HAVING noted the essential difference between the human and the animal factors in man's nature, we may set about the task of forming a more detailed view of the part played by intelligence and imagination in human life.

The spheres in which human intelligence and imagination operate are as follows: (1) a man's experience of his own bodily life and perceived environment; (2) his experience of himself as a person; (3) his experience of other persons; (4) his experience of society as a system of persons engaged in complex practical and theoretical activities; (5) his aesthetic, intellectual and religious experience.

Even in experience of the perceived world and of his own simple animal activities John Smith may, by means of intelligence and imagination, become aware of attributes which in all probability the non-human animal does not apprehend at all. Not only has he, compared for instance with an ape, a far greater practical scope for intelligence, but also he is more prone (in favourable circumstances) to be interested in the world for its own sake, simply as an object of curiosity and study, and not merely as a field in which to exercise his own capacities. Even the ape has a degree of sheer curiosity and 'meddlesomeness' quite exceptional among animals; but his curiosity is much less disinterested than man's, much more subservient to his own play-impulses, less objective, less scientific and aesthetic. This objectivity of interest not only leads man to natural science, but also, in some individuals at least, it produces, I submit, that heightened consciousness in perception which is so important in all art.

Let us now consider some of the ways in which John Smith's experience differs from that of a sub-human animal in the sphere of perception and especially in the consciousness of his own bodily life. This is a subject on which it is very difficult to avoid vagueness and sentimentality. But it should not, on that account, be merely shirked.

Every one of the common bodily actions may afford to the awakened human being a sense not merely of fulfilling his own bodily functions but of performing as it were a religious rite, or of coming into touch with some very solid and deep-lying reality. Some hold that this strange quality of veiled significance which the simple bodily acts and simple perceptions may have is sheer illusion. But though, of course, we may describe it wrongly, or 'read too much into it', the experience itself is what it is, and ought not to be ignored. This is one of the points where, I suggest, we do well to remember that our modern science is not the last word of truth, and that to reject all that it cannot yet accommodated may be as misguided as to accept indiscriminately every kind of superstition. It may well be that the more alive, more awakened, mind can discover even in the primitive bodily life actually a deeper kind of fulfilment than is afforded to the less developed mind.

It is this experience, primitive but indescribable, that has persuaded some that the life of bodily action and of sensation is the only truly' spiritual' life, and that the life of intellect is unreal and barren. Possibly those who hold this extreme view have been starved of full bodily experience, or else have been disgusted by the shallow intellectualism and prudery of an earlier age.

Even those who feel strongly that the life of the intellect is very far from barren may also feel that the leaders of thought have often unwisely neglected and disparaged the life of bodily action and of sensation, and that this contempt has actually debased it in our age. Partly through the influence of the churches, there has arisen a notion that to delight in the primitive action of limbs and sense organs is unworthy of such a dignified being as man. 'Sensuality', it is said, is deadening to the spirit. Thus the appreciation of bodily life, and also of the sensed qualities of the external world, tends to become superficial and obtuse, and also furtive. John Smith needs a full sensual life as much as he needs an intellectual life. If he is starved of it or if he regards it as base, he will still crave it; but he will pursue it in a style that is brutish, greedy and ashamed. The finer quality of it will escape him. He will react to it as the sheer animal, lacking human sensibility and discrimination.

One way in which a man may miss full awareness of his bodily life and of the vivid sensory presence of the world around him is this. He may become so deeply concerned with planning for a future, whether a year hence or a day or a minute, that he has no attention to spare for the present moment. Now 'taking the future into account' is an activity which men perform to a far greater extent than any sub-human animals. One might almost say that planning for a future is a distinctively human activity which the higher sub-human animals practise only to a minute extent. But it has its peculiar danger. It may lead to loss of contact with the present. A man may become so absorbed in carrying out his plans that he seldom pauses to regard the actual colours and shapes of things, or hear the subtleties of noise, or appreciate touched shapes and surfaces, with all their roughs and smooths, warms and cools; or he may fail to note the shadowy and the emphatic odours on the air. Thus he may never perceive clearly the living texture of his momentary world. He may take all these delicate sensory creatures merely as signals, signs of conditions and situations useful or dangerous to him. In this way his world may become curiously unreal, empty, tasteless; and his mind desolate. Even the ends that he sets himself to realize in the future will tend to lose their meaning. They will become mere formulae, empty phrases obsessing him.

We may sum this matter by saying that John Smith may fail to grasp the full significance of his animal life in either of two ways. He may fail through sheer brutish greed, through incapacity to pause in the midst of it and regard it with human sensibility and discrimination. He may also fail through contempt and neglect of it.

Let us note one striking example of the way in which the animal and the human may co-operate in human experience. As a male animal, John Smith will respond with delight and yearning to the appearance of a well-formed young woman. But as a human being he may see in her far more, even as a stimulus to sex, than any mere animal could ever see. The visible beauty of the body and the audible beauty of the voice may express for him characters of personality far beyond the apprehension of the animal. Even the body that is merely a well-grown body, and expresses just physical strength and grace and agility, affords to John Smith's perception more than it can afford to the non-human mind. But there is a subtler, more exquisite kind of bodily beauty in which every curve and volume, every movement, and even the bloom of the skin, seem to express together, indescribably perhaps, but none the 'less vividly, many subtle characteristics of human personality, and of one unique person.

There is nothing mysterious about this. It is to be expected that for human sensibility and intelligence the subtler qualities of bodily form should become significant of the subtler qualities of mental life.



One of the most important spheres in which intelligence and imagination operate to make man superior to a chimpanzee is his awareness of personality, in himself and others. Self-consciousness and other-consciousness open up to him a vast world of experience which is almost wholly closed to other animals.

By discriminating between his mental activity and its objects, John Smith gradually attains a more or less clear awareness of himself as an enduring centre of mental activities. Endless philosophical discussion is possible about the nature of this' centre', and innumerable shades of opinion, from the view that it is an 'eternal soul' to the view that it is nothing whatever but a 'unity of pattern' running through all his behaviour. But whatever the philosophically correct description of the 'unity of consciousness' may be, clearly there is a unity and continuity in John Smith's mental life, and he is aware of it in a sense in which in all probability an ape is not aware to any considerable extent.

This discrimination between experiencing and its objects is not alone enough to produce full self-consciousness in John Smith. His awareness of himself as a person is largely the product of his awareness of other persons. The two kinds of experience augment one another. It is true that, without direct acquaintance with his own experiencing, he could never come to regard others as experiencing selves; but equally true that, without awareness of the interactions and differences between himself and others, he could never have more than the vaguest notion of himself. Very much of his knowledge of himself is derived from the 'reflection', so to speak, of himself in other minds.

Indeed, not merely his knowledge of his own person but the actual character of his own person is very largely the product of his relations with others. His dealings with others call forth in him, many kinds of activities which otherwise would be impossible. Through the realization of others as experiencing selves he attains to distinctively human love and hate, admiration and contempt, compassion, ridicule and so on.

Awareness of his personal continuity from day to day and year to year greatly influences John Smith's behaviour. However short-sighted we may call him, he is much more foreseeing and prudent than any ape. The aims which he conceives for his future self may vary greatly in respect of the degree of the futurity of their realization. He may look forward for an hour, a day, a year, a lifetime. As a member of a national group or of the world-community, he may co-operate in planning for a consummation which will take centuries to achieve. There may well come a time when the race will habitually lay its plans for periods of thousands and even millions of years in the future.

John Smith's aims may also vary greatly in respect of the kind of self which he seeks to fulfil in the future. He may be concerned with himself regarded simply as an animal needing food, shelter, sex-life, companionship, or dominance over others. But he may also be concerned with a more distinctively human self, craving a more self-conscious and other-conscious life. He may conceive and seek to realize an ideal self of some particular kind, such as an 'honest man', a 'decent sort', a dare-devil, a statesman, an artist, a scientist, and so on. He may set himself an ideal of personal conduct and development.

There is another important way in which awareness of personality makes a difference to John Smith's behaviour, namely in his reaction to other persons. This is a subject in which it is all too easy to fall into the error of over-simplification. John Smith is capable of genuine selfishness and. genuine altruism. To some extent he controls his impulses for the sake of his enduring self, and, probably to a lesser extent, for the sake of other selves. Many of his acts, of course, are performed deliberately for the advancement of himself as a particular person among other persons; but some are, in exactly the same sense; performed for the advancement of some other person or persons, or for the sake of some group, or for the great, vaguely conceived group called society.

The Christian injunction to 'love thy neighbour as thyself' is not in principle an impossible, though it is in fact a very difficult, commandment. Human beings are unfortunately far more capable of prudent self-regard than of true altruism; but true altruism does occur. We are all at some time or other genuinely altruistic; although perhaps, on most occasions when we persuade ourselves that we are being altruistic, we are at heart being self-seekers.

In genuine altruism and genuine love a man takes the well-being of another person as an end in itself in exactly the same sense as he takes the well-being of his own person as an end. Anyone who has loved, and has not been confused by false psychology, knows that this is possible. He wants the beloved to prosper, not merely as a means to his own prospering, but for the beloved's sake. Of course he may also want himself to prosper, for instance, in respect of enjoying the society of the beloved; but that is another matter. Further, if a conflict arises between his self-love and his other-love, self-love may very well prove the more earnest impulse. But that, again, is another matter.

The difference between altruism and love may be roughly defined as follows. In love the motive is direct admiration or appreciation of a particular individual known to the lover. In altruism the motive springs from a generalization of a man's particular experiences of other individuals as intrinsically worth while; and consists of the will to treat all human beings, known and unknown, as ends, not merely as means.

Every one of John Smith's acts is a 'self-centred' act, in the sense that he is pleased to do it. In every case, but in a special sense, he does what he does because he wants to do it; and in so far as he succeeds he has the experience of pleasure. Thus he has pleasure (though probably also on other counts displeasure) in the successful achievement of a thoroughly selfish act; and pleasure also (though also on other counts displeasure) in an act of self-sacrifice for the sake of another person's well-being. It is true that, just as, in the selfish mood, he finds more pleasure in selfish behaviour than in generous behaviour, so, in the generous mood he finds more pleasure in generosity than in selfishness. But in neither mood does he seek simply the abstraction 'pleasure for myself'. He seeks particular ends for their own sake. Personal fulfilment of himself is one of the ends which he seeks; he may also seek personal fulfilment of some one else. Always what he desires is that certain events should occur. Some of the events which he desires are simple, like sleeping and eating. Some are more complicated, like playing a game, or working for sheer love of his work. Some are even more complicated, like personal fulfilment for himself or for another, or like the prospering of his nation or of the world, or the triumph of a certain ideal, such as socialism or Christianity.

All a man's capacities and activities are obviously included among 'his capacities and activities', and therefore their fulfilment constitutes part of his self-fulfilment. In the nature of the case he cannot conceivably seek any end which will not, by the very fact of his seeking it, be constituted part of his self-fulfilment. Even if, in disgust at his own egotism, he seeks to deny himself, self-denial becomes for him the way to self-fulfilment, in this sense. If we define self-fulfilment as the fulfilling of a man's desires, then, since every one of his acts springs from some desire of his, and has as its aim some element in self- fulfilment (as defined), his whole conduct is a seeking of self-fulfilment. But this is only to say that, in each and all of his acts, what he seeks is the fulfilment of his desire, which is as much as to say that what he seeks is what he seeks. This is not very illuminating.

The only significant sense of the phrase' self-fulfilment ' is that in which 'myself' is contrasted with other selves, as one particular person among others. In this sense John Smith does not necessarily seek only self-fulfilment. He may seek the fulfilment of another for its own sake in exactly the same sense as he seeks the fulfilment of himself.

Through the operation of intelligent discrimination between mental activities and their objects, he comes to be aware of himself as a person, and apprehends the fulfilling of that person as good or desirable. A capacity to desire that end is awakened in him. In the same sense, and by the same means, he comes to be aware of others as persons, and apprehends the fulfilling of those persons as good or desirable. A capacity to desire that end is awakened in him.

It is true, of course, that his capacity to desire his own fulfilment is immensely stronger than his capacity for altruism. Even in the most generous and intense kind of love of one individual for another the motive is partly self-regarding. The lover needs and desires community with the beloved for his own well-being. But this makes no difference to the fact that he also seeks the well-being of the beloved for its own sake, and would perhaps bring himself actually to sacrifice the desired community, or even to sacrifice life itself, for that end. Both love and altruism 'stand on their own feet', so to speak. They are not in essence instruments of self-regard.

It is true that there is a very great deal of spurious altruism and false love, a great deal of altruistic activity the effective motive of which (often unwitting, unnoticed ;by the agent himself) is sheer self-pride, or the desire to gain respect or protection or 'credit in heaven', or simply the desire to gain the friendship of the beneficiary, or the 'love' of the 'beloved'. It is true that even genuine' altruism may be complicated by such motives; and indeed it generally is. But this makes no difference to the fact that John Smith can and does, up to a point, care for others for their own sakes, does, in however feeble a way, love his neighbour as himself.

It is true that, even in spontaneous love, he is probably in the first instance drawn toward the other by discovering in him or her some intense fulfilment for his own personal needs for companionship or beauty. But this makes no difference to the essential fact that in time he comes to discover or realize the other as a living person, a centre of vital and mental activity, just as he discovers himself; and that he now loves the other as he loves himself, and perhaps even (in rare cases) far better.

Self-fulfilment, then, may happen to be the overwhelmingly most powerful motive of John Smith's life, but it is not, in any significant sense of the phrase 'self-fulfilment', the root of all his other motives. He is capable of realizing that self-fulfilment, or personal fulfilment, which is good in his own case, is equally good wheresoever it occurs.

This power of realizing other individuals as selves, and of willing their fulfilment, is one which lies upon the upper limit of human capacity. In our present half-developed mentality it is weak and inconstant. Only the best of us have enough imaginative insight into others, and enough of the power of controlling their self-regarding impulses, to be spontaneous lovers of our fellow men. But the rest of us are to some extent strengthened by the social approval of love and of altruism. Mere self-regard induces us to contract habits of generosity and of self-detachment which, if they depended only on spontaneous other-regard might well prove impossible to us.

The power of treating others as selves, which is among the distinctively human capacities, involves more than merely treating others as beings like oneself. One must also treat them as beings different from oneself, as persons having their own unique characters and capacities, not as mere replicas of oneself.

Clearly the power of imaginative insight into the peculiar capacities and peculiar needs of others is of very great social importance. It is the root of Christian love, which, if only we could practise it constantly and thoroughly, would be by far the most effective cement for the consolidation of society. The world which we desire to create is one in which individuals will be extremely diverse, yet indissolubly bound by mutual insight.

This activity of becoming delicately aware of a personality involves besides intelligence and imagination, something which we may call 'sensibility', and is at once a cause of and a product of the other two. By sensibility I mean a combination of two powers; namely in the first place sensitivity to slight variations of behaviour, to gestures, tones of voice, choice of words, and so on; and in the second place intelligent grasp of the problems which the person's behaviour poses for one's understanding. It involves, of course, interpretation of his behaviour in terms of one's acquaintance with desires, moods, emotions of one's own mind; but also it involves imaginative creation, in oneself, of his unique forms of those desires moods, emotions.

The capacity of sensibility to other persons does not necessarily lead to generous or altruistic conduct. Altruism is, indeed, its natural expression; but it may be inhibited by a very strong self-regarding disposition. Dramatists, novelists, and some psychologists, are particularly well developed in the 'sense of personality'; but often they are also extremely self-regarding persons, and may be inclined to use their awareness of others chiefly for selfish ends. What is desirable, then, is, not merely awareness of other persons in this sense, but so vivid a realization of them that they seem 'as real as oneself', and their prospering as no less desirable than one's own prospering.

Those who have this power of vivid realization of others in a high degree are likely incidentally to develop their own personalities very fully and subtly. Every person whom they learn to know is a source of enrichment to themselves. By virtue of the fruits of their sympathetic insight into others, and championship of others, they themselves are enlarged and deepened. They continually discover aspects of existence which, unaided, they could never have discovered; and they discover ways of behaviour appropriate to those aspects which otherwise would have been impossible to them.



To be 'more developed' in personality consists in having a more accurate and comprehensive experience of the universe, including one's own nature, and also a power of behaving more appropriately to every kind of experienced situation. 'Experience of the universe' must, of course, be understood in the broadest sense. It must include every field of experience, the perceptual, the introspective, the personal, the social, the scientific, the artistic, the religious, and so on. The word 'accurate' implies an objective distinction between true and false. The word' appropriate' implies an objective distinction between right and wrong, in some sense. For my part I am content to say that appropriate or right action consists always in action which takes into account, in just measure, all the demands imposed by the objective situation; and that these demands of the objective situation are found to be, in actual experience, the needs and capacities of human beings, or of any beings whatever that are capable of personality or of vital activity in any degree whatever.

In this statement many difficult philosophical problems are raised. For instance, how can we measure the relative value of capacities, and how the relative value of individuals? I shall not discuss these problems, important though they are. Here I will only point out that, difficult or impossible as it is to make judgments of the worth of capacities and of persons, we do in practice attempt to make them in our daily life. The principle which we try to use, though we seldom formulate it, might be very roughly defined thus. The capacity which is judged to be the more awakened is prized the more highly. The individual who is judged to be the more awakened, more developed in personality, is the more admired. The words 'awakened' and 'personality' have to be understood in terms of knowing, feeling and creative doing. The ideal for any person is not merely the satisfaction of such desires as he actually has, but the development of his personality in this sense, his advancement toward ever more penetrating and more comprehensive knowing or awareness, ever more appropriate feeling and willing, ever more creative doing. The phrase 'creative doing' calls for very careful interpretation. Here I am content to say that' creative doing' is that kind of action which issues From 'creative imagination' in any sphere, in the sense mentioned in the preceding chapter.

This advancement in personality is not necessarily a steady acquiring of facts and a steady adjusting of the will. The mind can, of course, and often, does, make this steady progress. I t may also have periods of retrogression, when its power of apprehension seems to deteriorate, its feeling to coarsen, its will to disintegrate. But also it has, or may have, periods of 'revelation', so to speak, when large tracts of its experience, or the whole of its experience, suddenly or gradually acquire a new significance, when it 'com-prehends' things in a new pattern, opens up new .vistas of intellectual significance or new illuminations of feeling, and consequent new determinations of will. The stride from an almost animal infancy to a crudely human childhood, though perhaps not rapid, is more or less of this nature. Similar again is the passage from childhood to self-conscious adolescence. And farther advances, less spectacular but no less revolutionary, are possible at later stages of life. So far-reaching can they be that a man may sometimes look back on his self of the previous year and wonder how he could have been so obtuse, so spiritually torpid.

The word 'spiritually' is dangerous, but valuable none the less. I offer a rough definition of 'spiritual' as I shall use it in this book. Those activities are spiritual, for the purposes of this book, which lie at or beyond the highest reach of normal mental development. The word may be used either in an absolute sense, in which the standard is taken to be the highest reach of the human mind, or in a relative sense, in which the standard is the highest reach of the particular mind under consideration, whether John Smith's or Tom Jones's or a chimpanzee's or an angel's. It must not be taken to mean merely intellectual development, but the unitary development of knowing, feeling and willing. Thus for the mind normally below the level of self-consciousness, the tentative reach into self-consciousness and forethought is a spiritual activity. For the mind normally incapable of knowing others as selves the tentative reach from mere animal tenderness and protectiveness to genuine other-conscious love is a spiritual act. For the average human being egoistic prudence is too well established to deserve the adjective spiritual; but genuine altruism and love are upon, or in some cases perhaps beyond, the limit of his capacity. These are therefore spiritual activities, in that they involve a power of insight or sensibility to which he can only precariously attain.

There are, I believe, other activities, to be discussed later, which involve a still higher reach of development and are even more aptly to be called spiritual. These activities may occur along with the more normal activities of personal relationship or less particularized social conduct, or with normal aesthetic or intellectual pursuits; but they are not identical with any of them. For the present I will only say of them that personal relationships or social activities or the aesthetic or intellectual pursuits may seemingly come to reveal a new significance, a Universal significance almost impossible to describe; and that this new significance may produce a subtle and far-reaching change in the person's attitude and behaviour. This statement is, I admit, vague and emotive; but for the present it must stand as a mere token of a more careful discussion in the sequel.



The supreme goal of all our world-remaking or world- revolution must be the spiritual development of human personality. I cannot prove it, but to me it is self-evident that the ruling purpose of every individual life and of organized society should be the spiritual awakening of the human species, in the sense defined above. I cannot but regard myself and every other human being as essentially an instrument on which some theme of spiritual awakening should be played. I cannot but feel (I do not say believe) that in some sense, which certainly I myself do not at all clearly understand, 'I', an ephemeral human being, am under obligation to become as spiritually awakened as I can, so that before I die I may salute as fittingly as I may, in however brief a life, some facet of the beauty of the world, or perhaps it would be better to say some facet of the sheer intricate actuality of the world. I, the bare individual, am of no account. What matters is the theme or melody of knowing, feeling and creative action which may be created through me. All the bare, ephemeral individuals that ever were or will be are of no account. What matters is the music which each in his place and time produces, and which unfolds through the ages.

Whether this supreme aspect of the world-aim, this religious aspect, is to be advanced solely by the spiritual advancement of individuals, or whether also by the awakening of some kind of racial mind, it is impossible to know. At our early stage of the adventure it is of no practical importance. For us what is important is that one. field in which spiritual awakening may occur is the individual's awareness of his own social matrix.

I have said almost nothing about John Smith's relation to society as a whole. It is now time to face this extremely confusing subject.

We must distinguish between the animal way of reacting to the social group and the distinctively human way. Unfortunately the distinctively human way of reacting to society is even more rare than the distinctively human way of reacting to another individual.

As an animal, John Smith is gregarious. Though at times he requires to be alone for the proper development of his distinctively human capacities, he does also, as man and as animal, require community. An animal reacts to the group as a certain complex stimulus in its environment. It no more conceives the group as a community of selves than it conceives its mate or itself as a self in the full sense of the word. A man's purely animal reactions to the group may be summed as follows. In prolonged isolation from the group he is more or less distressed, and tends to put an end to his isolation by seeking the group. He behaves more or less as the other members of the group behave. He combines with the group to persecute those individuals who behave differently. He combines with the group to attack other groups. If he is strongly self-assertive, he leads the group, and suppresses rivals.

John Smith reacts to the various groups of which he is a member in this animal way. But even his 'animal ' reactions to groups are different from, and more complex than, the reactions of sub-human animals. He may react to the group of selves much as the animal reacts to the group of perceived animal bodies. Thus he craves for his personal comfort not only the physical presence of the group but also mental community with the group, the sense that he has the group's 'moral support' and approval. Mental or moral isolation from the group may be for him more painful than physical isolation. This kind of reaction is not purely animal, since it involves some degree of awareness of mental life; but it is not, I should say, genuinely human, since it does not involve full realization of others as selves, to be prized for their own sakes. It regards them, so to speak, as objects in the mental environment, not as themselves subjects, centres of vital and conscious activity, on the same footing as the agent himself, and deserving to be taken into consideration as ends in themselves. This realization, of course, can only come to a man in concrete personal relationships; but it gradually extends to afford him an abstract conception of society as a system of selves, mostly unknown to him, but none the less real.

The distinctively human apprehension of society as a system of selves may be faint or intense, fleeting or enduring, ineffective in controlling behaviour or a dominant influence. It may, moreover, apply only to a small group or a large group, or to the whole human race, or to the group composed of all personal beings whatever throughout the universe. It may, of course, fluctuate in its scope from day to day, hour to hour, according to the fluctuations of John Smith's moods.

When the distinctively human social reaction is aroused by any group less than the human race, it is compatible with animal hostility toward 'foreign' groups; and, indeed, hostility is made all the more resolute and bitter by the distinctively human realization of one's own group as a group of selves. But the more a foreign group is realized as a group of selves, the less is it possible to feel animal hostility toward it. No sooner does a man begin to realize a foreign group at all vividly as a group of selves, than he begins to transcend the limitations of his own group-loyalty. By 'animal hostility' I mean the disposition to attack foreign groups or foreign individuals simply because they are foreign. Animal hostility, or reflex hostility, is probably a very powerful motive in international strife. Genuine economic and political conflicts, no doubt, also play an important part, but it is animal hostility to a vaguely conceived 'foreign pack' which provides the emotional force needed for war. In very many individuals, moreover, this primitive vindictiveness is apparently greatly increased during childhood by the unconscious vindictiveness of parents and guardians. Thus the great majority of us, including, no doubt, many diplomats and foreign ministers, have an unacknowledged sadistic, and irrational leaning toward war. No wonder that the cause of peace makes little headway!

In anyone with a strong and constant realization of the human race as a system of selves animal hostility toward foreigners as such is not likely to occur. The impulse has to find other outlets. It may, for instance, express itself against nationalists and militarists of one's own and other nations; or against any of the countless and mighty forces which are opposed to the making of a more human world.

We might here discuss interminably the problem as to whether the world-society has any intrinsic worth over and above the worth of the individuals that make it up ; whether all individuals exist for society, or society for its individuals. It is surely enough to say that, since society is nothing whatever but a system of individuals in physical and mental relation, and since on the other hand the individual's mind is in-formed through and through by his social environment, the problem is meaningless. We must insist, however, that since society is not itself a self, a centre of mental activity, the spiritual awakening which we desire can only occur in individual minds. The sole justification of social organization is that it is a means to the fulfilling of the capacities of individuals. This implies, of course, their spiritual awakening. The utilitarian ideal of the greatest happiness of the greatest number still holds good if we may interpret 'happiness' to mean, not merely a pleasurable state of mind, but the free exercise of capacities, and especially of those capacities which are by definition spiritual. Society, then, should be a means for the spiritual awakening of individuals. If the world-community were itself a single self of very superior order, the subordination of individual fulfilment to the spiritual awakening of the communal self might be justified. But, though conceivably there might be such a communal self, there is no good reason whatever to suppose that anything of the sort actually exists to-day.

Though the true goal of social organization is not organization itself, but the fulfilment of individuals, it does not follow that all individuals in society deserve equal consideration simply because all are individuals. So far as political rights are concerned, all normal individuals should indeed be treated equally; for political organization is far too clumsy an instrument to adjust itself rightly to the differences of intrinsic worth between individuals. But individuals do differ in respect of their degree of mental and spiritual aliveness. We may be good democrats without pretending to believe that men are born equal, which plainly they are not.

Chapter 6

Chapter 4

Waking World Contents