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PART II

SOCIAL FORCES

CHAPTER IV

THE ORIGINAL SOCIAL FORCES

TH

Laws

not Physi

HE immediate causes of social phenomena are to be sought CHAP. IV in human minds. After such phenomena have been ac- Social counted for in terms of motive, nothing is gained by viewing Psychical, them as manifestations of cosmic energy. Why account for a ca current of migration on the principle motion follows the lines of leat resistance when it is so explicable on the principle men go where they can most easily satisfy their wants? No doubt there. are rhythms in every field of human interest from dress to worship, but, if they occur because "attention demands change in its object." why class them with rhythms in Nature, which are due to "conflict of forces not in equilibrium"?

External
Factors of

Social

Phenom

ena Are

Not Coor

ternal

In view of the great role of the geographic environment in social destiny, thinkers often explain social phenomena by the introduction of two sets of factors-one internal, the other external. Under such terms as "race and locality," "man and en-dinate vironment," "folk and land," this dualism is always cropping up. with InThe fact is, however, migrations and colonizations, the territorial Factors istribution of population, its occupational choices, the location of cries, the routes of communication and the lines of investment have human volitions as their proximate causes, not geographic features. It is only when, pressing further back, we seek the causes of these volitions that we come upon considerations relatng to climate, contour, topography and soil. For example, all the causes of the location of a settlement are in the minds of the settlers. Geography enters into the case only as affecting the motives which determine their decisions.

Another error consists in identifying social forces with human needs rather than human wants. Usually need means what we think people ought to want; but human nature, including its folbes, vanities and lusts, is in the members of society, and must be reckoned with. Nothing is more foolish than to imagine that all the defects in people flow from defects in society and will vanish

The

Wants

of People

Do Not

Tally with

Their
Needs

icists

CHAP.IV if only we organize society on right lines. Some of the traits

developed in man a hundred centuries ago make trouble now and

will have to be allowed for æons hence. Errors of

No sooner have we arrived at the truth first emphasized by the Organ

Ward that the social forces are human desires than we come upon new forms of error. The "organic" conception of society pic

“ tures the desires of individuals as running together into a collective desire for the social welfare. This generalized desire for certain results would be the cause of the “social organs” functioning. Thus Spencer is apt to attribute an institution either to the individual's sense of a common interest or to the common sense of an individual interest and to overlook the role of special desires behind a particular institution. In accounting for monogamy, he stresses too much its good results and ignores the role of male sexual jealousy. He thinks the force which calls customary rules into being is “ the consensus of individual interests.” 1

As a matter of fact, there worked along with the general desire to safeguard individual interests such special motives as the love of fair play and sympathy with the resentment of the wronged man. He states that “governing agencies, during their early stages, are at once the products of aggregate feeling, derive their powers from it, and are restrained by it."? But in fact along with the aggregate feeling works the instinct to dominate - once known as “the love of power” and rebaptized "the will to power” – which, although animating only a few, may push government beyond what the aggregate feeling approves. On the other hand, another instinct -- the impatience with restraintmay keep government below what the aggregate feeling demands.

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3

HUMAN INSTINCTS THE ORIGINAL SOCIAL FORCES To contemporary psychology, man comes into the world with a rich endowment of dispositions or instincts which, in the words of MacDougall, “ are the mental forces which maintain and shape all the life of individuals and societies." Without them the human organism would lie inert " like a wonderful clockwork whose

The In-
stincts
Are the
Springs of
Behavior

2

1 Principles of Sociology, V. II, p. 533.
2 Ibid., p. 469.

3 It would be rash for the sociologist to list or classify these social forces when the psychologists have not yet made up their minds about them.

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