Christianity in its Patristic form was an adaptation of Hebrew religion to the Græco-Roman world, and later, in the Protestant movement, a readaptation of the same to what we may call the Teutonic spirit.
Thus old age is as forgetful as youth, and more incorrigible; it displays the same inattentiveness to conditions; its memory becomes self-repeating and degenerates into an instinctive reaction, like a bird's chirp. Not all readaptation, however, is progress, for ideal identity must not be lost. The Latin language did not progress when it passed into Italian. It died.
Last comes a stage when retentiveness is exhausted and all that happens is at once forgotten; a vain, because unpractical, repetition of the past takes the place of plasticity and fertile readaptation. In a moving world readaptation is the price of longevity.
The circumstances and surroundings of the European and Eurasian community are so different that the scheme will require considerable readaptation. Indeed the subject will need a pamphlet to itself, and I have found it impossible to work it harmoniously into the present scheme.
As some species die out, forms better adapted to utilize the obstacles against which they struggled in vain come into being. Continuity of life means continual readaptation of the environment to the needs of living organisms. We have been speaking of life in its lowest terms as a physical thing. But we use the word "Life" to denote the whole range of experience, individual and racial.
Just as what was once the new dispensation was preached a Judaeos ad Judaeos apud Judaeos, so must the new, that is to be, find a Christian teacher and Christian hearers. It can hardly be other than an expansion, a development, a readaptation, of all the moral and spiritual truth that lay hidden under the worn-out forms.
If it be asked, How comes it to pass, if, under the pressure of social conditions, man shows an analogous change of attitude toward life, that the change in woman should attract universal attention, while the corresponding change in the man of her society passes almost unnoticed? it would seem that the explanation lies in the fact that, owing to woman's less independence of action in the past, any attempt at change or readaptation on her part has had to overcome greater resistance, and it is the noise and friction of resistance, more than the amount of actual change which has taken place, which attracts attention; as when an Alpine stream, after a long winter frost, breaks the ice, and with a crash and roar sweeps away the obstructions which have gathered in its bed, all men's attention is attracted to it, though when later a much larger body of water silently forces its way down, no man observes it.
Above all, it would train power of readaptation to changing conditions so that future workers would not become blindly subject to a fate imposed upon them.
The good of any use is the principal of readaptation. The best way to be solemn is to disturb all that work. This security means more than re-establishment, more than meditation. It means the best the time will defend. All this was not so sad Sunday and this was why a little dancing is not refining. It shows more than just this.
It means rather consistency of mode of response in reference to the plurality of events which occur. Consistency does not mean literal identity; for since the same thing does not happen twice, an exact repetition of a reaction involves some maladjustment. Totality means continuity the carrying on of a former habit of action with the readaptation necessary to keep it alive and growing.