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Individual and Social Progress. (Lecture. 1904.)

Nature cares nothing for the individual. The most that nature will do is to preserve the species. To preserve himself, the individual is constantly at war with nature. There is no large progress of the individual or of society by the aid of nature only. Nature brings about progress, but at an awful cost.

The chief factor in the progress of the individual and society is the psychic factor. Justice, mercy, kindness, these are human elements. Man with his power to think and will to do, has revolutionized the world.

The chief motive power in man is his desires- his hopes for happiness. Desire leads him right or wrong. In the awakening of noble desires lies the progress of mankind. The intellect can direct the work, but the desire is the determining element. The desire for discovery, the desire for liberty, the desire to free the slave, the desire to be something and to do something- what have these not accomplished? Train the intellect all you can, but make the main object of life to increase the noble desires. Get your powers into relation with the world you live in. Change your environment where it needs change. . Reverence the human as a thought of the divine. Progress will then be the natural outcome of your living.

Source:Newton, Roy, editor. Life and Works of Woodbridge N. Ferris. (Big Rapids, Michigan: n.p., 1960), 225.