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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/120

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or a forest while in its midst. The near is indefinite and unsymmetrical. It presents a multitude of dissimilar, heterogeneous objects. They appear to be without order. To see order in them they must be seen from a distance. Beauty is almost a synonym of order. A landscape is beautiful because distance has reduced its chaos of details into order. A mountain seen at a distance is a symmetrical object of rare beauty, but when one is climbing it the rocks and crags, the ridges and gulches, the trees and prostrate logs, the brush and briars, constitute a disordered mass to which the term beauty does not apply. It is much the same with social phenomena. They must be seen, as it were, at long range, which brings groups of facts into relief and shows their relations.

What Dr. Edward B. Tylor has called 'ethnographic parallels,' viz., the occurrence of the same or similar customs, practices, ceremonies, arts, beliefs, and even games, symbols and patterns, in peoples of nearly the same culture at widely separated regions of the globe, proves, except in a few cases of known derivation through migration, that there is a uniform law in the psychic and social development of mankind at all times and under all circumstances working the same results. The details will vary with the climate and physical conditions, but if we continue to rise in the process of generalization we shall ultimately reach a plane on which all mankind are alike.

Even in civilized races there are certain things absolutely common to all. The great primary wants are everywhere the same, and they are supplied in substantially the same way the world over. Forms of government seem greatly to differ, but all governments aim to attain the same end. Political parties are bitterly opposed, but there is much more on which all agree than on which they differ. Creeds, cults and sects multiply and seem to present the utmost heterogeneity, but there is a common basis even of belief, and on certain occasions all may and sometimes do unite in a common cause.

Not only are the common wants of men the same, but their passions are also the same, and those acts growing out of them which are regarded as destructive of the social order and are condemned by law and public opinion, are committed in the face of these restraining influences with astonishing regularity. This is not seen by the ordinary observer, and every crime or breach of order is commonly looked upon as exceptional. But when accurate statistics are brought to bear upon this class of social phenomena they prove to be quite as uniform, though not quite so frequent, as the normal operations of life.

The ordinary events of life go unnoticed, but there are certain events that are popularly regarded as extraordinary, notwithstanding the fact that the newspapers every day devote more than half their space to them. One would suppose that people would some time learn