Human Traits and Their Social Significance

Human Traits and Their Social Significance

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Human Traits and Their Social Significance

Human Traits and Their Social Significance

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Human traits and civilization . Throughout the long enterprise of civilization in which mankind have more or less consciously changed the world they found into one more in conformity with their desires, two factors have remained constant: (1) the physical order of the universe, which we commonly call Nature, and (2) the native biological equipment of man, commonly known as human nature. Both of these, we we almost unanimously assured by modern science, have remained essentially the same from the dawn of history to the present. They are the raw material out of which is built up the vast complex of government, industry, science, art -- all that we call civilization. In a very genuine sense, there is nothing new under the sun. Matter and men remain the same.

But while this fundamental material is constant, it may be given various forms; and both Nature itself and the nature of man may, with increasing knowledge, be increasingly controlled in man's own interests. The railroad, the wireless, and the aeroplane are striking and familiar testimonies to the efficacy of man's informed mastery of the world into which he is born. In the field of physical science, man has, in the short period of three centuries since Francis Bacon sounded the trumpet call to the study of Nature and Newton discovered the laws of motion, magnificently attained and appreciated the power to know exactly what the facts of Nature are, what consequences follow from them, and how they may be applied to enlarge the boundaries of the "empire of man."

In his control of human nature, which is in its outlines as fixed and constant as the laws that govern the movements of the stars, man has been much less conscious and deliberate, and more frequently moved by passion and ignorance than by reason and knowledge. Nevertheless, custom and law . . .

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