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Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity. Instead of civilization being artificial, it is a part of nature; all of a piece with the development of the embryo or the unfolding of a flower. The modifications mankind have undergone, and are still undergoing, result from a law underlying the whole organic creation; and provided the human race continues, and the constitution of things remains the same, those modifications must end in completeness. As surely as the tree becomes bulky when it stands alone, and slender if one of a group; as surely as the same creature assumes the different forms of cart-horse and race-horse, according as its habits demand strength or speed; as surely as a blacksmith's arm grows large, and the skin of a labourer's hand thick; as surely as the eye tends to become long-sighted in the sailor, and shortsighted in the student; as surely as the blind attain a more delicate sense of touch; as surely as a clerk acquires rapidity in writing and calculation; as surely as the musician learns to detect an error of a semitone amidst what seems to others a very babel of sounds; as surely as a passion grows by indulgence and diminishes when restrained; as surely as a disregarded conscience becomes inert, and one that is obeyed active; as surely as there is any efficacy in educational culture, or any meaning in such terms as habit, custom, practice; so surely must the human faculties be moulded into complete fitness for the social state; so surely must the things we call evil and immorality disappear; so surely must man become perfect.
THE CREATIVE PURPOSE,
TIE DIVINE IDEA, AND THE CONDITIONS OF ITS
§ 1. If, instead of proposing it as the rule of human conduct, Bentham had simply assumed “greatest happiness” to be the creative purpose, his position would have been tenable enough. Almost all men do in one way or other assert the same. There have indeed been times when such a faith was far from universal. Had the proposition been made before Simeon Stylites on the top of his column, he would very likely have demurred to it. Probably the Flagellants of the thirteenth century may have thought otherwise. And even now it is possible that the Fakeers of India hold a contrary opinion. But, whilst it may be true that a savage asceticism attributes to the Deity a barbarity equal to its own, and conceives him as delighting in human sacrifices; whilst it may be true that amongst ourselves the same notion yet lingers, under the form of occasional fasts and penances; still there are few if any amongst civilized people who do not agree that human well-being is in accordance with the Divine will. The doctrine is taught by all our religious teachers; it is assumed by every writer on morality: we may therefore safely consider it as an admitted truth.
It is one thing, however, to hold that greatest happiness is the creative purpose, and a quite different thing to hold that greatest happiness should be the immediate aim of man. It has been the fatal error of the expedi. ency-philosophers to confound these positions. They have not observed that the truth has two sides, a Divine side
and a human side; and that it matters much to us which we look at. Greatest Happiness and Morality, are the face and obverse of the same fact: what is written on the one surface is beyond our interpretation: what is written on the other we may read easily enough.
Or dropping metaphor, and speaking in philosophical language, we may say that it is for us to ascertain the conditions by conforming to which this greatest happiness may be attained. Not to put trust in guesses: not to do this or that, because we think it will be beneficial: but to find out what really is the line of conduct that leads to the desired end. For unquestionably there must be in the nature of things some definite and fixed pre-requisites to success. Man is a visible, tangible entity, having properties. In the circumstances that surround him there are certain unchanging necessities. Life is dependent upon the fulfilment of specific functions; and happiness is a particular kind of life. Surely then if we would know how, in the midst of these appointed circumstances, the being Man must live, so as to achieve the result-greatest happiness, we ought first to determine what the essential conditions are. If we solve the problem, it can only be by consulting these and submitting ourselves to them. To suppose that we may, in ignorance or disregard of them, succeed by some hap-hazard speculation, is sheer folly. Only in one way can the desideratum be reached. What that one way is must depend upon the fundamental necessities of our position. And if we would discover it, our first step must be to ascertain those necessities.
§ 2. At the head of them stands this unalterable fact-the social state. In the preordained course of things, men have multiplied until they are constrained to live more or less in presence of cach other. That,
SOCIAL LIMIT OF INDIVIDUAL ACTION.
being needful for the support of the greatest sum of life, such a condition is preliminary to the production of the greatest sum of happiness, seems highly probable. Be that as it may, however, we find this state established; are henceforth to continue in it; and must therefore set it down as one of those necessities which our rules for the achievement of the greatest happiness must recognize and conform to.
In this social state the sphere of activity of each individual being limited by the spheres of activity of other individuals, it follows that the men who are to realize this greatest sum of happiness, must be men of whom each can obtain complete happiness within his own sphere of activity, without diminishing the spheres of activity required for the acquisition of happiness by others. For manifestly, if each or any of them cannot receive complete happiness without lessening the spheres of activity of one or more of the rest, he must either himself come short of complete happiness, or must make one or more do so; and hence under such circumstances, the sum total of happiness cannot be as great as is conceivable, or cannot be greatest happiness. Here then is the first of those fixed conditions to the obtainment of greatest happiness, necessitated by the social state. It is the fulfilment of this condition which we express by the word justice.
To this all-essential prerequisite there is a supplementary one of kindred nature. We find that without trenching upon each other's spheres of activity, men may yet behave to one another in such a way as to produce painful emotions. And if any have feelings that lead them to do this, it is clear that the total amount of happiness is not so great as it would be were they devoid of those feelings. Hence, to compass greatest happiness, the human constitution must be such as that each man may perfectly fulfil his own nature, not only without diminishing other men's spheres of activity, but without giving un. happiness to other men in any direct or indirect way. This condition, as we shall by-and-by see, needs to be kept quite distinct from the foregoing one. The observance of it may be called negative beneficence.
Yet another requirement is there by fulfilment of which the happiness flowing from compliance with the foregoing ones is indefinitely multiplied. Let a race of beings be so constituted as that each individual may be able to obtain full satisfastion for all his desires, without deducting from the satisfaction obtainable by other individuals, and we have a state of things in which the amount of isolated happiness is the greatest conceivable. But let these beings be so constituted as that each, in addition to the pleasurable emotions personally received by him, can sympathetically participate in the pleasurable emotions of all others, and the sum-total of happiness becomes largely increased. Hence, to the primary requisite that each shall be able to get complete happiness without diminishing the happiness of the rest, we must now add the secondary one that each shall be capable of receiving happiness from the happiness of the rest. Compliance with this requisite implies positive benefi
Lastly, there must go to the production of the greatest happiness the further condition, that, whilst duly regardful of the preceding limitations, each individual shall perform all those acts required to fill up the measure of his own private happiness.
These, then, are necessities. They are not matters of opinion, but matters of unalterable fact. Denial of them is impossible, for nothing else can be stated but what is self-contradictory. Without any alternative, beings who are to realize the Divine Idea must be thus constituted. Before greatest happiness can be brought about,