Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/475

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465
THE SEARCH FOR THE SOUL

not seem to be in the direction of instincts exhibited by bees and ants, but in quite another, namely, that of self-reflective intelligence.[1]

Something, then, more or less of a psychical nature, call it soul, call it consciousness, call it sensibility, call it vital impulse or vital force, or call it merely a psychic factor of progress, has been a primary factor in organic evolution. "Life has preceded organization" and "consciousness was coincident with the dawn of life." It has been a kind of "primum mobile" of organic structure. Something like "effort" has preceded upward changes.[2] Consciousness is not a function of organization and is not an epiphenomenon. It is a bionomic factor of the utmost importance. It is of the highest use in adapting organism to environment. It changes the direction of energy. It intervenes between sensation and reaction in the realization of ends, "A frank unbiased study of consciousness must convince every biologist that it is one of the fundamental phenomena of at least animal life, if not, as is quite possible, of all life." "Consciousness is a conspicuous, a commanding factor of adjustment in animals."[3]

Whether consciousness is thought of as a form of energy comparable with heat and electricity,[4] or as an independent dimension of reality,[5] or as some original and primary correlative of energy,[6] nevertheless it is certain that it is a reality, a potency, a factor second to none other, physical or metaphysical.

Even the biological laboratory is offering a suggestive support to the soul hypothesis. If one chooses to accept the theory, as old as the history of thought, that something of a psychical nature bridges the gap, still unspanned by natural science, between the organic and.the inorganic, his belief gains new and unexpected support from recent biological studies. So much scorn has been cast upon the theory of vitalism that its recent renewal by a whole school of able German biologists is exceedingly significant. Driesch bases his vitalistic conclusions upon the most careful and long-continued laboratory researches. He discards the machine theory of the origin of life.

No kind of causality based upon the constellations of single physical and chemical acts can account for organic individual development; this development is not to be explained by any hypothesis about configuration of physical and chemical agents. . . . Life, at least morphogenesis, is not a specialized arrange-
  1. Compare Bergson, "L'evolution créatrice," Chapitre II.
  2. Cope, "Primary Factors of Organic Evolution," p. 508 ff.
  3. Chas. S. Minot, "The Problem of Consciousness in its Biological Aspects," Science, N. S., Vol. XVI., No. 392, pp. 17, 19.
  4. Compare Ostwald, Monist, Vol. 17, p. 514, and Grunewald, "Zur Energetik des Lebens," Annalen der Naturphilosophie, IX., 237.
  5. Compare Boodin, "Consciousness and Reality," Journ. Phil, Psych, and Sci. Meth., Vol. V., No. 7, p. 173.
  6. Compare Minot, loc. cit.