Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/553

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
537
BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND EVOLUTION.

the balance by observation, but the routine laborer does not rise to either method, relying on oral instruction and imitation for the little he needs or learns.

Let us now glance at another peculiarity of savage life. In all civilized communities, and under every form of government, the protection of the person, of life, and of property devolves upon a few members of society who from time to time are appointed or elected for that especial purpose. This, except in rare exigencies, relieves the individual from taking any direct measures for the defense of his rights. Indeed, he is forbidden as a rule to do so, but is required in case of assault or trespass to call to his aid those officers who have been selected to defend him. Neither may he make reclamation, obtain redress, or inflict punishment directly in his own behalf. The savage, on the other hand, contrives and maintains all of his own safeguards. All these things he invariably does for himself in obedience to the quickest and strongest of his instincts—that of self-preservation. Thus the civilized man is guarded, policed, and protected by others, while the savage is his own patrolman, judge, jury, and executioner., All the protective devices he needs, at any rate all he can have, he must contrive and enforce for himself. He is his own defender, detective, and avenger. This whole broad field of activity, therefore, which we call domestic police regulation, including also many other departments of the general government, the savage concentrates in himself and brings within the scope of his own mental, emotional, and physical activity.

It would be a mistake to conclude, however, from what has been said, that the savage enjoys a wider freedom by reason thereof than the man who lives on the avenue and pays taxes, or strolls in the park and reads the notice, "Keep off the grass." The savage has a government and laws in abundance, all founded on traditions, maxims, customs, signs, omens, religious superstitions, quasi canon law, and crude ecclesiastical usages, and the notions and whims of a despotic chief, which reach to every detail of life, but they are all mandatory and restrictive rather than protective in their purpose and character.

When we couple all this with the amount they must learn, the ingenuity they must exercise, and the exigencies they must encounter in wrenching even the most precarious livelihood from unreclaimed Nature, is it at all strange that their immature brains are overtaxed, and that every variation in convolutional development is preserved and perpetuated, especially after head growth and cranial capacity have been checked at the point of undue and disadvantageous proportion to the body?

Thus it appears, in view of all the facts which modern investigation has disclosed, the merest outlines of which have been here