Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/20

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control through a wide range of space. If the loss of meteors which become a prey to the attraction of great spheres be replenished by the entrance of new ones into our system, the new visitants from ultra-planetary space would, in consequence of a resisting medium, be found in the greatest numbers along the line of the sun's progressive motion. The arrangement seems, however, to be modified by the sun's magnetism, which, by favoring direct motion in the plane of his equator, gradually leads to the meteoric array which is manifested in the appearance of the zodiacal light. That this light is reflected by innumerable meteors, is an opinion which has long been maintained, and which has been confirmed by late observation; but it is only from the physical consideration which I have presented, that we can account for the permanence of a phenomenon depending on the presence of objects of so minute and perishable a character. To the same cause may be ascribed the direct motion of the comets of short periods of revolution. These effects will give some idea of what might be accomplished by solar magnetism when, as in the cases I have considered, it becomes many million times more powerful than that of our sun, and when it is favored with all the conditions for arranging chaotic matter for a transformation into worlds.




I DESIRE to offer a few observations in reply to the paper by Professor Payton Spence, in the August number of the "Popular Science Monthly,"[1] on my theory of the growth of the Will.

By a calculation of the chance coincidences of the muscles of the human body, Professor Spence appears to reduce to an utter absurdity any theory that makes the will depend upon trial and error. At the same time, he finds in the doctrine of evolution an easy way out of the difficulty.

1. My first remark is, that I from the first assumed a large number of instinctive connections among our organs, not perhaps so large a number as may now seem requisite, but still so many as to reduce greatly the random tentatives in new acquisitions. In my chapter on instinct ("The Senses and the Intellect," and mental science) I described under reflex actions and primitive combined movements, numerous instinctive groupings of considerable complexity on which the will can build its subsequent powers. I set no limit to the number of such instincts; only, I did not refer to any that were not more or less immediately apparent. I reasoned out the locomotive rhythm in the human

  1. "Voluntary Motion," by Prof. Payton Spence, M.D.