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a tree not twenty feet from my own window and on a level with my eye, so that I have been able to see what was going on at all hours of the day. In each case the nest was made well and rapidly up to a certain point, and then got top-heavy and tumbled over, so that little was left on the tree: it was reconstructed and reconstructed over and over again, always with the same result, till at last in all three cases the birds gave up in despair. I believe the older and stronger birds secure the fixed and best sites, driving the younger birds to the trees, and that the art of building nests in trees is dying out among house-sparrows.
He declares that instinct is not due to organisation so much as organisation to instinct.1 The fact is, that neither can claim precedence of or pre-eminence over the other. Instinct and organisation are only mind and body, or mind and matter; and these are not two separable things, but one and inseparable, with, as it were, two sides, the one of which is a function of the other. There was never yet either matter without mind, however low, nor mind, however high, without a material
1 Page 155 of this vol
body of some sort; there can be no change in one without a corresponding change in the other; neither came before the other; neither can either cease to change or cease to be; for "to be" is to continue changing, so that "to be" and "to change" are one.
Whence, he asks, comes the desire to gratify an instinct before experience of the pleasure that will ensue on gratification? This is a pertinent question, but it is met by Professor Hering with the answer that this is due to memory—to the continuation in the germ of vibrations that were vibrating in the body of the parent, and which, when stimulated by vibrations of a suitable rhythm, become more and more powerful till they suffice to set the body in visible action. For my own part I only venture to maintain that it is due to memory, that is to say, to an enduring sense on the part of the germ of the action it took when in the persons of its ancestors, and of the gratification which ensued thereon. This meets Von Hartmann's whole difficulty.
The glacier is not snow. It is snow packed tight into a small compass, and has thus lost all
t trace of its original form. How incomplete, however, would be any theory of glacial action which left out of sight the origin of the glacier in snow! Von Hartmann loses sight of the origin of instinctive in deliberative actions because the two classes of action are now in many respects different. His philosophy of the unconscious fails to consider what is the normal process by means of which such common actions as we can watch, and whose history we can follow, have come to be done unconsciously.
He says,1 " How inconceivable is the supposition of a mechanism, &c, &c.; how clear and simple, on the other hand, is the view that there is an unconscious purpose constraining the volition of the bird to the use of the fitting means." Does he mean that there is an actual thing—an unconscious purpose—something outside the bird, as it were a man, which lays hold of the bird and makes it do this or that, as a master makes a servant do his bidding? If so, he again personifies the purpose itself, and must therefore embody it, or be talking in a manner which plain people cannot understand.
1 Page 151 of this vol.
If, on the other hand, he means "how simple is the view that the bird acts unconsciously," this is not more simple than supposing it to act consciously; and what ground has he for supposing that the bird is unconscious? It is as simple, and as much in accordance with the facts, to suppose that the bird feels the air to be colder, and knows that she must warm her eggs if she is to hatch them, as consciously as a mother knows that she must not expose her new-born infant to the cold.
On page 154 of this book we find Von Hartmann saying that if it is once granted that the normal and abnormal manifestations of instinct spring from a single source, then the objection that the modification is due to conscious knowledge will be found to be a suicidal one later on, in so far as it is directed against instinct generally. I understand him to mean that if we admit instinctive action, and the modifications of that action which more nearly resemble results of reason, to be actions of the same ultimate kind differing in degree only, and if we thus attempt to reduce instinctive action to the prophetic strain arising from old experience, we shall be obliged to admit that the formation of the embryo is ultimately due to reflection— which he seems to think is a reductio ad absurdum of the argument.
Therefore, he concludes, if there is to be only one source, the source must be unconscious, and not conscious. We reply, that we do not see the absurdity of the position which we grant we have been driven to. We hold that the formation of the embryo is ultimately due to reflection and design.
The writer of an article in the Times, April i, 1880, says that servants must be taught their calling before they can practise it; but, in fact, they can only be taught their calling by practising it. So Von Hartmann says animals must feel the pleasure consequent on gratification of an instinct before they can be stimulated to act upon the instinct by a knowledge of the pleasure that will ensue. This sounds logical, but in practice a little performance and a little teaching—a little sense of pleasure and a little connection of that pleasure with this or that practice,—come up simultaneously from something that we cannot see, the two being so small and so much abreast, that we do not know which is first, performance or teaching; and,