Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/333

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THE STUDY OF MAN.

shreds, the toe persists, and he would be a bold prophet who would venture to forecast how many generations of booted ancestry would suffice to eliminate it from the organization of the normal man.

Nevertheless, although it is difficult to demonstrate, in the present imperfect state of knowledge, the method whereby race-characters have originated, I think that the most of our anthropologists at least covertly adopt the philosophy of the ancient proverb, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge."

But there are other branches of anthropology of far greater interest than these simple problems upon which we have tarried so long. The study of man's intellectual nature is equally a part of our subject, and the outcomes of that nature are to be traced in the tripartite record of human progress which we call the history of culture. It is ours to trace the progress of man's inventions and their fruits in language and the arts, the direct products of the human mind. It is also ours to follow the history of man's discovery of those secrets of Nature to the unfolding of which we give the name of science. The task is also ours to inquire into that largest and most important of all sections of the history of culture which deals with the relation of human life to the unseen world, and to disentangle out of the complex network of religion, mythology, and ritual those elements which are real truths, either discovered by the exercise of man's reason, or learned by him in ways whereof science takes no account, from those adventitious and invented products of human fear and fancy which obscure the view of the central realities. In this country it matters less that our time forbids us to wander in these fascinating fields wherein the anthropologist loves to linger, as the munificent benefaction of Lord Gifford has insured that there shall be an annual fourfold presentation of the subject before the students of our Scottish universities. There is no fear that interest in these questions will flag for want of diversity in the method of treatment, or of varieties in the standpoints of the successive Gifford lecturers.

From the ground of our present knowledge we can but faintly forecast the future of anthropology, when its range is extended by further research, and when it is purged of fancies, false analogies, and imperfect observations. It may be that there is in store for us a clearer view of the past history of man, of the place and time of his first appearance, of his primitive character, and of his progress. But has this knowledge, interesting as it may be for its own sake, any bearing on the future of mankind? Hitherto growth in knowledge has not been accompanied with a commensurate increase in the sum of human happiness, but this is