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The fate of empires; being an inquiry into the stability of civilisation online

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racial law.

Thus the method of Religious Motive would
be equally stultified by the exclusive adoption
of the racial element in either of the geocentric
methods: it is precluded from doing so by the
racial a-morality of Instinct, and the racial
immorality of Reason. So far as racial conduct
is concerned, they are alike destructive to the
significance of life, and again a deadlock appears
to have been reached analogous to that encoun-
tered when, in the last chapter (page 78), we were
dealing with the social aspect of the question.

Thus the second question arises : " Is it within
the power of the Individual to avoid, at the same



time, the racially a-moral character of the method
of Instinct, and the racially immoral character of
the method of Reason ? Is it within his power so
to frame his life that his conduct, with regard to
the Race, shall be of cosmocentric significance ? "

The analogy of the present argument, dealing
with the Race, with that in the last chapter,
dealing with Society, is now becoming evident,
and it may, perhaps, be seen most clearly by a
diagrammatic summary of the geocentric systems,
as they appear from the point of view of the
method of Religious Motive.


Reason .


Society sacrificed for

the sake of the

Social Hberty, but

no social law.

Socially immoral.
No significance

owing to absence

of law.


Devoted to service of

Racial law, but no
racial liberty.
Racially a-moral.

No significance owing
to absence of

Devoted to service
of Society.

Social law, but no
social liberty. So-
cially a-moral.

No significance
owing to absence
of liberty.

Race sacrificed for

the sake of Society.
Racial liberty, but

no racial law.

Racially immoral.
No significance owing

to absence of law.

Recalling (page 81) that the area within which
significant conduct is possible extends so far, and
only so far, as we have at the same time both liberty
and law, we ask whether these geocentric systems


have anything to offer racially, when we seek for
these essentials.

We find that they have. We see that, as
against the racial destructiveness the anarchy
that is involved in the method of Reason, Instinct
furnishes law, and that it only fails to be significant
racially, because it cannot vary its method ; it ex-
cludes liberty. In the like manner, we see that
Reason has provided us with racial liberty the
power of controlling the birthrate and that it
only fails to be significant because it knows no
racial law.

Thus when either stands alone, it fails to
confer racial significance upon conduct, and yet,
if each were limited by the other, the two
together would succeed. If, that is, each were
to be taken as the complement of the other, if
each could come into operation at the point at
which the other would become non-significant
if it stood alone, then racial conduct would have
become significant.

But, by themselves, this is impossible. We
have already seen that they are mutually exclusive,
and that they cannot amalgamate spontaneously.
Therefore 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 racial con-
duct shall be of cosmocentric significance ? " turns
upon the answer to the narrower and antecedent
question : " Is it within his power to use the
advantage of each method the law of the one and
the liberty of the other and to shun, at the same
time, their respective disadvantages 1 "


Again, we find such a power in the method of
Rehgious Motive. That method comes with ex-
ternal authority. Under its imperative influence
the individual is not bound by either of the geo-
centric methods; they become no more than
instruments in his hands.

The law under which he has himself come into
the possession of life the law that justifies his
own existence is the law of entail. He inherited
owing to the operation of that law. If his own
life is to be significant, he must remember that the
law is definite. The entail must not be selfishly

But liberty the power that Reason gives to
break the entail is not less essential to significance
than is the law itself. Only in the presence of
that power can obedience to the law become a
significant act.

Thus we find that the selective power of the
method of Religious Motive enables it to retain
all that is of value to significance in each of the
geocentric methods. So far as the Race is con-
cerned, it retains the law the subjection of the
Individual to the Race that is characteristic of the
method of Instinct, and thus obviates the racial
destructiveness that is characteristic of Reason. It
retains, at the same time, the racial liberty that
comes with Reason, and thus obviates the racial
a-morality of Instinct.

The cosmocentric importance of the racial duty
of the individual is now clear. The method of
Religious Motive, retaining both law and liberty,


both service and freedom, provides a perfect
machinery for significance in racial conduct, and
its power to deal with the racial stress, no less
successfully than with the social stress, stands



In order to complete our review of the mutual
dependence of the members of the triad that we
are considering the Individual, Society, and the
Race the relations of the two latter claim our
attention next. Seeing that the unborn Race
cannot, of itself, take part in this interaction, our
inquiry is narrowed down to the consideration of
the position that Society, moved by a sense of
cosmocentric duty, will take up towards the Race.
Strictly speaking, it is, of course, impossible to
regard Society as possessed of duties in the same
manner as an individual, for the duty of Society, if
we may make use of the phrase, is no more than
the duty of individuals acting in concert. Never-
theless, it is natural that the corporate action of
a number of individuals, prompted by the influence
of Religious Motive, should be very different from
the action that they would take under the influence
of pure Reason.

It will be remembered that, when we reached
a parallel position in dealing with the action of
Society under the method of Reason, we found
that its interest was identical with that of the
Individual, and its attitude towards the Race not



less hostile. But we have seen already that this
attitude of the Individual towards the Race is
reversed in the method of Religious Motive, and
that cosmocentric considerations require him to
act unselfishly, and in favour of the Race.

Therefore, when we pass from the method of
Reason and interest to that of Religious Motive
and duty, the action of Society will be reversed
also ; it also will become ancillary to the Race, for
racial duty will not be less binding when Indi-
viduals act in social concert.

The question then arises : " In what manner
will this new attitude of Society manifest itself ? "
In seeking the answer to this question, we must
hark back to the cause of the hostility of Society
to the Race under the method of Reason. It will
be remembered that we found this ultimately in
the inequality of the length of life between the
transitory Society (a length on the average the
same as that of the Individual) and the longevous
Race. It is necessary to recall this, because,
although the method of Religious Motive is not
directly concerned with geocentric interests or their
reconciliation, we find that the said inequality never-
theless introduces a new problem into that method.
The dim future of the Race is far removed from
the purview of the Individual, and the manner,
therefore, in which he can carry out his duty, to
those so distant from him, is obscure and uncertain.

Thus it comes about that, without considera-
tion for the individual's interest, the racial duty
of individuals acting in concert of Society, that
is is confined to the provision of the means


whereby that duty will be set clearly before its

This is the very office of Society acting racially
under the method of Religious Motive. All its
organisation, so far as it conforms racially to that
method, will be tributary to the provision of
definite means whereby the Individual can serve
the Race ; to the forging of a link that shall join
the living of the present to the living of the

We find that Society has provided this link in
the organisation of the family as a social institution.

The life of the family, longer than that of the
Individual, shorter than that of the Race, is not
incommensurable with either. In the institution
of the family, we can trace the nexus that Society,
acting under the influence of the method that we
are considering, has created between the two. The
duty of the Individual with regard to the long-
drawn life of the Race, otherwise so dim and
uncertain, becomes clear-cut and definite when it
is transmuted into duty to the family from which
he springs, whose love he shares, whose traditions
he inherits, and whose name he must hand on.
We have seen (page 52) that marriage would be
the height of folly in a purely rational Individual,
and (page 58) that any equivalent maintenance
of the Race would not be less irrational in a com-
munist Society. We see now, however, under the
method of Religious Motive, that marriage becomes
the very means for the performance of the racial
duty of the Individual. Married, he becomes one
of those who are consecrated for the provision of


significance itself in the future, and the water
of his life is turned into wine.

Thus the maintenance of the institution of
the family stands in relation to Society much
as the duty of significant racial conduct stands to
the Individual.

Small wonder, then, that the family should,
among so many and such various peoples, and in
ages so far removed from one another, have been
regarded with veneration as an institution possessed
of a semi-sacred character, and as one connected
with the expression of the religious sense of a com-
munity. This sentiment extends even beyond the
limits of any particular formation of the family.
Among ourselves, the home is inviolable, and the
marriage that has not received the sanction of
religion is regarded with doubt and contempt.
Among Mohammedans, the Nazarene can live and
carry on daily intercourse cheerfully, but only on
condition that he recollects that there are two sub-
jects to which he must never refer the Moham-
medan's God, and the Mohammedan's women.
Among the Chinese, as we shall see further on,
sentiment regards the connection between the
family and the faith as even more intimate. In
the mind of the Chinaman they are indissoluble ;
they have been fused into one conception and are
identified with one another.

It is also interesting to observe that the
occasions of the public expression of the emotions
are frequently found in events connected with the
family. The widespread hospitality of the festivi-
ties of a wedding, the congratulations that attend



upon the birth gf a child, and the mourning that
is openly worn by the relatives when death has
visited their number, are all acknowledgments that
the family possesses an importance that extends
beyond its threshold. Love of home, again, is
closely connected with love of country, and the
conception that Society is the protector of the
family is expressed in patriotism.

If we recall once more the fact that, in the
method of Reason, the respective interests of
Society and the Race are diametrically opposed
to one another, it becomes evident that the family
the nexus by which Society, under the influence
of Religious Motive, has joined the two is an
institution that is not to be justified in pure
Reason. Thus, when Society, acting in its own
interest, forgets that its racial duty is focussed
upon the family, the evils that follow are neces-
sarily racial in character. The operation of the
English death duties may be taken as an example.
These constitute a frontal attack upon the family
as an institution. The legislation that is respon-
sible for them regards the death of a father as
an opportunity for plundering his children, and
Society reaps the benefit. Looking at the matter,
however, from a racial point of view, we see that,
short of actually fining a man for the possession
of offspring, it would be difficult to conceive a
more direct incitement to the commission of racial
suicide by what is termed "limitation of the

The corporate action of Society with regard to
the future is largely determined by voting, and


such legislation as the above will continue so long
as the family is ignored in the polling-booth, and
the childless of either sex those, that is, who have
social, but no racial duties are admitted to the
franchise on equal terms with the parents of
legitimate children. Properly, the franchise is an
appurtenance of the family and not of the indivi-
dual. The qualification for it should be the
possession of legitimate children ; and its exercise
should be the joint act of two parents, or the sole
act of the survivor of them. The character of
Society in the present day is disclosed by the fact
that one might as well cry for the moon as ask for
the realisation of these views. Nevertheless, it
will only be when they have been realised that
there will be an end of the time-serving that is the
bane of representative government and the curse
of democracy. Indeed, if we would know the
worth of any form of government, of any policy, or
of any legislation, let us ask whether, or no, it
tends to strengthen the family, and to advance the
honour of the married state. This is the supreme
test of social action, and the very criterion of
statesmanship. For, if the family is not the unit
of Society, nor the unit of the Race, but the
nexus between the two, then the honour and
importance that are attached to it, and the rigidity
with which it is maintained, will give us a measure
of the vitality of any civilisation.




Whether we look at past history, or the prevailing
condition of modern life, we see that the authority
of cosmocentric motive, though it has ebbed and
flowed, has not been, and is not yet, the dominant
influence in the civilisation of the white man. It
has not been successful on a great scale in that
civilisation in the past. The history of Europe,
in spite of the nominal sway of a wholly cosmo-
centric religion for more than a thousand years,
records great nations and cultures that have de-
clined and practically disappeared. If we turn
to the present, we find that the authority of
cosmocentric motive is a decaying force. Day
by day we see the increasing revolt against both
the social and the racial stress. We see the ever-
rising prominence of views that, whether they
bear the label of Socialism or not, are socialistic
in character, and also an ever-falling birthrate that,
from year to year, is the "lowest on record."
These phenomena are not confined to one nation
or tongue ; they are practically co-extensive with
all Western civilisation. Are we then to say that
the method of Religious Motive has failed ?

Certainly not. When disasters occur, it is



unreasonable to blame the seer whose warnings
were disregarded, or the leader whose directions
were disobeyed. That which counsels endurance
of the two stresses should not be held responsible
when revolt takes place. Recorded history, as we
have said before, is a complex resultant of forces,
and we are only concerned with the directions in
which its invisible components act. Our argument
is not affected by their relative magnitudes. The
past and present facts of European history do no
more than show that the method of Reason is still
dominant, and that the liability to fail, no less than
the possibility of success, is implicit in the liberty
that is demanded by the method of Religious

But little remains. In the preceding chapters
we have seen that the method of Religious Motive
does not seek geocentric interest, but cosmocentric
significance; that it involves therefore endurance
of both social and racial stress ; but that, in each
case, it does so under its own conditions, and with
its own limitations. In neither case is the burden
shouldered for its own sake, but only as the means
whereby to lead a life of cosmocentric significance ;
in the one case, as a means of significance in social
conduct, and in the other, as a means of signifi-
cance in racial conduct. Thus we have seen that
true action in regard to the social stress is that
of the trustee. The life of competition is, indeed,
adopted, but that which is gained as a result of
competitive effort is only a fund to be adminis-
tered in a manner that is the very negation
of self-seeking. The law is maintained; but.


so far as Society is concerned, it is limited by

The same is true of the racial stress. The
estate of life is entailed, and we found that the
law enjoins that the entail should not be selfishly
broken by the life-tenant, and yet that circum-
stances are imaginable in which it might become
a legacy of evil, and that an unselfish liberty would
then take the place of law. The principle may
be illustrated by a strange quotation from the
Gospel according to the Egyptians. The passage
is referred to several times by Clement of Alex-
andria, and runs thus : *' When Salome asked
how long death would prevail, the Lord said:
' So long as ye women bear children. For I have
come to destroy the works of th^ female.' And
Salome said to him: 'Did I therefore well in
bearing no children?' The Lord answered, and
said : ' Eat every herb, but eat not that which
hath bitterness.'" The last words raise Salome's
second question into the region of significance
of conduct that is right or wrong. If we are free
to eat of every herb, except "that which hath
bitterness," we see that the answer implies liberty
as well as law.

This conjunction is the very note of the method
of Religious Motive, a method within which,
though there is service, yet there is perfect freedom :
the co-ordination of law and liberty, a co-ordination
that, within the confines of Reason, many have
sought and none have found.

Thus we see that both Society and the Race
are guarded the importance of each is recognised.


The method of Religious Motive, falhng neither
into the racial immorality and social a-morality of
Reason, nor into the racial a-morality and social
immorality of Instinct, avoids both Scylla and

And the Individual : what of him ? In the
" Valley of Decision " he bears the burden of both,
and duty is his portion. But for what else can
he ask than for this ? He does not measure by
a geocentric standard : the method that judges by
interest is far removed from him. He measures
by quite another standard the standard of cosmo-
centric significance. And, in the method of Re-
ligious Motive he finds all that he needs, a
machinery that is perfect, both socially and
racially, for the voluntary and lifelong self-sacrifice
of a rational being; the only one that is capable
of furnishing a true and stable civilisation.

Geocentric action seeks a permanent civilisation
as an end, but cannot attain it. Cosmocentric
action attains it, but does not seek it as an end.
A permanent civilisation may indeed come, but
can only do so as an accident of self-sacrifice that
is offered upon the altars of the Most High.







We have had such frequent occasion to point
out that history is a resultant from which it is
impossible to determine either the direction or
magnitude of its components that, at first sight,
it seems absurd that we should turn to the ex-
amination of the records of past or present
civilisations. But to take that view would be
to misunderstand our present purpose. Although
the components cannot be divined from a given
resultant, the reverse process is perfectly possible.
If the magnitude of the components and their
directions are known, then their effect can be
traced in the resultant. It is this reversed course
that we propose to take. We shall assume that
in the preceding pages we have discovered the
components of history, and we now propose, first
to identify them in the records of the past, and
then to trace their effect. Such an application
of the general principles that we have reached is
not only legitimate, but necessary, for it furnishes
the only possible means whereby their truth can
be tested. We shall, though we do not intend
to confine ourselves to them exclusively, investi-
gate two great examples of civilisation. Each
of them is typical, and they stand in striking



contrast to one another. The first will exemplify
the preponderance of the forces that we have
indicated as making for decay. In this instance,
we must be able to show that, founded on
Reason, it was a geocentric civilisation, and that
its religions were strictly what we have called
ad hoc, that they were subservient to the State
and part of its polity. We must then be able
to show the process of revolt against the two
primary stresses; the appearance of socialistic
phenomena, accompanied by the assumption of
supreme and intrusive power by the State, and
the appearance and prevalence of race-suicide,
followed by the gradual collapse of the huge

The other civilisation will exemplify the pre-
ponderance of the forces that we have indicated
as making for permanence and continuous growth.
Here we must be able to demonstrate that the
prevailing religion is strictly cosmocentric, that the
resulting civilisation is supra-rational in character ;
that is to say, that it has been, and is, marked by
submission to each of the two primary stresses.
Socially, we must find a stoical endurance of the
competition of life carried on at its maximum
of severity. The resulting social conditions may
present a picture that is repellent to ourselves,
and we may find that the individual life is of
little account. We shall expect to see that the
religious sanctions of the family have given it
so great an importance that it has displaced and
well-nigh obliterated the idea of the State ; that
patriotism is almost unknown, and that the State


only exists so far as is indispensable to the safety
of the family. We must be able to show that,
springing from the religious veneration of the
family, submission to the racial stress is not less
in evidence. We may find, indeed, that this is
the cause of the harshness of the social conditions.
If such a civilisation has already persisted for a
long time, we must be able to show that it is
shared by multitudes innumerable. We must be
able to show that, however ancient it may be, it
is still in the ascendant, and that its zenith is

If we find that the former, the geocentric
civilisation, in spite of the social splendour of
the day of its greatness, has gradually collapsed
in disaster ; and that the latter, the cosmocentric
civilisation, in spite of the severity of its social
conditions, is still flourishing racially, and that,
in spite of its antiquity, it is still at the dawn
of its history, then we may justly claim that our
conclusions have been tested and found true.

About the beginning of the Christian Era the
world speaking roughly and not minutely
possessed two great civilisations. Although con-
temporaries, each was little more than cognisant
of the fact that the other existed, for they were
so widely separated geographically that they
scarcely came into contact with one another.
One was the Roman civilisation, the other the
Chinese. Their contact, one of the most arrest-
ing episodes in history, is recorded by Chinese
historians. They relate that in the ninth year of
Yau-hi (a.d. 166) an embassy, which appears to


have come by sea, arrived in their country from
Ta-thsin, sent by An-thun, or Marcus AureUus

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Online LibraryArthur John HubbardThe fate of empires; being an inquiry into the stability of civilisation → online text (page 7 of 14)