Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 6.djvu/202
1 88 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
than proprietorship over matter. It is comprehension of matter, insight into its qualities, perception of its adaptabilities, and consequent personal appropriation and control of its latent pos- sibilities.
It would be superfluous to argue that lordship over things in this sense is an essential social function. In order that human animals may progress through the stages of development to which their endowment destines them, somebody must create wealth and hold it subject to human use. But our theorem goes beyond this. We assert that the individual is incomplete and monstrous unless the power and the practice of the direct lord- ship of things is evident in him. Wealth simply held subject to my draft is material toward which my relation may be unnatural and vicious. It may be merely property without the antecedent conditions of comprehension and control. Such proprietorship, unless counterbalanced by some direct lordship over other things, tends to unsocialize and dehumanize men by assigning to them a status manifestly artificial, because impossible of generalization. The extension of this status to all men would extinguish society. Proxy wealth is necessarily impossible as the universal order. Delegation of the wealth function is in principle as abnormal as delegation of the health function. A man is not as fatally incomplete when others exercise all the primary control of nature for him as he would be if he tried to have others exercise all the vital functions for him, but he is in an equally literal sense abnormal and artificial.
Lordship over things in the sense thus indicated is the satis- faction appropriate to the wealth desire. Self-realization is pro- moted in the achievement of lordship over things by means of the candid contact with nature necessary to creation and con- trol. Production of real wealth requires sympathetic and intel- ligent touch with reality which is promise and partial potency of knowledge and art and virtue. There are very deep reasons for our customary epithet "honest" in the case of a simple laborer. When we speak of the " honest farmer" the associa- tion of ideas is with his matter-of-fact dealings with nature, which he is credited with carrying over consistently into his