An immortal craving prompts humanity to reach out toward the attainment of freedom in manifold channels—religious, political, social, industrial. No material object of pursuit, however, is capable of satisfying man's highest needs. Material boundaries, like the horizon-line of vision, merely mark the limits of human desires and ambitions for the time being, and steadily recede before the advancing footsteps of civilization. Each successive epoch in the progress of mankind has its peculiar problems. In the present period of rapidly maturing ideals and enterprises, two well defined currents are setting in opposite directions on the surface of affairs. The claim of the individual to the right to think and act in the manner that appeals to him as most fitting, is met by the counter-claim that combinations of individuals in various capacities or the organized body of society ought to control individual interests.

The growing complexity of modern civilization, the intricacy of the machinery of intercourse and exchange, the many-sidedness of public obligations and responsibilities, tend to infringe on the rights of the individual and curtail the free exercise of his capacities. It is not so much the ultimate outcome of the rapidly developing industrial tendencies of the period that concerns us at present, as it is the attitude we ought to maintain in the midst of the seemingly uncertain and threatening conditions which grow out of this unsettled state of affairs. Where is the line to be drawn between the duty of the individual to be a law unto himself and the obligation he owes to society as a governing body? In many cases it is impossible to decide rightly from a merely human view of the situation; the factors are too complicated to be analyzed and weighed in the balance of human judgment.

October 1, 1910

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