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brought-up "only" child confesses, "Because I have met less CHAP. X than the normal demand for sacrifice of my own rights and privileges, I have lacked practice in resigning them and have never acquired the habit of spending myself freely. So that whatever unselfish acts I may perform are more likely to be solely concessions to conscience than the spontaneous expressions of a nature accustomed to sacrifice."

Quite aside from parental spoiling, which is quite a different Morbid, factor from want of companions of one's own age, the "only child is likely to be morbidly self-centered and introspective. "In later life," affirms a neurologist, "he is extremely conceited, jealous and envious. He begrudges the happiness of friends and acquaintances, and he is therefore shunned and disliked. The fact that he is peculiarly subject to hysteria, neurasthenia, and Amired maladies is attributed to faulty habits of thought fixed in childhood, the chief of these being an excessive preoccupation. with thoughts of self."


Without experience in a system of selves, the "only" child is and Unsoeasily teased, does not know how to stand being the butt of a ke, cannot bear to be "it" in a game in which "it" is the aughing-stock. About 40 per cent. of "only" children in school are not normally interested in active games. Such children spend too much time reading and with grown-ups because they lack the art of adjustment. One says: "I was always disturbed by the prospect of going to a children's party . . . for the first half of the time I was certain to stand about on the edges of the crowd, merely because I could not get into the spirit of the merry gath ring.

Childhood is the seedtime of character, for it is then that the subconscious is planted with suggestions which become nuclei for whole systems of thought which later ripen into habits. The suggestions the "only" child receives from too exclusive association doting overanxious parents "tend to engender in him a mental a'titude out of which may afterward spring, according to the subsequent circumstances of his life, a cold, heartless, calcuang selfishness, or a morbid self-anxiety, perhaps eventuating

all sorts of neurotic symptoms." On the other hand, abundant association in games, especially team games, with children of about his own age fixes in his subconsciousness suggestions of

Bruce, "The Only Child," The Century Magazine, 1916, p. 310.

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"fair play," "give-and-take," "turn about," "follow," "lead," "obey," and "true blue," which help to build in time the "good fellow" and the "good citizen."


Durkheim's exhaustive study of the statistics of suicide reveals a strange saving power in the bonds by which the individual is knit with others into a group. The suicide rate of bachelors is half as great again as that of married men of the same average age without children and three times that of married men with children. The rate for widowers without children is a third greater than for widowers with children. Thus, family life in a measure protects against self-murder and it does so because it shifts the focus of the individual's interest from his personal experiences and fate to that of the family group. His attitude toward his life is determined less by what it is worth to him than by what it is worth to his children; and such a consideration may give him strength to go on with it when otherwise he would cast it away as not worth keeping.

It is significant, too, that for every European people the suicide tendency is decidedly stronger among Protestants than among Roman Catholics. In Switzerland, for example, the suicides in Protestant, mixed, and Catholic cantons are respectively 326, 212, and 86 per hundred thousand persons. In general the Jews show a lower rate than even the Catholics. The reason for these contrasts is to be sought, not in any difference in the teaching as to the sinfulness of suicide, but in the fact that the Catholics are more firmly knit into a religious community than the Protestants, while the solidarity among Jews usually exceeds that among Catholics.

Again, suicide is rare in young, vital, strongly organized societies but frequent in decaying, disintegrating societies. Wars and revolutions, by resuscitating the sentiment of national solidarity, cut down the suicide rate. Whatever stimulates group, party, or patriotic feeling helps men bear their private troubles. Hence Durkheim's law, Suicide varies inversely with the degree of integration of the social groups to which the individual belongs. Men are like mountain climbers, some making their way over the glaciers roped to the members of a large party, others going alone and depending on eye and alpenstock. The latter mount

more quickly and can go farther if they are strong. them if the crust breaks!

Durkheim' accounts for this law as follows:

But woe to CHAP. X

Man is double. To the physical man is added a social man. The latter presupposes a society that he expresses and serves. If it decays so that we no longer feel it living and acting about and above us, the social in us hangs in the air, has nothing to rest on, no objective basis. The social in us becomes a phantasmagory that a little reflection dissipates, it no longer can give purpose or meaning to our acts. And yet this social man is the whole of the civilized man; it alone gives worth to existence. So losing it, we lose most of our reasons for living. For the only life we value no longer responds to a reality and the (animal) life which is still based on reality no longer responds to our needs. There is nothing to which the strivings of the higher, the civilized man in us relate. Our efforts seem to lose themselves in the void. In such a state of mind the minor causes of discouragement may easily give birth to the desperate resolution of the suicide.


In the suicide clinics which have been maintained in certain American cities, it appears that persons contemplating suicide are more in need of sympathy than of succor. The mere confessing their troubles to a sympathetic stranger instead of brooding over them alone gives them relief and renewed courage to battle on. Sympathetic association has, indeed, an almost magical value. After the San Francisco fire it was remarked that families that had lost all and were camped in the parks were by no means downhearted. The secret was that the universal sympathy and helpfulness were meat and drink to the starved social self. The sudden fellowship that springs up in hours of disaster-like the sinking of the Titanic-is found so sweet that the survivors form an association and meet annually in order to revive it. Just as the loveliest flowers grow nearest the toe of the glacier, so the sweetest intimacies spring up among those sharing the most terrible experiences. In war "comrade" becomes a sacred word, and the bonds uniting trenchmates and messmates often last through life. So comforting is this perfect fellowship that soldiers will joke and whistle amid horrors that would drive a soli

"Le Suicide," p. 228.


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tary man out of his wits. The journals of Polar expeditions bear witness to the cheerfulness of the men during the long Arctic night. With companionship but without sunshine they were far happier than the mountain shepherds who have sunshine but lack companionship. In the Ludlow tent colony of Colorado "the striking miners of a dozen different nationalities suffered destitution together in midwinter, half-starved and exposed, with their wives and children, to all the adversities of cold and want and armed inhumanity; yet through all their stories of their misery there is the evidence of an extraordinary good fellowship that gave a gala air to their encampment, the happiness of a society united in sympathy, a delightful concord between alien races that were glad to find their old prejudices unfounded."

The we-feeling is not the outcome of mere juxtaposition, but depends on certain favoring circumstances. One is crisis, which sweeps away conventional barriers and gives free play to the social instincts of deeply moved persons. Another is harmony of interests. In the trenches, the exploring party, the strikers' colony, one loses that habit of eyeing the fellow-man as an actual or potential competitor which grows up in a society like ours characterized by pecuniary emulation. Conversation brings to light mental differences as well as resemblances, but, on the whole, no doubt, it gives birth to more sympathies than antipathies. "It is a trait of civilized man," says Tarde, "to love to talk in everything that he does, to talk eating, working, loving. It is as far from the mute love-making of the Arabs and Hebrews to our vivacious wooing as from silent meals to hilarious feasts. Conversation is the circulation of general sympathy through even our most private joys." Pleasuring together favors the spread of the we-feeling. Eating, drinking, acting, playing together, the enjoying in common of music, drama, or spectacles are time-honored means of fostering general fellowship. Owing to its relaxing effect on inhibitions, the consuming together of alcoholic drinks has been greatly relied on for thawing egos and setting up warm currents of good feeling. Concerted rhythmic response is especially powerful in creating social sympathy. Cheering, singing, and stamping together are used to evoke "college spirit" and the choral singing of patriotic hymns is encouraged among soldiers to fan their esprit de corps. From early tribal days the

8"La Logique Sociale," p. 323.

dance has been used to unlock social emotion, and those attempting to create a community spirit in our polyglot American cities. rely on getting people to sing in immense choruses and take part in great public dances in the streets and parks. Touch, although narrow in range of operation, is a great quickener of sympathy. Shaler says: "It has been my chance to help many wounded men. In all such cases when I first look upon the sufferer I am filled with a disquiet which impels me to seek protection in flight. There is, of course, sorrow for the afflicted, but this is overmas- The Efficacy tered by the intense desire to spare myself the pain due, so far of Touch as I can see, to the shock to my ideal of what a man should be. The moment I touch the sufferer all that horror immediately vanshes and he becomes that dear thing, the actual neighbor. The fact seems to be that the impressions of sight have little awakening effect upon the sympathies as compared with those of touch." This is recognized in the "grip" of friends, the handclasp of circling merrymakers, the interlacing figures of dancers, and perhaps the ceremonial laying on of hands.


Our dependence on others has been so overlooked that most of as marvel that any one should go mad in solitude or kill himself from lack of sympathy, or that an unmarried mother should smother her infant rather than meet shame. Poets and romancers have made much of such things, but the current theory of human nature is quite too narrow to take account of them. Psychology early gained an individualistic slant from its probing of the senses and the intellect and only lately has it plumbed the nstincts and emotions- man's social side. Meanwhile the phikophers, being jealous for the "dignity" of human nature, have gored our social needs as if they disclosed a shameful weakness. Catil human relations were scrutinized with the appraising eye of the scientist there was none to gainsay the orator and the moralist in eloquently presenting absolute independence and selfrection as goals of personal development.


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Endness to the social demands of human nature showed itself □ a great variety of ways. Prison reformers clung to the deluthat solitary confinement regenerates. Quite unconscious of Nature their cruelty, the benevolent tolerated the almshouse with its sep-D **The Neighbor," p. 293.


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