The Existence of Social Minds (John E. Boodin)
Citation: John E. Boodin. "The Existence of Social Minds", American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 19, 1913: 1-47.(Fonte)
TYPES OF THEORIES
In looking backward at the social theories of the past, it seems to me that they, practically at least, assume the subcranial point of view. Let us glance briefly at some of these theories. It is easy to place the old abstract individualism, with its practical egoism. For Hobbes the individual is himself and himself alone. Society is but an artificial addition, extraneous to human nature. While Hobbes regards the artificial addition as an indispensable means to peace and happiness, modern anarchy regards society as at best a necessary evil. For Herbert Spencer it is a temporary police supervision, until human nature shall have embodied within itself the necessary social instincts for unconstrained living together; for Nietzsche, it is but a philistine conspiracy on the part of the weak and cowardly to suppress the strong and fit.
The absorbing biological interest of the last generation could not help making itself felt in social theory. Society is fundamentally an organism, so the biological school tells us. The analogies between the organism and society have been worked out into striking and sometimes fantastic detail: The organism is the union of soul and body, we are told. Though an organism is a whole, it has parts animated in their own way and playing into the whole. The organism is developed from within outward in a life-history. If we transfer these analogies to the state, for example, we find that here too we have the union of soul and body, the body being the constitution with its articulate provisions. -In the state, too, we have members, the officials and the offices with their varied spiritual functions, forming a coherent internal organization and acting as a unit in external relations. The state like the organism grows, though, since popular passion and strong individual interest may deflect the course, it may not grow quite so regularly as the organism. Such in brief is the brilliant sketch of Bluntschli in his The Theory of the State. On the ethical side writers like Leslie Stephen emphasize that "the individual is moralized through his identification with the social organism"; and that "the conditions, therefore, of the security of morality are the conditions of the persistence of society."
But after all the social organism is merely a metaphor, a vague analogy. Even if we should go so far on the biological side as to credit each cell of the complex organism with a mind of its own, still we should be entirely ignorant of the flow of energy from one cell to another; and our ignorance in the one case furnishes a poor explanation of the intimate relations which come within our experience in the other. The unity of society, as has often been pointed out, is not an organic but a psychological unity. It is a unity of value and not a mere unity of external continuity. In order to arrive at any intimate understanding of social. relations we must use psychological and not biological tools.
More profound in its insight, and more genial to our thinking, is the attitude of speculative idealism. Here at least we have a recognition that the unity of society must be an intimate unity. It must figure somehow within the terms to be related. The social unity must be essentially psychological; and it must be more than the unity of each individual mind. This is as true in our theoretical relations as in our practical. In order to any common understanding, a supra-individual unity must somehow dip into our finite centers. It is this which makes us overlap and makes us imply more than we seem. In the words of Emerson: "Persons themselves acquaint us with the impersonal. In all conversation between two persons tacit reference is made to a third party, to a common nature. That third party or common nature is not social; it is impersonal; is God." How intimate this unity is to our. own individuality is also emphasized by Emerson: " Ineffable is the union of man and God in every act of the soul. The simplest person who in his integrity worships God becomes God; yet forever and forever, the influx of this better and universal self is new and unsearchable." This intimacy of life enables the finite person to say: "Behold I am born into the great, the universal mind. I the imperfect adore my own Perfect. I am somehow receptive of the great soul." Of this union the world itself is the "perennial miracle which the soul worketh." On the basis of such intimacy with the absolute, Green can tell us " the true good is and in its earlier form was a social good," in which the permanent self and others are not to be distinguished.
The difficulty with the above theory of social relations is of course its abstractness. The unity of each and all of the personal selves with the absolute is so intimate that social finite relations disappear altogether in the abstract background. An entity, however, which in this abstract way explains all unity does not make us any wiser as regards the various types of concrete unity with which we are concerned in our practical social relations. There is a great difference between social mind as am abstract, permanent idea and social mind as an existing living unity, as warm and real as individual mind. To show that the individual and society mutually imply each other or that we are socially minded is a different thing from showing that social minds exist. Hegel has come nearer than anyone else of the speculative idealists to recognizing the reality of the various types of social mind. For Hegel, indeed, the ethical life means precisely this adjustment to social institutions. Man is not a stranger in an artificially superimposed society. Social institutions are the concrete embodiments of his own deeper will. In his own words: "The various social forces are not -something foreign to this subject, his spirit bears witness to them as to his own being. In them he feels that he is himself, and in them too he lives as in an element indistinguishable from himself. This relation is more direct and intuitive than even faith and trust." And again: "Spirit has actuality, and the accidents or modes of this actuality are individuals. Hence as to the ethical there are only two possible views. Either we start from the substantive social system, or we proceed atomically and work up from a basis of individuality. This latter method, because it leads to mere juxtaposition, is void of spirit, since mind or spirit is not something individual, but the unity of the individual and the universal."
When Hegel, however, tries to make clear what he means by this spiritual unity, his bias for the abstract and formal vitiates his treatment. Thus in discussing the types of social unity he places the family lowest, as the unity of feeling; the civic community he defines as "an association of members or independent individuals in a formal universality. Such an association is occasioned by needs, and preserved by law." But a final type of unity is "the substantive universal, and the public life dedicated to the maintenance of the universal. This is the state constitution." Thus Hegel's abstract method loses the social mind in the mere external form and expression of society. To be sure he tells us: "The state is the divine will as a present spirit-which unfolds itself in the actual shape of an organized world." But the state remains a juristic abstraction to the end. Mind is finally vested in the absolute self-consciousness; and persons and institutions alike must be understood as expressions of this self-consciousness. The new discovery ,of history is "the unity of the divine and the human"; and this unity comes to a focus in each self-conscious personality. Institutions are but the expression of this independent self-consciousness. As he puts it: "In the state, self-consciousness finds the organic development of its real substantive knowing and will; in religion it finds, in the form of ideal essence, the feeling and the vision of this its truth; and in science it finds the free conceived knowledge of this truth, seeing it to be one and the same in all its mutually completing manifestations, viz., the state, nature, and the ideal world." But they are after all only manifestations-the Self writ large; and Hegel in spite of all his efforts to take the social point of view, as a result of his abstract method, ends in being a rational individualist. The difficulty with idealistic theories in general, in spite of the fruitfulness of their empirical intuitions, is that they have been so anxious to arrive at the Absolute that they have slighted the concrete problems of continuity. The abstract Absolute becomes an immense solipsist, with no alter.
Recent theories of society may perhaps be characterized, in contrast
with abstract individualism on the one hand, and abstract universalism
on the other, as functional theories. As against abstract individualism
they emphasize the qualifications in human nature for social relations.
As against abstract universalism, they emphasize that mind is essentially
individual and deny the reality of a supra-individual consciousness.
In the words of Giddings: "The social mind is a concrete thing.
It is more than any individual mind and dominates every individual will.
Yet it exists only in individual minds, and we have no knowledge of
any consciousness but that of individuals. The social consciousness,
then, is nothing more than the feeling or the thought that appears at
the same moment in all individuals, or that is propagated from one to
another through the assembly or the community. The social mind is the
phenomenon of many individuals in interaction, so playing upon one another
that they simultaneously feel the same sensation or emotion, arrive
at one judgment and perhaps act in concert. In
the same spirit we are told by Ward: "There are none so simple
as literally to personify society and conceive it endowed with wants
and passions. By the improvement of society they only mean such modifications
in its constitution and structure as will in their opinion result in
ameliorating the conditions of its individual members."
In spite of this, society "should imagine itself an individual,
with all the interests of an individual; and becoming fully conscious
of these interests, it should pursue them with the same indomitable
will with which the individual pursues his interest."
Still we are dealing with an aggregate of individuals, even if such
individuals should base their actions upon "the science of sociology."
As, Spencer puts it: "By social laws are meant the principles of
human action in collectivity."
Another type of theory has its basis in individualistic psychology. Its problem is: What are the individual processes or qualifications by means of which we come to share in a common social life ? Ile classical statement of this type of approach goes back to Adam Smith- "How selfish, soever, man may be supposed to be, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it. Of this kind is pity or compassion, the emotion which we feel for the misery of others, when either we see it or are made to conceive it in a lively manner." His conception of mind, however, remains strictly individual: "As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation." We put ourselves in the other man's place in our imagination, and thus share with him what he must feel. We also learn to regulate our own conduct by what we represent to ourselves as his attitude toward us. This representative theory of social relations has been formulated more recently by William James: "A man's social self is the recognition which he gets from his mates. We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in the sight of our fellows, but we have an innate tendency to get ourselves noticed, and noticed favorably by our kind. . . . Properly speaking a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind. To wound one of these images is to wound him."
Other writers of this psychological school have emphasized imitation, as the process by means of which social unity is brought about. Says Tarde: "Society may therefore be defined as a group of beings who are apt to imitate one another, or who without actual imitation are alike in their possession of common traits as an ancient copy of the same model.' He even goes so far as to say: "What is society? I have answered society is imitation." In the same spirit, Baldwin suggests that the social self may be likened roughly to a composite photograph: "The variety of personalities about him, each impressing him with some one or more peculiarities, exaggerations, deficiencies, inconsistencies or law-observing regularities, gradually leave upon him a certain common impression, which, while getting application to all personalities as such, yet has to have supplementing in the case of any particular individual . . . . . He ejects it into all the fellows of his social group. It becomes then a general social alter." Professor Royce, carrying out the same method with his own idealistic background, comes to regard nature itself as the system of our social agreements, and thus only a more comprehensive social unity.
Still a third type of functional theory takes its start from our practical social situation. It assumes at the outset that all our consciousness is, as a matter of fact, social. This has been strikingly expressed by Professor A. W. Moore, a member of the Dewey school. In his own words: " 'My' consciousness is a function of a social process, in which my body or brain or mind is only one factor. . . . . My thinking and feeling may be as truly a function of 'your' brain or mind as of my own . My thinking of sending for you as a physician to treat my headache is as truly a function of your medically trained brain as of my own aching one." Moore thinks rightly of this "private consciousness" not only as born of, but as growing up in and therefore continuing all the while vitally and organically related to, its matrix. Not only in its origin but in its continual development and operation it must always be a function of the whole social situation of which it is born. It is never to be regarded as wholly or merely the function of an individual mind or soul or of a single organism or brain. It is always a readjustment within a social situation.
The theory thus baldly stated does not try to define the nature of the social situation, neither does it discriminate between situations where the motive is individual, and where the social aspects, such as language, science, etc., are strictly instrumental and the situations where the motive is consciously social. In so far as we use the concept social to characterize all our experience, we have obviously failed to-give the differentia between what we may term the individual consciousness on the one hand and the group mind on the other. Moreover, the word "function" is ambiguous. Are my thinking and the physician's thinking in regard to my headache, identical states of consciousness? Or do they merely figure with reference to a common problem? Evidently the latter is all that can be meant in this case. It still remains, therefore, to explain the nature of that social context in which both our minds figure. Does this amount to a common social unity, including both minds and having an existence of its own, or are we simply two numerically distinct minds thinking of the same object?
The value of the above psychological type of treatment lies in emphasizing the fact, that there must be certain qualifications on the part of the individuals, taken as abstractions, in order for social communion to take place. Such qualifications are partly instinctive and partly intellectual. On the instinctive side, we must distinguish certain specific instincts, such as a tendency toward gregariousness, and the parental instinct, from the more general innate tendencies such as imitation and sympathy. Without such native qualifications social life would of course be an impossibility. Lacking those we should have merely artificial restrictions superimposed on atomic units. We should have no genuine social life. These innate tendencies are further complicated and enhanced by the intellectual processes which are grafted upon them. These intellectual qualifications may be broadly stated as association and suggestion. By means of imagination we can imitate, and sympathize with, not only the immediate perceptual situations but the secondary inner situations of the other person's experience. A similar experience suggests to us similar trains of ideas and similar types of conduct. But these qualifications, whether instinctive or intellectual, are mere abstractions or potentialities looked at from the individual point of view, Their function is to canalize or make definite the intersubjective continuities, as do the terminal instruments in wireless telegraphy. They are no more social than oxygen and hydrogen, when taken separately, are water. Our knowledge of social mind may depend upon imitation and suggestion, it may involve inferences of the most complicated kind; it certainly presupposes language for any definiteness of mutual understanding. But this does not prove that the existence of a social mind consists of those cognitive processes, any more than the existence of a chemical compound depends upon our methods of studying it. The existence of a new reality in each case must be ascertained through the pragmatic attitude which we must take toward the specific type of unity.
What I wish to show is that there is a genuine social unity, distinct from what we call the unity of individual experience, and if not more real, at least more self-sufficient than this. The latter may be considered as a group of constant traits which we identify in a variety of situations. What we have in reality is dynamic situations. Some of these situations we come to recognize as physical, i.e., as having no meaning or value of their own; others again we come to acknowledge as social with their own psychological unity. In each case we are able to follow the individual factors within the varying dynamic situations by virtue of certain constant traits which we can identify in the situations, such as the ions in chemical compounds, the Mendelian units and the chromosome characters in the organic situations, and the personal traits which constitute the individual's unique marks of identification in the various social unities.
Instead of starting with the postulate of isolated minds, as psychology has done in the past, and then trying to explain how one mind can take cognizance of another by means of analogical inference, we must start with the postulate of intersubjective continuity as an elementary fact. Without this immediate continuity of minds-the unique consciousness of mental presence-we should have no incentive for our attempts to know about other minds. It is the fact that we meet in a common continuum that makes us conscious of the need for intersubjective adjustment. Mind, like matter, must be conceived as existing in constellations with their own continuities and with their own play of parts. We know each other, as we know physical things, through common situations. And in these social situations, whatever the physical medium or symbol, mind is aware of mind; else each mind would lead an egocentric, solipsistic, and unconscious existence to the end. It is usually assumed that social communication means the transformation or correspondence of thought to nervous energy, this to muscular, this to physical stimuli, these again to physiological changes, terminating somehow in the other person's thought. This implies complete discontinuity as between these subcranial patches of mind. All continuity becomes material continuity. There can here be no direct acquaintance. The other mind comes to be regarded as an eject, inferred by analogy. That we as a matter of fact do not so infer it, that we respond to the voluntary reactions within the total situation as immediately as to the physical, does not trouble the theorist. Minds are isolated by hypothesis and so made private.
It is one of the paradoxes of history that mind should thus have socialized itself into privacy. It was the emphasis on the physical sense-world -- an emphasis made necessary through primitive man's direct and largely individual struggle with the physical environment -- that gradually brought this about. As a result of this emphasis individuals came to be looked upon as primarily bodies with a "breath" -inhabiting them; and in a more sophisticated age mind Is reduced to a function of the brain, an accident in its activity. Thus mind, by its extreme emphasis of the instrument, not only socializes itself into isolation but actually socializes itself out of existence. Social communication becomes merely the polar relation between organic contexts of a certain complexity. But this emphasis is itself the product of social interaction. It was because of our practical social demands that the physical world became differentiated from our states of consciousness whether in the earlier animistic form or the more abstract psychological form. In the earliest primitive life there seems to be no such differentiation. Here mind is intuited as an ingredient in our common concrete situations. The earliest distinction is not between mind and body, but between animated bodies and those not animated. Such a distinction, preceding, as it does, all inference, must be intuitive, the result of the direct commerce of mind with mind. That such a distinction exists even on the animal level; that animals do as a matter of fact react differently upon animated things from those not animated; and that such an intuition is of fundamental Importance in the economy of animal life is amply evidenced by animal conduct. That there should be illusions in animal life, extending this intuition to non-animated things, as in the case of the fish and the fisherman's artificial fly, is easily explained, once we grant the existence of the intersubjective intuition. The wholesale extension of this intuition to nature, however, as in the animistic philosophy, cannot be regarded as a primitive reaction, but is due to more advanced experience with its abstractions and inference, based upon sleep, dreams, etc., as shown by Herbert Spencer.
The general pragmatic significance of this intersubjective continuum is the sympathetic furtherance or the thwarting of individual desire. This even for the animal has a different intuitive value from the furtherance or hindrance by the inorganic processes of nature. It makes a difference whether it is another living dog which is contending for the bone or whether the obstacle is merely mechanical. The sex instinct takes peculiar account of complementary desire or the absence of it. The gregarious instinct implies an intuition of kind as well as of animated things in general. And no learning process seems to precede such intuitive recognition. Even if this intuition is sometimes made negatively definite by the index of smell, as it seems to be in certain species of ants where a difference in smell makes them attack a certain other species, this does not account for the positive intuition of kind. Where the special index occurs it is probably due to special survival reasons.
Throughout the process of imitation and accommodation in which the individual translates his tendencies into terms of himself, there is present the immediate intuition of other minds. They are reacted on differently from things. It is possible for us to become aware of our own purposes only through the consciousness of conflict and co-operation with our fellows. In this we do not first have the consciousness of the physiological correspondence of our bodies with each other and then deduce internal correspondence from it. But the whole problem of psycho-physical correspondence is the outcome of our social interest--our practical need for intersubjective correlation and correspondence. We discovered the fundamental laws of language, logic, and ethics long before we had discovered even the existence of a nervous system. It is true that we come to take a certain bodily behavior as the sign of intersubjective relations, but they would not even have been signs except in the service of the things signified-the evidence of things not seen. It is because we are immediately conscious of the reality of other selves that we try to understand them and devise instruments for adjusting ourselves to them. Whether on the level of instinctive affection and rivalry or on the level of purposive co-operation, we imply the first-hand acquaintance of mind with mind. In our vices as in our moral evaluations, in our selfish striving for wealth and power as in our seeking for individual or social salvation, we imply the sharing of a common life with others, and their reciprocal response to our aims.
The whole procedure of supposed inference from analogy is inverted. We start with a common intuitive life, and through the demands of this common life, matter comes to have its instrumental significance. Intuitive living and faith come before analogical inference. Unless intersubjective continuities were thus directly felt, we should have neither basis nor motive for inferences about other minds. We no more reason by analogy from our mind to other minds than from our body to other bodies. Indeed the basis for our arriving at an objective physical world is the practical necessity of our common intuitive life.
The prejudice against social continuities is part of a larger prejudice, pointed out by William James - the prejudice against conjunctive relations and the emphasis on disjunctive. In the socializing process of civilization the world becomes crystallized into diverse concepts or terms; these come to seem more and more fixed and exclusive and as having only external relations to each other. Language gives the illusion of substance to our intellectual abstractions, whether physical or psychological. And so it comes to pass that while it seems clear enough that there are disparate terms or entities--qualities, atoms, and what not-it is hard to find the glue that binds the terms together in a common flow of experience. This intellectual despair leads men like Bradley to mysticism, which, however, is a hopeless surrender rather than a solution, What we must do instead is to take a fresh start in the intuitions of concrete experience and to realize that what we start with is not terms--these are instrumental abstractions--but that we start with integral situations. In these concrete situations the conjunctive relations have an equal claim with the disjunctive. It is our intellectual one-sidedness merely that makes the world absurd. For a logic hopping on one leg, we must substitute a logic of the concrete.
While William James emphasized admirably the need of our taking the conjunctive relations of the physical world at their face value, he still clung to the social discontinuities. Here we are supposed to have complete insulation, abstract ejects. I insist that the prejudice against social continuities is as unwarranted as our prejudice against physical. In each case we must get away from our intellectual abstraction and return to the concrete situation. The agnostics ate at least consistent in holding that mind and matter are equally inaccessible and unknowable. But this is a gratuitous assumption. In each case we enter into common situations. In each case we can regulate our conduct by the properties discriminated in such situations. And these common situations, experience teaches us, may be mental as well as physical. We must learn to take the social continuities at their face value, as James has insisted that we must take the physical continuities. Isolation and parallelism are of our conceptual making. The real world overflows and ignores them.
It is true that our imagination encounters several obstacles to admitting such social continuities. We have become accustomed to look upon mental communication as mediated by a nervous system and an intervening physical world. But even if this should turn out to be always true, it is nothing against intersubjective continuities. Electricity, too, is mediated, as we familiarly know it, through wires; and even in the case of wireless, we find it convenient as an aid to our imagination to conceive a medium that facilitates its spreading through space. Still, whether electricity in the last analysis radiates through empty space or rides over a medium, there can be no doubt that the electrical continuities, when they are established, are real. They are not material conjunctions but immaterial conjunctions. And so with mind. Why should we conceive mind as pushing molecules or being insulated by them ? Why may not neural processes act as conductors instead of insulators? But however mind may be mediated, whatever intervening processes it may ride over, when the continuities are established they are recognized as psychological, not as material, confluences. They are unique and not to be confused with chemical or electrical. Conative co-operation must be recognized as different from mechanical reaction. And this, we have seen, is done immediately and intuitively in the animal world long before inference is known. It is as immediate a discrimination as that of quantitative and qualitative difference in physical stimuli and as necessary to survival.
The discovery of the immaterial continuity of electricity helps at any rate to emancipate our imagination from the grosser continuities of our senses and of molecular physics. We know that electricity in its free form possesses remarkable power of intersecting our seemingly solid world in all sorts of ways as illustrated in X-ray&, violet rays, etc. Here the difference in wave-length as well as intensity must be taken into. account. So, for example, what is opaque to X-rays maybe translucent to violet rays. The thickness to be interpenetrated must also be taken into account. Here, as in the case of mental continuities, our practical knowledge of the results is. clear and definite, while our knowledge of the descriptive side, Le., the means of spreading, is largely speculative. What is certain Is that there are these immaterial continuities and that they have their predictable practical effects. There is nothing contradictory, therefore, in material and immaterial continuities occupying the same space, and in the end the material may have to find their explanation in the immaterial. As is the case in electrical continuities, some psychic states seem more contagious than others; and high psychic potentials, in the intenser forms of crowds, make minds interpenetrate more fully the enveloping material husk and lose themselves in the temporary continuum of mind. At any rate, the sense of comradeship is too convincing and absorbing in its own right to be reduced to the abstract logic of analogy. The intuition of a common life precedes theory. Privacy in our world, in so far as there is such a thing-and there evidently is for special purposes-means isolation or disconnectedness for the time being. It means the failure to figure in a certain dynamic situation.
Another difficulty which the imagination encounters lies in the customary conception of mind. If we identify mind primarily with sensations, their persistence and combination by means of mechanical association, we have a difficulty, but it is a physical, not a mental difficulty. These facts, while instrumental to will and closely bound up with the realization of its tendencies; and while in a sense existing in the mind--inlaid in its interests, as a diamond in its gold setting--yet are primarily physical facts. Mind, however, is primarily a matter of will and affective value.
Hence telepathy as a communication of ideas is quite distinct from what we mean by mental continuity. The former presupposes analogous cerebral situations. Mental continuity has reference to common will attitudes, common moods, and these may have widely different intellectual coloring, as music may have different meaning to different listeners.
This difficulty is closely bound up with another-the failure to distinguish between acquaintance and description, intuition and knowledge. While the distinction within our experience is purely logical, it is none the less important. What we share immediately, in social situations, is the acquaintance or intuition, the consciousness of mental presence. The knowledge about the situation is bound up largely with the physical aspect of the mind-the associative contexts of content. It turns out then that the so-called privacy, which merely means indirectness of communication, pertains primarily to the physical contents of the mind. Even in the direct sharing of physical situations we are as it were one remove from the certainty of a common world, for here we imply a faith in analogous sense organs and nervous systems and here we have to allow for pathological instances. Physical sharing can only be guaranteed through serial construction and intersubjective comparison and so presupposes social communication.
In studying social facts, therefore, as in studying other domains of fact, we must start with intuition. Intuition is not truth, nor a substitute for truth, but it is the starting-point and terminus of truth. This is the case in all our investigations. Even mathematics, as Poincaré has shown, must start with intuition, however much it refines upon it in the process. Our intuitions of social continuities are at least as convincing as the intuitions of perceptual continuities. And the former, as we have seen, have at any rate genetic priority, as it is through our social relations that we come to differentiate the world of things and the world of minds.
The convincingness of social companionship, moreover, has nothing to do with our theory as to how it may be brought about. The theory is an afterthought and may undergo all sorts of transmutations. in our blindness we may seek to theorize the facts away even while we are assuming them. Thus the solipsist must try to convince his fellows. Fortunately the transitions in nature do not depend upon our understanding them. We are not able to follow even the simplest of them point for point. We perform the juxtapositions but nature establishes the continuity under its own selective conditions. Nor does energetic continuity involve identity in space. If so, it is hard to see what interaction could mean. Instead of starting with conceivability or inconceivability, as band upon previous custom, we now believe in regulating conceivability with reference to the facts which we must meet.
If the theory of social atomism, with its assumption of absolute discontinuity, fails to meet the demands of experience, so does the theory of absolute continuity. The absolute, since, like the ether, it explains all continuity in advance, explains no concrete relations. The discontinuities must be taken at their face value as must the continuities. Like other energies, such as electricity, mind obeys certain definite laws of spreading. It is conditioned by interferences. It can establish continuity only when the proper conditions exist.
This conception of social continuity differs, therefore, from that of monistic idealism as expressed by Hugo Munsterberg and von Hartmann. Says Munsterberg: "In real life spirit touches spirit and what mysticism ingeniously unites is in truth not at all sundered. The sundering follows first in the service of psychological and physical description." But the sundering is a real part of our mundane practical life; and a theory which fails to account for it is practically useless. In the case of von Hartmann it is the Unconscious which exercises clairvoyant power (Hellsehen) as between part and part. Whether the parts thus abstracted are higher or lower in the scale does not alter their clairvoyant insight which belongs to the unconscious cosmic will itself.
If the unconscious soul in the separate portions of an insect, or in the stem and the detached buds, is still one, must it not be the same also in the insects separate by nature of a community of bees or ants, which even without union of the organisms in space still act as harmoniously on one another as the several parts of the same organism? Should not the clairvoyance which we have found everywhere recurring in the invasions of the Unconscious, and which is so supremely astonishing in the limited individual, should not it alone invite this solution, that the individual acts of clairvoyance are simply announcements of the everywhere identical Unconscious, wherewith at once everything miraculous in clairvoyance disappears since now the seer is also the soul of the seen ? What opposes this is only the prejudice that the soul is the consciousness.
Yes, everything miraculous does disappear on such a hypothesis, but also everything interesting for our practical purposes. What we require for our purposes is a hypothesis which will account for both the practical discontinuities and the continuities. The hypothesis of a transcendental, timeless and spaceless unity fails to meet our needs as truly as that of abstract atomism. In the case of intersubjective relations, as in the case of chemical and electrical energies, continuities are established under certain conditions, as there are discontinuities under other conditions. We are not dealing with continuity in the abstract, but with the differences made when concrete continuities do take place. The continuities and discontinuities are on the same 'level with the finite individuals involved, not on a transcendental level, whatever that may mean.
We cannot, finally, deduce other minds from the implications of self-consciousness as a priori philosophers have attempted to do. Self-consciousness itself, on the contrary, is the outgrowth of the demands for readjustment and adaptation within the social situation in which we live and move and have our being. All deliberate differentiation and identification, whether of selves or of things, mental or physical, is the outcome of the pressure of social interest. Selves are known by their context or function in this common experience.
We must rid our minds of the intellectualism which has so long pervaded all our thinking. We have made our convenient abstractions from the dynamic stream of reality, and then we have imagined that these abstractions exhausted reality. More and more, however, we have come to realize that these abstractions, real as they are when taken as aspects of reality, must, when they are taken apart, be regarded as instrumental. They are conceptual tools by means of which we can predict, and dip into, the stream of reality at definite points. They are "leadings" in our experience by means of which we are guided to the creative processes of nature.
The dynamic situation is never a mere addition of certain entities with their separate characteristics. The situation has always its own atmosphere; we must discover its own individual traits.
Even in the inorganic field we have long ago ceased to believe that the reality of water consists in the addition of the two gases, hydrogen and oxygen, in the abstract numerical proportion of H2O, with their separate characters. The formula merely furnishes the leading toward nature's creative process, Water is a unique individual and satisfies new wants. While it has some of the properties of the so-called elements, it also has new properties which cannot be found in those elements taken separately. You must, besides the abstract factors, take account of a third fact, the creative process of nature from which they are abstractions. We are in the habit, it is true, of identifying creativeness with the freakish and unpredictable. These have always appealed to man as more or less miraculous. As a matter of fact all happenings, all arising of individual compounds must be regarded as creative. The elements are real only as they move within a field of energy. The negative charges within the atom are conceived as moving within a field of positive electricity. We can understand the life of the complex organism only when we take account of the vital stream of impulse which guides and controls its development and its division of labor. And within social unities, we must not stop with the abstract factors of the situation, but we must try to appreciate the soul of the situation itself, the creative contribution of the spiritual process.
Creative synthesis seems to be of the very nature of reality. Out of some eighty elements inorganic nature creates endless unique situations-, out of only four elements arises the variety of organic situations. In ideal creativeness, few themes suffice for infinite creative production. In any case, the universe gives back more than we seem to put in-more than our abstract elements or abstract individuals. In any case the properties we select for prediction are abstractions from the continuities or possible continuities in the flow of reality.
It will be seen that this theory of creative evolution is practically the opposite of that of Bergson. For him evolution means division. The vital impulse breaks UP into its component tendencies, as the sky-rocket breaks from the shock of the explosion and the resistance of the -atmosphere., Such a theory in the end means absolute atomism. For us creative evolution means creative synthesis -- gifts which the universe contributes under certain conditions, over and above the finite parts which our selective interest has separated out. Souls are contributed by the creative energy of the universe in accordance with the complexity of the conditions, physiological and social. To the reality of these social souls we must now address ourselves.
PROOFS OF SOCIAL MINDS
In social compounds as in physical, we must proceed pragmatically. We must ask: What difference does it make that we figure in various social situations? Can we take men as the same in their separate capacity and in their social capacity ? Is the social group but a collection of individuals with their individual traits? Or must we recognize a new unity, with its own unique properties? Our intuition -somehow indicates that there is a difference between mere individuals, or mere aggregates of individuals, and the way we feel and act when swayed by a common interest. It makes a fundamental difference to us and to the spectator that we are parts of the social situation.
In the pragmatic testing of this social intuition, I propose two methods of approach-the psychological analysis of the conditions and characteristics of the social situation, on the one hand, and the practical evaluation of these situations, on the other. Let us first glance briefly at the psychological side.
In order to have a social situation, there must, in the first place, be the consciousness of another person or persons. Mere continuity with natural energies-the sky, the sea, the landscape is not, for our practical and finite purposes at any rate, a social situation. We cannot agree that all situations are social, however much their significance for us is interwoven with our social experience. The other person, however, need not be bodily present. The other mind may be present in a poem, a book of science, a symphony, or a report flashed across the wires. We often become more absorbed in a book than we do in most conversations. In the second place, there must be the consciousness of a common object or impulse. People may be conscious of each other's presence only in order to dodge each other, like so many automata, on the busy avenue. But let an accident happen on the street--the running-over of a child by an automobile-and we have a common object attracting our attention. Even so, however, if I am too busy, trying to catch a train, to stop with the others, I am no part of the social situation. It takes time for the human continuity to be felt, and there must be abandon to the interest or suggestion. Even bodily space-proximity and time-proximity may be dispensed with if there is the sustained abandon to a common interest. In a great international catastrophe, such as the shipwreck of the "Titanic," largely separated portions of humanity become a genuine and intense part of a social mind.
Mere intersubjective continuity is not sufficient to constitute a social mind. For this more than an intuitive sense of presence of other minds is required. The sense of presence may be negative as well as positive. It may mean a stimulus to fight or flight instead of to co-operation. In order to have a social mind there must be a sense of reciprocal or sympathetic response to the situation. On the lower levels this means the abandon to a common impulse, on the higher levels it means the leading of a common purpose. Without this consciousness of a common conative direction, the social continuum, as the particular stream of consciousness, fails to be an individual.
It would seem that social minds must be real if they possess characteristics analogous to those of particular minds. One of the most important of these characteristics is fusion. Social situations present a case similar to the fusion of elementary states within the particular mind; and while the greater complexity makes analysis more difficult, the laws of fusion seem to be the same. Take, for example, the clang in music. This we all recognize as one unique individual; and it is only with practice that we learn to discriminate some of the tonal qualities within the whole. In these fusions we have to take into account the quality of the components, the intensity of the components, and the number of the components. This we must do also in social fusion. But in each case, while we can discriminate complexity within the fusion, the whole is one unique individual; and the qualities which we discriminate within the situation owe their character in part to the fusion. While we can identify them, they are not a mere repetition of the qualities in their separateness. The social fusion seems as much a new unity as the individual state of consciousness. We must be pragmatic. If the facts indicate such social fusion, we must acknowledge it. We may not understand the how of it-the spatial and other metaphysical conditions of this continuity. But we must remember that we have the same problem in regard to physical interaction. Spatial continuity has not been proved for any energetic interaction. Atoms or electrons are not absolutely contiguous. An absolutely continuous and fluid ether is indistinguishable from empty space. A rigid ether is only another name for a dynamic field. Somehow, in the situation of sympathetic abandon, fruitful as love's embrace, there is created a new soul-an interindividual mind, which, once it is born, is more than, or at any rate different from, the factors which are its antecedents and which blend into it.
Instead of taking as our illustration a specific type of elementary state, we might have taken the individual mind as such, which may be considered as a fusion of various fields, bound up with different neural substrates. In the various pathological cases of divided selves we see what happens when there is functional or organic disconnectedness of centers. The continuum of the individual mind offers the same problems as we find in intersubjective continuity. It is just as great a mystery that part-minds within the individual organism can fuse into one as that these individuals can become part-minds within the larger social situation. In each case the part-minds must overflow, and ride over, intervening processes. In each case the part-mind must be more than itself in order to function within a common unity. The fact that the fusion is more constant and intense within the individual mind is a matter of degree, not of difference in kind. What the pathological cases bring out is that normally the so-called individual self is in reality a colony of selves, an integration of systems of tendencies, fusing more or less into a common field and to a greater of less extent dominated by a common purpose.
If we now take account of the individual components of the fusion, we find in social fusions as in those of the particular consciousness that the quality of the components makes a difference. You get a different result in a French fusion from what you get in an Anglo-Saxon fusion; in a feminine fusion from a masculine fusion, given a similar situation. A ladies' tea-party is different from a men's smoker, though each may discuss the same subject. Race and sex seem to furnish different overtones, even as different cl~ bring a different character to the compound musical result. Different individuals too bring a different quality to the combined result- This is true particularly in deliberative groups, where the individual give-and-take is more prominent in the situation.
Further, we must take account of the intensity of the factors in the fusion. In the simple musical clang, the fundamental by its greater intensity gives the key to the new individual unity. in the case of social fusions, too, there is generally some one element that furnishes the character to the whole; some volitional factor by its strength of affirmation, its faith in the issue, counts for more than the other confluent factors and gives the key to the whole. This dominant factor we call the leader of the situation. When his will overshadows the other factors, when he attracts a large number to himself and sways them for a sustained period, when he furnishes the enthusiasm which makes the others willing to follow blindly for weal or woe and to the extent of any personal sacrifice, we may call the leader a superman. It is not the quality of the will that makes the superman, but the intensity of his affirmation. The superman, like Napoleon, has often been madly selfish. He may employ widely different means: he may use striking metaphors; he may argue; he may dogmatically repeat; he may simply hurl his emotional weight against' the future. In any case it is his dominant will that wins. Whatever means he uses-bullying or argument or sympathetic suggestion-he somehow possesses the mystic power of making solvent the other wills in the situation.
The social fusion, however, like the compound clang may be too complex for this single dominance. In a deliberative assembly, such as our Continental Congress or Constitutional Assembly, a group of minds may combine on the basis of abstract principles to mold the whole into unity with themselves.
In social, as in tonal fusion, the number of components must be .taken into account. A certain social fusion of an intimate kind takes place when two sympathetic souls meet in friendship or love. Such a fusion is impossible with additional individual factors, however congenial otherwise. Three make a different crowd. On the other hand, when the appeal is to certain fundamental instincts, such as pugnacity, anger, emulation, or pity, and where the overtones of human nature, instead of fusing, are inhibited, the release becomes only more effective, the abandon and fusion greater, the volume of feeling larger for the larger number that participates. The city baseball crowd, grown enthusiastic over its side or indignant at the umpire, all the more completely forgets itself for the immensity of the number that touch elbows; the solemnity and suggestion of the religious occasion only gathers impetus and devotion from the number of those similarly bent. The fundamental tendency here, so strong and so invariant in quality, more than grows by addition of separate wills. The latent energy of each is released by the presence of the other in increasing ratio with the confluence of the tendencies in the common sea of interest. The fundamental is not a limited quantity in such cases, as it is in music. The result is more than the fusion of a vast number of identical or similar pre-existent tones.
Finally, in order to understand the social fusion we must take account of the dominant interest, the ruling passion or set of the group. Leader and led alike are part of this passion. It may be the illusion of military power and glory as in the Napoleonic age; it may be a religious passion as in the case of the Crusades; it may be a sense of outraged justice as in the case of the Declaration of Independence. But in any case the leader as well as the led are held in the dynamic circuit of one field of interest. They are swayed by the same fundamental emotion, tapped by the same situation. If the crowd is the victim of an illusion, so is the leader and with far greater abandon. It is the fact that he liberates this fundamental sentiment, that he voices the passion or rationality of the group, that makes him a leader. The strongest individual affirmation, even with divine inspiration, is dashed aside for the time being, when it runs counter to this dominant tendency.
The fact that the leader is a function of the situation, as well as a dominant exponent of it, gives rise to the wide divergence of interpretation as regards leadership or prestige. To some he seems a mere cork floating on the current of the common will; to others he seems the entire situation, and they would write history as the biography of great leaders. Both are partly wrong and partly right. He does indicate the set, which holds him in the same grasp as it holds the others. He expresses a situation. But he is not a mere cork. He contributes volitional definiteness and precipitating energy to the set to a greater extent than the other factors. He is important, therefore, in the effectiveness and organization of the common will. Whether he is a creative or merely explosive factor depends upon what he brings in the way of fundamental insight, with his strength of affirmation.
Since the social situation is thus analyzable into certain conditions -- quality, intensity, and number, with the set or field of passionate interest in which they figure-we can to a certain extent predict social fusions as we can predict tonal fusions. But only empirically and partially. In tonal harmonics all a priori theories have failed. We must take account of the creative result, the new individual unity in each case, and this can be done only by direct intuition. Our prediction, therefore, can go no farther than our empirical control of the situations. In the case of the social situations the complexity is so great and the factors so variant that such control and prediction is at best merely approximate. We may have bodily the same people, the same leader, the same issue, yet time may entirely alter the result. Some great personalities and some permanent issues are pretty sure, however, to produce an intense social fusion. Religion and the great ethical issues of the race, when strongly represented, cannot fail to produce a result. Fads again require a very special time and audience to get a sympathetic hearing. As the mood or set here is transient, so is the fusion contingent and ephemeral.
It will appear from the foregoing that there may be varying degrees of social fusion, as there are degrees in the fusion of states in what we can sometimes take as a single stream of consciousness. The social fusion may vary in focalization all the way from active self-conscious social deliberation to the hypnotic abandon of the mob or the entrancing ecstasy of the aesthete or mystic. The activity in the former case, the solemn argumentation of the masterminds who decided on the Declaration of Independence, is a socially centered activity, a self-conscious social situation, as the hypnotic case is a passive abandon to the situation. The factors in each case, however, are quite oblivious of themselves-their own interest or danger-they are dominated by the common situation. It was this which in the former case argued through each, cast about for ways and means, held them in complete subjection to its own intensely active purpose.
This variation in the type of attention has led to diverging theories as to what constitutes social unity. Hegel can see the social only in the rational, the common burden of thought, the articulate sharing of a common plan. For him social consciousness must finally be actively focalized or self-conscious. The immediate, the merely felt or sensed, is for Hegel the private and particular. On the other hand, Tarde and Le Bon identify the social fusion with the passive abandon of the crowd, with the immersed and immediate hypnotic fusion, with its exaggerated suggestibility. We must recognize that these are extreme types while there exist, between them, all the variations with which individualistic psychology has made us familiar. As over against the tendency today to call upon the subconscious to solve all knotty problems, Hegel's emphasis shows at least that the social consciousness need not be hopelessly vague and diffuse in order to master our ideas and set free our energies. We may be socially active as well as individually active. Indeed, individual activity resolves itself largely into the particular pull and emphasis which we exercise in the variety of social situations in which we figure or at any rate that dominate our thinking as to how we would want to figure. Whether either thinking or feeling particularize or socialize depends upon the motive or situation which dominates them.
In producing the hypnotic fusion, certain conditions have been pointed out as favorable, such as the inhibition of the large voluntary movements, the control of breathing, the monotonous fixing of attention, etc. These conditions have been systematized in the mystic oriental religions in order to bring about union with Brahm or disappearance in Nirvana. But these are merely instruments after all and rather variable instruments at best. They do not account for the fusion. Religiously speaking, the external conditions are but outward and visible signs. The inward and spiritual grace of union, whether friendship, or communion with God, is a creative gift which we must acknowledge and appreciate as such. The conditions seem, moreover, to conflict. In football enthusiasm and religious revivals, free play of reflexes seems to give an even more complete fusion than their inhibition.
We must remember finally in our discussion of this social fusion that it is not a mere intellectual fusion of sensations and ideas. It may not be this at all. At any rate, it is primarily a voluntaristic fusion-a creative unification of conative tendencies, whether of the instinctive or the ideal order. These voluntaristic tendencies we have indeed come to recognize as the fundamental aspect of mind, individual or social. It matters not how many eyes may be looking, how many ears may be hearing, or even how many intellectual mechanisms may be working at various points of space and in connection with various brains, if there is the identical tendency, the coalescing in one dynamic field of the various conative energies. When minds recognize each other's presence and abandon themselves to a common direction, a new will comes into existence which is a different individual from the personal wills.
This difference shows itself, on the one hand, in certain releases of energies and, on the other hand, in certain inhibitions. The releases are along the impulsive tendencies which have to do with the common object. New levels of energy are tapped by the intensity of the common abandon. With this goes the absence of any sense of personal responsibility. Inhibitions are swept away which have held these tendencies in age-long subjection. With the impulsive releases, there go, on the intellectual side, greater suggestibility and credulity along the common direction. These may even take the form of social illusions and hallucinations under intense conditions. With the releases, too, there follow the emotional elation of invincible power and the feeling of intolerance and dictatorialness as regards any interference with the realization of the heightened tendency -- a dogmatism which is only equaled by the suggestibility and mobility within the accepted direction. The same impulse, which releases the tendencies that are germane to its success, closes the channels which are antagonistic, so far as the fitness of the end itself, with the means it involves, wins unqualified approval. What in the usual enumeration seem conflicting and unrelated qualities thus become functions of the same conative control.
Whether we take social fusions, therefore, from the intuitional point of view of the participant or of the analysis of the spectator, we must recognize that they are not mere collections of individual entities, but that, on the contrary, they very much exaggerate the facts of interest and unity as we find them in personal experience. From the point of view of psychology we must, therefore, take account of social minds as being distinct from personal and as having their own characteristics.
We have dwelt particularly on the phenomena of fusion, because they seemed to furnish the most important case for our purpose. But we might have taken other characteristics. In short, whatever can be said of so-called individual minds in the way of characteristics can be said of the social mind. It is uniquely selective in the particular situation and so can be treated as a subject. It has its own identity of traits from moment to moment and from age to age. It has its own unique type of unity, whether external or internal - association by contiguity or purposive coherence. We must recognize its own degree of freedom or restraint under varying situations, according as it acts out its own character or is the victim of external circumstances. Instead of the analogy of the organism, therefore, we would substitute the analogy of the individual as known to us through psychological analysis. This analogy can be worked out into such detail that we believe that whatever reality can be accorded to the abstract particular mind can be accorded to the social mind.
Another way of approaching the reality of the social mind is from the practical relations which it invites or which it makes obligatory upon us. We have to deal in a very different way with a social group from the way in which we deal with single individuals.
As a member of a family, a state or a church we have to deal with a man differently from what we deal with him in his abstract isolation. We must take account of the common bond of which he is a part, of a larger will which will approve or resent the conduct toward a member as a conduct toward its own united self. Except for this respect for group solidarity, history, both personal and national, would be written entirely otherwise from what it is now. From our own practical dealings, therefore, we can gain insight into the reality of the social mind, as we thus gain insight into the individual. We must apply our pragmatic principle that social minds are real, if we must take them as real in the practical situations of life. What does the business of human life reveal ? What is implied in our fundamental attitudes, our practical faith toward the world? We must follow the leading of experience and regard that as real which practical human experience proves real.
Professor Royce has shown in a beautiful and convincing way how our spontaneous loyalty may be the means of gaining insight into reality. This is true, at any rate, in so far as we can take that reality as a social situation and can recognize its spiritual direction. Loyalty is not merely a complex of emotions, but a method of conduct, where the intention is being continually tested by its results. "The central characteristic of the loyal spirit," says Royce, "consists in the fact that it conceives and values its cause as a reality." But we must examine carefully the implications of this loyalty as regards the causes which it aims to realize and which fulfil its practical and affectional intent. What causes are those that we can love, hate, and be loyal to, as genuine psychological unities? How is man's instinctive need for intimacy made objective in his environment?
In so examining the implications of our practical attitudes, we find that some involve mutual sharing or overlapping of souls - a unique common life which is something different from individuals as taken in their abstract separation, in so far as that is possible, or at any rate as taken in other social contexts. Take loyalty to friendship as an example: "Loyalty to a friendship," says Royce "involves your willingness actively and practically to create and maintain a life which is to be the united life of yourself and your friend-not the life of your-friend alone, nor the life of yourself and your friend as you exist apart, but the common life, the life above and inclusive of your distinctions, the one life that you are to live as friends." Such a sacrament of friendship, while it lasts, is indeed a new life, a spiritual person. Whether it is better or worse than either individual which enters into the fusion depends upon the dominant motive or character which is brought out in this common life.
The attitude of loyalty may be illustrated in various unities of ever-increasing concreteness-the family, the community, the class, the state, the church, etc. In each case, where there is the concrete spirit of loyalty, we have faith in, and evidence of, this larger unity which is something different from the loyalty to the composing individuals and where conflicts of loyalty are no longer mere individual preferences or dislikes. Family love or honor, natural patriotism, religious devotion imply spiritual unities, with the unique restraints and inspirations of a new and unique life.
We must be careful, however, not to confuse mere conventional or legal unity with the sacrament of a common life. People may be formally married without being a family; they may live in a country and even hurrah for it without any sense of its common responsibilities and ideals; they may belong to one church without entering into a unity of devotion. We must be able to trace a living consciousness of loyalty in order to be warranted in holding to one life, just as an individual is not one for inhabiting one outward skin, but for the dominant motive, which makes the various tendencies and ideas converge in one direction. Except for this his name may be legio.
Again we must be careful to distinguish potential unity from actual. We may hope that there may be a thoroughgoing spiritual unity of the English-speaking nations; and such possibility seems indeed to be more than a dream. The unity of humanity is at best a remote potential unity-an abstract ideal which we hope to make concrete in the long ages. It lacks at present both the outside and visible form and the inward and spiritual grace of one spiritual person. As regards our unity with nature, whatever growing sense of co-operation there may be between the army of scientists who try to write its story, nature itself seems to lack the qualifications for entering into sympathetic social union with man.
It is different with the religious unity. Here, indeed, our loyalty implies both sentimentally, and, in its practical results, a companionship, not only as a communion of the faithful, but as a union with the divine object of worship-the more and better of our ideal nature. A creative union is implied in all genuine religious loyalty of which creeds and forms are mere symbols. In true religious devotion there arises a new trinity, the divine mind meeting our mind in a new bond, where indeed the higher in ourselves is brought into significant and , fruitful relief. This is merely intensified, not more real nor more worshipful, in the diffuse mystic states.
Anarchism is wrong both as a psychology and as a practical estimate of human nature. We are more than separate units. We live only as we overlap, as we fuse with other souls in common pursuits and interests. We are literally members one of another. This common sacramental life must be safeguarded from the accidents of human history, whether from indifference and disintegration within or from selfish manipulation from without. No ideal realization can be even conceived apart from' social relations, though such striving may be out of tune with human temporal conditions and may find its only sympathetic complement and inspiration in the divine Socius.
The social mind, further, must be real because in our moments of critical evaluation-as well as in our spontaneous loyalty-it can be judged as a moral being, i.e., it is subject to praise and blame, not as a collection, but as an individual character or type. Individually we may admire the members of a nation which we condemn as a group. Again and again we have to censure our neighbor for what he is in his larger social capacity -- a saloon-keeper, a political grafter-though in his narrower social circles we have no fault to find with him.
The evaluation which we place upon a social mind, such as a nation, differs with different periods of a nation's development.
In one period of a nation's development it is power which furnishes the dominant motive of a nation's life. Considerations of the claims of other unities in such a period have no weight. Fear of consequences is the only restraint on its self-assertion. At this very time we find plenty of instances where the love of power is dominant and where weaker nations can be protected, if at all, only by a combination which inspires fear. The dismemberment of African Turkey is an instance where the restraint of fear did not exist; and the averting of a European war over the spoils was due merely to a combination of powers which made the conflict too dangerous to the would-be contestants.
Sometimes the commercial motive is the dominant one, and at the present time it is often the deeper motive which underlies the conflict over spheres of influence. Such a motive, when it dare not force territory, may force upon a weaker nation its products -- sometimes injurious products as in the case of the opium traffic in the Orient.
Sometimes the dominant motive is material comfort, which soon degenerates into internal weakness and debauchery. This is the most debasing of all motives in society as in individuals, and soon leads to decay and dissolution, even if external causes do not bring the existence of such a state to an end.
The motives of which we have spoken so far are not ethical. They may be non-moral, when they have no moral sentiment for a background. They become immoral when a society violates its better consciousness of fitness and right. Nations, however, like individuals may be dominated by a moral motive, even if this motive is not clear and distinct. There is at the present time a powerful idealistic undercurrent in many a nation which sometimes comes into the focus of its activity and dominates its conduct. The reforms going on within various nations for equal rights before the law, for mutual service as between classes of society, in a word for internal democracy of life, are signs of how vigorous this ethical consciousness is at the present time. Nor are signs wanting of an ethical consciousness as between nations. The settling of an impending war between the two sister-nations of Sweden and Norway by means of the discussion and recognition of fraternal claims instead of by arms; the policy of fair play instituted by John Hay as regards the Orient and its powerful international effect; the pending of general arbitration treaties as between nations-all show the deeper idealism of our day, however much it is sometimes obscured by passion and prejudice and however easy is the relapse to the primitive impulsive levels. just because the ethical consciousness of the nation is so recent, relapse is still to be feared, especially in the absence of any other effective sanction than national and concerted international force. There are, however, unmistakable signs of the spread of an international democracy outwitting political states, especially in the growing consciousness of the international solidarity of education, of labor, of capital, of justice. This is greatly assisted, as between the English-speaking nations, by the ties of kinship of institutions and blood.
The motives in these days of complex life are of course mixed. And it is not always easy for the critic, and it is still more difficult for the agent, to realize which motive is uppermost. In the blind ness of human nature and the glamor of primitive passion, we often misjudge our motives as nations, as well as individuals. What we want to do intensely easily comes to seem to ourselves a question of right, and not of primitive irrationality. And as spectators, we may easily be blinded by our own national prejudices in judging another national consciousness. At any rate, --the very attempt on the part of nations today to make their conduct, as regards both internal and external relations, seem ethical to the spectator shows the growing power of the ethical motive.
I might have selected the family or the community instead of the nation in illustrating this judgment of motives on the part of social minds. The nation, however, has the advantage of staging this consciousness in the large. And right now it has the advantage of a greater sense of reality as shown in the intense nationalism which prevails at present both in the dealings with the rest of the world and in dealings with internal problems. The family consciousness has not shown corresponding development. The family in trying to pass from the primitive bonds of dependence and vested authority to the ethical stage is in a serious state of disintegration. In spite of the ancient character of this social bond, the attempt to apply ethical standards is comparatively recent. And even now the light manner in which the family is treated by one part of humanity and the attempt by another part to enforce an artificial unity in violation of all fundamental moral claims shows that the ethical consciousness is far from thorough.
The community consciousness, especially the city community, has made tremendous progress in recent years from the mere collective, laissez faire ideal and that of non-moral motives such as numbers and wealth to a more idealistic level of dealing squarely with internal problems for the good of the whole community. More and more the sense of responsibility has increased; and with it has come corresponding simplification and organization of the institutional instruments of the community. A new soul is being born, at least in a number of instances-the community soul.
The church is passing through a similar transition from a traditional consciousness to a consciousness of thoughtful ethical valuation of its life and functions. It is no longer a case of mere loyalty to a past, however glorious and sacred, with its host of witnesses, but there is a deepening sense of responsibility to the cause of righteousness as made concrete in the whole range of human problems. Loyalty to linguistic symbols and aesthetic forms is becoming secondary to the desire for improvement and democracy in our human relations. With this goes a larger sympathy and sense of unity between the different religious communions in the service of a common ideal.
THE COMPLEXITY OF SOCIAL MINDWhen it comes to the complexity of social reactions, William James, even if dealing with the problem from the point of view of individualistic psychology, is strikingly true to the facts: "A person generally shows a different side of himself to each one of different groups. Many a youth, who is demure enough to his parents and teachers, swears and swaggers like a pirate among his tough young friends. We do not show ourselves to our children as to our club companions, to the customers as to the laborers we employ, to our own masters and employers as to our intimate friends. From this there results what is practically a division of the man into several selves." These several selves, however, must not be taken as entities, limited to one body. They are rather social intersection points, different types of social continuities. The various social situations cut the personal selves in different planes; they liberate, and make confluent, different levels of tendency and so produce different controls and fusions.
In contrast with the creative, physical situation, which is apparently exclusive of other situations, so that the chemical element can figure in only one situation at a time, the social unities are interpenetrative; they are not spatially and temporally exclusive. The same instinctive center may and does figure in a large number of social minds at the same time, even though one of these may give the dominant tone for the time being. This makes life vastly more complex than the old individualistic atomism could grasp. This also makes it of momentous significance in what social situations the instinctive center of mind figures. We must try to create and control social situations, in order that we may emerge with the desired social atmosphere. And the more responsive mind is to such social confluences, the more jealously we must guard the social situations, with their soul, since they largely make the individual soul. Enthusiasm and abandon, such as youth alone is capable of, mean the most complete making-over, moral or immoral, refined or gross, of the unstable individual center. We can see the brutality of the arena, the association with Lincoln, the image of the Christ in every feature of the exposed soul. And the individual if he knows himself must say, I am no longer 1, my past mind, but the social mind to which I abandoned myself, which 1 helped to create, but which has more truly created me.It must not be forgotten that our classifying these social minds as religious, political, etc., is merely a matter of abstract genera. Each social situation has its own unique mind, which persists with its individual traits, and interpenetrates into the further flow of life. Here, too, we must get over our abstractness and come back to first things. And here again we must select and guard, not the genus merely, but the soul of the individual occasion with its creative and persistent life. There is not religion, but religious situations, each with its soul, as unique in its origin as it is lasting, once it is brought into existence. Into whatever new contexts the 6 abstract individuals may enter, they carry the atmosphere with them, more or less, of the social minds thus originated. These cumulate, more or less effectively, as part of the individual and social structure and so condition our reactions in the future social situations into which we may enter. The actions of individuals will be restrained or set free by virtue of this coexistence and interpenetration of social unities of which they are a part. Thus the dramatic religious situation, like a pervasive melody, still holds them, perhaps in their workaday business, perhaps in their play, so as to modify and control their conduct. The conduct of the individual must be written largely as the result of the conflict, interaction, and subordination of these social minds, which interpenetrate in his life. Self-conscious personality itself seems little more than the making explicit, and volitionally effective, this clashing and subordination of social values, good or bad. The ancients felt a spirit for each situation in nature, a continuous presence with which they must deal, friendly or unfriendly. We must at least learn to find this creative presence in our social situation and learn to control its value and thereby control our own individual value.
Since social continuities intersect individual centers in an indefinite number of planes; since, moreover, once created, they tend to persist and interpenetrate in a cumulative life, we can see that social minds are vastly more numerous than personal minds. The same person, so-called, belongs in an indefinite number of unities, more or less distinct, more or less persistent, but never quite disappearing.
How many social unities an individual comes to recognize in his loyalty or his aversion depends upon his instinctive qualifications, on the one hand, and the range of social stimuli, on the other hand. The former are largely constant in the race. It is the latter which vary. But if they vary, they are also to some extent under our control. We are reminded of a friend of Lincoln who sent his secretary to Lincoln just to stay there for a time and who said on the man's return, "I can see it, you have been with Lincoln."
The number, extent, and range of social minds cannot be estimated merely from the unities which we actually do acknowledge or are loyal to at any one time. We must estimate such realities, as we estimate the realities of the physical world, from the extent and kind of situations which we can and must acknowledge in the course of our individual and racial development. The abstract individual, when unmindful of this living relation within different social minds, becomes himself a specialized social abstraction, as is so often the case in our modern division of labor.
If the social continuities intersect individuals in various planes, within which the individual must discover his meaning, it is also true that a personal will may come to dominate the whole current of a social history. The great personalities of history stamp upon their social period their creative faith. Whole eras rightly bear the name of some great genius who thus focuses and in a measure directs the stream of history which runs through him and carries him onward. And so we speak of a Copernican era, a Napoleonic era, a Darwinian era, etc.
In the evolution of social minds, as in the case of individual, nature seems to strive, in the midst of the fluctuations, to develop and preserve certain distinct types-types of race mind, of national mind, of family minds, of religious minds, etc. The Hebrew mind is a distinct entity from the Greek mind, as shown in the genius of its creativeness. But the Hebrew mind itself is a unification of similar tribal types. The various Protestant denominations are merging into a more general type with a fusion of differences as contrasted with the distinct Catholic type of Christianity. This tendency to fix clear and distinct types of ideals goes on until some fresh social contact starts anew this process of give and take, or some genius with strong will creates a new mutation, which in turn must run the gauntlet of survival. Periods of mutation, moreover, and periods of simplication seem to follow each other in a certain rhythm in history. The growing uniformity of the Middle Ages is followed by the creative richness of the Renaissance and the Reformation.While we are likely to look upon social minds as merely transitive, as vanishing with the situation from which the individuals emerge, they obey the same laws of cumulative interpenetration as particular minds. The former may have the greater permanency; and in the midst of the vicissitudes and the coming and going of abstract individuals, they may continue their living reality-not merely the outward form-from generation to generation in the nation, the family, the community, the church, etc. Here, too, there is a survival struggle for dominance. Neither in individual nor in social history is the conservation of values indiscriminate and absolute. In the successive overlapping, as well as in simultaneous fusion, there is emphasis and oblivescence; some factors count for more. Some motif dominates the melody of each historic stream. Thus perished a large part of Greek civilization because the interest had shifted. This motif may persist generation after generation, guiding or prejudicing the current of life. Nor is the social mind, once it exists, dependent upon the individual factors involved in its creation. While individual minds are necessary conditions at the birth, yet the social mind is something more than the abstract individuals. It has a unique reality of its own. This may continue to exist independently of individual bearers, carried on physically by the manuscript, marble, tools, etc., but imbedded and swept on all the while in the evolutionary process of the universe. We may as finite histories connect with it after along interval of time. Yet when we come upon it, or are enveloped by it, we must recognize its uniqueness, its reality, as it enters into living relation with ourselves, even as our experiences before going to sleep connect with our waking life. It may again sway our conduct, as the Greek mind did the Renaissance, even though it has been as buried as the civilization of the Hittites. Thus social divisions of mind may be functionally reunified as are sometimes divided individual minds.
Again social minds awaken and come to a recognition of their own meaning in the stresses and strains of experience as do individual minds. Dormant patriotism bursts into passionate loyalty, the feeling of family love and honor into its devoted sacrifice. Over vast stretches of time the social consciousness awakes and discovers its own fundamental direction in the stream of historic change- and cries: Be Hebrew, be Greek, be British.
This has tremendous practical significance. The spirit- of the nation or the institution-its identity and evolution-is not a mere fiction. It is the living creative process in which individual minds ate bathed and without which they are abstractions. This psychic unity may be more real and permanent than biological heredity. It constitutes an important survival condition of the latter. it furnishes the real basis for the Communion of the saints, for the sacramental relation of the present with the past by means of which the present becomes more than flesh of its flesh-it becomes soul of its soul in living vital continuity, as it contributes to the growth of this social mind and incarnates its meaning.
It is not uncommon for a social mind which has reached its maturity under its own historic conditions to be grafted by imitation upon a new people. Thus the religious mind of the ancient Hebrews has been grafted upon the Teutons, until their own primitive religion seems foreign to them. It must, however, be noticed that the mind thus grafted, while it has continuity with the past, comes to have a new consciousness, becomes a new social mind; the fruit has a new flavor, however faithful in many ways to the original type.It has been laid down by Tarde as a law that collective imitation proceeds from within outward. That means that ideas and sentiments are imitated before outward forms. The reverse of this would seem to be the law, at any rate on the conventional level of imitation. The African chieftain has imitated the dress coat without any conception of European ideas. The Goths imitated the external forms of politics and religion, long before they could enter into the spirit of the ideas of the civilization which they supplanted. The immigrant imitates our clothes and manners, before he understands our language. The Japanese have imitated the militarism and commercialism of the Occident, but the religious, artistic, and ethical ideals of the West have had comparatively little influence upon them. On the conventional level, whether in the case of individuals or groups, we imitate what has prestige. It is different on the rational level. Here social minds, like individuals, imitate discriminately, with reference to intrinsic values instead of external associations. It is in this analytical way that Japan is imitating Western science and hygiene, whatever their national prejudices in general may be. The conventional, non-reflective type, however, still largely dominates even civilized nations. Hence the craze for fashions and dreadnoughts.
Social minds have their own consciousness of familiarity as have individual minds. In fact the category of identity is primarily a social category and only secondarily a category of individual consciousness. We recognize our common memories. We feel a coziness in each other's presence as contrasted with the novelty of the first meeting. In the midst of the differences we recognize the sameness; and welcome or reject this past in accordance with its own value and its setting within intervening experiences. The mere fact of having a common country or even the use of a common language may give us an intense sense of familiarity when we meet in a strange environment.
We have particularly a strong sense of ease and security when we move within the traditions of the past, when we recognize the old landmarks within the journey of our social thinking. The strength of this tone of familiarity is especially strong on its negative side. The new discoveries, suggestions, and hypotheses upset society. They call forth bitter attacks. They jeopardize the individual's position and social standing, if no longer his life. The vehemence of the resentment is in proportion to the momentousness of the issues involved. It is strongest where the religious sentiment is brought into play, which may be by very remote and external associations, as in the case of the Copernican and Darwinian upheavals. Hence the wise innovator strives to relate the new to the old, to put conventional humanity at ease by making them recognize the identity in the growth-the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. And so in a time of political unrest, the would-be reformers fall back upon the Lincolnian ideals.Social minds, too, fuse, even as individual minds, and in accordance with the same laws. Here, also, there is the inhibition of certain factors by the dominance of certain other factors. Here, too, the intensity of affirmation on the part of one factor gives character to the new and larger social unity. Here, also, the volume of the suggestion in a certain direction tends to sweep away inhibitions. It is hard for a small group to retain its individual characteristics within a large one, unless it can maintain an artificial isolation. This may be an isolation from communication as in mountainous regions or a psychological isolation as in the case of persecution.
It has long been recognized that social minds may overlap in a hierarchy of greater and greater. comprehensiveness. just as the family includes abstract individuals, so families are included within communities, communities within states, and states may figure in larger schemes of industrial, educational, and military cooperation. For Hegel the history of humanity is a unity inclusive of states; and this history again is but the temporal staging of the eternal life of the absolute. For Fechner the earth soul is a more comprehensive soul than the various souls which are part of our sphere and in turn this exists within gallaxies of souls until we reach the inclusive soul of the universe.
Two points must be kept in mind in such generalizations of social minds. In the first place, we must be careful to follow the lead of experience. If social mind means the conscious abandon of minds to a common direction, we cannot even now speak of humanity as one social unity, even though possible in the future. When we come to nature, as for instance our earth, our definition of social mind seems still less applicable. We fall here into vague impersonal abstractions. Analogies of any definite kind fail us. In so far as they are applicable, they seem to point the other way. As the movements of the earth are mathematically simple and stereotyped, they correspond at best to the habitual and automatic in our experience. A large part of the earth does not give evidence of mentality at all, and there is no reason, therefore, to suppose that the earth as a whole or any gallaxies of cosmic masses have minds corresponding to them.
In the second place, we must remember that passing from a smaller to a more comprehensive unity is not a merely quantitative affair. It is not a case of the mere shifting of attention or perspective, so as to bring within attention larger and larger fields which existentially are one continuum of statically related facts. The " compounding" of minds is creative, not merely a case of more extensive awareness. Each social situation, like each chemical compound, must be understood as such and empirically. So with each recompounding of social unities. They mean new social minds with new properties. This does not mean that they are private. They can be understood and predicted in their creative interactions, but they must be understood a posteriori. Each social mind is a unique result of fusing impulses, not a mere intellectual map which can be passed over in smaller or larger relations at will. In his theory of the recompounding of consciousness, William James, following Fechner, seems to hold that smaller fields can be taken over into larger in a purely neutral way, it making no difference to the inner nature of the smaller configurations that they are thus taken over and pooled in the larger mind. While he relied on the subconscious and mystical for this taking-over, instead of relying on logical implication as has that speculative idealism which he combated to the end, yet he seems to agree with the latter doctrine that the case of the separation of the smaller from the larger field amounts, on the part of the smaller, merely to the shifting of the threshold of attention, while on the part of the larger it means a taking-over and coexistence of the smaller within its comprehensive perspective of relationships. Both of these conditions-the receding of the threshold and the taking-over -- he believes to be illustrated pre-eminently by religious experience of which mysticism is for him the most characteristic type. In a small way, it is illustrated by our ordinary taking-over of smaller fields, as when for example the dog's experience in our library is taken over into our significant relationships.
This view of mind assumes that mind consists of intellectual constellations of content which can be taken over again and again and whose fringes only carry us into further external relations such as the widening fields of memory. It neglects the deeper side of mind, that of volitional energy. While we may state mind, as we have seen, in terms of fusion, it must be in terms of creative volitional fusion, not merely in terms of sensations and ideas. This does not mean that experience is made up of absolute private circles of consciousness, as James himself at one time seemed to hold, but it means that mental situations like all energetic situations must be understood empirically and that prediction is possible only as we learn a posteriori to abstract certain constant and controlling factors in recurring similar situations. A social mind is not a mere taking-over of the abstract individual contents a, b, c, etc., as blocks with a new external context. It means a new volitional unity which must be understood as such. And if there is a more comprehensive social mind, such as the divine mind, here too, as indeed is. known in our religious consciousness, we have not merely a neutral recompounding of our finite minds in a larger constellation, such as our external mathematical perspectives have made us familiar with; but we have a unique creative synthesis which must be appreciated as such and cannot be stated as merely an extension of our workaday unities. Whether it is sincere prayer, or solemn moral tightening, or mystical elation, the man of this world knows it not except in an external way. It cannot be translated into content of eye and ear nor into the narrow categories of the worldly heart, though it is perfectly understandable by those who have entered into the divine communion themselves. You might as well try to resolve love into pressure, motor and vascular sensations to the man who has not experienced it, as try to recompound the worldly man into the religious consciousness. In either case, what is recompounded is but the superficial intellectual aspect of the situation, not its deeper volitional and emotional value. The creative view of situations, with its implied empiricism as regards knowledge, must be maintained throughout the hierarchy of mind. The larger mind may intersect the individual centers at a different level from that of the less extensive social minds. The dominant direction or interest may be different. While within the national mind the smaller group-minds, such as families and neighborhoods, must overlap in a certain respect, there may be temporary conflicts. War sacrifices the family. Sectional interests are sometimes brought into jeopardy by the national will. In any case a compound of compounds does not in the case of society, any more than in chemistry, need to mean a summing-up of the characteristics of the smaller units.
The unity of the Absolute, if it exists, is -,o intimate and solvent
that all other minds, individual and social, are merged into itsone
field be that logical or aesthetic. The Absolute tolerates no unities
but its own. The others are fragments at best of what a fuller insight
reveals as one and unique. It gives rise to only one immense fusion.
Our failure to know this completely, we are told, is merely a limitation
of our attention. The field is eternally complete. In our practical
life, however, we must recognize a number of individual fusions in which
we must empirically share in various degrees and in various bonds in
order to live life reasonably and efficiently.
THE MORALITY OF SOCIAL MINDS
In the past there have been two opposite attitudes as regards the morality of the social group. Some have held that the crowd is always immoral. For them only individuals in their abstract and reflective capacity can be regarded as the subjects of moral judgments. This view confuses the crowd with the mob. The mob is always immoral, because it means the dominance of the lower primitive instincts and the inhibition of the later instincts and intellectual processes. But the group may be deliberative and self-conscious. It may pursue articulate ideals. Even when the unity is instinctive and emotional it may be the confluence and reinforcement of the ideal tendencies of human nature rather than of the primitive. The social mind may mean an enthusiastic loyalty to a great cause. It may mean self-forgetfulness for family welfare or patriotic sacrifice for country. It may mean a deeper and richer sacramental communion with God than the individual is capable of in his abstract capacity. The worth of the social unity must be determined by the worth of its cause and its relation to other causes, not by any specific type of consciousness. It may be better than the individual in his separate capacity. In the end, moreover, all ethical value is social, is bound up with social relations. There is no goodness in the abstract. Individual morality is potential--what we have a right to expect in social relations.
It has been held, on the other hand, that loyalty to the social and institutional, in ever-widening circles, constitutes morality. The supreme command according to Royce is: Be loyal. Royce, like Hegel, takes for granted that the more concrete unity always brings out the more ideal element in human nature. In the conflict of loyalties, therefore, the more comprehensive loyalty must be maintained. In terms of Hegel's optimism, this meant the adoption of the Prussian state of his day and the Hegelian type of absolute idealism.
There is, of course, a great deal of truth in the attitude that the social is the moral -- the concrete personal supplernentation within the group. Often at least the abstract human relations are synonymous with the immoral. At any rate the converse, we have seen, viz., that the moral must in the long run be the social, must always hold. There can be no private morality. But social minds like individual have various degrees of ethical worth. Some of them are non-moral, some of them are immoral. If the social were always the moral, the problem of boys' gangs, of questionable clubs, of lynching mobs, of political Tammanies, would not be so serious as it is now. Some social minds, like some individual minds, need to be stamped out. Social loyalty may be mistaken. Sometimes the individual is wiser than society. Organized society stoned the ancient prophets, gave Socrates the hemlock, crucified Jesus, and burned Bruno. Yet these indicated the direction of history. The social must not, at any rate, be taken as static and isolated. It must be taken in its historic movement. The moral life consists not merely in loyalty to that which exists. It does not signify merely the conservation of past value. It includes also criticism and desire for improvement-the striving to create new types of values-higher unities whether of higher quality or of greater extensity. Individualization and generalization both have their place in social progress.
Beside the commandment to be loyal, we must, therefore, add another commandment: Be creative. Loyalty must not be blind. It must be accompanied by selection and criticism, a passion for improvement, a striving to make real your individual insight. And with the reaction, the insight grows. We seem to recollect the supra-individual life which lies about and envelops us, from the dreamy infancy of the race, through its age-long struggle for meaning and freedom. This commandment looks toward the future as the other looks toward the past. It lays stress upon the contribution made by the individual will. It urges each of us: Help in the measure you can, whether great or small, to make clear and distinct the human relations of the changing world, of which you are a part. Do your part to produce greater harmony of claims in the midst of our human complexity. If we are intersection points in enveloping and overlapping social minds, we are at any rate not mathematical points, but dynamic points -- centers of initiative,
(47) We can give and take. We help create the atmosphere, the Weltgeist,
which for better or worse reacts in turn upon us. It is our common
impulse forward, our common faith in the future, our common willingness
to risk, which creates the tension that selects and inspires our type
of leaders, whether demagogues or statesmen, charlatans or prophets.
It is our common sentiment, which elevates or corrupts. Without our
common faith the prophet can do nothing. The Sophist and political grafter
are but symptoms of a diseased or unorganized social mind.
Social minds, like individual minds, may become immortal, not only as impersonal influences in the stream of history but as individual souls, when they embody permanent and universal purposes; when they express, clearly and distinctly, essential human types. Thus the Greek mind, the Hebrew mind, the Roman mind, the mediaeval mind remain as living vitalizing unities in spite of the vicissitudes and changes of temporal events. In their spiritualized bodies of language, tradition, art, science, institutions, and religious symbols, they continue to live an individual life. And in the enveloping historic process, with its growth and unification, they continue to contribute their vital energy long after the temporal individuals, who once were their bearers, have passed from the scene. Social minds, as individuals, are subject to the law of survival. They persist by no external fiat, but by their capacity for leading and for furnishing permanent objects of appreciation. Whether they shall live forever in the changing cosmic weather depends upon whether they are unique embodiments of an eternally significant idea, the incarnation of a divine insight.