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Social Evolution

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1894 edition. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VIII MODERN SOCIALISM Before proceeding now to the further consideration of the laws which underlie the complex social phenomena that present themselves in the civilisation around us, it will be well to look for a moment backwards, so as to impress on the mind the more characteristic features of the ground over which we have travelled. We have seen that progress from the beginning of life has been the result of the most strenuous and imperative conditions of rivalry and selection, certain fundamental physiological laws rendering it impossible, in any other circumstances, for life to continue along the upward path which it has taken. Man being subject like other forms of life to the physiological laws in question, his progress also was possible only under the conditions which had prevailed from the beginning. The same process, accordingly, takes its course throughout human history; but it does so accompanied by phenomena quite special and peculiar. The human intellect has been, and must necessarily continue to be, an important factor in the evolution which is proceeding. Yet the resulting self-assertiveness of the individual must be absolutely subordinated to the maintenance of a process in which the individual himself has not the slightest interest, but to the furtherance of which his personal welfare must be often sacrificed. Hence the central feature of human history, namely the dominance of that progressively developing class of phenomena included under the head of religions whereby this subordination has been effected. Hence, also, the success of those forms which have contributed to the fullest working out of that cosmic process which is proceeding throughout human existence, just as it has been proceeding from the beginning...
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