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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/63

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ALTRUISM ECONOMICALLY CONSIDERED.

first, the fifth, the seventh, the fortieth, and other days after birth. They can not even see the sun for the first time, and, of course, can not be given a name, without a feast being held over the fact. As to the women's special ceremonies, they are just as numerous.

With reference to the rough sketch I have given of what I may term the normal state of things in India, I would again draw attention to the fact that I am far from saying that such is the invariable rule, or from denying that there are whole castes whose women are not secluded, and that many are educated. I feel compelled to repeat that minute and endless variation is the chief characteristic of Indian society, in case it may still be thought that my analysis of a high-caste Hindoo woman's life is exactly applicable to that of every woman one meets in the roads and fields. The fact is, there is no subject on which it is easier to speak to generalities from isolated facts, and it is so wide and complicated that one can hardly make a broad assertion without with perfect truth being contradicted as to the specific custom at any given spot, I merely say that the above description is, as fairly as I can make it, applicable to the life actually led by millions of Indian women, and it is the style of life toward which nearly all of them unconsciously gravitate.—Journal of the Society of Arts.

 

ALTRUISM ECONOMICALLY CONSIDERED.[1]
By CHARLES W. SMILEY.

THE primary motive of human action has always been the care of self, this being for man Nature's first and greatest law. In his unthinking zeal he has often followed this to a degree unnecessary, and consequently harmful to others. In his savage state, and especially in his primeval condition, where he was subject, like all the lower forms of life, to the law of the survival of the fittest, he could not consider others' interests because they were so antagonistic to his own. Often one of two must starve, and each would let it be the other one; he did not even become conscious that he was so acting for a very long period of time. It was the progress from a being not human to the being called man when sufficient intelligence had accumulated to make him conscious that he could live and let live. That point was also marked by and synchronous with the acquirement of such weapons and such skill as enabled man to procure food enough to make the starvation of some unnecessary. Then the war for the survival

  1. Vice-President's address before the Economic Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, delivered at the Cleveland meeting, August, 1888.