« EelmineJätka »
possible, were not the organ of the mind of man prepared in advance, fully developed as regards size, structure, and proportions, and only needing a few generations of use and habit to co-ordinate its complex functions. The naked and sensitive skin, by necessitating clothing and houses, would lead to the more rapid development of man's inventive and constructive faculties; and, by leading to a more refined feeling of personal modesty, may have influenced, to a considerable extent, his moral nature. The erect form of man, by freeing the hands from all locomotive uses, has been necessary for his intellectual advancement; and the extreme perfection of his hands, has alone rendered possible that excellence in all the arts of civilization which raises him so far above the savage, and is perhaps but the forerunner of a higher intellectual and moral advancement. The perfection of his vocal organs has first led to the formation of articulate speech, and then to the development of those exquisitely toned sounds, which are only appreciated by the higher races, and which are probably destined for more elevated uses and more refined enjoyment, in a higher condition than we have yet attained to.
So, those faculties which enable us to transcend time and space, and to realize the wonderful conceptions of mathematics and philosophy, or which give us an intense yearning for abstract truth, (all of which were occasionally manifested at such an early period of human history as to be far in advance of any of the few practical applications which have since grown out of them), are evidently essential to the perfect development of man as a spiritual being, but are utterly inconceivable as having been produced through the action of a law which looks only, and can look only, to the immediate material welfare of the individual or the race.
The inference I would draw from this class of phenomena is, that a superior intelligence has guided the development of man in a definite direction, and for a special purpose, just as man guides the development of many animal and vegetable forms. The laws of evolution alone would, perhaps, never have produced a grain so well adapted to man's use as wheat and maize; such fruits as the seedless banana and bread-fruit; or such animals as the Guernsey milch cow, or the London dray-horse. Yet these so closely resemble the unaided productions of nature, that we may well imagine a being who had mastered the laws of development of organic forms through past ages, refusing to believe that any new power had been concerned in their production, and scornfully rejecting the theory (as my theory will be rejected by many who agree with me on other points), that in these few cases a controlling intelligence had directed the action of the laws of variation, multiplication, and survival, for his own purposes. We know, however, that this has been done; and we must therefore admit the possibility that, if we are not the highest intelligences in the universe, some higher intelligence may have directed the process by which the human race was developed, by means of more subtle agencies than we are acquainted with. At the same time I must confess, that this theory has the disadvantage of requiring the intervention of some distinct individual intelligence, to aid in the production of what we can hardly avoid considering as the ultimate aim and outcome of all organized existence--intellectual, everadvancing, spiritual man. It therefore implies, that the great laws which govern the material universe were insufficient for his production, unless we consider (as we may fairly do) that the controlling action of such higher intelligences is a necessary part of those laws, just as the action of all surrounding organisms is one of the agencies in organic development. But even if my particular view should not be the true one, the difficulties I have put forward remain, and I think prove, that some more general and more fundamental law underlies that of “ natural selection.” The law of “unconscious intelligence" pervading all organic nature, put forth by Dr. Laycock and adopted by Mr. Murphy, is such a law; but to my mind it has the double disadvantage of being both unintelligible and incapable of any kind of proof. It is more probable, that the true law lies too deep for us to discover it; but there seems to me, to be ample indications that such a law does exist, and is probably connected with the absolute origin of life and organization. (Note A.)
The Origin of Consciousness,
The question of the origin of sensation and of thought can be but briefly discussed in this place, since it is a subject wide enough to require a separate volume for its proper treatment. No physiologist or philosopher has yet ventured to propound an intelligible theory, of how sensation may possibly be a product of organization ; while many have declared the passage from matter to mind to be inconceivable. In his presidential address to the Physical Section of the British Association at Norwich, in 1868, Professor Tyndall expressed himself as follows:
“ The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought, and a definite molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously, we do not possess the intellectual organ, nor apparently any rudiment of the organ, which would enable us to pass by a process of reasoning from the one phenomenon to the other. They appear together, but we do not know why. Were our minds and senses so expanded, strengthened, and illuminated as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules of the brain; were we capable of following all their motions, all their groupings, all their electric discharges, if such there be, and were we intimately acquainted with the corresponding states of thought and feeling, we should be as far as ever from the solution of the problem, “How are these physical processes connected with the facts of consciousness ?' The chasm between the two classes of phenomena would still remain intellectually impassable.
In his latest work ("An Introduction to the Classification of Animals,”) published in 1869, Professor Huxley unhesitatingly adopts the 6 well founded doctrine, that life is the cause and not the consequence of organization.” In his celebrated article “On the Physical Basis of Life," however, he maintains, that life is a property of protoplasm, and that protoplasm owes its properties to the nature and disposition of its molecules. Hence he terms it “ the matter of life," and believes that all the physical properties of organized beings are due to the physical properties of protoplasm. So far we might, perhaps, follow him, but he does not stop here. He proceeds to bridge over that chasm which Professor Tyndall has declared to be “ intellectually impassable," and, by means which he states to be logical, arrives at the conclusion, that our “ thoughts are the expression of molecular changes in that matter of life which is the source of our other vital phenomena.” Not having been able to find any clue in Professor Huxley's writings, to the steps by which he passes from those vital phenomena, which consist only, in their last analysis, of movements of particles of matter, to those other phenomena which we term thought, sensation, or consciousness; but, knowing that so positive an expression of opinion from him will have great weight with many persons, I shall endeavour to show, with as much brevity as is compatible with clearness, that this theory is not only incapable of proof, but is also, as it appears to me, inconsistent with accurate conceptions of molecular physics. To do this, and in order further to develop my views, I shall have to give a brief sketch of the most recent speculations and discoveries, as to the ultimate nature and constitution of matter.