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Title:      The Dance of Life (1923)
Author:     Havelock Ellis (1859-1939)
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eBook No.:  0300671.txt
Language:   English
Date first posted:          April 2003
Date most recently updated: April 2003

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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      The Dance of Life (1923)
Author:     Havelock Ellis (1859-1939)

First printed June, 1923,


THIS book was planned many years ago. As to the idea running through
it, I cannot say when that arose. My feeling is, it was born with me.
On reflection, indeed, it seems possible the seeds fell imperceptibly
in youth--from F. A. Lange, maybe, and other sources--to germinate
unseen in a congenial soil. However that may be, the idea underlies
much that I have written. Even the present book began to be written,
and to be published in a preliminary form, more than fifteen years
ago. Perhaps I may be allowed to seek consolation for my slowness,
however vainly, in the saying of Rodin that "slowness is beauty," and
certainly it is the slowest dances that have been to me most beautiful
to see, while, in the dance of life, the achievement of a civilisation
in beauty seems to be inversely to the rapidity of its pace.

Moreover, the book remains incomplete, not merely in the sense that I
would desire still to be changing and adding to each chapter, but even
incomplete by the absence of many chapters for which I had gathered
material, and twenty years ago should have been surprised to find
missing. For there are many arts, not among those we conventionally
call "fine," which seem to me fundamental for living. But now I put
forth the book as it stands, deliberately, without remorse, well
content so to do.

Once that would not have been possible. A book must be completed as it
had been originally planned, finished, rounded, polished. As a man
grows older his ideals change. Thoroughness is often an admirable
ideal. But it is an ideal to be adopted with discrimination, having
due reference to the nature of the work in hand. An artist, it seems
to me now, has not always to finish his work in every detail; by not
doing so he may succeed in making the spectator his co-worker, and put
into his hands the tool to carry on the work which, as it lies before
him, beneath its veil of yet partly unworked material, still stretches
into infinity. Where there is most labour there is not always most
life, and by doing less, provided only he has known how to do well,
the artist may achieve more.

He will not, I hope, achieve complete consistency.  In fact a part of
the method of such a book as this, written over a long period of
years, is to reveal a continual slight inconsistency. That is not an
evil, but rather the avoidance of an evil. We cannot remain consistent
with the world save by growing inconsistent with our own past selves.
The man who consistently--as he fondly supposes "logically"--clings to
an unchanging opinion is suspended from a hook which has ceased to
exist. "I thought it was she, and she thought it was me, and when we
come near it weren't neither one of us"--that metaphysical statement
holds, with a touch of exaggeration, a truth we must always bear in
mind concerning the relation of subject and object.  They can neither
of them possess consistency; they have both changed before they come
up with one another.  Not that such inconsistency is a random flux or
a shallow opportunism. We change, and the world changes, in accordance
with the underlying organisation, and inconsistency, so conditioned by
truth to the whole, becomes the higher consistency of life. I am
therefore able to recognise and accept the fact that, again and again
in this book, I have come up against what, superficially regarded,
seemed to be the same fact, and each time have brought back a slightly
different report, for it had changed and I had changed. The world is
various, of infinite iridescent aspect, and until I attain to a
correspondingly infinite variety of statement I remain far from
anything that could in any sense be described as "truth." We only see
a great opal that never looks the same this time as when we looked
last time. "He never painted to-day quite the same as he had painted
yesterday," Elie Faure says of Renoir, and it seems to me natural and
right that it should have been so. I have never seen the same world
twice. That, indeed, is but to repeat the Heraclitean saying--an
imperfect saying, for it is only the half of the larger, more modern
synthesis I have already quoted--that no man bathes twice in the same
stream. Yet--and this opposing fact is fully as significant--we really
have to accept a continuous stream as constituted in our minds; it
flows in the same direction; it coheres in what is more or less the
same shape.  Much the same may be said of the ever-changing bather
whom the stream receives. So that, after all, there is not only
variety, but also unity. The diversity of the Many is balanced by the
stability of the One.  That is why life must always be a dance, for
that is what a dance is: perpetual slightly varied movements which are
yet always held true to the shape of the whole.

We verge on philosophy. The whole of this book is on the threshold of
philosophy. I hasten to add that it remains there. No dogmas are here
set forth to claim any general validity. Not that even the technical
philosopher always cares to make that claim. Mr. F. H.  Bradley, one
of the most influential of modern English philosophers, who wrote at
the outset of his career, "On all questions, if you push me far
enough, at present I end in doubts and perplexities," still says,
forty years later, that if asked to define his principles rigidly, "I
become puzzled." For even a cheese-mite, one imagines, could only with
difficulty attain an adequate metaphysical conception of a cheese, and
how much more difficult the task is for Man, whose everyday
intelligence seems to move on a plane so much like that of a
cheese-mite and yet has so vastly more complex a web of phenomena to

It is clear how hesitant and tentative must be the attitude of one
who, having found his life-work elsewhere than in the field of
technical philosophy, may incidentally feel the need, even if only
playfully, to speculate concerning his function and place in the
universe.  Such speculation is merely the instinctive impulse of the
ordinary person to seek the wider implications bound up with his own
little activities. It is philosophy only in the simple sense in which
the Greeks understood philosophy, merely a philosophy of life, of
one's own life, in the wide world. The technical philosopher does
something quite different when he passes over the threshold and shuts
himself up in his study--

  "Veux-tu découvrir le monde,
  Ferme tes yeux, Rosemonde"--

and emerges with great tomes that are hard to buy, hard to read, and,
let us be sure, hard to write. But of Socrates, as of the English
philosopher Falstaff, we are not told that he wrote anything.

So that if it may seem to some that this book reveals the expansive
influence of that great classico-mathe-matical Renaissance in which it
is our high privilege to live, and that they find here "relativity"
applied to life, I am not so sure. It sometimes seems to me that, in
the first place, we, the common herd, mould the great movements of our
age, and only in the second place do they mould us. I think it was so
even in the great earlier classico-mathematical Renaissance. We
associate it with Descartes. But Descartes could have effected nothing
if an innumerable crowd in many fields had not created the atmosphere
by which he was enabled to breathe the breath of life. We may here
profitably bear in mind all that Spengler has shown concerning the
unity of spirit underlying the most diverse elements in an age's
productivity. Roger Bacon had in him the genius to create such a
Renaissance three centuries earlier; there was no atmosphere for him
to live in and he was stifled. But Malherbe, who worshipped Number and
Measure as devoutly as Descartes, was born half a century before him.
That silent, colossal, ferocious Norman--vividly brought before us by
Tallement des Réaux, to whom, rather than to Saint-Simon, we owe the
real picture of seventeenth-century France--was possessed by the
genius of destruction, for he had the natural instinct of the Viking,
and he swept all the lovely Romantic spirit of old France so
completely away that it has scarcely ever revived since until the days
of Verlaine. But he had the Norman classico-mathematical architectonic
spirit--he might have said, like Descartes, as truly as it ever can be
said in literature, _Omnia apud me mathematica fiunt_--and he
introduced into the world a new rule of Order.  Given a Malherbe, a
Descartes could hardly fail to follow, a French Academy must come into
existence almost at the same time as the "Discours de la Méthode," and
Le Nôtre must already be drawing the geometrical designs of the
gardens of Versailles. Descartes, it should be remembered, could not
have worked without support; he was a man of timid and yielding
character, though he had once been a soldier, not of the heroic temper
of Roger Bacon. If Descartes could have been put back into Roger
Bacon's place, he would have thought many of Bacon's thoughts. But we
should never have known it. He nervously burnt one of his works when
he heard of Galileo's condemnation, and it was fortunate that the
Church was slow to recognise how terrible a Bolshevist had entered the
spiritual world with this man, and never realised that his books must
be placed on the Index until he was already dead.

So it is to-day. We, too, witness a classico-mathematical Renaissance.
It is bringing us a new vision of the universe, but also a new vision
of human life. That is why it is necessary to insist upon life as a
dance. This is not a mere metaphor. The dance is the rule of number
and of rhythm and of measure and of order, of the controlling
influence of form, of the subordination of the parts to the whole.
That is what a dance is. And these same properties also make up the
classic spirit, not only in life, but, still more clearly and
definitely, in the universe itself. We are strictly correct when we
regard not only life but the universe as a dance. For the universe is
made up of a certain number of elements, less than a hundred, and the
"periodic law" of these elements is metrical. They are ranged, that is
to say, not haphazard, not in groups, but by number, and those of like
quality appear at fixed and regular intervals.  Thus our world is,
even fundamentally, a dance, a single metrical stanza in a poem which
will be for ever hidden from us, except in so far as the philosophers,
who are to-day even here applying the methods of mathematics, may
believe that they have imparted to it the character of objective

I call this movement of to-day, as that of the seventeenth century,
classico-mathematical. And I regard the dance (without prejudice to a
distinction made later in this volume) as essentially its symbol. This
is not to belittle the Romantic elements of the world, which are
equally of its essence. But the vast exuberant energies and
immeasurable possibilities of the first day may perhaps be best
estimated when we have reached their final outcome on the sixth day of

However that may be, the analogy of the two historical periods in
question remains, and I believe that we may consider it holds good to
the extent that the strictly mathematical elements of the later period
are not the earliest to appear, but that we are in the presence of a
process that has been in subtle movement in many fields for half a
century. If it is significant that Descartes appeared a few years
after Malherbe, it is equally significant that Einstein was
immediately preceded by the Russian ballet. We gaze in admiration at
the artist who sits at the organ, but we have been blowing the
bellows; and the great performer's music would have been inaudible had
it not been for us.

This is the spirit in which I have written. We are all engaged--not
merely one or two prominent persons here and there--in creating the
spiritual world.  I have never written but with the thought that the
reader, even though he may not know it, is already on my side. Only so
could I write with that sincerity and simplicity without which it
would not seem to me worth while to write at all. That may be seen in
the saying which I set on the forefront of my earliest book, "The New
Spirit": he who carries farthest his most intimate feelings is simply
the first in file of a great number of other men, and one becomes
typical by being to the utmost degree one's self. That saying I chose
with much deliberation and complete conviction because it went to the
root of my book. On the surface it obviously referred to the great
figures I was there concerned with, representing what I regarded--by
no means in the poor sense of mere modernity--as the New Spirit in
life. They had all gone to the depths of their own souls and thence
brought to the surface and expressed--audaciously or beautifully,
pungently or poignantly--intimate impulses and emotions which,
shocking as they may have seemed at the time, are now seen to be those
of an innumerable company of their fellow men and women. But it was
also a book of personal affirmations.  Beneath the obvious meaning of
that motto on the title-page lay the more private meaning that I was
myself setting forth secret impulses which might some day be found to
express the emotions also of others. In the thirty-five years that
have since passed, the saying has often recurred to my mind, and if I
have sought in vain to make it mine I find no adequate iustification
for the work of my life.

And now, as I said at the outset, I am even prepared to think that
that is the function of all books that are real books. There are other
classes of so-called books: there is the class of history books and
the class of forensic books, that is to say, the books of facts and
the books of argument. No one would wish to belittle either kind. But
when we think of a book proper, in the sense that a Bible means a
book, we mean more than this. We mean, that is to say, a revelation of
something that had remained latent, unconscious, perhaps even more or
less intentionally repressed, within the writer's own soul, which is,
ultimately, the soul of mankind. These books are apt to repel;
nothing, indeed, is so likely to shock us at first as the manifest
revelation of ourselves. Therefore, such books may have to knock again
and again at the closed door of our hearts. "Who is there?" we
carelessly cry, and we cannot open the door; we bid the importunate
stranger, whatever he may be, to go away; until, as in the apologue of
the Persian mystic, at last we seem to hear the voice outside saying:
"It is thyself."

H. E.













IT has always been difficult for Man to realise that his life is all
an art. It has been more difficult to conceive it so than to act it
so. For that is always how he has more or less acted it. At the
beginning, indeed, the primitive philosopher whose business it was to
account for the origin of things usually came to the conclusion that
the whole universe was a work of art, created by some Supreme Artist,
in the way of artists, out of material that was practically nothing,
even out of his own excretions, a method which, as children sometimes
instinctively feel, is a kind of creative art. The most familiar to us
of these primitive philosophical statements--and really a statement
that is as typical as any--is that of the Hebrews in the first chapter
of their Book of Genesis. We read there how the whole cosmos was
fashioned out of nothing, in a measurable period of time by the art of
one Jehovah, who proceeded methodically by first forming it in the
rough, and gradually working in the details, the finest and most
delicate last, just as a sculptor might fashion a statue. We may find
many statements of the like kind even as far away as the Pacific.
[Footnote: See, for instance, Turner's _Samoa_, chap. I. Usually,
however, in the Pacific, creation was accomplished, in a more
genuinely evolutionary manner, by a long series of progressive
generations.] And--also even at the same distance--the artist and the
craftsman, who resembled the divine creator of the world by making the
most beautiful and useful things for Mankind, himself also partook of
the same divine nature. Thus, in Samoa, as also in Tonga, the
carpenter, who built canoes, occupied a high and almost sacred
position, approaching that of the priest. Even among ourselves, with
our Roman traditions, the name Pontiff, or Bridge-Builder, remains
that of an imposing and hieratic personage.

But that is only the primitive view of the world.  When Man developed,
when he became more scientific and more moralistic, however much his
practice remained essentially that of the artist, his conception
became much less so. He was learning to discover the mystery of
measurement; he was approaching the beginnings of geometry and
mathematics; he was at the same time becoming warlike. So he saw
things in straight lines, more rigidly; he formulated laws and
commandments. It was, Einstein assures us, the right way. But it was,
at all events in the first place, most unfavourable to the view of
life as an art. It remains so even to-day.

Yet there are always some who, deliberately or by instinct, have
perceived the immense significance in life of the conception of art.
That is especially so as regards the finest thinkers of the two
countries which, so far as we may divine,--however difficult it may
here be to speak positively and by demonstration,--have had the finest
civilisations, China and Greece. The wisest and most recognisably
greatest practical philosophers of both these lands have believed that
the whole of life, even government, is an art of definitely like kind
with the other arts, such as that of music or the dance. We may, for
instance, recall to memory one of the most typical of Greeks. Of
Protagoras, calumniated by Plato,--though, it is interesting to
observe that Plato's own transcendental doctrine of Ideas has been
regarded as an effort to escape from the solvent influence of
Protagoras' logic,--it is possible for the modern historian of
philosophy to say that "the greatness of this man can scarcely be
measured." It was with measurement that his most famous saying was
concerned: "Man is the measure of all things, of those which exist and
of those which have no existence." It was by his insistence on Man as
the active creator of life and knowledge, the artist of the world,
moulding it it to his own measure, that Protagoras is interesting to
us to-day. He recognised that there are no absolute criteria by which
to judge actions. He was the father of relativism and of
phenomenalism, probably the initiator of the modern doctrine that the
definitions of geometry are only approximately true abstractions from
empirical experiences. We need not, and probably should not, suppose
that in undermining dogma-tism he was setting up an individual
subjectivism. It was the function of Man in the world, rather than of
the individual, that he had in mind when he enunciated his great
principle, and it was with the reduction of human activity and conduct
to art that he was mainly concerned. His projects for the art of
living began with speech, and he was a pioneer in the arts of
language, the initiator of modern grammar. He wrote treatises, on many
special arts, as well as the general treatise "On the Art" among the
pseudo-Hippocratic writings,--if we may with Gomperz attribute it to
him,--which embodies the spirit of modern positive science. [Footnote:
Gomperz, _Greek Thinkers_, vol. I, book III, chap, vi. ]

Hippias, the philosopher of Elis, a contemporary of Protagoras, and
like him commonly classed among the "Sophists," cultivated the largest
ideal of life as an art which embraced all arts, common to all mankind
as a fellowship of brothers, and at one with natural law which
transcends the convention of human laws.  Plato made fun of him, and
that was not hard to do, for a philosopher who conceived the art of
living as so large could not possibly at every point adequately play
at it. But at this distance it is his ideal that mainly concerns us,
and he really was highly accomplished, even a pioneer, in many of the
multifarious activities he undertook. He was a remarkable
mathematician; he was an astronomer and geometer; he was a copious
poet in the most diverse modes, and, moreover, wrote on phonetics,
rhythm, music, and mnemonics; he discussed the theories of sculpture
and painting; he was both mythologist and ethnologist, as well as a
student of chronology; he had mastered many of the artis-tic crafts.
On one occasion, it is said, he appeared at the Olympic gathering in
garments which, from the sandals on his feet to the girdle round his
waist and the rings on his fingers, had been made by his own hands.
Such a being of kaleidoscopic versatility, Gomperz remarks, we call
contemptuously a Jack-of-all-trades.  We believe in subordinating a
man to his work. But other ages have judged differently. The fellow
citizens of Hippias thought him worthy to be their ambassador to the
Peloponnesus. In another age of immense human activity, the
Renaissance, the vast-ranging energies of Leo Alberti were honoured,
and in yet a later like age, Diderot--Pantophile as Voltaire called
him--displayed a like fiery energy of wide-ranging interests, although
it was no longer possible to attain the same level of wide-ranging
accomplishment. Of course the work of Hippias was of unequal value,
but some of it was of firm quality and he shrank from no labour. He
seems to have possessed a gracious modesty, quite unlike the conceited
pomposity Plato was pleased to attribute to him. He attached more
importance than was common among the Greeks to devotion to truth, and
he was cosmopolitan in spirit. He was famous for his distinction
between Convention and Nature, and Plato put into his mouth the words:
"All of you who are here present I reckon to be kinsmen and friends
and fellow citizens, and by nature, not by law; for by nature like is
akin to like, whereas law is the tyrant of mankind, and often compels
us to do many things that are against nature." Hippias was in the line
of those whose supreme ideal is totality of existence. Ulysses, as
Benn remarks, was in Greek myth the representative of the ideal, and
its supreme representative in real life has in modern times been
Goethe.  [Footnote: I have here mainly followed Gomperz (_Greek
Thinkers_, vol. I, pp. 430-34); there is not now, however, much
controversy over the position of Hippias, which there is now, indeed,
rather a tendency to exaggerate, considering how small is the basis of
knowledge we possess. Thus Dupréel (_La Légende Socratique_, p. 432),
regarding him as the most misunderstood of the great Sophists,
declares that Hippias is "the thinker who conceived the universality
of science, just as Prodicus caught glimpses of the synthesis of the
social sciences. Hippias is the philosopher of science, the Great
Logician, just as Prodicus is the Great Moralist." He compares him to
Pico della Mirandola as a Humanist and to Leibnitz in power of wide


BUT, in actual fact, is life essentially an art? Let us look at the
matter more closely, and see what life is like, as people have lived
it. This is the more necessary to do since, to-day at all events,
there are simple-minded people--well-meaning honest people whom we
should not ignore--who pooh-pooh such an idea.  They point to the
eccentric individuals in our Western civilisation who make a little
idol they call "Art," and fall down and worship it, sing
incomprehensible chants in its honour, and spend most of their time in
pouring contempt on the people who refuse to recognise that this
worship of "Art" is the one thing needed for what they may or may not
call the "moral uplift" of the age they live in. We must avoid the
error of the good simple-minded folk in whose eyes these "Arty" people
loom so large. They are not large, they are merely the morbid symptoms
of a social disease; they are the fantastic reaction of a society
which as a whole has ceased to move along the true course of any real
and living art. For that has nothing to do with the eccentricities of
a small religious sect worshipping in a Little Bethel; it is the large
movement of the common life of a community, indeed simply the outward
and visible form of that life.

Thus the whole conception of art has been so narrowed and so debased
among us that, on the one hand, the use of the word in its large and
natural sense seems either unintelligible or eccentric, while, on the
other hand, even if accepted, it still remains so unfamiliar that its
immense significance for our whole vision of life in the world is
scarcely at first seen. This is not altogether due to our natural
obtusity, or to the absence of a due elimination of subnormal stocks
among us, however much we may be pleased to attribute to that dysgenic
factor. It seems largely inevitable.  That is to say that, so far as
we in our modern civilisation are concerned, it is the outcome of the
social process of two thousand years, the result of the breakup of the
classic tradition of thought into various parta which under
post-classic influences have been pursued separately.  [Footnote:
Strictly speaking, in the technical sense of that much-abused word,
this is "decadence." (I refer to the sense in which I denned
"decadence" many years ago in _Affirmations_, pp. 175-87.) So that
while the minor arts have sometimes been classic and sometimes
decadent, the major art of living during the last two thousand years,
although one can think of great men who have maintained the larger
classic ideal, has mainly been decadent.] Religion or the desire for
the salvation of our souls, "Art" or the desire for beautification,
Science or the search for the reasons of things--these conations of
the mind, which are really three aspects of the same profound impulse,
have been allowed to furrow each its own narrow separate channel, in
alienation from the others, and so they have all been impeded in their
greater function of fertilising life.

It is interesting to observe, I may note in passing, how totally new
an aspect a phenomenon may take on when transformed from some other
channel into that of art. We may take, for instance, that remarkable
phenomenon called Napoleon, as impressive an individualistic
manifestation as we could well find in human history during recent
centuries, and consider two contemporary, almost simultaneous,
estimates of it. A distinguished English writer, Mr. H. G. Wells, in a
notable and even famous book, his "Outline of History," sets down a
judgment of Napoleon throughout a whole chapter. Now Mr. Wells moves
in the ethico-religious channel. He wakes up every morning, it is
said, with a rule for the guidance of life; some of his critics say
that it is every morning a new rule, and others that the rule is
neither ethical nor religious; but we are here concerned only with the
channel and not with the direction of the stream. In the "Outline" Mr.
Wells pronounces his ethico-religious anathema of Napoleon, "this dark
little archaic personage, hard, compact, capable, unscrupulous,
imitative, and neatly vulgar." The "archaic"--the old-fashioned,
outworn--element attributed to Napoleon, is accentuated again later,
for Mr. Wells has an extremely low opinion (hardly justifiable, one
may remark in passing) of primitive man. Napoleon was "a reminder of
ancient evils, a thing like the bacterium of some pestilence"; "the
figure he makes in history is one of almost incredible self-conceit,
of vanity, greed, and cunning, of callous contempt and disregard of
all who trusted him." There is no figure, Mr. Wells asserts, so
completely antithetical to the figure of Jesus of Nazareth. He was "a
scoundrel, bright and complete."

There is no occasion to question this condemnation when we place
ourselves in the channel along which Mr. Wells moves; it is probably
inevitable; we may even accept it heartily. Yet, however right along
that line, that is not the only line in which we may move.
Moreover--and this is the point which concerns us--it is possible to
enter a sphere in which no such merely negative, condemnatory, and
dissatisfying a conclusion need be reached. For obviously it is
dissatisfying. It is not finally acceptable that so supreme a
protagonist of humanity, acclaimed by millions, of whom many gladly
died for him, and still occupying so large and glorious a place in the
human imagination, should be dismissed in the end as merely an
unmitigated scoundrel.  For so to condemn him is to condemn Man who
made him what he was. He must have answered some lyric cry in the
human heart. That other sphere in which Napoleon wears a different
aspect is the sphere of art in the larger and fundamental sense. Élie
Faure, a French critic, an excellent historian of art in the ordinary
sense, is able also to grasp art in the larger sense because he is not
only a man of letters but of science, a man with medical training and
experience, who has lived in the open world, not, as the critic of
literature and art so often appears to be, a man living in a damp
cellar. Just after Wells issued his "Outline," Elie Faure, who
probably knew nothing about it since he reads no English, published a
book on Napoleon which some may consider the most remarkable book on
that subject they have ever come across. For to Faure Napoleon is a
great lyric artist.

It is hard not to believe that Faure had Wells's chapter on Napoleon
open before him, he speaks so much to the point. He entitled the first
chapter of his "Napoléon" "Jesus and He," and at once pierces to what
Wells, too, had perceived to be the core of the matter in hand: "From
the point of view of morality he is not to be defended and is even
incomprehensible.  In fact he violates law, he kills, he sows
vengeance and death. But also he dictates law, he tracks and crushes
crime, he establishes order everywhere. He is an assassin. He is also
a judge. In the ranks he would deserve the rope. At the summit he is
pure, distributing recompense and punishment with a firm hand. He is a
monster with two faces, like all of us perhaps, in any case like God,
for those who have praised Napoleon and those who have blamed him have
alike not understood that the Devil is the other face of God." From
the moral point of view, Faure says (just as Wells had said), Napoleon
is Antichrist. But from this standpoint of art, all grows clear. He is
a poet of action, as Jesus was, and like him he stands apart.  These
two, and these two alone among the world's supremely great men of whom
we have any definite knowledge, "acted out their dream instead of
dreaming their action." It is possible that Napoleon himself was able
to estimate the moral value of that acted dream. As he once stood
before the grave of Rousseau, he observed: "It would have been better
for the repose of France if that man and I had never existed." Yet we
cannot be sure. "Is not repose the death of the world?" asks Faure. Had
not Rousseau and Napoleon precisely the mission of troubling that
repose?  In another of the profound and almost impersonal sayings that
sometimes fell from his lips, Napoleon observed with a still deeper
intuition of his own function in the world: "I love power. But it is
as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin,
to draw out of it sounds and chords and harmonies. I love it as an
artist." As an artist! These words were the inspiration of this finely
illuminating study of Napoleon, which, while free from all desire to
defend or admire, yet seems to explain Napoleon, in the larger sense
to justify his right to a place in the human story, so imparting a
final satisfaction which Wells, we feel, could he have escaped from
the bonds of the narrow conception of life that bound him, had in him
the spirit and the intelligence also to bestow upon us.

But it is time to turn from this aside. It is always possible to
dispute about individuals, even when so happy an illustration chances
to come before us. We are not here concerned with exceptional persons,
but with the interpretation of general and normal human civilisations.


I TAKE, almost at random, the example of a primitive people. There are
many others that would do as well or better. But this happens to come
to hand, and it has the advantage not only of being a primitive
people, but one living on an island, so possessing until lately its
own little-impaired indigenous culture, as far as possible remote in
space from our own; the record also has been made, as carefully and as
impartially as one can well expect, by a missionary's wife who speaks
from a knowledge covering over twenty years.  [Footnote: Emma
Hadfield, _Among the Natives of the Loyalty Group_. 1920. It would no
doubt have been more satisfactory to select a people like the Fijians
rather than the Lifuans, for they represented a more robust and
accomplished form of a rather similar culture, but their culture has
receded into the past,--and the same may be said of the Marquesans of
whom Melville left, in _Typee_, a famous and delightful picture which
other records confirm,--while that of the Lifuans is still recent.]

It is almost needless to add that she is as little concerned with any
theory of the art of life as the people she is describing.

The Loyalty Islands lie to the east of New Caledonia, and have
belonged to France for more than half a century. They are thus
situated in much the same latitude as Egypt is in the Northern
hemisphere, but with a climate tempered by the ocean. It is with the
Island of Lifu that we are mainly concerned. There are no streams or
mountains in this island, though a ridge of high rocks with large and
beautiful caves contains stalactites and stalagmites and deep pools of
fresh water; these pools, before the coming of the Christians, were
the abode of the spirits of the departed, and therefore greatly
reverenced. A dying man would say to his friends: "I will meet you all
again in the caves where the stalactites are."

The Loyalty Islanders, who are of average European stature, are a
handsome race, except for their thick lips and dilated nostrils,
which, however, are much less pronounced than among African negroes.
They have soft large brown eyes, wavy black hair, white teeth, and
rich brown skin of varying depth. Each tribe has its own well-defined
territory and its own chief. Although possessing high moral qualities,
they are a laughter-loving people, and neither their climate nor their
mode of life demands prolonged hard labour, but they can work as well
as the average Briton, if need be, for several consecutive days, and,
when the need is over, lounge or ramble, sleep or talk. The basis of
their culture--and that is doubtless the significant fact for us--is
artistic. Every one learned music, dancing, and song. Therefore it is
natural for them to regard rhythm and grace in all the actions of
life, and almost a matter of instinct to cultivate beauty in all
social relationships. Men and boys spent much time in tattooing and
polishing their brown skins, in dyeing and dressing their long wavy
hair (golden locks, as much admired as they always have been in
Europe, being obtained by the use of lime), and in anointing their
bodies. These occupations were, of course, confined to the men, for
man is naturally the ornamental sex and woman the useful sex. The
women gave no attention to their hair, except to keep it short. It was
the men also who used oils and perfumes, not the women, who, however,
wore bracelets above the elbow and beautiful long strings of jade
beads. No clothing is worn until the age of twenty-five or thirty, and
then all dress alike, except that chiefs fasten the girdle differently
and wear more elaborate ornaments. These people have sweet and musical
voices and they cultivate them. They are good at learning languages
and they are great orators. The Lifuan language is soft and liquid,
one word running into another pleasantly to the ear, and it is so
expressive that one may sometimes understand the meaning by the sound.
In one of these islands, Uvea, so great is the eloquence of the people
that they employ oratory to catch fish, whom indeed they regard in
their legends as half human, and it is believed that a shoal of fish,
when thus politely plied with compliments from a canoe, will
eventually, and quite spontaneously, beach themselves spellbound.

For a primitive people the art of life is necessarily of large part
concerned with eating. It is recognised that no one can go hungry when
his neighbour has food, so no one was called upon to make any great
demonstration of gratitude on receiving a gift. Help rendered to
another was help to one's self, if it contributed to the common weal,
and what I do for you to-day you will do for me to-morrow. There was
implicit trust, and goods were left about without fear of theft, which
was rare and punishable by death. It was not theft, however, if, when
the owner was looking, one took an article one wanted. To tell a lie,
also, with intent to deceive, was a serious offence, though to tell a
lie when one was afraid to speak the truth was excusable. The Lifuans
are fond of food, but much etiquette is practised in eating. The food
must be conveyed to the mouth gracefully, daintily, leisurely. Every
one helped himself to the food immediately in front of him, without
hurry, without reaching out for dainty morsels (which were often
offered to women), for every one looked after his neighbour, and every
one naturally felt that he was his brother's keeper. So it was usual
to invite passers-by cordially to share in the repast. "In the matter
of food and eating," Mrs. Hadfield adds, "they might put many of our
countrymen to shame." Not only must one never eat quickly, or notice
dainties that are not near one, but it would be indelicate to eat in
the presence of people who are not themselves eating.  One must always
share, however small one's portion, and one must do so pleasantly; one
must accept also what is offered, but slowly, reluctantly; having
accepted it, you may, if you like, openly pass it on to some one else.
In old days the Lifuans were, occasionally, cannibals, not, it would
seem, either from necessity or any ritual reason, but because, like
some peoples elsewhere, they liked it, having, indeed, at times, a
kind of craving for animal food. If a man had twenty or thirty wives
and a large family, it would be quite correct if, now and then, he
cooked one of his own children, although presumably he might prefer
that some one else's child was chosen. The child would be cooked
whole, wrapped in banana or coconut leaves. The social inconveniences
of this practice have now been recognised. But they still feel the
utmost respect and reverence for the dead and fail to find anything
offensive or repulsive in a corpse. "Why should there be, seeing it
was once our food?" Nor have they any fear of death. To vermin they
seem to have little objection, but otherwise they have a strong love
of cleanliness.  The idea of using manure in agricultural operations
seems to them disgusting, and they never do use it. "The sea was the
public playground." Mothers take their little ones for sea-baths long
before they can walk, and small children learn to swim as they learn
to walk, without teaching. With their reverence for death is
associated a reverence for old age. "Old age is a term of respect, and
every one is pleased to be taken for older than he is since old age is
honoured." Still, regard for others was general--not confined to the
aged. In the church nowadays the lepers are seated on a separate
bench, and when the bench is occupied by a leper healthy women will
sometimes insist on sitting with him; they could not bear to see the
old man sitting alone as though he had no friends. There was much
demonstration on meeting friends after absence. A Lifuan always said
"Olea" ("Thank you") for any good news, though not affecting him
personally, as though it were a gift, for he was glad to be able to
rejoice with another. Being divided into small tribes, each with its
own autocratic chief, war was sometimes inevitable. It was attended by
much etiquette, which was always strictly observed. The Lifuans were
not acquainted with the civilised custom of making rules for warfare
and breaking them when war actually broke out. Several days' notice
must be given before hostilities were commenced. Women and children,
in contrast to the practice of civilised warfare, were never molested.
As soon as half a dozen fighters were put out of action on one side,
the chief of that side would give the command to cease fighting and
the war was over. An indemnity was then paid by the conquerors to the
vanquished, and not, as among civilised peoples, by the vanquished to
the conquerors.  It was felt to be the conquered rather than the
conqueror who needed consolation, and it also seemed desirable to show
that no feeling of animosity was left behind. This was not only a
delicate mark of consideration to the vanquished, but also very good
policy, as, by neglecting it, some Europeans may have had cause to
learn. This whole Lifuan art of living has, however, been undermined
by the arrival of Christianity with its usual accompaniments. The
Lifuans are substituting European vices for their own virtues. Their
simplicity and confidence are passing away, though, even yet, Mrs.
Hadfield says, they are conspicuous for their honesty, truthfulness,
good-humour, kindness, and politeness, remaining a manly and
intelligent people.


THE Lifuans furnish an illustration which seems decisive.  But they
are savages, and on that account their example may be invalidated. It
is well to take another illustration from a people whose high and
long-continued civilisation is now undisputed.

The civilisation of China is ancient: that has long been a familiar
fact. But for more than a thousand years it was merely a legend to
Western Europeans; none had ever reached China, or, if they had, they
had never returned to tell the tale; there were too many fierce and
jealous barbarians between the East and the West. It was not until the
end of the thirteenth century, in the pages of Marco Polo, the
Venetian Columbus of the East,--for it was an Italian who discovered
the Old World as well as the New,--that China at last took definite
shape alike as a concrete fact and a marvellous dream. Later, Italian
and Portuguese travellers described it, and it is interesting to note
what they had to say. Thus Perera in the sixteenth century, in a
narrative which Willes translated for Hakluyt's "Voyages," presents a
detailed picture of Chinese life with an admiration all the more
impressive since we cannot help feeling how alien that civilisation
was to the Catholic traveller and how many troubles he had himself to
encounter. He is astonished, not only by the splendour of the lives of
the Chinese on the material side, alike in large things and in small,
but by their fine manners in all the ordinary course of life, the
courtesy in which they seemed to him to exceed all other nations, and
in the fair dealing which far surpassed that of all other Gentiles and
Moors, while in the exercise of justice he found them superior even to
many Christians, for they do justice to unknown strangers, which in
Christendom is rare; moreover, there were hospitals in every city and
no beggars were ever to be seen. It was a vision of splendour and
delicacy and humanity, which he might have seen, here and there, in
the courts of princes in Europe, but nowhere in the West on so vast a
scale as in China.

The picture which Marco Polo, the first European to reach China (at
all events in what we may call modern times), presented in the
thirteenth century was yet more impressive, and that need not surprise
us, for when he saw China it was still in its great Augustan age of
the Sung Dynasty. He represents the city of Hang-Chau as the most
beautiful and sumptuous in the world, and we must remember that he
himself belonged to Venice, soon to be known as the most beautiful and
sumptuous city of Europe, and had acquired no small knowledge of the
world. As he describes its life, so exquisite and refined in its
civilisation, so humane, so peaceful, so joyous, so well ordered, so
happily shared by the whole population, we realise that here had been
reached the highest point of urban civilisation to which Man has ever
attained. Marco Polo can think of no word to apply to it--and that
again and again--but Paradise.

The China of to-day seems less strange and astonishing to the
Westerner. It may even seem akin to him--partly through its decline,
partly through his own progress in civilisation--by virtue of its
direct and practical character. That is the conclusion of a sensitive
and thoughtful traveller in India and Japan and China, G. Lowes
Dickinson. He is impressed by the friendliness, the profound humanity,
the gaiety, of the Chinese, by the unequalled self-respect,
independence, and courtesy of the common people.  "The fundamental
attitude of the Chinese towards life is, and has always been, that of
the most modern West, nearer to us now than to our mediaeval
ancestors, infinitely nearer to us than India." [Footnote: G. Lowes
Dickinson, _An Essay on the Civilisations of India, China, and Japan_
(1914), p. 47. No doubt there are shades to be added to this picture.
They may be found in a book, published two years earlier, _China as it
Really Is_, by "a Resident in Peking" who claims to have been born in
China. Chinese culture has receded, in part swamped by
over-population, and concerning a land where to-day, it has lately
been said, "magnificence, crudity, delicacy, fetidity, and fragrance
are blended," it is easy for Westerners to show violent difference of

So far it may seem scarcely as artists that these travellers regard
the Chinese. They insist on their cheerful, practical, social,
good-mannered, tolerant, peaceable, humane way of regarding life, on
the remarkably educable spirit in which they are willing, and easily
able, to change even ancient and deep-rooted habits when it seems
convenient and beneficial to do so; they are willing to take the world
lightly, and seem devoid of those obstinate conservative instincts by
which we are guided in Europe. The "Resident in Peking" says they are
the least romantic of peoples.  He says it with a _nuance_ of
dispraise, but Lowes Dick-inson says precisely the same thing about
Chinese poetry, and with no such _nuance_: "It is of all poetry I know
the most human and the least symbolic or romantic.  It contemplates
life just as it presents itself, without any veil of ideas, any
rhetoric or sentiment; it simply clears away the obstruction which
habit has built up between us and the beauty of things and leaves
that, showing in its own nature." Every one who has learnt to enjoy
Chinese poetry will appreciate the delicate precision of this comment.
The quality of their poetry seems to fall into line with the simple,
direct, childlike quality which all observers note in the Chinese
themselves. The unsympathetic "Resident in Peking" describes the
well-known etiquette of politeness in China: "A Chinaman will inquire
of what noble country you are. You return the question, and he will
say his lowly province is so-and-so. He will invite you to do him the
honour of directing your jewelled feet to his degraded house. You
reply that you, a discredited worm, will crawl into his magnificent
palace." Life becomes all play. Ceremony--the Chinese are unequalled
for ceremony, and a Government Department, the Board of Rites and
Ceremonies, exists to administer it--is nothing but more or less
crystallised play. Not only is ceremony here "almost an instinct,"
but, it has been said, "A Chinese thinks in theatrical terms." We are
coming near to the sphere of art.

The quality of play in the Chinese character and Chinese civilisation
has impressed alike them who have seen China from afar and by actual
contact. It used to be said that the Chinese had invented gunpowder
long before Europeans and done nothing with it but make fireworks.
That seemed to the whole Western world a terrible blindness to the
valuable uses of gunpowder, and it is only of late years that a
European commentator has ventured to remark that "the proper use of
gunpowder is obviously to make fireworks, which may be very beautiful
things, not to kill men." Certainly the Chinese, at all events,
appreciate to the full this proper use of gunpowder. "One of the most
obvious characteristics of the Chinese is their love of fireworks," we
are told. The gravest people and the most intellectual occupy
themselves with fireworks, and if the works of Bergson, in which
pyrotechnical allusions are so frequent, are ever translated into
Chinese, one can well believe that China will produce enthusiastic
Bergsonians. All toys are popular; everybody, it is said, buys toys of
one sort or another: paper windmills, rattles, Chinese lanterns, and
of course kites, which have an almost sacred significance. They
delight, also, in more complicated games of skill, including an
elaborate form of chess, far more difficult than ours.  [Footnote:
See, for instance, the chapter on games in Professor E. H. Parker's
_China: Past and Present_. Reference may be made to the same author's
important and impartial larger work, _China: Its History_, with a
discriminating chapter on Chinese personal characteristics. Perhaps,
tha most penetrating study of Chinese psychology is, however, Arthur
H.  Smith's _Chinese Characteristics_.] It is unnecessary to add that
to philosophy, a higher and more refined form of play, the Chinese are
peculiarly addicted, and philosophic discussion is naturally woven in
with an "art of exquisite enjoyment"--carried probably to greater
perfection than anywhere else in the world. Bertrand Russell, who
makes this remark, in the suggestive comments on his own visit to
China, observes how this simple, childlike, yet profound attitude
towards life results in a liberation of the impulses to play and
enjoyment which "makes Chinese life unbelievably restful and
delightful after the solemn cruelties of the West." We are reminded of
Gourmont's remark that "pleasure is a human creation, a delicate art,
to which, as for music or painting, only a few are apt."

The social polity which brings together the people who thus view life
is at once singular and appropriate.  I well remember how in youth a
new volume of the Sacred Books of the East Series, a part of the
Confucian Lî-kî, came into my hands and how delighted I was to leam
that in China life was regulated by music and ceremony. That was the
beginning of an interest in China that has not ceased to grow, though
now, when it has become a sort of fashion to exalt the spiritual
qualities of the Chinese above those of other peoples, one may well
feel disinclined to admit any interest in China. But the conception
itself, since it seems to have had its beginning at least a thousand
years before Christ, may properly be considered independently of our
Western fashions. It is Propriety--the whole ceremony of life--in
which all harmonious intercourse subsists; it is "the channel by which
we apprehend the ways of Heaven," in no supernatural sense, for it is
on the earth and not in the skies that the Confucian Heaven lies
concealed. But if human feelings, the instincts--for in this matter
the ancient Chinese were at one with our modern psychologists,--are
the field that has to be cultivated, and it is ceremony that ploughs
it, and the seeds of right action that are to be planted on it, and
discipline that is to weed it, and love that is to gather in the
fruits, it is in music, and the joy and peace that accompany music,
that it all ends. Indeed, it is also in music that it all begins. For
the sphere in which ceremonies act is Man's external life; his
internal life is the sphere of music. It is music that moulds the
manners and customs that are comprised under ceremony, for Confucius
held that there can be music without sound where "virtue is deep and
silent"; and we are reminded of the "Crescendo of Silences" on the
Chinese pavilion in Villiers de l'Isle Adam's story, "Le Secret de
l'ancienne Musique." It is music that regulates the heart and mind and
with that development brings joy, and joy brings repose. And so "Man
became Heaven." "Let ceremonies and music have their course until the
earth is filled with them!"

It is sometimes said that among Chinese moralists and philosophers
Lao-tze, the deepest of them all, alone stands aside from the chorus
in praise of music and ceremony. When once Confucius came to consult
Lao-tze concerning the rules of propriety, and reverence for the
teaching of the sages of antiquity, we are told, Lao-tze replied: "The
men of whom you speak, sir, have, if you please, together with their
bones, mouldered." Confucius went away, puzzled if not dissatisfied.
He was willing to work not only from within outwards, but from without
inwards, because he allowed so large a place for social solidity, for
traditionalism, for paternalism, though he recognised that ceremony is
subordinate in the scheme of life, as colour is in a painting, the
picture being the real thing. Lao-tze was an individualist and a
mystic. He was little concerned with moralities in the ordinary sense.
He recognised no action but from within outwards. But though Confucius
could scarcely have altogether grasped his conception, he was quite
able to grasp that of Confucius, and his indifference to tradition, to
rule and propriety was simply an insistence on essential reality, on
"music." "Ceremonies," he said, "are the outward expression of inward
feeling." He was no more opposed to the fundamental Chinese conception
than George Fox was opposed to Christianity in refusing to observe the
mere forms and ceremonies of the Church. A sound Confucianism is the
outward manifestation of Taoism (as Lao-tze himself taught it), just
as a sound socialism is the outward manifestation of a genuine
individualism. It has been well said that Chinese socialistic
solidarity rests on an individualistic basis, it is not a bureaucratic
State socialism; it works from within outward. (One of the first
European visitors to China remarked that there a street was like a
home.) This is well shown by so great and typical a Chinese
philosopher as Meh-ti, [Footnote: His ideas have been studied by
Madame Alexandra David, _Le Phi-losopse Meh-ti et l'Idée de
Solidarité_. London, 1907.] who lived shortly after Confucius, in the
fifth century B.C. He taught universal love, with universal equality,
and for him to love meant to act. He admitted an element of
self-interest as a motive for such an attitude. He desired to
universalise mutual self-help. Following Confucius, but yet several
centuries before Jesus, he declared that a man should love his
neighbour, his fellow man, as himself. "When he sees his fellow
hungry, he feeds him; when he sees him cold, he clothes him; ill, he
nurses him; dead, he buries him." This, he said, was by no means
opposed to filial piety; for if one cares for the parents of others,
they in turn will care for his.  But, it was brought against him, the
power of egoism?  The Master agreed. Yet, he said, Man accepts more
difficult things. He can renounce joy, life itself, for even absurd
and ridiculous ends. A single generation, he added, such is the power
of imitation, might suffice to change a people's customs. But Meh-ti
remained placid. He remarked that the great ones of the earth were
against human solidarity and equality; he left it at that. He took no
refuge in mysticism. Practical social action was the sole end he had
in view, and we have to remember that his ideals are largely embodied
in Chinese institutions.  [Footnote: Eugène Simon, _La Cité

We may understand now how it is that in China, and in China alone
among the great surviving civilisations, we find that art animates the
whole of life, even its morality. "This universal presence of art,"
remarks an acute yet discriminating observer, Emile Hovelaque, whom I
have already quoted, [Footnote: E. Hovelaque, _La Chine_ (Paris,
1920), p. 47.] "manifested in the smallest utensil, the humblest
stalls, the notices on the shops, the handwriting, the rhythm of
movement, always regular and measured, as though to the tune of
unheard music, announces a civilisation which is complete in itself,
elaborated in the smallest detail, penetrated by one spirit, which no
interruption ever breaks, a harmony which becomes at length a
hallucinatory and overwhelming obsession." Or, as another writer has
summed up the Chinese attitude: "For them the art of life is one, as
this world and the other are one.  Their aim is to make the Kingdom of
Heaven here and now."

It is obvious that a natural temperament in which the art-impulse is
so all-embracing, and the aesthetic sensibility so acute, might well
have been of a perilous instability. We could scarcely have been
surprised if, like that surpassing episode in Egyptian history of
which Akhenaten was the leader and Tell-el-Amarna the tomb, it had
only endured for a moment. Yet Chinese civilisation, which has
throughout shown the dominating power of this sensitive temperament,
has lasted longer than any other. The reason is that the very excesses
of their temperament forced the Chinese to fortify themselves against
its perils. The Great Wall, built more than two thousand years ago,
and still to-day almost the most impressive work of man on the earth,
is typical of this attitude of the Chinese.  They have exercised a
stupendous energy in fortifying themselves against the natural enemies
of their own temperament. When one looks at it from this point of
view, it is easy to see that, alike in its large outlines and its
small details, Chinese life is always the art of balancing an
aesthetic temperament and guarding against its excesses. We see this
in the whole of the ancient and still prevailing system of Confucian
morality with its insistence on formal ceremony, even when, departing
from the thought of its most influential founder,--for ceremonialism
in China would have existed even if Confucius had not lived,--it
tended to become merely an external formalism. We see it in the
massive solidarity of Chinese life, the systematic social organisation
by which individual responsibility, even though leaving individuality
itself intact, is merged in the responsibility of the family and the
still larger group. We see it in the whole drift of Chinese
philosophy, which is throughout sedative and contemplative.  We see it
in the element of stoicism on the one hand and cruelty on the other
which in so genuinely good-natured a people would otherwise seem
puzzling. The Chinese love of flowers and gardens and landscape
scenery is in the same direction, and indeed one may say much the same
of Chinese painting and Chinese poetry.  [Footnote: This point has not
escaped the more acute students of Chinese civilisation. Thus Dr. John
Steele, in his edition of the _I-Li_, remarks that "ceremonial was far
from being a series of observances, empty and unprofitable, such as it
degenerated into in later time. It was meant to inculcate that habit
of self-control and ordered action which was the expression of a mind
fully instructed in the inner meaning of things, and sensitive to
every impression." Still more clearly, Reginald Farrer wrote, in _On
the Eaves of the World_, that "the philosophic calm that the Chinese
deliberately cultivate is their necessary armour to protect the
excessive susceptibility to emotion. The Chinese would be for ever the
victims of their nerves had they not for four thousand years pursued
reason and self-control with self-protective enthusiasm."]

That is why it is only to-day that we in the West have reached the
point of nervous susceptibility which enables us in some degree to
comprehend the aesthetic supremacy which the Chinese reached more than
a thousand years ago.

Thus, during its extremely long history--for the other great
civilisations with which it was once contemporary have passed away or
been disintegrated and transformed--Chinese civilisation has borne
witness to the great fact that all human life is art. It may be
because they have realised this so thoroughly that the Chinese have
been able to preserve their civilisation so long, through all the
violent shocks to which it has been subjected. There can be no doubt,
however, that, during the greater part of the last thousand years,
there has been, however slow and gradual, a decline in the vitality of
Chinese civilisation, largely due, it may well be, to the crushing
pressure of an excessive population.  For, however remarkable the
admiration which China arouses even to-day, its finest flowering
periods in the special arts lie far in the past, while in the art of
living itself the Chinese have long grown languid. The different
reports of ancient and modern travellers regarding one definite social
manifestation, the prevalence of beggary, cannot fail to tell us
something regarding the significant form of their social life. Modern
travellers complain of the plague constituted by the prevalence of
beggars in China; they are even a fixed and permanent institution on a
trades-union basis.  But in the sixteenth century Galeotto Perera
noticed with surprise in China the absence of beggars, as Marco Polo
had before him, and Friar Caspar de Cruz remarked that the Chinese so
abhorred idleness that they gave no alms to the poor and mocked at the
Portuguese for doing so: "Why give alms to a knave?  Let him go and
earn it." Their own priests, he adds, they sometimes whipped as being
knaves. (It should be noted at the same time that it was considered
reasonable only to give half the day to work, the other half to joy
and recreation.) But they built great asylums for the helpless poor,
and found employment for blind women, gorgeously dressed and painted
with ceruse and vermilion, as prostitutes, who were more esteemed in
early China than they have been since. That is a curious instance of
the unflinching practicality still shown by the Chinese in endless
ways. The undoubted lassitude in the later phases of this long-lived
Chinese culture has led to features in the art of life, such as
beggary and dirt among the poor, not manifested in the younger
offshoot of Chinese and Korean culture in Japan, though it is only
fair to point out that impartial English observers, like Parker,
consider this prevalence of vermin and dirt as simply due to the
prevalence of poverty, and not greater than we find among the poor in
England and elsewhere in the West. Marco Polo speaks of three hundred
public baths in one city alone in his time. We note also that in the
more specialised arts the transcendence of China belongs to the past,
and even sometimes a remote past. It is so in the art of philosophy,
and the arts of poetry and painting. It is so also in the art of
pottery, in which Chinese supremacy over the rest of the world has
been longest recognised--has not the word "china" for centuries been
our name for the finest pottery?--and is most beyond measure. Our
knowledge of the pottery of various cultures excels that of any other
human products because of all it is the most perdurable. We can better
estimate their relative eesthetic worth now than in the days when a
general reverence for Greek antiquity led to a popular belief in the
beauty of Greek pottery, though scarcely a single type of its many
forms can fairly be so considered or even be compared to the products
of the Minoan predecessors of Greek culture, however interesting they
may still remain for us as the awkward and inappropriate foundation
for exquisite little pictures. The greatest age of this universal
human art was in China and was over many centuries ago. But with what
devotion, with what absolute concentration of the spirit, the Chinese
potters of the great period struggled with the problem of art is
finely illustrated by the well-known story which an old Chinese
historian tells of the sacrifice of the divine T'ung, the spirit who
protects potters. It happened that a complicated problem had baffled
the potters. T'ung laid down his life to serve them and to achieve the
solution of the problem. He plunged into the fire and the bowl came
out perfect. "The vessel's perfect glaze is the god's fat and blood;
the body material is the god's body of flesh; the blue of the
decoration, with the brilliant lustre of gems, is the essence of the
god's pure spirit." That story embodies the Chinese symbol of the art
of living, just as we embody our symbol of that art in the Crucifixion
of Jesus. The form is diverse; the essence is the same.


IT will be seen that when we analyse the experiences of life and look
at it simply, in the old-fashioned way, liberated from the artificial
complexities of a temporary and now, it may be, departing
civilisation, what we find is easy to sum up. We find, that is to say,
that Man has forced himself to move along this line, and that line,
and the other line. But it is the same water of life that runs in all
these channels. Until we have ascended to a height where this is
clear, to see all our little dogmatisms will but lead us astray.

We may illuminatingly change the analogy and turn to the field of
chemistry. All these various elements of life are but, as it were,
allotropie forms of the same element. The most fundamental among these
forms is that of art, for life in all its forms, even morality in the
narrowest sense, is, as Duprat has argued, a matter of technique, and
technique at once brings us to the elements of art. If we would
understand what we are dealing with, we may, therefore, best study
these forms under that of art.

There is, however, a deeper chemical analogy than this to be seen. It
may well be, indeed, that it is more than an analogy. In chemistry we
are dealing, not merely with the elements of life, but with the
elements of the world, even of what we call our universe. It is not
unreasonable to think that the same law holds good for both. We see
that the forms of life may all be found, and then better understood,
in one form. Some day, perhaps, we shall also see that that fact is
only a corollary of the larger fact--or, if any one prefers so to
regard it, the smaller fact--that the chemical elements of our world
can be regarded as all only transmutations of one element. From of
old, men instinctively divined that this might be so, though they were
merely concerned to change the elements into gold, the element which
they most highly valued.  In our own times this transmutation is
beginning to become, on a minute scale, a demonstrable fact, though it
would seem easier to transmute elements into lead than into gold.
Matter, we are thus coming to see, may not be a confused variety of
separate substances, but simply a different quantitative arrangement
of a single fundamental stuff, which might possibly be identical with
hydrogen or some other already known element. Similarly we may now
believe that the men of old who thought that all human life was made
of one stuff were not altogether wrong, and we may, with greater
assurance than they were able to claim, analyse the modes of human
action into different quantitative or other arrangements of which the
most fundamental may well be identical with art.

This may perhaps become clearer if we consider more in detail one of
the separate arts, selecting the most widely symbolic of all, the art
that is most clearly made of the stuff of life, and so able to
translate most truly and clearly into beautiful form the various
modalities of life.




DANCING and building are the two primary and essential arts. The art
of dancing stands at the source of all the arts that express
themselves first in the human person. The art of building, or
architecture, is the beginning of all the arts that lie outside the
person; and in the end they unite. Music, acting, poetry proceed in
the one mighty stream; sculpture, painting, all the arts of design, in
the other. There is no primary art outside these two arts, for their
origin is far earlier than man himself; and dancing came first.
[Footnote: It is even possible that, in earlier than human times,
dancing and architecture may have been the result of the same impulse.
The nest of birds is the chief early form of building, and Edmund
Selous has suggested (_Zoologist_, December, 1901) that the nest may
first have arisen a» an accidental result of the ecstatic sexual dance
of birds.]

That is one reason why dancing, however it may at times be scorned by
passing fashions, has a profound and eternal attraction even for those
one might suppose farthest from its influence. The joyous beat of the
feet of children, the cosmic play of philosophers' thoughts rise and
fall according to the same laws of rhythm. If we are indifferent to
the art of dancing, we have failed to understand, not merely the
supreme manifestation of physical life, but also the supreme symbol of
spiritual life.

The significance of dancing, in the wide sense, thus lies in the fact
that it is simply an intimate concrete appeal of a general rhythm,
that general rhythm which marks, not life only, but the universe, if
one may still be allowed so to name the sum of the cosmic influences
that reach us.. We need not, indeed, go so far as the planets or the
stars and outline their ethereal dances. We have but to stand on the
seashore and watch the waves that beat at our feet, to observe that at
nearly regular intervals this seemingly monotonous rhythm is
accentuated for several beats, so that the waves are really dancing
the measure of a tune. It need surprise us not at all that rhythm,
ever tending to be moulded into a tune, should mark all the physical
and spiritual manifestations of life. Dancing is the primitive
expression alike of religion and of love--of religion from the
earliest human times we know of and of love from a period long
anterior to the coming of man. The art of dancing, moreover, is
intimately entwined with all human tradition of war, of labour, of
pleasure, of education, while some of the wisest philosophers and the
most ancient civilisations have regarded the dance as the pattern in
accordance with which the moral life of men must be woven. To realise,
therefore, what dancing means for mankind--the poignancy and the
many-sidedness of its appeal--we must survey the whole sweep of human
life, both at its highest and at its deepest moments.


"WHAT do you dance?" When a man belonging to one branch of the great
Bantu division of mankind met a member of another, said Livingstone,
that was the question he asked. What a man danced, that was his tribe,
his social customs, his religion; for, as an anthropologist has put
it, "a savage does not preach his religion, he dances it."

There are peoples in the world who have no secular dances, only
religious dances; and some investigators believe with Gerland that
every dance was of religious origin. That view may seem too extreme,
even if we admit that some even of our modern dances, like the waltz,
may have been originally religious. Even still (as Skene has shown
among the Arabs and Swahili of Africa) so various are dances and their
functions among some peoples that they cover the larger part of life.
Yet we have to remember that for primitive man there is no such thing
as religion apart from life, for religion covers everything. Dancing
is a magical operation for the attainment of real and important ends
of every kind. It was clearly of immense benefit to the individual and
to society, by imparting strength and adding organised harmony. It
seemed reasonable to suppose that it attained other beneficial ends,
that were incalculable, for calling down blessings or warding off
misfortunes. We may conclude, with Wundt, that the dance was, in the
beginning, the expression of the whole man, for the whole man was
religious.  [Footnote: "Not the epic song, but the dance," Wundt says
(_Volkerpsychologie_, 3d ed. 1911, Bd. I, Teil 1, p. 277), "accompanied
by a monotonous and often meaningless song, constitutes everywhere the
most primitive, and, in spite of that primitiveness, the most highly
developed art.  Whether as a ritual dance, or as a pure emotional
expression of the joy in rhythmic bodily movement, it rules the life
of primitive men to such a degree that all other forms of art are
subordinate to it."]

Thus, among primitive peoples, religion being so large a part of life,
the dance inevitably becomes of supreme religious importance. To dance
was at once both to worship and to pray. Just as we still find in our
Prayer Books that there are divine services for all the great
fundamental acts of life,--for birth, for marriage, for death,--as
well as for the cosmic procession of the world as marked by
ecclesiastical festivals, and for the great catastrophes of nature,
such as droughts, so also it has ever been among primitive peoples.
For all the solemn occasions of life, for bridals and for funerals,
for seed-time and for harvest, for war and for peace, for all these
things there were fitting dances.  To-day we find religious people who
in church pray for rain or for the restoration of their friends to
health.  Their forefathers also desired these things, but, instead of
praying for them, they danced for them the fitting dance which
tradition had handed down, and which the chief or the medicine-man
solemnly conducted.  The gods themselves danced, as the stars dance in
the sky--so at least the Mexicans, and we may be sure many other
peoples, have held; and to dance is therefore to imitate the gods, to
work with them, perhaps to persuade them to work in the direction of
our own desires. "Work for us!" is the song-refrain, expressed or
implied, of every religious dance. In the worship of solar deities in
various countries, it was customary to dance round the altar, as the
stars dance round the sun. Even in Europe the popular belief that the
sun dances on Easter Sunday has perhaps scarcely yet died out. To
dance is to take part in the cosmic control of the world. Every sacred
dionysian dance is an imitation of the divine dance.

All religions, and not merely those of primitive character, have been
at the outset, and sometimes throughout, in some measure saltatory.
That was recognised even in the ancient world by acute observers, like
Lucian, who remarks in his essay on dancing that "you cannot find a
single ancient mystery in which there is no dancing; in fact most
people say of the devotees of the Mysteries that 'they dance them
out.'" This is so all over the world. It is not more pronounced in
early Christianity, and among the ancient Hebrews who danced before
the ark, than among the Australian, aborigines whose great corroborées
are religious dances conducted by the medicine-men with their sacred
staves in their hands. Every American Indian tribe seems to have had
its own religious dances, varied and elaborate, often with a richness
of meaning which the patient study of modern investigators has but
slowly revealed. The Shamans in the remote steppes of Northern Siberia
have their .ecstatic religious dances, and in modern Europe the
Turkish dervishes--perhaps of related stock--still dance in their
cloisters similar ecstatic dances, combined with song and prayer, as a
regular part of devotional service.

These religious dances, it may be observed, are sometimes ecstatic,
sometimes pantomimic. It is natural that this should be so. By each
road it is possible to penetrate towards the divine mystery of the
world. The auto-intoxication of rapturous movement brings the
devotees, for a while at least, into that self-forgetful union with
the not-self which the mystic ever seeks. The ecstatic Hindu dance in
honour of the pre-Aryan hill god, afterwards Siva, became in time a
great symbol, "the clearest image of the _activity_ of God," it has
been called, "which any art or religion can boast of." [Footnote: See
an interesting essay in _The Dance of Siva: Fourteen Indian Essays_,
by Ananda Coomaraswamy. New York, 1918.] Pantomimic dances, on the
other hand, with their effort to heighten natural expression and to
imitate natural process, bring the dancers into the divine sphere of
creation and enable them to assist vicariously in the energy of the
gods. The dance thus becomes the presentation of a divine drama, the
vital reënactment of a sacred history, in which the worshipper is
enabled to play a real part.  [Footnote: This view was clearly put
forward, long ago, by W. W. Newell at the International Congress of
Anthropology at Chicago in 1893. It has become almost a commonplace
since.] In this way ritual arises.

It is in this sphere--highly primitive as it is--of pantomimic dancing
crystallised in ritual, rather than in the sphere of ecstatic dancing,
that we may to-day in civilisation witness the survivals of the dance
in religion. The divine services of the American Indian, said Lewis
Morgan, took the form of "set dances, each with its own name, songs,
steps, and costume." At this point the early Christian, worshipping
the Divine Body, was able to join in spiritual communion with the
ancient Egyptian or the later Japanese [Footnote: See a charming paper
by Marcella Azra Hincks, "The Art of Dancing in Japan," _Fortnightly
Review_, July, 1906. Pantomimic dancing, which has played a highly
important part in Japan, was introduced into religion from China, it
is said, in the earliest time, and was not adapted to secular purposes
until the sixteenth century.] or the modern American Indian. They are
all alike privileged to enter, each in his own way, a sacred mystery,
and to participate in the sacrifice of a heavenly Mass.

What by some is considered to be the earliest known Christian
ritual--the "Hymn of Jesus" assigned to the second century--is nothing
but a sacred dance.  Eusebius in the third century stated that Philo's
description of the worship of the Therapeuts agreed at all points with
Christian custom, and that meant the prominence of dancing, to which
indeed Eusebius often refers in connection with Christian worship. It
has been supposed by some that the Christian Church was originally a
theatre, the choir being the raised stage, even the word "choir," it
is argued, meaning an enclosed space for dancing. It is certain that
at the Eucharist the faithful gesticulated with their hands, danced
with their feet, flung their bodies about.  Chrysostom, who referred
to this behaviour round the Holy Table at Antioch, only objected to
drunken excesses in connection with it; the custom itself he evidently
regarded as traditional and right.

While the central function of Christian worship is a sacred drama, a
divine pantomime, the associations of Christianity and dancing are by
no means confined to the ritual of the Mass and its later more
attenuated transformations. The very idea of dancing had a sacred and
mystic meaning to the early Christians, who had meditated profoundly
on the text, "We have piped unto you and ye have not danced." Origen
prayed that above all things there may be made operative in us the
mystery "of the stars dancing in Heaven for the salvation of the
Universe." So that the'monks of the Cistercian Order, who in a later
age worked for the world more especially by praying for it ("orare est
la-borare"), were engaged in the same task on earth as the stars in
Heaven; dancing and praying are the same thing. St. Basil, who was so
enamoured of natural things, described the angels dancing in Heaven,
and later the author of the "Dieta Salutis" (said to have been St.
Bonaventura), which is supposed to have influenced Dante in assigning
so large a place to dancing in the "Paradiso," described dancing as
the occupation of the inmates of Heaven, and Christ as the leader of
the dance. Even in more modern times an ancient Cornish carol sang of
the life of Jesus as a dance, and represented him as declaring that he
died in order that man "may come unto the general dance." [Footnote: I
owe some of these facts to an interesting article by G. R. Mead, "The
Sacred Dance of Jesus," _The Quest_, October, 1910.]

This attitude could not fail to be reflected in practice.  Genuine
dancing, not merely formalised and unrecognisable dancing, such as the
traditionalised Mass, must have been frequently introduced into
Christian worship in early times. Until a few centuries ago it
remained not uncommon, and it even still persists in remote corners of
the Christian world. In English cathedrals dancing went on until the
fourteenth century. At Paris, Limoges, and elsewhere in France, the
priests danced in the choir at Easter up to the seventeenth century,
in Roussillon up to the eighteenth century.  Roussillon is a Catalan
province with Spanish traditions, and it is in Spain, where dancing is
a deeper and more passionate impulse than elsewhere in Europe, that
religious dancing took firmest root and flourished longest. In the
cathedrals of Seville, Toledo, Valencia, and Jeres there was formerly
dancing, though it now only survives at a few special festivals in the
first.  [Footnote: The dance of the Seises in Seville Cathedral is
evidently of great antiquity, though it was so much a matter of course
that we do not hear of it until 1690, when the Archbishop of the day,
in opposition to the Chapter, wished to suppress it. A decree of the
King was finally obtained permitting it, provided it was performed
only by men, so that evidently, before that date, girls as well as
boys took part in it. Rev. John Morris, "Dancing in Churches," _The
Month_, December, 1892; also a valuable article on the Seises by J. B.
Trend, in _Music and Letters_, January, 1921.] At Alaro in Mallorca,
also at the present day, a dancing company called Els Cosiers, on the
festival of St. Roch, the patron saint of the place, dance in the
church in fanciful costumes with tambourines, up to the steps of the
high altar, immediately after Mass, and then dance out of the church.
In another part of the Christian world, in the Abyssinian Church--an
offshoot of the Eastern Church--dancing is also said still to form
part of the worship.

Dancing, we may see throughout the world, has been so essential, so
fundamental, a part of all vital and un-degenerate religion, that,
whenever a new religion appears, a religion of the spirit and not
merely an anaemic religion of the intellect, we should still have to
ask of it the question of the Bantu: "What do you dance?"


DANCING is not only intimately associated with religion, it has an
equally intimate association with love.  Here, indeed, the
relationship is even more primitive, for it is far older than man.
Dancing, said Lucian, is as old as love. Among insects and among birds
it may be said that dancing is often an essential part of love. In
courtship the male dances, sometimes in rivalry with other males, in
order to charm the female; then, after a short or long interval, the
female is aroused to share his ardour and join in the dance; the final
climax of the dance is the union of the lovers. Among the mammals most
nearly related to man, indeed, dancing is but little developed: their
energies are more variously diffused, though a close observer of the
apes, Dr. Louis Robinson, has pointed out that the "spasmodic jerking
of the chimpanzee's feeble legs," pounding the partition of his cage,
is the crude motion out of which "the heavenly alchemy of evolution
has created the divine movements of Pavlova"; but it must be
remembered that the anthropoid apes are offshoots only from the stock
that produced Man, his cousins and not his ancestors.  It is the more
primitive love-dance of insects and birds that seems to reappear among
human savages in various parts of the world, notably in Africa, and in
a conventionalised and symbolised form it is still danced in
civilisation to-day. Indeed, it is in this aspect that dancing has so
often aroused reprobation, from the days of early Christianity until
the present, among those for whom the dance has merely been, in the
words of a seventeenth-century writer, a series of "immodest and
dissolute movements by which the cupidity of the flesh is aroused."

But in nature and among primitive peoples it has its value precisely
on this account. It is a process of courtship and, even more than
that, it is a novitiate for love, and a novitiate which was found to
be an admirable training for love. Among some peoples, indeed, as the
Omahas, the same word meant both to dance and to love. By his beauty,
his energy, his skill, the male must win the female, so impressing the
image of himself on her imagination that finally her desire is aroused
to overcome her reticence. That is the task of the male throughout
nature, and in innumerable species besides Man it has been found that
the school in which the task may best be learnt is the dancing-school.
Those who have not the skill and the strength to learn are left
behind, and, as they are probably the least capable members of the
race, it may be in this way that a kind of sexual selection has been
embodied in unconscious eugenics, and aided the higher development of
the race.  The moths and the butterflies, the African ostrich and the
Sumatran argus pheasant, with their fellows innumerable, have been the
precursors of man in the strenuous school of erotic dancing, fitting
themselves for selection by the females of their choice as the most
splendid progenitors of the future race.  [Footnote: See, for
references, Havelock Ellis, _Studies in the Psychology of Sex_, vol.
III; _Analysis of the Sexual Impulse_, pp. 29, etc.; and Westermarck,
_History of Human Marriage_, vol. I, chap, xm, p. 470.]

From this point of view, it is clear, the dance performed a double
function. On the one hand, the tendency to dance, arising under the
obscure stress of this impulse, brought out the best possibilities the
individual held the promise of; on the other hand, at the moment of
courtship, the display of the activities thus acquired developed on
the sensory side all the latent possibilities of beauty which at last
became conscious in man. That this came about we cannot easily escape
concluding. How it came about, how it happens that some of the least
intelligent of creatures thus developed a beauty and a grace that are
enchanting even to our human eyes, is a miracle, even if not affected
by the mystery of sex, which we cannot yet comprehend.

When we survey the human world, the erotic dance of the animal world
is seen not to have lost, but rather to have gained, influence. It is
no longer the males alone who are thus competing for the love of the
females.  It comes about by a modification in the earlier method of
selection that often not only the men dance for the women, but the
women for the men, each striving in a storm of rivalry to arouse and
attract the desire of the other. In innumerable parts of the world the
season of love is a time which the nubile of each sex devote to
dancing in each other's presence, sometimes one sex, sometimes the
other, sometimes both, in the frantic effort to display all the force
and energy, the skill and endurance, the beauty and grace, which at
this moment are yearning within them to be poured into the stream of
the race's life.

From this point of view we may better understand the immense ardour
with which every part of the wonderful human body has been brought
into the play of the dance. The men and women of races spread all over
the world have shown a marvellous skill and patience in imparting
rhythm and measure to the most unlikely, the most rebellious regions
of the body, all wrought by desire into potent and dazzling images. To
the vigorous races of Northern Europe in their cold damp climate,
dancing comes naturally to be dancing of the legs, so naturally that
the English poet, as a matter of course, assumes that the dance of
Salome was a "twinkling of the feet." [Footnote: At an earlier period,
however, the dance of Salome was understood much more freely and often
more accurately. As Enlart has pointed out, on a capital in the
twelfth-century cloister of Moissac, Salome holds a kind of castanets
in her raised hands as she dances; on one of the western Portals of
Rouen Cathedral, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, she is
dancing on her hands; while at Hemelverdeghem she is really executing
the _morisco_, the "_danse du ventre_."] But on the opposite side of
the world, in Japan and notably in Java and Madagascar, dancing may be
exclusively dancing of the arms and hands, in some of the South Sea
Islands of the hands and fingers alone. Dancing may even be carried on
in the seated posture, as occurs at Fiji in a dance connected with the
preparation of the sacred drink, ava. In some districts of Southern
Tunisia dancing, again, is dancing of the hair, and all night long,
till they perhaps fall exhausted, the marriageable girls will move
their heads to the rhythm of a song, maintaining their hair, in
perpetual balance and sway. Elsewhere, notably in Africa, but also
sometimes in Polynesia, as well as in the dances that had established
themselves in ancient Rome, dancing is dancing of the body, with
vibratory or rotatory movements of breasts or flanks.

The complete dance along these lines is, however, that in which the
play of all the chief muscle-groups of the body is harmoniously
interwoven. When both sexes take part in such an exercise, developed
into an idealised yet passionate pantomime of love, we have the
complete erotic dance. In the beautiful ancient civilisation of the
Pacific, it is probable that this ideal was sometimes reached, and at
Tahiti, in 1772, an old voyager crudely and summarily described the
native dance as "an endless variety of posturings and wagglings of the
body, hands, feet, eyes, lips, and tongue, in which they keep splendid
time to the measure." In Spain the dance of this kind has sometimes
attained its noblest and most harmoniously beautiful expression. From
the narratives of travellers, it would appear that it was especially
in the eighteenth century that among all classes in Spain dancing of
this kind was popular. The Church tacitly encouraged it, an Aragonese
Canon told Baretti in 1770, in spite of its occasional indecorum, as a
useful safety-valve for the emotions. It was not less seductive to the
foreign spectator than to the people themselves. The grave traveller
Peyron, towards the end of the century, growing eloquent over the
languorous and flexible movements of the dance, the bewitching
attitude, the voluptuous curves of the arms, declares that, when one
sees a beautiful Spanish woman dance, one is inclined to fling all
philosophy to the winds. And even that highly respectable Anglican
clergyman, the Reverend Joseph Townsend, was constrained to state that
he could "almost persuade myself" that if the fandango were suddenly
played in church the gravest worshippers would start up to join in
that "lascivious pantomime." There we have the rock against which the
primitive dance of sexual selection suffers shipwreck as civilisation
advances. And that prejudice of civilisation becomes so ingrained that
it is brought to bear even on the primitive dance. The pygmies of
Africa are described by Sir H. H. Johnston as a very decorous and
highly moral people, but their dances, he adds, are not so. Yet these
dances, though to the eyes of Johnston, blinded by European
civilisation, "grossly indecent," he honestly, and inconsistently,
adds, are "danced reverently."


FROM the vital function of dancing in love, and its sacred function in
religion, to dancing as an art, a profession, an amusement, may seem,
at the first glance, a sudden leap. In reality the transition is
gradual, and it began to be made at a very early period in diverse
parts of the globe. All the matters that enter into courtship tend to
fall under the sway of art; their aesthetic pleasure is a secondary
reflection of their primary vital joy. Dancing could not fail to be
first in manifesting this tendency. But even religious dancing swiftly
exhibited the same transformation; dancing, like priesthood, became a
profession, and dancers, like priests, formed a caste. This, for
instance, took place in old Hawaii. The hula dance was a religious
dance; it required a special education and an arduous training;
moreover, it involved the observance of important taboos and the
exercise of sacred rites; by the very fact of its high specialisation
it came to be carried out by Paid performers, a professional caste. In
India, again, the Devadasis, or sacred dancing girls, are at once both
religious and professional dancers. They are married to gods, they are
taught dancing by the Brahmins, they figure in religious ceremonies,
and their dances represent the life of the god they are married to as
well as the emotions of love they experience for him. Yet, at the same
time, they also give professional performances in the houses of rich
private persons who pay for them.  It thus comes about that to the
foreigner the Devada-sis scarcely seem very unlike the Ramedjenis, the
dancers of the street, who are of very different origin, and mimic in
their performances the play of merely human passions. The Portuguese
conquerors of India called both kinds of dancers indiscriminately
Balheideras (or dancers) which we have corrupted in Bayaderes.
[Footnote: For an excellent account of dancing in India, now being
degraded by modern civilisation, see Otto Rothfeld, _Women of India_,
chap. VII.  "The Dancing Girl," 1922.]

In our modern world professional dancing as an art has become
altogether divorced from religion, and even, in any biological sense,
from love; it is scarcely even possible, so far as Western
civilisation is concerned, to trace back the tradition to either
source. If we survey the development of dancing as an art in Europe,
it seems to me that we have to recognise two streams of tradition
which have sometimes merged, but yet remain in their ideals and their
tendencies essentially distinct. I would call these traditions the
Classical, which is much the more ancient and fundamental, and may be
said to be of Egyptian origin, and the Romantic, which is of Italian
origin, chiefly known to us as the ballet. The first is, in its pure
form, sole dancing--though it may be danced in couples and many
together--and is based on the rhythmic beauty and expressiveness of
the simple human personality when its energy is concentrated in
measured yet passionate movement. The second is concerted dancing,
mimetic and picturesque, wherein the individual is subordinated to the
wider and variegated rhythm of the group. It may be easy to devise
another classification, but this is simple and instructive enough for
our purpose.

There can scarcely be a doubt that Egypt has been for many thousands
of years, as indeed it still remains, a great dancing centre, the most
influential dancing-school the world has ever seen, radiating its
influence to south and east and north. We may perhaps even agree with
the historian of the dance who terms it "the mother-country of all
civilised dancing." We are not entirely dependent on the ancient
wall-pictures of Egypt for our knowledge of Egyptian skill in the art.
Sacred mysteries, it is known, were danced in the temples, and queens
and princesses took part in the orchestras that accompanied them. It
is significant that the musical instruments still peculiarly
associated with the dance were originated or developed in Egypt; the
guitar is an Egyptian instrument and its name was a hieroglyph already
used when the Pyramids were being built; the cymbal, the tambourine,
triangles, castanets, in one form or another, were all familiar to the
ancient Egyptians, and with the Egyptian art of dancing they must have
spread all round the shores of the Mediterranean, the great focus of
our civilisation, at a very early date.  [Footnote: I may hazard the
suggestion that the gypsies may possibly have acquired their rather
unaccountable name of Egyptians, not so much because they had passed
through Egypt, the reason which is generally suggested,--for they must
have passed through many countries,--but because of their proficiency
in dances of the recognised Egyptian type.] Even beyond the
Mediterranean, at Cadiz, dancing that was essentially Egyptian in
character was established, and Cadiz became the dancing-school of
Spain. The Nile and Cadiz were thus the two great centres of ancient
dancing, and Martial mentions them both together, for each supplied
its dancers to Rome. This dancing, alike whether Egyptian or
Gaditanian, was the expression of the individual dancer's body and
art; the garments played but a small part in it, they were frequently
transparent, and sometimes discarded altogether. It was, and it
remains, simple, personal, passionate dancing, classic, therefore, in
the same sense as, on the side of literature, the poetry of Catullus
is classic.  [Footnote: It is interesting to observe that Egypt still
retains, almost unchanged through fifty centuries, its traditions,
technique, and skill in dancing, while, as in ancient Egyptian
dancing, the garment forms an almost or quite negligible element in
the art. Loret remarks that a charming Egyptian dancer of the
Eighteenth Dynasty, whose picture in her transparent gauze he
reproduces, is an exact portrait of a charming Almeh of to-day whom he
has seen dancing in Thebes with the same figure, the same dressing of
the hair, the same jewels. I hear from a physician, a gynaecologist
now practising in Egypt, that a dancing-girl can lie on her back, and
with a full glass of water standing on one side of her abdomen and an
empty glass on the other, can by the contraction of the muscles on the
side supporting the full glass, project the water from it, so as to
fill the empty glass. This, of course, is not strictly dancing, but it
is part of the technique which underlies classic dancing and it
witnesses to the thoroughness with which the technical side of
Egyptian dancing is still cultivated.]

Ancient Greek dancing was essentially classic dancing, as here
understood. On the Greek vases, as reproduced in Emmanuel's attractive
book on Greek dancing and elsewhere, we find the same play of the
arms, the same sideward turn, the same extreme backward extension of
the body, which had long before been represented in Egyptian
monuments. Many supposedly modern movements in dancing were certainly
already common both to Egyptian and Greek dancing, as well as the
clapping of hands to keep time which is still an accompaniment of
Spanish dancing.  It seems clear, however, that, on this general
classic and Mediterranean basis, Greek dancing had a development so
refined and so special--though in technical elaboration of steps, it
seems likely, inferior to modern dancing--that it exercised no
influence outside Greece. Dancing became, indeed, the most
characteristic and the most generally cultivated of Greek arts.
Pindar, in a splendid Oxyrhynchine fragment, described Hellas, in what
seemed to him supreme praise, as "the land of lovely dancing," and
Athenaeus pointed out that he calls Apollo the Dancer.  It may well be
that the Greek drama arose out of dance and song, and that the dance
throughout was an essential and plastic element in it. Even if we
reject the statement of Aristotle that tragedy arose out of the
Dionysian dithyramb, the alternative suppositions (such as Ridgeway's
theory of dancing round the tombs of the dead) equally involve the
same elements. It has often been pointed out that poetry in Greece
demanded a practical knowledge of all that could be included under
"dancing." Aeschylus is said to have developed the technique of
dancing and Sophocles danced in his own dramas. In these developments,
no doubt, Greek dancing tended to overpass the fundamental limits of
classic dancing and foreshadowed the ballet.  [Footnote: "We must
learn to regard the form of the Greek drama as a dance form," says G.
Warre Cornish in an interesting article on "Greek Drama and the Dance"
(_Fortnightly Review_, February, 1913), "a musical symphonic
dance-vision, through which the history of Greece and the soul of man
are portrayed."]

The real germ of the ballet, however, is to be found in Rome, where
the pantomime with its concerted and picturesque method of expressive
action was developed, and Italy is the home of Romantic dancing. The
same impulse which produced the pantomime produced, more than a
thousand years later in the same Italian region, the modern ballet. In
both cases, one is inclined to think, we may trace the influence of
the same Etruscan and Tuscan race which so long has had its seat
there, a race with a genius for expressive, dramatic, picturesque art.
We see it on the walls of Etruscan tombs and again in pictures of
Botticelli and his fellow Tuscans. The modern ballet, it is generally
believed, had its origin in the spectacular pageants at the marriage
of Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, in 1489. The fashion for such
performances spread to the other Italian courts, including Florence,
and Catherine de' Medici, when she became Queen of France, brought the
Italian ballet to Paris. Here it speedily became fashionable. Kings
and queens were its admirers and even took part in it; great statesmen
were its patrons.  Before long, and especially in the great age of
Louis XIV, it became an established institution, still an adjunct of
opera but with a vital life and growth of its own, maintained by
distinguished musicians, artists, and dancers. Romantic dancing, to a
much greater extent than what I have called Classic dancing, which
depends so largely on simple personal qualities, tends to be vitalised
by transplantation and the absorption of new influences, provided that
the essential basis of technique and tradition is preserved in the new
development.  Lulli in the seventeenth century brought women into the
ballet; Camargo discarded the complicated costumes and shortened the
skirt, so rendering possible not only her own lively and vigorous
method, but all the freedom and airy grace of later dancing. It was
Noverre who by his ideas worked out at Stuttgart, and soon brought to
Paris by Gaétan Vestris, made the ballet a new and complete art form;
this Swiss-French genius not only elaborated plot revealed by gesture
and dance alone, but, just as another and greater Swiss-French genius
about the same time brought sentiment and emotion into the novel, he
brought it into the ballet.  In the French ballet of the eighteenth
century a very high degree of perfection seems thus to have been
reached, while in Italy, where the ballet had originated, it decayed,
and Milan, which had been its source, became the nursery of a
tradition of devitalised technique carried to the finest point of
delicate perfection.  The influence of the French school was
maintained as a living force into the nineteenth century,--when it was
renovated afresh by the new spirit of the age and Taglioni became the
most ethereal embodiment of the spirit of the Romantic movement in a
form that was genuinely classic,--overspreading the world by the
genius of a few individual dancers. When they had gone, the ballet
slowly and steadily declined. As it declined as an art, so also it
declined in credit and in popularity; it became scarcely respectable
even to admire dancing. Thirty or forty years ago, those of us who
still appreciated dancing as an art--and how few they were!--had to
seek for it painfully and sometimes in strange surroundings. A recent
historian of dancing, in a book published so lately as 1906, declared
that "the ballet is now a thing of the past, and, with the modern
change of ideas, a thing that is never likely to be resuscitated."
That historian never mentioned Russian ballet, yet his book was
scarcely published before the Russian ballet arrived to scatter
ridicule over his rash prophecy by raising the ballet to a pitch of
perfection it can rarely have surpassed, as an expressive, emotional,
even passionate form of living art.

The Russian ballet was an offshoot from the French ballet and
illustrates once more the vivifying effect of transplantation on the
art of Romantic dancing. The Empress Anna introduced it in 1735 and
appointed a French ballet-master and a Neapolitan composer to carry it
on; it reached a high degree of technical perfection during the
following hundred years, on the traditional lines, and the principal
dancers were all imported from Italy. It was not until recent years
that this firm discipline and these ancient traditions were vitalised
into an art form of exquisite and vivid beauty by the influence of the
soil in which they had slowly taken root. This contact, when at last
it was effected, mainly by the genius of Fokine and the enterprise of
Diaghilev, involved a kind of revolution, for its outcome, while
genuine ballet, has yet all the effect of delicious novelty. The
tradition by itself was in Russia an exotic without real life, and had
nothing to give to the world; on the other hand, a Russian ballet
apart from that tradition, if we can conceive such a thing, would have
been formless, extravagant, bizarre, not subdued to any fine aesthetic
ends. What we see here, in the Russian ballet as we know it to-day, is
a splendid and arduous technical tradition, brought at last--by the
combined skill of designers, composers, and dancers--into real fusion
with an environment from which during more than a century it had been
held apart; Russian genius for music, Russian feeling for rhythm,
Russian skill in the use of bright colour, and, not least, the Russian
orgiastic temperament, the Russian spirit of tender poetic melancholy,
and the general Slav passion for folk-dancing, shown in other branches
of the race also, Polish, Bohemian, Bulgarian, and Servian. At almost
the same time what I have termed Classic dancing was independently
revived in kmerica by I sadora Duncan, bringing back what seemed to be
the free naturalism of the Greek dance, and Ruth St. Denis, seeking to
discover and revitalise the secrets of the old Indian and Egyptian
traditions. Whenever now we find any restored art of theatrical
dancing, as in the Swedish ballet, it has been inspired more or less,
by an eclectic blending of these two revived forms, the Romantic from
Russia, the Classic from America. The result has been that our age
sees one of the most splendid movements in the whole history of the


DANCING as an art, we may be sure, cannot die out, but will always be
undergoing a rebirth. Not merely as an art, but also as a social
custom, it perpetually emerges afresh from the soul of the people.
Less than a century ago the polka thus arose, extemporised by the
Bohemian servant girl Anna Slezakova out of her own head for the joy
of her own heart, and only rendered a permanent form, apt for
world-wide popularity, by the accident that it was observed and noted
down by an artist.  Dancing has for ever been in existence as a
spontaneous custom, a social discipline. Thus it is, finally, that
dancing meets us, not only as love, as religion, as art, but also as

All human work, under natural conditions, is a kind of dance. In a
large and learned book, supported by an immense amount of evidence,
Karl Bûcher has argued that work differs from the dance, not in kind,
but only in degree, since they are both essentially rhythmic.  There
is a good reason why work should be rhythmic, for all great combined
efforts, the efforts by which alone great constructions such as those
of megalithic days could be carried out, must be harmonised. It has
even been argued that this necessity is the source of human speech,
and we have the so-called Yo-heave-ho theory of languages. In the
memory of those who have ever lived on a sailing ship--that loveliest
of human creations now disappearing from the world--there will always
linger the echo of the chanties which sailors sang as they hoisted the
topsail yard or wound the capstan or worked the pumps. That is the
type of primitive combined work, and it is indeed difficult to see how
such work can be effectively accomplished without such a device for
regulating the rhythmic energy of the muscles. The dance rhythm of
work has thus acted socialisingly in a parallel line with the dance
rhythms of the arts, and indeed in part as their inspirer.  The
Greeks, it has been too fancifully suggested, by insight or by
intuition understood this when they fabled that Orpheus, whom they
regarded as the earliest poet, was specially concerned with moving
stones and trees. Bûcher has pointed out that even poetic metre may be
conceived as arising out of work; metre is the rhythmic stamping of
feet, as in the technique of verse it is still metaphorically called;
iambics and trochees, spondees and anapsests and dactyls, may still be
heard among blacksmiths smiting the anvil or navvies wielding their
hammers in the streets. In so far as they arose out of work, music and
singing and dancing are naturally a single art. A poet must always
write to a tune, said Swinburne. Herein the ancient ballad of Europe
is a significant type. It is, as the name indicates, a dance as much
as a song, performed by a singer who sang the story and a chorus who
danced and shouted the apparently meaningless refrain; it is
absolutely the chanty of the sailors and is equally apt for the
purposes of concerted work.  [Footnote: It should perhaps be remarked
that in recent times it has been denied that the old ballads were
built up on dance songs. Miss Pound, for instance, in a book on the
subject, argues that they were of aristocratic and not communal
origin, which may well be, though the absence of the dance element
does not seem to follow.] Yet our most complicated musical forms are
evolved from similar dances. The symphony is but a development of a
dance suite, in the first place folk-dances, such as Bach and Handel
composed. Indeed a dance still lingers always at the heart of music
and even the heart of the composer. Mozart, who was himself an
accomplished dancer, used often to say, so his wife stated, that it
was dancing, not music, that he really cared for. Wagner believed that
Beethoven's Seventh Symphony--to some of us the most fascinating of
them and the most purely musical--was an apotheosis of the dance, and,
even if that belief throws no light on the intention of Beethoven, it
is at least a revelation of Wagner's own feeling for the dance.

It is, however, the dance itself, apart from the work and apart from
the other arts, which, in the opinion of many to-day, has had a
decisive influence in socialising, that is to say in moralising, the
human species.  Work showed the necessity of harmonious rhythmic
cooperation, but the dance developed that rhythmic cooperation and
imparted a beneficent impetus to all human activities. It was Grosse,
in his "Beginnings of Art," who first clearly set forth the high
social significance of the dance in the creation of human
civilisation.  The participants in a dance, as all observers of
savages have noted, exhibit a wonderful unison; they are, as it were,
fused into a single being stirred by a single impulse.  Social
unification is thus accomplished. Apart from war, this is the chief
factor making for social solidarity in primitive life; it was indeed
the best training for war. It has been a twofold influence; on the one
hand, it aided unity of action and method in evolution: on the other,
it had the invaluable function--for man is naturally a timid
animal--of imparting courage; the universal drum, as Louis Robinson
remarks, has been an immense influence in human affairs.  Even among
the Romans, with their highly developed military system, dancing and
war were definitely allied; the Salii constituted a college of sacred
military dancers; the dancing season was March, the war-god's month
and the beginning of the war season, and all through that month there
were dances in triple measure before the temples and round the altars,
with songs so ancient that not even the priests could understand them.
We may trace a similar influence of dancing in all the cooperative
arts of life. All our most advanced civilisation, Grosse insisted, is
based on dancing. It is the dance that socialised man.

Thus, in the large sense, dancing has possessed peculiar value as a
method of national education. As civilisation grew self-conscious,
this was realised. "One may judge of a king," according to ancient
Chinese maxim, "by the state of dancing during his reign." So also
among the Greeks; it has been said that dancing and music lay at the
foundation of the whole political and military as well as religious
organisation of the Dorian states.

In the narrow sense, in individual education, the great importance of
dancing came to be realised, even at an early stage of human
development, and still more in the ancient civilisations. "A good
education," Plato declared in the "Laws," the final work of his old
age, "consists in knowing how to sing and dance well." And in our own
day one of the keenest and most enlightened of educationists has
lamented the decay of dancing; the revival of dancing, Stanley Hall
declares, is imperatively needed to give poise to the nerves,
schooling to the emotions, strength to the will, and to harmonise the
feelings and the intellect with the body which supports them.

It can scarcely be said that these functions of dancing are yet
generally realised and embodied afresh in education. For, if it is
true that dancing engendered morality, it is also true that in the
end, by the irony of fate, morality, grown insolent, sought to crush
its own parent, and for a time succeeded only too well. Four centuries
ago dancing was attacked by that spirit, in England called Puritanism,
which was then spread over the greater part of Europe, just as active
in Bohemia as in England, and which has, indeed, been described as a
general onset of developing Urbanism against the old Ruralism. It made
no distinction between good and bad, nor paused to consider what would
come when dancing went. So it was that, as Remy de Gourmont remarks,
the drinking-shop conquered the dance, and alcohol replaced the

But when we look at the function of dancing in life from a higher and
wider standpoint, this episode in its history ceases to occupy so
large a place. The conquest over dancing has never proved in the end a
matter for rejoicing, even to morality, while an art which has been so
intimately mixed with all the finest and deepest springs of life has
always asserted itself afresh.  For dancing is the loftiest, the most
moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere
translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. It is the
only art, as Rahel Varnhagen said, of which we ourselves are the
stuff. Even if we are not ourselves dancers, but merely the spectators
of the dance, we are still--according to that Lippsian doctrine of
_Einfuhlung_ or "empathy" by Groos termed "the play of inner
imitation"--which here, at all events, we may accept as true--feeling
ourselves in the dancer who is manifesting and expressing the latent
impulses of our own being.

It thus comes about that, beyond its manifold practical significance,
dancing has always been felt to possess also a symbolic significance.
Marcus Aurelius was accustomed to regard the art of life as like the
dancer's art, though that Imperial Stoic could not resist adding that
in some respects it was more like the wrestler's art. "I doubt not yet
to make a figure in the great Dance of Life that shall amuse the
spectators in the sky," said, long after, Blake, in the same strenuous
spirit. In our own time, Nietzsche, from first to last, showed himself
possessed by the conception of the art of life as a dance, in which
the dancer achieves the rhythmic freedom and harmony of his soul
beneath the shadow of a hundred Damoclean swords. He said the same
thing of his style, for to him the style and the man were one: "My
style," he wrote to his intimate friend Rohde, "is a dance." "Every
day I count wasted," he said again, "in which there has been no
dancing." The dance lies at the beginning of art, and we find it also
at the end The first creators of civilisation were making the dance,
and the philosopher of a later age, hovering over the dark abyss of
insanity, with bleeding feet and muscles strained to the breaking
point, still seems to himself to be weaving the maze of the dance.




HERBERT SPENCER pointed out, in his early essay on "The Genesis of
Science," that science arose out of art, and that even yet the
distinction is "purely conventional," for "it is impossible to say
when art ends and science begins." Spencer was here using "art" in the
fundamental sense according to which all practice is of the nature of
art. Yet it is of interest to find a thinker now commonly regarded as
so prosaic asserting a view which to most prosaic people seems
fanciful.  To the ordinary solid man, to any would-be apostle of
common sense, science--and by "science" he usually means applied
science--seems the exact opposite of the vagaries and virtuosities
that the hard-headed _homme moyen sensuel_ is accustomed to look upon
as "art."

Yet the distinction is modern. In classic times there was no such
distinction. The "sciences"--reasonably, as we may now see, and not
fancifully as was afterwards supposed--were "the arts of the mind." In
the Middle Ages the same liberal studies--grammar, logic, geometry,
music, and the rest--could be spoken of either as "sciences" or as
"arts," and for Roger Bacon, who in the thirteenth century was so
genuine a man of science, every branch of study or learning was a
"scientia." I am inclined to think that it was the Mathematical
Renaissance of the seventeenth century which introduced the undue
emphasis on the distinction between "science" and "art." "All the
sciences are so bound together," wrote Descartes, the banner-bearer of
that Renaissance, in his "Règles pour la Direction de l'Esprit," "that
it is much easier to learn them all at once than to learn one alone by
detaching it from the others." He added that we could not say the same
of the arts. Yet we might perhaps say of arts and sciences that we can
only understand them all together, and we may certainly say, as
Descartes proceeded to say of the sciences alone, that they all
emanate from the same focus, however diversely coloured by the media
they pass through or the objects they encounter. At that moment,
however, it was no doubt practically useful, however theoretically
unsound, to overemphasise the distinction between "science," with its
new instrumental precision, and "art." [Footnote: It would not appear
that the pioneers of the Mathematical Renaissance of the twentieth
century are inclined to imitate Descartes in this matter. Einstein
would certainly not, and many apostles of physical science to-day
(see, e.g., Professor Smithells, _From a Modern University: Some Aims
and Aspirations of Science_) insist on the aesthetic, imaginative, and
other "art" qualities of science.] At the same time the tradition of
the old usage was not completely put aside, and a Master of "Arts"
remained a master of such sciences as the directors of education
succeeded in recognising until the middle of the nineteenth century.
By that time the development of the sciences, and especially of the
physical sciences, as "the discovery of truth," led to a renewed
emphasis on them which resulted in the practical restriction of the
term "art" to what are ordinarily called the fine arts. More formally,
science became the study of what were supposed to be demonstrable and
systematically classifiable truths regarding the facts of the world;
art was separated off as the play of human impulses in making things.
Sir Sidney Colvin, in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," after discussing
the matter (which Mill had already discussed at length in his "Logic"
and decided that the difference is that Science is in the Indicative
Mood and Art in the Imperative Mood), concluded that science is
"ordered knowledge of natural phenomena and of the relations between
them," or that "Science consists in knowing, Art consists in doing."
Men of science, like Sir E. Ray Lankester, accepted this conclusion.
That was as far as it was possible to go in the nineteenth century.

But the years pass, and the progress of science itself, especially the
sciences of the mind, has upset this distinction.  The analysis of
"knowing" showed that it was not such a merely passive and receptive
method of recognising "truth" as scientists had innocently supposed.
This is probably admitted now by the Realists among philosophers as
well as by the Idealists. Dr.  Charles Singer, perhaps our most
learned historian of science, now defines science, no longer as a body
of organized knowledge, but as "the process which makes knowledge," as
"knowledge in the making"; that is to say, "the growing edge between
the unknown and the known." [Footnote: C. Singer. "What is Science?"
_British Medical Journal_, 25th June, 1921. Singer refuses the name of
"science" in the strict sense to fields of completely organised
knowledge which have ceased growing, like human anatomy (though, of
course, the anatomist still remains a man of science by working
outwards into adjoining related fields), preferring to term any such
field of completed knowledge a _discipline_. This seems convenient and
I should like to regard it as sound. It is not, however, compatible
with the old doctrine of Mill and Colvin and Ray Lankester, for it
excludes from the field of science exactly what they regarded as most
typically science, and some one might possibly ask whether in other
departments, like Hellenic sculpture or Sung pottery, a completed art
ceases to be art.] As soon as we thus regard it, as a making process,
it becomes one with art. Even physical science is perpetually laying
aside the "facts" which it thought it knew, and learning to replace
them by other "facts" which it comes to know as more satisfactory in
presenting an intelligible view of the world.  The analysis of
"knowing" shows that this is not only a legitimate but an inevitable
process. Such a process is active and creative. It clearly partakes at
least as much of the nature of "doing" as of "knowing." It involves
qualities which on another plane, sometimes indeed on the same plane,
are essentially those involved in doing. The craftsman who moulds
conceptions with his mind cannot be put in a fundamentally different
class from the craftsman who moulds conceptions with his hand, any
more than the poet can be put in a totally different class from the
painter. It is no longer possible to deny that science is of the
nature of art.

So it is that in the fundamental sense, and even it will have to be
added, in a sense that comprehends the extravagancies of wild
variations from the norm, we have to recognise that the true man of
science is an artist.  Like the lunatic, the lover, the poet (as a
great physician, Sir William Osier, has said), the student is "of
imagination all compact." It was by his "wonderful imagination," it
has been well pointed out, that Newton was constantly discovering new
tracks and new processes in the region of the unknown. The
extraordinary various life-work of Helmholtz, who initiated the
valuation of beauty on a physiological basis, scientifically precise
as it was, had, as Einstein has remarked, anaesthetic colouring.
"There is no such thing as an unimaginative scientific man," a
distinguished professor of mechanics and mathematics declared some
years ago, and if we are careful to remember that not every man who
believes that his life is devoted to science is really a "scientific
man," that statement is literally true.  [Footnote: It has often been
pointed out that the imaginative application of science--artistic
ideas like that of the steam locomotive, the flying-machine heavier
than air, the telegraph, the telephone, and many others--were even at
the moment of their being achieved, elaborately shown to be
"impossible" by men who had been too hastily hoisted up to positions
of "scientific" eminence.] It is not only true of the scientific man
in the special sense; it is also true of the philosopher. In every
philosopher's work, a philosophic writer has remarked, "the
construction of a complete system of conceptions is not carried out
simply in the interests of knowledge. Its underlying motive is
aesthetic. It is the work of a creative artist." [Footnote: J. B.
Baillie, _Studies in Human Nature_ (1921), p. 221. This point has
become familiar ever since F. A. Lange published his almost
epoch-marking work, _The History of Materialism_, which has made so
deep an impress on many modern thinkers from Nietzsche to Vaihinger;
it is indeed a book which can never be forgotten (I speak from
experience) by any one who read it in youth.] The intellectual lives
of a Plato or a Dante, Professor Graham Wallas from a different
standpoint has remarked, "were largely guided and sustained by their
delight in the sheer beauty of the rhythmic relation between law and
instance, species and individual, or cause and effect." [Footnote: G.
Wallas, _The Great Society_, p. 107.]

That remark, with its reference to the laws and rhythm in the
universe, calls to mind the great initiator, so far as our knowledge
extends back, of scientific research in our European world. Pythagoras
is a dim figure, and there is no need here to insist unduly on his
significance. But there is not the slightest doubt about the nature of
that significance in its bearing on the point before us. Dim and
legendary as he now appears to us, Pythagoras was no doubt a real
person, born in the sixth century before Christ, at Samos, and by his
association with that great shipping centre doubtless enabled to
voyage afar and glean the wisdom of the ancient world. In antiquity he
was regarded, Cicero remarks, as the inventor of philosophy, and still
to-day he is estimated to be one of the most original figures, not
only of Greece, but the world.  He is a figure full of interest from
many points of view, however veiled in mist, but he only concerns us
here because he represents the beginning of what we call
"science"--that is to say, measurable knowledge at its growing
point--and because he definitely represents it as arising out of what
we all conventionally recognise as "art," and as, indeed, associated
with the spirit of art, even its most fantastic forms, all the way.
Pythagoras was a passionate lover of music, and it was thus that he
came to make the enormously fruitful discovery that pitch of sound
depends upon the length of the vibrating chord. Therein it became
clear that law and spatial quantity ruled even in fields which had
seemed most independent of quantitative order. The beginning of the
great science of mechanics was firmly set up. The discovery was no
accident. Even his rather hostile contemporary Heraclitus said of
Pythagoras that he had "practised research and inquiry beyond all
other men." He was certainly a brilliant mathematician; he was, also,
not only an astronomer, but the first, so far as we know, to recognise
that the earth is a sphere,--so setting up the ladder which was to
reach at last to the Copernican conception,--while his followers took
the further step of affirming that the earth was not the centre of our
cosmic system, but concentrically related. So that Pythagoras may not
only be called the Father of Philosophy, but, with better right the
Father of Science in the modern exact sense. Yet he remained
fundamentally an artist even in the conventional sense. His free play
of imagination and emotion, his delight in the ravishing charm of
beauty and of harmony, however it may sometimes have led him
astray,--and introduced the reverence for Number which so long
entwined fancy too closely with science,--yet, as Gomperz puts it,
gave soaring wings to the power of his severe reason.  [Footnote:
Gomperz, _Greek Thinkers_, vol. I, chap, III, where will be found an
attractive account of Pythagoras' career and position in the actual
world with which we are here throughout concerned.]

One other great dim figure of early European antiquity shares with
Pythagoras the philosophic dominance over our world, and that is the
Platonic Socrates, or, as we might perhaps say, the Socratic Plato.
And here, too, we are in the presence of a philosopher, if not a
scientist, who was a supreme artist. Here again, also, we encounter a
legendary figure concealing a more or less real human person. But
there is a difference.  While all are agreed that, in Pythagoras we
have a great and brilliant figure dimly seen, there are many who
consider that in Socrates we have a small and dim figure grown great
and brilliant in the Platonic medium through which alone he has been
really influential in our world, for without Plato the name of
Socrates would have scarcely been mentioned. The problem of the
Pythagorean legend may be said to be settled.  But the problem of the
Socratic legend is still under discussion. We cannot, moreover, quite
put it aside as merely of academic interest, for its solution, if ever
reached, would touch that great vital problem of art.

If one examines any large standard history of Greece, like Grote's to
mention one of the oldest and best, one is fairly sure to find a long
chapter on the life of Socrates. Such a chapter is inserted, without
apology, without explanation, without compunction, as a matter of
course, in a so-called "history," and nearly every one, even to-day,
still seems to take it as a matter of course. Few seem to possess the
critical and analytical mind necessary for the examination of the
documents on which the "history" rests. If they approached this
chapter in a questioning spirit, they might perhaps discover that it
was not until about half a century after the time of the real Socrates
that any "historical" evidence for the existence of our legendary
Socrates begins to appear.  [Footnote: Always, it may perhaps be noted
in passing, it seems to have been difficult for the sober and solemn
Northerner, especially of England, to enter into the Greek spirit, all
the more since that spirit was only the spirit of a sprinkling of
people amid a hostile mass about as unlike anything we conventionally
call "Greek" as could well be imagined, so that, as Elie Faure, the
historian of art, has lately remarked, Greek art is a biological
"monstrosity." (Yet, I would ask, might we not say the same of France
or of England?) That is why it is usually so irritating to read books
written about the Greeks by barbarians; they slur over or ignore what
they do not like and, one suspects, they instinctively misinterpret
what they think they do like. Better even the most imperfect knowledge
of a few original texts, better even only a few days on the Acropolis,
than the second-hand opinions of other people. And if we must have a
book about the Greeks, there is always Athenaeus, much nearer to them
in time and in spirit, with all his gossip, than any Northern
barbarian, and an everlasting delight.] Few people seem to realise
that even of Plato himself we know nothing certain that could not be
held in a single sentence. The "biographies" of Plato began to be
written four hundred years after his death. It should be easy to
estimate their value.

There are three elements--one of them immeasurably more important than
the other two--of which the composite portrait of our modern Socrates
is made up: Xenophon, Plato, the dramatists. To the contribution
furnished by the first, not much weight is usually attached. Yet it
should really have been regarded as extremely illuminating. It
suggests that the subject of "Socrates" was a sort of school exercise,
useful practice in rhetoric or in dialectics.  The very fact that
Xenophon's Socrates was so reminiscent of his creator ought to have
been instructive.  [Footnote: Along another line it should have been
clear that the dialogues of the philosophers were drama and not
history. It would appear (Croiset, _Littérature Grecque_, vol. II, pp.
448 et seq.) that with Epicharmus of Cos, who was settled in Megara at
the beginning of the fifth century, philosophic comedy flourished
brilliantly at Syracuse, and indeed fragments of his formal
philosophic dialogue survive. Thus it is suggested that Athenian
comedy and sophistic prose dialogues may be regarded as two branches
drawn from the ancient prototype of such Syracusan comedy, itself
ultimately derived from Ionian philosophy. It is worth noting, I might
add, that when we first hear of the Platonic dialogues they were being
grouped in trilogies and tetralogies like the Greek dramas; that
indicates, at all events, what their earliest editors thought about
them.  It is also interesting to note that the writer of, at the
present moment, the latest handbook to Plato, Professor A, E. Taylor
(_Plato_, 1922, pp. 32-33), regards the "Socrates" of Plato as no
historical figure, not even a mask of Plato himself, but simply "the
hero of the Platonic drama." which we have to approach in much the
same way as the work of "a great dramatist or novelist."] It has,
however, taken scholars some time to recognise this, and Karl Joël,
who spent fifteen of the best years of his life over the Xenophontic
Socrates, to discover that the figure was just as much a fiction as
the Platonic Socrates, has lately confessed that he thinks those years
rather wasted. It might have been clear earlier that what Plato had
done was really just the same thing so far as method was concerned,
though a totally different thing in result because done by the most
richly endowed of poet-philosophers, the most consummate of artists.
For that is probably how we ought to regard Plato, and not, like some,
as merely a great mystificator. It is true that Plato was the master
of irony, and that "irony," in its fundamental meaning, is, as Gomperz
points out, "pleasure in mystifying." But while Plato's irony
possesses a significance which we must always keep before us, it is
yet only one of the elements of his vast and versatile mind.

It is to the third of these sources that some modern investigators are
now inclined to attach primary significance.  It was on the stage--in
the branch of drama that kept more closely in touch with life than
that which had fallen into the hands of the prose dialecticians and
rhetoricians--that we seem to find the shadow of the real Socrates.
But he was not the Socrates of the dramatic dialogues of Plato or even
of Xenophon; he was a minor Sophist, an inferior Diogenes, yet a
remarkable figure, arresting and disturbing, whose idiosyncrasies were
quite perceptible to the crowd. It was an original figure, hardly the
embodiment of a turning-point in philosophy, but fruitful of great
possibilities, so that we could hardly be surprised if the master of
philosophic drama took it over from real life and the stage for his
own purposes.

To make clear to myself the possible way--I am far from asserting it
was the actual way--in which our legendary Socrates arose, I sometimes
think of Chidley.  Chidley was an Australian Sophist and Cynic, in the
good sense of both these words, and without doubt, it seems to me, the
most original and remarkable figure that has ever appeared in
Australia, of which, however, he was not a native, though he spent
nearly his whole life there. He was always poor, and like most
philosophers he was born with a morbid nervous disposition, though he
acquired a fine and robust frame. He was liable not only to the shock
of outward circumstances but of inward impulses; to these he had in
the past often succumbed, and only slowly and painfully gained the
complete mastery over as he gained possession of his own philosophy.
For all his falls, which he felt acutely, as Augustine and Bunyan as
well as Rousseau felt such lapses, there was in him a real nobility,
an even ascetic firmness and purity of character. I never met him, but
I knew him more intimately, perhaps, than those who came in contact
with him. For many years I was in touch with him, and his last letter
was written shortly before his death; he always felt I ought to be
persuaded of the truth he had to reveal and never quite understood my
sympathetic attitude of scepticism.  He had devoured all the
philosophic literature he could lay hold of, but his philosophy--in
the Greek sense, as a way of life, and not in our modern sense as a
system of notions--was his own: a new vision of Nature's simplicity
and wholeness, only new because it had struck on a new sensibility and
sometimes in excessive and fantastic ways, but he held his faith with
unbending devotion, and never ceased to believe that all would accept
the vision when once they beheld it.  So he went about the streets in
Sydney, clad (as a concession to public feeling) in bathing drawers,
finding anywhere he could the Stoa which might serve for him, to argue
and discuss, among all who were willing, with eager faith, keen mind,
and pungent speech. A few were won, but most were disturbed and
shocked. The police persistently harassed him; they felt bound to
interfere with what seemed such an outrage on the prim decency of the
streets; and as he quietly persisted in following his own course, and
it was hard to bring any serious charge against him, they called in
the aid of the doctors, and henceforth he was in and out of the asylum
instead of the prison. No one need be blamed; it was nobody's fault;
if a man transgresses the ordinary respectable notions of decency, he
must be a criminal, and if he is not a criminal, he must be a lunatic;
the social organisation takes no account of philosophers; the
philosophic Hipparchia and her husband must not nowadays consummate
their marriage in public, and our modern philosophers meekly agree
that philosophy is to have nothing to do with a life. Every one in the
case seems to have behaved with due conventional propriety, just as
every one behaved around the deathbed of Tolstoy's Ivan Ilitch. It was
Chidley's deathbed they were preparing, and he knew it, but he
unflinchingly grasped the cup they held out to him and drank it to the
dregs. He felt he could do no other.  There was no fabled hemlock in
it, but it was just as deadly as though it had been accompanied by all
the dramatic symbolisation of a formal condemnation to death, such as
had really been recorded (Plato well knew) in old Athenian annals.
There was no Plato in Sydney. But if there had been, it is hard to
conceive any figure more fit for the ends of his transforming art.
Through that inspiring medium the plebeian Sophist and Cynic, while
yet retaining something of the asperity of his original shape, would
have taken on a new glory, his bizarreries would have been
spiritualised and his morbidities become the signs of mystic
possession, his fate would have appeared as consecrated in form as it
genuinely was in substance, he would have been the mouthpiece, not
only of the truths he really uttered, but of a divine eloquence on the
verge of which he had in real life only trembled, and, like Socrates
in the hands of Plato, he would have passed, as all the finest
philosophy passes at last, into music.  [Footnote: He had often been
bidden in dreams to make music, said the Platonic Socrates in
_Phaedo_, and he had imagined that that was meant to encourage him in
the pursuit of philosophy, "which is the noblest and best of music."]

So in the end Chidley would have entered modern history, just as
Socrates entered ancient history, the Saint and Martyr of Philosophy.
[Footnote: In discussing Socrates I have made some use of Professor
Dupréel's remarkable book, _La Légende Socratique_ (1922). Dupréel
himself, with a little touch of irony, recommends a careful perusal of
the beautiful and monumental works erected by Teller and Grote and
Gomperz to the honour of Socrates.]

If it should so be that, as we learn to see him truly, the figure of
the real Socrates must diminish in magnitude, then--and that is the
point which concerns us here--the glory of the artist who made him
what he has become for us is immensely enhanced. No longer the merely
apt and brilliant disciple of a great master, he becomes himself
master and lord, the radiant creator of the chief figure in European
philosophy, the most marvellous artist the world has ever known. So
that when we look back at the spiritual history of Europe, it may
become possible to say that its two supreme figures, the Martyr of
Philosophy and the Martyr of Religion, were both--however real the two
human persons out of which they were formed--the work of man's
imagination. For there, on the one hand, we see the most accomplished
of European thinkers, and on the other a little band of barbarians,
awkwardly using just the same Greek language, working with an
unconscious skill which even transcends all that conscious skill could
have achieved, yet both bearing immortal witness to the truth that the
human soul only lives truly in art and can only be ruled through art.
So it is that in art lies the solution of the conflicts of philosophy.
There we see Realism, or the discovery of things, one with Idealism,
or the creation of things.  Art is the embodied harmony of their
conflict. That could not be more exquisitely symbolised than by these
two supreme figures in the spiritual life of Europe, the Platonic
Socrates and the Gospel Jesus, both alike presented to us, it is so
significant to observe, as masters of irony.

There has never again been so great an artist in philosophy, so
supreme a dramatist, as Plato. But in later times philosophers
themselves have often been willing to admit that even if they were
not, like Plato, dramatists, there was poetry and art in their
vocation.  "One does not see why the sense for Philosophy should be
more generally diffused than that for poetry," remarked Schelling,
evidently regarding them as on the same plane. F. A. Lange followed
with his memorable "History of Materialism," in which the conception
of philosophy as a poetic art was clearly set forth. "Philosophy is
pure art," says in our own days a distinguished thinker who is in
especially close touch with the religious philosophy of the East. "The
thinker works with laws of thought and scientific facts in just the
same sense as the musical composer with tones. He must find accords,
he must think out sequences, he must set the part in a necessary
relation to the whole. But for that he needs art." [Footnote: Count
Hermann Keyserling, _Philosophie als Kunst_ (1920), p. 2. He
associates this with the need for a philosophy to possess a subjective
personal character, without which it can have no value, indeed no
content at all.] Bergson regards philosophy as an art, and, Croce, the
more than rival of Bergson in popular esteem, and with interesting
points of contact with the French philosopher, though his standpoint
is so different, has repeatedly pointed out--as regards Nietzsche, for
instance, and even as regards a philosopher to whom he is so closely
related as Hegel--that we may read philosophy for its poetic rather
than its historic truth. Croce's position in this matter is not,
indeed, easy to state quite simply. He includes Eesthetics in
philosophy, but he would not regard philosophy as an art. For him art
is the first and lowest stratum in the mind, not in rank, but in
order, and on it the other strata are laid and combine with it. Or, as
he elsewhere says, "art is the root of our whole theoretic life.
Without root there can be neither flower nor fruit." [Footnote: Croce,
_Problemi d' Estetica_, p. 15. I have to admit, for myself, that,
while admiring the calm breadth of Croce's wide outlook, it is
sometimes my misfortune, in spite of myself, when I go to his works,
to play the part of a Balaam _a rebours_. I go forth to bless: and,
somehow, I curse.] But for Croce art is not itself flower or fruit.
The "Concept" and other abstractions have to be brought in before
Croce is satisfied that he has attained reality. It may, perhaps,
indeed, be permitted, even to an admirer of the skill with which Croce
spreads out such wide expanses of thought, to suggest that, in spite
of his anxiety to keep close to the concrete, he is not therein always
successful, and that he tends to move in verbal circles, as may
perhaps happen to a philosopher who would reduce the philosophy of art
to the philosophy of language. But, however that may be, it is a
noteworthy fact that the close relationship of art and philosophy is
admitted by the two most conspicuous philosophers of to-day, raised to
popular eminence in spite of themselves, the Philosopher of
Other-worldliness and the Philosopher of This-worldliness.

If we turn to England, we find that, in an age and a land wherein it
was not so easy to make the assertion as it has now more generally
become, Sir Leslie Stephen, in harmony, whether or not he knew it,
with F. A. Lange, wrote to Lord Morley (as he later became) in the
last century: "I think that a philosophy is really made more of poetry
than of logic; and the real value of both poetry and philosophy is not
the pretended reasoning, but the exposition in one form or other of a
certain view of life." It is, we see, just what they have all been
saying, and if it is true of men of science and philosophers, who are
the typical representatives of human thinking, it is even true of
every man on earth who thinks, ever since the day when conscious
thinking began. The world is an unrelated mass of impressions, as it
first strikes our infant senses, falling at random on the sensory
mechanism, and all appearing as it were on the same plane. For an
infant the moon is no farther away than his mother's breast, even
though he possesses an inherited mental apparatus fitted to coordinate
and distinguish the two. It is only when we begin to think, that we
can arrange these unrelated impressions into intelligible groups, and
thinking is thus of the nature of art.  [Footnote: James Hinton, a
pioneer in so many fields, clearly saw that thinking is really an art
fifty years ago. "Thinking is no mere mechanical process," he wrote
(_Chapters on the Art of Thinking_, pp. 43 _et seq_.), "it is a great
Art, the chief of all the Arts.... Those only can be called thinkers
who have a native gift, a special endowment for the work, and have
been trained, besides, by assiduous culture. And though we continually
assume that every one is capable of thinking, do we not all feel that
there is somehow a fallacy in this assumption? Do we not feel that
what people set up as their 'reasons' for disbelieving or believing
are often nothing of the sort?... The Art faculty is Imagination, the
power of seeing the unseen, the power also of putting ourselves out of
the centre, of reducing ourselves to our true proportions, of truly
using our own impressions.  And is not this in reality the chief
element in the work of the thinker?..  Science _is_ poetry."]

All such art, moreover, may yet be said to be an invention of
fictions. That great and fundamental truth, which underlies so much
modern philosophy, has been expounded in the clearest and most
detailed manner by Hans Vaihinger in his "Philosophie des Als Ob."


HANS VAIHINGER is still little known in England; [Footnote: So far,
indeed, as I am aware, I was responsible for the first English account
of his work (outside philosophical journals); it appeared in the
London _Nation and Athenaeum_ a few years ago, and is partly embodied
in the present chapter.] and that is the more remarkable as he has
always been strongly attached to English thought, of which hia famous
book reveals an intimate knowledge. In early life he had mixed much
with English people, for whom he has a deep regard, and learnt to
revere, not only Darwin, but Hume and J. S. Mill, who exerted a
decisive influence on his own philosophic development.  At the
beginning of his career he projected a history of English philosophy,
but interest in that subject was then so small in Germany that he had
regretfully to abandon his scheme, and was drawn instead, through no
active effort on his part, to make the study of Kant the by-product of
his own more distinctive work, yet it was a fitting study, for in Kant
he saw the germs of the doctrine of the "as if," that is to say, the
practical significance of fiction in human life, though that is not
the idea traditionally associated with Kant, who, indeed, was not
himself clear about it, while his insight was further darkened by his
reactionary tendencies; yet Vaihinger found that it really played a
large part in Kant's work and might even be regarded as his special
and personal way of regarding things; he was not so much a
metaphysician, Vaihinger remarks, as a metaphorician. Yet even in his
Kantian studies the English influence was felt, for Vaihinger's work
has here been to take up the Neo-Kantism of F. A. Lange and to develop
it in an empirical and positivistic direction.

There was evidently something in Vaihinger's spirit that allied him to
the English spirit. We may see that in his portrait; it is not the
face of the philosophic dreamer, the scholarly man of the study, but
the eager, forceful head of the practical man of action, the daring
adventurer, the man who seems made to struggle with the concrete
things of the world, the kind of man, that is to say, whom we consider
peculiarly English. That, indeed, is the kind of man he would have
been; that is the kind of life, a social life full of activity arid of
sport, that he desired to lead. But it was impossible. An extreme and
lifelong short-sightedness proved a handicap of which he has never
ceased to be conscious. So it came about that his practical energy
was, as it were, sublimated into a philosophy which yet retained the
same forceful dynamic quality.

For the rest, his origin, training, and vocation seem all to have been
sufficiently German. He came, like many other eminent men, out of a
Swabian parsonage, and was himself intended for theology, only
branching off into philosophy after his university career was well
advanced. At the age of sixteen he was deeply influenced, as so many
others have been, by Herder's "Ideen zur Geschichte der Menschheit";
that not only harmonised with his own tendency at the time towards a
mixed theism and pantheism, but it first planted within him the
conception of evolution in human history, proceeding from an animal
origin, which became a fundamental element of his mental constitution.
When a year later he came across Darwin's doctrines he felt that he
knew them beforehand. These influences were balanced by that of Plato,
through whose "Ideas" he caught his first glimpse of an "As-If world."
A little later the strenuous training of one of his teachers in the
logical analysis of Latin syntax, especially in the use of the
conjunctions, furnished the source from which subsequently he drew
that now well-known phrase. It was in these years that he reached the
view, which he has since definitely advocated, that philosophy should
not be made a separate study, but should become a natural part and
corollary of every study, since philosophy cannot be fruitfully
regarded as a discipline by itself. Without psychology, especially, he
finds that philosophy is merely "a methodic abstraction." A weighty
influence of these days was constituted by the poems and essays of
Schiller, a Swabian like himself, and, indeed, associated with the
history of his own family. Schiller was not only an inspiring
influence, but it was in Schiller's saying, "Error alone is life, and
knowledge is death," that he found (however unjustifiably) the first
expression of his own "factionalism," while Schiller's doctrine of the
play impulse as the basis of artistic creation and enjoyment seemed
the prophecy of his own later doctrine, for in play he saw later the
"as if" as the kernel of aesthetic practice and contemplation.

At the age of eighteen Vaihinger proceeded to the Swabian University
of Tubingen and here was free to let his wide-ranging, eager mind
follow its own impulses.  He revealed a taste for the natural sciences
and with this the old Greek nature philosophers, especially
Anaximander, for the sake of their anticipations of modern
evolutionary doctrines. Aristotle also occupied him, later Spinoza,
and, above all, Kant, though it was chiefly the metaphysical
antinomies and the practical reason which fascinated him. As ever, it
was what made for practice that seemed mostly to concern him.
Schelling, Hegel, and Schleiermacher, the official German idealists,
said nothing to him. He turned from them to Schopenhauer, and thence
he drew the pessimisms, the irrationalism, and the voluntarism which
became permanent features of his system of thought. The irrationalism,
as he himself points out, was completely opposed to all early
influences on him, but it lay in his own personal circumstances. The
contrast between his temperamental impulse to energetic practical
action in every direction, and the reserve, passivity, and isolation
which myopia enforced, seemed to him absolutely irrational and
sharpened his vision for all the irrationality of existence. So that a
philosophy which, like Schopenhauer's, truthfully recognised and
allowed for the irrational element in existence came like a
revelation. As to Vaihinger's pessimism, that, as we might expect, is
hardly of what would be generally considered a pessimistic character.
It is merely a recognition of the fact that most people are
over-sanguine and thereby come to grief, whereas a little touch of
pessimism would have preserved them from much misery. Long before the
Great War, Vaihinger felt that many Germans were over-sanguine
regarding the military power of their Empire, and of Germany's place
in the world, and that such optimism might easily conduce to war and
disaster. In 1911 he even planned to publish anonymously in
Switzerland a pamphlet entitled "Finis Germaniae," with the motto
"Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat," and was only prevented by a
sudden development of the eye-trouble.  Vaihinger points out that an
unjustified optimism had for a long time past led in the politics of
Germany--and also, he might have said, of the countries later opposed
to her--to lack of foresight, over-haste, and arrogance; he might have
added that a very slight touch of pessimism would also have enabled
these countries, on both sides, to discover the not very remote truth
that even the victors in such a contest would suffer scarcely less
than the conquered. In early life Vaihinger had playfully defined Man
as a "species of ape afflicted by megalomania"; he admits that,
whatever truth lies behind the definition, the statement is somewhat
exaggerated. Yet it is certainly strange to observe, one may comment,
how many people seem to feel vain of their own ungratified optimism
when the place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum.
They never seem to pause to reflect on the goal that lies ahead of
them, though there must be few who on looking back cannot perceive
what terrible accidents they might have foreseen and avoided by the
aid of a little pessimism. When the gods, to ruin a man, first make
him mad, they do it, almost invariably, by making him an optimist. One
might hazard the assertion that the chief philosophic distinction
between classic antiquity and modern civilisation is the prevalence in
the latter of a facile optimism; and the fact that of all ancient
writers the most popular in modern times has been the complacently
optimistic (or really hedonistic) Horace is hardly due to his
technical virtuosity. He who would walk sanely amid the opposing
perils in the path of life always needs a little optimism; he also
needs a little pessimism.

Reference has been made to Vaihinger's devouring appetite for
knowledge. This, indeed, was extraordinary, and of almost universal
range. There seem to have been few fields with which he failed to come
in touch, either through books or by personal intercourse with
experts. He found his way into all the natural sciences, he was drawn
to Greek archaeology and German philosophy; he began the study of
Sanscrit with Roth. Then, realising that he had completely neglected
mathematics, he devoted himself with ardour to analytic geometry and
infinitesimals, a study which later he found philosophically fruitful.
Finally, in 1874, he may be said to have rounded the circle of his
self-development by reading the just published enlarged and much
improved edition of F. A. Lange's "History of Materialism." Here he
realised the presence of a spirit of the noblest order, equipped with
the widest culture and the finest lucidity of vision, the keenest
religious radicalism combined with large-hearted tolerance and lofty
moral equilibrium, all manifested in a completed master-work.
Moreover, the standpoint of F. A. Lange was precisely that which
Vaihinger had been independently struggling towards, for it brought
into view that doctrine of the place of fiction in life which he had
already seen ahead.  It is not surprising that he should generously
and enthusiastically acclaim Lange as master and leader, though his
subsequent work is his own, and has carried ideas of which Lange held
only the seeds to new and fruitful development.  [Footnote: I have
based this sketch on an attractive and illuminating account of his own
development written by Professor Vaihinger for Dr. Raymund Schmidt's
highly valuable series, _Die Deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart in
Selbstdarstellungen_ (1921), vol. u.]

It was in 1876-77 that Vaihinger wrote his book, a marvellous
achievement for so youthful a thinker, for he was then only about
twenty-five years of age. A final revision it never underwent, and
there remain various peculiarities about the form into which it is
cast. The serious failure in eyesight seems to have been the main
reason for delaying the publication of a work which the author felt to
be too revolutionary to put forth in an imperfect form. He preferred
to leave it for posthumous publication.

But the world was not standing still, and during the next thirty years
many things happened. Vaihinger found the new sect of Pragmatists
coming into fashion with ideas resembling his own, though in--a cruder
shape, which seemed to render philosophy the "meretrix theologorum."
Many distinguished thinkers were working towards an attitude more or
less like his own, especially Nietzsche, whom (like many others even
to-day) he had long regarded with prejudice and avoided, but now
discovered to be "a great liberator" with congenial veins of thought.
Vaihinger realised that his conception was being independently put
forward from various sides, often in forms that to him seemed
imperfect or vicious. It was no longer advisable to hold back his
book. In 1911, therefore, "Die Philosophie des Als Ob" appeared.

The problem which Vaihinger set out to solve was this: How comes it
about that with consciously false ideas we yet reach conclusions that
are in harmony with Nature and appeal to us as Truth? That we do so is
obvious, especially in the "exact" branches of science. In mathematics
it is notorious that we start from absurdities to reach a realm of
law, and our whole conception of the nature of the world is based on a
foundation which we believe to have no existence.  For even the most
sober scientific investigator in science, the most thoroughgoing
Positivist, cannot dispense with fiction; he must at least make use of
categories, and they are already fictions, analogical fictions, or
labels, which give us the same pleasure as children receive when they
are told the "name" of a thing. Fiction is, indeed, an indispensable
supplement to logic, or even a part of it; whether we are working
inductively or deductively, both ways hang closely together with
fiction; and axioms, though they seek to be primary verities, are more
akin to fiction. If we had realised the nature of axioms, the doctrine
of Einstein, which sweeps away axioms so familiar to us that they seem
obvious truths, and substitutes others which «seem absurd because they
are unfamiliar, might not have been so bewildering.

Physics, especially mathematical physics, Vaihinger explains in
detail, has been based, and fruitfully based, on fictions. The
infinite, infinitely little or infinitely great, while helpful in
lightening our mental operations, is a fiction. The Greeks disliked
and avoided it, and "the gradual formation of this conception is one
of the most charming and instructive themes in the history of
science," indeed, one of the most noteworthy spectacles in the history
of the human spirit; we see the working of a logical impulse first
feeling in the dark, gradually constructing ideas fitted to yield
precious service, yet full of hopeless contradictions, without any
relation to the real world. That absolute space is a fiction,
Vaihinger points out, is no new idea. Hobbes had declared it was only
a _phantasma_; Leibnitz, who agreed, added that it was merely "the
idolum of a few modern Englishmen," and called time, extension, and
movement "_choses idéales_." Berkeley, in attacking the defective
conceptions of the mathematicians, failed to see that it was by means
of, and not in spite of, these logically defective conceptions that
they attained logically valuable results. All the marks of fiction
were set up on the mathematician's pure space; it was impossible and
unthinkable; yet it proved useful and fruitful.  The tautological
fiction of "Force"--an empty reduplication of the fact of a succession
of relationships--is one that we constantly fall back on with immense
satisfaction and with the feeling of having achieved something; it has
been a highly convenient fiction which has aided representation and
experience.  It is one of the most famous, and also, it must be added,
one of the most fatal of fantasies. For when we talk of, for instance,
a "life-force" and its _élan_, or whatever other dainty term we like
to apply to it, we are not only summarily mingling together many
separate phenomena, but we are running the risk that our conception
may be taken for something that really exists. There is always
temptation, when two processes tend to follow each other, to call the
property of the first to be followed by the other its "force," and to
measure that force by the magnitude of the result. In reality we only
have succession and coexistence, and the "force" is something that we

We must not, therefore, treat our imagination with contempt as was
formerly the fashion, but rather the reverse. The two great periods of
English Philosophy, Vaihinger remarks, ended with Ockham and with
Hume, who each took up, in effect, the fictional point of view, but
both too much on the merely negative side, without realising the
positive and constructive value of fictions. English law has above all
realised it, even, he adds, to the point of absurdity. Nothing is so
precious as fiction, provided only one chooses the right fiction.
"Matter" is such a fiction. There are still people who speak with
lofty contempt of "Materialism"; they mean well, but they are unhappy
in their terms of abuse. When Berkeley demonstrated the impossibility
of "matter," he thought he could afford to throw away the conception
as useless. He was quite wrong; it is logically contradictory ideas
that are the most valuable. Matter is a fiction, just as the
fundamental ideas with which the sciences generally operate are mostly
fictions, and the scientific materialisation of the world has proved a
necessary and useful fiction, only harmful when we regard it as
hypothesis and therefore possibly true. The representative world is a
system of fictions. It is a symbol by the help of which we orient
ourselves. The business of science is to make the symbol ever more
adequate, but it remains a symbol, a means of action, for action is
the last end of thinking.

The "atom," to which matter is ultimately reduced, is regarded by
Vaihinger as equally a fiction, though it was at first viewed as an
hypothesis, and it may be added that since he wrote it seems to have
returned to the stage of hypothesis.  [Footnote: "Most workers on the
problem of atomic constitution," remarks Sir Ernest Rutherford
(_Nature_, 5th August, 1922), "take as a working hypothesis that the
atoms of matter are purely electrical structures, and that ultimately
it is hoped to explain all the properties of atoms as a result of
certain combinations of the two fundamental units of positive and
negative electricity, the proton and electron."] But when with
Boscovich the "atom" was regarded as simply the bearer of energy, it
became "literally a hypostatised nothing." We have to realise at the
same time that every "thing" is a "summatory fiction," for to say, as
is often said, that a "thing" has properties and yet has a real
existence apart from its properties is obviously only a convenient
manner of speech, a "verbal fiction." The "force of attraction," as
Newton himself pointed out, belongs to the same class of summatory

Vaihinger is throughout careful to distinguish fiction alike from
hypothesis and dogma. He regards the distinction as, methodologically,
highly important, though not always easy to make. The "dogma" is put
forward as an absolute and unquestionable truth; the "hypothesis" is a
possible or probable truth, such as Darwin's doctrine of descent; the
"fiction" is impossible, but it enables us to reach what for us is
relatively truth, and, above all, while, hypothesis simply contributes
to knowledge, fiction thus used becomes a guide to practical action
and indispensable to what we feel to be progress. Thus the mighty and
civilising structure of Roman law was built up by the aid of what the
Romans themselves recognised as fictions, while in the different and
more flexible system of English laws a constant inspiration to action
has been furnished by the supposed privileges gained by Magna Carta,
though we now recognise them as fictitious.  Many of our ideas tend to
go through the three stages of Dogma, Hypothesis, and Fiction,
sometimes in that order and sometimes in the reverse order. Hypothesis
especially presents a state of labile stability which is unpleasant to
the mind, so it tends to become either dogma or fiction. The ideas of
Christianity, beginning as dogmas, have passed through all three
stages in the minds of thinkers during recent centuries: the myths of
Plato, beginning as fiction, not only passed through the three stages,
but then passed back again, being now again regarded as fiction. The
scientifically valuable fiction is a child of modern times, but we
have already emerged from the period when the use of fiction was
confined to the exact sciences.

Thus we find fiction fruitfully flourishing in the biological and
social sciences and even in the highest spheres of human spiritual
activity. The Linnaean and similar classificatory systems are
fictions, even though put forward as hypotheses, having their value
simply as pictures, as forms of representation, but leading to
contradictions and liable to be replaced by other systems which
present more helpful pictures. There are still people who disdain Adam
Smith's "economic man," as though proceeding from a purely selfish
view of life, although Buckle, forestalling Vaihinger, long ago
explained that Smith was deliberately making use of a "valid
artifice," separating facts that he knew to be in nature
inseparable--he based his moral theory on a. totally different kind of
man--because so he could reach results approximately true to the
observed phenomena. Bentham also adopted a fiction for his own system,
though believing it to be an hypothesis, and Mill criticised it as
being "geometrical"; the criticism is correct, comments Vaihinger, but
the method was not thereby invalidated, for in complicated fields no
other method can be fruitfully used.

The same law holds when we approach our highest and most sacred
conceptions. It was recognised by enlightened philosophers and
theologians before Vaihinger that the difference between body and soul
is not different from that between matter and force,--a provisional
and useful distinction,--that light and darkness, life and death, are
abstractions, necessary, indeed, but in their application to reality
always to be used with precaution. On the threshold of the moral world
we meet the idea of Freedom, "one of the weightiest conceptions man
has ever formed," once a dogma, in course of time an hypothesis, now
in the eyes of many a fiction; yet we cannot do without it, even
although we may be firmly convinced that our acts are determined by
laws that cannot be broken. Many other great conceptions have tended
to follow the same course. God, the Soul, Immortality, the Moral
World-Order.  The critical hearers understand what is meant when these
great words are used, and if the uncritical misunderstand, that, adds
Vaihinger, may sometimes be also useful. For these things are Ideals,
and all Ideals are, logically speaking, fictions. As Science leads to
the Imaginary, so Life leads to the Impossible; without them we cannot
reach the heights we are born to scale. "Taken literally, however, our
most valuable conceptions are worthless."

When we review the vast field which Vaihinger summarises, we find that
thinking and existing must ever be on two different planes. The
attempt of Hegel and his followers to transform subjective processes
into objective world-processes, Vaihinger maintains, will not work
out. The Thing-in-Itself, the Absolute, remains a fiction, though the
ultimate and most necessary fiction, for without it representation
would be unintelligible. We can only regard reality as a Hera-clitean
flux of happening--though Vaihinger fails to point out that this
"reality" also can only be an image or symbol--and our thinking would
itself be fluid if it were not that by fiction we obtain imaginary
standpoints and boundaries by which to gain control of the flow of
reality. It is the special art and object of thinking to attain
existence by quite other methods than that of existence itself. But
the wish by so doing to understand the world is both unrealisable and
foolish, for we are only trying to comprehend our own fictions. We can
never solve the so-called world-riddle because what seem riddles to us
are merely the contradictions we have ourselves created. Yet, though
the way of thinking cannot be the way of being, since they stand on
such different foundations, thinking always has a kind of parallelism
with being, and though we make our reckoning with a reality that we
falsify, yet the practical result tends to come out right.  Just
because thinking is different from reality, its forms must also be
different in order to correspond with reality. Our conceptions, our
conventional signs, have a fictive function to perform; thinking in
its lower grades is comparable to paper money, and in its higher forms
it is a kind of poetry.

Imagination is thus a constitutive part of all thinking.  We may make
distinctions between practical scientific thinking and disinterested
aesthetic thinking.  Yet all thinking is finally a comparison.
Scientific fictions are parallel with aesthetic fictions. The poet is
the type of all thinkers: there is no sharp boundary between the
region of poetry and the region of science.  Both alike are not ends
in themselves, but means to higher ends.

Vaihinger's doctrine of the "as if" is not immune from criticism on
more than one side, and it is fairly obvious that, however sound the
general principle, particular "fictions" may alter their status, and
have even done so since the book was written. Moreover, the doctrine
is not always quite congruous with itself. Nor can it be said that
Vaihinger ever really answered the question with which he set out. In
philosophy, however, it is not the attainment of the goal that
matters, it is the things that are met with by the way. And
Vaihinger's philosophy is not only of interest because it presents so
clearly and vigorously a prevailing tendency in modern thought.
Rightly understood, it supplies a fortifying influence to those who
may have seen their cherished spiritual edifice, whatever it may be,
fall around them and are tempted to a mood of disillusionment.  We
make our own world; when we have made it awry, we can remake it,
approximately truer, though it cannot be absolutely true, to the
facts. It will never be finally made; we are always stretching forth
to larger and better fictions which answer more truly to our growing
knowledge and experience. Even when we walk, it is only by a series of
regulated errors, Vaihinger well points out, a perpetual succession of
falls to one side and the other side. Our whole progress through life
is of the same nature; all thinking is a regulated error. For we
cannot, as Vaihinger insists, choose our errors at random or in
accordance with what happens to please us; such fictions are only too
likely to turn into deadening dogmas: the old _vis dormitiva_ is the
type of them, mere husks that are of no vital use and help us not at
all. There are good fictions and bad fictions just as there are good
poets and bad poets. It is in the choice and regulation of our errors,
in our readiness to accept ever-closer approximations to the
unattainable reality, that we think rightly and live rightly. We
triumph in so far as we succeed in that regulation. "A lost battle,"
Foch, quoting De Maistre, lays down in his "Principes de Guerre," "is
a battle one thinks one has lost"; the battle is won by the fiction
that it is won.  It is so also in the battle of life, in the whole art
of living. Freud regards dreaming as fiction that helps us to sleep;
thinking we may regard as fiction that helps us to live. Man lives by


YET what we consider our highest activities arise out of what we are
accustomed to regard as the lowest.  That is, indeed, merely a
necessary result of evolution; bipeds like ourselves spring out of
many-limbed creatures whom we should now regard as little better than
vermin, and the adult human creature whose eyes, as he sometimes
imagines, are fixed on the stars, was a few years earlier merely a
small animal crawling on all fours. The impulse of the philosopher, of
the man of science, of any ordinary person who sometimes thinks about
seemingly abstract or disinterested questions--we must include the
whole range of the play of thought in response to the stimulus of
curiosity--may seem at the first glance to be a quite secondary and
remote product of the great primary instincts. Yet it is not difficult
to bring this secondary impulse into direct relation with the
fundamental primary instincts, even, and perhaps indeed chiefly, with
the instinct of sex. On the mental side--which is not, of course, its
fundamental side--the sexual instinct is mainly, perhaps solely, a
reaction to the stimulus of curiosity. Beneath that mental surface the
really active force is a physiologically based instinct urgent towards
action, but the boy or girl who first becomes conscious of the mental
stimulus is unaware of the instinct it springs from, and may even
disregard as unimportant its specific physiological manifestations.
The child is only conscious of new curiosities, and these it
persistently seeks to satisfy at any available or likely source of
information, aided by the strenuous efforts of its own restlessly
active imagination.  It is in exactly the same position as the
metaphysician, or the biologist, or any thinker who is faced by
complex and yet unsolved problems. And the child is at first baffled
by just the same kind of obstacles, due, not like those of the
thinker, to the silence of recalcitrant Nature, but to the silence of
parents and teachers, or to their deliberate efforts to lead him

Where do babies come from? That is perhaps for many children the
earliest scientific problem that is in this way rendered so difficult
of solution. No satisfying solution comes from the sources of
information to which the child is wont to appeal. He is left to such
slight imperfect observations as he can himself make; on such clues
his searching intellect works and with the aid of imagination weaves a
theory, more or less remote from the truth, which may possibly explain
the phenomena.  It is a genuine scientific process--the play of
intellect and imagination around a few fragments of observed fact--and
it is undoubtedly a valuable discipline for the childish mind, though
if it is too prolonged it may impede or distort natural development,
and if the resulting theory is radically false it may lead, as the
theories of scientific adults sometimes lead, if not speedily
corrected, to various unfortunate results.

A little later, when he has ceased to be a child and puberty is
approaching, another question is apt to arise in the boy's mind: What
is a woman like? There is also, less often and more carefully
concealed, the corresponding curiosity in the girl's mind. Earlier
this question had seemed of no interest; it had never even occurred to
ask it; there was little realisation--sometimes none at all--of any
sexual difference. Now it sometimes becomes a question of singular
urgency, in the solution of which it is necessary for the boy to
concentrate all the scientific apparatus at his command.

For there may be no ways of solving it directly, least of all for a
well-behaved, self-respecting boy or a shy, modest girl. The youthful
intellect is thus held in full tension, and its developing energy
directed into all sorts of new channels in order to form an
imaginative picture of the unknown reality, fascinating because
incompletely known. All the chief recognised mental processes of
dogma, hypothesis, and fiction, developed in the history of the race,
are to this end instinctively created afresh in the youthful
individual mind, endlessly formed and re-formed and tested in order to
fill in the picture. The young investigator becomes a diligent student
of literature and laboriously examines the relevant passages he finds
in the Bible or other ancient primitive naked books. He examines
statues and pictures.  Perhaps he finds some old elementary manual of
anatomy, but here the long list of structures with Latin names proves
far more baffling than helpful to the youthful investigator who can in
no possible way fit them all into the smooth surface shown by the
statues.  Yet the creative and critical habit of thought, the
scientific mind generated by this search, is destined to be of immense
value, and long outlives the time when the eagerly sought triangular
spot, having fulfilled its intellectual function, has become a
familiar region, viewed with indifference, or at most a homely

That was but a brief and passing episode, however permanently
beneficial its results might prove. With the achievement of puberty,
with the coming of adolescence, a larger and higher passion fills the
youth's soul.  He forgets the woman's body, his idealism seems to
raise him above the physical: it is the woman's personality--most
likely some particular woman's personality--that he desires to know
and to grasp.

A twofold development tends to take place at this age--in those
youths, that is to say, who possess the latent attitude for psychic
development--and that in two diverse directions, both equally away
from definite physical desire, which at this age is sometimes, though
not always, at its least prominent place in consciousness.  On the one
hand there is an attraction for an idealised person--perhaps a rather
remote person, for such most easily lend themselves to
idealisation--of the opposite (or occasionally the same) sex, it may
sometimes for a time even be the heroine of a novel.  Such an ideal
attraction acts as an imaginative and emotional ferment. The
imagination is stimulated to construct for the first time, from such
material as it has come across, or can derive from within, the
coherent picture of a desirable person. The emotions are trained and
disciplined to play around the figure thus constructed with a new
impersonal and unselfish, even self-sacrificing, devotion. But this
process is not enough to use up all the energies of the developing
mind, and the less so as such impulses are unlikely by their very
nature to receive any considerable degree of gratification, for they
are of a nature to which no adequate response is possible.

Thus it happens in adolescence that this new stream of psychic energy,
emotional and intellectual, generated from within, concurrently with
its primary personal function of moulding the object of love, streams
over into another larger and more impersonal channel. It is, indeed,
lifted on to a higher plane and transformed, to exercise a fresh
function by initiating new objects of ideal desire. The radiant images
of religion and of art as well as of science--however true it may be
that they have also other adjuvant sources--thus begin to emerge from
the depths beneath consciousness. They tend to absorb and to embody
the new energy, while its primary personal object may sink into the
background, or at this age even fail to be conscious at all.

This process--the process in which all abstract thinking is born as
well as all artistic creation--must to some slight extent take place
in every person whose mental activity is not entirely confined to the
immediate objects of sense. But in persons of more complex psychic
organisation it is a process of fundamental importance.  In those of
the highest complex organisation, indeed, it becomes what we term
genius. In the most magnificent achievements of poetry and philosophy,
of art and of science, it is no longer forbidden to see the ultimate
root in this adolescent development.

To some a glimpse of this great truth has from time to time appeared.
Ferrero, who occupied himself with psychology before attaining
eminence as a brilliant historian, suggested thirty years ago that the
art impulse and its allied manifestations are transformed sexual
instinct; the sexual impulse is "the raw material, so to speak, from
which art springs"; he connected that transformation with a less
development of the sexual emotions in women; but that was much too
hasty an assumption, for apart from the fact that such transformation
could never be complete, and probably less so in women than in men, we
have also to consider the nature of the two organisms through which
the transformed emotions would operate, probably unlike in the sexes,
for the work done by two machines obviously does not depend entirely
upon feeding them with the same amount of fuel, but also on the
construction of the two engines. Môbius, a brilliant and original, if
not erratic, German psychologist, who was also concerned with the
question of difference in the amount of sexual energy, regarded the
art impulse as a kind of sexual secondary character. That is to say,
no doubt,--if we develop the suggestion,--that just as the external
features of the male and his external activities, in the ascending
zoological series, have been developed out of the impulse of repressed
organic sexual desire striving to manifest itself ever more urgently
in the struggle to overcome the coyness of the female, so on the
psychic side there has been a parallel impulse, if of later
development, to carry on the same task in forms of art which have
afterwards acquired an independent activity and a yet further growth
dissociated from this primary biological function. We think of the
natural ornaments which adorn male animals from far down in the scale
even up to man, of the additions made thereto by tattooing and
decoration and garments and jewels, of the parades and dances and
songs and musical serenades found among lower animals as well as Man,
together with the love-lyrics of savages, furnishing the beginnings of
the most exquisite arts of civilisation.

It is to be noted, however, that these suggestions introduce an
assumption of male superiority, or male inferiority--according to our
scheme of values--which unnecessarily prejudices and confuses the
issue. We have to consider the question of the origin of art apart
from any supposed predominance of its manifestations in one sex or the
other. In my own conception--put forward a quarter of a century
ago--of what I called auto-erotic activities, it was on such a basis
that I sought to place it, since I regarded those auto-erotic
phenomena as arising from the impeded spontaneous sexual energy of the
organism and extending from simple physical processes to the highest
psychic manifestations; "it is impossible to say what finest elements
in art, in morals, in civilisation generally, may not really be rooted
in an auto-erotic impulse," though I was careful to add that the
transmutation of sexual energy into other forms of force must not be
regarded as itself completely accounting for all the finest human
aptitudes of sympathy and art and religion.  [Footnote: Havelock
Ellis, _Studies in the Psychology of Sex_, vol. I.]

It is along this path, it may perhaps be claimed,--as dimly glimpsed
by Nietzsche, Hinton, and other earlier thinkers,--that the main
explanation of the dynamic process by which the arts, in the widest
sense, have come into being, is now chiefly being explored.  One
thinks of Freud and especially of Dr. Otto Rank, perhaps the most
brilliant and clairvoyant of the younger investigators who still stand
by the master's side. In 1905 Rank wrote a little essay on the artist
[Footnote: Otto Rank, _Der Kunstler: Ansatze zu einer Sexual
Psychologie_.] in which this mechanism is set forth and the artist
placed, in what the psycho-analytic author considers his due place,
between the ordinary dreamer at one end and the neurotic subject at
the other, the lower forms of art, such as myth-making, standing near
to dreams, and the higher forms, such as the drama, philosophy, and
the founding of religions, near to psycho-neurosis, but all possessing
a sublimated life-force which has its root in some modification of
sexual energy.

It may often seem that, in these attempts to explain the artist, the
man of science is passed over or left in the background, and that is
true. But art and science, as we now know, have the same roots. The
supreme men of science are recognisably artists, and the earliest
forms of art, which are very early indeed,--Sir Arthur Evans has
suggested that men may have drawn before they talked,--were doubtless
associated with magic, which was primitive man's science, or, at all
events, his nearest approximation to science. The connection of the
scientific instinct with the sexual instinct is not, indeed, a merely
recent insight. Many years ago it was clearly stated by a famous Dutch
author. "Nature, who must act wisely at the risk of annihilation,"
wrote Multatuli at the conclusion of his short story, "The Adventures
of Little Walter," "has herein acted wisely by turning all her powers
in one direction. Moralists and psychologists have long since
recognised, without inquiring into the causes, that curiosity is one
of the main elements of love. Yet they were only thinking of sexual
love, and by raising the two related termini in corresponding wise on
to a higher plane I believe that the noble thirst for knowledge
springs from the same soil in which noble love grows. To press
through, to reveal, to possess, to direct, and to ennoble, that is the
task and the longing, alike of the lover and the natural discoverer.
So that every Ross or Franklin is a Werther of the Pole, and whoever
is in love is a Mungo Park of the spirit."


As soon as we begin to think about the world around us in what we
vainly call a disinterested way--for disinterest is, as Leibnitz said,
a chimera, and there remains a superior interest--we become youths and
lovers and artists, and there is at the same time a significant strain
of sexual imagery in our thought.  [Footnote: The sexual strain in the
symbolism of language is touched on in my _Studies in the Psychology
of Sex_, vol. v, and similar traits in primitive legends have been
emphasised--many would say over-emphasised--by Freud and Jung.] Among
ourselves this is not always clear; we have been dulled by the routine
of civilisation and the artificial formalities of what is called
education. It is clear in the mytho-pœic creation of comparative
primitive thought, but in civilisation it is in the work of men of
genius--poets, philosophers, painters, and, as we have to recognise,
men of science--that this trait is most conspicuously manifested. To
realise this it is sufficient to contemplate the personality and
activity of one of the earliest great modern men of science, of
Leonardo da Vinci.  Until recent times it would have seemed rather
strange so to describe Leonardo da Vinci. He still seemed, as he was
in his own time, primarily a painter, an artist in the conventionally
narrow sense, and as such one of the greatest, fit to paint, as
Browning put it, one of the four walls of the New Jerusalem. Yet even
his contemporaries who so acclaimed him were a little worried about
Leonardo in this capacity. He accomplished so little, he worked so
slowly, he left so much unfinished, he seemed to them so volatile and
unstable. He was an enigma to which they never secured the key. They
failed to see, though it is clearly to be read even in his face, that
no man ever possessed a more piercing concentration of vision, a more
fixed power of attention, a more unshakable force of will. All that
Leonardo achieved in painting and in sculpture and in architecture,
however novel or grandiose, was, as Solmi, the highly competent
Vincian scholar has remarked, merely a concession to his age, in
reality a violence done to his own nature, and from youth to old age
he had directed his whole strength to one end: the knowledge and the
mastery of Nature. In our own time, a sensitive, alert, widely
informed critic of art, Bernhard Berenson, setting out with the
conventional veneration for Leonardo as a painter, slowly, as the
years went by and his judgment grew more mature, adopted a more
critical attitude, bringing down his achievements in art to moderate
dimensions, yet without taking any interest in Leonardo as a
stupendous artist in science. We may well understand that vein of
contempt for the crowd, even as it almost seems the hatred for human
society, the spirit of Timon, which runs across Leonardo's writings,
blended, no doubt inevitably blended, with his vein of human
sweetness. This stern devotee of knowledge declared, like the author
of "The Imitation of Christ," that "Love conquers all things." There
is here no discrepancy. The man who poured a contemptuous flood of
irony and denunciation over the most sacred social institutions and
their most respectable representatives was the same man--the Gospels
tell us--who brooded with the wings of a maternal tenderness over the
pathos of human things.

When, indeed, our imagination plays with the idea of a future Overman,
it is Leonardo who comes before us as his forerunner. Vasari, who had
never seen Leonardo, but has written so admirable an account of him,
can only describe him as "supernatural" and "divine." In more recent
times Nietzsche remarked of Leonardo that "there is something
super-European and silent in him, the characteristic of one who has
seen too wide a circle of things good and evil." There Nietzsche
touches, even though vaguely, more nearly than Vasari could, the
distinguishing mark of this endlessly baffling and enchanting figure.
Every man of genius sees the world at a different angle from his
fellows, and there is his tragedy. But it is usually a measurable
angle. We cannot measure the angle at which Leonardo stands; he
strikes athwart the line of our conventional human thought in ways
that are sometimes a revelation and sometimes an impenetrable mystery.
We are reminded of the saying of Heraclitus: "Men hold some things
wrong and some right; God holds all things fair." The dispute as to
whether he was above all an artist or a man of science is a foolish
and even unmeaning dispute. In the vast orbit in which Leonardo moved
the distinction had little or no existence.  That was inexplicable to
his contemporaries whose opinions Vasari echoes. They could not
understand that he was not of the crowd of makers of pretty things who
filled the workshops of Florence. They saw a man of beautiful aspect
and fine proportions, with a long curled beard and wearing a
rose-coloured tunic, and they called him a craftsman, an artist, and
thought him rather fantastic. But the medium in which this artist
worked was Nature, the medium in which the scientist works; every
problem in painting was to Leonardo a problem in science, every
problem in physics he approached in the spirit of the artist.  "Human
ingenuity," he said, "can never devise anything more simple and more
beautiful, or more to the purpose, than Nature does." For him, as
later for Spinoza, reality and perfection were the same thing.  Both
aspects of life he treats as part of his task--the extension of the
field of human knowledge, the intension of the power of human skill;
for art, or, as he called it, practice, without science, he said, is a
boat without a rudder. Certainly he occupied himself much with
painting, the common medium of self-expression in his day, though he
produced so few pictures; he even wrote a treatise on painting; he
possessed, indeed, a wider perception of its possibilities than any
artist who ever lived. "Here is the creator of modern landscape!"
exclaimed Corot before Leonardo's pictures, and a remarkable
description he has left of the precise effects of colour and light
produced when a woman in white stands on green grass in bright
sunshine shows that Leonardo clearly apprehended the _plein-airiste's_
problem.  Doubtless it will prove possible to show that he foresaw
still later methods. He rejected these methods because it seemed to
him that the artist could work most freely by moving midway between
light and darkness, and, indeed, he, first of painters, succeeded in
combining them--just as he said also that Pleasure and Pain should be
imaged as twins since they are ever together, yet back to back because
ever contrary--and devised the method of _chiaroscuro_, by which light
reveals the richness of shade and shade heightens the brightness of
light. No invention could be more characteristic of this man whose
grasp of the world ever involved the union of opposites, and the
opposites both apprehended more intensely than falls to the lot of
other men.

Yet it is noteworthy that Leonardo constantly speaks of the artist's
function as searching into and imitating Nature, a view which the
orthodox artist anathematises.  But Leonardo was not the orthodox
artist, not even, perhaps, as he is traditionally regarded, one of the
world's supreme painters. For one may sympathise with Mr. Berenson's
engaging attempt--unconvincing as it has seemed--to "expose" Leonardo.
The drawings Mr. Berenson, like every one else, admires
whole-heartedly, but, save for the unfinished "Adoration," which he
regards as a summit of art, he finds the paintings mostly meaningless
and repellent.

He cannot rank Leonardo as an artist higher than Botticelli, and
concludes that he was not so much a great painter as a great inventor
in painting. With that conclusion it is possible that Leonardo himself
would have agreed. Painting was to him, he said, a subtle invention
whereby philosophical speculation can be applied to all the qualities
of forms. He seemed to himself to be, here and always, a man standing
at the mouth of the gloomy cavern of Nature with arched back, one hand
resting on his knee and the other shading his eyes, as he peers
intently into the darkness, possessed by fear and desire, fear of the
threatening gloom of that cavern, desire to discover what miracle it
might hold. We are far here from the traditional attitude of the
painter; we are nearer to the attitude of that great seeker into the
mysteries of Nature, one of the very few born of women to whom we can
ever even passingly compare Leonardo, who felt in old age that he had
only been a child gathering shells and pebbles on the shore of the
great ocean of truth.

It is almost as plausible to regard Leonardo as primarily an engineer
as primarily a painter. He offered his services as a military engineer
and architect to the Duke of Milan and set forth at length his
manifold claims which include, one may note, the ability to construct
what we should now, without hesitation, describe as "tanks." At a
later period he actually was appointed architect and engineer-general
to Caesar Borgia, and in this capacity was engaged on a variety of
works. He has, indeed, been described as the founder of professional
engineering. He was the seer of coming steam engines and of steam
navigation and transportation. He was, again, the inventor of
innumerable varieties of ballistic machines and ordnance, of steam
guns and breech-loading arms with screw breech-lock. His science
always tended to become applied science. Experience shows the road to
practice, he said, science is the guide to art. Thus he saw every
problem in the world as in the wide sense a problem in engineering.
All nature was a dynamic process of forces beautifully effecting work,
and it is this as it were distinctive vision of the world as a whole
which seems to give Leonardo that marvellous flair for detecting vital
mechanism in every field. It is impossible even to indicate summarily
the vast extent of the region in which he was creating a new world,
from the statement, which he set down in large letters, "The sun does
not move," the earth being, he said, a star, "much like the moon,"
down to such ingenious original devices as the construction of a
diving-bell, a swimming-belt, and a parachute of adequate dimensions,
while, as is now well known, Leonardo not only meditated with
concentrated attention on the problem of flight, but realised
scientifically the difficulties to be encountered, and made ingenious
attempts to overcome them in the designing of flymg-machines. It is
enough--following expert scientific guidance--to enumerate a few
points: he studied botany in the biological spirit; he was a founder
of geology, discovering the significance of fossils and realising the
importance of river erosion; by his studies in the theories of
mechanics and their utilization in peace and war he made himself the
prototype of the modern man of science. He was in turn biologist in
every field of vital mechanism, and the inaugurator before Vesalius
(who, however, knew nothing of his predecessor's work) of the minute
study of anatomy by direct investigation (after he had found that
Galen could not be relied on) and _post-mortem_ dissections; he nearly
anticipated Harvey's conception of the circulation of the blood by
studying the nature of the heart as a pump. He was hydraulician,
hydrographer, geometrician, algebraist, mechanician, optician.
[Footnote: Einstein, in conversation with Moszkowski, expressed doubt
as to the reality of Leonardo's previsions of modern science. But it
scarcely appeared that he had investigated the matter, while the
definite testimony of the experts in many fields who have done so
cannot be put aside.] These are but a few of the fields in which
Leonardo's marvellous insight into the nature of the forces that make
the world and his divining art of the methods of employing them to
human use have of late years been revealed.  For centuries they were
concealed in notebooks scattered through Europe and with difficulty
decipherable. Yet they are not embodied in vague utterances or casual
intuitions, but display a laborious concentration on the precise
details of the difficulties to be overcome; nor was patient industry
in him, as often happens, the substitute for natural facility, for he
was a person of marvellous natural facility, and, like such persons,
most eloquent and persuasive in speech. At the same time his more
general and reflective conclusions are expressed in a style combining
the maximum of clarity with the maximum of concision,--far, indeed,
removed from the characteristic florid redundancy of Italian
prose,--which makes Leonardo, in addition to all else, a supreme
master of language.  [Footnote: For the Italian reader of Leonardo the
fat little volume of _Frammenti_, edited by Dr. Solmi and published by
Barbera, is a precious and inexhaustible pocket companion. For the
English reader Mr. MacCurdy's larger but much less extensive volume of
extracts from the _Note-Books_, or the still further abridged
_Thoughts_, must suffice, Herbert Home's annotated version of Vasari's
_Life_ is excellent for Leonardo's personality and career.]

Yet the man to whom we must credit these vast intellectual
achievements was no abstracted philosopher shut up in a laboratory. He
was, even to look upon, one of the most attractive and vivid figures
that ever walked the earth. As has sometimes happened with divine and
mysterious persons, he was the natural child of his mother, Caterina,
of whom we are only told that she was "of good blood," belonging to
Vinci like Ser Piero the father, and that a few years after Leonardo's
birth she became the reputable wife of a citizen of his native town.
Ser Piero da Vinci was a notary, of a race of notaries, but the
busiest notary in Florence and evidently a man of robust vigour; he
married four times and his youngest child was fifty years the junior
of Leonardo. We hear of the extraordinary physical strength of
Leonardo himself, of his grace and charm, of his accomplishments in
youth, especially in singing and playing on the flute, though he had
but an elementary school education. Except for what he learnt in the
workshop of the many-sided but then still youthful Verrocchio, he was
his own schoolmaster, and was thus enabled to attain that absolute
emancipation from authority and tradition which made him indifferent
even to the Greeks, to whom he was most akin. He was left-handed; his
peculiar method of writing long raised the suspicion that it was
deliberately adopted for concealment, but it is to-day recognised as
simply the ordinary mirror-writing of a left-handed child without
training. This was not the only anomaly in Leonardo's strange nature.
We now know that he was repeatedly charged as a youth on suspicion of
homosexual offences; the result remains obscure, but there is some
reason to think he knew the inside of a prison. Throughout life he
loved to surround himself with beautiful youths, though no tradition
of license or vice clings to his name. The precise nature of his
sexual temperament remains obscure. It mocks us, but haunts us from
out of his most famous pictures.  There is, for instance, the "John
the Baptist" of the Louvre, which we may dismiss with the
distinguished art critic of to-day as an impudent blasphemy or brood
over long, without being clearly able to determine into what obscure
region of the Freudian Unconscious Leonardo had here adventured. Freud
himself has devoted one of his most fascinating essays to a
psychoanalytic interpretation of Leonardo's enigmatic personality.  He
admits it is a speculation; we may take it or leave it. But Freud has
rightly apprehended that in Leonardo sexual passion was largely
sublimated into intellectual passion, in accordance with his own
saying, "Nothing can be loved or hated unless first we have knowledge
of it," or, as he elsewhere said, "True and great love springs out of
great knowledge, and where you know little you can love but little or
not at all." So it was that Leonardo became a master of life. Vasari
could report of him--almost in the words it was reported of another
supreme but widely different figure, the Jesuit saint, Francis
Xavier--that "with the splendour of his most beautiful countenance he
made serene every broken spirit." To possess by self-mastery the
sources of love and hate is to transcend good and evil and so to
possess the Overman's power of binding up the hearts that are broken
by good and evil.

Every person of genius is in some degree at once man, woman, and
child. Leonardo was all three in the extreme degree and yet without
any apparent conflict.  The infantile strain is unquestioned, and,
apart from the problem of his sexual temperament, Leonardo was a child
even in his extraordinary delight in devising fantastic toys and
contriving disconcerting tricks.  His more than feminine tenderness is
equally clear, alike in his pictures and in his life. Isabella d'Este,
in asking him to paint the boy Jesus in the Temple, justly referred to
"the gentleness and sweetness which mark your art." His tenderness was
shown not only towards human beings, but to all living things, animals
and even plants, and it would appear that he was a vegetarian. Yet at
the same time he was emphatically masculine, altogether free from
weakness or softness.  He delighted in ugliness as well as in beauty,
he liked visiting the hospitals to study the sick in his thirst for
knowledge; he pondered over battles and fighting; he showed no
compunction in planning devilish engines of military destruction. His
mind was of a definitely realistic and positive cast; though there
seems no field of thought he failed to enter, he never touched
metaphysics, and though his worship of Nature has the emotional tone
of religion, even of ecstasy, he was clearly disdainful of the
established religions, and perpetually shocked "the timid friends of
God." By precept and by practice he proclaimed the lofty solitude of
the individual soul, and he felt only contempt for the herd. We see
how this temper became impressed on his face in his own drawing of
himself in old age, with that intent and ruthless gaze wrapped in
intellectual contemplation of the outspread world.

Leonardo comes before us, indeed, in the end, as a figure for awe
rather than for love. Yet, as the noblest type of the Overman we
faintly try to conceive, Leonardo is the foe, not of man, but of the
enemies of man, The great secrets that with clear vision his stern
grip tore from Nature, the new instruments of power that his energy
wrought, they were all for the use and delight of mankind. So Leonardo
is the everlasting embodiment of that brooding human spirit whose task
never dies. Still to-day it stands at the mouth of the gloomy cavern
of Nature, even of Human Nature, with bent back and shaded eyes,
seeking intently to penetrate the gloom beyond, with the fear of that
threatening darkness, with the desire of what redeeming miracle it yet
perchance may hold.


THAT Leonardo da Vinci was not only supremely great in science, but
the incarnation of the spirit of science, the artist and lover of
Nature, is a fact it is well to bear in mind. Many mistakes would be
avoided if it were more clearly present to consciousness. We should no
longer find the artists in design absurdly chafing under what they
considered the bondage of the artists in thought. It would no longer
be possible, as it was some years ago, and may be still, for a
narrow-minded pedagogue like Brunetière, however useful in his own
field, to be greeted as a prophet when he fatuously proclaimed what he
termed "the bankruptcy of science." Unfortunately so many of the
people who masquerade under the name of "men of science" have no sort
of title to that name. They may be doing good and honest work by
accumulating in little cells the facts which others, more truly
inspired by the spirit of science, may one day work on; they may be
doing more or less necessary work by the application to practical life
of the discoveries which genuine men of science have made. But they
themselves have just as much, and no more, claim to use the name of
"science" as the men who make the pots and dishes piled up in a
crockery shop have to use the name of "art." [Footnote: Morley
Roberts, who might be regarded as a pupil in the school of Leonardo
and trained like him in the field of art, has in various places of his
suggestive book, _Warfare in the Human Body_, sprinkled irony over the
examples he has come across of ignorant specialists claiming to be men
of "science."] They have not yet even learnt that "science" is not the
accumulation of knowledge in the sense of piling up isolated facts,
but the active organisation of knowledge, the application to the world
of the cutting edge of a marvellously delicate instrument, and that
this task is impossible without the widest range of vision and the
most restless fertility of imagination.

Of such more genuine men of science--to name one whom by virtue of
several common interests I was sometimes privileged to come near--was
Francis Galton. He was not a professional man of science; he was even
willing that his love of science should be accounted simply a hobby.
From the standpoint of the ordinary professional scientific man he was
probably an amateur. He was not even, as some have been, a learned
amateur. I doubt whether he had really mastered the literature of any
subject, though I do not doubt that that mattered little. When he
heard of some famous worker in a field he was exploring, he would look
up that man's work; so it was with Weismann in the field of heredity.
And, as I would note with a smile in reading his letters, Galton was
not able to spell Weismann's name correctly.  [Footnote: Needless to
say, I do not mention this to belittle Galton. A careful attention to
words, which in its extreme form becomes pedantry, is by no means
necessarily associated with a careful attention to things. Until
recent times English writers, even the greatest, were always negligent
in spelling; it would be foolish to suppose they were therefore
negligent in thinking.] His attitude in science might be said to be
pioneering much like that of the pioneers of museums in the later
seventeenth and earlier eighteenth centuries, men like Tradescant and
Ashmole and Evelyn and Sloane: an insatiable curiosity in things that
were only just beginning, or had not yet begun, to arouse curiosity.
So it was that when I made some personal experiments with the Mexican
cactus, mescal (_Anhalonium Lewinii_), to explore its vision-producing
qualities, then quite unknown in England, Galton was eagerly
interested and wanted to experiment on himself, though ultimately
dissuaded on account of his advanced age. But, on this basis, Galton's
curiosity was not the mere inquisitiveness of the child, it was
coordinated with an almost uniquely organised brain as keen as it was
well-balanced. So that on the one hand his curiosity was transformed
into methods that were endlessly ingenious and inventive, and on the
other it was guided and held in check by inflexible caution and good
sense. And he knew how to preserve that exquisite balance without any
solemnity or tension or self-assertion, but playfully and graciously,
with the most unfailing modesty.  It was this rare combination of
qualities--one may see it all in his "Inquiries into Human
Faculty"--which made him the very type of the man of genius,
operating, not by profession or by deliberate training, but by natural
function, throwing light on the dark places of the world and creating
science in out-of-the-way fields of human experience which before had
been left to caprice or not even perceived at all. Throughout he was
an artist and if, as is reported, he spent the last year of his life
chiefly in writing a novel, that was of a piece with the whole of his
marvellous activity; he had never been doing anything else. Only his
romances were real.

Galton's yet more famous cousin, Charles Darwin, presents in equal
purity the lover and the artist in the sphere of Nature and Science.
No doubt there were once many obtuse persons to whom these names
seemed scarcely to fit when applied to Darwin. There have been people
to whom Darwin scarcely seemed a man of genius, merely a dry laborious
pedestrian student of facts. He himself even--as many people find it
difficult to forget--once lamented his indifference to poetry and art.
But Darwin was one of those elect persons in whose subconscious, if
not in their conscious, nature is implanted the realisation that
"science _is_ poetry," and in a field altogether remote from the
poetry and art of convention he was alike poet and artist. Only a man
so endowed could from a suggestion received on reading Malthus have
conceived of natural selection as a chief moulding creative force of
an infinite succession of living forms; so also of his fantastic
theory of pangenesis. Even in trifling matters of experiment, such as
setting a musician to play the bassoon in his greenhouse, to ascertain
whether music affected plants, he had all the inventive imagination of
poet or of artist. He was poet and artist--though I doubt if this has
been pointed out--in his whole attitude towards Nature. He worked
hard, but to him work was a kind of play, and it may well be that with
his fragile health he could not have carried on his work if it had not
been play. Again and again in his "Life and Letters" we find the
description of his observations or experiments introduced by some such
phrase as: "I was infinitely amused." And he remarks of a biological
problem that it was like a game of chess. I doubt, indeed, whether any
great man of science was more of an artist than Darwin, more
consciously aware that he was playing with the world, more deliciously
thrilled by the fun of life. That man may well have found "poetry and
art" dull who himself had created the theory of sexual selection which
made the whole becoming of life art and the secret of it poetry.
[Footnote: Darwin even overestimated the aesthetic element in his
theory of sexual selection, and (I have had occasion elsewhere to
point out) unnecessarily prejudiced that theory by sometimes unwarily
assuming a conscious aesthetic element.]

It is not alone among biologists, from whose standpoint it may be
judged easier to reach, since they are concerned with living Nature,
that we find the attitude of the lover and the artist. We find it just
as well marked when the man of genius plays in what some might think
the arid field of the physicist. Faraday worked in a laboratory, a
simple one, indeed, but the kind of place which might be supposed
fatal to the true spirit of science, and without his researches in
magnetic electricity we might have missed, with or without a pang,
those most practical machines of our modern life, the dynamo and the
telephone. Yet Faraday had no practical ends in view, it has been
possible to say of him that he investigated Nature as a poet
investigates the emotions. That would not have sufficed to make him
the supreme man of science he was.  His biographer, Dr. Bence Jones,
who knew him well, concludes that Faraday's first great characteristic
was his trust in facts, and his second his imagination.  There we are
brought to the roots of his nature. Only, it is important to remember,
these two characteristics were not separate and distinct. In
themselves they may be opposing traits; it was because in Faraday they
were held together in vital tension that he became so potent an
instrument of research into Nature's secrets. Tyndall, who was his
friend and fellow worker, seems to have perceived this. "The force of
his imagination," wrote Tyndall, "was enormous,"--he "rose from the
smallest beginnings to the greatest ends," from "bubbles of oxygen and
nitrogen to the atmospheric envelope of the earth itself,"--but "he
bridled it like a mighty rider." Faraday himself said to the same
effect: "Let the imagination go, guarding it by judgment and
principles, but holding it in and directing it by experiment."
Elsewhere he has remarked that in youth he was, and he might have
added that he still remained, "a very lively imaginative person and
could believe in the 'Arabian Nights' as easily as in the
'Encyclopaedia.'" But he soon acquired almost an instinct for testing
facts by experiment, for distrusting such alleged facts as he had not
so tested, and for accepting all the conclusions that he had thus
reached with a complete indifference to commonly accepted beliefs. (It
is true he was a faithful and devout elder in the Sandemanian Church,
and that is not the least fascinating trait in this fascinating man.)
Tyndall has insisted on both of these aspects of Faraday's mental
activity. He had "wonderful vivacity," he was "a man of excitable and
fiery nature," and "underneath his sweetness was the heat of a
volcano." He himself believed that there was a Celtic strain in his
heredity; there was a tradition that the family came from Ireland; I
cannot find that there are any Faradays, or people of any name
resembling Faraday, now in Ireland, but Tyndall, being himself an
Irishman, liked to believe that the tradition was sound. It would only
account for the emotionally vivacious side of this nature. There was
also the other side, on which Tyndall also insists: the love of order,
the extreme tenacity, the high self-discipline able to convert the
fire within into a clear concentrated glow. In the fusion of these two
qualities "he was a prophet," says Tyndall, "and often wrought by an
inspiration to be understood by sympathy alone." His expansive
emotional imagination became the servant of truth, and sprang into
life at its touch. In carrying out physical experiments he would
experience a childlike joy and his eyes sparkled.  "Even to his latest
days he would almost dance for joy at being shown a new experiment."
Silvanus Thompson, in his book on Faraday, insists (as Tyndall had) on
the association with this childlike joy in imaginative extravagance of
the perpetual impulse to test and to prove, "yet never hesitating to
push to their logical conclusions the ideas suggested by experiment,
however widely they might seem to lead from the accepted modes of
thought." His method was the method of the "Arabian Nights,"
transferred to the region of facts.

Faraday was not a mathematician. But if we turn to Kepler, who moved
in the sphere of abstract calculation, we find precisely the same
combination of characteristics.  It was to Kepler, rather than to
Copernicus, that we owe the establishment of the heliocentric theory
of our universe, and Kepler, more than any man, was the precursor of
Newton. It has been said that if Kepler had never lived it is
difficult to conceive who could have taken his place and achieved his
special part in the scientific creation of our universe. For that
pioneering part was required a singular blend of seemingly opposed
qualities. Only a wildly daring, original, and adventurous spirit
could break away from the agelong traditions and rigid preconceptions
which had ruled astronomy for thousands of years. Only an endlessly
patient, careful, laborious, precise investigator could set up the new
revolutionary conceptions needed to replace these traditions and
preconceptions. Kepler supplied this rare combination of faculties. He
possessed the most absurdly extravagant imagination; he developed a
greater regard for accuracy in calculation than the world had ever
known. He was willing to believe that the earth was a kind of animal,
and would not have been surprised to find that it possessed lungs or
gills. At the same time so set was he on securing the precise truth,
so patiently laborious, that some of his most elaborate calculations
were repeated, and without the help of logarithms, even seventy times.
The two essential qualities that make the supreme artist in science
have never been so clearly made manifest as in Kepler.

Kepler may well bring us to Einstein, the greatest pioneer in the
comprehension of the universe since his day, and, indeed, one who is
more than a pioneer, since he already seems to have won a place beside
Newton.  It is a significant fact that Einstein, though he possesses
an extremely cautious, critical mind, and is regarded as conspicuous
for his common sense, has a profound admiration for Kepler, whom he
frequently quotes. For Einstein also is an Imaginative artist.
[Footnote: It is probable that the reason why it is often difficult to
trace the imaginative artist in great men of supposedly abstract
science is the paucity of intimate information about them. Even their
scientific friends have rarely had the patience, or even perhaps the
intelligence, to observe them reverently and to record their
observations. We know almost nothing that is intimately personal about
Newton. As regards Einstein, we are fortunate in possessing the book
of Moszkowski, _Einstein_ (translated into English under the title of
_Einstein the Searcher_), which contains many instructive
conversations and observations by a highly intelligent and
appreciative admirer, who has set them down in a Boswellian spirit
that faintly recalls Eckermann's book on Goethe (which, indeed,
Moszkowski had in mind), though falling far short of that supreme
achievement. The statements in the text are mainly gleaned from

Einstein is obviously an artist, even in appearance, as has often been
noted by those who have met him; "he looks far more the musician than
the man of science," one writes, while those who know him well say
that he is "essentially as much an artist as a discoverer." As a
matter of fact he is an artist in one of the most commonly recognised
arts, being an accomplished musician, a good violinist, it is said,
while improvisation on the piano, he himself says, is "a necessity of
his life." His face, we are told, is illumined when he listens to
music; he loves Bach and Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner much
less, while to Chopin, Schumann, and the so-called romantics in music,
as we might anticipate, he is indifferent. His love of music is
inborn; it developed when, as a child, he would think out little songs
"in praise of God," and sing them by himself; music, Nature, and God
began, even at that early age, to become a kind of unity to him.
"Music," said Leibnitz, "is the pleasure the human soul experiences
from counting without being aware that it is counting." It is the most
abstract, the most nearly mathematical of the arts--we may recall how
music and mathematics had their scientific origin together in the
discovery of Pythagoras--and it is not surprising that it should be
Einstein's favorite art.  [Footnote: Spengler holds (_Der Untergang
des Abendlandes_, vol. x, p. 329) that the development of music
throughout its various stages in our European culture really has been
closely related with the stages of the development of mathematics.] It
is even more natural that, next to music, he should be attracted to
architecture--the art which Goethe called "frozen music"--for here we
are actually plunged into mechanics, here statics and dynamics are
transformed into visible beauty. To painting he is indifferent, but he
is drawn to literature, although no great reader. In literature,
indeed, it would seem that it is not so much art that he seeks as
emotion; in this field it is no longer the austerely architectonic
that draws him; thus he is not attracted to Ibsen; he is greatly
attracted to Cervantes as well as Keller and Strindberg; he has a
profound admiration for Shakespeare, but is cooler towards Goethe,
while it would seem that there is no writer to whom he is more
fervently attached than the most highly emotional, the most profoundly
disintegrated in nervous organisation of all great writers,
Dostoievsky, especially his masterpiece, "The Brothers Karamazov."
"Dostoievsky gives me more than any scientist, more than Gauss." All
literary analysis or aesthetic subtlety, it seems to Einstein, fails
to penetrate to the heart of a work like "The Karamazovs," it can only
be grasped by the feelings. His face lights up when he speaks of it
and he can find no word but "ethical satisfaction." For ethics in the
ordinary sense, as a system, means little to Einstein; he would not
even include it in the sciences; it is the ethical joy embodied in art
which satisfies him.  Moreover, it is said, the keynote of Einstein's
emotional existence is the cry of Sophocles' Antigone: "I am not here
to hate with you, but to love with you." The best that life has to
offer, he feels, is a face glowing with happiness. He is an advanced
democrat and pacifist rather than (as is sometimes supposed) a
socialist; he believes in the internationality of all intellectual
work and sees no reason why this should destroy national

Einstein is not--and this is the essential point to make clear--merely
an artist in his moments of leisure and play, as a great statesman may
play golf or a great soldier grow orchids. He retains the same
attitude in the whole of his work. He traces science to its roots in
emotion, which is exactly where art also is rooted. Of Max Planck, the
physicist, for whom he has great admiration, Einstein has said: "The
emotional condition which fits him for his task is akin to that of a
devotee or a lover." We may say the same, it would seem, of Einstein
himself. He is not even to be included, as some might have supposed,
in that rigid sect which asserts that all real science is precise
measurement; he recognises that the biological sciences must be
largely independent of mathematics. If mathematics were the only path
of science, he once remarked, Nature would have been illegible for
Goethe, who had a non-mathematical, even anti-mathematical, mind, and
yet possessed a power of intuition greater than that of many an exact
investigator.  [Footnote: I would here refer to a searching
investigation, "Goethe und dio mathematische Physik: Eine
Erkenntnistheoretische Studie," in Ernst Cassirer's _Idee und Gestalt_
(1921). It is here shown that in some respects Goethe pointed the way
along which mathematical physics, by following its own paths, has
since travelled, and that even when most non-mathematical Goethe's
scientific attitude was justifiable.] All great achievements in
science, he holds, start from intuition. This he constantly repeats,
although he adds that the intuition must not stand alone, for
invention also is required.  He is disposed to regard many scientific
discoveries commonly regarded the work of pure thought as really works
of art. He would have this view embodied in all education, making
education a free and living process, with no drilling of the memory
and no examinations, mainly a process of appeal to the senses in order
to draw out delicate reactions. With his end, and even for the sake of
acquiring ethical personality, he would have every child learn a
handicraft, joinery, bookbinding, or other, and, like Élie Faure,
[Footnote: See the remarkable essay, "De la Cinéplastique," in Élie
Faure's _L'Arbre d'Éden_ (1922). It is, however, a future and
regenerated cinema for which Élie Faure looks, "to become the art of
the crowd, the powerful centre of communion in which new symphonic
forms will be born in the tumult of passions and utilized for fine and
elevating aesthetic ends."] he has great faith in the educational
value of the cinema. We see that behind all Einstein's activity lies
the conception that the physicist's work is to attain a picture, "a
world-picture," as he calls it. "I agree with Schopenhauer," Einstein
said at a celebration in honour of Planck in 1918, "that one of the
most powerful motives that attract people to science and art is the
longing to escape from everyday life with its painful coarseness and
desolating bareness, and to break the fetters of their own
ever-changing desires. It impels those of keener sensibility out of
their personal existences into the world of objective perception and
understanding. It is a motive force of like kind to that which drives
the dweller in noisy confused cities to restful Alpine heights whence
he seems to have an outlook on eternity. Associated with this negative
motive is the positive motive which impels men to seek a simplified
synoptic view of the world conformable to their own nature, overcoming
the world by replacing itwiththispicture. The painter, the poet, the
philosopher, the scientist, all do this, each in his own way." Spengler
has elaborately argued that there is a perfect identity of physics,
mathematics, religion, and great art.  [Footnote: O. Spengler, _Der
Untergang des Abendlandes_, vol. I, p.  576.] We might fairly be
allowed to point to Einstein as a lofty embodiment of that identity.

Here, where we reach the sphere of mathematics, we are among processes
which seem to some the most inhuman of all human activities and the
most remote from poetry. Yet it is here that the artist has the
fullest scope for his imagination. "Mathematics," says Bertrand
Russell in his "Mysticism and Logic," "may be denned as the subject in
which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are
saying is true." We are in the imaginative sphere of art, and the
mathematician is engaged in a work of creation which resembles music
in its orderliness, and is yet reproducing on another plane the order
of the universe, and so becoming as it were a music of the spheres. It
is not surprising that the greatest mathematicians have again and
again appealed to the arts in order to find some analogy to their own
work. They have indeed found it in the most various arts, in poetry,
in painting, in sculpture, although it would certainly seem that it is
in music, the most abstract of the arts, the art of number and of
time, that we find the closest analogy. "The mathematician's best work
is art," said Mittag-Lefler, "a high and perfect art, as daring as the
most secret dreams of imagination, clear and limpid. Mathematical
genius and artistic genius touch each other." And Sylvester wrote in
his "Theory of Reciprocants": "Does it not seem as if Algebra had
attained to the dignity of a fine art, in which the workman has a free
hand to develop his conceptions, as in a musical theme or a subject
for painting? It has reached a point in which every properly developed
algebraical composition, like a skilful landscape, is expected to
suggest the notion of an infinite distance lying beyond the limits of
the canvas." "Mathematics, rightly viewed," says Bertrand Russell
again, "possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty--a beauty cold and
austere, like that of sculpture.... The true spirit of delight, the
exaltation, the sense of being more than man, which is the touchstone
of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as
in poetry."

The mathematician has reached the highest rung on the ladder of human
thought. But it is the same ladder which we have, all of us been
always ascending, alike from the infancy of the individual and the
infancy of the race. Molière's Jourdain had been speaking prose for
more than forty years without knowing it. Mankind has been thinking
poetry throughout its long career and remained equally ignorant.




FROM time to time we are solemnly warned that in the hands of modern
writers language has fallen into a morbid state. It has become
degenerate, if not, indeed, the victim of "senile ataxy" or "general
paralysis." Certainly it is well that our monitors should seek to
arouse in us the wholesome spirit of self-criticism.  Whether we write
ill or well, we can never be too seriously concerned with what it is
that we are attempting to do. We may always be grateful to those who
stimulate us to a more wakeful activity in pursuing a task which can
never be carried to perfection.

Yet these monitors seldom fail at the same time to arouse a deep
revolt in our minds. We are not only impressed by the critic's own
inability to write any better than those he criticises. We are moved
to question the validity of nearly all the rules he lays down for our
guidance. We are inclined to dispute altogether the soundness of the
premises from which he starts.  Of these three terms of our revolt,
covering comprehensively the whole ground, the first may be put
aside--since the ancient retort is always ineffective and it helps the
patient not at all to bid the physician heal himself--and we may take
the last first.

Men are always apt to bow down before the superior might of their
ancestors. It has been so always and everywhere. Even the author of
the once well-known book of Genesis believed that "there were giants
in the earth in those days," the mighty men which were of old, the men
of renown, and still to-day among ourselves no plaint is more common
than that concerning the physical degeneracy of modern men as compared
with our ancestors of a few centuries ago. Now and then, indeed, there
comes along a man of science, like Professor Parsons, who has measured
the bones from the remains of the ancestors we still see piled up in
the crypt at Hythe, and finds that--however fine the occasional
exceptions--the average height of those men and women was decidedly
less than that of their present-day descendants. Fortunately for the
vitality of tradition, we cherish a wholesome distrust of science.
And so it is with our average literary stature. The academic critic
regards himself as the special depository of the accepted tradition,
and far be it from him to condescend to any mere scientific inquiry
into the actual facts. He half awakens from slumber to murmur the
expected denunciation of his own time, and therewith returns to
slumber. He usually seems unaware that even three centuries ago, in
the finest period of English prose, Swift, certainly himself a supreme
master, was already lamenting "the corruption of our style."

If it is asserted that the average writer of to-day has not equalled
the supreme writer of some earlier age,--there are but one or two in
any age,--we can only ejaculate: Strange if he had! Yet that is all
that the academic critic usually seems to mean. If he would take the
trouble to compare the average prose writer of to-day with the average
writer of even so great an age as the Elizabethan, he might easily
convince himself that the former, whatever his imperfections, need not
fear the comparison. Whether or not Progress in general may be
described as "the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance," it
is certainly so with the progress of style, and the imperfections of
our average everyday writing are balanced by the quite other
imperfections of our forefathers' writing. What, for instance, need we
envy in the literary methods of that great and miscellaneous band of
writers whom Hakluyt brought together in those admirable volumes which
are truly great and really fascinating only for reasons that have
nothing to do with style? Raleigh himself here shows no distinction in
his narrative of that discreditable episode,--as he clearly and
rightly felt it to be,--the loss of the Revenge by the wilful
Grenville. Most of them are bald, savourless, monotonous, stating the
obvious facts in the obvious way, but hopelessly failing to make
clear, when rarely they attempt it, anything that is not obvious. They
have none of the little unconscious tricks of manner which worry the
critic to-day. But their whole manner is one commonplace trick from
which they never escape.  They are only relieved by its simplicity and
by the novelty which comes through age. We have to remember that all
mediocrity is impersonal and that when we encourage its manifestations
on printed pages we merely make mediocrity more conspicuous.  Nor can
that be remedied by teaching the mediocre to cultivate tricks of
fashion or of vanity. There is more personality in Claude Bernard's
"Leçons de Physiologie Expérimentales," a great critic of life and
letters has pointed out, Remy de Gourmont, than in Musset's
"Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle." For personality is not something
that can be sought; it is a radiance that is diffused spontaneously.
It may even be most manifest when most avoided, and no writer--the
remark has doubtless often been made before--can be more personal than
Flaubert who had made almost a gospel of Impersonality. But the
absence of research for personality, however meritorious, will not
suffice to bring personality out of mediocrity.

Moreover, the obvious fact seems often to be overlooked by the critic
that a vastly larger proportion of the population now write, and see
their writing printed.  We live in what we call a democratic age in
which all are compulsorily taught how to make pothooks and hangers on
paper. So that every nincompoop--in the attenuated sense of the
term--as soon as he puts a pen in ink feels that he has become, like
M. Jourdain, a writer of prose. That feeling is justified only in a
very limited sense, and if we wish to compare the condition of things
to-day with that in an age when people wrote at the bidding of some
urgent stimulus from without or from within, we have at the outset to
delete certainly over ninety-five per cent of our modern so-called
writers before we institute any comparison.  The writers thus struck
out, it may be added, cannot fail to include many persons of much note
in the world. There are all sorts of people to-day who write from all
sorts of motives other than a genuine aptitude for writing. To suppose
that there can be any comparison at this point of the present with the
past and to dodder over the decay of our language would seem a senile
proceeding if we do not happen to know that it occurs in all ages, and
that, even at the time when our prose speech was as near to perfection
as it is ever likely to be, its critics were bemoaning its corruption,
lamenting, for instance, the indolent new practice of increasing
sibilation by changing "arriveth" into "arrives" and pronouncing
"walked" as "walkd," sometimes in their criticisms showing no more
knowledge of the history and methods of growth of English than our
academic critics show to-day.

For we know what to-day they tell us; it is not hard to know, their
exhortations, though few, are repeated in so psittaceous a manner. One
thinks, for instance, of that solemn warning against the enormity of
the split infinitive which has done so much to aggravate the
Pharisaism of the bad writers who scrupulously avoid it. This
superstition seems to have had its origin in a false analogy with
Latin in which the infinitive is never split for the good reason that
it is impossible to split. In the greater freedom of English it is
possible and has been done for at least the last five hundred years by
the greatest masters of English; only the good writer never uses this
form helplessly and involuntarily, but with a definite object; and
that is the only rule to observe. An absolute prohibition in this
matter is the mark of those who are too ignorant, or else too
unintelligent, to recognise a usage which is of the essence of English
speech.  [Footnote: It may be as well to point that it is the amateur
literary grammarian and not the expert who is at fault in these
matters. The attitude of the expert (as in C. T. Onions, _Advanced
English Syntax_) is entirely reasonable.]

One may perhaps refer, again, to those who lay down that every
sentence must end on a significant word, never on a preposition, and
who reprobate what has been technically termed the post-habited
prefix. They are the same worthy and would-be old-fashioned people who
think that a piece of music must always end monotonously on a banging
chord. Only here they have not, any more than in music, even the
virtue--if such it be--of old fashion, for the final so-called
preposition is in the genius of the English language and associated
with the Scandinavian--in the wider ancient sense Danish--strain of
English, one of the finest strains it owns, imparting much of the
plastic force which renders it flexible, the element which helped to
save it from the straitlaced tendency of Anglo-Saxon and the awkward
formality of Latin and French influence. The foolish prejudice we are
here concerned with seems to date from a period when the example of
French, in which the final preposition is impossible, happened to be
dominant. Its use in English is associated with the informal grace and
simplicity, the variety of tender cadence, which our tongue admits.

In such matters as the "split infinitive" and the "post-habited
preposition," there should never have been any doubt as to the
complete validity and authority of the questioned usages. But there
are other points at which some even good critics may be tempted to
accept the condemnation of the literary grammarians.  It is sufficient
to mention one: the nominative use of the pronoun "me." Yet, surely,
any one who considers social practice as well as psychological
necessity should not fail to see that we must recognise a double use
of "me" in English. The French, who in such matters seem to have
possessed a finer social and psychological tact, have realised that je
cannot be the sole nominative of the first person and have
supplemented it by _moi_ (_mi_ from _mihi_). The Frenchman, when asked
who is there, does not reply "Je!" But the would-be English purist is
supposed to be reduced to replying "I!" Royal Cleopatra asks the
Messenger: "Is she as tall as me?" The would-be purist no doubt
transmutes this as he reads into: "Is she as tall as I?" We need not
envy him.

Such an example indicates how independent the free and wholesome life
of language is of grammatical rules. This is not to diminish the
importance of the grammarian's task, but simply to define it, as the
formulator, and not the lawgiver, of usage. His rules are useful, not
merely in order to know how best to keep them, but in order to know
how best to break them. Without them freedom might become licence.
Yet even licence, we have to recognise, is the necessary offscouring
of speech in its supreme manifestations of vitality and force. English
speech was never more syntactically licentious than in the sixteenth
century, but it was never more alive, never more fitly the material
for a great artist to mould. So it is that in the sixteenth century we
find Shakespeare. In post-Dryden days (though Dryden was an excellent
writer and engaged on an admirable task) a supreme artist in English
speech became impossible, and if a Shakespeare had appeared all his
strength would have been wasted in a vain struggle with the
grammarians.  French speech has run a similar and almost synchronous
course with English. There was a magnificently natural force and
wealth in sixteenth-century French: in Rabelais it had been even
extravagantly exuberant; in Montaigne it is still flexible and
various--_ondoyant et divers_--and still full of natural delight and
freedom.  But after Malherbe and his fellows French speech acquired
orderliness, precision, and formality; they were excellent qualities,
no doubt, but had to be paid for by some degree of thinness and
primness, even some stiffening of the joints. Rousseau came and poured
fresh blood from Switzerland into the language and a new ineffable
grace that was all his own; so that if we now hesitate to say, with
Landor, that he excels all the moderns for harmony, it is only because
they have learnt what he taught; and the later Romantics, under the
banner of Hugo, imparted colour and brilliance.  Yet all the great
artists who have wrestled with French speech for a century have never
been able to restore the scent and the savour and the substance which
Villon and Montaigne without visible effort could once find within its
borders. In this as in other matters what we call Progress means the
discovery of new desirable qualities, and therewith the loss of other
qualities that were at least equally desirable.

Then there is yet another warning which, especially in recent times,
is issued at frequent intervals, and that is against the use of verbal
counters, of worn or even worn-out phrases, of what we commonly fall
back on modern French to call _cliches_. We mean thereby the use of
old stereotyped phrases--Goethe called them "stamped" or
_gesiempelt_--to save the trouble of making a new living phrase to
suit our meaning. The word _cliché_ is thus typographic, though, it so
happens, it is derived from an old French word of phonetic meaning,
_cliqueter_ or _cliquer_ (related to the German _klatschen_), which we
already have in English as to "click" or to "clack," in a sense which
well supplements its more modern technical sense for this literary
end. Yet the warning against _clichés_ is vain. The good writer, by
the very fact that he is alive and craves speech that is vivid, as
_cliches_ never are, instinctively avoids their excessive use, while
the nervous and bad writer, in his tremulous anxiety to avoid these
tabooed _cliches_, falls into the most deplorable habits, like the
late Mr. Robert Ross, who at one time was so anxious to avoid
_clichés_ that he acquired the habit of using them in an inverted form
and wrote a prose that made one feel like walking on sharp flints;
for, though a macadamized road may not be so good to walk in as a
flowered meadow, it is better than a macadamized road with each stone
turned upside down and the sharp edge uppermost. As a matter of fact
it is impossible to avoid the use of _cliches_ and counters in speech,
and if it were possible the results would be in the highest degree
tedious and painful. The word "_cliché_" itself, we have seen, is a
_cliché_, a worn counter of a word, with its original meaning all
effaced, and even its secondary meaning now only just visible. That,
if those folk who condemn _cliches_ only had the intelligence to
perceive it, is a significant fact. You cannot avoid using _clichés_,
not even in the very act of condemning them. They include, if we only
look keenly enough, nearly the whole of language, almost every
separate word. If one could avoid them one would be unintelligible.
Even those common phrases which it is peculiarly meet to call counters
are not to be absolutely condemned.  They have become so common to use
because so fit to use, as Baudelaire understood when he spoke of "the
immense depth of thought in vulgar locutions." [Footnote: It is
interesting to note that another aristocratic master of speech had
also made just the same observation. Landor puts into the mouth of
Horne Tooke the words: "No expression can become a vulgarism which has
not a broad foundation. The language of the vulgar hath its source in
physics: in known, comprehended, and operative things." At the same
time Landor was as stern a judge as Baudelaire of the random use of
_clichés_.] There is only one rule to follow here,--and it is simply
the rule in every part of art,--to know what one is doing, not to go
sheeplike with the flock, ignorantly, unthinkingly, heedlessly, but to
mould speech to expression the most truly one knows how. If, indeed,
we are seeking clarity and the precise expression of thought, there is
nothing we may not do if only we know how to do it--but that "if"
might well be in capitals. One who has spent the best part of his life
in trying to write things that had not been written before, and that
were very difficult to write, may perhaps be allowed to confess the
hardness of this task.

To write is thus an arduous intellectual task, a process which calls
for the highest tension of the muscles in the escalade of a heaven
which the strongest and bravest and alertest can never hope to take by
violence. He has to be true,--whether it is in the external world he
is working or in his own internal world,--and as truth can only be
seen through his own temperament, he is engaged in moulding the
expression of a combination which has never been seen in the world

It is sometimes said that the great writer seldom quotes, and that in
the main is true, for he finds it difficult to mix an alien music of
thought and speech with his own. Montaigne, it is also said, is an
exception, but that is scarcely true. What Montaigne quoted he often
translated and so moulded to the pattern of his own mind. The same may
be said of Robert Burton. If it had not been so these writers (almost
certainly Burton) could scarcely have attained to the rank of great
authors. The significant fact to note, however, is not that the great
writer rarely quotes, but that he knows how to quote. Schopenhauer was
here a master. He possessed a marvellous flair for fine sayings in
remote books, and these he would now and again let fall like jewels on
his page, with so happy a skill that they seem to be created for the
spot on which they fell. It is the little writer rather than the great
writer who seems never to quote, and the reason is that he is really
never doing anything else.  [Footnote: Speaking as a writer who has
been much quoted,--it ought to be a satisfaction, but I have had my
doubts,--I may say that I have observed that those who quote belong
mostly to two classes, one consisting of good, or at all events
indifferent, writers, and the other of bad writers. Those of the first
class quote with fair precision and due acknowledgement, those of the
second with no precision, and only the vaguest intimation, or none at
all, that they are quoting. This would seem to indicate that the good
writer is more honest than the bad writer, but that conclusion may be
unjust to the bad writer. The fact is that, having little thought or
knowledge of his own, he is not fully conscious of what he is doing.
He is like a greedy child who, seeing food in front of him, snatches
it at random, without being able to recognise whether or not it is his
own. There is, however, a third class of those who cannot resist the
temptation of deliberately putting forth the painfully achieved
thought or knowledge of others as their own, sometimes, perhaps,
seeking to gloss over the lapse with: "As every one knows--"]

It is not in writing only, in all art, in all science, the task before
each is that defined by Bacon: _man added to Nature_. It is so also in
painting, as a great artist of modern time, Cézanne, recognised even
in those same words: "He who wishes to make art," he once said to
Vollard, "must follow Bacon, who defined the artist as 'Homo additus
Naturîe.'" So it is that the artist, if he has succeeded in being true
to his function, is necessarily one who makes all things new.
[Footnote: Croce, who is no doubt the most instructive literary critic
of our time, has, in his own way, insisted on this essential fact. As
he would put it, there are no objective standards of judgment; we
cannot approach a work of art with our laws and categories. We have to
comprehend the artist's own values, and only then are we fit to
pronounce any judgment on his work. The task of the literary critic is
thus immensely more difficult than it is vulgarly supposed to be. The
same holds good, I would add, of criticism in the fields of art, not
excluding the art of love and the arts of living in general.] That
remarkable artist who wrote the Book of the Revelation has expressed
this in his allegorical, perhaps unconscious, Oriental way, for he
represents the artist as hearing the divine spirit from the throne
within him uttering the command: "Behold, I make all things new.
Write!" The command is similar whatever the art may be, though it is
here the privilege of the writer to find his own art set forth as the
inspired ensample of all art.

Thus it is that to write is a strenuous intellectual task not to be
achieved without the exercise of the best trained and most deliberate
rational faculties. That is the outcome of the whole argument up to
this point.  There is so much bad writing in the world because writing
has been dominated by ignorance and habit and prudery, and not least
by the academic teachers and critics who have known nothing of what
they claim to teach and were often themselves singular examples of how
not to write. There has, on the other hand, been a little good writing
here and there in the world, through the ages, because a few possessed
not only courage and passion and patience, but knowledge and the
concentrated intellectual attention, and the resolution to seek truth,
and the conviction that, as they imagined, the genius they sought
consisted in taking pains.

Yet, if that were all, many people would become great writers who, as
we well know, will never become writers; if that were all, writing
could scarcely even be regarded as an art. For art, or one side of it,
transcends conscious knowledge; a poet, as Landor remarked, "is not
aware of all that he knows, and seems at last to know as little about
it as a silkworm knows about the fineness of her thread." Yet the same
great writer'has also said of good poetry, and with equal truth, that
"the ignorant and inexpert lose half its pleasures." We always move on
two feet, as Élie Faure remarks in his "L'Arbre d'Éden," the two poles
of knowledge and of desire, the one a matter of deliberate acquirement
and the other of profound instinct, and all our movements are a
perpetual leap from one to the other, seeking a centre of gravity we
never attain.  [Footnote: "This search is the art of all great
thinkers, of all great artists, indeed of all those who, even without
attaining expression, desire to live deeply.  If the dance brings us
so near to God, it is, I believe, because it symbolizes for us the
movement of this gesture." (Élie Faure, _L'Arbre d'Éden_, p. 318.)] So
the achievement of style in writing, as in all human intercourse, is
something more than an infinite capacity for taking pains. It is also
defined--and, sometimes I think, supremely well defined--as "grace
seasoned with salt." Beyond all that can be achieved by knowledge and
effort, there must be the spontaneous grace that springs up like a
fountain from the depth of a beautifully harmonious nature, and there
must be also the quality which the Spaniards call "sal," and so
rightly admire in the speech of the women of the people of their own
land, the salt quality which gives savour and point and antiseptic
virtue.  [Footnote: This is that "divine malice" which Nietzsche, in
_Ecce Homo_, speaking of Heine ("one day Heine and I will be regarded
as by far the greatest artists of the German language," he says rather
egotistically, but perhaps truly) considered essential to perfection.
"I estimate the value of men and of races," he added, "by their need
to identify their God with a satyr," a hard saying, no doubt, to the
modern man, but it has its meaning.]

The best literary prose speech is simply the idealisation in the
heaven of art of the finest common speech of earth, simply, yet never
reached for more than a moment in a nation's long history. In Greece
it was immortally and radiantly achieved by Plato; in England it was
attained for a few years during the last years of the seventeenth and
the first years of the eighteenth centuries, lingering on, indeed,
here and there to the end of that century until crushed between the
pedantry of Johnson and the poetic licence of the Romantics. But for
the rest only the most happily endowed genius can even attain for a
rare moment the perfection of the Pauline ideal of "grace seasoned
with salt."

It is fortunate, no doubt, that an age of machinery is well content
with machine-made writing. It would be in bad taste--too
physiological, too sentimental, altogether too antiquated--to refer to
the symbolical significance of the highly relevant fact that the
heart, while undoubtedly a machine, is at the same time a sensitively
pulsating organ with fleshy strings stretched from ventricle to
valves, a harp on which the great artist may play until our hearts
also throb in unison.  Yet there are some to whom it still seems that,
beyond mechanical skill, the cadences of the artist's speech are the
cadences of his heart, and the footfalls of his rhythm the footfalls
of his spirit, in a great adventure across the universe.


THUS we do not always realise that learning to write is partly a
matter of individual instinct. This is so even of that writing which,
as children, we learnt in copybooks with engraved maxims at the head
of the page.  There are some, indeed, probably the majority, who
quickly achieve the ability to present a passable imitation of the
irreproachable model presented to them.  There are some who cannot. I
speak as one who knows, for I recall how my first schoolmaster, a
sarcastic little Frenchman, irritated by my unchastenable hand, would
sometimes demand if I wrote with the kitchen poker, or again assert
that I kept a tame spider to run over the page, while a later teacher,
who was an individualist and more tolerant, yet sometimes felt called
upon to murmur, in a tone of dubious optimism: "You will have a hand
of your own, my boy." It is not lack of docility that is in question,
but an imperative demand of the nervous system which the efforts of
the will may indeed bend but cannot crush.

Yet the writers who cheerfully lay down the laws of style seldom
realise this complexity and mystery enwrapping even so simple a matter
as handwriting. No one can say how much atavistic recurrence from
remote ancestors, how much family nervous habit, how much wayward yet
deep-rooted personal idiosyncrasy deflect the child's patient efforts
to imitate the copperplate model which is set before him. The son
often writes like the father, even though he may seldom or never see
his father's handwriting; brothers may write singularly alike, though
taught by different teachers and even in different continents. It has
been noted of the ancient and distinguished family of the Tyrrells
that their handwriting in the parish books of Stowmarket remained the
same throughout many generations. I have noticed, in a relation of my
own, peculiarities of handwriting identical with those of an ancestor
two centuries ago whose writing he certainly never saw. The
resemblance is often not that of exact formation, but of general air
or underlying structure.  [Footnote: Since this was written I have
found that Laycock, whose subtle observation pioneered so many later
ideas, long ago noted ("Some Organic Laws of Memory," _Journal of
Mental Science_, July, 1875) reversion to ancestral modes of
handwriting.] One is tempted to think that often, in this as in other
matters, the possibilities are limited, and that when the child is
formed in his mother's womb Nature cast the same old dice and the same
old combinations inevitably tend to recur. But that notion scarcely
fits all the facts, and our growing knowledge of the infinite subtlety
of heredity, of its presence even in the most seemingly elusive
psychic characters, indicates that the dice may be loaded and fall in
accord with harmonies we fail to perceive. The development of
Mendelian analysis may in time help us to understand them.

The part in style which belongs to atavism, to heredity, to
unconscious instinct, is probably very large. It eludes us to an even
greater extent than the corresponding part in handwriting because the
man of letters may have none among his ancestors who sought expression
in style, so that only one Milton speaks for a mute inglorious family,
and how far he speaks truly remains a matter of doubt. We only divine
the truth when we know the character and deeds of the family.  There
could be no more instructive revelation of family history in style
than is furnished by Carlyle.  There had never been any writer in the
Carlyle family, and if there had, Carlyle at the time when his manner
of writing was formed, would scarcely have sought to imitate them. Yet
we could not conceive this stern, laborious, plebeian family of
Lowland Scots--with its remote Teutonic affinities, its coarseness,
its narrowness, its assertive inarticulative force--in any more
fitting verbal translation than was given it by this its last son, the
pathetic little figure with the face of a lost child, who wrote in a
padded room and turned the rough muscular and reproductive activity of
his fathers into more than half a century of eloquent chatter
concerning Work and Silence, so writing his name in letters of gold on
the dome of the British Museum.  [Footnote: This was written fifteen
years ago, and as Carlyle has of late been unduly depreciated I would
add that, while strictly to the present point, it is not put forward
as an estimate of Carlyle's genius. That I seem to have attempted
twenty-five years earlier in a private letter (to my friend the late
Reverend Angus Mackay) I may here perhaps be allowed to quote. It was
in 1883, soon after the publication of Carlyle's _Reminiscences_:
"This is not Carlylese, but it is finer. The popular judgment is
hopelessly wrong. We can never understand Carlyle till we get rid of
the 'great prophet' notion. Carlyle is not (as we were once taught) a
'great moral teacher,' but, in the high sense, a great _comedian_. His
books are wonderful comedies. He is the Scotch Aristophanes, as
Rabelais is the French and Heine the German Aristophanes--of course,
with the intense northern imagination, more clumsy, more imperfect,
more profound than the Greek. But, at a long distance, there is a
close resemblance to Aristophanes with the same mixture of audacity in
method and conservatism in spirit. Cariyle's account of Lamb seems in
the true sense Aristophanic. His humour is, too, as broad as he dares
(some curious resemblances there, too). In his lyrical outbursts,
again, he follows Aristophanes, and again at a distance. Of course he
cannot be compared as an artist. He has not, like Rabelais, created a
world to play with, but, like Aristophanes generally, he sports with
the things that are." That youthful estimate was alien to popular
opinion then because Carlyle was idolised; it is now, no doubt,
equally alien for an opposite reason. It is only on extremes that the
indolent popular mind can rest.]

When we consider the characteristics, not of the family, but of the
race, it is easier to find examples of the force of ancestry, even
remote ancestry, overcoming environment and dominating style.
Shakespeare and Bacon were both Elizabethans who both lived from youth
upwards in London, and even moved to some extent almost in the same
circles. Yet all the influences of tradition and environment, which
sometimes seem to us so strong, scarcely sufficed to spread even the
faintest veneer of similarity over their style, and we could seldom
mistake a sentence of one for a sentence of the other. We always know
that Shakespeare--with his gay extravagance and redundancy, his
essential idealism--came of a people that had been changed in
character from the surrounding stock by a Celtic infolding of the
receding British to Wales.  [Footnote: J. Beddoe, _The Races of
Britain_, p. 254.] We never fail to realise that Bacon--with his
instinctive gravity and temperance, the suppressed ardour of his
aspiring intellectual passion, his temperamental naturalism--was
rooted deep in that East Anglican soil which he had never so much as
visited.  In Shakespeare's veins there dances the blood of the men who
made the "Mabinogion"; we recognise Bacon as a man of the same
countryside which produced the forefathers of Emerson. Or we may
consider the mingled Breton and Gascon ancestry of Renan, in whose
brain, in the very contour and melody of his style, the ancient bards
of Brittany have joined hands with the tribe of Montaigne and Brantôme
and the rest. Or, to take one more example, we can scarcely fail to
recognise in the style of Sir Thomas Browne--as later, may be, in that
of Hawthorne--the glamour of which the latent aptitude had been handed
on by ancestors who dwelt on the borders of Wales.

In these examples hereditary influence can be clearly distinguished
from merely external and traditional influences. Not that we need
imply a disparagement of tradition: it is the foundation of civilised
progress.  Speech itself is a tradition, a naturally developed
convention, and in that indeed it has its universal applicability and
use. It is the crude amorphous material of art, of music and poetry.
But on its formal side, whatever its supreme significance as the
instrument and medium of expression, speech is a natural convention,
an accumulated tradition.

Even tradition, however, is often simply the corporeal embodiment, as
it were, of heredity. Behind many a great writer's personality there
stands tradition, and behind tradition the race. That is well
illustrated in the style of Addison. This style--with a resilient
fibre underneath its delicacy and yet a certain freedom as of
conversational familiarity--has as its most easily marked structural
signature a tendency to a usage it has already been necessary to
mention: the tendency to allow the preposition to lag to the end of
the sentence rather than to come tautly before the pronoun with which
in Latin it is combined. In a century in which the Latin-French
elements of English were to become developed, as in Gibbon and
Johnson, to the utmost, the totally different physiognomy of Addison's
prose remained conspicuous,--though really far from novel,--and to the
sciolists of a bygone age it seemed marked by carelessness, if not
licence, at the best by personal idiosyncrasy. Yet, as a matter of
fact, we know it was nothing of the kind. Addison, as his name
indicates, was of the stock of the Scandinavian English, and the
Cumberland district he belonged to is largely Scandinavian; the
adjoining peninsula of Furness, which swarms with similar patronymics,
is indeed one of the most purely Scandinavian spots in England. Now in
the Scandinavian languages, as we know, and in the English dialects
based upon them, the preposition comes usually at the end of the
sentence, and Scandinavian structural elements form an integral part
of English, even more than Latin-French, for it has been the part of
the latter rather ta enrich the vocabulary than to mould the structure
of our tongue. So that, instead of introducing a personal idiosyncrasy
or perpetrating a questionable licence, Addison was continuing his own
ancestral traditions and at the same time asserting an organic
prerogative of English speech. It may be added that Addison reveals
his Scandinavian affinities not merely in the material structure, but
in the spiritual quality, of his work. This delicate sympathetic
observation, the vein of gentle melancholy, the quiet restrained
humour, meet us again in modern Norwegian authors like Jonas Lie.

When we put aside these ancestral and traditional influences, there is
still much in the writer's art which, even if personal, we can only
term instinctive. This may be said of that music which at their finest
moments belongs to all the great writers of prose. Every writer has
his own music, though there are few in whom it becomes audible save at
rare and precious intervals. The prose of the writer who can
deliberately make his own personal cadences monotonously audible all
the time grows wearisome; it affects us as a tedious mannerism. This
is a kind of machine-made prose which indeed it requires a clever
artisan to produce; but, as Landor said, "he must be a bad writer to
whom there are no inequalities." The great writers, though they are
always themselves, attain the perfect music of their style under the
stress of a stimulus adequate to arouse it. Their music is the audible
translation of emotion, and only arises when the waves of emotion are
stirred. It is not properly speaking a voluntary effect. We can but
say that the winds of the spirit are breathed upon the surface of
style, and they lift it into rhythmic movement. And for each writer
these waves have their own special rate of vibration, their peculiar
shape and interval. The rich deep slow tones of Bacon have nothing in
common with the haunting, long-drawn melody, faint and tremulous, of
Newman; the high metallic falsetto ring of De Quincey's rhetoric is
far away from the pensive low-toned music of Pater.

Imitation, as psychologists have taught us to realise, is a part of
instinct. When we begin to learn to write, it rarely happens that we
are not imitators, and, for the most part, unconsciously. The verse of
every young poet, however original he may afterwards grow, usually has
plainly written across it the rhythmic signature of some great master
whose work chances to be abroad in the world; once it was usually
Tennyson, then Swinburne, now various later poets; the same thing
happens with prose, but the rhythm of the signature is less easy to

As a writer slowly finds his own centre of gravity, the influence of
the rhythm of other writers ceases to be perceptible except in so far
as it coincides with his own natural movement and _tempo_. That is a
familiar fact.  We less easily realise, perhaps, that not only the
tunes but the notes that they are formed of are, in every great
writer, his own. In other words, he creates even his vocabulary. That
is so not only in the more obvious sense that out of the mass of words
that make up a language every writer uses only a limited number and
even among these has his words of predilection.  [Footnote: I once
studied, as an example, colour-words in various writers, finding that
every poet has his own colour formula. Variations in length of
sentence and peculiarities of usage in metre have often been studied.
Reference is made to some of these studies by A. Niceforo, "Metodo
Statistico e Document! Litterari," _Revista d'ltalia_, August, 1917.]
It is in the meanings he gives to words, to names, that a writer
creates his vocabulary. All language, we know, is imagery and
metaphor; even the simplest names of the elementary things are
metaphors based on resemblances that suggested themselves to the
primitive men who made language. It is not otherwise with the
aboriginal man of genius who uses language to express his new vision
of the world. He sees things charged with energy, or brilliant with
colour, or breathing out perfume, that the writers who came before him
had overlooked, and to designate these things he must use names which
convey the qualities he has perceived.  Guided by his own new personal
sensations and perceptions, he creates his metaphorical vocabulary. If
we examine the style of Montaigne, so fresh and personal and
inventive, we see that its originality lies largely in its vocabulary,
which is not, like that of Rabelais, manufactured afresh, but has its
novelty in its metaphorical values, such new values being tried and
tempered at every step, to the measure of the highly individual person
behind them, who thereby exerts his creative force. In later days
Huysmans, who indeed saw the world at a more eccentric angle than
Montaigne, yet with unflinching veracity and absolute devotion, set
himself to the task of creating his own vocabulary, and at first the
unfamiliarity of its beauty estranges us.

To think of Huysmans is to be led towards an aspect of style not to be
passed over. To say that the artist in words is expressing a new
vision of the world and seeking the designations for things as he sees
them, is a large part of the truth, and, I would say, perhaps the most
important part of it. For most of us, I suppose (as I know it has been
for me), our vision of Nature has been largely, though by no means
entirely, constituted by pictures we have seen, by poems we have read,
that left an abiding memory. That is to say that Nature comes to us
through an atmosphere which is the emanation of supreme artists who
once thrilled us.  But we are here concerned with the process of the
artist's work and not with his aesthetic influence. The artist finds
that words have a rich content of their own, they are alive and they
flourish or decay. They send out connecting threads in every
direction, they throb with meaning that ever changes and reverberates
afar. The writer is not always, or often, merely preparing a
_catalogue raisonné_ of things, he is an artist and his pigments are
words. Often he merely takes his suggestions from the things of the
world and makes his own pictures without any real resemblance to the
scene it is supposed to depict. Dujardin tells us that he once took
Huysmans to a Wagner concert; he scarcely listened to the music, but
he was fascinated by the programme the attendant handed to him; he
went home to write a brilliant page on "Tannhâuser." Mallarmé, on the
other hand, was soaked in music; to him music was the voice of the
world, and it was the aim of poetry to express the world by itself
becoming music; he stood on a height like a pioneer and looked towards
the Promised Land, trying to catch intimations of a new sensibility
and a future art, but a great master of language, like Huysmans, he
never was.  Huysmans has written superb pages about Gustave Moreau and
Félicien Rops, thinking, no doubt, that he was revealing supreme
artists (though we need not follow too closely the fashion of
depreciating either of those artists), but he was really only
attracted to their programmes and therein experiencing a stimulus that
chanced to be peculiarly fitted for drawing out his own special art.
Baudelaire would have written less gorgeously, but he would have
produced a more final critical estimate.

Yet even the greatest writers are affected by the intoxication of mere
words in the artistry of language.  Shakespeare is, constantly, and,
not content with "making the green one red," he must needs at the same
time "the multitudinous seas incarnadine." It is conspicuous in Keats
(as Leigh Hunt, perhaps his first sensitively acute critic, clearly
explained), and often, as in "The Eve of St. Agnes," where he seemed
to be concerned with beautiful things, he was really concerned with
beautiful words. In that way he is sometimes rather misleading for the
too youthful reader; "porphyry" seemed to me a marvellous substance
when as a boy of twelve I read of it in Keats, and I imagine that
Keats himself would have been surprised, had he lived long enough to
walk to St. Thomas's Hospital over the new London Bridge, when told
that he was treading a granite that was porphyritic. I recall how
Verlaine would sometimes repeat in varying tones some rather
unfamiliar word, rolling it round and round in his mouth, sucking it
like a sweetmeat, licking the sound into the shape that pleased him;
some people may perhaps have found a little bizarre the single words
("Green," for example) which he sometimes made the title of a song,
but if they adopt the preliminary Verlainian process they may
understand how he had fitted such words to music and meaning.

The most obviously beautiful things in the world of Nature are birds
and flowers and the stones we call precious. But the attitude of the
poet in the presence of Nature is precisely that of Huysmans in the
presence of art: it is the programme that interests him. Of birds the
knowledge of poets generally is of the most generalised and elementary
kind; they are the laughingstock of the ornithologist; they are only a
stage removed from the standpoint of the painter who was introducing a
tree into his landscape and when asked what tree, replied, "Oh, just
the ordinary tree." Even Goethe mistook the finches by the roadside
for larks.  The poet, one may be sure, even to-day seldom carries in
his pocket the little "Fuhrer durch unsere Vogelwelt" of Bernhard
Hoffmann, and has probably never so much as heard of it. Of flowers
his knowledge seems to be limited by the quality of the flower's name.
I have long cherished an exquisite and quite common English
wild-flower, but have never come across a poem about it, for its
unattractive name is the stitch-wort, and it is only lately that even
in prose it has met (from Mr. Salt) with due appreciation. As regards
precious stones the same may be said, and in the galleries of the
Geological Museum it has hardly seemed to me that, among the few
visitors, there were poets (unless I chanced to bring one myself) to
brood over all that beauty. It is the word and its inner reverberation
with which the poet is really concerned, even sometimes perhaps
deliberately. When Milton misused the word "eglantine" one realises
the unconscious appeal to him of the name and one cannot feel quite
sure that it was altogether unconscious. Coleridge has been solemnly
reproved for speaking of the "loud" bassoon. But it was to the timbre
of the word, not of the instrument, that Coleridge was responding, and
had he been informed that the bassoon is not loud, I doubt not he
would have replied: "Well, if it is not loud it ought to be." On the
plane on which Coleridge moved "the loud bassoon" was absolutely
right. We see that the artist in speech moves among words rather than
among things. Originally, it is true, words are closely related to
things, but in their far reverberation they have become enriched by
many associations, saturated with many colours; they have acquired a
life of their own, moving on another plane than that of things, and it
is on that plane that the artist in words is, as an artist, concerned
with them.  It thus comes about that the artist in words, like the
artist in pigments, is perpetually passing between two planes--the
plane of new vision and the plane of new creation. He is sometimes
remoulding the external world and sometimes the internal world;
sometimes, by predilection, lingering more on one plane than on the
ether plane. The artist in words is not irresistibly drawn to the
exact study of things or moved by the strong love of Nature. The poets
who describe Nature most minutely and most faithfully are not usually
the great poets. That is intelligible because the poet--even the poet
in the wide sense who also uses prose--is primarily the instrument of
human emotion and not of scientific observation. Yet that poet
possesses immense resources of strength who in early life has stored
within him the minute knowledge of some field of the actual external
world.  [Footnote: "The Muses are the daughters of Memory," Paul
Morand tells us that Proust would say; "there is no art without
recollection," and certainly it is supremely true of Proust's art. It
is that element of art which imparts at once both atmosphere and
poignant intimacy, external fairness with internal nearness. The
lyrics of Thomas Hardy owe their intimacy of appeal to the dominance
in them of recollection (in _Late Lyrics and Earlier_ one might say it
is never absent), and that is why they can scarcely be fully
appreciated save by those who are no longer very young.] One may
doubt, indeed, whether there has been any supreme poet, from Homer on,
who has not had this inner reservoir of sensitive impressions to draw
from. The youthful Shakespeare who wrote the poems, with their minute
descriptions, was not a great poet, as the youthful Marlowe was, but
he was storing up the material which, when he had developed into a
great poet, he could draw on at need with a careless and assured hand.
Without such reservoirs, the novelists also would never attain to that
touch of the poet which, beyond their story-telling power, can stir
our hearts. "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu" is the name of a great
modern book, but every novelist during part of his time has been a
Ulysses on a perilous voyage of adventure for that far home. One
thinks of George Eliot and her early intimacy with the life of country
people, of Hardy who had acquired so acute a sensitivity to the sounds
of Nature, of Conrad who had caught the flashes of penetrating vision
which came to the sailor on deck; and in so far as they move away into
scenes where they cannot draw from those ancient reservoirs, the
adventures of these artists, however brilliant they may become, lose
their power of intimate appeal. The most extravagant example of this
to-day is the Spanish novelist Blasco Ibanez, who wrote of the
Valencian _huerta_ that had saturated his youth in novels that were
penetrating and poignant, and then turned to writing for the
cosmopolitan crowd novels about anything, that were completely
negligible.  We grow familiar in time with the style of the great
writers, and when we read them we translate them easily and
unconsciously, as we translate a foreign language we are familiar
with; we understand the vocabulary because we have learnt to know the
special seal of the creative person who moulded the vocabulary.  But
at the outset the great writer may be almost as unintelligible to us
as though he were writing in a language we had never learnt. In the
now remote days when "Leaves of Grass" was a new book in the world,
few who looked into it for the first time, however honestly, but were
repelled and perhaps even violently repelled, and it is hard to
realise now that once those who fell on Swinburne's "Poems and
Ballads" saw at first only picturesque hieroglyphics to which they had
no key. But even to-day how many there are who find Proust unreadable
and Joyce unintelligible.  Until we find the door and the clue the new
writer remains obscure. Therein lies the truth of Landor's saying that
the poet must himself create the beings who are to enjoy his Paradise.

For most of those who deliberately seek to learn to write, words seem
generally to be felt as of less importance than the art of arranging
them. It is thus that the learner in writing tends to become the
devoted student of grammar and syntax whom we cime across at the
outset. That is indeed a tendency which always increases. Civilisation
develops with a conscious adhesion to formal order, and the
writer--writing by fashion or by ambition and not by divine right of
creative instinct--follows the course of civilisation.  It is an
unfortunate tendency, for those whom it affects conquer by their
number. As we know, writing that is real is not learnt that way. Just
as the solar system was not made in accordance with the astronomer's
laws, so writing is not made by the laws of granv mar. Astronomer and
grammarian alike can only come in at the end, to give a generalised
description of what usually happens in the respective fields it
pleases them to explore. When a new comet, cosmic or literary, enters
their sky, it is their descriptions which have to be readjusted, and
not the comet. There seems to be no more pronounced mark of the
decadence of a people and its literature than a servile and rigid
subserviency to rule. It can only make for ossification, for
anchylosis, for pétrification, all the milestones on the road of
death. In every age of democratic plebeianism, where each man thinks
he is as good a writer as the others, and takes his laws from the
others, having no laws of his own nature, it is down this steep path
that men, in a flock, inevitably run.

We may find an illustration of the plebeian anchylosis of advancing
civilisation in the minor matter of spelling. We cannot, it is true,
overlook the fact that writing is read and that its appearance cannot
be quite disregarded. Yet, ultimately, it appeals to the ear, and
spelling can have little to do with style. The laws of spelling,
properly speaking, are few or none, and in the great ages men have
understood this and boldly acted accordingly. They exercised a fine
personal discretion in the matter and permitted without question a
wide range of variation. Shakespeare, as we know, even spelt his own
name in several different ways, all equally correct. When that great
old Elizabethan mariner, Sir Martin Frobisher, entered on one of his
rare and hazardous adventures with the pen, he created spelling
absolutely afresh, in the spirit of simple heroism with which he was
always ready to sail out into strange seas. His epistolary adventures
are, certainly, more interesting than admirable, but we have no reason
to suppose that the distinguished persons to whom these letters were
addressed viewed them with any disdain. More anaemic ages cannot
endure creative vitality even in spelling, and so it comes about that
in periods when everything beautiful and handmade gives place to
manufactured articles made wholesale, uniform, and cheap, the same
principles are applied to words, and spelling becomes a mechanic
trade. We must have our spelling uniform, even if uniformly bad.
[Footnote: The Oxford University Press publishes a little volume of
_Rules for Compositors and Readers_ in which this uniform is set
forth. It is a useful and interesting manual, but one wonders how many
unnecessary and even undesirable usages--including that morbid desire
to cling to the _ize_ termination (charming as an eccentricity but
hideous as a rule) when _ise_ would suffice--are hereby fostered. Even
when we leave out of consideration the great historical tradition of
variety in this matter, it is doubtful, when we consider them
comprehensively, whether the advantages of encouraging every one to
spell like his fellows overbalances the advantages of encouraging
every one to spell unlike his fellows. When I was a teacher in the
Australian bush I derived far less enjoyment from the more or less
"correctly" spelt exercises of my pupils than from the occasional
notes I received from their parents who, never having been taught to
spell, were able to spell in the grand manner. We are wilfully
throwing away an endless source of delight.] Just as the man who,
having out of sheer ignorance eaten the wrong end of his asparagus,
was thenceforth compelled to declare that he preferred that end, so it
is with our race in the matter of spelling; our ancestors, by chance
or by ignorance, tended to adopt certain forms of spelling and we,
their children, are forced to declare that we prefer those forms. Thus
we have not only lost all individuality in spelling, but we pride
ourselves on our loss and magnify our anchylosis. In England it has
become almost impossible to flex our stiffened mental joints
sufficiently to press out a single letter, in America it is almost
impossible to extend them enough to admit that letter. It is
convenient, we say, to be rigid and formal in these things, and
therewith we are content; it matters little to us that we have thereby
killed the life of our words and only gained the con-veniency of
death. It would be likewise convenient, no doubt, if men and women
could be turned into rigid geometrical diagrams,--as indeed our
legislators sometimes seem to think that they already are,--but we
should pay by yielding up all the infinite variations, the beautiful
sinuosities, that had once made up life.

There can be no doubt that in the much greater matter of style we have
paid heavily for the attainment of our slavish adherence to mechanical
rules, however convenient, however inevitable. The beautiful
incorrection, as we are now compelled to regard it, that so often
marked the great and even the small writers of the seventeenth
century, has been lost, for all can now write what any find it easy to
read, what none have any consuming desire to read. But when Sir Thomas
Browne wrote his "Religio Medici" it was with an art made up of
obedience to personal law and abandonment to free inspiration which
still ravishes us. It h extraordinary how far indifference or
incorrection of style may be carried and yet remain completely
adequate even to complex and subtle ends. Pepys wrote his "Diary," at
the outset of a life full of strenuous work and not a little pleasure,
with a rare devotion indeed, but with a concision and carelessness, a
single eye on the fact itself, and an extraordinary absence of
self-consciousness which rob it of all claim to possess what we
conventionally term style. Yet in this vehicle he has perfectly
conveyed not merely the most vividly realised and delightfully
detailed picture of a past age ever achieved in any language, but he
has, moreover, painted a psychological portrait of himself'which for
its serenely impartial justice, its subtle gradations, its bold
juxtapositions of colours, has all the qualities of the finest
Velasquez. There is no style here, we say, merely the diarist, writing
with careless poignant vitality for his own eye, and yet no style that
we could conceive would be better fitted, or so well fitted, for the
miracle that has here been effected.

The personal freedom of Browne led up to splendour, and that of Pepys
to clarity. But while splendour is not the whole of writing, neither,
although one returns to it again and again, is clarity. Here we come
from another side on to a point we had already reached.  Bergson, in
reply to the question: "Comment doivent écrire les Philosophes?" lets
fall some observations, which, as he himself remarks, concern other
writers beside philosophers. A technical word, he remarks, even a word
invented for the occasion or used in a special sense, is always in its
place provided the instructed reader--though the difficulty, as he
fails to point out, is to be sure of possessing this instructed
reader--accepts it so easily as not even to notice it, and he proceeds
to say that in philosophic prose, and in all prose, and indeed in all
the arts, "the perfect expression is that which has come so naturally,
or rather so necessarily, by virtue of so imperious a predestination,
that we do not pause before it, but go straight on to what it seeks to
express, as though it were blended with the idea; it became invisible
by force of being transparent." [Footnote: _Le Monde Nouveau_, 18th
December, 1922.] That is well said. Bergson also is on the side of
clarity. Yet I do not feel that that is all there is to say. Style is
not a sheet of glass in which the only thing that matters is the
absence of flaws. Berg-son's own style is not so diaphanous that one
never pauses to admire its quality, nor, as a hostile critic (Edouard
Dujardin) has shown, is it always so clear as to be transparent. The
dancer in prose as well as in verse--philosopher or whatever he may
be--must reveal all his limbs through the garment he wears; yet the
garment must have its own proper beauty, and there is a failure of
art, a failure of revelation, if it possesses no beauty. Style indeed
is not really a mere invisible transparent medium, it is not really a
garment, but, as Gourmont said, the very thought itself.  It is the
miraculous transubstantiation of a spiritual body, given to us in the
only form in which we may receive and absorb that body, and unless its
clarity is balanced by its beauty it is not adequate to sustain that
most high function. No doubt, if we lean on one side more than the
other, it is clarity rather than beauty which we should choose, for on
the other side we may have, indeed, a Sir Thomas Browne, and there we
are conscious not so much of a transubstantiation as of a garment,
with thick embroidery, indeed, and glistening jewels, but we are not
always sure that much is hidden beneath. A step further and we reach
D'An-nunzio, a splendid mask with nothing beneath, just as in the
streets of Rome one may sometimes meet a Franciscan friar with a head
superb as a Roman Emperor's and yet, one divines, it means nothing.
The Italian writer, it is significant to note, chose so ostentatiously
magnificent a name as Gabriele D'An-nunzio to conceal a real name
which was nothing.  The great angels of annunciation create the beauty
of their own real names. Who now finds Shakespeare ridiculous? And how
lovely a name is Keats!

As a part of the harmony of art, which is necessarily made out of
conflict, we have to view that perpetual seeming alternation between
the two planes--the plane of vision and the plane of creation, the
form within and the garment that clothes it--which may sometimes
distract the artist himself. The prophet Jeremiah once said (and
modern prophets have doubtless had occasion to recognise the truth of
his remark) that he seemed to the people round him only as "one that
hath a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument." But he
failed to understand that it was only through this quality of voice
and instrument that his lamentations had any vital force or even any
being, and that if the poem goes the message goes. Indeed, that is
true of all his fellow prophets of the Old Testament and the New who
have fascinated mankind with the sound of those harps that they had
once hung by the waters of Babylon. The whole Bible, we may be very
sure, would have long ago been forgotten by all but a few intelligent
archaeologists, if men had not heard in it, again and again and again,
"one that hath a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument."
Socrates said that philosophy was simply music. But the same might be
said of religion. The divine dance of satyrs and nymphs to the sound
of pipes--it is the symbol of life which in one form or another has
floated before human eyes from the days of the sculptors of Greek
has-reliefs to the men of our own day who catch the glimpse of new
harmonies in the pages of "L'Esprit Nouveau." We cannot but follow the
piper that knows how to play, even to our own destruction.  There may
be much that is objectionable about Man. But he has that engaging
trait. And the world will end when he has lost it.

One asks one's self how it was that the old way of writing, as a
personal art, gave place to the new way of writing, as a mere
impersonal pseudo-science, rigidly bound by formal and artificial
rules. The answer, no doubt, is to be found in the existence of a
great new current of thought which began mightily to stir in men's
minds towards the end of the seventeenth century. It will be
remembered that it was at that time, both in England and France, that
the new devitalised, though more flexible, prose appeared, with its
precision and accuracy, its conscious orderliness, its deliberate
method. But only a few years before, over France and England alike, a
great intellectual wave had swept, imparting to the mathematical and
geometrical sciences, to astronomy, physics, and allied studies, an
impetus that they had never received before on so great a scale.
Descartes in France and Newton in England stand out as the typical
representatives of the movement. If that movement had to exert any
influence on language--and we know how sensitively language reacts to
thought--it could have been manifested in no other way than by the
change which actually took place. And there was every opportunity for
that influence to be exerted.  [Footnote: Ferris Greenslet (in his
study of _Joseph Glanvill_, p. 183), referring to the Cartesian
influence on English prose style, quotes from Sprat's _History of the
Royal Society_ that the Society "exacted from its members a close,
naked, natural way of speaking, positive expressions, a native
easiness, bringing all things as near the mathematic plainness as they
can." The Society passed a resolution to reject "all amplifications,
digressions, and swellings of style."] This sudden expansion of the
mathematical and geometrical sciences was so great and novel that
interest in it was not confined to a small band of men of science: it
excited the man in the street, the woman in the drawing-room; it was
indeed a woman, a bright and gay woman of the world, who translated
Newton's profound book into French.  Thus it was that the new
qualities of style were invented, not merely to express new qualities
of thought, but because new scientific ideals were moving within the
minds of men. A similar reaction of thought on language took place at
the beginning of the nineteenth century, when an attempt was made to
vitalise language once more, and to break the rigid and formal moulds
the previous century had constructed. The attempt was immediately
preceded by the awakening of a new group of sciences, but this time
the sciences of life, the biological studies associated with Cuvier
and Lamarck, with John Hunter and Erasmus Darwin.  With the twentieth
century we see the temporary exhaustion of the biological spirit with
its historical form in science and its romantic form in art, and we
have a neo-classie spirit which has involved a renaissance of the
mathematical sciences and, even before that, was beginning to affect

To admire the old writers, because for them writing was an art to be
exercised freely and not a vain attempt to follow after the ideals of
the abstract sciences, thus by no means implies a contempt for that
decorum and orderliness without which all written speech must be
ineffective and obscure. The great writers in the great ages, standing
above classicism and above romanticism, have always observed this
decorum and orderliness.  In their hands such observance was not a
servile and rigid adherence to external rules, but a beautiful
convention, an instinctive fine breeding, such as is naturally
observed in human intercourse when it is not broken down by intimacy
or by any great crisis of life or of death.

The freedom of art by no means involves the easiness of art. It may
rather, indeed, be said the difficulty increases with freedom, for to
make things in accordance with patterns is ever the easiest task. The
problem is equally arduous for those who, so far as their craft is
conscious, seek an impersonal and for those who seek a personal ideal
of style. Flaubert sought--in vain, it is true--to be the most
objective of artists and to mould speech with heroic energy in shapes
of abstract perfection.  Nietzsche, one of the most personal artists
in style, sought likewise, in his own words, to work at a page of
prose as a sculptor works at a statue. Though the result is not
perhaps fundamentally different, whichever ideal it is that,
consciously or instinctively, is followed, the personal road of style
is doubtless theoretically--though not necessarily in practice--the
sounder, usually also that which moves most of us more profoundly. The
great prose writers of the Second Empire in France made an
unparalleled effort to carve or paint impersonal prose, but its final
beauty and effectiveness seem scarcely equal to the splendid energy it
embodies. Jules de Goncourt, his brother thought, literally died from
the mental exhaustion of his unceasing struggle to attain an objective
style adequate to express the subtle texture of the world as he saw
it.  But, while the Goncourts are great figures in literary history,
they have pioneered no new road, nor are they of the writers whom men
continuously love to read; for it is as a document that the "Journal"
remains of enduring value.

Yet the great writers of any school bear witness, each in his own way,
that, deeper than these conventions and decorums of style, there is a
law which no writer can escape from, a law which must needs be learnt,
but can never be taught. That is the law of the logic of thought. All
the conventional rules of the construction of speech may be put aside
if a writer is thereby enabled to follow more closely and lucidly the
form and process of his thought. It is the law of that logic that he
must for ever follow and in attaining it alone find rest. He may say
of it as devoutly as Dante: "In la sua voluntade è nostra pace." All
progress in literary style lies in the heroic resolve to cast aside
accretions and exuberances, all the conventions of a past age that
were once beautiful because alive and are now false because dead. The
simple and naked beauty of Swift's style, sometimes so keen and
poignant, rests absolutely on this truth to the logic of his thought.
The twin qualities of flexibility and intimacy are of the essence of
all progress in the art of language, and in their progressive
achievement lies the attainment of great literature. If we compare
Shakespeare with his predecessors and contemporaries, we can scarcely
say that in imaginative force he is vastly superior to Marlowe, or in
intellectual grip to Jonson, but he immeasurably surpasses them in
flexibility and in intimacy.  He was able with an incomparable art to
weave a garment of speech so flexible in its strength, so intimate in
its transparence, that it lent itself to every shade of emotion and
the quickest turns of thought. When we compare the heavy and formal
letters of Bacon, even to his closest friends, with the "Familiar
Letters" of the vivacious Welshman Howell, we can scarcely believe the
two men were contemporaries, so incomparably more expressive, so
flexible and so intimate, is the style of Howell.  All the writers who
influence those who come after them have done so by the same method.
They have thrown aside the awkward and outworn garments of speech,
they have woven a simpler and more familiar speech, able to express
subtleties or audacities that before seemed inexpressible. That was
once done in English verse by Cowper and Wordsworth, in English prose
by Addison and Lamb. That has been done in French to-day by Proust and
in English by Joyce.  When a great writer, like Carlyle or Browning,
creates a speech of his own which is too clumsy to be flexible and too
heavy to be intimate, he may arouse the admiration of his fellows, but
he leaves no traces on the speech of the men who come after him. It is
not easy to believe that such will be Joyce's fate. His
"Ulysses"--carrying to a much further point qualities that began to
appear in his earlier work--has been hailed as epoch-making in English
literature, though a distinguished critic holds that it is this rather
by closing than by opening an epoch. It would still be preparing a new
road, and as thus operative we may accept it without necessarily
judging it to be at the same time a master-work, provided we
understand what it is that has been here attempted. This huge Odyssey
is an ordinary day's history in the ordinary life of one ordinary man
and the persons of his immediate environment.  It is here sought to
reproduce as Art the whole of the man's physical and psychic activity
during that period, omitting nothing, not even the actions which the
most naturalistic of novelists had hitherto thought too trivial or too
indelicate to mention. Not only the thoughts and impulses that result
in action, but also the thoughts and emotions that drift aimlessly
across the field of his consciousness, are here; and, in the
presentation of this combined inner and outer life, Joyce has
sometimes placed both on the same plane, achieving a new simplicity of
style, though we may at first sometimes find it hard to divine what is
outer and what inner. Moreover, he never hesitates, when he pleases,
to change the tone of his style and even to adopt without notice, in a
deliberately ironical and chameleon-like fashion, the manner of other
writers.  In these ways Joyce has here achieved that new intimacy of
vision, that new flexibility of expression, which are of the essence
of all great literature at its vitally moving point of advance. He has
succeeded in realising and making manifest in art what others had
passed over or failed to see. If in that difficult and dangerous task
he has failed, as some of us may believe, to reach either complete
clarity or complete beauty, he has at all events made it possible for
those who come after to reach a new height which, without the help of
the road he had constructed, they might have missed, or even failed to
conceive, and that is enough for any writer's fame.

When we turn to Proust we are in the presence of a writer about whom,
no doubt, there is no violent dispute.  There may be much about his
work that is disturbing to many, but he was not concerned, like Joyce,
to affront so many prejudices, and in France it is not even necessary,
for the road has already been prepared by heroic pioneers of old
during a thousand years. But the writer who brings a new revelation is
not necessarily called upon to invite the execration of the herd. That
is a risk he must be called upon to face, it is not an inevitable
fate. When the mob yell: "Crucify him! Crucify him!" the artist, in
whatever medium, hears a voice from Heaven: "This is my beloved son."
Yet it is conceivable that the more perfectly a new revelation is
achieved the less antagonism it arouses. Proust has undoubtedly been
the master of a new intimacy of vision, a new flexibility of
expression, even though the style through which the revelation has
been made, perhaps necessarily on account of the complexity involved,
has remained a little difficult and also, it must be said, a little
negligent.  But it has achieved a considerable degree of clarity and a
high degree of beauty. So there is less difficulty in recognising a
great masterpiece in "À la Recherche du Temps Perdu" than if it were
more conspicuously the work of a daring pioneer. It is seen as the
revelation of a new aesthetic sensibility embodied in a new and
fitting style. Marcel Proust has experienced clearly what others have
felt dimly or not at all. The significance of his work is thus
altogether apart from the power of its dramatic incidents or its
qualities as a novel. To the critic of defective intelligence, craving
for scenes of sensation, it has sometimes seemed that "À l'Ombre des
Jeunes Filles en Fleur" is the least important section of Proust's
work. Yet it is on that quiet and uneventful tract of his narrative
that Proust has most surely set the stamp of his genius, a genius, I
should like to add, which is peculiarly congenial to the English mind
because it was in the English tradition, rather than in the French
tradition, that Proust was moving.  [Footnote: If it is asked why I
take examples of a quality in art that is universal from literary
personalities that to many are questionable, even morbid or perverse,
rather than from some more normal and unquestioned figure, Thomas
Hardy, for example, I would reply that I have always regarded it as
more helpful and instructive to take examples that are still
questionable rather than to fall back on the unquestionable that all
will accept tamely without thought. Forty years ago, when Hardy's
genius was scarcely at all recognised, it seemed worth while to me to
set forth the quality of his genius. To-day, when that quality is
unquestioned, and Hardy receives general love and reverence, it would
seem idle and unprofitable to do so.]

No doubt it is possible for a writer to go far by the exercise of a
finely attentive docility. By a dutiful study of what other people
have said, by a refined cleverness in catching their tricks, and
avoiding their subtleties, their profundities, their audacities, by,
in short, a patient perseverance in writing out copperplate maxims in
elegant copybooks, he can become at last, like Stevenson, the idol of
the crowd. But the great writer can only learn out of himself. He
learns to write as a child learns to walk. For the laws of the logic
of thought are not other than those of physical movement. There is
stumbling, awkwardness, hesitation, experiment--before at last the
learner attains the perfect command of that divine rhythm and perilous
poise in which he asserts his supreme human privilege.  But the
process of his learning rests ultimately on his own structure and
function and not on others' example. "Style must be founded upon
models"; it is the rule set up by the pedant who knows nothing of what
style means. For the style that is founded on a model is the negation
of style.

The ardour and heroism of great achievement in style never grow less
as the ages pass, but rather tend to grow more. That is so, not merely
because the hardest tasks are left for the last, but because of the
ever increasing impediments placed in the path of style by the piling
up of mechanical rules and rigid conventions. It is doubtful whether
on the whole the forces of life really gain on the surrounding inertia
of death. The greatest writers must spend the blood and sweat of their
souls, amid the execration and disdain of their contemporaries, in
breaking the old moulds of style and pouring their fresh life into new
moulds.  From Dante to Carducci, from Rabelais to Proust, from Chaucer
to Whitman, the giants of letters have been engaged in this
life-giving task, and behind them the forces of death swiftly gather
again. Here there is always room for the hero. No man, indeed, can
write anything that matters who is not a hero at heart, even though to
the people who pass him in the street or know him in the house he may
seem as gentle as any dove. If all progress lies in an ever greater
flexibility and intimacy of speech, a finer adaptation to the heights
and depths of the mobile human soul, the task can never be finally
completed. Every writer is called afresh to reveal new strata of life.
By digging in his own soul he becomes the discoverer of the soul of
his family, of his nation, of the race, of the heart of humanity.  For
the great writer finds style as the mystic finds God, in his own soul.
It is the final utterance of a sigh, which none could utter before
him, and which all can who follow.

In the end, it will be seen we return at last to the point from which
we start. We have completed the cycle of an art's evolution,--and it
might, indeed, be any other art as much as writing,--reaching in the
final sweep of ever wider flights the fact from which we started, but
seeing it anew, with a fresh universal significance. Writing is an
arduous spiritual and intellectual task, only to be achieved by
patient and deliberate labour and much daring. Yet therewith we are
only at the beginning. Writing is also the expression of individual
personality, which springs up spontaneously, or is slowly drawn up
from within, out of a well of inner emotions which none may command.
But even with these two opposite factors we have not attained the
complete synthesis. For style in the full sense is more than the
deliberate and designed creation, more even than the unconscious and
involuntary creation, of the individual man who therein expresses
himself.  The self that he thus expresses is a bundle of inherited
tendencies that came the man himself can never entirely know whence.
It is by the instinctive stress of a highly sensitive, or slightly
abnormal constitution, that he is impelled to instil these tendencies
into the alien magic of words. The stylum wherewith he strives to
write himself on the yet blank pages of the world may have the
obstinate vigour of the metal rod or the wild and quavering
waywardness of an insect's wing, but behind it lie forces that extend
into infinity. It moves us because it is itself moved by pulses which
in varying measure we also have inherited, and because its primary
source is in the heart of a cosmos from which we ourselves spring.




RELIGION is a large word, of good import and of evil import, and with
the general discussion of religion we are not in this place concerned.
Its quintessential core--which is the art of finding our emotional
relationship to the world conceived as a whole--is all that here
matters, and it is best termed "Mysticism." No doubt it needs some
courage to use that word. It is the common label of abuse applied to
every pseudo-spiritual thing that is held up for contempt. Yet it
would be foolish to allow ourselves to be deflected from the right use
of a word by the accident of its abuse.  "Mysticism," however often
misused, will here be used, because it is the correct term for the
relationship of the Self to the Not-Self, of the individual to a
Whole, when, going beyond his own personal ends, he discovers his
adjustment to larger ends, in harmony or devotion or love.

It has become a commonplace among the unthinking, or those who think
badly, to assume an opposition of hostility between mysticism and
science.  [Footnote: It is scarcely necessary to remark that if we
choose to give to "mysticism" a definition incompatible with
"science," the opposition cannot be removed. This is, for example,
done by Croce, who yet recognises as highly important a process of
"conversion" which is nothing else but mysticism as here understood.
(See, e.g., Piccoli, _Benedetto Croce_, p. 184.) Only he has left
himself no name to apply to it.] If "science" is, as we have some
reason to believe, an art, if "mysticism" also is an art, the
opposition can scarcely be radical since they must both spring from
the same root in natural human activity.


IF, indeed, by "science" we mean the organisation of an intellectual
relationship to the world we live in adequate to give us some degree
of power over that world, and if by "mysticism" we mean the joyful
organisation of an emotional relationship to the world conceived as a
whole, [Footnote: "The endeavour of the human mind to enjoy the
blessedness of actual communion with the highest," which is Pringle
Pattison's widely accepted definition of mysticism, I prefer not to
use because it is ambiguous.  The "endeavour," while it indicates that
we are concerned with an art, also suggests its strained pathological
forms, while "actual communion" lends itself to ontological
interpretations.] the opposition which we usually assume to exist
between them is of comparatively modern origin.

Among savage peoples such an opposition can scarcely be said to have
any existence. The very fact that science, in the strict sense, seems
often to begin with the stars might itself have suggested that the
basis of science is mystical contemplation. Not only is there usually
no opposition between the "scientific" and the "mystical" attitude
among peoples we may fairly call primitive, but the two attitudes may
be combined in the same person. The "medicine-man" is not more an
embryonic man of science than he is an embryonic mystic; he is both
equally. He cultivates not only magic but holiness, he achieves the
conquest of his own soul, he enters into harmony with the universe;
and in doing this, and partly, indeed, through doing this, his
knowledge is increased, his sensations and power of observation are
rendered acute, and he is enabled so to gain organised knowledge of
natural processes that he can to some extent foresee or even control
those processes. He is the ancestor alike of the hermit following
after sanctity and of the inventor crystallising discoveries into
profitable patents. Such is the medicine-man wherever we may find him
in his typical shape--which he cannot always adequately achieve--all
over the world, around Torres Straits just as much as around Behring's
Straits. Yet we have failed to grasp the significance of this fact.

It is the business of the _Shaman_, as on the mystical side we may
conveniently term the medicine-man, to place himself under the
conditions--and even in primitive life those conditions are varied and
subtle--which bring his will into harmony with the essence of the
world, so that he grows one with that essence, that its will becomes
his will, and, reversely, that, in a sense, his will becomes its.
Herewith, in this unity with the spirit of the world, the possibility
of magic and the power to control the operation of Nature are
introduced into human thought, with its core of reality and its
endless trail of absurdity, persisting even into advanced

But this harmony with the essence of the universe, this control of
Nature through oneness with Nature, is not only at the heart of
religion; it is also at the heart of science. It is only by the
possession of an acquired or inborn temperament attuned to the
temperament of Nature that a Faraday or an Edison, that any scientific
discoverer or inventor, can achieve his results.  And the primitive
medicine-man, who on the religious side has attained harmony of the
self with the Not-Self, and by obeying learnt to command, cannot fail
on the scientific side also, under the special conditions of his
isolated life, to acquire an insight into natural methods, a practical
power over human activities and over the treatment of disease, such as
on the imaginative and emotional side he already possesses. If we are
able to see this essential and double attitude of the
_Shaman_--medicine-man--if we are able to eliminate all the extraneous
absurdities and the extravagancies which conceal the real nature of
his function in the primitive world, the problem of science and
mysticism, and their relationship to each other, ceases to have
difficulties for us.

It is as well to point out, before passing on, that the investigators
of primitive thought are not altogether in agreement with one another
on this question of the relation of science to magic, and have
complicated the question by drawing a distinction between magic
(understood as man's claim to control Nature) and religion (understood
as man's submission to Nature).  The difficulties seem due to an
attempt to introduce clear-cut definitions at a stage of thought where
none such existed. That medicine-men and priests cultivated science,
while wrapping it up in occult and magical forms, seems indicated by
the earliest historical traditions of the Near East. Herbert Spencer
long ago brought together much of the evidence on this point.
McDougall to-day in his "Social Psychology" (Chapter XIII) accepts
magic as the origin of science, and Frazer in the early edition of his
"Golden Bough" regarded magic as "the savage equivalent of our natural
science." Marett [Footnote: _The Threshold of Religion_ (1914), p.
48.] "profoundly doubts" this, and declares that if we can use the
word "science" at all in such a contest, magic is occult science and
the very antithesis of natural science. While all that Marett states
is admirably true on the basis of his own definitions, he scarcely
seems to realise the virtue of the word "equivalent," while at the
same time, it may be, his definition of magic is too narrow. Silberer,
from the psycho-analytic standpoint, accepting the development of
exact science from one branch of magic, points out that science is, on
the one hand, the recognition of concealed natural laws and, on the
other, the dynamisation of psychic power, [Footnote: _Zentralblatt fur
Psychoanalyse_ (1911), p. 277.] and thus falls into two great classes,
according as its operation is external or internal. This seems a true
and subtle distinction which Marett has overlooked. In the latest
edition of his work, [Footnote: _Golden Bough_, "Balder the
Beautiful," vol. 11, pp.  304-05.] Frazer has not insisted on the
relation or analogy of science to magic, but has been content to point
out that Man has passed through the three stages of magic, religion,
and science. "In magic Man depends on his own strength to meet the
difficulties and dangers that beset him on every side. He 'believes in
a certain established order of Nature on which he can surely count,
and which he can manipulate for his own ends." Then he finds he has
overestimated his own powers and he humbly takes the road of religion,
leaving the universe to the more or less capricious will of a higher
power. But he finds this view inadequate and he proceeds to revert in
a measure to the older standpoint of magic by postulating explicitly
what in magic had only been implicitly assumed, "to wit, an inflexible
regularity in the order of natural events which, if carefully
observed, enables us to foresee their course with certainty, and to
act accordingly." So that science, in Frazer's view, is not so much
directly derived from magic as itself in its original shape one with
magic, and Man has proceeded, not in a straight line, but in a spiral.

The profound significance of this early personage is, however, surely
clear. If science and mysticism are alike based on fundamental natural
instincts, appearing spontaneously all over the world; if, moreover,
they naturally tend to be embodied in the same individual, in such a
way that each impulse would seem to be dependent on the other for its
full development; then there can be no ground for accepting any
disharmony between them. The course of human evolution involves a
division of labour, a specialisation of science and of mysticism along
special lines and in separate individuals.  [Footnote: Farnell even
asserts (in his _Greek Hero Cults_) that "it is impossible to quote a
single example of any one of the higher world-religions working in
harmony with the development of physical science." He finds a special
and unique exception in the cult of Asclepios at Cos and Epidauros and
Pergamon, where, after the fourth century B.C., were physicians,
practising a rational medical science, who were also official Prieits
of the Asclepios temples.] But a fundamental antagonism of the two, it
becomes evident, is not to be thought of; it is unthinkable, even
absurd. If at some period in the course of civilisation we seriously
find that our science and our religion are antagonistic, then there
must be something wrong either with our science or with our religion.
Perhaps not seldom there may be something wrong with both. For if the
natural impulses which normally work best together are separated and
specialised in different persons, we may expect to find a concomitant
state of atrophy and hypertrophy, both alike morbid. The scientific
person will become atrophied on the mystical side, the mystical person
will become atrophied on the scientific side. Each will become
morbidly hypertrophied on his own side. But the assumption that,
because there is a lack of harmony between opposing pathological
states, there must also be a similar lack of harmony in the normal
state, is unreasonable.  We must severely put out of count alike the
hypertrophied scientific people with atrophied religious instincts,
and the hypertrophied religious people with atrophied scientific
instincts. Neither group can help us here; they only introduce
confusion.  We have to examine the matter critically, to go back to
the beginning, to take so wide a survey of the phenomena that their
seemingly conflicting elements fall into harmony.

The fact, in the first place, that the person with an overdeveloped
religious sense combined with an underdeveloped scientific sense
necessarily conflicts with a person in whom the reverse state of
affairs exists, cannot be doubted, nor is the reason of it obscure. It
is difficult to conceive a Darwin and a St. Theresa entering with full
and genuine sympathy into each othter's point of view. And that is so
by no means because the two attitudes, stripped of all but their
essentials, are irreconcilable. If we strip St. Theresa of her
atrophied pseudo-science, which in her case was mostly theological
"science," there was nothing in her attitude which would not have
seemed to harmonise and to exalt that absolute adoration and service
to natural truth which inspired Darwin. If we strip Darwin of that
atrophied sense of poetry and the arts which he deplored, and that
anaemic secular conception of the universe as a whole which he seems
to have accepted without deploring, there was nothing in his attitude
which would not have served to fertilise and enrich the spiritual
exaltation of Theresa and even to have removed far from her that
temptation to _acedia_ or slothfulness which all the mystics who are
mystic9 only have recognised as their besetting sin, minimised as it
was, in Theresa, by her practical activities. Yet, being as they were
persons of supreme genius developed on opposite sides of their common
human nature, an impassable gulf lies between them. It lies equally
between much more ordinary people who yet show the same common
character of being undergrown on one side, overgrown on the other.

This difficulty is not diminished when the person who is thus
hypertrophied on one side and atrophied on the other suddenly wakes up
to his one-sided state and hastily attempts to remedy it. The very
fact that such a one-sided development has come about indicates that
there has probably been a congenital basis for it, an innate
disharmony which must require infinite patience and special personal
experience to overcome. But the heroic and ostentatious manner in
which these ill-balanced people hastily attempt the athletic feat of
restoring their spiritual balance has frequently aroused the interest,
and too often the amusement, of the spectator. Sir Isaac Newton, one
of the most quintessentially scientific persons the world has seen, a
searcher who made the most stupendous effort to picture the universe
intelligently on its purely intelligible side, seems to have realised
in old age, when he was, indeed, approaching senility, that the vast
hypertrophy of his faculties on that side had not been compensated by
any development on the religious side. He forthwith set himself to the
interpretation of the Book of Daniel and puzzled over the prophecies
of the Book of Revelation, with the same scientifically serious air as
though he were analysing the spectrum. In reality he had not reached
the sphere of religion at all; he had merely exchanged good science
for bad science. Such senile efforts to penetrate, ere yet life is
quite over, the mystery of religion recall, and, indeed, have a real
analogy to, that final effort of the emotionally starved to grasp at
love which has been called "old maid's insanity"; and just as in this
aberration the woman who has all her life put love into the
subconscious background of her mind is overcome by an eruption of the
suppressed emotions and driven to create baseless legends of which she
is herself the heroine, so the scientific man who has put religion
into the subconscious and scarcely known that there is such a thing
may become in the end the victim of an imaginary religion. In our own
time we may have witnessed attempts of the scientific mind to become
religious, which, without amounting to mental aberration, are yet
highly instructive. It would be a double-edged compliment, in this
connection, to compare Sir Oliver Lodge to Sir Isaac Newton. But after
devoting himself for many years to purely physical research, Lodge
also, as he has confessed, found that he had overlooked the religious
side of life, and therefore set himself with characteristic energy to
the task--the stages of which are described in a long series of
books--of developing this atrophied side of his nature.  Unlike
Newton, who was worried about the future, Lodge became worried about
the past. Just as Newton found what he was contented to regard as
religious peace in speculating on the meaning of the Books of Daniel
and Revelation, so Lodge found a similar satisfaction in speculations
concerning the origin of the soul and in hunting out tags from the
poets to support his speculations. So fascinating was this occupation
that it seemed to him to constitute a great "message" to the world.
"My message is that there is some great truth in the idea of
préexistence, not an obvious truth, nor one easy to formulate--a truth
difficult to express--not to be identified with the guesses of
reincarnation and transmigration, which may be fanciful.  We may not
have been individuals before, but we are chips or fragments of a great
mass of mind, of spirit, and of life--drops, as it were, taken out of
a germinal reservoir of life, and incubated until incarnate in a
material body."  [Footnote: Sir Oliver Lodge, _Reason and Belief_, p.
19.] The genuine mystic would smile if asked to accept as a divine
message these phraseological gropings in the darkness, with their
culmination in the gospel of "incubated drops." They certainly
represent an attempt to get at a real fact. But the mystic is not
troubled by speculations about the origin of the individual, or
theories of préexistence, fantastic myths which belong to the earlier
Plato's stage of thought. It is abundantly evident that when the
hypertrophied roan of science seeks to cultivate his atrophied
religious instincts it is with the utmost difficulty that he escapes
from science. His conversion to religion merely means, for the most
part, that he has exchanged sound science for pseudo-science.

Similarly, when the man with hypertrophied religious instincts seeks
to cultivate his atrophied scientific instincts, the results are
scarcely satisfactory. Here, indeed, we are concerned with a
phenomenon that is rarer than the reverse process. The reason may not
be far to seek. The instinct of religion develops earlier in the
history of a race than the instinct of science. The man who has found
the massive satisfaction of his religious cravings is seldom at any
stage conscious of scientific cravings; he is apt to feel that he
already possesses the supreme knowledge. The religious doubters who
vaguely feel that their faith is at variance with science are merely
the creatures of creeds, the product " of Churches; they are not the
genuine mystics. The genuine mystics who have exercised their
scientific instincts have generally found scope for such exercise
within an enlarged theological scheme which they regarded as part of
their religion. So it was that St. Augustine found scope for his full
and vivid, if capricious, intellectual impulses; so also Aquinas, in
whom there was doubtless less of the mystic and more of the scientist,
found scope for the rational and orderly development of a keen
intelligence which has made him an authority and even a pioneer for
many who are absolutely indifferent to his theology.

Again we see that to understand the real relations of science and
mysticism, we must return to ages when, on neither side, had any
accumulated mass of dead traditions effected an artificial divorce
between two great natural instincts. It has already been pointed out
that if we go outside civilisation the divorce is not found; the
savage mystic is also the savage man of science, the priest and the
doctor are one.  [Footnote: It is scarcely necessary to point out that
a differentiation of function has to be made sooner or later, and
sometimes it is made soon. This was so among the Todas of India.
"Certain Todas," says Dr. Rivers (_The Todas_, 1906, p. 249), "have
the power of divination, others are sorcerers, and others again have
the power of curing diseases by means of spells and rites, while all
three functions are quite separate from those of the priest or
sharman. The Todas have advanced some way towards civilisation of
function in this respect, and have as separate members of the
community their prophets, their magicians, and their medicine-men in
addition to their priests."] It is so also for the most part in
barbarism, among the ancient Hebrews for instance, and not only among
their priests, but even among their prophets. It appears that the most
usual Hebrew word for what we term the "prophet" signified "one who
bursts forth," presumably into the utterance of spiritual verities,
and the less usual words signify "seer." That is to say, the prophet
was primarily a man of religion, secondarily a man of science. And
that predictive element in the prophet's function, which to persons
lacking in religious instinct seems the whole of his function, has no
relationship at all to religion; it is a function of science. It is an
insight into cause and effect, a conception of sequences based on
extended observation and enabling the "prophet" to assert that certain
lines of action will probably lead to the degeneration of a stock, or
to the decay of a nation. It is a sort of applied history.  "Prophecy"
has no more to do with religion than have the forecasts of the
Meteorological Bureau, which also are a kind of applied science in
earlier stages associated with religion.

If, keeping within the sphere of civilisation, we go back as far as we
can, the conclusion we reach is not greatly different. The earliest of
the great mystics in historical times is Lao-tze. He lived six hundred
years earlier than Jesus, a hundred years earlier than Sakya-Muni, and
he was more quintessentially a mystic than either. He was, moreover,
incomparably nearer than either to the point of view of science. Even
his occupation in life was, in relation to his age and land, of a
scientific character; he was, if we may trust uncertain tradition,
keeper of the archives. In the substance of his work this harmony of
religion and science is throughout traceable, the very word "Tao,"
which to Lao-tze is the symbol of all that to which religion may
mystically unite us, is susceptible of being translated "Reason,"
although that word remains inadequate to its full meaning. There are
no theological or metaphysical speculations here concerning God (the
very word only occurs once and may be a later interpolation), the
soul, or immortality. The delicate and profound art of Lao-tze largely
lies in the skill with which he expresses spiritual verities in the
form of natural truths. His affirmations not only go to the core of
religion, but they express the essential methods of science. This man
has the mystic's heart, but he has also the physicist's touch and the
biologist's eye. He moves in a sphere in which religion and science
are one.

If we pass to more modern times and the little European corner of the
world, around the Mediterranean shores, which is the cradle of our
latter-day civilisation, again and again we find traces of this
fundamental unity of mysticism and science. It may well be that we
never again find it in quite so pure a form as in Laotze, quite so
free from all admixture alike of bad religion and bad science. The
exuberant unbalanced activity of our race, the restless
acquisitiveness--already manifested in the sphere of ideas and
traditions before it led to the production of millionaires--soon
became an ever-growing impediment to such unity of spiritual impulses.
Among the supple and yet ferocious Greeks, indeed, versatility and
recklessness seem at a first glance always to have stood in the way of
approach to the essential terms of this problem. It was only when the
Greeks began to absorb Oriental influences, we are inclined to say,
that they became genuine mystics, and as they approached mysticism
they left science behind.

Yet there was a vein of mysticism in the Greeks from the first, not
alone due to seeds from the East flung to germinate fruitfully in
Greek soil, though perhaps to that Ionian element of the Near East
which was an essential part of the Greek spirit. All that Karl Joël of
Basel has sought to work out concerning the evolution of the Greek
philosophic spirit has a bearing on this point. We are wrong, he
believes, to look on the early Greek philosophers of Nature as mainly
physicists, treating the religious and poetic mystic elements in them
as mere archaisms, concessions, or contradictions.  Hellas needed, and
possessed, an early Romantic spirit, if we understand the Romantic
spirit, not merely through its reactionary offshoots, but as a deep
mystico-lyrical expression; it was comparable in early Greece to the
Romantic spirit of the great creative men of the early Renaissance or
the early nineteenth century, and the Apollinian classic spirit was
developed out of an ordered discipline and formulation of the
Dionysian spirit more mystically near to Nature.  [Footnote: Joël,
_Ursprung der Naturphilosophie aus dem Geiste der Romantik_ (1903);
_Nietzsche und die Romantik_ (1905). But I am here quoting from
Professor Joel's account of his own philosophical development in _Die
Deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart_, vol. I (1921).] If we bear this
in mind we are helped to understand much in the religious life of
Greece which seems not to harmonise with what we conventionally call

In the dim figure of Pythagoras we perhaps see not only a great leader
of physical science, but also a great initiator in spiritual mystery.
It is, at any rate, fairly clear that he established religious
brotherhoods of carefully selected candidates, women as well as men
being eligible, and living on so lofty and aristocratic a level that
the populace of Magna Grecia, who could not understand them, decided
out of resentment to burn them alive, and the whole order was
annihilated about B.C. 500. But exactly how far these early
Pythagoreans, whose community has been compared to the mediaeval
orders of chivalry, were mystics, we may imagine as we list, in the
light of the Pythagorean echoes we find here and there in Plato. On
the whole we scarcely go to the Greeks for a clear exposition of what
we now term "mysticism." We see more of it in Lucretius than we can
divine in his master Epicurus. And we see it still more clearly in the
Stoics. We can, indeed, nowhere find a more pure and concise statement
than in Marcus Aurelius of the mystical core of religion as the union
in love and harmony and devotion of the self with the Not-Self.

If Lucretius may be accounted the first of moderns in the
identification of mysticism and science, he has been followed by many,
even though, one sometimes thinks, with an ever-increasing difficulty,
a drooping of the wings of mystical aspiration, a limping of the feet
of scientific progress. Leonardo and Giordano Bruno and Spinoza and
Goethe, each with a little imperfection on one side or the other, if
not on both sides, have moved in a sphere in which the impulses of
religion are felt to spring from the same centre as the impulses of
science. Einstein, whose attitude in many ways is so interesting,
closely associates the longing for pure knowledge with religious
feeling, and he has remarked that "in every true searcher of Nature
there is a kind of religious reverence." He is inclined to attach
significance to the fact that so-many great men of science--Newton,
Descartes, Gauss, Helmhoïtz:--nave been in one way or another
religious. If we cannot altogether include such men as Swedenborg and
Faraday in the same group, it is because we cannot feel that in them
the two impulses, however highly developed, really spring from the
same centre or really make a true harmony.  We suspect that these men
and their like kept their mysticism in a science-proof compartment of
their minds, and their science in a mysticism-proof compart-m'ent; we
tremble for the explosive result, should the wall of partition ever be
broken down.

The difficulty, we see again, has been that, on each hand, there has
been a growth of non-essential traditions around the pure and vital
impulse, and the obvious disharmony of these two sets of accretions
conceals the underlying harmony of the impulses themselves.  The
possibility of reaching the natural harmony is thus not necessarily by
virtue of any rare degree of intellectual attainment, nor by any rare
gift of inborn spiritual temperament,--though either of these may in
some cases be operative,--but rather by the happy chance that the
burden of tradition on each side has fallen and that the mystical
impulse is free to play without a dead metaphysical theology, the
scientific impulse without a dead metaphysical formalism. It is a
happy chance that may befall the simple more easily than the wise and


THE foregoing considerations have perhaps cleared the way to a
realisation that when we look broadly at the matter, when we clear
away all the accumulated superstitions, the unreasoned prepossessions,
on either side, and so reach firm ground, not only is there no
opposition between science and mysticism, but in their essence, and at
the outset, they are closely related. The seeming divorce between them
is due to a false and unbalanced development on either side, if not on
both sides.

Yet all such considerations cannot suffice to make present to us this
unity of apparent opposites. There is, indeed, it has often seemed to
me, a certain futility in all discussion of the relative claims of
science and religion. This is a matter which, in the last resort, lies
beyond the sphere of argument. It depends not only on a man's entire
psychic equipment, brought with him at birth and never to be
fundamentally changed, but it is the outcome of his own intimate
experience during life. It cannot be profitably discussed because it
is experiential.

It seems to me, therefore, that, having gone so far, and stated what I
consider to be the relations of mysticism and science as revealed in
human history, I am bound to go further and to state my personal
grounds for believing that the harmonious satisfaction alike of the
religious impulse and the scientific impulse may be attained to-day by
an ordinarily balanced person in whom both impulses crave for
satisfaction. There is, indeed, a serious difficulty. To set forth a
personal religious experience for the first time requires considerable
resolution, and not least to one who is inclined to suspect that the
experiences usually so set forth can be of no profound or significant
nature; that if the underlying motives of a man's life can be brought
to the surface and put into words their vital motive power is gone.
Even the fact that more than forty years have parsed since the
experience took place scarcely suffices to make the confession of it
easy. But I recall to mind that the first original book I ever planned
(and in fact began to write) was a book, impersonal though suggested
by personal experience, on the foundations of religion.  [Footnote: In
connection with this scheme, it may be interesting to note, I
prepared, in 1879, a _questionnaire_ on "conversion," on the lines of
the investigations which some years later began to be so fruitfully
carried out by the psychologists of religion in America.] I put it
aside, saying to myself I would complete it in old age, because it
seemed to me that the problem of religion will always be fresh, while
there were other problems more pressingly in need of speedy
investigation. Now, it may be, I begin to feel the time has come to
carry that early project a stage further.

Like many of the generation to which I belonged, I was brought up far
from the Sunday-school atmosphere of conventional religiosity. I
received little religious instruction outside the home, but there I
was made to feel, from my earliest years, that religion is a very
vital and personal matter with which the world and the fashion of it
had nothing to do. To that teaching, while still scarcely more than a
child, I responded in a wholehearted way. Necessarily the exercise of
this early impulse followed the paths prescribed for it by my
environment.  I accepted the creed set before me; I privately studied
the New Testament for my own satisfaction; I honestly endeavoured,
strictly in private, to mould my actions and impulses on what seemed
to be Christian lines. There was no obtrusive outward evidence of
this; outside the home, moreover, I moved in a world which might be
indifferent but was not actively hostile to my inner aspirations, and,
if the need for any external affirmation had become inevitable, I
should, I am certain, have invoked other than religious grounds for my
protest. Religion, as I instinctively felt then and as I consciously
believe now, is a private matter, as love is. This was my mental state
at the age of twelve.  Then came the period of emotional and
intellectual expansion, when the scientific and critical instincts
began to germinate. These were completely spontaneous and not
stimulated by any influences of the environment.  To inquire, to
question, to investigate the qualities of the things around us and to
search out their causes, is as native an impulse as the religious
impulse would be found to be if only we would refrain from exciting it
artificially. In the first place, this scientific impulse was not
greatly concerned with the traditional body of beliefs which were then
inextricably entwined in my mind with the exercise of the religious
instinct.  In so far, indeed, as it touched them it took up their
defence.  Thus I read Renan's "Life of Jesus," and the facile
sentiment of this book, the attitude of artistic reconstruction,
aroused a criticism which led me to overlook any underlying sounder
qualities. Yet all the time the inquiring and critical impulse was a
slowly permeating and invading influence, and its application to
religion was from time to time stimulated by books, although such
application was in no slightest degree favoured by the social
environment. When, too, at the age of fifteen, I came to read
Swinburne's "Songs before Sunrise,"--although the book made no very
personal appeal to me,--I realised that it was possible to present in
an attractively modern emotional light religious beliefs which were
incompatible with Christianity, and even actively hostile to its
creed. The process of disintegration took place in slow stages that
were not perceived until the process was complete. Then at last I
realised that I no longer possessed any religious faith.  All the
Christian dogmas I had been brought up to accept unquestioned had
slipped away, and they had dragged with them what I had experienced of
religion, for I could not then so far analyse all that is roughly
lumped together as "religion" as to disentangle the essential from the
accidental. Such analysis, to be effectively convincing, demanded
personal experiences I was not possessed of.

I was now seventeen years of age. The loss of religious faith had
produced no change in conduct, save that religious observances, which
had never been ostentatiously performed, were dropped, so far as they
might be without hurting the feelings of others. The revolution was so
gradual and so natural that even inwardly the shock was not great,
while various activities, the growth of mental aptitudes, sufficiently
served to occupy the mind. It was only during periods of depression
that the absence of faith as a satisfaction of the religious impulse
became at all acutely felt. Possibly it might have been felt less
acutely if I could have realised that there was even a real benefit in
the cutting down and clearing away of traditional and non-vital
beliefs. Not only was it a wholesome and strenuous effort to obey at
all costs the call of what was felt as "truth," and therefore having
in it a spirit of religion even though directed against religion, but
it was evidently favourable to the training of intelligence. The.  man
who has never wrestled with his early faith, the faith that he was
brought up with and that yet is not truly his own,--for no faith is
our own that we have not arduously won,--has missed not only a moral
but an intellectual discipline. The absence of that discipline may
mark a man for life and render all his work in the world ineffective.
He has missed a training in criticism, in analysis, in
open-mindedness, in the resolutely impersonal treatment of personal
problems, which no other training can compensate. He is, for the most
Part, condemned to live in a mental jungle where his arm will soon be
too feeble to clear away the growths that enclose him and his eyes too
weak to find the light.

While, however, I had adopted, without knowing it, the best course to
steel the power of thinking and to render possible a patient, humble,
self-forgetful attitude towards Nature, there were times when I became
painfully, almost despairingly, conscious of the unsatisfied cravings
of the religious impulse. These moods wçre emphasised even by the
books I read which argued that religion, in the only sense in which I
understood religion, was unnecessary, and that science, whether or not
formulated into a creed, furnished all that we need to ask in this
direction. I well remember the painful feelings with which I read at
this time D. F.  Strauss's "The Old Faith and the New." It is a
scientific creed set down in old age, with much comfortable
complacency, by a man who found considerable satisfaction in the
evening of life in the enjoyment of Haydn's quartets and Munich brown
beer. They are both excellent things, as I am now willing to grant,
but they are a sorry source of inspiration when one is seventeen and
consumed by a thirst for impossibly remote ideals. Moreover, the
philosophic horizon of this man was as limited and as prosaic as the
esthetic atmosphere in which he lived. I had to acknowledge to myself
that the scientific principles of the universe as Strauss laid them
down presented, so far as I knew, the utmost scope in which the human
spirit could move.  But what a poor scope! I knew nothing of the way
that Nietzsche, about that time, had demolished Strauss.  But I had
the feeling that the universe was represented as a sort of factory
filled by an inextricable web of wheels and looms and flying shuttles,
in a deafening din. That, it seemed, was the world as the most
competent scientific authorities declared it to be made. It was a
world I was prepared to accept, and yet a world in which, I felt, I
could only wander restlessly, an ignorant and homeless child.
Sometimes, no doubt, there were other visions of the universe a little
less disheartening, such as that presented by Herbert Spencer's "First
Principles." But the dominant feeling always was that while the
scientific outlook, by which I mainly meant the outlook of Darwin and
Huxley, commended itself to me as presenting a sound view of the
world, on the emotional side I was a stranger to that world, if,
indeed, I would not, with Omar, "shatter it to bits."

At the same time, it must be noted, there was no fault to find with
the general trend of my life and activities.  I was fully occupied,
with daily duties as well as with the actively interested
contemplation of an ever-enlarging intellectual horizon. This was very
notably the case at the age of nineteen, three years after all
vestiges of religious faith had disappeared from the psychic surface.

I was still interested in religious and philosophic questions, and it
so chanced that at this time I read the "Life in Nature" of James
Hinton, who had already attracted my attention as a genuine man of
science with yet an original and personal grasp of religion.  I had
read the book six months before and it had not greatly impressed me.
Now, I no longer know why, I read it again, and the effect was very
different. Evidently by this time my mind had reached a stage of
saturated solution which needed but the shock of the right contact to
recrystallise in forms that were a revelation to me. Here evidently
the right contact was applied.  Hinton in this book showed himself a
scientific biologist who carried the mechanistic explanation of life
even further than was then usual.  [Footnote: It must be remembered
that for science the mechanistic assumption always remains; it is, as
Vaihinger would say, a necessary fiction. To abandon it is to abandon
science. Driesch, the most prominent vitalist of our time, has
realised this, and in his account of his own mental development (_Die
Deutsche Philosophie der Gegenwart_, vol. I, 1921) he shows how,
beginning as a pupil of Haeckel and working at zoology for many years,
after adopting the theory of vitalism he abandoned all zoological work
and became a professor of philosophy. When the religious spectator, or
the aesthetic spectator (as is well illustrated in the French review
_L'Esprit Nouveau_), sees the "machinery" as something else than
machinery he is legitimately going outside the sphere of science, but
he is not thereby destroying the basic assumption of science.] But he
was a man of highly passionate type of intellect, and what might
otherwise be formal and abstract was for him soaked in emotion. Thus,
while he saw the world as an orderly mechanism, he was not content,
like Strauss, to stop there and see in it nothing else. As he viewed
it, the mechanism was not the mechanism of a factory, it was vital,
with all the glow and warmth and beauty of life; it was, therefore,
something which not only the intellect might accept, but the heart
might cling to. The bearing of this conception on my state of mind is
obvious.  It acted with the swiftness of an electric contact; the dull
aching tension was removed; the two opposing psychic tendencies were
fused in delicious harmony, and my whole attitude towards the universe
was changed. It was no longer an attitude of hostility and dread, but
of confidence and love. My self was one with the Not-Self, my will one
with the universal will.  I seemed to walk in light; my feet scarcely
touched the ground; I had entered a new world.

The effect of that swift revolution was permanent.  At first there was
a moment or two of wavering, and then the primary exaltation subsided
into an attitude of calm serenity towards all those questions that had
once seemed so torturing. In regard to all these matters I had become
permanently satisfied and at rest, yet absolutely unfettered and free.
I was not troubled about the origin of the "soul" or about its
destiny; I was entirely prepared to accept any analysis of the "soul"
which might commend itself as reasonable.  Neither was I troubled
about the existence of any superior being or beings, and I was ready
to see that all the words and forms by which men try to picture
spiritual realities are mere metaphors and images of an inward
experience. There was not a single clause in my religious creed
because I held no creed. I had found that dogmas were--not, as I had
once imagined, true, not, as I had afterwards supposed, false,--but
the mere empty shadows of intimate personal experience. I had become
indifferent to shadows, for I held the substance.  I had sacrificed
what I held dearest at the call of what seemed to be Truth, and now I
was repaid a thousandfold.  Henceforth I could face life with
confidence and joy, for my heart was at one with the world and
whatever might prove to be in harmony with the world could not be out
of harmony with me.  [Footnote: Long ago Edith Simcox (in a passage of
her _Natural Law_ which chanced to strike my attention very soon after
the episode above narrated) well described "conversion" as a
"spiritual revolution," not based on any single rational
consideration, but due to the "cumulative evidence of cognate
impressions" resulting, at a particular moment, not in a change of
belief, but in a total rearrangement and recolouring of beliefs and
impressions, with the supreme result that the order of the universe is
apprehended no longer as hostile, but as friendly. This is the
fundamental fact of "conversion," which is the gate of mysticism.]

Thus, it might seem to many, nothing whatever had happened; I had not
gained one single definite belief that-could be expressed in a
scientific formula or hardened into a religious creed. That, indeed,
is the essence of such a process. A "conversion" is not, as is often
assumed, a turning towards a belief. More strictly, it is a turning
round, a revolution; it has no primary reference to any external
object. As the greater mystics have often understood, "the Kingdom of
Heaven is within." To put the matter a little more precisely, the
change is fundamentally a readjustment of psychic elements to each
other, enabling the whole machine to work harmoniously. There is no
necessary introduction of new ideas; there is much more likely to be a
casting out of dead ideas which have clogged the vital process. The
psychic organism--which in conventional religion is called the
"soul"--had not been in harmony with itself; now it is revolving truly
on its own axis, and in doing so it simultaneously finds its true
orbit in the cosmic system. In becoming one with itself, it becomes
one with the universe.  [Footnote: How we are to analyse the
conception of "universe"--apart from its personal emotional tone,
which is what mainly concerns us--is, of course, a matter that must be
left altogether open and free. Sir James Frazer at the end of his
_Golden Bough_ ("Balder the Beautiful," vol. II, p. 306) finds that
the "universe" is an "ever-shifting phantasmagoria of thought," or, he
adds, suddenly shifting to a less idealistic and more realistic
standpoint, "shadows on the screen." That is a literary artist's
metaphysical way of describing the matter and could not occur to any
one who was not familiar with the magic lantern which has now
developed into the cinema, beloved of philosophers for its symbolic
significance.  Mr. Bertrand Russell, a more abstract artist, who would
reject any such "imaginative admixture" as he would find in Frazer's
view, once severely refused to recognise any such thing as a
"universe," but has since less austerely admitted that there is, after
all, a "set of appearances," which may fairly be labelled "reality,"
so long as we do not assume "a mysterious Thing-in-Itself behind the
appearances." (_Nation_, eth January, 1923.) But there are always some
people who think that an "appearance" must be an appearance of
_Something_, and that when a "shadow" is cast on the screen of our
sensory apparatus it must be cast by _Something_. So every one defines
the "universe" in his own way, and no two people--not even the same
person long--can define it in the same way. We have to recognise that
even the humblest of us is entitled to his own "universe."]

The process, it will be seen, is thus really rather analogous to that
which on the physical plane takes place in a person whose jaw or arm
is dislocated, whether by some inordinate effort or some sudden shock
with the external world. The miserable man with a dislocated jaw is
out of harmony with himself and with the universe.  All his efforts
cannot reduce the dislocation, nor can his friends help him; he may
even come to think there is no cure. But a surgeon comes along, and
with a slight pressure of his two thumbs, applied at the right spot,
downwards and backwards, the jaw springs into place, the man is
restored to harmony--and the universe is transformed. If he is
ignorant enough, he will be ready to fall on his knees before his
deliverer as a divine being. We are concerned with what is called a
"spiritual" process,--for it is an accepted and necessary convention
to distinguish between the "spiritual" and the "physical,"--but this
crude and imperfect analogy may help--some minds to understand what is

Thus may be explained what may seem to some the curious fact that I
never for a moment thought of accepting as a gospel the book which had
brought me a stimulus of such inestimable value. The person in whom
"conversion" takes place is too often told that the process is
connected in some magical manner with a supernatural influence of some
kind, a book, a creed, a church, or what not. I had read this book
before and it had left me unmoved; I knew that the book was merely the
surgeon's touch, that the change had its source in me and not in the
book. I never looked into the book again; I cannot tell where or how
my copy of it disappeared; for all that I know, having accomplished
its mission, it was drawn up again to Heaven in a sheet.  As regards
James Hinton, I was interested in him before the date of the episode
here narrated; I am interested in him still.  [Footnote: The simple
and essential outlines of "conversion" have been obscured because
chiefly studied in the Churches among people whose prepossessions and
superstitions have rendered it a highly complex process, and mixed up
with questions of right and wrong living which, important as they are,
properly form no part of religion. The man who waits to lead a decent
life until he has "saved his soul" is not likely to possess a soul
that is worth saving. How much ignorance prevails in regard to
"conversion," even among the leaders of religious opinion, and what
violent contrasts of opinion--in which sometimes both the opposing
parties are mistaken--was well illustrated by a discussion on the
subject at the Church Congress at Sheffield in 1922. A distinguished
Churchman well denned "conversion" as a unification of character,
involving the whole man,--will, intellect, and emotion,--by which a
"new self" was achieved; but he also thought that this great
revolutionary process consisted usually in giving up some "definite
bad habit," very much doubted whether sudden conversion was a normal
phenomenon at all, and made no attempt to distinguish between that
kind of "conversion" which is merely the result of suggestion and
auto-suggestion, after a kind of hysterical attack produced by
feverish emotional appeals, and that which is spontaneous and of
lifelong effect. Another speaker went to the opposite extreme by
asserting that "conversion" is an absolutely necessary process, and an
Archbishop finally swept away "conversion" altogether by declaring
that the whole of the religious life (and the whole of the irreligious
life?) is a process of conversion. (_The Times_, 12th October, 1922.)
It may be a satisfaction to some to realise that this is a matter on
which it is vain to go to the Churches for light.]

It may further be noted that this process of "conversion" cannot be
regarded as the outcome of despair or as a protective regression
towards childhood. The unfortunate individual, we sometimes imagine,
who is bereft of religious faith sinks deeper and deeper into
despondency, until finally he unconsciously seeks the relief of his
woes by plunging into an abyss of emotions, thereby committing
intellectual suicide. On the contrary, the period in which this event
occurred was not a period of dejection either mental or physical. I
was fully occupied; I lived a healthy, open-air life, in a fine
climate, amid beautiful scenery; I was revelling in new studies and
the growing consciousness of new powers. Instead of being the ultimate
stage in a process of descent, or a return to childhood, such psychic
revolution may much more fittingly be regarded as the climax of an
ascensional movement. It is the final casting off of childish things,
the initiation into complete manhood.

There is nothing ascetic in such a process. One is sometimes tempted
to think that to approve mysticism is to preach asceticism. Certainly
many mystics have been ascetic. But that has been the accident of
their philosophy, and not the essence of their religion.  Asceticism
has, indeed, nothing to do with normal religion. It is, at the best,
the outcome of a set of philosophical dogmas concerning the
relationship of the body to the soul and the existence of a
transcendental spiritual world. That is philosophy, of a sort, not
religion. Plotinus, who has been so immensely influential in our
Western world because he was the main channel by which Greek spiritual
tendencies reached us, to become later embodied in Christianity, is
usually regarded as a typical mystic, though he was primarily a
philosopher, and he was inclined to be ascetic.  Therein we may not
consider him typically Greek, but the early philosophical doctrine of
Plato concerning the transcendental world of "Ideas" easily lent
itself to developments favourable to an ascetic life.  Plotinus,
indeed, was not disposed to any extreme ascetic position. The
purification of the soul meant for him "to detach it from the body,
and to elevate it to a spiritual world." But he would not have
sympathised with the harsh dualism of flesh and spirit which often
flourished among Christian ascetics. He lived celibate, but he was
willing to regard sex desire as beautiful, though a delusion.
[Footnote: Dean Inge (_Philosophy of Plotinus_, vol. II, p. 165) has
some remarks on Plotinus in relation to asceticism.] When we put aside
the philosophic doctrines with which it may be associated, it is seen
that asceticism is merely an adjuvant discipline to what we must
regard as pathological forms of mysticism.

People who come in contact with the phenomenon of "conversion" are
obsessed by the notion that it must have something to do with
morality. They seem to fancy that it is something that happens to a
person leading a bad life whereby he suddenly leads a good life. That
is a delusion. Whatever virtue morality may possess, it is outside the
mystic's sphere. No doubt a person who has been initiated into this
mystery is likely to be moral because he is henceforth in harmony with
himself, and such a man is usually, by a natural impulse, in harmony
also with others. Like Leonardo, who through the glow of his adoration
ol Nature was as truly a mystic as St. Francis, even by contact with
him "every broken heart is made serene." But a religious man is not
necessarily a moral man.  That is to say that we must by no means
expect to find that the religious man, even when he is in harmony with
his fellows, is necessarily in harmony with the moral laws of his age.
We fall into sad confusion if we take for granted that a mystic is
what we conventionally term a "moral" man. Jesus, as we know, was
almost as immoral from the standpoint of the society in which he moved
as he would be in our society. That, no doubt, is an extreme example,
yet the same holds good, in a minor degree, of many other mystics,
even in very recent times. The satyrs and the fauns were minor
divinities in antiquity, and in later times we have been apt to
misunderstand their holy functions and abuse their sacred names.

Not only is there no necessary moral change in such a process, still
less is there any necessary intellectual change. Religion need not
involve intellectual suicide.  On the intellectual side there may be
no obvious change whatever. No new creed or dogma had been adopted.
[Footnote: Jules de Gaultier (_La Philosophie officielle et la
Philosophie_, p. 150) refers to those Buddhist monks the symbol of
whose faith was contained in one syllable: _Om_. But those monks, he
adds, belonged to "the only philosophic race that ever existed" and by
the aid of their pure faith, placed on a foundation which no
argumentation can upset, all the religious philosophies of the
Judeo-Helleno-Christian tradition are but as fairy-taies told to
children.] It might rather be said that, on the contrary, some
prepossessions, hitherto unconscious, had been realised and cast out.
The operations of reason, so far from being fettered, can be effected
with greater freedom and on a larger scale. Under favourable
conditions the religious process, indeed, throughout directly
contributes to strengthen the scientific attitude.  The mere fact that
one has been impelled by the sincerity of one's religious faith to
question, to analyse, and finally to destroy one's religious creed, is
itself an incomparable training for the intelligence. In this task
reason is submitted to the hardest tests; it has every temptation to
allow itself to be lulled into sleepy repose or cajoled into specious
reconciliations. If it is true to itself here it is steeled for every
other task in the world, for no other task can ever demand so complete
a self-sacrifice at the call of Truth. Indeed, the final restoration
of the religious impulse on a higher plane may itself be said to
reënforce the scientific impulse, for it removes that sense of psychic
disharmony which is a subconscious fetter on the rational activity.
The new inward harmony, proceeding from a psychic centre that is at
one alike with itself and with the Not-Self, imparts confidence to
every operation of the intellect. All the metaphysical images of faith
in the unseen--too familiar in the mystical experiences of men of all
religions to need specification--are now on the side of science. For
he who is thus held in his path can pursue that path with serenity and
trust, however daring its course may sometimes seem.

It appears to me, therefore, on the basis of personal experience, that
the process thus outlined is a natural process. The harmony of the
religious impulse and of the scientific impulse is not merely a
conclusion to be deduced from the history of the past. It is a living
fact to-day. However obscured it may sometimes be, the process lies in
human nature and is still open to all to experience.


IF the development of the religious instinct and the development of
the scientific instinct are alike natural, and if the possibility of
the harmony of the two instincts is a verifiable fact of experience,
how is it, one may ask, that there has ever been any dispute on the
matter? Why has not this natural experience been the experience of

Various considerations may help to make clear to us how it has
happened that a process which might reasonably be supposed to be
intimate and sacred should have become so obscured and so deformed
that it has been fiercely bandied about by opposing factions. At the
outset, as we have seen, among comparatively primitive peoples, it
really is a simple and natural process carried out harmoniously with
no sense of conflict. A man, it would seem, was not then overburdened
by the still unwritten traditions of the race. He was comparatively
free to exercise his own impulses unfettered by the chains forged out
of the dead impulses of those who had gone before him.

It is the same still among uncultivated persons of our own race in
civilisation. I well remember how once, during a long ride through the
Australian bush with a settler, a quiet, uncommunicative man with whom
I had long been acquainted, he suddenly told me how at times he would
ascend to the top of a hill and become lost to himself and to
everything as he stood in contemplation of the scene around him. Those
moments of ecstasy, of self-forgetful union with the divine beauty of
Nature, were entirely compatible with the rational outlook of a
simple, hard-working man who never went to church, for there was no
church of any kind to go to, but at such moments had in his own humble
way, like Moses, met God in a mountain.  There can be no doubt that
such an experience is not uncommon among simple folk unencumbered by
tradition, even when of civilised race.

The burden of traditions, of conventions, of castes has too often
proved fatal alike to the manifestation of the religious impulse and
the scientific impulse. It is unnecessary to point out how easily this
happens in the case of the religious impulse. It is only too familiar
a fact how, when the impulse of religion first germinates in the young
soul, the ghouls of the Churches rush out of their caverns, seize on
the unhappy victim of the divine effluence and proceed to assure him
that his rapture is, not a natural manifestation, as free as the
sunlight and as gracious as the unfolding of a rose, but the manifest
sign that he has been branded by a supernatural force and fettered for
ever to a dead theological creed. Too often he is thus caught by the
bait of his own rapture; the hook is firmly fixed in his jaw and he is
drawn whither his blind guides will; his wings droop and fall away; so
far as the finer issues of life, are concerned, he is done for and
damned.  [Footnote: We must always remember that "Church" and
"religion," though often confused, are far from being interchangeable
terms. "Religion" is a natural impulse, "Church" is a. social
institution. The confusion is unfortunate.  Thus Freud (_Group
Psychology_, p. 51) speaks of the probability of religion disappearing
and Socialism taking its place. He means not "religion," but a
"Church." We cannot apeak of a natural impulse disappearing, an
institution easily may.]

But the process is not so very different on the scientific side,
though here it is more subtly concealed.  The youth in whom the
natural impulse of science arises is sternly told that the spontaneous
movement of his intelligence towards Nature and truth is nothing, for
the one thing needful is that he shall be put to discipline, and
trained in the scientific traditions of the ages. The desirability of
such training for the effective questioning of Nature is so clear that
both teacher and pupil are apt to overlook the fact that it involves
much that is not science at all: all sorts of dead traditions,
unrealised fragments of ancient metaphysical systems, prepossessions
and limitations, conscious or unconscious, the obedience to arbitrary
authorities. It is never made clear to him that science also is an
art. So that the actual outcome may be that the finally accomplished
man of science has as little of the scientific impulse as the fully
fledged religious man need have of the religious impulse; he becomes
the victim of another kind of ecclesiastical sectarianism.

There is one special piece of ancient metaphysics which until recently
scientific and religious sects have alike combined to support: the
fiction of "matter," which we passingly came upon when considering the
art of thinking. It is a fiction that has much to answer for in
distorting the scientific spirit and in creating an artificial
opposition between science and religion. All sorts of antique
metaphysical peculiarities, inherited from the decadence of Greek
philosophy, were attributed to "matter" and they were mostly of a bad
character; all the good qualities were attributed to "spirit";
"matter" played the Devil's part to this more divine "spirit." Thus it
was that "materialistic" came to be a term signifying all that is most
heavy, opaque, depressing, soul-destroying, and diabolical in the
universe.  The party of traditionalised religion fostered this fiction
and the party of traditionalised science frequently adopted it,
cheerily proposing to find infinite potentialities in this despised
metaphysical substance.  So that "matter" which was on one side
trodden underfoot was on the other side brandished overhead as a
glorious banner.

Yet "matter," as psychologically minded philosophers at last began to
point out, is merely a substance we have ourselves invented to account
for our sensations.  We see, we touch, we hear, we smell, and by a
brilliant synthetic effort of imagination we put together all those
sensations and picture to ourselves "matter" as being the source of
them. Science itself is now purging "matter" of its complicated
metaphysical properties. That "matter," the nature of which Dr.
Johnson, as Boswell tells us, thought he had settled by "striking his
foot with mighty force against a large stone," is coming to be
regarded as merely an electrical emanation. We now accept even that
transmutation of the elements of which the alchemists dreamed. It is
true that we still think of "matter" as having weight. But so cautious
a physicist as Sir Joseph Thomson long ago pointed out that weight is
only an "apparently" invariable property of matter.  So that "matter"
becomes almost as "ethereal" as "spirit," and, indeed, scarcely
distinguishable from "spirit." The spontaneous affirmation of the
mystic that he lives in the spiritual world here and now will then be,
in other words, merely the same affirmation which the man of science
has more laboriously reached.  The man, therefore, who is terrified by
"materialism" has reached the final outpost of absurdity. He is a
simple-minded person who places his own hand before his eyes and cries
out in horror: The Universe has disappeared!

We have not only to realise how our own prepossessions and the
metaphysical figments of our own creation have obscured the simple
realities of religion and science alike; we have also to see that our
timid dread lest religion should kill our science, or science kill our
religion, is equally fatal here. He who would gain his life must be
willing to lose it, and it is by being honest to one's self and to the
facts by applying courageously the measuring rod of Truth, that in the
end salvation is found. Here, it is true, there are those who
smilingly assure us that by adopting such a method we shall merely put
ourselves in the wrong and endure much unnecessary suffering. There is
no such thing as "Truth," they declare, regarded as an objective
impersonal reality; we do not "discover" truth, we invent it.
Therefore your business is to invent a truth which shall harmoniously
satisfy the needs of your nature and aid your efficiency in practical
life. That we are justified in being dishonest towards truth has even
been argued from the doctrine of relativity by some who failed to
realise that that doctrine is here hardly relative. Certainly the
philosophers of recent times, from Nietzsche to Croce, have loved to
analyse the idea of "truth" and to show that it by no means signifies
what we used to suppose it signified. But to show that truth is fluid,
or even the creation of the individual mind, is by no means to show
that we can at will play fast and loose with it to suit our own
momentary convenience.  If we do we merely find ourselves, at the end,
in a pool where we must tramp round and round in intellectual slush
out of which there is no issue.  One may well doubt whether any
Pragmatist has ever really invented his truth that way. Practically,
just as the best result is attained by the man who acts as though
free-will were a reality and who exerts it, so in this matter, also,
practically, in the end the best result is attained by assuming that
truth is an objective reality which we must patiently seek, and in
accordance with which we must discipline our own wayward Impulses.
There is no transcendent objective truth, each one of us is an artist
creating his own truth from the phenomena presented to him, but if in
that creation he allows any alien emotional or practical
considerations to influence him he is a bad artist and his work is
wrought for destruction. From the pragmatic point of view, it may thus
be said that if the use of the measuring-rod of truth as an objective
standard produces the best practical results, that use is
pragmatically justified.  But if so, we are exactly in the same
position as we were before the pragmatist arrived; we can get on as
well without him, if not better, for we run the risk that he may
confuse the issues for us. It is really on the theoretic rather than
the practical side that he is helpful.

It is not only the Pragmatist whose well-meant efforts to find an easy
reconciliation of belief and practice, and indirectly the concord of
religion and science, come to grief because he has not realised that
the walls of the spiritual world can only be scaled with much
expenditure of treasure, not without blood and sweat, that we cannot
glide luxuriously to Heaven in his motor-car. We are also met by the
old-fashioned Intuitionist.  [Footnote: It must be remembered that
"intuition" is a word with all sorts of philosophical meanings, in
addition to its psychological meanings (which were studied some years
ago by Dearborn in the _Psychological Review_). For the ancient
philosophic writers, from the Neo-Platonists on, it was usually a sort
of special organ for coming in contact with supernatural realities;
for Bergson it is at once a method superior to the intellect for
obtaining knowledge and a method of aesthetic contemplation; for Croce
it is solely aesthetic, and art is at once "intuition" and
"expression" (by which he means the formation of internal images).  For
Croce, when the mind "intuits" by "expressing," the result is art.
There is no "religion" for Croce except philosophy.] It is no accident
that the Intuitionist so often walks hand in hand with the Pragmatist;
they are engaged in the same tasks. There is, we have seen, the
impulse of science which must work through intelligence; there is,
also, the impulse of religion in the satisfaction of which
intelligence can only take a very humble place at the antechamber of
the sanctuary.  To admit, therefore, that reason cannot extend into
the religious sphere is absolutely sound so long as we realise that
reason has a coordinate right to lay down the rules in its own sphere
of intelligence. But in men of a certain mental type the two
tendencies are alike so deeply implanted that they cannot escape them:
they are not only impelled to go beyond intelligence, but they are
also impelled to carry intelligence with them outside its sphere. The
sphere of intelligence is limited, they say, and rightly; the soul has
other impulses besides that of intelligence and life needs more than
knowledge for its complete satisfaction. But in the hands of these
people the faculty of "intuition," which is to supplant that of
intelligence, itself results in a product which by them is called
"knowledge," and so spuriously bears the hall-mark which belongs to
the product of intelligence.

But the result is disastrous. Not only is an illegitimate confusion
introduced, but, by attributing to the impulse of religion a character
which it is neither entitled to nor in need of, we merely discredit it
in the eyes of intelligence. The philosopher of intuition, even in
denying intelligence, is apt to remain so predominantly intelligent
that, even in entering what is for him the sphere of religion, he
still moves in an atmosphere of rarefied intelligence. He is farther
from the Kingdom of Heaven than the simple man who is quite incapable
of understanding the philosopher's theory, but yet may be able to
follow his own religious impulse without foisting into it an
intellectual content.  For even the simple man may be one with the
great mystics who all declare that the unspeakable quality they have
acquired, as Eckhart puts it, "hath no image." It is not in the sphere
of intellection, it brings no knowledge; it is the outcome of the
natural instinct of the individual soul.

No doubt there really are people in whom the instincts of religion and
of science alike are developed in so rudimentary a degree, if
developed at all, that they never become conscious. The religious
instinct is not an essential instinct. Even the instinct of sex, which
is much more fundamental than either of these, is not absolutely
essential. A very little bundle of instincts and impulses is
indispensable to a man on his way down the path of life to a peaceful
and humble grave. Î A man's equipment of tendencies, on the lowest
plane, needs to be more complex and diverse than an oyster's, yet not
so very much more. The equipment of the higher animals, moreover, is
needed less for the good of the individual than for the good of the
race. We cannot, therefore, be surprised if the persons in whom the
superfluous instincts are rudimentary fail to understand them,
confusing them and overlaying them with each other and with much that
is outside both. The wonder would be if it were otherwise.

When all deduction has been made of the mental and emotional
confusions which have obscured men's vision, we cannot fail to
conclude, it seems to me, that Science and Mysticism are nearer to
each other than some would have us believe. At the beginning of human
cultures, far from being opposed, they may even be said to be
identical. From time to time, in later ages, brilliant examples have
appeared of men who have possessed both instincts in a high degree and
have even fused the two together, while among the humble in spirit and
the lowly in intellect it is probable that in all ages innumerable men
have by instinct harmonised their religion with their intelligence.
But as the accumulated experiences of civilisation have been preserved
and handed on from generation to generation, this free and vital play
of the instincts has been largely paralysed. On each side fossilised
traditions have accumulated so thickly, the garments of dead
metaphysics have been wrapped so closely around every manifestation
alike of the religious instinct and the scientific instinct--for even
what we call "common sense" is really a hardened mass of dead
metaphysics--that not many persons can succeed in revealing one of
these instincts in its naked beauty, and very few can succeed in so
revealing both instincts.  Hence a perpetual antagonism. It may be,
however, we are beginning to realise that there are no metaphysical
formulas to suit all men, but that every man must be the artist of his
own philosophy. As we realise that, it becomes easier than it was
before to liberate ourselves from a dead metaphysics, and so to give
free play alike to the religious instinct and the scientific instinct.
A man must not swallow more beliefs than he can digest; no man can
absorb all the traditions of the past; what he fills himself with will
only be a poison to work to his own auto-intoxication.  Along all
these lines we see more clearly than before the real harmony between
Mysticism and Science.  We see, also, that all arguments are
meaningless until we gain personal experience. One must win one's own
place in the spiritual world painfully and alone. There is no other
way of salvation. The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a


IT may seem that we have been harping overmuch on a single string of
what is really a very rich instrument, when the whole exalted art of
religion is brought down to the argument of its relationship to
science. The core of religion is mysticism, it is admitted. And yet
where are all the great mystics? Why nothing of the Neo-Platonists in
whom the whole movement of modern mysticism began, of their glorious
pupils in the Moslem world, of Ramon Lull and Francis of Assisi and
François Xavier and John of the Cross and George Fox and the "De
Imitatione Christi" and "Towards Democracy"? There is no end to that
list of glorious names, and they are all passed by.

To write of the mystics, whether Pagan or Christian or Islamic, is a
most delightful task. It has been done, and often very well done. The
mystics are not only themselves an incarnation of beauty, but they
reflect beauty on all who with understanding approach them.

Moreover, in the phenomena of religious mysticism we have a key--if we
only knew it--to many of the most precious human things which on the
surface may seem to have nothing in them of religion. For this is an
art which instinctively reveals to us the secrets of other arts. It
presents to us in the most naked and essential way the inward
experience which has inspired men to find modes of expression which
are transmutations of the art of religion and yet have on the surface
nothing to indicate that this is so. It has often been seen in poetry
and in music and in painting. One might say that it is scarcely
possible to understand completely the poetry of Shelley or the music
of César Franck or the pictures of Van Gogh unless there is somewhere
within an intimation of the secret of mysticism. This is so not
because of any imperfection in the achieved work of such men in poetry
and in music and in painting,--for work that fails to contain its own
justification is always bad work,--but because we shall not be in
possession of the clue to explain the existence of that work. We may
even go beyond the sphere of the recognised arts altogether, and say
that the whole love of Nature and landscape, which in modern times has
been so greatly developed, largely through Rousseau, the chief creator
of our modern spiritual world, is not intelligible if we are
altogether ignorant of what religion means.

But we are not so much concerned here with the rich and variegated
garments the impulse of religion puts on, or with its possible
transmutations, as with the simple and naked shape of those impulses
when bared of all garments. It was peculiarly important to present the
impulse of mysticism naked because, of all the fundamental human
impulses, that is the one most often so richly wrapped round with
gorgeous and fantastic garments that, alike to the eye of the ordinary
man and the acute philosopher, there has seemed to be no living thing
inside at all. It was necessary to strip off all these garments, to
appeal to simple personal direct experience for the actual core of
fact, and to show that that core, so far from being soluble by
analysis into what science counts as nothing, is itself, like every
other natural organic function, a fact of science.

It is enough here, where we are concerned only with the primary stuff
of art, the bare simple technique of the human dance, to have brought
into as clear a light as may be the altogether natural mechanism which
lies behind all the most magnificent fantasies of the mystic impulse,
and would still subsist and operate even though they were all cast
into the flames. That is why it has seemed necessary to dwell all the
time on the deep-lying harmony of the mystic's attitude with the
scientific man's attitude. It is a harmony which rests on the faith
that they are eternally separate, however close, however intimately
cooperative. When the mystic professes that, as such, he has knowledge
of the same order as the man of science, or when the scientist claims
that, as such, he has emotion which is like that of the man of
religion, each of them deceives himself. He has introduced a confusion
where no confusion need be; perhaps, indeed, he has even committed
that sin against the Holy Ghost of his own spiritual integrity for
which there is no forgiveness.  The function of intellectual
thought--which is that of the art of science--may, certainly, be
invaluable for religion; it makes possible the purgation of all that
pseudo-science, all that philosophy, good or bad, which has poisoned
and encrusted the simple spontaneous impulse of mysticism in the open
air of Nature and in the face of the sun. The man of science may be a
mystic, but cannot be a true mystic unless he is so relentless a man
of science that he can tolerate no alien science in his mysticism. The
mystic may be a of science, but he will not be a good man of science
unless he understands that science must be kept for ever bright and
pure from all admixture of mystical emotion; the fountain of his
emotion must never rust the keenness of his analytic scalpel. It is
useless to pretend that any such rustiness can ever con-vert the
scalpel into a mystical implement, though it can be an admirable aid
in cutting towards the mystical core of things, and perhaps if there
were more relentless scientific men there would be more men of pure
mystic vision. Science by itself, good or bad, can never be religion,
any more than religion by itself can ever be science, or even

It is by looking back into the past that we see the facts in an
essential simplicity less easy to reach in more sophisticated ages. We
need not again go so far back as the medicine-men of Africa and
Siberia.  Mysticism in pagan antiquity, however less intimate to us
and less seductive than that of later times, is perhaps better fitted
to reveal to us its true nature.  The Greeks believed in the spiritual
value of "conversion" as devoutly as our Christian sects and they went
beyond most such sects in their elaborately systematic methods for
obtaining it, no doubt for the most part as superficially as has been
common among Christians. It is supposed that almost the whole
population of Athens must have experienced the Eleusinian initiation.
These methods, as we know, were embodied in the Mysteries associated
with Dionysus and Demeter and Orpheus and the rest, the most famous
and typical being those of Attic Eleusis.  [Footnote: The modern
literature of the Mysteries, especially of Eleusis, is very extensive
and elaborate in many languages. I will only mention here a small and
not very recent book, Cheetham's Hulsean Lectures on _The Mysteries
Pagan and Christian_ (1897) as for ordinary readers sufficiently
indicating the general significance of the Mysteries. There is, yet
briefer, a more modern discussion of the matter in the Chapter on
"Religion" by Dr. W. R. Inge in R. W. Livingstone's useful collection
of essays, _The Legacy of Greece_ (1921).] We too often see those
ancient Greek Mysteries through a concealing mist, partly because it
was rightly felt that matters of spiritual experience were not things
to talk about, so that precise information is lacking, partly because
the early Christians, having their own very similar Mysteries to
uphold, were careful to speak evil of Pagan Mysteries, and partly
because the Pagan Mysteries no doubt really tended to degenerate with
the general decay of classic culture. But in their large simple
essential outlines they seem to be fairly clear. For just as there was
nothing "orgiastic" in our sense in the Greek "orgies," which were
simply ritual acts, so there was nothing, in our sense, "mysterious"
in the Mysteries. We are not to suppose, as is sometimes supposed,
that their essence was a secret doctrine, or even that the exhibition
of a secret rite was the sole object, although it came in as part of
the method. A mystery meant a spiritual process of initiation, which
was, indeed, necessarily a secret to those who had not yet experienced
it, but had nothing in itself "mysterious" beyond what inheres to-day
to the process in any Christian "revival," which is the nearest
analogue to the Greek Mystery. It is only "mysterious" in the sense
that it cannot be expressed, any more than the sexual embrace can be
expressed, in words, but can only be known by experience. A
preliminary process of purification, the influence of suggestion, a
certain religious faith, a solemn and dramatic ritual carried out
under the most impressive circumstances, having a real analogy to the
Catholic's Mass, which also is a function, at once dramatic and
sacred, which culminates in a spiritual communion with the Divine--all
this may contribute to the end which was, as it always must be in
religion, simply a change of inner attitude, a sudden exalting
realisation of a new relationship to eternal things. The philosophers
understood this; Aristotle was careful to point out, in an extant
fragment, that what was gained in the Mysteries was not instruction
but impressions and emotions, and Plato had not hesitated to regard
the illumination which came to the initiate in philosophy as of the
nature of that acquired in the Mysteries. So it was natural that when
Christianity took the place of Paganism the same process went on with
only a change in external circumstances. Baptism in the early
Church--before it sank to the mere magical sort of rite it later
became--was of the nature of initiation into a Mystery, preceded by
careful preparation, and the baptised initiate was sometimes crowned
with a garland as the initiated were at Eleusis.

When we go out of Athens along the beautiful road that leads to the
wretched village of Eleusis and linger among the vast and complicated
ruins of the chief shrine of mysticism in our Western world, rich in
associations that seem to stretch back to the Neolithic Age and
suggest a time when the mystery of the blossoming of the soul was one
with the mystery of the upspringing of the corn, it may be that our
thoughts by no unnatural transition pass from the myth of Demeter and
Kore to the remembrance of what we may have heard or know of the
manifestations of the spirit among barbarian northerners of other
faiths or of no faith in far Britain and America and even of their
meetings of so-called "revival." For it is always the same thing that
Man is doing, however various and fantastic the disguises he adopts.
And sometimes the revelation of the new life, springing up from
within, comes amid the crowd in the feverish atmosphere of artificial
shrines, maybe soon to shrivel up, and sometimes the blossoming forth
takes place, perhaps more favourably, in the open air and under the
light of the sun and amid the flowers, as it were to a happy faun
among the hills.  But when all disguises have been stripped away, it
is always and everywhere the same simple process, a spiritual function
which is almost a physiological function, an art which Nature makes.
That is all.




No man has ever counted the books that have been written about morals.
No subject seems so fascinating to the human mind. It may well be,
indeed, that nothing imports us so much as to know how to live.  Yet
it can scarcely be that on any subject are the books that have been
written more unprofitable, one might even say unnecessary.

For when we look at the matter objectively it is, after all, fairly
simple. If we turn our attention to any collective community, at any
time and place, in its moral aspect, we may regard it as an army on
the march along a road of life more or less encompassed by danger.
That, indeed, is scarcely a metaphor; that is what life, viewed in its
moral aspect, may really be considered. When thus considered, we see
that it consists of an extremely small advance guard in front, formed
of persons with a limited freedom of moral action and able to act as
patrols in various directions, of a larger body in the rear, in
ancient military language called the blackguard and not without its
uses, and in the main of a great compact majority with which we must
always be chiefly concerned since they really are the army; they are
the community. What we call "morals" is simply blind obedience to
words of command--whether or not issued by leaders the army believes
it has itself chosen--of which the significance is hidden, and beyond
this the duty of keeping in step with the others, or of trying to keep
in step, or of pretending to do so.  [Footnote: What we call crime is,
at the beginning, usually an effort to get, or to pretend to get, into
step, but, being a violent or miscalculated effort, it is liable to
fail, and the criminal falls to the rear of the social army.  "I
believe that most murders are really committed by Mrs. Grundy," a
woman writes to me, and, with the due qualification, the saying is
worthy of meditation. That is why justice is impotent to prevent or
even to Punish murder, for Mrs. Grundy is within all of us, being a
part of the social discipline, and cannot be hanged.] It is an
automatic, almost unconscious process and only becomes acutely
conscious when the individual is hopelessly out of step; then he may
be relegated to the rear blackguard. But that happens seldom. So there
is little need to be concerned about it. Even if it happened very
often, nothing overwhelming would have taken place; it would merely be
that what we called the blackguard had now become the main army,
though with a different discipline.  We are, indeed, simply concerned
with a discipline or routine which in this field is properly described
as _custom_, and the word _morals_ essentially means _custom_. That is
what morals must always be for the mass, and, indeed, to some extent
for all, a discipline, and, as we have already seen, a discipline
cannot properly be regarded as a science or an art, The innumerable
books on morals, since they have usually confused and befogged this
simple and central fact, cannot fail to be rather unprofitable. That,
it would seem, is what the writers thought--at all events about those
the others had written--or else they would not have considered it
necessary for themselves to add to the number. It was not only an
unprofitable task, it was also--except in so far as an objectively
scientific attitude has been assumed--• aimless. For, although the
morals of a community at one time and place is never the same as that
of another or even the same community at another time and place, it is
a complex web of conditions that produces the difference, and it must
have been evident that to attempt to affect it was idle.  [Footnote:
Herbert Spencer, writing to a correspondent, once well expressed the
harmlessness--if we choose so to regard it--of moral teaching: "After
nearly two thousand years' preaching of the religion of amity, the
religion of enmity remains predominant, and Europe is peopled by two
hundred million pagans, masquerading as Christians, who revile those
who wish them to act on the principles they profess."] There is no
occasion for any one who is told that he has written a "moral" book to
be unduly elated, or when he is told that his book is "immoral" to be
unduly cast down.  The significance of these adjectives is strictly
limited.  Neither the one book nor the other can have more than the
faintest effect on the march of the great compact majority of the
social army.

Yet, while all this is so, there is still some interest in the
question of morals. For, after all, there is the small body of
individuals ahead, alertly eager to find the road, with a sensitive
flair for all the possibilities the future may hold. When the compact
majority, blind and automatic and unconscious, follows after, to tramp
along the road these pioneers have discovered, it may seem but a dull
road. But before they reached it that road was interesting, even
passionately interesting.

The reason is that, for those who, in any age, are thus situated, life
is not merely a discipline. It is, or it may become, really an art.


THAT living is or may be an art, and the moralist the critic of that
art, is a very ancient belief. It was especially widespread among the
Greeks. To the Greeks, indeed, this belief was so ingrained and
instinctive that it became an implicitly assumed attitude rather than
a definitely expressed faith. It was natural to them to speak of a
virtuous person as we should speak of a beautiful person. The "good"
was the "beautiful"; the sphere of ethics for the Greeks was not
distinguished from the sphere of aesthetics. In Sophocles, above all
poets, we gather the idea of a natural agreement between duty and
inclination which is at once both beauty and moral order. But it is
the beautiful that seems to be most fundamental in _to kalon_, which
was the noble, the honourable, but fundamentally the beautiful.
"Beauty is the first of all things," said Isocrates, the famous
orator; "nothing that is devoid of beauty is prized.... The admiration
for virtue comes to this, that of all manifestation of life, virtue is
the most beautiful." The supremely beautiful was, for the finer sort of
Greeks, instinctively if not always consciously, the supremely divine,
and the Argive Hera, it has been said, "has more divinity in her
countenance than any Madonna of them all." That is how it came to pass
that we have no word in our speech to apply to the Greek conception;
aesthetics for us is apart from all the serious business of life, and
the attempt to introduce it there seems merely comic.  But the Greeks
spoke of life itself as a craft or a fine art. Protagoras, who appears
to-day as a pioneer of modern science, was yet mainly concerned to
regard living as an art, or as the sum of many crafts, and the
Platonic Socrates, his opponent, still always assumed that the
moralist's position is that of a critic of a craft.  So influential a
moralist as Aristotle remarks in a matter-of-fact way, in his
"Poetics," that if we wish to ascertain whether an act is, or is not,
morally right we must consider not merely the intrinsic quality of the
act, but the person who does it, the person to whom it is done, the
time, the means, the motive. Such an attitude towards life puts out of
court any appeal to rigid moral laws; it meant that an act must befit
its particular relationships at a particular moment, and that its
moral value could, therefore, only be judged by the standard of the
spectator's instinctive feeling for proportion and harmony. That is
the attitude we adopt towards a work of art.

It may well appear strange to those who cherish the modern idea of
"aestheticism" that the most complete statement of the Greek attitude
has come down to us in the writings of a philosopher, an Alexandrian
Greek who lived and taught in Rome in the third century of our
Christian Era, when the Greek world had vanished, a religious mystic,
moreover, whose life and teaching were penetrated by an austere
ascetic severity which some would count mediaeval rather than Greek.
[Footnote: But later asceticism was strictly the outcome of a Greek
tendency, to be traced in Plato, developed through Antisthenes,
through Zeno, through Epictetus, who all desired to liberate the soul
from the bonds of matter. The Neo-Platonists carried this tendency
further, for in their time the prevailing anarchy and confusion
rendered the world and society leas than ever a fitting haven for the
soul. It was not Christianity that made the world ascetic (and there
were elements of hedonism in the teaching of Jesus), but the world
that made Christianity ascetic, and it was easy for a Christian to
become a Neo-Platonist, for they were both being moulded by the same
forces.] It is in Plotinus, a thinker whose inspiring influence still
lives to-day, that we probably find the Greek attitude, in its
loftiest aspect, best mirrored, and it was probably through channels
that came from Plotinus--though their source was usually
unrecognised--that the Greek moral spirit has chiefly reached modern
times. Many great thinkers and moralists of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, it has been claimed, were ultimately indebted to
Plotinus, who represented the only genuinely creative effort of the
Greek spirit in the third century.  [Footnote: Maurice Croiset devotes
a few luminous critical pages to Plotinus in the Croisets' _Histoire
de la Littérature Grecque_, vol. v, pp. 820-31. A» an extended account
of Plotinus, from a more enthusiastically sympathetic standpoint,
there are Dr. Inge's well-known Gifford Lectures, _The Philosophy of
Plotinus_ (1918); I may also mention a careful scholastic study,
_L'Esthétique de Plotin_ (1913), by Cochez, of Louvain, who regards
Plotinus as the climax of the objective aesthetics of antiquity and
the beginning of the road to modern subjective aesthetics.]

Plotinus seems to have had little interest in art, as commonly
understood, and he was an impatient, rapid, and disorderly writer, not
even troubling to spell correctly.  All his art was in the spiritual
sphere. It is impossible to separate aesthetics, as he understood it,
from ethics and religion. In the beautiful discourse on Beauty, which
forms one of the chapters of his first "Ennead," it is mainly with
spiritual beauty that he is concerned. But he insists that it is
beauty, beauty of the same quality as that of the physical world,
which inheres in goodness, "nor may those tell of the splendour of
Virtue who have never known the face of Justice and of Wisdom
beautiful beyond the beauty of Evening and of Dawn." It is a beauty,
he further states,--though here he seems to be passing out of the
purely sesthetic sphere,--that arouses emotions of love. "This is the
spirit that Beauty must ever induce, wonderment and a delicious
trouble, longing and love, and a trembling that is also delight. For
the unseen all this may be felt as for the seen, and this souls feel
for it, every soul in some degree, but those the more deeply who are
the more truly apt to this higher love--just as all take delight in
the beauty of the body, but all are not strung as sharply, and those
only that feel the keener wound are known as Lovers." Goodness and!
Truth were on the same plane for Plotinus as Beauty.  It may even be
said that Beauty was the most fundamental of all, to be identified
ultimately as the Absolute, as Reality itself. So it was natural that
in the sphere of morals he should speak indifferently either of
"extirpating evil and implanting goodness" or of "introducing order
and beauty to replace goodness"--in either case "we talk of real
things." "Virtue is a natural concordance among the phenomena of the
soul, vice a discord." But Plotinus definitely rejects the notion that
beauty is only symmetry, and so he avoids the narrow conception of
some more modern aesthetic moralists, notably Hutcheson. How, then, he
asks, could the sun be beautiful, or gold, or light, or night, or the
stars? "Beauty is something more than symmetry, and symmetry owes its
beauty to a remoter principle"--its affinity, in the opinion of
Plotinus, with the "Ideal Form," immediately recognised and confirmed
by the soul.

It may seem to some that Plotinus reduces to absurdity the conception
of morality as aesthetics, and it may well be that the Greeks of the
great period were wiser when they left the nature of morals less
explicit.  Yet Plotinus had in him the root of the matter. He had
risen to the conception that the moral life of the soul is a dance;
"Consider the performers in a choral dance: they sing together, though
each one has his own particular part, and sometimes one voice is heard
while the others are silent; and each brings to the chorus something
of his own; it is not enough that all lift their voices together; each
must sing, choicely, his own part in the music set for him. So it is
with the Soul." [Footnote: _Ennead_, bk. vi, chap. VI. I have mostly
followed the translation of Stephen McKenna.] The Hellenic extension
of the aesthetic emotion, as Benn pointed out, involved no weakening
of the moral fibre.  That is so, we see, and even emphatically so,
when it becomes definitely explicit as in Plotinus, and
revolutionarily hostile to all those ideals of the moral life which
most people have been accustomed to consider modern.

As usually among the Greeks, it is only implicitly, also, that we
detect this attitude among the Romans, the pupils of the Greeks. For
the most part, the Romans, whose impulses of art were very limited,
whose practical mind craved precision and definition, proved
rebellious to the idea that living is an art; yet it may well be that
they still retained that idea at the core of their morality. It is
interesting to note that St.  Augustine, who stood on the threshold
between the old Roman and new Christian worlds was able to write: "The
art of living well and rightly is the definition that the ancients
give of 'virtue.'" For the Latins believed that ors was derived from
the Greek word for virtue, _arete_.  [Footnote: St. Augustine, _De
Civitate Dei_, bk. iv, chap. xxi.] Yet there really remained a
difference between the Greek and the Roman views of morals. The Greek
view, it is universally admitted, was aesthetic, in the most definite
sense; the Roman was not, and when Cicero wishes to translate a Greek
reference to a "beautiful" action it becomes an "honourable" action.
The Greek was concerned with what he himself felt about his actions;
the Roman was concerned with what they would look like to other
people, and the credit, or discredit, that would be reflected back on

The Hebrews never even dreamed of such an art.  Their attitude is
sufficiently embodied in the story of Moses and that visit to Sinai
which resulted in the production of the table of Ten Commandments
which we may still see inscribed in old churches. For even our modern
feeling about morals is largely Jewish, in some measure Roman, and
scarcely Greek at all. We still accept, in theory at all events, the
Mosaic conception of morality as a code of rigid and inflexible rules,
arbitrarily ordained, and to be blindly obeyed.

The conception of morality as an art, which Christendom once
disdained, seems now again to be finding favour in men's eyes. The
path has been made smooth for it by great thinkers of various
complexion, who, differing in many fundamental points, all alike
assert the relativity of truth and the inaptitude of rigid maxims to
serve as guiding forces in life. They also assert, for a large part,
implicitly or explicitly, the authority of art.

The nineteenth century was usually inspired by the maxims of Kant, and
lifted its hat reverently when it heard Kant declaiming his famous
sayings concerning the supremacy of an inflexible moral law. Kant had,
indeed, felt the stream of influence which flowed from Shaftesbury,
and he sought to mix up aesthetics with his system. But he had nothing
of the genuine artist's spirit. The art of morals was to him a set of
maxims, cold, rigid, precise. A sympathetic biographer has said of him
that the maxims were the man. They are sometimes fine maxims. But as
guides, as motives to practical action in the world? The maxims of the
valetudinarian professor at Kônigsberg scarcely seem that to us
to-day. Still less can we harmonise maxims with art. Nor do we any
longer suppose that we are impertinent in referring to the
philosopher's personality.  In the investigation of the solar spectrum
personality may count for little; in the investigation of moral laws
it counts for much. For personality is the very stuff of morals. The
moral maxims of an elderly professor in a provincial university town
have their interest. But so have those of a Casanova. And the moral
maxims of a Goethe may possibly have more interest than either. There
is the rigid categorical imperative of Kant; and there is also that
other dictum, less rigid but more reminiscent of Greece, which some
well-inspired person has put into the mouth of Walt Whitman: "Whatever
tastes sweet to the most perfect person, that is finally right."


FUNDAMENTALLY considered, there are two roads by which we may travel
towards the moral ends of life: the road of Tradition, which is
ultimately that of Instinct, pursued by the many, and the road of what
seems to be Reason--sought out by the few. And in the end these two
roads are but the same road, for reason also is an instinct. It is
true that the ingenuity of analytic investigators like Henry Sidgwick
has succeeded in enumerating various "methods of ethics." But, roughly
speaking, there can only be these two main roads of life, and only one
has proved supremely important. It has been by following the path of
tradition moulded by instinct that man reached the threshold of
civilisation: whatever may have been the benefits he derived from the
guidance of reason he never consciously allowed reason to control his
moral life. Tables of commandments have ever been "given by God"; they
represented, that is to say, obscure impulses of the organism striving
to respond to practical needs. No one dreamed of commending them by
declaring that they were reasonable.

It is clear how Instinct and Tradition, thus working together, act
vitally and beneficently in moulding the moral life of primitive
peoples. The "divine command" was always a command conditioned by the
special circumstance under which the tribe lived. That is so even when
the moral law is to our civilised eyes "unnatural." The infanticide of
Polynesian islanders, where the means of subsistence and the
possibilities of expansion were limited, was obviously a necessary
measure, beneficent and humane in its effects. The killing of the aged
among the migrant Eskimos was equally a necessary and kindly measure,
recognised as such by the victims themselves, when it was essential
that every member of the community should be able to help himself.
Primitive rules of moral action, greatly as they differ among
themselves, are all more or less advantageous and helpful on the road
of primitive life.  It is true that they allow very little, if any,
scope for divergent individual moral action, but that, too, was

But that, also, is the rock on which an instinctive traditional
morality must strike as civilisation is approached.  The tribe has no
longer the same unity.

Social differentiation has tended to make the family a unit, and
psychic differentiation to make even the separate individuals units.
The community of interests of the whole tribe has been broken up, and
therewith traditional morality has lost alike its value and its power.

The development of abstract intelligence, which coincides with
civilisation, works in the same direction.  Reason is, indeed, on one
side an integrating force, for it shows that the assumption of
traditional morality--the identity of the individual's interests with
the interests of the community--is soundly based. But it is also a
disintegrating force. For if it reveals a general unity in the ends of
living, it devises infinitely various and perplexingly distracting
excuses for living.  Before the active invasion of reason living had
been an art, or at all events a discipline, highly conventionalised
and even ritualistic, but the motive forces of living lay in life
itself and had all the binding sanction of instincts; the penalty of
every failure in living, it was felt, would be swiftly and
automatically experienced.  To apply reason here was to introduce a
powerful solvent into morals. Objectively it made morality clearer but
subjectively it destroyed the existing motives for morality; it
deprived man, to use the fashionable phraseology of the present day,
of a vital illusion.

Thus we have morality in the fundamental sense, the actual practices
of the main army of the population, while in front a variegated
procession of prancing philosophers gaily flaunt their moral theories
before the world. Kant, whose personal moral problems were concerned
with eating sweetmeats, [Footnote: Kant was habitually cold and calm.
But he was very fond of dried fruits and used to have them specially
imported for him by his friend Motherby. "At one time he was eagerly
expecting a vessel with French fruits which he had ordered, and he had
already invited some friends to a dinner at which they were to be
served. The vessel was, however, delayed a number of days by a storm.
When it arrived, Kant was informed that the provisions had become
short on account of the delay, and that the crew had eaten his fruit.
Kant was so angry that he declared they ought rather to have starved
than to have touched it. Surprised at this irritation, Motherby said,
'Professor, you cannot be in earnest. Kant answered, 'I am really in
earnest,' and went away.  Afterwards he was sorry." (Quoted by
Stuckenberg, _The Life of Kant_, p. 138.) But still it was quite in
accordance with Kantian morality that the sailors should have
starved.] and other philosophers of varyingly inferior calibre, were
regarded as the lawgivers of morality, though they carried little
enough weight with the world at large.

Thus it comes about that abstract moral speculations, culminating in
rigid maxims, are necessarily sterile and vain. They move in the
sphere of reason, and that is the sphere of comprehension, but not of
vital action. In this way there arises a moral dualism in civilised
man. Objectively he has become like the gods and able to distinguish
the ends of life; he has eaten of the fruit of the tree and has
knowledge of good and evil. Subjectively he is still not far removed
from the savage, oftenest stirred to action by a confused web of
emotional motives, among which the interwoven strands of civilised
reason are as likely to produce discord or paralysis as to furnish
efficient guides, a state of mind first, and perhaps best, set forth
in its extreme form by Shakespeare in Hamlet. On the one hand he
cannot return to the primitive state in which all the motives for
living flowed harmoniously in the same channel; he cannot divest
himself of his illuminating reason; he cannot recede from his hardly
acquired personal individuality. On the other hand he can never
expect, he can never even reasonably hope, that reason will ever hold
in leash the emotions. It is clear that along neither path separately
can the civilised man pursue his way in harmonious balance with
himself.  We begin to realise that what we need is not a code of
beautifully cut-and-dried maxims--whether emanating from sacred
mountains or from philosophers' studies--but a happy combination of
two different ways of living. We need, that is, a traditional and
instinctive way of living, based on real motor instincts, which will
blend with reason and the manifold needs of personality, instead of
being destroyed by their solvent actions, as rigid rules inevitably
are. Our only valid rule is a creative impulse that is one with the
illuminative power ofintelligence.


AT the beginning of the eighteenth century, the seedtime of our modern
ideas, as it has so often seemed to be, the English people, having in
art at length brought their language to a fine degree of clarity and
precision, and having just passed through a highly stimulating period
of dominant Puritanism in life, became much interested in philosophy,
psychology, and ethics.  Their interest was, indeed, often superficial
and amateurish, though they were soon to produce some of the most
notable figures in the whole history of thought. The third Earl of
Shaftesbury, one of the earliest of the group, himself illustrated
this unsystematic method of thinking. He was an amateur, an
aristocratic amateur, careless of consistency, and not by any means
concerned to erect a philosophic system.  Not that he was a worse
thinker on that account.  The world's greatest thinkers have often
been amateurs; for high thinking is the outcome of fine and
independent living, and for that a professorial chair offers no
special opportunities. Shaftesbury was, moreover, a man of fragile
physical constitution, as Kant was; but, unlike Kant, he was not a
childish hypochondriac in seclusion, but a man in the world,
heroically seeking to live a complete and harmonious life. By
temperament he was a Stoic, and he wrote a characteristic book of
"Exercises," as he proposed to call what his modern editor calls the
"Philosophical Regimen," in which he consciously seeks to discipline
himself in fine thinking and right living, plainly acknowledging that
he is the disciple of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. But Shaftesbury
was also a man of genius, and as such it was his good fortune to throw
afresh into the stream of thought a fruitful conception, in part
absorbed, indeed, from Greece, and long implicit in men's minds, but
never before made clearly recognisable as a moral theory and an
ethical temper, susceptible of being labelled by the philosophic
historian, as it since has been under the name, passable no doubt as
any other, of "Aesthetic Intuitionism."

Greek morality, it has been well said, is not a conflict of light and
darkness, of good and evil, the clear choice between the broad road
that leads to destruction and the narrow path of salvation: it is "an
artistic balance of light and shade." Gizycki, remarking that
Shaftesbury has more affinity to the Greeks than perhaps any other
modern moralist, says that "the key lay not only in his head, but in
his heart, for like can only be recognised by like."  [Footnote: Georg
von Gizycki, _Die Ethik David Hume's_, p. 11.] We have to remember at
the same time that Shaftesbury was really something of a classical
scholar, even from childhood. Born in 1671, the grandson of the
foremost English statesman of his time, the first Earl, Anthony
Cooper, he had the advantage of the wise oversight of his grandfather,
who placed with him as a companion in childhood a lady who knew both
Greek and Latin so well that she could converse fluently in both
languages. So it was that by the age of eleven he was familiar with
the two classic tongues and literatures. That doubtless was also a key
to his intimate feeling for the classic spirit, though it would not
have sufficed without a native affinity. He became the pupil of Locke,
and at fifteen he went to Italy, to spend a considerable time there.
He knew France also, and the French tongue, so well that he was often
taken for a native. He lived for some time in Holland, and there
formed a friendship with Bayle, which began before the latter was
aware of his friend's rank and lasted till Bayle's death. In Holland
he may have been slightly influenced by Grotius.  [Footnote: F. C.
Sharp, _Mind_ (1912), p. 388.] Shaftesbury was not of robust
constitution; he suffered from asthma, and his health was further
affected by his zeal in public affairs as well as his enthusiasm in
study, for his morality was not that of a recluse, but of a man who
played an active part in life, not only in social benevolence, like
his descendant the enlightened philanthropic Earl of the nineteenth
century, but in the establishment of civil freedom and toleration.
Locke wrote of his pupil (who was not, however, in agreement with his
tutor's philosophic standpoint), [Footnote: Shaftesbury held that Locke
swept away too much and failed to allow for inborn instincts (or
"senses," as he sometimes called them) developing naturally. We now see
that he was right.] though he always treated him with consideration,
that "the sword was too sharp for the scabbard."

"He seems," wrote of Shaftesbury his unfriendly contemporary
Mandeville, "to require and expect goodness in his species as we do a
sweet taste in grapes and China oranges, of which, if any of them are
sour, we boldly pronounce that they are not come to that perfection
their nature is capable of." In a certain sense this was correct.
Shaftesbury, it has been said, was the father of that new ethics which
recognises that Nature is not a mere impulse of self-preservation, as
Hobbes thought, but also a racial impulse, having regard to others;
there are social inclinations in the individual, he realised, that go
beyond individual ends.  (Referring to the famous dictum of Hobbes,
_Homo homini lupus_, he observes: "To say in disparagement of Man'that
he is to Man a wolf appears somewhat absurd when one considers that
wolves are to wolves very kind and loving creatures.") Therewith
"goodness" was seen, virtually for the first time in the modern
period, to be as "natural" as the sweetness of ripe fruit.

There was another reason, a fundamental physiological and
psychological reason, why "goodness" of actions and the "sweetness" of
fruits are equally natural, a reason that would, no doubt, have been
found strange both by Mandeville and Shaftesbury.  Morality,
Shaftesbury describes as "the taste of beauty and the relish of what
is decent," and the "sense of beauty" is ultimately the same as the
"moral sense." "My first endeavour," wrote Shaftesbury, "must be to
distinguish the true taste of fruits, refine my palate, and establish
a just relish in the kind." He thought, evidently, that he was merely
using a metaphor. But he was speaking essentially in the direct,
straightforward way of natural and primitive Man. At the foundation,
"sweetness" and "goodness" are the same thing. That can still be
detected in the very structure of language, not only of primitive
languages, but those of the most civilised peoples.  That morality is,
in the strict sense, a matter of taste, of aesthetics, of what the
Greeks called _aisthesis_, is conclusively shown by the fact that in
the most widely separated tongues--possibly wherever the matter has
been carefully investigated--moral goodness is, at the outset,
expressed in terms of _taste_. What is _good_ is what is _sweet_, and
sometimes, also, _salt_.  [Footnote: There is no need to refer to the
value of salt, and therefore the appreciation of the flavour of salt,
to primitive people. Still to-day, in Spain, _sal_ (salt) is popularly
used for a more or less intellectual and moral quality which is highly
admired.] Primitive peoples have highly developed the sensory side of
their mental life, and their vocabularies bear witness to the intimate
connection of sensations of taste and touch with emotional tone. There
is, indeed, no occasion to go beyond our own European traditions to
see that the expression of moral qualities is based on fundamental
sensory qualities of taste. In Latin _suavis_ is _sweet_, but even in
Latin it became a moral quality, and its English derivatives have been
entirely deflected from physical to moral qualities, while _bitter_ is
at once a physical quality and a poignantly moral quality. In Sanskrit
and Persian and Arabic _salt_ is not only a physical taste but the
name for lustre and grace and beauty.  [Footnote: Dr. C. S. Myers has
touched on this point in _Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological
Expedition to Torres Straits_, vol. II, part II, chap, iv; also "The
Taste-Names of Primitive Peoples," _British Journal of Psychology_,
June, 1904.] It seems well in passing to point out that the deeper we
penetrate the more fundamentally we find the aesthetic conception of
morals grounded in Nature.  But not every one cares to penetrate any
deeper and there is no need to insist.

Shaftesbury held that human actions should have a beauty of symmetry
and proportion and harmony, which appeal to us, not because they
accord with any rule or maxim (although they may conceivably be
susceptible of measurement), but because they satisfy our instinctive
feelings, evoking an approval which is strictly an aesthetic judgment
of moral action. This instinctive judgment was not, as Shaftesbury
understood it, a guide to action. He held, rightly enough, that the
impulse to action is fundamental and primary, that fine action is the
outcome of finely tempered natures. It is a feeling for the just time
and measure of human passion, and maxims are useless to him whose
nature is ill-balanced. "Virtue is no other than the love of order and
beauty in society." Aesthetic appreciation of the act, and even an
ecstatic pleasure in it, are part of our aesthetic delight in Nature
generally, which includes Man. Nature, it is clear, plays a large part
in this conception of the moral life. To lack balance on any plane of
moral conduct is to be unnatural; "Nature is not mocked," said

She is a miracle, for miracles are not things that are performed, but
things that are perceived, and to fail here is to fail in perception
of the divinity of Nature, to do violence to her, and to court moral
destruction. A return to Nature is not a return to ignorance or
savagery, but to the first instinctive feeling for the beauty of
well-proportioned affections. "The most natural beauty in the world is
honesty and moral truth," he asserts, and he recurs again and again to
"the beauty of honesty." "_Dulce et decorum est_ was his sole reason,"
he says of the classical pagan, adding: "And this is still a good
reason." In learning how to act, he thought, we are "learning to
become artists." It seems natural to him to refer to the magistrate as
an artist; "the magistrate, if he be an artist," he incidentally says.
We must not make morality depend on authority.  The true artist, in
any art, will never act below his character. "Let who will make it for
you as you fancy," the artist declares; "I know it to be wrong.
Whatever I have made hitherto has been true work.  And neither for
your sake or anybody's else shall I put my hand to any other." "This
is virtue!" exclaims Shaftesbury. "This disposition transferred to the
whole of life perfects a character. For there is a workmanship and a
truth in actions."

Shaftesbury, it may be repeated, was an amateur, not only in
philosophy, but even in the arts. He regarded literature as one of the
schoolmasters for fine living, yet he has not been generally regarded
as a fine artist in writing, though, directly or indirectly, he helped
to inspire not only Pope, but Thomson and Cowper and Wordsworth. He
was inevitably interested in painting, but his tastes were merely
those of the ordinary connoisseur of his time. This gives a certain
superficiality to his general aesthetic vision, though it was far from
true, as the theologians supposed, that he was lacking in seriousness.
His chief immediate followers, like Hutcheson, came out of Calvinistic
Puritanism. He was himself an austere Stoic who adapted himself to the
tone of the well-bred world he lived in. But if an amateur, he was an
amateur of genius. He threw a vast and fruitful conception--caught
from the "Poetics" of Aristotle, "the Great Master of Arts," and
developed with fine insight--into our modern world. Most of the great
European thinkers of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
were in some measure inspired, influenced, or anticipated by
Shaftesbury. Even Kant, though he was unsympathetic and niggardly of
appreciation, helped to develop the conception Shaftesbury first
formulated. To-day we see it on every hand. It is slowly and subtly
moulding the whole of our modern morality.

"The greatest Greek of modern times"--so he appears to those who study
his work to-day. It is through Shaftesbury, and Shaftesbury alone that
Greek morals, in their finest essence, have been a vivifying influence
in our modern world. Georg von Gizycki, who has perhaps most clearly
apprehended Shaftes-bury's place in morals, indicates that place with
precision and justice when he states that "he furnished the _elements_
of a moral philosophy which fits into the frame of a truly scientific
conception of the world."  [Footnote: Dr. Georg von Gizycki, _Die
Philosophie Shaftesbury's_ (1876); and the same author's _Die Ethik
David Hume's_ (1878).] That was a service to the modern world so great
and so daring that it could scarcely meet with approval from his
fellow countrymen. The more keenly philosophical Scotch, indeed,
recognised him, first of all Hume, and he was accepted and embodied as
a kind of founder by the so-called Scottish School, though so toned
down and adulterated and adapted to popular tastes and needs, that in
the end he was thereby discredited. But the English never even
adulterated him; they clung to the antiquated and eschatological
Paley, bringing forth edition after edition of his works whereon to
discipline their youthful minds. That led naturally on to the English
Utilitarians in morality, who would disdain to look at anything that
could be called Greek.  Sir Leslie Stephen, who was the vigorous and
capable interpreter to the general public of Utilitarianism, could see
nothing good whatever in Shaftesbury; he viewed him with contemptuous
pity and could only murmur: "Poor Shaftesbury!"

Meanwhile Shaftesbury's fame had from the first been pursuing a very
different course in France and Germany, for it is the people outside a
man's own country who anticipate the verdict of posterity. Leibnitz,
whose vast genius was on some sides akin (Shaftesbury has, indeed,
been termed "the Leibnitz of morals"), admired the English thinker,
and the universal Voltaire recognised him. Montesquieu placed him on a
four-square summit with Plato and Montaigne and Malebranche. The
enthusiastic Diderot, seeing in Shaftesbury the exponent of the
naturalistic ethics of his own temperament, translated a large part of
his chief book in 1745. Herder, who inspired so many of the chief
thinkers of the nineteenth century and even of to-day, was himself
largely inspired by Shaftesbury, whom he once called "the virtuoso ofi
humanity," regarding his writings as, even in form, well-nigh worthy
of Greek antiquity, and long proposed to make a comparative study of
the ethical conceptions of Spinoza, Leibnitz, and Shaftesbury, but
unfortunately never carried out that happy idea. Rousseau, not only by
contact of ideas, but the spontaneous effort of hia own nature towards
autonomous harmony, was fa touch with Shaftesbury, and so helped to
bring his ideals into the general stream of modern life. Shaftesbury,
directly or indirectly, inspired the early influential French
Socialists and Communists. On the other hand he has equally inspired
the moralists of individualism. Even the Spanish-American Rodô, one of
the most delicately aristocratic of modern moralists in recent time,
puts forth conceptions, which, consciously or unconsciously, are
precisely those of Shaftesbury. Rodô believes that all moral evil is a
dissonance in the aesthetic of conduct and that the moral task in
character is that of the sculptor in marble: "Virtue is a kind of art,
a divine art." Even Croce, who began by making a deep division between
art and life, holds that there can be no great critic of art who is
not also a great critic of life, for aesthetic criticism is really
itself a criticism of life, and his whole philosophy may be regarded
as representing a stage of transition between the old traditional view
of the world and that conception towards which in the modern world our
gaze is turned.  [Footnote: It should be added that Croce is himself
moving in this direction, and in, for instance, _Il Carattere di
Totalita della Espressione Artistica_ (1917), he recognises the
universality of art.]

As Shaftesbury had stated the matter, however, it was left on the
whole vague and large. He made no very clear distinction between the
creative artistic impulse in life and critical aesthetic appreciation.
In the sphere of morals we must often be content to wait until our
activity is completed to appreciate its beauty or its ugliness.
[Footnote: Stanley Hall remarks in criticising Kant's moral
aesthetics: "The beauty of virtue is only seen in contemplating it and
the act of doing it has no beauty to the doer at the moment." (G.
Stanley Hall, "Why Kant is Passing," _American Journal of Psychology_,
July, 1912.)] On the background of general aesthetic judgment we have
to concentrate on the forces of creative artistic activity, whose work
it is painfully to mould the clay of moral action, and forge its iron,
long before the aesthetic criterion can be applied to the final
product. The artist's work in life is full of struggle and toil; it is
only the spectator of morals who can assume the calm aesthetic
attitude. Shaftesbury, indeed, evidently recognised this, but it was
not enough to say, as he said, that we may prepare ourselves for moral
action by study in literature. One may be willing to regard living as
an art, and yet be of opinion that it is as unsatisfactory to learn
the art of living in literature as to learn, let us say, the art of
music in architecture.

Yet we must not allow these considerations to lead us away from the
great fact that Shaftesbury clearly realised--what modern psychology
emphasises--that desires can only be countered by desires, that reason
cannot affect appetite. "That which is of original and pure nature,"
he declared, "nothing besides contrary habit and custom (a second
nature) is able to displace. There is no speculative opinion,
persuasion, or belief, which is capable immediately or directly to
exclude or destroy it." Where he went beyond some modern psychologists
is in his Hellenic perception that in this sphere of instinct we are
amid the play of art to which aesthetic criteria alone can be applied.

It was necessary to concentrate and apply these large general ideas.
To some extent this was done by Shaftesbury's immediate successors and
followers, such as Hutcheson and Arbuckle, who taught that man is,
ethically, an artist whose work is his own life. They concentrated
attention on the really creative aspects of the artist in life,
aesthetic appreciation of the finished product being regarded as
secondary. For all art is, primarily, not a contemplation, but a
doing, a creative action, and morality is so preeminently.

Shaftesbury, with his followers Arbuckle and Hutcheson, may be
regarded as the founders of aesthetics; it was Hutcheson, though he
happened to be the least genuinely aesthetic in temperament of the
three, who wrote the first modern treatise on aesthetics. Together,
also, they may be said to have been the revivalists of Hellenism, that
is to say, of the Hellenic spirit, or rather of the classic spirit,
for it often came through Roman channels. Shaftesbury was, as Eucken
has well said, the Greek spirit among English thinkers.  He
represented an inevitable reaction against Puritanism, a reaction
which is still going on--indeed, here and there only just beginning.
As Puritanism had achieved so notable a victory in England, it was
natural that in England the first great champion of Hellenism should
appear. It is to Oliver Cromwell and Praise-God Barebones that we owe

After Shaftesbury it is Arbuckle who first deserves attention, though
he wrote so little that he never attained the prominence he deserved.
[Footnote: See article on Arbuckle by W. R. Scott in _Mind_, April,
1899,] He was a Dublin physician of Scottish ancestry, the friend of
Swift, by whom he was highly esteemed, and he was a cripple from
boyhood. He was a man of genuine artistic temperament, though the art
he was attracted to was not, as with Shaftesbury, the sculptor's or
the painter's, but the poet's. It was not so much intuition on which
he insisted, but imagination as formative of a character; moral
approval seemed to him thoroughly aesthetic, part of an imaginative
act which framed the ideal of a beautiful personality, externalising
itself in action. When Robert Bridges, the poet of our own time,
suggests (in his "Necessity of Poetry") that "morals is that part of
Poetry which deals with conduct," he is speaking in the spirit of
Arbuckle. An earlier and greater poet was still nearer to Arbuckle.
"A man to be greatly good," said Shelley in his "Defence of Poetry,"
"must imagine intensely and comprehensively.  ... The great instrument
of moral good is the imagination." If, indeed, with Adam Smith and
Schopenhauer, we choose to base morals on sympathy we really are
thereby making the poet's imagination the great moral instrument.
Morals was for Arbuckle a disinterested aesthetic harmony, and he had
caught much of the genuine Greek spirit.

Hutcheson was in this respect less successful.  Though he had occupied
himself with aesthetics he had little true aesthetic feeling; and
though he accomplished much for the revival of Greek studies his own
sympathies were really with the Roman Stoics, with Cicero, with Marcus
Aurelius, and in this way he was led towards Christianity, to which
Shaftesbury was really alien. He democratised if not vulgarised, and
diluted if not debased, Shaftesbury's loftier conception.  In his too
widely sympathetic and receptive mind the Shaftesburian ideal was not
only Romanised, not only Christianised; it was plunged into a
miscellaneously eclectic mass that often became inconsistent and
incoherent. In the long run, in spite of his great immediate success,
he injured in these ways the cause he advocated. He overemphasised the
passively sesthetic side of morals; he dwelt on the term "moral
sense," by Shaftesbury only occasionally used, as it had long
previously been by Aristotle (and then only in the sense of "natural
temper" by analogy with the physical senses), and this term was long a
stumbling-block in the eyes of innocent philosophic critics, too
easily befooled by words, who failed to see that, as Libby has pointed
out, the underlying idea simply is, as held by Shaftesbury, that
aesthetic notions of proportion and symmetry depend upon the native
structure of the mind and only so constitute a "moral sense."
[Footnote: See a helpful paper by F. Libby, "Influence of the Idea of
Aesthetic Proportion on the Ethics of Shaftesbury,"_American Journal
of Psychology_, May-October, 1901.] What Hutcheson, as distinct from
Shaftesbury, meant by a "moral sense"--really a conative instinct--is
sufficiently indicated by the fact that he was inclined to consider
the conjugal and parental affections as a "sense" because natural. He
desired to shut out reason, and cognitive elements, and that again
brought him to the conception of morality as instinctive. Hutcheson's
conception of "sense" was defective as being too liable to be regarded
as passive rather than as conative, though conation was implied.  The
fact that the "moral sense" was really instinct, and had nothing
whatever to do with "innate ideas," as many have ignorantly supposed,
was clearly seen by Hutcheson's opponents. The chief objection brought
forward by the Reverend John Balguy in 1728, in the first part of his
"Foundation of Moral Goodness," was precisely that Hutcheson based
morality on instinct and so had allowed "some degree of morality to
animals." [Footnote: We find fallacious criticism of the "moral sense"
down to almost recent times, in, for instance, McDougall's _Social
Psychology_, even though McDougall, by his insistence on the
instinctive basis of morality, was himself carrying on the tradition
of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson.  But McDougall also dragged in "some
prescribed code of conduct," though he neglected to mention who is to
"prescribe" it.] It was Hutcheson's fine and impressive personality,
his high character, his eloquence, his influential position, which
enabled him to keep alive the conception of morals he preached, and
even to give it an effective force, throughout the European world, it
might not otherwise easily have exerted. Philosophy was to Hutcheson
the art of living--as it was to the old Greek philosophers--rather
than a question of metaphysics, and he was careless of consistency in
thinking, an open-minded eclectic who insisted that life itself is the
great matter. That, no doubt, was the reason why he had so immense an
influence. It was mainly through Hutcheson that the more aristocratic
spirit of Shaftesbury was poured into the circulatory channels of the
world's life. Hume and Adam Smith and Reid were either the pupils of
Hutcheson or directly influenced by him. He was a great personality
rather than a great thinker, and it was as such that he exerted so
much force in philosophy.  [Footnote: See W. R. Scott, _Francis
Hutcheson: His Life, Teaching and Position in the History of
Philosophy_. (1900.)]

With Schiller, whose attitude was not, however, based directly on
Shaftesbury, the aesthetic conception of morals, which in its
definitely conscious form had up till then been especially English,
may be said to have entered the main stream of culture. Schiller
regarded the identity of Duty and Inclination as the ideal goal of
human development, and looked on the Genius of Beauty as the chief
guide of life. Wilhelm von Hum-boldt, one of the greatest spirits of
that age, was moved by the same ideas, throughout his life, much as in
many respects he changed, and even shortly before his death wrote in
deprecation of the notion that conformity to duty is the final aim of
morality. Goethe, who was the intimate friend of both Schiller and
Humboldt, largely shared the same attitude, and through him it has had
a subtle and boundless influence. Kant, who, it has been said, mistook
Duty for a Prussian drill-sergeant, still ruled the academic moral
world.  But a new vivifying and moulding force had entered the larger
moral world, and to-day we may detect its presence on every side.


IT has often been brought against the conception of morality as an art
that it lacks seriousness. It seems to many people to involve an easy,
self-indulgent, dilettante way of looking at life. Certainly it is not
the way of the Old Testament. Except in imaginative literature--it
was, indeed, an enormous and fateful exception--the Hebrews were no
"aesthetic intuitionists." They hated art, for the rest, and in face
of the problems of living they were not in the habit of considering
the lilies how they grow. It was not the beauty of holiness, but the
stern rod of a jealous Jehovah, which they craved for their
encouragement along the path of Duty. And it is the Hebrew mode of
feeling which has been, more or less violently and imperfectly,
grafted into our Christianity.  [Footnote: It is noteworthy, however,
that the aesthetic view of morals has had advocates, not only among
the more latitudinarian Protestants, but in Catholicism. A few years
ago the Reverend Dr. Kolbe published a book on _The Art of Life_,
designed to show that just as the sculptor works with hammer and
chisel to shape a block of marble into a form of beauty, so Man, by
the power of grace, the illumination of faith, and the instrument of
prayer, works to transform his soul. But this simile of the sculptor,
which has appealed so strongly alike to Christian and anti-Christian
moralists, proceeds, whether or not they knew it, from Plotinus, who,
in his famous chapter on Beauty, bids us note the sculptor.  "He cuts
away here, he smooths there, he makes this line lighter, this other
purer, until a living face has grown upon his work. So do you also cut
away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring
light to all that is overcast, make all one glow of beauty, and never
cease chiselling your statue until the godlike splendour shines on you
from it, and the perfect goodness stands, surely, in the stainless

It is a complete mistake, however, to suppose that those for whom life
is an art have entered on an easy path, with nothing but enjoyment and
self-indulgence before them. The reverse is nearer to the truth. It is
probably the hedonist who had better choose rules if he only cares to
make life pleasant.  [Footnote: "They who pitched the goal of their
aspiration so high knew that the paths leading up to it were rough and
steep and long," remarks A. W. Benn (_The Greek Philosophers_, 1914,
p. 57); "they said 'the beautiful is hard'--hard to judge, hard to
win, hard to keep."] For the artist life is always a discipline, and
no discipline can be without pain. That is so even of dancing, which
of all the arts is most associated in the popular mind with pleasure.
To learn to dance is the most austere of disciplines, and even for
those who have attained to the summit of its art often remains a
discipline not to be exercised without heroism. The dancer seems a
thing of joy, but we are told that this famous dancer's slippers are
filled with blood when the dance is over, and that one falls down
pulseless and deathlike on leaving the stage, and the other must spend
the day in darkness and silence.  "It is no small advantage," said
Nietzsche, "to have a hundred Damoclean swords suspended above one's
head; that is how one learns to dance, that is how one attains
'freedom of movement.'" [Footnote: _Der Wille zur Macht_, p. 358.]

For as pain is entwined in an essential element in the perfect
achievement of that which seems naturally the most pleasurable of the
arts, so it is with the whole art of living, of which dancing is the
supreme symbol.  There is no separating Pain and Pleasure without
making the first meaningless for all vital ends and the second turn to
ashes. To exalt pleasure is to exalt pain; and we cannot understand
the meaning of pain unless we understand the place of pleasure in the
art of life. In England, James Hinton sought to make that clear,
equally against those who failed to see that pain is as necessary
morally as it undoubtedly is biologically, and against those who would
puritanically refuse to accept the morality of pleasure.  [Footnote:
Mrs. Havelock Ellis, _James Hinton_, 1918.] It is no doubt important
to resist pain, but it is also important that it should be there to
resist. Even when we look at the matter no longer subjectively but
objectively, we must accept pain in any sound aesthetic or
metaphysical picture of the world.  [Footnote: This has been well seen
by Jules de Gaultier: "The joys and the sorrows which fill life are,
the one and the other," he says (_La Dépendance de la Morale et
l'Indépendance des Moeurs_, p. 340), "elements of spectacular interest,
and without the mixture of both that interest would be abolished. To
make of the representative worth of phenomena their justification in
view of a spectacular end alone, avoids the objection by which the
moral thesis is faced, the fact of pain. Pain becomes, on the
contrary, the correlative of pleasure, an indispensable means for its
realization.  Such a thesis is in agreement with the nature of things,
instead of being wounded by their existence."]

We must not be surprised, therefore, that this way of looking at life
as an art has spontaneously commended itself to men of the gravest and
deepest character, in all other respects widely unlike. Shaftesbury
was temperamentally a Stoic whose fragile constitution involved a
perpetual endeavour to mould life to the form of his ideal. And if we
go back to Marcus Aurelius we find an austere and heroic man whose
whole life, as we trace it in his "Meditations," was a splendid
struggle, a man who--even, it seems, unconsciously--had adopted the
aesthetic criterion of moral goodness and the artistic conception of
moral action. Dancing and wrestling express to his eyes the activity
of the man who is striving to live, and the goodness of moral actions
instinctively appears to him as the beauty of natural objects; it is
to Marcus Aurelius that we owe that immortal utterance of aesthetic
intuitionism: "As though the emerald should say: 'Whatever happens I
must be emerald.'" There could be no man more unlike the Roman
Emperor, or in any more remote field of action, than the French saint
and philanthropist Vincent de Paul. At once a genuine Christian mystic
and a very wise and marvellously effective man of action, Vincent de
Paul adopts precisely the same simile of the moral attitude that had
long before been put forth by Plotinus and in the next century was
again to be taken up by Shaftesbury: "My daughters," he wrote to the
Sisters of Charity, "we are each like a block of stone which is to be
transferred into a statue. What must the sculptor do to carry out his
design? First of all he must take the hammer and chip off all that he
does not need. For this purpose he strikes the stone so violently that
if you were watching him you would say he intended to break it to
pieces. Then, when he has got rid of the rougher parts, he takes a
smaller hammer, and afterwards a chisel, to begin the face with all
the features.  When that has taken form, he uses other and finer tools
to bring it to that perfection he has intended for his statue." If we
desire to find a spiritual artist as unlike as possible to Vincent de
Paul we may take Nietzsche. Alien as any man could ever be to a cheap
or superficial vision of the moral life, and far too intellectually
keen to confuse moral problems with purely aesthetic problems,
Nietzsche, when faced by the problem of living, sets himself--almost
as instinctively as Marcus Aurelius or Vincent de Paul--at the
standpoint of art. "Allés Leben ist Streit um Geschmack und
Schmecken." It is a crucial passage in "Zarathustra": "All life is a
dispute about taste and tasting! Taste: that is weight and at the same
time scales and weigher; and woe to all living things that would live
without dispute about weight and scales and weigher!" For this gospel
of taste is no easy gospel. A man must make himself a work of art,
Nietzsche again and again declares, moulded into beauty by suffering,
for such art is the highest morality, the morality of the Creator.

There is a certain indefiniteness about the conception of morality as
an artistic impulse, to be judged by an aesthetic criterion, which is
profoundly repugnant to at least two classes of minds fully entitled
to make their antipathy felt. In the first place, it makes no appeal
to the abstract reasoner, indifferent to the manifoldly concrete
problems of living. For the man whose brain is hypertrophied and his
practical life shrivelled to an insignificant routine--the man of whom
Kant is the supreme type--it is always a temptation to rationalise
morality. Such a pure intellectualist, overlooking the fact that human
beings are not mathematical figures, may even desire to transform
ethics into a species of geometry. That we may see in Spinoza, a
nobler and more inspiring figure, no doubt, but of the same
temperament as Kant. The impulses and desires of ordinary men and
women are manifold, inconstant, often conflicting, and sometimes
overwhelming. "Morality is a fact of sensibility," remarks Jules de
Gaultier; "it has no need to have recourse to reason for its
affirmations." But to men of the intellectualist type this
consideration is almost negligible; all the passions and affections of
humanity seem to them meek as sheep which they may shepherd, and pen
within the flimsiest hurdles.  William Blake, who could cut down to
that central core of the world where all things are fused together,
knew better when he said that the only golden rule of life is "the
great and golden rule of art." James Hinton was for ever expatiating
on the close resemblance between the methods of art, as shown
especiaily in painting, and the methods of moral action.  Thoreau, who
also belonged to this tribe, declared, in the same spirit as Blake,
that there is no golden rule in morals, for rules are only current
silver; "it is golden not to have any rule at all."

There is another quite different type of person who shares this
antipathy to the indefiniteness of aesthetic morality: the ambitious
moral reformer. The man of this class is usually by no means devoid of
strong passions; but for the most part he possesses no great
intellectual calibre and so is unable to estimate the force and
complexity of human impulses. The moral reformer, eager to introduce
the millennium here and now by the aid of the newest mechanical
devices, is righteously indignant with anything so vague as an
aesthetic morality. He must have definite rules and regulations,
clear-cut laws and by-laws, with an arbitrary list of penalties
attached, to be duly inflicted in this world or the next. The popular
conception of Moses, descending from the sacred mount with a brand-new
table of commandments, which he declares have been delivered to him by
God, though he is ready to smash them to pieces on the slightest
provocation, furnishes a delightful image of the typical moral
reformer of every age. It is, however, only in savage and barbarous
stages of society, or among the uncultivated classes of civilisation,
that the men of this type can find their faithful followers.

Yet there is more to be said. That very indefiniteness of the
criterion of moral action, falsely supposed to be a disadvantage, is
really the prime condition for effective moral action. The academic
philosophers of ethics, had they possessed virility enough to enter
the field of real life, would have realised--as we cannot expect the
moral reformers blinded by the smoke of their own fanaticism to
realise--that the slavery to rigid formulas which they preached was
the death of all high moral responsibility. Life must always be a
great adventure, with risks on every hand; a clearsighted eye, a
many-sided sympathy, a fine daring, an endless patience, are for ever
necessary to all good living. With such qualities alone may the artist
in life reach success; without them even the most devoted slave to
formulas can only meet disaster. No reasonable moral being may draw
breath in the world without an open-eyed freedom of choice, and if the
moral world is to be governed by laws, better to people it with
automatic machines than with living men and women.

In our human world the precision of mechanism is for ever impossible.
The indefiniteness of morality is a part of its necessary
imperfection. There is not only room in morality for the high
aspiration, the courageous decision, the tonic thrill of the muscles
of the soul, but we have to admit also sacrifice and pain.  The lesser
good, our own or that of others, is merged in a larger good, and that
cannot be without some rending of the heart. So all moral action,
however in the end it may be justified by its harmony and balance, is
in the making cruel and in a sense even immoral. Therein lies the
final justification of the «esthetic conception of morality. It opens
a wider perspective and reveals loftier standpoints; it shows how the
seeming loss is part of an ultimate gain, so restoring that harmony
and beauty which the unintelligent partisans of a hard and barren duty
so often destroy for ever. "Art," as Paulhan declares, "is often more
moral than morality itself" Or, as Jules de Gaultier holds, "Art is in
a certain sense the only morality which life admits." In so far as we
can infuse it with the spirit and method of art we have transformed
morality into something beyond morality; it has become the complete
embodiment of the Dance of Life.




LIFE, we have seen, may be regarded as an art. But we cannot help
seeking to measure, quantitatively if not qualitatively, our mode of
life. We do so, for the most part, instinctively rather than
scientifically. It gratifies us to imagine that, as a race, we have
reached a point on the road of progress beyond that vouchsafed to our
benighted predecessors, and that, as individuals or as nations, it is
given to us, fortunately,--or, rather, through our superior
merits,--to enjoy a finer degree of civilisation than the individuals
and the nations around us. This feeling has been common to most or all
branches of the human race. In the classic world of antiquity they
called outsiders, indiscriminately, "barbarians"--a denomination which
took on an increasingly depreciative sense; and even the lowest
savages sometimes call their own tribe by a word which means "men,"
thereby implying that all other peoples are not worthy of the name.

But in recent centuries there has been an attempt to be more precise,
to give definite values to the feeling within us. All sorts of
dogmatic standards have been set up by which to measure the degree of
a people's civilisation. The development of demography and social
statistics in civilised countries during the past century should, it
has seemed, render such comparison easy. Yet the more carefully we
look into the nature of these standards the more dubious they become.
On the one hand, civilisation is so complex that no one test furnishes
an adequate standard. On the other hand, the methods of statistics are
so variable and uncertain, so apt to be influenced by circumstance,
that it is never possible to be sure that one is operating with
figures of equal weight.

Recently this has been well and elaborately shown by Professor
Niceforo, the Italian sociologist and statistician.  [Footnote: Alfred
Niceforo, _Les Indices Numériques de la Civilisation et d* Progrès_.
Paris, 1921.] It is to be remembered that Niceforo has himself been a
daring pioneer in the measurement of life. He has applied the
statistical method not only to the natural and social sciences, but
even to art, especially literature. When, therefore, he discusses the
whole question of the validity of the measurement of civilisation, his
conclusions deserve respect. They are the more worthy of consideration
since his originality in the statistical field is balanced by his
learning, and it is not easy to recall any scientific attempts in this
field which he has failed to mention somewhere in his book, if only in
a footnote.

The difficulties begin at the outset, and might well serve to bar even
the entrance to discussion. We want to measure the height to which we
have been able to build our "civilisation" towards the skies; we want
to measure the progress we have made in our great dance of life
towards the unknown future goal, and we have no idea what either
"civilisation" or "progress" means.  [Footnote: Professor Bury, in his
admirable history of the idea of progress (J. B. Bury, _The Idea of
Progress_, 1920), never defines the meaning of "progress." As regards
the meaning of "civilisation" see essay on "Civilisation," Havelock
Ellis, _The Philosophy of Conflict_ (1919), pp. 14-22.] This
difficulty is so crucial, for it involves the very essence of the
matter, that it is better to place it aside and simply go ahead,
without deciding, for the present, precisely what the ultimate
significance of the measurements we can make may prove to be.  Quite
sufficient other difficulties await us.

There is, first of all, the bewildering number of social phenomena we
can now attempt to measure. Two centuries ago there were no comparable
sets of figures whereby to measure one community against another
community, though at the end of the eighteenth century Boisguillebert
was already speaking of the possibility of constructing a "barometer
of prosperity." Even the most elementary measurable fact of all, the
numbering of peoples, was carried out so casually and imperfectly and
indirectly, if at all, that its growth and extent could hardly be
compared with profit in any two nations. As the life of a community
increases in stability and orderliness and organisation, registration
incidentally grows elaborate, and thereby the possibility of the
by-product of statistics. This aspect of social life began to become
pronounced during the nîneteenth century, and it was in the middle of
that century that Quetelet appeared, by no means as the first to use
social statistics, but the first great pioneer in the manipulation of
such figures in a scientific manner, with a large and philosophical
outlook on their real significance.  [Footnote: Quetelet, _Physique
Sociale_. (1869.)] Since then the possible number of such means of
numerical comparison has much increased. The difficulty now is to know
which are the most truly indicative of real superiority.

But before we consider that, again even at the outset, there is
another difficulty. Our apparently comparable figures are often not
really comparable. Each country or province or town puts forth its own
sets of statistics and each set may be quite comparable within itself.
But when we begin critically to compare one set with another set, all
sorts of fallacies appear. We have to allow, not only for varying
accuracy and completeness, but for difference of method in collecting
and registering the facts, and for all sorts of qualifying
circumstances which may exist at one place or time, and not at other
places or times with which we are seeking comparison.

The word "civilisation" is of recent formation. It came from France,
but even in France in a Dictionary of 1727 it cannot be found, though
the verb civiliser existed as far back as 1694, meaning to polish
manners, to render sociable, to become urbane, one might say, as a
result of becoming urban, of living as a citizen in cities. We have to
recognise, of course, that the idea of civilisation is relative; that
any community and any age has its own civilisation, and its own ideals
of civilisation.  But, that assumed, we may provisionally assert--and
we shall be in general accordance with Niceforo--that, in its most
comprehensive sense, the art of civilisation includes the three groups
of _material_ facts, _intellectual_ facts, and _moral_ (with
_political_) facts, so covering all the essential facts in our life.

Material facts, which we are apt to consider the most easily
measurable, include quantity and distribution of population,
production of wealth, the consumption of food and luxuries, the
standard of life. Intellectual facts include both the diffusion and
degree of instruction and creative activity in genius. Moral facts
include the prevalence of honesty, justice, pity, and self-sacrifice,
the position of women and the care of children. They are the most
important of all for the quality of a civilisation.  Voltaire pointed
out that "pity and justice are the foundations of society," and, long
previously, Pericles in Thucydides described the degradation of the
Pelo-ponnesians among whom every one thinks only of his own advantage,
and every one believes that his own negligence of other things will
pass unperceived. Plato in his "Republic" made justice the foundation
of harmony in the outer life and the inner life, while in modern times
various philosophers, like Shadworth Hodg-son, have emphasised that
doctrine of Plato's. The whole art of government comes under this head
and the whole treatment of human personality.

The comparative prevalence of criminality has long been the test most
complacently adopted by those who seek to measure civilisation on its
moral and most fundamental aspect. Crime is merely a name for the most
obvious, extreme, and directly dangerous forms of what we call
immorality--that is to say, departure from the norm in manners and
customs. Therefore the highest civilisation is that with the least
crime. But is it so?  The more carefully we look into the matter, the
more difficult it becomes to apply this test. We find that even at the
outset. Every civilised community has its own way of dealing with
criminal statistics and the discrepancies thus introduced are so great
that this fact alone makes comparisons almost impossible. It is
scarcely necessary to point out that varying skill and thoroughness in
the detection of crime, and varying severity in the attitude towards
it, necessarily count for much. Of not less significance is the
legislative activity of the community; the greater the number of laws,
the greater the number of offences against them. If, for instance,
Prohibition is introduced into a country, the amount of delinquency in
that country is enormously increased, but it would be rash to assert
that the country has thereby been sensibly lowered in the scale of
civilisation. To avoid this difficulty, it has been proposed to take
into consideration only what are called "natural crimes"; that is,
those everywhere regarded as punishable. But, even then, there is a
still more disconcerting consideration. For, after all, the
criminality of a country is a by-product of its energy in business and
in the whole conduct of affairs. It is a poisonous excretion, but
excretion is the measure of vital metabolism. There are, moreover, the
so-called evolutive social crimes, which spring from motives not lower
but higher than those ruling the society in which they arise.
[Footnote: See e.g., Maurice Parmelee's _Criminology_, the sanest and
most comprehensive manual on the subject we have in English.]
Therefore, we cannot be sure that we ought not to regard the most
criminal country as that which in some aspects possesses the highest

Let us turn to the intellectual aspect of civilisation.  Here we have
at least two highly important and quite fairly measurable facts to
consider: the production of creative genius and the degree and
diffusion of general instruction. If we consider the matter
abstractly, it is highly probable that we shall declare that no
civilisation can be worth while unless it is rich in creative genius
and unless the population generally exhibits a sufficiently cultured
level of education out of which such genius may arise freely and into
which the seeds it produces may fruitfully fall. Yet, what do we find?
Alike, whether we go back to the earliest civilisations we have
definite information about or turn to the latest stages of
civilisation we know to-day, we fail to see any correspondence between
these two essential conditions of civilisation. Among peoples in a low
state of culture, among savages generally, such instruction and
education as exists really is generally diffused; every member of the
community is initiated into the tribal traditions; yet, no observers
of such peoples seem to note the emergence of individuals of
strikingly productive genius.  That, so far as we know, began to
appear, and, indeed, in marvellous variety and excellence, in Greece,
and the civilisation of Greece (as later the more powerful but coarser
civilisation of Rome) was built up on a broad basis of slavery, which
nowadays--except, of course, when disguised as industry--we no longer
regard as compatible with high civilisation.

Ancient Greece, indeed, may suggest to us to ask whether the genius of
a country be not directly opposed to the temper of the population of
that country, and its "leaders" really be its outcasts. (Some believe
that many, if not all, countries of to-day might serve to suggest the
same question.) If we want to imagine the real spirit of Greece, we
may have to think of a figure with a touch of Ulysses, indeed, but
with more of Thersites.  [Footnote: Élie Faure, with his usual
incisive insight, has set out the real characters of the "Greek
Spirit" ("Reflexionsjur le Génie Grec," _Monde Nouveau_, December,
1922).] The Greeks who interest us to-day were exceptional people,
usually imprisoned, exiled, or slain by the more truly representative
Greeks of their time.  When Plato and the others set forth so
persistently an ideal of wise moderation they were really putting
up--and in vain--a supplication for mercy to a people who, as they had
good ground for realising, knew nothing of wisdom, and scoffed at
moderation, and were mainly inspired by ferocity and intrigue.

To turn to a more recent example, consider the splendid efflorescence
of genius in Russia during the central years of the last century,
still a vivifying influence on the literature and music of the world;
yet the population of Russia had only just been delivered, nominally
at least, from serfdom, and still remained at the intellectual and
economic level of serfs. To-day, education has become diffused in the
Western world. Yet no one would dream of asserting that genius is more
prevalent.  Consider the United States, for instance, during the past
half-century. It would surely be hard to find any country, except
Germany, where education is more highly esteemed or better understood,
and where instruction is more widely diffused. Yet, so far as the
production of high original genius is concerned, an old Italian city,
like Florence, with a few thousand inhabitants, had far more to show
than all the United States put together. So that we are at a loss how
to apply the intellectual test to the measurement of civilisation. It
would almost seem that the two essential elements of this test are
mutually incompatible.

Let us fall back on the simple solid fundamental test furnished by the
material aspect of civilisation. Here we are among elementary facts
and the first that began to be measured. Yet our difficulties, instead
of diminishing, rather increase. It is here, too, that we chiefly meet
with what Niceforo has called "the paradoxical symptoms of superiority
in progress," though I should prefer to call them ambivalent; that is
to say, that, while from one point of view they indicate superiority,
from another, even though some may call it a lower point of view, they
appear to indicate inferiority. This is well illustrated by the test
of growth of population, or the height of the birth-rate, better by
the birth-rate considered in relation to the death-rate, for they
cannot be intelligibly considered apart. The law of Nature is
reproduction, and if an intellectual rabbit were able to study human
civilisation he would undoubtedly regard rapidity of multiplication,
in which he has himself attained so high a degree of proficiency, as
evidence of progress in civilisation. In fact, as we know, there are
even human beings who take the same view, whence we have what has been
termed "Rabbitism" in men. Yet, if anything is clear in this obscure
field, it is that the whole tendency of evolution is towards a
diminishing birth-rate.  [Footnote: This tendency, on which Herbert
Spencer long ago insisted, is in it» larger aspects quite clear. E. C.
Pell (_The Law of Births and Deaths_, 1921) has argued that it holds
good of civilised man to-day, and that our decreasing birth-rate with
civilisation is quite independent of any effort on Man's part to
attain that evolutionary end.] The most civilised countries
everywhere, and the most civilised people in them, are those with the
lowest birth-rate.  Therefore, we have here to measure the height of
civilisation by a test which, if carried to an extreme, would mean the
disappearance of civilisation. Another such ambivalent test is the
consumption of luxuries of which alcohol and tobacco are the types.
There is held to be no surer test of civilisation than the increase
per head of the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Yet alcohol and
tobacco are recognisably poisons, so that their consumption has only
to be carried far enough to destroy civilisation altogether. Again,
take the prevalence of suicide. That, without doubt, is a test of
height in civilisation; it means that the population is winding up its
nervous and intellectual system to the utmost point of tension and
that sometimes it snaps. We should be justified in regarding as very
questionable a high civilisation which failed to show a high
suiciderate.  Yet suicide is the sign of failure, misery, and despair.
How can we regard the prevalence of failure, misery, and despair as
the mark of high civilisation?

Thus, whichever of the three groups of facts we attempt to measure, it
appears on examination almost hopelessly complex. We have to try to
make our methods correspondingly complex. Niceforo had invoked
co-variation, or simultaneous and sympathetic changes in various
factors of civilisation; he explains the index number, and he appeals
to mathematics for aid out of the difficulties. He also attempts to
combine, with the help of diagrams, a single picture out of these
awkward and contradictory tests. The example he gives is that of
France during the fifty years preceding the war. It is an interesting
example because there is reason to consider France as, in some
respects, the most highly civilised of countries. What are the chief
significant measurable marks of this superiority? Niceforo selects
about a dozen, and, avoiding the difficult attempt to compare France
with other countries, he confines himself to the more easily
practicable task of ascertaining whether, or in what respects, the
general art of civilisation in France, the movement of the collective
life, has been upward or downward. When the different categories are
translated, according to recognised methods, into index numbers,
taking the original figures from the official "Résumé" of French
statistics, it is found that each line of movement follows throughout
the same direction, though often in zigzag fashion, and never turns
back on itself. In this way it appears that the consumption of coal
has been more than doubled, the consumption of luxuries (sugar,
coffee, alcohol) nearly doubled, the consumption of food per head (as
tested by cheese and potatoes) also increasing. Suicide has increased
fifty per cent; wealth has increased slightly and irregularly; the
upward movement of population has been extremely slight and partly due
to immigration; the death-rate has fallen, though not so much as the
birth-rate; the number of persons convicted of offence by the courts
has fallen; the proportion of illiterate persons has diminished;
divorces have greatly increased, and also the number of syndicalist
workers, but these two movements are of comparative recent growth.

This example well shows what it is possible to do by the most easily
available and generally accepted tests by which to measure the
progress of a community in the art of civilisation. Every one of the
tests applied to France reveals an upward tendency of civilisation,
though some of them, such as the fall in the death-rate, are not
strongly pronounced and much smaller than may be found in many other
countries. Yet, at the same time, while we have to admit that each of
these lines of movement indicates an upward tendency of civilisation,
it by no means follows that we can view them all with complete
satisfaction. It may even be said that some of them have only to be
carried further in order to indicate dissolution and decay. The
consumption of luxuries, for instance, as already noted, is the
consumption of poisons. The increase of wealth means little unless we
take into account its distribution. The increase of syndicalism, while
it is a sign of increased independence, intelligence, and social
aspiration among the workers, is also a sign that the social system is
becoming regarded as unsound. So that, while all these tests may be
said to indicate a rising civilisation, they yet do not invalidate the
wise conclusion of Niceforo that a civilisation is never an exclusive
mass of benefits, but a mass of values, positive and negative, and it
may even be said that most often the conquest of a benefit in one
domain of a civilisation brings into another domain of that
civilisation inevitable evils. Long ago, Montesquieu had spoken of the
evils of civilisation and left the question of the value of
civilisation open, while Rousseau, more passionately, had decided
against civilisation.

We see the whole question from another point, yet not incongruously,
when we turn to Professor William McDougall's Lowell Lectures, "Is
America Safe for Democracy?" since republished under the more general
title "National Welfare and National Decay," for the author recognises
that the questions he deals with go to the root of all high
civilisation. As he truly observes, civilisation grows constantly more
complex and also less subject to the automatically balancing influence
of national selection, more dependent for its stability on our
constantly regulative and foreseeing control. Yet, while the
intellectual task placed upon us is ever growing heavier, our brains
are not growing correspondingly heavier to bear it. There is, as Remy
de Gourmont often pointed out, no good reason to suppose that we are
in any way innately superior to our savage ancestors, who had at least
as good physical constitutions and at least as large brains. The
result is that the small minority among us which alone can attempt to
cope with our complexly developing civilisation comes to the top by
means of what Arsène Dumont called social capillarity, and McDougall
the social ladder. The small upper stratum is of high quality, the
large lower stratum of poor quality, and with a tendency to
feeble-mindedness. It is to this large lower stratum that, with our
democratic tendencies, we assign the political and other guidance of
the community, and it is this lower stratum which has the higher
birth-rate, since with all high civilisation the normal birth-rate is
low.  [Footnote: Professor McDougall refers to the high birth-rate of
the lower stra-turr as more "normal." If that were so, civilisation
would certainly be doomed. All high evolution _normally_ involves a
low birth-rate. Strange how difficult it is even for those most
concerned with these questions to see the facts simply and clearly!]
McDougall is not concerned with the precise measurement of
civilisation, and may not be familiar with the attempts that have been
made in that direction. It is his object to point out the necessity in
high civilisation for a deliberate and purposive art of eugenics, if
we would prevent the eventual shipwreck of civilisation. But we see
how his conclusions emphasise those difficulties in the measurement of
civilisation which Niceforo has so clearly set forth.

McDougall is repeating what many, especially among eugenists, have
previously said. While not disputing the element of truth in the facts
and arguments brought forward from this side, it may be pointed out
that they are often overstated. This has been well argued by
Carr-Saunders in his valuable and almost monumental work, "The
Population Problem," and his opinion is the more worthy of attention
as he is himself a worker in the cause of eugenics. He points out that
the social ladder is, after all, hard to climb, and that it only
removes a few individuals from the lower social stratum, while among
those who thus climb, even though they do not sink back, regression to
the mean is ever in operation so that they do not greatly enrich in
the end the class they have climbed up to. Moreover, as Carr-Saunders
pertinently asks, are we so sure that the qualities that mark
successful climbers--self-assertion, acquisition, emulation--are
highly desirable?  "It may even be," he adds, "that we might view a
diminution in the average strength of some of the qualities which mark
the successful at least with equanimity." Taken altogether, it would
seem that the differences between social classes may mainly be
explained by environmental influences. There is, however, ground to
recognise a slight intellectual superiority in the upper social class,
apart from environment, and so great is the significance for
civilisation of quality that even when the difference seems slight it
must not be regarded as negligible.  [Footnote: A. M. Carr-Saunders,
_The Population Problem: A Study in Human Evolution_ (1922), pp. 457,

More than half a century ago, indeed, George Sand pointed out that we
must distinguish between the civilisation of _quantity_ and the
civilisation of _quality_. As the great Morgagni had said much
earlier, it is not enough to count, we must evaluate; "observations
are not to be numbered, they are to be weighed." It is not the biggest
things that are the most civilised things.  The largest structures of
Hindu or Egyptian art are outweighed by the temples on the Acropolis
of Athens, and similarly, as Bryce, who had studied the matter so
thoroughly, was wont to insist, it is the smallest democracies which
to-day stand highest in the scale. We have seen that there is much in
civilisation which we may profitably measure, yet, when we seek to
scale the last heights of civilisation, the ladder of our "metrology"
comes to grief. "The methods of the mind are too weak," as Comte said,
"and the Universe is too complex." Life, even the life of the
civilised community, is an art, and the too much is as fatal as the
too little.  We may say of civilisation, as Renan said of truth, that
it lies in a nuance. Gumplowicz believed that civilisation is the
beginning of disease; Arsène Dumont thought that it inevitably held
within itself a toxic principle, a principle by which it is itself in
time poisoned. The more rapidly a civilisation progresses, the sooner
it dies for another to arise in its place. That may not seem to every
one a cheerful prospect. Yet, if our civilisation has failed to enable
us to look further than our own egoistic ends, what has our
civilisation been worth?


THE attempt to apply measurement to civilisation is, therefore, a
failure. That is, indeed, only another way of saying that
civilisation, the whole manifold web of life, is an art. We may
dissect out a vast number of separate threads and measure them. It is
quite worth while to do so. But the results of such anatomical
investigation admit of the most diverse interpretation, and, at the
best, can furnish no adequate criterion of the worth of a complex
living civilisation.  Yet, although there is no precise measurement of
the total value of any large form of life, we can still make an
estimate of its value. We can approach it, that is to say, as a work
of art. We can even reach a certain approximation to agreement in the
formation of such estimates.

When Protagoras said that "Man is the measure of all things," he
uttered a dictum which has been variously interpreted, but from the
standpoint we have now reached, from which Man is seen to be
preeminently an artist, it is a monition to us that we cannot to the
measurement of life apply our instruments of precision, and cut life
down to their graduated marks. They have, indeed, their immensely
valuable uses, but it is strictly as instruments and not as ends of
living or criteria of the worth of life. It is in the failure to grasp
this that the human tragedy has often consisted, and for over two
thousand years the dictum of Protagoras has been held up for the
pacification of that tragedy, for the most part, in vain. Protagoras
was one of those "Sophists" who have been presented to our contempt in
absurd traditional shapes ever since Plato caricatured them--though it
may well be that some, as, it has been suggested, Gorgias, may have
given colour to the caricature--and it is only to-day that it is
possible to declare that we must place the names of Protagoras, of
Prodicus, of Hippias, even of Gorgias, beside those of Herodotus,
Pindar, and Pericles.  [Footnote: Dupréel, _La Légende Socratique_
(1922), p. 428. Dupréel considers (p. 431) that the Protagorean spirit
was marked by the idea of explaining the things of thought, and life
in general, by the meeting, opposition, and harmony of individual
activities, leading up to the sociological notion of _convention_, and
behind it, of relativity. Nietzsche was a pioneer in restoring the
Sophists to their rightful place in Greek thought. The Greek culture
of the Sophists grew out of all the Greek instincts, he says (_The
Will to Power_, section 428): "And it has ultimately shown itself to
be right. Our modern attitude of mind is, to a great extent,
Heraclitean, Democritean, and Protagorean. To say that it is
Protagorean is even sufficient, because Protagoras was himself a
synthesis of Heraclitus and Democritus." The Sophists, by realizing
that many supposed objective ideas were really subjective, have often
been viewed with suspicion as content with a mere egotistically
individualistic conception of life. The same has happened to
Nietzsche. It was probably an error as regards the greatest Sophists,
and is certainly an error, though even still commonly committed, as
regards Nietzsche; see the convincing discussion of Nietzsche's moral
aim in Salter, _Nietzsche the Thinker_, chap, xxiv.]

It is in the sphere of morals that the conflict has often been most
poignant. I have already tried to indicate how revolutionary is the
change which the thoughts of many have had to undergo. This struggle
of a living and flexible and growing morality against a morality that
is rigid and inflexible and dead has at some periods of human history
been almost dramatically presented.  It was so in the seventeenth
century around the new moral discoveries of the Jesuits; and the
Jesuits were rewarded by becoming almost until to-day a by-word for
all that is morally poisonous and crooked and false--for all that is
"Jesuitical." There was once a great quarrel between the Jesuits and
the Jansenists--a quarrel which is scarcely dead yet, for all
Christendom took sides in it--and the Jansenists had the supreme good
fortune to entrap on their side a great man of genius whose onslaught
on the Jesuits, "Les Provinciales," is even still supposed by many
people to have settled the question. They are allowed so to suppose
because no one now reads "Les Provinciales." But Remy de Gourmont, who
was not only a student of unread books but a powerfully live thinker,
read "Les Provinciales," and found, as he set forth in "Le Chemin de
Velours," that it was the Jesuits who were more nearly in the right,
more truly on the road of advance, than Pascal. As Gourmont showed by
citation, there were Jesuit doctrines put forth by Pascal with
rhetorical irony as though the mere statement sufficed to condemn
them, which need only to be liberated from their irony, and we might
nowadays add to them. Thus spake Zarathustra. Pascal was a
geometrician who (though he, indeed, once wrote in his "Pensées":
"There is no general rule") desired to deal with the variable,
obscure, and unstable complexities of human action as though they were
problems in mathematics.  But the Jesuits, while it is true that they
still accepted the existence of absolute rules, realised that rules
must be made adjustable to the varying needs of life.  They thus
became the pioneers of many conceptions which are accepted in modern
practice.  [Footnote: I may here, perhaps, remark that in the General
Preface to my _Studies in the Psychology of Sex_ I suggested that we
now have to lay the foundation of a new casuistry, no longer
theological and Christian, but naturalistic and scientific.] Their
doctrine of invincible ignorance was a discovery of that kind,
forecasting some of the opinions now held regarding responsibility.
But in that age, as Gourmont pointed out, "to proclaim that there
might be a sin or an offence without guilty parties was an act of
intellectual audacity, as well as scientific probity." Nowadays the
Jesuits (together, it is interesting to note, with their baroque
architecture) are coming into credit, and casuistry again seems
reputable. To establish that there can be no single inflexible moral
code for all individuals has been, and indeed remains, a difficult and
delicate task, yet the more profoundly one considers it, the more
clearly it becomes visible that what once seemed a dead and rigid code
of morality must more and more become a living act of casuistry. The
Jesuits, because they had a glimmer of this truth, represented, as
Gourmont concluded, the honest and most acceptable part of
Christianity, responding to the necessities of life, and were
rendering a service to civilisation which we should never forget.

There are some who may not very cordially go to the Jesuits as an
example of the effort to liberate men from the burden of a
subservience to rigid little rules, towards the unification of life as
an active process, however influential they may be admitted to be
among the pioneers of that movement. Yet we may turn in what direction
we will, we shall perpetually find the same movement under other
disguises. There is, for instance, Mr. Bertrand Russell, who is, for
many, the most interesting and stimulating thinker to be found in
England to-day. He might scarcely desire to be associated with the
Jesuits. Yet he also seeks to unify life and even in an essentially
religious spirit. His way of putting this, in his "Principles of
Social Reconstruction," is to state that man's impulses may be divided
into those that are creative and those that are possessive, that is to
say, concerned with acquisition. The impulses of the second class are
a source of inner and outer disharmony and they involve conflict; "it
is preoccupation with possessions more than anything else that
prevents men from living freely and nobly"; it is the creative impulse
in which real life consists, and "the typical creative impulse is that
of the artist." Now this conception (which was that Plato assigned to
the "guardians" in his communistic State) may be a little too narrowly
religious for those whose position in life renders a certain
"preoccupation with possessions" inevitable; it is useless to expect
us all to become, at present, fakirs and Franciscans, "counting
nothing one's own, save only one's harp." But in regarding the
creative impulses as the essential part of life, and as typically
manifested in the form of art, Bertrand Russell is clearly in the
great line of movement with which we have been throughout concerned.
We must only at the same time--as we shall see later--remember that
the distinction between the "creative" and the "possessive" impulses,
although convenient, is superficial.  In creation we have not really
put aside the possessive instinct, we may even have intensified it.
For it has been reasonably argued that it is precisely the deep
urgency of the impulse to possess which stirs the creative artist. He
creates because that is the best way, or the only way, of gratifying
his passionate desire to possess. Two men desire to possess a woman,
and one seizes her, the other writes a "Vita Nuova" about her; they
have both gratified the instinct of possession, and the second, it may
be, most satisfyingly and most lastingly. So that--apart from the
impossibility, and even the undesirability, of dispensing with the
possessive instinct--it may be well to recognise that the real
question is one of values in possession.  We must needs lay up
treasure; but the fine artist in living, so far as may be, lays up his
treasure in Heaven.  In recent time some alert thinkers have been
moved to attempt to measure the art of civilisation by less impossibly
exact methods than of old, by the standard of art, and even of fine
art. In a remarkable book on "The Revelations of
Civilisation"--published about three years before the outbreak of that
Great War which some have supposed to date a revolutionary point in
civilisation--Dr. W. M. Flinders Petrie, who has expert knowledge of
the Egyptian civilisation which was second to none in its importance
for mankind, has set forth a statement of the cycles to which all
civilisations are subject. Civilisation, he points out, is essentially
an intermittent phenomenon. We have to compare the various periods of
civilisation and observe what they have in common in order to find the
general type. "It should be examined like any other action of Nature;
its recurrences should be studied, and all the principles which
underlie its variations should be denned." Sculpture, he believes, may
be taken as a criterion, not because it is the most important, but
because it is the most convenient and easily available, test. We may
say with the old Etruscans that every race has its Great Year--it
sprouts, flourishes, decays, and dies.  The simile, Petrie adds, is
the more precise because there are always irregular fluctuations of
the seasonal weather. There have been eight periods of civilisation,
he reckons, in calculable human history. We are now near the end of
the eighth, which reached its climax about the year 1800; since then
there have been merely archaistic revivals, the value of which may be
variously interpreted. He scarcely thinks we can expect another period
of civilisation to arise for several centuries at least. The average
length of a period of civilisation is 1330 years. Ours Pétrie dates
from about A.D. 450. It has always needed a fresh race to produce a
new period of civilisation. In Europe, between A.D. 300 and 600, some
fifteen new races broke in from north and east for slow
mixture. "If," he concluded, "the source of every civilisation has lain
in race mixture, it may be that eugenics will, in some future
civilisation, carefully segregate fine races, and prohibit continual
mixture, until they have a distinct type, which will start a new
civilisation when transplanted. The future progress of Man may depend
as much on isolation to establish a type as on fusion of types when

At the time when Flinders Petrie was publishing his suggestive book,
Dr. Oswald Spengler, apparently in complete ignorance of it, was
engaged in a far more elaborate work, not actually published till
after the War, in which an analogous conception of the growth and
decay of civilisations was put forward in a more philosophic way,
perhaps more debatable on account of the complex detail in which the
conception was worked out.  [Footnote: Oswald Spengler, _Der Untergang
des Abendlandes_, vol. I (1918); vol.  II (1922).] Petrie had
considered the matter In a summary empiric manner with close reference
to the actual forces viewed broadly. Spengler's manner is narrower,
more subjective, and more metaphysical. He distinguishes--though he
also recognises eight periods--between "culture" and "civilisation."
It is the first that is really vital and profitable; a "civilisation"
is the decaying later stage of a "culture," its inevitable fate.
Herein it reaches its climax. "Civilisations are the most externalised
and artistic conditions of which the higher embodiment of Man is
capable. They are a spiritual senility, an end which with inner
necessity is reached again and again." [Footnote: In an interesting
pamphlet, _Pessimismus_? Spengler has since pointed out that he does
not regard his argument as pessimistic. The end of a civilisation is
its fulfilment, and there is still much to be achieved (though lot, he
thinks, along the line of art) before our own civilisation is
fulfilled.  With Spengler's conception of that fulfilment we may,
however, fail ta sympathise.] The transition from "culture" to
"civilisation" in ancient times took place, Spengler holds, in the
fourth century, and in the modern West in the nineteenth. But, like
Petrie, though more implicitly, he recognises the prominent place of
the art activities in the whole process, and he explicitly emphasises
the interesting way in which those activities which are generally
regarded as of the nature of art are interwoven with others not so
generally regarded.


HOWEVER we look at it, we see that Man, whether he works individually
or collectively, may conveniently be regarded, in the comprehensive
sense, as an artist, a bad artist, maybe, for the most part, but still
an artist.  His civilisation--if that is the term we choose to apply
to the total sum of his group activities--is always an art, or a
complex of arts. It is an art that is to be measured, or left
immeasurable. That question, we have seen, we may best leave open.
Another question that might be put is easy to deal with more
summarily: What is Art?

We may deal with it summarily because it is an ultimate question and
there can be no final answer to ultimate questions. As soon as we
begin to ask such questions, as soon as we begin to look at any
phenomenon as an end in itself, we are on the perilous slope of
metaphysics, where no agreement can, or should be, possible. The
question of measurement was plausible, and needed careful
consideration. What is Art? is a question which, if we are wise, we
shall deal with as Pilate dealt with that like question: What is

How futile the question is, we may realise when we examine the book
which Tolstoy in old age wrote to answer it. Here is a man who was
himself, in his own field, one of the world's supreme artists. He
could not fail to say one or two true things, as when he points out
that "all human existence is full of art, from cradle songs and dances
to the offices of religion and public ceremonial--it is all equally
art. Art, in the large sense, impregnates our whole life." But on the
main point all that Tolstoy can do is to bring together a large
miscellaneous collection of definitions--without seeing that as
individual opinions they all have their Tightness--and then to add one
of his own, not much worse, nor much better, than any of the others.
Thereto he appends some of his own opinions on artists, whence it
appears that Hugo, Dickens, George Eliot, Dostoievsky, Maupassant,
Millet, Bastien-Lepage, and Jules Breton--and not always they--are the
artists whom he considers great; it is not a list to treat with
contempt, but he goes on to pour contempt on those who venerate
Sophocles and Aristophanes and Dante and Shakespeare and Milton and
Michelangelo and Bach and Beethoven and Manet. "My own artistic
works," he adds, "I rank among bad art, excepting a few short
stories." It seems a reduction of the whole question, What is Art? to
absurdity, if one may be permitted to say so at a time when Tolstoy
would appear to be the pioneer of some of our most approved modern

Thus we see the reason why all the people who come forward to define
art--each with his own little measuring-rod quite different from
everybody else's--inevitably make themselves ridiculous. It is true
they are all of them right. That is just why they are ridiculous: each
has mistaken the one drop of water he has measured for the whole
ocean. Art cannot be defined because it is infinite. It is no accident
that poetry, which has so often seemed the typical art, means a
_making_. The artist is a maker. Art is merely a name we are pleased
to give to what can only be the whole stream of action which--in order
to impart to it selection and an unconscious or even conscious aim--is
poured through the nervous circuit of a human animal or some other
animal having a more or less similar nervous organisation. For a cat
is an artist as well as a man, and some would say more than a man,
while a bee is not only an obvious artist, but perhaps even the
typical natural and unconscious artist.  There is no defining art;
there is only the attempt to distinguish between good art and bad art.

Thus it is that I find no escape from the Aristotelian position of
Shakespeare that

  "Nature is made better by no mean
  But Nature makes that mean...
    This is an art
  Which does mend Nature, change it rather, but
  The art itself is Nature."

And that this conception is Aristotelian, even the essential Greek
conception, is no testimony to Shakespeare's scholarship. It is merely
the proof that here we are in the presence of one of these great
ultimate facts of the world which cannot but be sensitively perceived
by the finest spirits, however far apart in time and space. Aristotle,
altogether in the same spirit as Shakespeare, insisted that the works
of man's making, a State, for example, are natural, though Art partly
completes what Nature is herself sometimes unable to bring to
perfection, and even then that man is only exercising methods which,
after all, are those of Nature.  Nature needs Man's art in order to
achieve many natural things, and Man, in fulfilling that need, is only
following the guidance of Nature in seeming to make things which are
all the time growing by themselves.  [Footnote: See, for instance, W.
L. Newman, _The Politics of Aristotle_, vol. I, p.  201, and S. H.
Butcher, _Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art_, p. 119.] Art is
thus scarcely more than the natural midwife of Nature.

There is, however, one distinguishing mark of Art which at this stage,
as we conclude our survey, must be clearly indicated. It has been
subsumed, as the acute reader will not have failed to note,
throughout. But it has, for the most part, been deliberately left
implicit.  It has constantly been assumed, that is to say, that Art is
the sum of all the active energies of Mankind.  We must in this matter
of necessity follow Aristotle, who in his "Politics" spoke, as a
matter of course, of all those who practice "medicine, gymnastics, and
the arts in general" as "artists." Art is the moulding force of every
culture that Man during his long course has at any time or place
produced. It is the reality of what we imperfectly term "morality." It
is all human creation.

Yet creation, in the active visible constructive sense, is not the
whole of Man. It is not even the whole of what Man has been accustomed
to call God. When, by what is now termed a process of Narcissism, Man
created God in his own image, as we may instructively observe in the
first chapter of the Hebrew Book of Genesis, he assigned to him six
parts of active crea-tional work, one part of passive contemplation of
that work. That one seventh part--and an immensely important part--has
not come under our consideration.  In other words, we have been
looking at Man the artist, not at Man the assthetician.

There was more than one reason why these two aspects of human faculty
were held clearly apart throughout our discussion. Not only is it even
less possible to agree about aesthetics, where the variety of
individual judgment is rightly larger, than about art (ancient and
familiar is the saying, _De gustibus_--), but to confuse art and
aesthetics leads us into lamentable confusion.  We may note this in
the pioneers of the modern revival of what Sidgwick called "aesthetic
Intuitionism" in the eighteenth century, and especially in Hutcheson,
though Hutcheson's work is independent of consistency, which he can
scarcely even be said to have sought. They never sufficiently
emphasised the distinction between art and aesthetics, between, that
is to say, what we may possibly, if we like, call the dynamic and the
static aspects of human action. Herein is the whole difference between
work, for art is essentially work, and the spectacular contemplation
of work, which aesthetics essentially is. The two things are
ultimately one, but alike in the special arts and in that art of life
commonly spoken of as morals, where we are not usually concerned with
ultimates, the two must be clearly held apart. From the point of view
of art we are concerned with the internal impulse to guide the
activities in the lines of good work. It is only when we look at the
work of art from the outside, whether in the more specialised arts or
in the art of life, that we are concerned with aesthetic
contemplation, that activity of vision which creates beauty, however
we may please to define beauty, and even though we see it so widely as
to be able to say with Remy de Gourmont: "Wherever life is, there is
beauty," [Footnote: Beauty is a dangerous conception to deal with, and
the remembrance of this great saying may, perhaps, help to save us
from the degrading notion that beauty merely inheres in objects, or
has anything to do with the prim and smooth conventions which make
prettiness. Even in the fine art of painting it is more reasonable to
regard prettiness as the negation of beauty. It is possible to find
beauty in Degas and Cézanne, but not in Bouguereau or Cabanel. The
path of beauty is not soft and smooth, but full of harshness and
asperity. It is a rose that grows only on a bush covered with thorns.
As of goodness and of truth, men talk too lightly of Beauty. Only to
the bravest and skilfullest is it given to break through the briers of
her palace and kiss at last her enchanted lips.] provided, one may
add, that there is the aesthetic contemplation in which it must be

It is in relation with art, not with aesthetics, it may be noted in
passing, that we are concerned with morals.  That was once a question
of seemingly such immense import that men were willing to spiritually
slay each other over it. But it is not a question at all from the
standpoint which has here from the outset been taken. Morals, for us
to-day, is a species of which art is the genus. It is an art, and like
all arts it necessarily has its own laws. We are concerned with the
art of morals: we cannot speak of art _and_ morals. To take "art" and
"morals" and "religion," and stir them up, however vigorously, into an
indigestible plum-pudding, as Ruskin used to do, is no longer
possible.  [Footnote: Ruskin was what Spinoza has been called, a
God-intoxicated man; he had a gift of divine rhapsody, which reached
at times to inspiration.  But it is not enough to be God-intoxicated,
for into him whose mind is disorderly and ignorant and ill-disciplined
the Gods pour their wine in vain. Spinoza's mind was not of that kind,
Ruskin's too often was, so that Ruskin can never be, like Spinoza, a
permanent force in the world of thought. His interest is outside that
field, mainly perhaps psychological in the precise notation of a
particular kind of aesthetic sensibility. The admiration of Ruskin
cherished by Proust, himself a supreme master in this field, is
significant.] This is a question which--like so many other furiously
debated questions--only came into existence because the disputants on
both sides were ignorant of the matter they were disputing about. It
is no longer to be taken seriously, though it has its interest because
the dispute has so often recurred, not only in recent days, but
equally among the Greeks of Plato's days. The Greeks had a kind of
aesthetic morality. It was instinctive with them, and that is why it
is so significant for us. But they seldom seem to have succeeded in
thinking aesthetic problems clearly out. The attitude of their
philosophers towards many of the special arts, even the arts in which
they were themselves supreme, to us seem unreasonable.  While they
magnified the art, they often belittled the artist, and felt an
aristocratic horror for anything that assimilated a man to a
craftsman; for craftsman meant for them vulgarian. Plato himself was
all for goody-goody literature and in our days would be an
enthusiastic patron of Sunday-school stories.  He would forbid any
novelist to represent a good man as ever miserable or a wicked man as
ever happy.  The whole tendency of the discussion in the third book of
the "Republic" is towards the conclusion that literature must be
occupied exclusively with the representation of the virtuous man,
provided, of course, that he was not a slave or a craftsman, for to
such no virtue worthy of imitation should ever be attributed. Towards
the end of his long life, Plato remained of the same opinion; in the
second book of "The Laws" it is with the maxims of virtue that he will
have the poet solely concerned. The reason for this ultra-puritanical
attitude, which was by no means in practice that of the Greeks
themselves, seems not hard to divine. The very fact that their
morality was temperamentally aesthetic instinctively impelled them,
when they were thinking philosophically, to moralise art generally;
they had not yet reached the standpoint which would enable them to see
that art might be consonant with morality without being artificially
pressed into a narrow moral mould.

Aristotle was conspicuously among those, if not the first, who took a
broader and saner view. In opposition to the common Greek view that
the object of art is to teach morals, Aristotle clearly expressed the
totally different view that poetry in the wide sense--the special art
which he and the Greeks generally were alone much concerned to
discuss--is an emotional delight, having pleasure as its direct end,
and only indirectly a moral end by virtue of its cathartic effects.
Therein he reached an aesthetic standpoint, yet it was so novel that
he could not securely retain it and was constantly falling back
towards the old moral conception of art.  [Footnote: Butcher,
_Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art_, chap, v, "Art and
Morals." Aristotle could have accepted the almost Freudian view of
Croce that art is the deliverer, the process through which we overcome
the stress of inner experiences by objectifying them (_Aesthetics as
Science of Expression_, p. 35). But Plato could not accept Croce,
still less Freud.]

We may call it a step in advance. Yet it was not a complete statement
of the matter. Indeed, it established the unreal conflict between two
opposing conceptions, each unsound because incomplete, which loose
thinkers have carried on ever since. To assert that poetry exists for
morals is merely to assert that one art exists for the sake of another
art, which at the best is rather a futile statement, while, so far as
it is really accepted, it cannot fail to crush the art thus
subordinated.  If we have the insight to see that an art has its own
part of life, we shall also see that it has its own intrinsic
morality, which cannot be the morality of morals or of any other art
than itself. We may here profitably bear in mind that antinomy between
morals and morality on which Jules de Gaultier has often insisted. The
Puritan's strait-jacket shows the vigour of his external morals; it
also bears witness to the lack of internal morality which necessitates
that control. Again, on the other hand, it is argued that art gives
pleasure.  Very true. Even the art of morals gives pleasure. But to
assert that therein lies its sole end and aim is an altogether feeble
and inadequate conclusion, unless we go further and proceed to inquire
what "pleasure" means. If we fail to take that further step, it
remains a conclusion which may be said to merge into the conclusion
that art is aimless; that, rather, its aim is to be aimless, and so to
lift us out of the struggle and turmoil of life. That was the
elaborately developed argument of Schopenhauer: art--whether in music,
in philosophy, in painting, in poetry--is useless; "to be useless is
the mark of genius, its patent of nobility. All other works of men are
there for the preservation or alleviation of our existence; but this
alone not; it alone is there for its own sake; and is in this sense to
be regarded as the flower, or the pure essence, of existence.  That is
why in its enjoyment our heart rises, for we are thereby lifted above
the heavy earthen atmosphere of necessity." [Footnote: Schopenhauer,
_Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung_ (1859), vol. II p. 442. For a
careful and detailed study of Schopenhauer's conception of art. see A.
Fauconnet, _L'Esthétique de Schopenhauer_ (1913)] Life is a struggle
of the will; but in art the will has become objective, fit for pure
contemplation, and genius consists in an eminent aptitude for
contemplation. The ordinary man, said Schopenhauer, plods through the
dark world with his lantern turned on the things he wants; the man of
genius sees the world by the light of the sun. In modern times Bergson
adopted that view of Schopenhauer's, with a terminology of his own,
and all he said under this head may be regarded as a charming fantasia
on the Schopenhauerian theme: "Genius is the most complete
objectivity." Most of us, it seems to Bergson, never see reality at
all; we only see the labels we have fixed on things to mark for us
their usefulness.  [Footnote: I find that I have here negligently
ascribed to Bergson a metaphor which belongs to Croce, who at this
point says the same thing as Bergson, though he gives it a different
name. In _Aesthetics as Science of Expression_ (English translation,
p. 66) we read: "The world of which as a rule we have intuition
[Bergson could not have used that word here] is a small thing....
'Here is a man, here is a horse, this is heavy, this is hard, this
pleases me,' etc. It is a medley of light and colour, which could not
pictorially attain to any more sincere expression than a haphazard
splash of colour, from among which would with difficulty stand out a
few special distinctive traits. This and nothing else is what we
possess in our ordinary life; this is the basis of our ordinary
action. It is the index of a book. The labels tied to things take the
place of things themselves."]

A veil is interposed between us and the reality of things. The artist,
the man of genius, raises this veil and reveals Nature to us. He is
naturally endowed with a detachment from life, and so possesses as it
were a virginal freshness in seeing, hearing, or thinking. That is
"intuition," an instinct that has become disinterested. "Art has no
other object but to remove the practically useful symbols, the
conventional and socially accepted generalities, so as to bring us
face to face with reality itself." [Footnote: H. Bergson, _Le Rire_.
For a clear, concise, and sympathetic exposition of Bergson's
standpoint, though without special reference to art, see Karin
Stephen, _The Misuse of Mind_.] Art would thus be fulfilling its
function the more completely the further it removed us from ordinary
life, or, more strictly, from any personal interest in life. That was
also Remy de Gourmont's opinion, though I do not know how far he
directly derived it from Schopenhauer. "If we give to art a moral
aim," he wrote, "it ceases to exist, for it ceases to be useless. Art
is incompatible with a moral or religious aim. It is unintelligible to
the crowd because the crowd is not disinterested and knows only the
principle of utility." But the difficulty of making definite
affirmation in this field, the perpetual need to allow for _nuances_
which often on the surface involve contradictions, is seen when we
find that so great an artist as Einstein--for so we may here fairly
call him--and one so little of a formal aesthetician, agrees with
Schopenhauer. "I agree with Schopenhauer," he said to Moszkowski,
"that one of the most powerful motives that attract people to science
and art is the longing to escape from everyday life, with its painful
coarseness and unconsoling barrenness, and to break the fetters of
their own ever-changing desires. Man seeks to form a simplified
synoptical view of the world conformable to his own nature, to
overcome the world by replacing it with his picture. The painter, the
poet, the philosopher, the scientist, each does this in his own way.
He transfers the centre of his emotional life to this picture, to find
a surer haven of peace than the sphere of his turbulent personal
experience offers." That is a sound statement of the facts, yet it is
absurd to call such an achievement "useless."

Perhaps, however, what philosophers have really meant when they have
said that art (it is the so-called fine arts only that they have in
mind) is useless, is that _an art must not be consciously pursued for
any primary useful end outside itself_. That is true. It is even true
of morals, that is to say the art of living. To live in the conscious
primary pursuit of a "useful" end--such as one of the fine
arts--outside living itself is to live badly; to declare, like André
Gide, that "outside the doctrine of 'Art for Art' I know not where to
find any reason for living," may well be the legitimate expression of
a personal feeling, but, unless understood in the sense here taken, it
is not a philosophical statement which can be brought under the
species of eternity, being, indeed, one of those confusions of
substances which are, metaphysically, damnable. So, again, in the art
of science: the most useful applications of science have sprung from
discoveries that were completely uselesa for purposes outside pure
science, so far as the aim of the discoverer went, or even so far as
he ever knew. If he had been bent on "useful" ends, he would probably
have made no discovery at all. But the bare statement that "art is
useless" is so vague as to be really meaningless, if not inaccurate
and misleading.

Therefore, Nietzsche was perhaps making a profound statement when he
declared that art is the great stimulus to life; it produces joy as an
aid to life; it possesses a usefulness, that is to say, which
transcends its direct aim. The artist is one who sees life as beauty,
and art is thus fulfilling its function the more completely, the more
deeply it enables us to penetrate into life. It seems, however, that
Nietzsche insufficiently guarded his statement. Art for art's sake,
said Nietzsche, is "a dangerous principle," like truth for truth's
sake and goodness for goodness' sake. Art, knowledge, and morality are
simply means, he declared, and valuable for their "life-promoting
tendency." (There is here a pioneering suggestion of the American
doctrine of Pragmatism, according to which how a thing "works" is the
test of its validity, but Nietzsche can by no means be counted a
Pragmatist.) To look thus at the matter was certainly, with
Schopenhauer and with Gourmont, to put aside the superficial moral
function of art, and to recognise in it a larger sociological
function. It was on the sociological function of art that Guyau, who
was so penetrating and sympathetic a thinker, insisted in his book,
posthumously published in 1889, "L'Art au Point de Vue Sociologique."
He argued that art, while remaining independent, is at the foundation
one with morals and with religion. He believed in a profound unity of
all these terms: life, morality, society, religion, art. "Art, in a
Word, is life." So that, as he pointed out, there is no conflict
between the theory of art for art, properly interpreted, and the
theory that assigns to art a moral and social function. It is clear
that Guyau was on the right road, although his statement was
confusingly awkward in form. He deformed his statement, moreover,
through his perpetual tendency to insist on the spontaneously
socialising organisation of human groups--a tendency which has
endeared him to all who adopt an anarchist conception of society--and,
forgetting that he had placed morals only at the depth of art and not
on the surface, he commits himself to the supremely false dictum: "Art
is, above everything, a phenomenon of sociability," and the like
statements, far too closely resembling the doctrinary pronouncements
of Tolstoy.

For sociability is an indirect end of art: it cannot be its direct
aim. We are here not far from the ambiguous doctrine that art is
"expression," for "expression" may be too easily confused with
"communication." [Footnote: This may seem to cast a critical
reflection on Croce. Let me, therefore, hasten to add that it is
merely the personal impression that Croce, for all his virtuous
aspirations after the concrete, tends to fall into verbal abstraction.
He so often reminds one of that old lady who used to find (for she
died during the Great War) such spiritual consolation in "that blessed
word Mesopotamia," This refers, however, to the earlier mort than to
the later Croce.]

All these eminent philosophers--though they meant something which so
far as it went was true--have failed to produce a satisfying statement
because they have none of them understood how to ask the question
which they were trying to answer. They failed to understand that
morals is just as much an art as any other vital psychic function of
man; they failed to see that, though art must be free from the
dominance of morals, it by no means followed that it has no morality
of its own, if morality involves the organised integrity which all
vital phenomena must possess; they failed to realise that, since the
arts are simply the sum of the active functions which spring out of
the single human organism, we are not called upon to worry over any
imaginary conflicts between functions which are necessarily harmonious
because they are all one at the root. We cannot too often repeat the
pregnant maxim of Bacon that the right question is the half of
knowledge. Here we might almost say that it is the whole of knowledge.
It seems, therefore, unnecessary to pursue the subject further. He who
cannot himself pursue it further had best leave it alone.

But when we enter the aesthetic sphere we are no longer artists. That,
indeed, is inevitable if we regard the arts as the sum of all the
active functions of the organism. Rickert, with his methodical vision
of the world,--for he insists that we must have some sort of
system,--has presented what he regards as a reasonable scheme in a
tabular form at the end of the first volume of his "System."
[Footnote: H. Rickert, _System der Philosophie_, vol. I (1921).] He
divides Reality into two great divisions: the monistic and asocial
Contemplative and the pluralistic and social Active. To the first
belong the spheres of Logic, Aesthetics, and Mysticism, with their
values, truth, beauty, impersonal holiness; to the second, Ethics,
Erotics, the Philosophy of Religion, with their values, morality,
happiness, personal holiness. This view of the matter is the more
signify cant as Rickert stands aside from the tradition represented by
Nietzsche and returns to the Kantian current, enriched, indeed, and
perhaps not quite consistently, by Goethe. It seems probable that all
Rickert's active attitudes towards reality may fairly be called Art,
and all the contemplative attitudes, Aesthetics.

There is in fact nothing novel in the distinction which underlies this
classification, and it has been recognised ever since the days of
Baumgarten, the commonly accepted founder of modern aesthetics, not to
go further back.  [Footnote: Before Baumgarten this distinction seems
to have been recognised, though too vaguely and inconsistently, by
Hutcheson, who is so often regarded as the real founder of modern
aesthetics. W. R. Scott (_Francis Hutcheson_, p. 216) points out these
two principles in Hutcheson's work, "the Internal Senses, as derived
from Reflection, representing the attitude of the 'Spectator' or
observer in a picture gallery while, on the other hand, as deduced
from _euergeia_ they find a parallel in the artist's own consciousness
of success in his work; thus the former might be called static and the
latter dynamic consciousness, or, in the special case of Morality, the
first applies primarily to approval of the acts of others, the second
to each individual's approval of his own conduct."] Art is the active
practical exercise of a single discipline: aesthetics is the
philosophic appreciation of any or all the arts. Art is concerned with
the more or less unconscious creation of beauty: aesthetics is
concerned with its discovery and contemplation.  Aesthetics is the
metaphysical side of all productive living.


THIS complete unlikeness on the surface between art and
aesthetics--for ultimately and fundamentally they are at one--has to
be emphasised, for the failure to distinguish them has led to
confusion and verbosity.  The practice of morals, we must ever
remember, is not a matter of aesthetics; it is a matter of art. It has
not, nor has any other art, an immediate and obvious relationship to
the creation of beauty.  [Footnote: This would probably be recognised
even by those moralists who, like Hutcheson, in their anxiety to make
clear an important relationship, have spoken ambiguously. "Probably
Hutcheson's real thought," remarks F. C. Sharp (_Mind_, 1921, p. 42),
"is that the moral emotion, while possessing many important affinities
with the aesthetic, is in the last resort different in content."] What
the artist in life, as in any other art, is directly concerned to
express is not primarily beauty; it is much more likely to seem to him
to be truth (it is interesting to note that Einstein, so much an
artist in thought, insists that he is simply concerned with truth),
and what he produces may seem at first to all the world, and even
possibly to himself, to be ugly. It is so in the sphere of morals.
For morals is still concerned with the possessive instinct, not with
the creation of beauty, with the needs and the satisfaction of the
needs, with the industrial and economic activities, with the military
activities to which they fatally tend. But the aesthetic attitude, as
Gaultier expresses it, is the radiant smile on the human face which in
its primitive phases was anatomically built up to subserve crude vital
needs; as he elsewhere more abstractly expresses it, "Beauty is an
attitude of sensibility." It is the task of sesthetics, often a slow
and painful task, to see art--including the art of Nature, some would
insist--as beauty. That, it has to be added, is no mean task. It is,
on the contrary, essential. It is essential to sweep away in art all
that is ultimately found to be fundamentally ugly, whether by being,
at the one end, distastefully pretty, or, at the other, hopelessly
crude. For ugliness produces nausea of the stomach and sets the teeth
on edge. It does so literally, not metaphorically. Ugliness, since it
interferes with digestion, since it disturbs the nervous system,
impairs the forces of life. For when we are talking esthetics (as the
word itself indicates) we are ultimately talking physiologically. Even
our metaphysics--if it is to have any meaning for us--must have a
physical side. Unless we hold that fact in mind, we shall talk astray
and are likely to say little that is to the point.

Art has to be seen as beauty and it is the function of aesthetics so
to see it. How slowly and painfully the function works every one must
know by observing the eesthetic judgments of other people, if not by
recalling his own experiences. I know in my own experience how hardly
and subconsciously this process works. In the matter of pictures, for
instance, I have found throughout life, from Rubens in adolescence to
Cézanne in recent years, that a revelation of the beauty of a
painter's work which, on the surface, is alien or repulsive to one's
sensibility, came only after years of contemplation, and then most
often by a sudden revelation, in a flash, by a direct intuition of the
beauty of some particular picture which henceforth became the clue to
all the painter's work. It is a process comparable to that which is in
religion termed "conversion," and, indeed, of like nature.  [Footnote:
Schopenhauer long ago pointed out that a picture should be looked at
as a royal personage is approached, in silence, until the moment it
pleases to speak to you, for, if you speak first (and how many critics
one knows who "speak first"!), you expose yourself to hear nothing but
the sound of your own voice. In other words, it is a spontaneous and
"mystical" experience.] So also it is in literal are. And in life? We
are accustomed to suppose that a moral action is much easier to judge
than a picture of Cézanne. We do not dream of bringing the same
patient and attentive, as it were aesthetic, spirit to life as we
bring to painting. Perhaps we are right, considering what poor
bungling artists most of us are in living. For "art is easy, life is
difficult," as Liszt used to say. The reason, of course, is that the
art of living differs from the external arts in that we cannot exclude
the introduction of alien elements into its texture. Our art of
living, when we achieve it, is of so high and fine a quality precisely
because it so largely lies in harmoniously weaving into the texture
elements that we have not ourselves chosen, or that, having chosen, we
cannot throw aside. Yet it is the attitude of the spectators that
helps to perpetuate that bungling.

It is Plotinus whom we may fairly regard as the founder of Aesthetics
in the philosophic sense, and it was as formulated by Plotinus, though
this we sometimes fail to recognise, that the Greek attitude in these
matters, however sometimes modified, has come down to us.  [Footnote:
It is through Plotinus, also, that we realise how «esthetics is on the
same plane, if not one, with mysticism. For by his insistence on
Contemplation, which is aesthetics, we learn to understand what is
meant when it is said, as it often is, that mysticism is
Contemplation. (On this point, and on the early evolutions of
Christian Mysticism, see Dom Cuthbert Butler, _Western Mysticism_
(1922).] We may be forgiven for not always recognising it, because it
is rather strange that it should be so. It is strange, that is to say,
that the aesthetic attitude, which we regard as so emphatically Greek,
should have been left for formulation until the Greek world had passed
away, that it should not have been Plato, but an Alexandrian, living
in Rome seven centuries after him, who set forth what seems to us a
distinctively Platonic view of life.  [Footnote: Really, however,
Plotinus was here a Neo-Aristotelian rather than a Neo-Platonist, for
Aristotle (_Ethics_, book x, chap. 6) had put the claim of the
Contemplative life higher even than Plato and almost forestalled
Plotinus. But as Aristotle was himself here a Platonist that does not
much matter.] The Greeks, indeed, seem to have recognised, apart from
the lower merely "ethical" virtues of habit and custom, the higher
"intellectual" virtues which were deliberately planned, and so of the
nature of art. But Plotinus definitely recognised the aesthetic
contemplation of Beauty, together with the One and the Good, as three
aspects of the Absolute.  [Footnote: See Inge, _Philosophy of
Plotinus_, p. 179. In a fine passage (quoted by Bridges in his _Spirit
of Man_) Plotinus represents contemplation as the great function of
Nature herself, content, in a sort of self-consciousness, to do
nothing more than perfect that fair and bright vision. This
"metaphysical Narcissism," as Palante might call it, accords with the
conception of various later thinkers, like Schopenhauer, and like
Gaultier, who, however, seldom refers to Plotinus.] He thus at once
placed aesthetics on the highest possible pedestal, beside religion
and morals; he placed it above art, or as comprehending art, for he
insisted that Contemplation is an active quality, so that all human
creative energy may be regarded as the by-play of contemplation. That
was to carry rather far the function of aesthetic contemplation.  But
it served to stamp for ever, on the minds of all sensitive to that
stamp who came after, the definite realisation of the sublimest, the
most nearly divine, of human aptitudes. Every great spirit has
furnished the measure of his greatness by the more or less
completeness in which at the ultimate outpost of his vision over the
world he has attained to that active contemplation of life as a
spectacle which Shakespeare finally embodied in the figure of

It may be interesting to note in passing that, psychologically
considered, all aesthetic enjoyment among the ordinary population,
neither artists in the narrow sense nor philosophers, still
necessarily partakes to some degree of genuine aesthetic
contemplation, and that such contemplation seems to fall roughly into
two classes, to one or other of which every one who experiences
aesthetic enjoyment belongs. These have, I believe, been defined by
Mueller-Freienfels as that of the "Zuschauer," who feels that he is
looking on, and that of the "Mitspieler," who feels that he is joining
in; on the one side, we may say, he who knows he is looking on, the
_spectator_, and on the other he who imaginatively joins in, the
_participator_. The people of the first group are those, it may be, in
whom the sensory nervous apparatus is highly developed and they are
able to adopt the most typical and complete aesthetic attitude; the
people of the other group would seem to be most developed on the motor
nervous side and they are those who themselves desire to be artists.
Groos, who has developed the aesthetic side of "miter-leben," is of
this temperament, and he had at first supposed that every one was like
him in this respect.  [Footnote: R. Schmidt, _Deutsche Philosophie der
Gegenwart im Selbstdarstellungen_ (1921), vol. II.] Plotinus, who held
that contemplation embraced activity, must surely have been of this
temperament.  Coleridge was emphatically of the other temperament,
_spectator haud particeps_, as he himself said. But, at all events in
northern countries, that is probably not the more common temperament.
The aesthetic attitude of the crowds who go to watch football matches
is probably much more that of the imaginative participator than of the
pure spectator.

There is no occasion here to trace the history of aesthetic
contemplation. Yet it may be worth while to note that it was clearly
present to the mind of the fine thinker and great moralist who brought
the old Greek idea back into the modern world. In the "Philosophical
Regimen" (as it has been named) brought to light a few years ago, in
which Shaftesbury set down his self-communings, we find him writing in
one place: "In the morning am I to see anew? Am I to be present yet
longer and content? I am not weary, nor ever can be, of such a
spectacle, such a theatre, such a presence, nor at acting whatever
part such a master assigns me.  Be it ever so long, I stay and am
willing to see on whilst my sight continues sound; whilst I can be a
spectator, such as I ought to be; whilst I can see reverently, justly,
with understanding and applause.  And when I see no more, I retire,
not disdainfully, but in reverence to the spectacle and master, giving
thanks.... Away, man! rise, wipe thy mouth, throw up thy napkin and
have done. A bellyful (they say) is as good as a feast."

That may seem but a simple and homely way of stating the matter,
though a few years later, in 1727, a yet greater spirit than
Shaftesbury, Swift, combining the conception of life as aesthetic
contemplation with that of life as art, wrote in a letter, "Life is a
tragedy, wherein we sit as spectators awhile, and then act our own
part in it." If we desire a more systematically philosophical
statement we may turn to the distinguished thinker of to-day who in
many volumes has most powerfully presented the same essential
conception, with all its implications, of life as a spectacle.  "Tirez
le rideau; la farce est jouée." That Shakespearian utterance, which
used to be attributed to Rabelais on his death-bed, and Swift's
comment on life, and Shaftesbury's intimate meditation, would seem to
be--on the philosophic and apart from the moral side of life--entirely
in the spirit that Jules de Gaultier has so elaborately developed. The
world is a spectacle, and all the men and women the actors on its
stage. Enjoy the spectacle while you will, whether comedy or tragedy,
enter into the spirit of its manifold richness and beauty, yet take it
not too seriously, even when you leave it and the curtains are drawn
that conceal it for ever from your eyes, grown weary at last.  Such a
conception, indeed, was already to be seen in a deliberately
philosophical form in Schopenhauer (who, no doubt, influenced
Gaultier) and, later, Nietzsche, especially the early Nietzsche,
although he never entirely abandoned it; his break with Wagner,
however, whom he had regarded as the typical artist, led him to become
suddenly rather critical of art and artists, as we see in
"Human-all-too-Human," which immediately followed "Wagner in
Bayreuth," and he became inclined to look on the artist, in the narrow
sense, as only "a splendid relic of the past," not, indeed, altogether
losing his earlier conception, but disposed to believe that "the
scientific man is the finest development of the artistic man." In his
essay on Wagner he had presented art as the essentially metaphysical
activity of Man, here following Schopenhauer.  "Eveiry genius," well
said Schopenhauer, "is a great child; he gazes out at the world as
something strange, a spectacle, and therefore with purely objective
interest." That is to say that the highest attitude attainable by man
towards life is that of aesthetic contemplation. But it took on a
different character in Nietzsche. Ira 1878 Nietzsche wrote of his
early essay I on Wagner: "At that time I believed that the world was
created from the aesthetic standpoint, as a play, and that as a moral
phenomenon it was a deception: on that account I came to the
conclusion that the world was only to be justified as an aesthetic
phenomenon." [Footnote: E. Forster-Nietzsche, _Das Leben Nietzsches_,
vol. II, p.  99.] At the end of his active career Nietzsche was once
more reproducing this proposition in many ways.  Jules de Gaultier has
much interested himself in Nietzsche, but he had already reached, no
doubt through Schopenhauer, a rather similar conception before he came
in contact with Nietzsche's work, and in the present day he is
certainly the thinker who has most systematically and philosophically
elaborated the conception.  [Footnote: W. M. Salter in his _Nietzsche
the Thinker_--probably the best and most exact study of Nietzsche's
thought we possess--summarises Nietzsche's "aesthetic metaphysics," as
he terms it (pp. 46-48), in words which apply almost exactly to

Gaultier is most generally known by that perhaps not quite happily
chosen term of "Bovarism," embodied in the title of his earliest book
and abstracted from Flaubert's heroine, which stands for one of his
most characteristic conceptions, and, indeed, in a large sense, for
the central idea of his philosophy. In its primary psychological sense
Bovarism is the tendency--the unconscious tendency of Emma Bovary and,
more or less, all of us--to conceive of ourselves as other than we
are. Our picture of the world, for good or for evil, is an idealised
picture, a fiction, a waking dream, an _als ob_, as Vaihinger would
say. But when we idealise the world we begin by first idealising
ourselves. We imagine ourselves other than we are, and in so
imagining, as Gaultier clearly realises, we tend to mould ourselves,
so that reality becomes a prolongation of fiction. As Meister Eckhart
long since finely said: "A man is what he loves." A similar thought
was in Plato's mind. In modern times a variation of this same idea has
been worked out, not as by Gaultier from the philosophic side, but
from the medical and more especially the psycho-analytic side, by Dr.
Alfred Adler of Vienna.  [Footnote: See especially his book _Ûber den
Nervosen Charakter_ (1912).] It has been translated into English.
Adler has suggestively shown how often a man's or a woman's character
is constituted by a process of fiction,--that is by making an ideal of
what it is, or what it ought to be,--and then so far as possible
moulding it into the shape of that fiction, a process which is often
interwoven with morbid elements, especially with an original basis of
organic defect, the reaction being an effort, sometimes successful, to
overcome that defect, and even to transform it into a conspicuous
quality, as when Demosthenes, who was a stutterer, made himself a
great orator. Even thinkers may not wholly escape this tendency, and I
think it would be easily possible to show that, for instance,
Nietzsche was moved by what Adler calls the "masculine protest"; one
remembers how shrinkingly delicate Nietzsche was towards women and how
emphatically he declared they should never be approached without a
whip. Adler owed nothing to Gaultier, of whom he seems to be ignorant;
he found his first inspiration in Vaihinger's doctrine of the "as if";
Gaultier, however, owes nothing to Vaihinger, and, indeed, began to
publish earlier, though not before Vaihinger's book was written.
Gaultier's philosophic descent is mainly from Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume,
Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.

There is another deeper and wider sense, a more abstract esoteric
sense, in which Jules de Gaultier understands Bovarism. It is not only
the human being and human groups who are psychologically Bovaristic,
the Universe itself, the Eternal Being (to adopt an accepted fiction),
metaphysically partakes of Bovarism. The Universe, it seems to
Gaultier, necessarily conceives itself as other than it is. Single, it
conceives itself multiple, as subject and object. Thus is furnished
the fundamental convention which we must grant to the Dramatist who
presents the cosmic tragicomedy.  [Footnote: Jules de Gaultier, _Le
Bovarysme_, and various other of his works.  Georges Palante has
lucidly and concisely expounded the idea of Bovarism in a small
volume, _La Philosophie du Bovarysme_ (_Mercure de France_).]

It may seem to some that the vision of the world which Man pursues on
his course across the Universe becomes ever more impalpable and
visionary. And so perhaps it may be. But even if that were an
undesirable result, it would still be useless to fight against God. We
are, after all, merely moulding the conceptions which a little later
will become commonplaces and truisms. For really--while we must hold
physics and metaphysics apart, for they cannot be blended--a
metaphysics which is out of harmony with physics is negligible; it is
nothing in the world. And it is our physical world that is becoming
more impalpable and visionary. It is "matter," the very structure of
the "atom," that is melting into a dream, and if it may seem that on
the spiritual side life tends to be moulding itself to the conception
of Calderon as a dream, it is because the physical atom is pursuing
that course.  Unless we hold in mind the analysis of the world towards
which the physicist is bringing us, we shall not understand the
synthesis of the world towards which the philosopher is bringing us.
Gaultier's philosophy may not be based upon physics, but it seems to
be in harmony with physics.

This is the metaphysical scaffolding--we may if we like choose to
dispense with it--by aid of which Jules de Gaultier erects his
spectacular conception of the world. He is by no means concerned to
deny the necessity of morality. On the contrary, morality is the
necessary restraint on the necessary biological instinct of
possession, on the desire, that is, by the acquisition of certain
objects, to satisfy passions which are most often only the
exaggeration of natural needs, but which--through the power of
imagination such exaggeration inaugurates in the world--lead to the
development of civilisation. Limited and definite so long as confined
to their biological ends, needs are indefinitely elastic, exhibiting,
indeed, an almost hysterical character which becomes insatiable. They
mark a hypertrophy of the possessive instinct which experience shows
to be a menace to social life. Thus the Great War of recent times may
be regarded as the final tragic result of the excessive development
through half a century of an economic fever, the activity of needs
beyond their due biological ends producing suddenly the inevitable
result.  [Footnote: Gaultier has luminously discussed the relations of
War, Civilisation, and Art in the _Monde Nouveau_, August, 1920. and
February, 1921.] So that the possessive instinct, while it is the
cause of the formation of an economic civilised society, when pushed
too far becomes the cause of the ruin of that society. Man, who begins
by acquiring just enough force to compel Nature to supply his bare
needs, himself becomes, according to the tragic Greek saying, the
greatest force of Nature. Yet the fact that a civilisation may persist
for centuries shows that men in societies have found methods of
combating the exaggerated development of the possessive instinct, of
retaining it within bounds which have enabled societies to enjoy a
fairly long life.  These methods become embodied in religions and
moralities and laws. They react in concert to restrain the greediness
engendered by the possessive instinct.  They make virtues of
Temperance and Sobriety and Abnegation. They invent Great Images which
arouse I human hopes and human fears. They prescribe imperatives, with
sanctions, in part imposed by the Great Images and in part by the
actual executive force of social law. So societies are enabled to
immunise themselves against the ravaging auto-intoxication of an
excessive instinct of possession, and the services rendered by
religions and moralities cannot be too highly estimated. They are the
spontaneous physiological processes which counteract disease before
medical science comes into play.

But are they of any use in those periods of advanced civilisation
which they have themselves contributed to form? When Man has replaced
flint knives and clubs and slings by the elaborate weapons we know,
can he be content with methods of social preservation which date from
the time of flint knives and clubs and slings?  The efficacy of those
restraints depends on a sensibility which could only exist when men
scarcely distinguished imaginations from perceptions. Thence arose the
credulity on which religions and moralities flourished.  But now the
Images have grown pale in human sensibility, just as they have in
words, which are but effaced images. We need a deeper reality to take
the place of these early beliefs which the growth of intelligence
necessarily shows to be illusory. We must seek in the human ego an
instinct in which is manifested a truly autonomous play of the power
of imagination, an instinct which by virtue of its own proper
development may restrain the excesses of the possessive instinct and
dissipate the perils which threaten civilisation.  The aesthetic
instinct alone answers to that double demand.

At this point we may pause to refer to the interesting analogy between
this argument of Jules de Gaultier and another recently proposed
solution of the problems of civilisation presented by Bertrand
Russell, to which there has already been occasion to refer. The two
views were clearly suggested by the same events, though apparently in
complete independence, and it is interesting to observe the
considerable degree of harmony which unites two such distinguished
thinkers in different lands, and with unlike philosophic standpoints
as regards ultimate realities.  [Footnote: These are problems
concerning which innocent people might imagine that the wise refrained
from speculating, but, as a matter of fact, the various groups of
philosophic devotees may be divided into those termed "Idealists" and
those termed "Realists," each assured of the superiority of his own
way of viewing thought. Roughly speaking, for the idealist thought
means the creation of the world, for the realist its discovery.  But
here (as in many differences between Tweedledum and Tweedledee for
which men have slain one another these thousands of years) there seem
to be superiorities on both sides. Each looks at thought in a
different aspect. But the idealist could hardly create the world with
nothing there to make it from, nor the realist discover it save
through creating it afresh. We cannot, so to put it, express in a
single formula of three dimensions.] Man's impulses, as we know,
Bertrand Russell holds to be of two kinds: those that are possessive
and those that are creative; the typical possessive impulse being that
of property and the typical creative impulse that of the artist. It is
in following the creative impulse, he believes, that man's path of
salvation lies, for the possessive impulses necessarily lead to
conflict while the creative what only exists as a unity in four
dimensions.  Impulses are essentially harmonious. Bertrand Russell
seeks the unification of life. But consistency of action should he
holds, spring from consistency of impulse rather than from the control
of impulse by will. Like Gaultier, he believes in what has been
called, perhaps not happily, "the law of irony"; that is to say, that
the mark we hit is never the mark we aimed at, so that, in all supreme
success in life, as Goethe said of Wilhelm Meister, we are like Saul,
the son of Kish, who went forth to seek his father's asses and found a
kingdom. "Those who best promote life," Russell prefers to put it, "do
not have life for their purpose.  They aim rather at what seems like a
gradual incarnation, a bringing into our human existence of something
eternal." And, again like Gaultier, he invokes Spinoza and what in his
phraseology he called "the intellectual love of God." "Take no
thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed? Whosoever has known a strong creative
impulse has known the value of this precept in its exact and literal
sense; it is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else,
that prevents men from living freely and nobly." [Footnote: Bertrand
Russell, _Principles of Social Reconstruction_ (1916), p. 235.]

This view of the matter seems substantially the same, it may be in an
unduly simplified form, as the conception which Jules de Gaultier has
worked out more subtly and complexly, seeking to weave in a large
number of the essential factors, realising that the harmony of life
must yet be based on an underlying conflict.  [Footnote: I may here be
allowed to refer to another discussion of this point, Havelock Ellis,
_The Philosophy of Conflict, and Other Essays_, pp.  57-63.] The main
difference would seem to be that Bertrand Russell's creative impulse
seems to be fairly identical with the productive impulse of art in the
large sense in which I have throughout understood it, while Jules de
Gaultier is essentially concerned with the philosophic or religious
side of the art impulse; that is to say, the attitude of aesthetic
contemplation which in appearance forms the absolute antithesis to the
possessive instinct. It is probable, however, that there is no real
discrepancy here, for as we may regard aesthetic contemplation as the
passive aspect of art, so art may be regarded as the active aspect of
aesthetic contemplation, and Bertrand Russell, we may certainly
believe, would include the one under art as Jules de Gaultier would
include the other under aesthetics.

The aesthetic instinct, as Jules de Gaultier understands it, answers
the double demand of our needs to-day, not, like religions and
moralities, by evoking images as menaces or as promises, only
effective if they can be realised in the world of sensation, and so
merely constituting another attempt to gratify the possessive
instinct, by enslaving the power of imagination to that alien master.
Through the aesthetic instinct Man is enabled to procure joy, not from
the things themselves and the sensations due to the possession of
things, but from the very images of things. Beyond the sense of
utility bound up with the possession of objects, he acquires the
privilege, bound up with the sole contemplation of them, of enjoying
the beauty of things. By the aesthetic instinct the power of
imagination realises its own proper tendency and attains its own
proper end.

Such a process cannot fail to have its reaction on the social
environment. It must counteract the exaggeration of the possessive
instinct. To that impulse, when it transgresses the legitimate bounds
of biological needs and threatens to grow like a destructive cancer,
the aesthetic instinct proposes another end, a more human end, that of
aesthetic joy. Therewith the exuberance of insatiable and ruinous
cupidity is caught in the forms of art, the beauty of the universe is
manifested to all eyes, and the happiness which had been sought in the
paradoxical enterprise of glutting that insatiable desire finds its
perpetual satisfaction in the absolute and complete realisation of

As Jules de Gaultier understands it, we see that the aesthetic
instinct is linked on to the possessive instinct.  Bertrand Russell
would sometimes seem to leave the possessive instinct in the void
without making any provision for its satisfaction. In Gaultier's view,
we may probably say it is taken in charge by the aesthetic instinct as
soon as it has fulfilled its legitimate biological ends, and its
excessive developments, what might otherwise be destructive, are
sublimated. The aesthetic instinct, Gaultier insists, like the other
instincts, even the possessive instinct, has imperative claims; it is
an appetite of the ego, developed at the same hearth of intimate
activity, drawing its strength from the same superabundance from which
they draw strength.  Therefore, in the measure in which it absorbs
force they must lose force, and civilisation gains.

The development of the aesthetic sense is, indeed, indispensable if
civilisation--which we may, perhaps, from the present point of view,
regard with Gaultier as the embroidery worked by imagination on the
stuff of our elementary needs--is to pass safely through its critical
period and attain any degree of persistence.  The appearance of the
aesthetic sense is then an event of the first order in the rank of
natural miracles, strictly comparable to the evolution in the organic
sphere of the optic nerves, which made it possible to know things
clearly apart from the sensations of actual contact. There is no mere
simile here, Gaultier believes: the faculty of drawing joy from the
images of things, apart from the possession of them, is based on
physiological conditions which growing knowledge of the nervous system
may some day make clearer.  [Footnote: I may remark that Plato had
long before attributed the same observation to the Pythagorean Timaeus
in the sublime and amusing dialogue that goes under that name: "Sight
in my opinion is the source of the greatest benefit to us, for had we
never seen the stars, and the sun, and the heavens, none of the words
which we have spoken about the universe would ever have been uttered.
But now the sight of day and night, and the months and the revolution
of the years, have created Number, and have given us a conception of
Time, and the powers of inquiring about the Nature of the Universe,
and from this source we have derived philosophy, than which no greater
good ever was or will be given by the godi to mortal man."]

It is this specific quality, the power of enjoying things without
being reduced to the need of possessing them, which differentiates the
sesthetic instinct from other instincts and confers on it the
character of morality. Based, like the other instincts on egoism, it,
yet, unlike the other instincts, leads to no destructive struggles.
Its powers of giving satisfaction are not dissipated by the number of
those who secure that satisfaction. Aesthetic contemplation engenders
neither hatred nor envy. Unlike the things that appeal to the
possessive instinct, it brings men together and increases sympathy.
Unlike those moralities which are compelled to institute prohibitions,
the aesthetic sense, even in the egoistic pursuit of its own ends,
becomes blended with morality, and so serves in the task of
maintaining society.

Thus it is that, by aiming at a different end, the aesthetic sense yet
attains the end aimed at by morality.  That is the aspect of the
matter which Gaultier would emphasise. There is implied in it the
judgment that when the aesthetic sense deviates from its proper ends
to burden itself with moral intentions--when, that is, it ceases to be
itself--it ceases to realise morality.  "Art for art's sake!" the
artists of old cried. We laugh at that cry now. Gaultier, indeed,
considers that the idea of pure art has in every age been a red rag in
the eyes of the human bull. Yet, if we had possessed the necessary
intelligence, we might have seen that it held a great moial truth.
"The poet, retired in his Tower of Ivory, isolated, according to his
desire, from the world of man, resembles, whether he so wishes or not,
another solitary figure, the watcher enclosed for months at a time in
a lighthouse at the head of a cliff.  Far from the towns peopled by
human crowds, far from the earth, of which he scarcely distinguishes
the outlines through the mist, this man in his wild solitude, forced
to live only with himself, almost forgets the common language of men,
but he knows admirably well how to formulate through the darkness
another language infinitely useful to men and visible afar to seamen
in distress." [Footnote: Jules de Gaultier, "La Guerre et les
Destinées de l'Art," _Monde Nouveau_, August, 1920.] The artist for
art's sake--and the same is constantly found true of the scientist for
science's sake [Footnote: Thus Einstein, like every true man of
science, holds that cultural developments are not to be measured in
terms of utilitarian technical advances, much as he has himself been
concerned with such advances, but that, like the devotee of "Art for
Art's sake," the man of science must proclaim the maxim, "Science for
Science's sake."] --in turning aside from the common utilitarian aims
of men is really engaged in a task none other can perform, of immense
utility to men. The Cistercians of old hid their cloisters in forests
and wildernesses afar from society, mixing not with men nor performing
for them so-called useful tasks; yet they spent their days and nights
in chant and prayer, working for the salvation of the world, and they
stand as the symbol of all higher types of artists, not the less so
because they, too, illustrate that faith transcending sight, without
which no art is possible.

The artist, as Gaultier would probably put it, has to effect a
necessary Bovarism. If he seeks to mix himself up with the passions of
the crowd, if his work shows the desire to prove anything, he thereby
neglects the creation of beauty. Necessarily so, for he excites a
state of combativity, he sets up moral, political, and social values,
all having relation to biological needs and the possessive instinct,
the most violent of ferments.  He is entering on the struggle over
Truth--though his opinion is here worth no more than any other
man's--which, on account of the presumption of its universality, is
brandished about in the most ferociously opposed camps.

The mother who seeks to soothe her crying child preaches him no
sermon. She holds up some bright object and it fixes his attention. So
it is the artist acts: he makes us see. He brings the world before us,
not on the plane of covetousness and fears and commandments, but on
the plane of representation; the world becomes a spectacle. Instead of
imitating those philosophers who with analyses and syntheses worry
over the goal of life, and the justification of the world, and the
meaning of the strange and painful phenomenon called Existence, the
artist takes up some fragment of that existence, transfigures it,
shows it:

There! And therewith the spectator is filled with enthusiastic joy,
and the transcendent Adventure of Existence is justified. Every great
artist, a Dante or a Shakespeare, a Dostoievsky or a Proust, thus
furnishes the metaphysical justification of existence by the beauty of
the vision he presents of the cruelty and the horror of existence. All
the pain and the madness, even the ugliness and the commonplace of the
world, he converts into shining jewels. By revealing the spectacular
character of reality he restores the serenity of its innocence.
[Footnote: In the foregoing paragraphs I have, in my own way,
reproduced the thought, occasionally the words, of Jules de Gaultier,
more especially in "La Moralité Esthétique" (_Mercure de France_, 15th
December, 1921), probably the finest short statement of this
distinguished thinker's reflections on the matter in question.] We see
the face of the world as of a lovely woman smiling through her tears.

How are we to expect this morality--if so we may still term it--to
prevail? Jules de Gaultier, as we have seen, realising that the old
moralities have melted away, seems to think that the morality of art,
by virtue of its life, will take the place of that which is dead. But
he is not specially concerned to discuss in detail the mechanism of
this replacement, though he looks to the social action of artists in
initiation and stimulation. That was the view of Guyau, and it fitted
in with his sociological conception of art as being one with life;
great poets, great artists, Guyau believed, will become the leaders of
the crowd, the priests of a social religion without dogmas.
[Footnote: Guyau, _L'Art au Point de Vue Sociologigue_, p. 163.] But
Gaultier's conception goes beyond this. He cannot feel that the direct
action of poets and artists is sufficient. They only reveal the more
conspicuous aspects of the aesthetic sense. Gaultier considers that
the aesthetic sense, in humbler forms, is mixed up with the most
primitive manifestations of human life, wherein it plays a part of
unsuspected importance.  [Footnote: This diffused aesthetic sense is
correlated with a diffused artistic instinct, based on craftsmanship,
which the Greeks were afraid to recognise because they looked down
with contempt on the handicrafts as vulgar; William Morris was a
pioneer in asserting this association. As a distinguished English
writer, Mr. Charles Marriott, the novelist and critic, clearly puts
the modern doctrine: "The first step is to absorb, or re-absorb, the
'Artist' into the craftsman.... Once agree that the same aesthetic
considerations which apply to painting a picture apply, though in a
different degree, to painting a door, and you have emancipated labour
without any prejudice to the highest meaning of art.... A good surface
of paint on a door is as truly an emotional or aesthetic consideration
as'significant form,' indeed it is'significant form.'" (_Nation and
Athenaeum_, ist July, 1922.) Professor Santayana has spoken in the
same Bense: "In a thoroughly humanised society everything--clothes,
speech, manners, government--is a work of art." (_The Dial_, June,
1922, p 563.) It is, indeed, the general tendency to-day and is
traceable in Croce's later writings.] The more thorough investigation
of these primitive forms, he believes, will make it possible for the
lawmaker to aid the mechanism of this transformation of morality.

Having therewith brought us to the threshold of the aesthetic
revolution, Jules de Gaultier departs. It remains necessary to point
out that it is only the threshold. However intimately the elements of
the aesthetic sense may be blended with primitive human existence, we
know too well that, as the conditions of human existence are modified,
art seems to contract and degenerate, so we can hardly expect the
aesthetic sense to develop in the reverse direction. At present, in
the existing state of civilisation, with the decay of the controlling
power of the old morality, the aesthetic sense often seems to be also
decreasing, rather than increasing, in the masses of the population.
[Footnote: Thus it has often been pointed out that the Papuans are
artists in design of the first rank, with a finer taste in some
matters than the most highly civilised races of Europe. Professor R.
Semon, who has some remarks to this effect (_Correspondenzblatt_ of
the German Anthropological Society, March, 1902), adds that their
unfailing artistic sense is spread throughout the whole population and
shown in every object of daily use.] One need not be troubled to find
examples. They occur on every hand and whenever we take up a
newspaper.  One notes, for instance, in England, that the most
widespread spectacularly attractive things outside cities may be said
to be the private parks and the churches. (Cities lie outside the
present argument, for their inhabitants are carefully watched whenever
they approach anything that appeals to the possessive instinct.)
Formerly the parks and churches were freely open all day long for
those who desired to enjoy the spectacle of their beauty and not to
possess it.  The owners of parks and the guardians of churches have
found it increasingly necessary to close them because of the
alarmingly destructive or predatory impulses of a section of the
public. So the many have to suffer for the sins of what may only be
the few. It is common to speak of this as a recent tendency of our
so-called civilisation. But the excesses of the possessive instinct
cannot have been entirely latent even in I remote times, though they
seem to have been less in evidence. The Platonic Timaeus attributed to
the spectacle of the sun and the moon and the stars the existence of
philosophy. He failed to note that the sun and the moon and the stars
would have disappeared long ago--as even their infinitely more
numerous analogues on the earth beneath are likely to disappear--had
they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands. But the
warps and strains of civilised life, with its excessive industrialism
and militarism, seem to disturb the wholesome balance of even the
humblest elements of the possessive and aesthetic instincts. This
means, in the first and most important place, that the liberty of the
whole community in its finest manifestations is abridged by a handful
of imbeciles. There are infinite freedoms which it would be a joy for
them to take, and a help to their work, and a benefit to the world,
but they cannot be allowed to take them because there are some who can
only take them and perish, damning others with themselves. Besides
this supreme injury to life, there are perpetual minor injuries that
the same incapable section of people are responsible for in every
direction, while the actual cost of them in money, to the community
they exert so pernicious an influence on, is so great and so
increasing that it constitutes a social and individual burden which
from time to time leads to outbursts of anxious expostulation never
steady enough to be embodied in any well-sustained and coherent

It is not, indeed, to be desired that the eugenic action of society
should be directly aimed at any narrowly aesthetic or moral end. That
has never been the ideal of any of those whose conceptions of social
life deserve to be taken seriously, least of all Gal ton, who is
commonly regarded as the founder of the modern scientific art of
eugenics. "Society would be very dull," he remarked, "if every man
resembled Marcus Aurelius or Adam Bede." He even asserted that "we
must leave morality as far as possible out of the discussion," since
moral goodness and badness are shifting phases of a civilisation; what
is held morally good in one age is held bad in another. That would
hold true of any aesthetic revolution. But we cannot afford to do
without the sane and wholesome persons who are so well balanced that
they can adjust themselves to the conditions of every civilisation as
it arises and carry it on to its finest issues. We should not, indeed,
seek to breed them directly, and we need not, since under natural
conditions Nature will see to their breeding. But it is all the more
incumbent upon us to eliminate those ill-balanced and poisonous stocks
produced by the unnatural conditions which society in the past had
established.  [Footnote: The presence of a small minority of abnormal
or perverse persons--there will be such, we may be sure, in every
possible society--affords no excuse for restricting the liberty of the
many to the standard of the few.  The general prevalence of an
aesthetic morality in classic times failed to prevent occasional
outbursts of morbid sexual impulse in the presence of objects of art,
even in temples. We find records of Pygmalionism and allied
perversities in Lucian, Athenzus, Pliny, Valerius Maximus. Yet
supposing that the Greeks had listened to the proposals of some
strayed Puritan visitor, from Britain or New England, to abolish nude
statues, or suppose that Plato, who wished to do away with imaginative
literature as liable to demoralise, had possessed the influence he
desired, how infinite the loss to all mankind! In modern Europe we not
only propose such legal abolition; we actually, however in vain, carry
it out. We seek to reduce all human existence to absurdity. It is, at
the best, unnecessary, for we may be sure that, in spite of our
efforts, a certain amount of absurdity will always remain.] That we
have to do alike in the interests of the offspring of these diseased
stocks and in the interests of society. No power in Heaven or Earth
can ever confer upon us the right to create the unfit in order to hang
them like millstones around the necks of the fit. The genius of Galton
enabled him to see this clearly afresh and to indicate the reasonable
path of human progress. It was a truth that had long been forgotten by
the strenuous humanitarians who ruled the nineteenth century, so
anxious to perpetuate and multiply all the worst spawn of their
humanity. Yet it was an ancient truth, carried into practice, however
unconsciously and instinctively, by Man throughout his upward course,
probably even from Paleeolithic times, and when it ceased Man's upward
course also ceased. As Carr-Saunders has shown, in a learned and
comprehensive work which is of primary importance for the
understanding of the history of Man, almost every people on the face
of the earth has adopted one or more practices--notably infanticide,
abortion, or severe restriction of sexual intercourse--adapted to
maintain due selection of the best stocks and to limit the excess of
fertility. They largely ceased to work because Man had acquired the
humanity which was repelled by such methods and lost the intelligence
to see that they must be replaced by better methods.  For the process
of human evolution is nothing more than a process of sifting, and
where that sifting ceases evolution ceases, becomes, indeed,
devolution.  [Footnote: A. M. Carr-Saunders, _The Population Problem:
A Study in Human Evolution_ (Oxford Press, 1922).]

When we survey the history of Man we are constantly reminded of the
profound truth which often lay beneath the parables of Jesus, and they
might well form the motto for any treatise on eugenics. Jesus was
constantly seeking to suggest the necessity of that process of sifting
in which all human evolution consists; he was ever quick to point out
how few could be, as it was then phrased, "saved," how extremely
narrow is the path to the Kingdom of Heaven, or, as many might now
call it, the Kingdom of Man. He proclaimed symbolically a doctrine of
heredity which is only to-day beginning to be directly formulated:
"Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast
into the fire." There was no compunction at all in his promulgation of
this radical »yet necessary doctrine for the destruction of unfit
stocks.  Even the best stocks Jesus was in favour of destroying
ruthlessly as soon as they had ceased to be the best: "Ye are the salt
of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,... it is
thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden
under foot of men." Jesus has been reproached by Nietzsche for
founding a religion for slaves and plebeians, and so in the result it
may have become. But we see that, in the words of the Teacher as they
have been handed down, the religion of Jesus was the most aristocratic
of religions. Its doctrine embodied not even the permission to live
for those human stocks which fall short of its aristocratic ideal. It
need not surprise us to find that Jesus had already said two thousand
years ago what Gal ton, in a more modern and--some would add--more
humane way, was saying yesterday. If there had not been a core of
vital truth beneath the surface of the first Christian's teaching, it
could hardly have survived so long. We are told that it is now dead,
but should it ever be revived we may well believe that this is the
aspect by which it will be commended. It is a significant fact that at
the two spiritual sources of our world, Jesus and Plato, we find the
assertion of the principle of eugenics, in one implicitly, in the
other explicitly.

Jules de Gaultier was not concerned to put forward an aristocratic
conception of his aesthetic doctrine, and, as we have seen, he
remained on the threshold of eugenics. He was content to suggest,
though with no positive assurance, a more democratic conception.  He
had, indeed, one may divine, a predilection for that middle class
which has furnished so vast a number of the supreme figures in art and
thought; by producing a class of people dispensed from tasks of
utility, he had pointed out, "a society creates for itself an organ
fitted for the higher life and bears witness that it has passed beyond
the merely biological stage to reach the human stage." But the middle
class is not indispensable, and if it is doomed Gaultier saw ways of
replacing it.  [Footnote: J. de Gaultier, "Art et Civilisation."
_Monde Nouveau_, February, 1921.] Especially we may seek to ensure
that, in every social group, the individual task of utilitarian work
shall be so limited that the worker is enabled to gain a leisure
sufficiently ample to devote, if he has the aptitude, to works of
intellect or art. He would agree with Otto Braun, the inspired youth
who was slain in the Great War, that if we desire the enablement of
the people "the eight-hours day becomes nothing less than the most
imperative demand of culture." It is in this direction, it may well be,
that social evolution is moving, however its complete realisation may,
by temporary causes, from time to time be impeded. The insistent
demand for increased wages and diminished hours of work has not been
inspired by the desire to raise the level of culture in the social
environment, or to inaugurate any aesthetic revolution, yet, by "the
law of irony" which so often controls the realisation of things, that
is the result which may be achieved. The new leisure conferred on the
worker may be transformed into spiritual activity, and the liberated
utilitarian energy into aesthetic energy. The road would thus be
opened for a new human adventure, of anxious interest, which the
future alone can reveal.

We cannot be sure that this transformation will take place. We cannot
be sure, indeed, that it is possible for it to take place unless the
general quality of the population in whom so fine a process must be
effected is raised by a more rigid eugenic process than there is yet
any real determination among us to exert. Men still bow down before
the fetish of mere quantity in population, and that worship may be
their undoing.  Giant social organisms, like the giant animal species
of early times, may be destined to disappear suddenly when they have
attained their extreme expansion.

Even if that should be so, even if there should be a solution of
continuity in the course of civilisation, even then, as again Jules de
Gaultier also held, we need not despair, for life is a fountain of
everlasting exhilaration.  No creature on the earth has so tortured
himself as Man, and none has raised a more exultant Alleluia.  It
would still be possible to erect places of refuge, cloisters wherein
life would yet be full of joy for men and women determined by their
vocation to care only for beauty and knowledge, and so to hand on to a
future race the living torch of civilisation. When we read Palladius,
when we read Rabelais, we realise how vast a field lies open for human
activity between the Thebaid on one side and Thelema on the other. Out
of such ashes a new world might well arise. Sunset is the promise of



Abortion, once practised, 354.

Absolute, the, a fiction, 101.

Abyssian Church, dancing in worship of, 45--

Acting, music, and poetry, proceed in one stream, 36.

Adam, Villiers de l'Isle, his story Le Secret de l'ancienne Musique,

Addison, Joseph, his style, 161-63, 184.

Adler, Dr. Alfred, of Vienna, 336, 337.

Adolescence, idealisation in, 107, 108.

/Eschylus, developed technique of dancing, 56.

Esthetic contemplation, 314, 315, 325, 326; recognised by the Greeks,
330, 331; two kinds of, that of spectator and that of participator,
331, 332; the Shaftesbury attitude toward, 332, 333; the Swift
attitude toward, 333; involves life as a spectacle, 333, 334; and the
systems of Gaultier and Russell, 343; engenders neither hatred nor
envy, 346.

Esthetic instinct, to replace moralities, religions, and laws, 340,
341, 343-45; differentiated from other instincts, 346; has the
character of morality, 346.

Aesthetic intuitionism, 260, 276, 279, 314--

Aesthetic sense, development of, indispensable for civilisation, 345;
realises morality when unburdened with moral intentions, 346; mixed
with primitive manifestations of life, 350; correlated with diffused
artistic instinct, 350 n.\ seems to be decreasing, 350-52.

Aesthetics, and ethics, among the Greeks, 247; with us, 348; in the
Greek sense, 263; the founders of, 271,329; and art, the unlikeness
of, 325-28; on same plane with mysticism, 330 ».

Africa, love-dance in, 46, 49, 50.

Akhenaten, 28.

Alaro, in Mallorca; dancing in church at,

44, 45--

Alberti, Leo, vast-ranging ideas of, 5.

Alcohol, consumption of, as test of civilisation, 295, 296.

Anatomy, studied by Leonardo da Vinci, 120.

Anaximander, 89.

Ancestry, the force of, in handwriting, 157, 158; in style, 158-61,

Anna, Empress, 59.

Antisthenes, 249 n.

"Appearance," 219 ».

Aquinas, Saint Thomas, 202.

Arabs, dancing among, 38.

Arbuckle, one of the founders of aesthetics, 271; insisted on
imagination as formative of character, 272.

Architecture. See Building.

Aristophanes, 311.

Aristotle, 89; on tragedy, 56; on the Mysteries, 242; on the moral
quality of an act, 248; his use of the term "moral sense," 273; on Art
and Nature in the making of the State, 313; his use of the term
"artists," 313; his view of poetry, 318; and the contemplative life,
330 n.

Art, life as, more difficult to realise than to act, 1,2; universe
conceived as work of, by the primitive philosopher, i; life as, views
of finest thinkers of China and Greece on, 2-6, 247-52; whole
conception of, has been narrowed and debased, 6, 7; in its proper
sense, 7, 8; as the desire for beautification, 8; of living, has been
decadent during the last two thousand years, 8 n.; Napoleon in the
sphere of, 10; of living, the Lifuan, 13-18; of living, the Chinese,
27; Chinese civilisation shows that human life is, 30; of living,
T'ung's story the embodiment of the Chinese symbol of, 33; life
identical with, 33-35; of dancing, 36, 51-67, see Dancing; of life, a
dance, 66, 67; science and, no distinction between, in classic times,
68; science and, distinction between, in modern times, 68-70; science
is of the nature of, 71; represented by Pythagoras as source of
science, 74; Greek, 76 n.; of thinking, 68-140, see Thinking; the
solution of the conflicts of philosophy in, 82, 83; philosophy and,
close relationship of, 83-85; impulse of, transformed sexual instinct,
108-12; and mathematics, 138-40; of writing, 141-190, see Writing; Man
added to Nature, is the task in, 153; the freedom and the easiness of,
do not necessarily go together, 182; of religion, 191-243, see
Religion; of morals, 244-84, see Morals; the critic of, a critic of
life, 269; civilisation is an, 301, 310; consideration of the question
of the definition of, 310-12; Nature and, 312,
313; the sum of the active energies of 
mankind, 313; and aesthetics, the un-likeness of, 314, 315, 325-28; a
genus, o£ which morals is a species, 316; each, has its own morality,
318; to assert that it gives pleasure a feeble conclusion, 319; on the
uselessness of, according to Schopenhauer and others,
319-21; meaninglessness of the statement that it is useless, 322;
sociological function of, 323, 324; philosophers have failed to see
that it has a morality of its own, 324, 325; for art's sake, 346,

Artist, partakes of divine nature of creator of the world, 2; Napoleon
as an, 10-12; the true scientist as, 72, 73,112; the philosopher as,
72, 73, 85; explanation of, 108-12; Bacon's definition of, Man added
to Nature, 153; makes all things new, 153; in words, passes between
the plane of new vision and the plane of new creation, 170, 178; life
always a discipline for, 277; lays up his treasure in Heaven, 307; Man
as, 310; is a maker, 312; Aristotle's use of the term, 313; reveals
Nature, 320; has to effect a necessary Bovarism, 348, 349.

Artistic creation, the process of its birth, 108, 109.

Arts, sometimes classic and sometimes decadent, 8 «.; and sciences,
68-70; Master of, 69.

"Arty" people, 6, 7.

"As if," germs of doctrine of, in Kant, 87; world of, and Plato's
"Ideas," 88; source of the phrase, 88, 89; seen in play, 89; the
doctrine of, not immune from criticism, 102; fortifying influence of
the doctrine, 102, 103. See Fiction, Vaihinger.

Asceticism, has nothing to do with normal religion, 222, 223; among

Greeks, traced, 249 n.; and Christianity, 249 .

Asclepios, the cult of, 197 n.

Atavism, in handwriting, 157, 158; in style, 158-61, 190.

Athenaeus, 55, 353 n.; his book about the Greeks, 76 n.

Atom, a fiction or an hypothesis, 97, 338; the structure of, 97 n.

Attraction, force of, a fiction, 98.

Aurelius, Marcus, regarded art of life as like the dancer's art, 66;
his statement of the mystical core of religion, 207-adopted aesthetic
criterion of mora' action, 279.

Australians, religious dances among, 40.

Auto-erotic activities, no, in.

Axioms, akin to fiction, 94, 95.

Babies, 105.

Bach, Sebastian, 62, 311.

Bacon, Francis, his definition of the artist, Man added to Nature,
153; his

style compared with that of Shakespeare, 160; the music of his style,
163; heavy and formal letters of, 184; his axiom, the right question
is half the knowledge, 325.

Bacon, Roger, on the sciences, 68.

Balguy, Rev. John, 274.

Ballad, a dance as well as song, 62.

Ballet, the, chief form of Romantic dancing, 53; the germ of, to be
found in ancient Rome, 56; origin of the modern, 56; the Italian and
the French, 56-58; decline of, 58; the Russian, 58-60; the Swedish,

Bantu, the question of the, 38, 45.

Baptism, 242.

"Barbarians," the classic use of the term, 285.

Barebones, Praise-God, 272.

Baretti, G. M. 50.

Bastien-Lepage, Jules, 311.

Baudelaire, Charles, on vulgar locutions, 151--

Baumgarten, A. G., the commonly accepted founder of aesthetics, 326.

Bayaderes, 52.

Bayle, G. L., 261.

"Beautiful," the, among Greeks and Romans, 247, 252.

Beauty, developed by dancing, 47; as an element of literary style,
176-78; and the good, among the Greeks, 247; Plotinus's doctrine of,
250, 251; of virtue, 270 n.; aesthetic contemplation creates, 315,
327, 328; and prettiness, 315 «.; revelation of, sometimes comes as by
a process of "conversion," 328,


Bee, the, an artist, 312.

Beethoven, 311; his Seventh Symphony, 62, 63.

Beggary in China, 31.

Benn, A. W., his The Greek Philosophers, 6, 252, 277 n.

Bentham, Jeremy, adopted a fiction for his system, 99.

Berenson, Bernhard, critic of art, 114; his attitude toward Leonardo
da Vinci, 114,117.

Bergson, Henri Louis, pyrotechnical allusions frequent in, 23; regards
philosophy as an art, 83, 84; on clarity in style, 176, 177; his idea
of intuition, 232 n.; on reality, 320.

Berkeley, George, 95.

Bernard, Claude, personality in his Leçons de Physiologie
Expérimentales, 144--

Bible, the, the source of its long life, l79-See Old Testament,

Birds, dancing of, 36 n., 45; the attitude of the poet toward, 168.

Birth-rate, as test of civilisation, 294, 296, 299 n.

"Bitter," a moral quality, 264.

Blackguard, the, 244, 245.

Blake, William, on the Dance of Life, 66; on the golden rule of life,

Blasco Ibanez, 171.

Blood, Harvey's conception of circulation of, nearly anticipated by
Leonardo da Vinci, 120.

Boisguillebert, Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de, his "barometer of
prosperity," 287.

Botany, studied by Leonardo da Vinci, 119.

Botticelli, Sandro, 56.

Bouguereau, G. A., 315 n.

Bovarism, explanation of, 335; applied to the Universe, 337; a
necessary, effected by the artist, 348, 349.

Brantôme, Pierre de B., his style, 161.

Braun, Otto, 357.

Breton, Jules, 311.

Bridges, Robert, 272.

Browne, Sir Thomas, his style, 161, 175, 176, 178.

Browning, Robert, 113; too clumsy to influence others, 184.

Brunetière, Ferdinand, a narrow-minded pedagogue, 125.

Bruno, Giordano, 207.

Bruno, Leonardo, 207.

Bryce, James, on democracies, 300.

Biicher, Karl, on work and dance, 61, 62.

Buckle, H. T., 99.

Buddhist monks, 224 n.

Building, and dancing, the two primary arts, 36; birds' nests, the
chief early form of, 36 n.

Bunyan, John, 79.

Burton, Robert, as regards his quotations, 152.

Bury, J. B., 287 n.

Cabanel, 315 n.

Cadiz, the dancing-school of Spain, 54.

Camargo, innovations of, in the ballet,

Carlyle, Thomas, revelation of family history in his style, 158,159;
compared to Aristophanes, 159 n.; too clumsy to influence others, 184.

Carpenter, the, sacred position of, in some countries, 2.

Carr-Saunders, A. M., on the social ladder and the successful
climbers, 299 300; on selecting the best stock of humanity, 354.

Cassirer, Ernest, on Goethe, 137 ».

Castanets, 54.

Casuistry, 304 «., 305.

Categories, are fictions, 94.

Cathedrals, dancing in, 44, 45.

Ceremony, Chinese, 22, 29; and music, Chinese life regulated by,

Cézanne, artist, 153, 315 «.

Chanties, of sailors, 61, 62.

Cheetham, Samuel, on the Pagan Mysteries, 241 n.

Chemistry, analogy of, to life, 33-35.

Chess, the Chinese game of, 23.

Chiaroscuro, method of, devised by Leonardo da Vinci, 117.

Chidley, Australian philosopher, 79-82.

China, finest thinkers of, perceived significance in life of
conception of art, 3; art animates the whole of life in, 27, 28;
beggary in, 31.

Chinese, the, the accounts of, 18-21; their poetry, 21, 22, 29, 32;
their etiquette of politeness, 22; the quality of play in their
character, 22-24; their life regulated by music and ceremony, 24-26,
29; their civilisation shows that life is art, 27, 28, 30; the
aesthetic supremacy of, 28-30; endurance of

their civilisation, 28, 30; their philosophic calm, 29 n.; decline in
civilisation of, in last thousand years, 30; their pottery, 32, 33;
embodiment of their symbol of the art of living, 33.

Chinese life, the art of balancing aesthetic temperament and guarding
against its excesses, 29.

Choir, the word, 42.

Christian Church, supposed to have been originally a theatre, 42.

Christian ritual, the earliest known, a sacred dance, 42.

Christian worship, dancing in, 42-45; central function of, a sacred
drama, 43.

Christianity, Lifuan art of living undermined by arrival of, 18;
dancing in,

40-45; the ideas of, as dogmas, hypotheses, and fictions, 99; and the

Pagan Mysteries, 242; and asceticism, 249 «.; the Hebrew mode of
feeling grafted into, 276.

Chrysostom, on dancing at the Eucharist,


Church, and religion, not the same, 228 K.

Church Congress, at Sheffield in 1922, ideas of conversion expressed
at, 220 n.

Churches, 351.

Cicero, 73, 252.

Cinema, educational value of, 138.

Cistercian monks, 43.

Cistercians, the, 347.

Civilisation, develops with conscious adhesion to formal order, 172;
standards for measurement of, 285; Nice-foro's measurement of, 286; on
meaning of, 287; the word, 288; the art of, includes three kinds of
facts, 289; criminality as a measure of, 290, 291; creative genius and
general instruction INDEX

in connection with, 291-93; birth-rate as test of, 294; consumption of
luxuries as test of, 294, 295; suicide rate as test of, 295; tests of,
applied to France by Niceforo, 295-97; not an exclusive mass of
benefits, but a mass of values, 297; becoming more complex, 298; small
minority at the top of, 298; guidance of, assigned to lower stratum,
298, 299; art of eugenics necessary to save, 299, 300; of quantity and
of quality, 300; not to be precisely measured, 301; the more rapidly
it progresses, the sooner it dies, 301; an art, 301, 310; an estimate
of its value possible, 302; meaning of Protagoras's dictum with
relation to, 302; measured by standard of fine art (sculpture), 307,
308; eight periods of, 307, 308; a fresh race needed to produce new
period of, 308; and culture, 309; aesthetic sense indispensable for,
345; possible breakup of, 358.

Clarity, as an element of style, 176-78.

Cliches, 149-51.

Cloisters, for artists, 358.

Cochez, of Louvain, on Plotinus, 249 n.

Coleridge, S.T., his "loud bassoon," 169; of the spectator type of the
contemplative temperament, 332.

Colour-words, 164 ».

Colvin, Sir Sidney, on science and art, 70.

Commandments, tables of, 253, 255.

Communists, French, inspired by Shaftes-bury, 269.

Community, the, 244.

Comte, J. A., 301.

Confucian morality, the, 29.

Confucianism, outward manifestation of Taoism, 26.

Confucius, consults Lao-tze, 25, 26.

Conrad, Joseph, his knowledge of the sea, 171.

Contemplation. See Aesthetic contemplation.

Convention, and Nature, Hippias makes distinction between, 5.

Conventions. See Traditions.

Conversion, a questionnaire on, 210 n.; the process of, 218; the
fundamental fact of, 218, 218 n.; essential outlines of, have been
obscured, 220 n.; Churchmen's ideas of, 220 «.; not the outcome of
despair or a retrogression, 221, 222; nothing ascetic about it, 222;
among the Greeks, 240; revelation of beauty sometimes comes by a
process of, 328,


Cooper, Anthony, 261.

Cornish, G. Warre, his article on "Greek

Drama and the Dance,"56. • Cosmos. See Universe.

Courtship, dancing a process of, 46.

towper, William, 184; influence of Shaftesbury on, 266.

draftsman, the, partakes of divine nature of creator of the world, 2.

Creation, not the whole of Man, 314.

Creative impulses. See Impulses.

Crime, an effort to get into step, 245 «.; defined, 290; natural, 290;
evolutive social, 291.

Criminality, as a measure of civilisation, 290, 291.

Critics, of language, 141-51; difficulty of their task, 153 n,

Croce, Benedetto, his idea of art, 84; tends to move in verbal
circles, 84; on judging a work of art, 153 n.; on mysticism and
science, 191 n.; tends to fall into verbal abstraction, 324 n.; his
idea of intuition, 232 n., 320 n.; on the critic of art

as a critic of life, 269; on art the deliverer, 318 n.; on union of
sesthetic sense with artistic instinct, 350 «.

Croiset, Maurice, on Plotinus, 249 n.

Cromwell, Oliver, 272.

Cruz, Friar Caspar de, on the Chinese,


Culture, and civilisation, 309.

Curiosity, the sexual instinct a reaction to

the stimulus of, 104, 112.  Custom, 245.  Cuvier, Georges, 181.
Cymbal, the, 53.

Dance, love, among insects, birds, and mammals, 45, 46; among savages,
46; has gained influence in the human world, 48; various forms of, 48,
49; the complete, 49, 50; the seductiveness of, 50; prejudice against,
50, 51; choral, Plotinus compares the moral life of the soul to, 251,

Dance of Life, the, 66, 67.

Dancing, and building, the two primary acts, 36; possibly accounts for
origin of birds' nests, 36 n.; supreme manifestation of physical life
and supreme symbol of spiritual life, 36; the significance of, 37; the
primitive expression of religion and of love, 37, 38, 45; entwined
with human tradition of war, labour, pleasure, and education, 37; the
expression of the whole man, 38, 39; rules the life of primitive men,
39 «.; religious importance of, among primitive men, 39, 40; connected
with all religions, 40; ecstatic and pantomimic, 41, 42; survivals of,
in religion, 42; in Christian worship, 42-45; in cathedrals, 44, 45;
among birds and insects, 45; among mammals, 45, 46; a process of
courtship and novitiate for love, 46» 47; double function of, 47;
different forms of, 48-51; becomes an art, 51» professional, 52;
Classic and Romantic, 52-60; the ballet, 53, 57-60; solo, 53; Egyptian
and Gaditanian, 53, 54; Greek, 55, 56,60; as morals, 60, 61,63; all
human work a kind of, 61, 62; and music, 61-63! social significance
of, 60, 61, 63,64; and war, allied, 63, 64; importance of, in
education, 64,65; Puritan attack on, 65; is life itself, 65; always
felt to possess symbolic significance, 66; the learning of, a severe
discipline, 277.

Dancing-school, the function of, process of courtship, 47.

D'Annunzio, Gabriele, 178.

Danse du venire, the, 49 n.

Dante, 311, 349; dancing in his "Para-diso," 43; intellectual life of,
largely guided by delight in beauty of rhythmic relation between law
and instance, 73--

Darwin, Charles, 88; poet and artist, 128, 129; and St. Theresa, 198.

Darwin, Erasmus, 181.

David, Alexandra, his book, Le Philosophe Meh-ti et Vidée de
Solidarité, 26 n.

Decadence, of art of living, 8 «.; rigid subservience to rule a mark
of, 173.

Degas, 315 n.

Democracies, the smallest, are highest, 300.

Demography, 285.

Demosthenes, 336.

De Quincey, Thomas, the music of his style, 164.

Descartes, René, on arts and sciences, 69; represents in France new
impetus to sciences, 180; religious, though man of science, 208.

Design, the arts of, 36.

Devadasis, the, sacred dancing girls, 51, 52.

Diaghilev, 59.

Dickens, Charles, 311.

Dickinson, G. Lowes, his account of the Chinese, 20, 21; his account
of Chinese poetry, 21, 22.

Diderot, Denis, wide-ranging interests of, 5; translated Shaftesbury,

"Dieta Salutis," the, 43.

Discipline, definition of a, 71 n.

"Divine command," the, 255.

"Divine malice," of Nietzsche, 155 n.

Diving-bell, constructed by Leonardo da Vinci, 119.

Divorces, as test of civilisation, 296.

Doctor, and priest, originally one, 197 «., 203.

Dogma, hypothesis, and fiction, 98, 99.

Dogmas, shadows of personal experience, 217.

Dostoievsky, F. M., 311,349; his master--

piece, "The Brothers Karamazov," 135,


Drama, Greek, origin of, 55, 56; the real

Socrates possibly to be seen in, 78.  Driesch, Hans, on his own mental
development, 216 n.

Drum, the influence of the, 63.  Dryden, John, 148.

Dujardin, Edouard, his story of Huys--

mans, 166; on Bergson's style, 177.  Dumont, Arsène, on civilisation,
298,301.  Duncan, Isadora, 60.

Duprat, G. L., on morality, 34.

Dupréel, Professor, on Hippias, 6 «.; his

La Légende Socratique, 82 n.; on the

Protagorean spirit, 302 ».  Duty, 275, 276.

Easter, dancing of priests at, 44.

Eckhart, Meister, 234, 336.

Education, importance of dancing in, 64, 65; Einstein's views on, 137;
and genius, as tests of civilisation, 291-93.

Egypt, ancient, dancing in, 42; Classical dancing originated in, 52;
the most influential dancing-school of all time, 53; musical
instruments associated with dancing, originated or developed in, 53;
modern, dancing in, 54 «.; importance of its civilisation, 307.

Eight-hours day, the, 357.

Einstein, Albert, 2, 69 n., 72; substitutes new axioms for old, 95;
casts doubts on Leonardo da Vinci's previsions of modern science, 120
n.; seems to have won a place beside Newton, 133; an imaginative
artist, 134; his fondness for music, 134, 135; his other artistic
likings and dislikings, 135, 136; an artist also in his work, 136; his
views on science, 137; his views on education, 137»!38; on the motives
that attract people to science and art, 138, 321; feels harmony of
religion and science, 207; concerned with truth, 327; and "science for
science's sake," 347 n.

Eleusinian Mysteries, the, 240-43.

Eliot, George, her knowledge of the life of country people, 171;
Tolstoy's opinion of, 3"--

Ellis, Havelock, childhood of, 210, 211; his period of emotional and
intellectual expansion, 211; loses faith, 212; influence of Hinton's
"Life in Nature" on, 215-18.

Els Gosiers, dancing company, 45.

Emerson, R. W., his style and that of Bacon, 161.

Emmanuel, his book on Greek dancing,


Empathy, 66.

Engineering, professional, Leonardo da

Vinci called the founder of, 118, 119.  INDEX

English laws, 98.

English prose style, Cartesian influence on. 180 n.

English speech, licentiousness of, in the sixteenth century, 148; the
best literary prose, 155, 156.

Enjoyment, without possession, 343-46.

Epictetus, 249 n.

Epicurus, 207.

Erosian, river, importance of, realised by Leonardo da Vinci, 120.

Eskimos, 255.

Este, Isabella d', 123.

Ethics, and aesthetics, among the Greeks, 247.

Etruscans, the, 56, 308.

Eucharist, dancing at the, 43.

Eucken, Rudolf, on Shaftesbury, 271.

Eugenics, art of, necessary for preservation of civilisation, 299;
Gallon the founder of the modern scientific art of, 353; assertion of
principle of, by Jesus, 355, 356; question of raising quality of
population by process of, 358.

Eusebius, on the worship of the Thera-peuts, 42.

Evans, Sir Arthur, 112.

Evolution, theory of, 88,104; a process of sifting, 355; and
devolution, 355; social, 357, 358.

Existence, totality of, Hippias s supreme ideal, 6.

Existing, and thinking, on two different planes, 101.

"Expression," 324.

Facts, in the art of civilisation, material, intellectual, and moral
(with political), 289.

Fandango, the, 50.

Faraday, Michael, characteristics of, trust in facts and_ imagination,
130-32; his science and his mysticism, 208.

Farnell, L. R., on religion and science, 197 n.

Farrer, Reginald, on the philosophic calm of the Chinese, 29 n.

Faure, Élie, his conception of Napoleon, 10; on Greek art, 76 n.; has
faith in educational value of cinema, 137; on knowledge and desire,
154; on the Greek spirit, 292 n.

Ferrero, Guglielmo, on the art impulse and the sexual instinct, 109.

Fiction, germs of doctrine of, in Kant, 87; first expression of
doctrine of, found in Schiller, 89; doctrine of, in F. A.  Lange's
History of Materialism, 93; Vaihinger's doctrine of, 94-103;
hypothesis, and dogma, 98, 99; of Bova-rism, 335,336; character
constituted by process of, 336.

Fictions, the variety of, 94-100; the value

of, 96, 97; summatory, 98; scientific and sesthetic, 102; may always
be changed, 103; good and bad, 103.

Fiji, dancing at, 49.

Fijians, the, 13 n.

Fine arts, the, 70; civilisation measured by standard of, 307; not to
be pursued for useful end outside themselves, 322.

Fireworks, 22, 23.

Flaubert, Gustave, is personal, 144; sought to be most objective of
artists, 182.

Flowers, the attitude of the poet toward, 168, 169.

Flying-machines, 72 «.; designed by Leonardo da Vinci, 119.

Foch, Ferdinand, quoted, 103.

Fokine, 59.

Folk-dances, 62.

Force, a fiction, 96.

Fossils, significance of, discovered by Leonardo da Vinci, 120.

Fox, George, 237.

France, tests of civilization applied to, by Niceforo, 295-97.

Francis of Assisi, 237.

Franck, César, mysticism in music of, 237--

Frazer, J. G., on magic and science, 195, 196.

Freedom, a fiction, 100.

French ballet, the, 57, 58.

French speech, its course, 148, 149.

Freud, Sigmund, in, 318 n.; regards dreaming as fiction, 103; on the
probability of the disappearance of religion, 228 n.

Frobisher, Sir Martin, his spelling, 173, 174.

Galen, 1210.

Galton, Francis, a man of science and an artist, 126-28; founder of
the modern scientific art of eugenics, 353; and Jesus's assertion of
the principle of eugenics, 356.

Games, the liking of the Chinese for, 23--

Gaultier, Jules de, 330 «.; on Buddhist monks, 224 n.; on pain and
pleasure in life, 27 8 n.; on morality and reason, 281; on morality
and art, 284; on the antinomy between morals and morality,

319; OTI beauty, 327; on life as a spectacle, 333; the Bovarism of,
335-3?!  his philosophic descent, 337; applies Bovarism to the
Universe, 337; his philosophy seems to be in harmony with physics,
338; the place of morality, religion, and law in his sys_tem, 338-40;
place of the aesthetic instinct in his system, 341, 343-45; system of,
compared with Russell's, 342, 343; im--

portante of development of aesthetic sense to, 345; and the idea of
pure art, 346, 347; considers {esthetic sense mixed in manifestations
of life, 349, 350; had predilection for middle class, 356, 357; sees
no cause for despair in break-up of civilisation, 358.

Gauss, C. F., religious, though man of science, 208.

Genesis, Book of, the fashioning of the cosmos in, i, 314.

Genius, the birth of, 109; and education, as tests, of civilisation,
291-93; of country, and temper of the population, 292, 293.

Geology, founded by Leonardo da Vinci, 120.

Geometry, Protagoras's studies in, 3; a science or art, 68.

Gibbon, Edward, 162.

Gide, André, 322.

Gizycki, Georg von, on Shaftesbury, 260, 267.

God, a fiction, 100, 337.

Goethe, J. W., 342; representative of ideal of totality of existence,
6; called architecture "frozen music," 135; his power of intuition,
137; his studies in mathematical physics, 137 n.; use of word
"stamped" of certain phrases, 149; mistook birds, 168; felt harmony of
religion and science, 207; and Schiller and Humboldt, 275.

Gomperz, Theodor, his Greek Thinkers, 4, 5, 6 n., 75, 78.

Concourt, Jules de, his style, 182, 183.

Goncourts, the, 183.

Good, the, and beauty, among the Greeks, 247.

Goodness, and sweetness, in Shaftes-bury's philosophy, 262; and

originally the same, 263; moral, originally expressed in terms of
taste, 263.

Gorgias, 302.

Gourmont, Remy de, 65; his remark about pleasure, 24; on personality,
144; on style, 177; on civilisation, 298; on the Jesuits, 304, 305; on
beauty, 315; on art and morality, 321; on sociological

r function of art, 323.

Government, as art, 3,

Grace, an element of style in writing, 155, 156.

Grammar, Protagoras the initiator of modern, 4; a science or art, 68;
writing not made by the laws of, 172, 173.

Grammarian, the, the formulator, not the lawgiver, of usage, 148.

Great Wall of China, the, 28.

Great War, the, 339--

Greece, ancient, genius built upon basis of slavery in, 292; the
spirit of, 292.

Greek art, 76 n.

Greek dancing, 55, 56, 60.

Greek drama, 55, 56, 78.

Greek morality, an artistic balance of light and shade, 260.

Greek speech, the best literary prose, 155--

Greek spirit, the, 76 n.

Greeks, attitude of thinkers of, on life as art, 3, 247-53; the
pottery of, 32; importance of dancing and music in

organisation of some states of, 64; books on, written by barbarians,
76 n.; mysticism of, 205-07,240-43; spheres of ethics and aesthetics
not distinguished among, 247; had a kind of aesthetic morality,
316-18; recognised destruction of ethical and intellectual virtues,
330; a small minority of abnormal persons among, 353 n.

Greenslet, Ferris, on the Cartesian influence on English prose style,
180 n.

Groos, Karl, his "the play of inner imitation," 66; has developed
aesthetic side of miterleben, 332.

Grosse, on the social significance of dancing, 63, 64.

Grote, George, his chapter on Socrates, 76.

Grotius, Hugo, 261.

Guitar, the, an Egyptian instrument, 53.

Gumplowicz, Ludwig, on civilisation, 301.

Gunpowder, use made of, by Chinese, 22, 23--

Guyau, insisted on sociological function of art, 323, 324; believes
that poets and artists will be priests of social religion without
dogmas, 349, 350.

Gypsies, possible origin of the name "Egyptians" as applied to them,
54 n.

Hadfield, Emma, her account of the life of the natives of the Loyalty
Islands, 13-18.

Hakluyt, Richard, 143; his picture of Chinese life, 19.

Hall, Stanley, on importance of dancing, 64, 65; on the beauty of
virtue, 270 n.

Handel, G. F., 62.

Handwriting, partly a matter of individual instinct, 156, 157; the
complexity and mystery enwrapping, 157; resemblances in, among members
of the same

family, 157, 158; atavism in, 157, 158.

Hang-Chau, 20.

Hardy, Thomas, his lyrics, 170 «.; his sensitivity to the sounds of
Nature, 171; his genius unquestioned, 187 n.

Hawaii, dancing in, 51.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, his style, 161.

Hebrews, their conception of the fashioning of the universe, i;
ancient, their INDEX

priests and their prophets, 203; never conceived of the art of morals,
253; were no aesthetic intuitionists, 276.

Hegel, G. W. F., 90; poetic quality of his philosophy, 84; his attempt
to transform subjective processes into objective world-processes, 101.

Heine, Heinrich, 155 n.

Hellenism, the revivalists of, 271.

Helmholtz, H. L. F., science and art in, 72.

Hemelverdeghem, Salome on Cathedral at, 49 n.

Heraclitus, 74.

Herder, J. G. von, his Ideen zur Ge-schichte der Menschheit, 88;
inspired by Shaftesbury, 268.

Heredity, in handwriting, 157, 158; in style, 158-61, 190; tradition
the corporeal embodiment of, 161.

Hincks, Marcella Azra, on the art of dancing in Japan, 42 n.

Hindu dance, 41.

Hinton, James, on thinking as an art, 86 n.; on the arts, in; the
universe according to, 215, 216; Ellis's copy of his book, 220; on
pleasure and pain in the art of life, 278; on methods of arts and
moral action, 281, 282.

Hippias, 302; significance of his ideas, in conception of life as an
art, 4-6; his ideal, 4, 6; the Great Logician, 6 n.

Hobbes, Thomas, on space, 95; his dictum Homo homini lupus, 262.

Hodgson, Shadworth, 289.

Hoffman, Bernhard, his Guide to the Bird-World, 168.

Horace, the popularity of, in modern times, 92. _

Hovelaque, Emile, on the Chinese, 27,28.

Howell, James, his "Familiar Letters," 184.

Hugo, Victor, 149, 311.

Hula dance, the, 51.

Humboldt, Wilhelm von, 275.

Hume, David, took up fictional point of view, 96; recognised
Shaftesbury, 267; influenced by Hutcheson, 275.

Hunt, Leigh, sensitively acute critic of Keats, 167.

Hunter, John, 181.

Hutcheson, Francis, aesthetic moralist, 251; came out of Calvinistic
Puritanism, 266; one of the founders of aesthetics, 271, 326 n.; wrote
the first modern treatise on aesthetics, 271; represented reaction
against Puritanism, 271; Shaftesbury's ideas as developed by, 273; his
use of the term "moral sense,"

273. 274; his impressive personality, 274; philosophy was art of
living to,

274. 275; inconsistent, 314; on distinction between art and
aesthetics, 326 n.;

his idea of the aesthetic and the moral

emotion, 327 n.

Huysmans, J. K., his vocabulary, 165; at

Wagner concert, 166; fascinated by

concert programmes, 166, 167.  "Hymn of Jesus," the, 42.

Hypothesis, dogma, and fiction, 98, 99.

/ and me, 147.

Idealisation, in adolescence, 107, 108.

Idealism, 83.

Idealists, 70, 341 n.

Ideals, are fictions, 100.

Imagination, a constitutive part of

thinking, 102; man lives by, 102;

guarded by judgment and principles,

130-32; part performed by, in morals,

272; and the aesthetic instinct, 344.  Imbeciles, 352-55.

Imitation, in the productions of young

writers, 164.

Immoral, significance of the word, 246.  Immortality, a fiction, 100.

Impulses, creative and possessive, 306,

307, 34l-43-Inclination, 275.

India, dancing in, 51, 52; the Todas of,

203 «.

Indians, American, religious dances

among, 40, 42.  Infanticide, 255, 354.  Infinite, the, a fiction, 95.
Infinitive, the split, 145-47.

Inge, Dean, on Plotinus, 223 »., 249 n-',

on Pagan Mysteries, 241 re.  Innate ideas, 274.  Insects, dancing
among, 45.

Instinct, the part it plays in style, 163;

imitation a part of, 164; and tradition,

mould morals, 254-59; the possessive,

338-40, 344, 345, 351, see Possessive

instinct; the aesthetic, 341, 343-46,

350, see Esthetic instinct.  Instincts, 234, 235.

Intelligence, the sphere of, 233, 234.  Intuition, the starting point
of science,

137; meaning of, 232 n.; of the man of

genius, 320.

Intuitionism, aesthetic, 260, 276, 279,


Intuitionists, the, 232-34.  Invention, necessary in science, 137.
Invincible ignorance, doctrine of, 304.  Irony, Socratic, 78, 83.
Irrationalism, of Vaihinger, 90.  Isocrates, on beauty and virtue,
247.  Italy, Romantic dancing originated in,

53. 56; the ballet in, 56-58.

Jansenists, the, 303.

Japan, dancing in, 42, 49.

Java, dancing in, 49.

Jehovah, in the Book of Genesis, i.

Jeremiah, the prophet, his voice and instrument, 178, 179.

Jeres, cathedral of, dancing in, 44.

Jesuits, the, 303-05.

Jesus, and Napoleon, 10, n; and the Platonic Socrates, 82, 83; asserts
principle of eugenics, 353, 356; and Plato, 356.

Joël, Karl, on the Xenophontic Socrates, 78; on the evolution of the
Greek philosophic spirit, 206.

John of the Cross, 237.

Johnson, Samuel, the pedantry of, 156; Latin-French element in, 162;
his idea of "matter," 230.

Johnston, Sir H. H., on the dancing of the Pygmies, 51.

Jones, Dr. Bence, biographer of Faraday, 130.

Jonson, Ben, 184.

Joyce, James, 172,184; his Ulysses, 185, 186.

Kant, Immanuel, 89; germs of the doctrine of the "as if" in, 87; his
idea of the art of morals, 253, 254; influenced by Shaftesbury, 253,
254, 266; anecdote about, 257 «., 276; rationalises morality, 281.

Keats, John, concerned with beautiful words in "The Eve of St. Agnes,"

Kepler, Johann, his imagination and his accuracy in calculation, 132,

Keyserling, Count Hermann, his Philosophie aïs Kunst, 83 n.

"Knowing," analysis of, 70, 71.

Kolbe, Rev. Dr., illustrates aesthetic view of morals, 276 n.

Lamb, Charles, 184.

Landor, W. S., 149; on vulgarisms in language, 151 «.; on the poet and
poetry, 154, 172; on style, 163.

Lange, F. A., his The History of Materialism, 73 «., 83; sets forth
conception of philosophy as poetic art, 83; the Neo-Kantism of, 87;
his influence on Vaihinger, 92, 93.

Language, critics of present-day, 141-51; of our forefathers and of
to-day, 143; things we are told to avoid in, 145-51; is imagery and
metaphor, 165; reaction of thought on, 179-81; progress in, due to
flexibility and intimacy, 183.

Languages, the Yo-heave-ho theory of, 61.

Lankester, Sir E. Ray, 70.

Lao-tze, and Confucius, 25, 26; the earliest of the great mystics,
204; harmony of religion and science in his work, 204, 205.

Law, a restraint placed upon the possessive instinct, 339, 340; to be

placed by aesthetic instinct, 340, 341.

Laycock, on handwriting, 158 n.

Leibnitz, Baron S. W. von, 6 «.; on space, 95; on music, 135; admired
Shaftesbury, 268.

"L'Esprit Nouveau," 179.

Libby, F., on Shaftesbury, 273.

Lie, Jonas, 163.

Life, more difficult to realise it as an art than to act it so, i, 2;
as art, view of highest thinkers of China and Greece on, 2-6, 247-52;
ideal of totality of, 6; art of, has been decadent during last two
thousand years, 8 n.; of the Loyalty Islanders, 13-18; the Lifuan art
of, 13-18; the Chinese art of, 27, 28; Chinese civilization proves
that it is art, 30; embodiment of the Chinese symbol of the art of,
33; identical with art, 33-35; the art of, a dance, 66, 67;
mechanistic explanation of, 216; viewed in its moral aspect, 244; the
moralist the critic of the art of, 247; as art, attitude of Romans
toward, 252; as art, attitude of Hebrews toward, 253; the art of, both
pain and pleasure in, 277, 278; as art, a conception approved by men
of high character, 278, 279; not to be precisely measured by
statistics, 302; as a spectacle, 333, 334.

Lifu. See Loyalty Islands.

Lifuans, the, the art of living of, 13-18.

Limoges, 44.

Linnaean system, the, a fiction, 99.

Liszt, Franz, 329.

Livingstone, David, 38.

Locke, John, and Shaftesbury, 261, 262.

Locomotive, the, 72 n.

Lodge, Sir Oliver, his attempt to study religion, 201.

Logic, a science or art, 68; and fiction, 94; of thought, inescapable,

Loret, on dancing, 54 n.

Love, dancing the primitive expression of, 37, 45; curiosity one of
the main elements of, 112.

Love-dance, 45-51. See Dance, Dancing.

Loyalty Islands, the, customs of the natives of, 13-18.

Lucian, 353 n.; on dancing, 40, 45.

Lucretius, 207.

Lull, Ramon, 237.

Lulli, J. B., brought women into the ballet, 57--

Luxuries, consumption of, as test of civilisation, 294-97.

Machinery of life, 216.

Madagascar, dancing in, 49.

Magic, relation of, to science and religion,


Magna Carta, 98.

Malherbe, François de, 148.  INDEX

Mallarmé, Stéphane, music the voice of the world to, 166.

Mallorca, dancing in church in, 44, 45.

Mammals, dancing among, 45, 46.

Man, has found it more difficult to conceive life as an art than to
act it so, i; his conception less that of an artist, as time went on,
2; in Protagoras's philosophy, 3, 4, 302; ceremony and music, his
external and internal life, 25; added to Nature, 153; has passed
through stages of magic, religion, and science, 196; an artist of his
own life, 271; is an artist, 310; as artist and as aesthetician, 314;
becomes the greatest force in Nature, 339; practices adopted by, to
maintain selection of best stock, 354--

Mandeville, Sir John, on Shaftesbury, 262.

Manet, 311.

Marco Polo, his picture of Chinese life, 19, 20; noticed absence of
beggars in China, 31; on public baths in China, 32.

Marett, on magic and science, 195.

Marlowe, Christopher, 170, 184.

Marquesans, the, 13 n.

Marriott, Charles, on the union of aesthetic sense with artistic
instinct, 350 n.

Martial, 54.

Mass, dancing in ritual of, 43-45; analogy of Pagan Mysteries to, 242.

Master of Arts, 69.

Materialism, 97, 230.

Materialistic, the term, 229.

Mathematical Renaissance, the, 69.

Mathematics, false ideas in, 94, 95; and art, 138-40.

Matter, a fiction, 97,229,338; and spirit, 229, 230.

Maupassant, Guy de, 311.

McDougall, William, accepts magic as origin of science, 195; his
criticism of the "moral sense," 274 n.; his study of civilisation,
298; on birth-rate, 298 n.

Me and 7, 147.

Mead, G. R., his article The Sacred Dance of Jesus, 44.

Measurement, Protagoras's saying concerning, 3, 302.

Mechanics, beginning of science of, 74; theories of, studied by
Leonardo da Vinci, 120.

Medici, Catherine de', brought Italian ballet to Paris, 57.

Medicine, and religion, 197 n., 203.

Medicine-man, the, 192-95.

Meh-ti, Chinese philosopher, 26, 27.

Men, of to-day and of former days, their comparative height, 142.

"Men of science," 125, 126. See Scientist.

Meteorological Bureau, the, 203.

Metre, poetic, arising out of work, 62.

Michelangelo, 311.

Milan, the ballet in, 58.

Mill, J. S., on science and, art, 70; criticism of Bentham, 99.

Millet, J. F., 311.

Milton, John, his misuse of the word "eglantine," 169; Tolstoy's
opinion of, S"--

Mirandola, Pico della, 6 n.

Mittag-Lefler, Gustav, on mathematics, 139--

Môbius, Paul Julius, German psychologist, 109.

Moissac, Salome capital in, 49 n.

Montaigne, M. E. de, his style flexible and various, 148; his
quotations moulded to the pattern of his own mind, 152; his style and
that of Renan, 161; the originality of his style found in vocabulary,

Montesquieu, Baron de, his admiration for Shaftesbury, 268; on the
evils of civilisation, 297.

Moral, significance of the term, 246.

Moral maxims, 254, 258.

Moral reformer, the, 282.

"Moral sense," the term as used by Hutcheson and Shaftesbury, 273,
274; in McDougall's Social Psychology, 274 ».

Moral teaching, 246 n.

Moral World-Order, the, a fiction, loo.

Morand, Paul, 170 n.

Moreau, Gustave, 167.

Morgagni, G. B., 300.

Morris, William, 350 ».

Moses, 253, 282.

Moszkowski, Alexander, his book on Einstein, 134 ».

Moralist, the critic of the art of life, 247.

Morality, Greek, an artistic balance of light and shade, 260; a matter
of taste, 263; the aesthetic quality of, evidenced by language, 263,
264; Shaftesbury's views on, 264-66; the influence of Shaftesbury on
our modern, 266, 267; imagination in, 272; instinctive, according to
Hutcheson, 274; conception

of, as an art, does not lack seriousness, 276; the aesthetic view of,
advocated by Catholics, 276 «.; the aesthetic view of, repugnant to
two classes of minds, 280-82; indefiniteness of criterion of, an
advantage, 282, 283; justification of aesthetic conception of, 283,
284; flexible and inflexible, illustrated by Jesuits and Pascal,
303-05; art the reality of, 314; aesthetic, of the Greeks, 316-18; the
antinomy between morals and, 319; a restraint placed upon the
possessive instinct, 338-40; to be replaced by aesthetic 37l

instinct, 340, 341; aesthetic instinct has the character of, 346.

Morals, dancing as, 61, 63, 66; books on, 244; defined, 245; means
custom, 245; Plotinus's conception of, 250-52; as art, views of the
Greeks and the Romans on, differ, 252. Hebrews never conceived of the
art of, 253; as art, modern conception of, 253; the modern feeling
about, is Jewish and Roman, 253; Kant's idea of the art of, 253, 254;
formed by instinct, tradition and reason, 254-59; Greek, have come to
modern world through Shaftesbury, 267; the aesthetic attitude possible
for spectator of, 270; art and aesthetics to be kept apart in, 314,
315, 325-28; a species of the genus art, 316; the antinomy between
morality and, 319; philosophers have failed to see that it is an art,

Morisco, the, 49 n.

Mozart, Wolfgang, his interest in dancing, 62.

Miiller-Freienfels, Richard, two kinds of aesthetic contemplation
defined by, 331.

Multatuli, quoted on the source of curiosity, 112.

Music, and ceremony, 24-26; and acting, and poetry, 36; and singing,
and dancing, their relation, 62; a science or art, 68; discovery of
Pythagoras in, 74; philosophy the noblest and best, 81 n.; the most
abstract, the most nearly mathematical of the arts, 135; of style,
163, 164; of philosophy and religion, 179.

Musical forms, evolved from similar dances, 62.

Musical instruments, 53, 54.

Musset, Alfred de, his Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle, 144.

Mysteries, the Eleusinian, 240-43.

Mystic, the genuine, 202; Lao-tze, the earliest great, 204.

Mystics, the great, 236, 237.

Mysticism, the right use and the abuse of the word, 191; and science,
supposed difference between, 191-203; what is meant by, 192; and
science, the harmony of, as revealed in human history, 203-08; of the
Greeks, 205-07,240-43; and science, the harmony of, as supported by
personal experience of Have-lock Ellis, 209-18; and science, how they
came to be considered out of harmony, 226-35; and science, harmony
of, summary of considerations confirming, 235, 236; the key to much
that is precious in art and Nature in, 237, 238; is not science,
238-40; aesthetics on same plane as, 330 n. See Religion.

Napoleon, described as unmitigated scoundrel by H. G. Wells, 8-10;
described as lyric artist by Ëlie Faure, 10.

Nature, and convention, Hippias made distinction between, 5; comes
through an atmosphere which is the emanation of supreme artists, 166;
the attitude of the poet in the face of, 168, 169; the object of
Leonardo da Vinci's search-ings, 114,117,125; Man added to, 153;
communion with, 227; in Shaftesbury's system, 265; and art, 312, 313.

Neo-Platonists, the, 237; asceticism in, 249 n.

Nests, birds', and dancing, 36 n.

Newell, W. W., 41 «•

Newman, Cardinal J. H., the music of his style, 164.

Newton, Sir Isaac, his wonderful imagination, 72; his force of
attraction a summatory fiction, 98; represents in England new impetus
to sciences, 180; his attempt to study religion, 199-201; religious,
though a man of science, 208.

Niceforo, Alfred, his measurement of civilisation, 286, 293, 297;
tests of civilisation applied to France by, 295--


Nietzsche, Friedrich, ni; conceived the art of life as a dance, 66,
67; poetic quality of his philosophy, 84; Vai-hinger's opinion of, 94;
on Leonardo

da Vinci, 115; the "divine malice" of, 155 «.; laboured at his prose,
182; demolished D. F. Strauss's ideas, 215; on learning to dance, 277;
his gospel of taste, 280; on the Sophists, 302 n.; on art as the great
stimulus of life, 322, 323; on the world as a spectacle, 334, 335;
moved by the "masculine protest," 336; Jesus reproached by, 355.

Novelists, their reservoirs of knowledge, 171.

Noverre, and the ballet, 57.

Ockham, William of, 96.

Old Testament, the, and the conception

of morality as an art, 276. See Bible,


Omahas, the, 46.  Onions, C. T., 146 n.  Optimism, and pessimism,

Origen, on the dancing of the stars, 43-Orpheus, fable of, 61.

Osier, Sir William, 72.

Pacific, the, creation as conceived in, 2;

dancing in, 49. See Lifuans.  Pain, and pleasure, united, 278.

Painting, Chinese, 29, 32; and sculpture,

and the arts of design, 36; of Leonardo

da Vinci, 113, 114, 117, 118.  Palante, Georges, 337 n.  INDEX

Paley, William, 267.

Palladius, 358.

Pantomime, and pantomimic dancing, 41, 42, 49, 56.

Papuans, the, are artistic, 351 «.

Parachute, constructed by Leonardo da Vinci, 119.

Paris, dancing in choir in, 44; the ballet at, 57.

Parker, Professor E. H., his book China-Past and Present, 23 n.; his
view of Chinese vermin and dirt, 31, 32.

Parks, 351.

Parmelee, Maurice, his Criminology, 291 n.

Parsons, Professor, 142.

Pascal, Biaise, and the Jesuits, 303, 304.

Pater, W. H., the music of his style, 164.

Pattison, Pringle, his definition of mysticism, 192 n.

Paul, Vincent de, his moral attitude, 279, 280.

Paulhan, on morality, 284.

Pell, E. C., on decreasing birth-rate, 294 n.

Pepys, Samuel, the accomplishment of his "Diary," 176.

Perera, Galeotto, his picture of Chinese life, 19; noticed absence of
beggars in China, 31.

Pericles, 289.

Personality, 144.

Pessimism, and optimism, 90-92.

Pétrie, Dr. W. M. Flinders, his attempt to measure civilisation by
standard of sculpture, 307, 308.

Peyron, traveller, 50.

Phenomenalism, Protagoras the father


Philosopher, the primitive, usually concluded that the universe was a
work of

art, i; a creative artist, 72, 73, 85; curiosity the stimulus of, 104,

Philosophy, of the Chinese, 32; solution of the conflicts of, in art,
82, 83; and art, close relationship of, 83-85; and poetry, 83, 85; is
music, 179.

Physics, and fiction, 95.

Pictures, revelation of beauty in, 328, 329; should be looked at in
silence, 329 «•

Pindar, calls Hellas "the land of lovely dancing," 55.

Planck, Max, physicist, 136.

Plato, Protagoras calumniated by, 3; made fun of Hippias, 4; his
description of a good education, 64; a creative artist, 73; his
picture of Socrates, 75, 78; the biographies of, 76, 77; his irony,
78, 83; a marvellous artist, 82; a supreme artist in philosophy, 83; a
supreme dramatist, 83; his "Ideas"

and the "As-If world," 88; the myths, as fictions, hypotheses, and
dogmas, 99; represents the acme of literary prose speech, 155; and
Plotinus, 222; on the Mysteries, 242; asceticism, traced in, 249 n.;
on justice, 289; his ideal of wise moderation addressed to an
immoderate people, 292; Sophists caricatured by, 302; his "guardians,"
306; the ultrapuritanical attitude of, 317, 318 n.; and Bovarism, 336;
on •the value of sight, 345 n.; wished to do away with imaginative
literature, 353 n.; and Jesus, 356.

Pleasure, a human creation, 24; and pain, united, 278.

Pliny, 353 »•

Plotinus, 222; Greek moral spirit reflected in, 249; his doctrine of
Beauty, 250, 251; his idea that the moral life of the soul is a dance,
251, 252; his simile of the sculptor, 276 n.; founder of aesthetics in
the philosophic sense, 329; recognised three aspects of the Absolute,
330; insisted on contemplation,

33° n- 331! °f thg participating contemplative temperament, 332.

Poet, the type of all thinkers, 102; Landor on, 154; his attitude in
the presence of Nature, 168,169; the great, does not describe Nature
minutely, but uses his knowledge of, 170, 171.

Poetry, Chinese, 21,22,29,32; and music, and acting, 36; and dancing,
56; and philosophy, 83, 85; and science, no sharp boundary between,
102,128,129; Landor on, 154; a making, 312; Aristotle's view of, 318;
does not exist for morals, 318.

Polka, origin of the, 60.

Polynesia, dancing in, 49.

Polynesian islanders, 255.

Pontiff, the Bridge-Builder, 2.

Pope, Alexander, influence of Shaftesbury on, 266.

Porphyry, 167.

Possessive impulses, 306, 307, 341-43.

Possessive instinct, restraints placed upon, 338-40; in Gaultier and
Russell, 344; excesses of, 351.

Pottery, of the Chinese, 32, 33; of the Greeks and the Minoan
predecessors of the Greeks, 32.

Pound, Miss, on the origin of the ballad, 62 n.

Pragmatism, 323.

Pragmatists, the, 93, 231, 232.

Precious stones, attitude of the poet toward, 169.

Preposition, the post-habited, 146, 147, 162.

Prettiness, and beauty, 315 «.

Priest, cultivated science in form of

magic, 195; and doctor, originally one, 197 n., 203.

Prodicus, 302; the Great Moralist, 6 n.

Progress, 143, 149; on meaning of, 287.

Prophecy, 204.

Prophet, meaning of the word, "203, 204.

Propriety, 24-26.

Protagoras, significance of his ideas, in conception of life as an
art, 3, 4; his interest for us to-day, 3; his dictum "Man is the
measure of all things," 3, 302; concerned to regard living as an art,

Proust, Marcel, 172, 184; his art, 170 n., 186, 187; his,4 la
Recherche du Temps Perdu, 171, 187; admiration of, for Ruskin, 316 n.

Puberty, questions arising at time of, 105-07.

Puritanism, reaction against, represented by Hutcheson, 271.

Pygmalionism, 353 n.

Pygmies, the dancing of the, 51.

Pythagoras, represents the beginning of science, 73, 74; fundamentally

artist, 74, 75; founded religious brotherhoods, 206, 207.

Quatelet, on social questions, "88.  Quoting, by writers, 152.

Rabbitism, 294.

Rabelais, François, 148, 165, 358.

Race mixture, 308.

Raleigh, Sir Walter, his literary style,


Ramedjenis, the, street dancers, 52.  Rank, Dr. Otto, his essay on the


Realism, 83.  Realists, 70, 341 n.

Reality, a flux of happening, 101.  Reason, helps to mould morals,
255-59.  Reid, Thomas, influenced by Hutcheson,


Relativism, Protagoras the father of, 3.

Religion, as the desire for the salvation of the soul, 8; origin of
dance in, 38; connection of dance with, among primitive men, 39; in
music, 179; and science, supposed difference between, 191-203; its
quintessential core, 191; control of Nature through oneness with
Nature, at the heart of, 194; relation of, to science and magic,
194-96; the man of, studying science, 202; and science, the harmony
of, as revealed in human history, 203-08; and science, the harmony of,
as supported by personal experience of Havelock Ellis, 209-18;
asceticism has nothing to do with normal, 222; and science, how they
came to be considered out of harmony,

226-35; the burden of the traditions of, 227; and church, not the
same, 228 n.; the instinct of, 234; and science, harmony of, summary
of considerations confirming, 235, 236; is not science, 238-40; an
act, 243; a restraint placed upon the possessive instinct, 339, 340;
to be replaced by aesthetic instinct, 340, 341. See Mysticism.

Religions, in every case originally saltatory, 40.

Religious dances, ecstatic and pantomimic, 41; survivals of, 42; in
Christianity, 42-45--

Renan, J. E., his style, 161; his Life of Jesus, 212; on truth, 301.

"Resident in Peking, A," author of China as it Really Is, 21, 22.

Revelation, Book of, 153.

Revival, the, 241, 243.

Rhythm, marks all the physical and spiritual manifestations of life,
37; in work, 61.

Rickert, H., his twofold division of Reality, 325, 326.

Ridgeway, William, his theory of origin of tragedy, 56.

Roberts, Morley, ironical over certain "men of science," 126 ».

Robinson, Dr. Louis, on apes and dancing, 46; on the influence of the
drum, 63--

Rode, his conceptions those of Shaftes-bury, 269.

Roman law, 98.

Romans, the ancient, dancing and war allied among, 63, 64; did not
believe that living is an art, 252.

Romantic spirit, the, 206.

Romantics, the, 149, 156.

Rome, ancient, dancing in, 49; genius built upon basis of slavery in,

Rops, Félicien, 167.

Ross, Robert, 150.

Rouen Cathedral, Salome on portal of, 49 »•

Rousseau, J. J., Napoleon before grave of, n; felt his lapses, 79;
grace of, 149; love of Nature developed through, 238; and Shaftesbury,
268, 269; decided against civilisation, 298.

Roussillpn, 44.

Rule, rigid subserviency to, mark of decadence, 173; much lost by
rigid adherence to, in style, 175.

Rules for Compositors and Readers, on spelling, Oxford University
Press, 174 n.

Ruskin, John, 316; a God-intoxicated man, 316 n.

Russell, Bertrand, on the Chinese, 23; on mathematics, 139,140; on the
creative and the possessive impulses, 305-07, INDEX

341, 342; system of, compared with

Gaultier's, 342, 343.

Russia, the genius of, compared with the

temper of the population, 293.  Russian ballet, the, 58-60.

Rutherford, Sir Ernest, on the atomic

constitution, 97 «.

St. Augustine, 79, 202; on the art of living well, 252.

St. Basil, on the dancing of the angels, 43.

St. Bonaventura, said to have been author of "DietaSalutis," 43.

St. Denis, Ruth, 60.

St. Theresa, and Darwin, 198, 199.

Salome, the dance of, 49.

Salt, intellectual and moral suggestion of the word, 263, 263 n., 264.

Salt, Mr., 169.

Salter, W. M., his Nietzsche the Thinker, 335 n.

Samoa,, sacred position of carpenter in, 2.

Sand, George, on civilisation, 300.

Santayana, Professor George, on union of aesthetic sense with artistic
instinct, 350 n.

Schelling, F. W. J. von, 90; on philosophy and poetry, 83.

Schiller, Friedrich von, influence on Vaihinger, 89; and the aesthetic
conception of morals, 275.

Schleiermacher, Friedrich, 90.

Schmidt, Dr. Raymund, 93 n.

Schopenhauer, Arthur, 330 n.; his influence on Vaihinger, 90; as
regards his quotations, 152; morals based on sympathy, according to,
272; on the use-lessness of art, 319; on the man of

genius, 320; on sociological function of art, 323; on the proper way
of looking at pictures, 329 n.; on the world as a spectacle, 334.

Science, spirit of modern, in Protagoras, 4; as the search for the
reason of things, 8; and poetry, no sharp boundary between, 102, 128,
129; impulse to, and the sexual instinct, 112; intuition and invention
needed by, 137; and mysticism, supposed difference between, 191-203;
what is meant by, 192; and art, no distinction between, in classic
times, 68; and art, distinction between, in modern times, 68-70;
definitions of, 70, 71; is of the nature of art, 71; the imaginative
application of, 72; Pythagoras represents the beginning of, 74;
control of Nature through oneness with Nature, at the heart of, 194;
relation of, to magic and religion, 194-06; and pseudo-science,
199-202; and mysticism, the harmony of, as revealed in human history,
203-08; and mysticism, the harmony of,

as supported'by personal experience of Havelock Ellis, 209-18; and
mysticism, how they came to be considered out of harmony, 226-35;
traditions of, 228; the instinct of, 234; and mysticism, harmony of,
summary of considerations confirming, 235, 236; is not religion,
238-40; not pursued for useful ends, 322; for science's sake, 347.

Sciences, and arts, 68-70, biological and social, fiction in, 99;
mathematical impetus given to, toward end of seventeenth century, 180;
biological, awakening of, 181; mathematical, renaissance of, 181.

Scientist, the true, an artist, 72, 73, 112, 126; curiosity the
stimulus of, 104, 105; the false, 125, 126; who turns to religion,

Scott, W. R., on art and aesthetics, 326 n.

Scottish School, the, 267.

Sculpture, painting, and the arts of design, 36; civilisation measured
by standard of, 308.

Seises, the, the dance of, 44 «.

Selous, Edmund, 36 n.

Semon, Professor, R., 351 n.

"Sense," Hutcheson's conception of, 274.

Seville, cathedral of, dancing in, 44.

Sex, instinct of, a reaction to the stimulus of curiosity, 104; early
questions concerning, 105-07; source of art impulse,

108-12; and the scientific interest, 112; not absolutely essential,

Sexual imagery, strain of, in thought, 113.

"Shadow," 219».

Shaftesbury, Earl of, influence on Kant, 254; illustrated unsystematic
method of thinking, 259; his book, 260; his theory of Aesthetic
Intuitionism, 260; his affinity to the Greeks, 260; his early life,
261; his idea of goodness, 262; his principles expounded, 264-66; his
influence on later writers and thinkers, 266; his influence on our
modern morality, 266,267; the greatest Greek of modern times, 267,
271; his service to the modern world, 267; measure of his recognition
in Scotland and England, 267; recognition of, abroad, 268, 269; made
no clear distinction between creative artistic

impulse and critical aesthetic appreciation, 270; realised that reason
cannot affect appetite, 270; one of the founders of aesthetics, 271;
his use of the term "moral sense," 273, 274; temperamentally a Stoic,
279; of the aesthetic contemplative temperament, 332, 333--

Shakespeare, William, 148; his style compared with that of Bacon, 160;
affected by the intoxication of words, 167; stored up material to be
used freely

later, 170,171; the spelling of his name by himself, 173; surpasses
contemporaries in flexibility and intimacy, 184; Tolstoy's opinion of,
311; on Nature and art, 312,313; his figure of Prospero, 331--

Shamans, the, religious dances among, 40,41; their wills brought into
harmony with the essence of the world, 193; double attitude of, 194.

Sharp, F. C., on Hutcheson, 327 n.

Shelley, P. B., mysticism in poetry of, 237; on imagination and
morality, 372.

Sidgwick, Henry, 255, 314.

Singer, Dr. Charles, his definition of science, 70, 71.

Singing, relation to music and dancing, 62.

Silberer, Herbert, on magic and science,


Simcox, Edith, her description of conversion, 218 n.

Skene, on dances among African tribes, 38.

Slezakova, Anna, the polka extemporised by, 60.

Smith, Adam, his "economic man," 99; morals based on sympathy,
according to, 272; influenced by Hutcheson, 275.

Smith, Arthur H., his book Chinese Characteristics, 23 n.

Social capillarity, 298.

Social ladder, 298, 299.

Social statistics, 286-88.

Socialists, French, inspired by Shaftes-bury, 269.:

Socrates, the Platonic, 75, 78; Grote's chapter on, 76; the real and
the legendary, 76, 79, 82; three elements in our composite portrait
of, 77-79; the Platonic, and the Gospel Jesus, 82, 83; on philosophy
and music, 179; his view of the moralist, 248.

Solidarity, socialistic, among the Chinese, 26, 27.

Solmi, Vincian scholar, 114.

Sophists, the, 4, 302, 302 n.

Sophocles, danced in his own dramas, 56; beauty and moral order in,
247; Tolstoy's opinion of, 311.

Soul, a fiction, too; in harmony with itself, 219; the moral life of,
as a dance, 251,252.

South Sea Islands, dancing in, 49.

Space, absolute, a fiction, 95.

Spain, dancing in, 44, 50, 54.

Speech, the best literary prose, 155; in Greece, 155; in England, 155,
156; the artist's, 156; a tradition, 161.

Spelling, and thinking, 127 «.; haslittleto do with style, 173; now
uniform and uniformly bad, 174, 175.

Spencer, Herbert, on science and art, 68;

on use of science in form of magic, 195: the universe according to,
215; on thi harmlessness of moral teaching, 246 n.; on diminishing
birth-rate, 294 n.

Spengler, Dr. Oswald, on the development of music, 135 n.; argues on

identity of physics, mathematics, religion, and great art, 138; his
theory of culture and civilisation, 309, 310.

Spinoza, Baruch, 89; has moved in sphere where impulses of religion
and science spring from same source, 207; transforms ethics into
geometry, 281; has been called a God-intoxicated man, 316 n.; his
"intellectual love of God,"


Spirit, and matter, 229, 230.

Statistics, uncertainty of, 286; for measurement of civilisation,
286-88; applied to France to test civilisatio_n, 295-97.

Steele, Dr. John, on the Chinese ceremonial, 29 n.

Stephen, Sir Leslie, on poetry and philosophy, 85; could see no good
in Shaftesbury, 268.

Stevenson, R. L., 188.

Stocks, eradication of unfit, by Man, 354; recommended by Jesus, 355,

Stoics, the, 207.

Strauss, D. F., his The Old Faith and the New, 214.

Style, literary, of to-day and of our forefathers' time, 143; the
achievement of,

155; grace seasoned with salt, 155; atavism in, in members of the same
family, 158, 190; atavism in, in the race, 160, 190; much that is
instinctive in, 163; the music of, 163,164; vocabulary in, 164, 165;
the effect of mere words on, 165-67; familiarity with author's,
necessary to understanding, 171, 172; spelling has little to do with,
173; much lost by slavish adherence to rules in, 75; must have clarity
and beauty, 176--78; English prose, Cartesian influence on, 180 n.;
personal and impersonal, 182, 183; progress in, lies in casting aside
accretions and exuberances, 183; founded on a model, the negation of
style, 188; the task of breaking the old moulds of, 188, 189; summary
of elements of, 190. See Writing.

Suicide, rate of, as test of civilisation, 295, 296.

Swahili, dancing among, 38.

Swedenborg, Emanuel, his science and his mysticism, 208.

Swedish ballet, the, 60.

Sweet (suavis), referring to moral qualities, 264.

Sweetness, and goodness, in Shaftesbury's philosophy, 262; originally
the same, INDEX

Swift, Jonathan, laments "the corruption of our style," 142; beauty of
his style, rests on truth to logic of his thought, 183; utterance of,
combining two conceptions of life, 333.

Swimming-belt, constructed by Leonardo da Vinci, 119.

Swinburne, C. A., on writing poetry to a tune, 62; his Poems and
Ballads, 172; his Songs before Sunrise, 212.

Sylvester, J. J., on mathematics, 139.

Symphony, the development of a dance suite, 62.

Syndicalism, as test of civilisation, 296, 297.

Taglioni, Maria, 58.

Tahiti, dancing at, 50.

Tambourine, the, 53.

Tao, the word, 204.

Taste, the gospel of, 280.

Telegraph, the, 72 n.

Telephone, the, 72 n.

Tell-el-Amarna, 28.

Theology, 227.

Therapeuts, the worship of, 42.

Thing-in-Itself, the, a fiction, 101.

Things, are fictions,.

Thinking, of the nature of art, 85, 86; and existing, on two different
planes, loi; the special art and object of, 101; is a comparison, 102;
is a regulated error, 103; abstract, the process of its birth, 108,

Thompson, Silvanus, on Faraday, 132.

Thomson, James, influence of Shaftes-bury on, 266.

Thomson, Sir Joseph, on matter and weight, 230.

Thoreau, H. D., on morals, 282.

Thought, logic of, inescapable, 183.

Tobacco, consumption of, as test of civilisation, 295.

Todas, the, of India» 203 n.

Toledo, cathedral of,, dancing in, 44.

Tolstoy, Count Leo, his opinions on art, 3«--

Tonga, sacred position of carpenter in, 2.

Tooke, Home, 151 n.

Townsend, Rev. Josieph, on the fandango, 50.

Tradition, the corporeal embodiment of heredity, 161; and instinct,
mould morals, 254-59--

Traditions, religious, 227; scientific, 228.

Triangles, 53.

Truth, the measurin,g-rod of, 230-32.

Tunisia, Southern, dancing in, 49.

T'ung, the story of, 33.

Turkish dervishes, dances of, 41.

Tuscans, the, 56. See Etruscans.

Tyndall, John, on Faraday, 130-32.

Tyrrells, the, the handwriting of, 157.

Ugliness, 328.

Ulysses, representative of ideal of totality of existence, 6.

United States, the genius of, compared with the temper of the
population, 293.

Universe, conceived as work of art by primitive philosopher, i;
according to D. F. Strauss, 214; according to Spencer, 215; according
to Hinton, 216; according to Sir James Frazer, 219 «.; according to
Bertrand Russell, 219 n.; conception of, a personal matter, 219 n.;
the so-called materialistic, 229,230; Bovarism of, 337.

Utilitarians, the, 267, 268.

Uvea, 15. See Loyalty Islands.

Vaihinger, Hans, his Philosophie des Aïs Ob, 86; English influence
upon, 86, 87; allied to English spirit, 87, 88; his origin, 88; his
training, and vocation, 88-93; influence of Schiller on, 89;
philosophers who influenced, 89, 90; his pessimisms, irrationalism,
and voluntarism, 90; his view of military power of Germany, 90, 91;
his devouring appetite for knowledge, 92; reads F. A. Lange's History
of Materialism, 92,93; writes his book at about twenty-five years of
age, 93; his book published, 94; the problem he set out to prove, 94;
his doctrine of fiction, 94-102; his doctrine not immune from
criticism, 102; the fortifying influence of his philosophy, 102,103;
influenced Adler,


Valencia, cathedral of, dancing in, 44.

Valerius, Maximus, 353 n.

Van Gogh, mysticism in pictures of, 237.

Varnhagen, Rahel, 66.

Verbal counters, 149, 150.

Verlaine, Paul, the significance of words to, 168.

Vesalius, 120.

Vasari, Giorgio, his account of Leonardo da Vinci, 115, 123.

Vestris, Gaétan, and the ballet, 57.

Vinci, Leonardo da, man of science, 113, 125; as a painter, 113, 114,
117, 118; his one aim, the knowledge and mastery of Nature, 114, 117,
125; an Overman, 115; science and art joined in, 115-17; as the
founder of professional engineering, 118,119; the extent of his
studies and inventions, 119,120; a supreme master of language, 121;
his appearance, 121; his parentage, 121; his youthful accomplishments,
122; his sexual temperament, 122, 123; the man, woman, and child in,
123, 124; a figure for awe rather than love, 124.

Vinci, Ser Piero da, father of Leonardo da Vinci, 121.

Virtue, and beauty, among the Greeks,

247; the art of living well, 252; in

Shaftesbury's system, 265, 266; beauty

of, 270 «.

Virtues, ethical and intellectual, 330.  Visconti, Galeazzo,
spectacular pageants

at marriage of, 57.

Vocabulary, each writer creates his own,

164, 165.

Voltaire, F. M. A. de, recognised Shaftes--

bury, 268; on the foundations of

society, 289.

Wagner, Richard, on Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, 62, 63.

Wallas, Professor Graham, on Plato and

Dante, 73.

War, and dancing, allied, 63, 64.  Wealth, as test of civilisation,
296, 297.  Weight, its nature, 230.

W'eismann, and the study of heredity,


Wells, H. G., his description of Napoleon,

8-10, 12.

WThitman, Walt, his Leaves of Grass, 172;

words attributed to him on what is

right, 254.

Woman, the question, what she is like,


Words, have a rich content of their own, 166; the intoxication of,
167-69; their arrangement chiefly studied by young writer, 172.

Wordsworth, William, 184; influence of Shaftesbury on, 266.

Work, a kind of dance, 61, 62.

World, becoming impalpable and visionary, 337, 338. See Universe.

Writers, the great, have observed decorum instinctively, 181, 182; the
great, learn out of themselves, 188, 189; the great, are heroes at
heart, 189.

Writing, personality in, 144, 190; a common accomplishment to-day,
144, 145; an arduous intellectual task, 151, 153, 190; good and bad,
154; the achievement of style in, 155; machine-made, 156; not made by
the laws of grammar, 172, 173; how the old method gave place to the
new, 179-81; summary of elements of, 190. See Handwriting, Style.

Wundt, Wilhelm, on the dance, 38, 39 n.

Xavier, Francis, 123, 237.

Xenophon, his portrait of Socrates, 77,

Zeno, 249 ». )5


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