A TREATISE ON THE CONSCIOUS IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIETY BY SOCIEY
BY LESTER FRANK WARD
GINN AND COMPANY PUBLISHER
Chinese General threatens to nuke us if we make a move on
July 16th Fox News Brit Hume interviewing Retired Commander James Auer US navy
Can the government control the military?
“[This work} . . . is a reaction against the philosophy of despair that has come to dominate even the enlightened scientific thought. It aims to point out a remedy for the general paralysis that is creeping over the world, and which too narrow a conception of the law of cosmic evolution serves rather to increase than diminish. It proclaims the efficacy of effort, provided it is guided by intelligence.”
CHAPTER ONE - RELATION OF PURE TO APPLIED SOCIOLOGY
Pure sociology is simply a scientific inquiry into the actual conditions of society. It alone can yield true social self-consciousness.
When men know what they are, what forces have molded them into their present shape and character and according to what principles of nature the creative and transforming processes have operated, they begin really to understand themselves. Thus can we tell which social conditions are (rapidly or gradually) changeable and which are fixed.
The research should go back to when the social structures were first created to see what need they were supposed to meet. -Thus we deal with the root and not the branch.--
And no social institution is an unmixed good, nor an unmixed evil
As Pure Sociology answers What, Why and How, Applied sociology answers the question, “What for?”
Pure deals with facts, causes, and principles, Applied with the object, end, or purposes.
Pure looks at the spontaneous development of society and
Applied, directing or accelerating that development.
Pure – Achievement. Applied – Improvement.
Pure is somewhat theoretical, Applied is practical. It has to do with social ideals, ethical considerations, with what ought to be.
Pure is past till now.
Applied is for the future.
All applied science is necessarily anthropocentric. Not in the false religious sense of the whole universe was made for man (that discourages action) but in the sense that the universe can be adapted to meet man’s needs.
Applied is Jeffersonian in that it seeks to enable each to live up to his / her potential.
To grasp applied, you need to grasp pure.
Comte laid down two rules. ONE is that the practical applications of the sciences increase with their complexity. TWO is that phenomena grow more susceptible to artificial modification with the increasing complexity of the phenomena. (for example social phenomena). He isn’t so sure about this one. Perhaps the reason social phenomena didn’t seem malleable is because they weren’t understood. Being more complicated they are harder to understand.
All hard sciences were pure and idle curiosities until applied.
And sociology is a science and not an art.
A sociologist can deal with the burning question of the hour. But as soon as he takes sides he ceases to be a sociologist. Spencer did this too much. His prejudice and feelings are all over it. His synthetic Philosophy is really like this.
The same thing could be said about socialism. Their radical and abrupt changes are not tried at a small scale first. The socialists are a political party, not a science.
Superiority of the Artificial
Using wind to grind corn, as opposed to letting it go its natural route is an example. All science does this. Our words are more abstract than older languages. They were out and out symbols. Words are artificial. Animal justice is no justice at all.
CHAPTER TWO – THE EFFICACY OF EFFORT
In pure sociology we learned that the most important principle of social dynamics is effort. But its dynamic effect from the standpoint of pure sociology is unintended.
Applied assumes that the effort is consciously and intentionally directed to the improvement of the social condition.
Laissez faire says all such efforts are bad or a waste. They say the interest of the individual is the same as that of the public. Therefore, the public interest is only secured by the free activity of the individual. No one has gone so far as to include criminal activity.
Evolution seeming to take care of itself has led to pessimism. He thinks the Laissez Faire people doth protest too much. They note that some laws have been repealed for lack of efficacy. That shows the good sense of social action. And they will not admit that even the post office or economic management of any sort have been of a benefit!?! They are too one sided.
CHAPTER THREE – END OR PURPOSE OF SOCIOLOGY
Huxley says that insomuch as actions have effects and we have reduced bad ones, we can by that token also add good ones.
Progress Versus Evolution
His definition, unlike Spencer’s, is to turn inorganic matter into organic matter. The poor may be happier than the rich (so Spencer’s definition fails).
Schopenhauer pessimistically says that misery increases with social and intellectual development. The socialists argue things that folks will never go for on the basis of ideas that have never been tried. We need the human race to be conscious of its situation. And it must be based on science.
Achievement Versus Improvement
You must know how you got here (Pure Soc) then you can know what the future might be.
At first strength, then cunning and now intelligence determines your place in the world. All mankind should benefit from achievements.
Definition of Justice
Those who say the smarter get what they deserve, ignore the lesser are going back to natural justice of the stronger prevalent in the animal world. Our civil justice is proof of the superiority of the artificial over the natural.
The Oligocentric World View
WE shouldn’t overemphasize the intellectual at the expense of the moral. Inequalities are now looked upon as intellectual. Superiority and inferiority refer to this quality. But this is oligarchy, not aristocracy. They are not superior morally.
Social Versus Political Justice
Our civil and political inequalities have been fairly well removed by political justice. Now we must establish social justice. Social inequalities can be removed by an extension of the same policy by which the former were removed.
The welfare or happiness of mankind consists entirely in the freedom to exercise the natural faculties. The old idea that happiness is a negative state – a state of rest or repose – is completely exploded. That view is a holdover from slavery and overwork.
All want is deprivation (ie hunger). The deprivation is misery.
From this subjective side the whole upward movement of society has been in the direction of acquiring freedom in three stages: National, political and social.
Until the nation gets sovereignty, not of the subsequent steps can be taken. These nations often have extreme inequalities and domination.
But therein individual liberty is at its minimum.
When the middle or business class arise we get political freedom.
Social freedom is next and much more difficult and subtle to attain than the others. These are largely economic forces guided by individual interest. They cannot enter the political arena until some consensus is achieved. Then they are the subjects of sociology.
The New Ethics
Primitive morality was simply race morality. It dealt with the sentiments attached to custom for race safety. It had nothing to do with sympathy or feeling, happiness or misery, only safety and salvation.
He went to a meeting and all was expressed in terms of abstract rights. Such talk has restrained social action. It cloaks hypocrisy and exploitation.
The new ethics are more utilitarian. Now we must reduce misery. Later we will attend to pleasure.
There is ordinary moral conduct and then there is a superior order called benevolence. It gives high moral satisfaction. It is still altruistic even though feeling great. So may be called the luxury of altruism (as not all have the means). And leads to snobbery.
This is mostly patchwork. We need to hit the roots. This is the new ethic’s terrain.
The Claims of Feeling
Some feelings follow function. In such cases the attention is on the function.
Some feelings go in place of function. This is why feeling is associated with evil and asceticism starts. It rests on the false assumption that feeling doesn’t encourage function.
And many feelings (spiritual ones) do not slow function or affect it at all.
Philosophy has been going more and more towards the subjective and claims of feeling.
Puritanism and the lack of leisure for our professional classes notwithstanding.
Utilitarianism is smeared as hedonism, so we must include moral, esthetic and intellectual pleasures.
The animal world lives in a pain economy. Function is all and feeling nothing. Below the apparent peace is the struggle for existence (thought they are not aware of it). Many are born and few survive to old age. They all have big strategies to avoid danger. All are constantly ready to flee. One part devours the other.
Humans in the savage state are not much better off. The natives did not live in paradise of freedom and joy before civilized men came (right). ”All savage races are abject slaves to a thousand delusions and superstitions and are prohibited by a vast network of ceremonials and prescriptions from any true liberty of movement or action. These multitudinous prohibitions and restraints are enforced by the severest penalties, and no one dares to infract the laws of a remorseless custom.” Pg 33.
“Primitive man, too, is almost always at war. We know very few races in a stage so idyllic that the era of conquest and subjugation has not already been ushered in. Every tribe is thirsting for the blood of other tribes. A state of peace is almost unknown.” P 34.
But folks argue for inequality and war based on function. In a pain economy, the pains exceed the pleasures. If your society has more pain than pleasure, it is like a business running at a loss. We don’t just keep working to maintain the state of the business. Hoping for zero change.
The remedy for pessimism is recognizing the claims of feeling. The purpose of applied sociology is to get rid of the deficit and then of accumulating the maximum possible surplus.
CHAPTER FOUR – SOCIAL ACHIEVEMENT
Nearly all advances can be traced to individuals, whose success is traced to earlier individuals. Saint Simon says that if we got rid of all bureaucrats we wouldn’t affect civilization materially. He is right, but this doesn’t mean that they have no value or significance for civilization. They can be replaced. This is not the case with men of science, art and letters. But all labor within the social order. Without it none of us could do anything.
Individuals seek to benefit themselves and societies should do the same. The extent to which we do is due to collective intelligence.
Intelligence is a compound of the capacity for knowledge and knowledge itself.
CHAPTER FIVE – WORLD VIEWS
It is often said that ideas rule the world, but this is true only of world ideas. The highest and brightest ideas, the most profound and important thoughts of any age or people, have scarcely any influence upon the world. That is because they belong to a very few, and are not shared by the mass of mankind. No thought has any appreciable social effect except it be actually possessed by society.
Interpretation of History
The two schools here are the material and the intellectual. Few have realized that they may both be true.
Reconciliation of the Economy and Ideological Interpretations of History
Comte held that ideas rule the world. Spencer opposed this. He said the world is governed or overthrown by feelings. Ideas serve only as guides. Actually Spencer misunderstood Comte and he agreed that feelings are the dynamic agent in social forces.
Comte saw the power of theological ideas to govern the world (in the first of his three stages : theological, metaphysical and positive).
But positive ideas don’t rule the world. A small group of folks hold them. His positive philosophy might have been renamed, ‘A Plan for the Conversion of Positive Ideas into World Ideas’ or ‘A Plan for Making Scientific Thought as Universal as Religious Thought has been’.
The sum of ideas in any country at any given time constitutes the Zeitgeist. Public opinion is on the issue de jour. Zeitgeist is on what is already settled, democracy, monogamy etc.
If the intellect is not a force but only a guide, it may be asked how ideas can move anything. The answer was given in Pure Sociology. The ideas that embody feelings move the world. But this is poetry. It leaves only a vague sense of truth in the mind. The idea forces are feelings prompted by ideas instead of by external stimuli.
Beliefs are more independent of proof than opinions. They rest on interest. What is interest? Feeling. World views grow out of feelings. They are the bulwarks of race safety. You cannot argue men out of them.
It is this element of interest that links ideological and economic interpretations of history. Belief or ideas when purely intellectual are not a force. For force status it needs to be linked to a desire. The belief doesn’t cause the desire. The reverse is nearly true. Desires are economic (even religious) in the broad sense of mental security.
No action can be performed without a motive or desire.
We cannot say economics just determine the world with no reference to the ideas and actions they instigate.
The difference between oriental and western civilizations
isn’t due to intelligence (everyone knows that), but due to world views.
One Asiatic race has realized that national strength comes from the study of matter and has acted upon it with greatness. They are contributing as much to science as anyone else. Their switch (he must be referring to the Japanese) shows that ideas do really make, lead, and move the world.
CHAPTER SIX – TRUTH AND ERROR
Before rationality was reached all the other faculties were well developed. But the germ of reason at last sprouts. It is difficult to conceive of the slowness of the dawning of rationality. The pre-human, like animals, must of considered nature solely in terms of his desires and their satisfaction. He lived, after all, in a pain economy where the ruling motive was fear and goal self-preservation.
Horses are freaked when near moving trains. We are calm. We have a rational faculty. Early man may have gotten it, but was afraid of many natural phenomena. Most animals ignore all but the most obvious material conditions. But wind and sun and night must have been objects of contemplation to early rational man. Here is said that religion and early science have a similar root.
Early man moved via muscles. All must then move due to animation.
Leaves tremble, waves dash upon the rocks. The river rolls and the clouds fly. This is anthropomorphic. Leaves tremble due to their will. HERE HE ANTICIPATES ‘METAPHORS WE LIVE BY Lakoff and Johnson!!!
Thus, moving, they must be living beings.
Religions being world wide, it is not learned. There are two primary causes. Each individual, first, thinks that he has a double in a spirit (subjective). The second, discussed above, means that the objective world has spirits detached as well.
Echoes, reflections and sleep are evidence of his double. Greeks and Romans used the word for shadow and spirit interchangeably.
Metamorphosis (night/day, moon disappears, clouds change) is accepted and causes/ reasons for natural phenomena are created but they are not sufficient reasons.
The ease with which children absorb legend stories speaks to the not default state of scientific logic. Hence all religions of all types are created.
He uses religious to distinguish it from earlier theologies. All have priests of a tint. Primitive man is living in a fear based pain economy.
He makes clothes and weapons for protection but has no escape from spiritual powers. Ever present inscrutable and intangible. How can the wishes of this force be known? A mediator. In a scary world, anyone claiming power of control would be easily listened to. This was done to bring greater satisfaction of desire.
In successfully organizing man, this early religion showed that error could be useful. This shows that truth isn’t always useful and error always bad. We had to go through religion to get here.
Great men are of science are only possible due to earlier blunders. Earlier religious men convinced them that they knew all there was to know.
Senses don’t err because they don’t reason.
---------Consequences of error--------------
These are errors humans never make. One is sacrificing humans at the funerals of chieftains. This gets worse as we get into states. Spencer lists tribes that do it as does Letourneau. They both talk of Aztecs and Incas. It is a totally held world view. There are no dissenters among savages.
People also get all their possessions buried with them and then ruin their families. They also erect really costly tombs. Herodotus mentions one that kept 100,000 men working for 20 years. Tens of thousands died.
-Self-mutilation. For grief, initiation or contrition.
-Asceticism. Thoroughly egoistic.
animal worship. In 1899 24,621 persons
died from snake bites in
-Witchcraft. And witch killings
-Persecution. Religious mostly of heretics done in an attempt to make opinions uniform.
-Resistance to Truth.
The mass of primitive error was the result of false interpretation of natural phenomena. Prosecution of unchristian ideas may have caused the cautious nature in science (verify, verify, verify, publish).
-Obscurantism. Censorship and prohibition in the press. This is church stuff. Helvetius said, it is only in the prohibited books that the truth is found.
The papal index Liborum Prohibitorum is
-Another is male dominated (androcentric) world view under which women suffer. Killing women who have babies out of wedlock for example.
Health should be catching instead of disease. But error is contagious. But very few study science. Some in the business world do. Most folk are running after some fad. Ignorance is comparatively safe. It is error that does the mischief. Truth is unattractive and error charms with false hopes. So it is hard to compete against.
The truth is the only real hope. It is truth that should be made attractive, alluring, contagious.
World ideas control action and do not conflict with economic ones.
All progress is again, the elimination of error and substitution of truth.
Most progress though is via inventions that penetrate materially, but do not bring truth to the lower strata. It is of great economic, but little social, value.
CHAPTER SEVEN – SOCIAL APPROPRIATION OF TRUTH
The totality of human actions is governed by the totality of human knowledge. – Buckle
Material civilization is on the whole progressive. We saw the new ethics is going in the direction of abandoning the ethics of restraint and sacrifice and adopting an ethics of liberation and social betterment. This view is not pessimistic. It is melioristic. But the spontaneous improvement of society, even when aided by science, is slow.
Possession of Truth
Truth is the natural antidote to error (I wish). He acknowledges that many well informed people still cling to the error. People hold incompatible views. Kant said history is deterministic but human individuals have free will. Kepler believed each planet was guided by a spirit.
The motives for these false beliefs are hard to discern but have something to do with the mental atmosphere in which men live.
For progress we nee complete possession of truth and absolute faith in the laws of nature. Causes must be recognized.
What is universal, therefore, is the faculty of causality, and there is no occasion for trying to strengthen that faculty. What is needed is the ability to tell between true causes and false causes. Most false causes grow out of the belief in spiritual beings. Science has already killed animism.
The world emerged from the Dark Ages via heresy. It was doubt. And until doubt was entertained progress was impossible. Widespread science became possible when doubt in the supernatural became more widespread. God is now relegated to smaller quarters of influence than previously.
Relation of Knowledge to Truth
Both error and truth are both drawn from fact. False conclusions are drawn from little knowledge. In general this is called ignorance or lack of intelligence. The intelligent always outnumber the ignorant. They are as a rule very poor, but industrious and overworked. The others are well-to-do and do light, intellectual labor if they work at all.
The intelligent control society and see this set up as natural. Benjamin Kidd may be the sole exception. He sees the elite of modern society as intellectually inferior to antiquity.
The intelligent classes do possess a certain amount of practical knowledge which they use for their personal advantage. They forecast business interests. They care not for reform and are quite satisfied with the current state of things.
The lower classes are so unorganized and inefficient that they cannot formulate a rational demand. And they have no idea whom to present it to. SO they turn to violence.
There isn’t much hope for reform as long as society consists of these two sides. Intelligence will rule and exploitation will continue.
The poor often worship and have false consciousness about the reason for their plight. And beyond this they are religious. He concedes this ‘two types’ explanation is a simplification.
The proposition that the lower classes of society are the intellectual equals of the upper classes will probably shock most minds. The difference in intelligence is not due to difference in intellect. It is due to difference in mental equipment, knowledge. Society has never been organized to transmit knowledge of the big advances and achievements of a civilization into more than a relatively small amount of heads. Except with the GI bill.
This is upheld, again, by the false argument that there must be the poor to labor.
---------------The Rise of the Proletariat----------------------
The proletariat are hardly mentioned in history books. The first revolutions were lead by the business class. They did not accept their being inferior to the aristocracy. Now the proles are coming into consciousness.
Universal education is making this possible. He votes. Barriers of birth are being broken. The preceding was from Benjamin Kidd. But Kidd attributes it to humanitarianism more than the spread of intelligence. He repeats Comte saying man is getting more and more religious.
Instead of the submerged 9 tenths. He now sees the submerged 8 tenths. One tenth is elite and one – tenth is newly empowered. He sees no reason if all were given the same background that we couldn’t all be on par. Class distinctions are totally artificial.
------------------Capacity for Truth---------------------------
You do not need a towering intellect to hold your place in
the vanguard of society. Today a young
man leaving our schools knows more about mathematics than
Even scientific research just takes average brains and discipline. Helvetius maintained that all truth is within the reach of all men. Really hard to grasp esoteric knowledge is likely to have little practical value.
A reviewer said that few boys could get Euclidian geometry. He has letters from a Principal and a teacher saying all their students get geometry sufficiently to pass. Another letter says the writer went to school with rich and poor mixed and that the poor often beat up the rich at math.
Differences are in the amount of background the student has upon entering the classroom.
On page 108 of Applied Sociology he advocates the blending of all races into one. On page 110, concluding the first part of the book, he writes,
“It is not therefore proved that the intellectual equality, which can be safely predicated of all classes in the white race, in the yellow race, or in the black race, each taken by itself, cannot also be predicated of all races taken together, and it is still more clear that there is no race and no class of human beings who are incapable of assimilating the social achievement of mankind and of profitably employing the social heritage.” Pg 110
CHAPTER EIGHT – POTENTIAL ACHIEVEMENT
While applied sociology has to do with improvement rather than achievement, still it is evident that improvement must largely come through a great extension of achievement, especially through multiplication of those who take part in it.
With equality given, we must admit that mediocrity is the rule and few engage in more. So we are not running to maximum efficiency. Though some would say we are.
But look at
As a researcher his task is hard; He must show the unrealized potential to achieve via those that have.
More than ability must be there for genius to be realized. The moral qualities of will, resolution, application, prolonged attention, perseverance, clear conceptions of the end and purpose.
He uses genius to mean “mental power or faculties” It includes intellectual capacity plus moral character and second opportunity. Galton leaves out the second part.
Galton maintains that genius will find opportunity. [ala the bell curve] and Galton lists folks that have risen [LFW is should have been one] from obscurity.
In one article with twins Galton wonders if nurture can do anything at all.
His method struggles because he says that it is hereditary, but those that rise from obscurity often have unaccomplished parents and children.
To this Galton says genius is often blended with one parents mediocrity or recessive. So, two genius parents won’t necessarily make a genius child. But when the right two parents blend in the right way, genius won’t be stopped.
All the elements of success not belonging to ‘nature’. Galton uses for nature ‘pre-efficients. So Ward will make up for nurture, ‘post-efficients’.
Plants make excellent weeds in farms due to lack of competition.
He uses the unfortunate example of corn coming from the new world where they were small to the old world environs where they grew big. I think this was due to selective breeding. Galton asks if an acorn given the right environ could be a cabbage?
LFW found wheat in the city that didn’t even look like wheat due to unfavorable environ. It missed the fostering artificial environ of the monocrop farm.
Nurture is not only coddling of the weak, but freeing of the strong.
CHAPTER NINE –
Sociologists can do nothing about the fixed quantity of natural genius and so focus exclusively on the nurturing environment.
Again, the intellect guides the will (desire) and therein is achievement. In the same way genius is guided by intellect.
Role of the Environment
We must synthesize, (as men naturally bifurcate and take sides) the nature and nurture extremes.
It is man’s combined influence on his environment and himself that chiefly constitutes civilization. The level of civilization is a nature, but it must be nurtured.
The Agents of Civilization
Civilizations are the result of the agencies of men. Saying it consists of things is a view worthy of medieval times. It is of men and sustained by the acts of all men, not just the few. The numbers who originate are very small.
What is the role of the great man? It is absurd to talk of blind natural forces propelling society unless we put great men under this heading. Brain drains are significant factors to watch. If you cannot retain your progressive spirits your nation is doomed to decay.
Hero worshippers have weakened their cause by worshiping political and military men who may change the map and serve functions, but aren’t the true agents of civilization. In his Civil War experience when the leaders were gone, others took over just fine.
The Literature of
-----------The method of Discussion-----------------
He will use statistics, hypothesis and even Hegelian synthesis.
Galton lists greats in his family [first cousin Darwin] and others within family trees. Galton’s claim that genius will win out no matter what was challenged by others.
After Galton’s book, Hereditary Genius, he sent out a questionnaire to eminent men of science about their families. He found first born sons do better and actually attributed this to their having had the best environments within their families. LFW mentions William James’ contributions to the discussion, but doesn’t well delineate what those are.
Galton’s hereditary trip leads him to eugenics [often seen as the father of it] and really impractical programs.
LFW environ trip leads to sociology and creating an environ conducive to maximizing what is.
Lombroso wrote of genius and insanity and makes genius pathological and less due to environs than even Galton. But he is a blowhard, not a man of science.
Prof. Alfred Odin also wrote a book on this that LFW really thought objective.
Back to these. Every author has chosen different factors.
De Condolle lists twenty.
They range from rich folks that are satisfied with their wealth and so indulge in research, to publics favorable to science to religious belief not based on authority, to a clergy not restricted to celibacy to, trilingualism, to the habit of traveling, to large numbers of academic institutions to a geographic position close to other civilized countries.
In this list, De Candolle is obviously describing his own surroundings!
Were he in
LFW will consider seven:
1 – The physical environment, 2 – The ethnological environment, 3 – the religious environment, 4- the local environment, 5- the economic environment, 6 – the social environment and 7- the educational environment.
Most make a list and have no facts. He will use Professor Odin’s facts for much
of this discussion. He uses 6382 men of
letters from the
--------------The Physical environment-------------
This is often put up against the great man theory, but with
When we break
--------------The Ethnological Environment------------
Nearly all say that different races vary in intelligence
more than in physical appearance!
Not satisfied he looked to areas with different dialects for difference. Here some areas produced less, but they didn’t produce less than some all French areas, so no affect.
He then includes areas surrounding
-------------------------The Religious Environment---------------------
He tests Jews and Christians and then Catholics v. Protestants. Here he must take church persecution into account. The Protestants have done less than the Catholics and should then have more. But let’s see. People have mixed ideas about the affect of celibacy. Comte defended it. Galton considered celibacy to be suicide of the best.
DeCandolle lists eminent children of Protestant pastors that wouldn’t have been born in Catholic areas.
Truly the list (Hobbes, Emerson, Swift and Linnaeus, Christopher Wren) has some luminaries we’d miss. Perhaps they would have been born illegitimately; Galton would say this would have no effect. But illegitimacy is a huge bar to achievement whether right or wrong.
To say that the environment would have produced these men anyhow, seems to have no evidence either.
Odin points out that while Protestant clergy families have to put a lot of time into raising families, Catholic clergy don’t have to.
But he neglects the emotional stability of family life and the insanity caused by loneliness that may incline one to mysticism.
Odin shows that Protestant Clergy make up a higher percentage of men of letters than Catholic clergy. This and four other analysis lead him to conclude that the Protestant religion is more conducive than the Catholic to men of letters status, but the evidence isn’t incontrovertible.
-----------------The Local Environment--------------------------
There is a theory that density is conducive to genius. Comte held this. Spencer talked about it in regards to fertility. Durkheim looked at it from the standpoint of the division of labor. More density = more specialization. He had pure material density, then specialized density called “dynamic density’ like the silicon valley to computers.
Mr. Jacoby does a study that he starts by noting that the population pressures make folk leave the farm for the city where life is lived by brain and so relative civilization of the country climbs. But not all densities are as concentrated as others.
Jacoby only does the 18th century but includes all sorts of men of distinction. Jacoby comes back but unsure about the density thing.
Yet Odin does a reread of Jacoby’s info and finds that with a single exception cities bring more fecundity of ideas
than the country. The cities have
produced 12.77 times the amount per 100,000 of the city. LFW dreams of what if all of
A different look shows that fecundity of the city does not depend upon size or density. Durkheim was wrong.
Odin shows it is in cities that have been the centers of political, ecclesiastical or judiciary administration; they have higher institutions of learning, libraries museums, book stores etc. Finally they are cities that have a high percentage of wealth.
Finally, he shows the pattern is the same for Women of
letters, but here
Odin does less thorough searches and concludes the same for
------------------------The Economic Environment----------------------
The material conditions surrounding discoverers is rarely hit upon by biographers. But we can assume that someone was footing the bill for their research time. The heroes of Homer were all men of intense wealth. Aeschylus and Sophocles were Generals in the Army and would alternate between fighting and writing. The church and then universities subsidized men of letters.
For 100 foreigners in the
Galton emphasized primogeniture. But that means they inherit their father’s fortune.
Odin had trouble figuring out people’s financial beginnings for those he could find, the poor were less, but their numbers have increased through out the century. This seems to show economics (not just genes) matter. For that reason Odin says, “Genius is in things, not in man.”
This is historical materialism.
------------------------The Social Environment-------------------
Social and economic environment tend to run in parallel. So it is hard to distinguish the two. Here he uses Galton’s statistics. But it is weird because the source of income is always other than that of science. Odin does it by parents profession. There were four sons of kings, but also four jewelers and four coopers. Actually 9.8 percent were laborers and 11.6 business class. He says while nobility produce 24.5 percent of talent they produce 30.4 percent of genius. But the laborers really eat it when considered in relation to their proportion of the population 0.8%. He found the same in other countries. This shows, says LFW, the enormous strength of opportunity.
--------------------The Educational Environment-----------------------
It is often held now that true genius will educate itself regardless of education.
Odin said the intellectual infrastructure was by far the most powerful immediate effect on genius. Cities with higher schools and universities in particular produce the most men of letters. We considered at length and found the physical, religious and ethnological environments not to be important. Odin notes that men of letters tend to down play the educational infrastructure affect. But they do it by stories. He has positive evidence of it being the big factor in the local environment. A more striking proof is its effect upon women of letters.
Wealth brings leisure, but it is often spent in idleness. The
real difference is education. Galton and Spencer seem to say it has almost no
effect, but are both nearly overeducated.
But of the 827 men of talent Ribot looked at
from 1301 to 1825 811 had a good education and 15-16 didn’t. That is 98 per cent of the talented authors
No geniuses stayed in the country and achieved
Genius is an unchangeable quantity. Education available we can change at will.
This sort of survey needs to go from men of letters to men of arts and men of science and be world wide. Biographies of great men need to cover the economic history and support of these people.
Society itself should conduct a searching and continuous investigation of the agents of civilization.
CHAPTER TEN – THE
The history of the world is the history of great men – Thomas Carlyle
We now know what the environmental factors leading to achievement are.
1 -Centers of population containing special intellectual stimuli and facilities
2- Ample material means insuring freedom from care, economic security, leisure, and the wherewithal to supply the apparatus of research;
3-social position such as is capable of producing a sense of self respect and dignity needed to compete (not mentioned in the previous chapter)
4 – Careful and prolonged intellectual training during youth.
-----------------------The Resources of Society-------------------
The resources are made of the quantity and the quality of talent that exist in the world. Quality is evenly distributed in the world. The quantity reaching their genius can be increased.
Using Galton’s numbers there is one man of genius for every 60,000 in society. The figures are really hard to calculate with current figures, but it must be between 5 and 6 times Galton’s estimate. And when we talk of potential we can raise that one hundred fold. Only about ten percent of our potential has been mined. Ten percent more are somewhat developed and 80 percent lay nearly wholly undeveloped.
We saw that 98% of the men of talent in
AND WE HAVE excluded ½ of humanity! Women have ben very much excluded. Galton completely ignores them. De Candolle devotes 2 of 576 pages to them. Odin scientifically shows them to be a serious subject of neglect.
The androcentric (male centered) world view, shared by men and women alike, acts as a wet blanket on all the genial fire of the female sex. And since their intellect may be different in quality, we may more than double the number of social agents. (1 in 250)
And further failing in our calculations are that genius happens in gradations. Short of total genius we would get many quasi-genius. These would boost the opportunity for genius.
We can thus get beyond this two-tier intellectual and proletariat division.
-----------------------The Fallacy of History---------------------
History may be defined as the record of exceptional phenomena. Such events are to be wholly uncaused. If the cause can be pinpointed it loses interest. It was this way with natural history at first, only the bizarre was paid attention to. Museums were curios shops.
Biography is one type of history. Heroes said to be great independent of circumstance.
-----------------Relativity of Genius----------------------------
He is into the blank slate thing, though he says it isn’t wholly exact. Perhaps our brains are more like soil without seed in them yet [botanists!!!!]. The quality of the soil is the hereditary part. Left alone, the soil will only get those seeds that float by. It will be tangled and random like nature. But perhaps we can grow a full and useful crop!
Perhaps if is better, Odin wrote, if we stop using the phrase ‘achievement of genius’ as it lends too much credence to inborn talent.
LFW thinks perhaps we use this phrase because naturalists like categories.
-----------------Genius Present in All Classes----------------------------------
Genius rising from obscurity doesn’t prove you need no cultivation, it proves genius is present in all classes.
----------------------Not Genius, but Achievement------------------------------
Sociologists, in fact, care nothing about Genius, only achievement. All work is at bottom mental. We don’t live as animals.
Special aptitude is needed for writing literature, but in the various sciences, outside of mathematics, anyone with the proper training and adequate facilities can prosecute scientific research.
And this is the field of real achievement. Nothing found is science is useless and we should expect benefits from more of it.
All of this is now a truism and we should ask, how do we increase the number of these dynamic agents of society?
The two principle forms of opportunity are leisure and education. Before formal schools this was the prerequisite to education. It began with priesthoods. Now officials with tenure have it and even more recently, businessmen have it.
-----------------The Instinct of Workmanship-----------------------------
This phrase is borrowed from Thorstein Veblen. In theory of the working class, he apologized for sports due to their predatory nature, though realizing that they do require workmanship.
The dynamic source of joy (feeling prompting action) is the normal exercise of the faculties. So leisure will always involve activity. If it isn’t work, it will be sport. Enforced nothing (prison) is a torture that results in ennui.
Schopenhauer says that want is the scourge of the lower classes and ennui that of the upper. Torments of hell v. ennui of heaven.
Adversity is not needed for people to work. The instinct of workmanship, if only to avoid ennui, spurs good men to action.
Contrary to popular opinion. Scientific work takes as much education as literary work. REALLY!
For pages he has eminent folk testifying to how important education is.
Macaulay says, “The gross ignorance of the common people is the principal cause of danger to our persons and property. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to care that the common people shall not be grossly ignorant.”
“Promote, then , as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”
He says the preceding is from George Washington’s farewell address, but I couldn’t find it there.
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of
civilization, it expects what never was and never will be” That, I know, is
Here he wants to look at self-made men and men for whom there has been ample opportunity.
It is commonly said that all have opportunity but only some grab it. Those who become nothing, in reality, did not always miss an opportunity.
-------------------The Alleged Self-Made Men------------------------
Finding examples of these is difficult, more difficult than it would be were it true.
The facts of the last chapter showed this. One of Galton’s examples is misinformed. The fellow in question had a good allowance
from his family. Another example
Galton’s was also doubtful. Robert Burns
was said to be one at 16. But we don’t
know how he learned to read and write.
John Bunyan is an example, but he only wrote ‘pilgrim’s progress’ and
though of great feeling, it is not genius.
Haydn is another example that is misleading. His father had a harp; he was in a local
choir and entered into a music school in
Had Shakespeare not had to leave his town he wouldn’t have ended up with actors and been a playwright.
In the case of the 16 French men of letters from humble beginnings, in every case there was a substitute for education.
If Spencer had not happened to possess private means, the law of Survival of the Fittest and Free Trade would have strangled the Synthetic Philosophy in its cradle. Principles of Psychology was possible due to a legacy from an uncle. And First Principles came from another uncle’s death. He was the son of a teacher who drilled him at home.
Further illustrations seem unnecessary.
Descartes had a small fortune.
Adam Smith was in school his whole life.
Galileo was from a good family, well educated and professor for life.
----------------The Power of Circumstances-----------------------
He is going to argue that the brain can be strengthened or weakened by circumstances.
The brain is a receptacle and knowledge is its contents. The box may be of differing material, but nearly all boxes can hold something and if you don’t put anything in it . . .
The contents may be of greater value than the boxes.
The scientific view that no brain can be changed, ignores content.
Wild children with no exposure to humans are rare and don’t speak. But beyond language, they would know nothing and be considered fools.
The Power of Circumstances
He says that this is what separates people. Lots of anecdotes and quotes back this up. Those who say progress is due to improvement in individuals are wrong. We are not more brilliant than ancients. All reformatories and such are based upon this idea.
-----------------The Mother of Circumstances-----------------
That is knowing about the field, you may potentially make your mark in. If you are born in an uncivilized area, you wouldn’t know about it. So many born in such regions could be great authors, philosophers, scientist or inventors, if they only knew such things existed.
Or what of poor folk in civilized countries?
LFW grew up in
People are different in talent, but professionally, more importantly in tastes. One does better work in areas of their own choosing.
Difficult as it is to forecast someone’s potential, it is even more difficult to forecast their taste.
So we must make it easy for people to try many things.
Sumner was a disciple of Spencer’s and also hostile to the lower classes. Even he thought rights should be equal and chances should be too. He said instead of redistributing acquisitions, we should redistribute opportunities. I would say we’ve done a pretty good job of this but, opportunities, second third chances must be balanced with consequences. Otherwise you don’t take them seriously.
Kidd says this destination is natural direction of social evolution (which would make it pure sociology), but everything is ‘natural’. Better push it.
The economic test is the final one. But here he can only talk of means and not ends. Of four things he will propose, only one will deal with the end. This may disappoint readers.
Equalization of wealth is a crazy goal. Equal rights is a hollow goal. As long as there is access and no access to the social heritage of truth and ideas of history, the great mass are shut out from all the light the human achievement has shed upon the world.
The equalization of opportunity means the equalization of intelligence. Until that happens all attempts at material equalization are hopeless.
CHAPTER ELEVEN – RECONCILIATION OF ACHIEVEMENT WITH IMPROVEMENT
So far we have spoken of achievement. That is pure sociology.
Part two sort of dealt with possibilities of change. It was more applied.
Now we go into improvement and applied land.
Leisure and socialist philosophers say that society doesn’t make one happy.
Optimists say it is as good as it can be and pessimists say there is no hope for improvement.
He has taken a middle ground; that civilization is upon the whole progressive. And the improvement so far has been a sort of accidental overflow.
Now it is the job of applied sociology to show that achievement and improvement should go hand in hand. Improvement may advance more rapidly than achievement.
The vast majority are blasé about scientific achievements because they know nothing of them. So we see only a small part of the advantages.
Ethical Character of All Science
We hear of science for its own sake. But there is always an ulterior purpose, and that purpose is ethical in the sense that it relates to feeling.
The intellect always is indirect. It looks to a means for the end of a feeling.
All science realizes that the end cannot be achieved directly. So you must devise means.
Whereas scientific pursuits will eventually benefit mankind. Social sciences are to do so immediately.
For Comte, science was just a means to an action. Whereas Durkheim apparently saw sociology as a science without a purpose. One way to reconcile these sides is to only do science during pure sociology and then have an eye to improvement with Applied. But some say no. It is all with an eye to improvement. All statements to the contrary are dishonest.
But the army of investigators (in all fields) whether they intend it or not, lead to progress. But this progress may be misapplied and wasted. Applied must show how this can be avoided. By the end of exploitation due to ignorance.
Assimilation of Achievement
Well if society isn’t so hot at assimilating the achievements of a few men how can they assimilate the achievements of many? The conditions to increased achievement imply and involve its assimilation. When achievement isn’t so isolated, it will be harder to contain and easier to appreciate adapt and adopt.
While there is often overproduction, that is in relation to what folks can afford, not what they want. Equality will increase markets. Overproduction equals want, hunger and misery. It is the consequence of poor distribution. If we appreciate genius, you can never have too many.
All this shows the superiority of the logic of opportunity over that of genius.
CHAPTER TWELVE - METHOD OF APPLIED SOCIOLOGY
If he has sparked interest, in a way his job is done. Being of average intelligence, he doesn’t think himself much better at devising plans than others of reasonable intelligence.
Furthermore, initial plans are rarely correct. Plans and methods have to be worked over and over, cautiously tested and watched. Showing improvement in the condition is a practical concept is enough.
If you read Dynamic Sociology, you know much of what he would propose. Since then he has dropped some ideas. But, it is on the whole accurate.
It is applied science in distinction from art.
He quotes a critic that says his education panacea is trite, but he works it so well that it makes his books worthwhile.
Society now records and remembers better than
He regrets again the limits of the word education. He doesn’t just mean school learning. And this requires positive instruction. Learning through experience is the slow way. His early work in education was a sort of intuition.
Administration of the Social Estate
The method of applied sociology is the administration of the social estate. That is the social heritage, human achievement, which consists of the knowledge that has been brought into the world by the labors of the elite of mankind, but should be bequeathed to all of mankind equally.
There is a difference between spiritual and material wealth. Having the former does not diminish the latter. A problem is specialization of the elite. This causes folks to know nothing of the possessions of the other.
As regards skills (the how stuff) it is mostly statical and we do well with it. There is also expert knowledge which we needn’t make more universal.
This is specialized knowledge that the law of division of labor has restricted to where it is profitable.
What then is the social heritage? What knowledge is it the duty of society to extend to all its members without exception? He can give guidelines only.
Men should know laws and principles. When these are known, the details find their place. Details with out laws and principles creates chaos and disempowerment.
----------------------The Order of Nature-----------------------
The most general knowledge is the most practical.
Also as in Outlines of Sociology, the order of nature is the primary rule of pedagogy.
Schopenhauer said the law of causation is the only innate one. LFW thus thinks cause and effect should be emphasized. Unrelated facts are tedious. Cause relates a charm that carries the young mind. It is also easier to retain.
What are the causal relationships between the sciences. In order of dependence and subordination these are:
1- Astronomy, 2 – Physics, 3- Chemistry – 4 biology, 5- psychology, 6- sociology.
These, it should be apparent, stand in inverse order of their degrees of exactness. Astronomy being the most exact and sociology the least.
They also diminish in generality and increase in complexity from astronomy to sociology.
Each contains phenomena not contained in the previous, but grows out of it. This is a causal relationship. There are others that would be classes under these six headings. Geology goes under astronomy. Botany and zoology to biology. Economics, history and pedagogy are special social sciences and belong to sociology.
Logic and mathematics are not sciences, but norms. They would run through whatever you study. They are aids. They are abstract for they deal only with the hypothetical.
Comte says the use of math is the criterion for the exactness (positivity) of all the sciences.
----------------------------The Diffusion of Knowledge-----------------------------
Diffusion of knowledge is safe. When it is in the hands of the few it may be dangerous.
A large part of the war of the world is over stuff that has been long settled in the minds of those who have no means of placing the rest in possession of these truths.
But it is not their duties, it is societies.
He condemns private schools, but not the motives that create them. It is sectarian propaganda or humanitarian, these schools are doing what society has failed to do.
All education institutions have been and remain chaotic. False notions prevail as to what education is and is for. Then rubbish is forced upon the learner.
A report meant to settle notions of pedagogy came out from what was called the “committee of ten”. Albion Small condemns it in words LFW likes.
“The report presents a classified catalogue of subjects good for study, but there is no apparent conception of the cosmos . . .Nowhere in the report do I find recognition that the education when it is finished is conscious conformity of individuals to the coherent cosmic reality of which they are a part.”
Development of the mind is a widely used vacuous statement. Strengthening the reasoning faculties is a false goal for mathematics. Math, too exclusively pursued, destroys the reason and the judgment. That is because it is prolonged thinking about nothing.
The idea that history promotes judgment is equally false. History again defined as a record of exceptional phenomena. Without causal connections, it is just memory.
The only kind of history that could strengthen judgment would be that which studies the conditions underlying social phenomena. But that is sociology.
Only knowledge (and that’s what science is) can strengthen the faculties of the mind. To furnish the mind with something. Without knowledge the mind is impotent and worthless.
An objection will be would you go to the slums and educate those people? The criminals are the geniuses of the slums. And the slums can never be broken up by the periodical raids and the occasional punishment of a few of their inhabitants. This inconvenience just creates a bitter resentment of society.
But there is no need of having slums. The people that make up the slums and the criminal classes of society are capable of being made good and useful citizens.
But you cannot tame a wild animal and such preparation must begin in youth.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN – PROBLEMS OF APPLIED SOCIOLOGY
The solution to problems that must come first is the maximum equalization of intelligence. And as of yet this isn’t even recognized as a social problem.
Reformers work piecemeal at the branches but not the roots of problems.
Most sociologists expected from him and his book of applied sociology studies of the relation of labor to capital. As folks have been after this, he’ll make a stab at it though he has little to offer. His consolation is that no one else does either.
First he says there is a danger in such discussions of veering into utopianism. This isn’t bad stuff, but it isn’t serious either. Futurism is hard too. He also expected to see men flying across the skies! But other things he couldn’t have guessed have come true.
It is also dodgy to predict moral reforms in society.
So realize all written about the future may come off as though it was calculated to bring a smile to future readers.
Ethics is placed at the summit of Spencer and Comte. He doesn’t even think it a science. To stand where they put it, it should have been shown that it is a great field of natural phenomena. And they made it so general and complex that it should have come higher than sociology.
In their ethical treatises they both aimed at the improvement of society. Comte’s Positive Polity, was an effort at far reaching social reform. They really should have been called ethical sociology. For improvement of society is the new ethics.
Ethical sociology falls under two heads: Privative ethics and positive ethics. Privation is the source of great pain. Some say that this is natural and proper as the same struggle goes on in the natural world. All sentimental attempts to thwart natures ways end in failure.
But the whole effect of intelligence has been to do away with the struggle for existence. Industrial arts and civilization are the result of this campaign.
We have figured out physical forces, but not social ones.
The evils of society are due to the competitive system in a state of artificial inequality of intelligence. And the world has barely begun to reflect upon the possibility of any other system.
All kinds of false notions prevail on the subject, such as that the only motives to industry are the fear of want and the love of gain. John Stuart Mill for example.
The professional class and wealthy still struggle with out fear of hunger or significant gain to be had. The nobility likewise, they despise money and money making, yet rivalry, animosity and bitterness continue. Pomp is fought for. Honor is fought for.
Clergy keep working. Not from pecuniary motives.
But poor people do work for these reasons.
The competitive system is done by creating a surplus of humans and kill them off. The average rich guy lives to 56 and the poor, 28. This is the same way that nature does its thing. People wonder what disease the poor man died of. He died of poverty. Weak constitutions cannot stave off such diseases. Spencer showed, and someone else before him that the rich make less babies. But this is predicated on intellectual development.
The poor have them earlier and with much less restraint.
Much of this literature is dedicated to loathing the poor. Fear that the less developed will out breed us.
But there isn’t much to fear. Diminished birth rate is a mark of increasing intelligence and a determination to emancipate oneself from the tyranny of biological law.
JS Mill said we have to stigmatize large families as we do drunkenness.
But if we get rid of the biologic law, if we abolish the economic struggle for existence and do away with the horror of poverty then the natural reduction will happen.
Mill and Spencer appeal to benevolence. The socialists and communists demand reorganization of society. They assume that 60-80% of society must always be objects of charity “weaker members of the community.”
We want no over sight of privileged classes.
Wants the increase of human happiness. As long as there is pain it is nearly shameful to talk of positive happiness. So positive comes after negative ethics removes pain. We can move at once in this direction or procrastinate. It is up to society.
Happiness depends to a large degree on the material surroundings of people. Abundant nourishment is the first condition to liberty. Clothing and shelter too.
Unfortunately, if you add it all up, the wealth of the world is lamentably deficient for the ordinary wants of mankind.
It follows that increase of production is something greatly needed. Some think that production cannot be increased, some talk of over-production. Silly.
There would be no increased production unless there was a correspondingly increased consumption. So new wants and fine arts to satisfy them are wanted. Life itself is capable of being made a fine art. A thousand refined and ennobling sentiments create thrills that lift the soul into a higher world.
We are just at the beginning. Compare our canals to the Martian ones!!!
The age of race differentiation need not continue. We can start to integrate the races.
The Principle of Attraction
The final problem of applied sociology is that of showing how it may be reduced to rigid scientific principles. Attraction and its derivatives are thoroughly loved and understood words (This despite not having a full handle on gravity yet).
Not only all experimentation, but also all invention is based on the principle of attraction.
He worked the laws of invention out in Psychic Factors of Civ chapters 27-29. He won’t repeat them here.
But the change from physical to psychic methods requires no change.
“The social forces reside in the affective or subjective faculties developed before man made his evolutionary appearance. Though more complex, they are not inscrutable.
When the laws of parsimony (Pure Sociology pp.161) and the principle of attraction are clearly understood it becomes possible to enter upon the field of social experimentation and invention.
Charles Fourier created this principle. Comte mentions it in a footnote. J.S. Mill applauds it too.
The great problem of socialism (JSM notes) is making labor universally attractive. It is not at the moment universally repugnant.
Veblen helped show that the odium of labor is a matter of caste. It is shunned and not respectable because the lower class does it. But there is nothing unpleasant about work that does not exhaust the system. The normal exercise of faculties is agreeable, and at the broadest level constitutes the sum total of human happiness. With machines doing more work, work should become more agreeable. This is more practical than Spencer’s hoping for an evolution of man.
There is no hate of labor. Sports are fun and harvesting corn hated due to the previously mentioned bias against doing as the poor do.
The equalization of intelligence should make all labor more respectable.
How to make labor attractive belongs to the social art and to practical minds.
Society always possesses an organization and it acts. For example, armies do something. So it isn’t too abstract to say society does something.
Social organizations differ in their detail, but they all agree in acting through some regularly constituted authority.
As a democratic people, we would not recognize oligarchic authority and laws. Yet, representative government is recent and societies have always needed to act decisively. Earlier he traced the changing structure of authority from animal to tribe to state and saw that the action of the state grows more and more intelligent with each step in social assimilation.
The leaders have always been more informed (intelligent) than the masses. So autocracy is more intelligent, or less stupid, than democracies. A people so intellectually low that they would tolerate an autocracy, put in charge by a change to democracy, could do little that was inventive.
But nothing worthy of scientific legislation in the name of the people, is possible except in a democracy in which all the people are intelligent (and thereby choose intelligent leaders).
The scientific legislators would quickly find prohibitive laws not as effective or efficient as positive inducements. Legislation will consist of social experiments by social inventors. And one of their big challenges will be making labor more attractive.
Smart happy workers will work better and make sure, being intellectual workers, that the goods of society are better distributed.