The fundamental distinction in mechanics between forces of push-and-pull and forces of release is one of which Mr. Spencer, in his earlier years, made no use whatever. Only in his sixth edition did he show that it had seriously arrested his attention. In biology, psychology, and sociology the forces concerned are almost exclusively forces of release.
These views, if we understand them, seem to have the characteristic faults of all purely biological sociology. That, however, the "herd instinct," or the social feeling or the cohesive force in groups, whatever it may be, is exceedingly strong and persistent is shown by the recent war.
But I knew that already. Sociology, too. Yes, I knew that is your favorite study. It is mine, too, but I haven't had as much time yet to read along that line as I would like. What have you lately read on that subject?" She told him of some of the recent books that had interested her most and mentioned the titles of others that she thought would be worth while.
"Why, it's nothing much," said Betty modestly, "and probably it's not at all what Bob is thinking of. It's just that, as Helen says, everybody who is in anything is in a lot of things and most of the class are being left out of the commencement plans. I thought of it first that day we had a lecture on monopolies in sociology.
He dealt in logical, metaphysical, and ethical first principles, in cosmogony and geology, in physics, and chemistry after a fashion, in biology, psychology, sociology, politics, and aesthetics. Hardly any subject can be named which has not at least been touched on in some one of his many volumes. His erudition was prodigious. His civic conscience and his social courage both were admirable.
Surely "regional survey" Is the appropriate method in the very simplest and most concrete parts of the complete science of sociology, and even when we come to history proper we must do very much more than make a regional survey.
He has certainly changed his mind on many points since he wrote these essays in constructive sociology, and the fact that he has so altered and enlarged his opinions is the best possible evidence of his reliability and sincerity. He is before all else devoted to the services of growth and progress.
Tylor's well known name will at once suggest itself, and that of Herbert Spencer; the former, in his great work on the "Early History of Mankind and of Civilization," and other writings, the latter, in the first volume of his "Sociology," and in his earlier works, have respectively established the doctrine of the universal origin of myths on the basis of ethnography, on the psychological examination of the primary facts of the intelligence, and on the conception of the evolution of the general phenomena of nature.
But this knowledge is only to be obtained by the application of the methods of investigation adopted in physical researches to the investigation of the phaenomena of society. Hence, I confess, I should like to see one addition made to the excellent scheme of education propounded for the College, in the shape of provision for the teaching of Sociology.
Herbert Spencer has taught the student of sociology to recognize that religious dynasties have extraordinary powers of longevity, because they possess extraordinary power to resist change; whereas military dynasties, depending for their perpetuity upon the individual character of their sovereigns, are particularly liable to disintegration.