The Individual and Society
or Psychology and Sociology

Social Competition and Individualism

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IN our inquiry so far we have dwelt upon the foundation of social solidarity and community; they rest in the essential movement of the growth of the sense of personality. The individual cannot become a full adult and a capable person in any sense without becoming also by the same movement social and solid with his fellows. It then remains to ask: What is still true in the theory of individualism? Is it not based on the facts of struggle, competition, rivalry? And are not these processes which actually run through the social life of man? Is there not really a self-seeking and plotting individual whose first interest

(78) is to serve himself, and who is largely anti-social in his habits and beliefs? Here again, as in the case of the discussion of solidarity, we go first of all to biology, where the principle of "struggle for existence" is recognized as one of the foundation stones of the theory of evolution. Struggle for existence is real enough in the animal world. It has been pointed out, indeed it was intimated by Darwin himself, that this struggle takes on several positive forms.[1] There is the struggle of animals to secure their food, or to satisfy other primitive appetites; there is again the struggle the animal must make against climate, floods, adverse conditions of life generally; and yet again there is the struggle against his natural enemies, of which there is always a sufficient number—other animals that prey upon him, plunder him, come into some sort of inimical relation

(79) to him. Struggle with his own kind, struggle with other kinds, struggle with nature. These are the difficulties by which the animal is beset and which he must be prepared to meet. It represents truly enough individualism at its purest: the individual must struggle to exist.

But even in the animal world we find the beginnings of a departure from this pure individualism in the direction of natural collectivism. The animals, as they advance in the scale of life, come more and more into gregarious modes and habits of living. Their instincts take on in family life forms of collective utility which modify one or other of the forms of struggle for existence.

First, there is evidently a lessened intensity of struggle between members of the same species, individuals of the same kind. The family instincts arise —paternal, maternal, conjugal, filial, fraternal — when the family, the first case of col-

(80) -lective interest and habit, is established. The family, rather than the individual, becomes the unit of struggle, since the common instincts and habits preserve the individual only by preserving the family. The group as a whole, a unit formed of individuals, succeeds the individual as such. This is especially true of man, with whom the family life is not merely instinctive, as with the animals, but becomes an interest of conscious value and utility, intentionally guarded and preserved.

With primitive man there comes also a weakening of the force of the struggle against enemies in general; not indeed a lessened need for protection, but a new way of meeting the need, the way of cooperation. The individual may be powerless and soon become the victim of his enemies, when a little co-operation, a little union for common defense, would turn defeat into victory. So man forms alliances, enters into compacts, makes up

(81) groups, selects leaders, arranges devices for division of parts and labor —all of which secures the advantages of collective action and counsel, replacing the single-handed struggle of the individual. Here again the unit of struggle is not the individual, but the larger or smaller group for whose advantage the result is secured.

As in the case mentioned above, the means, the interest, and the end of the struggle are now in some degree collective.

The same is true more emphatically of the third type of struggle — that against nature. How the animals gain by flocking together and presenting a solid front to the vicissitudes of nature, climate, etc.! The buffaloes of the western plains stand close together when caught in a violent and desolating storm. Scattered, all would perish; united, all escape but the few most exposed. How in nature the adults protect, the young, the married

(82) male his mate, the faithful dog his master! All this shows the loosing of the bonds of individualism and the growth of collective interests; not indeed for any theoretical reason, least of all for any reason of personal self-sacrifice and concession to a softened view of nature, but simply and purely because nature has found it to be advantageous to the species. The group becomes the unit, instead of the individual, because it is of profit to the species and the race, that this form of defense and this weapon of offense should succeed the earlier and less effective. A departure from individualism is secured, even in biology, by the operation of the principles of selection and survival.

This is, of course, only to read in the obverse sense, what we have found true of solidarity, in the preceding chapter: growing solidarity results in a cessation or diminution of individualism.


The new point of view now secured is this: there is a shifting, so to speak, of the point of incidence of the struggle. It is no less real, but it is no longer individual: it is now a struggle between groups, not one between individuals. This results in two very important modifications of the conception of individualism.

First, the individual must be fit to unite in the collective life in order that through him it may be saved; but it is also through its salvation that he is saved.

Suppose, for example, a rivalry between two tribes of North American Indians, a real case in the history of North America. Certain tribes are more social, more collective in their habit, more willing to submit to rule and guidance by their chiefs. Such a tribe succeeds in the struggle with rival tribes which have a more individualistic habit. The scattered personal efforts of the less social tribe do not count against the more

(84) organized methods of the other. The result is the survival, in the first instance, of the more collective tribe; but with it goes the survival also of the more tolerant and social individual.

Nature has thus transferred the struggle to the relation between groups. Group selection succeeds individual selection. By the survival of a group in this competition, a type of individual is preserved and encouraged which is less individualistic and more social.

It is necessary to conclude, even at this point of our study, that it is quite impossible to apply the law of biological struggle for existence to the relations of individuals in human society, except in some modified and socialized form. The law applies directly only to the struggle of group with group, of community with community, of civilization with civilization. War still exists between states; but. "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is not the

(85) method of individual competition in organized society.

This principle once admitted — and it is of the first importance in social theory we find illustrations of it in the higher reaches of social competition and rivalry.

The door is open, second, for the recognition of any sort of individual endowment or habit of social utility which may be seized upon in the struggle of group with group. And we are prepared now, in view of this truth, to give a further interpretation to the higher modes of solidarity pointed out in the earlier pages — still, however, speaking to the text of individualism.

The general principle which should guide us is this: in every case the effective group is constituted by individuals who show a certain type of character. This character is a tempered individualism; that is, a tendency to competition, rivalry, self-assertion for personal advancement, tempered by the requirements

(86) of the group life as a whole. Over-socialization produces a softened individual and a weakened social life; over-individualism produces a man whose tendencies are destructive of social interests and injurious to the general welfare. It is the balance of these forces, operating in the active situations of life, that establishes the highest society and contributes to the progress of mankind.

Let us see, then, what sorts of individualism remain at work when these principles are recognized and given full value. Here, again, it is the recognition of the facts as we find them, that is exclusively our task.


We find, even in the free development of the higher forms of solidarity mentioned above, and of their psychological counterpart — in morals and in common

(87) scientific and practical interests — certain forms of rivalry and competition which bear some resemblance to the biological struggle for existence.

1. In the first place, there is the struggle for a living — a very real thing. Most men have to earn their daily bread, and work — constant, patient, grinding work — is its price.

But the influence of the motives of socialization and collectivism is very apparent among men, even in the most direct struggle for life. The avenues of employment are themselves so "collectivized "that the individual must be socially prepared for his part; and even the reward of his labor is taken in hand by society.

The preparation is very conventional, and in very large part stereotyped. He is classified as carpenter, butcher, clerk, or telegraph operator, only after an apprenticeship, the conditions of which are socially prescribed. This preparation

(88) is evidently part of the price the individual must pay for his living. His freedom of individual action is in part — an ever-increasing part under present-day conditions —being taken from him in the supposed interest of his class. Even in his most valuable traits, his invention, his industry, his resourcefulness, —in all his originalities, priceless gifts to society — he is being deprived of his individual birthright and made to conform to collectivistic regulations.

The same is true of his rewards—they too are "collectivized," if I may use the term. The wages of toil are decided by a board, inside the secret councils of a trade or labor union: no inferior man can accept less, even though less be still too much; and no superior man more, though more be too little. And upon this collectively determined reward society levies its rates for insurance, benevolence, taxes, etc., countless ways of

(89) reducing what the individual shall finally call his own.

That all this shows the growth of the collectivistic factor is seen as soon as a case presents itself in which a man's individualism leads him into any sort of revolt. The sanctions of collective society come down upon his head. In the matter of earning his bread he must not compete too sharply with his fellows; he must not exercise freely his natural gifts. The most urgent problem of today in the world of labor is that of saving the individual qualities of men, that society may profit by them. By suppressing the free exercise of personality the group suffers a return to mediocrity in all its activities.

It is here, I think, that the sort of mere spontaneous solidarity of suggestion, emotion, and plastic imitation, mentioned above, comes into play without the saving return to intellectual and reasoned individualism. The group becomes a

(90) crowd; the levelling influence of a watchword like "equality" manifests itself; the formulas of imitative custom and convention are taken by all and for all alike. It is a type of collectivism which is in itself but a halfway house to true social organization, having its merits largely in the release it gives from the ruthlessness and brutality of instinct. It is better to follow a bad leader than to follow none; for a good one may succeed the bad. It is better to be a criminal from imitation than from passion or instinct, since the former admits of instruction and reform. But with it all we must maintain that, as compared with what I have called above "reasoned individualism," this is a reversal to a less advanced social type.

In saying, however, that this form of struggle for existence — struggle for work — is tempered by collectivistic motives, in the present condition of the industrial world, I am over-mildly stating the facts.


2. Another sort of competition in social life is what we may call "struggle for place."

The wish, the strenuous pursuit, the feverish desire for place, understood in the widest sense, is a form of personal self-seeking which is one of the familiar and outstanding facts of social life. Romances turn on it, crimes are due to it, lives are wrecked by the various modes of what is generally known as social ambition. It is a peculiar form of self-consciousness — this sense of relative place — which still remains very obscure from the evolution point of view. But it is essentially psychological, and the processes in the individual, by which it gets its force, are fairly plain.

Indeed, the analysis of this powerful motive in some detail will repay us, since it is not dealt with in the general literature of social life, and also because it shows in clear operation the psychological processes already pointed out.


The sense of place is, in its most general form, only the sense of the social situation as each one apprehends it, including his own place in it. It exhibits the movements of the factors of self-consciousness, subjective and ejective, carried to their outcome in actual conditions. What is called "status," political, moral, etc., is the objective side of this consciousness of place.[2] As the individual grows up he not only recognizes the common elements of selfhood but also the differences of individual persons and classes; and the familiar phenomenon of the clash of wills, with the variety of interests for which individuals of different groups stand, is forced in upon him. The child profits by obedience and imitation, but he also gains in force of character by exercise of will. The prizes of social and personal life become his according as his "status" is such or such — high or low,

(93) dominant or servile, influential or insignificant.

He also learns to use his intelligence to further the ends of social place and station. He learns to lie, to plot, to conceal his opinions, to pretend, to resort to bluff and braggadocio, in order to carry off the prize of social recognition; for with this recognition come the perquisites of place. He is made leader, judge, referee, counsellor, chief — whatever place of influence or power the situation in question offers. It is instructive and pathetic to see these motives springing up and taking possession of the child in the early stages of his social education.

Such motives as these show themselves, of course, in forms of personal competition and rivalry. One person uses another to forward his own ends; the social group or institution becomes the theatre of conflicting ambitions and plans for advancement; the whole tissue of the social life is shot through with the cross-currents of

(94) social distinction, class, and place. The aristocrat has been defined as the person whom everybody wants to know and who does not want to know anybody; the social parvenue is the opposite—the man who wants to know everybody and whom nobody wants to know.

About this remarkable phenomena of class play the subtlest motives of social life. The sentiments of esprit de corps, attachment to class, loyalty to party and race, hostility to the remote and unlike, together with the savageries of social jealousy and hatred, the flow of gossip and backbiting, blackmail, perjury, sham of every sort — these horrid serpents of the undercurrents of society are bred in the subsoil of place and status.

In the midst of it all, not to dwell upon the details, we may isolate the motive of personal individualism. It is true that solidarity precedes and conditions it: without "place" there could be no consciousness of it, nor rivalry with regard to

(95) it. The solidarity of a more spontaneous and loosely knit sort is its platform, its theatre. But in it we see the motive of individual preferment pressing forward to its fulfilment. It reveals the social life as a warfare of competing interests, unmodified by the higher modes of community and self-restraint found in morality, religion, and art. Fortunately, we do not have to think of society as thus deprived of its higher solidarity and community; but in these forms of social rivalry we see what it would be without them — a social hell.

It is clear, too, as it appeared from the point of view of solidarity, that the forces at work are psychological. Just as community and solidarity are built up by the processes of personal selfhood, so are also those of rivalry and competition for place. It is the exaggerated self, the ambitious person desirous of influence, glory, prestige, fame— all attributes of "place "— that comes to the front. These

(96) are psychological movements of the most delicate sort. What could take the place, in the criminal or other courts, of the search for motives, for the inner desire or thought of the person on trial? And apart from the direct love of gain, what motive is more general than that of personal preferment, or love of place, with all the display, vanity, notoriety, and social self-exhibition that this connotes?

No sociological theory based on biological struggle for existence, physical or chemical laws of conservation of energy, physiological and neurological principles of impulse, fixed idea, obsession, etc., can for a moment dispense with these requisite psychological distinctions. The sociologists may classify suicides, and enumerate them; so too he may find out that more of them happen in warm'': weather than in cold; but how can he tell in any single case the reason why, or point out the determining cause — the despair of the individual, say, who

(97) has lost his social place? Bank robberies, for example, are mostly just alike from the point of view of the actual events of external observation; but each has its sufficient motive; and who can tell, but from an actual knowledge of the feelings and thoughts of the guilty cashier, the case in which the ambition of the wife, stirred by desire for social place, fired the resolution and nerved the hand of the weak official?

3.Struggle for excellence. Finally let us turn to the legitimate motive of personal development and advancement: the ambition, the rivalry, the competition, in what is natural and sane. It is fortunately strong and lively in most men, and is correlated with the recognition of similar motives in others. The disinterested rivalry of sport is one of its models, that of healthy physical exercises another; these tend to the development of the personal powers without detriment to the welfare of others.


One would like to think that, after all, it is by this sort of competition that the great rewards of life are assigned, that the most excellent and developed gifts win the prizes in the long run, and that the weapons of rivalry of place, with the destruction of opponents, are oftener turned against those who use them. However optimistic this may sound, there are still some grounds for believing that the old time motto, "Honesty is the best policy," represents a balance of chances to him who adopts it, rather than the more individualistic sayings, "Nothing succeeds like success," and "The means justifies the end," or the more brutal "Might makes right." At any rate, we may say that upon this nobler personal rivalry, urged on by motives of advancement, personal and social, and gratified by both social and personal excellence, the life of society depends. It is rival thoughts and inventions, rival plans of reform, rival bills

(99) of legislation, rival actions of heroism, discovery, and exploitation, that bring the increments to civilization and renew the moral forces of mankind. Of this more is to be said below under the heading of Social Progress.


It remains to point out, however, another case of social struggle and rivalry which manifests itself in those higher modes of intelligent and sentimental development in which the reflective and moral forms of solidarity also show themselves. These latter we have considered under the topic "Social Community," and they are again to be mentioned in the chapter on Progress. There grows up, with these higher sentiments, in the individual, a mode of reflective individualism which exploits itself in opposition to the moralized forms of social life. It is seen in the reflective and intentional

(100) use of one's powers for egoistic and antisocial or, at least, for purely personal purposes. We may discuss it briefly under the heading of Egoistic Individualism, noting at the outset that it shows itself in two marked and distinct forms, to be called "practical" and "theoretical" Egoism.

Practical Egoism may be considered as in a sense a struggle of the individual for himself regardless of others or of society. It refuses to temper itself by the demands of collective life or by considerations of social welfare. It takes on the form of a subtle feeling of "I don't care," when considerations of self-control, sacrifice, generosity, equal rights, and duties are suggested. The individual reserves to himself the right to act as if he were not a citizen, not a parent, not a social fellow — as if, that is, he had no status, or as if he might take his place at will as his self-interest, or the pursuit of gratification, prompted or induced him


Of course the most common and evident instance of this in social life is the man detected in some overt anti-social act, the criminal. But most men who have not been detected feel the presence of this motive and yield to it in certain directions in which the law is supplemented by social opinion in maintaining standards of conformity, and in producing moral and sentimental restraint upon personal action and thought.

Not to dwell here upon the more evident instances, seen in the criminal classes, and in those who violate public opinion and custom for personal indulgence in various practical ways, I shall point out certain larger social exhibitions of it which are now becoming prominent in social life, and which produce results of grave import for the welfare of society.

The voluntary limitation of families is a case in point: the intentional restriction of the number of children. This is

(102) a phenomenon which is just now observable in all civilized communities, and seems to be developed with the development of a life in other respects one of increasing reflection, civic responsibility, and aesthetic feeling. The literary and highly educated classes show it more, perhaps, than others.

Apart from the more purely social causes — considerations such as the severity of the struggle for a living, the increased cost of maintenance of a large number, and the enlarged requirements of education and social place for the children, all of which counsel prudence — there enters into the case no doubt the motive of practical hedonism and self-indulgence. No one supposes that it indicates a diminished fertility or an increased self-restraint. It seems to involve an increased counting of the cost, a diminished sense of social obligation, and a direct willingness to shirk the responsibilities of parenthood with its at-

(103) -tendant cares and labors. The father might decide to work harder and exercise more self-denial in his life if the additional child comes; but instead of this he considers the cost beforehand and by practical means avoids the personal burden the enlarged family would entail.

Of course, reflection in these lines is not an unmixed evil. There is no virtue in the cry "race suicide": it is quality and not mere numbers that considerations of eugenics will care for in the future; and the counsel of prudence may often reinforce that of hedonism and self-indulgence. Mere numbers do not help humanity, nor is it desirable that all types of civilization should be preserved — certainly not all types of physical and moral heredity! It is well that the decay of a degenerate race should be hastened by a diminishing birthrate. But nevertheless this does not alter the fact that in the individual the tendency may be — and who can say that in this case or that

(104) it is not? — an indication of a return to the purest individualism and personal hedonism. It may be a sign of degenerating social impulses and of the decay of higher standards of personal morality, rather than one of increased prudence and concern for posterity. From the point of view of the race and of those ends in which biological join with social motives for the extension and advancement of the social whole, it is a tendency which can only be characterized as individualistic and unsocial. From this wider point of view, it is the social body itself, through its expert and established agencies, that should judge which family should be large, and which small, which, indeed, should exist at all and which should not ; it should not be left to the whim, caprice, or pleasure of the individual. Here one sees the important field of the science of eugenics, of which a further word is said below in the chapter on Progress.

Growth in the direction of individual

(105) ism in modern life, practical in character also, shows itself in the development of industrial and commercial competition. It is especially interesting, since it combines the motives already pointed out in a way that attains the aims and ends of individualism by using collectivism as means. The organization of great industrial combinations and of great commercial corporations for the carrying on of business, has, of course, for its end the making of profits. The motive in the individuals concerned is nothing else: the owners must get dividends and the successful exploiters hope to grow rich. This is, then, a decidedly and unmistakably individualistic object. The benefit in view is not, in the first instance, the public welfare nor the welfare of a collective group, but that of the individual; and the methods of organization adopted are those calculated to further the ends of this sort of personal competition.

But these engines of our industrial and

(106) commercial life show remarkable organization; they require united effort and turn on collective struggle. The individual interest of the employees is subordinated to that of the company, which is the instrument of competition. The competitions of individuals within the company or organization are also keen enough — the competition to rise and figure in the control of the concern — but this is limited to the few, the picked men of brains and personal gifts, and they are advanced, not for their good, but for the good of the company. The great majority of the employees are set to tasks of petty and wearisome monotony; they are parts of a whole, cogs in a machine. Their collective work is regulated to the last degree on a collective and nonindividualistic basis. The clerk in a Wall Street house must not speculate for himself; the salesman in the magazine has no time nor means to profit by his knowledge and experience to do a side

(107) business in his own interest. So too the competition of the smaller houses are stifled by the larger, and the "trust" appears, a gigantic organization of the collective forces of the business community devoted to the ends of individualism.

The effect upon the individual is certainly unfortunate. He feels as never before the impulses of self-assertion, competition, and destructive rivalry; but it cannot be in his own interest: he must identify himself with the interests of the great individual, "the company," and of the men who own or control it. The springs of collectivism, the impulses of generosity, humanity, and charity—the live and let—live sentiments of true sort and commerce alike — are stifled, and in their place arises the sterile and hopeless collectivism of an automatic engine of gain.

We see here the carrying out, in the realm of trade, of the tendency I have

(108) noted above in the individual: the tendency to utilize the weapons of collectivism, the larger possibilities of union and cooperation; but to do so from motives and with ends of a private and unsocial character. As the individual uses the friendship of his neighbor to get his signature on a promise to pay, when his own credit is not sufficiently good, so the corporation uses the lives and efforts of the many, under artificial rules of collective action, to further the fortunes of the few.

A similar but more subtle change in the same direction is coming over our modern life, in consequence of the discovery that collectivism of means is possible in the pursuit of individualistic ends. It is seen in those fields of endeavor and in those interests of a more private nature, in which a balance has to be struck between the two factors. In the organization of charities, for example, in the large cities, much has been gained, no doubt, by what is called "constructive

(109) charity." The charity society receives and dispenses the gifts of the charitable individuals. It certainly prevents much misplaced giving and discourages vagrancy; its end and its results collectively considered are good. But its results upon the individual are in many respects bad. The immediate responses of his charitable impulse are prevented; the knowledge of the single needy person is made remote and second hand; the beneficiary is classified as "Case No. 10" and treated with thousands like it. The bowels of mercy are succeeded by the wheels of the typewriter, and the ready smile of human sympathy gives place to the curves of the statistician. Every citizen should support organized charity, but he should also reserve some small change in his pockets; and he should every now and then indulge in a debauch of capricious and sympathetic giving, simply to keep alive in himself the springs of divine and spontaneous charity!

(110) In the hardness and ruthlessness of "restricted" competition, in which masses of men are employed in conditions that deprive them of much of their humanity, we see, no doubt, the nearest approach in society to the conditions of biological struggle for existence. The process is analogous, but the motives and results are different.

But in "free" competition the conditions are less biological and more humane. I can do no better at this point than quote the following passage from an earlier article in which the conclusion on this subject is succinctly stated.[3]

"Free competition, considered as a type operative in commercial and industrial affairs, leaves to the individual freedom of enterprise and a reasonable initiative, in his attempt to succeed. It is psychologically motived, and rests

(111) directly upon the individual's capacity, temperament, and social feeling. The economic motive is tempered and modified by the individual's character. It varies all the way from pure egoism, or love of gain, to the most humane and social concern for others' welfare and success. It appears, therefore, that in free competition we have in operation the factors involved in personal rivalry directed to economic ends. The end in view gives to the agencies of production, trade, etc., a certain interestedness which appears inhuman and is often made the excuse for what is really so; but yet industrial organization is a mode of social organization in which the factors are those essential to social life, and consistent with its other and more altruistic modes. Hence the growth, within the ordinary machinery of industrial economics, of various purely social and ethical features: humane labor laws, hygienic surroundings, libraries and reading-rooms, baths,

(112) lecture courses, lyceums, etc., for the laboring man, together with other more intrinsic arrangements, such as profit sharing, increasing wage, pensions, labor insurance, etc."


Social competition, then, is in its nature in large measure sui generis and psychological. It is not biological. It is a rivalry of minds, not a contest of animal brawn. The following passage expresses in a summary way the writer's conviction on this point.[4]

"The test of social rivalry is to be found in its motive and end. In biological struggle, we have either the end of personal existence, ministered to by appetite, passion, self-defence, or that of racial continuance, the end of physical reproduction. Biological co-operations, even, have one or both of these ends.

(113) Individual animals live to propagate, and the species propagates to live. This is the circle of biological ends. The male bird does not understand the motive of his courtship antics, but it is there just the same; the female may not know why she builds the nest, but she is conforming to racial ends. The immediate gratification of impulse and instinct forward the biological process.

"But when we come to psychological, social, and moral rivalry, these things are not so. Social utility tends to replace the utility of instinct. We enter here upon a world of mental and moral motives and ends, which are not exhausted in those of the biological order. The social person acts from motives of display, advancement, prestige, reputation, gain, happiness, honor, all terms which represent a sort of end that cannot be identified with mere continuance or propagation of physical life. Even the most egoistic conduct is partly motived by

(114) social considerations. The merchant seeks wealth, not for mere food or mere life, but for family prestige and for the larger social amenities. The banker gives a fine dinner, not to gratify his appetite or that of his guests, but 'to show forth his own glory.'

"This appears, also, when we consider the environment in which personal and social rivalry is fought out. It is not a contest to show physical fitness. . . it is rather aimed to meet the conditions of social and moral utility. Society itself is the environment — not the earth and its physical forces —in which the successful rival must show his relative fitness. He must convince men, persuade women, forecast demand, provide supply, anticipate economic and industrial movements, discount beliefs, and weigh customs. This is the arena of social rivalries and advancements. The contest turns upon the individual's adjustment to social situations, upon his attitude toward social

(115) institutions, and his will to acknowledge them; not upon his place or function in the scale of physical life.

"Biological struggle is the means of selection for purposes of life in a physical and vital environment. . . Social rivalry, on the other hand, is the means of selection for mental and moral purposes in the environment of a social order."

The outcome of it all, then, is what I have intimated above. There is a sphere of direct competition, a real struggle for existence, between groups of individuals, communities, states, etc., and war is its most evident method of settlement. It is seen in the larger influences which make for racial supremacy and racial decay. The unit is not the individual, but the group; the interest or utility is collective; the organized whole faces the competition with other wholes of interest or utility. Within what is called a "society," a social group, larger or smaller, the individuals are organized on a more or less

(116) collective basis. Their sociality gives effectiveness to the group. Their morality, sympathy, readiness for co-operation, and restraint —these things it is, the reverse of the individualistic impulses, that arm society with its best weapon.

But the individual still has his life to lead, his way to make, his family to support, his social place and role to secure and maintain. So there are various motives to a return to individualism in certain directions. Every possible combination of the two forces arises and is tried out. Society is in constant flux and flow through the interplay of the two.

To point again our main lesson from the consideration of this topic we may add that it is not the external, physical, biological study of a society that can reveal the real character of these movements: it is the inside study, the study of minds and mental movements — of the opinions, beliefs, passions, motives, of the individuals themselves. The science

(117) of psychology investigates these, both individually and collectively, and sociological study must be informed and renewed by a psychological interpretation of the facts.


  1. Cf. the writer's "Darwin and the Humanities, " Chap. ii, pp. 53 ff. Amer. ed.
  2. In old societies it is hardened in the rigid distinctions of caste.
  3. See the article "Rivalry" in the writer's "Dictionary of Philosophy." The distinction between "restricted" and "free" competition is spoken of again below, in Chap. vi.
  4. "Darwin and the Humanities," pp. 57, ff. Amer. ed.

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