Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/285

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value only as they serve the individual life, the higher life of moral and intellectual development. By their means is developed a social personality, and this social personality—so far the highest product of evolution—the moral, intellectual and social man is the ultimate end of the social organization.

These proximate ends or public utilities take the form of various organizations in the political, the legal, the economic and cultural systems.

The supreme test of the efficiency of any social organization is the development of the personality of the social man. If the man himself becomes less social, less rational, less manly; if he falls from the highest type-which seeks self-realization through a critical intelligence and emotional self-control to one of these lower types that manifest only the primitive virtues of power; if he becomes unsocial—the social organization whatever its apparent merits, is failing to achieve its supreme object. If, on the contrary, man is becoming ever better as a human being, more rational, more sympathetic, with an ever-broadening consciousness of kind—then whatever its apparent defects, the social organization is sound and efficient.[1]

The home is one of these utilities for the development of the social man. The purpose of the home as a social organization is two-fold—economic and cultural. It is a purposive organization existing for convenience in the consumption of wealth as well as for the cultural purposes of parents and children.

Since the development of social personality through its organizations is the ultimate end of society, the cultural side of the home should perhaps be more emphasized than it is, but as our economic system is organized to-day the economic side of home life receives undue emphasis, owing to the social waste of labor which occurs because each housewife does her own housework, the food preparation, the sewing, the laundry work for her own little group, when by combination there could be a great saving in time and strength and more leisure for real cultural advancement. Society is coming slowly to understand something of this social waste of labor and gradually there have been developing industries which relieve the homes of much sewing, laundry work, and even food preparation.

The home is a human institution, and as such is capable of change and improvement. Other human institutions have come and gone, but the home of to-day in many particulars remains essentially the same as it was when our cave-dwelling ancestors left the woman at home to guard the fire, care for the children and, incidentally, to prepare the food, while they roamed abroad in search of game and new experiences. Those who insist that a woman's place is at home by divine decree need only to study the life of primitive man to find out how very human are some of our domestic customs, for they will then see this distinction, that while nature has specialized woman for child-bearing, it is society

  1. Giddings, "Inductive Sociology," p. 249.