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the following recommendation: That the Laymen's Committee on Inter-Church Survey urge as many churches as are willing to co-operate (1) to organize and support a permanent commission for investigation into, and report upon, near and remote causes and details of any economic class conflicts which may develop in this country; (2) that the commission be instructed to study such conflicts on the ground, not as attempted arbitrators, but as accredited representatives of associated churches, with the aim of, so far as possible, exhausting all the material facts in the given case, especially those which have any appreciable bearing upon principles of justice; (3) that the associated churches be urged to make provision for the widest circulation of the reports of this committee among the leaders of thought, both ministers and laymen, in their respective bodies; (4) that the commission be charged also with the duty of reporting, from time to time (primarily with reference to their accuracy, their fairness to all the interests concerned, and the competence of their authors to pass the kinds of judgment involved) upon books, pamphlets, and magazine articles which purport to represent Christian principles at issue in economic conflicts; (5) that the commission be instructed to avoid duplication of work already in progress by organizations whose results are of such a character that they may be appropriated by the commission; (6) that the churches associated in this enterprise, and all others that approve of it, be urged to use their influence to secure for the publications of the commission, and the other publications which they recommend, all the attention which they may be found to deserve as materials for the construction of standards of justice which shall apply Christian principles to the special conflicts of ideas about justice which develop under our present form of industrial organization.
The considerations which follow are virtually footnotes to the foregoing recommendation. They have been set down in the order in which they suggested themselves.
1. The sort of commission contemplated is one that would command the respect of any congressional committee, or court of justice, or board of directors, or trade-union council. It should be made up of men and women who, in the first place, have had the sort of experience which has fitted them for the job, and, secondly, are of a character which cannot be bribed, wheedled, or frightened into findings not in the evidence, to please either party.
2. The contracts with the members of the commission should cover a term of years, so that they may be as independent as possible of all uncertainty about tenure.
3. The salaries and appropriations for expenses should be on the scale necessary to secure the contemplated grade of service, and to provide the facilities to give it the largest range of usefulness.
4. As a mere matter of tactics, such a commission would almost ideally serve as what promoters call “a talking proposition.” Establish such a commission, composed of persons whose intelligence, competence, and integrity could not be impeached; instruct it to go to the bottom, if there is a bottom, of the conflict situations that arise; publish their findings as frankly as Mr. Hughes's reports on the insurance situation were published; let it be known that the work is the work of the associated churches, and that it represents their determination to do everything in their power in the service of social justice do this, and it will be the most silencing answer that ever has been given to either of the many variations of the charge that the church is owned by the rich and does the rich man's dirty work.
5. The recommendation will of course meet instant opposition on the ground that numerous denominations already have agencies which are faithfully endeavoring to discover and circulate knowledge on these subjects as a part of denominational education, not only intellectual and religious, but social. The recommendation does not ignore nor undervalue the agencies referred to. They are doing highly important work, but the nature of their limitations is such that the men who are carrying the heaviest burdens of this work will doubtless be most prompt to see that, however acceptably they may function within their sphere, within their respective denominations, or within a group of co-operating denominations, they are not so constituted as to discharge the principal functions which the recommendation contemplates.
6. The commission recommended would cover all the ground, in the way of taking and sifting evidence, on which the responsible master in chancery bases his advice to the court. The churches would then no longer be, any more than the judge is, after receiving the findings of the master in chancery, at the mercy of hearsay, of newspaper gossip, of ex parte testimonies or representations. The churches would be like the judge after the case had been properly made up in a position to render the most indicial decision possible under the circumstances.
7. The findings of the commission on each important matter which it investigated would be first-page news for every daily paper in the country, just as the summaries of the Pittsburgh Survey were. The papers that did not publish these findings would thereby automatically condemn themselves as either incompetent or uncandid.
8. The habit which would soon be formed of depending upon the church commission for the fairest treatment of class conflicts would do more than any other influence in sight to narrow the no-man's-land between the “unchurched” and the churches.
9. The existence of a common source of information which could be trusted would tend to produce homogeneous and therewith influential public opinion within the churches, in place of cross-currents of irresponsibly advised church opinion which largely neutralize one another and consequently limit the influence of religion.
10. More fundamental than any of the foregoing considerations is the assumption of the recommendation that the churches want to find ways of making religion a continuous and pervasive force in men's lives, not merely the occupant of a secluded section of their experience. If the churches really mean to "get into the game,” this is one of the big openings.
ALBION W. SMALL
EDWARD A. ROSS
HUMAN NATURE IN ISOLATION
Before the days of the scientific study of human nature, romancers often imagined what a man would be like who had grown up without human association. In every case they portrayed a being with our faculties and reactions, although quite without culture. We know now that a child with only animals for nurses and companions would never develop the distinctively human traits. Its mentality would be arrested on a plane but little above that of an imbecile. The observations upon human beings of “wild” upbringing who at various times have been brought among civilized people show them to be characterized by a vegetative type of existence, automatic reactions, unconsciousness of self, inability to learn the use of language, absence of social emotions, and indifference to human companionship. Self-consciousness, the rise of personality, and the ordinary capacity for thought and emotion are impossible without the give and take of life in society.
About a century ago, from observing the mutual contamination of prison inmates, some were led to advocate the solitary confinement of prisoners, at least for the first part of their term of incarceration. It was argued that in the silence of his cell the offender would come to see his misconduct in a new light and would resolve to change his ways. But the results of the policy showed how little the penologists understood the social side of human nature. In 1821, by act of the legislature of New York, eighty convicts in the Auburn prison were put into solitary cells without labor. At the end of a year five were dead, one had killed himself, another was mad, and the rest were melancholy. The next year the experiment was abandoned. In 1842, in England, Pentonville prison began to confine the prisoner in solitude for the first eighteen months of his sentence. For the next eight years the insanity rate among Pentonville prisoners was ten times as great as in other English prisons. Since solitude is most racking to the more developed personalities, it is not surprising that of the Fenian leaders locked up at Mountjoy from 1865 to 1867 nearly one-half went mad before their release and many others died soon afterward. After repeated experiments, in the course of which numerous prisoners went insane, the English prison authorities cut down the maximum period of solitary confinement first to nine months and later to six months.
Victims of long-enforced solitude generally become the prey of melancholia, delusions, and hallucinations. They cease to have emotions, shrink from the sight of others, and perhaps return voluntarily to their cell as to a grateful shelter. Hermits, too, exhibit a variety of forms of mental disintegration. The biographies of the anchorite saints record strange noises and mysterious voices which the devout of their time deemed supernatural, but which were really sense hallucinations in no wise different from those which visit today the isolated lighthouse keeper, or the lonely shepherd of the Sierras.
The struggles of the social self against death are pathetic. In an Italian prison Pellico gained new life when he could wave a handkerchief at a fellow-prisoner, and his spirits rose at the mere sight of a human being. In cellular confinement prisoners devise many ingenious signals to convey sympathy. In Russian prisons the “politicals” developed a clever code of taps on walls or pipes as a means of communicating. In their mad thirst for companionship the immured make pets of mice, rats, and birds, even spiders, ants, and flies. In lieu of anything better a flower or a struggling plant may furnish support to the starving social self. Incorrigible prisoners have been softened and transformed by having small animals to pet or even a flower box to tend.
One of the early "finds” of child-study was that not a few children have imaginary companions with names and clearly marked traits, with whom they talk, play, quarrel, and make up. Sometimes the isolated child projects a number of imaginary playmates with distinct personalities, who have varied experiences, develop life-histories, and live on with their creator into adult life. One