Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/473

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THE EARLIEST ORGANIC MOVEMENTS.

multiply his tropisms till they cover the whole field of organic movement; he is only consistent in so doing, just as he is consistent in refusing to speak of 'visual perception' and in martyrising his linguistic consciousness to the term 'photo-reception,' But, though it rain tropisms, the psychologist may go without his umbrella.

However, when all is said, is there not at least a presumption in favor of the unconscious-movement theory? That is the theory adopted by the men who made the investigations; and, surely, they ought to know, if anybody knows. Would it not be good common sense to take their conclusions, instead of speculating about what may be? I have no great objection; save on that single score of scientific methodology, I have no objection. For it is one of the cardinal points of the theory which I hold, that a movement which at first was conscious may presently lose its conscious character; that the physical may in course of time replace the psychophysical. The fact, then, if it be a fact, that ants and bees are nowadays mere reflex machines will mean that they started out, so to say, with a certain endowment of mind, which they have lost in the process of adaptation to their special environment; and the similar fact that paramecium has its one stereotyped form of motor reaction to stimulus will mean that it, too, had at first its modicum of mind, which it has lost* on its journey through the ages. The evidence for this view I have yet to give. If it be sound, then the automatism of the lower animals does not in the least degree affect the theory that mind is as old as life.

And now for the alternative theory,—which must, I suppose, always strike the biologist, more especially if he be physiologist, as fanciful and far-fetched; the theory that the first animal movements were conscious, and that all our present movements, the reflexes included, are the direct descendants of conscious movements. What is the evidence in its favor?

If we consider the facts of organic movement as they are presented in our own experience; if, following the rule of psychological enquiry, we set out from an examination of our own action and conduct; we find that the phenomena cannot be brought at once under the head of any single principle, but that they rather result from the joint operation of two different tendencies. On the one hand, we are continually enlarging our sphere of action; conduct grows more complex; new motives are formed, new adaptations made; there is a tendency towards more and more complicated or specific coordinations of movements. The realization of this tendency is always accompanied by consciousness, by the mental formations that are known, both in popular speech and in psychology, as choice, resolve, deliberation, judgment, doubt, etc. On the other hand, there is a tendency towards the simplification of movement; coordinations that at first involved corti