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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/546

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

grounds? Novelists have rung the changes on this intrusion of the social into the physiological cycle. What is Bourget's Cosmopolis but a picture of the influence of social race characteristics on natural heredity, with the reaction of natural heredity again upon new social conditions?

A speech of a character of Balzac's is to the point, as illustrating a certain appreciation of these social considerations which we all to a degree entertain. The Duchesse de Carigliano says to Madame de Sommervieux: "I know the world too well, my dear, to abandon myself to the discretion of a too superior man. You should know that one may allow them to court one, but marry them—that is a mistake! Never—no, no. It is like wanting to find pleasure in inspecting the machinery of the opera instead of sitting in a box to enjoy its brilliant illusions." To be sure, we do not generally deliberate in this wise when we fall in love: but that is not necessary, since our social milieu sets the style by the kind of intangible deliberation which I have called judgment and fitness. Suppose a large number of Northern advocates of social equality should migrate to the Southern States, and, true to their theory, intermarry with the blacks. Would it not then be true that a social consideration had run athwart the physiological "cycle," in the production of a legitimate mulatto society? A whole race might spring from a purely psychological or social initiation. "Sexual selection" is certainly a principle of broad biological application in human affairs.

I agree, however, with the hero-worshiper so far as to say that we can not set the limitations of the genius on the side of variations in intellectual endowment. So, if the general position be true that he is a variation of some kind, we must seek somewhere else for the direction of those peculiar traits whose excess would be his condemnation. This we can only find in connection with the other demand that we make of the ordinary man—i. e., the demand that he be a man of good judgment. And to this we may finally turn.

In approaching this topic it is well to bear in mind a further result which follows from the reciprocal character of social relationships. If the man in question have thoughts which are socially true, he will, ipso facto, know that they are true. He is a social outcome as well as are the fellows who sit in judgment on him. He must judge his own thoughts, too, as they do. So his own proper estimate of things and thoughts, his relative sense of fitness, gets application by a direct law of his own mental processes to himself and to his own creations. The limitations which, in the judgment of society, his variations must not overstep, are set by his own judgment also. So we reach the conclusion regarding the intellectual variations which the genius may have: