The Scope of Sociology V:
The Assumptions of Sociology— (continued)

Albion Small

RESUMING our account of the individual assumption,[1] we have to set in order certain commonplaces which are so obvious that all kinds of social theorists have usually treated them with silent contempt. Our purpose in this part of the discussion is not to propose psychological, and still less metaphysical, solutions. We shall simply schedule, with scant illustration, certain components of the real individual which are to be reckoned with whenever we try to understand human affairs. Psychological analysis and metaphysical hypothesis have their own competence with respect to these elements, but all sane social theory must first accept certain crude facts as part of its raw material, and the constant significance of these facts is not likely to be set aside by any sort of subsequent criticism.

In general, then, the human individual, when considered as sentient, and not in his merely passive relations as a parcel of matter, acts always with reference to ends which may be classified in six groups. For the sake of convenient reference we may press a single term into service as a group-name in each instance. Speaking somewhat roughly and symbolically, we may say that all the acts which human beings have ever been known to perform have been for the sake of (a) health, or (b) wealth, or (c) sociability, or (d) knowledge, or (e) beauty, or (f) rightness, or for the sake of some combination of ends which may be distributed among these six.[2] The individual as we know him is an insatiate demand for satisfactions included within these groups. The individual as we know him manifests no demands for satisfactions which may not be placed within one or more of these groups. Without affecting profitless precision in use of terms, we may promote our purpose by double

(178) ellipsis as follows: First, human individuals are centers of desires for (a) health, (b) wealth, (c) sociability, (d) knowledge, (e) beauty, (f) rightness. Second, the desires in view of which men act are (a) health, (b) wealth, (c) sociability, (d) knowledge, (e) beauty, (f) rightness. Nothing in our present discussion hinges on this use of the term "desire," now in the subjective and again in the objective sense. The liberty will therefore be taken for the sake of directness, and our thesis reduces to these algebraic forms : first, the human individual is a variation of the six fold desires (subjective); and second, the conditions of human satisfaction consist of variations of the six fold desires (objective).

It may be worth while to guard at the outset against possible misconception of what the foregoing propositions imply. It is not asserted, for instance, that from the moment when the genus homo emerged in the zoological series there was forthwith efficient demand for each of the six desires. It is not asserted that every specimen of the human species manifests all these desires. It is not asserted that men are invariably, or even usually, conscious of all six desires, or that they classify the ends of their actions under these categories. It is not asserted that when men are acting in ways that tend to satisfy some form of these desires they are necessarily conscious of the motive or of the tendency of their conduct. The proposition is primarily that, so far as we are acquainted with the human individual, he does not and cannot get himself into motion, except under the conscious or unconscious impulse of one or more of these desires; and, moreover, he does not and cannot entertain a desire which is not assignable to a place in this six-fold classification. There may be individuals who have never betrayed a desire for knowledge or beauty or rightness. If so, they must be classified as individuals in whom the life-process has not passed through all its typical forms. No individual has ever been observed with desires having a real content that could not be located within the six divisions specified. Health, wealth, sociability, knowledge, beauty, rightness, exhaust the known demands of the individual, and at the same time they fill the bounds of the known objective possibilities of the individual.


But we shall be very far from taking for granted the real individual with whom sociology has to reckon, if we picture either subjective or objective desires as fixed in quantity or in quality. Human desires are not so many mathematical points. They may rather be represented to our imagination as so many contiguous surfaces, stretching out from angles whose areas presently begin to overlap each other, and whose sides extend indefinitely.

This phase of the facts carries inspiring teleological implications. We shall return to them in later papers. We shall try to show that in the facts to which we now refer there is a clue to a more precise content for a philosophy of life, individual and social, than we have hitherto attained, and that sociology must at last undertake to trace out the indications already partly legible in these known human desires. At present, however, we are concerned neither with prophecy nor with history, but with discrimination of what actually is. We are recording our perception of certain marks which, to the best of our present knowledge, always characterize the human individual, and which always, sooner or later, combine to carry on the human part of the social process. In brief, either the social process in the large, or that portion of the process which is comprised within the limits of an individual life, is a resultant of reactions between the six desires, primarily in their permutations within the individual, secondarily in their permutations between individuals, and always in their varied reciprocity with the non-sentient environment. Each of these desires is incessantly conditioning and conditioned by each of the others. In scheduling them we are constantly tempted to digress into examination of their reciprocal relations. Our aim in this section, however, is to keep the attention as steadily as possible upon these six desires in turn, as the ultimate human factors with which pure sociology has to deal.

To recapitulate: The sociological form of study of human association sets out from the point where physiology and psychology stop ; or rather it is more accurate to say that sociological study begins where physiology and psychology would

( 180) stop if they conformed to a rigidly schematic program ; or where they would stop if our mental processes occurred in the lineal and serial order in which we have to represent them in speech. In fact, each advance of our knowledge of men in association makes new requisitions upon physiology and psychology for closer knowledge of individuals ; and this more intimate physiology and psychology in turn reopens doctrines about association and proposes new inquiries for sociology. In any given inquiry, however, the psychologist, as such, takes association as the known and fixed factor, in order to pursue investigation of his undetermined subject-matter—the mechanism of the individual actor. The sociologist, as such, on the contrary, takes the individual for granted and pursues investigation of his undetermined subject-matter, viz., associations. The individual accepted by the sociologist as his working unit is the human person endowed with interests which manifest themselves as desires for health, wealth, sociability, knowledge, beauty, and rightness. To the best of our present knowledge all the things that occur in human associations are functions of these factors in individuals multiplied into the variable factors of external conditions which make up one portion of each individual's environment. Now, the descriptive task of sociology, or the task of "descriptive sociology," is to furnish a true account of real men in their real relations with the other men with whom they associate. We pass then to more specific indication of the individual desires :

(a) The health desire.— Men are first and generically splendid animals. Human capacities mark the human type as fit for the most intricate correlations of physical function ; for superior economy of physical energy ; for exquisite harmony of physical action ; and for corresponding eagerness of physical enjoyment. Theories or appreciations of life derived from this perception exclusively have tended to the perversion of life manifested in the later Dionysia at Athens or in the Saturnalia at Rome. On the other hand, theories of life which go to the other extreme of denying and repudiating the normality of physical excellence, with its appropriate gladness, have tended to the opposite

(181) monstrosities of asceticism. The anchorite is as far as the sybarite from a genuine rendering of life. The concrete goods of life are incommensurable, but they are not incompatible. The just balance of life has not been found by eliminating certain normal elements of human good and exaggerating other elements beyond their proportionate worth. The Greek ideal was not the whole truth, but it contained elements of truth which men have never been able long to ignore. Plato declares that his wish for life is: "To be healthy and beautiful, to become rich honestly, and to be gay and merry with my friends." The first item in his specifications was doubtless his version of σωφροσνη. It appears to have meant to the Greek, not all that our rendering " wisdom " connotes to us, but physical reasonableness, moderated and temperate sensuousness—not quite the "sweet reasonableness" of modern Hellenism, but a fragment of the later conception. If Hawthorne correctly transferred the idea of Praxiteles' Faun to Donatello, that artless creature before his transformation symbolized not merely the Greek but the universal norm of one element in human personality. The right man will be a man of exuberant, exultant health. Without generalizing this ideal as a program, every man according to his insight instinctively or systematically reaches after this realization. Right human life will be the life of a race of splendid physical men. The starved, the stunted, the feeble, the sick man advertises arrest or deflection of the life-process. Before and after health becomes a reflective desire it is the primary instinctive desire. Before and after the activities that belong to health are balanced and pro-portioned and regulated they often betray a fierce force that leaps over the limits of good in their own realm and threatens all the other goods of life. Neither the abuses of excessive vitality, however, nor the misfortunes of defective vitality can permanently confuse our inevitable desire for health in its appropriate form and power. Before and in and through all his other activities the individual is incessant urgency and exercise of the health desire.

Hebrew wisdom placed the half-truth, " All that a man hath will he give for his life," in the mouth of the Father of Lies. It

(182) is impossible to substitute a formula that will correctly express the ratio between the health desire and the other desires, because the ratio is infinitely variable. Sometimes a man will forego all else for the privilege of continuing to exist. Again he will jauntily throw away his life for a principle or a sentiment or a passion. Today he will give his kingdom for the ransom of his body, and tomorrow he will stake life and fortune against tribute of a penny. We need not at present raise any of the baffling questions about the comparative significance of the several elements of human desire. Our emphasis now is upon the fact that the actual individual of real life is made up of some proportion or other of the six desires which we have scheduled. One or more of these may be negligible quantities in exceptional cases, but in the average man each of them is always present, and occasions may arise when either of them will become dominant We do not know the real individual, then, until we recognize him as a resultant of these six desires in some power and proportion The health desire is the least questionable of all.

At this point we can indicate only a formal standard and application of this fact in sociological theory and in social praxis. There will always exist an implicit minimum standard of the health satisfactions. As in the case of each of the other constituent desires, this standard will vary with individuals and with groups. Whenever the individual or group status falls below a certain minimum of health condition, the life-process in the individual or the group is to that extent turned destructively against itself. The practical bearings of this and similar abstract generalizations that are to follow should suggest themselves. We must confine this part of the argument, however, to pure sociological theory. A later portion of the discussion will deal with the question, in the case of each of these desires in turn : What is the most and the best indicated by the known conditions of life, as available for men in each of these realms of satisfaction ?

(b) The wealth desire.—After a century and a quarter of the economic abstraction recommended by Adam Smith there is little call for debate over the existence of something in the

( 183) human individual corresponding with the concept "the economic man." The economic man, however, although but a segment of the actual man of whom we have record or experience, is by no means a mere alias of the wealth desire as we apprehend it. The economic man is a relatively very advanced and complex social product, not a simple social element. The economic man is not a plain affinity for wealth. Perhaps he is a more expert and persistent scatterer than accumulator of wealth. Perhaps wealth is almost altogether a means with him, and scarcely to any appreciable degree an end. Perhaps he plays the economic game just as another plays whist or billiards or golf. Perhaps he wants wealth because his wife wants society. Perhaps he wants wealth in order to propagate his creed, or to punish his enemy, or to win a maid, or to buy a title, or to control a party. In either case the economic man is a man of highly mixed motives, and it is curious that there has been in all our economic literature so little analysis of the wealth desire in distinction from the forms of economic action in which the wealth motive is largely mediate. The fact that most of the things deemed desirable in highly developed society are to be accomplished only with the aid of wealth obscures more than it reveals the intimate nature of the wealth desire proper. When men want wealth for reasons extrinsic to itself they are specimens of "the economic man," to be sure, but they are exemplifying the fact that the economic man is prompted by desires other than the wealth desire. Some men—indeed the primal animal in each one of us—want wealth for the sake of the physical sensations that come from consuming it. Dialecticians might find it easy to maintain that in this case the health stimulus rather than the wealth stimulus is primary. At all events, when men want wealth for its own sake the impulse appears to be an instinct of a creative sort, a desire to control nature or to conform nature to the agent's ideas.

In one fraction of his nature man is an eagerness to be a god. If autonomy, in the most restricted sense, satisfied this urgency, health would be a realization of the human ambition of sovereignty, i. e., complete autonomy of the physical organism. Man

( 184) does not find himself complete, however, as a god in a vacuum. His rule requires a realm. Things furnish that realm. The lordship of man over man occurs wherever force can assert it, and the sense of justice does not estop it. When men cannot or will not lord it over each other there still remains to them a means of partially completing the circuit of self-realization in the lordship over things. Things subject to personality is the formula of a second stage or phase of the completeness of the real individual. It is part of complete human personality to exercise lordship over things. The savagery of the savage is primarily his inability to lord it over things. In the midst of limitless resources of ores and fibers and forces he commands nothing, he marshals nothing, he compels nothing to his service. His wealth is raw roots and flesh and pelts, and tools that the monkeys may have used, and used about as well. He begins to be a man in beginning to take completer possession of things, in ordering them about, in molding them to his will, in mastering them at the caprice of his imagination. The truth is, the modern vice is not too much devotion to wealth, but too little. Our materialism is too extensive, but not intensive enough. It puts up with quantitative title instead of qualitative possession.

Perhaps there is a literal truth which we have overlooked in the dictum of St. Paul: "The love of money is the root of all evil."Money is the emptiest wealth which men possess. Money is the opium of industry. The vice of money is its insinuation into the place of wealth. Money debauches men by leading them to substitute for the exercise of the possessing function habitual purchase of personal service. Money is a subtle means of tempting men from normal lordship over things to abnormal lordship over persons. Money makes men veritable rois fainéants in the realm of things.

The Mosaic code contains the precept: "And thou shalt take no gift : for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous."[3] Money is a conventional disguise of gift-taking. This is not an estimate of the total function of money, but a statement of one of the forms of abuse to which money

( 185) is liable. Effects visible in modern society verify the Mosaic prognosis. Modern men are less than men because so many of us possess things only by proxy, and because such wealth as we have as proprietors is merely the partial usufruct of other people's lordship over things. I buy the thing I cannot pro-duce. Another masters nature and produces the thing which I buy. He lords it over things. I am powerless over the same things until he masters them for me. He is the man in this relation, and by so much I am less than man.

The only adequate demonstration of the "dignity of labor" is to be reached in this connection. Tile phrase in our civilization is, on the one hand, an instinctive and indignant claim to more credit than society concedes, and, on the other hand, a form of cajolery which carries little genuine appreciation. The dignity of labor, as labor, resides in the prerogative of mastery. Not all labor is dignified. Courage is dignified, and the man who, for the sake of biding his time and meanwhile feeding his family, bravely digs ditches or carries a hod while aware that the work is beneath his powers, is dignified in his courage, though menial in his toil. There is no dignity in drudgery, though there is dignity in endurance. Dignified labor is masterful and creative labor. A treadmill is a slave-pen. A forge or a carpenter's bench may be a kingdom. That labor is dignified in which mind molds things. Labor is dignified in proportion as it is mental mastery of materials or conditions. The wealth produced by mental mastery is the regalia of the real man. The initial dignity of labor, then, is its realization of a portion of the process of manhood, not its mere seizure of the means of partial manhood.

We repeat, therefore, that the modern vice is not too much devotion to wealth, but too little. Modern life drowns the wine's bouquet in the very mass of the wine. We literally lose our lives in the business by which we plan to find life. Our social inventions for the administration of things have spoiled their administrators for the lordship of things. The pseudo-wealth which we have ennobled to equality with real wealth has degraded us in return. We have gained the Midas touch, but we have forfeited the full franchise of wealth. While we handle the

( 186) symbols of wealth we neglect or we delegate the arts of creating wealth, and we grow impotent to appropriate wealth. The mere manipulator of money knows none of the campaigns with nature, the assaults upon intrenched resistance, the defeats, the changes of front, the retreats, the flank movements, the fine strategies against obstinate physical properties, the renewed attacks, the patience, the persistence, the intelligence that conquer things. Ignorant of the conflict, he cannot appreciate the conquest. If we have the money power merely, the victors have emancipated us, but they cannot enfranchise us. In spite of our liberty we are not free.

A partial recognition of these facts is in the tradition of many princely families that the sons and even the daughters must learn some industrial craft. There is also in this connection a profounder sanction than is usually asserted for the reinforcement of our school curricula by manual training. The experimental laboratory also has a function apart from scientific discovery, in affording to many men that element of experience in mastering nature without which their life would be seriously unbalanced. Such discipline admits men to actual appropriation of material goods, for which they would else have no adequate sense. Real wealth is not appreciated by men who know nothing intimately of the difficulties of creating wealth. Wealth as the measure and as the realization of man's mastery over things is neither too highly nor too generally valued in our civilization. Wealth as the mere accumulation of things that others have mastered is both too highly and too generally valued. The materialism of our day is deplorable radically as a sign of man's mastery or desire of mastery over man, and of abdication or willingness to abdicate the real lordship of things for this unnatural lordship over persons.

Personality, like any other whole, is the union of all its parts. It cannot be realized by a preference of certain parts which amounts to exclusion of certain other parts. Accordingly we recognize alongside of health this second factor which enters into complete personal realization, viz., that lordship over things which is founded upon direct mastery of natural forces.

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The sense in which we urge that mastery over things is a phase of proper personality, and thus in so far an end in itself, may be illustrated by a sort of parallel familiar to scholars. Educated men pity people who have to put up with information without corresponding insight. The navigator or the accountant who mechanically applies his table of logarithms, without under-standing how a logarithm is derived or what essential relations it expresses ; the drug clerk who knows how to interpret the signs in the physician's prescription, but who has no idea why two substances may be compounded, while other two may not; the voter who learns the program of his party, but is impotent to criticise or to decide whether the program is wise and just —each of these, from the scholar's point of view, is pitiable. They have the form and some of the uses of knowledge with-out that wisdom which is the completion of knowledge. Real knowledge is personal insight into the relations partly expressed by the practical information. A generation that had forgotten its mathematics and its chemistry and its statesmanship, and had retained only rules and formulas and statutes, would be a generation intellectually dead. It would have the form of knowledge, but none of that spirit of divination which is the vitality of knowledge.

In a similar way a generation that multiplies material products, and glorifies the controllers of them, while it exempts one order of men as completely as possible from personal mastery of things, and identifies another order of men as completely as possible with unthinking machine production of things, inevitably diminishes in both classes the proper exercise of possession, and thus the appropriate realization of manhood.

The perception which we are now emphasizing is that mastery of things is a function proper to complete personality. Speaking in terms of the appropriate product of this mastery, or wealth in the sense in which we have used the word, wealth is physical substance and attribute raised to a higher power by the reinforcement of thought. Wealth is man's first realization of independence among the world-forces. That lordship over things which directly creates wealth in the popular sense is more

( 188) than proprietorship over matter. It is comprehension of matter, insight into its qualities, perception of its adaptabilities, and consequent personal appropriation and control of its latent possibilities.

It would be superfluous to argue that lordship over things in this sense is an essential social function. In order that human animals may progress through the stages of development to which their endowment destines them, somebody must create wealth and hold it subject to human use. But our theorem goes beyond this. We assert that the individual is incomplete and monstrous unless the power and the practice of the direct lord-ship of things is evident in him. Wealth simply held subject to my draft is material toward which my relation may be unnatural and vicious. It may be merely property without the antecedent conditions of comprehension and control. Such proprietorship, unless counterbalanced by some direct lordship over other things, tends to unsocialize and dehumanize men by assigning to them a status manifestly artificial, because impossible of generalization. The extension of this status to all men would extinguish society. Proxy wealth is necessarily impossible as the universal order. Delegation of the wealth function is in principle as abnormal as delegation of the health function. A man is not as fatally incomplete when others exercise all the primary control of nature for him as he would be if he tried to have others exercise all the vital functions for him, but he is in an equally literal sense abnormal and artificial.

Lordship over things in the sense thus indicated is the satisfaction appropriate to the wealth desire. Self-realization is promoted in the achievement of lordship over things by means of the candid contact with nature necessary to creation and control. Production of real wealth requires sympathetic and intelligent touch with reality which is promise and partial potency of knowledge and art and virtue. There are very deep reasons for our customary epithet " honest" in the case of a simple laborer. When we speak of the " honest farmer" the association of ideas is with his matter-of-fact dealings with nature, which lie is credited with carrying over consistently into his

(189) dealings with men. His attitude is accepted as typical of all right human relations with the real world. Other things being equal, the man who deals directly at some point with nature's physical veracities should become the more complete and genuine man from the association. Conversely, exemption from such relation, or reduction of it to mere brute contact, suspends one of the conditions of personal completeness.

The radical and inevitable necessity of mastery over things by somebody, in order that anybody may maintain mere existence, still more in order that anybody may be more than an animal, creates the most effective presumption against any theory of life which views the lordship of things as an accident. Any function which is essential to the existence of the species must be regarded as proper to the individuals of the species until reasons for believing the contrary appear. In this case observation of the wealth function discovers, not merely its necessity, but its inherent dignity. We cannot subtract that dignity from any man and regard the remainder as a complete man.

For sociological theory, whether applying to the remote past or to the immediate present ; for social practice, whether that of scholar or artist or moralist, or that of society in treating children or paupers or criminals or defectives, or of democracies in controlling and developing themselves, the individual always and everywhere in question is an agent intensely interested in compelling nature to his own use. We may not treat this incident as a trivial and transient foible of human character. So far as we know, it betrays an essential and permanent trait of human nature. At all events, valid sociological thinking must accommodate in its assumption of the individual some form and proportion of this sort of self-assertion.

(c) The sociability desire.—We have appetites for personal intercourse of a purely spiritual sort, without conscious reference to physical contact or material exchange. There are human affinities which nothing but reaction with human beings can satisfy. There are interchanges of stimulus and satisfaction between persons with no more dependence upon nor ulterior reference to any physical conditions than the slight minimum

( 190) which is involved in cultivation and enjoyment of music for its own sake. In both cases, as we have said in another connection,[4] the physical is the necessary vehicle of the spiritual, but it is unconsciously involved, and a negligible factor so far as the character of the paramount desire is concerned.

There are enlargements of life aside from advantages that spring from use of the material things which men create. Those that we have now to consider proceed directly from spiritual reactions with other men. In our philosophies of justice we have confined our calculations too closely to relations which might be expressed or measured in material terms. Moral theorists have treated social relations almost exclusively as different arrangements into which men are assorted by care for their bodies and by pursuit of purchasable goods. We have had individual ethics, or the principles of physical and mental well-being considering the person as an isolated group of related operations. We have had the ethics of business, of politics, of religion. We have even had the ethics of social intercourse considered as a means to one of these other ends; but no one has made it evident that there is an important section of life made up of conditions in which personality pure and simple reacts upon personality, and immediately assists or retards nor-mal satisfaction. No one, surely, has taken the further step of codifying the just balance of these purely spiritual relations.

When we observe that affinities for certain personal relations are manifested by some men, and when we discover the probability that these affinities are latent, if not patent, in all men, we thereby reach another specification in our analysis of the real individual. The fact is that all men tend normally to desire contacts with other men of a sort to gratify their pure sense of personality. We mean by sociability, then, those elements in the relations of persons which correspond with this desire.

A primary and simple demand of the sociability desire may be illustrated by analogy with the leadings of the health desire. Parallel with the desire for bodily integrity is an equally naïve and persistent desire for personal integrity. Each man embodies

(191) a claim to be a spiritual integer, an undiminished unit among like whole units. The German term Selbstgefühl seems to contain more traces than any English equivalent of this instinctive impulse to assert the full measure of personality. The Germans talk also of " persönliche Geltung," "counting for all that one is essentially worth," and this again seems to be an utterance of the native human instinct. The privilege of standing over against his fellow, with the assured franchise of equal freedom of self-expression, is an implicit demand of every unspoiled man. The demand is not primarily an assertion of "equality," in the sense in which the idea is notoriously abused by pseudo-democrats. It is the demand that, such as I am, with such sort and size of merit as I personally possess, I may be permitted to assert myself, without suppression or subversion by the arrogation of others. The inherent desire of each man to see himself reflected at full height in his neighbor's eye is a factor to be counted on in calculation of every social equation, just as positively as each individual's desire for food and sleep. Another German word frequently in proletarian use is "Anerkennung." It loses some of its force when we render it "recognition," because in America the latter term has narrow political associations. The root of the matter is desire not to be socially discounted in accordance with any fictitious scale, but to be taken at full value. This demand is a very real and strong factor in American labor agitations, although it might have been more clearly expressed and more consistently urged. "We want to be treated like men" means not alone demand for higher wages, but for opportunity to be accounted as men in the councils of men. It means assertion of right to have feelings respected and opinions weighed and judgments considered on their merits, instead of having them summarily quashed at the dictation of other men's interests.

The spontaneity of our demand for the privilege of personal integrity may be detected indirectly in our involuntary resentment against violations of this relation. A case in point is the custom, long familiar in royal and noble families, of having in the castle a scapegoat in the person of a boy of plebeian birth and of equal age with the heir of the lordly house. The mission

( 192) of the humbler boy was to endure corporal punishment in place of the privileged scion. The latter was held to be too good to suffer bodily for his own misdeeds, but was capable of committing rascalities enough to keep the skin of the human foil frequently smarting. When we think of that domestic institution, even across the intervening time and space, we are conscious of indignation, not chiefly on account of the physical affliction, but because of the outrage against the personal integrity of the base-born boy. He was denied the individuality which distinguishes man from matter. He was forbidden to be a self, responsible for his deed and accountable for his fault. He was stunted in moral stature. His sense of justice was stultified. His possession of sentiment like that of other human beings was despised. He was denied the right to develop as a man, and was turned into a wolf or a sheep. The judgment of history upon American slavery will doubtless emphasize this element, while it recognizes that the slaves as a rule had ampler security of their standard of physical welfare than many free populations enjoy. Exclusion from the franchise of personal integrity condemned the system which so liberally guaranteed bodily integrity. The radical evil of our present wage system is not that it permits inequality of distribution, but that the inequality is so largely an index of an arbitrary personal inequality that gives artificial weight to the will of some persons and artificially counts out the will of others. Human nature unsubdued by social veto instinctively asserts for each individual a distinct inviolate dignity. As Fichte expresses it: "The marrow of the idea of justice is that each man has an equal claim with every other man upon the full development of himself."[5]

Closely related with this instinct of personal integrity, and intimately involved in its realization, is a social claim which may be called, in the absence of a better term, the craving for reciprocal valuation. A variation of this impulse manifests itself in manifold demands for functional valuation, all impelled at one point by the distinctively social desire, but all sooner or later resolving themselves, with all the other human impulses,

( 193) into functions of all the others. Both Emerson and Carlisle have rung changes upon portions of this theme. "No man can be heroic except in an heroic world," and the theory that we worship great men because they express to us our implicit selves, and help toward due valuation of ourselves, with possibly similar appraisal in other minds, both posit the desire for social valuation to which we are calling attention. The society in which the individual might most completely achieve himself would be a mutual-admiration society. Each member's potential excellence would be helped into actuality by each other member's recognition of the partially realized excellence.

Without having attempted a final analysis of the sociability desire, we have indicated by these two marks certain qualitative traits of a distinct factor in human individuality. It develops in other directions, to be sure, as in ambition for prestige among men and for power over men; but we have sufficiently indicated distinctive marks of this factor. If some extraordinary provision could be made for the wants of a human being aside from satisfactions of sociability, the abundance of all things else would not prevent ultimate discovery of a radical lack. Assertion of personality in distinction from other personality, and exchange of recognitions of personal valuation, are as proper incidents of human satisfaction as supply of the bodily demand for food and air.

(d) The knowledge desire.—It is hardly necessary to insist upon the abstract proposition that the human individual wants to know. We encounter incredulity only when we try to follow the implications of the universal knowledge desire, in case they begin to reveal indications of larger destiny for all men than the present state of knowledge permits. Without pursuing inquiry very far in this direction, we may enter another detail in our specifications of the real individual.

It would doubtless be entirely superfluous to argue with any reader of these papers that knowledge is good both as a means to other goods, and also as an activity of the person without reference to any ulterior end. Whether the judgment is susceptible of logical confirmation or not, it is part and parcel of

( 194) modern men's thinking, and few people would care to waste their time in seeking props for a perception so direct and clear. A machine is at its best when part so plays into part that the total function of the machine is performed. A man is not at his best until he is able to think all that he does, and to follow all his conditions and actions with intelligent comprehension. Every man above the level of idiocy has to know something in order to act at all. No man can know all that the rest of men know. Between the extremes of nescience and omniscience there must be a typical condition of knowledge for the normal man. What is the indicated condition of the knowing process for the individual who is achieving himself in a healthy way, and for a society that is progressing .

If we think of knowledge primarily as a means to other elements of living, our judgment about the working ratio between this element and the others is that knowledge is not in due proportion until it is sufficient to insure the standard of life appropriate to the individual in question; or, what amounts to the same thing, until it is sufficient to insure the persistence of the social process at the point where the given individual functions. One is not a well-working "socius" unless one has the knowledge necessary to provide for self● conduct of one's own part of the social process. This is the conception, by the way, on which the American public school implicitly rests.

If, on the other hand, we think of knowledge as a portion of self-achievement which has implications of its own, apart from its bearings upon other phases of life, the ideal of knowledge is in a sense inverted. Knowledge for the sake of a process outside of itself calls for a focusing of all reality that can be made avail-able upon the particular process for which the knowing person is responsible. On the other hand, knowledge as an achievement by itself calls for a going out in thought as far as possible from the thinker's personal function, and a discovering of the content and meaning of as much as possible of the whole life-process, within which the thinker occupies a place. There is no antithesis at last, except a rhetorical one, between these two aspects of the knowing function, but this view of them affords a clue to

(195) the two kinds of valuation that we actually pass upon the knowledge element in conduct. Knowledge as a means of maintaining the standard of life is practically demanded by everybody. Knowledge as vision of the meaning of life, and of what the standard of life should be, is needed by everybody, but is in far less general demand. The largest concrete conception which the human mind can represent in detail is the persistence and the expansion of the life-process of which we find ourselves to be parts. We have a vague conception of this system of relations as in its turn an incident in a greater cosmic process, or a stage in the progress toward a "far-off divine event." This, however, shapes itself in our imagination as little more in detail than we discover actually or potentially in the social process. The latter includes all the reality which we have the means of thinking specifically. Accordingly our valuations of knowledge tend to scale up and down from the meaning of the nearest details of our individual lives, at the one extreme, to the largest correlations of the total life-process, past, present, and future, at the other. It is necessary to the integrity of the social process that the whole process shall reduce itself in my knowing to that kind and measure of apprehension which enables me to be my particular kind of cog in the whole process. It is essential to the complete integrity of my individual self that in my knowing the conditions and contents of the whole social process shall be constantly arranging themselves more in accordance with objective fact, and constantly expanding toward juster and completer comprehension of the all within which I perform a part. The whole social process thus realizes itself through the intelligence of the individual, while the individual process, in its intellectual phase, realizes itself through progressive representation of the whole social process.[6]

(e) The beauty desire.—Frank confession of incompetence to discuss this portion of the subject will excuse failure to give it proportionate emphasis. The theorem which this section is developing is that the actions of all men of whom record is preserved have betrayed impulses which may be traced to six implicit interests, or to six more manifest derived desires. We

( 196) may recognize the esthetic desire, and we may be familiar with some of the conduct which it prompts, without venturing to expound its implications. A literature of the beauty interest is rapidly developing; and the psychology and the sociology of feeling will doubtless be as thoroughly examined in the future as the psychology and sociology of knowing and willing. Mean-while a sociologist who is most painfully aware of his own incompleteness in this section of life may register the bare intellectual perception that life, at its largest, involves feeling of the esthetic type, and conduct aimed at satisfaction of the feeling. In this case again the element in question is both a means to other elements of life, and an activity to be regarded as having a distinct and self-sufficient value in the scheme of factors that compose the individual.

(f) The rightness desire.—It would be easy to make this item in our schedule a pretext for an excursion into the metaphysics and the psychology of ethics and religion. Sociology will at last contribute in its own way to these subjects, but it is a far cry from the elements with which we are now dealing to the conclusions sought by ethical and religious philosophy. We should defeat our present purpose if we attempted to anticipate results in these territories. Our present proposition is not speculative. Like the substance of our claim under each of the preceding five heads, it is simply a generalization of facts that appear to be universal in the human individual. If they are not universal, the variations are to be accounted for by conditions which do not affect the fact that the traits so specified belong to the typical human person. We have seen that men act with reference to ends which prove to be health or wealth or sociability or knowledge or beauty, or their possible compounds. But this schedule does not include all the groups of stimuli that procure conscious human action. There remain activities which traverse the territory of each of these desires, but to the consciousness of the actors the activities are not at the same time for the sake of satisfactions of either sort yet specified. In brief, men always manifest some species of premonition of a self somehow superior to their realized self, or of a whole outside of themselves with which it is desirable to

(197) adjust the self. We will not inquire here whether these two states of consciousness are simultaneous or consecutive or whether they are equally important. Enough for the present that similar consequences proceed from both. This superior self is a more or less vague image of the conscious self, somehow amplified by addition of activities beyond those of the actual self. The whole partly detected around the self is not the common-place of people and things that the routine of life encounters. It is the mysterious more that broods in and over the familiar surroundings. The real individual is at last in one fraction of his personality a wistfulness after that other self, or a deference to that inscrutable whole. In other words, there are distinct sorts of human action which are impelled primarily not by supposed demand for health or wealth or sociability or knowledge or beauty, but they are efforts either to become the larger self or to be adjusted to the containing whole.

We deliberately avoid implication that the desire with which we are dealing has originally any moral content in the subjective sense. To hold that from the beginning the feeling of oughtness goes with this half-consciousness of an immanent self, or with this rudimentary cosmic perception, is pure speculation. We do not know the facts. What we do know is that in the most elementary manifestations which we are able to trace of the feeling of oughtness, or conscience, as a meaning factor in men's activities, it gets in its work by means of this premonition of a superior self, or by means of some presumption which reduces to an assumption about the containing whole. "Ought" is sanctioned by the sovereignty either of the potential self or of the imagined whole.

Whether the sense of oughtness is intuitive or an evolution from purely egoistic judgment of utility, we find it operating first and chiefest in connection with those personal relations which are most remote and mysterious. The thing which the naïve man feels that he "ought" to do is the thing which has least visible connection with the kinds of action that have known utility. Obligation is not aboriginally an incident of action within the realm where cause and effect is understood. The

(198) sense of duty does not at first apply in the region of known utilities. "Ought" is an oracle out of the unknown, and satisfactions within this sphere arise from belief that somehow the self has adjusted inscrutable conditions that insure the desirable surplus of well-being beyond that which can be specifically imagined, or which can be procured by conduct whose relation to ends is supposed to be a matter of course.[7]

It turns out that both naive and reflective men have sooner or later come to cherish the idea of a sphere of human activity the content of which is a rightness that has an existence independent of other departments of human conduct or condition. Even today it is in comparatively rare instances only that rightness is thought as a quality of conduct proper to all action that deserves any place in human life, and as having no content apart from such ordinary action. The savage, performing mummeries which are senseless except for the fiction that they are agreeable to the fetich, is merely a less intellectual Immanuel Kant finding the oughtness of the ought simply in its being categorical. We have only lately learned, and only a few of us have learned yet, that there is no supposed imperative, whether from the assumed source of absolute obligation or elsewhere, which can be obeyed without setting in motion antecedents and consequents within the known realm of health or wealth or sociability or knowledge or beauty. This fact, however, is steadily recasting the precepts of formal morality in terms of demonstrable utility. It remains true that with all the past men of whom record survives, and with all living men in the civilized world, the conception of a distinct rightness sphere, separated not merely in quality but in content from other spheres of human conduct, has been a tremendous positive, or at least negative, influence. It is not at all necessary to an understanding of the human individual up to date to decide whether there is an actual realm for rightness apart from conduct in the spheres where men gain health, wealth, sociability, knowledge, and beauty satisfactions. This is a capital problem in its

(199) proper place, but its solution would not in the least affect the terms of the analysis that describes today's individual. If we discover that the only possible content for the formal concept "rightness" is fit conduct within the other realms, it remains true that men have very seldom so distributed the idea. To most men, whether they merely acquiesce in authority or reason for themselves, rightness is an activity with a content as peculiarly its own as in the case of the health activities. The conception has nevertheless played and does play as important a part among human impulses as though there were no question about its perfect coördination with the other objects of human desire. How-ever we construe the content appropriate to the rightness desire, more precise analysis of the desire as such will ratify its authority and reinforce its sanctions. It will discover its sphere more and more definitely, however, within the ascertained scope of definable utility.

We may now add a little to the distinctness of the propositions at the close of the last chapter.[8] So far as we have any knowledge of human experience, the career of men, either as individuals or as groups, has always been a process of getting content, correlation, and satisfaction for the desires after health and wealth and sociability and knowledge and beauty and rightness. A first consequence of this perception, so far as it affects method, is that it sets us the task of learning how to find the real individuals concerned, when we undertake to investigate a social situation, past or present. It furthermore sets the task of discovering the actual output of the institutions maintained by the association in question for the service of these desires. It is doubtful if these conditions have ever been satisfied in any single instance of first-rate importance. Our historical exhibits are, consequently, as a rule, utterly inadequate sources for the sort of conclusions that the sociologists, and even the historians, want to draw. In order to be justified in assuming causal explanations, we must in every case be able to make out the approximate content and combination of these variable desires in the particular

( 200) individuals concerned. We must know, on the other hand, the workings of the several groups of institutions that have their reason for existence in their service to these desires. More than this, we cannot avoid valuation of the life-processes, past and present. We are bound to make the whole process, as we observe it, pass judgment upon those kinds and proportions of satisfaction which the persons concerned enjoy in the health and wealth and sociability and knowledge and beauty and rightness realms. The form of judgment which sociology aims at authority to pass upon any piece of social conduct is this : The conduct in question does or does not make for the most and the best development, adjustment, and satisfaction of the six divisions of desire known to be typically human. If none but responsible men presumed to represent sociology, it would be gratuitous to point out that social science is at present very far from competence to sanction such appraisals except on the most restricted scale, and even then in cautiously tentative shape. The judgment of the most mature sociologist about the tendency of concrete social conditions is at least no more certain to be correct than the prediction of an experienced sailor about tomorrow's weather.

4. The associational assumption.[9] —It is true in more than one sense that "none of us liveth to himself." We live and move and have our being as parts of each other. There is no such phenomenon within the range of our knowledge as an absolute individual. Every member of the human race gets his personality through direct and immediate partnership with other members of the human race, and through indirect contact with all the human family. We are what we are by virtue of association with other men. This association is conscious or unconscious. It is constant or variable. It is intimate and inclusive, or casual and exclusive. It is friendly and conservative and constructive, or it is hostile and subversive and destructive. If there are any other absolutely universal facts in the world of people beside the existence of the people themselves, surely one of those facts is the existence of associations between the people, or the existence of the people in associations. The physical life of each

(201) individual is, in its origin, a phenomenon of association. The nurture of the young is an episode of association. The daily life of the vast majority of men, civilized or uncivilized, is in part activity within one or more associations. We may think of separate persons as pursuing a career that is an affair of their own isolated individuality, or strictly between themselves and nature, or between themselves and God. If we put this construction upon the life of any person, however, we falsify his life. Every man is what he is as a resultant in part of the pressure of the human associations within which his personality has its orbit. The concept " human life," whether we try to construct it for individuals or for the race at large, is a fictitious and unreal picture unless it includes the notion "association." Association is the universal medium in which the individual comes to separate existence. Association is the universal activity in which the individual completes his existence by merging it into the larger life of all individuals.

5. The teleological assumption.—It is probably true that we cannot fully think anything without construing it in some teleological relation. Whether we think of men in the most transient and limited associations, or whether we think of the experience of the race as a single inclusive associational process, we are compelled to think sooner or later of the end indicated in the nature of the reality in question. That human conditions may be interpreted with reference to an endless variety of ends, innumerable philosophies and philosophies of history prove. Human associations have over and over again been thought as having their ultimate purpose beyond and outside of themselves. Again they have been thought as having implicitly in themselves their own end and reason. Between these two latter conceptions it is not necessary for the sociologist as such to choose, particularly if he is content to think of human associations both as having a proximate end in themselves, and also as probably having more ultimate ends beyond .the range of sociological vision. Some conception, however, of the proximate or ultimate goal toward which society tends is a necessary finial of sociological theory. No one can speak with authority at this point for the

(202) sociologists in general. Possibly they have no teleological conceptions in common. Very few of them, if any, however, would dissent from the following propositions, viz.:

We think of the life of men, from first to last, as a somehow related whole.

We think of the whole made up by the procession of human lives from generation to generation as a process accomplishing certain results.

We regard the ongoing of this life-process as itself sufficient end and reason for intelligent coöperation by thinkers and actors within the process.

We have the conception that maximum completeness either of the individual or of the social process depends upon the high-est degree of reinforcement of each aspect of the process by the other.

It is not equally certain that all sociologists would indorse our more specific propositions about the content and the indicated end of the life-process. Whatever variations they may propose in detail, living sociologists are not likely to assume that the social reality is essentially different in composition and in tendency from our previous description, viz., it is a progression, beyond any limit which we can imagine, in quantitative and qualitative developing, apportioning, and satisfying health, wealth, sociability, knowledge, beauty, and rightness desires.

Since teleological assumptions must necessarily play an important rôle in all sociological thinking, we venture a slightly varied repetition of the foregoing statement, viz.:

The life of the individual is a process of achieving the self that is potential in the interests which prompt the health, wealth, sociability, knowledge, beauty, and rightness desires.

The same perception in its social scope dictates this formula: Society, or human association, is a continuous process of realizing a larger aggregate and better proportions of the health, wealth, sociability, knowledge, beauty, and rightness desires.

This is the end which is visible to us as interpretation and justification of the whole life-process. All that goes on among men actually is valued by them with conscious or unconscious

( 203) reference to its bearings upon some conception of these goods, either severally or collectively. We have no other real measure to be applied in a theory of conduct values.

Starting with such assumptions the sociologist proposes to get, if possible, more intimate and coherent knowledge of human associations in detail and in whole. No competent sociologist fails to see that the way to this knowledge must be through accumulation of a mass of descriptive analysis. We have as yet very few respectable samples of the necessary description. We have called this essential preliminary work descriptive sociology Perhaps the name sociography would be preferable. The term would at least imply the truth that the relation of the work which it designates to sociology, as we are employing the latter title, is closely analogous with the relation of ethnography to ethnology. The demands which this descriptive sociology, or sociography, must satisfy will appear more specifically as our argument develops.



  1. Vid. above, Vol. VI, p. 65.
  2. Cf. SMALL AND VINCENT, Introduction to the Study or Society, pp. 174 sq. 177
  3. Exod. 23:8.
  4. Vid. above, P. 48.
  5. Ethik, I,19.
  6. Cf. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, May, 1900, p. 801.
  7. RATZENHOFER (Sociologische Erkenntnis, p. 64) uses the term the "transcendental interest."His analysis does not precisely coincide with the above, but the differences are probably unimportant.
  8. Above, p. 65.
  9. Cf. above, pp. 45, 47, 60.

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