G. E. (George Everett) Partridge.

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF
NATIONS

A CONTRIBUTION TO THE
PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY

BY

G.E. PARTRIDGE


NEW YORK
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1919




COPYRIGHT, 1919
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Set up and electrotyped. Published, November, 1919

* * * * *




PREFACE


This book contains two closely related studies of the consciousness of
nations. It has been written during the closing months of the war and
in the days that have followed, and is completed while the Peace
Conference is still in session, holding in the balance, as many
believe, the fate of many hopes, and perhaps the whole future of the
world. We see focussed there in Paris all the motives that have ever
entered into human history and all the ideals that have influenced
human affairs. The question must have arisen in all minds in, some
form as to what the place of these motives and ideals and dramatic
moments is in the progress of the world. Is the world governed after
all by the laws of nature in all its progress? Do ideals and motives
govern the world, but only as these ideals and motives are themselves
produced according to biological or psychological principles? Or,
again, does progress depend upon historical moments, upon conscious
purposes which may divert the course of nature and in a real sense
create the future? It is with the whole problem of history that we are
confronted in these practical hours. At heart our problem is that of
the place of man in nature as a conscious factor of progress. This is
a problem, finally, of the philosophy of history, but it is rather in
a more concrete way and upon a different level that it is to be
considered here, - and somewhat incidentally to other more specific
questions. But this is the problem that is always before us, and the
one to which this study aims to make some contribution, however small.

The first part of the book is a study of the motives of war. It is an
analysis of the motives of war in the light of the general principles
of the development of society. We wish to see what the causes of past
wars have been, but we wish also to know what these motives are as
they may exist as forces in the present state of society. In such a
study, practical questions can never be far away. We can no longer
study war as an abstract psychological problem, since war has brought
us to a horrifying and humiliating situation. We have discovered that
our modern world, with all its boasted morality and civilization, is
actuated, at least in its relations among nations, by very unsocial
motives. We live in a world in which nations thus far have been for
the most part dominated by a theory of States as absolutely sovereign
and independent of one another. Now it becomes evident that a logical
consequence of that theory of States is absolute war. A prospect of a
future of absolute war in a world in which industrial advances have
placed in the hands of men such terrible forces of destruction, an
absolute warfare that can now be carried into the air and under the
sea is what makes any investigation of the motives of war now a very
practical problem.

If the urgency of our situation drives us to such studies and makes us
hasten to apply even an immature sociology and psychology, it ought
not to prejudice our minds and make us, for example, fall into the
error of wanting peace at any price - an ideal which, as a practical
national philosophy, might be even worse than a spirit of militarism.
What we need to know, finally, in order to avoid these errors which at
least we may imagine, is what, in the most fundamental way, progress
may be conceived to be. If we could discover that, and set our minds
to the task of making the social life progressive, we might be willing
to let wars take care of themselves, so to speak, without any radical
philosophy of good and evil. We ought at least to examine war fairly,
and to see what, in the waging of war, man has really desired. A study
of war ought to help us to decide whether we must accept our future,
with its possibility of wars, as a kind of fate, or whether we must
now begin, with a new idea of conscious evolution, to apply our
science and our philosophy and our practical wisdom seriously for the
first time to the work of creating history, and no longer be content
merely to live it.

As to the details of the study of war - we first of all consider the
origin and the biological aspects of war; then war as related to the
development, in the social life and in the life of the individual, of
the motive of power. The instincts that are most concerned in the
development of this motive of power are then considered, and also the
relations of war to the æsthetic impulses and to art. Nationalism,
national honor and patriotism are studied as causes of war. The
various "causes" that are brought forward as the principles fought for
are examined; also the philosophical influences, the moral and
religious motives and the institutional factors among the motives of
war. Finally the economic and political motives and the historical
causes are considered. The conclusion is reached that the motive of
power, as the fundamental principle of behavior at the higher levels,
is the principle of war, but that in so general a form it goes but a
little way toward being an explanation of war. We find the real causes
of war by tracing out the development of this motive of power as it
appears in what we call the "intoxication impulse," and in the idea of
national honor and in the political motives of war. It is in these
aspects of national life that we find the motives of war as they may
be considered as a practical problem. But we find no separate causes,
and we do not find a chain of causes that might be broken somewhere
and thus war be once for all eliminated. Wars are products of the
whole character of nations, so to speak, and it is national character
that must be considered in any practical study of war. It is by the
development of the character of nations in a natural process, or by
the education of national character, that war will be made to give
way to perpetual peace, if such a state ever comes, rather than by a
political readjustment or by legal enactments, however necessary as
beginnings or makeshifts these legal and political changes may be.

The second part of the book is a study of our present situation as an
educational problem, in which we have for the first time a problem of
educating national consciousness as a whole, or the individuals of a
nation with reference to a world-consciousness. The study has
reference especially to the conditions in our own country, but it also
has general significance. The war has brought many changes, and in
every phase of life we see new problems. These may seem at the moment
to be separate and detached conditions which must be dealt with, each
by itself, but this is not so; they are all aspects of fundamental
changes and new conditions, the main feature of which is the new
world-consciousness of which we speak. Whatever one's occupation, one
cannot remain unaffected by these changes, or escape entirely the
stress that the need of adjustment to new ideas and new conditions
compels. What we may think about the future - about what can be done
and what ought to be done, is in part, and perhaps largely, a matter
of temperament. At least we see men, presumably having access to the
same facts, drawing from them very different conclusions. Some are
keyed to high expectations; they look for revolutions, mutations, a
new era in politics and everywhere in the social life. For them, after
the war, the world is to be a new world. Fate will make a new deal.
Others appear to believe that after the flurry is over we shall settle
down to something very much like the old order. These are conservative
people, who neither desire nor expect great changes. Others take a
more moderate course. While improvement is their great word, they are
inclined to believe that the new order will grow step by step out of
the old, and that good will come out of the evil only in so far as we
strive to make it. We shall advance along the old lines of progress,
but faster, perhaps, and with life attuned to a higher note.

The writer of this book must confess that he belongs in a general way
to the third species of these prophets. There is a natural order of
progress, but the good must, we may suppose, also be worked for step
by step. The war will have placed in our hands no golden gift of a new
society; both the ways and the direction of progress must be sought
and determined by ideals. The point of view in regard to progress, at
least as a working hypothesis, becomes an educational one, in a broad
sense. Our future we must make. We shall not make it by politics. The
institutions with which politics deals are dangerous cards to play.
There is too much convention clinging to them, and they are too
closely related to all the supports of the social order. The
industrial system, the laws, the institutions of property and rights,
the form of government, we change at our own risk. Naturally many
radical minds look to the abrupt alteration of these fundamental
institutions for the cure of existing evils, and others look there
furtively for the signs of coming revolution, and the destruction of
all we have gained thus far by civilization. But at a different level,
where life is more plastic - in the lives of the young, and in the vast
unshaped forms of the common life everywhere, all this is different.
We do not expect abrupt changes here nor quick and visible results.
Experimentation is still possible and comparatively safe. There is no
one institution of this common and unformed life, not even the school
itself, that supports the existing structures, so that if we move it
in the wrong way, everything else will fall. When we see we are wrong,
there is still time to correct our mistakes.

Our task, then, is to see what the forces are that have brought us to
where we stand now, and to what influences they are to be subjected,
if they are to carry us onward and upward in our course. Precisely
what the changes in government or anywhere in the social order should
be is not the chief interest, from this point of view. The details of
the constitution of an international league, the practical adjustments
to be made in the fields of labor, and in the commerce of nations,
belong to a different order of problems. We wish rather to see what
the main currents of life, especially in our own national life, are,
and what in the most general way we are to think and do, if the
present generation is to make the most of its opportunities as a
factor in the work of conscious evolution.

The bibliography shows the main sources of the facts and the theories
that have been drawn upon in writing the book. Some of the chapters
have been read in a little different form as lectures before President
G. Stanley Hall's seminar at Clark University. More or less of
repetition, made necessary in order to make these papers, which were
read at considerable intervals, independent of one another, has been
allowed to remain. Perhaps in the printed form this reiteration will
help to emphasize the general psychological basis of the study.




CONTENTS


Preface v


PART I

NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE MOTIVES OF WAR

CHAPTER

I ORIGINS AND BIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS 3

II UNCONSCIOUS MOTIVES, THE REVERSION THEORIES OF WAR,
AND THE INTOXICATION MOTIVE 17

III INSTINCTS IN WAR: FEAR, HATE, THE AGGRESSIVE IMPULSE,
MOTIVES OF COMBAT AND DESTRUCTION, THE SOCIAL INSTINCT 38

IV AESTHETIC ELEMENTS IN THE MOODS AND IMPULSES OF WAR 70

V PATRIOTISM, NATIONALISM AND NATIONAL HONOR 78

VI "CAUSES" AS PRINCIPLES AND ISSUES IN WAR 97

VII PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES 110

VIII RELIGIOUS AND MORAL INFLUENCES 117

IX ECONOMIC FACTORS AND MOTIVES 128

X POLITICAL AND HISTORICAL FACTORS 142

XI THE SYNTHESIS OF CAUSES 153


PART II

THE EDUCATIONAL FACTOR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONS

I EDUCATIONAL PROBLEMS OF THE DAY 161

II INTERNATIONALISM AND THE SCHOOL 168

III INTERNATIONALISM AND THE SCHOOL _Continued_ 184

IV PEACE AND MILITARISM 197

V THE TEACHING OF PATRIOTISM 211

VI THE TEACHING OF PATRIOTISM _Continued_ 226

VII POLITICAL EDUCATION IN A DEMOCRACY 242

VIII INDUSTRY AND EDUCATION 269

IX NEW SOCIAL PROBLEMS 290

X RELIGION AND EDUCATION AFTER THE WAR 305

XI HUMANISM 309

XII AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE IN EDUCATION 315

XIII MOODS AND EDUCATION: A REVIEW 319

BIBLIOGRAPHY 327

INDEX 331




PART I

NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE MOTIVES OF WAR




THE PSYCHOLOGY OF NATIONS

A CONTRIBUTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY


CHAPTER I

ORIGINS AND BIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS


The simplest possible interpretation of the causes of war that might
be offered is that war is a natural relation between original herds or
groups of men, inspired by the predatory instinct or by some other
instinct of the herd. To explain war, then, one need only refer to
this instinct as final, or at most account for the origin and genesis
of the instinct in question in the animal world. Some writers express
this very view, calling war an expression of an instinct or of several
instincts; others find different or more complex beginnings of war.

Nusbaum (86) says that both offense and defense are based upon an
_expansion impulse_. Nicolai (79) sees the beginning of war in
individual predatory acts, involving violence and the need of defense.
Again we find the migratory instinct, the instinct that has led groups
of men to move and thus to interfere with one another, regarded as the
cause of war, or as an important factor in the causes. Sometimes a
purely physiological or growth impulse is invoked, or vaguely the
inability of primitive groups to adapt themselves to conditions, or to
gain access to the necessities of life. Le Bon (42) speaks of the
hunger and the desire that led Germanic forces as ancient hordes to
turn themselves loose upon the world.

Leaving aside for the moment the question of the nature of the
impulses or instincts which actuated the conduct of men originally and
brought them into opposition, as groups, to one another, we do find at
least some suggestion of a working hypothesis in these simple
explanations of war. Granted the existence of groups formed by the
accident of birth and based upon the most primitive protective and
economic associations, and assuming the presence of the emotions of
anger and fear or any instinct which is expressed as an impulse or
habit of the group, we might say that the conditions and factors for
the beginning of warfare are all present. When groups have desires
that can best and most simply be satisfied by the exertion of force
upon other groups, something equivalent to war has begun.

If we take the group (as herd or pack) and the instinct as the
original factors or data of society, however, we probably simplify the
situation too much. The question arises whether the motives are not
more complex, even from the beginning, and whether both the tendencies
or impulses by which the group was formed or held together and the
motives behind aggressive conduct against other groups have not been
produced or developed in the course of social relations, rather than
have been brought up from animal life, or at any point introduced as
instincts. We notice at least that animals living in groups do not in
general become aggressive within the species. Possibly it was by some
peculiarity of man's social existence, or his superior endowment of
intelligence or some unusual quality of his instincts, perhaps very
far back in animal life, that has in the end made him a warlike
creature. Man does seem to be a creature of _feelings_ rather than of
instincts as far back as we find much account of him, and to be
characterized rather by the weakness and variability of his instincts
than by their definiteness. It is quite likely, too, that man never
was at any stage a herd animal; in fact it seems certain that he was
not, and that his instincts were formed long before he began to live
in large groups at all. So he never acquired the mechanisms either for
aggression or defense that some creatures have. Apparently he
inherited neither the physical powers nor the warlike spirit nor the
aggressive and predatory instincts that would have been necessary to
make of him a natural fighting animal; but rather, perhaps, he has
acquired his warlike habits, so to speak, since arriving at man's
estate. Endowed with certain tendencies which express themselves with
considerable variability in the processes by which the functions of
sex and nutrition are carried out, man never acquired the definiteness
of character and conduct that some animals have. He learned more from
animals, it may be, than he inherited from them, and it is quite
likely that far back in his animal ancestry he had greater flexibility
or adaptability than other animals. The aggressive instinct, the herd
instinct, the predatory instinct, the social instinct, the migratory
instinct, may never have been carried very far in the stock from which
man came. All this, however, at this point is only a suggestion of two
somewhat divergent points of view in regarding the primitive
activities of man from which his long history of war-making has taken
rise.

The view is widely held and continually referred to by many writers on
war and politics, that the most fundamental of all causes of war, or
the most general principle of it, is the principle of selection - that
war is a natural struggle between groups, especially between races,
the fittest in this struggle tending to survive. This view needs to be
examined sharply, as indeed it has been by several writers, in
connection with the present war. This biological theory or apology of
war appears in several forms, as applied to-day. They say that racial
stocks contend with one another for existence, and with this goes the
belief that nations fight for life, and that defeat in war tends
towards the extermination of nations. The Germans, we often hear, were
fighting for national existence, and the issue was to be a judgment
upon the fitness of their race to survive. This view is very often
expressed. O'Ryan and Anderson (5), military writers, for example, say
that the same aggressive motives prevail as always in warfare: nations
struggle for survival, and this struggle for survival must now and
again break out into war. Powers (75) says that nations seldom fight
for anything less than existence. Again (15) we read that conflicts
have their roots in history, in the lives of peoples, and the sounder,
and better, emerge as victors. There is a selective process on the
part of nature that applies to nations; they say that especially
increase of population forces upon groups an endless conflict, so that
absolute hostility is a law of nature in the world.

These views contain at least two very doubtful assumptions. One is
that nations do actually fight for existence, - that warfare is thus
selective to the point of eliminating races. The other is that in
warlike conflicts the victors are the superior peoples, the better
fitted for survival. Confusion arises and the discussion is
complicated by the fact that conflicts of men as groups of individuals
within the same species are somewhat anomalous among biological forms
of struggle. Commonly, struggle takes place among individuals,
organisms having definite characteristics and but slightly variable
each from its own kind contending with one another, by direct
competition or through adaptation, in the first case individuals
striving to obtain actually the same objects. Or, again, species
having the same relations to one another that individuals have,
contend in a similar manner.

Primitive groups of men, however, are not so definite; they are not
biological entities in any such sense as individuals and species are.
They are not definitely brought into conflict with one another, in
general, as contending for the same objects, and it is difficult to
see how, in the beginning, at least, economic pressure has been a
factor at all in their relations. Whatever may have been the motive
that for the most part was at work in primitive warfare, it is not at
all evident that _superior_ groups had any survival value. The groups
that contended with one another presumably differed most conspicuously
in the size of the group, and this was determined largely by chance
conditions. Other differences must have been quite subordinate to
this, and have had little selective value. The conclusion is that the
struggle of these groups with one another is not essentially a
_biological_ phenomenon.

The fact is that peace rather than war, taking the history of the
human race as a whole, is the condition in which selection of the
fittest is most active, for it is the power of adaptation to the
conditions of stable life, which are fairly uniform for different
groups over wide areas, that tests vitality and survival values, so
far as these values are biological. It may be claimed that war is very
often, if not generally, a means of interrupting favorable selective
processes, the unfit tending to prevail temporarily by force of
numbers, or even because of qualities that antagonize biological
progress. Viewing war in its later aspects, we can see that it is
often when nations are failing in natural competition that they resort
to the expedient of war to compensate for this loss, although they do
not usually succeed thereby in improving their economic condition as
they hope, or increase their chance of survival, or even demonstrate
their survival value. It is notorious that nations that conquer tend
to spend their vitality in conquest and introduce various factors of
deterioration into their lives. The inference is that a much more
complex relation exists among groups than the biological hypothesis
allows. Survival value indeed, as applied to men in groups, is not a
very clear concept. There may be several different criteria of
survival value, not comparable in any quantitative way among
themselves.

Scheler (77) says that we cannot account for war as a purely
biological phenomenon. Its roots lie deep in organic life, but there
is no direct development or exclusive development from animal behavior
to human. War is peculiarly human. That, in a way, may be accepted as
the truth. Warfare as we know it among human groups, as conflict
within the species is due in some way to, or is made possible by, the
secondary differentiations within species which give to groups, so to
speak, a pseudo-specific character. And these differences depend



Online LibraryG. E. (George Everett) PartridgeThe psychology of nations; a contribution to the philosophy of history → online text (page 1 of 27)