Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/46

This page has been validated.
38
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

under its various forms, social included, which it has been all along my purpose to illustrate in detail. He refers to evolution as exhibited in the change from a savage to a civilized state; but he does not ask in what the change essentially consists, and, not asking this, does not see what alone is to be included in an account of it. Let us contemplate for a moment the two extremes of the process.

Here is a wandering cluster of men, or rather of families, concerning which, considered as an aggregate, little more can be said than can be said of a transitory crowd: the group considered as a whole is to be described not so much by characters as by the absence of characters. It is so loose as hardly to constitute an aggregate, and it is practically structureless. Turn now to a civilized society. No longer a small wandering group but a vast stationary nation, it presents us with a multitude of parts which, though separate in various degrees, are tied together by their mutual dependence. The cluster of families forming a primitive tribe separates with impunity: now increase of size, now dissension, now need for finding food, causes it from time to time to divide; and the resulting smaller clusters carry on what social life they have just as readily as before. But it is otherwise with a developed society. Not only by its stationariness is this prevented from dividing bodily, but its parts, though distinct, have become so closely connected that they can not live without mutual aid. It is impossible for the agricultural community to carry on its business if it has not the clothing which the manufacturing community furnishes. Without fires neither urban nor rural populations can do their work, any more than can the multitudinous manufacturers who need engines and furnaces; so that these are all dependent on coal-miners. The tasks of the mason and the builder must be left undone unless the quarryman and the carpenter have been active. Throughout all towns and villages retail traders obtain from the Manchester district the calicoes they want, from Leeds their woolens, from Sheffield their cutlery. And so throughout, in general and in detail. That is to say, the whole nation is made coherent by the dependence of its parts on one another—a dependence so great that an extensive strike of coal-miners checks the production of iron, throws many thousands of ship-builders out of work, adds to the outlay for coal in all households, and diminishes railway dividends. Here then is one primary contrast-—the primitive tribe is incoherent, the civilized nation is coherent.

While the developing society has thus become integrated, it has passed from its original uniform state into a multiform state. Among savages there are no unlikenesses of occupations. Every man is hunter and upon occasion warrior; every man builds his own