What follows is a remarkable passage that reveals an early prototype of primitive humanity that yet may linger in us, raw and unregenerate.
Animal in the herd
An animal in the instinctive herd
Pushed by life impulses, forced by common needs,
Each in his own kind saw his ego’s glass;
All served the aim and action of the pack.
This humanity lives with the herd-mentality, obeying the impulse of the crowd and the instinctive need of the moment. It recognises those like its own and comes together even as a pack of wolves join to attack and feast upon a common prey.
Parts of his life
Those like himself, by blood or custom kin,
To him were parts of his life, his adjunct selves,
His personal nebula’s constituent stars,
Satellite companions of his solar I.
Its sense of brotherhood is limited to its own type. Tied to those with common customs and bonds of birth it lives by the ego and for the ego. The stronger and larger ego sits here on the central throne ruling and commanding obedience and subservience of lesser egos as if they were his dependent satellites.
Huddled human mass
A master of his life’s environment,
A leader of a huddled human mass
Herding for safety on a dangerous earth,
He gathered them round him as if minor Powers
To make a common front against the world,
Or, weak and sole on an indifferent earth,
As a fortress for his undefended heart,
Or else to heal his body’s loneliness.
Even as animals live in groups to mate and safeguard themselves so does this animal-humanity lords over as master of the little patch of grass around him and leads his tribes to form a wall of safety around him. Or else weak and desolate it roams about seeking a mate to heal his loneliness.
Others than his kind
In others than his kind he sensed a foe,
An alien unlike force to shun and fear,
A stranger and adversary to hate and slay.
Those who are unlike him in custom and tradition are regarded as enemies who must be hated or killed, shunned or be afraid of.
Or he lived as lives the solitary brute;
At war with all he bore his single fate.
Or he lives as a solitary brute at war with all.
Absorbed in the present
Absorbed in the present act, the fleeting days,
None thought to look beyond the hour’s gains,
Or dreamed to make this earth a fairer world,
Or felt some touch divine surprise his heart.
Absorbed in the moment’s flux and the present action driving them they hardly looked beyond their immediate selfish gains, nor dreamed of a better, a happier and diviner state for oneself and the earth.
The gladness that the fugitive moment gave,
The desire grasped, the bliss, the experience won,
Movement and speed and strength were joy enough
And bodily longings shared and quarrel and play,
And tears and laughter and the need called love.
Identified with the bodily self, moved solely by the impulsion of desires that give momentary thrill and passing joy in speed and movement and brute strength, they lived their life. Their play and quarrel and tears and laughter and love were all centered around the bodily longings which was all that they knew or longed to know.
Ignorance of the Self
In war and clasp these life-wants joined the All-Life,
Wrestlings of a divided unity
Inflicting mutual grief and happiness
In ignorance of the Self for ever one.
The only oneness they knew is the oneness of the amorphous mass. Thus they lived together in grief and joy, in wrestle and in clasp, oblivious of any deeper Self.
It is a humanity driven by the herd instinct. Tribe and clan is all they know and the bodily self which is for them only true reality for which one lives and dies.