"The extension of the educational machinery necessary to provide the higher education for all must have been enormous," I said. "Our primary-school system provided the rudiments for nearly all children, but not one in twenty went as far as the grammar school, not one in a hundred as far as the high school, and not one in a thousand ever saw a college. The great universities of my day—Harvard, Yale, and the rest—must have become small cities in order to receive the students flocking to them."
"They would need to be very large cities certainly," replied the doctor, "if it were a question of their undertaking the higher education of our youth, for every year we graduate not the thousands or tens of thousands that made up your annual grist of college graduates, but millions. For that very reason—that is, the numbers to be dealt with—we can have no centers of the higher education any more than you had of the primary education. Every community has its university just as formerly its common schools, and has in it more students from the vicinage than one of your great universities could collect with its drag net from the ends of the earth."
"But does not the reputation of particular teachers attract students to special universities?"
"That is a matter easily provided for," replied the doctor. "The perfection of our telephone and electroscope systems makes it possible to enjoy at any distance the instruction of any teacher. One of much popularity lectures to a million pupils in a whisper, if he happens to be hoarse, much easier than one of your professors could talk to a class of fifty when in good voice."
"Really, doctor," said I, "there is no fact about your civilization that seems to open so many vistas of possibility and solve beforehand so many possible difficulties in the arrangement and operation of your social system as this universality of culture. I am bound to say that nothing that is rational seems impossible in the way of social adjustments when once you assume the existence of that condition. My own contemporaries fully recognized in theory, as you know, the importance of popular education to secure good government in a democracy; but our system, which barely at best taught the masses to spell, was a farce indeed compared with the popular education of to-day."
"Necessarily so," replied the doctor. "The basis of education is economic, requiring as it does the maintenance of the pupil without economic return during the educational period. If the education is to amount to anything, that period must cover the years of childhood and adolescence to the age of at least twenty. That involves a very large expenditure, which not one parent in a thousand was able to support in your day. The state might have assumed it, of course, but that would have amounted to the rich supporting the children of the poor, and naturally they would not hear to that, at least beyond the primary grades of education. And even if there had been no money question, the rich, if they hoped to retain their power, would have been crazy to provide for the masses destined to do their dirty work—a culture which would have made them social rebels. For these two reasons your economic system was incompatible with any popular education worthy of the name. On the other hand, the first effect of economic equality was to provide equal educational advantages for all and the best the community could afford. One of the most interesting chapters in the history of the Revolution is that which tells how at once after the new order was established the young men and women under twenty-one years of age who had been working in fields or factories, perhaps since childhood, left their work and poured back into the schools and colleges as fast as room could be made for them, so that they might as far as possible repair their early loss. All alike recognized, now that education had been made economically possible for all, that it was the greatest boon the new order had brought. It recorded also in the books that not only the youth, but the men and women, and even the elderly who had been without educational advantages, devoted all the leisure left from their industrial duties to making up, so far as possible, for their lack of earlier advantages, that they might not be too much ashamed in the presence of a rising generation to be composed altogether of college graduates.
"In speaking of our educational system as it is at present," the doctor went on, "I should guard you against the possible mistake of supposing that the course which ends at twenty-one completes the educational curriculum of the average individual. On the contrary, it is only the required minimum of culture which society insists that all youth shall receive during their minority to make them barely fit for citizenship. We should consider it a very meager education indeed that ended there. As we look at it, the graduation from the schools at the attainment of majority means merely that the graduate has reached an age at which he can be presumed to be competent and has the right as an adult to carry on his further education without the guidance or compulsion of the state. To provide means for this end the nation maintains a vast system of what you would call elective post-graduate courses of study in every branch of science, and these are open freely to every one to the end of life to be pursued as long or as briefly, as constantly or as intermittently, as profoundly or superficially, as desired.
"The mind is really not fit for many most important branches of knowledge, the taste for them does not awake, and the intellect is not able to grasp them, until mature life, when a month of application will give a comprehension of a subject which years would have been wasted in trying to impart to a youth. It is our idea, so far as possible, to postpone the serious study of such branches to the post-graduate schools. Young people must get a smattering of things in general, but really theirs is not the time of life for ardent and effective study. If you would see enthusiastic students to whom the pursuit of knowledge is the greatest joy of life you must seek them among the middle-aged fathers and mothers in the post-graduate schools.
"For the proper use of these opportunities for the lifelong pursuit of knowledge we find the leisure of our lives, which seems to you so ample, all too small. And yet that leisure, vast as it is, with half of every day and half of every year and the whole latter half of life sacred to personal uses—even the aggregate of these great spaces, growing greater with every labor-saving invention, which are reserved for the higher uses of life, would seem to us of little value for intellectual culture, but for a condition commanded by almost none in your day but secured to all by our institutions. I mean the moral atmosphere of serenity resulting from an absolute freedom of mind from disturbing anxieties and carking cares concerning our material welfare or that of those dear to us. Our economic system puts us in a position where we can follow Christ's maxim, so impossible for you, to 'take no thought for the morrow.' You must not understand, of course, that all our people are students or philosophers, but you may understand that we are more or less assiduous and systematic students and school-goers all our lives."
"Really, doctor," I said, "I do not remember that you have ever told me anything that has suggested a more complete and striking contrast between your age and mine than this about the persistent and growing development of the purely intellectual interests through life. In my day there was, after all, only six or eight years' difference in the duration of the intellectual life of the poor man's son drafted into the factory at fourteen and the more fortunate youth's who went to college. If that of the one stopped at fourteen, that of the other ceased about as completely at twenty-one or twenty-two. Instead of being in a position to begin his real education on graduating from college, that event meant the close of it for the average student, and was the high-water mark of his life, so far as concerned the culture and knowledge of the sciences and humanities. In these respects the average college man never afterward knew so much as on his graduation day. For immediately thereafter, unless of the richest class, he must needs plunge into the turmoil and strife of business life and engage in the struggle for the material means of existence. Whether he failed or succeeded, made little difference as to the effect to stunt and wither his intellectual life. He had no time and could command no thought for anything else. If he failed, or barely avoided failure, perpetual anxiety ate out his heart; and if he succeeded, his success usually made him a grosser and more hopelessly self-satisfied materialist than if he had failed. There was no hope for his mind or soul either way. If at the end of life his efforts had won him a little breathing space, it could be of no high use to him, for the spiritual and intellectual parts had become atrophied from disuse, and were no longer capable of responding to opportunity.
"And this apology for an existence," said the doctor, "was the life of those whom you counted most fortunate and most successful—of those who were reckoned to have won the prizes of life. Can you be surprised that we look back to the great Revolution as a sort of second creation of man, inasmuch as it added the conditions of an adequate mind and soul life to the bare physical existence under more or less agreeable conditions, which was about all the life the most of human being's, rich or poor, had up to that time known? The effect of the struggle for existence in arresting, with its engrossments, the intellectual development at the very threshold of adult life would have been disastrous enough had the character of the struggle been morally unobjectionable. It is when we come to consider that the struggle was one which not only prevented mental culture, but was utterly withering to the moral life, that we fully realize the unfortunate condition of the race before the Revolution. Youth is visited with noble aspirations and high dreams of duty and perfection. It sees the world as it should be, not as it is; and it is well for the race if the institutions of society are such as do not offend these moral enthusiasms, but rather tend to conserve and develop them through life. This, I think, we may fully claim the modern social order does. Thanks to an economic system which illustrates the highest ethical idea in all its workings, the youth going forth into the world finds it a practice school for all the moralities. He finds full room and scope in its duties and occupations for every generous enthusiasm, every unselfish aspiration he ever cherished. He can not possibly have formed a moral idea higher or completer than that which dominates our industrial and commercial order.
"Youth was as noble in your day as now, and dreamed the same great dreams of life's possibilities. But when the young man went forth into the world of practical life it was to find his dreams mocked and his ideals derided at every turn. He found himself compelled, whether he would or not, to take part in a fight for life, in which the first condition of success was to put his ethics on the shelf and cut the acquaintance of his conscience. You had various terms with which to describe the process whereby the young man, reluctantly laying aside his ideals, accepted the conditions of the sordid struggle. You described it as a 'learning to take the world as it is,' 'getting over romantic notions,' 'becoming practical,' and all that. In fact, it was nothing more nor less than the debauching of a soul. Is that too much to say?
"It is no more than the truth, and we all knew it," I answered.
"Thank God, that day is over forever! The father need now no longer instruct the son in cynicism lest he should fail in life, nor the mother her daughter in worldly wisdom as a protection from generous instinct. The parents are worthy of their children and fit to associate with them, as it seems to us they were not and could not be in your day. Life is all the way through as spacious and noble as it seems to the ardent child standing on the threshold. The ideals of perfection, the enthusiasms of self-devotion, honor, love, and duty, which thrill the boy and girl, no longer yield with advancing years to baser motives, but continue to animate life to the end. You remember what Wordsworth said:
"Heaven lies about us in our infancy. Shades of the prison house begin to close Upon the growing boy.
I think if he were a partaker of our life he would not have been moved to extol childhood at the expense of maturity, for life grows ever wider and higher to the last."
"NEITHER IN THIS MOUNTAIN NOR AT JERUSALEM."
The next morning, it being again necessary for Edith to report at her post of duty, I accompanied her to the railway station. While we stood waiting for the train my attention was drawn to a distinguished-looking man who alighted from an incoming car. He appeared by nineteenth-century standards about sixty years old, and was therefore presumably eighty or ninety, that being about the rate of allowance I have found it necessary to make in estimating the ages of my new contemporaries, owing to the slower advent of signs of age in these times. On speaking to Edith of this person I was much interested when she informed me that he was no other than Mr. Barton, whose sermon by telephone had so impressed me on the first Sunday of my new life, as set forth in Looking Backward. Edith had just time to introduce me before taking the train.
As we left the station together I said to my companion that if he would excuse the inquiry I should be interested to know what particular sect or religious body he represented.
"My dear Mr. West," was the reply, "your question suggests that my friend Dr. Leete has not probably said much to you about the modern way of regarding religious matters."
"Our conversation has turned but little on that subject," I answered, "but it will not surprise me to learn that your ideas and practices are quite different from those of my day. Indeed, religious ideas and ecclesiastical institutions were already at that time undergoing such rapid and radical decomposition that it was safe to predict if religion were to survive another century it would be under very different forms from any the past had known."
"You have suggested a topic," said my companion, "of the greatest possible interest to me. If you have nothing else to do, and would like to talk a little about it, nothing would give me more pleasure."
Upon receiving the assurance that I had absolutely no occupation except to pick up information about the twentieth century, Mr. Barton said:
"Let us then go into this old church, which you will no doubt have already recognized as a relic of your time. There we can sit comfortably while we talk, amid surroundings well fitted to our theme."
I then perceived that we stood before one of the last-century church buildings which have been preserved as historical monuments, and, moreover, as it oddly enough fell out, that this particular church was no other than the one my family had always attended, and I as well—that is, whenever I attended any church, which was not often.
"What an extraordinary coincidence!" exclaimed Mr. Barton, when I told him this; "who would have expected it? Naturally, when you revisit a spot so fraught with affecting associations, you will wish to be alone. You must pardon my involuntary indiscretion in proposing to turn in here."
"Really," I replied, "the coincidence is interesting merely, not at all affecting. Young men of my day did not, as a rule, take their church relations very seriously. I shall be interested to see how the old place looks. Let us go in, by all means."
The interior proved to be quite unchanged in essential particulars since the last time I had been within its walls, more than a century before. That last occasion, I well remembered, had been an Easter service, to which I had escorted some pretty country cousins who wanted to hear the music and see the flowers. No doubt the processes of decay had rendered necessary many restorations, but they had been carried out so as to preserve completely the original effects.
Leading the way down the main aisle, I paused in front of the family pew.
"This, Mr. Barton," I said, "is, or was, my pew. It is true that I am a little in arrears on pew rent, but I think I may venture to invite you to sit with me."
I had truly told Mr. Barton that there was very little sentiment connected with such church relations as I had maintained. They were indeed merely a matter of family tradition and social propriety. But in another way I found myself not a little moved, as, dropping into my accustomed place at the head of the pew, I looked about the dim and silent interior. As my eye roved from pew to pew, my imagination called back to life the men and women, the young men and maidens, who had been wont of a Sunday, a hundred years before, to sit in those places. As I recalled their various activities, ambitions, hopes, fears, envies, and intrigues, all dominated, as they had been, by the idea of money possessed, lost, or lusted after, I was impressed not so much with the personal death which had come to these my old acquaintances as by the thought of the completeness with which the whole social scheme in which they had lived and moved and had their being had passed away. Not only were they gone, but their world was gone, and its place knew it no more. How strange, how artificial, how grotesque that world had been!—and yet to them and to me, while I was one of them, it had seemed the only possible mode of existence.
Mr. Barton, with delicate respect for my absorption, waited for me to break the silence.
"No doubt," I said, "since you preserve our churches as curiosities, you must have better ones of your own for use?"
"In point of fact," my companion replied, "we have little or no use for churches at all."
"Ah, yes! I had forgotten for the moment that it was by telephone I heard your sermon. The telephone, in its present perfection, must indeed have quite dispensed with the necessity of the church as an audience room."
"In other words," replied Mr. Barton, "when we assemble now we need no longer bring our bodies with us. It is a curious paradox that while the telephone and electroscope, by abolishing distance as a hindrance to sight and hearing, have brought mankind into a closeness of sympathetic and intellectual rapport never before imagined, they have at the same time enabled individuals, although keeping in closest touch with everything going on in the world, to enjoy, if they choose, a physical privacy, such as one had to be a hermit to command in your day. Our advantages in this respect have so far spoiled us that being in a crowd, which was the matter-of-course penalty you had to pay for seeing or hearing anything interesting, would seem too dear a price to pay for almost any enjoyment."
"I can imagine," I said, "that ecclesiastical institutions must have been affected in other ways besides the disuse of church buildings, by the general adaptation of the telephone system to religious teaching. In my day, the fact that no speaker could reach by voice more than a small group of hearers made it necessary to have a veritable army of preachers—some fifty thousand, say, in the United States alone—in order to instruct the population. Of these, not one in many hundreds was a person who had anything to utter really worth hearing. For example, we will say that fifty thousand clergymen preached every Sunday as many sermons to as many congregations. Four fifths of these sermons were poor, half of the rest perhaps fair, some of the others good, and a few score, possibly, out of the whole really of a fine class. Now, nobody, of course, would hear a poor discourse on any subject when he could just as easily hear a fine one, and if we had perfected the telephone system to the point you have, the result would have been, the first Sunday after its introduction, that everybody who wanted to hear a sermon would have connected with the lecture rooms or churches of the few widely celebrated preachers, and the rest would have had no hearers at all, and presently have been obliged to seek new occupations."
Mr. Barton was amused. "You have, in fact, hit," he said, "upon the mechanical side of one of the most important contrasts between your times and ours—namely, the modern suppression of mediocrity in teaching, whether intellectual or religious. Being able to pick from the choicest intellects, and most inspired moralists and seers of the generation, everybody of course agrees in regarding it a waste of time to listen to any who have less weighty messages to deliver. When you consider that all are thus able to obtain the best inspiration the greatest minds can give, and couple this with the fact that, thanks to the universality of the higher education, all are at least pretty good judges of what is best, you have the secret of what might be called at once the strongest safeguard of the degree of civilization we have attained, and the surest pledge of the highest possible rate of progress toward ever better conditions—namely, the leadership of moral and intellectual genius. To one like you, educated according to the ideas of the nineteenth century as to what democracy meant, it may seem like a paradox that the equalizing of economic and educational conditions, which has perfected democracy, should have resulted in the most perfect aristocracy, or government by the best, that could be conceived; yet what result could be more matter-of-course? The people of to-day, too intelligent to be misled or abused for selfish ends even by demigods, are ready, on the other hand, to comprehend and to follow with enthusiasm every better leading. The result is, that our greatest men and women wield to-day an unselfish empire, more absolute than your czars dreamed of, and of an extent to make Alexander's conquests seem provincial. There are men in the world who when they choose to appeal to their fellow-men, by the bare announcement are able to command the simultaneous attention of one to five or eight hundred millions of people. In fact, if the occasion be a great one, and the speaker worthy of it, a world-wide silence reigns as in their various places, some beneath the sun and others under the stars, some by the light of dawn and others at sunset, all hang on the lips of the teacher. Such power would have seemed, perhaps, in your day dangerous, but when you consider that its tenure is conditional on the wisdom and unselfishness of its exercise, and would fail with the first false note, you may judge that it is a dominion as safe as God's."
"Dr. Leete," I said, "has told me something of the way in which the universality of culture, combined with your scientific appliances, has made physically possible this leadership of the best; but, I beg your pardon, how could a speaker address numbers so vast as you speak of unless the pentecostal miracle were repeated? Surely the audience must be limited at least by the number of those understanding one language."
"Is it possible that Dr. Leete has not told you of our universal language?"
"I have heard no language but English."
"Of course, everybody talks the language of his own country with his countrymen, but with the rest of the world he talks the general language—that is to say, we have nowadays to acquire but two languages to talk to all peoples—our own, and the universal. We may learn as many more as we please, and we usually please to learn many, but these two are alone needful to go all over the world or to speak across it without an interpreter. A number of the smaller nations have wholly abandoned their national tongue and talk only the general language. The greater nations, which have fine literature embalmed in their languages, have been more reluctant to abandon them, and in this way the smaller folks have actually had a certain sort of advantage over the greater. The tendency, however, to cultivate but one language as a living tongue and to treat all the others as dead or moribund is increasing at such a rate that if you had slept through another generation you might have found none but philological experts able to talk with you."
"But even with the universal telephone and the universal language," I said, "there still remains the ceremonial and ritual side of religion to be considered. For the practice of that I should suppose the piously inclined would still need churches to assemble in, however able to dispense with them for purposes of instruction."
"If any feel that need, there is no reason why they should not have as many churches as they wish and assemble as often as they see fit. I do not know but there are still those who do so. But with a high grade of intelligence become universal the world was bound to outgrow the ceremonial side of religion, which with its forms and symbols, its holy times and places, its sacrifices, feasts, fasts, and new moons, meant so much in the child-time of the race. The time has now fully come which Christ foretold in that talk with the woman by the well of Samaria when the idea of the Temple and all it stood for would give place to the wholly spiritual religion, without respect of times or places, which he declared most pleasing to God.
"With the ritual and ceremonial side of religion outgrown," said I, "with church attendance become superfluous for purposes of instruction, and everybody selecting his own preacher on personal grounds, I should say that sectarian lines must have pretty nearly disappeared."
"Ah, yes!" said Mr. Barton, "that reminds me that our talk began with your inquiry as to what religious sect I belonged to. It is a very long time since it has been customary for people to divide themselves into sects and classify themselves under different names on account of variations of opinion as to matters of religion."
"Is it possible," I exclaimed, "that you mean to say people no longer quarrel over religion? Do you actually tell me that human beings have become capable of entertaining different opinions about the next world without becoming enemies in this? Dr. Leete has compelled me to believe a good many miracles, but this is too much."
"I do not wonder that it seems rather a startling proposition, at first statement, to a man of the nineteenth century," replied Mr. Barton. "But, after all, who was it who started and kept up the quarreling over religion in former days?"
"It was, of course, the ecclesiastical bodies—the priests and preachers."
"But they were not many. How were they able to make so much trouble?"
"On account of the masses of the people who, being densely ignorant, were correspondingly superstitious and bigoted, and were tools in the hands of the ecclesiastics."
"But there was a minority of the cultured. Were they bigoted also? Were they tools of the ecclesiastics?"
"On the contrary, they always held a calm and tolerant attitude on religious questions and were independent of the priesthoods. If they deferred to ecclesiastical influence at all, it was because they held it needful for the purpose of controlling the ignorant populace."
"Very good. You have explained your miracle. There is no ignorant populace now for whose sake it is necessary for the more intelligent to make any compromises with truth. Your cultured class, with their tolerant and philosophical view of religious differences, and the criminal folly of quarreling about them, has become the only class there is."
"How long is it since people ceased to call themselves Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, and so on?"
"That kind of classification may be said to have received a fatal shock at the time of the great Revolution, when sectarian demarcations and doctrinal differences, already fallen into a good deal of disregard, were completely swept away and forgotten in the passionate impulse of brotherly love which brought men together for the founding of a nobler social order. The old habit might possibly have revived in time had it not been for the new culture, which, during the first generation subsequent to the Revolution, destroyed the soil of ignorance and superstition which had supported ecclesiastical influence, and made its recrudescence impossible for evermore.
"Although, of course," continued my companion, "the universalizing of intellectual culture is the only cause that needs to be considered in accounting for the total disappearance of religious sectarianism, yet it will give you a more vivid realization of the gulf fixed between the ancient and the modern usages as to religion if you consider certain economic conditions, now wholly passed away, which in your time buttressed the power of ecclesiastical institutions in very substantial ways. Of course, in the first place, church buildings were needful to preach in, and equally so for the ritual and ceremonial side of religion. Moreover, the sanction of religious teaching, depending chiefly on the authority of tradition instead of its own reasonableness, made it necessary for any preacher who would command hearers to enter the service of some of the established sectarian organizations. Religion, in a word, like industry and politics, was capitalized by greater or smaller corporations which exclusively controlled the plant and machinery, and conducted it for the prestige and power of the firms. As all those who desired to engage in politics or industry were obliged to do so in subjection to the individuals and corporations controlling the machinery, so was it in religious matters likewise. Persons desirous of entering on the occupation of religious teaching could do so only by conforming to the conditions of some of the organizations controlling the machinery, plant, and good will of the business—that is to say, of some one of the great ecclesiastical corporations. To teach religion outside of these corporations, when not positively illegal, was a most difficult undertaking, however great the ability of the teacher—as difficult, indeed, as it was to get on in politics without wearing a party badge, or to succeed in business in opposition to the great capitalists. The would-be religious teacher had to attach himself, therefore, to some one or other of the sectarian organizations, whose mouthpiece he must consent to be, as the condition of obtaining any hearing at all. The organization might be hierarchical, in which case he took his instructions from above, or it might be congregational, in which case he took his orders from below. The one method was monarchical, the other democratic, but one as inconsistent as the other with the office of the religious teacher, the first condition of which, as we look at it, should be absolute spontaneity of feeling and liberty of utterance.
"It may be said that the old ecclesiastical system depended on a double bondage: first, the intellectual subjection of the masses through ignorance to their spiritual directors; and, secondly, the bondage of the directors themselves to the sectarian organizations, which as spiritual capitalists monopolized the opportunities of teaching. As the bondage was twofold, so also was the enfranchisement—a deliverance alike of the people and of their teachers, who, under the guise of leaders, had been themselves but puppets. Nowadays preaching is as free as hearing, and as open to all. The man who feels a special calling to talk to his fellows upon religious themes has no need of any other capital than something worth saying. Given this, without need of any further machinery than the free telephone, he is able to command an audience limited only by the force and fitness of what he has to say. He now does not live by his preaching. His business is not a distinct profession. He does not belong to a class apart from other citizens, either by education or occupation. It is not needful for any purpose that he should do so. The higher education which he shares with all others furnishes ample intellectual equipment, while the abundant leisure for personal pursuits with which our life is interfused, and the entire exemption from public duty after forty-five, give abundant opportunity for the exercise of his vocation. In a word, the modern religious teacher is a prophet, not a priest. The sanction of his words lies not in any human ordination or ecclesiastical exequatur, but, even as it was with the prophets of old, in such response as his words may have power to evoke from human hearts."
"If people," I suggested, "still retaining a taste for the old-time ritual and ceremonial observances and face-to-face preaching, should desire to have churches and clergy for their special service, is there anything to prevent it?"
"No, indeed. Liberty is the first and last word of our civilization. It is perfectly consistent with our economic system for a group of individuals, by contributing out of their incomes, not only to rent buildings for group purposes, but by indemnifying the nation for the loss of an individual's public service to secure him as their special minister. Though the state will enforce no private contracts of any sort, it does not forbid them. The old ecclesiastical system was, for a time after the Revolution, kept up by remnants in this way, and might be until now if anybody had wished. But the contempt into which the hireling relation had fallen at once after the Revolution soon made the position of such hired clergymen intolerable, and presently there were none who would demean themselves by entering upon so despised a relation, and none, indeed, who would have spiritual service, of all others, on such terms."
"As you tell the story," I said, "it seems very plain how it all came about, and could not have been otherwise; but you can perhaps hardly imagine how a man of the nineteenth century, accustomed to the vast place occupied by the ecclesiastical edifice and influence in human affairs, is affected by the idea of a world getting on without anything of the sort."
"I can imagine something of your sensation," replied my companion, "though doubtless not adequately. And yet I must say that no change in the social order seems to us to have been more distinctly foreshadowed by the signs of the times in your day than precisely this passing away of the ecclesiastical system. As you yourself observed, just before we came into this church, there was then going on a general deliquescence of dogmatism which made your contemporaries wonder what was going to be left. The influence and authority of the clergy were rapidly disappearing, the sectarian lines were being obliterated, the creeds were falling into contempt, and the authority of tradition was being repudiated. Surely if anything could be safely predicted it was that the religious ideas and institutions of the world were approaching some great change."
"Doubtless," said I, "if the ecclesiastics of my day had regarded the result as merely depending on the drift of opinion among men, they would have been inclined to give up all hope of retaining their influence, but there was another element in the case which gave them courage."
"And what was that?"
"The women. They were in my day called the religious sex. The clergy generally were ready to admit that so far as the interest of the cultured class of men, and indeed of the men generally, in the churches went, they were in a bad way, but they had faith that the devotion of the women would save the cause. Woman was the sheet anchor of the Church. Not only were women the chief attendants at religious functions, but it was largely through their influence on the men that the latter tolerated, even so far as they did, the ecclesiastical pretensions. Now, were not our clergymen justified in counting on the continued support of women, whatever the men might do?"
"Certainly they would have been if woman's position was to remain unchanged, but, as you are doubtless by this time well aware, the elevation and enlargement of woman's sphere in all directions was perhaps the most notable single aspect of the Revolution. When women were called the religious sex it would have been indeed a high ascription if it had been meant that they were the more spiritually minded, but that was not at all what the phrase signified to those who used it; it was merely intended to put in a complimentary way the fact that women in your day were the docile sex. Less educated, as a rule, than men, unaccustomed to responsibility, and trained in habits of subordination and self-distrust, they leaned in all things upon precedent and authority. Naturally, therefore, they still held to the principle of authoritative teaching in religion long after men had generally rejected it. All that was changed with the Revolution, and indeed began to change long before it. Since the Revolution there has been no difference in the education of the sexes nor in the independence of their economic and social position, in the exercise of responsibility or experience in the practical conduct of affairs. As you might naturally infer, they are no longer, as formerly, a peculiarly docile class, nor have they any more toleration for authority, whether in religion, politics, or economics, than their brethren. In every pursuit of life they join with men on equal terms, including the most important and engrossing of all our pursuits—the search after knowledge concerning the nature and destiny of man and his relation to the spiritual and material infinity of which he is a part."
ERITIS SICUT DEUS.
"I infer, then," I said, "that the disappearance of religious divisions and the priestly caste has not operated to lessen the general interest in religion."
"Should you have supposed that it would so operate?"
"I don't know. I never gave much thought to such matters. The ecclesiastical class represented that they were very essential to the conservation of religion, and the rest of us took it for granted that it was so."
"Every social institution which has existed for a considerable time," replied Mr. Barton, "has doubtless performed some function which was at the time more or less useful and necessary. Kings, ecclesiastics, and capitalists—all of them, for that matter, merely different sorts of capitalists—have, no doubt, in their proper periods, performed functions which, however badly discharged, were necessary and could not then have been discharged in any better manner. But just as the abolition of royalty was the beginning of decent government, just as the abolition of private capitalism was the beginning of effective wealth production, so the disappearance of church organization and machinery, or ecclesiastical capitalism, was the beginning of a world-awakening of impassioned interest in the vast concerns covered by the word religion.
"Necessary as may have been the subjection of the race to priestly authority in the course of human evolution, it was the form of tutelage which, of all others, was most calculated to benumb and deaden the faculties affected by it, and the collapse of ecclesiasticism presently prepared the way for an enthusiasm of interest in the great problems of human nature and destiny which would have been scarcely conceivable by the worthy ecclesiastics of your day who with such painful efforts and small results sought to awake their flocks to spiritual concerns. The lack of general interest in these questions in your time was the natural result of their monopoly as the special province of the priestly class whose members stood as interpreters between man and the mystery about him, undertaking to guarantee the spiritual welfare of all who would trust them. The decay of priestly authority left every soul face to face with that mystery, with the responsibility of its interpretation upon himself. The collapse of the traditional theologies relieved the whole subject of man's relation with the infinite from the oppressive effect of the false finalities of dogma which had till then made the most boundless of sciences the most cramped and narrow. Instead of the mind-paralyzing worship of the past and the bondage of the present to that which is written, the conviction took hold on men that there was no limit to what they might know concerning their nature and destiny and no limit to that destiny. The priestly idea that the past was diviner than the present, that God was behind the race, gave place to the belief that we should look forward and not backward for inspiration, and that the present and the future promised a fuller and more certain knowledge concerning the soul and God than any the past had attained."
"Has this belief," I asked, "been thus far practically confirmed by any progress actually made in the assurance of what is true as to these things? Do you consider that you really know more about them than we did, or that you know more positively the things which we merely tried to believe?"
Mr. Barton paused a moment before replying.
"You remarked a little while ago," he said, "that your talks with Dr. Leete had as yet turned little on religious matters. In introducing you to the modern world it was entirely right and logical that he should dwell at first mainly upon the change in economic systems, for that has, of course, furnished the necessary material basis for all the other changes that have taken place. But I am sure that you will never meet any one who, being asked in what direction the progress of the race during the past century has tended most to increase human happiness, would not reply that it had been in the science of the soul and its relation to the Eternal and Infinite.
"This progress has been the result not merely of a more rational conception of the subject and complete intellectual freedom in its study, but largely also of social conditions which have set us almost wholly free from material engrossments. We have now for nearly a century enjoyed an economic welfare which has left nothing to be wished for in the way of physical satisfactions, especially as in proportion to the increase of this abundance there has been through culture a development of simplicity in taste which rejects excess and surfeit and ever makes less and less of the material side of life and more of the mental and moral. Thanks to this co-operation of the material with the moral evolution, the more we have the less we need. Long ago it came to be recognized that on the material side the race had reached the goal of its evolution. We have practically lost ambition for further progress in that direction. The natural result has been that for a long period the main energies of the intellect have been concentrated upon the possibilities of the spiritual evolution of mankind for which the completion of its material evolution has but prepared the beginning. What we have so far learned we are convinced is but the first faint inkling of the knowledge we shall attain to; and yet if the limitations of this earthly state were such that we might never hope here to know more than now we should not repine, for the knowledge we have has sufficed to turn the shadow of death into a bow of promise and distill the saltness out of human tears. You will observe, as you shall come to know more of our literature, that one respect in which it differs from yours is the total lack of the tragic note. This has very naturally followed, from a conception of our real life, as having an inaccessible security, 'hid in God,' as Paul said, whereby the accidents and vicissitudes of the personality are reduced to relative triviality.
"Your seers and poets in exalted moments had seen that death was but a step in life, but this seemed to most of you to have been a hard saying. Nowadays, as life advances toward its close, instead of being shadowed by gloom, it is marked by an access of impassioned expectancy which would cause the young to envy the old, but for the knowledge that in a little while the same door will be opened to them. In your day the undertone of life seems to have been one of unutterable sadness, which, like the moaning of the sea to those who live near the ocean, made itself audible whenever for a moment the noise and bustle of petty engrossments ceased. Now this undertone is so exultant that we are still to hear it."
"If men go on," I said, "growing at this rate in the knowledge of divine things and the sharing of the divine life, what will they yet come to?"
Mr. Barton smiled.
"Said not the serpent in the old story, 'If you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge you shall be as gods'? The promise was true in words, but apparently there was some mistake about the tree. Perhaps it was the tree of selfish knowledge, or else the fruit was not ripe. The story is obscure. Christ later said the same thing when he told men that they might be the sons of God. But he made no mistake as to the tree he showed them, and the fruit was ripe. It was the fruit of love, for universal love is at once the seed and fruit, cause and effect, of the highest and completest knowledge. Through boundless love man becomes a god, for thereby is he made conscious of his oneness with God, and all things are put under his feet. It has been only since the great Revolution brought in the era of human brotherhood that mankind has been able to eat abundantly of this fruit of the true tree of knowledge, and thereby grow more and more into the consciousness of the divine soul as the essential self and the true hiding of our lives. Yes, indeed, we shall be gods. The motto of the modern civilization is 'Eritis sicut Deus.'"
"You speak of Christ. Do I understand that this modern religion is considered by you to be the same doctrine Christ taught?"
"Most certainly. It has been taught from the beginning of history and doubtless earlier, but Christ's teaching is that which has most fully and clearly come down to us. It was the doctrine that he taught, but the world could not then receive it save a few, nor indeed has it ever been possible for the world in general to receive it or even to understand it until this present century."
"Why could not the world receive earlier the revelation it seems to find so easy of comprehension now?"
"Because," replied Mr. Barton, "the prophet and revealer of the soul and of God, which are the same, is love, and until these latter days the world refused to hear love, but crucified him. The religion of Christ, depending as it did upon the experience and intuitions of the unselfish enthusiasms, could not possibly be accepted or understood generally by a world which tolerated a social system based upon fratricidal struggle as the condition of existence. Prophets, messiahs, seers, and saints might indeed for themselves see God face to face, but it was impossible that there should be any general apprehension of God as Christ saw him until social justice had brought in brotherly love. Man must be revealed to man as brother before God could be revealed to him as father. Nominally, the clergy professed to accept and repeat Christ's teaching that God is a loving father, but of course it was simply impossible that any such idea should actually germinate and take root in hearts as cold and hard as stone toward their fellow-beings and sodden with hate and suspicion of them. 'If a man love not his brother whom he hath seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen?' The priests deafened their flocks with appeals to love God, to give their hearts to him. They should have rather taught them, as Christ did, to love their fellow-men and give their hearts to them. Hearts so given the love of God would presently enkindle, even as, according to the ancients, fire from heaven might be depended on to ignite a sacrifice fitly prepared and laid.
"From the pulpit yonder, Mr. West, doubtless you have many times heard these words and many like them repeated: 'If we love one another God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.' 'He that loveth his brother dwelleth in the light.' 'If any man say I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar.' 'He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death.' 'God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God.' 'Every one that loveth knoweth God.' 'He that loveth not knoweth not God.'
"Here is the very distillation of Christ's teaching as to the conditions of entering on the divine life. In this we find the sufficient explanation why the revelation which came to Christ so long ago and to other illumined souls could not possibly be received by mankind in general so long as an inhuman social order made a wall between man and God, and why, the moment that wall was cast down, the revelation flooded the earth like a sunburst.
"'If we love one another God dwelleth in us,' and mark how the words were made good in the way by which at last the race found God! It was not, remember, by directly, purposely, or consciously seeking God. The great enthusiasm of humanity which overthrew the old order and brought in the fraternal society was not primarily or consciously a godward aspiration at all. It was essentially a humane movement. It was a melting and flowing forth of men's hearts toward one another, a rush of contrite, repentant tenderness, an impassioned impulse of mutual love and self-devotion to the common weal. But 'if we love one another God dwelleth in us,' and so men found it. It appears that there came a moment, the most transcendent moment in the history of the race of man, when with the fraternal glow of this world of new-found embracing brothers there seems to have mingled the ineffable thrill of a divine participation, as if the hand of God were clasped over the joined hands of men. And so it has continued to this day and shall for evermore."
SEVERAL IMPORTANT MATTERS OVERLOOKED.
After dinner the doctor said that he had an excursion to suggest for the afternoon.
"It has often occurred to me," he went on, "that when you shall go out into the world and become familiar with its features by your own observation, you will, in looking back on these preparatory lessons I have tried to give you, form a very poor impression of my talent as a pedagogue. I am very much dissatisfied myself with the method in which I have developed the subject, which, instead of having been philosophically conceived as a plan of instruction, has been merely a series of random talks, guided rather by your own curiosity than any scheme on my part."
"I am very thankful, my dear friend and teacher," I replied, "that you have spared me the philosophical method. Without boasting that I have acquired so soon a complete understanding of your modern system, I am very sure that I know a good deal more about it than I otherwise should, for the very reason that you have so good-naturedly followed the lead of my curiosity instead of tying me to the tailboard of a method."
"I should certainly like to believe," said the doctor, "that our talks have been as instructive to you as they have been delightful to me, and if I have made mistakes it should be remembered that perhaps no instructor ever had or is likely to have a task quite so large as mine, or one so unexpectedly thrust upon him, or, finally, one which, being so large, the natural curiosity of his pupil compelled him to cover in so short a time."
"But you were speaking of an excursion for this afternoon."
"Yes," said the doctor. "It is a suggestion in the line of an attempt to remedy some few of my too probable omissions of important things in trying to acquaint you with how we live now. What do you say to chartering an air car this afternoon for the purpose of taking a bird's-eye view of the city and environs, and seeing what its various aspects may suggest in the way of features of present-day civilization which we have not touched upon?"
The idea struck me as admirable, and we at once proceeded to put it in execution.
* * * * *
In these brief and fragmentary reminiscences of my first experiences in the modern world it is, of course, impossible that I should refer to one in a hundred of the startling things which happened to me. Still, even with that limitation, it may seem strange to my readers that I have not had more to say of the wonder excited in my mind by the number and character of the great mechanical inventions and applications unknown in my day, which contribute to the material fabric and actuate the mechanism of your civilization. For example, although this was very far from being my first air trip, I do not think that I have before referred to a sort of experience which, to a representative of the last century, must naturally have been nothing less than astounding. I can only say, by way of explanation of this seeming indifference to the mechanical wonders of this age, that had they been ten times more marvelous, they would still have impressed me with infinitely less astonishment than the moral revolution illustrated by your new social order.
This, I am sure, is what would be the experience of any man of my time under my circumstances. The march of scientific discovery and mechanical invention during the last half of the nineteenth century had already been so great and was proceeding so rapidly that we were prepared to expect almost any amount of development in the same lines in the future. Your submarine shipping we had distinctly anticipated and even partially realized. The discovery of the electrical powers had made almost any mechanical conception seem possible. As to navigation of the air, we fully expected that would be somehow successfully solved by our grandchildren if not by our children. If, indeed, I had not found men sailing the air I should have been distinctly disappointed.
But while we were prepared to expect well-nigh anything of man's intellectual development and the perfecting of his mastery over the material world, we were utterly skeptical as to the possibility of any large moral improvement on his part. As a moral being, we believed that he had got his growth, as the saying was, and would never in this world at least attain to a nobler stature. As a philosophical proposition, we recognized as fully as you do that the golden rule would afford the basis of a social life in which every one would be infinitely happier than anybody was in our world, and that the true interest of all would be furthered by establishing such a social order; but we held at the same time that the moral baseness and self-blinding selfishness of man would forever prevent him from realizing such an ideal. In vain, had he been endowed with a godlike intellect; it would not avail him for any of the higher uses of life, for an ineradicable moral perverseness would always hinder him from doing as well as he knew and hold him in hopeless subjection to the basest and most suicidal impulses of his nature.
"Impossible; it is against human nature!" was the cry which met and for the most part overbore and silenced every prophet or teacher who sought to rouse the world to discontent with the reign of chaos and awaken faith in the possibility of a kingdom of God on earth.
Is it any wonder, then, that one like me, bred in that atmosphere of moral despair, should pass over with comparatively little attention the miraculous material achievements of this age, to study with ever-growing awe and wonder the secret of your just and joyous living?
As I look back I see now how truly this base view of human nature was the greatest infidelity to God and man which the human race ever fell into, but, alas! it was not the infidelity which the churches condemned, but rather a sort which their teachings of man's hopeless depravity were calculated to implant and confirm.
This very matter of air navigation of which I was speaking suggests a striking illustration of the strange combination on the part of my contemporaries of unlimited faith in man's material progress with total unbelief in his moral possibilities. As I have said, we fully expected that posterity would achieve air navigation, but the application of the art most discussed was its use in war to drop dynamite bombs in the midst of crowded cities. Try to realize that if you can. Even Tennyson, in his vision of the future, saw nothing more. You remember how he
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, And there rained a ghastly dew From the nations airy navies, Grappling in the central blue.
HOW THE PEOPLE HOLD THE REINS.
"And now," said the doctor, as he checked the rise of our car at an altitude of about one thousand feet, "let us attend to our lesson. What do you see down there to suggest a question?"
"Well, to begin with," I said, as the dome of the Statehouse caught my eye, "what on earth have you stuck up there? It looks for all the world like one of those self-steering windmills the farmers in my day used to pump up water with. Surely that is an odd sort of ornament for a public building."
"It is not intended as an ornament, but a symbol," replied the doctor. "It represents the modern ideal of a proper system of government. The mill stands for the machinery of administration, the wind that drives it symbolizes the public will, and the rudder that always keeps the vane of the mill before the wind, however suddenly or completely the wind may change, stands for the method by which the administration is kept at all times responsive and obedient to every mandate of the people, though it be but a breath.
"I have talked to you so much on that subject that I need enlarge no further on the impossibility of having any popular government worthy of the name which is not based upon the economic equality of the citizens with its implications and consequences. No constitutional devices or cleverness of parliamentary machinery could have possibly made popular government anything but a farce, so long as the private economic interest of the citizen was distinct from and opposed to the public interest, and the so-called sovereign people ate their bread from the hand of capitalists. Given, on the other hand, economic unity of private interests with public interest, the complete independence of every individual on every other, and universal culture to cap all, and no imperfection of administrative machinery could prevent the government from being a good one. Nevertheless, we have improved the machinery as much as we have the motive force. You used to vote once a year, or in two years, or in six years, as the case might be, for those who were to rule over you till the next election, and those rulers, from the moment of their election to the term of their offices, were as irresponsible as czars. They were far more so, indeed, for the czar at least had a supreme motive to leave his inheritance unimpaired to his son, while these elected tyrants had no interest except in making the most they could out of their power while they held it.
"It appears to us that it is an axiom of democratic government that power should never be delegated irrevocably for an hour, but should always be subject to recall by the delegating power. Public officials are nowadays chosen for a term as a matter of convenience, but it is not a term positive. They are liable to have their powers revoked at any moment by the vote of their principals; neither is any measure of more than merely routine character ever passed by a representative body without reference back to the people. The vote of no delegate upon any important measure can stand until his principals—or constituents, as you used to call them—have had the opportunity to cancel it. An elected agent of the people who offended the sentiment of the electors would be displaced, and his act repudiated the next day. You may infer that under this system the agent is solicitous to keep in contact with his principals. Not only do these precautions exist against irresponsible legislation, but the original proposition of measures comes from the people more often than from their representatives.
"So complete through our telephone system has the most complicated sort of voting become, that the entire nation is organized so as to be able to proceed almost like one parliament if needful. Our representative bodies, corresponding to your former Congresses, Legislatures, and Parliaments, are under this system reduced to the exercise of the functions of what you used to call congressional committees. The people not only nominally but actually govern. We have a democracy in fact.
"We take pains to exercise this direct and constant supervision of our affairs not because we suspect or fear our elected agents. Under our system of indefeasible, unchangeable, economic equality there is no motive or opportunity for venality. There is no motive for doing evil that could be for a moment set against the overwhelming motive of deserving the public esteem, which is indeed the only possible object that nowadays could induce any one to accept office. All our vital interests are secured beyond disturbance by the very framework of society. We could safely turn over to a selected body of citizens the management of the public affairs for their lifetime. The reason we do not is that we enjoy the exhilaration of conducting the government of affairs directly. You might compare us to a wealthy man of your day who, though having in his service any number of expert coachmen, preferred to handle the reins himself for the pleasure of it. You used to vote perhaps once a year, taking five minutes for it, and grudging the time at that as lost from your private business, the pursuit of which you called, I believe, 'the main chance.' Our private business is the public business, and we have no other of importance. Our 'main chance' is the public welfare, and we have no other chance. We vote a hundred times perhaps in a year, on all manner of questions, from the temperature of the public baths or the plan to be selected for a public building, to the greatest questions of the world union, and find the exercise at once as exhilarating as it is in the highest sense educational.
"And now, Julian, look down again and see if you do not find some other feature of the scene to hang a question on."
THE LITTLE WARS AND THE GREAT WAR.
"I observe," I said, "that the harbor forts are still there. I suppose you retain them, like the specimen tenement houses, as historical evidences of the barbarism of your ancestors, my contemporaries."
"You must not be offended," said the doctor, "if I say that we really have to keep a full assortment of such exhibits, for fear the children should flatly refuse to believe the accounts the books give of the unaccountable antics of their great-grandfathers."
"The guarantee of international peace which the world union has brought," I said, "must surely be regarded by your people as one of the most signal achievements of the new order, and yet it strikes me I have heard you say very little about it."
"Of course," said the doctor, "it is a great thing in itself, but so incomparably less important than the abolition of the economic war between man and man that we regard it as merely incidental to the latter. Nothing is much more astonishing about the mental operations of your contemporaries than the fuss they made about the cruelty of your occasional international wars while seemingly oblivious to the horrors of the battle for existence in which you all were perpetually involved. From our point of view, your wars, while of course very foolish, were comparatively humane and altogether petty exhibitions as contrasted with the fratricidal economic struggle. In the wars only men took part—strong, selected men, comprising but a very small part of the total population. There were no women, no children, no old people, no cripples allowed to go to war. The wounded were carefully looked after, whether by friends or foes, and nursed back to health. The rules of war forbade unnecessary cruelty, and at any time an honorable surrender, with good treatment, was open to the beaten. The battles generally took place on the frontiers, out of sight and sound of the masses. Wars were also very rare, often not one in a generation. Finally, the sentiments appealed to in international conflicts were, as a rule, those of courage and self-devotion. Often, indeed generally, the causes of the wars were unworthy of the sentiments of self-devotion which the fighting called out, but the sentiments themselves belonged to the noblest order.
"Compare with warfare of this character the conditions of the economic struggle for existence. That was a war in which not merely small selected bodies of combatants took part, but one in which the entire population of every country, excepting the inconsiderable groups of the rich, were forcibly enlisted and compelled to serve. Not only did women, children, the aged and crippled have to participate in it, but the weaker the combatants the harder the conditions under which they must contend. It was a war in which there was no help for the wounded, no quarter for the vanquished. It was a war not on far frontiers, but in every city, every street, and every house, and its wounded, broken, and dying victims lay underfoot everywhere and shocked the eye in every direction that it might glance with some new form of misery. The ear could not escape the lamentations of the stricken and their vain cries for pity. And this war came not once or twice in a century, lasting for a few red weeks or months or years, and giving way again to peace, as did the battles of the soldiers, but was perennial and perpetual, truceless, lifelong. Finally, it was a war which neither appealed to nor developed any noble, any generous, any honorable sentiment, but, on the contrary, set a constant premium on the meanest, falsest, and most cruel propensities of human nature.
"As we look back upon your era, the sort of fighting those old forts down there stood for seems almost noble and barely tragical at all, as compared with the awful spectacle of the struggle for existence.
"We even are able to sympathize with the declaration of some of the professional soldiers of your age that occasional wars, with their appeals, however false, to the generous and self-devoting passions, were absolutely necessary to prevent your society, otherwise so utterly sordid and selfish in its ideals, from dissolving into absolute putrescence."
"It is to be feared," I was moved to observe, "that posterity has not built so high a monument to the promoters of the universal peace societies of my day as they expected."
"They were well meaning enough so far as they saw, no doubt," said the doctor, "but seem to have been a dreadfully short-sighted and purblind set of people. Their efforts to stop wars between nations, while tranquilly ignoring the world-wide economic struggle for existence which cost more lives and suffering in any one month than did the international wars of a generation, was a most striking case of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.
"As to the gain to humanity which has come from the abolition of all war or possibility of war between nations of to-day, it seems to us to consist not so much in the mere prevention of actual bloodshed as in the dying out of the old jealousies and rancors which used to embitter peoples against one another almost as much in peace as in war, and the growth in their stead of a fraternal sympathy and mutual good will, unconscious of any barrier of race or country."
THE OLD PATRIOTISM AND THE NEW.
As the doctor was speaking, the waving folds of a flag floating far below caught my eye. It was the Star-Spangled Banner. My heart leaped at the sight and my eyes grew moist.
"Ah!" I exclaimed, "it is Old Glory!" for so it had been a custom to call the flag in the days of the civil war and after.
"Yes," replied my companion, as his eyes followed my gaze, "but it wears a new glory now, because nowhere in the land it floats over is there found a human being oppressed or suffering any want that human aid can relieve.
"The Americans of your day," he continued, "were extremely patriotic after their fashion, but the difference between the old and the new patriotism is so great that it scarcely seems like the same sentiment. In your day and ever before, the emotions and associations of the flag were chiefly of the martial sort. Self-devotion to the nation in war with other nations was the idea most commonly conveyed by the word 'patriotism' and its derivatives. Of course, that must be so in ages when the nations had constantly to stand ready to fight one another for their existence. But the result was that the sentiment of national solidarity was arrayed against the sentiment of human solidarity. A lesser social enthusiasm was set in opposition to a greater, and the result was necessarily full of moral contradictions. Too often what was called love of country might better have been described as hate and jealousy of other countries, for no better reason than that there were other, and bigoted prejudices against foreign ideas and institutions—often far better than domestic ones—for no other reason than that they were foreign. This sort of patriotism was a most potent hindrance for countless ages to the progress of civilization, opposing to the spread of new ideas barriers higher than mountains, broader than rivers, deeper than seas.
"The new patriotism is the natural outcome of the new social and international conditions which date from the great Revolution. Wars, which were already growing infrequent in your day, were made impossible by the rise of the world union, and for generations have now been unknown. The old blood-stained frontiers of the nations have become scarcely more than delimitations of territory for administrative convenience, like the State lines in the American Union. Under these circumstances international jealousies, suspicions, animosities, and apprehensions have died a natural death. The anniversaries of battles and triumphs over other nations, by which the antique patriotism was kept burning, have been long ago forgotten. In a word, patriotism is no longer a martial sentiment and is quite without warlike associations. As the flag has lost its former significance as an emblem of outward defiance, it has gained a new meaning as the supreme symbol of internal concord and mutuality; it has become the visible sign of the social solidarity in which the welfare of all is equally and impregnably secured. The American, as he now lifts his eyes to the ensign of the nation, is not reminded of its military prowess as compared with other nations, of its past triumphs in battle and possible future victories. To him the waving folds convey no such suggestions. They recall rather the compact of brotherhood in which he stands pledged with all his countrymen mutually to safeguard the equal dignity and welfare of each by the might of all.
"The idea of the old-time patriots was that foreigners were the only people at whose hands the flag could suffer dishonor, and the report of any lack of etiquette toward it on their part used to excite the people to a patriotic frenzy. That sort of feeling would be simply incomprehensible now. As we look at it, foreigners have no power to insult the flag, for they have nothing to do with it, nor with what it stands for. Its honor or dishonor must depend upon the people whose plighted faith one to another it represents, to maintain the social contract. To the old-time patriot there was nothing incongruous in the spectacle of the symbol of the national unity floating over cities reeking with foulest oppressions, full of prostitution, beggary, and dens of nameless misery. According to the modern view, the existence of a single instance in any corner of the land where a citizen had been deprived of the full enjoyment of equality would turn the flag into a flaunting lie, and the people would demand with indignation that it should be hauled down and not raised again till the wrong was remedied."
"Truly," I said, "the new glory which Old Glory wears is a greater than the old glory."
MORE FOREIGN TRAVEL BUT LESS FOREIGN TRADE.
As we had talked, the doctor had allowed our car to drift before the westerly breeze till now we were over the harbor, and I was moved to exclaim at the scanty array of shipping it contained.
"It does not seem to me," I said, "that there are more vessels here than in my day, much less the great fleets one might expect to see after a century's development in population and resources."
"In point of fact," said the doctor, "the new order has tended to decrease the volume of foreign trade, though on the other hand there is a thousandfold more foreign travel for instruction and pleasure."
"In just what way," I asked, "did the new order tend to decrease exchanges with foreign countries?"
"In two ways," replied the doctor. "In the first place, as you know, the profit idea is now abolished in foreign trade as well as in domestic distribution. The International Council supervises all exchanges between nations, and the price of any product exported by one nation to another must not be more than that at which the exporting nation provides its own people with the same. Consequently there is no reason why a nation should care to produce goods for export unless and in so far as it needs for actual consumption products of another country which it can not itself so well produce.
"Another yet more potent effect of the new order in limiting foreign exchange is the general equalization of all nations which has long ago come about as to intelligence and the knowledge and practice of sciences and arts. A nation of to-day would be humiliated to have to import any commodity which insuperable natural conditions did not prevent the production of at home. It is consequently to such productions that commerce is now limited, and the list of them grows ever shorter as with the progress of invention man's conquest of Nature proceeds. As to the old advantage of coal-producing countries in manufacturing, that disappeared nearly a century ago with the great discoveries which made the unlimited development of electrical power practically costless.
"But you should understand that it is not merely on economic grounds or for self-esteem's sake that the various peoples desire to do everything possible for themselves rather than depend on people at a distance. It is quite as much for the education and mind-awakening influence of a diversified industrial system within a small space. It is our policy, so far as it can be economically carried out in the grouping of industries, not only to make the system of each nation complete, but so to group the various industries within each particular country that every considerable district shall present within its own limits a sort of microcosm of the industrial world. We were speaking of that, you may remember, the other morning, in the Labor Exchange."
THE MODERN DOCTOR'S EASY TASK.
The doctor had some time before reversed our course, and we were now moving westward over the city.
"What is that building which we are just passing over that has so much glass about it?" I asked.
"That is one of the sanitariums," replied the doctor, "which people go to who are in bad health and do not wish to change their climate, as we think persons in serious chronic ill health ought to do and as all can now do if they desire. In these buildings everything is as absolutely adapted to the condition of the patient as if he were for the time being in a world in which his disease were the normal type."
"Doubtless there have been great improvements in all matters relating to your profession—medicine, hygiene, surgery, and the rest—since my day."
"Yes," replied the doctor, "there have been great improvements in two ways—negative and positive—and the more important of the two is perhaps the negative way, consisting in the disappearance of conditions inimical to health, which physicians formerly had to combat with little chance of success in many cases. For example, it is now two full generations since the guarantee of equal maintenance for all placed women in a position of economic independence and consequent complete control of their relations to men. You will readily understand how, as one result of this, the taint of syphilis has been long since eliminated from the blood of the race. The universal prevalence now for three generations of the most cleanly and refined conditions of housing, clothing, heating, and living generally, with the best treatment available for all in case of sickness, have practically—indeed I may say completely—put an end to the zymotic and other contagious diseases. To complete the story, add to these improvements in the hygienic conditions of the people the systematic and universal physical culture which is a part of the training of youth, and then as a crowning consideration think of the effect of the physical rehabilitation—you might almost call it the second creation of woman in a bodily sense—which has purified and energized the stream of life at its source."
"Really, doctor, I should say that, without going further, you have fairly reasoned your profession out of its occupation."
"You may well say so," replied the doctor. "The progress of invention and improvement since your day has several times over improved the doctors out of their former occupations, just as it has every other sort of workers, but only to open new and higher fields of finer work.
"Perhaps," my companion resumed, "a more important negative factor in the improvement in medical and hygienic conditions than any I have mentioned is the fact that people are no longer in the state of ignorance as to their own bodies that they seem formerly to have been. The progress of knowledge in that respect has kept pace with the march of universal culture. It is evident from what we read that even the cultured classes in your day thought it no shame to be wholly uninformed as to physiology and the ordinary conditions of health and disease. They appear to have left their physical interests to the doctors, with much the same spirit of cynical resignation with which they turned over their souls to the care of the clergy. Nowadays a system of education would be thought farcical which did not impart a sufficient knowledge of the general principles of physiology, hygiene, and medicine to enable a person to treat any ordinary physical disturbance without recourse to a physician. It is perhaps not too much to say that everybody nowadays knows as much about the treatment of disease as a large proportion of the members of the medical profession did in your time. As you may readily suppose, this is a situation which, even apart from the general improvement in health, would enable the people to get on with one physician where a score formerly found business. We doctors are merely specialists and experts on subjects that everybody is supposed to be well grounded in. When we are called in, it is really only in consultation, to use a phrase of the profession in your day, the other parties being the patient and his friends.
"But of all the factors in the advance of medical science, one of the most important has been the disappearance of sectarianism, resulting largely from the same causes, moral and economic, which banished it from religion. You will scarcely need to be reminded that in your day medicine, next to theology, suffered most of all branches of knowledge from the benumbing influence of dogmatic schools. There seems to have been well-nigh as much bigotry as to the science of curing the body as the soul, and its influence to discourage original thought and retard progress was much the same in one field as the other.
"There are really no conditions to limit the course of physicians. The medical education is the fullest possible, but the methods of practice are left to the doctor and patient. It is assumed that people as cultured as ours are as competent to elect the treatment for their bodies as to choose that for their souls. The progress in medical science which has resulted from this complete independence and freedom of initiative on the part of the physician, stimulated by the criticism and applause of a people well able to judge of results, has been unprecedented. Not only in the specific application of the preserving and healing arts have innumerable achievements been made and radically new principles discovered, but we have made advances toward a knowledge of the central mystery of life which in your day it would have been deemed almost sacrilegious to dream of. As to pain, we permit it only for its symptomatic indications, and so far only as we need its guidance in diagnosis."
"I take it, however, that you have not abolished death."
"I assure you," laughed the doctor, "that if perchance any one should find out the secret of that, the people would mob him and burn up his formula. Do you suppose we want to be shut up here forever?"
"HOW COULD WE INDEED?"
Applying myself again to the study of the moving panorama below us, I presently remarked to the doctor that we must be pretty nearly over what was formerly called Brighton, a suburb of the city at which the live stock for the food supply of the city had mainly been delivered.
"I see the old cattle-sheds are gone," I said. "Doubtless you have much better arrangements. By the way, now that everybody is well-to-do, and can afford the best cuts of beef, I imagine the problem of providing a big city with fresh meats must be much more difficult than in my day, when the poor were able to consume little flesh food, and that of the poorest sort."
The doctor looked over the side of the car for some moments before answering.
"I take it," he said, "that you have not spoken to any one before on this point."
"Why, I think not. It has not before occurred to me."
"It is just as well," said the doctor. "You see, Julian, in the transformation in customs and habits of thought and standards of fitness since your day, it could scarcely have happened but that in some cases the changes should have been attended with a decided revulsion in sentiment against the former practices. I hardly know how to express myself, but I am rather glad that you first spoke of this matter to me."
A light dawned on me, and suddenly brought out the significance of numerous half-digested observations which I had previously made.
"Ah!" I exclaimed, "you mean you don't eat the flesh of animals any more."
"Is it possible you have not guessed that? Had you not noticed that you were offered no such food?"
"The fact is," I replied, "the cooking is so different in all respects from that of my day that I have given up all attempt to identify anything. But I have certainly missed no flavor to which I have been accustomed, though I have been delighted by a great many novel ones."
"Yes," said the doctor, "instead of the one or two rude processes inherited from primitive men by which you used to prepare food and elicit its qualities, we have a great number and variety. I doubt if there was any flavor you had which we do not reproduce, besides the great number of new ones discovered since your time."
"But when was the use of animals for food discontinued?"
"Soon after the great Revolution."
"What caused the change? Was it a conviction that health would be favored by avoiding flesh?"
"It does not seem to have been that motive which chiefly led to the change. Undoubtedly the abandonment of the custom of eating animals, by which we inherited all their diseases, has had something to do with the great physical improvement of the race, but people did not apparently give up eating animals mainly for health's sake any more than cannibals in more ancient times abandoned eating their fellow-men on that account. It was, of course, a very long time ago, and there was perhaps no practice of the former order of which the people, immediately after giving it up, seem to have become so much ashamed. This is doubtless why we find such meager information in the histories of the period as to the circumstances of the change. There appears, however, to be no doubt that the abandonment of the custom was chiefly an effect of the great wave of humane feeling, the passion of pity and compunction for all suffering—in a word, the impulse of tender-heartedness—which was really the great moral power behind the Revolution. As might be expected, this outburst did not affect merely the relations of men with men, but likewise their relations with the whole sentient world. The sentiment of brotherhood, the feeling of solidarity, asserted itself not merely toward men and women, but likewise toward the humbler companions of our life on earth and sharers of its fortunes, the animals. The new and vivid light thrown on the rights and duties of men to one another brought also into view and recognition the rights of the lower orders of being. A sentiment against cruelty to animals of every kind had long been growing in civilized lands, and formed a distinct feature of the general softening of manners which led up to the Revolution. This sentiment now became an enthusiasm. The new conception of our relation to the animals appealed to the heart and captivated the imagination of mankind. Instead of sacrificing the weaker races to our use or pleasure, with no thought for their welfare, it began to be seen that we should rather, as elder brothers in the great family of Nature, be, so far as possible, guardians and helpers to the weaker orders whose fate is in our hands and to which we are as gods. Do you not see, Julian, how the prevalence of this new view might soon have led people to regard the eating of their fellow-animals as a revolting practice, almost akin to cannibalism?"