In 1908, Arnold Bennett (1867-1931, British novelist and Stoic essayist) wrote about the evolution of "human nature":

Is human nature the same now as in the days of Babylonian civilisation, when the social machine was oiled by drenchings of blood? Is it the same now as in the days of Greek civilisation, when there was no such thing as romantic love between the sexes? Is it the same now as it was during the centuries when constant friction had to provide its own cure in the shape of constant war? Is it the same now as it was on March 2nd, 1819, when the British Government officially opposed a motion to consider the severity of the criminal laws (which included capital punishment for cutting down a tree, and other sensible dodges against friction), and were defeated by a majority of only nineteen votes? Is it the same now as in the year 1883, when the first S.P.C.C. was formed in England?

If you consider that human nature is still the same, you should instantly go out and make a bonfire of the works of Spencer, Darwin, and Wallace, and then return to enjoy the purely jocular side of the present volume. If you admit that it has changed, let me ask you how it has changed, unless by the continual infinitesimal efforts, upon themselves, of individual men, like you and me. Did you suppose it was changed by magic, or by acts of parliament, or by the action of groups on persons, and not of persons on groups? Let me tell you that human nature has changed since yesterday. Let me tell you that to-day the friction of the machines is less screechy and grinding than it was yesterday.

... from The Human Machine, Chap. XI

Sunday, December 05, 1999 at 20:49:04 (EST) = 1999-12-05

TopicBennett - TopicJustice - TopicSociety

(correlates: PreemptiveDisclosure, No Concepts At All, HajimeNishi, ...)