Evolution Of The Japanese, Social And Psychic Part 27
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Let us first clearly see that we have made no effort to account for the origin or inherent nature of psychic life. That a.s.sociation or the social order is the original producing cause of psychic life is by no means our contention. Given the psychic nature as we find it in man, the problem is to account for its diverse manifestation in the different races and civilizations. This, and this alone, has been our problem.
Psychic nature is the sole and final cause of social life. Without psychic nature there could be no a.s.sociation. Personalized psychic nature is the sole and final cause of human social life. Numberless conditions determine by stimulation or imitation the manifestation of psychic life. These conditions differ for different lands, peoples, ages, and political relations, producing diverse social orders for each separated group. These diverse social orders determine the psychic characteristics differentiating the various groups. Social life and social order are objective expressions of a reality of which psychic nature is the subjective and therefore deeper reality. The two cannot be ruthlessly torn apart and remain complete, nor can they be understood, or completely interpreted, apart from each other. They are correlative and complementary expressions for the same reality.
Similarly physical and psychical life are to be conceived as profoundly interrelated, being respectively objective and subjective expressions of a reality incapable of separate interpretation. Yet each has markedly distinct characteristics and is the subject of distinct laws of activity and development.
Heredity is of two kinds, biological heredity, transmitting innate characters, and social heredity, transmitting acquired habits and their physiological results.
The innate characters transmitted by biological heredity are either physiological, anatomical, or psychical.
The acquired habits transmitted by social heredity are essentially psychical: but they may result in acquired physiological, or even anatomical, characters. Here belong the physiological effects of diet, housing, clothing, occupation, education, etc., which have not yet been taken up and incorporated into the innate physiological const.i.tution by biological heredity. The physiological effects of social heredity are through the daily physical life and activity of each individual, in accordance with the requirements of the social order in which he is reared; and these are reached through its influence on the acquired psychical habits, which are transmitted through a.s.sociation, imitation, and the control of activities by language and education. In biological heredity the transmission is exclusively prior to birth, while in social heredity it is chiefly, if not entirely, after birth.
In social heredity the transmission is not determined by consanguinity, and therefore extends to members of alien races when they are incorporated in the social organization.
While the transmission of biological inheritance to each offspring is inevitable and complete, that of social inheritance is largely voluntary. It is also more or less complete, according to the knowledge, purpose, and effort of the individuals concerned. The transmission of acquired social and psychic characteristics even from parents to offspring depends on their a.s.sociation, and the imposition on their offspring by parents of their own modes of life. Sharing with parents their bodily activities, their language and their environment, both social and psychical, the offspring necessarily develop psychic and social characteristics similar to those of the parents.
Evolution takes place through the transformation of inheritance. The evolution of _innate_ physiological, anatomical, and psychical characters takes place through the transformation of biological inheritance; and the evolution of society and of _acquired_ characters chiefly through the transformation of social inheritance.
Nearly all biologists admit that change in the form of natural selection is one of the principles transforming biological inheritance; but whether the _acquired_ characters of parents are even in the least degree inherited by the offspring, thus becoming _innate_ characters, is one of the important biological problems of recent years. Into this problem we have not entered, though we recognize that it must have important bearings on sociological science. Briefly stated, it is this: Do social and psychic characteristics, acquired by individuals or by groups of individuals, affect the intrinsic inherited and transmissible psychic nature in such ways that offspring, by the mere fact of being offspring, necessarily manifest those characteristics, regardless of the particular social environment in which they may be reared? Into this problem, thus broadly stated, we do not enter. Limiting our view to those advanced races which manifest practically equal physiological development, we ask whether or not their differentiating psychic characteristics are due to modifications of their inherited and intrinsic psychic nature, such that those characteristics are necessarily transmitted to offspring through intrinsic biological heredity. Current popular and scientific sociology seems to give an affirmative answer to this question. The reply of this work emphasizes the negative. Although it is not maintained that there is absolutely no difference whatever in the psychic nature of the different races, or that the psychic differences distinguis.h.i.+ng the races are entirely transmitted by social heredity, it is maintained that this is very largely the case--far more largely than is usually perceived or admitted. Such inherent differences, if they exist, are so vague and intangible as practically to defy discovery and clear statement, and may be practically ignored.
The only adequate disproof of the position here maintained would be about as follows. Let a j.a.panese infant be reared in an American home from infancy, not only fed and clothed as an American, but loved as a member of the family and trained as carefully and affectionately as one's own child. The full conditions require that not only the child himself, but everyone else, be ignorant of his parentage and race in order that he be thought to be, and be treated as though he were, a genuine member of his adopting home and people. What would be the psychic characteristics of that child when grown to manhood? If he should manifest psychic traits like those of his j.a.panese parents, if he should think in the j.a.panese order, if he should have a tendency to use prepositions as postpositions, if he should drop p.r.o.nouns and should use honorific words in their place, if he should be markedly suspicious and inferential, if he should bow in making his salutations rather than shake hands, if he should show marked preference for sitting on the floor rather than on chairs, and for chopsticks to knives and forks, and if developing powers as an artist he should naturally paint j.a.panese pictures, j.a.panese landscapes, and j.a.panese faces, finding himself unable to draw according to the canons of Western art, if on developing poetic tastes he should find special pleasure in seventeen syllable or thirty-one syllable exclamatory poems, finding little interest in Longfellow or Shakespeare, if, in short, he should develop a predilection for any distinctive j.a.panese custom, habit of thought, method of speech, emotion or volition, it would evidently be due to his intrinsic heredity. If in all these matters, however, he should prove to be like an American, acquiring an American education like any American boy, and if on being brought to j.a.pan, at, say, thirty years of age, still supposing himself to be an American, he should have equal difficulty with any American in mastering the language and adapting himself to and understanding the j.a.panese people, then it would follow that his psychic characteristics have been inherited socially and he is what he is, nationally, because of his social heritage. Such a result would show that the psychic traits differentiating races are social and not intrinsic.
We have limited our discussion to the advanced races because the problem is then relatively simple, the material abundant, and the issue clear. Much discussion in theology, psychology, and sociology is futile because it concerns that practically mythical being, the aboriginal man, about whose social and psychic life no one knows anything, and any theorizer can say what he chooses without fear of s.h.i.+pwreck on incontrovertible facts. Whether the lowest races known to-day are differentiated from the highest only by acquired social and psychic characteristics, or also by differences of psychic nature, may perhaps be an open question. However this may be, the case is fairly clear in regard to the higher races inhabiting the earth. Their differentiating psychic characteristics are, for the most part, not due to diverse psychic nature, but to diverse social orders, while the transmission of these characteristics takes place, as a matter of observation, through social heredity.
The discussions of this work are exclusively concerned with the evolution of society and of psychic characteristics. But even in this limited field we have not attempted to cover the whole ground. We have given our chief attention to the interdependence of social phenomena and psychic characteristics. The causes of evolution in the social order have not been the main subject under discussion.
Segregation is the essential condition on which divergent evolution is dependent. Many forms of segregation may be specified, under each of which evolution proceeds on a different principle. In brief, it may be said that biological segregation prevents the swamping of incipient organic divergences, by preventing the intermarriage of those possessing such divergences, while social segregation prevents the swamping of incipient social divergences and their corresponding incipient psychic characteristics by preventing the inter-a.s.sociation of those having such tendencies.
Biologically segregated groups undergo divergent biological evolution through segregated marriage, producing distinct physiological unities or racial types. These racial types are now relatively fixed and can be appreciably modified only by the intermarriage of different races.
Socially segregated groups undergo divergent social evolution through the segregated social intercourse of the members of each group, producing distinct civilizational and psychic unities. The differences between these social or psychic groups are relatively plastic and are the subject of constant variation. The modification of the social and psychic characteristics of a group takes place through a change in the physical or social environment of the group, or through the rise of strong personalities within the group.
Biologically distinct groups may thus be unified biologically only by intermarriage, while socially physically distinct groups may be unified socially and psychically without intermarriage, but exclusively through a.s.sociation.
The psychic defects of the offspring of interracial marriages may be largely due to the defective social heredity transmitted by the parents, rather than to mixed intrinsic inheritance.
The term "race soul" is a convenient, though delusive, because highly figurative, expression for the psychic unity of a social group. The unity is due entirely to the more or less complete possession by the individual members of the group, of common ideas, ideals, methods of thought, emotions, volitions, customs, inst.i.tutions, arts, and beliefs.
Each individual is molded psychically to the type of the social group in which he is reared. The "race soul" is thus imposed on the individual by conscious and unconscious education.
The psychic evolution of social groups is divergent so long as isolation is fairly complete, but becomes convergent in proportion to a.s.sociation. Perfect a.s.sociation produces complete psychic unity, though it should be noted that perfect a.s.sociation of geographically separated social groups is practically unattainable.
The essential elements const.i.tuting national unity are psychic and social, not biological. Racial unity is biological. The same race may accordingly separate into different social and psychic groups. And members of different races may belong to the same social psychic group.
The so-called "race soul" of many sociologists is, therefore, a fiction and indicates mental confusion. The term refers not to the racial unity of inherent psychic nature, but only to the social unity of socially inherited psychic characteristics. Groups thus socially unified may or may not be racially h.o.m.ogeneous. In point of fact no race is strictly h.o.m.ogeneous biologically, nor is any social group completely unified psychically.
In sociology as in biology function produces organism, that is to say, activity produces the organ or faculty fitted to perform the activity. The psychic characteristics differentiating social groups are chiefly, and perhaps exclusively, due to diverse social activities. These activities are determined by innumerable causes, geographical, climatic, economic, political, intellectual, emotional, and personal.
The plasticity of a psychic group is due to the plasticity of the infant mind and brain, which is wonderfully capable of acquiring the language, thought forms, and differentiating characteristics of any group in which it may be reared. To what extent this plasticity extends only carefully conducted experiments can show. In the higher Asiatic and European races we find it to be much greater than is generally supposed to be the case, but it is not improbable that the lowest races possess it in a much lower degree.
The relative fixity of a psychic group is due to the fact that in full-grown adults, who form the majority of every group, function has produced structure. Body, brain, and mind have "set" or crystallized in the mold provided by the social order. Influences sufficiently powerful to transform the young have little effect on the adult. The relative fixity of a psychic group is also due to the difficulty--well-nigh impossibility--of bringing new psychic influences to bear on all members of the group simultaneously. The majority, being oblivious to the new psychic forces, maintain the old psychic regime. The difficulty of reform, of transforming a social order, is princ.i.p.ally due to these two causes.
The "character" of a people (psychic group) consists of its more or less unconscious, because structuralized or incarnate, ideas, emotions, and volitions. Chief among them are those concerning the character of G.o.d, the nature and value of man and woman, the necessary relation of character to destiny, the nature and meaning of life and death, and the nature and the authority of moral law. In proportion as the social order incorporates high or low views on these vital subjects, is the character of the people elevated and strong, or debased and weak.
The destiny of a people, and the role it plays in history, are determined not by chance nor yet by environment, but in the last a.n.a.lysis by its own character. Yet this character is not something given it complete at the start, an intrinsic psychical inheritance, nor is it dependent for transmission on biological heredity, pa.s.sing only from parents to offspring. Character belongs to the sphere of social psychic life and is the subject of social heredity. Through social intercourse the moral character dominating a psychic group may be transmitted to members of an alien psychic group. This usually takes place through missionary activity. The moral character of a psychic group may in this way be fundamentally transformed, and with character, destiny.
Floating ideas, not yet woven into the warp and woof of life, not yet incarnate in the individual or in the social order, have little influence on the character of the individual or the group, however beautiful, true, or elevating such ideas may be in themselves. The character of a people is to be judged, therefore, not by the beauty or elevation of every idea that may be found in its literature, but only by those ideas that have been a.s.similated, that have become incorporated into the social order. These determine a people's character and destiny. According as these ideas persist in the social order, is its character permanent.
Progress consists of expanding life, communal and individual, extensive and intensive, physical and psychical. True progress is balanced. High communal development, that is, highly organized society, is impossible without the wide attainment of highly developed individuals. Progressive mastery of nature likewise is impossible apart from growing psychic development in all its branches, emotional, intellectual and volitional, communal and individual.
Historically, communalism is the first principle to emerge in consciousness. To succeed, however, it must be accompanied by at least a certain degree of individualism, even though it be quite implicit.
The full development of the communal principle is impossible apart from the correspondingly full development of the individual principle.
These are complementary principles of progress. Each alone is impossible. In proportion as either is emphasized at the expense of the other, is progress impeded. Arrested civilizations are due to the disproportionate and excessive development of one or the other of these principles.
Personality, expressing and realizing itself in communal and individual life, in objective and subjective forms, is at once the cause and the goal of progress. Social and psychic evolution are, therefore, in the last a.n.a.lysis, personal processes. The irreducible and final factor in social evolution and in social science is personality; for personality is the determinative factor of a human being.
Progress in personal development consists of increasing extent and accuracy of knowledge, refinement and elevation of emotions, and n.o.bility and reliability of volitions. Progress in personal development requires the individual to pa.s.s from objective heterocratic to subjective autocratic or self-regulative ethical life.
He must pa.s.s from the traditional to the enlightened, from the communal to the individualistic stage in ethics and religion. He must feel with increasing force the binding nature of the supra-communal sanctions for communal and individual life, accepting the highest dictates of the enlightened moral consciousness as the laws of the universe. But this means that the individual must secure increasing insight into the immutable and eternal laws of spiritual being and must identify his personal interests, his very self with those laws, with the Heart of the. Universe, with G.o.d himself. Only so will he become completely autonomous, self-regulative. Only thus will the individual become and remain an altruistic communo-individual, fitted to meet and survive the relaxation of the historic communal and supra-communal sanctions for communal and individual life, a relaxation induced by growing political liberty and growing intellectual rejection of primitive or defective religious beliefs.
Progress in personality is thus at bottom an ethico-religious process.
The wide attainment of developed personality permits the formation of enlarging highly organized psychic groups, accompanied by increasing specialization of its individual members. This communal expansion, ramifying organization and individual specialization, secures increasing extensive and intensive intellectual understanding of the universe, and this in turn active mastery of nature, with all the consequences of growing ease and richness of life.
Ethico-religious, autonomous personality is thus the tap-root of highly developed and permanently progressive civilizations.
Personality is, therefore, the criterion of progress. Mere ease of physical life, freedom from anxiety, light-hearted, care-free happiness, mastery of nature, material civilization, highly developed art, literature, and music, or even refined culture, are partial and inadequate, if not positively false, criteria.
Personality, as a nature, is an inherent psychic heritage shared by all human beings. It is transmitted only from parents to offspring, and its transmission depends only on that relation. Personality, as a varying psychic characteristic, is a matter of social inheritance, and is profoundly dependent, therefore, on the nature of the social order and the social evolution.
Religion, as incorporated in life, is the most important single factor determining the personality and character of its adherents, either hindering or promoting their progress.
j.a.panese social and psychic evolution have in no respects violated the universal laws of evolution. j.a.panese personal and other psychic characteristics are the product not of essential, but of social inheritance and social evolution. j.a.pan has recently entered into a new social inheritance from which she is joyfully accepting new conceptions and principles of communal and individual life. These she is working into her social organism.
Already these are producing profound, and we may believe permanent, transformations in her social order and correspondingly profound and permanent transformations of her character and destiny.
Evolution Of The Japanese, Social And Psychic Part 27
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