The Individual and Society
or Psychology and Sociology

Social Solidarity and Community[1]

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WE find a certain difficulty in discussing such a topic as solidarity, arising from the generality of the term. Considered as a sociological concept, solidarity is an affair of the mutual relations of a more permanent sort, subsisting in a group of individuals; as a psychological concept, it connotes the significance of these relations as understood by the individuals themselves, or at least as reflected into their minds more or less consciously. Both of these aspects of solidarity will concern us; and this con-

(34) -sideration leads us to recognize a certain distinction covered by the terms "solidarity" and "community." The term solidarity has sprung up in studies of the more objective or sociological sort, and it is generally confined to such discussions; it has little currency in psychology. On the other hand, the term " community " is used in psychology and logic for the commonness or coincidence, for different individuals, of what is in the mind of more than one of them. We speak of community of interests, community or common force of knowledge[2] or opinion, the community or coincidence of feeling in a group. I shall adopt this usage, confining the term solidarity more strictly to the objective or external manifestations of the relations subsisting in a group or society, and employing the term community for the sense of

(25) this mutuality and commonness of knowledge and action, in the minds of the individuals concerned.

With so much explanation of the terms to be employed, we may at once pass on to the consideration of solidarity and the community which is in each instance correlative to it.


A great body of studies in psychology and sociology has shown that there is a, progressive development in actual social association and organization, as advance is made in the scale of animal life. This development has proceeded parri passu with the evolution of mind. We find, indeed, three sorts of groups, related generically to one another, but so distinct from one another that we have to consider them as relatively distinguishable in their type. I shall name them, first, for convenience of designation, and

(26) then proceed to characterize them with reference to the natural bonds of solidarity which they respectively show.

These modes of "social" or collective life are: (1) the instinctive or gregarious; (2) the spontaneous or plastic; and (3) the reflective or social proper.

1. THE INSTINCTIVE OR GREGARIOUS GROUP. The characters of this sort of group life are quite clearly expressed by the terms "instinctive" and "gregarious." The former term suggests its biological character, the latter its social character. In saying there is a form of association that is instinctive, we mean to suggest what is characteristic of instinct as such; this may be explained under certain headings as follows.

(a.) In the first place the endowment involved in this sort of association is, like instinct, physically inherited by individual animals. The tendency to live together and to pursue certain habits of life in common is in fact native. The social

(37) instincts are so correlated, as between individuals, that one without the other, or others, is incomplete and ineffective. The family instincts of animals are examples of this; and the maternal, sexual, racial instinctive tendencies in man.

An important corollary is seen in the fact that such habits of life do not have to be acquired. For such activities no training is necessary, no learning from experience. This means that, in such apparently co-operative actions, psychological factors are not primarily or largely involved.

(b.) Again we find that, being thus stereotyped by heredity, such modes of action are fixed and unprogressive; they admit of very little modification and development. When the requisite environmental conditions are present, their working is effective and sufficient; but when the conditions change, and any considerable accommodation or readjustment is called for, the animals so en-

(38) -dowed are more or less helpless. They are not able to substitute intelligent action for instinctive reaction.

(c.) Such modes of action, being in the main physically inherited, are in their origin the product of biological laws. They have been reduced in the process of evolution to the condition of nervous functions; they have become part of the creature's physiological endowment. They illustrate racial habit and selection.[3]

We may say, then, that such instinctive actions, however psychological their results may appear to be, are in their modus operandi biological reactions. They can be explained only on the biological principles of selection and inheritance.

(39) They are more or less automatic in their performance, and they are subject to the laws of physical heredity. And it is evident that such modes of action, while gregarious in external appearance and result, as involving two or more individuals in a joint action, are not in any true sense social. They appear to show external solidarity, but this does not require any degree of psychic community.

I may cite an instance that falls under my notice as I write. A family of swans on Lake Geneva swim across the lake always in a certain order: one of the parents goes first, the little ones follow next, and the other old one brings up the rear. This is evidently instinctive. The order in which they go is useful for the protection of the young, which are defended by the parents both before and behind. The whole family is involved; the action is not learned from experience; it is probably not capable of much change

(40) or improvement. So considered,[4] it is an affair of selected adaptation. The requisite connections are established in the nervous structure of the creatures and the function lacks special psychological features. Nature shows a wide range of instances similar to this.

If we apply the term solidarity to this mode of association we should characterize it as "biological," in distinction from other forms. It is innate, unintelligent, unprogressive, but deep-seated and very uniform in its action.

2. THE SPONTANEOUS OR PLASTIC GROUP. Comparative psychologists find among the animals another form of association also; a group which does not present the features just pointed out as characteristic of that which is purely or largely biological. Animal life is full of collective actions which are due to experience, habits of common or joint

(41) behavior which are not inherited, but learned. It is in connection with the theory of such actions that the extreme value, in the economy of the animal's conduct, of the impulses of play, imitation, rivalry, etc., is to be recognized. By the exercise of such gregarious or quasi-social impulses as these, the young are trained in the habits of life of their kind.

But the operation of learning or "profiting by experience" by means of such impulses, involves psychic processes; it proceeds by "trial and error," persistent imitation, gradual selection of happy hits in the direction of better accommodation and adjustment. In this they stand out in striking contrast to the instinctive acts already described. Their points of distinction are in the main the following.

(a.) These acquired modes of collective action illustrate social transmission rather than physical heredity. The great body of the animals' collective activities

(42) are re-established in each generation, being transmitted from old to young by processes of imitative absorption. There is, indeed, in the actions handed down in this way, a real continuity from generation to generation, a " social heredity," as it has been called, as effective and compelling as physical heredity. But it is maintained by actual learning, on the part of countless individuals, who are in this sense, and must be, sufficiently "plastic" to absorb the lessons of the family and group tradition. Each must be plastic in the presence of the group life and its agencies.

Now it is evident that such learning, with the resulting forming or molding effect upon individuals, presents a sharp contrast to the sort of activity described above as instinctive and biological. In order to be plastic, the individual must be relatively free from the compulsion of inherited instinct. The modification of function and structure involved in effec-

(43) -tive learning requires the relative decay of fixed reactions; greater relative plasticity of nerve and muscle takes its place.

(b.) So far as the individual is concerned, this sort of plastic activity, with the resulting association of individuals together, allows the essential growth or progress of the individual, and in fact issues in it. The individual grows into the tradition of the group, just as in other cases by instinctive acts the individual shows himself already possessed of the hereditary traits of the race. But from the point of view of the group, this plastic learning is an agency of conformity, conservation, stability, and solidarity. The individual does not go by this method beyond what the group life has already acquired; his learning is limited to tradition. All the individuals of the group learn the same things; and what they learn is the body of useful actions already established in the collective life of the group.


(c.) The laws of this mode of collective action are, accordingly, psychological, not merely biological. There is a give and take directly from mind to mind: the copying of a model, the contagion of feeling, the joint satisfaction arising from united activity. Other individuals enter directly into the psychological and social situation, in the mind of each; and these others furnish the essential stimulation. Each responds to each through their mental part.

We have here, then, a mode of psychological solidarity, different in its origin and nature from the biological solidarity of instinct. Its processes are psychological: processes of imitation, suggestion, contagion, spontaneous union in common experience and action. It is only by the recognition of these psychological processes that this mode of solidarity can be properly understood. There is here a mode of actual community of feeling and end accompanying the external solidarity.


3.THE REFLECTIVE OR SOCIAL GROUP PROPER. When we come to consider the higher forms of social life, armed with this account of the instinctive and spontaneous forms, we become aware that still other genetic motives and factors come into play. It has been conclusively shown by various writers that there is a difference between cases, on the one hand, in which the individual is simply carried away by a social current — in which, that is, he is plastic in the hands of the group, as just described —and cases, on the other hand, in which he intentionally and voluntarily co-operates with others in the pursuit of intelligent ends.[5] In the former there is an emotional response to a social suggestion; in the latter an intelligent judgment made with a view to consequences to be

(46) attained. The latter mode of co-operation constitutes a group that may properly be called "social."

In it we detect, in turn, certain characters which are absent from both the forms of solidarity already described.

(a.) These intelligent acts of cooperation cannot be considered as due to either physical or social heredity: they are not embodied in native physical endowment, nor included in social tradition. They are social novelties, new modes of thought and action, involving a greater or lesser degree of individual deliberation and choice. As such they come into conflict in many instances with activities of the hereditary and plastic types. All social reform, for example, is accomplished by individuals who think and act outside the established conventions and traditions; it represents a protest on the part of individuals, from the point of view of personal intelligence and moral sentiment, against the conventions which

(47) have been established by earlier social intercourse, and which are socially transmitted. The reformer must convince others in order to convert them; he must criticize the old as irrational in order to establish the more rational, the new. All this depends upon the successful appeal to the intelligence and sentiment — moral, aesthetic, etc. — of individuals, which leads them to rebel against the authority of society and the rule of plastic suggestion. The action of the crowd is often disorganizing and at best unproductive; the action of the reflective group, such as the committee, the legislature, the administrative bureau, is progressive and organizing.

(b.) From the point of view of the group, therefore, solidarity of intelligence, of conviction, of higher sentiment, now takes the place of the solidarity of mere instinct or blind feeling. This is the form of organization that is truly to be called "social." It characterizes the hu-

(48) man society in opposition to the animal company and the human crowd, for only in such a group, a society, is there an internal organization as such. The gregarious instincts do not issue in social organization; each individual, on the contrary, acts as his nervous structure directly compels him to act. Further, there is no social organization in the plastic crowd, hypnotized by a demagogue or carried away by the suggestion of a social fellow. The group can be organized only through processes of a psychological sort, through which the individual becomes aware of his place and function in a greater or lesser social whole, and wills to maintain it by the exercise of his judgment.

(c.) I have elsewhere shown in detail[6] that the growth of the individual's sense of personality or of the personal "self" proceeds by the organization of the

(49) psychological materials of social life. As individuals grow more competent personally, they also become more intimately organized socially. The growth of the individual "ego" involves the recognition of the social "alter," and establishes a conscious relation between them. The resulting solidarity is that of conscious intention and voluntary co-operation.

This view is now very widely accepted.[7] It unifies the individual and society, and establishes solidarity on the higher plane of common intelligence and joint volition.

(d.) We may say, therefore, of this social and reflective mode of collective life, that it is not biologically determined, nor is it determined by the general psychological movement of feeling and impulse; but that it is determined by the specific psychological processes of intelligence. It requires the conscious and

(50) voluntary co-operation of individuals in a social situation.


Coming now to consider these three modes of collective life comparatively, we find it possible to read them from the point of view of genetic continuity or progression: the instinctive passes into the plastic and this in turn yields in the course of evolution to the reflective or social proper. In so far as these forms of life and conduct require chemical and physical processes, these latter should be recognized as conditions essential to the movement; but such conditions do not of themselves yield any mode of group solidarity, nor do they of themselves explain any mode that actually exists.[8]


This genetic movement may be illustrated by the following diagram, in which the order and stages of actual group life are exhibited to the eye.

The expanding cone shows the widening of the factors concerned in the whole movement or progression: the instinctive or biological mode In, passes into the plastic or psychological, Pl, and this in

Illustration, expanding cone of factors

(52) turn is succeeded by the reflective or social proper, So.

In human society all these motives to solidarity exist together. We never leave our bodies behind, with their instinctive tendencies, nor do we ever free ourselves from the compulsion of direct emotion and impulse, which tend to make us on occasion the plastic instruments of social suggestion. But still that which differentiates human society is the presence of reflective sociality.


In view of these truths, fully established, as I believe, in biology and psychology, certain more general points of interpretation may be suggested.

l. It will at once be seen that no strictly biological interpretation can exhaust all the modes of collective life, with their accompanying forms of solidarity. The biological form is one of physical

(53) heredity; it shows the regularity and compulsion of instinct. How can we account, on such principles, for the social transmission and the personal caprice of the plastic activities of a group? And how far remote from such explanation do the forms appear which show intelligent co-operation and refined sentiment! If one use the biological figure at all, one should restrict its application to those facts of the social life in which instinct operates with least complication from psychological functions, and in which there is present no interference due to intelligent restraint and choice. Such, for example, are the quasi-social exhibitions of the sexual instinct, and the rivalries of family and clan in which the family and racial impulses of kinship are uncontrolled.

But even in these cases of the play of brute biological forces, the influence of convention and social habit, as well as that of intelligent self-control, is seldom

(54) quite lacking. When such modifying influences, psychological and moral, entirely fail, we consider the individual a victim of his heredity; and instead of taking the purity of his biological equipment as the criterion of social sanity, our practical judgment is the reverse. In practice we scout the biological interpretation by taking its best exponent for a dangerous person; we isolate him in an institution where the anti-social are confined to keep them from doing injury to society.

2. The same remark may be made, in effect, of the attempt to interpret the social group entirely in terms of social tradition, taken with its correlative mode of spontaneous and plastic co-operation. The crowd, following a leader — whether this leader be society itself or a temporary chieftain — is the typical situation to such theorists; to them it illustrates the social group at its purest. Imitation and compulsory suggestive, or

(55) compulsion per se, are its keynotes. These words give the answer to the question of M. Tarde, qu'est qu'une societé ?

Of course we must admit that there is in actual life much solidarity of this type imitative, suggestive, in actual result compulsory. As soon as the bonds of instinct were loosed in racial evolution, co-operation became more varied in its modes, and new forms of group life arose. Suggestion took the place of instinct, and social succeeded to physical heredity.

But here again we must accept the limitations which the due recognition of the facts imposes. The reign of suggestion and contagion, and with it the rule of tradition, with its compulsion, do not result in those forms of organization which show progress. Individual advancement in the more complicated relations of life, and the formation of institutions of social utility, both require

(56) inventive thought on the part of single men and the adoption of this thought on the part of society. It is from the individual that the inventive ideas come; and these ideas cause discussion and opposition as well as imitative absorption and plastic propagation. It is only after society has generalized the individual's thoughts in a form acceptable to the social body, that these can be embodied in institutions of public value. Only thus is matter added to the social store.[9]

This process requires, it is evident, competent individual reflection and discriminating judgment; it cannot be reduced to mere emotional reaction, nor to the constraint of enforced tradition.

3.The treatment of this highest mode of solidarity falls, accordingly, to both sociology and social psychology. To social psychology it presents the experience of individual reflection and self-consciousness, implicating a set of social

(57) fellows or socii in a social situation — in relationships of actual life. From this flow the common processes which result in the establishment of institutions having the support of the fellow-members of the group. For sociology this gives an objective social situation: the related group becomes matter of scientific investigation. For both these sciences the subject-matter is sui generis; for psychology, it is an experience sui generis; for sociology, it is a mode of organization sui generis. Sociology can properly deal with it only by detailed and exhaustive investigation of the forms it actually shows.

4.In all the discussions of solidarity, therefore, the first requirement is that of determining, in the particular case, which of these typical modes of collective life we have before us. Religion, for example, goes through all three of these genetic stages; so also does government; so also does morality. It is vain to discuss any one of these great topic', of human inter-

(58) -est from the point of view of the analysis of one stage only. Our investigation must be longitudinal, genetic. Only thus can we arrive at a real understanding of the successive manifestations of the motive under investigation, and see the racial importance of the institutions in which it has from time to time embodied itself.


A good illustration of these three forms of solidarity is to be found in the results of recent studies in criminology — a sphere in which anti-sociality, or the lack of solidarity, is the topic under investigation. It has been made out that there are three great classes of criminals: the "criminal born," the "occasional criminal," and the professional or "deliberate criminal." The first of these is a criminal by heredity; his acts are instinctive, compelling, and irresponsible so far as they are strictly of this type. He should be

(59) looked upon as one having a chronic and incurable disease.

The second class, that of the "occasional criminal," contains individuals who are creatures of suggestion, imitation, and passion. It is the occasion, the opportunity, the combination of circumstances that excites the passion of such a man and leads him into crime. He should have the advantage of sound training and of constant social support in a well-chosen environment. His treatment should be quite different from that accorded to the born criminal.

In the third class we find the "professional criminal," the deliberate plotter against the social order. Properly speaking, this is the real criminal, the social criminal. His crime is reflective and voluntary; he adopts means to accomplish his destructive ends. He knows himself to be criminal, and can place the true value upon his acts in the entire social situation in which his crimes are

(60) committed. He is the true enemy of society. He should be pursued by all the agencies of suppression that society has at its command— suppression at least from the theater in which he can pursue his crimes.

These types of criminality are what they are from the lack in each respectively of the appropriate form of solidarity, which becomes all the more conspicuous by its absence.

How inadequate the sociology that does not resort to the psychological differences to distinguish these types in individual cases, and how mistaken the practical penology that proceeds without observing them! There is no general or purely sociological definition of crime that will serve as basis for practical punishment or for social reform. The results of different cases may be the same: the motives which serve as cause may be radically different. In any given case, the criminal act may he a mere biological

(61) reaction, an outburst of passion, or a deliberate decision of will.

In the next paragraph we will trace these psychological differences further, on the side of the community of thought and feeling that accompanies social solidarity.


From the foregoing considerations it is plain that the course of development in social or collective life has proceeded from the solidarity of biological organization and instinct to the community of mental and intelligent, or strictly social, modes of thought and action. The fixed and unchanging sorts of association seen in the animal's hereditary tendencies yield to the spontaneous and changing collective life of suggestion and imitation, seen in the plastic and emotional crowd. But it is not till this in turn is succeeded by the development in individuals of the

(62) mental functions which embody and advance self-consciousness, with a certain measure of reflection, deliberation, and conscious choice, that those more permanent modes of grouping are secured which can be called societies. This is characteristic of human life alone. The animal companies, even the highest, are a combination of instinct and mere suggestion; they do not have forms of organization suited to the conditions of life, devised and carried forward by the members of the group. On the contrary, they show certain typical forms which, when the circumstances change, go to the wall.

The truly social, however, is seen in the movement of intelligent co-operation, in which planning, deliberation, discussion, united action for defense and offense, mutual aid, and so forth, are more or less in evidence. It goes forward under its own modes of organization, alike in the individual's knowledge and feeling, and in the actual associations or insti-

(63) -tutions which it produces in the group as such.

Leaving over for the present the consideration of the latter — the institutions with which sociology is concerned — let us consider a little the higher forms of community arising in the thought and feeling of the individual. These take on certain great forms in which the movements of knowledge, feeling, and action have special names in our daily life. The community of action is what we find in the individuals' "morality," that of knowledge in "public opinion" and reasonable belief founded on common judgment and science, and that of sentiment in "religion" and "art." All these are forms which organized social life takes on in the thought and mind of the individuals of the social group.

In the development of these great forces of individual and social life, common knowledge, common morality, common religion and art, them are the same

(64) psychological processes at work. The two movements in the individual's mind are those known popularly as judgment and imagination. By judgment the details of new knowledge, however acquired, are generalized and formulated in concepts or laws which are available for all and to which the belief and opinion of all are held. The truths of science, morals, religion —all truth, in fact —is rendered in statements or judgments of general character, and recorded for the information and discipline of the generations as they pass. The information accruing to science is a mass of stored up data, accepted by all the individuals, whether in individual or public capacity. Judgment is a conserving and generalizing process.

But over against the use of judgment to recognize and formulate truth, the individual uses his imagination to anticipate and invent it: to suggest modifications of opinion and to explore the domain

(65) of the unknown. The imagination is the engine of anticipation, the tool of experimentation. In the scientific laboratory and in the atelier of art, the imagination is always at work projecting its combinations upon the screen of fact, and embodying the schematic forms of what is not yet accepted as true, but simply proposed as likely, beautiful, or valuable. The whole realm of ideals is open to the imagination, which peoples it with the model results of thought, of action, and of sensibility. The perfect self dwells there; we speak of the order of moral values, as well as that of completed truth, and that of the ideals of beauty. All this exhibits individual invention, personal construction further toward the completeness of the ideal than actual knowledge ever justifies. But its schematic and semblant renderings are tested, altered, and finally confirmed or rejected. Much is constantly added to the store of formulated and accepted knowledge,

(66) available for common judgment and action, by this exercise of the imagination. It is through these psychological processes that the great communities or mental commonnesses arise — common thought, common morals, common religion. We will now look at the former more closely, reserving the consideration of invention for a later chapter.

Admitting the truth of what we saw above as to the social mode of learning by the child and his indebtedness to his fellows for the material of his self-consciousness, we now see by what processes this material is taken up and assimilated in judgments and imaginative creations of sentiment. The social custom, belief, and practise are absorbed by the individual through his acceptance of the instruction and discipline of his group; thus the mass of tradition and the accumulated knowledge of his ancestors becomes his social heritage; and he renders it main in turn by his judg-

(67) -ment and imagination. He cannot rebel, nor refuse to live the common life of knowledge and practise, for his own mental processes confirm and enforce its sanctions.

The truths and norms which are of social derivation and social value are thus reflected into the individual. He has no strictly individual standards; such standards are impossible. He has common knowledge, not private. It is of the nature of his individual judgment to render the results as if they were his own discoveries; but they are for the most part not his, but society's.

Into the details of these results of recent research in genetic logic and genetic ethics[10] I cannot now enter. But it will appear from even such a brief sketch as this that we have in the individual a sort of epitome or recapitulation of

(68) racial history. The rules of thought are the generalizations found useful for the life and intercourse of the race. In them the judgments of countless generations are condensed and formulated. And the individual simply utilizes them as his natural and constitutional means of dealing with nature and with man. He must think in the main as the race has thought, for both he and the principles of thought found in his mind are survivals of the struggle in which both persons and beliefs have been selected for their fitness to cope with the world of things and circumstance.

In this account, however, the other great function, the imagination, must not be overlooked, although it has not yet come into its proper place in genetic discussions, nor have its results had due recognition in theories of social life. The common strain of knowledge is largely exhausted when we take account of the individual's indebtedness to the estab-

(69) -lished judgments of his race and group. Thus we account for the structure of his own thought; but his feeling and action do not seem to be subject to the same limitations. In these departments of his life the imagination seems to play a larger role, and to produce results that are not in the same degree subject to revision and reduction to what is racial, customary, and habitual.

To show this we may introduce a form of statement that will serve to show the difference; it introduces a new notion, that of "control." We find that the individual's thought or judgment is "controlled" by the facts he is dealing with, on the one hand, and by the customs, habits, social and disciplinary conventions, and so forth, under which he does his thinking. He cannot use his judgment fruitfully without recognizing these elements of control. He must think in lines that are reasonable and conformable to established rules of logical procedure;

(70) this is required by the laws of thought which are of social origin and utility.

Further, in respect to the actual facts, his imaginations are controlled; he may imagine what he will in his dreams and in his play, but if he would reach conclusions of safe and common acceptance, and of social utility, he must suffer the control of facts upon his beliefs. Only those projections of his imagination, those schemes or suppositions of his speculation, which stand the experimental tests, are left over for permanent acceptance.

In the realm of action or morals, and of sentiment, religious and aesthetic, however, the imagination seems to have greater autonomy. It is true that here too the individual conforms in the main to the established, to the conventional, by subjecting his imagination to the rules of current criticism and established form. But with it all he seems to have in himself certain more final and ultimate standards

(71) in favor of which he may rebel against the conventional and customary. He seems to lose some of his fear of facts, and to regain a certain respect for what he calls "ideals." When he has taken in all the lessons of the actual situation, the knowledge of what is, and has discovered the decisions of the social group, he still does not find himself content. He feels that things ought to be different, that there is a realm of "ought" opposed to that which "is"; standards arise in him which seem to be born in his own inner citadel of selfhood, and not to be subject to the control of mere opinion or of actual fact. He asserts his ideal self over against the actual social self, and says once for all: "This is what I will strive to realize."

In this movement we come upon the operation of a mode of organization of the affective factors of the mental life — feelings and interests —in relative independence of the more intellectual pro-

(72) -cesses of judgment and thought.

But it still does not escape the statement that it is also subject to final social control. The individual generalizes his sentiments and ejects them as being of equal value for others also. He expects others to recognize and reverence the ideal he sets up, although they may not accept the individual case which he gives to illustrate it. We all accept in common the ideals of veracity, charity, prudence, integrity; our differences begin when we seek the appropriate single case. We idealize, it is true, but we expect to carry the idealization of others along with us.

Moreover, the hard processes of social control do actually operate, although often outside the individual's recognition. He may not submit, that is willingly, to the decree of fashion or to the current formulations of art and religion; but society is the final resort in deciding the question as to whether or not he shall

(73) finally be considered right. If he can carry society with him by force of the power or beauty of his creations and the force of his protestations, then he wins out; but it is, after all, only with the consent of the social group. On the other hand, however imposing and fine a man's imaginations may be to him, or to the few, still without the visé, the confirmation and acceptance, of the social group, they disappear with the man who created them.

To certain of these points we are to return below; they are social aspects of the fact of invention. Here it is our purpose merely to point out the two great modes of socialization, going on in connection with the functions of the individual. One of them is judgment, or thought, by which the individual takes in, ratifies, and reinterprets anew the established judgments, the science and usage of his race. This extends to the customs and habits in which the practical life of the individual is trained. He

(74) thus learns to judge and act according to the judgments and actions of his people. The other is the imagination, the faculty of reading ahead, of anticipating what may be true and valuable, of prospecting in the goldfields of life. This proceeds on the basis of the established; but it goes beyond it, by setting up ideals and calling on the social set to recognize them. It legislates its results; it ejects its matter into the feeling and conduct of others; it cannot make its way single-handed. As my thought must, if true to me, be true for you too, so my feeling and conduct, if good and right to me, must be good and right for you too; and my aesthetic reverence, if satisfied only by this or that ideal of art, cannot be content while you are still unconvinced.

Here —and this is the lesson for our present study — here we are dealing with psychic or mental functions and processes par excellence. Knowledge and feeling bridge the gap between individ-

(75) -uals, and flatly contradict the assumption of individualism. The sociological unit considered as a single person is, for all that is intrinsic in the actual social life, a myth. The unit is the "socius," the individual accepting the common knowledge which is constituted by physical and social heredity, and ratifying by his every valid thought the communities of his kind. His knowledges are the outcome of processes of genetic logic of untold antiquity—survivals of what has been of social utility, and of what has been woven by selection into the mental constitution of the race.

So, too, with the sentiments—the morals, the religion, the art — of the individual's production and enjoyment. They give the same testimony. So far as they are more than caprice, analogous to the capricious fancy of the day-dream or revery, they are common possessions, founded in social life and true to it. They show [ht sanctions of right and

(76) justice, as these gather momentum with the flow of the social current down the passages of history. And even in the standards — in which the mind asserts its supreme prerogative to be an individual and to cherish its own ideals, single handed if need be, to be a martyr for the sake of the integrity of the value it sets before it — even here it postulates a social following, and if long without it, dies for lack of social support.

We have here, then, an inside view of social solidarity in its higher reaches. Sociology cannot distinguish the social act, the state of fact, the situation, by its mere externals; the key is in the feeling, knowledge, and impulse — the community of all these — found in the representative members of the group.


  1. Parts of this chapter (i-iii) repeat the article on "The Basis of Social Solidarity," a paper read at the Berne Meeting, 1909, of the Institut International de Sociologie, and published in the Annals de l'Institut International de Sociologie, 1910, Vol. XII, and in English in the "American Journal of Sociology," 1910, pp. 817ff.
  2. The common force or "community" of knowledge is treated in detail in the work "Thought and Things," Vol. I, Chap. vii, and Vol. II, Chaps. ii and ix
  3. That is, they have arisen as other instincts have, by natural selection working upon advantageous variations. For theories of the origin of instinct the reader may consult my work, "Development and Evolution," and also the little book already referred to, called "Darwin and the Humanities."
    Important works on the subject which have some reference to the social instincts are Lloyd Morgan's "Habit and Instinct," and K. Groos' "The Play of Animals" and "The Play of Man."
  4. That is, considered as instinctive. I may be mistaken in so considering this particular case.
  5. This distinction is recognized by many writers; I may cite the following philosophical and psychological works as representative: Mackensie, "Social Philosophy"; Alexander, "Moral Order and Progress"; Baldwin, "Social and Ethical Interpretations. "
  6. "Social and Ethical Interpretations." See also the brief account given above, pp. 24ff.
  7. See, for example, the very learned and authoritative work in Spanish by Posada, "Introduction to Sociology," Vol. I, of "Principles of Sociology."
  8. If one cares to call chemical synthesis, for example, a case of solidarity, he does so only by eviscerating the term of all its social connotation. In that sense the planetary system is a "group," for it has the solidarity of gravitation! But what light do such statements shed on social life?
  9. See Chap. v, below.
  10. See, however, the work "Thought and Things," vol. II, and the articles entitled "La Logique de l'Action," in the "Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale," July -- November, 1910.

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