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“Give Us The Young… And We Will Create A New Mind” – Kidd and Social Engineering

May 17, 2011

Benjamin Kidd

Right now I’m working on a major project that explores the historical, contemporary, and near-future of social engineering, particularly as it relates to the formation of a global society. [Each month I edit an online journal that documents the rise and influence of various social change/global governance themes – check it out: Forcing Change].

With that in mind, here are a number of interesting quotes from Benjamin Kidd, a British social philosopher who espoused the idea of social heredity. I’ve read Kidd over the years, and his book, The Science of Power, is one I’ve turned to over and over again. Reading it always sends chills down my spine, as Kidd’s theories and concepts are visible today in the engineering of a global “new civilization.” Although Kidd is virtually unknown today outside of certain academic circles, his work impacted social theorists throughout the early part of the twentieth century, and thus played a role in laying the foundation for our modern push toward social universalism.

What strikes me with Kidd is his realization that collectivizing/integrating society first requires that humanity must become emotionally charged with the ideal – a task he sees as particularly suited to the “mind of woman” and youth. Then, as the emotion of the ideal builds, political and other cultural institutions will inevitably follow suit. This is the path of integration.

Finally, Kidd’s worldview was a modification of Darwinian evolution. Survival of the fittest, he criticized, provided the impetus for national racism expressed in force and struggle – nationalist wars would thus be the logical outcome. Therefore, his Darwinian conception was not one that elevated “survival of the fittest,” with its emphasis on conflict and death, but social evolution with universal integration being the crowning achievement. This, in his view, was the higher ideal of Darwinism.

All quotes are from his book The Science of Power (London, England: Methuen & Company, 1919 edition).

“It is becoming evident that all the truth there is in Darwin’s great conception may be summed up in a single word – integration.” (40)

“The first principle… in the evolution of the social world of civilization lies in the subordination of individuals. The ascending history of the human race is indeed nothing else than the progressive history of the sacrifice of the individual efficient for himself to the meaning of that collective efficiency which is being organized in civilization gradually merging in the universal.” (49)

“It is the psychic and spiritual forces governing the social integration in which the individual is being subordinated to the universal which have become the winning forces in evolution.” (69)

“…the world can be changed in a brief space of time. Within the life of a single generation it can be made to undergo changes so profound, so revolutionary, so permanent, that is would almost appear as if human nature itself had been completely altered in the interval. The mechanism and the forces, moreover, capable of producing changes of this nature already exist in the world… The science of the organiation of this mechanism and of the control of these forces is the real science of civilization.” (106)

“It is in the social integration that man must reach his highest efficiency. The laws of the social integration are psychic in character, and they must in the nature of things control the evolution of the human mind and all its contents.” (117)

“The great secret of the coming age of the world is that civilization rests not on Reason but on Emotion.” (118)

Note: Kidd went on to explain that the world will be changed and integrated via “psychic emotion transmitted in the collective inheritance” – an apt description of what is happening now. Today, reason has been replaced by group-oriented, emotional reactions. Youth, according to Kidd, should be targeted in order to develop the proper group emotion leading to collective integration.

“…the idealism of mind and spirit conveyed to the young of each generation under the influence of the social passion, is absolutely limitless in its effect. The power which is represented thereby is capable of creating a new world in the lifetime of a generation. It is capable of sweeping away in a single generation any existing order of the world.” (122)

“The processes of the age have become a machinery for presenting the idealism of mind to the general imagination with a hypnotic effect never before possible… the science of creating and transmitting public opinion under the influence of collective emotion is about to become the principal science of civilization to the mastery of which all governments and all powerful interests will in the future address themselves with every resource at their command.” (123-124)

“…the integration that is taking place in civilization is not the reasoning process of the mind but the emotion of the ideal.” (124)

“Man can only reach his highest power in the social integration… Civilization has its origin, has its existence, and has the cause of its progress in the emotion of the ideal. It is through this faculty that the human mind rises to the Universal. It is his capacity for the emotion of the ideal and not his reasoning mind which constitutes Man the God-like…” (126)

“…what we are really watching in the phenomena described is the gradual emergence into view of what has become the principal cause of collective efficiency in the era of the social integration of the world.” (142)

“It is in the social integration that the soul of the world is being brought to the birth.” (153)

“The emotion of the ideal when directed by civilization is a cause so potent to transform the world that there is practically nothing which cannot be achieved through it, even, as we have seen, to the complete altering of the psychology of a people in a single generation. It is the cause in the function of which the whole social integration centres.” (155)

“The future lies in the social integration. The social integration rests on organization. And in this organization the seat of efficiency and the centre of all power in the future is in that cultural heredity which civilization imposes on the individual through the emotion of the ideal.” (178)

“Truth is the Science of Power… Evolution in all the phenomena of Life follows the line of maximum Power.” (184)

“…Power must express itself in the social integration. It is through the emotion of the ideal, and through this cause alone, that the collective will can be concentrated and directed over long periods of time to particular ends.” (194)

“The existing individuals must be rendered capable of subordinating their minds, their lives, and all the interests within the span of their lives, to an ideal which is beyond their lives, and which may even at times be beyond their understanding.” (225-226)

“it is in the mind of woman that the winning peoples of the world will find the psychic centre of Power in the future.” (233)

“This concept of the oneness of humanity in which the future becomes greater than the present has been, like the concept of God, inherent from the beginning in the process in which evolution is following in history the line of maximum Power.” (248)

“Power in civilization rests ultimately on knowledge which is conveyed through emotion and not through the reasoning processes of mind.” (250)

“The future science of civilization may be summed up in a sentence. It will be the science of Power.” (258)

“…mind will ultimately direct the course of human evolution. For social heredity resting on mind is the direct basis of Power where Power will be supreme, namely, in its collective expressions. The most revolutionary change can be effected in a brief space of time through control of the elements of social heredity.” (264)

“Civilization is absolutely invincible once it realizes the secret of its own unity.” (295)

“…deep dividing differences which separate peoples and nationalities and classes…In a generation they could all be swept away if civilization put before itself the will to impose on the young the ideal of subordination to the common aims of organized humanity.” (295)

“…the winning type of Power rests on the principles which subordinate us to the universal.” (297)

“Give us the Young. Give us the Young and we will create a new mind and a new earth in a single generation.” (298)

“Power in its highest expression is the science of organizing the individual mind in the service of the universal. Truth is nothing else than this science of Power. This is the text by which every religion will have to stand or fall.” (298)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gail Baumer permalink
    May 18, 2011 5:08 am

    Thank you, once again, for your “heads up” explanations of what is going on. Here we are back on the plain of Shinar. My grandson hates all of these group projects his very expensive high school education is throwing at him.


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