The Pure Theory of Politics

By Bertrand Jouvenel De | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
OF MAN

Man appears, a screaming bundle of flesh, the outcome of mating. He is utterly helpless, his existence hangs upon the nursing he receives. A plant develops autonomously from its seed; in much the same manner the lowest forms of animal life are capable of locomotion and self-nourishment from birth: not so the higher forms of animal life, Man least of all. 'Exposing' an infant amounts to killing it, since it cannot live without the care lavished upon it by the mother, or a substitute. In the case of Man, the capacity to survive is not inherent in the new-born: the means of survival must be provided to him by others. Since no new-born can grow up without such provision, some form of organization for the care and protection of children is a vital condition of Man's existence: there would be no men but for the family; whatever its form a fostering group is essential.

Not only is such a fostering group essential for the survival of the children, and therefore the production of a new generation of men, but the newcomers require for their development an attention continuing over many years. Man is slow in reaching adulthood. There seems to be a correlation between a higher degree of biological organization and a slower pace of maturation: this in turn requires that the fostering group should endure. No matter how small, there must be a lasting society to afford protection and food to the newcomers in their prolonged period of physical helplessness or weakness. The natural necessity of protecting the children makes the mutual protection of adults more necessary than it would be, but for these cherished impediments: a man can flee from danger more easily than a family. Basic traits of human society derive from the cherished helplessness of the offspring. Most animal species whose young require some period of care display a rudiment of social organization (a herd) within which there are some means of communication. Obviously if the young are all born simultaneously and brought to adulthood in a succeeding season, the 'league of parents' may dissolve after the 'turning-out' of such a new generation; not so if new births are all the time occurring while older children are still

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The Pure Theory of Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I- Approach- Politics as History 1
  • Chapter 1- Configuration and Dynamics 3
  • Chapter 3- On the Nature of Political Science 29
  • Part II- Setting- Ego in Otherdom 41
  • Chapter 1- Of Man 43
  • Chapter 2- Home 48
  • Chapter 3- Otherdom 55
  • Part III- Action- Instigation and Response 67
  • Chapter 1- Instigation 69
  • Chapter 2- Response 83
  • Part IV- Authority- ''Potestas'' and ''Potentia'' 97
  • Chapter 1- On Being Heard 99
  • Chapter 2- The Law of Conservative Exclusion 109
  • Chapter 3- Place and Face 118
  • Part V- Decision 129
  • Chapter 1- The People 131
  • Chapter 2- The Committee, I (judicial or Political) 146
  • Chapter 3- The Committee, II (foresight, Values and Pressures) 157
  • Part VI- Attitudes 167
  • Chapter 1- Attention and Intention 169
  • Chapter 2- The Team against the Committee 176
  • Chapter 3- The Manners of Politics 187
  • Addendum the Myth of the Solution 204
  • Conclusion 213
  • Index 215
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