Pluralistic Behavior

Franklin Giddings
Columbia University



Outside my window seven belligerent sparrows make a machine-gun din as they fight over a crust bequeathed to them by an unscientific philanthropist. While I watch them, a motor-cycle policeman charging into the street arrests a speeding automobile flying blue flags and laden with violets and girls. In two minutes the boy "bunch" of the block has assembled to learn whether the car will be permitted to go on to New Haven, in time for "the game.".

Of occurrences fundamentally like these life largely consists. Living bodies "carry on" to sustain and to perpetuate themselves. On occasion they fight. Their activity is more, however, than a struggle for bare existence. It is an endeavor to enlarge life and to enrich it. Conscious life is a struggle for satisfactions, including individuation, and for achievement.

Perpetuating itself, life multiplies itself, and the multiplication of individual lives complicates and intensifies the struggle for existence. The casualties are countless. The organisms that are most "fit," in the sense of being best adapted to their

( 386) circumstances and best equipped to meet crises, survive. There is a natural selection.

The activity of a living body is reaction to stimulus, and reaction is behavior.

All reaction is a physiological behavior, and many reactions of tracts and organs are physiological only; but whatever the entire organism does as a unit is also behavior in a psychological meaning of the word.

The behavior of plants and of the lowlier animals is unconscious, or perhaps infinitesimally conscious : it is subinstinctive. Such, for example, is the turning of the leaves of heliotropic plants to the sunlight. Truly instinctive behavior begins with organ-isms that have acquired an automatically reacting nervous mechanism. It is accompanied by awareness, including sensations, with which, in the vertebrates (the higher ones, at least) are associated also emotions, simple ideas, and memories. These higher animals behave instinctively, and also by habit: in the individual span of life between birth and death they learn much by haphazard trial and elimination. The behavior of mankind is instinctive, habitistic, and rational. Self-consciousness has appeared, speech has been acquired, and hit-or-miss trial has been overlaid and brought under control by experimentation in thought,, which ranges from guessing to systematic induction. Ideas, accordingly, have been correlated and co-ordinated.

The sum of behavior is the total struggle for existence and achievement. By far the greater part of it consists of effort to meet instant needs. A lesser but large part consists of efforts to obtain desired but not imperative satisfactions. The remainder is a free expenditure "for the fun of it," not at the moment productive, but tending always to become experiment, including exploration of the environment; and experiment leads to discovery, without which there could be no achievement.

In a world of limited inhabitable area the multiplication of . individuals (whether cells or organisms), living by trial and error and tending to explore their environment, causes contacts and creates groupings of living units.

The earliest and simplest groupings are an incident of birth.

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Usually an organism in its lifetime reproduces itself more than once. Until they scatter, plural offspring are in form a group. They share good and bad fortune.

The cells that compose and constitute a plant or an animal are united in the intimacies of structure and process. Their collective life is physiological. Usually they cannot break away from the organic whole, or live apart from it.

The coelenterate polyps that secrete coral are attached directly, or through branches, to a parent stem. They cannot get asunder, but one of them torn away by violence could be the parent of a new zoöphyte. They do not constitute an organism. Their collective life is conjunctive only.

The bees of a swarm, the beasts of a herd, the beavers of a dam, the men of a community, move about in individual detachment. Any one of them could live a hermit life for a while; but usually individuals of a kind act with reference to one another and keep near one another.

Keeping near one another, notwithstanding physical detachment, is behavior, and the collective life of physically detached individuals is behavioristic only.

Accordingly, the multiplication of lives not only intensifies the struggle of each individual for existence and complicates its conditions; it also in certain instances creates for all or nearly all individuals of the kind a physically collective life, and in other instances it complicates and organizes behavior and creates for all or nearly all individuals of the kind a behavioristically collective life.

The behavior that constitutes the collective life of swarm, herd, pack, or community is pluralistic. Any one or any combination of behavior inciting stimuli may on occasion be reacted to by more than one individual; as the bread crust is by the seven sparrows, and as the "cop"and the car are by the gangster boys of the block.

The reactions of the individuals of a plurum to a stimulation common to them all in the sense that it reaches all may be similar or they may be dissimilar. To the same stimulus or to like stimuli like organisms normally react in like manner, as crows in the corn-field take wing at a gun shot and boys in the street run after the fire engine.

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Alike or unlike, pluralistic reactions may be simultaneous or they may "string out" from prompt to dilatory. They may be substantially equal in strength, or unequal. They may be equally, or unequally persistent.

Like acts by detached individuals may be competitive, or they may fall into combinations, as when animals in a pack follow the same quarry or beat if a common enemy. When it is often enough repeated, combined action becomes habitual group action.

Whether they are dissimilar or similar, rivalistic or combined, simultaneous or not, equal or unequal, pluralistic reactions to a common stimulation make a strictly individualistic struggle for existence impossible. Above all is this true of the human struggle for achievement. It is a pluralistic struggle.

Pluralistic behavior, in distinction from individual behavior, has its own conditions, forms, and laws.

In early youth I often drove cattle on the highway, and I learned that the secret of keeping them moving in good form lay in the "crack" of the stimulus that I relied on. In later youth, conducting and teaching a rural school, I learned that there also one secret of orderly co-operation lay in the cogency of the stimulation applied. Whether physical, utilitarian, or moral, it must be adequate. From these experiences, however, I learned also another thing not less interesting. It was that the part played by resemblances (or differences) among nervous systems is always significant and may be determinative. Two or three unruly steers in a herd could tax the powers of any driver. Two or three conceited morons in a school could tax the ingenuity and the patience of any teacher.

These instances are not oddities; they are representative relations. Always the character of pluralistic reactions (as similar or dissimilar, simultaneous or not, equal or unequal) is determined by two variables, namely, (1) the strength of the stimulation, and (2) the similarity (or the dissimilarity) of the reacting mechanisms.

Pluralistic behavior is the subject-matter of the psychology of society, otherwise called sociology, a science statistical in method, which attempts, first, to factorize pluralistic behavior, and secondly, to explain its genesis, integration, differentiation, and functioning

( 389) by accounting for them in terms of the variables (I) stimulation, and (2) the resemblance (more or less) to one another of reacting mechanisms.[1]


Stimuli are infinitely various. In character they range from compulsions, impulsions, and constraints to inducements and allurements.

Among stimuli that all living bodies react to are phenomena of the surface of the earth, including its life-sustaining resources, and of the atmosphere, including variations of temperature and of precipitation. All these are unevenly distributed. Geography is a variegated thing. There are regions that forbid, repel, starve, and kill, and there are regions that nourish and attract. There-fore, the teeming life of the earth is apportioned and segregated, here in energetic aggregations, there in sporadic, ineffective examples according to the regional dispersion of environmental bounty and exaction, incitement, and constraint.

The distribution of inhabitable areas on the earth's surface is neither haphazard nor uniform. It is a grouping by coastal plains, river basins, and mountain systems, or in relation to them. The river deltas and the tide-water lowlands are relatively accessible. The bottom lands and lower levels of the watershed are abundantly productive of primary means of subsistence, the remoter plains and plateaus less so. Least bountiful in primary food products, least accessible, and, in general, least inhabitable are the high altitudes, in particular the continental divides, where river systems take their rise.

For brief periods of time the physical environment is normally static—approximately—but if its permutations throughout long periods are observed, it is seen to be highly kinetic. It "breaks out" in volcanic disturbances and in earthquakes. Variations of climate from cold to hot, from wet to dry, range from enormous revolutions consequent upon subsidences and elevations of the earth's crust, or upon the advance or retreat of the polar ice cap,

( 390) down to minor fluctuations that are measured by familiar periodicities of maximum and minimum rainfall.

The relative advantageousness of physical environments for sustaining, energizing, and stimulating pluralistic life is a factor of all social phenomena. It determines the density and the composition of every population. It provokes and limits collective effort. It fixes the possibilities of organization and of collective effectiveness. Directly, and indirectly through collective effort and effectiveness, it makes and limits the possibilities of well-being and of individuation.


If the foregoing propositions are undeniable, the physiographic or "environmental" theory of history is true, as far as it goes. It is an inadequate and unsatisfactory philosophy, however, because it fails to perceive and to explain the media through which a physical environment acts upon conduct. We are creatures of circumstance.

For among the stimuli that incite , and sustain behavior are various annoyances, hardships, dangers, and adversities that bear so heavily upon individuals living in isolation or unaided by neighboring fellow-beings that they constrain great numbers of animals of various species and great numbers of men to live in aggregations; and constrain great numbers of group-dwelling men to overlook many of their differences, to minimize many of their antagonisms, and to combine their efforts. These constraining circumstances may be conceived as constituting a circumstantial pressure upon living beings.

In its totality circumstantial pressure, like chance (as the mathematicians define chance), comprises innumerable small causes. Rain drives beasts and human beings into momentary assemblages. So does the glare of noonday sunlight. When winds are cold some creatures—hogs, notoriously, and sheep—huddle together for warmth. Drought, drying many springs and streams commonly resorted to and compelling assemblage at those that remain, is often a pressure of extreme intensity. Darkness

( 391) with its fearsome uncertainties occasions recurrent consorting of individuals (animal or human) that feel sure of one another. These pressures are not in themselves causes of co-operation, whereas accidents and attacks upon persons and possessions commonly are.

The curve, however, of circumstantial pressure is not a normal frequency distribution. It is skewed by relatively large causes of various magnitudes. Of these the most general, perhaps, is a diminishing return to effort in the struggle for existence. Diminishing return in the economist's meaning of the phrase is a special case. Economic adversity or threat is another. An important instance is an extensive dessication, like that which periodically recurs in Western Asia.[2] Little if any less general and more unremittent is the pressure exerted by the hardships and dangers of isolation. Continuous but highly variable is the pressure of foreign economic competition, the reaction to which is protective tariff legislation. Intermittent but most tremendous of circumstantial pressures, and in its consequences the most far-reaching, is war, and war is a product of countless factors of more than one category, as the failure of all attempts to account for the European war of 1914 by any one cause, for example, economic interest, has abundantly made clear.

The hardships and dangers of isolation are measured by urbanization, namely, the percentage of the population of a given area that dwells in towns and cities of a designated number, or more, inhabitants. Urbanization is the best basic measure of circumstantial pressure. The chiefly important phenomena of society are more highly correlated with it than with more density of population. Supplementary measures are fluctuations of prices,[3] the foreign exchanges, and the statistics of war.


Regional and urban aggregations of human beings increase in two ways: (I) by births in excess of deaths; (2) by immigration

(392) in excess of emigration. A population growing chiefly by births in excess of deaths is predominantly a genetic aggregation. A population growing chiefly by immigration in excess of emigration is predominantly a congregation. A normal population is both a genetic aggregation and a congregation.

Normally, a population is composite. It is composed of the young, the middle-aged, and the old; of males and females; of the native- and the .foreign-born. It may comprise more than one color-race, and the foreign-born usually comprise more than one ethnic stock and more than one nationality.

Normally, as time goes on, there is intermarriage among nationalities of the same color-race, with resulting amalgamation. There is a tendency toward ethnic homogeneity within the limits of the numerically dominant color-race.

As reacting mechanisms, the nervous systems of individuals of the same color-race are in general more nearly alike than are the nervous systems of individuals of different color-races; and within the limits of the same color-race the nervous systems of individuals of the same ethnic stock (for example, the Germanic) are in general more nearly alike than are the nervous systems of individuals of different ethnic stocks (for example, the Germanic and the Celtic). The proof is, that it takes a stronger stimulation to obtain like reactions from individuals of different color-races or of different ethnic stocks of the same color-race than it does to obtain like reactions from individuals of the same stock or race. Try the experiment and repeat it until you are satisfied.

The young, however, react, in most cases, more readily to novel stimulation than the old do. An amazing example (as most observers regard it) is the world-wide interest of youth in revolutionary radicalism. The phenomenon is not new, however. It has been witnessed in every century. A significant and important consequence of it is that it is easier to obtain like reactions from. the young of intermingled stocks or races than from the old. Revolutionary radicalism and internationalism go together.

The sum of like reactions, instinctive, habitistic, and rational, is like-mindedness.

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The measure of basic like-mindedness is an index number, obtained by decreasing the weight of successive increments that diminish the homogeneity of their sum; for example: white, native-born of native parents; plus white, of parents foreign-born, divided by two; plus white, foreign-born, divided by four; plus all colored, divided by eight.

The chiefly important phenomena of society—for example, per capita taxation, per capita expenditure for schools, and a habitual exercise of the political franchise—are not highly correlated positively or negatively with basic like-mindedness. The meaning of this extremely significant statistical fact is that alert and progressive social life is associated not with strict and exclusive similarity, or with extreme dissimilarity, but with that intermediate degree of mental and moral homogeneity which is an adequate meeting of minds for practical purposes and yet is tolerant of individual difference and dissent.

The best measure of radical like-mindedness is the percentage number of individuals of the numerically dominant color-race whose ages fall between the limits twenty and thirty-nine years. The best measure of conservative like-mindedness is the percentage number of individuals native-born of native parents whose ages fall in the class forty years and above. The radically like-minded are normally more numerous than the conservatively like-minded because they are indifferent (as the conservatives are not) to the distinction "native-born," or, going a step farther, "native-born of native parents." War tends to consolidate radicals with conservatives and to merge these measures.

When the stimuli to which living bodies react have become a circumstantial pressure, and the resemblances of reacting mechanisms have become like-mindedness, every social phenomenon thenceforth and every social situation is a function of two variables, namely, (1) circumstantial pressure, and (2) like-mindedness, each of which varies under the influence of the other, under influences that affect them differently, and under influences that affect them similarly.

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Simple pluralistic behavior is complicated and developed by interstimulation and response. Each 'individual of a group or assemblage is a complex of stimuli to his fellows, and each responds to fellow-stimulation.

The interstimulation of similar organisms differs from stimulation otherwise arising. It has a distinct character. Normally it is not repellent. It does not cause shrinking, recoil, or retreat. The reactions also of resembling individuals to one another are significantly different from the reactions of non-resembling individuals to one another.

Organisms of like kind stimulate each other non-repellently, not only because, first, they are similar complexes of stimuli, and because, secondly, they are similar complexes of reaction, but also, thirdly (and this is important), because the behavior of one organ-ism a which functions as stimulation to another organism of like kind d (for example, the caw of a crow, the yelp of a dog, or the whinny of a horse) normally calls forth from that other a among various reactions a behavior (there is an answering caw, or yelp, or whinny) that is so like the initial behavior of a that it might have arisen in a by self-imitation. Such interstimulation cannot be repellent in a high degree, although in a degree it may be antagonistic. Two dogs may bristle and fight on first acquaintance, but they do not hasten to part company, as the horse shies from the rattlesnake or from the bumblebee. The fight ends in toleration or in the submission of one dog to the other.

Reactions of either similar or dissimilar individuals to one another may be unconscious or may be conscious. Unconscious pluralistic reactions of similars to one another are factors of various herd instincts and of numerous herd habits, all of which combine in gregariousness.

The synthesis turns upon and proceeds from the distinctive peculiarities of stimulation of kind by kind and of reaction of kind to kind, above set forth. The movements of organisms, like the motions of inorganic bodies, follow lines of relatively low resistance. Repellent stimulation and recoiling reaction open lines of relatively

(395) high resistance. Non-repellent stimulation and forthgoing reaction open lines of relatively low resistance. Also reactions to stimuli that resemble self-stimuli are relatively facile. These reactions include automatic imitations innumerable. On mechanistic principles, therefore, a reacting locomotor organism tends to go toward or to go with objects (including other locomotor organisms) from which non-repellent or otherwise non-resistant stimulation proceeds.

In distinctive stimulations of kind by kind, then, and in characteristically facile reactions to kind we discover relatively simple mechanistic factors of innate gregariousness or "herd instinct," the chief manifestations of which are a matter-of-course toleration of one another by individual units of a kin group, an automatic tendency to go with kind or at least to avoid separation from kind, an automatic imitation of kind, and an unhesitating reaction to herd stimulation.

This account of gregariousness is opposed to a commonly accepted one which makes characteristic reaction to kind a manifestation of an unexplained herd instinct, so putting cause and effect the other way around.[4]

In the processes of interstimulation and its reactions pluralistic behavior is dramatized. Action which, in the first instance, is performed without reference to possible reaction by fellow-beings, but which in fact is followed by fellow-reaction, is likely in subsequent performance to be affected thereby. In the presence of fellow-beings action becomes acting, and thenceforward things are not merely done, they are enacted.

Under common danger, and often under common opportunity, similarities of behavior more or less dramatized develop into spontaneous collective action. The individuals participating in it may not be, or they may be, aware that they are combining their efforts; and they may not be, or they may be, aware that by combination they are producing results; but whether conscious or unconscious, co-operation commonly produces results advantageous to the individuals participating in it.

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The probability of collective action increases with circumstantial pressure.


In mankind interstimulation and its reactions have developed into communication by means of vocal signs. Everything is talked about. Pluralistic behavior having been dramatized is now also conversationalized.

Not only outward behavior and material things are talked about. "Ideas" and "feelings" as "states of consciousness" also are talked about. Thenceforth a conversationalized consciousness and its states may legitimately be included in a study of behavior, viewed as an objective phenomenon.

Stimulation and reaction are accompanied by sensation. Differences and similarities among stimuli, differences and similarities among reactions, are "felt" in consciousness, and presently are perceived. Differences and similarities among objects, among the activities of things, and among behavioristic acts are felt and perceived. Differences of individuals one from another and similarities of individuals one to another also are felt and perceived. The idea of "kind" arises. Individuals become aware of them-selves as a "kind," and as being of one, or of more than one, "kind." This consciousness in human individuals of their differences one from another, of their similarities one to another, and of their "kind" is the "consciousness of kind." More precisely, the consciousness of kind is awareness of a concrete case or possibility of like-mindedness, and of such physical traits as are commonly associated with it.

The consciousness of kind allays fear and engenders comradeship. It converts instinctive consorting into a consciously discriminative association. Without it there is no society: there is only gregariousness. Of the instinctive herd it may be said as Rousseau said of the state created by force, "C'est une agrégation, s'il vous plais, mais c'est non pas une association." The members of a society are aware of themselves as preferentially associating similars. For example, if they are Presbyterians, Republicans, and Americans, they consciously prefer to associate in religious communion with Presbyterians like-minded with themselves than with Metho-

(397) -dists or with Episcopalians; to associate in politics with Republicans like-minded with themselves than with Democrats; and to associate in nationality with Americans like-minded with them-selves than with the people of any European land. The consciousness of kind is becoming not less but more potent in large affairs. Perhaps the greatest manifestation of it ever seen is the nation-wide demand in the United States at present for the Americanization of alien residents. They must be made like-minded with Americans.

Odd as it may seem to the uninitiated, the statistical study of the consciousness of kind to the extent of obtaining excellent measurements of it, on either a small or a large scale, is not difficult. The data are frequency-distributions of preferences. The curves which these approximately fit are in form like the familiar curves of utility, demand, and price.


In the course of pluralistic behavior above the instinctive level conscious agreements arise. Propositions are put forth and are "talked over." There begins to be "a meeting of minds." Collective choices or decisions are made. There is a concert of wills, a concerted volition.

Like the volition of an individual, concerted volition is of various degrees of completeness. There may be only an incipient impulse, that dies out before behavior is visibly affected and that is known in consciousness only as an unexpressed choice or perhaps only as a wish. Or there may be a consciously apprehended decision, which is expressed in words or in gestures or through other media. As the vote of a committee or of an assembly or, on a larger scale, as a political election, concerted decision expressed in words is an important behavior. Finally, concerted will may be expressed in collective action, brief or persisting.

In a normal population there are individuals of every grade of mentality, and more individuals of each intermediate grade than of the lowest or of the highest. Inasmuch, however, as all highly reflective individuals are also dogmatic, sympathetic, and instinctive, and all dogmatic individuals are also emotional and instinctive,

( 398) and all emotional individuals are also instinctive, there are always in a normal aggregation more individuals that are alike in motor reactions and in appetites than are alike in sympathies, more who are alike in sympathies than are alike in beliefs, and more who are alike in beliefs than are alike in critical intelligence.

From these facts a law of concerted volition follows, namely:

In a normal population the percentage number of individuals participating in a collective decision diminishes as the intellectual quality of the decision rises.[5]

This law does not mean that "the intellectuals" and the "masses" cannot get together. They can and do concur for practical purposes, but only as one element yields to the other. The masses may "believe" that it is expedient to follow a lead that they do not understand but do trust; or the intellectuals may compromise with a crowd that stubbornly holds an antagonistic belief. Conviction of the expediency of yielding, trusting, or compromising strengthens and extends as circumstantial pressure increases.

Circumstantial pressure determines the amount of concerted volition in an aggregation in any respect heterogeneous. In a homogeneous group, a majority of all individuals may alike react to varied stimuli, and the stimuli are not necessarily powerful. In the heterogeneous group a majority of all individuals can react in identical or resembling ways to but few stimuli, and these must be powerful; but the more powerful they are, the larger will be the absolute and the percentage number of individuals in like manner reacting to them. This law holds good of conscious decisions as of instinctive acts.

If one hundred or more persons vote "yes" or "no" on each of twenty-five or more propositions, and the number of "yes" votes for two propositions, for three, for four, for five, and so on, is plotted, the resulting frequency-distribution is a skew, whether the voting group is homogeneous or heterogeneous. In many experiments I have not obtained a "normal" (or "chance") distribution.

( 399) Into the "infinite number of small causes" operative in politics and in legislation a few big influences intrude; which means that great interests always can be and always are manipulated by the purposive will of man. The proposition means, further, that for great historical calamities, like wars, a few individuals are, in the last analysis, morally responsible. Statistical sociology affords no basis for historical fatalism.

Concerted volition working itself out in combined action is conscious and reasoned co-operation, a pluralistic behavior in which like activities or complementary activities are correlated and directed upon a useful achievement through conscious planning.


The commingling and the pluralistic activities of individuals who are conscious of themselves and of their behavior, and whose consciousness is conversationalized, is association.

The consciousness of kind, becoming sensitive especially to resemblances and differences that please or displease, converts association into society, in the elementary sense of the word. The associating unit becomes the socius, loving and seeking acquaintance, forming friendships and alliances with other socii like him-self, imitating them and setting examples for them, teaching them and learning from them, and engaging with them in many forms of common activity. Every human being is at once an animal, a conscious individual mind, and a socius.

Association takes on the quality and the color of the prevailing like-mindedness, which may be ideo-instinctive only, and charged with suggestibility; or sympathetic, explosive with contagious emotion and undisciplined imagination; or dogmatic, compact of uncritically accepted beliefs; or reflective, wherein belief is displaced by knowledge and by judgments based on evidence. The concerted behavior of associates, therefore, may be a turbulent "direct action" or an orderly procedure.

Reacting to circumstantial pressure, association generates a social pressure, which increases with the multiplication of like responses to common stimulations, as the pressure of a gas increases with the number and the velocity of its molecules.

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Reacting in its turn upon the pluralistic behaviors that have created it, social pressure assembles and combines them in new products, through which it distributes itself. The reacting individuals it constrains to type conformity.

Subjected to social pressure, pluralistic behavior of any kind may become habitual It may be imitated by one group from another. It may be learned by one generation from another. The accompanying ideas, histories, explanations, and instructions are transmitted from group to group, and from one to another generation in "talk." They become folklore. To the countless co-operations and other pluralistic behaviors that "everybody" participates in and that continue through generations, Sumner gave the appropriate name "folkways," which immediately found place in sociology and soon became a folk noun.

Folklore and folkways are comprehensive. There is no phase of the struggle for existence that they do not enter into and more or less affect.

In its original mode, social pressure is not consciously willed. It is not planned or intended. It is only an inevitably arising product (or by-product) of pluralistic behavior.

But having, as a force devoid of intent, created folkways, social pressure, elemental yet, converts folkways into mores and themistes, which in turn distribute and apply social pressure and through these reactions develop it into an intended, planned, and consciously concerted pressure.

Mores are folkways that have been selectively affected by emotion, belief, reflection, and conscious inculcation, and that to some extent are socially enforced. Like primary folkways the mores, chiefly by penalties of disapprobation and neglect, bear on individuals as such and primarily with reference to their own well-being; but also they are thought of and are made to serve as media of social pressure affecting fellow-beings. The sanctions that en-force them are informal, but may include the use of force in private vengeance.

Themistes are important mores, of religion, for example, and above all, of justice. They are mores of concerted volition and

( 401) apply social pressure through boycotting, outlawry, and other social dooms, including death.[6]

In mores and themistes under the reactions of the social pressure which they themselves gather and distribute, pluralistic behavior is traditionalized.

Folkways of every kind, including mores and themistes, are the most stable syntheses of pluralistic behavior; yet they are not unchanging. Under new and widening experience they suffer attrition and are modified.[7] Instincts, and with them emotion, and imagination, which largely fills the vast realm between instinct and reason, are reconditioned. The word means simply that reflexes and higher processes subjected to new experiences are in a degree or entirely detached from old stimuli and associated with new ones.[8]

From time to time also traditions are invaded and habits are broken down by crisis. Pluralistic behavior then is scrutinized, criticized, estimated, discussed. It is rationally deliberated.

Viewed broadly as reaction instead of strictly as reflection, deliberation arises in the individual mind as a conflict of reactions

( 402) to stimulation. On the larger scale of social phenomena deliberation arises when there are conflicting group or class reactions to a common stimulation.

Therefore the probability of deliberation in a social population increases with the multiplication of groups that react differently to a common stimulation and with the approximation of the differing groups to numerical equality.

The members of a group in which pluralistic behavior is both traditionalized and deliberated talk much about the group as a group, and of their membership relation to it. They converse about their common lot—of danger or opportunity. They profess to think about common interests, to care for group performance and achievement, and to be sensitive to group prestige.

There is, accordingly, a complex of pluralistic behavior facts which includes common situation and common stimulation; similarity of reaction, a consciousness of kind, co-operation, tradition, discussion, a proclaimed concern for the group, and sensitiveness to its prestige. This complex is the social solidarity.

Otherwise named, the social solidarity is the social mind. This name does not denote any other consciousness than that of individual minds; it does denote a consciousness of individual minds similarly reacting, and reacting in reference to and upon one another. The social mind is the phenomenon of individual minds in communication with one another, acting upon one another, and acting concurrently. The self-consciousness of a class or of a group is the consciousness of each individual that there is a group, that he is a member of the group, and that the other members of the group are feeling toward it as he feels, and thinking of it as he thinks.

The decision of the social mind is social purpose. The momentum of the social solidarity is a consciously controlled social pressure of almost irresistible power. It may constrain pluralistic behavior and curtail individual liberty to any degree. The individual himself it both constrains and disciplines. It makes the many individuals upon whom it bears increasingly alike in nurture and in habits. It produces conformity to a type.

The degree or intensity of social constraint, however, is not determined by reasoned choice. It is governed by circumstantial

( 403) pressure, to which it is elastic. When we entered into the European war many timid souls feared that we should lose our liberties. They believed that we should become militaristic and Prussianized. They were right in part but largely they were wrong. The war restricted liberty, as the Civil War did. Peace removes restraints as it did after 1865. And war is not the only circumstantial pressure that limits liberty. Herbert Spencer was right in his insistence upon the constraining effect of war, but he did not adequately measure the importance of other circumstances also that curtail freedom. To mention one of recent occurrence, when infantile paralysis became epidemic in 1916, hundreds of American towns and cities established local quarantines. Guards stationed on highways stopped and searched automobiles, and suspicious parties were turned back. Furthermore, the social pressure through which circumstantial pressure constrains is not only political and legal and brought to bear by government; it appears and develops also as a spontaneous pluralistic action, unorganized at first but tending to become organized. For example, the modes that it has assumed in money-raising drives are numerous and many of them are highly coercive.

Society not only constrains its members, but also by disciplining them and forcing them to conform to type it selects, conserving some and rejecting others.

Biology unaided by sociology cannot show where, when, or how the "better" may be the "fit" that survive. Darwin saw the problem and its solution, but he did not work it out.[9]

Society favors individual units that have team-work value and directs its adverse pressures upon units that obstruct or imperil the collective struggle.

Tolerance, sympathy, and intelligence have team-work value in a pre-eminent degree and therefore survival value in a pre-eminent degree, in society.

Society, therefore, converts the "survival of the fit" into the survival of the "better," if by the "fit" we mean individuals who by organization and instinct are adapted to a situation as nature has made it, and by "better" we mean individuals who by feeling

( 404) and intelligence are adapted to a situation modified and being modified by combined effort guided by reflection.

How much the social community may achieve, transforming the "fit" into the "better" and, in its pursuit of happiness, obtaining substantial results, is a problem in the utilization of energy.

The strength, or potential energy, of a group is the product of the number of individuals composing it, by various weighting coefficients, among which are vigor, intelligence, and knowledge.

The working efficiency of a group of given strength is a function of certain arrangements which may have had an accidental origin, which in part are products of a merely random experimentation, but which in a large and always increasing measure are brought about intentionally by superior individuals.

These arrangements are the social organization.

[To be concluded]


  1. The psychology of society and social psychology are different things, as I pointed out in an article on "The Psychology of Society," in Science, January 6, 1899. One is identical with sociology, the other is not.
  2. Ellsworth Huntington, The Pulse of Asia.
  3. The newspapers report that the Sultan and pashas of Turkey have cut down their harems to one wife each, because of the high cost of living!
  4. See William McDougall, Social Psychology, chap. xii, and W. Trotter, Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, pp. 1-23.
  5. In New York City the East Side vote on constitutional amendments is light. The heavy vote is in the election districts of Greenwich Village, Morningside Heights, and Washington Heights.
  6. See Jane Ellen Harrison, Themis.
  7. Numerous ballotings on hypothetical candidates for admission to social organizations have been taken at my request in colleges, merchants' associations, and labor organizations. The grounds of exclusion are offenses against morals and manners and certain personal matters. They are named in a list of twenty-seven items made in advance and submitted to the voters. The method of proceedings has been care-fully explained and controlled. More than 50 per cent of the voters blackball for notorious cruelty, dishonesty, frequent drunkenness, gambling, sexual immorality, and personal uncleanliness of body and dress. Less than So per cent of the voters blackball for habitual borrowing of money from acquaintances, ungrammatical speech, atheism, inability to write a correctly worded letter, questionable political affiliations, and shabby dress. Notorious cruelty is the vice most objected to by both men and women. Dishonesty ranks second in offensiveness to men and sixth to women. Frequent drunkenness ranks second in offensiveness to women and thirteenth to men. More men than women object to personal uncleanliness of body and dress.
  8. A piece of meat in a dog's mouth causes a flow of saliva. A Russian psychologist, Pawlow, tried the experiment of tinkling a bell when the dog was fed. In course of time the tinkling of the bell without the presence of the meat called forth the reflex and produced the salivation (Robert Sessions Woodworth, Dynamic Psychology, p. 82). Hundreds of similar experiments suggested by Pawlow's have demonstrated that simple reflexes and elementary instincts can be reconditioned, practically at will. This possibility is the basis of our power to learn.
  9. The Descent of Man, chaps. iii, iv, v.

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