chapter
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Preface

My aim is to suggest a philosophy of politics based upon the belief that impulse has more effect than conscious purpose in moulding men's lives. Most impulses may be divided into two groups, the possessive and the creative, according as they aim at acquiring or retaining something that cannot be shared, or at bringing into the world some valuable thing, such as knowledge or art or goodwill, in which there is no private property. I consider the best life that which is most built on creative impulses, and the worst that which is most inspired by love of possession. Political institutions have a very great influence upon the dispositions of men and women, and should be such as to promote creativeness at the expense of possessiveness. The State, war, and property are the chief political embodiments of the possessive impulses; education, marriage, and religion ought to embody the creative impulses, though at present they do so very inadequately. Liberation of creativeness ought to be the principle of reform both in politics and in economics. It is this conviction which has led to the writing of these lectures.