THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
on the borderland of nonsense except when it crosses the line. The only saving truth it contains—and that is by no means its property—is that man is a rational creature, that his mental life is very closely connected with his physical life, and that the proper ordering of his thoughts and aims is, therefore, a matter of prime importance for his happiness. All the same, he requires a stable world to live in—one the laws of which will not permit him to be wayward or reckless, but which, while making ample return for worthy effort, will visit with penalties not to be averted, "adverse sensations" not to be conjured away by any tricks of self-hypnotization, every departure from the path of knowledge and self-control.
THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL VIEW OF CIVILIZATION.
We commented in our last number upon the interesting address delivered by the President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and we have now before us an address of equal interest and perhaps of greater practical importance from the president, Dr. Flinders Petrie, of the Anthropological Section of the British Association. Dr. Petrie is widely known as one of the most learned Egyptologists of the present day, and as professor of that study at University College, London. He has spent many years in actual research in Egypt, and has thus been brought into close and varied contact with different sections of the Egyptian people. During the period of his stay in that country systematic efforts were being put forth to civilize the people according to European ideas, and, as a commencement, to teach them how to read and write; and he has been able to study the process in its practical results. In addition to his special accomplishments, Dr Petrie is a man of wide culture and of a vigorous habit of mind, and one therefore whose views are deserving of careful and respectful attention.
He discusses for us, in his address, the meanings which, from the standpoint of anthropology, should be assigned to those often vaguely used words "race" and "civilization." We must pass over his remarks on the first of these terms, though they are both interesting and original. In regard to the latter the position he takes is that wherever there was a human society there civilization is to be found. "Civilization," he observes, "really means simply the art of living in a community, the checks and counter-checks, the division of labor, and the conveniences that arise from common action when a group of men live in close relation to each other." In other words, the term has a relative, not an absolute meaning; and the practical question which confronts the so-called higher races in certain cases is whether it is desirable to replace, or attempt to replace, the relative civilization of a given lower race—or one which they regard as such—by their own more advanced modes of life.
This brings us to the most important part of Prof. Petrie's discourse. "Every civilization," he says, "is the growing product of a very complex set of conditions depending on race and character, on climate, on trade, and every minutia of the circumstances. To attempt to alter such a system, apart from its conditions, is to attempt the impossible. No change is legitimate or beneficial to the real character of a people, except what flows from conviction and the natural growth of the mind." Such conviction and such mental growth are not to be had if we present unassimilable ideas and ideals. Our intentions may be excellent, but