Obrazy na stronie




It is possible that the writers who have lately been applying the category of evolution to the study of the history of society are not quite as convincing as they are captivating. In large outlines, nevertheless, there does assuredly emerge a sketch of the evolution which the race is undergoing. . Thus we see the processes of selection and survival at work through all the phases of a conflict old as the world, and of which the end does not yet appear, a conflict terrible and tragic, the horrors of whose early scenes are mercifully hid from our gaze by the dimness of a dawn which the imagination is able but feebly, and desires not at all, to pierce. When at length the morning of history reveals man, he is a creature normally at war, first with his neighbours, and then, in union with his neighbours, against other armed groups of savages. Under the grim conditions of the law of natural selection, warlike societies give way before others of superior prowess. At the end of a long succession, at last the process in the West comes into the survey of definite history, and we see Babylonia and Egypt giving way before Assyria, Assyria before Persia, Persia before Greece, and Greece before Rome. In the state, which is a military organization, those who are gifted with-at first-personal strength or courage, or-later-superior martial cunning, are the dominant figures. Those who cannot fight, organize war or direct campaigns, are enslaved. The type of the soldier is selected. The strongest peoples survive, and in their midst a military aristocracy is evolved. But the process has only begun.

The soldier is not the ultimate type. Devotion, growing strong and wild, to an ideal called Freedom, permeates the subjected social classes; the attack of battle is developed beyond the possibility of defence; the final form of martial society, Feudalism, falls. The ascendency of the soldier is destroyed, society is disarmed, and the people are liberated for existence on a footing of equal civil opportunity.

« PoprzedniaDalej »