Response to Reinsch, Tenney, Unger, Asakawa, and Jenks discussion of W. I. Thomas, "The Significance of the Orient for the Occident"
With reference to Mr. Hearn, I think that while two groups have and continue to have so disparate a consciousness, a member of one group would continually feel the presence of the other; but I imagine also, from my reading of Mr. Hearn, that what he had largely in mind was the insupportable etiquette of the Japanese.
With reference to the question of space and the query as to what we should do if another desert area should emerge, I would suggest that we have the new science of eugenics, and we would see if the two don't synchronize. It may be said n this connection that adaptation to new conditions is the function of reason, and my argument was that while we have reason as a tool, we have not really applied it; and I think when we apply it fully we shall be able to handle the oriental situation. It has been my own observation, in attempting to find what was at the bottom of the universal statement that low races cannot count more than five or ten, that always, when they can't count more than five, they haven't more than five to count; and that any race which gets into commercial relations requiring the counting of five hundred thousand will count five hundred thousand. We may settle upon the principle that the mind will act under stimulation, and the question of desert areas will probably bring forth inventiveness.
With reference to Dr. Tenney's remarks, I feel too much interested in them to wish to say anything. But as to the question of homogeneity: I merely meant by that what I understand he would accept: that the matter of ancestral worship and the principles of Confucianism and the devotion of the Chinese to ethics and their classical literature, give them, although divided linguistically into dialects, a certain background in common.
With reference to Mr. Asakawa's remarks I may say in justice to him
(755) that certain portions of my paper I had not written when he received the outline of it. I don't think it could be inferred that I had confused or merged Japan and China in my remarks. Neither did I in the outline sent to him, but I imagine that he imagined that I designed to do that originally, and made his remarks anyway. Mr. Asakawa misses the point of my statement concerning tribal conditions of consciousness. I did not say that Japan is in a tribal condition, but that tribal society and half-cultural societies like China and Japan, are characterized by a relative homogeneity of consciousness. Some of the comments of Mr. Asakawa evidently arise from a misunderstanding of my meaning. My statement that the Orient is large enough to smite us with the sword which we had put into its hands is perhaps rhetorical, but it is large enough. As to his question, when does a country become a colony? It becomes a colony just after it leaves the mother country, and if a part of its inhabitants leave it, they also form a colony. I don't question that the Asiatics came from somewhere; I merely remarked that Japan is not in every sense so old as China.
With reference to Mr. Jenk's remarks, which were not devoted to me, I want to say of oriental dissimulation that I understand it does not appear in Chinese business. That is universally, I believe, understood. Certainly I don't think that the love of justice on the part of the Occident has been exhibited in connection with any race, at any time, or anywhere.