Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER LIV.
OF THE SOCIETARY ORGANIZATION.

§ 1. THROUGHOUT nature, the rank and perfection of organisms are in direct proportion to the number and dissimilarity of the parts, proof of this being found at every stage of progress from the simplest composition of inorganic matter, up to the structure of MAN, in whom are reproduced all the forms and faculties of being, over which, for the service of his needs, it has been given to him to rule. This law not only marks the relative rank of classes of creatures, but it serves, also, to measure the respective positions of the individuals of whom the several classes are composed—the nearest approach to perfection being found in those men in whom the distinctive human qualities are found most active, and most developed. Following out the rule, those communities of men in which are found the largest variety of differences, and the most effective development of them into action, should present the nearest approach to perfection of societary organization. Seeking such communities, we find them in those in which the demands for human powers are most diversified—those in which men are enabled most fully to combine their efforts — rapid societary motion there stimulating into activity all the power that, thus far, has remained latent, and enabling their members to pass from the brutifying labors of transportation, through those of the workshop, to those of a scientific agriculture.

Subordination of specialities to a general intention — diversity of functions or uses, so combined as to produce a perfect harmony of related action—is, at once, the mark and test of organization.* The individual man is healthy and efficient within himself, in proportion to the vigor and exactness with which the bodily instruments of his will obey the governing brain—those charged with . carrying on his automatic life, meanwhile furnishing full support to his voluntary powers. Absolute subordination in the parts of a machine to the moving force, is the constant characteristic of inanimate organizations. In a watch, steam-engine, mill, or ship, all the parts are in prompt and complete obedience—their perfection being measured by the exactness of their subordination. In societary organizations, we have the same law modified, but not repealed, by the liberty which accompanies human life — bringing with it responsibility to both God and man. The crew of a ship—the hands employed in a factory—the thousands of whom an army is composed—are organized and subordinated, that they may accomplish the work for whose performance they have been brought together. So, too, is it in civil government— subordination of the subjects being essential to the well-being and the progress of the community, and to those very individual liberties which it limits, as well as to the national order for whose security it has been designed — the most remarkable case of societary organization on record, being that under which the Hebrews sojourned in the desert, during the long period that intervened between the passage of the Red Sea, and their entrance into the promised land. Throughout nature, the more perfect the organization, and the more absolute the subordination, the more harmonious and beautiful is the interdependence of the parts. A rock, or a lump of coal being broken, each and every portion remains as perfect as it had been before. Dividing a polypus into a dozen parts, the vital force is found existing in each and all, and to such extent, that each becomes again a perfect animal. Doing the same by man, he speedily passes into dust. — So, too, is it with societies — the mutuality of interdependence growing with every stage of progress, from that simplest of societary forms presented to view in the history of Crusoe and his Friday, towards that high state of organization in which tens of thousands of persons combine to satisfy the public want for a single newspaper—hundreds of thousands then profiting by its perusal at a cost so small as scarcely to admit of calculation.* Throughout nature, the more complete the subordination, and the more perfect the interdependence of the parts, the greater is the individuality of the whole, and the more absolute the power of self-direction. The rock is chained to earth, obeying but a single force; the bird, at will, rises in the air, or skims across the lake. The dog obeys his master; the master has power to direct himself, and nature too. The man in perfect health, with all the parts moving in perfect subjection to the directing brain, determines for himself if he will go abroad, or stay at home — the invalid, on the contrary, being compelled to keep his chamber.— So, too, must it be with society—its power for self-direction growing with the growth of interdependence among its various parts, and the latter becoming developed as the organization becomes more perfect, and the subordination more complete.

* See ante, vol. i., p. 53.

* See ante, vol. ii., p. 296.

Organization and subordination, association and individuality, responsibility and freedom, travel thus together, throughout the social world.

§ 2. In man, the brain holds the office of co-ordinator of the whole system — the existence of a necessity for co-ordination on the one side, involving the duty of subordination on the other.

The more perfect the co-ordination of the whole, the greater is the development of each and every part—the co-ordinating power itself included. Failing to direct to the stomach a proper supply of nutritive food, the arms and legs lose their power, and the eyes become affected — the brain participating in the loss of strength, until at length life ceases to exist.

The more perfect the development of the various portions of the MAN, and the more numerous and marked the differences of the qualities that are developed, the greater must be the power to maintain commerce within himself, and with the exterior world —rapidity of circulation being an essential characteristic of the highest organization. — So, too, must it be with society — the more numerous the differences, and the greater the power of association, the more complete being the subordination, and the more absolute that respect for the rights of others, in which consists the most perfect freedom. For proof of this, we may now, once again, turn to the diagram already so frequently placed before the reader:

Slavery. LABOR. Freedom. Paper. Paper. _Rags... Land valueless. LAND. Land high in value.

On the left, there are few differences. Societary organization having, therefore, no existence, force furnishes the only law, and the laborer is enslaved, while the land continues valueless. On the right, the differences being numerous, society has become organized — co-ordination and subordination thus growing together, and man becoming more free.

Looking now to early Attica, we see, in the many little communities by which the small and barren territory had been occupied, the first rude efforts at societary organization. The demand for human powers being very limited, differences were few in number — each and every man uniting in himself the various characters of sailor, trader, soldier, and mechanic. Interdependence among men had but very slight existence, and, as a necessary consequence, there was little among the communities of which they were a part — each and every of them being ready, at any moment, to invade the territory, and annihilate the rights of person and of property, in each and every other.—Tracing them thence onward, we find differences increasing as society becomes more developed — co-ordination and subordination keeping steady pace with the growth of wealth and population, until, at length, the well-formed societary body, with Athens for its head, appears upon the stage, with Solon for its legislator — exercising the power of co-ordination in giving to the people a constitution in which freedom on one hand, and subordination on the other, are provided for, in a degree never before equalled in the world.

As a consequence of this approach to order it is, that Athens now occupies in history a position more distinguished than has, even yet, been assigned to any community of either ancient or modern times.—The step thus made should, however, have been only preliminary to another, in virtue of which the interdependence of the various little communities of Greece at large would have been promoted, and the subordination of each and all to a central power well established. Failing to carry out the idea here begun, Greece became a scene of perpetual war, and differences disappeared—the once free communities becoming resolved into masses of traders and soldiers on the one hand, and slaves on the other. Comparing now the policy of Solon and Lycurgus, we find the tendency of the former to have been in the direction of the devevelopment of human faculties, and the production of differences, whereas the latter looked to the limitation of human pursuits, and the prevention of differences. In the first, the interdependence of the various portions of society, for almost a century after Solon, was a constantly augmenting force — stimulating all to effort, and producing that high development of which Athens was the scene. In the other, the system tended in the reverse direction — annihilating all desire for distinction other than that to be obtained by force or fraud, and closing by the reduction of society to two great classes, the great landholder on the one hand, and the slave on the other. In the one, subordination became, for a time, from year to year more perfect. In the other, it declined as the small proprietors diminished in number, until at length they wholly disappeared. Crossing the Adriatic, we obtain a reproduction of Sparta, and not of Athens–fraud and force, and not a growing interdependence, being the foundations of Roman power. Those who would open for themselves the road to fortune, must use the sword, and that alone; and hence it is, that Roman history is but a record of the gradual disappearance of those differences among men, without which there can be no perfection of the societary organization. Early Italy presents for our examination numerous and prosperous cities, placed among fields that were owned by the men who tilled them. Imperial Italy, on the contrary, exhibits little beyond a single city, filled with paupers, traders, and bankers, and owned by great proprietors whose distant lands were tilled by slaves. As a consequence of this it is, that Roman history, from the days of the Tarquins, to those of Marius and Sylla, Cicero and Cataline, Antony and Octavius, is but a record of growing brutality and insubordination on the one side, and of declining power of co-ordination on the other—the directing

« НазадПродовжити »