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whether he be capitalist or wage earner, into a group, there has followed the dissipation of moral responsibility. A mass morality has been substituted for individual morality, and, unfortunately, group morality generally intensifies the vices more than the virtues of man.
Possibly, the greatest result of the mechanical age is this spirit of organization. Its merits are manifold and do not require statement; but they have blinded us to the demerits of excessive organization. We are now beginning to see—slowly, but surelythat a faculty of organization which, as such, submerged the spirit of individualism, is not an unmixed good. Indeed, the moral lesson of the tragedy of Germany is the demoralizing influence of organization carried to the ’nth power. No nation was ever more highly organized than this modern state. Physically, intellectually and spiritually, it had become a highly-developed machine; and its dominating mechanical spirit so submerged the individual that, in 1914, the paradox was observed of an enlightened nation that was seemingly destitute of a conscience. What was true of Germany, however, was true-although in lesser degree-of all civilized nations. In all of them, the individual had been submerged in group formations, and the effect upon the character of man has not been beneficial.
This may explain the paradox of so-called "progress.” It may be likened to a great wheel, which, from the increasing domination of mechanical forces, developed an ever-accelerating speed, until, by centrifugal action, it went off its bearings in 1914 in an unprecedented catastrophe. As man slowly pulls himself out of that gigantic wreck and recovers consciousness, he begins to realize that speed is not necessarily progress.
Of all this, the Nineteenth Century, in its exultant pride in its conquest of the invisible forces, was almost blind. It not only accepted progress as an unmistakable fact-mistaking, however, acceleration and facilitation for progress—but in its mad pride believed in an immutable law of progress which, working with the blind forces of machinery, would propel man forward. A few men, however, standing on the mountain ranges of human observation, saw the future more clearly than did the mass. Emerson, Carlyle, Ruskin, Samuel Butler, and Max Nordau, in the Nineteenth Century, and, in our time, Ferrero, all pointed out the inevitable dangers of the excessive mechanization of human society. Their prophesies were unhappily as little heeded as those of Cassandra.
One can see the tragedy of the time, as a few saw it, in comparing the first Locksley Hall of Alfred Tennyson, written in 1827, with its abiding faith in the" increasing purpose of the ages" and its roseate prophesies of the golden age when the “war-drum would throb no longer and the battle flags be furled in the Parliament of Man and the Federation of the World," and the later Locksley Hall, written 60 years later, when the great spiritual poet of our time gave utterance to the dark pessimism which flooded his soul:
"Gone the cry of 'Forward, Forward,' lost within a growing gloom;
In this too lengthy address, with which I have afflicted you, I must seem to you unduly pessimistic. I fear that this is the case with most men who, like Dante, have crossed their fiftieth year and find themselves in a “ dark and sombre wood.” You will probably subject me to the additional reproach that I suggest no remedy. There are many palliatives for the evils which I have discussed. To rekindle in men the love of work for work's sake and the spirit of discipline, which the lost sense of human solidarity once inspired, would do much to solve the problem, for work is the greatest moral force in the world. But I must frankly add that I have neither the time nor the qualifications to discuss the solution of this grave problem.
If we of this generation can only recognize that the evil exists, then the situation is not past remedy; for man has never yet found himself in a blind alley of negation. He is still “captain of his soul and the master of his fate," and, to me, the most encouraging sign of the times is the persistent evidence of contemporary literature that thoughtful men now recognize that much of our boasted progress was as unreal as a rainbow. While the temper of the times seems for the moment pessimistic, it merely marks the recognition of man of an abyss whose existence he barely suspected but over which his indomitable courage will yet carry him.
I have faith in the inextinguishable spark of the Divine which is in the human soul and which our complex mechanical civilization has not extinguished. Of this, the World War was in itself a proof. All the horrible resources of mechanics and chemistry were utilized to coerce the human-soul, and all proved ineffectual. Never did men rise to greater heights of self-sacrifice or show a greater fidelity “even unto death.” Millions went to their graves, as to their beds, for an ideal; and when that is possible, this Pandora's box of modern civilization, which contained all imaginable evils, as well as benefits, also leaves hope behind.
I am reminded of a remark that the great Roumanian statesman, Taku Jonescu, made during the Peace Conference at Paris. When asked his views as to the future of civilization, he replied : “ Judged by the light of reason there is but little hope, but I have faith in man's inextinguishable impulse to live." Thank God, that can not be affected by any change in man's environment ! For even when the caveman retreated from the advance of the polar cap, which once covered Europe with Arctic desolation, he not only defied the elements but showed even then the love of the sublime by beautifying the walls of his icy prison with those mural decorations which were the beginning of art. Assuredly, the man of today, with the Godly heritage of countless ages, can do no less. He has but to diagnose the evil and he will then, in some way,
meet it. But what can the law and our profession do in this warfare against the blind forces of nature.
It is easy to exaggerate the value of all political institutions ; for they are generally on the surface of human life and do not reach down to the deep undercurrents of human nature. But the law can do something to protect the soul of man from destruction by the soulless machine.
It can defend the spirit of individualism. It must champion the human soul in its God-given right to exercise freely the
faculties of mind and body. We must defend the right to work against those who would either destroy or degrade it. We must defend the right of every man not only to join with others in protecting his interests, whether he is a brain worker or a hand worker--for without the right of combination the individual would often be the victim of giant forces—but we must vindicate the equal right of an individual, if he so wills, to depend upon his own strength.
The tendency of group morality to standardize man--and thus reduce all men to the dead level of an average mediocrity—is one that the law should combat. Its protection should be given to those of superior skill and diligence, who ask the due rewards of such superiority. Any other course, to use the fine phrase of Thomas Jefferson in his first inaugural, is to “take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”
Of this spirit of individualism, the noblest expression is the Constitution of the United States. That institution has not wholly escaped the destructive tendencies of a mechanical age. It was framed at the very end of the pastoral-agricultural age and at a time when the spirit of individualism was in full flower. The hardy pioneers who, with their axes, made straight the pathway of an advancing civilization, were sturdy men who need not be undervalued to us of the mechanical age. The prairie schooner, which met the elemental forces of nature with the proud challenge: “Pike's Peak or bust," produced as fine a type of manhood as the age which travels either in Mr. Ford's “fliver” or the more luxurious Rolls-Royce.
The Constitution was framed in the period that marked the passing of the primitive age and the dawn of the day of the machine. Watt had discovered the potency of steam vapor as a motive power; but its only use, as known to the fathers, was for pumping water out of the mines. When the framers of the Consti. tution met in high convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, a Connecticut Yankee, John Fitch, was then also working in Philadelphia upon his steam boat; but twenty years were to pass before the
of the « Clermont” was to part the waters of the Hudson, and nearly a half century before transportation was to be revolutionized by the utilization of Watt’s invention
in the locomotive. Of the wonders of the steamship, the railroad, the telegraphic cable, the wireless, the gasoline engine, and a thousand other mechanical miracles, the fathers did not even dream.
It is not surprising that this epoch-making change in human power, which has so profoundly and destructively transformed social conditions, has not been without its effect upon the Constitution of 1787. Steam and electricity have disturbed the nice equilibrium between the nation and the states, which the fathers intended to endure for all time. In this respect, if they could revisit “the glimpses of the moon,” they would, in some respects, find difficulty in recognizing their own handiwork. Even Alexander Hamilton might be amazed in seeing that the Federal Government, now one of the most powerfully unified states of the world, has by the direct, and especially the indirect, exercise of its powers so largely invaded the reserved powers of the states. The mechanical civilization has greatly modified the dual character of our Government.
If, however, in this respect, the Constitution has proven little more than a sandy beach, which the tidal waves of elemental forces have slowly eroded, yet we can proudly claim that in another and more important respect the Constitution has withstood the ceaseless washing of the waves of changing circumstances, as the Rock of Gibraltar itself.
The greatest and noblest purpose of the Constitution was not alone to hold in nicest equipoise the relative powers of the nation and the states, but also to maintain in the scales of justice a true equilibrium between the rights of government and the rights of an individual. It does not believe that the state, much less the caprices of a fleeting majority, is omnipotent, or that it has been sanctified with any oil of anointing, such as was once assumed to give to the monarch infallibility. About the individual, the Constitution draws the solemn circle of its protection. It defends the integrity of the human soul.
In other governments, these fundamental decencies of liberty rest upon the conscience of the legislature. In our country they are part of the fundamental law, and, as such, enforceable by judges sworn to defend the integrity of the individual as fully