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THE PERSONS IN THE DRAMA:
The Great Men and the Small
Naked have I seen both of them,
the greatest man and the smallest man,
All-too-similar are they still to each other.
Verily, even the greatest found I all-too-human.
--Thus Spake Zarathustra.
THE PERSONS IN THE DRAMA
THE quest of comfort is a drama. It might becalled the tragedy of civilized man. The whole earth is the stage upon which it isbeing played. The history of civilization records the acts of the play. The accumulatedwealth of mankind forms the properties being used by the players.
Three types of actors have played parts in itand still tread the boards:
An analysis of their characters and their relationsone to another is necessary to an understanding of the plot.
In speaking of "Americans," or of "businessmen," or of "artists," we have in mind the characteristics which Americans,business men, and artists each have in common. Each of these types of men lives alife similar in its essentials to that of his fellows of the same type. Each haslike environments, like interests, like problems. Each has like mental characteristicsin part be. cause their common mental bent determines their choice of a common life-workand in part because their life-work determines their mentalities. Americans thrillat the sigh, of the stars and stripes, rise: when they hear "The Star SpangledBanner," revere the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution even thoughthey pay no attention to them, speak English, write the Roman alphabet, use Arabicnumerals. These American characteristics are common to Americans just as businessmen's characteristics are common to business men and artistic characteristics commonto artists.
This is the reason that makes it possible tosay that in every age and in every region of the globe men have always consistedof three types of individuals: an immense majority of herd-minded men who have thecharacteristics common to average men; a small minority of quantity-minded men whohave the characteristics which predatory, acquisitive, power-seeking, ruthless menhave in common, and a still smaller minority of quality-minded men.
The beauty or ugliness of a civilization-thecondition of its culture, the state of its society, and the richness or poverty ofthe life of the individuals in it--is determined by the parts played in that civilizationby these three types of individuals--by the position accorded to quality-minded individualsand the extent to which they are able to impose their ideas upon it. Where the quality-mindedplay the leading part you have a beautiful civilization. Where the quantity-mindedplay the leading part you have an ugly civilization. Where the herd-minded play theleading part you have no civilization at all.
Mr. Everett Dean Martin has very aptly observedthat "society is a wave; the wave moves forward, but the water of which it iscomposed does not."
Society does change--it moves forward, if youwill--from age to age. But the parts played in the drama of civilization by the varioustypes of individual who make up society seem never to change.
The relationship of the three types of playersin the drama to one another and their respective contributions to civilization seemto be unchanging.
It is almost impossible to say of a particularindividual that he is in every respect a herd-minded, a quantity-minded, or a quality-mindedtype. Human beings do not lend themselves to such rigid classification. Most of themare mixtures of two and even three of these types. The most ambitious, the most predatory,the most acquisitive specimen of the quantity-minded type may be average in everyrespect except the direction in which his appetite seems to have been abnormallydeveloped. John D. Rockefeller, for instance, may be a devout Baptist, a convincedRepublican, a sincere patriot. Upon everything other than money-making his reactionsmay be precisely the same as John Doe's and every other member of the herd-mindedmass. On the other hand, herd-minded individuals may be sensitive to line, to form,to color, to sound; may in some fields be skilled workers of a high order; they maylack only that qualitative attitude toward all the aspects of life which comes fromhigh sensitivity and profound understanding.
Yet it is possible in spite of these self-evidentlimitations of classification to throw a flood of light upon the forces that moveour civilization by assuming that practically all human beings do belong in one orthe other of these categories. The dominant characteristics, the general behavior,the outstanding activities, the values that motivate individuals are sufficientlydistinctive to determine the category in which each belongs. And for our purposesit is possible to ignore those who are so definitely on the border-line as to resistall classification.
Fortunately, the theory here set forth restsupon so many in. ductive analyses of individuals that it cannot be upset by the differencesof opinion which may develop as to the class in which historical personages and particularpersons of the present period should be assigned. A concordance of circumstancesputs John Doe in one class, John D. Rockefeller in the second, and Charles W. Eliotin the third. They remain in the class to which circumstances assign them only aslong as they are characteristically unchanged. No man, of course, is "born"to one of these three classes. And no title of nobility, no fiat of government, noamount of wealth, no university degrees can keep him in one of these classes afterchanges in him or in his circumstances have developed which have actually transferredhim to another. The same individual may at one time belong to the herd-minded class;later to the quantity-minded class, and at a still later time, to the quality-mindedclass.
Take a thousand human beings, and 997 will beherd-minded like John Doe and his fellows; two will be quantity-minded like JohnD. Rockefeller; and one quality-minded, like Charles W. Eliot. I cannot, unfortunately,vouch for the statistical accuracy of this formula, but it is at least suggestiveof the actual state of affairs. Every day observation makes it very probable thatindividuals of these three types exist in society in the ratio of 997 to 2 to 1.And in most of mankind's tragic history, the two quantity" minded individualshave been busily engaged in quarreling to see which one would exploit the remaining997, and in forcing the one quality-minded soul in the thousand either to entertainthem or to assist them in the business of exploitation. Yet, as we shall see, thereare good grounds for concluding that whatever we have of civilization has come intobeing because the quality-minded, exploited though they have been by the quantity-mindedpossessors of power, and hated by the unthinking masses, have always been able, afteran often heart-breaking lapse of time, to impose their ideas upon mankind.
Programs for the improvement or the reformationof society which do not take these differences in the types of man into account aredoomed to inevitable failure. Democratic, humanitarian, equalitarian programs, whenstrongly charged with political or religious emotionalism, create interesting anddramatic pages in history, but they do not produce a stable and satisfying sociallife for mankind. Indeed, history is largely the long record of the futile effortsto better society predicated upon false theories of the equality of man and of equallydisappointing efforts based upon equally false theories of the inequality of man.
The time has come for the abandonment of programsbased upon fictions about man and for the formulation of a program based upon facts.
Men are neither physically nor mentally equal.They are not equal though every politician in the land proclaim the fiction thatlaw has conferred equality upon them, and every church endlessly proclaim the fictionthat religion makes all men equally precious to God. General acceptance of the factthat some men are superior to others and that some are, by the same token, inferior,is important because of the check it would furnish upon the social and politicalfallacies which abound today.
The plain fact is that individuals are unequalphysically and mentally by reason of inexplicable and ineradicable accidents of breed,rearing, and experience. Some are just average because they were born that way, andsome are made average by education and circumstances. Some are predatory and acquisitiveand others creative, and in all cases what any individual is at any given momentis the end-product of a set of equally incalculable accidents. There are no hardand fast lines of demarcation between the various types of individuals. The rangeis from complete idiocy to absolute genius, and from an almost perfect purity oftype to every combination of types. Every individual is a miracle. Every individualis a law unto himself because each individual is the product of a sequence of eventswhich are not exactly duplicated in the life of any other.
It is the fact of the inequality of the individualman that is most important. It is the "clinical history" of the individual;his heredity, environment and experience, and not that of his race, nation or familythat determines whether he is to be a member of the herd-minded masses, whether heis to be one of its quantity-minded masters, or its quality-minded leaders. For genius,like stupidity, falls "like the gentle dew from heaven" upon those bornand brought up Frenchmen and Germans; upon those of the Nordic and the Slav races;upon those coming from families "to the manor born" and those from the"poor white trash." Genius is not the exclusive prerogative of any of thesedivisions of mankind perhaps because stupidity seems to be no respecter of even thefinest of families, the most progressive of nations, the most superior of races.
Individual men are first of all unequal becausethey do not come from one race, one nationality, one family. They are unequal byreason of the differences in the blood, history, culture, environment of their races,their nationalities, and their families. The men of one race are not equal to thoseof another; of one nationality to other nationalities; of one family to other families,No two individuals can ever be equal because the sum total of all the factors ofheredity, environment and experience can never be the same in any two individuals.
Even if two individuals were in every controllablerespect identical--identical in parentage, identical in education, identical in experience,identical in age--they would still not be equal. No possible combination of all thecontrollable equalities quality of income, of education, of feeding, of shelter--issufficient to produce two really equal individuals.
Two men may have the same father and mother andyet the heritage with which one began was different from the heritage of the other.Even though born twins, the biological material in the cells from which each developedwould not have been the same; their development during gestation different, and theirhistory from the moment of delivery, of course, unlike. And from birth onward, everyminute difference in rearing and experience would have heightened the early differencesin them. They would not have eaten the same food, even though served at the sametable; worn the same clothes, received the same treatment from relatives and acquaintances,occupied themselves always alike. They would not have read the same books, met thesame persons, taken away from them and from their reading the same set of ideas,nor encountered the same experiences. They could not be exactly alike.
Variation is a basic fact in nature.
Only man is a standardizer.
Variation must therefore be accepted in any reallypractical plan for producing a beautiful civilization.
With men so different from one another, it isabsurd to generalize about man. There is no such thing as "man." Thereare only individuals. It is dangerous enough to generalize after we have dividedmen into types of various kinds. We can say that all men have certain conspicuousphysical and mental characteristics in common: they walk on legs, for instance; theytalk; they eat. But we cannot say that all men are equally entitled to a voice inthe counsels of the state.
It is childish to make anything except the mostobvious of generalizations about man. Sound generalizations can only be made afterfull acceptance of the fact of difference, of variation, of inequality in mankind,and generalizations should be qualified with many reservations even then.
In trying to outline a really beautiful civilization,not only must this inequality of individuals be accepted, but the inexorability ofthis inequality must be likewise accepted.
The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
Men may be likened to a race of runners who startedto race from some dim and distant mark in the unrecorded past. At any given momentof time, some of the runners are old and some are young; some are rich and some arepoor; some are intelligent and some are stupid; some are weak and some are strong.Onward they run, leaving the dead and dying behind them, pressing into the dim anddistant future toward some perhaps non-existent goal. As each individual enters therace he finds that there are runners ahead of him, far behind him, and all aroundhim. He enters into the struggle, quite without regard to the fact that he does notstart on an equality with, nor even at the same time as the others, helped and hinderedin his own running by various advantages and various handicaps which perhaps no otherindividual in the race exactly duplicates.
The runners in the race of life are not equals.
It is impossible for them to be made equal physicallyand mentally by fiat no matter how exalted the source from which the decree mightemanate.
It is the vainest of vain hope to believe thatreligion or politics or science can cancel, now that the race is on, any jot or tittleof the existing inequalities among the racers.
Nor can what we call progress change the relativeposition of the racers. Progress may help the rank and file of plodders to move faster,but it helps the leaders in the race equally as much and sometimes it helps themto move relatively still faster than before. The difference between the Attic helotof ancient Greece and a Plato is not a whit greater than the difference between theaverage comic-strip reader of a modern New York newspaper and a Charles W. Eliot.All of what is generally called progress--a republican form of government, rapidand cheap transportation, factory production--has contributed in combination allthat it could to the development of the average modern New Yorker. Progress may havemade the New Yorker a superior being to the Attic helot, although the evidence uponthis point is by no means conclusive, but it has not brought him nearer to an equalitymentally with a Charles W. Eliot. It has not even brought him to an equality physicallywith a prize fighter and of course it has not brought him to an equality financiallywith a John D. Rockefeller. The future may, if we continue to progress, do as muchmore for the average New Yorker as the past has done for him since his forbears wereserfs and slaves. But it cannot bring him to a parity with the predatory men whoboss him, nor with the cultured men who civilize him.
Progress may increase the speed at which allin the race run: it may substitute wheels for the legs which nature provided forthe racers in the beginning of the race, but it cannot bring the racers to an equality
Men are not equal.
Their inequality is inexorable.
And that they should be equal is undesirable.
Man is the end product of a long evolutionaryprocess. Everything that he is today, mentally and physically, has been slowly developedby a process which seems like adaptation to his environment, but which has been inreality a process of natural selection of those most fitted to survive from countlessmillions of variations throughout all time. The varieties best adapted survived.The varieties ill adapted to survival have disappeared because of the handicaps underwhich they labored in the struggle to maintain themselves and to reproduce theirkind.
There is little doubt that man today is superiorto his ancestors: that the genus homo sapiens is superior to the primates from whichhe sprang. That superiority, however, could not have developed had every individualprimate been exactly equal to every other primate--had there not been inferior andsuperior specimens among them--inferior and superior at least in their survival-aptitude.Progress, therefore, to the stage of development to which man has now attained hasbeen dependent upon the fact that the primitive stock out of which the present racedeveloped did not consist of identical nor "equal" individuals. It hasbeen dependent upon the inequality of the individuals, and on the consequent abilityof the superior among them to be selected as the breeders and nurturers of theirsuccessors.
Unless we are, therefore, to argue that no furtherprogress is desirable, it is plain that there must be in the future a continuanceof this inequality. If we are to progress from our present state; if we are to producea race superior to the present and a state of society superior to that which we nowenjoy, indeed even if man is to survive at all, the continuance of this selectiveprocess is absolutely essential. And since the process involves not only a selection,of the superior types from among the whole group of individuals for survival, butalso the imposition of their ways of life upon their fellows, it is eminently desirablethat men should not be equal.
Social obstacles to the increase in the varietiesof human types are most undesirable.
Individuality, and not uniformity, should beencouraged.
What has probably prevented a general acceptanceof the desirability of inequality has been a mistaken assumption that it involvesidealization of mere brute strength. But this is an assumption which grows out ofa complete misreading of the history of man. Man triumphed over every other animatecreature, not because he was the stronger brute, but because he was the more intelligent.Indeed, his physical handicaps may have played a considerable part in forcing uponhim a discipline and training which helped him to his present eminence in the animalkingdom.
What is true of man in competition with otheranimals, is also true of the individual man in competition with his fellows. Notthe man who is strongest physically, but the man who is strongest mentally tendsto prevail, and tends to reproduce his kind.
It is the race which invented guns and gunpowderwhich has vanquished the physically superior races of primitives wherever they cameinto conflict. It is the individual who is intelligent enough to invent some bettermethod of adapting himself to his environment who survives in competition with otherindividuals. The fact that it is the predatory and not the intellectual types ofindividuals who generally exercise immediate power does not vitiate the rule. Therulers who survive in the contest with their fellow power-seekers are those intelligentenough to apply to their problems what the intellectuals have to teach them. Ultimately,therefore, it is intelligence which determines survival. In a society of which thecardinal principle was that every encouragement should be given to the individualsbest fitted to survive, not brute strength, but intelligence would triumph. Sucha society would produce real supermen. Not super-brutes, but super-rational men.They would be healthy in body as in mind, but they would not be muscular giants.They would be notable, not for their ability ruthlessly to sate their appetites,but for their sensitivity to what it is desirable to do with life.
In such a society the things which today aresupposed to be in the interests of the masses would be subordinated to things inthe interests of the superior individuals. All customs and institutions would beorganized so as to encourage the superior individuals in every way, not only to reproducetheir kind, but to impose their methods of living, their ideas about life, and theirtastes upon the masses of mankind.
They would be the acknowledged teachers of mankind,the accepted architects of its culture patterns.
And in such a society, the general level of thecomfort of the great masses of men would be far higher than in one in which no suchrecognition of the importance of inequality prevailed.
In spite of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!",in spite of the ringing dogma from our own charter of liberty: "All men arecreated free and equal," the nineteenth century has not succeeded in producinga really beautiful civilization. Western society has been largely relieved of theincubus of a medieval priesthood. American society has been freed of the exactionsof kings and nobles. Society generally has made some revolutionary steps toward economicfreedom. But it is the great tragedy of the age of revolution that so many of itsexperiments in remoulding society were based upon democratic theories of the equalityof man. Political, economic, social, educational programs which begin with the propositionthat men are equal are predicated upon a foundation of fiction. Societies based uponthem contain within themselves the seeds of their own futility and failure.
The democratic theory will always fail to producea really desirable society because it ignores the patent fact that some men are superiorand others inferior; because it assumes that the inferior are capable of selectingthose who are best fitted to guide and rule, and because it romantically fanciesthat power-seeking individuals will accept the dictation of those who lack theirown ruthless determination to gratify gargantuan appetites.
Democracy seems to confer power upon the masses.But it can no more prevent the masses from being preyed upon by predatory individualsthan a herd of sheep can themselves prevent the wolves from preying upon them. Powercannot be conferred upon those who are incapable of exercising it.
What is probably the greatest evil inherent indemocratic forms of society is the fact that they encourage the masses to think themselvesequally as good as the superior types of man. Instead of encouraging the superiorindividuals; instead of giving them every opportunity to act as the fashioners ofthe average man's habits of life; of being the artificer of society's folkways, democracyhandicaps the activities of intelligent individuals by the way democracy organizesits social, economic, and political institutions. It tries to force superior individualsto conform to what is normal for the mediocrities and nonentities of whom mankindis so largely composed.
Democracy makes conformity the greatest goodin the world.
But the aristocratic theory, which has been largelydestroyed by the rising tide of democracy, furnishes no better basis for a reallybeautiful civilization. True, it involves a recognition of inequality in mankind.But the inequality it recognizes is a false one. It is one based upon the singleaccident of birth. The classes into which aristocratic societies are divided havelittle or no correspondence to the superiority or inferiority of the individualsof which it is composed.
Aristocratic society imposes an artificial inequalityupon mankind; it imposes a false test of superiority and an equally false test ofinferiority.
The aristocrat is not necessarily a superiorindividual. For superiority is not merely a matter of birth and breeding. It is thesethings only in part. There is as yet little real knowledge about the part heredityand the part environment play in the production of superior individuals, and thewise society must therefore make provision for the leadership of those superior individualswho come out of classes and from environments which normally seem to produce onlyinferior types.
What mankind needs if it is to produce a reallydesirable state of society is an aristocracy of truly superior persons. The inequalityin such a society would be based upon the actual differences among individuals andnot upon differences due to the accident of race, nationality, or family.
In such a society there would be no arbitraryleaderships.
Really superior individuals cannot be selectedby examinations any more than they can be selected by elections. The most desirableattributes of the superior individuals neither lend themselves to the pedantry essentialin selection by civil service commissions, nor to the demagogery necessary in selectionby some form of election.
Whenever there is a general acceptance of theidea that it is in the high self-interest of every individual and of society as awhole to try to recognize intelligence and to give it every opportunity to develop.superior individuals will be recognized merely because they are superior. When itbecomes the fashion for the masses to imitate the ways of life of really superiorindividuals; when it becomes a folkway to make heroes out of quality-minded and notout of quantity-minded individuals, the speed with which quality-minded individualswill impose their ideas, first upon the quantity-minded and then upon society asa whole, will be greatly increased.
The lag in time, between the conceptionof a better way of life or a better method of doing something or a better idea andthe final acceptance of it, which now disgraces civilization would begin toshorten.
In such a society, every activity would be subjectedto the scrutiny of its critical intellectual social leaders.
Government would be rationalized and secularized.The divinity which used to hedge about the king and the priest and which modern nationalismhas transformed into patriotism, would wither under the ridicule visited upon everyeffort to impart a sacred character to anything or anybody having to do with government.With this would go much of the emotionalism and mass hysteria with which all politicalactivities are now permeated. Most of the sacred principles, which are supposed tojustify the fervor and the fanaticism of present day political leaders, do not bearcritical examination. The differences between Republicans, Democrats, and Socialistsdo not stand factual examination. If it ever becomes the habit to follow those whoturn first to fact-finding on controversial questions, politicians will find it difficultto excite themselves, and the multitudes who follow them, with the sort of politicalquestions which now go by the name of paramount issues. With politics thus deflated,the issues between nations which now develop wars could not develop enough hatredto make men kill each other. Armies and navies would go to the scrap heap with thesectionalism and the nationalism which now make them necessary.
Government would be restricted to the barestminimum necessary for the restraint of stupid and vicious individuals, and for theconduct of community enterprises which cannot be more effectively carried on by individualinitiative or voluntary cooperation.
In such a society the necessity for hospitalsand jails would be very considerably reduced. In a state of society such as we nowenjoy both of these institutions have to be larger than the normal state of mankindrequires.
Just as we shall always have super-normal individuals,we shall always have sub-normal individuals. It is necessary to accept this factand to accept the consequences which flow from it. But it is not necessary to assumethat the number of sub-normal and anti-social individuals must be as great as thatwith which society has to struggle today.
Today the erection of insane asylums of one kindor another is one of the principal activities of society. Our insane population seemsto multiply itself at a terrific rate. There is no real necessity for all these institutions.They are the inevitable consequence of the resolute refusal of society to apply toall the important questions of life even a modicum of uncommon sense.
It is today the folkway of society, a folkwayencouraged by all the churches, not to control the instinct of reproduction. Menand women are not only encouraged to get married and rear large families, regardlessof their own fitness for fatherhood and motherhood and their own ability to reartheir children properly, but they are forbidden by Federal, State, and Municipallaw to acquire information about methods of controlling and restricting birth. Itis difficult to picture how much crime, disease, and insanity this one unintelligentcustom injects into society. Not only does it encourage a prolific multiplicationof undesirables through birth; it fills hospitals and asylums with the victims ofabortions; it fills jails with those who violate laws having to do with "illegal"operations and appliances and teachings.
With one hand society manufactures the necessityfor these institutions; with the other it devotes itself to building them.
No wonder laws, officials, and public institutionsmultiply endlessly.
If society would acquire the habit of listeningvery carefully to the studied conclusions of its intellectual leaders about the innumerableprohibitions which it now inflicts upon itself, it would cease manufacturing so manyidiots and criminals, and would find that the true sub-normals would shrink to sucha small percentage of the total population that provision for their care would ceaseto be an increasing social burden and an increasing social problem.
In such a society the church would become ananachronism. With the masses of men following the pattern of living set for themby the most intelligent of their fellows, the hope of heaven and the fear of hellwould not be necessary in order to make society function cooperatively. The wasteof precious materials and of more precious human effort in dotting the landscapewith churches--most of them ugly as sin--would be ended. The colossal amount of humanenergy now put into maintaining them--the energy which is organized in committees,boards, and conventions--would be released for more intelligent purposes, and thehundreds of thousands of preachers drooling superstitious rubbish about the virginbirth, the resurrection, the life everlasting, would be forced to engage in moreuseful and edifying occupations.
Churches, preachers, and religions have merelyan ethnological interest for intelligent people. If the masses of mankind were tofollow their more intelligent fellows in so regarding them, the gain to social healthwould be incalculable.
In such a society the factory, and all that thefactory implies--mass-production, mass-distribution, and mass-consumption--wouldbe restricted to those products which intelligent men, by the example which theywould set in their buying, would determine as desirable for the material well-beingand comfort of man.
Man would produce in order that he might livecomfortably; he would not live in order that he might produce.
Finally, in such a society, art would at lastcome into its own.
Science, which has been subverted into a mereaccessory to factory-production, would begin to devote itself to the problem of howman might live more beautifully and how he might produce more beautiful things.
In such an atmosphere, art would not be an interloper.It would not be a mere excrescence upon a civilization devoted to production. Itwould become the real objective of existence; the necessary protest of every individualagainst the mundane and ordinary necessities which nature imposes upon man if heis to live.
In such a society all men might, in their duedegrees, be artists. Every individual man would be alternately artist and audience:artist to the extent to which he himself produced beautiful things--even though whathe produced might be only the product of his vegetable gardens--and audience to theextent to which be was able to show a discriminating enjoyment of what others produced.For the world to be a tolerable place for a really civilized people, this dualitymust be developed to. a high degree. Great art flourishes only where there is a great,discriminating, intelligent patronage of it. And a beautiful life is only possiblewhere the masses of men imitate their superior fellows in their appreciation of thebeautiful.
In such a society!
Why continue to describe what is for the presentmerely the figment of a dream?
For no such society is as yet within the realmof the probable. Perhaps it is not even in the realm of the possible.
But this is possible--in spite of the fact thatthe quantity-minded types of men will probably always dominate society, at leastin the immediate moment--that individuals who desire to live the superior life shallerect enclaves of their own, enclaves in which they and their families and friendsmay live without dependence upon the patronage of the quantity-minded and in whichthey may enjoy such comfort and attain to such understanding as the limitations oflife make possible.
Enclaves of this sort--little islands of intelligenceand beauty amidst the chaotic seas of human stupidity and ugliness--would not onlyfree the quality-minded from exploitation by the quantity. minded, but they wouldfurnish to the rest of mankind the pattern for a more comfortable and more intelligentexistence. Mankind being what it is, the tendency of the average man, whether quantity-mindedor just herd-minded, to imitate the ways of life of superior persons would be irresistible.
Enclaves of this sort, whenever they became numerousenough, would begin to lessen the ugliness of this civilization.
Social changes find their genesis in three forces:(1) the forces set in motion by great natural convulsions--changes in climate suchas those caused by the movement of the glacial ices--and which are independent ofman; (2) the forces set in motion by the efforts of ambitious individuals to satetheir appetites for pelf or power--the forces set in motion by an Alexander, a Caesar,a Napoleon, and to come up to date, by the forces set in motion by the activitiesof a John D. Rockefeller, an Andrew Carnegie, a J. Pierpont Morgan; (3) the launchingof new ideas, as for instance, the forces set in motion among men by the idea thatthe world is round; by the idea of immortality; by the idea of equality; by the ideaof democracy.
Nature's convulsions may be dismissed from considerationbecause they are beyond the control of man. Man cannot produce an ice-age--yet; hecan only adapt himself to those produced by nature.
It is the operation of the second of these forcesthat explains most of our social, economic, and political history. Quantity-mindedmen, in their struggles to sate their ambitions, have been able to impose their wishesupon mankind because of their domination of the herd-minded masses and the dependenceupon them of the quality-minded individuals. An Alexander the Great could remakeGreece and the regions which he conquered as he wished because he dominated the Macedonianand Greek masses and the Aristotles of his time were so dependent upon him that theycould do little on their own initiative. So it is today: the quantity-minded businessmen who direct the General Electric Company remake America as they wish because theydominate the American masses and because quality-minded geniuses like Steinmetz-anidealist, socialist, and humanitarian-are so dependent upon them that the idealistsaid them in actually hindering society from adopting the reforms in which the idealistsbelieve.
Let the quailty-minded individuals free themselves from this dependenceupon the quantity-minded and the civilization of the future will be built upon thebasis of intelligent ideas of what changes are desirable in society and how it ismost desirable to bring the changes about.
GO TO CHAPTER X