Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/401

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.



FEBRUARY, 1878.



EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.
By HERBERT SPENCER.
I. INTRODUCTORY.

IF, excluding all purely private actions, we include under the name "conduct" all actions which involve direct relations with other persons; and if under the name "government" we include all control of such conduct, however arising; then we must say that the earliest kind of government, the most general kind of government, and the government which is ever spontaneously recommencing, is the government of ceremonial observance. More than this is true. Not simply does this kind of government precede other kinds, and not only has it in all places and times approached nearer to universality of influence, but it has ever had, and continues to have, the largest share in regulating men's lives.

Proof that the modifications of conduct called "manners" and "behavior" arise long before those which political and religious restraints cause, is yielded by the fact that, besides preceding social evolution, they precede human evolution: they are traceable among the higher animals. The dog afraid of being beaten, comes crawling up to his master, clearly manifesting the desire to submit. Nor is it solely to human beings that dogs use such propitiatory actions: they do the like one to another. All have occasionally seen how, on the approach of some formidable-looking Newfoundland or mastiff, a small spaniel, in the extremity of its terror, throws itself on its back with legs in the air. Instead of threatening resistance by growls and showing of teeth, as it might have done had not resistance been hopeless, it spontaneously assumes the attitude that would result from defeat in battle, tacitly saying, "I am conquered, and at your mercy." Clearly, then, besides certain modes of behavior expressing affection,