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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about The Unity of Civilization.
experience of all countries and ages, that if a people has power, and attempts wrongdoing against another, it also does not omit to conceive the other as very worthless and incompetent, and to repeat this conviction often and emphatically’ (Der Mensch, ii. 235).  It is easy for us to dot the i and cross the t here; less easy perhaps to realize that what troubled von Baer was the persistence of British and American ethnologists in the polygenist heresy, which he traced (and rightly) to their reluctance to treat their ‘black brother’ as if he were their relative at all.  Judgement in that ethnological controversy went by default, with the victory of the North in the American Civil War; and in 1871 the lion lay down with the lamb, even in London; inveterate foes in the Ethnological Society and the Anthropological merging their fate in one Anthropological Institute.  In 1915 the reluctance of the ’tall fair people who come from the north’—­I borrow a phrase from Professor Ridgeway—­to fraternize with mere brunettes, beyond Rhine and Danube, comes in its turn before the same tribunal as polygenism in 1862.

Our subject, ‘Unity in Prehistoric Times’, embraces three main topics:  (1) the unity of human effort and reason everywhere in Man’s struggle with Nature and with his Fellow-man; (2) the special conditions which favoured or hindered unity of prehistoric culture in what has been called elsewhere the ‘north-west quadrant’ of the Old-World land-mass west of Ararat and the Median hills and north of Sahara, the cradle and nursery of the modern ‘western world’; and (3) the convergent lines of advancement within that region, which can be traced through the centuries before Roman policy let Greek culture penetrate almost as deep into peninsular Europe as Alexander’s conquests had opened to it the inlands of the Near East.

When we speak of unity in human affairs, and particularly just now, when the supreme unity seems to some to be nationalism, and to others the negation, or rather the supersession of nationalism, we mean the rather complex outcome of several distinct things.  This complexity was confessed, unwittingly perhaps, in the first humanist creed:  ’I believe in one Blood, one Speech, one Cult, one congruous Way of Living.’[2] Modern ethnology, indeed, tends to subsume cult under way-of-living, as a peculiarly delicate test of conformity—­and to regard language, alongside of both cult and way-of-living, as another manifestation of the same human reason; distinguishing therefore two kinds of unity—­one physical or morphological, as of one animal species in an animal kingdom, the other cultural or psychological, as of the sole incarnate occupant of a realm of mind; and classifying the ‘Science of Man’ accordingly.  But, in essentials, that Athenian creed will serve:  our latest ethnologists, and statesmen too, are faced with the same league of problems.

THE UNITY OF MANKIND AS AN ANIMAL SPECIES

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