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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/363

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359
THE LAWS OF SOCIAL ATTRACTION

better conditions lift her to the plane of the normal man and give her his characters.

If sexual affinity is due to complementary defects and not to complementary characters it is but an example of the general law of social attraction. A social leader is not a man with additional powers to those possessed by his followers. He has a full development of all the possibilities of his heredity while they have many of these qualities, dormant or partially developed. The defective have the capacity to feel, but not the power to see or to express. They admire those who can do what they desire and feel should be done, but which they can not of themselves execute. Social affinity is thus the bond that unites the defective to the normal. The defective follow leaders not because they are imitative, but because they are stimulated and aroused. Imitation is a habit that increases the regularity of life. Emotion and hysteria result from defects that promote irregular spasmodic action. They become social only through the presence of normal individuals who subordinate the weak and defective to their own ideals. Retarded development, defects, lack of control, strong emotion and hysteria are the roots out of which social attraction grows, and the resulting law is quite as fundamental as is the law of imitation upon which so much of social thought rests.

The law of social affinity is a law not of human nature, but a law of deficit: for defects are due not to heredity, but to a bad environment. It is said that a hive of bees is a group of degenerate creatures in which just one individual is fully developed; the others are what they are and do what they do because they have not had enough food. A human society is not in so bad a shape, but individuals having their innate powers fully developed are so rare that men regard them as heroes or demigods. What these few become is the standard to which all might attain if environment, health, nurture and education were given them. We need better feeding more than better breeding. Were a higher type of beings demanded it could be secured only through the slow process of biological development, but if noble qualities are already a gift of heredity kept from expressing themselves through defective conditions, we have it in our power to lift the whole of humanity to its natural level. Income and nurture lie at the basis of social progress. To lose these essential conditions means a retarded development, unrestrained emotions and a lack of rationality in action. Reason controls the normal man; primitive emotions and hysteria control the abnormal.

Social attraction binds these defective creatures to their superiors and thus preserves the race from social degeneration, but it does not prevent physical degeneration. Sexual affinity is strongest between those with complementary defects, and hence a steady decline in phys-