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I should be the last to complain of him merely on the ground that he could not escape contradiction in terms: who can? When facts conflict, contradict one another, melt into one another as the colours of the spectrum so insensibly that none can say where one begins and the other ends, contradictions in terms become first fruits of thought and speech. They are the basis of intellectual consciousness, in the same way that a physical obstacle is the basis of physical sensation.

No opposition, no sensation, applies as much to the psychical as to the physical kingdom, as soon as these two have got well above the horizon of our thoughts and can be seen as two.

No contradiction, no consciousness; no cross, no crown; contradictions are the very small deadlocks without which there is no going; going is our sense of a succession of small impediments or deadlocks; it is a succession of cutting Gordian knots, which on a small scale please or pain as the case may be; on a larger, give an ecstasy of pleasure, or shock to the extreme of endurance; and on a still larger, kill whether they be on the right side or the wrong. Cross-fertilisation is just as necessary for continued fertility of ideas as for that of organic life, and the attempt to frown this or that down merely on the ground that it involves contradiction in terms, without at the same time showing that the contradiction is on a larger scale than healthy thought can stomach, argues either small sense or small sincerity on the part of those who make it.

The contradictions employed by Mr. Spencer are objectionable, not on the ground of their being contradictions at all, but on the ground of their being blinked, and used unintelligently.

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But though it is not possible for any one to get a clear conception of Mr. He did not mean to make memory the keystone of his system; he has none of that sense of the unifying, binding force of memory which Professor Hering has so well expressed, nor does he show any signs of perceiving the far-reaching consequences that ensue if the phenomena of heredity are considered as phenomena of memory.

Thus, when he is dealing with the phenomena of old age vol. He never mentions memory in connection with heredity without presently saying something which makes us involuntarily think of a man missing an easy catch at cricket; it is only rarely, however, that he connects the two at all. Spencer wrote it, for want of an explanation which he never gave; I submit, also, that he could not have left it unexplained, nor yet as an unrepeated expression not introduced till late in his work, if he had had any idea of its pregnancy.

At any rate, whether he intended to imply what he now implies that he intended to imply for Mr. Spencer, like the late Mr. Darwin, is fond of qualifying phrases , I have shown that those most able and willing to understand him did not take him to mean what he now appears anxious to have it supposed that he meant. Surely, moreover, if he had meant it he would have spoken sooner, when he saw his meaning had been missed.

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It may be interesting, before we leave Mr. Spencer, to see whether he even now assigns to continued personality and memory the place assigned to it by Professor Hering and myself. This is the same confused and confusing utterance which Mr. Spencer has been giving us any time this thirty years. Of course we know that Mr. Spencer does not believe this; of course, also, all who are fairly well up in the history of the development theory will see why Mr.


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Spencer has been led to say what he has, he has no business to have said it. In virtue of what power is it that offspring can repeat and improve upon the performances of their parents? If any meaning can be extracted from his words, he is no more supporting this view now than he was when he wrote the passages he has adduced to show that he was supporting it thirty years ago; but after all no coherent meaning can be got out of Mr. I have abundantly shown that I am very ready to do this in favour of Professor Hering, but see no reason for admitting Mr.

Without raising the unprofitable question how Mr. Romanes, in spite of the indifference with which he treated the theory of Inherited Memory in , came, in , to be sufficiently imbued with a sense of its importance, I still cannot afford to dispense with the weight of his authority, and in this chapter will show how closely he not infrequently approaches the Heringian position.


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  8. We have already seen that heredity plays an important part in forming memory of ancestral experiences, and thus it is that many animals come into the world with their power of perception already largely developed. The wealth of ready-formed information, and therefore of ready-made powers of perception, with which many newly-born or newly-hatched animals are provided, is so great and so precise that it scarcely requires to be supplemented by the subsequent experience of the individual.

    The second mode of origin is as follows:—By the effects of habit in successive generations, actions which were originally intelligent become as it were stereotyped into permanent instincts. Just as in the lifetime of the individual adjustive actions which were originally intelligent may by frequent repetition become automatic, so in the lifetime of species actions originally intelligent may by frequent repetition and heredity so write their effects on the nervous system that the latter is prepared, even before individual experience, to perform adjustive actions mechanically which in previous generations were performed intelligently.

    I may say in passing that in spite of the great stress laid by Mr. Darwin did during the later years of his life. Romanes in March wrote in terms which it is not necessary to repeat.

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    From this Mr. It is without question an astonishing fact that a young cuckoo should be prompted to leave its foster parents at a particular season of the year, and without any guide to show the course previously taken by its own parents, but this is a fact which must be met by any theory of instinct which aims at being complete.


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    Now upon our own theory it can only be met by taking it to be due to inherited memory. A little lower Mr.

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    We can only answer, of the same kind, whatever this may be, as that upon which the old bird depends. I have given above most of the more marked passages which I have been able to find in Mr. But throughout his work there are passages which suggest, though less obviously, the same inference. The passages I have quoted show that Mr. Moreover, at the same time that I claim the weight of Mr.

    The late Mr. Darwin himself—whose mantle seems to have fallen more especially and particularly on Mr. Romanes—could not contradict himself more hopelessly than Mr. Romanes often does. Indeed in one of the very passages I have quoted in order to show that Mr. Over and over again Mr. Romanes insists that it is heredity which does this or that.

    Herbert Spencer, Darwin, and Lewes have done.

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    This, however, is exactly what Professor Hering, whom I have unwittingly followed, does. He resolves all phenomena of heredity, whether in respect of body or mind, into phenomena of memory. What, for example, can be more unsatisfactory than the following? I do not understand Mr. Romanes to hold that there is any living being which has no mind at all, and I do understand him to admit that development of body and mind are closely interdependent.

    For mind and body are so closely connected that nothing can enter largely into the one without correspondingly affecting the other. On a later page Mr. There can be no doubt, however, that Mr. I have said above that on page of his recent work Mr. This is certainly his meaning, but, with the exception of the words within inverted commas, it is not his language. His own words are these:—. Consciousness is but an adjunct which arises when the physical processes, owing to infrequency of repetition, complexity of operation, or other causes, involve what I have before called ganglionic friction.

    I submit that I have correctly translated Mr. Another example may be found on p. Romanes is here intending what the reader will find insisted on on p. Unfortunately that seems to have been by no means the only thing of which Mr. Romanes was thinking, or why, after implying and even saying over and over again that instinct is inherited habit due to inherited memory, should he turn sharply round on p.

    The answer is not far to seek. It is because Mr. Romanes did not merely want to tell us all about instinct, but wanted also, if I may use a homely metaphor, to hunt with the hounds and run with the hare at one and the same time.