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"After it is born it grows more feathers, and makes its bones larger, and develops a reproductive system. "Again we say it knows nothing about all this. "What then does it know?
"Whatever it does not know so well as to be unconscious of knowing it
"Knowledge dwells upon the confines of uncertainty.
"When we are very certain, we do not know that we know. When we will very strongly, we do not know that we will."
I then began my book, but considering myself still a painter by profession, I gave comparatively little time to writing, and got on but slowly. I left England for North Italy in the middle of May 1876 and returned early in August. It was perhaps thus that I failed to hear of the account of Professor Hering's lecture given by Professor Ray Lankester in Nature, July 13, 1876 ; though, never at that time seeing Nature, I should probably have missed it under any circumstances. On my return I continued slowly writing. By August 1877 I considered that I had to all intents and purposes completed my book. My first proof bears date October 13. 1877.
At this time I had not been able to find that anything like what I was advancing had been said already. I asked many friends, but not one of them knew of anything more than I did; to them, as to me, it seemed an idea so new as to be almost preposterous; but knowing how things turn up after one has written, of the existence of which one had not known before, I was particularly careful to guard against being supposed to claim originality. I neither claimed it nor wished for it; for if a theory has any truth in it, it is almost sure to occur to several people much about the same time, and a reasonable person will look upon his work with great suspicion unless he can confirm it with the support of others who have gone before him. Still I knew of nothing in the least resembling it, and was so afraid of what I was doing, that though I could see no flaw in the argument, nor any loophole for escape from the conclusion it led to, yet I did not dare to put it forward with the seriousness and sobriety with which I should have treated the subject if I had not been in continual fear of a mine being sprung upon me from some unexpected quarter. I am exceedingly glad now that I knew nothing of Professor Hering's lecture, for it is much better that two people should think a thing out as far as they can independently before they become aware of each other's work; but if I had seen it, I should either, as is most likely, not have written at all, or I should have pitched my book in another key.
Among the additions I intended making while the book was in the press, was a chapter on Mr. Darwin's provisional theory of Pangenesis, which I felt convinced must be right if it was Mr. Darwin's, and which I was sure, if I could once understand it, must have an important bearing on "Life and Habit." I had not as yet seen that the principle I was contending for was Darwinian, not Neo-Darwinian. My pages still teemed with allusions to "natural selection," and I sometimes allowed myself to hope that "Life and Habit " was going to be an adjunct to Darwinism which no one would welcome more gladly than Mr. Darwin himself. At this time I had a visit from a friend, who kindly called to answer a question of mine, relative, if I remember rightly, to "Pangenesis." He came, September 26, 1877. One of the first things he said was, that the theory which had pleased him more than anything he had heard of for some time was one referring all life to memory. I said that was exactly what I was doing myself, and inquired where he had met with his theory. He replied that Professor Ray Lankester had written a letter about it in Nature some time ago, but he could not remember exactly when, and
had given extracts from a lecture by Pro
fessor Ewald Hering, who had originated the theory. I said I should not look at it, as I had completed that part of my work, and was on the point of going to press. I could not recast my work if, as was most likely, I should find something, when I saw what Professor Hering had said, which would make me wish to rewrite my own book; it was too late in the day and I did not feel equal to making any radical alteration; and so the matter ended with very little said upon either side. I wrote, however, afterwards to my friend asking him to tell me the number of Nature which contained the lecture if he could find it, but he was unable to do so, and I was well enough content.
A few days before this I had met another friend, and had explained to him what I was doing. He told me I ought to read Professor Mivart's "Genesis of Species," and that if I did so I should find there were two sides to "natural selection." Thinking, as so many people do—and no wonder—that "natural selection" and evolution were much the same thing, and having found so many attacks upon evolution produce no effect upon me, I declined to read it. I had as yet no idea that a writer could attack Neo-Darwinism without attacking evolution. But my friend kindly sent me a copy; and when I read it, I found myself in the presence of arguments different from those I had met with hitherto, and did not see my way to answering them. I had, however, read only a small part of Professor Mivart's work, and was not fully awake to the position, when the friend referred to in the preceding paragraph called on me.
When I had finished the "Genesis of Species," I felt that something was certainly wanted which should give a definite aim to the variations whose accumulation was to amount ultimately to specific and generic differences, and that without this there could have been no progress in organic development. I got the latest edition of the "Origin of Species" in order to see how Mr. Darwin met Professor Mivart, and found his answers in many respects unsatisfactory. I had lost my original copy of the "Origin of Species,". and had not read the book for some years. I now set about reading it again, and came to the chapter on instinct, where I was horrified to find the following passage:—
"But it would be a serious error to suppose that the greater number of instincts have been acquired by habit in one generation and then transmitted by inheritance to the