*Manhood Of Humanity*
The Science and Art of
E. P. Dutton & Company
681 Fifth Avenue
Acknowledgement Preface Chapter I. Introduction Chapter II. Childhood of Humanity Chapter III. Classes of Life Chapter IV. What Is Man? Chapter V. Wealth Chapter VI. Capitalistic Era Chapter VII. Survival of the Fittest Chapter VIII. Elements Of Power Chapter IX. Manhood Of Humanity Chapter X. Conclusion Appendix I. Mathematics And Time-Binding Appendix II. Biology And Time-Binding Appendix III. Engineering And Time-Binding Footnotes
The author and the publishers acknowledge with gratitude the following permissions to make use of copyright material in this work:
Messrs. D. C. Heath & Company, for permission to quote from "Unified Mathematics," by Louis C. Karpinski, Harry Y. Benedict and John W. Calhoun.
Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, for permission to quote from "Organism as a Whole" and "Physiology of the Brain," by Jacques Loeb.
Messrs. Harper & Brothers, for permission to quote from "From the Life, Imaginary Portraits of Some Distinguished Americans," by Harvey O'Higgins.
Messrs. D. Appleton & Company, for permission to quote from "Corporation Finance," by E. S. Mead.
Messrs. J. B. Lippincott Company, for permission to quote from "Forced Movements," by Jacques Loeb.
Princeton University Press, for permission to quote from "Heredity and Environment," by Edwin Grant Conklin.
Columbia University Press, for permission to quote from "The Human Worth of Rigorous Thinking," by C. J. Keyser.
The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, for permission to quote from The Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol. 27.
The New School for Social Research, for permission to quote from "An Outline of the History of the Western European Mind," by James Harvey Robinson.
The Engineering Magazine Company, for permission to quote from "Mastering Power Production," by Walter N. Polakov.
This book is primarily a study of Man and ultimately embraces all the great qualities and problems of Man. As a study of Man it takes into consideration all the characteristics which make Man what he is. If some readers do note the absence of certain expressions familiar to them, it does not mean that the author does not feel or think as many other people—he does—and very much so; but in this book an effort has been made to approach the problem of Man from a scientific-mathematical point of view, and therefore great pains have been taken not to use words insufficiently defined, or words with many meanings. The author has done his utmost to use such words as convey only the meaning intended, and in the case of some words, such as "spiritual," there has been superadded the word "so-called," not because the author has any belief or disbelief in such phenomena; there is no need for beliefs because some such phenomena exist, no matter what we may think of them or by what name we call them; but because the word "spiritual" is not scientifically defined, and every individual understands and uses this word in a personal and private way. To be impersonal the author has had to indicate this element by adding "so-called." I repeat once again that this book is not a "materialistic" or a "spiritualistic" book—it is a study of "Man" and therefore does and should include materialistic as well as spiritual phenomena because only the complex of these phenomena constitutes the complex of Man.
The problem has not been approached from the point of view of any private doctrine or creed, but from a mathematical, an engineering, point of view, which is impersonal and passionless. It is obvious that to be able to speak about the great affairs of Man, his spiritual, moral, physical, economic, social or political status, it must first be ascertained what Man is—what is his real nature and what are the basic laws of his nature. If we succeed in finding the laws of human nature, all the rest will be a comparatively easy task—the ethical, social, economic and political status of Man should be in accord with the laws of his nature; then civilization will be a human civilization—a permanent and peaceful one—not before.
It is useless to argue if electricity be "natural" or "supernatural," of "material" or of "spiritual" origin. As a matter of fact we do not ask these questions in studying electricity; we endeavor to find out the natural laws governing it and in handling live wires we do not argue or speculate about them—we use rubber gloves, etc. It will be the same with Man and the great affairs of Man—we have, first of all, to know what Man is.
Though this book has been written with scrupulous care to avoid words or terms of vague meaning—and though it often may seem coldly critical of things metaphysical, it has not been written with indifference to that great, perhaps the greatest, urge of the human heart—the craving for spiritual truth—our yearning for the higher potentialities of that which we call "mind," "soul" and "spirit"—but it has been written with the deep desire to find the source of these qualities, their scientific significance and a scientific proof of them, so that they may be approached and studied by the best minds of the world without the digressions, and misinterpretations that are caused by the color and the confusion of personal emotions; and if the book be read with care, it will be seen that, though the clarifying definition of the classes of life has been chiefly used in the book for its great carrying power in the practical world, its greatest help will ultimately be in guiding the investigation, the right valuation and especially the control and use of the higher human powers.
In writing this book I have been not only introducing new ideas and new methods of analysis, but I have been using a tongue new to me. The original manuscript was very crude and foreign in form, and I am greatly indebted to various friends for their patient kindness in correcting the many errors of my poor English.
I am also under great obligations to Walter Polakov, Doctor of Engineering, for his exceedingly helpful suggestions, not only in giving me a thorough criticism from the point of view of the Engineer, but also in devoting his energies to organizing the first "Time-binding Club" where these problems have been discussed and criticized, with great practical results.
To all those who have read and criticized the manuscript or helped otherwise—Professors E. H. Moore, C. J. Keyser, J. H. Robinson, Burges Johnson, E. A. Ross, A. Petrunkevitch; and Doctors J. Grove-Korski, Charles P. Steinmetz, J. P. Warbasse; Robert B. Wolf, Vice-President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Champlain L. Riley, Vice-President of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers; Miss Josephine Osborn; to the authors, L. Brandeis, E. G. Conklin, C. J. Keyser, J. Loeb, E. S. Mead, H. O'Higgins, W. Polakov, J. H. Robinson, R. B. Wolf, for their kind permission to quote them, I wish to express my sincere appreciation.
I wish also to acknowledge the deepest gratitude to my wife, formerly Mira Edgerly, who has found in this discovery of the natural law for the human class of life, the solution of her life long search, and who, because of her interest in my work, has given me incomparably inspiring help and valuable criticism. It is not an exaggeration to state that except for her steady and relentless work and her time, which saved my time, this book could not have been produced in such a comparatively short time.
Mr. Walter Polakov of New York City, Industrial Counsellor and Industrial Engineer in New York City, has kindly consented at my request to act, with my authority, as my representative to whom any further queries should be addressed in my absence from America.
To all other friends who have helped in many personal ways I express thankfulness, as I wish also to thank John Macrae, Esq., the Vice-President of E. P. Dutton & Co., for his unusual attitude toward publishing the book.
A. K. January 17, 1921 New York City.
Chapter I. Introduction. Method and Processes of Approach to a New Concept of Life
"For a while he trampled with impunity on laws human and divine but, as he was obsessed with the delusion that two and two makes five, he fell, at last a victim to the relentless rules of humble Arithmetic.
"Remember, O stranger, Arithmetic is the first of the sciences and the mother of safety."
It is the aim of this little book to point the way to a new science and art—the science and art of Human Engineering. By Human Engineering I mean the science and art of directing the energies and capacities of human beings to the advancement of human weal. It need not be argued in these times that the establishment of such a science—the science of human welfare—is an undertaking of immeasurable importance. No one can fail to see that its importance is supreme.
It is evident that, if such a science is to be established it must be founded on ascertained facts—it must accord with what is characteristic of Man—it must be based upon a just conception of what Man is—upon a right understanding of Man's place in the scheme of Nature.
No one need be told how indispensable it is to have true ideas—just concepts—correct notions—of the things with which we humans have to deal; everyone knows for example, that to mistake solids for surfaces or lines would wreck the science and art of geometry; anyone knows that to confuse fractions with whole numbers would wreck the science and art of arithmetic; everyone knows that to mistake vice for virtue would destroy the foundation of ethics; everyone knows that to mistake a desert mirage for a lake of fresh water does but lure the fainting traveler to dire disappointment or death. Now, it is perfectly clear that of all the things with which human beings have to deal, the most important by far is Man himself—humankind—men, women and children. It follows that for us human beings nothing else can be quite so important as a clear, true, just, scientific concept of Man—a right understanding of what we as human beings really are. For it requires no great wisdom, it needs only a little reflection, to see that, if we humans radically misconceive the nature of man—if we regard man as being something which he is not, whether it be something higher than man or lower—we thereby commit an error so fundamental and far reaching as to produce every manner of confusion and disaster in individual life, in community life and in the life of the race.
The question we have, therefore, to consider first of all is fundamentally: What is Man? What is a man? What is a human being? What is the defining or characteristic mark of humanity? To this question two answers and only two have been given in the course of the ages, and they are both of them current to-day. One of the answers is biological—man is an animal, a certain kind of animal; the other answer is a mixture partly biological and partly mythological or partly biological and partly philosophical—man is a combination or union of animal with something supernatural. An important part of my task will be to show that both of these answers are radically wrong and that, beyond all things else, they are primarily responsible for what is dismal in the life and history of humankind. This done, the question remains: What is Man? I hope to show clearly and convincingly that the answer is to be found in the patent fact that human beings possess in varying degrees a certain natural faculty or power or capacity which serves at once to give them their appropriate dignity as human beings and to discriminate them, not only from the minerals and the plants but also from the world of animals, this peculiar or characteristic human faculty or power or capacity I shall call the time-binding faculty or time-binding power or time-binding capacity. What I mean by time-binding will be clearly and fully explained in the course of the discussion, and when it has been made clear, the question—What Is Man?—will be answered by saying that man is a being naturally endowed with time-binding capacity—that a human being is a time-binder—that men, women and children constitute the time-binding class of life.
There will then remain the great task of indicating and in a measure sketching some of the important ways in which the true conception of man as man will transform our views of human society and the world, affect our human conduct and give us a growing body of scientific wisdom regarding the welfare of mankind including all posterity.
The purpose of this introductory chapter is to consider certain general matters of a preliminary nature—to indicate the spirit of the undertaking—to provide a short course of approach and preparation—to clear the deck, so to speak, and make ready for action.
There are two ways to slide easily through life: Namely, to believe everything, or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking. The majority take the line of least resistance, preferring to have their thinking done for them; they accept ready-made individual, private doctrines as their own and follow them more or less blindly. Every generation looks upon its own creeds as true and permanent and has a mingled smile of pity and contempt for the prejudices of the past. For two hundred or more generations of our historical past this attitude has been repeated two hundred or more times, and unless we are very careful our children will have the same attitude toward us.
There can be no doubt that humanity belongs to a class of life which to a large extent determines its own destinies, establishes its own rules of education and conduct, and thus influences every step we are free to take within the structure of our social system. But the power of human beings to determine their own destinies is limited by natural law, Nature's law. It is the counsel of wisdom to discover the laws of nature, including the laws of human nature, and then to live in accordance with them. The opposite is folly.
A farmer must know the natural laws that govern his wheat, or corn, or cow, as otherwise he will not have satisfactory crops, or the quality and abundance of milk he desires, whereas the knowledge of these laws enables him to produce the most favorable conditions for his plants and animals, and thereby to gain the desired results.
Humanity must know the natural laws for humans, otherwise humans will not create the conditions and the customs that regulate human activities which will make it possible for them to have the most favorable circumstances for the fullest human development in life; which means the release of the maximum natural-creative energy and expression in mental, moral, material and spiritual and all the other great fields of human activities, resulting in happiness in life and in work—collectively and individually—because the conditions of the earning of a livelihood influence and shape all our mental processes and activities, the quality and the form of human inter-relationship.
Every human achievement, be it a scientific discovery, a picture, a statue, a temple, a home or a bridge, has to be conceived in the mind first—the plan thought out—before it can be made a reality, and when anything is to be attempted that involves any number of individuals—methods of coordination have to be considered—the methods which have proven to be the best suited for such undertakings are engineering methods—the engineering of an idea toward a complete realization. Every engineer has to know the materials with which he has to work and the natural laws of these materials, as discovered by observation and experiment and formulated by mathematics and mechanics; else he can not calculate the forces at his disposal; he can not compute the resistance of his materials; he can not determine the capacity and requirements of his power plant; in short, he can not make the most profitable use of his resources. Lately in all industries and particularly during the late World War, which was itself a gigantic industrial process, another factor manifested itself and proved to be of the utmost importance: namely, the human factor, which is not material but is mental, moral, psychological. It has been found that maximum production may be attained when and only when the production is carried on in conformity with certain psychological laws, roughly determined by the analysis of human nature.
Except for productive human labor, our globe is too small to support the human population now upon it. Humanity must produce or perish.
Production is essentially a task for engineers; it essentially depends upon the discovery and the application of natural laws, including the laws of human nature. It is, therefore, not a task for old fashioned philosophical speculation nor for barren metaphysical reasoning in vacuo; it is a scientific task and involves the coordination and cooperation of all the sciences. This is why it is an engineering task.
For engineering, rightly understood, is the coordinated sum-total of human knowledge gathered through the ages, with mathematics as its chief instrument and guide. Human Engineering will embody the theory and practice—the science and art—of all engineering branches united by a common aim—the understanding and welfare of mankind.
Here I want to make it very clear that mathematics is not what many people think it is; it is not a system of mere formulas and theorems; but as beautifully defined by Professor Cassius J. Keyser, in his book The Human Worth of Rigorous Thinking (Columbia University Press, 1916), mathematics is the science of "Exact thought or rigorous thinking," and one of its distinctive characteristics is "precision, sharpness, completeness of definitions." This quality alone is sufficient to explain why people generally do not like mathematics and why even some scientists bluntly refuse to have anything to do with problems wherein mathematical reasoning is involved. In the meantime, mathematical philosophy has very little, if anything, to do with mere calculations or with numbers as such or with formulas; it is a philosophy wherein precise, sharp and rigorous thinking is essential. Those who deliberately refuse to think "rigorously"—that is mathematically—in connections where such thinking is possible, commit the sin of preferring the worse to the better; they deliberately violate the supreme law of intellectual rectitude.
Here I have to make it clear that for the purpose of Human Engineering the old concepts of matter, space and time are sufficient to start with; they are sufficient in much the same way as they have been sufficient in the old science of mechanics. Figuratively speaking Human Engineering is a higher order of bridge engineering—it aims at the spanning of a gap in practical life as well as in knowledge. The old meanings of matter, space and time were good enough to prevent the collapse of a bridge; the same understanding of space and time as used in this book will protect society and humanity from periodical collapses. The old mechanics lead directly to such a knowledge of the intrinsic laws governing the universe as to suggest the new mechanics. Human Engineering will throw a new light on many old conceptions and will help the study and understanding of matter, space and time in their relative meanings, and perhaps will ultimately lead to an understanding of their absolute meanings.
Philosophy in its old form could exist only in the absence of engineering, but with engineering in existence and daily more active and far reaching, the old verbalistic philosophy and metaphysics have lost their reason to exist. They were no more able to understand the "production" of the universe and life than they are now able to understand or grapple with "production" as a means to provide a happier existence for humanity. They failed because their venerated method of "speculation" can not produce, and its place must be taken by mathematical thinking. Mathematical reasoning is displacing metaphysical reasoning. Engineering is driving verbalistic philosophy out of existence and humanity gains decidedly thereby. Only a few parasites and "speculators" will mourn the disappearance of their old companion "speculation." The world of producers—the predominating majority of human beings—will welcome a philosophy of ordered thought and production.
The scientists, all of them, have their duties no doubt, but they do not fully use their education if they do not try to broaden their sense of responsibility toward all mankind instead of closing themselves up in a narrow specialization where they find their pleasure. Neither engineers nor other scientific men have any right to prefer their own personal peace to the happiness of mankind; their place and their duty are in the front line of struggling humanity, not in the unperturbed ranks of those who keep themselves aloof from life. If they are indifferent, or discouraged because they feel or think that they know that the situation is hopeless, it may be proved that undue pessimism is as dangerous a "religion" as any other blind creed. Indeed there is very little difference in kind between the medieval fanaticism of the "holy inquisition," and modern intolerance toward new ideas. All kinds of intellect must get together, for as long as we presuppose the situation to be hopeless, the situation will indeed be hopeless. The spirit of Human Engineering does not know the word "hopeless;" for engineers know that wrong methods are alone responsible for disastrous results, and that every situation can be successfully handled by the use of proper means. The task of engineering science is not only to know but to know how. Most of the scientists and engineers do not yet realize that their united judgment would be invincible; no system or class would care to disregard it. Their knowledge is the very force which makes the life of humanity pulsate. If the scientists and the engineers have had no common base upon which to unite, a common base must be provided. To-day the pressure of life is such that we cannot go forward without their coordinating guidance. But first there must be the desire to act. One aim of this book is to furnish the required stimulus by showing that Human Engineering will rescue us from the tangle of private opinions and enable us to deal with all the problems of life and human society upon a scientific basis.
If those who know why and how neglect to act, those who do not know will act, and the world will continue to flounder. The whole history of mankind and especially the present plight of the world show only too sadly how dangerous and expensive it is to have the world governed by those who do not know.
In paying the price of this war, we have been made to realize that even the private individual can not afford to live wrapped up in his own life and not take his part in public affairs. He must acquire the habit of taking his share of public responsibility. This signifies that a very great deal of very simple work, all pointing in the direction of a greater work, must be done in the way of educating, not engineers and scientific men only, but the general public to cooperate in establishing the practice of Human Engineering in all the affairs of human society and life.
In writing this book I have had to wrestle with tremendous difficulties in expressing new thoughts and in indicating new methods. The reader who stops to criticize words or expressions because of their more or less happy or unhappy use will miss the whole point of the work. The reading of it should be done with a view to seeing how much can be found in it of what is new and good that may be elaborated further, and put into better form. This new enterprise is too difficult and too vast for the unaided labor of one man—life is too short.
The method used in this book in analysing life phenomena is essentially an engineering method, and as physics and mechanics always suggest to mathematicians new fields for analysis, it is not improbable that Human Engineering will give mathematicians new and interesting fields for research. The humblest role of mathematicians in Human Engineering may be likened to that of "Public accountants" who put in order the affairs of business.
In relation to mathematics Bertrand Russell has said: "Logic is the youth of mathematics, mathematics is the manhood of logic." This brilliant mot of the eminent philosopher of mathematics is no doubt just and is profoundly significant; the least it can teach us is that it is useless to try to find a dividing line between logic and mathematics, for no such line exists; to seek for one serves merely to betray one's ignorance of mathematical philosophy. Elsewhere Mr. Russell says: "The hope of satisfaction to our more human desires, the hope of demonstrating that the world has this or that ethical characteristic, is not one which, so far as I can see, philosophy can do anything whatever to satisfy." By "philosophy" he means mathematical philosophy—a philosophy that is rigorously scientific, not vaguely speculative. I am entirely unable to agree with him that such a philosophy can make no contribution to ethics. On the contrary, I contend, and in this book I hope to show, that by mathematical philosophy, by rigorously scientific thinking, we can arrive at the true conception of what a human being really is and that in thus discovering the characteristic nature of man we come to the secret and source of ethics. Ethics as a science will investigate and explain the essential nature of man and the obligations which the essential nature of man imposes upon human beings. It will be seen that to live righteously, to live ethically, is to live in accordance with the laws of human nature; and when it is clearly seen that man is a natural being, a part of nature literally, then it will be seen that the laws of human nature—the only possible rules for ethical conduct—are no more supernatural and no more man-made than is the law of gravitation, for example, or any other natural law.
It is no cause for wonder that mathematical thinking should lead to such a result; for Man is a natural being, man's mind is a natural agency, and the results of rigorous thinking, far from being artificial fictions, are natural facts—natural revelations of natural law.
I hope I have not given the impression, by repeated allusion to mathematical science, that this book is to be in any technical sense a mathematical treatise. I have merely wished to indicate that the task is conceived and undertaken in the mathematical spirit, which must be the guiding spirit of Human Engineering; for no thought, if it be non-mathematical in spirit, can be trusted, and, although mathematicians sometimes make mistakes, the spirit of mathematics is always right and always sound.
Whilst I do not intend to trouble the reader with any highly technical mathematical arguments, there are a few simple mathematical considerations which anyone of fair education can understand, which are of exceedingly great importance for our purpose, and to which, therefore, I ask the reader's best attention. One of the ideas is that of an arithmetical progression; another one is that of a geometrical progression. Neither of them involves anything more difficult than the most ordinary arithmetic of the secondary school or the counting house, but it will be seen that they throw a flood of light upon many of the most important human concerns.
Because we are human beings we are all of us interested in what we call progress—progress in law, in government, in jurisprudence, in ethics, in philosophy, in the natural sciences, in economics, in the fine arts, in the practical arts, in the production and distribution of wealth, in all the affairs affecting the welfare of mankind. It is a fact that all these great matters are interdependent and interlocking; it is therefore a fact of the utmost importance that progress in each of the cardinal matters must keep abreast of progress in the other cardinal matters in order to keep a just equilibrium, a proper balance, and so to maintain the integrity and continued prosperity of the whole complex body of our social life; it is a fact, a fact of observation, that in some of the great matters progress proceeds in accordance with one law and one rate of advancement and in others in accordance with a very different law and rate; it is a fact, a fact of observation and sad experience, a fact attested by all history and made evident by reason, that owing to the widely differing laws and rates of progress in the great essential concerns of humanity, the balance and equilibrium among the parts is disturbed, the strain gradually increases until a violent break ensues in the form of social conflicts, insurrections, revolutions and war; it is a fact that the readjustment that follows, as after an earthquake, does indeed establish a kind of new equilibrium, but it is an equilibrium born of violence, and it is destined to be again disturbed periodically without end, unless by some science and art of Human Engineering progress in all the great matters essential to human weal can be made to proceed in accordance with one and the same law having its validity in the nature of man.
Taken in combination, the facts just stated are so extremely important that they deserve to be stated with the utmost emphasis and clarity. To this end I beg the reader to consider very carefully and side by side the two following series of numbers. The first one is a simple geometrical progression—denoted by (GP); the second one is a simple arithmetical progression—denoted by (AP):
GP: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, etc.; AP: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, etc.
For convenience of comparison I let them begin with the same number and for simplicity I have taken 2 for this initial term; observe that in the (GP) each term is got from the preceding term by multiplying by 2 and that in the (AP) each term is got from its predecessor by adding 2; in the first series the multiplier 2 is called the common ratio and in the second series the repeatedly added 2 is called the common difference; it is again for the convenience of comparison that I have chosen the same number for both common ratio and common difference and for the sake of simplicity that I have taken for this number the easy number 2. Other choices would be logically just as good.
Why have I introduced these two series? Because they serve to illustrate perfectly two widely different laws of progress—two laws representing vastly different rates of growth, increase, or advancement.
Do not fail to observe in this connection the following two facts. One of them is that the magnitude of the terms of any geometric progression whose ratio (no matter how small) is 2 or more will overtake and surpass the magnitude of the corresponding terms of any arithmetical progression, no matter how large the common difference of the latter may be. The other fact to be noted is that the greater the ratio of a geometric progression, the more rapidly do its successive terms increase; so that the terms of one geometric progression may increase a thousand or a million or a billion times faster than the corresponding terms of another geometric progression. As any geometric progression (of ratio equal to 2 or more), no matter how slow, outruns every arithmetic progression, no matter how fast, so one geometric progression may be far swifter than another one of the same type.
To every one it will be obvious that the two progressions differ in pace; and that the difference between their corresponding terms becomes increasingly larger and larger the farther we go; for instance, the sum of the first six terms of the geometrical progression is 126, whereas the sum of the first six terms of the arithmetical progression is only 42, the difference between the two sums being 84; the sum of 8 terms is 510 for the (GP) and 72 for the (AP), the difference between these sums (of only 8 terms each) being 438, already much larger than before; if now we take the sums of the first 10 terms, they will be 2046 and 110 having a difference of 1936; etc., etc.
Consider now any two matters of great importance for human weal—jurisprudence for example, and natural science—or any other two major concerns of humanity. It is as plain as the noon-day sun that, if progress in one of the matters advances according to the law of a geometric progression and the other in accordance with a law of an arithmetical progression, progress in the former matter will very quickly and ever more and more rapidly outstrip progress in the latter, so that, if the two interests involved be interdependent (as they always are), a strain is gradually produced in human affairs, social equilibrium is at length destroyed; there follows a period of readjustment by means of violence and force. It must not be fancied that the case supposed is merely hypothetical. The whole history of mankind and especially the present condition of the world unite in showing that far from being merely hypothetical, the case supposed has always been actual and is actual to-day on a vaster scale than ever before. My contention is that while progress in some of the great matters of human concern has been long proceeding in accordance with the law of a rapidly increasing geometric progression, progress in the other matters of no less importance has advanced only at the rate of an arithmetical progression or at best at the rate of some geometric progression of relatively slow growth. To see it and to understand it we have to pay the small price of a little observation and a little meditation.
Some technological invention is made, like that of a steam engine or a printing press, for example; or some discovery of scientific method, like that of analytical geometry or the infinitesimal calculus; or some discovery of natural law, like that of falling bodies or the Newtonian law of gravitation. What happens? What is the effect upon the progress of knowledge and invention? The effect is stimulation. Each invention leads to new inventions and each discovery to new discoveries; invention breeds invention, science begets science, the children of knowledge produce their kind in larger and larger families; the process goes on from decade to decade, from generation to generation, and the spectacle we behold is that of advancement in scientific knowledge and technological power according to the law and rate of a rapidly increasing geometric progression or logarithmic function.
And now what must we say of the so-called sciences—the pseudo sciences—of ethics and jurisprudence and economics and politics and government? For the answer we have only to open our eyes and behold the world. By virtue of the advancement that has long been going on with ever accelerated logarithmic rapidity in invention, in mathematics, in physics, in chemistry, in biology, in astronomy and in applications of them, time and space and matter have been already conquered to such an extent that our globe, once so seemingly vast, has virtually shrunken to the dimensions of an ancient province; and manifold peoples of divers tongues and traditions and customs and institutions are now constrained to live together as in a single community. There is thus demanded a new ethical wisdom, a new legal wisdom, a new economical wisdom, a new political wisdom, a new wisdom in the affairs of government. For the new visions our anguished times cry aloud but the only answers are reverberated echoes of the wailing cry mingled with the chattering voices of excited public men who know not what to do. Why? What is the explanation? The question is double: Why the disease? And why no remedy at hand? The answer is the same for both. And the answer is that the so-called sciences of ethics and jurisprudence and economics and politics and government have not kept pace with the rapid progress made in the other great affairs of man; they have lagged behind; it is because of their lagging that the world has come to be in so great distress; and it is because of their lagging that they have not now the needed wisdom to effect a cure.
Do you ask why it is that the "social" sciences—the so-called sciences of ethics, etc.—have lagged behind? The answer is not far to seek nor difficult to understand. They have lagged behind, partly because they have been hampered by the traditions and the habits of a bygone world—they have looked backward instead of forward; they have lagged behind, partly because they have depended upon the barren methods of verbalistic philosophy—they have been metaphysical instead of scientific; they have lagged behind, partly because they have been often dominated by the lusts of cunning "politicians" instead of being led by the wisdom of enlightened statesmen; they have lagged behind, partly because they have been predominantly concerned to protect "vested interests," upon which they have in the main depended for support; the fundamental cause, however, of their lagging behind is found in the astonishing fact that, despite their being by their very nature most immediately concerned with the affairs of mankind, they have not discovered what Man really is but have from time immemorial falsely regarded human beings either as animals or else as combinations of animals and something supernatural. With these two monstrous conceptions of the essential nature of man I shall deal at a later stage of this writing.
At present I am chiefly concerned to drive home the fact that it is the great disparity between the rapid progress of the natural and technological sciences on the one hand and the slow progress of the metaphysical, so-called social "sciences" on the other hand, that sooner or later so disturbs the equilibrium of human affairs as to result periodically in those social cataclysms which we call insurrections, revolutions and wars. The reader should note carefully that such cataclysmic changes—such "jumps," as we may call them—such violent readjustments in human affairs and human relationships—are recorded throughout the history of mankind. And I would have him see clearly that, because the disparity which produces them increases as we pass from generation to generation—from term to term of our progressions—the "jumps" in question occur not only with increasing violence but with increasing frequency. This highly significant fact may be graphically illustrated in the following figure:
[ A horizontal line, with numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 above, and markings a', a, b, c, d in the corresponding locations below. ]
Geometric evolution of the natural and technological sciences.—Peaceful progress.
[ A horizontal line, again marked with numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, but with gaps between 6 and (unprinted) 7, 8 and (unprinted) 9, 10 and (unprinted) 11. Above are markings: A' above 2 and A above 4; B above 6 and C above 7; D above 8 and E above 9; F above 10 and G at the far right end. The steady progress areas, 2 to 4, 7 to 8, 9 to 10, are marked "Peaceful", while the gaps are labeled "Jump, Revolution or War." ]
Arithmetical evolution of the so-called social "sciences," accelerated by violent "jumps."—Non-peaceful social progress.
a'2, 2a, ab, bc, cd, represent the geometrical law of progression in the natural and technological sciences (peaceful evolution).
A'2, 2A, AB, CD, EF, represent the lagging arithmetical law of progression in the so-called social sciences (peaceful evolution).
Both of these during the same periods of time.
BC, DE, FG, represent revolutions or wars, with the aftermath of revolution of ideas—the "jump"—violent readjustment of ideas to facts—forced by events.
ab, bc, cd, and AB, CD, EF, take the same amount of time, but the second progression being much slower than the first one, the "jumps" or revolutions occur at shorter intervals as time goes on and thus more frequently force us to coordinate our ideas to facts. Periods of peace or seeming peace alternate more and more frequently with periods of violence; the mentioned disparity of progress in peaceful times is the hatching seed of future violence.(1)
As a matter of fact these few mathematical considerations can hardly be called mathematics or mathematical philosophy; nevertheless, without bringing attention to these very simple mathematical ideas we should not be able to proceed any further than in the past. Our life problems have always been "solved" by verbalists and rhetorical metaphysicians who cleverly played with vague words and who always ignored the supremely important matter of dimensions because they were ignorant of it. There was no possible way to arrive at an agreement on the significance of words, or even the understanding of them. Let us take, for instance, such words as "good" or "bad" or "truth;" volumes upon volumes have been written about them; no one has reached any result universally acceptable; the effect has been to multiply warring schools of philosophy—sectarians and partisans. In the meantime something corresponding to each of the terms "good," "bad," "truth" exists as matter of fact; but what that something is still awaits scientific determination. If only these three words could be scientifically defined, philosophy, law, ethics and psychology would cease to be "private theories" or verbalism and they would advance to the rank and dignity of sciences.
Here I may quote a characteristic of life as expressed by one of the "heroes" of my esteemed friend Harvey O'Higgins, in his book, _From the _ Life, Imaginary Portraits of Some Distinguished Americans_ (Harper, N. Y.).
"Warren never philosophized; he handled facts as an artisan handles his tools; but if he had philosophized, his theory of life would probably have been something like this: 'There is no justice, there is no morality, in nature or in natural laws; justice and morality are laws only of human society. But society, natural life, and all civilization are subject in their larger aspects to natural laws—which contradict morality and outrage justice—and the statesman has to move with those laws and direct his people in accordance with them, despite the lesser by-laws of morality and justice.' "
If such are the creeds of "distinguished people" anywhere, what better can we expect than that which we see in the history of humanity?
But the fact that the old philosophy, law, ethics, psychology, politics and sociology could not solve the practical problems of humanity, is not any reason whatsoever why we should despair. The problems can be solved.
To follow the reasoning of this book, it is not necessary to be a highly trained specialist; the only qualifications required are candor, an open mind, freedom from blinding prejudice, thoughtfulness, a real desire for truth, and enough common sense to understand that to talk of adding three quarts of milk to three-quarters of a mile is to talk nonsense.
Chapter II. Childhood of Humanity
The conclusion of the World War is the closing of the period of the childhood of humanity. This childhood, as any childhood, can be characterized as devoid of any real understanding of values, as is that of a child who uses a priceless chronometer to crack nuts.
This childhood has been unduly long, but happily we are near to the end of it, for humanity, shaken by this war, is coming to its senses and must soon enter its manhood, a period of great achievements and rewards in the new and real sense of values dawning upon us.
The sacred dead will not have died for naught; the "red wine of youth," the wanton waste of life, has shown us the price of life, and we will have to keep our oath to make the future worthy of their sweat and blood.
Early ideas are not necessarily true ideas.
There are different kinds of interpretations of history and different schools of philosophy. All of them have contributed something to human progress, but none of them has been able to give the world a basic philosophy embracing the whole progress of science and establishing the life of man upon the abiding foundation of Fact.
Our life is bound to develop according to evident or else concealed laws of nature. The evident laws of nature were the inspiration of genuine science in its cradle; and their interpretations or misinterpretations have from the earliest times formed systems of law, of ethics, and of philosophy.
Human intellect, be it that of an individual or that of the race, forms conclusions which have to be often revised before they correspond approximately to facts. What we call progress consists in coordinating ideas with realities. The World War has taught something to everybody. It was indeed a great reality; it accustomed us to think in terms of reality and not in those of phantom speculation. Some unmistakable truths were revealed. Facts and force were the things that counted. Power had to be produced to destroy hostile power; it was found that the old political and economic systems were not adequate to the task put upon them. The world had to create new economic conditions; it was obliged to supplement the old systems with special boards for food, coal, railroads, shipping, labor, etc. The World War emergency compelled the nations to organize for producing greater power in order to conquer power already great.
If there is anything which this war has proved, it is the fact that the most important asset a nation or an individual can have, is the ability "to do things."
"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow ...," that is too true; they blow and they are strong and red. But the purpose of this writing is not the celebration of poetry, but the elucidation and right use of facts.
Normally, thousands of rabbits and guinea pigs are used and killed, in scientific laboratories, for experiments which yield great and tangible benefits to humanity. This war butchered millions of people and ruined the health and lives of tens of millions. Is this climax of the pre-war civilization to be passed unnoticed, except for the poetry and the manuring of the battle fields, that the "poppies blow" stronger and better fed? Or is the death of ten men on the battle field to be of as much worth in knowledge gained as is the life of one rabbit killed for experiment? Is the great sacrifice worth analysing? There can be only one answer—yes. But, if truth be desired, the analysis must be scientific.
In science, "opinions" are tolerated when and only when facts are lacking. In this case, we have all the facts necessary. We have only to collect them and analyse them, rejecting mere "opinions" as cheap and unworthy. Such as understand this lesson will know how to act for the benefit of all.
At present the future of mankind is dark. "Stop, look, and listen"—the prudent caution at railroad crossings—must be amended to read "stop, look, listen, and THINK"; not for the saving of a few lives in railroad accidents, but for the preservation of the life of humanity. Living organisms, of the lower and simpler types, in which the differentiation and the integration of the vital organs have not been carried far, can move about for a considerable time after being deprived of the appliances by which the life force is accumulated and transferred, but higher organisms are instantly killed by the removal of such appliances, or even by the injury of minor parts of them; even more easily destroyed are the more advanced and complicated social organizations.
The first question is: what are to be the scientific methods that will eliminate diverse opinions and creeds from an analysis of facts and ensure correct deductions based upon them? A short survey of facts concerning civilization will help to point the way.
Humanity, in its cradle, did not have science; it had only the faculties of observation and speculation. In the early days there was much speculative thinking, but it was without any sufficient basis of facts. Theology and philosophy flourished; their speculations were often very clever, but all their primitive notions about facts—such as the structure of the heavens, the form of the earth, mechanical principles, meteorological or physiological phenomena—were almost all of them wrong.
What is history? What is its significance for humanity? Dr. J. H. Robinson gives us a precise answer: "Man's abject dependence on the past gives rise to the continuity of history. Our convictions, opinions, prejudices, intellectual tastes; our knowledge, our methods of learning and of applying for information we owe, with slight exceptions, to the past—often to the remote past. History is an expansion of memory, and like memory it alone can explain the present and in this lies its most unmistakable value."(2)
The savage regards every striking phenomenon or group of phenomena as caused by some personal agent, and from remotest antiquity the mode of thinking has changed only as fast as the relations among phenomena have been established.(3)
Human nature was always asking "why"? and not being able to answer why, they found their answer through another factor "who." The unknown was called, Gods or God. But with the progress of science the "why" became more and more evident, and the question came to be "how." From the early days of humanity, dogmatic theology, law, ethics, and science in its infancy, were the monopolies of one class and the source of their power.(4)
The first to break this power were the exact sciences. They progressed too rapidly to be bound and limited by obscure old writings and prejudices; life and realities were their domain. Science brushed aside all sophistry and became a reality. Ethics is too fundamentally important a factor in civilization to depend upon a theological or a legal excuse; ethics must conform to the natural laws of human nature.
Laws, legal ideas, date from the beginning of civilization. Legal speculation was wonderfully developed in parallel lines with theology and philosophy before the natural and exact sciences came into existence. Law was always made by the few and in general for the purpose of preserving the "existing order," or for the reestablishment of the old order and the punishment of the offenders against it.
Dogmatic theology is, by its very nature, unchangeable. The same can be said in regard to the spirit of the law. Law was and is to protect the past and present status of society and, by its very essence, must be very conservative, if not reactionary. Theology and law are both of them static by their nature.(5)
Philosophy, law and ethics, to be effective in a dynamic world must be dynamic; they must be made vital enough to keep pace with the progress of life and science. In recent civilization ethics, because controlled by theology and law, which are static, could not duly influence the dynamic, revolutionary progress of technic and the steadily changing conditions of life; and so we witness a tremendous downfall of morals in politics and business. Life progresses faster than our ideas, and so medieval ideas, methods and judgments are constantly applied to the conditions and problems of modern life. This discrepancy between facts and ideas is greatly responsible for the dividing of modern society into different warring classes, which do not understand each other. Medieval legalism and medieval morals—the basis of the old social structure—being by their nature conservative, reactionary, opposed to change, and thus becoming more and more unable to support the mighty social burden of the modern world, must be adjudged responsible in a large measure for the circumstances which made the World War inevitable.
Under the flash of explosives some of the workings of those antiquated ideas were exposed or crushed. The World War has profoundly changed economic conditions and made it necessary to erect new standards of values. We are forced to realize that evolution by transformation is a cosmic process and that reaction, though it may retard it, can not entirely stop it.(6)
The idea that organic species are results of special creation has no scientific standard whatever. There is not one fact tending to prove special or separate creation; the evidence, which is overwhelming, is all of it on the other side. The hypothesis of special creation is a mere fossil of the past. Evolution is the only theory which is in harmony with facts and with all branches of science: life is dynamic, not static.
Philosophy, as defined by Fichte, is the "science of sciences." Its aim was to solve the problems of the world. In the past, when all exact sciences were in their infancy, philosophy had to be purely speculative, with little or no regard to realities. But if we regard philosophy as a Mother science, divided into many branches, we find that those branches have grown so large and various, that the Mother science looks like a hen with her little ducklings paddling in a pond, far beyond her reach; she is unable to follow her growing hatchlings. In the meantime, the progress of life and science goes on, irrespective of the cackling of metaphysics. Philosophy does not fulfill her initial aim to bring the results of experimental and exact sciences together and to solve world problems. Through endless, scientific specialization scientific branches multiply, and for want of coordination the great world-problems suffer. This failure of philosophy to fulfill her boasted mission of scientific coordination is responsible for the chaos in the world of general thought. The world has no collective or organized higher ideals and aims, nor even fixed general purposes. Life is an accidental game of private or collective ambitions and greeds.(7)
Systematic study of chemical and physical phenomena has been carried on for many generations and these two sciences now include: (1) knowledge of an enormous number of facts; (2) a large body of natural laws; (3) many fertile working hypotheses respecting the causes and regularities of natural phenomena; and finally (4) many helpful theories held subject to correction by further testing of the hypotheses giving rise to them. When a subject is spoken of as a science, it is understood to include all of the above mentioned parts. Facts alone do not constitute a science any more than a pile of stones constitutes a house, not even do facts and laws alone; there must be facts, hypotheses, theories and laws before the subject is entitled to the rank of a science.
The primal function of a science is to enable us to anticipate the future in the field to which it relates. Judged by this standard, neither philosophy nor its kindred—the so-called social sciences—have in the past been very effective. There was, for example, no official warning of the coming of the World War—the greatest of catastrophes. The future was not anticipated because political philosophers did not possess the necessary basis of knowledge. To be just we must admit that philosophy has been but little aided financially because it is commonly regarded as unnecessary. The technical branches of science have been strongly backed and generally supported by those to whom they have brought direct profit; and so they have had better opportunities for development.
Ethics in the stifling grip of myth and legalism is not convincing enough to exercise controlling influence. Such is the situation in which we find ourselves. Being still in our childhood and thinking like savages, we looked upon the World War as a personal creation of a "war-lord," because those interested in it told us so. We neglected to use our common sense and look deeper into its origins; to perform for ourselves the duty which political philosophy did not perform for us—the duty of thinking in terms of facts and not in terms of metaphysical speculations. Knowledge of facts would have told us that the war lords were only the representatives of the ruling classes. A system of social and economic order built exclusively on selfishness, greed, "survival of the fittest," and ruthless competition, must cease to exist, or exist by means of war. The representatives of this system determined to continue to exist, and so war was the consequence. The ruling classes carried the whole system under which they lived to its logical conclusion and natural issue, which is "grab what you can." This motto is not peculiar to any one country; it is the motto of our whole civilization and is the inevitable outcome of our stupid philosophy regarding the characteristic nature of man and the proper potentialities of human life. Where are we to find the true doctrines? Where the true philosophy? If we go back over the history of civilization, we find that in all "sciences," except the exact ones, private opinions and theories have shaped our beliefs, colored our mental processes and controlled our destinies; we see, for example, pessimism opposed to optimism, materialism to spiritualism, realism to idealism, capitalism to socialism, and so on endlessly. Each of the disputatious systems has a large number of followers and each faction looks upon the others as deprived of truth, common sense and knowledge. All of them play with the words "natural law" which they ignorantly presume to have as the basis and content of their own particular doctrine.
It is the same in the realm of religions; there are approximately 291 million Confucianists, or Taoists, 261 million Roman Catholics, 211 million Mohammedans, 209 million Hindus, 177 million Protestants, 157 million Animists, 137 million Buddhists, 115 million Orthodox Christians—to speak only of the most important religions. Each group, and they are rather large groups, believes its theory or its faith to be infallible and all the others to be false.
Bacon seems a bit remote, but the idols and medieval fetishes which he so masterfully describes are equally venerated to-day.
(Novum Organum, by Francis Bacon.)
34. "Four species of idols beset the human mind, to which (for distinction's sake) we have assigned names, calling the first Idols of the Tribe, the second Idols of the Den, the third Idols of the Market, the fourth Idols of the Theatre.
40. "The information of notions and axioms on the foundation of true induction is the only fitting remedy by which we can ward off and expel these idols. It is, however, of great service to point them out; for the doctrine of idols bears the same relation to the interpretation of nature as that of the confutation of sophisms does to common logic.
41. "The idols of the tribe are inherent in human nature and the very tribe or race of man; for man's sense is falsely asserted to be the standard of things; on the contrary, all the perceptions both of the senses and the mind bear reference to man and not to the Universe, and the human mind resembles these uneven mirrors which impart their own properties to different objects, from which rays are emitted and distort and disfigure them.
42. "The idols of the den are those of each individual; for everybody (in addition to the errors common to the race of man) has his own individual den or cavern, which intercepts and corrupts the light of nature, either from his own peculiar and singular disposition, or from his education and intercourse with others, or from his reading, and the authority acquired by those whom he reverences and admires, or from the different impressions produced on the mind, as it happens to be preoccupied and predisposed, or equable and tranquil, and the like; so that the spirit of man (according to its several dispositions), is variable, confused, and, as it were, actuated by chance; and Heraclitus said well that men search for knowledge in lesser worlds, and not in the greater or common world.
43. "There are also idols formed by the reciprocal intercourse and society of man with man, which we call idols of the market, from the commerce and association of men with each other; for men converse by means of language, but words are formed at the will of the generality, and there arises from a bad and unapt formation of words a wonderful obstruction to the mind. Nor can the definitions and explanations with which learned men are wont to guard and protect themselves in some instances afford a complete remedy—words still manifestly force the understanding, throw everything into confusion, and lead mankind into vain and innumerable controversies and fallacies.
44. "Lastly, there are idols which have crept into men's minds from the various dogmas of peculiar systems of philosophy, and also from the perverted rules of demonstration, and these we denominate idols of the theatre: for we regard all the systems of philosophy hitherto received or imagined, as so many plays brought out and performed, creating fictitious and theatrical worlds. Nor do we speak only of the present systems, or of the philosophy and sects of the ancients, since numerous other plays of a similar nature can be still composed and made to agree with each other, the causes of the most opposite errors being generally the same. Nor, again, do we allude merely to general systems, but also to many elements and axioms of sciences which have become inveterate by tradition, implicit credence, and neglect."(8)
Metaphysical speculation and its swarming progeny of blind and selfish political philosophies, private opinions, private "truths," and private doctrines, sectarian opinions, sectarian "truths" and sectarian doctrines, querulous, confused and blind—such is characteristic of the childhood of humanity. The period of humanity's manhood will, I doubt not, be a scientific period—a period that will witness the gradual extension of scientific method to all the interests of mankind—a period in which man will discover the essential nature of man and establish, at length, the science and art of directing human energies and human capacities to the advancement of human weal in accordance with the laws of human nature.
Chapter III. Classes of Life
The problems to be dealt with in this chapter are not easy, but they are exceedingly important. To classify phenomena correctly, they must be correctly analysed and clearly defined. For the sake of clearness I will use the simplest illustrations and, avoiding as much as possible the difficulties of technical terms, will use language easily to be understood by every one. In some cases the words will indeed have a technical meaning and it will be necessary to exercise great care against the danger of giving false impressions; for clear ideas are essential to sound thinking. As a matter of fact our common daily speech is ill adapted for the precise expression of thought; even so-called "scientific" language is often too vague for the purpose and requires further refining. Some may say that it is useless and unnecessary to lay so much stress on correct thinking and precise expression; that it has no practical value; for they say that "business" language is good enough to "talk business," or to put "something over" the other fellow. But a little explanation will show that precision is often of the greatest importance.
Humanity is a peculiar class of life which, in some degree, determines its own destinies; therefore in practical life words and ideas become facts—facts, moreover, which bring about important practical consequences. For instance, many millions of human beings have defined a stroke of lightning as being the "punishment of God" of evil men; other millions have defined it as a "natural, casual, periodical phenomenon"; yet other millions have defined it as an "electric spark." What has been the result of these "non-important" definitions in practical life? In the case of the first definition, when lightning struck a house, the population naturally made no attempt to save the house or anything in it, because to do so would be against the "definition" which proclaims the phenomenon to be a "punishment for evil," any attempt to prevent or check the destruction would be an impious act; the sinner would be guilty of "resisting the supreme law" and would deserve to be punished by death.
Now in the second instance, a stricken building is treated just as any tree overturned by storm; the people save what they can and try to extinguish the fire. In both instances, the behavior of the populace is the same in one respect; if caught in the open by a storm they take refuge under a tree—a means of safety involving maximum danger but the people do not know it.
Now in the third instance, in which the population have a scientifically correct definition of lightning, they provide their houses with lightning rods; and if they are caught by a storm in the open they neither run nor hide under a tree; but when the storm is directly over their heads, they put themselves in a position of minimum exposure by lying flat on the ground until the storm has passed.
Such examples could be given without end, but there is another example of sufficient vital importance to be given here, as it has to do with our conception of the social and economic system, and the state. If our institutions are considered "God-given"—sacred and therefore static—every reformer or advocate of change should be treated as a criminal or "a danger to the existing order" and hanged or at least put in jail for life. But now, if our institutions are "man made," imperfect and often foolish, and subject to change all the time steadily and dynamically in obedience to some known or unknown law; then of course all reactionaries would be a "danger to the natural order" and they should be treated the same way. The importance of definitions can be seen in all other fields of practical life; definitions create conditions. To know the world in which we live, we have to analyse facts by help of such facts as we know in daily practice and such facts as are established in scientific laboratories where men do not jump to conclusions. In some places it will be necessary to make statements that will have to await full justification at a later stage of the discussion. This will be necessary to indicate the trend of the analysis.
The aim of the analysis is to give us just conceptions, correct definitions, and true propositions. The process is slow, progressive, and endless. The problems are infinitely many, and it is necessary to select. Fortunately the solution of a few leads automatically to the solution of many others. Some of the greatest and most far-reaching scientific discoveries have been nothing else than a few correct definitions, a few just concepts and a few true propositions. Such, for example, was the work of Euclid, Newton and Leibnitz—a few correct definitions, a few just concepts, a few true propositions; but these have been extended and multiplied, sometimes by men of creative genius, and often almost automatically by men of merely good sense and fair talent.
The matter of definition, I have said, is very important. I am not now speaking of nominal definitions, which for convenience merely give names to known objects. I am speaking of such definitions of phenomena as result from correct analysis of the phenomena. Nominal definitions are mere conveniences and are neither true nor false; but analytic definitions are definitive propositions and are true or else false. Let us dwell upon the matter a little more.
In the illustration of the definitions of lightning, there were three; the first was the most mistaken and its application brought the most harm; the second was less incorrect and the practical results less bad; the third under the present conditions of our knowledge, was the "true one" and it brought the maximum benefit. This lightning illustration suggests the important idea of relative truth and relative falsehood—the idea, that is, of degrees of truth and degrees of falsehood. A definition may be neither absolutely true nor absolutely false; but of two definitions of the same thing, one of them may be truer or falser than the other.
If, for illustration's sake, we call the first "truth" A, (alpha 1), the second one A2 (alpha 2), the third one A3 (alpha 3), we may suppose that a genius appears who has the faculty to surpass all the other relative truths A1, A2, A3, ... An and gives us an absolute or final truth, VALID IN INFINITY (Ainfinity) say a final definition, that lightning is so ... and so ..., a kind of energy which flows, let us say, through a glass tube filled with charcoal. Then of course this definition would immediately make obvious what use could be made of it. We could erect glass towers filled with charcoal and so secure an unlimited flow of available free energy and our whole life would be affected in an untold degree. This example explains the importance of correct definitions.
But to take another example: there is such a thing as a phenomenon called the "color" red. Imagine how it might be defined. A reactionary would call it a "Bolshevik" (A1); a Bolshevik would say "My color" (A2); a color-blind person would say "such a thing does not exist" (A3); a Daltonist would say "that is green" (A4); a metaphysician would say "that is the soul of whiskey" (A5); an historian would say "that is the color of the ink with which human history has been written" (A6); an uneducated person would say "that is the color of blood" (A7); the modern scientist would say "it is the light of such and such wave length" (A8). If this last definition be "valid in infinity" or not we do not know, but it is, nevertheless, a "scientific truth" in the present condition of our knowledge.
This final but unknown "truth valid in infinity" is somehow perceived or felt by us as an ideal, for in countless years of observation we have formed a series of less and less false, more and more nearly true "ideas" about the phenomenon. The "ideas" are reflexes of the phenomenon, reflected in our midst as in a mirror; the reflexes may be distorted, as in a convex or concave mirror, but they suggest an ideal reflex valid in infinity. It is of the utmost importance to realize that the words which are used to express the ideas and the ideals are THE MATERIALIZATION of the ideas and ideal; it is only by words that we are enabled to give to other human beings an exact or nearly exact impression which we have had of the phenomenon.
It may be helpful to illustrate this process by an example. Let us suppose that a man makes an experiment of doing his own portrait from a mirror, which may be plane, concave or convex. If he looks into a plane mirror, he will see his true likeness; even so, if he be a poor designer, he will draw the likeness badly. Let us suppose that the man has beautiful features but because the drawing is very poor, it will not convey the impression that the features of the original were beautiful. If this poor designer were to look into and work from a concave or convex mirror, the drawing of his likeness would have practically no resemblance to his original features.
For correct analysis and true definitions of the cardinal classes of life in our world it is necessary to have some just ideas about dimensions or dimensionality. The Britannica gives us some help in this connection. I will explain briefly by an example. Measurable entities of different kinds can not be compared directly. Each one must be measured in terms of a unit of its own kind. A line can have only length and therefore is of one dimension: a surface has length and width and is therefore said to have two dimensions; a volume has length, width and thickness and is, therefore, said to have three dimensions. If we take, for example, a volume—say a cube—we see that the cube has surfaces and lines and points, but a volume is not a surface nor a line nor a point. Just these dimensional differences have an enormous unrealized importance in practical life, as in the case of taking a line of five units of length and building upon it a square, the measure of this square (surface) will not be 5, it will be 25; and the 25 will not be 25 linear units but 25 square or surface units. If upon this square we build a cube, this cube will have neither 5 nor 25 for its measure; it will have 125, and this number will not be so many units of length nor of surface but so many solid or cubic units.
It is as plain as a pike staff that, if we confused dimensions when computing lengths and areas and volumes, we would wreck all the architectural and engineering structures of the world, and at the same time show ourselves stupider than block-heads.
To analyse the classes of life we have to consider two very different kinds of phenomena: the one embraced under the collective name—Inorganic chemistry—the other under the collective name—Organic chemistry, or the chemistry of hydro-carbons. These divisions are made because of the peculiar properties of the elements chiefly involved in the second class. The properties of matter are so distributed among the elements that three of them—Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Carbon—possess an ensemble of unique characteristics. The number of reactions in inorganic chemistry are relatively few, but in organic chemistry—in the chemistry of these three elements the number of different compounds is practically unlimited. Up to 1910, we knew of more than 79 elements of which the whole number of reactions amounted to only a few hundreds, but among the remaining three elements—Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen—the reactions were known to be practically unlimited in number and possibilities; this fact must have very far reaching consequences. As far as energies are concerned, we have to take them as nature reveals them to us. Here more than ever, mathematical thinking is essential and will help enormously. The reactions in inorganic chemistry always involve the phenomenon of heat, sometimes light, and in some instances an unusual energy is produced called electricity. Until now, the radioactive elements represent a group too insufficiently known for an enlargement here upon this subject.
The organic compounds being unlimited in number and possibilities and with their unique characteristics, represent of course, a different class of phenomena, but being, at the same time, chemical they include the basic chemical phenomena involved in all chemical reactions, but being unique in many other respects, they also have an infinitely vast field of unique characteristics. Among the energetic phenomena of organic chemistry, besides the few mentioned above there are NEW AND UNIQUE energetic phenomena occurring in this dimension.
Of these phenomena, mention may be made of the phenomenon "life," the phenomenon of the "instincts" and of the "mind" in general. These energetic phenomena are unique for the unique chemistry of the three unique elements. It is obvious that this "uniqueness" is the reason why these phenomena must be classified as belonging to or having a higher dimensionality than belongs to the phenomena of inorganic chemistry just as the uniqueness of the properties of a volume as compared with surface properties depends upon the fact that a volume has a higher dimensionality than a surface. Just as this difference of dimensions makes the whole difference between the geometry of volumes and the geometry of surfaces, the difference between the two chemistries involves a difference of dimensionality.
The higher energies of the chemistries of the higher dimensionality are very difficult to define; my descriptions are no better than the description of life given by Professor Wilhelm Roux, in his Der Kampf der Teile im Organismus, Leipzig, 1881, which are equally unsatisfactory. In want of a better, I quote him. He defines a living being as a natural object which possesses the following nine characteristic autonomous activities: Autonomous change, Autonomous excretion, Autonomous ingestion, Autonomous assimilation, Autonomous growth, Autonomous movement, Autonomous multiplication, Autonomous transmission of hereditary characteristics and Autonomous development. The words "Autonomous activities" are important because they hint at the dimensional differences of these energies. But a better word should be found to define the dimensional differences between the activities found in inorganic chemistry and those found in organic chemistry. We see it is a mistake to speak about "life" in a crystal, in the same sense in which we use the word life to name the curious AUTONOMOUS phenomenon of ORGANIC CHEMISTRY, WHICH IS OF ANOTHER DIMENSION than the activities in inorganic chemistry. For the so-called life in the crystals—the not AUTONOMOUS (or anautonomous) activities of crystals—another word than life should be found. In the theory of crystals the term life is purely rhetorical: its use there is very injurious to sound science. These old ideas of "life" in crystals are profoundly unscientific and serve as one of the best examples of the frequent confusion or intermixing of dimensions—a confusion due to unmathematical, logically incorrect ways of thinking. If crystals "live," then volumes are surfaces, and 125 cubic units=25 square units—absurdities belonging to the "childhood of humanity."
"Crystals can grow in a proper solution, and can regenerate their form in such a solution when broken or injured; it is even possible to prevent or retard the formation of crystals in a supersaturated solution by preventing 'germs' in the air from getting into the solution, an observation which was later utilized by Schroeder and Pasteur in their experiments on spontaneous generation. However, the analogies between a living organism and a crystal are merely superficial and it is by pointing out the fundamental differences between the behavior of crystals and that of living organisms that we can best understand the specific difference between non-living and living matter. It is true that a crystal can grow, but it will do so only in a supersaturated solution of its own substance. Just the reverse is true for living organisms. In order to make bacteria or the cells of our body grow, solutions of the split products of the substances composing them and not the substances themselves must be available to the cells; second, these solutions must not be supersaturated, on the contrary, they must be dilute; and third, growth leads in living organisms to cell division as soon as the mass of the cell reaches a certain limit. This process of cell division can not be claimed even metaphorically to exist in a crystal. A correct appreciation of these facts will give us an insight into the specific difference between non-living and living matter. The formation of living matter consists in the synthesis of the proteins, nucleins, fats, and carbohydrates of the cells, from split products....
"The essential difference between living and non-living matter consists then in this: the living cell synthesizes its own complicated specific material from indifferent or non-specific simple compounds of the surrounding medium, while the crystal simply adds the molecules found in its supersaturated solution. This synthetic power of transforming small 'building stones' into the complicated compounds specific for each organism is the 'secret of life' or rather one of the secrets of life." (The Organism as a Whole, by Jacques Loeb.)
It will be explained later that one of the energetic phenomena of organic chemistry—the "mind," which is one of the energies characteristic of this class of phenomena, is "autonomous," is "self-propelling" and true to its dimensionality. If we analyse the classes of life, we readily find that there are three cardinal classes which are radically distinct in function. A short analysis will disclose to us that, though minerals have various activities, they are not "living." The plants have a very definite and well known function—the transformation of solar energy into organic chemical energy. They are a class of life which appropriates one kind of energy, converts it into another kind and stores it up; in that sense they are a kind of storage battery for the solar energy; and so I define THE PLANTS AS THE CHEMISTRY-BINDING class of life.
The animals use the highly dynamic products of the chemistry-binding class—the plants—as food, and those products—the results of plant-transformation—undergo in animals a further transformation into yet higher forms; and the animals are correspondingly a more dynamic class of life; their energy is kinetic; they have a remarkable freedom and power which the plants do not possess—I mean the freedom and faculty to move about in space; and so I define ANIMALS AS THE SPACE-BINDING CLASS OF LIFE.
And now what shall we say of human beings? What is to be our definition of Man? Like the animals, human beings do indeed possess the space-binding capacity but, over and above that, human beings possess a most remarkable capacity which is entirely peculiar to them—I mean the capacity to summarise, digest and appropriate the labors and experiences of the past; I mean the capacity to use the fruits of past labors and experiences as intellectual or spiritual capital for developments in the present; I mean the capacity to employ as instruments of increasing power the accumulated achievements of the all-precious lives of the past generations spent in trial and error, trial and success; I mean the capacity of human beings to conduct their lives in the ever increasing light of inherited wisdom; I mean the capacity in virtue of which man is at once the heritor of the by-gone ages and the trustee of posterity. And because humanity is just this magnificent natural agency by which the past lives in the present and the present for the future, I define HUMANITY, in the universal tongue of mathematics and mechanics, to be the TIME-BINDING CLASS OF LIFE.
These definitions of the cardinal classes of life are, it will be noted, obtained from direct observation; they are so simple and so important that I cannot over-emphasize the necessity of grasping them and most especially the definition of Man. For these simple definitions and especially that of Humanity will profoundly transform the whole conception of human life in every field of interest and activity; and, what is more important than all, the definition of Man will give us a starting point for discovering the natural laws of human nature—of the human class of life. The definitions of the classes of life represent the different classes as distinct in respect to dimensionality; and this is extremely important for no measure or rule of one class can be applied to the other, without making grave mistakes. For example, to treat a human being as an animal—as a mere space-binder—because humans have certain animal propensities, is an error of the same type and grossness as to treat a cube as a surface because it has surface properties. It is absolutely essential to grasp that fact if we are ever to have a science of human nature.
We can represent the different classes of life in three life coordinates. The minerals, with their inorganic activities would be the Zero (0) dimension of "life"—that is the lifeless class—here represented by the point M.
The plants, with their "autonomous" growth, to be represented by the ONE DIMENSIONAL line MP.
The animals, with their "autonomous" capacity to grow and to be active in space by the TWO DIMENSIONAL plane PAM.
The humans, with their "autonomous" capacity to grow, to be active in space AND TO BE ACTIVE IN TIME, by the THREE DIMENSIONAL region MAPH.
[ A drawing, like labeling the axes of a three-dimensional space. At the center is "(Minerals) M". At the top of the Z axis is "H (Humans)". At the end of the X axis is "P (Plants)". At the end of the Y axis is "A (Animals)". ]
Such diagrammatic illustrations must not be taken too literally; they are like figures of speech—helpful if understood—harmful if not understood. The reader should reflect upon the simple idea of dimensions until he sees clearly that the idea is not merely a thing of interest or of convenience, but is absolutely essential as a means of discriminating the cardinal classes of life from one another and of conceiving each class to be what it is instead of mixing it confusedly with something radically different. It will greatly help the reader if he will retire to the quiet of his cloister and there meditate about as follows. A line has one dimension; a plane has two; a plane contains lines and so it has line properties—one-dimensional properties—but it has other properties—two-dimensional properties—and it is these that are peculiar to it, give it its own character, and make it what it is—a plane and not a line. So animals have some plant properties—they grow, for example—but animals have other properties—autonomous mobility, for example,—properties of higher dimensionality or type—and it is these that make animals animals and not plants. Just so, human beings have certain animal properties—autonomous mobility, for example, or physical appetites—but humans have other properties or propensities—ethical sense, for example, logical sense, inventiveness, progressiveness—properties or propensities of higher dimensionality, level, or type—and it is these propensities and powers that make human beings human and not animal. When and only when this fact is clearly seen and keenly realized, there will begin the science of man—the science and art of human nature—for then and only then we shall begin to escape from the age-long untold immeasurable evils that come from regarding and treating human beings as animals, as mere binders of space, and we may look forward to an ethics, a jurisprudence and economics, a governance—a science and art of human life and society—based upon the laws of human nature because based upon the just conception of humanity as the time-binding class of life, creators and improvers of good, destined to endless advancement, in accord with the potencies of Human Nature.(9)
Humanity is still in its childhood; we have "bound" so little time in the course of the centuries, which are so brief in the scheme of the universe. At the bottom of every human activity, historical fact or trend of civilization, there lies some doctrine or conception of so-called "truth." Apples had fallen from trees for ages, but without any important results in the economy of humanity. The fact that a fallen apple hit Newton, led to the discovery of the theory of gravitation; this changed our whole world conception, our sciences and our activities; it powerfully stimulated the development of all the branches of natural and technological knowledge. Even in the event of the Newtonian laws being proved to be not quite correct, they have served a great purpose in enabling us to understand natural phenomena in a sufficiently approximate way to make it possible to build up modern technology and to develop our physical science to the point where it was necessary and possible to make a correction of the Newtonian laws.
A similar organic change in our conception of human life and its phenomena is involved in the foregoing definitions of the classes of life; they will replace basic errors with scientific truths of fundamental importance; they will form the basis for scientific development of a permanent civilization in place of the periodically convulsive so-called civilizations of the past and present. To know the cause of evil and error is to find the cure.
Chapter IV. What Is Man?
Man has ever been the greatest puzzle to man. There are many and important reasons for this fact. As the subject of this book is not a theoretical, academic study of man, of which too many have already been written, I will not recount the reasons, but will confine myself to the more pressing matters of the task in hand, which is that of pointing the way to the science and art of Human Engineering. The two facts which have to be dealt with first, are the two which have most retarded human progress: (1) there has never been a true definition of man nor a just conception of his role in the curious drama of the world; in consequence of which there has never been a proper principle or starting point for a science of humanity. It has never been realized that man is a being of a dimension or type different from that of animals and the characteristic nature of man has not been understood; (2) man has always been regarded either as an animal or as a supernatural phenomenon. The facts are that man is not supernatural but is literally a part of nature and that human beings are not animals. We have seen that the animals are truly characterized by their autonomous mobility—their space-binding capacity—animals are space-binders. We have seen that human beings are characterized by their creative power, by the power to make the past live in the present and the present for the future, by their capacity to bind time—human beings are time-binders. These concepts are basic and impersonal; arrived at mathematically, they are mathematically correct.
It does not matter at all how the first man, the first time-binder, was produced; the fact remains that he was somewhere, somehow produced. To know anything that is to-day of fundamental interest about man, we have to analyse man in three coordinates—in three capacities; namely, his chemistry, his activities in space, and especially his activities in time; whereas in the study of animals we have to consider only two factors: their chemistry and their activities in space.
Let us imagine that the aboriginal—original human specimen was one of two brother apes, A and B; they were alike in every respect; both were animal space-binders; but something strange happened to B; he became the first time-binder, a human. No matter how, this "something" made the change in him that lifted him to a higher dimension; it is enough that in some-wise, over and above his animal capacity for binding space, there was superadded the marvelous new capacity for binding-time. He had thus a new faculty, he belonged to a new dimension; but, of course, he did not realize it; and because he had this new capacity he was able to analyze his brother "A"; he observed "A is my brother; he is an animal; but he is my brother; therefore, I AM AN ANIMAL." This fatal first conclusion, reached by false analogy, by neglecting a fact, has been the chief source of human woe for half a million years and it still survives. The time-binding capacity, first manifest in B, increased more and more, with the days and each generation, until in the course of centuries man felt himself increasingly somehow different from the animal, but he could not explain. He said to himself, "If I am an animal there is also in me something higher, a spark of some thing supernatural."
With this conclusion he estranged himself, as something apart from nature, and formulated the impasse, which put him in a cul-de-sac of a double life. He was neither true to the "supernatural" which he could not know and therefore, could not emulate, nor was he true to the "animal" which he scorned. Having put himself outside the "natural laws," he was not really true to any law and condemned himself to a life of hypocrisy, and established speculative, artificial, unnatural laws.