happiness of man.
The marvelous success of hygiene in the fight against infectious diseases and great epidemics allows biological research to turn its attention partly from bacteria and viruses to physiological and mental processes. Medicine, instead of being content with masking organic lesions, must endeavor to prevent their occurence, or to cure them. For instance, insulin brings about the disappearance of the symptoms of diabetes. But it does not cure the disease. Diabetes can be mastered only by the discovery of its causes and of the means of bringing about the repair or the replacement of the degenerated pancreatic cells. It is obvious that the mere administration to the sick of the chemicals which they need is not sufficient. The organs must be rendered capable of normally manufacturing these chemicals within the body. But the knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for the soundness of glands is far more profound than that of the products of these glands. We have so far followed the easiest road. We now have to switch to rough ground and enter uncharted countries. The hope of humanity lies in the prevention of degenerative and mental diseases, not in the mere care of their symptoms. The progress of medicine will not come from the construction of larger and better hospitals, of larger and better factories for pharmaceutical products. It depends entirely on imagination, on observation of the sick, on meditation and experimentation in the silence of the laboratory. And, finally, on the unveiling, beyond the proscenium of chemical structures, of the organismal and mental mysteries.
We now have to reestablish, in the fullness of his personality, the human being weakened and standardized by modem life. Sexes have again to be clearly defined. Each individual should be either male or female, and never manifest the sexual tendencies, mental characteristics, and ambitions of the opposite sex. Instead of resembling a machine produced in series, man should, on the contrary, emphasize his uniqueness. In order to reconstruct personality, we must break the frame of the school, factory, and office, and reject the very principles of technological civilization.
Such a change is by no means impracticable. The renovation of education requires chiefly a reversal of the respective values attributed to parents and to school-teachers in the formation of the child. We know that it is impossible to bring up individuals wholesale, that the school cannot be considered as a substitute for individual education. Teachers often fulfill their intellectual function well. But affective, esthetic, and religious activities also need to be developed. Parents have to realize clearly that their part is indispensable. They must be fitted for it. Is it not strange that the educational program for girls does not contain in general any detailed study of infants and children, of their physiological and mental characteristics? Her natural function, which consists not only of bearing, but also of rearing, her young, should be restored to woman.
Like the school, the factory and the office are not intangible institutions. There have been, in the past, industrial organizations which enabled the workmen to own a house and land, to work at home when and as they willed, to use their intelligence, to manufacture entire objects, to have the joy of creation. At the present time this form of industry could be resumed. Electrical power and modern machinery make it possible for the light industries to free themselves from the curse of the factory. Could not the heavy industries also be decentralized? Or would it not be possible to use all the young men of the country in those factories for a short period, just as for military service? In this or another way the proletariat could be progressively abolished. Men would live in small communities instead of in immense droves. Each would preserve his human value within his group. Instead of being merely a piece of machinery, he would become a person. Today, the position of the proletarian is as low as was that of the feudal serf. Like the serf, he has no hope of escaping from his bondage, of being independent, of holding authority over others. The artisan, on the contrary, has the legitimate hope that some day he may become the head of his shop. Likewise, the peasant owning his land, the fisherman owning his boat, although obliged to work hard, are, nevertheless, masters of themselves and of their time. Most industrial workers could enjoy similar independence and dignity. The white-collar people lose their personality just as factory hands do. In fact, they become proletarians. It seems that modern business organization and mass production are incompatible with the full development of the human self. If such is the case, then industrial civilization, and not civilized man, must go.
In recognizing personality, modern society has to accept its disparateness. Each individual must be utilized in accordance with his special characteristics. In attempting to establish equality among men, we have suppressed individual peculiarities which were most useful. For happiness depends on one being exactly fitted to the nature of one's work. And there are many varied tasks in a modern nation. Human types, instead of being standardized, should be diversified, and these constitutional differences maintained and exaggerated by the mode of education and the habits of life. Each type would find its place. Modern society has refused to recognize the dissimilarity of human beings and has crowded them into four classes--the rich, the proletarian, the farmer, and the middle class. The clerk, the policeman, the clergyman, the scientist, the school-teacher, the university professor, the shopkeeper, etc., who constitute the middle class, have practically the same standard of living. Such ill-assorted types are herded together according to their financial position and not in conformity with their individual characteristics. Obviously, they have nothing in common. The best, those who could grow, who try to develop their mental potentialities, are atrophied by the narrowness of their life. In order to promote human progress, it is not enough to hire architects, to buy bricks and steel, and to build schools, universities, laboratories, libraries, art institutes, and churches. It would be far more important to provide those who devote themselves to the things of the mind with the means of developing their personality according to their innate constitution and to their spiritual purpose. Just as, during the Middle Ages, the church created a mode of existence suitable to asceticism, mysticism, and philosophical thinking.
The brutal materialism of our civilization not only opposes the soaring of intelligence, but also crushes the affective, the gentle, the weak, the lonely, those who love beauty, who look for other things than money, whose sensibility does not stand the struggle of modern life. In past centuries, the many who were too refined, or too incomplete, to fight with the rest were allowed the free development of their personality. Some lived within themselves. Others took refuge in monasteries, in charitable or contemplative orders, where they found poverty and hard work, but also dignity, beauty, and peace. Individuals of this type should be given, instead of the inimical conditions of modern society, an environment more appropriate to the growth and utilization of their specific qualities.
There remains the unsolved problem of the immense number of defectives and criminals. They are an enormous burden for the part of the population that has remained normal. As already pointed out, gigantic sums are now required to maintain prisons and insane asylums and protect the public against gangsters and lunatics. Why do we preserve these useless and harmful beings? The abnormal prevent the development of the normal. This fact must be squarely faced. Why should society not dispose of the criminals and the insane in a more economical manner? We cannot go on trying to separate the responsible from the irresponsible, punish the guilty, spare those who, although having committed a crime, are thought to be morally innocent. We are not capable of judging men. However, the community must be protected against troublesome and dangerous elements. How can this be done? Certainly not by building larger and more comfortable prisons, just as real health will not be promoted by larger and more scientific hospitals. Criminality and insanity can be prevented only by a better knowledge of man, by eugenics, by changes in education and in social conditions. Meanwhile, criminals have to be dealt with effectively. Perhaps prisons should be abolished. They could be replaced by smaller and less expensive institutions. The conditioning of petty criminals with the whip, or some more scientific procedure, followed by a short stay in hospital, would probably suffice to insure order. Those who have murdered, robbed while armed with automatic pistol or machine gun, kidnapped children, despoiled the poor of their savings, misled the public in important matters, should be humanely and economically disposed of in small euthanasic institutions supplied with proper gases. A similar treatment could be advantageously applied to the insane, guilty of criminal acts. Modern society should not hesitate to organize itself with reference to the normal individual. Philosophical systems and sentimental prejudices must give way before such a necessity. The development of human personality is the ultimate purpose of civilization.
The restoration of man to the harmony of his physiological and mental self will transform his universe. We should not forget that the universe modifies its aspects according to the conditions of our body. That it is nothing but the response of our nervous system, our sensory organs, and our techniques to an unknown and probably unknowable reality. That all our states of consciousness, all our dreams, those of the mathematicians as well as those of the lovers, are equally true. The electromagnetic waves, which express a sunset to the physicist, are no more objective than the brilliant colors perceived by the painter. The esthetic feeling engendered by those colors, and the measurement of the length of their component lightwaves, are two aspects of ourselves and have the same right to existence. Joy and sorrow are as important as planets and suns. But the world of Dante, Emerson, Bergson, or G. E. Hale is larger than that of Mr. Babbitt. The beauty of the universe will necessarily grow with the strength of our organic and psychological activities.
We must liberate man from the cosmos created by the genius of physicists and astronomers, that cosmos in which, since the Renaissance, he has been imprisoned. Despite its stupendous immensity, the world of matter is too narrow for him. Like Ms economic and social environment, it does not fit him. We cannot adhere to the faith in its exclusive reality. We know that we are not altogether comprised within its dimensions, that we extend somewhere else, outside the physical continuum. Man is simultaneously a material object, a living being, a focus of mental activities. His presence in the prodigious void of the intersidereal spaces is totally negligible. But he is not a stranger in the realm of inanimate matter. With the aid of mathematical abstractions his mind apprehends the electrons as well as the stars. He is made on the scale of the terrestrial mountains, oceans, and rivers. He appertains to the surface of the earth, exactly as trees, plants, and animals do. He feels at ease in their company. He is more intimately bound to the works of art, the monuments, the mechanical marvels of the new city, the small group of his friends, those whom he loves. But he also belongs to another world. A world which, although enclosed within himself, stretches beyond space and time. And of this world, if his will is indomitable, he may travel over the infinite cycles. The cycle of Beauty, contemplated by scientists, artists, and poets. The cycle of Love, that inspires heroism and renunciation. The cycle of Grace, ultimate reward of those who passionately seek the principle of all things. Such is our universe.
The day has come to begin the work of our renovation. We will not establish any program. For a program would stifle living reality in a rigid armor. It would prevent the bursting forth of the unpredictable, and imprison the future within the limits of our mind.
We must arise and move on. We must liberate ourselves from blind technology and grasp the complexity and the wealth of our own nature. The sciences of life have shown to humanity its goal and placed at its disposal the means of reaching it. But we are still immersed in the world created by the sciences of inert matter without any respect for the laws of our development. In a world that is not made for us, because it is born from an error of our reason and from the ignorance of our true self. To such a world we cannot become adapted. We will, then, revolt against it. We will transform its values and organize it with reference to our true needs. Today, the science of man gives us the power to develop all the potentialities of our body. We know the secret mechanisms of our physiological and mental activities and the causes of our weakness. We know how we have transgressed natural laws. We know why we are punished, why we are lost in darkness. Nevertheless, we faintly perceive through the mists of dawn a path which may lead to our salvation.
For the first time in the history of humanity, a crumbling civilization is capable of discerning the causes of its decay. For the first time, it has at its disposal the gigantic strength of science. Will we utilize this knowledge and this power? It is our only hope of escaping the fate common to all great civilizations of the past. Our destiny is in our hands. On the new road, we must now go forward.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HOME SOCIAL CRITICISM LIB. CAT