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as they feel that they themselves must do, if in his situation.” In such cases, to use a common phrase, the spectators do not know what they are about ; for such contortions being wholly useless, both to themselves and to the dancer, if conscious of the movement, they would repress it. This faculty of unconscious imitation is a most useful endowment of our nature ; for, by its aid, the infant makes some of its earliest and most important steps in knowledge. As some of the most remarkable exhibitions of it in man are blind and purposeless, we may reasonably conclude that it is always so in the brute.
Feats which animals have been trained to accomplish, therefore, afford no proof that they possess one spark of intelligence. How little weight, then, is due to the ingenious speculations of the author of The Vestiges of Creation, who argues that the human and the brute mind must be of the same species, because a mountebank had taught bis two dogs how to play dominoes! It appears strange that he did not also adduce the instance of the Learned Pig, in order to prove that swine may be taught to spell. An animal blindly repeats some movement, which a man performs only from a perception of its true meaning and purpose ; we must not, therefore, attribute such a perception to the brute. Parrots may be taught to articulate, but they do not thereby learn to talk. A monkey in a painter's studio will seize his brush and cover the walls of the room with unmeaning scrawls ; it imitates the physical act, but without any glimpse of its intention and real character. The comparative teachableness of the different tribes seems to depend on the strength of the imitative propensity, and on the want of fierceness or fickleness of disposition. The monkey can very readily be taught, but its excessive fickleness soon dissipates all the effects of instruction. The mocking bird can be made to repeat snatches of many tunes, but it will hardly ever sing one entirely through, though this is done by the bulfinch and the Canary bird. The gravity and steadiness, so to speak, of the elephant's disposition, and the keenness of its senses, united with its perfect gentleness and imitative talent, render it very susceptible of instruction; and the docility of its pachydermatous brother, the hog, Dr. Darwin thinks has been much underestimated. By observing such qualities as these, we shall find much reason to doubt the alleged natural sagacity of certain species. That they learn more readily is no proof of higher natural
ment for the time ; or why does it not attempt to crop the herbage for food, like its dam? Why does maternal affection cease, just at the time when the offspring becomes capable of taking care of itself, and then cease so entirely that the animal seems incapable ever afterwards even of recognizing its own young? How many other instincts are naturally conjoined with these it is impossible to tell, because we cannot study minutely the habits of the animal in its wild state, where alone these wonderful powers are freely manifested. Man's officious care teaches them artificial habits so soon, or removes so diligently the occasion for the development of their instincts, that we can learn little from them in this respect while they are under his tutelage.
In one respect, however, they are admirably fitted by nature's cunning hand for all the exigencies of their situation immediately after birth, while the human infant is left to perfect itself by the slow inductions of experience, under the fostering care of its elders. The first and most important step in the acquisition of knowledge by man is to acquire the use of his own eyes, or to learn how to see. It is a fact now firmly established, both by a priori reasoning and observation, that the eye directly sees nothing but colors, and cannot perceive immediately either distance, figure, dimension, or situation. Colors are the only visible things, just as sounds alone are audible ; experience teaches us from slight varia-, tions or peculiarities of these to infer the distance, magnitude, shape, or other tangible qualities of the objects which possess or emit them. This fact, first discovered by Berkeley, has been demonstrated by experiments on persons born blind and subsequently restored to sight, and may be confirmed at any time by watching the movements of an infant soon after its birth. Place some bright or gaily-colored toy before its eyes, and its looks and movements instantly betray its desire to grasp it, and if the object be actually placed in its hands, it will hold it firmly, and seem unwilling to relinquish it; but hold it at a little way off, and the hands grope for it, seemingly at random, or in a manner which shows the infant's entire ignorance of its distance and true position. The child betrays the same uncertainty, when it attempts to convey anything to its mouth; place the object in contact with its lips, and it will eagerly seize it. If its bungling attempts be attributed, in part, to its ignorance of the right mode of using
its arms and hands, - to its incapacity, in fine, to make any proper use of them, — this only places in a stronger light its inferiority, for the time, to the young brute. In the beautiful experiment already quoted from Galen, the kid just snatched from the matrix of its dead mother used its limbs at once, with perfect facility and success, and with the characteristic movements of its species. Like the newly born colt or calf, also, it walked with freedom, inspected objects near at hand, and avoided those which were in its way, - not, as in the case of man, with an acquired judgment, but with an instinctive knowledge of their true position.
The ability of the inferior animals to see distances as soon as their eyes are opened is so evident, that Mr. Bailey has recently alleged this fact in an attempt to controvert Berkeley's whole theory of vision, as applied to man. He might as well adduce the innate constructive power of the bird and the bee, as a proof that men know how to build houses by intuition, or without the aid of experience. The ancient anatomists committed many errors in attempting to learn the internal structure of the human body by dissecting the carcasses of brutes. Yet no anatomical differences are so striking as the entire want of similitude between instinct and reason; the one being blind, unconscious, invariable, and infallible, — while the other is self-taught, cognizant of its own actions, constantly liable to error, but capable of indefinite progress. Berkeley's theory is susceptible of demonstration, from the laws of light and the physical structure of the eye, independently of any experiments. The eye certainly can determine the distance of an object only by a line directed endwise to itself, and such a line, be it longer or shorter, projects but one point upon the retina. By what means, then, can a man ascertain the length of that line ? Instinct cannot inform him of its true measurement ; for he is constantly deceived, when guessing at the distance of an object of the size of which he is ignorant, especially when it is separated from him by a vertical, instead of a horizontal line. Every one who has seen a well executed diorama kpows, that, by a skilful distribution of light and shade, not only in the painting itself, but also in the apartment in which it is viewed, a flat surface, perpendicular to the horizon, is immediately transformed, to the eye, into an extensive landscape, and hardly the most vigorous exertion of the judgment can correct the illusion. Here is a direct proof that the eye does not immediately see distance, and every one knows that the visible magnitude of an object depends on its remoteness. Yet chickens, as soon as they are out of the shell, run about, evidently with an immediate perception of the relative size and proximity of all the objects around them.
We have now shown, not merely that all the inferior animals are copiously endowed with instincts, but that there is good reason to suspect man to be absolutely devoid of them, or to be guided by reason alone. If, in so important a respect as the use of his eyes, on which he is dependent for safety, as well as progress, at almost every moment of his existence, wbile by their aid alone can his other faculties attain their full development and the extreme limit of their usefulness,- if on this cardinal point he is left entirely to the slow deductions of experience, we may well believe that in no other particular, in his case, is instinct allowed to supersede the use of reason. The utter helplessness of the human infant, compared with the independence of the young of most other animals, appears in nothing so strongly as in its inability to see, even when its eyes are opened and the physical structure of the organ is perfect.
In fact, after we have deprived the passions and appetites, for reasons already given, of all claim to the character of instinct, there is no instance commonly adduced by physiologists to prove that man is ever governed by it, except the action by which he first acquires nourishment. And even here it is admitted, though the act of sucking be instinctive at first, yet if the propensity be not very soon developed and confirmed by experience, that it ceases altogether. At the utmost, then, this is a transient instinct, given to provide for man's safety in the first helpless hours of his existence. But it is very doubtful whether even ibis action is properly to be called instinctive. Recurring to the definition already given, is it certain that this is an instance of action not pleasurable in itself alone, but useful only as a means for some ulterior object? That mere muscular exertion is pleasant in itself is evident enough to one who observes the uneasiness of infants and the strange gymnastic experiments of children of a litule larger growth. If a small object be placed in the hand of an infant, its little fingers readily close around it, apparently from the mere pleasure of calling the muscles into activity,