Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/55

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Society Are People

solved in the personification of a class. Every political scheme to "improve" Society rests on this trick of words.

For that reason it is necessary to point out that Society is nothing but a handy word, a symbol, and that we are talking about persons, each driven by the primordial urgency to live, according to his lights and by the limitations of his inherent capacities. Society is an institution invented by man to further his purposes and his aspirations. It is, like a laborsaving device, something that helps him improve his circumstances with a saving of effort.

Everything is entitled to a beginning, and the beginning of Society has long engaged the curiosity of philosophic speculation. In that field it has become almost an axiom that Society began with the organization of the family. That may or may not be true. Yet, the theory does not explain the known organization of groups where the binding tie of consanguinity was missing, as often happened in the colonization of America or the settling of our West. If there ever was a "first" Society, it is reasonable to presume it came about just as did these communities; assuming, of course, that man is what he always was. Of the inception and development of these communities we have complete records—they happened, so to speak, under our noses—and their gestation followed a pattern so uniform as to suggest a principle of Society.

Every pioneer, alone or in family, who settled on a spot around which a metropolis eventually grew had to forage for such necessaries as nature could supply him almost ready-made. That was so whether he was an escapee from the gallows or from religious persecution. Being human, he selected for his workshop that place which, because of fer-