Page:Woman and her possibilities.djvu/27

This page has been validated.
21
HER POSSIBILITIES

means for them in personal, family, and social life; and what is implied in the word "duty"; then they will utilize every fact within their knowledge in order to help them to live their complete life and to reach their fullest development, to attain their highest ideals, experience the most refined feelings, enjoy the highest emotions, through a knowledge of physiology, psychology, hygiene, history, art, literature, and religion. In the great world of humanity some people at present are like mere animals; some show glimmerings of human emotion, some are capable of intellectual enjoyment, and a few are capable of all-round self-expression.

On the subject we are now considering, mere opinions are worthless. The value of any opinion depends upon the number and trustworthiness of the "facts" on which it is founded; and few people know anything of the facts. I feel that my business here and now is to find out what facts are known, to sift out and set forth the evidence; and to exhibit it in such a way as to make clear its bearing on human nature and the experience of human life -- on love, mating, duties, privileges, occupations, possibilities.

What is your place in the world? What is mine? What are your duties, and mine? I should put self first in these questions, for my own duty is my first and chief concern. I shall try to give the facts of individual and social life and leave you to apply them.

Swedenborg, in his Vision of Hell saw everybody completely busy in making everybody else virtuous. Robert Louis Stevenson said that his duty to his neighbour was to make him happy if he might. This is a warning against trying to fit every man to one die or mould. A moralist writes on this subject thus: "The tragedy of life comes in large part from