Page images

the man who wins it; the moral and Individual Immortality spiritual impress which it leaves on his character. As a rule, success ought to In some form of immortality substanbe evidenced by positive achievement; tially all thinkers agree; some anticipate but where all must fail of positive achieve- only an immortality of influence, continument save one or two, the laurels belong ing after the individual has ceased to exist; to those who do not touch the goal as well others an immortality of the race, as the as to those who lay their hands upon it. river continues although the drops which Whoever runs with the utmost energy, composed it last year have mingled with determination, and strength succeeds, the sea; others an immortality in some fueven though his competitors are ahead of ture type, believing that in the long process him at the end of the race; for the race of evolution man has prepared for some does not lie simply in touching the goal future unknown creation, as previous forms first; it lies in overcoming the natural of life prepared for him. In “ The Indiinertia of the runners ; in developing vidual”Professor Shaler gives reasons fiber, muscle, and staying power ; in the for belief in an individual immortality. exacting and searching training through We acknowledge here an indebtedness to which they must pass before they are the author. His book appears to us to be ready for the contest. The thoroughly a valuable contribution to both scientific trained racer succeeds before he sets his and ethical thought, but we by no means foot in the ring ; whether he touch his undertake to interpret his volume in a goal or not, he is himself also a conqueror. column or two; nor must our readers It is impossible in this world to separate, hold him responsible for the thoughts with any certainty, the successful from here expressed, although they are in large the unsuccessful ; so many are the things measure borrowed from him. His volfor which men contend, so various are ume is a much larger contribution to the the rewards, so confused are the issues. study of the individual than this article, Hosts of men have been and are masquer- which deals with only one aspect of the ading as successes who will one day, in book, would indicate, for the book treats the light of a more searching judgment the subject from many points of view. of success, be revealed to themselves and The culmination of evolution as thus to others as failures; and there have been far conducted is the individual man. The and are hosts of men regarded by them- higher his development, the more marked selves and others as failures, who will is his individuality. “In the lowlier plane one day be revealed as conquerors. This of thought and action, in all that relates fact must bring modesty to those who to man as a mere intelligent animal, and make visible achievement, and consola- in most that is evident in the mere savage, tion and hope to those who do not, for the likeness (of men to each other) is the ultimate race is not to the swift; it is evidently near enough for all the uses of to those who put forth the utmost that is society, which is founded on these simpler in them. The final victories are not to features of man's nature. But as we rise the strong; they are to those who express to higher levels of intelligence, the effort in their effort all the force of their souls. to win sympathetic contact becomes more Some men in failure put forth higher and and more difficult, until the detachment greater power than others in success; as becomes so complete that each being has some men put forth more moral energy perforce to dwell apart from its kind." in unsuccessfully resisting temptation than The higher the civilization, the more others who resist successfully, but to marked is the individuality of its memwhom the temptation comes with much bers; the greater the man, the more does less attractiveness and power. In the he of necessity live apart. The great ultimate judgment there must be an ad- philosopher was to his contemporaries justment between the obstacles overcome "the vain and chattering Aristotle;" and and the strength put forth ; and when “the Greatest that has dwelt in this world that judgment is made, it will be found was, to the understanding of educated in all departments of life that those who have failed bravely have not really failed,

'The Individual: A Study of Life and Death. By

Nathaniel Southgate Shaler. D. Appleton & Co., New but are themselves also conquerors.

York. $1.50.

Romans, but a fanatical peasant who dis- it had apparently been engendered had disturbed the peace of Jerusalem."

appeared, his answer might be somewhat as

follows: He would first call attention to the There is no reason why we should think fact that in the process of reproduction all the that this individuality comes to an abrupt experience of the antecedent life is passed on end, except that death seems like a catas- from generation to generation, over what we trophe which destroys, and we are wont

may term a molecular bridge. Thus, in the to think of life as moving on serenely to ponderably small, carries on from parents to

case of man, a tiny mass of protoplasm, imits issaes without catastrophes. But the child the body, the mind, all, indeed, that the reverse is the case. So far as we are predecessors in tens of thousands of specific able to comprehend the effect of catas.

forms and unimaginable millions of individ

uals have won of enduring profit from their trophes, they are movements toward a

experience. Therefore, even within the narlarger life. Familiar illustrations are row limits of the known, there is evidence that afforded of this truth by sleep, which to the seed from which an individual intelligence the first observer might well have seemed

may be evolved can be effectively guarded

and nurtured in the keeping of an exceedingly an end of life, not its sweet and blessed

small body of matter. in a word, the facts of restorer ; by the entombment of the cater

generation show us that, under certain conpillar in the cocoon, which to a rational- ditions, life as complicated potentially as that izing caterpillar might well appear to be

which passes away from the body at death the end of his existence; by the emer

may reside and be cradled in states of matter

which are, as compared with the mature body, gence of the water-grub as a dragon-fly, a very simple. ... Be it understood that this proceeding quite incomprehensible to the is not an argument to show that the spirit of grub not yet ready for his emergence. body. The point is that the known properties

man goes forth in some part of the dust of his Professor Shaler's scientific knowledge of matter are so complex, and our ignorance furnishes him with illustrations which are as to the range of these properties so great, more apt than these familiar ones, be- that the facts of death cannot be made a safe

basis for a conclusion as to the survival of the cause they are more closely related to

intelligence. the life of man. From the postulate that life is a series of antecedents and conse- Natural science cannot prove immor.

quents, and that the sum total of energy tality. The seen can never, in the nature · in the universe is neither increased nor of the case, demonstrate the unseen ; it

diminished, we are apt to jump to the can at best only strengthen or weaken the conclusion that all the operations of hypothesis otherwise formed as to the Nature keep from step to step the same unseen. The poets and prophets, the quality—“a proposition that has but to men of spiritual vision, studying the inbe examined in the light of the simplest dividual from their point of view, have, facts to be disproved.” If, for example, with scarcely an exception, affirmed their we lower the temperature of oxygen and belief that in the spirit there is a life hydrogen to a certain point, and add which transcends the material organs and certain conditions, such as the action of an will survive their dissolution. Is this electric spark, the two gases combining their judgment, which is derived from a produce a substance unlike either of its spiritual study of the man within, approved parents; and in this substance, water, or disapproved by the scientific students there is created a new set of qualities. of life as seen from without? The answer "It is not too much to say that in passing which the scientist gives to this question the critical point of temperature these may be epitomized thus: The end of evolutwo gases in an instant originated all the tion, so far as science can perceive its end, is possibilities of what we know as life, from the individual man ; the higher the man its beginnings to the action of the mind is developed the more marked is his inand hand which shapes this very phrase." dividuality; the only reason for thinking Thus not only does new life emerge from that this individuality comes to an end sudden catastrophes, but the secret of all is the catastrophe which we call death; life is born in one. An illustration com- but the study of phenomena justifies the ing still nearer to man is furnished by conclusion that such apparent catastrophes what we know of human birth :

are oftenest, if not always, the precursors If the discreet naturalist were asked how

of and preparation for a higher life; and he could conceive the survival of inteiligence the catastrophe at the other end of the to be affected after the machinery by which individual's terrestrial existence demon

6 If

strates that what we call life, including and a dining-room where we can take our mental and moral qualities, is so far lunches or warm our dinners if we bring independent of bodily organs that it them in on the run. There are dishes passes over from precedent individuals to and hot water, and a chance to heat the new individual in a “tiny mass of coffee, and a good woman, good as gold, protoplasm imponderably small.” Death, like a mother to some of us, to keep the thus interpreted by its scientific analogues, things clean and the room looking right. points rather to a new and larger life of Yes, sir, the company is strict about that. the individual than to either his destruc- You never know when one of them will tion or his absorption into the Infinite. walk in. They attends to business and The naturalist confirms the poet in giving expects every one else to attend to busian affirmative answer to the question, ness. Then we have thirty-two showera man die, shall he live again?”

baths, and we're expected to use them.

The reading-room has all the daily The Spectator

papers--- New York and Chicago papers

and one Boston paper, the best weeklies “Yes, sir!" The Spectator was startled; and all the magazines, and about four the assurance was emphatically repeated, hundred books. Then there is a room as though the speaker had been contra- with good couches and pillows. You can dicted and felt in honor bound to sustain rest when your runs keep you late. his position. He was a conductor on a There ain't no standing round at our trolley-car, and was standing on the step stable doors in the rain, or the cold, or of the car at the Spectator's elbow. “Yes, when it's hot. Do you see there ain't a sir. It's the finest company in the coun- liquor-store nearer than two blocks? The try, and the squarest. It simply stag- company bought the house on the corner gered the Spectator. Here he was in a when one started there, and turned the city rent asunder by an impending strike. whole place into flats. You wait till you Bitter feeling, only thinly veiled, was evi- see the stable of the road I'm going to dent whether one was conversing with transfer you to. It's a bum place now, I Capital or Labor. The daily papers had tell you. A lot of men wandering round columns of news one day, which they con- most of the time wiping their mouths with tradicted the next, as to the position of the back of their hands; no chairs, no the two giants who were about to meas- newspapers, nothing. Oh, yes, we have ure their strength. The impending strike a smoking-room with papers down at the threatened stagnation to business through- back there. Bells ring that call the men out the country. But the Spectator wa who are to go out, so you just sit and listening to Labor defending Capital – read or smoke, or eat your lunch, knowing Capital that had been characterized as the signal will warn you in time. an octopus-a street railway. "Yes, sir," accompanied by an emphatic nod, " there ain't any better men in the country than “Oh, certainly, we're organized,” he the two men who own this line. Yes, sir, continued. “ That bum road I told you that's the company, two brothers. Square, about, they won't have a union man on sir, square, and don't you forget it.” the road. Yes, we've been organized Here he passed rapidly along the step, three years on this road. Never had any and the Spectator was left to grasp, if he trouble, sir, and don't believe we ever could, the thought of a surface road in a will, if both sides stays square. When city so managed as to call out the enthu- want a change made, a committee siasm of its employees. The car goes to the company and states just what smoothly over the rails, no jarring or jolt- we want. Neither side gets mad, but we ing. It was approaching a new, com- talk it out squarely. Sometimes we're modious brick building, two stories high wrong, and they shows us we're wrong. and rather impressive in its simple lines, Sometimes the company shows us we must when a voice said eagerly at the Spec- wait for what we want. The road is new, tator's elbow, “ Just take a look at the Yes, we're organized, and we got the stable when we stop. Finest stables in company on our side. They knew all the country. We have a reading-room, about it, and gave us some mighty sound





ideas--mighty sound. Now, we

Now, we don't got on or off. At least in this one instance have drinking men in our organization. the pleasant relations between the lion If a man comes on and gets drunk or and the lamb—and the Spectator would boozy on the road, we tells him that it's feel it hazardous to characterize the giants got to stop. Then the second time it more definitely-added to the gayety of happens we ask the company to discharge the traveling public, and the Spectator was him. We kicked, some of us, against a grateful and liberal patron of the road that; it was the company's idea, but it's for several days. the best we've got. We got the cream of the railroad men on this road. Why, a man can get a job anywhere who has The Spectator stepped on a trolley, worked on this road. Then we don't and ran along the step to take his favorite have any men on the road who do not place behind the motorman, only to disuse their wives well. The company sug- cover, comfortably seated in his special gested that, and that was another kick, corner, a woman. She was so deeply but they knew. It's the bum fellows who interested in what the motorman was saydon't be good to their wives. When it ing that she was not conscious of the new leaks out about a new man, we goes, the passenger; neither was he. “ Yes'm,” committee, after we know it's true, and continued the motorman, “ I runs the car we tells the company. The man is laid careful, 'count of my mother.” Why, the off, and he knows why, and he knows it man was fifty, if a day! " She rides with ain't no use to come to the union, 'cause me considerable, and she do hate jolting, we're at the bottom of it, and he joined so that I just fairly trembles when she is knowing what would happen. Then we Sometimes when I comes round a got a benefit association, and the treas- corner, and the car swings and makes her urer of the company is our treasurer. go sideways, she looks so unhappy that Just as good as Government bonds, them I just feel miserable. Yes'm, when I little fifteen cents a week, and they come come on the road first I did not think in well when you're sick.

about anything but gettin' in me run, and not having accidents. Mother went with

me that first week on my regular car. “No, sir, you can't have such an organ- She got on at the stables. I saw her look ization as ours without the company's at the car floor and up at the signs, and back of you. They have settled trouble at me and at the conductor. I put her often between the men, and when we get just where you are. Gee whiz! how that all in a muddle over things we talk it out car went when we got out a bit! I was with the president, and he gives us points. just showing off. I didn't know it, but But he won't decide ; he won't say which an expression of self-disdain spread over side is right; he only makes each side his big face—" I was. I looked around see where it is weak or strong. The com- at mother, and she was sitting holding on pany like married men, and they like with both hands, and her eyes round and the men to own their houses. I got a big. Law! how I slowed down! Mother little house back here-paid for it before never liked a fuss, so I said nothin', but I was married. There ain't much in it. watched her out of the corner of my eye. I just got the house. I've been married There wasn't any more showing off that five months, and I'm the happiest man in trip. When I got home that night, I said,

-" The car had entered the suburbs “Now, mother, yer might just as well go of the city, and the conductor was devoted with me every day while these fine days to business. He forgot the Spectator. last. She didn't say anything, so I Women and children were helped off and knowed she had somethin' on her mind. on. A basket was placed on the sidewalk She went about getting supper. After a for an old man. The fares were collected time she said, · How often do yer scrub with a nod and smile, and the bell rang the floors of the cars?' • They're swept, pleasantly as the fares were registered. mother.' "Well, it must be a man.' The car ran merrily, and stopped and Here the motorman chuckled, choked, started without a jolt. The motorman and looked around with the pride of a looked over his shoulder when passengers father repeating the precocious remark of his firstborn. “ The next day I asked politely: “It would do more good if her to go on my last afternoon trip, but they would kick the president.” she wouldn't go. It took me four weeks to find out, when she said: “Jakie, yer runs that car so careless that I'm afraid The car had started from the terminus as death. Not for me, Jakie, but fer with about half a dozen passengers, one yourself. I didn't say nothin', but I was a man of peculiar dignity of bearing, who bruised and sore for days, and I'm worried put a box, somewhat larger than a shoeall the time.' My land I but that opened box, down on the seat beside him, evidently my eyes. That afternoon I began. I hampered by the necessity of caring for ran that car as if kittens were crossing it. Three or four blocks further on a the track. She didn't bump once. I bet man got into the car, seating himself yer yer could have carried a glass of milk directly behind the man with the box. and not spilled a drop. I kept it up. The last passenger the Spectator read at Every little while I looked over my shoul- once. He was the type of man who is der; everybody looked comfortable and always in a rush, always just on the verge happy. Then I insisted on mother's of a great success, imbuing his family takin' a ride. You should have seen her with such faith in his powers that every when I helped her off. Her cheeks were failure is to them, as to him, but the pink as a girl's and her eyes shinier. forerunner of success. Presently he • Jakie, I wouldn't have believed I could leaned forward, touched the owner of the have such a good time. No more coax- box on the shoulder, saying, “Will you ing; she's ready to go any time ”—here a let me have the stamps on that box? shade passed over the red, round face as, They're just what I want. I wouldn't be with a complete change of voice, he added, able to get them in the ordinary run of “ when she's well enough.”

my business, and I do want them,” he added, as wistfully as a small boy.

owner of the box took out his knife and The Spectator was stepping through cut the stamps and postmark out of the the door of a trolley-car a few months paper, handing them to the man behind before, when he was thrown violently him. The joy of the receiver infected the against the door-frame. He sank into giver, and the two men beamed in each a corner seat in a state of mind that did other's faces. The man who received the not make for peace. The conductor, a stamps took a card from his pocket and small man, stepped in to take the fare, handed it to the man before him, saying, when the car gave a lurch that caused “ That's my card. If ever I can do anyhim to put his foot down on the Specta- thing for you, call on me. I might be tor's newly polished boot. “Why do

" Why do able to, and it would be a pleasure.” The you have such a man as that to run a card was received, put in a beautiful car!" demanded the Spectator as though leather wallet, and the man of the box the little man were the president of the tipped his hat as he returned to his news road. “I wouldn't, sir, I wouldn't. He paper. Behind, with radiant face, sat ain't fit. He ain't a man at all, sir. Why, the man with the stamps, examining there ain't one of us but feel the Evil One them with the intensest enjoyment. Sudhas us in his grip when we're put on with denly he sprang to his feet, exclaiming, that fellow. What do you think I have “I've gone a mile out of my way!" and to do, sir, after a day's run with him? I rushed from the car. On the floor lay buy a bottle of arnica and has to rub my- the stamps, to be discovered when the car self from head to foot. I'm black and had gone several blocks. Attainment had blue. The passengers gets off, sir, but again slipped through this passenger's we have to stay on all day. It's hard on fingers. The man with the box saw the them, but think of us. No, sir! he ain't stamps. An expression of dismay passed fit to run a goat-cart; but he never over his face, followed by relief as he damages anything but the passengers, and picked up the stamps, opened his wallet they only kicks the conductors." The and carefully placed them beside the man went out of the door. A few moments man's card. The Spectator felt as though afterwards he put his head in and said a disaster had been averted.


« PreviousContinue »