Read CROWDS AND MACHINES - CHAPTER IX of Crowds A Moving-Picture of Democracy, free online book, by Gerald Stanley Lee, on


I would like to propose, as a basis for the judgment of men and events, and as a basis for forecasting the next men and next events, and arriving at a vision of action, a Theory of the World.

Every man has one.

Every man one knows can be seen doing his work in this world on a great background, a kind of panorama or stage setting in his mind, made up of history and books, newspapers, people, and experiences, which might be called his Theory of the World.

It is his theory of the world which makes him what he is-his personal judgment or personal interpretation of what the world is like, and what works in it, and what does not work.

A man’s theory as to why people do or do not do wrong is not a theory he might in some brief disinterested moment, possibly at luncheon, take time to discuss.  His theory of what is wrong and of what is right, and of how they work, touches the efficiency with which he works intimately and permanently at every point every minute of his business day.

If he does not know, in the middle of his business day, what his theory of the world-of human nature-is, let him stop and find out.

A man’s theory of the world is the skylight or manhole over his work.  It becomes his hell or heaven-his day and night.  He breathes his theory of the world and breathes his idea of the people in it; and everything he does may be made or may be marred by what, for instance, he thinks in the long-run about what I am saying now on this next page.  Whether he is writing for people, or doing business with them over a counter, or launching books at them, everything he does will be steeped in what he believes about what I am saying now-it shall be the colour of the world to him, the sound or timbre of his voice-what he thinks or can make up his mind to think, of what I am saying-on this next page.