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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/507

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SOCIAL FORCES IN AMERICAN LIFE.

any sound be made near the mouth-piece, it is heard in the ear itself, but, if the two pieces are employed together, the sound is heard at the spot where it is produced. The fact is very interesting in a physiological point of view, and further corroborates the theory as to the value of a double set of senses, or, in a word, of the body being made up of two halves, for just as the two hands feeling different parts of an object gain an idea of extension, and the two eyes by obtaining different views of any substance get a knowledge of its solidity, so in the same way the two ears listening to the same sound more thoroughly appreciate its objectivity.

If you look at this series of drawings you may perceive but little resemblance between the first figure and the last, but take them one by one and you will see that the figures are really progressive. My story of development is not imaginary, but historical.—Lancet.

 

SOCIAL FORCES IN AMERICAN LIFE.[1]
By HERBERT SPENCER.

A FEW words may fitly be added respecting the causes of this over-activity in American life—causes which may be identified as having in recent times partially operated among ourselves, and as having wrought kindred, though less marked, effects. It is the more worth while to trace the genesis of this undue absorption of the energies in work, since it well serves to illustrate the general truth which should be ever present to all legislators and politicians, that the indirect and unforeseen results of any cause affecting a society are frequently, if not habitually, greater and more important than the direct and foreseen results.

This high pressure under which Americans exist, and which is most intense in places like Chicago, where the prosperity and rate of growth are greatest, is seen by many intelligent Americans themselves to be an indirect result of their free institutions and the absence of those class-distinctions and restraints existing in older communities. A society in which the man who dies a millionaire is so often one who commenced life in poverty, and in which (to paraphrase a French saying concerning the soldier) every news-boy carries a president's seal in his bag, is, by consequence, a society in which all are subject to a stress of competition for wealth and honor, greater than can exist in a society whose members are nearly all prevented from rising out of the ranks in which they were born, and have but remote possibilities of acquiring fortunes. In those European societies which have in great meas-

  1. Remarks appended to Spencer's address at the New York banquet, reprinted in the "Contemporary Review."