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Now, nobody has yet learned how to distinguish for a certainty between a man neurotic by inheritance and a man neurotic by environment, when we have both men before us for personal inspection and quizzing. The task baffles us because of the enormous depth and subtlety of childhood influences. Habits of eating, sleeping, working, and playing which are formed in the first few years of life mold the personality to a degree that nobody suspected a few years ago, and which the Biological Bloc steadfastly refuses to admit even now. These influences are never sensed by him upon whom they play. He fondly fancies that he is acting out of his own nature when he is merely following a behavior pattern imposed upon him by blind chance, a stupid nurse-maid, or a driveling pedagogue. So it is that, unless we have a pretty complete intimate history of a man, we are at a loss to assign any trait in him to ancestry or to environment.

Now, how many such intimate histories do we possess? Possibly a few score, scattered throughout the clinical records of the last twenty years. I cannot recall offhand having found more than a dozen; and I hesitate to say that all these are complete enough to answer our question. How many histories such as these can we find in the records of previous ages? Not a single one. There was nobody then living who had either the ability or the scientific interest to compile such a biography.

Out of the last thousand billion humans who have lived on this earth, not even one personal record per billion! What are the chances that the few we have, all of current date,

reveal anything about the decline of the racial stock? How flimsy the thinking which leaps to cosmic conclusions on the basis of such evidence!

On the other hand, consider how swiftly our physical and social environments have been changing in the last few centuries. James Harvey Robinson's revival of an earlier analogy brings this out beautifully. If we think of the entire history of our race as represented on a clock which ticks off the eons from the beginning down to the present day, then all the human progress which we call modern civilization since the days of Pericles and Plato has occurred in two or three minutes of a twelve-hour working-day. The clock began at twelve when the first man appeared; it ticked on for eleven hours and fifty-odd minutes before the Minoans erected their cities in Crete and the first Chinese filled the river-valleys of farther Asia with towns and temples. And all that we call modernity is a matter of the last few seconds between 11:59 A.M. and high noon!

Robinson uses this analogy to illustrate the enormous velocity at which liberated intelligence moves. I would cite it to show how dangerously fast man's environment has changed with respect to his primordial animal nature. Physically man is to-day pretty much what he was twenty thousand years ago; and he is biologically identical with his ancestors of a millennium ago. But within this last millennium, there has been a greater change in food, in clothes, in fashions, in politics, in business, in science, in art, in travel, in wars and adventures, in home life, and in community associations than in all the

hundred thousand preceding years. Nay, more! In each year of our millennium we have lived through greater changes in all these domains than men before us endured in their entire lifetimes.

Now, every widespread change brings some maladjustment to many people. So maladjustments have been multiplying prodigiously. Have mental and nervous disturbances increased as fast as maladjustments in the last thousand years? Obviously we can speak only in terms of the broadest and inexactest of observations. But it seems plain enough that disturbances in our surroundings have long been exceeding disturb ances in our minds by many hundredfold. Had the two increased at about the same pace, virtually everybody now living in Western Europe and America would be touched with some neurosis or psychosis. And every year would reveal a measurable increase in the gravity of these aberrations. Bad as matters are, though, I do not believe the whole world is a neurotic ward. Be the truth what it is, this much is certain: the increase in maladjustments to surroundings is more than enough to account for all mental and nervous diseases as well as for all crime, suicide, and intellectual morbidity. Why then drag in a hypothesis about weakened germ-plasm to explain what is already sufficiently explained?

Beloved subjects, we have been arguing these matters solemnly, just as if it were possible for us to decide what the human race should and must do. But our argument has no practical bearing on the human race; for mankind has long since com

mitted itself irrevocably to the policy of progress. The big-brained man has won; he has forced his personal ideals upon the billions of modest brains. And he is much too clever to be balked, even by the Biological Bloc.

It is the conscious or unconscious striving of most big brains to get something for nothing or, if that cannot be done, to get as much as possible for as little as possible. If the big brain lacks the normal emotions and the sympathetic imagination which accompany these, it seeks to get something for nothing, even though other people may thereby give up something and get nothing in return. Thus was Jenghis Khan. Thus Napoleon. Thus all ruthless exploiters of the meek and the lowly. If, on the other hand, the big brain feels as the common man feels, it tries to get something for nothing in a manner harmless to other people. If, finally, the big brain has emotions and visions much finer than those of the ordinary man, it sets out to get something for nothing in such abundance that it can give thereof freely to the whole human race. Thus many of our greatest scientists and inventors.

There is a discontent that is divine. It is usually founded on a laziness that is even more godlike. The gods never work. And man aspires to become a god. Man wears his body out by work; the harder he works, the sooner he dies. In so far as he can slow down, he lengthens his days and deepens his wisdom. So the big primordial drive of the superior man is to master both himself and his environment to the point at which the latter gives him all the

things he can hope to squeeze out of it, and with a minimum of effort on his own part. This, and not pleasure or knowledge or soul salvation, is the deepest motive behind our kind of civilization. In our pride we call it efficiency and economy. But we may as well be honest and admit that one of its motives is laziness, or a hatred of drudgery.

Now, how shall Nature be conquered, how forced to give us all something for nothing? As far as the human side of this problem goes, there is only one way to attain this blessed result; and that is to breed the widest possible variety of men with special hypersensitivities toward all the aspects of Nature which need to be understood and conquered. For men will react vigorously, intelligently, and persistently only to things which they acutely


When toughness involves low sensitivity, it puts an end to progress. Observe the Chinese coolie. He is the perfect stand-patter. Nature has made him too tough. He resists typhoid, cholera, and other plagues which slaughter white men. He recovers without medical treatment from wounds which would kill any of us in a jiffy. He toils dumbly for fifteen hours a day under the hot sun and manages to keep alive on a handful of rice.

What is he worth as an instrument of progress? What is he worth in a civilization like our own? Nothing! He is not even a good laborer, as we conceive labor. Insensitive to heat, to cold, to praise and blame, to ideals, and to almost everything else, he is the little brother of the pachyderm. He is the human turtle, the two-legged rhinoceros. Blank-eyed

and serene as a stone is serene, he never tries to ameliorate his own living-conditions. He agrees with the Biological Bloc that man must be hard, hard, hard!

Nature has richly experimented in many ways to adapt creatures nicely to their surroundings. Sometimes she does it by making them extra tough. Again she tries it by making them extra tender. William James thought he detected these two types within the human race. But it is certain that the types are more sharply marked outside of it. The tough animal has few sensory nerves, or perhaps a very thick hide, or possibly a shell, or even mighty scales. Thus he gets along with his world simply by being able to ignore its thrusts and pin-pricks.

For a million or two years, these toughs got along passably. But at length they began to lose touch with current events. They could not notice what was going on around them. And the less they noticed, naturally the less they had to think about. Their worries grew rare. So their minds slowed down, and Nature ran away from them, fully persuaded that it would be wiser to manufacture a batch of tender-minded things.

Man is her dizziest experiment in this direction, at least on this planet. For tens of thousands of years he has carried around in his skull a batch of protoplasm so sensitive that it responds to millions of stimuli which do not affect other creatures. It even responds violently to its own inner stimulation—which it calls dreams, fantasies, and reasonings. The crea ture has been dreadfully uncomfortable, with all its pangs, its conscience, its secret broodings, and its harassing

misconceptions. But it was the only sure escape from the Impasse of the Pachyderm. Whether we like it or not, we must keep to its highway.

We must accept as our guiding principle that all sorts of hypersensitive folks are worth encouraging until they have proved themselves useless -to themselves or to the world at large. We want more people with eyes so sensitive that they see things invisible to us. We want more people with ears so sensitive that they catch sounds beyond normal range. We want more people with fingers delicate far beyond the powers of the common digit. We want more people with amazing memories which hold details usefully; more abnormally rich fantasies that conjure up strange pictures; more mathematical brains which weave their strange patterns out of mere logic and symbols; more maniacal curiosity to see how the wheels go around; more of everything in the way of a capacity to detect and construe things, affairs, and forces in this puzzling world which swarms with so many realities that escape us normal citizens.

Progress in the arts comes out of such hypersensitivities. So also does progress in the sciences. So even in business. Oddly enough, the new American economic system, which is making the Old World stare aghast, is founded upon the conviction that continual advancement in trade and industry cannot be attained by accepting the aged doctrine of supply and demand. Factories will soon slow down and close, shops will put up their shutters for ever and for ay, if our makers and sellers are content to furnish simply what customers demand. This demand, of course,

expresses the degree of sensitivity of the public in all matters of appetite, taste, social conformity, and personal ambition. And the sensitivity is held to be too low.

Modern business goes out to create demand, not to supply an existing one. They call it educational publicity, and we may let it stand at that. Hatters strive to make men "hat-conscious." Shoemakers sit up nights scheming to make the public "shoe-conscious." Hosiers have reaped fortunes of late by making all women "leg-conscious." And the modern department-store, as well as the nobbiest specialty shop off Fifth Avenue, thrives chiefly by keeping its public "style-conscious" with regard to a hundred commodities. What is

all this if not a process of heightening people's sensitivities toward differences and qualities which hitherto have remained unnoticed?

Our schools have long been engaged in the same process of making the rising generation ever more and more tender-minded and thinskinned toward matters which we have come to regard as worthy of sensing. The dirty little boy is made sensitive about soap and cleanliness. The slovenly little girl is made to feel the nastiness of her ways. Thus are the likes and dislikes, the prejudices and passions of us all intensified toward everything from dress-patterns up to the League of Nations.

Thus in arts and in sports. The delicacy and hence the skill manifested in everything from piano-playing to prize-fighting far surpasses that of a generation ago. Did I say in prize-fighting? Yes! It is the hypersensitive brute who wins in the ring nowadays. He is not hypersen

sitive to a crack in the jowl, to be sure; but he is toward every least feint and shift of his adversary, and he is also toward the entire technique of fistic warfare. He construes a certain maneuver with a scientific accuracy unknown in the rude old days when John L. Sullivan knocked out Jake Kilrain. Boxing becomes more and more like chess. Chess becomes more and more like calculus. Hypersensitivity is the very foundation of an expanding intelligence. It is the source of a deepening and widening dexterity. It is the perceiving of many things where once only few were noted. The more things we detect and distinguish, the more holds we have on the universe. He who senses two shades of blue where I sense only one is, by that much, closer to reality than I. He who entertains two distinct emotions toward a song which rouses only one in me lives a richer life than I live. Even he who gets two frights out of a situation which frightens me not at all probably has a substantial advantage over me in perceiving and avoiding dangers.

Now, the softer we make our living-conditions, at least in certain respects, the more sensitive people become. The Biological Bloc probably does not believe this; it clings to the old notion that the poor Indian has much keener eyes than the white man, that the Bantu has a far keener sense of smell than the city European, and so on. But our Psychologists' Union officially states that this is all humbug: ever since Woodworth's experiments along this line at the St. Louis Exposition, psychologists have been demonstrating that civilized senses are not duller than

savage senses but may even surpass them.

In the other meaning of sensitivity, of course, the civilized man vastly surpasses the savage-and supposedly to his own detriment. I refer, of course, to the ease with which he is upset, irritated, diverted, or roused to overt emotional behavior. This general "nervousness" is essentially a product of our civilization and appears most frequently where life has been made easiest. The Biological Bloc, aided and abetted by many distinguished medical scientists, looks upon such "nervousness" as a symptom of degeneration. I do not. I regard it as the opposite. It is an advance in the direction of a wider understanding of ourselves and our world; and out of that advance must come in time a surer and more profitable control of human nature and its environment.

Every hypersensitivity is a little abnormal. And so, beloved subjects, I am urging that, instead of our aiming to multiply the big-brained species of man, as the Biological Bloc advocates, we encourage and protect all sorts of abnormally sensitive people. Among these, we may be sure, will be not a few big-brained individuals. But most of the lot will have only average intelligence, and many will rank just a little above or below that average.

We need such hypersensitives far more than we need the big brains. The gravest trouble with our world today is not a shortage of intellect; it is a shortage of feeling, a dullness toward plain dirt, grime, muck, nastiness, fraud, injustice, fanaticism, brutality, greed, and graft. We are

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