is discernible; antagonism is converted into co-operation and conflict gives place to harmony, and the higher we ascend in the scale of being the more far-reaching and complicated does cooperation become. Individualism is gradually subordinated to collectivism, and the struggle for existence becomes mainly the concern of the organism as a whole and is only in a minor degree that of the units of which it is composed. Growth, form, and structure are regulated by an organic process only very slightly modified by external conditions and not at all by the selection of the fittest among the growing, formative, and tissue-making parts. "In each of these complicated structures," says Huxley, in referring to the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit of a bean, "as in their smallest constituents, there is an immanent energy which in harmony with that resident in all the others incessantly works toward the maintenance of the whole and the efficient performance of the part it has to play in the economy of Nature." In a higher animal we have untold millions of cells of widely different constitution and habits, not merely dwelling together in amity but co-operating for the good of the system in which they are incorporated and undergoing harmonious and efficacious metamorphoses as it unfolds. The system is still engaged in the struggle for existence, but its constituents can not in any true sense be said to be so on their own account. Their self-assertion is limited by the organic process, or what would at one time have been called the law of design, the equilibrium and comity of tissues being secured by a self-restraint that is inherent in them, that was inherent in the vital impulse that called them into being, a restraint on the nutrition and reproduction of each to secure the nutrition and reproduction of all, a restraint that when from any cause it is broken down leads to disease, as in the overgrowth of cancer. And, as in the case of the cell, so in that of the animal, the moment we get beyond the solitary animal fighting for its own life, mutual obligation or consensus becomes apparent, for if two animals combine to fight together there must be a tacit understanding that they are to forbear from fighting each other while so engaged. In all associations of animals the association which is useful to them in their struggle for existence is only maintained by some curtailment of the self-assertion that is of the very essence of the struggle. Sheer animalism is to some extent restained, antagonism for certain purposes is merged in co-operation, and individualism is modified in its manifestations by self-denial. In the ant-hill and beehive and among all state-forming insects may be observed an orderly polity involving the co-operation of different classes which exist not for their own advantage but because they are of value to the state and have given it a superiority over differently constituted colonies, and in
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/689
BIOLOGY AND ETHICS.