The Number of Members as Determining the Sociological Form of the Group: II
MERELY another variation of the same fundamental sociological constellation may be expressed in the observation that relationships of twos, composition of a whole out of only two participants, must presuppose a higher degree of individualization on the part of each of these than, caeteris paribus, in the case of combinations of many elements. In the present instance the essential factor is that in a combination of two there is no majority which can override the individual, and that occasion for such a majority is given so soon as a single unit is added. Relationships, however, in which the domination of an individual by a majority is possible, not merely depress the individuality, but, so far as they are voluntary, they will not be readily entered upon by very decided individualities. In this connection, nevertheless, we must distinguish two frequently interchanged concepts; namely, the decided and the strong individuality. There are persons and collective structures of the extremest individualization that, however, have not the energy to protect this peculiarity against suppressions or leveling forces. On the contrary, the strong personality may confirm its formation in reaction with these very contrasts, in struggle for its peculiarity, and in opposition to all temptations to smoothing and mixture. The former, the merely qualitative individuality, will shun unions in which it finds itself in antithesis with an eventual majority; it is, on the contrary, as it were, predestined to the manifold unions in pairs, because, by reason of its differentiation, as well as its susceptibility to attack, reinforcement by another is its indicated recourse. The other type, the more intensive individuality, rather courts, on the other hand, the opposition of others against whose quantitative excess it can preserve its dynamic superiority. Technical grounds, so to speak, will justify this preference: the triple consulate of Napoleon was decidedly more convenient for him than a duality would have been, for he needed to gain
( 159) over only the one colleague (which is very easy for the stronger nature among three in order to dominate the other ; that is, in fact, to dominate the other two in the most legal form. On the whole, it may be said that unions in pairs, as contrasted with those of larger numbers, favor a relatively higher individuality of the participants, while, on the other hand, they presuppose that the restraint of peculiarity through the social articulation to an average level is lacking. If it for that reason is true that women are the less individual sex, that their differentiations vary less from the species type than is on the average the case with men, it would help to explain the further very general opinion that they are, as a rule, less accessible to friendship than are men. For friendship is a relationship entirely founded upon the individuality of the elements, perhaps even more than marriage, which, through its traditional forms, its social fixities, its real interests, includes much that is super-individual and independent of the peculiarity of the personalities. The fundamental differentiation upon which marriage rests is, in itself, not individual, but it pertains to the species; friendship, however, rests upon a purely personal differentiation, and hence it is intelligible that in general real and permanent friendships are rare at the inferior levels of personal development, and that, on the other hand, the modern highly differentiated woman manifests notably enhanced capacity and inclination for friendships, alike with men and with women. The entirely individual differentiation has, in this case, attained decisiveness over that which pertains to the species, and we thus see the correlation formed between the sharpest individualization and a relation that at this grade is absolutely limited to duality. This, of course, does not prevent the same person from forming at the same time various relations of friendship. That combinations of two in general have, as such, specific traits is shown not merely by the fact that the entrance of a third modifies them entirely, but still more the variously observed fact that the still further extension to four or more by no means modifies the nature of the combination to a correspondingly wide degree. For example, a marriage union resulting in a single child has a quite different character from a childless union,
( 160) while there is not an equally significant difference between it and the union resulting in two or more children. To be sure, the difference in its essential nature which the second child produces is again much greater than that springing from the arrival of the third. But this simply follows the above rule; for a family with one child is still, in many respects, a relationship between two members; namely, the parents as a unity, on the one hand, the child on the other. The second child is then in fact not merely a fourth, but, sociologically considered, at the same time also a third member in a relationship, and it exerts the peculiar influences of such third members; for within the family, so soon as the actual age of minority is passed, the parents constitute much more frequently a working unity than do the children as a totality.
Furthermore, in the realm of the forms of marriage the decisive difference is whether, on the one hand, monogamy prevails, or, on the other, the man has a second wife. If the latter is the case, the third or the twentieth wife is relatively without significance for the structure of the union. Within the bound-aries of such a structure, the step to the second wife is here also, at least in one direction, richer in consequences than that to a still larger number, for precisely the duality of wives may give occasion, in the life of the man, to the sharpest conflicts and profoundest perplexities, which, in general, do not arise in the case of each higher number. For in the latter instance such a fundamental declassing and deindividualizing of the wives is involved, there is so decided reduction of the relationship to its sensuous basis (since every more spiritual union is always of a more individual nature, that in general it cannot lead to those profounder disturbances for the man which may flow directly and only from a dual relationship.
It is the same fundamental motive which reappears in the assertion of Voltaire about the utility of religious anarchy ; that is, two rival sects within a state produce, unavoidably, disturb-ances and difficulties such as never could arise in the case of two hundred. The meaning which the dualism of the one element in a combination of several members possesses, is, of course,
(161) not less specific and significant when it serves to secure, rather than disturb, the total relationship. Thus it is asserted that the collegiate relationship of the two Roman consuls perhaps operated more effectively against monarchical ambitions than the system of the nine highest functionaries in Athens. It is the same tension of dualism which works, now destructively, now conservatively, according to the other circumstances of the total association. The essential thing here is that this total association receives a totally different sociological character so soon as the performance in question is the work either of a single person, on the one hand, or of more than two, on the other. In the same sense as the Roman consuls, controlling colleges are often composed of two members : the two kings of the Spartans, whose incessant frictions were expressly emphasized as the security of the state; the two highest war chiefs of the Iroquois; the two civic heads of mediaeval Augsburg, where the movement for a unified mayoralty was threatened with severe penalties. The peculiar tensions between the dualistic elements of a relatively large structure maintain the functions concerned at the status qua; while, in the instances cited, reduction to unity would easily produce an individual dominance; the extension to many, on the other hand, would easily establish an oligarchical clique.
In addition, now, to the type which presented the duality of the elements in general as so decisive that further numerical increase did not change it in a marked degree, I mention furthermore two very singular, but nevertheless, as sociological types, highly important facts. The political status of France in Europe was immediately modified most significantly when it entered into a close relationship with Russia. A third and fourth member of the alliance would produce no further essential variation after the principal change had once occurred. The contents of human life vary to a considerable degree in accordance with whether the first step is the most difficult and decisive, and all later steps have in comparison with it secondary importance, or whether the first step in itself means nothing, but its continuations and advances realize the modifications toward which it
( 162) merely points. The numerical relationships of socialization furnish, as will later appear more and more, abundant examples for both forms. For to the state which has lost its political prestige by isolation, the fact of any alliance at all is the decisive matter, whereas perhaps definite economic or military advantages may be reached only when a circle of combinations is realized, from which not even one may be lacking without totally preventing the success of the whole. Between these two types there is evidently, then, the one into which the definite character and result of the combination enter, in direct ratio with the number of the elements; for example, as a rule in the case of the unification of great masses. The second type comprises the experience that relationships of command and assistance change their character in principle when, instead of one servant, assistant, or other subordinate, there are two in the same relationship. Housekeepers often prefer, entirely apart from the question of expense, to get along with a single servant, on account of the peculiar difficulties that come with an increase of the number. From the natural need of attachment the single servant will seek to approach and identify himself with the personal sphere and the circle of interests of his employer. Precisely the same cause will influence him, however, to compose, with a possible second servant, a party against the employer, for now each has a recourse in the other. The class feeling, with its latent or conscious opposition against the employer, does not become effective until there are two, because it emerges as the common element between them. In short, the sociological situation between the superior and the inferior is absolutely changed so soon as the third element is added. Instead of solidarity, party formation is rather the more natural tendency. Instead of emphasis upon that which is a bond of union between servant and master, the emphasis is rather put on that which divides them, because community is now sought on the side of the
( 163) associate, and is, of course, found precisely in that which constitutes the antithesis between the two and the superior. Moreover, the transformation of the numerical into a qualitative difference remains not less fundamental when it shows the reverse result for the controlling element of the association. It is easier to hold at the desired distance two subordinates than one, and their superior possesses, in their jealousy and competition, an instrument for keeping each down and making him obedient, for which there is no equivalent to be used in the case of a single inferior. In a formally similar sense, an old proverb says: "He that hath one child is its slave; he that hath more is their master." In each case the combination of threes is distinguished as a completely new structure from that of twos. The latter are characterized by the fact that the former are specifically differentiated, only backward, in contrast with the dual combinations, but not forward, by contrast with those which are composed of four and more elements.
In transition to the special forms of the tripartite combination of elements, attention must be called to the variety of group characters which their division into two or into three chief parties announces. Periods of excitement habitually place the whole of public life under the motto: " He that is not for me is against me." The consequence must be a division of the elements into two parties. In such case the duality appears, not as the point of departure of sociological formations, but as result and expression of them. We cannot make the tremendous variety of the forms of relationship, and of the degrees of repulsion and attraction within them, more evident than in the application of that principle; for all interests, convictions, impulses, which place us in any positive or negative relationship whatsoever to others, are differentiated by the extent to which the principle applies to them, and they may be arranged in a series, starting from the radical exclusion of all mediation and nonpartisanship and extending to tolerance for the contrasted standpoint, as one that is also legitimate and, up to a certain gradation of more-or-less, in agreement with the peculiar standpoint. Every decision which has a relationship to the narrower or wider circle that sur-
( 164) -rounds us, which assigns us a station in it, which includes a subjective or external co-operation, a well-wishing or a mere acquiescence, a magnifying of self, or a positive imperiling of self, occupies a definite degree in such a scale. Each draws an ideal line around us which definitely includes or excludes every other with finality, or it has gaps to which the question of inclusion or exclusion is not proposed, or the line is so drawn that it makes possible a mere tangency, or a merely partial inclusion and partial exclusion. Whether and with what decisiveness the question "for me or against me" is raised, is determined by no means merely by the logical precision of its content, nor by the passion with which the soul insists upon this content, but rather by the relation of the questioner to his social circle. The narrower and more compact this circle is, the less can the agent coexist with others than those who are of entirely similar minds ; and the more his ideal demand synthesizes the totality of all the latter as a unity, the more uncompromising will be, in each case, the pressing of the question "for or against." The radicalism . with which Jesus formulates this alternative rests upon the unlimited strength of the feeling of the peculiar unity of all those to whom his message has come. That there can be, with reference to this message, not merely acceptance or rejection, but only acceptance or hostility, this is the strongest expression of the unlimited unity of those who belong with him and of the unlimited externality of those who do not belong with him. The struggle, the being against me, is always a decisive relationship; it proclaims a still stronger subjective unity, although perverse in its tendency, than the indifferent standing by, and the compromising half-and-half doing. The basal sociological feeling will consequently impel to the division of the whole complex of elements into two parties. Where, on the contrary, that passionate, comprehensive feeling with reference to the whole is lacking, which constrains each to take a positive attitude of acceptance or of attack with reference to the emerging idea or demand ; where every fractional group contents itself essentially with its existence as a partial group, without taking seriously the demand for inclusion of the whole, there a platform is given for
(165) a multiplicity of party structures, for tolerance, for intermediate parties, for a scale of graded changes. That epochs in which great masses are set in motion closely correspond with the dualism of parties, exclude indifferentism, and degrade the influence of mediating parties, is intelligible from the radicalism which we have observed as the character of mass movements. The simplicity of the ideas by which these are led demands a decisive yes or no. In the presence of the fundamental practical problems, there are, as a rule, only those two simple standpoints, while there may be innumerable that are mixed and thus mediating. In the same way, as a rule every energetic movement within a group, from the domestic group through the whole series of interest communities up to the political, will tend to promote stratification into a pure dualism. The accelerated tempo in the evolution of interests in the progress through stages of development, urges constantly toward more definitive decisions and separations. All mediations require time and leisure; quiet and stagnant epochs, in which the live questions are not stirred up, but are left covered by the regularity of the everyday interests, easily permit unobserved transitions to occur, and they give room for indifferent personalities which a more energetic tendency would necessarily drag into the antithesis of the principal parties. The typical difference of the sociological constellation remains thereby evidently always that of the two or of three chief parties. In the function of the third, namely, that of mediating between two extremes, several may share in graded degrees. This function is, so to speak, only a sort of extension or refinement in the technical equipment of the principle. This mediation itself, however, the decisive modification of the configuration from within, occurs only through the addition of the third party.
The role which the third party plays, and the configurations ' which result between three social elements, are herewith already indicated in large measure. The two presented both the first synthesis and unification and also the first separation and antithesis. The appearance of the third denotes transition, conciliation, abandonment of the absolute antithesis-sometimes, indeed,
(166) also the founding of such an antithesis. The tri-unity as such appears to me to produce three sorts of typical group-forms, which on the one hand are not possible with two elements, on the other hand, in case of a number greater than three, are either likewise excluded, or are merely extended quantitatively without changing their form-type.
1. The unpartisan and the mediator.-It is a highly effective sociological fact that the common relationship of isolated elements to a potentiality existing outside of themselves produces a unification between them-beginning with the league of states which is formed for defense against a common enemy, and extending to the "invisible church," which composes all believers into a unity, through the like relation of all to the one God. This society-constructing mediation of a third element is, however, to be treated in a later connection. For the third element has here such a distance, so far as the two others are concerned, that a real sociological reciprocity which embraces the three elements in a unity is not at hand. We have rather configurations of twos, since either the relation of those who act together is in question sociologically, or that which exists between them as a unity, on the one hand, and the center of interests in contrast with them, on the other hand. At this point, however, the question is concerning three elements so close to each other, or so approaching each other, that they permanently or temporarily constitute a group.
In the most significant case of bipartite combinations, namely, monogamous marriage, the child or the children, as a third element, may often exercise the function of holding the whole together. In the case of many nature peoples, the marriage is only considered actually complete or as indissoluble when a child is born. The ground for this rests, of course, in the value which the child has for the man, and in his inclination, sanctioned by statute or custom, to disown a childless wife. The actual result, however, is that this third additional element really for the first time closes the circle by binding the two others together. This may occur in two forms. Either the existence of the third element immediately produces or strength-
(167) -ens the attachment of the two, as for example, when the birth of a child increases the love of the parents for each other, or, at least, that of the man for the wife, or the relation of each one of the two to the third produces a new and indirect attachment between them, as the common cares of parents for a child universally signify a bond which must always lead beyond this child, and does not consist of sympathies which could spare this intermediate station. This coming into existence of essential socialization out of three elements, while the two elements of themselves offer resistance to socialization, is the reason why many essentially disharmonious married pairs wish for no children. It is the instinct that therewith a circle would be closed, within which they would be bound closer together-and that not externally alone, but also in the profounder psychic strata -than they are inclined to be. It is by no means a contradictory case if sometimes very intimate and passionate unions prefer to be childless. In such instances the immediate attachment is so strong that if a third element were to enter the circle, even though it is indirectly an element of cohesion, it would stimulate consciousness not so much of the attachment, which already exists in its highest degree, but rather of the indirectness of the relation through the third factor, which would thus operate relatively as an interruption. We must not overlook the fact, which is of the highest importance for all human attachment, that every mediation inserts itself between the elements which are to be combined, and thus separates in the very act of uniting them. When mediation is no longer necessary, this factor of interposition and separation, latent in every mediation, is accentuated : where mediation is superfluous, it is for that very reason worse than superfluous, and becomes quite as obnoxious as where its unifying function as such is not desired.
Another variation of mediation occurs when the third element functions as a nonpartisan. In that case the mediator will either secure a consensus of the other two colliding elements, in which instance the mediator seeks to eliminate himself, and only to bring to pass that the two disunited or ununited parties may unite directly; or he acts as arbitrator and
( 168) attempts to reconcile to each other the conflicting claims, and to eliminate whatever in them is irreconcilable. The conflicts between laborers and employers have produced both forms, especially in England. We find boards of conciliation in which the parties, under the presidency of a nonpartisan, put an end to quarrels by conferences. The mediator in this form brings about reconciliation, to be sure, only when, in the belief of both parties, the circumstances in themselves indicate the advantage of peace; in a word, when the real situation in itself justifies peace. Apart from matter-of-course removal of misunderstandings, appeals to good intentions, etc., the way is prepared for progress of this belief among the parties, through the mediation of the nonpartisan, somewhat in the following manner : While the nonpartisan holds the claims and the arguments of the one party before the other, they lose the tone of that subjective passion which produces the like on the other side. Here appears, in a wholesome way, what is so often to be regretted ; namely, that the feeling which accompanies a psychic content within its first agent, within a second, to whom this content is transferred, is considerably weakened. For that reason recommendations and testimonials which must first pass several intermediate persons are so often impotent, even if their objective content comes with no real diminution to the person who is to give the final decision. In the transfer affective imponderabilities are lost which not only insufficient actual reasons replace, but even sufficient ones supply with the impulse for realization. This fact, which is highly significant for the development of purely psychical influences, brings to pass, in the simple case of a third mediating social element, that the modulations of feeling which accompany the demand, because they are formulated from one unpartisan side and represented to the other, suddenly fall away from the material content, and thus the circle fatal to all conciliation is avoided, viz., that the intensity of the one provokes that of the other, and then the latter reacts to increase the violence of the first, and so on until there is no stopping-place. More than this, each party not merely hears more objective statement, but each must also
( 169) express himself more objectively than in the case of immediate confronting of the contestant. For now it is an object to each party to win over the mediator also to its standpoint. Where the third party is not arbitrator, but merely the leader of the attempted reconciliation, and must constantly hold himself this side of actual decision, whereas the arbitrator finally takes a decided position on one side, this winning of the mediator's approval can be hoped for only on the basis of the most real grounds. Within the range of sociological technique there is nothing which so effectively promotes the uniting of conflicting parties as their objectivity ; that is, the attempt to let the bare material-content underneath the complaints and demands speak for itself-to put it in philosophic terms, to let the objective spirit of the party standpoint speak-so that the persons appear only as the irrelevant vehicles of the same. The personal form in which objective contents are subjectively living must pay for its warmth, its shading, its depth of feeling, with the keenness of the antagonism which it produces in cases of conflict ; the toning down of this personal factor is the condition upon which agreement and understanding are attainable between the opponents ; and this is the case especially because only under such conditions does each party actually perceive what the other must insist upon. Psychologically expressed, the problem is that of reducing the volitional form of antagonism to the intellectual: the understanding is everywhere the principle of consensus; upon it as a basis there may be accommodation of those things which, upon the basis of feeling and of final appeal to the will, irreconcilably repel each other. The mediator's office is, then, to promote this reduction, to represent it at the same time in himself, or, otherwise expressed, to constitute a sort of central station which, in whatever form the controverted material may come in from one side, may give it out to the other side only in objective form, and may hold bark everything over and above the objective which needlessly encourages strife carried on without mediation.
For the analysis of community life it is important to make clear that the constellation just characterized constantly occurs
( 170) in all groups which count more than two elements, even where the mediator is not specially chosen, and is not, as such, particularly known or designated. The group of three is here only type and scheme. All cases of mediation finally reduce to its form. There is no community of threes, from the conversation for an hour up to family life, in which there does not presently occur dissension, now between this pair, now between that, harmless or acute, momentary or permanent, of theoretical or practical nature, and in which the third does not exercise a mediatorial function. This occurs countless times in quite rudimentary ways, perhaps only in suggestive fashion, mixed with other actions and reciprocal relationships from which it is impossible to abstract the mediating function distinctly. Such mediations need not occur in words: a gesture, a way of listening, the quality of feeling which proceeds from a person, suffices to give to this dissent between two others a direction toward consensus, to make the essentially common underneath an acute difference of opinion perceptible, to bring this into the form in which it will most easily exert its proper influence. The issue need by no means be a real strife or struggle. It is rather the thousand easy varieties of opinion, the jarring of an antagonism of natures, the emergence of quite momentary antitheses of interest or feeling, which color the fluctuating form of every association, and is constantly modified in its course by the presence of the third party, who almost of necessity exercises the mediatorial function. This function passes around among the three elements in rotation, so to speak, since the ebb and flow of associated life constantly realize this form in the case of every possible combination of the elements.
The nonpartisanship demanded for mediation may have two sorts of pre-condition. The third party is nonpartisan if he is either beyond the interests and opinions which separate the others and is thus untouched by them, or if he shares in hotly in equal degrees. The former case is the simplest, and it involves the smallest number of complications. In conflicts between English laborers and employers, for example, a nonpartisan is often called in who must be neither laborer nor employer. In
(171) this case the decisiveness with which the above emphasized separation of the material from the personal elements of the conflict is realized, is very noticeable. According to the presumption, the nonpartisan attaches no sort of personal interest to the material content of the partisan position. In him they are weighed merely as in a purely impersonal intellect, without affecting any subjective stratum of his personality. For the persons or the combinations of persons, however, who are the parties to these which for him are purely theoretical conflicts, he must have a subjective interest, for he would otherwise not undertake the function of mediator. Here, therefore, a purely objective mechanism will at the same time be set in motion by a subjective impulse; personal distance from the objective significance of the quarrel and interest in its subjective meaning must coexist in order to mark the status of the nonpartisan, and make him the more fitted for his function, the more distinctly each is differentiated in itself, and the more as a unity the two can work precisely in this differentiation.
The position of the nonpartisan tends to more complicated formation when he owes his position to equal participation in the contradictory interests instead of to indifference to both. A mediatorial status upon this basis is often made possible when a personality belongs locally to another circle of interests from that which is immediately concerned with the material question. Thus, for example, in earlier times the bishops could often intervene between the secular lord of their diocese and the pope. In the same way the administrative functionary whois involved in the special interests of his district may be the most appropriate mediator when a collision occurs between these interests and the general interests of the state of which he is an official. Likewise the degree of nonpartisanship and simultaneous interest which qualifies for mediation between two locally separated groups is often found in the case of persons who came from one of the groups and live in the other. 1 he difficulty of such position of mediator usually consists in the fact that the equality of his interest for both parties, his essential equilibrium of interest, is not securely demonstrable, and is often enough suspected by
( 172) both parties. A still more difficult and often tragic situation occurs, however, when it is not such separated interest-provinces of the third party with which he is attached to each of the others, but when his whole personality is close to both. This case is most sharply defined when the object of struggle cannot be distinctly objectified, and the essential significance of the struggle is only an excuse or an accidental occasion for deeper personal incompatibilities. In such a case the third party, who is intimately united by love or duty, by destiny or habit, with each of the two in equal degrees, will be directly consumed by the conflict much more than if he placed himself upon one of the two sides. This is all the more the case since in these instances the equilibrium of his interests, which permits no onesided decision, usually leads to no successful mediation, because reduction to a merely material antithesis is impossible. This is the type of very many family conflicts. Whereas the mediator who is nonpartisan through equal distance from the contestants can with relative ease do justice to both, he who is mediator by reason of equal nearness to both will find it very much more difficult, and will come personally into the most painful dualism of feeling. On that account, in case the mediator is chosen, under otherwise similar circumstances the equally uninterested will be preferred to the equally interested; as, for example, Italian cities in the Middle Ages often got their judges from other cities in order to be sure of their freedom from prejudice with reference to internal party quarrels.
Herewith is the transition given to the second form of unification by means of the nonpartisan: that is, to arbitration. So long as the third party works as a real mediator, the ending of the conflict rests finally in the hands of the parties themselves. By choice of the arbitrator they have put this ultimate decision out of their own hands. They have at the same time projected their purpose of conciliation beyond themselves. It has become a person in the arbitrator, whereby it attains special distinctness and energy in contrast with the antagonistic forces. The voluntary appeal to an arbitrator, to whom the parties subordinate themselves a priori, presupposes a greater subjective confidence
( 173) in the objectivity of the judgment than any other form of decision, for even before the civic court the action of the appellant only proceeds from confidence in the justness of the decision (since he regards that decision as just which is favorable to himself); the respondent must take part in the process, whether he believes in the nonpartisanship of the judge or not. Arbitration, however, occurs, as was said, only through this belief on both sides. In principle mediation is differentiated from arbitration very sharply by the difference thus pointed out, and the more official the conciliatory action is, the more tenaciously will this differentiation be kept in mind, from the conflicts between capitalists and laborers mentioned above, to those of high politics, in which the "friendly offices" of a government, for the adjustment of a conflict between two others, are something quite different from the function of arbitrator which the ruler of a third land is sometimes invited to undertake. In the everyday affairs of private life, where the typical group of three constantly forces the one into the evident or latent, complete or partial, difference between the other two, very many intermediate grades are produced. In the endless multiplicity of possible relationships the appeal of the parties to the third, and his voluntary or even forcibly undertaken efforts for unity will give him a status in which the mediatorial and the arbitrative element cannot always be separated. As preparation for understanding of the actual structure of human societies, and of their indescribable fulness and mobility, it is highly important to sharpen the vision for such additions and transitions, for the merely suggested and again disappearing forms of relationships, for their embryonic and fragmentary realizations. The examples in which, in each case, one of the concepts constructed for these forms of relationship is distinctly represented, are, to be sure, indispensable technical devices of sociology; but they have very much the same relation to the actual life of society which the approximately exact spatial forms with which we exemplify geometrical theorems have to the immeasurable complexity of the real forms of matter.
On the whole, in accordance with all the foregoing, the existence of the nonpartisan serves to promote the stability of the
(174) group; as provisional representative of the intellectual energy, in contrast with the momentary disposition of the parties to be controlled more by will and feeling, he reinforces these parties, so to speak, to completeness of the psychic unity which resides in the life of the group. He is, on the one side, the retarding factor opposed to the impulsiveness of the other, while, on the contrary, he may carry and lead the movement of the whole group in case the antagonism of the two other elements would paralyze its energy. Nevertheless, this result may be transformed into its opposite. In case of the assumed correlation the elements of the group that are intellectually most endowed will especially incline to nonpartisanship, because cool intelligence is likely to find light and shade on both sides, and is not likely to find objective equity wholly on either side. Consequently the most intelligent elements are often unable to exert influence upon the decision of conflicts, although such influence from precisely such a quarter were highly to be wished. Just such elements as these should throw their weight into the balance when the group must choose between yes and no, since with their help the balance would be the more likely to incline toward the right side. If, therefore, nonpartisanship does not contribute to practical mediation, the consequence will be that through its connection with the intellectuality of the group the decision will be left to the play of the more foolish, or at least the more prejudiced, forces of the group. If, consequently, the nonpartisan attitude as such is so often, since Solon, the object of disapproval, the fact is, in the social sense, very salutary, and it runs back to a much deeper instinct for the welfare of the whole than merely to the suspicion of cowardice, to which nonpartisanship is often, though also often quite falsely, liable.
2. The tertius gaudens.-The nonpartisanship of the third element has benefited or injured the group as a whole, in the combinations thus far discussed. The mediator and the arbitrator alike wish to preserve the group unity against the danger of disruption. The nonpartisan, however, may use his relatively superior status in a purely egotistic interest. While in the former cases he acted as a means to the ends of the group, in this case,
( 175) on the contrary, he makes the reciprocal occurrences between the parties and between himself and the parties a means for his own ends. Here we have to do not always with previously consolidated structures, in the social life of which this occurrence emerges by the side of others, but now the relationship between the parties and the nonpartisan is often formed ad hoe. Elements which otherwise constitute no reciprocal unity may come into conflict; a third, previously unattached to both alike, may seize, by means of a spontaneous action, the opportunities which this conflict gives to him, the nonpartisan, and thus may set up a purely precarious reciprocity, whose vitality and richness of forms may for each element be entirely out of proportion to the fluidity of its constitution.
I note, without further discussion, two forms of the tertius gaudens, because the reciprocity within the tetrad, with the typical forms of which we are here concerned, does not appear very characteristically in these instances. Rather is the significant thing in these cases a certain passivity, which rests either upon the two contestants or upon the third element. The forms are these : In the first place the advantage of the third may be produced by the fact that the two others hold each other reciprocally in check, and he can now make a gain which one of these two would otherwise contest with him. The quarrel brings about in this instance merely a paralyzing of forces which, if they could, would turn against the third. The situation in this case thus really suspends the reciprocity between the three elements, instead of establishing it, without on that account, it must be added, excluding the most appreciable results for all three. We have to treat the intentional production of this situation in the case of the next configuration of threes. In the second place, advantage may accrue to the third party merely because the action of the one contending party realizes this advantage for purposes of its own, and without the necessity of using any initiative on the part of the person reaping the advantage. The type for this form is furnished by the benefactions and the promotions which a party may confer upon a third, merely for the sake of thereby embarrassing the opposing party.
(176) For instance, the English laws for the protection of labor had their origin at first partly in the mere spite of the Tories against the Liberal manufacturers, and in the same way competition for popularity has produced very many ostensibly philanthropic actions. Strange as it is, it is a peculiarly petty and malicious temper which, for the sake of afflicting a second, confers a benefit upon a third. That indifference to the self-serving effects of philanthropy which is proper to altruism cannot more sharply appear than through such an exploiting of it. Moreover, it is doubly characteristic that one may reach the end of irritating the opponent both through the favors which one shows to his friend and through those conferred upon his enemy.
The formations of this type which are more essential at this point, result when the third party, for reasons of prudence respecting his own interests, adopts an attitude of practical support toward the one party (that is, not merely by way of intellectual decision, as in the case of the arbitrator) and from this attitude derives his mediate or immediate gain. Within this form there are two chief variations; namely, two parties are hostile to each other, and for that reason compete for the favor of a third; or two parties compete for the favor of a third, and are for that reason hostile to each other. This difference has specially important bearings upon the further development of the constellation. If an already existing hostility makes in the direction of an attempt by each party to get the favor of the third, the decision of this competition, that is, the attachment of the third to the one party, will really mean the beginning of the conflict. On the other hand, in case the two elements independent of each other seek the favor of a third, and this constitutes the ground of their hostility, of their partisanship, the final assignment of this favor, which is in this case end, not means, of the strife, will terminate the same. The decision is reached, and further hostility is therewith made meaningless. In both cases the advantage of nonpartisanship, with which the tertius originally stood in antithesis with the other two, consists in the fact that he can set his own conditions for the decision. Where, for any reason, this assignment of conditions is denied
(177) to him, the situation does not bring to him the complete advantage. Thus, in one of the most frequent cases of the second type, namely, the competition of two persons of the same sex for the favor of the same person of the opposite sex. In this case the decision of the latter does not in general depend in the same sense upon the will of the latter as that of a purchaser between competing vendors, or that of a prince dispensing favors between competing solicitors. It is rather given through existing feelings, which are not determinable by will, and to that extent do not permit the decision to depend on completely free choice. For that reason we are not here speaking of proposals, the significance of which is merely the guidance of choice, and, although the situation of the tertius gaudens is completely given, its specific utilization is on the whole forbidden. The most comprehensive illustration of the tertius gaudens is the purchasing public under a regime of free competition. The struggle of the producers for purchasers gives to the latter almost complete independence of the individual source of supply, although the purchaser is completely dependent upon the aggregate of sellers, and therefore a coalition among them would at once reverse the relationship. The former situation of independence permits the purchaser to make his purchases conditional upon satisfaction of his demands as to quality and price of the goods. His status thus has, moreover, the special advantage that the producers must even seek to anticipate these conditions, to guess the unspoken or unconscious wishes of the consumer, to suggest to him conditions that are not present, or to accustom him to desirable conditions. From the first-mentioned case of the woman between two admirers, in which, because the decision depends upon their personality, and not upon their actions, she does not set conditions, and therefore does not exploit the situation, a continuous series of phenomena leads up to the case of modern commerce, from which the element of personal characteristic is completely eliminated, and in which the advantage of the party selecting extends so far that the competing parties even relieve him of the trouble of advancing the conditions to their maximum. This last is the utmost which the situation of tertius gaudens can accomplish for the latter.
Of the other formation, namely, that a conflict originally entirely unrelated to the third party forces its opponents to compete for the help of the latter, the history of every alliance, from that between states to that between members of a family, usually furnishes examples. The very simple typical course of events gains, however, in such a modification as the following, a peculiar sociological interest. In order to produce this advantageous situation for the third party, the energy which he is called upon to bring to bear by no means need possess a considerable quantity in proportion to that of either party. On the contrary, the necessary amount of the energy which he must have for the purpose is determined exclusively by the relationship which the energies of the parties exhibit toward each other. Evidently all that is necessary is that the addition of his reserve force to one of these shall give to the same a preponderance. When, therefore, the quantities of force are practically equal, a minimum of addition often suffices in order to give a final decision to one of the sides. Hence the frequent influence of small parliamentary parties, an influence which they could never win by their proper significance, but only through the fact that they are able to turn the scale between the great parties. Wherever majorities decide, that is, where everything often depends upon a single vote, the possibility exists that utterly insignificant parties may set the most relentless conditions for their support. The like may occur in the relationship of smaller to larger states when the latter are in conflict. It is merely necessary that the energies of two antagonistic elements paralyze each other, in order that the never so weak position of the unattached third party may attain to unlimited strength. Elements that are strong in themselves will, of course, profit not less from this situation, and especially because it frequently spares them the real mobilization of power. The advantages of the tertius gaudens will accrue to him from the situation here indicated, not merely when actual conflict occurs, but even from a tension and latent antagonism between the others. He functions in such a case through the mere possibility of giving his adhesion to the one or to the other, even if it does not come to
(179) the serious extreme. This variation was illustrated in the case of English politics at the transition from mediaeval to modern time; that is, it appeared in the fact that England no longer sought possessions and immediate power upon the continent, but always possessed a power which stood potentially between the continental governments. Already in the sixteenth century it was said: " France and Spain are the scales of the European balance; England, however, is the tongue or the holder of the balance." This case occurs, however, only when the potential capacity of the third party is considerable, because, if this power is transformed into a merely potential operation, it sacrifices in a very large degree its effective force, and it withdraws to a distance at which a power that is not very substantial would no longer enjoy much respect.
But the advantage which accrues to the third party from the fact that he has to the two others a relationship a priori equal, equally independent, and for that very reason decisive, is not solely dependent upon the fact that these two are in a relationship of hostility. It is enough, on the contrary, that between them there is only a certain degree of variation, alienation, or qualitative dualism. This is, indeed, the universal formula of the type, of which the hostility of the elements constitutes merely a special, although the most frequent, case. The following, for instance, is a very characteristic situation of advantage for a tertius, resulting from the mere duality: If B is under obligations to perform for A a certain definitely limited duty, and this obligation passes from B to C and D, between whom the performance is to be divided, it is a very natural temptation for A to impose upon each of the two, if possible, a fraction more than the half, so that in the aggregate he enjoys more than before, when the duty was in a single hand. In 1751 the government of Bohemia was obliged to forbid, in the case of the division of peasant holdings by the proprietors, the imposition upon each partial holding of more than its proportional share of the burden of customary service which attached to the undivided holding. In division of an obligation between two, the impression prevails that each individual has still less to do than the former individual
( 180) upon whom the whole rested. The precise balancing of the quantity consequently becomes a secondary matter, and may thus easily be omitted. While here, therefore, as it were, the mere numerical fact of the duality, instead of the unity, of the party produces the situation of the tertius gaudens, in the following case it arises from a duality that is determined by qualitative differences. The juridical prerogative of the English king after the Norman conquest, which was something unknown to mediaeval Germany, is to be explained as follows: William the Conqueror encountered existing rights of the Anglo-Saxon population, which had to be respected in principle, and at the same time his Normans brought with them their peculiar rights; but these two legal complexes did not harmonize. They produced no unity of popular rights as opposed to the king, who could, by means of the unity of his interest, interpose between the two and to a considerable extent annul them. In the cleavage between the nations-not merely because they were in constant friction with each other, but because their very divergency forbade their uniting upon a law to be maintained in common-was the pillar of absolutism, and consequently its power steadily declined so soon as the two nationalities actually dissolved into a single one.
The favored status of the third party disappears, as a matter of course, at the moment in which the two others come together in a unity; that is, the grouping reverts in the respect that is now in question from the triad to the dyad type. It is instructive not merely with reference to the special problem, but as to group life in general, that this result may also occur without personal unification or consolidation of interests, while the object of antagonism is withdrawn from the conflict of subjective determination through objective fixation. The following case seems clearly to illustrate this generalization. Since modern industry leads to incessant interpenetration of the most numerous occupations, and constantly sets new tasks which do not belong historically to existing occupations, it produces, especially in England, very frequent conflicts about prerogative between the different classes of laborers. In the great industries the ship-
(181) -builders are in constant conflict with the carpenters, the tinmen with the blacksmiths, the boilermakers with the metal-workers, the masons with the roofers, as to which of them has a right to do a certain piece of work. Each trade quits work at once when it believes that another trade has invaded its rightful province. The insoluble contradiction in this case is that definite boundaries are assumed for subjective rights in objects which in their nature are in perpetual flux. Such conflicts between laborers have frequently very seriously disturbed their status as related to employers. The employer has a moral advantage so soon as his workmen strike on account of their differences with each other, and thus cause him immeasurable loss, and it is furthermore in his power to constrain at will each separate trade by the threat of employing another trade to do the work in question. The economic interest of each trade in preventing the transfer of the work rests upon the fear that the competing laborer may do it cheaper, and thus eventually depress the standard of wages for this work. It is consequently proposed, as the one possible solution, that the trade organizations in conference with the associated employers should set a standard of wages for each distinct kind of work, and then leave it to the employers to decide which class of laborers they will employ for the work in hand. In that case the excluded trade need not fear any harm to its economic interest in principle. Through the objectification of the matter in controversy, the employer loses the advantage in respect to depression of wages, and the playing off of the two parties against each other, although he retains the choice between the different bodies of workmen. The former indefiniteness between the personal and the material element is thus differentiated, and while in respect to the first the employer is still in the situation of the tertius gaudens, the objective fixation of the second has taken from this situation the chances for its exploitation.
Many of the species of conflict referred to here, and in the next formation, must have co-operated in the case of the secular powers of the Middle Ages, to produce or to increase the power of the mediaeval church. In the presence of the perpetual dis-
( 182) -turbances and conflicts in the larger and smaller political areas, the one stable power, which for its own sake was already honored or feared by each party, must necessarily have gained an incomparable prerogative. Times without number it is only the stability of the third party, in the changing stadia of the struggle, its indifference to the material in controversy, about which the parties oscillate up and down, which brings to it superiority and chances for gain. The more violently, and especially the longer, the struggle of parties keeps their positions in doubt, the more superior, respected, and advantageous will firmness and persistence, purely as a formal fact, make the position of a third party, even when, beyond this superiority given by the sociological form, those struggles lead to accumulations of power and developments of worth which are not assured by the stability and greater or less inflexibility of the third. Of this everywhere observable constellation there is probably no more gigantic example than that of the Catholic church. For the universal characterization of the tertius gaudens, applicable to all its forms, it is to be added that among the causes of his prerogative belongs the mere difference of psychical energies which he and the two others bring into the relationship. What I mentioned above in connection with the nonpartisan in general, namely that he represented rather the intellectuality, the contestants rather the feeling and the willing, gives him, in case he wants to exploit the situation egoistically, a controlling situation, as it were enthroned upon an ideal height, with that external advantage which in every complication he possesses who is not concerned with it on the affective side. And even where he declines practical exploitation of his more unprejudiced insight, and of his not previously engaged but always disposable powers, his situation brings him at least the feeling of an easy ironical superiority over the parties who for such an indifferent price, as it, seems to him, risk so very much.
3. Divide et impera.-In these combinations of the triad scheme we have to do with an existing or an emerging conflict of two elements, from which the third derives an advantage; it is now a variation to be regarded as separate, although it is in
( 183) reality not always separable, that the third instigates the difference intentionally, in order to gain a controlling situation. It is also to be premised in this case that the triple number is, as a matter of course, only the minimum number of the elements requisite for this formation, and consequently it may serve as the most simple scheme. The essential fact here in question is that two elements are opposed to a third, and in this opposition they are either combined with each other or dependent upon each other, and that the third is able to set in motion against each other the two powers which are combined against him. The consequence is, then, that they either hold the balance against each other, so that he, undisturbed by the two, may follow his advantage, or that they reciprocally so weaken each other that neither of them can withstand the superior power of the third. I proceed to characterize a few steps of the scale in which one may arrange the phenomena here in question. The most simple occurs when a superior power prevents the uniting of elements which do not positively attempt to form such a union, but still might perhaps make such an attempt. Here belong first of all the legal prohibitions of political combinations, both of such combinations in general, and of unions between societies which are individually permitted. In this case there may be present as a rule no distinct fear, no determinable endangering of the ruling powers by such combinations. But the form of unification as such is feared, because it might possibly result in its appropriation of a dangerous content. The experience that revolutionary tendencies or movements, aimed toward modification of the existing order, take the form of unification of as many interested parties as possible, grows to the logically false but psychologically very intelligible inversion that all combinations have a tendency aimed against existing authorities. The prohibition is therefore based, as it were, upon a possibility of the second power : not only are the combinations forbidden from the start merely possible, and frequently do not have so much as an existence in the wish of the persons so held apart, but also the dangers on account of which the prohibition issues may have been, even if the combinations had been realized, only possible
( 184) ones. In the form of these prohibitions of association the divide et impera occurs, therefore, as the most highly sublimated thinkable prophylaxis of the one element, against all eventualities from the combination of the others. This preventive form can also recur in qualitatively the same fashion, in case the multiplicity which is in contrast with the one consists of the various elements of power in one and the same personality. The Anglo-Norman monarchy took care that the fiefs in feudal times were as widely scattered as possible. Some of the most powerful vassals had their lands in from seventeen to twenty-one shires. Through this principle of local separation, the domains of the crown vassals could not, as on the continent, be consolidated into great sovereign principalities.
The prophylactic prevention of unification operates now more distinctly in case there exists a direct endeavor for union. Under this scheme belongs the phenomenon-complicated, to be sure, with other motives-that employers generally hesitate most decidedly to treat of conflicts about wages and other matters with third persons, who do not belong to their own body of laborers. They thereby not only prevent the laborers from strengthening their position, by combination with another personality with nothing either to fear or to gain from the employer, but they also embarrass the unified program of the labor bodies of different trades which, for example, is aimed at the introduction of a single scale of wages everywhere. By declining the offices of the intermediary person, who could at the same time treat for several bodies of labor, the employer heads off the threatening combination of the laborers. As a measure against the existing efforts in that direction, this is regarded as so important for his position that combinations of employers frequently impose upon each of their members this isolation of their workmen, in case of conflicts and conferences, as a part of the stipulated duty of their membership.
This preventing of combination between the elements attains, instead of a merely prohibitive, an active form in case the third party instigates jealousy between them. We have not here in mind the cases in which he instigates hostilities between the
( 185) other two in order to produce at their cost a new order of things; but the facts here in question are frequently conservative tendencies, the third party tries to maintain his already existing prerogative through preventing a dreaded coalition of the two others, by means of jealousy between them, at the beginning or at least early in the course of the development of the combination beyond its first elements. There is especial likelihood of utilizing this constellation in case the two personalities to be restrained from combination already possess certain competencies; property, official station, social rank, etc. These furnish the appropriate objects of jealousy. For that reason this technique of divide et impera is not easily applicable in the case of personalities low in the social scale or without property. Use was made of this form with a special finesse in a case which is recorded in ancient Peru. It was the universal practice of the Incas to divide a newly conquered race into two approximately equal halves, and to instal in each a magistrate, but with a slight difference of rank between the two. This was in fact the means best calculated to produce between these two chieftains a rivalry which prevented all unified action of the subjugated territory against the conquerors. Not merely a quite equal position, but also a very different one, would have made such coherence more readily possible ; the former because, in the case of ultimate action, actual halving of the leadership would have been practicable more than any other relationship, and because, in case subordination were necessary, actual peers can easiest adapt themselves to such a technical necessity ; the latter, because in that case the leadership of the one would have encountered no opposition. The trivial difference in rank offers the least encouragement to an organic and satisfying relationship in the here dreaded union, since the one, because of his plus, would undoubtedly have demanded the unlimited prerogative, while the minus of the other was not significant enough to make him resign the same ambition. Along with jealousy, suspicion is the chief psychological means which is applied to the like purpose, and which in contrast with the former suffices to restrain great multitudes from oath-bound combinations. The Venetian govern-
( 186) - ment used this means most effectively by offering extraordinary inducements to the people to denounce any sort of suspicious character. No one knew whether his nearest acquaintance was not in the service of the civic inquisition, and consequently revolutionary plans, which presupposed the reciprocal confidence of a great collection of persons, were cut off from the root; so that in the later history of Venice public revolts practically did not occur.
The baldest form of divide et impera, the instigation of positive struggle between two elements, may have its purpose in the relation of the third party either to these two, or to an object existing outside of them. The latter occurs in case one of three candidates for an office understands how to instigate the two others against each other, in such a way that by gossip and slander, which each of them sets in motion against the other, they spoil each other's chances. In all cases of this type the art of the third shows itself in the degree of the distance at which he is wise enough to place himself from the action which he instigates. The more he guides the conflict by merely invisible threads, the more he understands how to tend the fire so that it continues to burn without his further assistance and observation, the sharper and directer will be the struggle between the other two, until their reciprocal ruin is accomplished; but, more than that, the prize of the struggle at stake between them, or the objects otherwise of value to the third party, will seem to fall into his lap of themselves. In this technique, too, the Venetians were masters. In order to get control of the estates of nobles upon the mainland, they had the means of conferring high titles upon young or inferior nobles. The indignation of the older and higher nobles, in consequence, always gave occasion for friction and disturbance of the peace between the two parties. Thereupon the Venetian government, with all formal legal observance, confiscated the estates of the delinquents. Precisely in such cases, where the co-operation of the disunited elements against the common oppressor would be of the most evident utility, it is, very evidently, a general condition of divide et impera that enmities should have their sufficient
(187) ground in something more than the collision of material interests.. Only when some occasion for enmity is general, some antagonism which has its active occasion to find, exists in the soul, is it so easy to substitute a quite different opponent from the one against whom enmity would have a meaning and purpose. Divide et impera demands of its artist, that he shall evoke that general condition of excitement and pugnacity in which the smuggling in of an opponent not at all properly indicated can succeed, by means of nagging, slander, flattery, rousing of expectation, etc. Accordingly, the form of the struggle may be entirely separated from its content and its reasonableness. The third party, against whom the enmity of the two others should properly be directed, may, at the same time, make himself invisible between them, so that the clamor of the two does not follow against him, but against each other reciprocally.
In case, finally, the purpose of the third does not reside in an object, but in the immediate control of the two other elements, two sociological points of view are essential.
(1) Certain elements are so formed that they can be successfully opposed only by similar elements. The will to subjugate them finds no proper point of attack in themselves, so that the only thing remaining is, as it were, to divide them against themselves, and to maintain between the divisions a struggle which they now can carry on with homogeneous weapons, until they are sufficiently weakened, and so may fall a prey to the third party. It has been said that England could gain India only by means of India, as Xerxes earlier understood that Greece could best be conquered by means of the Greeks. Precisely those who by likeness of interests are brought together best know reciprocally each other's weaknesses and their vulnerable points, so that the principle of similia similibus-the annihilation of a condition by producing a similar condition-may here be produced in the widest degree. Although reciprocity and unification may best be obtained with a certain degree of qualitative variation, because reinforcement, consolidation, organically differentiated life can thus result, reciprocal disturbance seems to succeed best in case of qualitative likeness, apart, of course,
(188) from so great quantitative superiority in the energy of the one party that the terms of correlation are a matter of utter indifference. The whole category of enmities of which fraternal strife is the extreme derives its radically destructive character precisely from the fact that experience and knowledge, just like the instincts which have their source in the same radical unity, place in the hands of each the most deadly weapon against this very opponent. That which constitutes the basis of the relationship of similars to each other-namely, knowledge of the external situation, and ability to enter sympathetically into the subjective situation-this is evidently quite as much the means of the deepest wounds, which do not allow any opportunity for attack to escape, and it leads, since by its very nature it is reciprocal, to the most utter destruction. Consequently struggle of like against like, the division of the enemy into two qualitatively homogeneous parties, is one of the most thorough realizations of divide et impera.
(2) Where it is not possible for the oppressor to have his purposes carried out so exclusively by his victims themselves, where he must himself enter into their struggle, the scheme is very simple. He simply supports the one until the other is a practically eliminated factor, whereupon the former is his easy prey. This support is most advantageously given to the one who of himself is the stronger. This policy may be carried out in the more negative form, that the more powerful, in a complex of elements which is to be suppressed, may merely be protected. Thus Rome, in its subjugation of Greece, placed upon itself, with respect to Athens and Sparta, the most obvious reserve. This behavior must necessarily produce grievance and envy on the one hand, arrogance and overconfidence on the other, a division which made the booty easy for the oppressor. The technique of a domineering will, namely, of two parties equally interested against the third, to protect the stronger until he has ruined the weaker, and then, with change of front, to proceed against the now isolated party and to subdue him-this technique is not less in favor in case of the establishment of world-empires than in the case of brawls between street urchins, in the manipulation
(189) of political parties by a government not less than in competitive struggle in which, for instance, the three elements opposed to each other are a very powerful financier or manufacturer, and two less important but disagreeable, and in comparison with each other unequal, competitors. In this case, the first mentioned, in order to prevent the coalition of the other two against himself, will enter into an agreement about prices, or amount of production, with the stronger of the two, an agreement which assures to him actual advantages, and through which the weaker is embarrassed. So soon as this has taken place, that more powerful opponent may throw off his previous ally, who has no longer any recourse, and he may annihilate him by underbidding or other methods.
I now pass to a quite different type of those sociological formations which are determined by the numerical definiteness of their elements. In the case of the dyad and triad configurations, we had to do with that inner group-life, with all its differences, syntheses, and antitheses, which develops with this minimum or maximum number of members. The question did not concern the group as a whole, in its relation to others, or to a larger group of which it is a part, but the immanent reciprocal relationship of its elements. If, now, on the contrary, we ask about the significance which the numerical precision betrays in external relations, its most essential function i that it makes possible the subdivision of a group into minor groups. The teleological meaning of this is, as already indicated above, the more ready visibility and docility of the total group, frequently the first organization and proper mechanization of the same. In purely formal respect, the possibility is thereby given of preserving the formation, character, arrangements of divisions of the whole, independent of the quantitative development of the whole. The component parts with which its administration reckons, remain qualitatively always the same sociological factors, and the increase of the whole changes only their multiplier. This is, for example, the enormous advantage of the numerical division of armies; their increase proceeds thereby with relative technical ease because it follows as a
(190) constantly repeated structure of the numerically and organically already fixed type. This advantage attaches itself evidently to numerical definiteness in general, but not to certain numbers only. Nevertheless, a group of a particular number, already mentioned above, is of especial historical significance for social subdivision, namely, the decimal group and its derivatives. Undoubtedly the number of the fingers was the decisive occasion for this grouping of ten members for efforts and responsibilities in a body, which occurred in many of the oldest cultures. While yet entirely lacking arithmetical talent or skill, primitive men had in their fingers a primary principle of orientation, with which to designate a plurality of units, and to visualize their subdivisions and their combinations. This universal and frequently enough emphasized sense of the five and ten principle has, besides, an additional importance for its social application; viz., since the fingers have a relative reciprocal independence and autonomous mobility; since, on the other hand, however, they are indissolubly dependent (it is said in France of two friends ils soot unis comme deux doigts de la main), and thus come to their proper meaning only in their combination, they furnish a highly striking picture of the social unification of individuals. The unity and peculiar co-operative capacity of those small collective elements of larger groups could not be more vividly symbolized. Even in recent time the Czechish secret society Omladina was constituted according to the principle of quintettes. The leadership of the society belonged to numerous "hands," which consisted in each case of a "thumb," i. e., the chief leader, and four "fingers." How strongly the decimal number was regarded as a constituent unity within a greater group is shown perhaps in the case of the custom, which reaches back to the remotest antiquity, of the "decimation" of divisions of armies in the case of revolts, treason, etc. Precisely ten was looked upon as a unity which, for the purpose of penalty; could be presented by a single individual; or an approximate experience worked in co-operation to the effect that in every ten, on the average, a ringleader was to be found. The subdivision of a total group into ten numerically equal parts, although evidently leading to
( 191) a totally different result, and although without materially practical relationship to the subdivision into the ten individuals, appears to me to have been derived psychologically from the latter. As the Jews returned from the second exile, 42,360 Jews with their slaves, they were so subdivided that a tenth, selected by lot, took up their abode in Jerusalem, the remaining nine-tenths in the country. These were too few for the capital, wherefore there was immediately a taking of thought about the increase of the population of Jerusalem. The power of the decimal principle, as a basis of social division, seems thus to have operated blindly against the demands of practice.
The hundred, derived from the decimal principle, is primarily and essentially also a means of subdivision, and historically indeed the most important. I have already observed that it immediately became the conceptual substitute for subdivision in general, so that its name remained attached to the subgroup even when the latter contained considerably more or fewer members. The Hundreds appeared-most decisively perhaps in the important role that they play in the government of AngloSaxon England-at the same time as the idea of the subordinate group in general, whose inner meaning their incomplete realization does not alter. It is, in this instance, very notable that the Hundreds in ancient Peru still voluntarily paid their tribute to the Incas, with the exertion of all their powers, after they were reduced to a fourth of their typical number. In this case the fundamental sociological fact is that these territorial associations were regarded as unities beyond their members. Since, however, the liability to taxation, as it appears, rested not on the society, as such, but upon its hundred participants, the assumption of this obligation by the remaining twenty-five shows the more distinctly that the hundred was regarded as a unity of absolute and essential solidarity. The strong centripetality Which thus rules this structure enforces the suggestion that its significance is to be found, not merely in its utility as a principle of division, which is at best something external to it, and with which it serves the larger circumscribing group. Apart from this, therefore, it is found, in fact, that the number of one
(192) hundred members, purely as such, lends to the group a special significance and dignity. The nobility in Locri Epizephyrii traced its origin back to noble-women of the so-called "hundred houses " that had shared in the founding of the colony. In the same way, tradition has it that the original settlements by which Rome was founded comprised a hundred Latin gentes, a hundred Sabellic, and a hundred composed of various elements. The complete number of one hundred members evidently lends the group a certain style, the precisely and accurately limited outline, in contrast with which every somewhat smaller or larger number appears, to a certain extent, vague and less complete in itself. The hundred has an essential unity and system which made it especially available for every genealogical mythology, a species of symmetry and of rational necessity, while all other numbers of group-elements seemed to be accidental, not in like manner cohering of inner necessity, not equally unchangeable in their proper essential structure. The peculiarly adequate relation to our intellectual categories, the easy visibility of the number one hundred, which makes it so available as a principle of subdivision, thus appears as a reflex of an objective peculiarity of the group, which accrues to the latter from this numerical precision.
This just-mentioned qualification is completely separate from those previously treated. In the case of the dyad and triad combinations, the number determined the proper inner life of the group, but it does this still not as quantity ; the group displays all those phenomena, not because it, as a whole, has this size, but the essential thing is definite relationships of each individual element, on account of reaction with one or with two other elements. Quite different was the case with all survivals of the number of the fingers. Here the ground of the synthesis lay in the more convenient visibility, organization, docility; in short, properly not in the group itself, but in the agent that had theoretically or practically to deal with it. A third significance of the number of members is connected finally with the fact that the group objectively and as a whole-that is, without distinction of the individual positions of the elements-betrays
( 193) certain qualities only below or above a definite extent. This has been treated above quite generally in connection with the difference between large and small groups. The question now arises, however, whether traits of character in the total group are not derived from definite numbers of members, in which case, of course, the reactions between the individuals constitute the real and decisive event. The question merely assumes, however, that not the members in their individuality, but their assemblage in a picture of the whole, now constitutes the object of inquiry. The facts which point to this significance of the group-quantity all belong in a single type, namely, the legal prescriptions as to the minimum or maximum membership of associations in order that, as such, they may lay claim to certain functions or rights, or may be liable to the performance of certain obligations. The ground for this is close at hand. The special qualities which associations develop on the ground of their membership, and which justify the legal prescription with reference to them, would, to be sure, always be the same, attached to the same number, if there were no psychological differences between men, and the effect of a group followed its quantity as exactly as is the case with the dynamic action of a moved homogeneous mass of matter. The inevitable individual differences of the members, however, make all precise and anticipatory determinations completely elusive. They bring it to pass that the same degree of energy or thoughtlessness, of centralizaton or decentralization, of self-sufficiency or need of leadership, which once appears in a group of definite numbers, would a second time be discovered in a much smaller, and a third time only in a much larger group. The legal provisions, however, which must be related somehow to those qualities of associations, cannot reckon technically with such paralysis and variations on account of the accidental human material. They must rather name definite numbers of members held to be an average, to which they attach the rights and obligations of societies. The assumption must be at the basis that a certain common spirit, a certain temper, energy, tendency, emerges within a combined number of persons when, and only when, this number has
( 194) reached a definite height. According as this result is desired or deplored will a minimum number be demanded or only a maximum number permitted. I cite first certain illustrations of the latter. In the early Greek period there were legal provisions that the crews of ships should not number more than five, in order to prevent development of piracy. From fear of combination among apprentices, the Rhine cities determined in 1436 that not more than three apprentices should appear in the same costume. Political prohibitions are most frequent in this sense. Philip the Fair in 1305 prohibited all assemblies of more than five persons, regardless of the rank of the persons or the form of their meeting. Under the ancien regime twenty nobles might not assemble even for conference, without special concession from the king. Napoleon III. prohibited all unions of more than twenty persons that were not specially authorized. In England the conventicle act of Charles II. made all religious assemblages of more than five persons under one roof penal, and the English reaction at the beginning of the nineteenth century forbade all assemblages of more than fifty persons, that were not announced a long time in advance. In cases of siege it is frequently the case that more than three or four persons are forbidden to congregate upon the street, and recently the Berlin Kammergericht has decided that a Versammlung, in the sense of the law, i. e., which requires police notification, occurs when eight persons are present. In the purely economic realm the case is found, for example in the English law of 1708, which the influence of the Bank of England carried through, that legal associations for dealing in money should not include more than six participants. In such cases there must always be, on the side of the rulers, the conviction that only within groups of the given size is there to be found the courage or the rashness, the enterprise or the suggestibility, for certain transactions, the occurrence of which is not desired. This motive is most evident in the case of the laws in restraint of vice. When the number of persons present at a rout, of members of a procession, etc., is limited, it is because of the experience that in a larger mass the impulses that come through the senses easier gain the upper
(195) hand, the effects of bad example are more rapid, and the feeling of individual responsibility is weakened. The reverse direction is taken, with similar basis, in the case of prescriptions which demand a minimum number of participants in order that a certain legal effect may occur. For instance, in England any economic association may achieve corporate right when it numbers at least seven members. In the same spirit, the law everywhere demands a definite number as a minimum, even though that number may be extremely variable, in the case of judges whose finding is to have legal force, so that, for example, in many places certain judicial colleges are simply called "the seven."
With respect to the former phenomenon it is assumed that only with this number of members are the sufficient guarantees and the adequate solidarity furnished, without which corporate rights are a danger for public economy. In the second example the prescribed minimum number seems necessary to secure protection against the mistakes and extreme views of the individuals in the number, and thus a collective opinion which shall be objectively correct. This demand for a minimum number emerges very prominently in the case of religious structures. The regular religious meetings of the Buddhistic monks of a given territory for the purpose of religious revival and a sort of confessional demanded the presence of at least four monks. This number formed, as it were, the synod, and each monk had, as member of the same, a somewhat different significance from that of an individual, which he was merely so long as only three were present. Likewise the Jews should number at least ten for purposes of prayer, and again, according to the constitution of North Carolina, which is credited to Locke, any church whatsoever or religious community might be formed when it consisted of at least seven members. The necessary concentration of force and stability of religious community-feeling is in these cases, therefore, expected only of a certain number of associates who reciprocally support and promote each other. In a word, in case the law prescribes a minimum number, confidence in the plurality and distrust against the isolated individual ener-
(196) -gies are the operative principle. Where a maximum number is fixed, mistrust toward the plurality, which does not operate toward its separate components, is, on the contrary, the effective principle.
Whether a prohibition is attached to a maximum or permission to a minimum, the legislators will not have been in any doubt that the result which they fear or wish occurs only quite irregularly, and in a merely average constancy in connection with the fixed limits, but the arbitrariness of the determination is in this case quite as unavoidable and justifiable as in the determination of a period of life after which persons assume the rights and duties of their majority. Without any question, subjective capacity for this responsibility occurs in the case of many earlier and in others later, in the case of none at one stroke in the precise minute fixed by law, but praxis can obtain the fixed standards which it needs only by means of dividing the series, which in itself is continuous, for the purposes of the law at a given point into two divisions, the quite distinct methods of treating which can find no precise justification in the objective characteristics of the two. Hence it is so extremely instructive that in all definitions from which the above examples are selected, the special quality of the persons affected by the definition does not at all come into consideration, although it necessarily determines each individual case. It is, however, nothing tangible, and as the tangible element there remains, therefore, only the number. It is essential to demonstrate the universally prevailing profound feeling that the number would be the decisive factor if the individual differences did not counteract their working; that, however, for precisely this reason these effects are securely contained in the ultimate total phenomena.
PROFESSOR DR. GEORG SIMMEL.
UNIVERSITY OF BERLIN.