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thought, and under a wider sky, where the appear-
ance of considerations that are of infinite signifi-
cance leads to the surrender of those that are
temporal ; where the deliberate and frank self-
sacrifice of the Individual is available, and duty
takes the place of interest.



" But one conclusion he (the Scientific Historical Inquirer)
may properly draw from the facts bearing upon the subject
before us. Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and
to say at the same time that he values civilisation. The history
of the two cannot be disentangled. Civilisation is nothing
more than a name for the old order of the Aryan world, dis-
solved, but perpetually reconstituting itself under a vast variety
of solvent influences, of which infinitely the most powerful
have been those which have, slowly, and in some parts of the
world much less perfectly than in others, substituted several
property for collective ownership." ^

The method of Religious Motive is so wholly-
distinct from its predecessors, the difference in
perspective caused by the change from geocentric
to cosmocentric conduct is so vast, that before it
is possible to undertake the examination of its own
sufficiency as the basis of a permanent civilisation
by testing the manner of its working in relation
to the two great permanent stresses, it is necessary
to examine the method itself in greater detail.

Once more we see a new method dominated
by a new idea and making an entirely fresh de-
parture. The method of Religious Motive, in
contrast with the method of Instinct and the

^ Sir Henry Maine, Village Communities, p. 230, third edition, 1876.



method of Reason, is, by its very nature, de-
pendent on the real existence of the cosmocentric
significance of conduct.

The fatalist, holding that the future has been
foreordained and rendered as unchangeable as the
past, believes that all things, himself included,
are controlled in their course by a power that acts
ab extra. Thus he cannot be said to recognise
that his conduct is of either geocentric or cosmo-
centric import. The determinist, holding that the
future has not been thus petrified by an external
fiat, nevertheless believes that all things, himself
included, are wholly conditioned by the immutable
past, and controlled ab intra. He recognises that,
just as he is the creature of his own past life and
of the antecedents from which he sprang, so, in
his turn, he is the antecedent of the consequences
that flow from his acts. Accordingly he seeks to
follow the line of enlightened conduct that is
expedient in its consequences, and, to him, conduct
is purely of geocentric import.

But the lifelong self-sacrifice of a rational being
cannot be justified on rational grounds. Here no
geocentric motive will avail. A rule of conduct
that takes temporal things as an end will not
suffice : a religion ad hoc will not serve. If the
Freedom of the Will is not in our possession,
then, cadit quaestio. For then it is evident that
humanity is circumscribed by pure Reason, and
limited to a method that has already been dis-
cussed, and dismissed as incapable of furnishing
the basis of a permanent civilisation.

If, on the contrary, that Freedom be indeed


in our possession, then, and then only, is conduct
invested with the dignity of cosmocentric signifi-
cance, and ruled by a conscious relation to the
infinite. That relation, and that relation alone,
brings with it the supra-rational motive that creates
and inspires a sense of cosmocentric duty, and
provides a valid justification for the voluntary and
lifelong self-sacrifice of a rational being. In that
relation is a rule of conduct that is not ad hoc,
a Religion that comes with its own authority
an authority external to ourselves and with an
imperative power that is inherent in itself. It
brings with it behests that stand above the demands
of the Race, and that are higher than the claims
of Society. For, in the method of cosmocentric
motive, the cosmocentric significance of conduct is
everything. When we think of the overwhelming
importance of the " vraie signification de la vie,''
no other consideration weighs even as dust in the
balance. Earthly conduct, whether concerning the
Race or Society, being no longer an end, has
become an instrument. The end is no longer
temporal, although we deal with temporality. The
unselfish conduct that serves the Race, or benefits
Society, becomes no more than the means of ex-
pressing the consciousness of our relation to the
infinite; the means of conferring cosmocentric
significance upon the brief life of the individual,
and creating a bond with the eternal.

This, then, is the method whose efficiency we
have now to estimate, testing it, as we tested the
method of Instinct and the method of Reason, by
the evidence that it can bring forward of ability


to deal successfully with the two great permanent
stresses of life. In the case of each stress we have
first to inquire what course the method will seek
to take ; and then to ask whether it has the power
to take that course. First we address ourselves
to the social stress, and, just as in considering the
relations of Reason with the social stress, we
asked firstly : " Is it to the interest of the individual
to abolish competition ? " and secondly : " Is it in
his power to do so ? " So now we ask firstly : " Is
it the duty of the Individual to accept a com-
petitive life ? " or, in the alternative : " Is it his duty
to adopt a non-competitive life ? " and secondly we
ask : " Is this duty one that it is in his power to
carry out ? Is it in his power, that is, in the light
of the life significant ? "

We have, then, to begin by asking whether it
is the duty of the Individual to perpetuate the
conditions of unlimited strife ? The question
carries the answer upon the face of it. The
adoption of unlimited competition would result
in a reversion to the moral surroundings of the
already socially-discredited method of Instinct.
That, as we saw, is a method of inconceivable
wastefulness and ruthlessness, knowing, at its best,
no more than the self-sacrifice of inborn impulse.
In effect, it is a world of self-seeking, where such a
thing as supra-rational self-sacrifice is all unknown.
No system could be more distantly removed from
the life of significance. From the standpoint of
religious motive, the self-seeking of unlimited
competition is not socially a-moral, it is actively
immoral, for it knows no moral law. The Com-


petitive Method, and the Method of Religious
Motive, are the very antitheses of one another, and
the adoption of the former involves the failure of
the latter.

Next, then, we have to consider what would he
the moral position of the Individual in the absence
of competition, and amid the surroundings of the
racially-discredited method of Reason. The racial
aspect of the matter will be discussed in the next
chapter. At present we have only to consider the
moral position of an Individual in a world wherein
all property would be vested in Society, and
nothing could be owned by the Individual.

Such a system of life may be, speciously but
falsely, represented as though it were altruistic.
It is easy to paint the alluring picture of a world
that knows nothing of the warfare that we have
called the social, or competitive stress; of a mil-
lennium wherein each one is indirectly seeking the
good of all, while all are indirectly seeking the
good of each. This view has been expressed in
the well-known phrase : " Each for all, and all for

But herein is no true altruism.

Deprived of the power of working for his
private advantage, every member of Society would
be interested in raising the general standard of
living, in order himself to share in the improved
conditions. To take this course would be merely
the behaviour of a rational person. There would
be no unselfish element in his direct motive. It is
still purely a matter of interest. It is also inevit-
ably a matter of interest. One member of a


Socialistic Society can only benefit another in-
directly, and by advancing the common good.
But this advance is to his own interest ; therein
he also shares. Deprived of the power of working
for his private advantage, he is also deprived of the
power of seeking the good of his contemporaries
by the sacrifice of his private interest. In the
same manner, action that is injurious to his con-
temporaries, that is, to the social machine, is
merely the behaviour of a fool. It injures the
doer as much as any of his fellows. The avoid-
ance of such conduct is also necessarily interested.
The geocentric motive follows conduct into its
minutest ramifications ; it cannot be shaken off.
The member of a Socialist Society may have every
advantage of freedom from anxiety, of material
welfare, and esthetic enjoyment. He has gained
the whole world, but he has sold his soul. Small
wonder that, as we pointed out in Chap. V, horror
is inspired by such a life, intense in proportion to
the nakedness with which its rational character is
exposed. Small wonder that, in its advocacy,
pure Reason loses its old-time cogency especially
and essentially among the least selfish members
of the community among those, that is, to whom
the significance of life is life itself; those to whom
the consciousness of relation with the infinite
comes with its own authority. Let us make no
mistake. Competition, indeed, is abolished. But
if the self-seeking of competition disappears, so
also does every possibility of unselfish conduct.
To such an order the word "moral" does not


The converse is also true.

Such a system of Ufe might, also with specious-
ness and falsity, be represented as though it were
selfish. A repulsive picture of it may be painted
as easily as an alluring one the picture of a world
in which no individual directly sought the good of
Society, and in which no one directly sought to
benefit him. In point of fact, a non-competitive
world might be described by the phrase " None for
all, and all for no one," quite as accurately as by the
phrase that we have quoted above. It is only that
we are looking at the reverse side of the medal,
instead of the obverse.

But there is herein no true selfishness.

Interested in raising the general standard of
living, in order to share in the improved con-
ditions, every member of a Socialistic Society
would nevertheless be deprived of the power of
working directly for his own private advantage.
For it is evident that, as a common ownership,
with the one hand, takes away all possibility of
unselfish action, so, with the other hand, it takes
away all possibility of self-seeking at the expense
of contemporaries. Theoretically, such a system
has eliminated all selfish promptings, and, under it,
when a man shapes his life merely to his own
advantage, there can be no directly selfish element
in the mode by which he seeks this end.

To such an order the word "immoral" does
not apply.

Individual conduct, under a socialistic form of
Society, is then, of necessity, neither moral nor
immoral ; it is as blankly a-moral as pure Reason


itself, whose legitimate offspring it is. When life
has been denuded of all competitive environment,
it has also been emptied of all moral content, and
we find that, in the method of Keligious Motive,
hostility to a non-competitive life is articulus
stantis aut cadentis.

Thus the method of Religious Motive would
be equally stultified by the adoption, either of a
system of unlimited competition, or of a purely
non-competitive system. A deadlock appears to
have been reached, and the second question arises :
" Is it, after all, within the power of the individual
to avoid, at the same time, the socially immoral
character of the competitive method of Instinct,
and the socially a-moral character of the non-
competitive method of Reason ? Is it within his
power so to frame his life, that his social conduct
shall be of cosmocentric significance ? "

In answering this question, it must be borne
in mind that two elements are necessary for
significance in conduct. The first is liberty. Now,
in our use of the word " liberty " there will be no
reference to freedom of will. It will be used only
with reference to external circumstances that are
of such a nature as may either provide opportunity
for the exercise of that freedom, or render its
possession nugatory and valueless. The man,
whose external circumstances are those of a prison,
has little opportunity for its exercise, as compared
with the man on horseback. Such liberty the
opportunity of acting in a manner that may be
moral or immoral is lost under the socially
a-moral method of Reason. For, thereunder a



man is deprived both of the opportunity of work-
ing directly for his own private advantage, and of
directly seeking the good of his contemporaries by
its sacrifice.

The second element that is necessary for signi-
ficance in conduct is law, and the opportunity of
acting in a manner that, by the surrender of
liberty, makes service truly significant an oppor-
tunity that is lost in the social chaos of the method
of Instinct. It will be observed that the area
within which significant conduct is possible ex-
tends as far, and only as far, as we have both
liberty and law simultaneously.

How, then, can competition help? Has it
anything to offer when we seek these essentials?
We see clearly that it has, that the competitive
method furnishes liberty to the individual, and
that it only fails to be significant socially, because
it excludes all moral law.

How can the method of Reason help? We
see that, as against the social chaos of Instinct,
it stands for law, and that it fails to be signifi-
cant socially, only because it excludes all moral

A remarkable situation is thus disclosed.

Each method fails to confer significance upon
conduct when it is carried out alone, and yet, if
each were limited by the other, the two together
the competitive and the non-competitive
would succeed. Each would furnish one of the
two elements that are necessary antecedents to
significance in conduct. If, that is, each could be
taken as the complement of the other, if the one


could come into operation at the point at which
the other would become destructive if it stood
alone, then the reciprocating machinery of a
method of Religious Motive would have been
put together ready to act as a whole.

But, as we have already pointed out (page 59),
they cannot amalgamate spontaneously. They
possess no power to do so. Pure Reason, the
enemy of the Race, knows only the interest of
the Individual, or rather, of Society. Instinct, on
the other hand, is the servant of the Race, and the
enemy of Society. The history of the growth of
Reason is the history of the overthrow of Instinct.
Prepotent Reason excludes the office of Instinct,
and, if they were alone, the prepotence would be
temporary ; having obtained the mastery, it would
become self-destructive, and Instinct would come
by its own again. The hostility is essential ; they
are mutually exclusive.

Therefore the conditions have changed, and we
see that the answer to the question that we are
discussing, viz. : " Is it within the power of the
Individual so to frame his life that his conduct
shall be of cosmocentric significance?" depends
upon the answer to the narrower and antecedent
question : " Is it within his power to use each
method to make good the flaw in the other?
Does he, that is, possess a solvent of each, a power
over both, that shall enable them to enter into
combination ? "

It will be remembered that, at the beginning
of this chapter, we saw that the method of Reli-
gious Motive was possessed of a quality that dis-


tinguished it from its predecessors, and that we
found this distinctive quaHty in the fact that it
X comes with an authority external to ourselves.
In order that this distinctive quality may be
thrown into greater relief, let us approach the
question by comparing the geocentric methods,
from which it is absent. Take the method of
Reason : the purely rational being is both servant
and master, for he serves himself. His allegiance
is to himself; the care of himself is his work.
His allegiance is, then, to his work. In this work
a non-competitive system is his instrument. But,
just as he is at once his own servant and his own
master, so his instrument and his work are one.
He cannot vary, that is, from his non-competitive
system, for then, as we have seen, it would become
inevitable that he should injure himself. He pos-
sesses no selective power. He is chained to the
oar, as much as the instinctive animal is chained to
the foregone conclusions of inborn impulse.

But these conditions do not obtain at all in the
method of ReHgious Motive; they are obviated
by the distinctive quality of that method by the
fact that it comes with its own authority, and with
an imperative power that is inherent in itself.
The Individual becomes a servant only ; his alle-
giance is not to himself, but to him whom he
serves ; a life of significant service is his work, and
competition and its reverse are alike no more than
his instruments. He is a servant; his allegiance
is not primarily to his work, and not at all to his
instruments. He is not chained to them, he pos-
sesses the power of selection ; he may lay down


one, and take up another, as suits the purpose of
the work before him. He may lay down a com-
petitive system and take up a non- competitive
one, or vice versa, as the significance of his Ufe

Thus we find that the method of Religious
Motive is able to retain the element that is of
value to the significance of life in each geocentric
system, and at the same time able to reject the
social a-morahty of the one, and the social immor-
ality of the other.

So far as Society is concerned, it retains the
element of liberty, necessary to significance in
social conduct, that belongs to the method of
Instinct, and so obviates the social a-morality of
Reason. At the same time, it retains the element
of law, not less essential than liberty to significance
in social conduct, that belongs to the method of
Reason. The liberty of the competitive system,
thus conditioned by the law of the non-competitive
method, becomes the liberty of a trustee. Does
a man win in the contest? The prize does not
belong to him, except in name : he is a trustee.
Under the law, all that he gains by competition
he must forego in a manner that is the very nega-
tion of self-seeking. Does he lose in the contest ?
Provision for his needs becomes the object of the
trust. Thus the internal friction of the social
machine is reduced to a minimum, and the reten-
tion of the element of law, that belongs to the
method of Reason the subjection, that is, of the
Individual to Society obviates the social immor-
ality of the method of Instinct.


It will be seen, moreover, that, in the method
of Religious Motive, it is the Individual himself
who takes his own course. For if, on the one
hand, his action is forcibly controlled if his liberty-
is taken away by external circumstances so also
is the significance of his conduct removed. And
if, on the other hand, his action has not the oppor-
tunity of being controlled by a law that he ought
to obey if such a law is not provided by external
circumstances then again, the significance of his
conduct is removed. To be significant, his action
must be from within. Constrained conduct, like
lawless conduct, however right, is not righteous.
The strained mercy, twice damned that takes
away the grace of life and curses the giver with
the sense of state-compulsion, and curses the
recipient with the sense of booty acquired is alien
to the cosmocentric method. In that method, and
in that only, is the grace of life to be found the
grace that blesses the giver and the taker, the grace
that binds together. And he who will can trace
herein the injunction that comes to us from of old,
that we should love one another.

The conclusion reached is, then, that the cosmo-
centric method, possessed of the power to retain
both liberty and law, provides a machinery for
significant conduct that is perfect, so far as Society
is concerned. The duty of the Individual, with
regard to competition, and with regard to non-
competition, has become clear, and the power of
the method of Religious Motive to deal successfully
with the social stress stands vindicated.



Our next step is to ask what evidence the method
of Religious Motive brings forward of ability to
cope v^ith the racial stress. We must estimate its
racial efficiency by applying the now familiar test
of inquiring, firstly, what course it will seek to
take, and, secondly, whether it has the power to
take that course.

First, then, we seek to know the duty that, as
an element in the life of significance, the Indi-
vidual owes to the Race. We ask, that is : " Is it
the duty of the Individual to carry the multiplica-
tion of the Race to its utmost limits, as is done
in the method of Instinct ? " or, in the alternative :
" Is it his duty to act in a contrary manner, as
would be done in the method of Reason ? "

Having arrived at an answer to these questions,
we then ask : '* Is this duty one that is in his
power, consistently with the cosmocentric signi-
ficance of life, to carry out ? Is it within the
power of the Individual so to frame his life that
his racial conduct shall be of cosmocentric signifi-
cance ? "



What we have called the social immorality
of the method of Instinct already stands con-
demned. Its racial morality is now in question.
The method of Instinct makes provision for the
due perpetuation of the Race it sacrifices the
Individual without mercy in the pursuit of that
aim. It cannot be said that such a system is
racially immoral. Nevertheless, it knows no liberty
in the matter it knows not the liberty to regu-
late the birthrate that is given by Reason, and
thus, for lack of this liberty, it cannot, from the
point of view of the method of Religious Motive,
be said to have any moral quality. It makes due
provision for the perpetuation of the Race : it is
not racially immoral. In the pursuit of this aim,
however, it knows no liberty: it is not racially
moral. Judged by the standard of cosmocentric
motive, the method of Instinct, socially immoral,
is found to be racially a-moral, because it knows
no racial liberty.

We have next to consider the moral aspect
of the alternative method of Reason, a method
already racially discredited as one that, cutting off
the entail of life, would spend its riches upon
Society. But, what is morally involved in such
conduct ? When we consider the eeons of the
future, and the generations that are, perhaps,
to come, we not only see that the question is one
of life or no-life, upon a stupendous, indeed
upon a measureless scale, but also that the lives
that are, perhaps, to follow after us, are lives
of significance. In the provision or non-pro-
vision, of life for the days to come, it is the


provision, or non-provision, of significance itself
that is really at stake. If we default now, that
which is lacking will not be made good. So far as
we can see, the very existence of significance,
throughout a measureless future, depends upon
our acts in the present. So far as we can see,
we stand before One Who gathers where He has
not strawed ; Who, in the faithful discharge of
our duties to Society, sees no more than the
return of the one talent that was handed to us.
Thus the continuance of the entail is an essential
part of the inheritance, vital to the method of
Religious Motive, and it is the very height of law-
lessness, by failing in the obligation that came
with the inheritance, to secure the destruction of
entailed significance at the wanton bidding of
Reason. Judged by the cosmocentric standard,
the method of Reason, socially a-moral, is found
to be racially immoral, because it knows no

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Online LibraryArthur John HubbardThe fate of empires; being an inquiry into the stability of civilisation → online text (page 6 of 14)