Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/464

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of mental acquisitions which is embraced under the term voluntary motion, yet it must be admitted that we seem to learn how to use our muscles, and it seems as if all our voluntary control over them were acquired by education and experience. It is but seeming, however; and, instead of our learning how to use our muscles, we simply learn that we can use them, in all the endless varieties of isolated and combined contractions of which they are capable. The how of their use is our vast organized inheritance; and it is this which gives even the child, as he matures, that sure, unerring tendency to the right movement to attain any desired end, and soon teaches him that he can do what he wills to do, thus obviating a resort to that infinitude of experiments which, as we have shown, would otherwise be absolutely necessary. It is the organized inheritance which takes the lead, and teaches the child that he can make the required voluntary movements, and not the child which teaches the organization how to make them. The newly-born babe is helpless and capable of making only a few instinctive or automatic movements, not for want of education and experience, but for want of organic maturity; and, hence, we see that some animals which are more matured at birth, or when hatched, than the human infant, walk, run, swim, or fly, as soon as they are born, or as soon as they escape from the egg; and the butterfly and those insects which emerge from the chrysalis fully matured need no experience or education whatever to enable them to command at will all their voluntary muscles; their organic maturity alone giving them at once full control over that department of their nature.

In the case of the child, it is impossible, either by observation or experiment, to separate the results of the maturation of the organization from the results of education and experience, for the obvious reason that the maturing of the child's nervous and muscular system proceeds, at a very rapid rate, simultaneous with its education and experience; and, therefore, were the point not already settled by the estimate which we have just made, it would be impossible to form even an approximate estimate as to how much of the child's progress is dependent upon his own acquisitions, and how much upon the ripening of an inherited organization. It is not possible, experimentally or otherwise, to isolate these two factors and their results from each other so as to ascertain, in that way, which factor is the largest and most important. The child's muscular education, the progress which he makes in his voluntary control over his muscles, and the maturing of his organization, all proceed simultaneously and inseparably together. Nevertheless, facts do occasionally crop out, here and there, confirmatory of the calculations already made, and the inferences drawn from them, if they needed confirmation. If our voluntary control over our muscles is not an educational acquirement, but is the result of the ripening of our organic inheritance, we would naturally expect an occasional exhibition of muscular agility, precision, and dexterity, and