Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/247

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—The obvious implication,—that any social state, in which the improvement of the individual is sacrificed to the common welfare, leaves much to be desired,—is probably correct, from the actual human standpoint. For man is yet imperfectly evolved; and human society has much to gain from his further individuation. But in regard to social insects the implied criticism is open to question. " The improvement of the individual," says Herbert Spencer, " consists in the better fitting of him for social coöperation; and this, being conducive to social prosperity, is conducive to the maintenance of the race." In other words, the value of the individual can be only in relation to the society; and this granted, whether the sacrifice of the individual for the sake of that society be good or evil must depend upon what the society might gain or lose through a further individuation of its members. … But, as we shall presently see, the conditions of ant-society that most deserve our attention are the ethical conditions; and these are beyond human criticism, since they realize that ideal of moral evolution described by Mr. Spencer as " a state in which egoism and altruism are so conciliated that the one merges into the other." That is to say, a state in which the only possible pleasure is the pleasure of un-