Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/581

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577
NOTES ON PHILOSOPHIES OF THE DAY

than to fall alone. Fortunately for mankind, evolution has set limits to the tide of imitation:

There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.

IV. Misoneism.—If we believe Lombroso, misoneism or neophobia, "the hatred of the new," is one of the most deeply ingrained characteristics of man. Progress occurs only when there is a break in the neophobic series. The leaders of mankind are not the many who imitate, but the few who do new things, or think them. And many of these put new wine into old bottles—the makers of new vessels are rarer still. And woe unto those who, with new wine, break old bottles! The blood of such has been the seed of civilization, of the church, of science. Genius, prophet, saint, hero, sage are slain, and the world moves on a little, forgetting even to raise a monument to its great dead. Death baptizes new life: The fall of the few wise inspires a little the ignorant multitude. A martyr means more than a school or a church. On the dead hero springs up the living faith. The doctrine of "the good old days of yore" comes easily to man, who is naturally uncomfortable in the presence of the new. Yet the monotony galls. To take the kingdom of heaven by violence affords relief.

Reforms come from the acts of the few who destroy the old, or through the deeds of the many who slay the innovator. Death or ignominy for centuries has awaited him whose message is: "Behold! I make all things new!"

But not so forever! Slowly, but surety, men are learning wiser and better ways of hating and destroying the new, of preserving and continuing the old. The cessation of blind leadership of the blind means the orderly development of human society. Revolution is giving way to evolution. The old turns naturally and peacefully into the new. War will soon be as unhuman as murder.

An age is near in which we shall no longer imitate the errors of revolutionary epochs. We shall grow into the future by growing out of the past.

In that happy time we shall wonder that their bards could have sung the Celts into vain and pernicious wars; that her philosophers could have desolated Greece by making constitutions for her cities; that soldiers could have brought Rome to vice, luxury and decay; that priests could have led Judæa to reject Jesus for Barabbas; that gold could have brought Spain, once monarch of all the world, to nocuous desuetude. We shall know evolution and act in its spirit.

The philosopher will be content to see the passing of his own physical and mental minority before attempting to lord it over the bodies and souls of his fellows. The statesman will not venture to propound constitutions for states before he has learned to know the laws