Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/678

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656
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

will; that is, the dog may end at the stage in which every child, even the most highly endowed, is found at some period of his development. It is a condition unquestionably in advance, by far, of that of scores of tribes. Moreover, as in the child and the less endowed morally of men, even such ideas of the right are powerfully operative in producing courses of useful conduct. They lead to action on the one hand, and to restraint on the other, instances of which, in the case of the dog, are abundant, and some of them of a most touching, we might almost say ennobling, character. To affirm that the idea of right and wrong of the lower animals does not rise above the hope of reward and the fear of punishment is not to keep to the facts, unless we include as the only reward, in many cases, the master's approbation, and the only punishment his displeasure. When a child arrives at such a stage of feeling, most persons would not be inclined to deny it a moral nature and a very good one, too. We might almost speak of a dog having a religion, with man as his deity. But as a whole host of qualities—some of them difficult to classify—go to make up the character of the human individual so developed and balanced as to deserve the epithet "gentleman," so there are many qualities in the best specimens of the canine race that we can practically appreciate better than define.

In all such discussions it must be borne in mind that if we adopt the theory of organic evolution we are almost bound, of necessity, to a belief in the origin and gradual development of mind from the faintest glimmerings of consciousness, in the simplest protoplasmic creatures; and that system will be most philosophical and complete which can fill up the gaps between the lowest manifestation of any quality and the highest. Hence, many are inclined to believe that the great distinction between man's faculties and those of animals lower in the scale is difference in degree and not in kind, certainly in so far as they run parallel. Such a view does not prevent our conceiving of additional forms of psychic activity not represented in man as the possession of the brutes. That such seems probable will appear when we discuss some of the problems still demanding solution. Nor does such a view imply that there may not be avenues of knowledge of a special kind open to man which are closed to those lower in the scale, such as a special revelation from a higher source. So far as we see, indeed, there are no theological difficulties any more than with evolution as ordinarily applied to animal and plant forms.

Man's present superiority over the lower animals is traceable in large part to his eminently social tendencies, resulting in the division of labor, with its consequent development of special aptitudes and its outcome in the enormous amount of force which he can, on occasion, bring to bear against the various tendencies making for his destruction. Indeed, the isolated individual man is scarcely as well prepared in the struggle for existence as most other animals. But the