13 | MP introduction

judice, or lead to the invention of some new toy. It is a mis-
fortune that many developments of scientific thought compell us
to think less and less of ourselves. With Copernicus, our planet
lost its privileged position in the centre of the universe. In
the course of subsequent astronomical research we found our stat-
ure steadily reduced until at present we appear to be no more than,
say, a colony of microscopic infusoria sitting on top of a pebble
in the Atlantic Ocean.

In the 19th century, some philosophers believed that this dis-
mal picture was offset by the splendour of the human mind which
lifted man far above the rest of creation. Alas, this illusion was
dispelled as soon as, from 1900 onwards, our mind was subjected
to scientific treatment. The results went far to encourage the
virtues of modesty and humility. It appeared that our destiny,
that our thoughts, emotions and actions were shaped for us to an
overwhelming extent by heredity, glands, instincts, complexes,
shocks, external environment and upbringing, in short, by factors
of which the high minded were slightly ashamed, and for which
they could not take much credit. "Shall the axe boast itself a-
gainst him that heweth therewith? Or shall the saw magnify itself
against him that shaketh it?"

Social psychology adds to the insult. Here we are expected to
perform the feat of, as it were, looking down upon ourselves
from a high mountain or an airplane, swarming hither and thither,
each one of us not himself, but one among many. It is not easy
to make friends with social groups. We do not easily contemplate
with equanimity how we are forced into a passive role, how our
will and choice weigh little against the impersonal social forces