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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/203

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EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS.

which, he is, in virtue of his success in the struggle for existence. The conditions having been of a certain order, man's organization has adjusted itself to them better than that of his competitors in the cosmic strife. In the case of mankind the self-assertion, the unscrupulous seizing on all that can be grasped, the tenacious holding of all that can be kept, which constitute the essence of the struggle for existence, have answered" [November Monthly, pp. 21, 22].

Are the qualities here emphasized the only essential ones? Does this statement include all the facts or cover the whole truth? To me it seems to be far from doing this, although it states clearly and vigorously what all must admit to be partially true.

The benefits of co-operation in the development of man are too well recognized to be denied. Physically weaker than many of the animals that surrounded him, he could not long have survived in a struggle for existence against them had he been forced to continue that struggle alone. Nor could he have attained the mental development upon which so much of his success has depended without contact with his fellows. The most important if not the necessary condition of man's success in the struggle for existence is society. Social growth becomes possible only through the survival of the socially fit. In an advancing society this process must ever tend toward the production and preservation of the "ethically best." Recognition of the rights of others has been equally as important in the evolution of man as self-assertion. Indeed, it may be claimed that, under the conditions of social life, it is a necessary consequence of self-assertion. Men could not live long together unless they recognized the right of each to his own, and respected it. The survival of a society, like the survival of the individuals composing it, becomes possible only through adaptation to the necessary conditions of life, and it will not be denied by Prof. Huxley that morality is essential to social well-being. Indeed, he admits as much, for he says: "One of the oldest and most important elements in such systems is the conception of justice. Society is impossible unless those who are associated agree to observe certain rules of conduct toward one another; its stability depends on the steadiness with which they abide by that agreement; and so far as they waver, that mutual trust which is the bond of society is weakened or destroyed" [November Monthly, p. 24].

I am somewhat at a loss to reconcile this statement with the general teaching of the lecture. It seems to me that this moral development is just as much a part of the "cosmic process" as physical or mental development, neither of which are excluded by Prof. Huxley. Moral development comes, to be sure, in recognizable quantities, rather later in history than the others, and is of