« PreviousContinue »
unaccustomed to dealing with chaotic assemblages-indeed, it is his business to classify facts by their relations, to reduce these to principles, and thus to bring order out of chaos. Now in seeking to classify so vast an array of facts as that presented by human Asia, it were well to profit by the widest possible range of experience, by the wisdom of the ages as well as by the methods of modern science; and this is made fairly easy and safe by the nearly uniform ways in which the minds (and the tongues) of men respond to the stimulus of the unknown-for every language has its spontaneous interrogatives arising in natural order, whereby child and sage alike seek ever to enlarge their store of knowledge.
What (or who)? Where? How? Whence (and whither)? Why? These are the normal interrogatives of our vigorous language; they may be translated into other tongues so widely as to prove that they express spontaneous impulses of inquiring minds-indeed, they are thought - mates to demonstratives of voice or gesture shared by all higher animals; and their order is fairly uniform from prattling childhood to old age, and from savagery to enlightenment. Science finds guidance and strength in the unreckoned experience embodied in these nature-questions, yet reciprocates in full measure by defining the questions more clearly and fixing their order on a rational basis; and it is through this wedlock between common sense and practical science that the chaos of Asian facts may perhaps become understand able.
THE RACES OF ASIA
What are the peoples of Asia? Time was when this inquiry would have been met by a list of the races occupying the great continent, defined by the standards of the day; and the enumeration might have ranged from two to a score or more, according to the definitions of
the particular doctor thus opening the door to disagreement. Of late less attention is given to racial distinctions: The European in Asia (whether as adventuring cyclist or pomp-girt viceroy) is far less concerned with the racial affinities of the villagers than with their laws of hospitality or exclusion, their customs of eating and lodging; Dr. Talcott Williams touches race questions but lightly on his way to the far weightier questions of intertribal traffic and international commerce; Mr. Barrett passes easily from the practically immaterial race-bonds of the Far East to the vital relations arising in industries, and the potent influences founded on faith; Professor Morse Stephens properly points to the racial bases of rank and caste in Indian society, but justly insists on the dominant importance of the economic factor by which the social lines have been maintained for centuries or millenniums; and Professor Grosvenor summarizes Siberian history as a series of industrial and political stages each deeper and broader than the last, and all rising successively higher and higher above the bonds and barriers of racial affinity. These instances are merely straws indicating the drift of thought; they might be multiplied indefinitely; and all point toward the growing mass of current opinion that there are other factors of humanity of an importance transcending ethnic features and affinities. the Continent of continents cannot be comprehended in its fulness without some note of the indigenous races; and with a single exception the races of Asia are practically those of the world.
Passing over the multitude of minor details of fact and opinion, the peoples of the world may be assigned to five groups or divisions, conveniently termed races. These may be recapitulated as (1) the Caucasian or white race, indigenous in western Asia, transplanted to all parts of Europe, and now replanted in every land; (2) the Malayan or brown
race, pertaining chiefly to southern Asia; (3) the Mongolian or yellow race, of eastern and northern Asia; (4) the African or black race, pertaining chiefly to central and southern Africa, but represented by the Negrito of southeastern Asia, the Blackfellow of Australia, etc.; and (5) the Amerind or red race, indigenous to the western hemisphere, but represented in northeastern Asia by immigrant Eskimo from across Bering Strait. It is not to be supposed that these groups are so trenchantly defined as to permit the confident assignment of every people to one or another of them; neither is it to be supposed that they indicate in any adequate way the origin and distribution of mankind over the earth; primarily they stand merely for a series of types or ideals about which peoples may be arranged conveniently, with more or less uncertainty concerning those of intermediate characters. At the same time the classification has the merit of expressing, albeit vaguely, an obscure and unmeasured attribute of humanity, which may be designated race-sense and defined as that instinctive sentiment holding unlike peoples apart and drawing like peoples into ever closer unity of character and purpose. Apparently the time has gone by for far-reaching classifications of mankind by so-called race-characters; the fact that the doctors disagree so widely is in itself an indication that there is something radically wrong with the system; yet the race-sense of primitive folk, with its feebler vestiges among even the most altruistic and philanthropic of mankind, is a factor with which the student must reckon, a trustworthy pointer toward some natural law.
CULTURE-STAGES OF ASIA
In view of the overwhelming and evergrowing opinion that there are weightier factors of humanity than racial affinities, it behooves the student of human Asia
to find some better way of classifying and describing the vast and variegated population of the great continent. Fortunately, such a way is at hand; it was developed through researches among the aborigines of America, mainly by Powell, and forms the basis of what has been called the New Ethnology-a science differing from its prototype in that it deals with men as human beings rather than animals, defining them by what they do rather than by what they merely The classification is based on culture, using this term in a sense so broad as to include all that mankind know, all that mankind do.
Now when the multifarious facts of knowing and doing are first assembled and then assorted by similarity, certain. kinds of knowledge and actions (or of activities, if a single term be used to denote both knowing and doing) are recognized, namely, (1) knowledge and actions pertaining to the arts, or esthetic activities; (2) knowledge and actions pertaining to industries; (3) knowledge and conduct connected with convention or law, and collectively constituting the social activities; (4) knowledge and practices involved in speech and writing; and (5) opinions and observances connected with faith and philosophy, or sophic activities. So, in brief, all that men know and do (and hence what in active sense they are in the visible economy of the cosmos) may be summed as pertaining respectively to arts, industries, laws, languages, and systems of faith or opinion. Furthermore, when the numberless facts pertaining to each great activity are assorted by similarity, they are found to reveal phases which are fairly consistent among the several activities of each people, yet more or less diverse among different peoples; and by these phases of culture the peoples of any continent, or of all, may be classified more usefully than by racial affinities-for the culture-phase is the real index to what the people think and
do, to their attitude toward one another and toward other peoples. These culture-phases have the additional and immeasurably great advantage of indicating stages of development-but of that
Now the coincidence between culture and the activities (or the harmony between what men know and what men do) is so close that the culture-phases may be outlined in terms of arts, industries, and the other activities, either separately or jointly; and it is convenient and customary to define the phases in terms of law, or social organization, with due reference to the attendant faiths for it is to be remembered that only a fraction of mankind have dissevered civil from ecclesiastical law, statute from commandment, justice from faith. Defined in this way, culture begins in that obscure phase shared by men and such animals as most nearly approach the plane of human thought and conduct (like the Bandar-log of Kipling); and this indefinite condition is followed by the well-established phases of (1) savagery, in which the sole law is the social one of maternal blood-kinship accompanied by a profound animism-i. e., faith in a vague pantheon of beast-gods; (2) barbarism, in which the laws are chiefly social, in which society is based on real or assumed consanguinity traced through the paternal line, and in which sun, fire, and other impressive nature-objects are personified, either as beasts or as men, and added to the pantheon; (3) civilization, in which the laws relate primarily to territorial and other proprietary rights, while the beliefs are more or less completely spiritualized, the civil and ecclesiastical functions more or less completely divorced; and (4) enlightenment, in which the law is based on the right of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and in which faith works as a moral force. The first two of these phases represent
tribal law, the last two national law; and it is especially noteworthy that throughout all tribal culture the law is dominated by faith, while in national culture faith is blent with, or controlled by, the principles of justice and right established by experience.
Classified by culture-phases, human Asia loses nothing of her supremacy among the continents save at a single point; three of the great classes are represented among her peoples, two of them (barbarism and civilization) more numerously if not more typically than elsewhere on earth; she lacks only indigenous enlightenment-that broadest phase of culture which all the world awaited until it budded in Switzerland and blossomed in America.
PEOPLES OF ASIA
In the light of this classification the first large question as to the peoples of Asia is easily answered: They comprise an assemblage, with more or less intermixture, of all the world's races; they comprise a few tribes of lowly savages still clad in leaves, still fearing and worshiping beastly associates, still clinging to the beastly diet of raw fruit and flesh, still dreading contact with alien. men and broader culture; they comprise also the world's best and largest examples of barbaric life, from its poorest squalor to its richest pomp and circumstance; and they comprise subjects of monarchical nations of nearly every known type from pettiest principality to most resplendent empire.
In the light of the same classification it would be a simple task to answer together the second and the third great questions as to human Asia-i. e., Where are the peoples? How do these peoples live, move, and have being? But such is the vastitude of the queenly continent, the magnitude of her population, the multitude of her tribal and national divisions, that the full answer would in
evitably reduce itself either to a mass of statistics, or to a catalogue of facts summarized in every encyclopedia, even in scores of school geographies-the facts are literally, in the phrase of the auctioneer's bill, "too numerous to mention." Yet facts of object, place, and agency too many for statement but form a chaos which all scientists of recent years concur in reducing—or at least in seeking to reduce to the order suggested by the fourth nature-question, Whence? And this inquiry is answered by a statement of the facts in terms of genesis, growth, evolution, or (to use the broadest term of all) development. The genesis of the primeval Asian is indeed. lost in the haze of prehistoric antiquity, or even worse enshrouded in the mists of myth-burdened tradition; yet the sciences of geology and archeology and ethnology, on the one hand, and critical history interpreted in their light on the other hand, combine to illumine in some degree the obscure problems of early man. So, too, the chains of developmental succession among the races and peoples, tribes and nations, of the great continent are regrettably incomplete; many links are lacking even from the longest, while some are too short to give good ground for confidence concerning their invisible portions; yet all are sufficiently consistent in trend, and so far accordant in direction with those found in other lands and among other peoples, as to render them worthy of tracing.
A BIRTHPLACE OF MANKIND
Most, or all, of the leading naturalists and anthropologists of the day agree fairly as to a probable birthplace of Homo sapiens. Ernst Haeckel, the foremost German naturalist of his generation, assumed that the human species originated in a now submerged region between India and northern Africa, known as Lemuria, the land of the lemur; Brinton, recognizing the vestiges of
mountain life in the morning of humanity, looked to the upland zone stretching from the Alps to the Himalayas, and especially to the western part of this belt, as the home of man primeval; Keane finds suggestions of four birthplaces for so many widely distinct race-stocks, but locates all in the same quarter of the globe; while other students, impressed by the evidence of lowest savagery that primeval man must have been both arborean and orarianboth forest-dweller and shore-dwellerand impressed also by the archeologic evidences of antiquity in southern Asia, have regarded the shores of Indian Ocean with its affluent bays as the region of earliest human development. Within a few years these inferences have been strikingly corroborated by the discovery of the long-mooted "missing link," Pithecanthropus erectus-upright monkey-man-in late Pliocene deposits of Java by Eugène Du Bois. This discovery was of prime importance to the scientific world, and especially to the student of Asia, on various accounts; in the first place, the bones are more nearly intermediate between those of Homo and those of the higher subhuman anthropoids than any skeleton known before; in the second place, the geographic position of the fossil serves at once to verify previous inferences and to locate more clearly than any (or indeed all) other evidence the home of a human prototype; while, in the third. place, the deposits in which the remains were found afford the most trustworthy record of the geologic age of a Homolike creature thus far obtained.*
So the Pithecanthropus erectus of Du Bois gives the starting point for the tracing of human development on the Continent of continents; the testimony of the fossil is supported by other scien
*The most accessible and satisfactory account of this fossil may be found in the Smithsonian Report for 1898, pp. 445-459, pls. I–III, figs. 1-4.
tific evidence already written in entire volumes; and when interpreted in the light of known human development, it is in significant harmony with the world's oldest lore and earliest literature-for it marks the quarter of the earth glorified as the place of creation in the traditions of the Far East, in the Sacred Books of the East, in Hellenic mythology, in the more mystical portions of the Koran, as well as in our own Classic of the Ages, and in the belief of most of humanity. The prevailing faith of mankind is not, indeed, of a kind with the testimony of rocks and fossils; yet the dusty evidence is enlivened by its harmony with the essence of knowledge summed in the coincident traditions of many peoples.
COURSE OF HUMAN PROGRESS
In tracing the obscure trails of early human development, it were well to avoid a notion instinctive to all mankind, fostered by hero-worship and honorable regard for worthy grandsires, kept alive by the unassailable doctrines of biology, and adopted by every anthropologist at the outset of his career (and dropped only by part of them as their studies progress)—i. e., the notion that the human genus necessarily sprang from a single parentage, necessarily arose in a single place. The fact that the genealogic tree of the biologist is the antithesis, or reverse, of that of the genealogist, receives too little attention the one begins with a known or assumed primordial form, and divaricates and diverges forward in time to a diversified progeny; while the other begins with a certain descendant, and bifurcates and expands backward in time to a diversified ancestry. Now the dominant fact of anthropology-the fact attested by every experience and denied by no observation-is well illustrated by the tree of human genealogy; it is the
constant convergence of developmental lines, whereby families are united in clans, clans blent into tribes, tribes joined in confederacies, racial lines obliterated, cities assimilated in states, and states combined in nations. The great fact brought out by the Science of Man is that human stocks, whether of blood or belief, language or industries, are not originating, have not originated since history began, and are steadily blending, running together into that great magma of humanity already encircling the globe and surely pushing into the most distant corners of the remotest lands. How many were the original races no man may say; Keane estimates four primary race-stocks, but this number might be multiplied, probably many times, without violence to any known fact or direct generalization in the entire domain of the Science of Man. The Gordian entanglement of innate notion, biologic doctrine, and anthropologic observation may not readily be undone; it suffices to sound a warning against the besetting hypothesis of monogenesis, and note the greater probability that, just as the inhabitants of India are not a people but many peoples, so the ancestry of human Asia is to be traced not so much to man primeval as to many men primeval scattered in separate colonies along her fertile and fruitful southern shores during the geologically near, but historically remote, period of the later Pliocene.
Beginning with the Pithecanthropus colony and a dozen or a score others, and assuming that the habits of the prototype stood midway between those of the higher anthropoids and surviving sav ages, various glimpses of the inevitable. lines of development may be caught. At first the colonies were clans or enlarged families, something like those of the gorilla, more like those of the Australian Blackfellow and the American Red man, each antagonistic to all others;