THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
point of view. But the difficulties above set forth arise in so direct a way from conspicuous defects of human intelligence, that they may be, more appropriately than the preceding ones, classed as subjective.
So regarding them, then, we have to beware, in the first place, of this tendency to automorphic interpretation; or rather, having no alternative but to conceive the natures of other men in terms such as our own feelings and ideas furnish, we have to beware of the errors likely hence to arise—discounting our conclusions as well as we can. Further, we must be on our guard against the two opposite prevailing errors respecting Man, and against the sociological errors arising from them: we have to get rid of the two beliefs that human nature is unchangeable, and that it is easily changed; and we have, instead, to become familiar with the conception of a human nature that is changed in the slow succession of generations by social discipline. Another obstacle not to be completely surmounted by any, and to be partially surmounted by but few, is that resulting from the want of intellectual faculty complex enough to grasp the extremely complex phenomena which Sociology deals with. There can be no complete conception of a sociological fact, considered as a component of Social Science, unless there are present to thought all its essential factors; and the power of keeping them in mind with due clearness, as well as in their proper proportions and combinations, has yet to be reached. Then beyond this difficulty, only to be in a measure overcome, there is the further difficulty, not, however, by any means so great, of enlarging the conceptive capacity, so that it may admit the widely divergent and extremely various combinations of social phenomena. That rigidity of conception produced in us by experiences of our own social life, in our own time, has to be exchanged for a plasticity that can receive with ease, and accept as natural, the countless different combinations of social phenomena utterly unlike, and sometimes exactly opposite to, those we are familiar with. Without such a plasticity there can be no proper understanding of coexisting social states allied to our own, still less of past social states, or social states of alien civilized races and races in early stages of development.
|SPONTANEOUS MOVEMENTS IN PLANTS.|
THAT there are no "hard and fast lines" in Nature is a truth which is more and more forcing itself upon the minds of men of science. The older naturalists delighted to circumscribe their own special domains within sharply-marked boundaries, which no trespassers were allowed to pass. We have long given up the attempt thus