Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/471

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THE EARLIEST ORGANIC MOVEMENTS.

have understood it, does not 'make sense' except from the standpoint which it is supposed to recommend. And the instances do not help us. Breathing is not a source of such extreme pleasure, as things are, that a reversal of relations should make it an agony, and the nervous processes in burning are by no means hesitant, and ought, therefore, to yield nothing so intensive as delight.[1]

So far, then, the argument from parsimony seems to have little positive content. It simply asserts that the onus probandi lies with those who make mind and life coeval. Whether the parallelist can shoulder the burden we shall see later on. In the meantime, let me insist upon the limitation that attaches to both theories alike. The parallelist can never explain why life should be attended by mind. He thinks that there is evidence of the connection, but he cannot further account for it. The interactionist is apt to suppose that, by his appeal to parsimony, he has furnished an explanation of the appearance of consciousness; mind came upon the scene, when and because it was useful to the organism. The fallacy is obvious. The development of mind under the rule of natural selection is one thing; the question of the origin of mind is another, and is something that lies wholly beyond the ken of science.

(2) But we may leave the sphere of formal argument. The theory of originally unconscious movement finds factual support, it may be said, and support of the strongest kind, in recent experimental investigations. The movements of the lowest animals are not random and variable, but simple and stereotyped; they are, in many cases, even simpler than the reflex, as we ordinarily conceive of the physiological reflex; they may be referred to mere 'tropisms,' direct physico-chemical responses to physico-chemical changes in the environment. Nay more, the complicated activities of such highly developed organisms as ants and bees may be subsumed, with surprising completeness, under some such heading as the 'chemoreflex.'[2] Here is proof positive. What more can we ask?

We may ask, first, for a clearer recognition of the point of view from which these investigations have been made. The psychologist has no choice but to begin at the upper end of the organic scale—to begin with himself, and his own mind—and to work downwards, interpreting as he goes. The road is full of pitfalls; there is constant


  1. W. James, 'The Principles of Psychology,' 1890, i., 138 ff., 67 ff.; ii., 584, 591 f.
  2. I have in mind such investigations as those of A. Bethe, Pflüger's Archiv, lxx., 1898, 15, and H. S. Jennings, Amer. Journ. of Physiol., ii., 1899, 311; cf. Amer. Journ. of Psych., X., 1899, 503. The number of these studies is steadily increasing. On the following arguments, cf. E. Claparède, Revue phil., 1901, 481 ff.