Imatges de pàgina

tues. Individual morality is in no way separable even in thought from political morality. The individual and the state are correlative aspects of one unbroken experience. They are the inner and the outer, the individual and the institutional, phases of life. They are the same experience looked at from two different points of view.

Now the psychology of the individual mind sheds a new light on Plato's theory of the state. We were told by Plato that the state does not exist in order that any individual or class of individuals may be happy; each individual or class of individuals is to secure just so much happiness as is compatible with a proper functioning in the state. This sounds like another way of saying that the state exists for itself and not for individuals. But when we turn to the psychological side of the matter we see that what is best for the state is best for the individual also, for "every individual ought to have some one occupation in the state, which should be that to which his natural capacity is best adapted.”

The theory of the Greek city-state is set forth in scientific terms in Aristotle's Politics. The book lacks all the graces of Plato's literary style; it is cold and dry. On the other hand, it is direct; it is scientific; it goes to the very root of the Greek theory of the state.

There is, says Aristotle, in all persons, a natural tendency to associate with others. This tendency is deeper than the volition and conscious reasoning of the individual mind; it is inherent in the constitution of human nature. It is deeper still; it is an expression in the human mind of a purpose or plan of nature


herself. For the real nature of a thing, according to Aristotle, cannot be discovered by an analysis into its constituent, or material parts. We can understand anything when we can discover its purpose or end. We cannot understand human nature by going back to some primordial stuff, to some grouping of material atoms. The nature of anything can be understood only in terms of its final cause. Only when we see trees or animals or men at their best-only when we see the underlying purpose of things—can we be said to understand their nature.

Applying this theory to man, Aristotle tells us that since man can be at his best, since man can live a life of real moral worth only within the state, it follows that man's self-realization, man's real "nature,” can come to light only as he functions as a member of the state. The individual and the state, in the mind of Aristotle, are correlative terms; the one can be defined only in and through the other. This means that the individual instead of being fixed in his nature independently of the state will find his "nature” actually varying according to the way in which he functions as a member of the state. A man might live as a brute, Aristotle admits—even this would be denied by many today—merely as an isolated individual; but a life of real worth, that is to say, a human life, can be lived only within and through the state. A good life, according to Aristotle, includes wealth, beauty, knowledge, health, and leisure, and these things are possible only within an organized political state.




The Disassociation of the Greek Conscience from

the Old Ethnic Order

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