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Success

Condensed from The Scientific Monthly (July, '26)

Professor A. S. Pearse, University of Wisconsin

WHAT every man most desires is to be successful. What puzzles most of humanity is how to do it. Perhaps a glance at biology will throw some light on the problem.

Consider briefly the characteristics of a successful animal-the housefly. What is the secret of its success? Cur enemy, Sir Fly, is keen of sense, agile, versatile. Having his skeleton on the outside and his muscles within, he has done what is the best thing for him-gradually through the ages become small and quick. He escapes with ease from the attacks of sluggish, bulky animals that have bunches of soft muscle on their exteriors and bones within. Among animals of his kind Sir Fly represents the best that has been produced. Mechanically his equipment for struggling shows the highest degree of perfection. He has the "latest models" of wings, eyes, feeding organs, legs, etc.

But this is not all-Sir Fly has kept his versatility. Equipped with all the best types of arthropodan structures, he is not confined to one narrow mode of life. The poor honeybee has put all his eggs in one basket. If he can not find sugar to eat, he is lost. But our enemy, Sir Fly, can eat sugar or meat or fat or any mixture of such foods, and flourish. A bee's egg that is separated from its brood comb and its attentive swarm of nurses duces a little grub that soon perishes. A fly maggot can live on a wide variety of foods and withstand great variations in moisture, temperature and other conditions of environment. There will always be more flies than bees in the world. Sir Fly is a Success... Hence, we have Theorem I in the Biological Book of Success: Successful and progressive plants and animals

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survive in the struggle for existence by being specialized, yet versatile.

There are many who have false standards for success or are satisfied by pseudo-success. For those who say, "Why struggle when it is not necessary? Why not invent something, or write a book and live on the royalties?" I can only answer that there is no greater biological sin than to cease to struggle. It is not wrong to have a billion dollars or a presidency or a title. The unpardonable sin is in saying, "I have enough," or, "I have earned a rest." Biological evidence for this point is to be found in the past and present lives of many animals. Coming from swimming ancestors with eyes and other organs that gave some degree of appreciation of the world, the barnacle today lives attached to rocks along the seashore, safely encapsuled in a stony wall, kicking its legs in the water to capture food. Again, the tapeworm leads a quiet, protected life in the midst of digested food. Indeed, it lacks organs of digestion completely and has no sense organs for finding food, or for recognizing other particular qualities in its surroundings. Tapeworms appear to have descended from ancestors that lived a free life, seeing, seeking, fighting for their place in the world. Theorem II: The degree of ability and appreciation that any living plant or animal possesses is more or less directly proportional to the amount of struggling that the organism has done. Lack of struggling is always associated with degeneracy, with loss of power and of accomplishment and appreciation.

Then there are those who would con.. done deceit. Deception has long standing as a means of existing among animals. Spiders spin delicate webs

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that are overlooked by careless insects. Decorator crabs cover their backs with objects that they select from the sea bottom and thus escape detection. A walking stick is camouflaged in form and color to resemble a twig and puts all its faith in this resemblance. If one of these insects is disturbed, it may hold the same posi. tion for hours (if it moves, it no longer resembles a stick) and will allow its body to be cut in two without giving any sign of life. Such means of securing a living are dangerous, because animals employing them are led to depend more and more on special means, and if deception is covered, the game is up. Prolonged rains may prevent the building and repair of webs, and spiders starve. If a decorator crab falls on a clean sandy bottom, it is discovered and snapped up by some hungry fish; if a wind carries a walking stick away from twigs and stems, it is easily seen. If a shyster lawyer or a quack doctor is found out, the law removes his accustomed means of livelihood. Theorem III: Avoiding the struggle for existence by deception is dangerous because plants or animals that use such methods tend to become dependent on special means and if these are discovered, organisms will be greatly handicapped, or eliminated.

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Another means of struggling is through the cooperation of many individuals. Men, ants, termites and other animals have attained considerable success with this method. It undoubtedly has the advantage of the strength that comes with united effort and the high degree of attainment that is possible through the work of cooperating specialists. In ant colonies structurally different castes are present, which are specialized as workers, soldiers. doorkeepers, etc. Communism, however, tends to reduce all to the same level of mediocrity and makes the development of outstanding individuals more difficult. No two individuals are ever of equal ability and some members of any community do more work than others. Some individuals are so

incompetent that they contribute noth ing and are supported by the community. Furthermore, real social parasites insinuate themselves into communities, where they make no attempt to do anything but make a liv ing for themselves. Some 2000 species of social parasites have been recorded as occurring in ants' nests. In human societies there are always parasitic individuals who shout for cooperation and gain a living from others, but contribute nothing themselves...Theorem IV: Cooperation is one of the best means of attaining success if it does not involve too great sacrifice of individuality or waste effort on social parasites.

If you ask a paleontologist what the usual cause for the dying out of a race of animals was, he will probably answer, "Too much specialization.", The dinosaurs, for example, attained gigantic size, but were unprogressive in other lines of development. The earth environment changes markedly from time to time there have been glacial epochs, humid periods, arid periods, etc. If an animal is highly adapted to peculiar conditions and these change, the animal becomes extinct. Every one knows that in human society too much specialization is unwise. A blacksmith who has made horseshoes ail his life may find it difficult to make a living in his old age because he is ignorant of the ways of repairing automobiles. Theorem V: Specialization is desirable but must not be so narrow that an animal can not take advantage of new types: of opportunities and change activities with changing conditions.

Enough of argument! Now, what is success? The evidence from biology acclaims to the world: "Struggle and improve. It is sinful to be narrow,] lazy, deceitful or blindly cooperative. It is virtuous to be industrious, ambitious, honest and considerate." Prob ably the most important tool for success is eternal trying.. Law: Success is constant improvement. It is also the most important milestone on the road to happiness.

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Is China Being Americanized?

Condensed from The Nation (July 14, '26)

Lewis S. Gannett

N 50 years the great port cities of China will have left hardly a trace of the lovely old Chinese architecture-except in the mission-college buildings and in the few joss temples which will doubtless be preserved to gratify the tourist trade.

Shanghai is a great British city, of solid British masonry; Tientsin is as foreign; even Canton, which has providentially escaped the curse of great foreign settlements, is enormously proud that Chinese have actually built a ten-story building on its Bund without foreign aid; and Canton's new buildings are as foreign to China as any suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, or Birmingham, England. Peking, a capital of politics rather than of commerce, resists the current most effectively.

You can buy Standard Oil kerosene Fin any village in China, and BritishAmerican cigarettes. The great corporations behind those products have in a generation taught the Chinese to change their habits in order to make them buy-the Standard Oil, indeed, used to give away lamps in order to create a market for the strange new fuel. If any third foreign product is on sale in the village it may well be Wrigley's chewing gum.

Architecture and chewing gum are outward symptoms of a profound inner change. Western architecture Is spreading because it is cheaper. Gum and tobacco cost less than opium. Only American church-people can afford painted paneled ceilings and bright tile roofs with gargoyle corner ornaments. The Chinese-like the Europeans, like the whole worldare abandoning old beauties and old customs for cheaper and more efficient models. They are becoming modernized, standardized, Americanized, like Japan. Mystery, leisure,

charm are ebbing; cost accounting is defeating tradition.

The cult of the efficient seems a matter of course to most Westerners and almost all Americans, but to the Chinese it is a revolution. The Chinese has for untold centuries followed tradition and has believed that it was wicked to deviate from it. His young men and young women are beginning to despise custom and tradition; and his middle-aged business men, almost unconsciously, are beginning to ignore it. It was only 40 years ago that the first railroad tracks laid in China were torn up by superstitious officials; today they are an indispensable instrument of civil war, as is the once-despised telegraph. The only opposition to them comes from Westernized Chinese who know how easily international politics slips into an engineering coutract. Once a contract is let, there is no longer much difficulty about arranging to remove the graves that beset all the short cuts. And a wanderer through the black lanes of an old Chinese city may be surprised to discover that the squeaky Chinese music that wails to the night is produced not by a stringed instrument but by a Victor record.

Foreign railroads, manners, oil, and architecture are prevailing because they are more efficient. American wheat, when it costs $1.00 a bushel in Chicago, can be landed in Hankow, 10,000 miles away and 600 miles up the Yangtze from Shanghai, cheaper than it can be brought from Shensi, only 1000 miles away, where it may sell for 25 cents. Railways and steamships make the difference; no wonder they and their products are breaking the crust of old China. Foreign clothes have made less progress because, in cold weather at

least, they are less efficient than the old Chinese robes. Foreign hairdressing including the bob-is

making its way among the women. Curt foreign manners are replacing the leisurely old Chinese courtesy. The streets are being widened, and the intimacy of the old Chinese workshop, opening on a narrow street and aware of all that its neighbors said and did, is disappearing. Foreign machinery is revolutionizing Chinese industry. Foreign ideas-and the railway, taking the young people away from their homes to study and to work-are breaking up the immobile unity of Chinese family life upon which the whole structure of Confucian ethics is based. Boys go away from home to study, and refuse to return to the wives of their parents' choice.

It seems to me that even the nationalism of the student movement today, passionately denouncing foreigners and all their works, is essentially a part of the cult of Western efficiency. This political nationalism has its roots in foreign education and practice. The old Chinese patriotism

-a patriotism profounder than anything known in the West-was cultural rather than political. It was a loyalty to a civilization rather than to a state, conservative rather than aggressive. It was powerless to halt the intrusion of Western men and methods into the political and economic control of China, and was satisfied because the Westerners were so obviously inferior in the refinements of living. These young students are the counterpart of our flapper generation; flaunting their posters and banners, parading by thousands against the unequal treaties, and making soap-box speeches about self-determination, they express contempt for the passivity of their elders and of repeating a lesson learned from abroad. Theirs is not the language of old China but of young Europe. When it defies us most violently young China is most certainly expressing its determination to be like us.

China is so picturesque, so obviously different to the outward eye, that we are tempted to make her out more different from us than she is. I once asked an Asiatic scholar how the East could preserve its essential Orientalism while submitting to industrialization; he replied: "I don't think there is anything peculiarly Oriental and Occidental. There is merely medieval and modern." China has been separated from us through 4000 years of recorded history, and has developed what seems a very different civilization. Yet muchwhich we call "Chinese" or "Oriental" is to be found in our own Middle Ages. When the Chinese have a network of railroads-which will inevitably break up the old village economy and good roads and rapid local transit, other differences will fade and disappear. We may discover our essential likenesses too late. And then the problem, for the Chinese as for us, will be how to re gain those essentially medieval vir tues which China still has and which our restless, mobile, industrialized West has lost.

Meanwhile the process which has reached its apex in bustling, rushing goalless America goes on. There is as yet, no power in China to stop it. The great central force which has maintained China's identity through 50 centuries is her worship of the past, but the mechanical superiority of the present has already proved its power to defy that ancient citadel What happens in the port cities of China today will happen throughout China the day after tomorrow. Th feverish, abnormal life of those citie has a significance out of all propor tion to their share of China's 450, 000,000 people; the rest of China to will adopt the Western-or moder --method of working hectically whil it works, and of playing madly whil it plays; it too will forget th Chinese-or medieval knack combining work and play so tha long hours seem short. The por cities are a hint of China's tomorrow

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A Godfather of Inventors

Condensed from Popular Science Monthly (August, '26)

Archibald Douglas Turnbull

UST a hundred years ago, an inventive genius of vision stood before a small crowd gathered upon a New Jersey lawn. Two concentric wooden rails had been laid down upon the lawn, upon which tood a platform on wheels supportng a boiler and a steam engine. Presently, the crowd heard the crackle of a wood fire; next, their ars caught the sputter of steam. Then-the odd-looking contrivance began to move. The first steam train ever to run upon rails on the American continent was an accomplished act, and the man who built it was Col. John Stevens, of Hoboken.

The crowd stared. Could it after all be true, as John Stevens for years had been insisting, that this was the way to get farm produce to city markets, and this the way, too, to mobilize troops on the country's frontiers in emergency?

At any rate, within the year, the eastern legislatures were besieged for railroad charters.. Within a few years more, axes were slashing out rights of way in an enterprise which has never stopped since. Today, American railroad mileage would belt the world a dozen times. But very inch of shining steel track and very railroad car date back to John Stevens' puffy little affair, first feelng its way gingerly, then working up to five, six, and seven miles an hour. The fight that he had so long made, single-handed, was won that never-to-be-forgotten afternoon of 1826.

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Why should this man have had no more prominent place in American history? Chiefly, perhaps, because of his having inherited a good-sized fortune from his distinguished lather, a fact which lifted him out of that class of gaunt and hungry

eyed inventors whose struggles for recognition have always interested the biographer and the historian.

Yet John Stevens was not only a great inventor, but was, as it were, the godfather of all others in America. As far back as 1789 he petitioned Congress for protection for inventors, in consequence of which the first United States patent laws were passed. And so there has never been an American inventor since who did not owe a debt to John Stevens.

Stevens had cast aside his early training, for the law, forgotten his business career as Revolutionary Treasurer of New Jersey, and gone in, heart and soul, for engineering. Largely, self-taught, by studying every existing authority and every experiment known at the time, he set his face toward devising improvements. He had bought land in Hoboken-practically the whole tract that now forms the city-and here he studied his problems. Very soon he was assisted by two eager sons, Robert, destined to become the nation's leading naval architect, and Edwin, a rare combination of inventor and business man.

Steam engines were just then claiming much attention on both sides of the Atlantic among those who wanted to apply them to navigation. Steam-driven oars, side-wheels, and even "duck-foot" paddles had been tried by different men with varying success. It was left for Stevens to be half a century ahead of his competitors; for it was he who introduced the screw propeller. His single screw came first. With this, built in a form amazingly like the one that is now so familiar, he got some speed, but also bad steering effect. Then it came to him that he could use two screws, turning in op

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