Ouro em Small (1905)

The various materialistic and mechanical philosophies of history, that have attempted to find the secret of human development in the inevitable operations of nature, have not overstated the absolute value of this fundamental and constant factor. They have simply miscalculated its ratio and some of its other relations to all the other factors. There is neither free will nor free thought nor free feeling in the world of people. Feeling, thought, and volition are tethered to fixed [413] physical conditions. This is as true of the rhapsody of the devotee, the exhortation of the zealot, the vision of the poet, the speculation of the metaphysician, as it is of the geographer’s search for the North Pole or the miner’s delving for gold or coal. All that men do or desire is either a drifting on the tide of physical conditions, or primarily some sort of reaction upon those conditions. The extent to which men can act, and the mode of their action, is not to be deduced from the formulas of an absolutely defined freedom; for that condition exists only in the speculative imagination. On the other hand, the formulas of volition are not to be derived from physical law alone. The scope of sentient action is, however, merely that restricted area to which the individual or the generation is limited by the conditions of physical nature. (Small 1905:412-3)

6. Solidarity or Community. – In distinction from the incident “interdependence,” the fact in view, when we make note of “solidarity” or “community,” is not primarily the dependence of one part of an association upon other parts, but the common relation of all parts to certain conditions which may at first appear to be wholly external, or to influence only a certain select few within the association. Thus, not alone the individuals who must coast our Atlantic seaboard, or the Great Lakes, or the Gulf, or the Pacific, are affected by the storms from year to year; those storms limit the life-conditions of the whole population of the continent. We are in a common [583] so far as we are affected by climate, by the health of the world at large, by its industrial system, its political institutions, its moral ideas, etc., etc. The temporary curtailment of the output of gold in the Transvaal does not affect the brokers of South Africa and London alone; it does not confine its influence to the banking or the business world. It distributes its influence over the whole of every civilized country. The world’s demand for gold changes the conditions of life for every factory, shop, and farm in the United States. (Small 1905:582-3)

SMALL, Albion. 1905. General Sociology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.