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most powerful human impulses (through diminished work and increased sexual enjoyment) and therefore appeals strongly to the impulses in question-all these afford considerable justification for believing that the difficulties, however great, will be overcome and that some pretty general degree of recognition of the biological influences concerned will be achieved in the not too distant future. We must bear in mind moreover that the process of recognition will be immensely accelerated as soon as the economic and political implications of the biological facts become realised and adopted by any of the political leaders of the great nations.
Supposing then such a general recognition to take place, what prospects does this open up?
There are in the first place the biological and economic consequences, with which we are less immediately concerned here, but which are of immense importance, both directly in themselves, and also indirectly as regards their psychological effects. A full and clear recognition of the principles of Malthus and their application to modern problems would at once open up the possibility of abolishing the struggle for existence. among civilised communities and of thus doing away with the rootcause of poverty and one of the principal causes of war. Whether these results would follow quickly, or at all, is of course in its turn a matter of uncertainty. It is quite conceivable that, even though the possibility of abolishing the struggle for existence were fully recognised, mankind as a whole would still elect to continue-at any rate for a time—in a state of over-population and competition for the necessaries of life. The influences that had been at work in preventing the realisation of the principles of Malthus would not of course cease to act in general because they had been overcome in one particular; and it is probable that some of them would continue to operate so as to prevent the cessation of the struggle for existence.
To mention two points only in this connection: (1) It is obvious that the conscious and deliberate restriction of births in order that the number of those born should not exceed the number of those that can be fed a procedure that would of course be necessary to bring about an end of over-population-is bound to arouse many difficult questions calculated to stir up national or racial hatred. Some nations or races would have to be content with a population little if at all exceeding that which they possess at present, while other nations or races would be capable of great expansion in this respect. There can be little doubt that this fact will give rise to fierce international or inter-racial dis
putes that may not infrequently be settled by the arbitrament of war. Furthermore, it will very often be the more cultured nations or races which are least capable of further increase of population (since their territories will be already thickly populated), and this will augment their unwillingness to permit themselves to be outnumbered by their neighbours. This in turn will probably lead to an attempt to enforce a restricted birth rate upon the culturally inferior populations—a measure which may indeed in the first place be necessary for the preservation of the higher races, but which cannot be carried out without much friction and considerable exercise of force in one form or another.
Similar difficulties will to some extent arise within each nation; the poorer and less thoughtful classes will at first in all probability have to be compelled (by punitive measures or otherwise) to restrict their families within the limits imposed by economic conditions-a matter of no small difficulty and delicacy and one that is only too likely to arouse fierce class prejudices and hatreds.
(2) There is the more definitely psychological factor connected with the fear of the moral consequences of the abolition of the struggle for existence. We had occasion to refer to one important aspect of this fear at the end of our last section-the alarm caused at the prospect of sexual pleasure being freed from the restraints caused by the likelihood of resulting conception. This alarm will perhaps long continue to make the general use of contraceptives one of difficulty and will therefore tend to prolong the struggle for existence by preventing an adequate degree of birth control. There are however other more general aspects of this fear of moral consequences which will also exert an influence against the cessation of the struggle. There is, perhaps, above all a fear lest easier conditions of life should engender a slothfulness and lack of energy which would be fatal to human progress; a fear calculated to bring about a stern and puritanical attitude, which may long act as a counterbalancing force against the influences making for abolition of the struggle1.
The question of the justifiability of this fear is a fascinating subject, the full discussion of which would carry us too far away from the theme of the present essay. It has to some slight extent already been treated in the present writer's paper on "Ethics and the Struggle for Existence," International Journal of Ethics, 1915. We can therefore only suggest here that there are three points of principal importance to be borne in mind in this connection.
(1) In the last resort the whole or at any rate a great portion of all vital phenomena can be reduced to reactions to stimuli; stimuli being effective in producing reactions in proportion to the extent to which they are related-positively or negatively to the
There are therefore good reasons to make us think that even though the possibility of abolishing the struggle for existence through the application of Malthusian principles were fully recognised by civilised peoples, the actual abolition of the struggle might be long delayed by further difficulties of a sociological or psychological nature. Nevertheless, as in the case of the conscious recognition of the Malthusian principles which we were just now discussing, it would seem that the appeal of these principles to fundamental human desires (including of course those more sublimated desires which we call 'ideals') is too strong to be permanently withstood, and that sooner or later a serious attempt will be made to put them into practice on a large scale, so that the struggle for existence as it affects civilised portions of the human race will definitely cease— for a time at any rate. A step of tremendous importance in human history will thereby have been taken; mankind having freed itself from needs of the organism. When all the needs of the organism are fulfilled there is no longer any necessity for it to react. Now the abolition of the struggle for existence will certainly tend to reduce the number of stimuli (including the inner stimuli arising from unfulfilled organic needs) that are effective in this sense, and therefore will in the main also tend to produce a reduction of vitality.
(2) The question is complicated however by the fact that the needs of complex organisms (especially civilised man) go far beyond the mere provision of the necessaries of existence, and would therefore not be automatically gratified by such provision. It would sometimes seem as if in man, in proportion as the more material needs are provided for, the more complex needs take the place of the simpler ones that are already satisfied; so that the individual tends to strive for ever more remote and difficult ends; the struggle for luxuries (in the widest sense of this term-including all objects of desire that are not essential to the preservation of life) thus gradually being substituted for the more primitive struggle for necessaries. Whether the energy evolved in pursuit of these more complex desires is equivalent to that evolved in the pursuit of the more simple and essential ones, is at present still uncertain. Judging from the actual degree of activity manifested by primitive races or the lower classes of civilised races as compared with more advanced races and the higher classes of civilised races respectively, it might seem that there is a gain rather than a loss of energy through reduction in the intensity of the struggle for existence. Psycho-analytic study has however made it appear probable that the higher sublimations are only achieved as the result of repression of, or opposition to, the simpler forms of desire; so that, in so far as the abolition of the struggle for existence at the same time does away with the necessity for some of the (sexual) repressions concerned, there is perhaps some reason to fear a resulting loss of energy. As we shall see however, in a moment, some considerable degree of sexual repression will continue to be biologically necessary, so that the loss from this source may not be very great and may even be quite compensated by the increased energy available through reduction of neurosis.
(3) In any case it is certain that the energy expended by mankind after the abolition of the struggle for existence cannot permanently fall below a certain fairly definite amount; for if it did so, the supply of necessaries produced would be less than that required for maintaining the smaller or more slowly increasing populations existing under a system of universal birth control, so that the struggle for existence would automatically recommence.
many of the biological influences which have determined its evolution (in common with the evolution of all other living beings) in the past and having acquired the means of shaping its own destiny according to its own desires to a far greater extent than had hitherto been possible. Such a step must necessarily bring in its train sociological, moral, economic and psychological consequences of the greatest possible significanceconsequences as regards which however we cannot allow ourselves even the liberty of speculation here.
Let us rather turn in conclusion to a matter more definitely germane to our present subject--the question as to what effect the general recognition (in theory and practice) of the Malthusian principles and of the more inclusive Spencerian principle of the antagonism between Individuation and Genesis would have upon the sexual tendencies themselves and more especially upon the repression of these tendencies. It would seem that this process of recognition would in many important respects be analogous to the psycho-analytic cure of an Anxiety Hysteria in an individual patient. Just as the patient learns to understand that the real cause and justification of his anxiety does not lie in the object consciously feared but in some unconscious wish that is terrifying to his conscious personality, so the human race as a whole will come to understand that sexual thoughts, sexual desires and sexual actions are not in themselves immoral or disgusting, but are only undesirable in so far as they tend to prevent the proper development of the individual or the social life, either indirectly through the effects of over-population, or directly through the withdrawal of excessive amounts of energy from work and sublimation. Moreover, just as the individual patient after a successful treatment acquires a freer attitude towards the objects of his fear (which are also the objects of his desire) and is able to allow a greater degree of satisfaction to his Libido, without thereby endangering his sublimations, so too, in all probability, will the community be able to adopt a more frank and natural attitude towards the human sexual impulses, substituting rational insight and conscious control for methods of blind prohibition and taboo. This attitude will on the one hand facilitate sublimation (since under the taboo system many sublimations are throttled in statu nascendi by too great repression or too stringent external prohibitions in the early stages of displacement) and tend to free us from the more obsessive aspects of sex. On the other hand it will almost certainly lead also to a somewhat greater indulgence in sexual gratification than is at present customary with cultured individuals and races, since the study of nervous disease has clearly shown J. of Psych. (Med. Sect.) 1
that under existing conditions repression of the sexual desires is often carried to unprofitable excess, leading not to sublimation but only to neurosis.
With regard to the actual degree of sexual indulgence permitted, it is probable that a fairly clear distinction will have to be drawn as regards two aspects of the antagonism between Individuation and Genesis, i.e. on the one hand the threat to Individuation arising as a consequence of over-reproduction and on the other hand the similar threat arising as a consequence of under-sublimation. In the past both aspects of this antagonism have been largely concerned in sexual repression, the proper development of the individual being impeded at least as much by the shortage of necessaries resulting from over-reproduction as by the competition of the more primitive sexual interests with the tendencies to work. In the future however, granted a more complete understanding of the biological tendencies underlying the sexual inhibitions and a more thorough and universal mastery of contraceptive technique, it would seem as though the influences emanating from the factor of over-reproduction would become far less operative than the influences connected with under-sublimation.
With regard to the former, it may be said that with the elimination of over-reproduction one of the most essential reasons for sexual inhibitions will have been removed. All those restrictions which had their ground directly or indirectly-in the need for diminishing the rate of reproduction (e.g. postponement of marriage till relatively late in life, the harsh treatment of extra-marital unions, even to some extent the insistence on monogamy) will-so far as this point of view is concernedbecome no longer necessary. Social disapproval will tend to fall less severely on those who freely indulge their sexual appetites than upon those who produce more children than they are capable of maintaining; since it will be recognised that (again, so far as this aspect is concerned) it is the latter and not the former class of persons whose behaviour constitutes the real danger to the prosperity of the community. There will thus be a very considerable transvaluation of values in the sphere of sexual morality—a transvaluation that should contribute immensely to mental health and freedom from neurosis.
The lifting of sex taboos should also produce a freer attitude not only towards normal heterosexuality but also towards the perversions— since it will be recognised that perversions do not threaten the community with over-reproduction and are therefore permissible, in so far as they are otherwise harmless: though, for reasons to be mentioned, it