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would be rare indeed amongst savages, where marriages would be owing to almost anything rather than to congeniality of mind between the spouses. Mr. Wallace tells us, that they choose their wives for “rude health and physical beauty,” and this is just what might be naturally supposed. Again, we must bear in mind the necessity there is that many individuals should be similarly and simultaneously affected with this aversion from consanguineous unions; as we have seen, in the second chapter, how infallibly variations presented by only a few individuals tend to be eliminated by mere force of numbers. Mr. Darwin indeed would throw back this aversion, if possible, to a pre-human period ; since he speculates as to whether the gorillas or orang-utans, in effecting their matrimonial relations, show any tendency to respect the prohibited degrees of affinity. No tittle of evidence, however, has yet been adduced pointing in this direction; though, surely, if it were of such importance and efficiency as to result (through the aid of “ Natural Selection” alone) in that “abhorrence" before spoken of, we might expect to be able to detect unmistakeable evidence of its incipient stages. On the contrary, as regards the ordinary apes (for with regard to the highest there is no evidence of the kind) as we see them in confinement, it would be difficult to name any animals less restricted, by even a generic bar, in the gratification of the sexual instinct. And although the conditions under which they have been observed are abnormal, yet these are hardly the animals to present us, in a state of nature, with an extraordinary and exceptional sensitiveness in such matters.
1 “Natural Selection,” p. 350.
To take an altogether different case. Care of, and tenderness towards, the aged and infirm are actions on all hands admitted to be “right;" but it is difficult to see how such actions could ever have been so useful to a community as to have been seized on and developed by the exclusive action of the law of the “survival of the fittest.” On the contrary, it seems probable that on strict utilitarian principles the rigid political economy of Tierra del Fuego would have been eminently favoured and diffused by the impartial action of “Natural Selection” alone. By the rigid political economy referred to, is meant that destruction and utilization of “useless mouths” which Mr. Darwin himself describes in his highly interesting " Journal of Researches."I He says: “It is certainly true, that when pressed in winter by hunger, they kill and devour their old women before they kill their dogs. The boy being asked why they did this, answered, “Doggies catch otters, old women no.' They often run away into the mountains, but they are pursued by the men and brought back to the slaughter-house at their own firesides." Mr. Edward Bartlett, who has recently returned from the Amazons, reports that at one Indian village, where the cholera made its appearance, the whole population immediately dispersed into the woods, leaving the sick to perish uncared for and alone. Now, had the Indians remained, undoubtedly far more would have died; as doubtless, in Tierra del Fuego, the destruction of the comparatively useless old women has often been the means of preserving the healthy and reproductive young. Such acts surely must be greatly favoured by the stern and unrelenting action of exclusive “ Natural Selection.”
1 See 2nd edition, vol. i. p. 214.
In the same way, that admiration which all feel for acts of self-denial done for the good of others, and tending even towards the destruction of the actor, could hardly be accounted for on Darwinian principles alone; for selfimmolators must but rarely leave direct descendants, while the community they benefit must by their destruction tend, so far, to morally deteriorate. But devotion to others of the same community is by no means all that has to be accounted for. Devotion to the whole human race, and devotion to God-in the form of asceticism—have been and are very generally recognized as “good;” and the author contends that it is simply impossible to conceive that such ideas and sanctions should have been developed by “Natural Selection " alone, from only that degree of unselfishness necessary for the preservation of brutally barbarous communities in the struggle for life. That degree of unselfishness once attained, further improvement would be checked by the mutual opposition of diverging moral tendencies and spontaneous variations in all directions. Added to which, we have the principle of reversion and atavism, tending powerfully to restore and reproduce that more degraded anterior condition whence the later and better state painfully emerged.
Very few, however, dispute the complete distinctness, here and now, of the ideas of “duty” and “interest,” whatever may have been the origin of those ideas. No one pretends that ingratitude may, in any past abyss of time, have been a virtue, or that it may be such now in Arcturus or the Pleiades. Indeed, a certain eminent writer of the utilitarian school of ethics has amusingly and instructively shown how radically distinct even in his own mind are the two ideas which he nevertheless endeavours to identify.
Mr. John Stuart Mill, in his examination of “Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy,” says:1“ If I am informed that the world is ruled by a being whose attributes are infinite, but what they are we cannot learn, nor what the principles of his government, except that the highest human morality which we are capable of conceiving' does not sanction them; convince me of it, and I will bear my fate as I may. But when I am told that I must believe this, and at the same time call this being by the names which express and affirm the highest human morality, I say in plain terms that I will not. Whatever power such a being may have over me, there is one thing which he shall not do: he shall not compel me to worship him. I will call no being good, who is not what I mean when I apply that epithet to my fellow-creatures; and if such a being can sentence me to hell for not so calling him, to hell I will go."
This is unquestionably an admirable sentiment on the part of Mr. Mill (with which every absolute moralist will agree), but it contains a complete refutation of his own position, and is a capital instance of the vigorous life of moral intuition in one who professes to have eliminated any fundamental distinction between the “right" and the “expedient.” For if an action is morally good, and to be done merely in proportion to the amount of pleasure it secures, and morally bad and to be avoided as tending to misery, and if it could be proved that by calling God
1 Page 103.
2 I have not the merit of detecting this inconsistency; it was pointed out to me by my friend the Rev. W. W. Roberts. It is a good example of the refutations which Mr. Mill, every now and then, gives himselfmuch the kind of thing which Professor Masson calls “a trap-door opened by Mr. Mill himself in the floor of his own philosophy.”— Recent British Philosophy, p. 339.
good—whether He is so or not, in our sense of the term,we could secure a maximum of pleasure, and by refusing to do so we should incur endless torment, clearly, on utilitarian principles, the flattery would be good.
Mr. Mill, of course, must also mean that, in the matter in question, all men would do well to act with him. Therefore, he must mean that it would be well for all to accept (on the hypothesis above given) infinite and final misery for all as the result of the pursuit of happiness as the only end.
It must be recollected that in consenting to worship this unholy God, Mr. Mill is not asked to do harm to his neighbour, so that his refusal reposes simply on his perception of the immorality of the requisition.
It is also noteworthy that an omnipotent Deity is supposed incapable of altering Mr. Mill's mind and moral perceptions !
Mr. Mill's decision is right, but it is difficult indeed to see how, without the recognition of an "absolute morality," he can justify so utter and final an abandonment of all utility in favour of a clear moral perception,
These two ideas, the “right" and the “useful,” being so distinct here and now, a greater difficulty meets us with regard to their origin from some common source, than met us when considering the difficulties as to the incipient stages of certain bodily structures. For the distinction between the “right" and the “useful” is so fundamental and essential, that not only does the idea of benefit not enter into the idea of duty, but we see that the very fact of an act not being beneficial to us makes it the more praiseworthy, while gain tends to diminish the merit of an action. Yet this idea, “ right,” thus excluding, as it does,