Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/193

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over the blind forces of Nature, simply by the overmastering power of a resolute and sagacious will, there would still exist abundant grounds for believing that man has the power of modifying and amending his own conduct; that he is not the plaything of inflexible Destiny; and that he may not give way, without resistance or remorse, to his evil instincts. Let us believe in heredity, in so far as it may be made a means of improvement and of free perfectionment. But let us withhold our assent when there is claimed for it a despotic power so absolute as it would be madness to resist. Education has not only to improve the race, but also to give men a desire for improvement, by showing them that it is possible. In alliance with a judicious cultivation of desirable hereditary tendencies, education overmasters noxious proclivities and regenerates the race.

We must not, however, attribute to education an exaggerated importance, nor. imagine that by itself alone it can call forth preeminent ability. Its influence, like that of heredity, is limited. Genius, which is the most perfect expression of mind, considered as a free creative force, is controlled by neither. It is a mighty tree whose fruits give sustenance to generations, and the conditions of whose growth are such that we can no more foresee or determine its appearing than we can prescribe rules for its behavior afterward, or estimate its fruitfulness. Fortunately, geniuses are not indispensable, and, in proportion as the national average rises, the less need is there for them. But the general average rises of necessity when all the citizens are animated with the one desire of improvement. Hereditary cultivation, proceeding by means of a rigid selection of the influences which tend to improve the race, may be confidently commended to those nations who are ambitious of holding the first rank in the world.—Revue des Deux Mondes.



THE moners are the simplest organisms we know of—we might even say, the simplest that can exist. In them, life is exhibited under the form that is best fitted to give us an idea of its essential characters, stripped of all secondary attributes. The first moner was discovered by the celebrated Prof. Häckel, of Jena, in 1864, and the number has gone on steadily increasing ever since. These discoveries have made a great stir in the scientific world, owing to their bearing on our theories of organization.

The moner which best typifies the entire class is the Protomyxa auratitiaca. This little creature, hardly visible to the naked eye, and, at most, as big as a small pin-head, is of a fine orange-red color, con-