REFLEXIONS OF A SOCIOLOGIST.
I wish to be of some use to my fellowmen and feel a temptation to put down here the thoughts that arise in me. I claim to be a Sociologist because I feel and seek to labor for the betterment of my race. My Reflexions portray me, my studies, my observations and my experiences. Reader, take me, with all my imperfections if you please.
THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE.
Bound by the law of substance – of the indestructibility of matter and the conservation of energy – the universe, as a whole, appears to us to be eternal. And Astronomy tells us that the more it pierces into the wide heavens the more worlds break upon its vision. In fact, it is driven to exclaim in wonder that the universe is boundless.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE HUMAN MIND.
If life is the outcome of the cooperation and reciprocal action of chemical and physical forces: Mind is the child of the functional activities of the bodily organs. From the electron to the protist, from the protist to the amoeba, from the amoeba to the ape, and from the ape to the orator or the philosopher – natural evolution has had an unbroken career.
All the ecstasies and aspirations of the soul – all the dreams and hopes of a fuller, fairer life – constitute our God. And could there be a god higher and grander?
I deny the existence of a soul substratum: but I assert the existence of the feeling, thinking, aspiring soul – mind.
The faculties and powers – the soul – of man perish at death with the particles that compose his body. But the law of causation cannot be suspended. Our thoughts and deeds live on in all the countless tendencies and forces that are to be. Our predecessors live in us and we die only to live in those that succeed us.
THE BASIS OF RELIGION.
It is Humanity that has begot us, that has nursed us, that has trained and educated us, and that has given us all the riches and joys of life. Are we not in duty bound to consecrate this life, however humble and unknown, for the health and happiness of our race? To revere and love and strive to realize this ethical ideal in life is to be truly pious.
THE BASIS OF ETHICS.
No fear of an angry god, no threat of an everlasting hell and no promise of an eternal heaven, makes a man just and true. But make him think and feel what anguish, what misery and what suffering he brings to another by his selfish crimes and make him think and feel what joys and riches he produces for another by his just and generous acts. We shall so broad base ethics on the higher feelings of man. With the refinement of human feelings there will be less of selfishness and more of love and justice – more of sociality, of morality.
The loveliest picture in the world is that which represents a hero who is brave enough to stand against a world, rich enough to have fortune under his feet, and glorious enough to want nothing from others.
A work congenial and useful rice and curry just enough for hunger: clothes and shoes just enough for body: a cottage just enough for shelter: a small provision just enough for contingencies – are quite enough for man's short journey on earth.
If I could see the Almighty I would shout to Him at the top of my voice: O, please make a nameless, friendless, moneyless philosopher, rather than make me a high placed bandit, a gigantic land-shark, a swollen money-king.
In plenitude of love, a wise man lets an unfortunate wretch take as much delight as possible from speaking ill of him. To speak or hear ill of others affords great pleasure to a mean fellow. Vultures prefer to feed upon carrion, because it is in their nature to be dirty, and they prefer it to clean meat.
All crimes are but mistakes. And all mistakes are due to ignorance of our relation to the Universe, of the Laws of Nature. With the disappearance of this ignorance, all vices, all crimes, all mistakes vanish.
TRUE TO NATURE.
If I err, let me say so. If I correct my error, let me be content with the correction. Let me not trouble myself about how I seem to others. I live in others as others live in me. If I am sane and robust, that must suffice me.
A STURDY MANHOOD.
With thought to foresee and to provide for the changes and chances of life, with prudence to avoid unnecessary evil, with a nobility to be uncompromisingly just, to part with all, to lose all, if need be, with a magnanimity to understand and sympathize with the wants and ways of men and women, with a courage to rise superior to the malignant lies and the mischievous pranks of our fellows, with a generosity to forget and forgive personal wrongs, with a will to dare and defy a world for the principle that is in us, and with a supreme joy to play with the passing concerns of life as though they were things of indifference – we attain a rich and sturdy manhood.
THE MAJESTY OF THE BRAVE MAN.
It is wisdom to fortify yourself against the worst that your brother-men may do unto you. They can at worst beggar you, defame you, torture you, and cast you out. What is there that is intolerable in all this? The intolerable cannot exist in the very nature of things. The intolerable puts an end to itself. You live because things are tolerable enough to let you live. Want, infamy and pain cannot go beyond death. Death puts a finish to them all. When want and torture go beyond endurance, Nature, in her providence, puts out the sensations. People may outcast you, your person; but who can cast out the force and beauty of your thoughts and deeds from the memory of those who have come under their influence? No shame can disfigure a brave and thoughtful soul. All the fires of the auto-da-fe cannot consume one brave thought. The man may go; the thought lives. A brave man is a brave thought. Knights may go: Knightliness remains. Thinkers may go: thought remains. If you are robust enough, you can joyously laugh at neglect and infamy. The brave man is too great for rewards and penalties; gifts cannot tempt him; gibbets cannot terrify him. The world is too small for his thought. Neither fire nor sword can touch him. Neither shame nor honor can reach him. He is high above the world, like a God. By his side all the hosts of money-kings and Society gods look pitiably small. He lives and loves and labors not for the plaudits of a showy world but for the satisfaction of his own soul. If he does not seem fair to a passing crowd: he is supremely content that he is rich and fair in his own eyes.
A. S. MUDALIAR.