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OUR CENTRIFUGAL SOCIETY
literature or art, no Grecian temples, no Gothic cathedrals, no Shakespearian drama; nor has it brought peace among men, nor physical stamina of race, nor freedom from vice and misery and crime, nor justice, nor reverence. In the midst of plenty, it has not abolished greed, nor graft, nor strife. But these defects have been little noticed, and meanwhile there has been stirred within us only a desire for still more rapid expansion.
Only lately have the first signs appeared to teach us that limitation belongs to the nature of things and cannot be escaped. In the crushing defeat of Germany, the first emphatic "No" has been spoken to this cult of universal expansion. The whole world. has awakened to its senses and recorded its ancient and instinctive protest against that ultimate injustice which flows from the theory of limitless expansion in the case of nations but it has not thought of applying this to the individual.
Our little world is getting filled up and the need for the practice of restraint and the limitation of our de
sires increases yearly. The rapid growth in the population of Europe and its still more rapid increase in the Americas, makes self-control and selfdenial increasingly necessary if social order is not to give way to anarchy.
A Whole Civilization Might Collapse in an Attempted Readjustment to New Moral Values
Nietzsche was well aware that the full and exuberant life which he preached involved a "trans-valuation of all values." But the trans-valuation of moral values is a hazardous business. It is life itself which has determined these values, and they cannot be revoked by the mere will of heralds of revolt. The values which they would revalue represent the residual experience of long ages of human life and society, during which mankind has discovered that there are certain rules of
conduct which are necessary if men will live in social relations in peace and security. The trans-valuation of these old racial values has been attempted many times and always something unpleasant happened. These unpleasant happenings may be deferred for many years. They may light upon one's mother, one's family, one's children. They may affect society or posterity-but they happen.
One would think that many of our hasty writers of recent fiction and drama regard our old rules of conduct, our moral codes, as the arbitrary pronouncements of some external authority, God, or the king, or parents, or the Church. We always think of our laws as being "handed down," and we resent having our laws handed down. We want to make them. But what we forget is that we have made them and that it has taken centuries-ages, to do it.
The critical importance of such questions as wars between nations, the equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity, political justice toward our women, intemperance, has blinded us to other problems which affect the very existence of society, namely, social order and social stability, and physical and racial health. And since the whole world at present is in a very radical and iconoclastic mood, halting at no thorough-going change in political and social institutions, it has become vital that we shall turn our thoughts to these other problems.
What are to be the elements of order, the centripetal forces in the new society? The forces working toward chaos and anarchy are many. Any newspaper page reveals them. The intense individualism inherent in all modern thought, the disintegration of states and of old established political programs, the constantly growing lack of respect and reverence for old institutions, in fact the suspicion of anything that is old and established, the powerful influence of modern fiction.
and the modern drama, the loss of the religious faith with which our moral sanctions have been closely associated, and the pragmatic philosophies of all kinds that rule in the present-these are some of the forces working against social integration.
This is not to say that any of the old ideas or these old institutions are perfect, or holy, or even good. It is only that the obedience to laws, the restraint and self-control which are necessary for social order, have been in the human brain associated with these things. A wholly new set of motives for social order is perhaps conceivable, resting upon none of these old institutions, but the human brain changes slowly, and an entire civilization might collapse in the process of a crude and reckless attempt at readjustment.
The disintegrating forces in society. are many, and apparently increasing. It is necessary, if our civilization is to be saved, to turn our attention very seriously, and at once, to the integrating forces, to the forces which look to social stability, to law and order.
In the past there have been three great institutions which have acted as powerful forces of integration-the State, the Church, and the Familythe integrating power of these institutions depending not merely on external sanctions, but on the powerful motive of personal loyalty and allegiance. Since in the new society we have probably to look forward to the constantly decreasing authority of these three institutions, it is of the gravest importance to inquire what is to take their place.
In particular we must inquire what is to take the place of nationalism in the new order. When the state is small and its emblems are ever present to the senses, or when it is unified by art and religion, as in ancient Athens, or when the very existence of the state is threatened by rival states, as in the recent war, then social integration within the state is relatively perfect. Then the
group spirit, the community spirit, keeps the group itself a healthy organic unit, the members of the group all loyally, willingly, eagerly performing severally their proper functions. Then justice prevails within the group, laws are obeyed and order is preserved. A League of Nations, to prevent that form of social suicide which a modern war has become, seems, as it truly is, a great step forward in human progress, but in the long history of human development social integration and social order within a state have depended to a large extent on the menace of danger to the state from without. When that menace shall be withdrawn, social integration within each state will be increasingly difficult.
The spirit of nationalism at the moment, to be sure, burns brightly, but the whole trend of the time is toward internationalism, due to the community of world interests in international labor movements, international commerce, banking, science and education.
The trend of events, therefore, forces us to believe that loyalty neither to the state, nor to the church, nor to the family, is going to be a powerful integrating force in the new society. The vital things now are labor unions, workingmen's councils, women's federated clubs, manufacturers' unions, trusts, and combinations, and countless other self-protective organizations and combinations of every sort. The old loyalty to the state and the church and the family has been in large measure replaced by loyalty to these countless social groups; but unfortunately there is no promise that loyalty to these groups is going to be in any sense a principle of social integration. On the contrary, it appears often to be a source of social strife.
The discussion of this problem in its positive aspects does not lie within the purpose of this article. Possibly a solution is not to be found in any political, economic, or social readjustments, but only in a change in human ideals.
American Indian Poetry
By HERBERT J. SPINDEN
HE myths and songs of the
American Indians are part of our national heritage along with the hills and plains that were wrested from their creators. These pieces of unwritten literature, first transcribed into strange hooks and symbols by ethnologists and then translated into direct and unvarnished English, are sources of inspiration for our poets as potential as the Mabinogion or the tales of Merlin in the literature of Wales and England. They are products of the environment that we have made our own and they express deep human feelings in relation to that environment.
When Longfellow wrote Hiawatha he took the name and character of his hero from the Iroquois, the incidents of his story from the myths of the Ojibwa, and he cast these materials into the poetic mold of the Norse saga of the Old World. But writers of today are prepared to keep closer to the sources and to consult native pieces in translation. In a recently published book1 we find an interesting anthology of American Indian poetry and a presentation of "interpretations" in the spirit of this poetry. While this book presents much that is new to the public, it leaves unvisited many pleasant fields known to special seekers.
There are tender or tremendous pictures drawn in the simple words of many Indian poems. For instance there is
something we understand in this one:
The Sioux women
pass to and fro wailing
as they gather up
their wounded men
The voice of their weeping
comes back to us.
1 George W. Cronyn, Editor. The Path On the Rainbow. An anthology of songs and chants from the Indians of North America. Boni and Liveright, New York, 1918.
But it is something of a shock to be told that this is not a Song of Compassion, but a Hymn of Hate. More appealing to us in its psychology is this song of love-hurt that comes from the same tribe:
Although he said it
I am filled with longing
Or this from the Northwest Coast:
Look around at the waves,-
with unripe salmon-berries.
Or this from the Kiowa of the open spaces where the winds ride with loosened rein at night:
That wind, that wind
Shakes my tipi, shakes my tipi,
And what a striking phrase is contained. in the following Navaho song to the magpie:
The Magpie! The Magpie! Here underneath In the white of his wings are the footsteps of morning.
It dawns! It dawns!
The simple and direct matter contained in the poems quoted above does not offer great difficulties in translation. Even more sustained efforts like the following passage from the Iroquois Book of Rites 2 can be rendered in a natural and straightforward manner, although the construction of English varies widely from that of Iroquois, as may be seen at a glance. The translation runs exactly across from line to line:
2 Horatio Hale, The Iroquois Book of Rites (Brinton's Library of Aboriginal American Litera ture. Number II.), p. 153. Philadelphia, 1883.
There is a class of Indian compositions midway between the emotional outburst of the short songs and the long ceremonial pieces that are blocks in a great philosophical structure. Among the Eskimo, for instance, we find colloquial poems full of excellent character drawing and understandable humor. It would be difficult to improve upon the matter of these verses in which Savdlat and Pulangit-Sissok pay their respects to each other in terms of raillery.1
The South shore, O yes, the South shore I know it;
Once I lived there and met Pulangit-Sissok, A fat fellow who lived on halibut, O yes, I know him.
Those South-shore folks can't talk;
Truly they are dull fellows;
Some have one accent, some another;
O yes, Savdlat and I are old acquaintances; He wished me extremely well at times;
Once I know he wished I was the best boatman on the shore;
It was a rough day and I in mercy took his boat in tow;
Ha ha! Savdlat, thou didst cry most pitiful; Thou wast awfully afeared;
1 D. G. Brinton. American Aboriginal Poetry (Proceedings, Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, 1887-1889), pp. 21-22.
In truth, thou wast nearly upset;
O yes, Savdlat and I are old acquaintances.
Very different in feeling but of equal merit as a sustained effort is a love poem of the Tewa Indians of New Mexico, 2
My little breath, under the willows by the water side we used to sit
And there the yellow cottonwood bird came and sang.
That I remember and therefore I weep.
Oh, my little breath! Oh, my little heart! There on the meadow of blue flowers we used to walk.
Alas! how long ago that we two walked in that pleasant way.
Then everything was happy, but, alas! how long ago.
There on the meadow of crimson flowers we
used to walk.
Oh, my little breath, now I go there alone in
The religious poems that are found especially well developed among the Pawnee, the Navaho, and the Pueblo. tribes of the Southwest may have been inspired, in part at least, by the ancient literary products of Mexico and Central America. Unfortunately the anthology
2 H. J. Spinden, Home Songs of the Tewa Indians (AMERICAN MUSEUM JOURNAL, Vol. XV. February, 1915), p. 78.
AMERICAN INDIAN POETRY
before us gives no examples of Aztecan or Mayan poetry and only one piece from Peru.
I will therefore sketch briefly the best products of literature in these regions where something close to the drama was developed in connection. with spectacular ceremonies and where specially composed verses were recited on occasions of great rejoicing or solemnity. To begin with Peru, there are names for four different sorts of plays among the Incas, covering the range from tragedy to farce. Sir Clements Markham has given us the Inca drama of Apu Ollantay in two states, literal and literary. But this drama is so much like the drama of Europe in form that doubts have been cast on its authenticity. It surely contains native material, modified somewhat by European influences. In one scene the chorus sings the following harvest song that has an allegorical reference to the love plot in the play. Tuyallay-my little tuya-is the name of a small finch, and Ñusta means princess.1
Nailed on a branch,
O Tuyallay, Where is her heart, O Tuyallay? Where her plumes, O Tuyallay? She is cut up,
O Tuyallay, For stealing grain, O Tuyallay. See the fate,
O Tuyallay, Of robber birds, O Tuyallay.
More ponderous and impressive are hymns to Uira-cocha, the unknowable, all-powerful and ever-benevolent Supreme Being of the Incas. I quote 2 but a portion of one of these:
O Uira-cocha! Lord of the universe,
Thy splendid throne and sceptre.
From the sky above,
In which thou mayest be,
Lord of all Lords,
My eyes fail me
For longing to see thee;
For the sole desire to know thee.
The literary remains from Central America are scanty, especially those containing verse. Bishop Landa tells us that in northern Yucatan dramatic representations took place on prepared stages or platforms. In Mayan cities that flourished in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D. we find the ruined remains of courts surrounded by stepped walls. These probably served as amphitheaters.
Of the poems recited by the Aztecs on gala occasions we have fragments that make us realize the world's loss in the destruction of this literature.3 The
2 Idem, p. 100.
3 Daniel G. Brinton, Ancient Nahuatl Poetry (Brinton's Library of Aboriginal American Literature, Number VII.) Philadelphia, 1887.