Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/566

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
550
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

factory. The policy of the law in giving individuals power to propagate their ideas for an indefinite period after death should be reversed, and their ideas should be put on the same footing as their preferences for individuals, to whom property can be limited for a few years only. In this case the monstrous egotism which leads to a large number of endowments would be cut off; and future generations would not be taxed in order that Jones or Robinson, dead fifty years since, might have the posthumous pleasure of having a college called after him. When competition and change in public sentiment have brought about this state of things, educators will have to let go of the cherished but unscientific idea that their judgment is better than the inclination and judgment combined of the students, and that it is their duty to force dull studies on unwilling minds. And the social organism will then, in this department also, carry on its processes of growth and development, waste and repair, in the same unfettered and natural manner in which the animal organism maintains and enlarges its life.[1]

 

SKETCH OF PAUL GERVAIS.

PAUL GERVAIS was eminent as a zoölogist and as a paleontologist. Born in Paris on the 16th of September, 1816, he died in March, 1879, having lived a life exclusively devoted to science. By his entire consecration to study, says M. Blanchard in his "Eulogy," he reached the most enviable positions, conquering them with only his natural talents, courage, perseverance, and assiduity in work; for he had at the beginning of his career neither the resources which make existence easy, nor the certainties which give confidence as to the future. In early youth, yielding to his native tastes, he was accustomed to frequent the woods around Paris, to observe and study natural objects. His first scientific paper was published when he was seventeen years old, in the "Magasin de Zoölogie," and was an account of a new species of Souï, the Cinnyris Adalberti. His attention was directed at

  1. Any one possessing a reasonable knowledge of the general principles of evolution will easily see that the above views as to the lines of future progress are merely corollaries to the general doctrines of social evolution. Every social activity, like every individual habit, passes from the stags where it is the act of the whole organism to that wherein it is specialized and automatic. Every function soon evolves its special structure; and this structure, under normal conditions, automatically draws its nutrition in proportion to its expenditure in the service of the organism. This process is inevitable because it results in a saving of force, and an increase of active power supporting the organism, as an act by a part is less costly than an act by the whole. Increased heterogeneity and coherence in general evolution mean, in sociology, increased individualism and free association on lines of spontaneous attraction—that is to say, social evolution consists in a change from socialism to what we call individualism. The recent noisy reaction should not blind us to the great facts of the history of civilization, which is one long record of the decline of the régime of status in favor of that of voluntary association.