The above illustration is typical. And indeed the presence in human experience of this contrast between 'end of self and 'end of desire' is in one sense plain matter of fact. But I think we can see now how its emergence and persistence are conditioned by the very constitution of human nature. It is, at bottom, the old story of the union of animality and rationality in the one being. Were man purely animal, there would be no conception of a 'good of the self as a whole,' of an 'end of the self-as-such.' Were he purely rational, there would be nothing which could effectively oppose itself to the conceived 'good of the self as a whole.' But in the mingling of the two natures lie the conditions of that conflict which is at once the source of human greatness and human degradation. In virtue of his rational or 'self-conscious' being, man formulates to himself an idea of self-satisfaction which is the satisfaction of his self as the recognised common subject of manifold interests or desires: an ideal end which, by contrast with the ends of desire, is the objective counterpart of the unity of the desiring self. In virtue of his 'animal' being, through which he owns a variety of instinctive impulses which are not by nature in any kind of 'pre-established harmony,' he feels himself from time to time powerfully desiring ends which, though recognised as satisfactions of partial aspects of his self, are recognised also as inimical to the satisfaction of the self as a whole. The conflict will manifest itself in an infinitude of forms, determined by diversity of circumstance, of nature, and - perhaps not least - by diversity of success in past volitional control. In some persons, where natural conditions are fortunate, and volitional control has been notably effective, it may well be that the 'end of desire' which opposes itself to the 'end of the self' is actually of a more refined character than that which for the average person constitutes the 'end of the self.' But in some form, and at some level, the conflict pervades all human life. That it should be fully and permanently resolved seems possible only under conditions of a change so cataclysmic that human nature would cease to preserve its identity.
Before passing on to consider the problem of the authority of the end of the self-as-such, as against the end of desire, there is a possible difficulty attaching to certain implications of our present argument which it may be well to clear up. On my view, the emergence of the contrast of the two ends is coeval with the emergence of morality, and is almost as old as human nature itself. But for some theories of the constitution of primitive group life it may seem that this thesis implies on the part of primitive man a more distinct consciousness of his private individuality than actually obtains. Primitive man, it is urged, is more properly conceived as a function of the tribal life than as an 'individual' self. He does not set before himself private policies or projects. The tribal purposes determine his purposes, and tribal success or failure are felt as his success or failure.
But unless the theory is held in an extreme form in which it seems obviously false, there is no real difficulty here for the thesis we are maintaining. That extreme form would consist in a literal acceptance of the phrase 'a function of the tribal life' as applying to primitive man. But it is doubtful if this meaning has ever been seriously intended. The swing of the pendulum in sociological thinking from atomic individualism to organic societism has been violent enough. It has resulted, in my opinion, in an exaggerated emphasis upon the communal factor in primitive groups. But the interpretation of primitive man as just 'a function of the tribal life' involves, if pressed, too gross absurdities to find serious championship. It would involve, for example, that primitive man not only never sins deliberately against the group's interest for a private end, but that he is not even conscious of the possibility of so sinning. And the annals of savage life, even in the most closely knit communities, hardly bear out so wild an hypothesis.
What is certainly true is that primitive man is ordinarily endowed with a far more intense consciousness of his one-ness with the group than civilised man is. Both natural conditions and deliberate artifice contribute, as sociologists have explained, to bring this about. There is no need to try to minimise this unity, for it does not at all demand the hypothesis of members who have no consciousness of separate individuality, in the sense implied by our thesis. All that is required for the emergence of the contrast of 'end of self-as-such' with the 'end of desire' is the capacity to consider 'practical' objects in relation to the satisfaction of the self. And this capacity cannot be denied to primitive man, unless we are going to say that his conduct is not merely in large part (which is true), but all, 'impulsive.' The truth is that the closer community-life of primitive peoples has no effect on the principle of the contrast, but has a very great effect upon the actual terms of the contrast. It will ensure that the 'end of the self-as-such' will have the most intimate relation to tribal welfare, and it will, moreover, give to the end of tribal welfare so powerful an attractive force that it will in very many practical situations be also the 'end of desire.' Hence the relative paucity of anti-social behaviour in primitive communities. The closer the approximation in practice of the end of desire to the end of self-as-such, the less is the need for exerting will-energy, and the more common, accordingly, is conduct which conforms to the standard.