University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume IV (1876-1877)

Simmons, H. M.
Mr. Spencer's social anatomy,   pp. [56]-61 PDF (1.9 MB)

Page [56]

                    By H. M. SIMMONS, of KenoEha.
  The ancient and hackneyed simile comparing social to animal
structure, at length assumes scientific form in Herbert Spencer's
last volume (" Principles of Sociology."). His comparison
is very
ingenious.  Individuals are the cells of the social structure;
although not in physical contact like animal cells, still through
language and various influences they become virtually in contact.
The earliest social organizations are small and loose groups where
each individual retains a large measure of independence; like a
cluster of vorticellae or a sponge, where each cell retains its sep-
arate life. But with advancing society the organizations grow
larger, population like animal tissue grows denser, and the-indi-
vidual like the cell becomes more dependent on the aggregate, as
the differentiation of structure and function advances. A savage
tribe, like a rhizopod, is homogeneous, each part serving for any kind
of work at demand. But with advance society separates into
classes, with increasing division of labor, just as rising animal
structure shows its increase of organs.
  The first differentiation in Mr. Spencer's analysis is between out-
side and inside.  In the animal, outside hardens and assumes
organs of defense and attack, while inside becomes stomach and
varied alimentary system.  So society separates into an outer
class.of masters, warriors, and rulers for protection, and an inner
class of slaves and laborers for procuring and preparing sustenance.
Between inside and outside must be another svstem to distribute
the sustenance when prepared. This becomes circulation in the
animal and commerce in the state. Finally in the outer layer of

Go up to Top of Page