Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 16 The Problem of Society -- How We Become Selves
WHAT I have wanted to make evident in the last few chapters is that science itself has been advancing at a great rate and has become conscious of its experimental method, which latter seemingly has been the source of its advance. It has been natural that philosophy should take these phases of the scientific advance as a basis for its interpretation of life, for science, as we know, is not a thing which exists by itself, even though it uses abstruse mathematical methods. It is an instrument by means of which mankind, the community, gets control over its environment. It is, in one sense, the successor to the early magic that undertook to control its environment by magical methods. It is a means of control. Science is something that enters into all the minutiae of life. We cannot brush our teeth without it. We cannot eat or drink without science coming in to tell us what should be eaten, what vitamins in the upper part of the alphabet ought to be used, how they can be obtained in the orange juice and the spinach that is on the menu. It tells us how to blow our noses and indicates with whom we may shake hands and whom we should avoid. There is hardly a point in life at which science does not tell something about the conduct that is an essential part of our Jiving. It is, in a way, independent of the community, of the community life. It goes on in separate institutions, in universities that cloister themselves from the community, under separate foundations that demand that this work shall be entirely free so that the scientist may entertain whatever view he cares to hold, use whatever methods he has worked out. The scientist demands a freedom in his operations which is greater than that
(361) which anyone else in the community can demand. He seems to stand outside the community; and yet, as I have said, his statements, the directions which he gives, enter into the whole minutiae of social life. Society is feeling its dependence upon scientific method more and more, and will continue to do so if it is to go ahead intelligently. The control over community life in the past has been a control of situations. The control, as such, has been almost inevitably conservative. It has preserved orders which have established themselves as social habits that we call "institutions." A conscious social control has taken on this form: The law must be obeyed; the constitution must be honored; the various institutions such as the family, school, courts, must be recognized and obeyed; the order which has come down to us is an order which is to be preserved. And, whenever the community is disturbed, we always find this return to the fixed order which is there, and which we do not want to have shaken. It is entirely natural and, in a certain sense, entirely justifiable. We have to have an order of society; and, if what is taking place shakes that order, we have no evidence that we will get another order to take the place of the present one. We cannot afford to let that order go to pieces. We must have it as a basis for our conduct.
The first step consciously taken in advance of this position is that which grew out of the French Revolution, that which in a certain sense incorporated the principle of revolution into institutions. That is, when you set up a constitution and one of the articles in it is that the constitution may be changed, then you have, in a certain sense, incorporated the very process of revolution into the order of society. Only now it is to be an ordered, a constitutional revolution by such and such steps. But, in any case, now you can change the order of things as it is going on.
That is the problem of society, is it not? How can you present order and structure in society and yet bring about the changes that need to take place, are taking place? How can you bring those changes about in orderly fashion and yet preserve order?
(362) To bring about change is seemingly to destroy the given order, and yet society does and must change. That is the problem, to incorporate the methods of change into the order of society itself. I do not mean to say that society has not always recognized that change could take place, but it did not undertake to find a process by means of which this should go on. It simply assumed that change was going to take place toward some fixed goal. If you are going to have a society in which everyone is going to recognize the interests of everybody else - for example, in which the golden rule is to be the rule of conduct, that is, a society in which everyone is to make the interests of others his own interest, while actually each person seems to be pursuing his own interest-how can that goal be reached? It was assumed, of course. that this was to be done through a religious current, through a change in the heart of the individual. But in the last analysis that goal was to be reached in the world to come, not in this one. That was the religious solution. The order we find is one given by God for this world and must be preserved. The final perfect society was to be a New Jerusalem that belonged to another world. The religious goal was one of otherworldliness. We have other conceptions, councils of perfection set up, such as that of a society in which you should bring liberty in the sense of everyone's respecting the rights of everyone else, one's liberty being in that sense only circumscribed by intrenching on others' liberty. That is more or less an abstraction. To take a practical illustration, how are you to determine where the liberty of a man in the control of his property is to be restricted? He needs controlling. We will say that he, or rather a group of men, own shares in a railroad, and that they choose to deal with rates in a fashion which will serve their own interest, Well now, if they are to have complete control over their property, and then the community comes in and says that theirs is property of a different sort, that their acts must have the approval of the community, how are we to determine where the restriction in the control over the property is to take place?
How is society to find a method for changing its own institutions and still preserve the security of those institutions? That is, in general, the problem that presents itself in its most universal form. You want a society that is going ahead, not a fixed order, as the religious solution would have it. You want a society that is progressing, Progress has become essential to intelligent life. Now) how are we to get ahead and change those situations that need changing and yet preserve the security of them? You see this is an advance In which we cannot state the goal toward which we are going. We do not know what the goal is. We are on the way, but we do not know where. And yet we have to get some method of charting our progress. We do not know where the progress is supposed to terminate, where it is going. This is a seemingly insoluble problem.
Science does, in a sense, present the method for its solution. That is, it recognizes that progress is of the nature of the solution of a problem. What these problems present are inhibitions, the checking of conduct. And the solution of the problem stops this checking process, sets it free so that we can go on. The scientist is not looking ahead toward a goal and charting his movement toward that goal. That is not the function of the scientist. He is finding out why his system does not work, what the difficulty in it is. And the test of his solution of the difficulty IS that his system starts working again, goes on. Science is occupied with finding what the problems are that exist in the social process. It finds what the problems are, what processes have been definitely checked. Then it asks: How can things be so reconstructed that those processes which have been checked can be set going again? The illustration which I have given from the field of hygiene is as good as any, but you can find similar illustrations elsewhere.
Take, as another example, the social problem of recreation, with all the dangers that gather about its various forms, particularly about commercialized recreation. Shall we recognize the legitimacy of the expression of the play instinct, the freedom for the play one wants, when at the same time we recognize
(364) that dangers go along with it? You do not set up an ideal form of recreation. You find out what the dangers are, just what it is that finds expression in play, what the freedom is that is demanded there; and you see how you can combine the control or avoidance of danger with the freedom of expression. That is the sort of problem we are meeting. We have to let freedom of activity go on, and yet dangers must be avoided. And what science does is to give a method for studying such situations. Again, on the social side, or on the biological side in dealing with questions of disease, we have the question of how we shall deal with these problems. As a further instance, take the question of crime. What are the conditions out of which crime itself springs? How, on the one hand, can you protect society against the criminal and yet, on the other hand, recognize those conditions which are responsible for the criminal himself? What procedure can you set up by means of which you can guard society against the criminal and at the same time protect the individual against unfair conditions under which he has been living? Here we have a series of clashing problems, and what we have to do is to get a way which will recognize that what we feel is essential in each, so that the problems can be adjusted and the essential processes of life can go on. When we get such a method, we have the means for the solution of our problems. Let me illustrate this further in the problem of juvenile crime, so-called. There we have a situation in which certain definite habits embodied in our institution of the court prove unsatisfactory. The child is brought before the court by the police. The social habit left simply to itself would condemn the child to the penitentiary and thus make a confirmed criminal out of him. But it is possible to modify those habits by what we call the "scientific method.
What I wish to point out is that the scientific method, as such, is, after all, only the evolutionary process grown self-conscious. We look back over the history of plant and animal life on the face of the globe and see how forms have developed slowly by the trial-and-error method. There are slight varia-
(365) -tions that take place in the individual forms and occasional more pronounced variations that we call "mutations." Out of these, different forms gradually arise. But the solution of the particular problem of an animal-the food problem, we will say-is one which may take thousands of years to solve in the gradual development of a certain form. A form which passes, let us say, from the eating of meat to the eating of vegetables develops a type of stomach capable of handling this latter kind of food. Here we have a problem which is met gradually by the appearance of some form that does commence to develop an adjustment to the problem, and we can assume that from its progeny those particular forms will be selected which are adapted to such digestion. It is a problem which has to be met if there is to be development, and the development takes place by the seemingly incidental appearance of those forms which happen to be better able than others to meet the peculiar demands set up. If we put ourselves in the same place, there is the same problem. The food problem faces us as it does all other animal forms. We have to get our food from both the vegetable and the animal kingdoms. But if it is a question of our being able to get the food that is shut up inside a cellulose covering, we do not wait through long periods until we develop stomachs which will be able to digest this substance. We work out a milling process by means of which we set free that which is digestible. That is, we solve the problem directly by what we call the "scientific method." Here is a certain necessity: the food which we need is shut off from us by a cellulose covering. We work out a mechanism to get rid of this covering. There is an evolutionary problem made self-conscious. The problem is stated in a definite form; this, in turn, excites the imagination to the formation of a possible hypothesis which will serve as the solution of it; and then we set out to test the solution.
The same process is found in social development, in the formation of great societies among both invertebrates and vertebrates., through a principle of organization. Societies develop, just as animal forms develop, by adjusting themselves to the
(366) problems that they find before them. They have food problems, problems of climate, just as individual animals do; but they meet them in a social fashion. When we reach the human form with its capacity for indicating what is important in a situation, through the process of analysis; when we get to the position in which a mind can arise in the individual form, that is, where the individual can come back upon himself and stimulate himself just as he stimulates others; where the individual can call out in himself the attitude of the whole group; where he can acquire the knowledge that belongs to the whole community; where he can respond as the whole community responds under certain conditions when they direct this organized intelligence toward particular ends; then we have this process which provides solutions for problems working in a self-conscious way. In it we have the evolution of the human mind which makes use directly of the sort of intelligence which has been developed in the whole process of evolution. It makes use of it by the direct method that we call "mental." If one goes back to a primitive society, one finds the beginnings of the evolution of what we call "Institutions." Now these institutions are, after all, the habits of individuals in their interrelation with each other, the type of habit that is handed down from one generation to another. And we can study the growth of these habits as we can study the growth and behavior of an animal.
That is where science comes in to aid society in getting a method of progress. It understands the background of these problems, the processes out of which they have developed; and it has a method of attacking them. It states the problem in terms of checked processes; and then it has a test of the suggested solution by seeing whether those processes can continue or not. That is as valuable -- in a certain sense more valuable -a contribution of science as any of its immediate results that we can gather together. This sort of method enables us to keep the order of society and yet to change that order within the process itself. It is a recognition that intelligence expresses itself in the solution of problems. That is the way in which evo-
(367) -lution is taking place in the appearance of problems in life. Living forms have found themselves up against problematic situations: their food gone, the climate changed, new enemies coming in. The method which nature has followed, if we may speak so anthropomorphically, has been the production of variations until finally some one variation has arisen which has survived. Well, what science is doing is making this method of trial and error a conscious method.
Up to this period the so-called "social sciences" have been gathered about the more or less dogmatic theory of certain institutions. It was assumed that each institution as such stood upon certain rational doctrines, whether those of the family, the state, the church, the school, or the court. The early theory was that these institutions were established directly by God. The divine right of kings was simply the assertion that the state had as divine an origin as the church; and, of course, it was assumed that God was also responsible for the ordering of the family and the other institutions. They all came back to a direct structure which was given to them. If the theories did not place this structure in divine ordinance, they brought it back to certain natures in the institutions themselves. And it was assumed that you could work out the theory which would determine what the institutions ought to be. The development of evolutionary doctrine had as great an effect in this field as any it had in biology. Spencer, and others following immediately in his path, carried over the evolutionary theory into the development of human institutions. People went back to primitive societies, which at first were regarded as much more primitive than they were, and then undertook to show how, out of the life of these people, different institutions arose through a process of evolution.
I pointed out earlier that a certain part of the stimulus which directed this thought came from the Hegelian movement. The Hegelian doctrine was in one sense an evolutionary one. At least it was particularly interested in the development of what we term "self-consciousness," in the process of thinking where
(368) that arose. And it was the Hegelian thinkers who turned to the study of human institutions, but they did so on the economic and the political side. On the economic side, we have the Marxian doctrine of the human institution in the economic process. On the political side, we have the development of the state, especially the city-state. Hegel's son Karl was quite a notable author in the early study of the city-state, particularly of the way in which it developed. The whole study of so complex a dogmatic structure as the Roman law, for example, was brought back to an evolutionary consideration. Later, attention was directed toward social forms as social forms, apart from any dogmatic structure that lay behind them.
Take, again, the attitude of the community toward crime. On the evolutionary side, you go back to a situation, we will say, of blood vengeance. A man from one clan kills a man from another. Immediately there arises within the injured clan a man who is determined to revenge the death by killing someone from the other clan, and the next of kin sets out to kill the slayer. When he accomplishes this, he sets up at once the need of vengeance on the part of the first group. Again, the next of kin goes out to slay in his turn. And this process goes on until, we will say, the clans are nearly exterminated. Well now, when clans were brought together in a tribe in order to defend themselves against other tribes, such a decimation of fighting members of the group became a serious matter, and the tribe came to consider how this problem could be met. A court was worked out in which vengeance took the form of paying a fine. And some sort of a court had to be constituted which should pass upon obligations. In this way a means was gradually built up of getting rid of blood vengeance. There you have an evolutionary process in which the court arises.
When it is carried through and it becomes necessary to organize society more exactly and fit the penalty more definitely to what is felt to be the character of the crime, there arise all the penalties which belong to a court of law. And we get the institution of criminal law which still carries over some of this sense
(369) of vengeance which is to be enacted. There must be some suffering on the part of the man who has gone against the interests of the community, who has trespassed on the rights of others. In the older, medieval state the community was called together to witness the suffering of the individual who was being punished. The community thus got satisfaction out of the vengeance, particularly any specific individuals who were themselves injured by the so-called criminal. That element of vengeance in a sense demands that where some particularly outrageous crime has been committed, the community feels the need for somebody to suffer. And under such circumstances it is difficult to get impartial justice. It becomes more important to the community that someone should suffer than that the specific individual should suffer. So in our criminal law we have this motive of exacting suffering, and we have a partially worked-out theory which states that where a person has committed a crime he should pay by a certain amount of suffering for the wrong he has done. If the wrong is great, he must suffer more than if it is a lesser wrong. So we inflict punishment by putting him in prison. If the sin is heinous, he is put in for ten or twenty years; if lighter, for perhaps only a few weeks or months. We fit the punishment to the crime.
But we know that that process does not work at all. We have no such exactly measured sets of sufferings as to be able to put them accurately over against wrongs. When the sense of vengeance has died down, we are not sure whether we want the other person to suffer at all. We want to get rid of crime. And so we change our theory from wanting the person to suffer for a wrong he has done to seeing that we keep him from doing the same wrong again. So we have retribution, not in the sense of vengeance but as repression of crime itself. But you know how difficult it is to work those two motives together, trying to find out just how much repression of crime does take place through the action of the law. And when we come to juvenile offenses, we feel the situation should be approached from an entirely different standpoint. So we put aside criminal law, and
(370) we have the judge sitting with the boy or girl; we get members of the family, perhaps some person interested in social service, possibly the school teacher, and they all talk it over, and try to find out just why what happened did happen, and they attempt to discover some sort of situation by means of which the criminal can be got back into a social position and be kept from doing the sort of thing he has done in the past. Thus we try to get rid of crime by a social process. That parole system has been carried over from the juvenile court into the adult court. Very good results have been obtained where politics has not come in to corrupt the process. There we have the development of an institution from both ends, so to speak. You can see how, out of the attitude of vengeance, the court itself has arisen, and then how, out of the operation of an institution of that sort, one having conflicting motives in it, such as repression of crime on the one hand and a demand for vengeance on the other, that institution can be approached from the standpoint of reinstating the individual in society. There is a social problem here, the problem of an individual who has abused the rights of somebody else but whom we want to put back in the social situation so that he will not do it again. There we have the development of a social process by a real scientific method.
We try to state the problem as carefully as we can. Here is a boy who has allied himself with a gang and has been carried away with the sense of adventure and has committed a burglary which could send him to the penitentiary for years. But that would be absurd. It would make a criminal out of him, and no good would be accomplished at all. It is very questionable whether it would even keep other boys from doing the same thing, for, of course, the sense of adventure makes the attitude of the criminal something attractive in itself . It is astonishing how, when we are somewhat relaxed by an attack of grippe or disease, we turn to criminal tales for our relief! If you go through the hospitals of the city, you will find such tales being read in great quantities. The creation of crime taken in itself can be looked at from the point of view of adventure, especially
(371) for the adolescent. If you approach things scientifically, you can see what the attitude is. You can see that the boy has approached it from this attitude of adventure, does not realize its import; and if he is made to realize it, you can make a very good citizen indeed out of him. What you want to do, then, is to state your social situation in such a fashion that you can reconstitute the boy as a normal citizen, give him opportunities for play in which he can express his demand for adventure with a recognition of what the rights are that make a possibility of citizenship. That has to be brought home to him. He wants to be a citizen in the community, and he has to see that he must have the same respect for the rights of others that he claims for himself. And at the same time you must have a situation where the boy can lead a normal life. Work out specific hypotheses, and by means of them you may get the boy back into society again.
Take any institution as such and look at it from the standpoint of evolution, the way in which that is determined in society, and then you can see the development in society itself of a technique which we call the "scientific technique," but it is a technique which is simply doing consciously what takes place naturally in the evolution of forms. I have been pointing out that the process of evolution is one that meets such a problem as that of blood vengeance, where members of the tribe are at work killing each other as fast as they can. And the community works out there-in a somewhat bungling fashion, if you like -- a court which undertakes to meet this situation. It becomes established, acquires a dogmatic structure, holds on to motives which belonged to the earlier situation. But finally we see the situation as one in which we try to do with self-consciousness what took place by a process of evolution. That is, we try to state the problem with reference to a particular child; we want to see what can be done toward bringing together what was a healthful expression of adventure on the part of the boy with rights which he himself claims. So the juvenile court represents a self-conscious applica-
(371) -tion of the very process of evolution out of which the courts themselves arose.
What I am trying to do is to connect this entire evolutionary process with social organization in its most complex expression, and as that within which arise the very individuals through whose life-process it works, giving birth to just such elements as are involved in the development of selves. And, as I have said, the life-process itself is brought to consciousness in the conduct of the individual form, in his so-called "self-consciousness." He gets a much more effective control over his environment than the ox can get over its. The process is one in which, in a certain sense, control is within his own grasp. If you think of it, the human being as a social form has actually got relatively complete control over his environment. The animal gets a certain slight kind of control over its environment; but the human form, in societies, can determine what vegetation shall grow, what animals shall exist besides itself; it can control its own climate, erect its own buildings. It has, in a biological sense, complete control over its own environment. That is, it has attained to a remarkable degree an end which is implied in the whole living process-the control by the form of the environment within which it lives. To a degree human society has reached that goal.
It has often been pointed out, of course, that evolution does not reach any goal. The concept means simply the adaptation of a form to a certain environment. But adaptation is not simply the fitting of the form into the environment, it carries with it some degree of control over that environment. And in the case of the human form,, of human society, we have that adaptation expressing itself in a very high degree of control. Of course, we cannot change the chemical and physical structure of things, but we can make them over into those forms that we ourselves need and which are of value to us. That is possible for us; and, as I have said with reference to the question of food and to the question of climatic influences, we can in a very large degree determine that control. So there is, within limits, a de-
(373) -velopment toward complete adaptation where that adaptation expresses itself in control over the environment. And in that sense I think we can fairly say that human organization, as a social organization, does exercise control and has in that sense reached a certain goal of development.
Well now, this social process I have been sketching in these broad strokes has become of increasing interest to reflective thought throughout this whole period. Of course, to some extent it has always been of essential interest to man in the social situation in which he lives. What I am referring to specifically is the character of the social organism-its organization, its history, and the conditions under which it can be controlled. The statement of the functions of the different parts of the social organism is that study which we have in a so-called "social science," and more particularly in sociology. This had its inception in the thought of Comte, and then was enriched by the idea of evolution as brought in by Spencer. From that time on, the attempt to understand human society as an organization has been of increasing interest to the Western world. 'Men have been trying to see the habits out of which society has arisen, to find out under what conditions it operates, and how problems that arise in it can be definitely controlled. This involves looking at human institutions from the standpoint I have suggested, that is, as social habits.
While during the century there has been this increased interest in the study of the social organization, there has been a corresponding interest in the experience of the individual. Part of this is due to our scientific attitude. As we have seen, it is the unique experience of the scientist that presents the problem, and it is in the mind of the scientist that the hypothesis arises. It is not only in the scientist as such that this uniqueness of the experience has been recognized as of importance. After all, the scientist is simply making a technique out of human intelligence. His method is the same as that of all intelligent beings, even though it involves a simple rendering in self-consciousness of the whole process of evolution. That in the experience of all
(374) individuals which is peculiar to the individual, that which is unique in his experience, is of importance; and what the last century increasingly recognized was the importance of these unique individual experiences.
The emotional side of these experiences, as we know, registers itself in the folk poetry, in the lyric expression of the self -- a registration of values from the point of view of the individual. There have always been some neat ways of scientific observation, although accurate presentation of it belongs really to the modern world, that world which has grown up since the period of the Renaissance. But what I am particularly calling attention to is the interest we have in that which is peculiar to the individual as it is revealed in our literature and in our journals, our newspapers. The curious thing about the newspaper is that it records happenings to individual persons; and it assumes that it is of interest to us to know that a certain individual at a certain time was run over by an automobile or that a certain person fell down, hurt himself in such and such a way, and that John or Jane has had such and such an experience in such a place. It is curious to note the interest that centers about individuals as such, and the assumption that the world at large will be interested in these happenings.
Well now, what I want to connect with this journalese interest in happenings to particular individuals is the character of our literature, not simply in its lyric. poetry, where the emotion of the individual is presented so that it can be handed on to others, but particularly in our novels and the drama. In these we have this interest in the experience of the individual as such presented as it has been during the last century, because it does answer to some very profound interest on the part of all the individuals who take up their morning and evening papers, who read all sorts of stories and novels, go to movies, listen to the radio, get those experiences of other individuals which, as I say, have an interest for us which is rather astonishing when one just stands off and looks at the situation. They seem to be so unrelated. We seem to be interested in just a particular occurrence.
(375) We speak of it as sensational and perhaps are apt to regard it as an attitude not entirely helpful on our part when we are interested in this fashion.
What is the import of this interest? 1 wanted to bring this up in sharp contrast to what 1 am going to develop later, that is, that the human self arises through its ability to take the attitude of the group to which he belongs-because he can talk to himself in terms of the community to which he belongs and lay upon himself the responsibilities that belong to the community; because he can recognize his own duties as over against others that is what constitutes the self as such. And there you see what we have emphasized, as peculiar to others, that which is both individual and which is habitual. The structure of society lies in these social habits, and only in so far as we can take these social habits into ourselves can we become selves.
We speak of this interest on the emotional side as "sympathy" - passing into the attitude of the other, taking the rôle of the other, feeling the other's joys and sorrows. That is the effective side of it. What we call the "intellectual side," the "rational side," is the recognition of common stimuli, of common emotions which call out responses in every member of the group. And in so far as one indicates this common character to others, he indicates it to himself. In this way, of course, by taking the attitude of the others in the group in their co-operative, highly complex activity, the individual is able to enter into their experiences. The engineer is able to direct vast groups of individuals in a highly complex process. But in every direction he gives, he takes the attitude of the person whom he is directing. It has the same meaning to him that it has to others. We enter in that way into the attitudes of others, and in that way we make our very complex societies possible, This development of a form that is able so to communicate with others that it takes on attitudes of those in the group, that it talks to itself as it talks to others, that imports into its own life this conversation, and sets up an inner forum in which it works out the process that it is going to carry on, and so brings it to public consideration with
(376) the advantage of that- previous rehearsing, is all important.
Sometimes we find that we can best think out an argument by supposing that we are talking to somebody who takes one particular side. As we say, we have an argument to present, and we think how we will present it to that individual. And as soon as we present it, we know that he would reply in a certain way. Then we reply in a certain fashion to him. Sometimes it is easier to carry out such a conversation by picking out a particular protagonist we know. In that way in the night hours we are apt to go through distressing conversations we have to carry out the next day. That is the process of thought. It is taking the attitude of others, talking to other people, and then replying in their language. That is what constitutes thinking.
Of course, conditions are different in a human society than in simpler situations. I was pointing out the difference between a human society and a society of invertebrates. The principle of organization is not that of physiological plasticity, not that of holding the form itself physiologically to its particular function; it is rather the principle of organization as found in the form of human intercommunication and participation. It is what the human individual puts into the form of significant symbols through the use of gestures. He is then able to place himself in the attitude of others, particularly into just such attitudes as those I have spoken of as human institutions. If institutions are social habits, they represent certain definite attitudes that people assume under certain given social conditions. So that the individual, in so far as he does take the role of others, can take the habitual attitude of the community over against such social situations as these.
As I have pointed out, he does this in the process of indicating to others the important elements in a situation, pointing out those elements which are of importance in the social process, in a situation that represents one of these social habits, such as the family situation; one that involves the rights of different individuals in the community, such as a political situation. What the individual does is to indicate what the important characters
(377) in a co-operative process are. He indicates this to other members of the community; but as we shall see, especially in the case of vocal gestures, he indicates it to himself as to others; and just in so far as he does indicate it to himself as to others, he tends to call out in himself the same attitude as in others. There is a common attitude, that is, one which all assume under certain habitual situations. Through the use of language, through the use of the significant symbol, then, the individual does take the attitude of others, especially these common attitudes, so that he finds himself taking the same attitude toward himself that the community takes. This, of course, is what gives the principle of social control, not simply the social control that results from blind habit, but a social control that comes from the individual assuming the same attitude toward himself that the community assumes toward him. In a habitual situation everyone takes a certain attitude in so far as it is habitual, in so far as the habit is one which all have taken, that is, in so far as you have what are called "institutions." If, now, the individual calls out this attitude in others by a gesture, by a word which affects himself just as it affects others, then he will call out the same attitude in himself that he calls out in others. In this way he will be acting toward himself as others act toward him. He will admonish himself as others would. That is, he will recognize what are his duties as well as what are his rights. He takes the attitude of the community toward himself. This gives the principal method of organization which, as I have said, we can study from the standpoint of a behavioristic psychology, a method which belongs to human society and distinguishes it from social organizations which one finds among ants and bees and termites. There one finds societies that run up into the millions; and we find these as finely organized as human societies are, and, so organized that individuals' lives are largely determined by the life-process of the whole. We get far more complex and intricate organization, of course, in human society than among the invertebrates. For this principle to which I have referred -organization through communication and participation -- makes
(378) an almost indefinite organization possible. Now the study of the way in which this organization takes place, the history of it, the evolution of it, is what has been opened up to the human mind in the last century. We now see the way in which out of a primitive group there can gradually arise the very highly organized societies of the present day. We can study that process in the evolution of institutions, and we can see how that process is modified or may be modified in the presence of problematic situations.
This evolution also takes place in human society, but here it takes place not through physiological plasticity, not through the development of peculiar physiological functions on the part of the separate individuals. It takes place through the development of what has been referred to on the logical side as a universe of discourse. That is, it takes place through communication and participation on the part of the different individuals in common activities. It takes place through the development of significant symbols. It is accomplished almost entirely through the development of vocal gestures, through the capacity of the individual to indicate by means of his own gestures to other forms and also to himself, those elements which are of importance in co-operative activity. So far as we can see, the stimuli that keep the invertebrates occupied are those of odor, contact. But we find no evidence of any language among them. It is through physiological development and plasticity that their very complex communities operate. But the human form, subject to no such development as this, can be interwoven into a community activity through its ability to respond to the gestures of other forms that indicate to it the stimuli to which it is to respond. We point things out. This pointing-out process may be with the finger, by an attitude of body, by direction of head and eyes; but as a rule it is by means of the vocal gesture, that is, a certain vocal symbol that indicates something to another individual and to which he responds. Such indication as this sets up a certain definite process of pointing out to other in-
(379) -dividuals in the group what is of importance in this co-operative activity.
The peculiar importance of the vocal gesture is that it affects the individual who makes it just as much as it affects the individual to whom it is directed. We hear what we say; if we are talking with our fingers we see what we are saying; if with attitudes of the body, we feel what we are saying. The effect of the attitude which we produce in others comes back on ourselves. It is in this way that participation arises out of communication. When we indicate something to another form, we are calling out in that other individual a certain response. The very gesture we make calls out a certain sort of response in him. If that gesture affects us as it affects him, it has a tendency to call out some response in ourselves. The gesture that affects another, when it is a vocal gesture, is one which may have the tendency to influence the speaker as it influences others. The common expression of this is that a man knows what he is saying when the meaning of what he is saying comes to him as really as it goes to another. He is affected just as the other is. If the meaning of what he says affects the other, it affects himself in the same way. The result of this is that the individual who speaks, in some sense takes the attitude of the other whom he addresses. We are familiar with this in giving directions to another person to do something. We find ourselves affected by the same direction. We are ready to do the thing and perhaps become irritated by the awkwardness of the other and insist on doing it ourselves. We have called out in ourselves the same response we have asked for in another person. We are taking his attitude. It is through this sort of participation, this taking the attitudes of other individuals, that the peculiar character of human intelligence is constituted. We say something that means something to a certain group. But it not only means that to the group, it also means that to us. It has the same meaning for both.
There is a certain, what we would call, "unconscious direction" that takes place in lower vertebrate forms. A group of animals is said to set up a sentinel. Some one form is more sensi-
(380) -tive than others to stimuli of danger. Now the action on the part of this one which is more sensitive than the rest, the action of running from danger, for example, does cause the other forms to run also. But the first one is not giving a signal in the human sense. It is not aware of giving such directions. Its mere running constitutes a stimulus to the other forms to run in the same direction. It works in the same way as if the form knew what its business was, to catch the first evidence of the enemy and go give the evidence of it to the whole group, thus setting them all going. But in the experience of the animal there is no such procedure, no such content. The animal does not influence himself as he influences others. He does not tell himself of the danger as he tells it to others. He merely runs away.
The outstanding characteristic in human communication is that one is making a declaration, pointing out something that is common in meaning to the whole group and to the individual, so that the individual is taking the attitude of the whole group, so far as there is any definite meaning given. When a man calls out "Fire!" he is not only exciting other people but himself in the same fashion. He knows what he is about. That, you see, constitutes biologically what we refer to as a "universe of discourse." It is a common meaning which is communicated to everyone and at the same time is communicated to the self. The individual is directing other people how to act, and he is taking the attitude of the other people whom he is directing. If in this attitude of the other person he makes an objection, he is doing what the other person would do, and he is also carrying on the process which we call "thought." That is, you indicate to somebody else that he is to do something, and he objects to it. Well now, the person might in his attitude of the other make the same objection himself, You reply to the other person, trying to point out his mistake or admitting your own. In the same way, if you make some objection, you reply to your own objection or admit your mistake to yourself. Thinking is a process of conversation with one's self when the individual takes the attitude of the other, especially when he takes the common attitude of the
(381) whole group, when the symbol that he uses is a common symbol, has a meaning common to the entire group, to everyone who is in it and anyone who might be in it. It is a process of communication with participation in the experience of other people.
The mechanism that we use for this process is words, vocal gestures. And we need, of course, only a very few of these as compared with those we need when talking to others. A single symbol is enough to call out necessary responses. But it is just as really a conversation in terms of the significant symbols of language as if the whole process were expressed. We sometimes do our thinking out loud, in fully organized sentences; and one's thought can always presumably be developed into a complete grammatical unit. That is what constitutes thinking.
Now, it is this inner thought, this inner flow of speech and what it means--that is, words with their meanings -- that call out intelligent response; it is this that constitutes the mind, in so far as that lies in the experience of the form. But this is only a part of the whole social process, for the self has arisen in that social process; it has its being there. Of course, you could carry such a self as that over to a Robinson Crusoe island and leave him by himself, and he could carry that social process on by himself and extend it to his pets. He carries that on by himself, but it is only because he has grown up in society, because he can take attitudes and roles of others, that he can accomplish this.
This mental process, then, is one which has evolved in the social process of which it is a part. And it belongs to the different organisms that lie inside of this larger social process. We can approach it from the standpoint of evolution; and we can approach it more particularly from the standpoint of behavioristic psychology, where we can get back to what expresses itself in the mind. We also can get somewhat underneath the experience that goes on in the self in what we term "pathological psychology," a psychology that enables us to get hold of the various processes that are not themselves evidenced in this stream of inner conversation to which I have referred. The term "pathological" simply means that this type of psychology
(382) has been pursued largely in dealing with pathological cases. It is a study, for example, of the way in which our special world arises in our experience through our distance senses and our contact experiences, through the collation of the elements which we reach through vision with the elements which we reach through the tactual sense, the process by which we have built up an implemental world by the use of our hands; for a particular instance, the process by which, for purposes of food, we reach with the hand for a distant object. Man comes into that process and gives to the organism a physical thing which is not the food, not the consummation, whatever it may be, but a physical thing. Our world is made up out of physical things. We deal with things as if we could handle them. We think of things as being "pulverized," broken up into parts so we can get hold of them. A physical thing is a unit into which we break up our environment. The process by which we build our world of physical things is a process, too, of which we are not immediately conscious. The child, the infant that is uncertainly groping toward a ball, is gradually building up a world of such physical things; but the process takes place underneath the level of our own consciousness. We cannot get at it in its immediate inception, only indirectly by this type of psychology, a psychology that does enable us to get into the workings of the individual process as it lies inside of the whole social process to which it belongs.
And this is what constitutes the self as such. A self which is so evidently a social individual that it can exist only in a group of social individuals is as much a result of the process of evolution as other biological forms. A form that can cooperate with others through the use of significant symbols, set up attitudes of others and respond to them, is possible through the development of great tracts in the central nervous system that are connected with our processes of articulation, with the ear, and so -,s,ltli the various movements that can go on in the human form. But they are not circumscribed within the conduct of a single form. They belong to the group. And the process is just as
(383) much an evolution as is the queen bee or the fighter among the ants. In those instances we get a certain particular evolution that is taking place, belonging to a certain particular society, one which could exist only in such a society. The same is true of the self. That is, an individual who affects himself as he affects another; who takes the attitude of the other in so far as he affects the other, in so far as he is using what we term "intelligible speech;" who knows what he himself is saying, in so far as he is directing his indications by these significant symbols to others with the recognition that they have the same meaning for them as for him; such an individual is, of course, a phase of the development of the social form. This is a branch of what we term -behavioristic psychology," one in which we can see how the self as such has developed.
What I want to make evident is that the development, the evolution, of mind as well as of institutions is a social evolution. As I have just stated, society in its organization is a form, a species that has developed; and it has many forms developing within it. You see, for example, at the present time in reference to the question of food that the problem is one which is met by very intricate social organizations. Where the individual himself responds simply to the odor or sight of food, we recognize it as a biological process. When the whole community responds to the need of food by the organization of its industries, its methods of agriculture, of milling, of transportation, of cooking and preparation, we have the same process, only now not by separate individuals but by a social organization; and that organization is just as really an evolution as the stomach of the ox. That stomach is very complicated. The evolution of a social mechanism by which grain is sowed and reaped in South America and North America, is carried to great milling establishments and there converted into flour, and then carried and distributed by dealers so that the individual groups can get hold of it and prepare it in such fashion that it can be readily assimilated--that is just as much evolution as the development of bacteriological laboratories in the digestive tract of an ox. It is
(384) a process, however, which takes place much more rapidly than it is taking place in the case of the ox. There we have something that answers to a physiological plasticity in the case of invertebrates -- the adjustment of different organs within the body to accomplish what we accomplish by mechanical means. It is this ability to control our environment that gives us what we term "mind."
What we attach to the term "mind" particularly is its privacy. It belongs to the individual. And what takes place there takes place, we say, in the experience of the individual. He may make it accessible to others by telling about it. He may, talk out loud. He may publish. He may indicate even by his uncontrolled gestures what his frame of mind is. But there is that which goes on inside of a man's mind that never gets published, something that takes place there within the experience of the individual. Part of it, of course, is what answers to what is going on in the physiological mechanism there, the suffering that belongs to one's teeth, the pleasure one gets in the palate. These are experiences which he has for himself because they are taking place within his own organism. But, though they are taking place within his own organism, and so no one else can experience the same thing, the organism does not experience it as its own-that is, it does not realize that the experience is its own-until a self has arisen. We have no reason to assume, for example, that in lower animals there are such entities as selves; and if no such entities, then that which takes place within the organism cannot be identified with such a self. There is pain; there is pleasure; there are feelings which are not exactly painful or pleasurable, such as heat and cold. These various feelings belong to the organism, the tensions of the various muscles, the movements of the joints, so essential in our intelligent social conduct. These belong to the organism in a certain sense. But the individual animal does not associate them with a self because it has no self; it is not a self.
A self can arise only where there is a social process within which this self has had its initiation. It arises within that proc-
(385)-ess. For that process the communication and participation to which I have referred is essential. That is the way in which selves as such have arisen. That is where the individual is in a social process in which he is a part, where he does influence himself as he does others. There the self arises. And there he turns back upon himself, directs himself. He takes over those experiences which belong to his own organism. He identifies them with himself. What constitutes the particular structure of his experience is what we call his "thought." It is the conversation which goes on within the self. This is what constitutes his mind. For it is through this so-called "thought," of course, that he interprets his experiences. Now that thought, as I have already indicated, is only the importation of outer conversation, conversation of gestures with others, into the self in which the individual takes the role of others as well as his own role. He talks to himself. This talking is significant. He is indicating what is of importance in the situation. He is indicating those elements that call out the necessary responses. When there are conflicts, the problem gives rise to the hypotheses that form in his mind; and he indicates them to himself and to others. It is this process of talking over a problematic situation with ones' self, just as one might talk with another, that is exactly what we term "mental." And it goes on within the organism.