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HUXLEY ON TELEOLOGY.
with surrounding conditions which suit them and thrive; the many are unsuited and become extinguished. According to teleology, each organism is like a rifle bullet fired straight at a mark; according to Darwin, organisms are like grape-shot, of which one hits something, and the rest fall wide.1 Professor Huxley may be right in saying that teleology, as commonly understood, has received its death-blow at Mr Darwin's hands; but we remember his other word-"there is a wider teleology"—and we desire to arrive at that. If we may no longer say that cats exist in order to catch mice, but have survived because they proved the fittest to catch them, we are not obliged to hand over everything to the haphazard of grape-shot. The "variations of the feline stock which died out from want of power to resist opposing influences," did not come into life by mistake, nor pass out of it through "error." We have seen that death is the necessary stepping-stone to higher life; without the multitude of creatures there would not be that nice balancing of the organic world, which is more wonderful than that of the planets—the organic orbit must have its aphelion and its perihelion, and when the antagonist forces are living forces the temporary superiority of one means so much death in the other. But it is the weak which are weeded out; the irregularities, monstrosities, and abortions which are carried off-those who would have found life least enjoyable, and would have left descendants to whom it would have been a burden. Did the diseased and feeble habitually survive and propagate, the vigour of the species would be diminished; whereas the death of the worst and multiplication of the best, results in the maintenance of a 1 Lay Sermons, p. 302.
constitution in harmony with surrounding conditions, and eventually in an improved type of life. The very species that suffers most in the loss of individuals is often most improved through the stringency of the selection; for all following generations are more healthy and vigorous, better able to obtain their food regularly and to avoid their numerous enemies. There is more life in the world because there is death, more enjoyment because there is some suffering; the greater prevalence of death (though, of course, of life also) is with small species, which are of lower type and less sensitive to pain; with the young, who are not yet fully bound up in life's relations, and with the aged and the diseased, to whom death is a happy release. Granting only that death would be necessary because an animal machine cannot wear without wearing out, there is wisdom in the arrangement which uses the flesh of one creature as the food of another, instead of leaving all to die of disease and pollute the air by their decomposition.
And it may be remarked before leaving the subject, that although this action of Natural Selection, in weeding out the weak and those ill-adapted to the conditions of life, explains the fact that only the vigorous and welladapted have survived, it is no sufficient account of the "adaptations" of nature, and is no more the ultimate power which brought strong and weak alike into existence than the winds and waves of the Bay of Biscay, which have "selected" the grains of sand from amidst the gravel, and heaped them by themselves over a great area, are the powers to be credited with the origin of matter.1
Growth of Habit and Instinct.—In a larger Essay, 1 See Lay Sermons, p. 316,
HABIT AND INSTINCT.
Habit would have a chapter to itself and Instinct another; and then it might be necessary to write a third chapter to show their mutual relation. Habit is acquired by practice, and expresses a facility in bodily or mental operations, or a propensity to them. We apply the term to the dexterity of the workman, the rapidity of the accountant, the quick fingering of a piano, or to Dr Johnson's action in touching every post he passed in his walks. Instinct is inherited, and is the capability of performing complex acts without instruction or experience, and without a knowledge of the purpose for which they are performed. We use the word of the action of the cuckoo in laying her eggs in other birds' nests, of chickens concealing themselves at the dangerchuckle of the mother-hen, and of the comb-making power of the hive bee.
Habit is allied to the use and disuse of organs, previously spoken of. Not a single domestic animal can be named which has not in some country drooping ears; and the view suggested by some authors that the drooping is due to the disuse of the muscles of the ear, from the animals not being much alarmed by danger, seems probable. On the other hand, the increased use of an organ through the repetitionary acts of habit, strengthens it, and this change being physiological, tends to be inherited, so that the offspring may start where the parent left off, with a facility for performing certain actions; and if disposed to use the power it feels itself to possess, will gain increased facility. Moreover, in the formation of habit, the mental powers are concerned as well as the bodily organ. Dugald Stewart remarks that "a man who has been accustomed to write with his right hand can write better with his left hand than another who
never practised the art at all; but he cannot write so well with his left hand as with his right: the effects of practice, therefore, it should seem, are produced partly on the mind and partly on the body.”1 Both the bodily and the mental action tend to become automatic-the movements of the fingers, which at first required effort and attention, and the thought which was once consciously directed to their guidance, may both go on unconsciously while the mind is occupied with something else.2 Habit becomes second nature. The mental part of habit-or, perhaps more strictly, the organic change produced by the repeated mental action—tends to be inherited, like the more obviously bodily part. In fact, the habit itself may become hereditary-the entire facility for performing certain actions, and the entire tendency to perform them. Mr Lewes had' a puppy taken from its mother at six weeks old, who, although never taught "to beg" (an accomplishment his mother had been taught), spontaneously took to begging for everything he wanted when about seven or eight months old. He would beg for food, beg to be let out of the room, and one day was found opposite a rabbit-hutch begging for rabbits. This case reminds us of others connected with dogs. Dogs are trained to "point" and to "retrieve;"" and although they may possess naturally some slight disposition to do these things (there must be a foundation for the trainer to build upon), there is little doubt that the breeds have been produced by education and selection. Now it cannot be disputed that young pointers will sometimes point, and even back other
1 Philosophy of the Human Mind. Chap. on Attention.
2 See Dr W. B. Carpenter's Art. on the Physiology of the Will, in the Contemp. Review, May 1871.
dogs the very first time that they are taken out. Retrieving, also, is certainly in some degree inherited by retrievers, and a tendency to run round instead of at a flock of sheep by shepherd-dogs. But these inherited habits or tendencies in retrievers and pointers are called instincts; and so we are led to notice the close connection, if not the identity, between instincts and inherited habits. As in repeating a well-known song, so in instincts-one action follows another by a sort of rhythm. If a person be interrupted in a song, or in repeating anything by rote, he is generally forced to go back to recover the habitual train of thought; so P. Huber found it was with a caterpillar, which makes a very complicated hammock. If he took an individual which had completed its hammock up to, say, the sixth stage of construction, and put it into a hammock completed up only to the third stage, the caterpillar simply reperformed the fourth, fifth, and sixth stages of construction. If, however, a caterpillar were taken out of a hammock made up, for instance, to the third stage, and were put into one finished up to the sixth stage, so that much of its work was already done for it, far from feeling the benefit of this, it was much embarrassed, and in order to complete its hammock, seemed forced to start from the third stage, where it had left off, and thus tried to complete the already finished work.1
INSTINCT AND INHERITED HABIT.
If this be a true account of the origin of instinct, then we see that instincts, like simple peculiarities of bodily structure, taking their start from outward conditionsthat is, in the case of instinct, from some occasional action which an animal is prompted to repeat-are per
1 Darwin's Origin of Species: chap. on Instinct.