Review of Die Gesellschaft by Ernst Zenker
James Hayden Tufts
A sane and well-constructed work, aiming rather to give what may fairly be called the results of sociological investigation than to advance original theories. The first volume considers, in its two parts, social and political evolution respectively. In tracing the progress from the ' primitive horde' emphasis is laid upon the division by ages as the first which would naturally arise. Military and industrial necessities, as well as sex affinities, would favor such a division, and the distinction found in many languages between older and younger brothers and sisters, as well as certain facts in the marriage systems of the Australians, may be the survivals of this.
In the further development of clan and family organization it is held that the family in the proper sense did not grow out of the primitive sex-relations which obtained in the clan and where kinship through the mother was the rule; it had an independent origin from the possession of the woman by the man, whether by capture or by purchase. This has an important psychological implication. For the question suggested here as to the relative priority of feelings and habits is one that may be raised in many connections. Was the family with its growing fidelity due to conjugal affection, or conversely was conjugal affection the product of a family life instituted from other springs? I have elsewhere maintained that in the case of the aesthetic feelings, the feeling is rather the effect than the cause of artistic activity. Zenker maintains a similar position concerning family affection. " No more with men than with animals was it love for wife and child which led man to maintain a lasting house-community; the fact is rather that the family was nothing but a labor community on a basis of personal lordship, and that its first recognized purpose was to pro-cure children. "The pastoral life was especially favorable for it. The first effect was unfavorable for the status of woman. The victory of the patriarchate and the family " was a victory of force and power over the original equality, of the man over the woman. * * *
(395) But here, as always in human life, barbarity generated the tenderest feelings. * * * While in the earlier stages of evolution the relation between man and wife had been as a rule loose, and easily separable, whereas in the absence of power over the children by the man and in the consequent absence of interest for them, no education with the essential authority had been possible. With the establishment of the patriarchal family the union of man and wife became more lasting, the interest of the father for his posterity was awakened, even though under brutal influences and in forms revolting to us ; and it was these advantages which won the final victory for the father-family in the struggle against the maternal system" (I., 112-124). The author probably does not give sufficient weight to the material and arguments of Westermarck, nor does he indicate exactly how much of the change in sentiment is to be ascribed to physical and how much to social heredity. But the problem suggested is, in my judgment, one of the most interesting in social psychology. This, as indicated, is the problem of the relation of the various sentiments and emotions to the habits—or, speaking from the social standpoint, to the customs and institutions — with which they are connected. Mr. Irving King, in a paper not yet published, has begun such an investigation of the religious sentiments.
Another psychological question raised in any sketch of the evolution of society is that of the ultimate social force or forces. Is it, or are they, material or psychical ; and if psychical, then are they intellectual, or affective, or impulsive? An aspect of the question emerges when we consider how far any institution is due to its supposed utility, and how far to a more unconscious and spontaneous activity. Zenker's attitude here is singularly free from the fallacy of supposing that the utility which can be perceived by the student of to-day was present in the minds of the originators. In general the author makes the impulses the fundamental fact. " Society rests on instincts which determine man to society, and which have been partly transmitted from a human time, and partly acquired and then handed down in human society. The movements of the social mass take place instinctively and not from a voluntarily sought consensus, and rational arguments (II., 71)."The primary social instincts are love to one's kind ( Gleichenliebe), sympathy, and the imitative impulse. The first-named is distinguished by the author from Gidding's ' consciousness of kind.'" For in the word ' consciousness' there is a certain danger of regarding the impulse in question as the result of cognition. In the word Gleichenliebe is implied only that ' like seeks like'" (II., 58). The
(396) author's own position on this point, however, seems to have undergone a development, for in his first volume he speaks of the ' consciousness of the likeness of kind' (Bewusstsein der Artgleichheit). He points out that normal sex relations occur only between members of the same species. Similar physical constitutions combined with the same environment give rise to similar reactions in sensations, feelings, judgments. Conscious sympathy is the joint product of local ties plus objective likeness; i. e., if the ' nearest ' are the ' like,' and if from earliest infancy one lives only in the environment of his like, a degree of sympathy will be formed which will ' flash up into a consciousness of sympathy.' This develops simultaneously with a consciousness of antipathy toward other groups or individuals who are ' different,' or, ' strange.' In the second volume more explicit emphasis is placed on what I should regard as the more important psychological factor, viz., habitual association. The group of children growing up about a mother have their senses habituated to a special kind of sensations and experience these as normal, while every deviation appears striking, disturbing, disagreeable. Other color, other hair, other speech — these form too great a barrier to intercourse. In the second volume there is also a distinction made between the Gleichenliebe and sympathy. The latter, grounded in the physiological process by which an idea of another's pain may become an actual pain-sensation, is not limited to members of the same species, although it is naturally stronger where the physiological conditions are alike.
The foregoing account of the undoubted fact that ' like seeks like seems good so far as it goes. Namely, the sex-relation and the processes of birth and nutrition give an environment of ' kind' which then acts by the common law of familiarity. The effect is not produced through an intellectual comparison, and a subsequent recognition of likeness, but is impulsive. There are, however, certain biological and certain psychological factors in addition to those named, which I think should be included. Among the former there is a possibility at least of a genuine instinct, selected naturally as advantageous to the species. Such instinctive tendencies to keep with the herd would certainly be of advantage among gregarious animals. Connected with this may also be a certain instinctive reaction of the sense-organs, particularly smell. As the odor emanating from the female in the rutting period has its peculiar stimulus for the male of the species, so it may well be that a certain part of the attractiveness of the species for the sense of smell and touch may be instinctive, and not the result of familiarity. The psychological factor which is not brought out in
(397) the foregoing, is the more distinctly volitional solidarity brought about by common labor or action toward common ends, both military and industrial.
If these factors are included with those named by Zenker, we should have a scheme something as follows : Man's ' Social Nature' consists of :
A. An instinctive part, transmitted by physical heredity, including (a) tendencies to seek the kind, (b) the physiological basis for 'organic sympathy,' (c) the physiological basis for ideomotor action or suggestibility, which may or may not work out along lines of 'imitation.'
B. A psychological part, which may be further subdivided into (a) a relatively impulsive, irrational, or at least non-rational, emotional attitude or habit; and (b) a relatively conscious, voluntary attitude, determined more by rational reflection. (a) would include the effects of environment both physical and social upon the young, having as subdivisions the effects of association and suggestion respectively. It would also include certain of the effects of common labor, defense and offense, while other constituents of the effects of these activities would fall under (b).
The function of the rational is very briefly treated by Zenker (II., 72-80). In opposition to those who regard the social process as mechanical, and those who regard it as solely the realization of a definite end or purpose, it is maintained that the process from the beginning has its conscious factors, which manifest themselves early in language and the making of tools, and that progress is possible only through ideas. On the other hand, there may be society with no conscious purpose.
Under ' Social Forces' are considered the opposing views of the school which attributes all to environment, and the school which attributes all to race. The author denies that race is a sufficiently objective fact to be considered as a social force. What is effective in race reduces itself to the social impulses and the inherited dispositions which find their place as integrant but not as exclusive factors in social development. The factors which influence the evolution of societies may be classed under three groups; A. Productive forces, or the environment in the broadest sense. B. Social impulses. C. Ideas. But only B can be called in the strict sense ' social forces.' A are outside of the social, C are rather of individual character [this last statement certainly needs further analysis]. A and C act on society or on each other only through the medium of B.
J. H. TUFTS.