Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/681

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659
COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY.

useful results in this field. With regard to the so-called "homing instinct," it has been noticed that savage or semi-savage man possesses a power of finding his way in the trackless forest by more accurate observation than that of which the civilized man seems capable. While this throws light upon the case of the lower animals, it does but very inadequately explain it. It may turn out that both of these puzzles are susceptible of simple explanation; but at present they strike me as rather belonging to that class of psychic phenomena the meaning of which can be but inadequately understood by man, owing to his not possessing the requisite faculties or those faculties in sufficiently powerful or acute development. The performances of a Shakespeare and Scott in literature, or a Beethoven in music, to the mass of men, must be but imperfectly understood in any proper sense of realisation. Probably these sons of genius could have given little account of the "manner of it" themselves. We might hesitate to call such faculties as the above in the lower animals genius, or to acknowledge any kinship; but genius among men is often as limited and as disassociated with general mental power as are certain marvelous faculties in the lower animals. It may be that migration is accomplished by means of some forms of acute sensation, according to "which the animal acts more or less blindly. Plainly, no mere restless impulse can account for the performance, though it may initiate it. These and many other problems are before us; and, like most recondite problems, they will require the labors of many, each bringing his little for their solution. But is it not worth while? Man can not live by bread alone. We hunger for completeness in our knowledge and harmony in our philosophy. But, apart from this philosophical satisfaction, it can not but prove for the interests both of man and the lower animals that the latter should be better understood.

Belonging, as most of you do, to the veterinary profession, or, as I should prefer to call it, the profession of comparative medicine, either as students or as practitioners and teachers, the more you comprehend the mental workings and modes of expression of your patients, the more successfully must you arrive at an accurate knowledge of their symptoms, and so be the better prepared to relieve the suffering among them, and in so doing also advance man's material interests. To you, at the present time, must we especially look for diffusing more enlightened and humane views, views worthy of this renowned school of comparative medicine, which many of you have come so far to attend. It will be for you to intervene in cases of public panic like that witnessed in connection with the recent hydrophobia scare; reassure the public mind, and protect our fellow-creatures of the lower ranks from needless molestation. There is probably no class of men whose daily life-work gives them so large an opportunity for at the same time acquiring and diffusing truer views in regard to the lower animals. Your enthusiasm and success during the first year of our existence as