Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/244

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also in the percentages of the total number of eminent men. Italy surpasses all countries in the proportionate number of artists. If the ancient civilizations were included in this comparison, the supremacy of the north would not be so evident; but it is hardly fair to include the ancient civilizations, for when they were flourishing, societies in northern countries had not advanced. When northern societies did develop they produced their quota of scientists, though they did not produce their proportionate number of artists.

The chief explanation of any advantage which cold countries may have in the development of science is to be found in their greater needs. The environment is harder to subdue and at the same time man's requirements are greater, hence there is a continual incentive to improve the useful arts: and the attempt to improve the arts is, as has already been said, the most important stimulus to the advancement of science. In addition to this, life in northern countries seems somewhat better adapted to the development of a thoughtful people. In southern countries social life is more continuous and the conditions are therefore less favorable for meditation. In northern countries social life is interspersed to a greater extent with periods of isolation, and this condition is most favorable to the development of new ideas. A more completely isolated life, however, with little social intercourse would not be stimulating enough to develop new ideas. Of course the most desirable balance between the social and the solitary life may exist in particular cases in warm countries, but their general conditions for society, as a whole, seem to be less favorable than those of colder countries.

Physical conditions are, however, less potent than social conditions in stimulating the advancement of science as well as that of art. Three conditions in social life may be mentioned as especially important in preparing the way for scientific development. First, society should be far enough advanced in numbers and in wealth to have evolved a class with opportunities to devote their time to intellectual pursuits. This condition is brought about comparatively early in society by the caste or class system, and later is made much more effective by the system of division of labor. New societies cultivate science but little because they have neither produced a leisure class nor have they extended the system of division of labor far enough to permit individuals to devote their whole time to scientific pursuits. Secondly, a society should be active, for such a society undertakes new enterprises and stimulates society through the medium of the arts. Rigid societies, such as China and India, are satisfied with past achievements in knowledge, but when such societies become active, as in the case of Japan, they feel the need of devoting themselves to the acquisition and the extension of knowledge. Thirdly, social conditions should be such that man may easily free his mind from the influences of the past. He must emancipate himself