Page:Yale Law Journal - Volume 27.pdf/41

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LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF IDEALS

17


or place exactly the same value on any given want, so no two have exactly the same ideals. By that is not intended that no two persons have any common ideals. The exact opposite is the truth, for there are no two men but have some ideals in common, and the great majority of the community entertain most of the ideals that make up public opinion. Notwithstanding everyone shares most of his ideals with a majority of the community, still every normal human being has some ideals peculiar to himself, and others that he shares with various groups each of which consists of less than a majority of the community. While individual ideals are evolved in this way, no individual evolves all his ideals for himself. In fact, the average man absorbs most of his ideals ready-made; that is, he selects such of the ideals of others as appeal to him, and adopts them as his own.

As has already appeared, all public ideals are evolved from individual ideals; but when we are studying the evolution of public ideals it is necessary to remember that the community is an entity with a mind separate and distinct from the minds of the individuals who compose it. It is impossible for me to say just what this entity is,[1] but I think that whenever two or more persons associate themselves together for any purpose, their minds interpenetrate in such a way as to form a common mind or a community mind in so far ,as the common purpose is concerned.[2]

In other words, while I cannot show just what the community mind is, or for that matter, just what the human mind is, I shall assume for the purpose of this discussion that there is such an entity, or that, while the individuals who compose a community are constantly changing, the minds of the members for the time being constitute an entity in something the same way the cells—the living organisms of which the body is composed—constitute the entity we know as the body; that is, each cell is at one and the same time a separate organism and a constituent part of the organism we know as the body; in the same way, the mind of an individual is at one and the same time a distinct entity, and a constituent part of the entity that I have called the community mind.[3]

  1. Small, op. cit. 133.
  2. Korkunov, op. cit. 276.
  3. Miraglia, Comparative Legal Philosophy (1912) 370, 428.