ALTERING HUMAN NATURE.
Maoriland Worker, Volume 10, Issue 425, 30 April 1919, Page 2
ALTERING HUMAN NATURE.
By WALTER GREIG.
"You must alter human nature," says my friend Tomkins, who sometimes graciously listens to my outbursts against the present Botdid, sorry soheme of things. Tomklns is not a man who could be described as a beggar to think, but he sometlm.es says the right thing, the true thing, and 1 have pleasure in agreeing with him. Of course, Tomkins, like most of his tribe, whose views of life are ready made, does not agree with mc that the world is all wrong and needs mending. "Ah." he says, "you confounded red-raggers, you want to change everything! What's the matter with the world? It's good enough for mc. Why don't you leave it alone?" I am obliged to let Tomkins Jcnpw tbat. irt'y revolutionary zeal is in my blood.- I tell him I am a reinoarnated i sansculotte, and find the blessed op-1 eration known as evolution much too slew. I cannot help having been born impatient, and the fact that my mother had to wait till 1 was born (as my dad used to tell mc) does not make mc patient. I long to give evolution a shove from behind. Tomkins looks a bit scared at times when .1 talk like that. He knows that Xam a gentle man, soft of speech, and one that, albeit a lion in his wrath, would not willingly tread upon a worm; and he looks at mc with eyes of pained surprise and says: "Ah—er—you're a puzzle; I give you up." I reciprocate Tomkins feeling towards mc. He often does things I cannot understand there seems to be no reason for them. I am forced to the conclusion that Tomkins does them to please his wife. Poor Tomkins! Well, Tomkins has no capacity for thinking, but 1 get much joy out of him on that account. Still, he. was right about human nature. It is not yet perfect. And the Socialist, if he be wise, will say at once: "Yes, .we must alter human nature. It is a big contract, but we mean to do it." Of course, the funny thing about Tomkins and chaps like him, who are not philosophers, is that they think they have disposed of the revolutionary reformer when they come out with their little cry, "You must alter human nature." This is not the case, of course, as I will proceed to show. I was once dining, during a temporary period of prosperity, in the early days of my colonial experience, in a fashionable restaurant in the Empire City. A- Maori gentleman came in, took a seat, perused the menu or bill-of-fare through his pince-nez or pinch-beak, and ordered dinner. This brother man spoke perfect English; his manners were charming; he was a model of propriety, ease and elegance. Not one member of the Talking Shop could have outshone him as an orator and gentleman. In the brave days of old he had been a Maori warrior, fierce and savage, but with the code of honor of the Maoris (one that can stand comparison vei'y well with the British ditto ditto). He had clubbed his foes to death with hm mere. He had sucked the marrow from the bones of his enemies. He had heard his exploits recited in the poetic language of his race as his tribe sat round the camp fire at night, and chanted the deeds of the j brave in battle!" He never had any trouble with his conscience all the time he remained uncivilised.
Yet here he was before my eyes, clothed in spotless linen, with the frock-coat and top-hat of civilisation, and all the accessories of fashion. He was, in all probability, an anti-Socialist, and condemned Socialists on the ground that the -Maoris were communists> and had remained savages till that redoubtable individualist, John Bull, came to teach him the use of guns and giri, and-the advantages of private property in. land. Be that as it may, friend Tomkins, the fact is that our Maori brother's nature had changed. Why, here was a brother man, who used to eat human flesh, changed before our eyes, while we waited, as it were, from a strongsmelling but noble savage into a perfumed, courteous, all-but-British gentleman of the twentieth century. All