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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/363

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OUR SIX-FOOTED RIVALS.

the author is to be sought. That, then, is a true instinct which so intimately associates power of expression with power of character generally. Of this power, too, the distinguishing feature is its individuality. Just as in animal life the ascent of the scale of creation is a process of differentiation of functions; just as a higher form of life is marked off from a lower form by greater specialty of shape, by powers more accurately defined, by habits more peculiarly its own: so in the comparison of man with man, something similar to this law is traceable, pointing out that the superiority of genius in degree is mainly a consequence of its difference in kind.

Thus Nature seems to speak in a continued protest against uniformity, by a thousand analogies insisting upon the supreme importance of the individual. And the critical verdict which pronounces that writing; best which is the most natural can be affiliated to as wide a law as this. Whether or not it be thought that each man is put into the world the possessor of some particular truth, which his acts or words can set before his fellow-creatures, it is at any rate clear that the inevitable specialty of each man's experiences must present things to him in an aspect which can be exactly the same for no other. There are no real doubles in the world, no such thing as identity in constitution and circumstances. While, then, this is so, there is a significance in style, a value in the unconscious self-revelations of traits of personality. However a man may fail of the object he sets before him in what he does or says, yet if there has been in him that conscientious fidelity to his purpose, which is but an attempt to express himself, his work will not have been wasted, though its direct worth be unimportant.—Macmillan's Magazine.

 

OUR SIX-FOOTED RIVALS.
II.

EVEN more wonderful than the mere intelligence of the ant is its power of organization—the point, probably, in which it approaches most closely to man. Suppose that ants, instead of forming nations, lived like most creatures, merely in pairs, each endeavoring to rear a young brood, who, when mature, would enter upon a similarly isolated career. Let them be as brave, as intelligent, and as strong, as they now are, still how humble and insecure would be their position! Against the attacks of the giant spiders, centipedes, hornets, and wasps of warm climates, they could make no effectual resistance. Prey, which in their present condition they easily secure, would escape them, or would scarcely even notice their puny efforts. In short, there is every reason to believe that many of their species would become extinct, and that the remainder would live, so to