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presence of all these merits, and a thousand others in the constitution, if it were brought into existence, you need describe it no further. Rather let us try now to convince ourselves of this, that the thing is practicable, and how it is practicable.”
Against the feasibility of communism there is always brought the objection that the motive required in those who practise communism is higher than is found to actuate the average man.
There is another objection commonly made that schemes of communism, though they may be practised by a select and small body, are not capable of being accepted as a rule of life by the whole human race. This objection, however, is not applicable to Plato, seeing that, for his purpose, communism need only be practised by the minority in each city-state. The former objection, however, holds to some degree good. But let us first hear Plato's answer.
“Our theory of the state is not a mere aspiration, but, though full of difficulties, capable of realization in one way, and only one, which, as we have said, requires that one, if not more, of the true philosophers shall be invested with full authority in a state, and contemn the honours of the present day in the belief that they are mean and worthless; and that, deeply impressed with the supreme importance of right, and of the honours to be derived from it, and regarding justice as the highest and most binding of all obligations, he shall, as the special servant and admirer of justice, carry out a thorough reform in his own state." +
We may admit that the ideal state is just within the realms of possibility. In the “ Laws” Plato lays down 5,040 as the number of citizens which should occupy his state; of these perhaps 1,000 I might be guardians. A doubt may well be raised whether so great a number would be found ready to surrender everything that men count most dear for their love of the state.
† Par. 540. | Par. 423.
* Par. 471.
“ All who are above ten years old in the city must be despatched into the country, and their children must be taken away from their parents' influence, and bred up in the manners and laws of the true philosophers, whose nature we have described above." *
Even then, we think, the instincts which prompt men to lay their hands on certain things, and claim for their own, would break out, and put an end to the rule of the philosopher-king. The many-headed monster of appetite + is not destroyed by the creative fiat of any philosopherking; and many have ere now found that
Who overcomes by force
The lesson that may be learnt from the various communistic societies which have passed along the world's stage since the Apostles lived together and had all things in common, is that the ineradicable instincts of human nature cannot be with impunity ignored. Those who think to establish the reign of righteousness before its time on earth, are counting on motives which have little or no existence. As to the evils which they hope to remedy,
They do but skin and film the ulcerous place, which gathers strength unseen, and at last breaks forth again with irresistible violence to the ruin of the whole body. It was even so that the majority of those societies which have arisen on communistic principles fell prey to the very evil which they arose to correct. Even so would the reforms of the philosopher-king prove ineffectual. Their dissolution would be due not, we think, to the failure on the part of the guardians to catch the auspicious season for the celebration of the hymenæal festivals.* Good institutions gather force like a wheel + in their progress, and are not to be checked by the first barrier. The dissolution of the perfect state is inevitable because this fundamental law of all moral and political progress has been overlooked, that “a good body will not by its own excellence make the soul good, but, on the contrary, a good soul will by its excellence render the body as perfect as it can be made."
* Par. 541.
† Par. 588.
The translations are given according to the version of Davies and Vaughan. The references are to the paragraphs.
* Par. 544.
+ Par. 424.
THE PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
By R. F. GREEN.
It is a winter afternoon, and a lady is sitting by the fire reading. At her feet, on the hearthrug, a child is playing quietly with a doll, and a cat, overcome by the warmth and a diurnally recurring drowsiness, sleeps ---- lying on its side with legs and tail stretched out lazily.
The woman is absorbed in her book, it is The Mill on the Floss, and she has nearly finished it; she breathes quickly; a slight sob escapes her, and her eyes fill with tears. The awful pathos of poor Maggie's life appeals to her as it has appealed to all of us. She ceases to read, and sits musing, book in hand.
Meanwhile, the child, tired for the moment of her playing, has made her doll sit down, propped up against the cat, and this, of course, pussy resents. She is disturbed, and too sleepy or lazy to move, shows her irritation by an ominous waving of her tail. No notice being taken, and dolly being indifferent, too, to the annoyance she is causing, the cat rouses herself—the child puts out her hand to the rescue of her plaything, and receives a quick blow and scratch. Her cry startles the mother, who, letting her book fall, springs up, takes the little one in her arms, kisses and soothes her—the cat, running to the door, tries to get out of the room. Incidents more familiar and commonplace than these can hardly be imagined, and yet they illustrate phenomena perhaps the most inscrutable that nature presents to us. The transmission of complex abstract ideas by means of arbitrary signs—the effect of
such ideas, which are probably outside of one's own personal experience, upon the physical functions—the woman is reading an imaginary biography--no such experiences as those of Maggie Tulliver have been hers—she draws her breath-her heart beats quickly-she sobs. The wonderful maternal instinct in the little one who loves and cares for her doll just as the mother loves her child—the cat, sleepy in the daytime like its cousin in the Indian jungle, and despite every incentive to nocturnal slumberits selfish resentment at being disturbed—its expression of anger by lashing its tail, a habit it has in common with other members of its genus—the vicious attempt to revenge itself for a slight discomfort-its fear of punishment~the cry of the child following instantly on receiving the wound—the start of her mother, and the involuntary dropping of her book-the effect of her sympathy upon the child in relieving its pain and lessening the effect of the shock upon
its nerves. We can describe these phenomena, we can point out even the nerves and muscles which produce them, but what it is that brings these nerves and muscles each in their turn into play-how we come to think, and remember, and act as we do, are secrets that we are fain to admit must lie for ever beyond us. They are part of that great mystery we call life, they come with us out of the mist, stand out sharp and clear in the pageant of experience that is moving so quickly before us, and we are in the mist again, and have only seen-have understood nothing. The phenomena just indicated represent some of the highest and most complex forms of consciousness we can recognize-indeed, the ability to convey and receive abstract ideas by means of language is peculiar, so far as we know, to the highest organism-man. Consciousness, apparent to us in other forms of life, is a simpler expression, but