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of symmetry of growth, just like the equally beautiful and somewhat similar forms of the compound six-rayed, starshaped crystals of snow."
Altogether, then, it appears that each organism has an innate tendency to develop in a symmetrical manner, and that this tendency is controlled and subordinated by the action of external conditions, and not that this symmetry is superinduced only ab externo. In fact, that each organism has its own internal and special laws of growth and development.
If, then, it is still necessary to conceive an internal law or "substantial form,” moulding each organic being and directing its development as a crystal is built up, only in an indefinitely more complex manner, it is congruous to imagine the existence of some internal law accounting at the same time for specific divergence as well as for specific identity.
A principle regulating the successive evolution of different organic forms is not one whit more mysterious than is the mysterious power by which a particle of structureless sarcode develops successively into an egg, a grub, a chrysalis, a butterfly, all the conditions, cosmical, physical, chemical, and vital, being supplied which are the requisite accompaniments to determine such evolution.
EVOLUTION AND ETHICS.
The origin of morals an inquiry not foreign to the subject of this book.
Modern utilitarian view as to that origin.--Mr. Darwin's speculation as to the origin of the abhorrence of incest.–Cause assigned by him insufficient. —Care of the aged and infirm opposed by “Natural Selection ;” also self-abnegation and asceticism. --Distinctness of the ideas "right” and “useful.”—Mr. John Stuart Mill.-Insufficiency of “Natural Selection” to account for the origin of the distinction between duty and profit. —Distinction of moral acts into "material” and "formal.”—No ground for believing that formal morality exists in brutes.—Evidence that it does exist in savages.— Facility with which savages may be misunderstood. — Objections as to diversity of customs. — Mr. Hutton’s review of Mr. Herbert Spencer. - Anticipatory character of morals. —Sir John Lubbock’s explanation.-Summary and conclusion.
Any inquiry into the origin of the notion of “morality”. the conception of “right”-may, perhaps, be considered as somewhat remote from the question of the Genesis of Species; the more so since Mr. Darwin at one time disclaimed any pretension to explain the origin of the higher psychical phenomena of man. His disciples, however, were never equally reticent, and indeed he himself is now not only about to produce a work on man in which this
1 The work referred to is the “Descent of Man,” which has appeared since the publication of the first edition of this book. Mr. Darwin has therein justified the author's anticipations, and has asserted in the strongest terms the identity in kind of the mental faculties of men and brutes, and has thoroughly confounded our moral judgments with the gregarious instincts of beasts.
question must be considered), but he has distinctly announced the extension of the application of his theory to the very phenomena in question. He says :1 “In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” It may not be amiss then to glance at the question, so much disputed, concerning the origin of ethical conceptions and its bearing on the theory of “Natural Selection."2
The followers of Mr. John Stuart Mill, of Mr. Herbert Spencer, and apparently, also, of Mr. Darwin, assert that in spite of the great present difference between the ideas useful ” and “right,” they are, nevertheless, one as to their origin, and that that origin consisted ultimately of pleasurable and painful sensations.
They say that “Natural Selection has evolved moral conceptions from perceptions of what was useful, i.e. pleasurable, by having through long ages preserved a
* Origin of Species,” 5th edition, 1869, p. 577. 2 Since the first edition of this work appeared, Mr. Darwin has fully explained his views as to morality, and has identified the “moral sense with “stronger and more persistent instincts.” No argument, however, has been employed, and no facts adduced, which even tend to answer the objections here urged. Mr. Darwin seems not adequately to recognize the points which require to be met, and while he brings forward instances bearing on the acquisition of materially moral habits (which are utterly trivial and beside the point), he literally does not say one word in explanation of the genesis of formal morality (with which we are alone concerned), nor even pretend to show how the gregarious instinct of a herd becomes metamorphosed into a common moral judgment. While therefore the author has the satisfaction of feeling that he has not misrepresented Mr. Darwin, he also feels that he has nothing whatever substantial to retract, or even to modify, in his former assertions and arguments.
predominating number of those individuals who have had a natural and spontaneous liking for practices and habits of mind useful to the race, and that the same power has destroyed a predominating number of those individuals who possessed a marked tendency to contrary practices. The descendants of individuals so preserved have, they say, come to inherit such a liking and such useful habits of mind, and at last (finding this inherited tendency thus existing in themselves, distinct from their tendency to conscious self-gratification) have become apt to regard it as fundamentally distinct, innate, and independent of all experience. In fact, according to this school, the idea of “ right” is only the result of the gradual accretion of useful predilections which, from time to time, arose in a series of ancestors naturally selected. In this way, “morality” is, as it were, the congealed past experience of the race, and “ virtue” becomes no more than a sort of “retrieving," which the thus improved human animal practises by a perfected and inherited habit, regardless of self-gratification, just as the brute animal has acquired the habit of seeking prey and bringing it to his master, instead of devouring it himself.
Though Mr. Darwin has not as yet expressly advocated this view, yet some remarks made by him appear to show his disposition to sympathise with it. Thus, in his work on "Animals and Plants under Domestication,"1 he asserts that "the savages of Australia and South America hold the crime of incest in abhorrence;” but he considers that this abhorrence has probably arisen through “Natural Selection," the ill effects of close interbreeding having caused the less numerous and less healthy offspring of
1 Vul. ii. 1: 122.
incestuous unions to disappear by degrees, in favour of the descendants (greater both in number and strength) of individuals who naturally, from some cause or other, as he suggests, preferred to mate with strangers rather than with close blood-relations; this preference being transmitted and becoming thus instinctive, or habitual, in remote descendants.
But on Mr. Darwin's own ground, it may be objected that this notion fails to account for “abhorrence," and “moral reprobation;" for, as no stream can rise higher than its source, the original “slight feeling ” which was useful would have been perpetuated, but would never have been augmented beyond the degree requisite to ensure this beneficial preference, and therefore would not certainly have become magnified into “abhorrence.” It will not do to assume that the union of males and females, each possessing the required "slight feeling,” must give rise to offspring with an intensified feeling of the same kind; for, apart from reversion, Mr. Darwin has called attention to the unexpected modifications which sometimes result from the union of similarly constituted parents.
Thus, for example, he tells us :1 “ If two top-knotted canaries are matched, the young, instead of having very fine top-knots, are generally bald.” From examples of this kind, it is fair, on Darwinian principles, to infer that the union of parents who possessed a similar inherited aversion might result in phenomena quite other than the augmentation of such aversion, even if the two aversions should be altogether of the same kind ; while, very probably, they might be so different in their nature as to tend to neutralize each other. Besides, the union of parents so similarly emotional
“ Animals and Plants under Domestication," vol. i. p. 295.