Franklin Henry Giddings.

Democracy and empire; with studies of their psychological, economic, and moral foundations online

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ards. Men judge one another by their business success, and
business brings a fearful pressure upon every man to devote
his entire energy to some one line of activity in which he can
hope to attain preeminence. This is, in itself, a plain viola-
tion of moral law; and there is nothing mysterious in the un-
dermining of personal and public integrity through the
insidious action of an excessive commercialism. That the
business man who devotes his entire energy and thought to
business matters should look without horror upon the con-
trol of politics and law by an unscrupulous use of money is
no occasion for surprise. This is a normal and necessary con-
sequence of the conditions supposed. Unhappily, our edu-
cational policy, which should be the great corrective of such
tendencies, has been corrupted and made to encourage the
very evils that education should prevent. We have encour-
aged specialization, which is a proper thing to do just to the
extent that by specialization we mean thoroughness, fiainute
and exact knowledge within a certain limited field. But spe-
cialization in this sense need not be, and should not be, at the
expense of a broad outlook upon the world and a correlative
strengthening of varied sympathies. Education should make
the average man see that business interests are but one small



26 DEMOCBACY AND EMPIRE

part of life, and that " citizenship " is a word of larger import
than "trade." It should make him feel a strong sympathy
with every spontaneous popular movement. He should care
about the well-being of other classes than the one to which
he belongs. He should be interested in the progressive
civilization of other nations than his own. Above all,
he should be interested in the history and development of
thought, in the broadening of the mental horizon of the race,
and in the expression of its struggles and aspirations in the
enduring forms of literature and art. If the ethical motive
is what I have here described it as being, then it is the duty
of all teachers of morality to insist that any man who know-
;, ingly neglects to cultivate throughout his business or profes-

isional life some interest or interests that have no direct
relation to his business or profession, who intentionally or
by negUgence permits his sympathies vrith all mankind and
I yith the progress of science and art to die, is an immoral
I inan, as much to be condemned by a sound public opinion as
\ one who transgresses the conventional code of right doing.
I Moreover, the expansion of thought and sympathy must
I ideally extend into future time. The evolution of social
; relations is not ended, and the development of the human
mind is not complete. The ethical motive does not merely
constrain us to act with reference to the many-sidedness of
life ; it constrains us to act also with reference to the further
development of Ufe. It is, therefore, our duty to form and
to cherish ideals. We must believe that many things can
be made better than they are at present, and that life in
many ways can be made more desirable. But these ideals
must not be narrow, exclusive, or grotesquely dispropor-
tioned to one another, or to the world of fact. They must
be brought into harmony, order, and measure. In fine, the
ethical motive must be both strengthened and directed by re-
affirming the Platonic doctrine of correlation, subordination,
and proportion in all that we think and in all that we do.



Ill

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIETY



Ill

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIETY

The attempt to construct a science of society by means of
biological analogies has been abandoned by all serious inves-
tigators of social phenomena. It was one of those misdi-
rected efforts that must be looked upon as inevitable in the
development of any branch of knowledge. The notion of a
universal evolution compelled those who accepted it to try
to find some other explanation of our social relations than
that dogma of an original covenant which had come down to
us from Hobbes and Locke. Biology supplied most of the
facts and ideas of which the evolutionary thought was con-
structed ; and naturally, therefore, biological conceptions
were first made use of in formal sociology. At present^
however, all serious work in sociology starts from psycho-
logical data, and proceeds by a combination of psychological
with statistical and historical methods.

Psychology has had a development somewhat similar.
Beginning with purely metaphysical terms and reasonings,
it became a natural science with the advent of evolutionary
thought, and for a long time drew its best materials and its
most fruitful hypotheses from physiological data. Physio-
logical psychology was then regarded as the only psychology
very well worth attention. George Henry Lewes was one of
the first writers to argue, as he did with great force and
brilliancy in the "Problems of Life and Mind," that the
physiological explanations of mind must be supplemented by
explanations drawn from the study of society. At the pres-
ent time, the social interpretation of mental development is
an important part of psychological activity.

Psychological and sociological investigations have thus

29



30 DEMOCRACY AND EMPIRE

converged upon certain common problems, namely : The
problem of the social nature of the individual mind, and the
problem of the psychical nature of social relations. Any
new contribution to either psychology or sociology is likely
to be found also a contribution to the other, and we may
look in the near future for a number of books of which it
will be difficult to say whether they are primarily works on
psychology or on sociology.

This is eminently true of Professor Mark Baldwin's
"Social and Ethical Interpretations," the second volume
of his important work on " Mental Development." The first
volume, on " Methods and Processes," was definitely a study
in psychology. The problem therein dealt with was that of
mental development through -the interaction of physical
and social causes, and the importance of social factors was
emphasized throughout. In the volume on "Social and
Ethical Interpretations," we again find the same problem:
the development of the individual mind through its social
relations and activities is further considered. In this vol-
ume, however, the opposite problem also is introduced.
The development of social relations and activities through
the outgoing of the individual is discussed, and the nature
of society is subjected to a critical examination. A division
of the volume into two books corresponds to the above dis-
tinction between the problems dealt with. Book I is a
study of the person, public and private ; Book II is a study
of society. The four formal parts of Book I deal respec-
tively with the imitative person, the inventive person, the
person's equipment, and the person's sanctions. The three
formal parts of Book II deal respectively with the person
in action, social organization, and practical conclusions.

In the present article I shall not attempt to review Pro-
fessor Baldwin's treatment of all these subjects, or even
to summarize his conclusions: I shall examine only the
two conceptions that are of chief interest to the sociologist.
These, of course, are the conception of the social nature of
the self, or individual personality, and the conception of the
psychic nature of society.



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIETY 31

Psychology, some time ago, got beyond the conundrum —

" Should I be I, or should I be
One-tenth another and nine-tenths me,"

if my great-grandmother had married another suitor? It
seems to be agreed on all hands that in any case the ego is
nine-tenths or more somebody else. That is to say, one's
individual personality is for the most part a product of
one's intercourse with other personalities. Professor Bald-
win, as readers of his earlier works are aware, goes even
beyond writers like Ribot and James in his account of the
composite origin of the self. He holds that not only does
the self incorporate elements from other personalities, so
that, at any given time, it includes thoughts and feelings
derived from others, and acts in imitation of the conduct
of others, but also that its very thought of itself is merely
one pole of a consciousness " of a sense of personality gener-
ally," the other pole of which is the thought of some other
person or alter. This comprehensive sense of personality
at first is merely projective — to use Professor Baldwin's
term : it is a mass of more or less vague impressions re-
ceived from persons who are encountered and observed. It
is secondly subjective : the ego, by its imitations of observed
persons, incorporates their peculiarities to some extent in
itself. It is thirdly ejective : ^ the self interprets observed
persons in terms of its own feelings, thoughts, and habits.

iThe term "eject" was first used by 'William Kingdom Clifford in a
remarkable article, "On the Nature of Things in Themselves," which ap-
peared in Mind, in January, 1878. CUfiord's own definition of the word as
there given was as follows : " When I come to the conclusion that you are
conscious, and that there are objects in your consciousness similar to those
in mine, I am not inferring any actual or possible feelings of my ovra, but
your feelings, which are not, and cannot by any possibility become, objects
in my consciousness. . . . But the inferred existence of your feelings, of
objective groupings among them similar to those among my feelings, and
of a subjective order in many respects analogous to my own, — these inferred
existences are in the very act of inference thrown out of my conscious-
ness, recognized as outside of it, as not being a part of me. I propose,
accordingly, to call these inferred existences ejects, things thrown out of
my consciousness, to distinguish them from objects, things presented in my
consciousness, phenomena."



32 DEMOCRACY AND EMPIBE

This give and take between the individual and his fellows
Professor Baldwin calls " the dialectic of personal growth " ;
and he says it may be read thus : " My thought of self is in
the main, as to its character as a personal self, filled up with
my thought of others, distributed variously as individuals ;
and my thought of others, as persons, is mainly filled up with
myself. In other words, but for certain minor distinctions
in the filling, and for certain compelling distinctions between
that which is immediate and that which is objective, the ego
and the alter are to our thought one and the same thing."
Thus the individual is always a socius, and not merely be-
cause, after reaching adult life, the necessity of cooperating
with his fellow-men compels him to adapt himself to them
and to modify an original egoism by the cultivation of social
habits, but because, from his earliest infancy, his own devel-
opment as a self-conscious person has been incorporating
social elements and creating within himself a social, no less
than an individual, point of view.

When adult life is reached, however, the process does not
cease. The dialectic of personal growth continues to deter-
mine all our thinking, our social no less than our individual
judgments : that is to say, in arriving at any judgment,
we incorporate in our thought the judgments of other men ;
and we interpret the judgments of other men by our own.

It follows that all of those social relations and policies
which are products of reflection, no less than of feeling, are
determined by the " dialectic of personal growth," and that,
like judgments of things in general, in the thought of indi-
viduals, they are highly composite products of subjective and
ejective views of the same phenomena.

Approaching the study of society in this way. Professor
Baldwin is naturally led to discriminate between the sub-
stance, content, stuff, or material of society, and the func-
tional method or process of organization of the social material.
He criticises the sociologists for not having definitely enough
discriminated these two problems. Consistently with his
conception of our social judgments, he thus describes the
social substance, or content: "The matter of social or-



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIETY 33

ganization consists of thoughts ; by which is meant all sorts
of intellectual states, such as imagination, knowledges and
informations/' This "matter," he thinks, is found only in
human groups, which alone, therefore, can be called societies.
Animal communities he would call " companies." The func-
tional method or process of organization of the social material
he is satisfied to find in the process of imitation which is sub-
jectively contained in the " dialectic of personal growth,"
and which has been objectively described, in sociological
terms, by M. Tarde. Social evolution he derives from the
interaction of the individual as a particularizing force and
society as a generalizing'force. All solidarity and conserva-
tion are due to the generalizing force ; all variation to the
particularizing force. Progress is a dialectic of give and
take between these two elements.

In examining these conceptions, I shall admit their general
or substantial truth, and inquire only whether they need
modification, limitation, or expansion. Do they sufficiently
and precisely express the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth ?

Is the thought of self quite so largely a product of the
social relation as Professor Baldwin represents ? Is it accu-
rate to say that " my thought of self is, in the main, filled
up with my thought of others," even if we admit "minor
distinctions in the filling " and " certain compelling distinc-
tions between that which is immediate and that which is
objective " ? What are these compelling distinctions of the
immediate ? Obviously, they are those presentations in
consciousness which arise from organic conditions rather
than from social relations. Hunger is a state of conscious-
ness which can subvert the entire product of the " dialectic
of personal growth " ; and the sociologist is unable to lose
sight of the fact that, when men who have been developed
by that dialectic into socii are confronted by starvation, they
are liable to have thoughts of self which can hardly be con-
strued as filled up mainly with thoughts of others, unless he
is prepared to accept a cannibal's definition of " others." The
sociologist, then, must continue to think of the individual as



34 DEMOCRACY AND EMPIRE

being both an ego and a socius, and yet as being at all times
more ego than socius.

The importance of this modification of Professor Baldwin's
formula is chiefly for purposes of economic theory. No econo-
mist will be able to accept Professor Baldwin's contention
that it is illegitimate to "endeavour to reach a theory of value
based on a calculus of the desire of one individual to gratify
his individual wants, multiplied into the number of such in-
dividuals." The truth is, that, for most purposes of economic
theory, this procedure is not only legitimate, but is the only
one psychologically possible. The compelling wants that
political economy has chiefly to consider are those which
arise from the organic nature and which, therefore, magnify
the ego at the expense of the socius.

The modification is necessary also for purposes of ethical
theory. Professor Baldwin, if I rightly understand him,
derives all ethical phenomena from social relations. This I
believe to be an error. Economic motives are specific crav-
ings of particular organs or groups of organs. Complete
satisfaction of economic wants may deprive other organs of
their due satisfaction. The protest of the neglected organs
and the hunger of the entire organism for integral satisfac-
tion is, I believe, the original source of all ethical motive,
which, therefore, is indefinitely developed by, but not initi-
ated in, the "dialectic of personal growth." ^

It seems probable, then, that in " the dialectic of personal
growth," the original ego with which the dialectic starts,,
plays throughout a controlling part; and that, after all,
the process of developing a socius is one which essentially
consists in modifying, by means of social relations and activi-
ties, an originally independent self.

This modification, however, is undoubtedly produced by
the process of give and take between ego and alter. Th&
question, then, that I wish next to raise is. Is the give and.
take, in which the ego engages, carried on indiscriminately
with any alter, or is there, from the very beginning of con-

1 This subject has already been considered at greater length, in the pre-
ceding article on "The Ethical Motive."



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIETY 35

scious life, a tendency to discriminate between one and
another alter, and to limit the conditions of personal growth
by that state of consciousness which may be described as a
consciousness of "similars " or of "kind." Scattered through-
out Professor Baldwin's writings are many intimations that
he has suspected, or perhaps has even been definitely aware
of, such limitations. I do not find, however, that he has
anywhere endeavoured to formulate them or to bring them
systematically within the propositions of his dialectic.

What, then, are some of the inquiries which should be
made in regard to these limitations?

First, I think that we should inquire whether, long before
any discriminations of kind have become possible, a prepara-
tion for them and a tendency toward them is made in con-
scious experience. Of the sensations which first arise in
consciousness, some are received from the bodily organism
which the self inhabits ; some are reiceived from similar
bodily organisms, and some are received from wholly unlike
objects in the external world. Now we know that many
sensations received from self are so nearly like sensations
received from like selves that, merely as sensations, they can
be distinguished only with difficulty. If, for example, I
strike with my voice a certain note of the musical scale,
and another person a moment after strikes the same note
with his voice, my auditory sensations in the two cases-
will be very nearly alike. If I cry out in pain, and then
hear another man like myself cry out in pain, my audi-
tory sensations will be nearly alike ; but if I hear a dog
bark, the sensation will be different from that which I have
received from my own voice. If I walk with my friend
down the street, and happen to notice the motion of my
feet as I take successive steps, and then to notice the mo-
tion of my friend's feet, the visual sensations, in these two
cases, will be closely alike ; but if I happen to notice the
trotting of a horse that is being driven by me, the visual
sensation will be different from that which I have received
in observing my own steps. If I stroke the back of my
hand, and then stroke the back of my friend's hand, I shall



36 DEMOCRACY AND EMPIRE

receive tactual sensations that are closely alike ; but if I then
.stroke the fur of a cat or the mane of a horse, or touch the
paw of a cat or the hoof of a horse, I shaU receive sensations
very different from those received from the back of my hand.
It therefore appears that before there is any power to make
discriminations of any kind, even to think of differences of
sensation, sensations themselves f aU into different groupings.
At the very beginning of conscious life, certain elements
which are to enter into a consciousness of kind begin to
appear in experience. They consist of like sensations re-
ceived from self and from others who resemble self.

On the basis of these experiences there are developed others
that call for investigation from the same point of view. When
suggestion begins to play an important part in mental life,
are suggestions from persons very unlike self equally effica-
cious with suggestions from persons nearly like self ? There
is here a great field for investigation. A thousand familiar
■observations strongly indicate the superiority of suggestions
that come from those whose neural organization resembles
"that of the person affected. Why, for example, does
Maudsley venture to say, without offering the slightest
proof, that, while men are as liable as silly sheep to fall
into panic when they see panic among their fellows, they
are not similarly liable when they perceive panic among
sheep ? Obviously, because facts of this general character
are so familiar that no one would think of questioning
them. In like manner, a child who objects to performing
a certain task which his father asks him to do, will do it
without hesitation if he sees other boys in the street en-
gaged in the same work. Phenomena like these, of course,
have their origin in a like responsiveness of like organisms
to the same stimulus.

A third class of experiences and activities, which are
ultimately to enter into a consciousness of kind, and are
already very probably dominating " the dialectic of personal
growth," are imitations. Here, also, there is room for exact
investigation ; but we may predict at the outset that investi-
gation will verify the common opinion that we chiefly imitate



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIETY 37

our similars. The equally familiar fact that we do not always
do so is of immense importance for the theory of variation,
invention, and originality. And this theory, I believe, is not
to be constructed without referring back to the truth 'men-
tioned above, that the ego is at all times the original and
dominant element in the "dialectic of personal growth." I
am not at present prepared to give my reasons, but I expect
that it will be shown that in the same reaction of the organ-
ism upon the organ which is the source of ethical motive, will
be found the source of originality, variation, and the occa-
sional imitation of those who differ from, rather than resem-
ble, ourselves.

The factors thus far considered, — namely, like responsive-
ness of like organisms to the same stimulus, like sensations
received from self and from others who resemble self, a
greater responsiveness to suggestions from like selves than
from not-like selves, and a greater readiness to imitate like
selves than to imitate not-like selves, — together make up
the organic sympathy that is a bond of union in those
groups of animals that Professor Baldwin calls companies,
and the bond of union of men who act together impulsively
rather than reflectively — the bond, in short, of the mob.
It is certain that organic sympathy depends on organic
likeness, and the phenomena that have been named above
are the psychological correlatives of organic likeness.

How now is such organic sympathy converted into a
higher or reflective sympathy? The true answer, I think,
is : Through the mediation of that perception of resemblance
which is the initial stage in the conversion of a mere sensa-
tional experience of likeness into a reflective consciousness
of kind. When the power to perceive relations and to make
discriminations arises, the perception of resemblances and of
differences among one's fellow-beings becomes an all-impor-
tant factor in the further development of social relations and
in the "dialectic of personal growth." From that moment
organic sympathy becomes a function of the perception of
resemblance ; and sympathy becomes, to a certain extent, re-
flective. Even in mob action the reaction of the perception



38 DEMOCRACY AND EMPIRE

of kind may be seen with the utmost clearness. When, for
example, masses of men simultaneously respond to a party cry
or symbol, the action for the moment is merely a like respon-
siveness to the same stimulus. An instant later, when each
man perceives that, in this respect, his fellow-beings are re-
sembling himself in feeling and in action, his own emotion is
enormously intensified. It is this which gives to all symbols
and shibboleths their tremendous social importance. The
phenomenon has been very well described in the concluding
pages of Dr. Boris Sidis's "Psychology of Suggestion."

Let us pass, now, to the conception of the psychical stuff,
or substance, of society.

Professor Baldwin's thesis, as we have seen, is that " the
matter of social organization consists of thoughts, all kinds
of knowledges and informations." He thus places himself
in definite opposition to those writers who have made sym-
pathy, or any kind of emotion, the psychological stuff of
society. It is for this reason that he makes a sharp distinc-
tion between animal " companies " and human societies.
Criticism of this thesis may be made from two points of view:
one, the historical, supported by observations from animal



Online LibraryFranklin Henry GiddingsDemocracy and empire; with studies of their psychological, economic, and moral foundations → online text (page 3 of 29)