The Social Organization

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THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION
The late Professor Fiske, in his Outline of Cosmic Philosophy, made a very interesting remark about societies like those of China, ancient Egypt, and ancient Assyria. "I am expressing," he said, "something more than an analogy, I am describing a real homology so far as concerns the process of development,--when I say that these

communities simulated modern European nations, much in the same way that a tree-fern of the carboniferous period simulated the exogenous trees of the present time." So far as this is true of China, it is likewise true of Japan. The constitution of the old Japanese society was no more than an amplification of the constitution of the family,--the patriarchal family of primitive times. All modern Western societies have been developed out of a like patriarchal condition: the early civilizations of Greece and Rome were similarly constructed, upon a lesser scale. But the patriarchal family in Europe was disintegrated thousands of years ago; the gens and the curia dissolved and disappeared; the originally distinct classes became fused together; and a total reorganization of society was gradually [230] effected, everywhere resulting in the substitution of voluntary for compulsory cooperation. Industrial types of society developed; and a state-religion overshadowed the ancient and exclusive local cults. But society in Japan never, till within the present era, became one coherent body, never developed beyond the clan-stage. It remained a loose agglomerate of clan-groups, or tribes, each religiously and administratively independent of the rest; and this huge agglomerate was kept together, not by voluntary cooperation, but by strong compulsion. Down to the period of Meiji, and even for some time afterward, it was liable to split and fall asunder at any moment that the central coercive power showed signs of weakness. We may call it a feudalism; but it resembled European feudalism only as a tree-fern resembles a tree....
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