Our human Past is a mighty fact of our world. Many facts are unstable, impermanent, and evanescent-they are here to-day, and to-morrow they are gone. Not so with the great fact of our human Past. Our past abides.
"It is permanent. It can be counted on. It is nearly eternal as the race of man. Out of that past we have come. Into it we are constantly returning. Meanwhile, it is of the utmost importance to our lives. It contains the roots of all we are, and of all we have of wisdom, of science, of philosophy, of art, of jurisprudence, of customs and institutions. It contains the record or ruins of all the experiments that man has made during a quarter or a half million years in the art of living in this world." (Keyser, Human Worth of Rigorous Thinking.)
In our relation to the past there are three wide-open ways in which one may be a fool. One of the ways is the way of ignoring the past-the way of remaining blankly ignorant of the human past as the animals are blankly ignorant of their past and so of drifting through life as animals do, without reference to the experience of bygone generations. Fools of this type may be called drifting fools or Drifters. Another way to be a fool-a very alluring way-is that of falsifying the past by idealizing it-by stupidly disregarding its vices, misery, ignorance, slothfulness, and folly, and stupidly magnifying its virtues, happiness, knowledge, achievements and wisdom; it is the way of the self-complacent-the way of those who, being comfortably situated and prosperous, are opposed to change; the past, they say, was wise for it produced the present and the present is good-let us alone. Fools of this type may be called idolatrous fools, worshipping the Past; or static fools, contented with the Present; or cowardly fools, opposed to change, fearful of the Future. A third way to be a fool-which is also alluring-is the opposite of the foregoing; it is the way of those who falsify the past by stupidly and contemptuously disregarding its virtues, its happiness, its knowledge, its great achievements, and its wisdom, and by stupidly or dishonestly magnifying its vices, its misery, its ignorance, its great slothfulness, and its folly; it is apt to be the way of the woeful, the unprosperous, the desperate-especially the way of such as find escape from the bore of routine life in the excite meets of unrest, turbulence, and change; the past, they say, was all wrong, for it produced the present and the present is thoroughly bad-let us destroy it, root and branch. Fools of this type may be called scorning fools, Scorners of the Past; or destroying fools, Destroyers of the Present; or dynamic fools, Revelers in the excitements of Change.
Such are the children of folly: (1) Drifting fools -ignorers of the past-disregarders of race experience-thoughtless floaters on the shifting currents of human affairs; (2) Static fools-idealizers of the past-complacent lovers of the present-enemies of change-fearful of the future; (3) Dynamic fools -scorners of the past-haters of the present-destroyers of the works of the dead-most modest of fools, each of them saying: "What ought to be begins with Me; I will make the world a paradise; but my genius must be free; now it is hampered by the existing 'order'-the bungling work of the past; I will destroy it; I will start with chaos; we need light-the Sun casts shadows-I will begin by blotting out the Sun; then the world will be full of glory-the light of my genius."
In striking contrast with that three-fold division of Folly, the counsel of Wisdom is one, and it is one with the sober counsel of Common Sense. What is that counsel? What is the united counsel of wisdom and common sense respecting the past? The answer is easy and easy to understand. The counsel is this: Do not ignore the past but study it-study it diligently as being the mightiest factor among the great factors of our human world; endeavor to view the past justly, to contemplate it as it was and is, to see it whole-to see it in true perspective-magnifying neither its good nor its evil, neither its knowledge nor its ignorance, neither its enterprise nor its slothfulness, neither its achievements nor its failures; as the salient facts are ascertained, endeavor to account for them, to find their causes, their favoring conditions, to explain the facts to understand them, applying always the question Why? Centuries of centuries of cruel superstition-Why? Centuries of centuries of almost complete ignorance of natural law-Why ? Centuries of centuries of monstrous misconceptions of human nature-Why ? Measureless creations, wastings and destructions of wealth-Why? Endless rolling cycles of enterprise, stagnation, and decay-Why? Interminable alterations of peace and war, enslavements and emancipations-Why? Age after age of world-wide worship of man-made gods, silly, savage, enthroned by myth and magic, celebrated and supported by poetry and the wayward speculations of ignorant "sages"- Why? Age upon age of world-wide slow developments of useful inventions, craftsmanship, commerce, and art-Why? Ages of dark impulsive groping before the slow discovery of reason, followed by centuries of belief in the sufficiency of ratiocination unaided by systematic observation and experiment- Why? At length the dawn of scientific method and science, the growth of natural knowledge, immeasurable expansion of the universe in Time and in Space, belief in the lawfulness of Nature, rapidly increasing subjugation of natural forces to human control, growing faith in the limitless progressibility of human knowledge and in the limitless perfectibility of human welfare-Why? The widely diverse peoples of the world constrained by scientific progress to live together as in one community upon a greatly shrunken and rapidly shrinking planet, the unpreparedness of existing ethics, law, philosophy, economics, politics and government to meet the exigencies thus arising-Why?
Such I take to be the counsel of wisdom-the simple wisdom of sober common sense. To ascertain the salient facts of our immense human past and then to explain them in terms of their causes and conditions is not an easy task. It is an exceedingly difficult one, requiring the labor of many men, of many generations; but it must be performed; for it is only in proportion as we learn to know the great facts of our human past and their causes that we are enabled to understand our human present, for the present is the child of the past; and it is only in proportion as we thus learn to understand the present that we can face the future with confidence and competence. Past, Present, Future-these can not be understood singly and separately-they are welded together indissolubly as one.
The period of humanity's childhood has been long-300,000 to 500,000 years, according to the witness of human relics, ruins and records of the caves and the rocks-a stretch of time too vast for our imaginations to grasp. Of that immense succession of ages, except a minute fraction of it including our own time, we have, properly speaking, no history; we have only a rude, dim, broken outline. Herodotus, whom we call "the father of history" proper, lived less than 2500 years ago. What is 2500 years compared with the whole backward stretch of human time? We have to say that the father of human history lived but yesterday-a virtual contemporary of those now living. Our humankind groped upon this globe for probably 400,000 years before the writing of what we call history had even begun. If we regard history as a kind of racial memory, what must we say of our race's memory? It is like that of a man of 20 years whose recollection extends back less than 3 months or like that of a man of 60 years whose recollection fails to reach any event of the first 59 years of his life. Owing to the work of geologists, paleontologists, ethnologists and their co-workers, the history of prehistoric man will grow, just as we know to-day more about the life of mankind in the time of Herodotus than Herodotus himself knew. Meanwhile we must try to make the best use of such historical knowledge of man as we now possess.
Even if the story of humanity's childhood were fully recorded in the libraries of the world, it would not be possible in this brief writing to recount the story in even the most summary fashion. Except the tale of recent years, the story is known as I have said, only in outline, rude, dim and broken, but for the present purpose this will suffice. Countless multitudes of details are lost-most of them doubtless forever. But we need not despair. The really great facts of our racial childhood-the massive, dominant, outstanding facts are sufficiently clear for our guidance in the present enterprise. And what do we know ?
We know that the period of our human childhood has been inconceivably long; we know that in the far distant time, the first specimens of humankind-the initial members of the time-binding race of man-were absolutely without human knowledge of the hostile world in which they found themselves; we know that they had no conception of what they themselves were; we know that they had neither speech nor art nor philosophy nor religion nor science nor tools nor human history nor human tradition; we know, though we to-day can hardly imagine it, that their sole equipment for initiating the career of the human race was that peculiar faculty which made them human-the capacity of man for binding time; we know that they actually did that work of initiation, without any guidance or example, maxim or precedent; and we know that they were able to do it just because the power of initiation-the power to originate-is a time-binding power.
What else do we know of the earliest part of humanity's childhood? We know that in that far-distant age, our ancestors-being, not animals, but human creatures-not only began to live in the human dimension of life-forever above the level of animals-but continued therein, taking not only the first step, but the second, the third, and so on indefinitely; we know, in other words, that they were progressive creatures, that they made advancement; we know that their progress was natural to them- as natural as swimming is to fishes or as flying is to birds-for both the impulse and the ability to progress-to make improvement-to do greater things by help of things already done-are of the very nature of the time-binding capacity which makes humans human.
We know that time-binding capacity-the capacity for accumulating racial experience, enlarging it, and transmitting it for future expansion-is the peculiar power, the characteristic energy, the definitive nature, the defining mark, of man; we know that the mental power, the time-binding capacity of our pre-historic ancestors, was the same in kind as our own, if not in degree; we know that it is natural for this capacity, the highest known agency of Nature, to produce ideas, inventions, insights doctrines, knowledge and other forms of wealth 5 we know that progress in what we call civilization. which is nothing but progress in the production and right use of material and spiritual wealth, has been possible and actual simply and solely because the products of time-binding work not only survive, but naturally tend to propagate their kind-ideas begetting ideas, inventions leading to other inventions, knowledge breeding knowledge; we therefore know that the amount of progress which a single generation can make, if it have an adequate supply of raw material and be unhampered by hostile circumstances, depends, not only upon its native capacity for binding time, but also-and this is of the utmost importance-upon the total progress made by preceding generations-upon the inherited fruit, that is, of the time-binding toil of the dead; accordingly we know that the amount of progress a single generation can thus make is what mathematicians call an increasing function of time, and not only an increasing function but an increasing exponential function of time-a function like PRT, as already explained; we know, too, that the total progress which T successive generations can thus make is:
which is also an increasing exponential function of time; we know from the differential calculus that these functions-which represent natural laws, laws of human nature, laws of the time-binding energies of man-are very remarkable functions-not only do they increase with time but their rates of increase are also exponential functions of time and so the rates of increase themselves increase at rates which are, again, exponential functions, and so on and on without limit; that, I say, is a marvelous fact, and it is for us a fact of immeasurable significance; for it means that the time-binding power of man is such that, if it be allowed to operate naturally, civilization -the production and right use of material and spiritual wealth-will not only grow towards infinity (as mathematicians say), but will thus grow with a swiftness which is not constant but which itself grows towards infinity with a swiftness which, again, is not constant but increases according to the same law, and so on indefinitely. We thus see, if we will only retire to our cloisters and contemplate it, that the proper life of man as man is not life-in-space like that of animals, but is life-in-time; we thus see that in distinctively human life, in the life of man as man, the past is present and the dead survive destined to greet and to bless the unborn generations: time, bound-up time, is literally of the core and substance of civilization. So it has been since the beginning of man.
We know that the total progress made in the long course of humanity's childhood, though it is absolutely great, is relatively small; we know that, compared with no-civilization, our present civilization is vast and rich in many ways; we know, however, that, if the time-binding energies of humanity had been always permitted to operate unhampered by hostile circumstances, they would long ere now have produced a state of civilization compared with which our present estate would seem mean, meagre, savage. For we know that those peculiar energies-the civilization-producing energies of man-far from being always permitted to operate according to the laws of their nature, have never been permitted so to operate, but have always been hampered and are hampered to-day by hostile circumstances. And, if we reflect, we may know well enough what the enemies-the hostile circumstances-have been and are. We know that in the beginning of humanity's childhood-in its babyhood, so to speak-there was, as already said, no capital whatever to start with- no material wealth-no spiritual wealth in the form of knowledge of the world or the nature of man- no existing fruit of dead men's toil-no bound-up time-nothing but wild and raw material, whose very location, properties and potencies had all to be discovered; even now, because we have inherited so much bound-up time and because our imaginations have been so little disciplined to understand realities, we can scarcely picture to ourselves the actual conditions of that far-off time of humanity's babyhood; still less do we realize that present civilization has hardly begun to be that of enlightened men. We know, moreover, that the time-binding energies of our remote ancestors were hampered and baulked, in a measure too vast for our imaginations, by immense geologic and climatic changes, both sudden and secular, unforeseen and irresistible-by earthquake and storm, by age-long seasons of flood and frost and heat and drought, not only destroying both natural resources and the slowly accumulated products of by-gone generations but often extinguishing the people themselves with the centers and abodes of struggling civilization.
Of all the hostile circumstances, of all the causes which throughout the long period of humanity's childhood have operated to keep civilization and human welfare from progressing in full accord with the natural laws of the time-binding energies of man, the most potent cause and most disastrous, a cause still everywhere in operation, remains to be mentioned. I mean human ignorance. I do not mean ignorance of physical facts and the laws of physical nature for this latter ignorance is in large measure the effect of the cause I have in mind. The ignorance I mean is far more fundamental and far more potent. I mean human ignorance of Human Nature -I mean man's ignorance of what Man is-I mean false conceptions of the rightfu1 place of man in the scheme of life and the order of the world. What the false conceptions are I have already pointed out. They are two. One of them is the conception according to which human beings are animals. The other one is the conception according to which human beings have no place in Nature but are hybrids of natural and supernatural, animals combined with something "divine." Both of them are characteristic of humanity's childhood; both of them are erroneous, and both of them have done infinite harm in a thousand ways. Whose is the fault? In a deep sense, it is the fault of none. Man started with no capital-on knowledge-with nothing but his physical strength and the natural stirring within of the capacity for binding time; and so he had to grope. It is not strange that he was puzzled by himself. It is not strange that he thought himself an animal; for he has animal propensities as a cube has surfaces, and his animal propensities were so obtrusive, so very evident to physical sense-he was born, grew, had legs and hair, ate, ran, slept, died-all just like animals-while his distinctive mark, his time-binding capacity, was subtle; it was spiritual; it was not a visible organ but an invisible function; it was the energy called intellect or mind, which the physical senses do not perceive; and so I say it is not strange -it is indeed very sad and very pathetic-but it is not to be wondered at that human beings have falsely believed themselves to be animals. So, too, of the rival belief-the belief that humans are neither natural nor supernatural but are both at once, at once brutal and divine, hybrid offspring of beast and god. The belief is monstrous, it is very pathetic and very sad, but its origin is easy to understand; once invented, it became a powerful instrument for evil men, for impostors, but it was not invented by them; it was only an erroneous result of an honest effort to understand and to explain. For the obvious facts created a real puzzle to be explained: On the one hand, men, women and children-animal-hunting and animal-hunted human beings-certainly resembled animals physically in a hundred unmistakable ways; on the other hand, it became more and more evident that the same animal-resembling human beings could do many things which animals never did and could not do. Here was a puzzle, a mystery. Time-binding curiosity demanded an explanation. What was it to be? Natural science had not yet arisen; critical conception-conception that avoids the mixing of dimensions-was in the state of feeble infancy. It is easy to understand what the answer had to be-childish and mythical; and so it was-humans are neither animals nor gods, neither natural nor supernatural, they are both at once, a mixture, a mysterious union of animal with something "divine."
Such, then, are the two rival answers which, in the long dark, groping course of humanity's childhood, human beings have given to the most important of all questions-the question: What is Man? I have said that the answers, no matter how sincere, no matter how honestly arrived at, are erroneous, false to fact, and monstrous. I have said, and I repeat, that the misconceptions involved in them have done more throughout the by-gone centuries, and are doing more to-day, than all other hindering causes, to hamper and thwart the natural activity of the time-binding energies of man and thus to retard the natural progress of civilization. It is not merely our privilege, it is our high and solemn duty, to examine them. To perform the great duty is not an easy task. The misconceptions in question have come down to us from remote antiquity; they have not come down singly, separately, clean-cut, clear and well-defined; they have come entangled in the complicated mesh of traditional opinions and creeds that constitute the vulgar "philosophy"-the mental fog -of our time. If we are to perform the duty of examining them we have first of all to draw them forth, to disengage them from our inherited tangle of beliefs and frame them in suitable words; we have next to bring ourselves to realize vividly and keenly that the conceptions, thus disentangled and framed, are in fact, whether they be true or false, at the very heart of the social philosophy of the world; we have in the third place to detect the fundamental character of the blunder involved in them-to see clearly and coldly wherein they are wrong and why they are ruinous; we have, finally, to trace, if we can, their deadly effects both in the course of human history and in the present status of our human world.
The task of disengaging the two monstrous misconceptions from the tangled skein of inherited beliefs and framing them in words, I have already repeatedly performed. Let us keep the results in mind. Here they are in their nakedness: (1) Human beings-men, women, and children-are animals (and so they are natural): (2) human beings are neither natural nor supernatural, neither wholly animal nor wholly "divine," but are both natural and supernatural at once-a sort of mysterious hybrid compound of brute and gods.
The second part of our task-which is the reader's task as much as mine-is not so easy; and the reason is evident. It is this: The false creeds in question- the fatal misconceptions they involve-are so familiar to us-they have been so long and so deeply imbedded in our thought and speech and ways of life-we have been so thoroughly bred in them by home and school and church and state-that we habitually and unconsciously take them for granted and have to be virtually stung into an awareness of the fact that we do actually hold them and that they do actually reign to-day throughout the world and have so reigned from time immemorial. We have, therefore, to shake ourselves awake, to prick ourselves into a realization of the truth.
I assume that the reader is at once hard-headed, rational, I mean, and interested in the welfare of mankind. If he is not, he will not be a "reader" of this book. He, therefore, knows that the third task-the task of detecting and exposing the fundamental error of the misconceptions in question-is a task of the utmost importance. What is that error? It is, I have said, an error in logic. But logical errors are not all alike-they are of many kinds. What is the "kind" of this one? It is the kind that consists in what mathematicians call "confusion of types," or "mixing of dimensions." The answer can not be made too clear nor too emphatic, for its importance in the criticism of all our thinking is great beyond measure. There are millions of examples that help to make the matter clear. I will again employ the simplest of them-one so simple that a child can understand it. It is a mathematical example, as it ought to be, for the whole question of logical types, or dimensions, is a mathematical one. I beg the reader not to shy at, or run away from, the mere word mathematical, for, although most of us have but little mathematical knowledge, we all of us have the mathematical spirit, for else we should not be human-we are all of us mathematicians at heart. Let us, then, proceed confidently and at once to our simple example. Here is a surf ace, say a plane surface. It has length and breadth-and so it has, we say, two dimensions; next consider a solid, say a cube. It has length, breadth and thickness- and so it has, we say, three dimensions. Now we notice that the cube has surfaces and so has certain surface properties. Do we, therefore, say that a solid is a surface? That the cube is a member of the class of surfaces? If we did, we should be fools -type-confusing fools-dimension-mixing fools. That is evident. Or suppose we notice that solids have certain surf ace properties and certain properties that surfaces do not have; and suppose we say the surface properties of solids are natural but the other properties are so mysterious that they must be "supernatural" or somehow "divine"; and suppose we then say that solids are unions, mixtures, compounds or hybrids of surfaces and something divine or supernatural; is it not evident that, if we did that, we should be again blundering like fools? Type-confusing fools ? Dimension-mixing fools ? That such would be the case any one can see. Let !IS now consider animals and human beings, and let us look squarely and candidly at the facts. To get a start, think for a moment of plants. Plants are living things; they take, transform and appropriate the energies of sun, soil, and air, but they have not the autonomous power to move about in space; we may say that plants constitute the lowest order or class or type or dimension of life-the dimension one; plants, we see are binders of the basic energies of the world. What of animals? Like the plants, animals, too, take in, transform and appropriate the energies of sun, soil and air, though in large part they take them in forms already prepared by the plants themselves; but, unlike the plants, animals possess the autonomous power to move about in space-to creep or crawl or run or swim or fly-it is thus evident that, compared with plants, animals belong to a higher order, or higher class, or higher type, or higher dimension of life; we may therefore say that the type of animal life is a type of two dimensions-a two-dimensional type; I have called them space-binders because they are distinguished, or marked, by their autonomous power to move about in space, to abandon one place and occupy another and so to appropriate the natural fruits of many localities; the life of animals is thus a life-in-space in a sense evidently not applicable to plants. And now what shall we say of Man? Like the animals, human beings have indeed the power of mobility- the autonomous power to move-the capacity for binding space, and it is obvious that, if they possessed no capacity of higher order, men, women and children would indeed be animals. But what are the facts? The facts, if we will but note them and reflect upon them, are such as to show us that the chasm separating human nature from animal nature is even wider and deeper than the chasm between animal life and the life of plants. For man improves, animals do not; man progresses, animals do not; man invents more and more complicated tools, animals do not; man is a creator of material and spiritual wealth, animals are not; man is a builder of civilization, animals are not; man makes the past live in the present and the present in the future, animals do not; man is thus a binder of time, animals are not. In the light of such considerations, if only we will attend to their mighty significance, it is as clear as anything can be or can become, that the life of man-the time-binder-is as radically distinct from that of animals-mere space-binders-as animal life is distinct from that of plants or as the nature of a solid is distinct from that of a surface, or that of a surface from that of a line. It is, therefore, perfectly manifest that, when we regard human beings as animals or as mixtures of animal nature with something mysteriously supernatural, we are guilty of the same kind of blunder as if we regarded animals as plants or as plants touched by "divinity"-the same kind of blunder as that of regarding a solid as a surface or as a surface miraculously transfigured by some mysterious influence from outside the universe of space. It is thus evident that our guilt in the matter is the guilt of a blunder that is fundamental-a confusing of types, a mixing of dimensions.
Nothing can be more disastrous. For what are the consequences of that kind of error? Let the reader reflect. He knows that, if our ancestors had committed that kind of error regarding lines and surfaces and solids, there would to-day be no science of geometry; and he knows that, if there were no geometry, there would be no architecture in the world, no surveying, no railroads, no astronomy, no charting of the seas, no steamships, no engineering, nothing whatever of the now familiar world-wide affairs made possible by the scientific conquest of space. I say again, let the reader reflect; for if he does not, he will here miss the gravity of a most momentous truth. He readily sees, in the case supposed, how very appalling the consequences would have been if, throughout the period of humanity's childhood, there had occurred a certain confusion of types, a certain mixing of dimensions, and he is enabled to see it just because, happily, the blunder was not made or, if made, was not persisted in, for, if it had been made and persisted in, then the great and now familiar things of which it would have deprived the world would not be here; we should not now be able even to imagine them, and so we could not now compute even roughly the tremendous magnitude of the blunder's disastrous consequences. Let the reader not deviate nor falter nor stagger here; let him shoulder the burden of the mighty argument and bear it to the goal. He easily perceives the truly appalling consequences that would have inevitably followed from the error of confusing types-the error of mixing dimensions-in the matter of lines and surfaces and solids, if that error had been committed and persisted in throughout the centuries; he can perceive those consequences just because the error was not made and hence the great things of which (had the blunder been made) it would have deprived the world are here, so that he can say: "Behold those splendid things-the science of geometry and its manifold applications everywhere shining in human affairs-imagine all of them gone, imagine the world if they had never been, and you will have a measure of the consequences that would have followed violation of the law of types, the law of dimensions, in the matter of lines, surfaces and solids." But, now, in regard to the exactly similar error respecting the nature of man, the situation is reversed; for this blunder, unlike the other one, is not merely hypothetical; we have seen that it was actually committed and has been actually persisted in from time immemorial; not merely for years or for decades or for centuries but for centuries of centuries including our own day, it has lain athwart the course of human progress; age after age it has hampered and baulked the natural activity of the time-binding energies-the civilization-producing energies-of humanity. How are we to estimate its consequences ? Let the reader keep in mind that the error is fundamental-a type-confusing blunder (like that supposed regarding geometric entities); let him reflect, moreover, that it affects, not merely one of our human concerns, but all of them, since it is an error regarding the center of them all-regarding the very nature of man himself; and he will know, as well as anything can be known, that the consequences of the ages-old blunder have been and are very momentous and very terrible. Their measure is indeed beyond our power; we cannot describe them adequately, we cannot delineate their proportions, for we cannot truly imagine them; and the reason is plain: it is that those advancements of civilization, those augmentations of material and spiritual wealth, all of the glorious achievements of which the tragic blunder has deprived the world, are none of them here; they have not been produced; and so we cannot say, as in the other case: "Look upon these splendid treasures of bound-up time, imagine them taken away, and your sense of the appalling loss will give you the measure required." It is evident that the glories of which the misconceptions of human nature have deprived manhood must long remain, perhaps forever, in the sad realm of dreams regarding great and noble things that might have been.
I have said that the duty of examining the misconceptions imposes upon us four obligations. Three of these we have performed: we have disengaged the beliefs in question from the complicated tangle of opinions in which they have come down to us from remote antiquity; we have recognized the necessity and the duty of virtually stinging ourselves into an awareness of the fact that we have actually held them for true and that from time immemorial they have poured their virus into the heart of ethics, economics, politics and government throughout the world; we have seen not only that the beliefs are false but that their falseness is due to a blunder of the most fundamental kind-the blunder of mixing dimensions or confusing types. As already said, the fourth one of the mentioned tasks is that of tracing, if we can, the blunder's deadly effects both in human history and in the present status of the world. We have just reached the conclusion that this task cannot be fully performed; for there can be no doubt, as we have seen, that, if the blunder had not been committed and persisted in, the world would now possess a civilization so far advanced, so rich in the spiritual fruits of time and toil, as to be utterly beyond our present power to conceive or imagine it.
But, though we cannot perform the task fully, our plight is far from hopeless. The World War has goaded us into thinking as we never thought before. It has constrained us to think of realities and especially to think of the supreme reality-the reality of Man. That is why the great Catastrophe marks the close of humanity's childhood. The period has been long and the manner of its end is memorable forever-a sudden, flaming, world-wide cataclysmic demonstration of fundamental ignorance-human ignorance of human nature. It is just that tragic demonstration, brutal as an earthquake, pitiless as fate or famine, that gives us ground for future hope. It has forced us to think of realities and it is thought of reality that will heal the world. And so I say that these days, despite their fear and gloom, are the beginning of a new order in human affairs-the order of permanent peace and swift advancement of human weal. For we know at length what human beings are, and the knowledge can be taught to men and women and children by home and school and church and press throughout the world; we know at length, and we can teach the world, that man is neither an animal nor a miraculous mixture of angel and beast; we know at length, and we can teach, that, throughout the centuries, these monstrous misconceptions have made countless millions mourn and that they are doing so to-day, for, though we cannot compute the good of which they have deprived mankind, we can trace the dark ramifications of their positive evil in a thousand ways; we know at length, and we can teach, that man, though he is not an animal, is a natural being, having a definite place, a rank of his own, in the hierarchy of natural life; we know at length, and we can teach the world, that what is characteristic of the human class of life-that which makes us human-is the power to create material and spiritual wealth-to beget the light of reasoned understanding-to produce civilization-it is the unique capacity of man for binding time, uniting past, present and future in a single growing reality charged at once with the surviving creations of the dead, with the productive labor of the living, with the rights and hopes of the yet unborn; we know at length, and we can teach, that the natural rate of human progress is the rate of a swiftly increasing exponential function of time; we know, and we can teach, that what is good in present civilization-all that is precious in it, sacred and holy-is the fruit of the time-binding toil struggling blindly through the ages against the perpetual barrier of human ignorance of human nature; we know at length, we can teach, and the world will understand, that in proportion as we rid our ethics and social philosophy of monstrous misrepresentations of human nature, the time-binding energies of humanity will advance civilization in accordance with their natural law PRT, the forward-leaping function of time.
Such knowledge and such teaching will inaugurate the period of humanity's manhood. It can be made an endless period of rapid developments in True civilization. All the developments must grow out of the true conception of human beings as constituting the time-binding class of life, and so the work must begin with a campaign of education wide enough to embrace the world. The cooperation of all educational agencies-the home, the school, the church, the press-must be enlisted to make known the fundamental truth concerning the nature of man so that it shall become the guiding light and habit of men, women, and children everywhere. Gradual indeed but profound will be the transformations wrought in all the affairs of mankind, but especially and first of all in the so-called arts and sciences of ethics, economics, politics and government.
The ethics of humanity's manhood will be neither "animal" ethics nor "supernatural" ethics. It will be a natural ethics based upon a knowledge of the laws of human nature. It will not be a branch of zoology, the ethics of tooth and claw, the ethics of profiteering, the ethics of space-binding beasts fighting for "a place in the sun." It will be a branch of humanology, a branch of Human Engineering; it will be a time-binding ethics, the ethics of the entirely natural civilization-producing energies of humanity. Whatever accords with the natural activity of those energies will be right and good; whatever does not, will be wrong and bad. "Survival of the fittest" in the sense of the strongest is a space-binding standard, the ethical standard of beasts; in the ethics of humanity's manhood survival of the fittest will mean survival of the best in competitions for excellence, and excellence will mean time-binding excellence- excellence in the production and right use of material and spiritual wealth-excellence in science, in art, in wisdom, in justice, in promoting the weal and protecting the rights both of the living and of the unborn. The ethics that arose in the dark period of humanity's childhood from the conception of human beings as mysterious unions of animality and divinity gave birth to two repulsive species of traffic-traffic in men regarded as animals, fit to be slaves, and traffic in the "supernatural," in the sale of indulgences in one form or another and the "divine wisdom" of ignorant priests. It is needless to say that in the natural ethics of humanity's manhood those species of commerce will not be found.
And what shall we say in particular of economics, of "industry," "business as usual," and the "finance" of "normalcy" ? There lies before me an established handbook of Corporation Finance, by Mr. E. S. Mead, Ph.D. (Appleton, N. Y.), whose purpose is not that of adverse criticism but is that of showing the generally accepted "sound" bases for prosperous business. I can hardly do better than to ask the reader to ponder a few extracts from that work, showing the established, and amazing theories, for then I have only to say that in the period of humanity's manhood the moral blindness of such "principles," their space-binding spirit of calculating selfishness and greed, will be regarded with utter loathing as slavery is regarded to-day. Behold the picture:
"Since the bondholder is solely interested in the security of his principal, and regular payment of his interest, and since both security and interest depend upon the permanence of income, other things being equal the companies with the most stable earnings or a market . . . furnish the best security for bonds. Stability of earnings depends upon (1) the possession of a monopoly.... Monopoly is exclusive or dominant control over a market. The more complete this control, the more valuable is the monopoly. The advantage of monopoly lies in the fact that the prices of services or commodities are controlled by the producers (meaning owners-Author), rather than by the consumer.... Monopolies are of various origins. The most familiar are (1) franchises, the right to use public property for private purposes, for example, the furnishing of light, water and transportation, (2) control of sources of raw material . . . , (3) patents, . . . , (4) high cost of duplicating plant.... In manufacturing industries, for example, those enterprises which produce raw materials and the necessities of life have a more stable demand.... Railroads furnish perhaps the best basis of bond issue because of the stability of the demand for the transportation service . . . the high cost of duplicating the railroad plant, . . . enables them to fix their rates on freight and passenger traffic.... The security of the creditors is here the profitableness of the business which is carried on in the factory. Furthermore, a business is not an aggregate of physical property but consists of physical property-buildings, boilers, machine tools-plus an industrial opportunity, plus the organization and ability to operate business." (Italics indicated by the author.)
There we see the animal standards in their studied perfection. Comment would be superfluous. In the period of humanity's manhood, the so-called "science" of economics, the "dismal science" of political economy, will become a genuine science based upon the laws of the time-binding energies of humanity; it will become the light of Human Engineering-promoter, guardian, and guide of human weal. For it will discover, and will teach that a human life, a time-binding life, is not merely a civilized life but a civilizing life; it will know and will teach that a civilizing life is a life devoted to the production of potential and kinetic use-values-to the creation, that is, of material and spiritual wealth; it will know and will teach that wealth-both material and spiritual wealth-is a natural phenomenon -offspring of the marriage of Time and human Toil; it will know and will teach that the wealth in the world at any given moment is almost wholly the inherited fruit of time and the labor of the dead; and so it will ask: To whom does the inheritance rightly belong? Does it of right belong to Smith and Brown ? If so, why? Or does it of right belong to man-to humanity? If so, why? And what does "humanity" include? Only the living, who are relatively few? Or both the living and unborn? The Economics of humanity's manhood will not only ask these questions but it will answer them and answer them aright. In seeking the answers, it will discover some obvious truths and many old words will acquire new meanings consistent with the time-binding nature of man. It will discover and will teach that the time-binders of a given generation are posterity and ancestry at once-posterity of the dead, ancestry of all the generations to come; it will discover and will teach that in this time-binding double relationship uniting past and future in a single living growing Reality, are to be found the obligations of time-binding ethics and the seat of its authority; economics will know and will teach that human posterity- time-binding posterity-can not inherit the fruits of time and dead men's toil as animals inherit the wild fruits of the earth, to fight about them and to devour them, but only as trustees for the generations to come; it will know and will teach that "capitalistic" lust to keep for SELF and "proletarian" lust to get for SELF are both of them space-binding lust-animal lust-beneath the level of time-binding life. The economics of humanity's manhood will know and will teach that the characteristic energies of man as man are by nature civilizing energies, wealth-producing energies, time-binding energies, the peaceful energies of inventive mind, of growing knowledge and understanding and skill and light; it will know and will teach that these energies of existing men united with one billion six hundred million available sun-man-powers united with the ten billion living "man-powers of the dead," if they be not wasted by ignorance and selfishness, by conflict and competition characteristic of beasts, are more than sufficient to produce a high order of increasing prosperity everywhere throughout the world; in the period of its manhood economics will discover and will teach that to produce world prosperity, cooperation-not the fighting of man against man-but the peaceful cooperation of all is both necessary and sufficient; it will know and will teach that such cooperation demands scientific leadership and a common aim; it will know, however, and will teach, for the lesson of Germany is plain, that scientific knowledge and a common aim are not alone sufficient; it will know and teach and all will understand that the common aim, the unifying principle, the basis of cooperation, cannot be the welfare of a family nor that of a province or a state or a race, but must be the welfare of all mankind, the prosperity of humanity, the weal of the world-the peaceful production of Wealth without the destruction of War.
In humanity's manhood, patriotism-the love of country-will not perish-far from it-it will grow to embrace the world, for your country and mine will be the world. Your "state" and mine will be the Human State-a Cooperative Commonwealth of Man-a democracy in fact and not merely in name. It will be a natural organic embodiment of the civilizing energies-the wealth-producing energies-characteristic of the human class of life. Its larger affairs will be guided by the science and art of Human Engineering-not by ignorant and grafting "politicians"-but by scientific men, by honest men who know.
Is it a dream? It is a dream, but the dream will come true. It is a scientific dream and science will make it a living reality.
How is the thing to be done? No one can foresee all the details, but in general outline the process is clear. Violence is to be avoided. There must be a period of transition-a period of adjustment. A natural first step would probably be the establishment of a new institution which might be called a Dynamic Department-Department of Coordination or a Department of Cooperation-the name is of little importance, but it would be the nucleus of the new civilization. Its functions would be those of encouraging, helping and protecting the people in such cooperative enterprises as agriculture, manufactures, finance, and distribution.
The Department of Cooperation should include various sections, which might be as follows:
(1) The Section of Mathematical Sociology or Humanology: composed of at least one sociologist, one biologist, one mechanical engineer, and one mathematician. Their work would be the development of human engineering and mathematical sociology or humanology; promoting the progress of science; providing and supervising instruction in the theory of values and the rudiments of humanology for elementary schools and the public at large. The members of the section would be selected by the appropriate scientific societies for a term fixed by the selectors.
(2) The Section of Mathematical Legislation: composed of (say) one lawyer, one mathematician, one mechanical engineer, selected as above. Their task would be to recommend legislation, to provide means for eliminating "Legalism" from the theory and practice of law, and to bring jurisprudence into accord with the laws of time-binding human nature and the changing needs of human society. Their legislative proposals, if ratified in a joint session of sections (1) and (2), would then be recommended to the appropriate legislative bodies.
(3) The Educational Section: composed of two or three teachers, one sociologist, one mechanical engineer, one mathematician, selected as above. They would elaborate educational projects and revise school methods and books; their decisions being subject to the approval of the joint session of sections (1), (2), and (3).
(4) The Cooperative Section: composed of mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, production engineers, expert bookkeepers, accountants, business managers, lawyers and other specialists in their respective lines. This section would be an "Industrial Red Cross" (Charles Ferguson) giving expert advice when asked for by any cooperative society.
(5) The Cooperative Banking Section: composed of financial experts, sociologists, and mathematicians; its task being to help with expert advice new cooperative people's banks.
(6) The Promoters' Section: composed of engineers whose duty would be to study all of the latest scientific facts, collect data, and elaborate plans. Those plans would be published, and no private person, but only cooperative societies, would be permitted by law to use them. The department would also study and give advice respecting the general conditions of the market and the needs in the various lines of production. This section would regulate the duplication of production.
(7) The Farming Section: composed of specialists in scientific and cooperative agriculture.
(8) The Foreign Section: for inter-cooperative foreign relations.
(9) The Commercial Section.
(10) The News Section: to edit a large daily paper giving true, uncolored news with a special supplement relating to progress in the work of Human Engineering. This paper would give daily news about the whole cooperative movement, markets, etc., etc.
All men selected to the places for this work should be the very best men in the nation. They should be well paid to enable them to give their full energy and time to their duties. All the selections for this work should be made in the same manner as mentioned above-through proven merits not clever oratory. Such appointments should be considered the highest honor that a country can offer to its citizens. Every selection should be a demonstration that the person selected was a person of the highest attainments in the field of his work.
The outline of this plan is vague; it aims merely at being suggestive. Its principal purpose is to accentuate the imperative necessity of establishing a national time-binding agency-a Dynamic Department for stimulating, guiding and guarding the civilizing energies, the wealth producing energies, the time-binding energies, in virtue of which human beings are human. For then and only then human welfare, unretarded by monstrous misconceptions of human nature, by vicious ethics, vicious economics and vicious politics, will advance peacefully, continuously, and rapidly, under the leadership of human engineering, happily and without fear, in accord with the exponential law-the natural law-of the time binding energies of Man.