Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/258

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common meaning of the word "egoistic "—has been equally repressed through physiological modification. No indulgence of any natural appetite is possible except to that degree in which such indulgence can directly or indirectly benefit the species;—even the indispensable requirements of food and sleep being satisfied only to the exact extent necessary for the maintenance of healthy activity. The individual can exist, act, think, only for the communal good; and the commune triumphantly refuses, in so far as cosmic law permits, to let itself be ruled either by Love or Hunger.

Most of us have been brought up in the belief that without some kind of religious creed—some hope of future reward or fear of future punishment—no civilization could exist. We have been taught to think that in the absence of laws based upon moral ideas, and in the absence of an effective police to enforce such laws, nearly everybody would seek only his or her personal advantage, to the disadvantage of everybody else. The strong would then destroy the weak; pity and sympathy would disappear; and the whole social fabric would fall to pieces. … These teachings confess the existing imperfection of human nature; and they contain obvious truth. But those who first