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Psychology of Peoples: Its Influence on Their Evolution

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By: (1841-1931)

"It is barely a century and a half ago that certain philosophers, who, it should be remarked, were very ignorant of the primitive history of man, of the variations of his mental constitution and of the laws of heredity, propounded the idea of the equality of individuals and races... It is in the name of this idea that socialism, which seems destined to enslave before long the majority of Western peoples, pretends to ensure their welfare... The object of this work is to describe the psychological characteristics which constitute the soul of races, and to show how the history of a people and its civilisation are determined by these characteristics... We shall then examine whether the elements composing a civilisation, its arts, its institutions, its beliefs, are not direct manifestations of the soul of races, and whether in consequence, it is not impossible that they should pass from one people to another. We shall conclude by attempting to determine what are the necessities under the influence of which civilisations decay and die out." - extracts from the Introduction. Also, "...The author's central thesis is that chance, environment and institutions play but secondary parts in the history of a people. Character is the important thing. This character - a people's morality and conduct - is determined mainly by its ancestry. After character, ideas, and particularly religious ideas are the most important factors in the evolution of a civilisation. The possession of a small number of highly developed minds is what differentiates a superior from an inferior race." - Mind a Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy. Edited by G. F. Stout. The Aberdeen University Press. Vol. VIII.-1899. p. 122-23. - Summary by Oxenhandler

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