Creative Evolution

CHAPTER II he Divergent Directions of the Evolution of Life -- Torpor, Intelligence, Instinct

Henri Bergson

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THE evolution movement would be a simple one, and we should soon have been able to determine its direction, if life had described a single course, like that of a solid ball shot from a cannon. But it proceeds rather like a shell, which suddenly bursts into fragments, which fragments, being themselves shells, burst in their turn into fragments destined to burst again, and so on for a time incommensurably long. We perceive only what is nearest to us, namely, the scattered movements of the pulverized explosions. From them we have to go back, stage by stage, to the original movement.

When a shell bursts, the particular way it breaks is explained both by the explosive force of the powder it contains and by the resistance of the metal. So of the way life breaks into individuals and species. It depends, we think, on two series of causes: the resistance life meets from inert matter, and the explosive force--due to an unstable balance of tendencies-which life bears within itself.

The resistance of inert matter was the obstacle that had first to be overcome. Life seems to have succeeded in this by dint of humility, by making itself very small and very insinuating, bending to physical and chemical forces, consenting even to go a part of the way with them, like the switch that adopts for a while the direction of

(99) the rail it is endeavoring to leave. Of phenomena in the simplest forms of life, it is hard to say whether they are still physical and chemical or whether they are already vital. Life had to enter thus into the habits of inert matter, in order to draw it little by little, magnetized, as it were, to another track. The animate forms that first appeared were therefore of extreme simplicity. They were probably tiny masses of scarcely differentiated protoplasm, outwardly resembling the amoeba observable to-day, but possessed of the tremendous internal push that was to raise them even to the highest forms of life. That in virtue of this push the first organisms sought to grow as much as possible, seems likely. But organized matter has a limit of expansion that is very quickly reached; beyond a certain point it divides instead of growing. Ages of effort and prodigies of subtlety were probably necessary for life to get past this new obstacle. It succeeded in inducing an increasing number of elements, ready to divide, to remain united. By the division of labor it knotted between them an indissoluble bond. The complex and quasi-discontinuous organism is thus made to function as would a continuous living mass which had simply grown bigger.

But the real and profound causes of division were those which life bore within its bosom. For life is tendency, and the essence of a tendency is to develop in the form of a sheaf, creating, by its very growth, divergent directions among which its impetus is divided. This we observe in ourselves, in the evolution of that special tendency which we call our character. Each of us, glancing back over his history, will find that his child-personality, though indivisible, united in itself divers persons, which could remain blended just because they were in their nascent state: this indecision, so charged with promise, is one of the

(100) greatest charms of childhood. But these interwoven personalities become incompatible in course of growth, and, as each of us can live but one life, a choice must perforce be made. We choose in reality without ceasing; without ceasing, also, we abandon many things. The route we pursue in time is strewn with the remains of all that we began to be, of all that we might have become. But nature, which has at command an incalculable number of lives, is in no wise bound to make such sacrifices. She preserves the different tendencies the have bifurcated with their growth. She creates with them diverging series of species that will evolve separately.

These series may, moreover, be of unequal importance. The author who begins a novel puts into his hero many things which he is obliged to discard as he goes on. Perhaps he will take them up later in other books, and make new characters with them, who will seem like extracts from, or rather like complements of, the first; but they will almost always appear somewhat poor and limited in comparison with the original character. So with regard to the evolution of life. The bifurcations on the way have been numerous, but there have been many blind alleys beside the two or three highways; and of these highways themselves, only one, that which leads through the vertebrates up to man, has been wide enough to allow free passage to the full breath of life. We get this impression when we compare the societies of bees and ants, for instance, with human societies. The former are admirably ordered and united, but stereotyped; the latter are open to every sort of progress, but divided, and incessantly at strife with themselves. The ideal would be a society always in progress and always in equilibrium, but this ideal is perhaps unrealizable: the two characteristics that would fain complete each other, which do complete each other in their

(101) embryonic state, can no longer abide together when they grow stronger. If one could speak, otherwise than metaphorically, of an impulse toward social life, it might be said that the brunt of the impulse was borne along the line of evolution ending at man, and that the rest of it was collected on the road leading to the hymenoptera: the societies of ants and bees would thus present the aspect complementary to ours. But this would be only a manner of expression. There has been no particular impulse towards social life; there is simply the general movement of life, which on divergent lines is creating forms ever new. If societies should appear on two of these lines, they ought to show divergence of paths at the same time as community of impetus. They will thus develop two classes of characteristics which we shall find vaguely complementary of each other.

So our study of the evolution movement will have to unravel a certain number of divergent directions, and to appreciate the importance of what has happened along each of them-in a word, to determine the nature of the dissociated tendencies and estimate their relative proportion. Combining these tendencies, then, we shall get an approximation, or rather an imitation, of the indivisible motor principle whence their impetus proceeds. Evolution will thus prove to be something entirely different from a series of adaptations to circumstances, as mechanism claims; entirely different also from the realization of a plan of the whole, as maintained by the doctrine of finality.

That adaptation to environment is the necessary condition of evolution we do not question for a moment. It is quite evident that a species would disappear, should it fail to bend to the conditions of existence which are imposed on it. But it is one thing to recognize that outer

(102) circumstances are forces evolution must reckon with, another to claim that they are the directing causes of evolution. This latter theory is that of mechanism. It excludes absolutely the hypothesis of an original impetus, I mean an internal push that has carried life, by more and more complex forms, to higher and higher destinies. Yet this impetus is evident, and a mere glance at fossil species shows us that life need not have evolved at all, or might have evolved only in very restricted limits, if it bad chosen the alternative, much more convenient to itself, of becoming anchylosed in its primitive forms. Certain Foraminifera have not varied since the Silurian epoch. Unmoved witnesses of the innumerable revolutions that have upheaved our planet, the Lingulae are to-day what they were at the remotest times of the paleozoic era.

The truth is that adaptation explains the sinuosities of the movement of evolution, but not its general directions, still less the movement itself.[1] The road that leads to the town is obliged to follow the ups and downs of the hills; it adapts itself to the accidents of the ground; but the accidents of the ground are not the cause of the road, nor accidents have they given it its direction. At every moment they furnish it with what is indispensable, namely, the soil on which it lies; but if we consider the whole of the road, instead of each of its parts, the accidents of the ground appear only as impediments or causes of delay, for the road aims simply at the town and would fain be a straight line. Just so as regards the evolution of life and the circumstances through which it passes-with this difference, that evolution does not mark out a solitary route, that it takes directions without aiming at ends, and that it remains inventive even in its adaptations.


But, if the evolution of life is something other than a series of adaptations to accidental circumstances, so also it is not the realization of a plan. A plan is given in advance. It is represented, or at least representable, before its realization. The complete execution of it may be put off to a distant future, or even indefinitely; but the idea is none the less formulable at the present time, in terms actually given. If, on the contrary, evolution is a creation unceasingly renewed, it creates, as it goes on, not only the forms of life, but the ideas that will enable the intellect to understand it, the terms which will serve to express it. That is to say that its future overflows its present, and can not be sketched out therein in an idea.

There is the first error of finalism. It involves another, yet more serious.

If life realizes a plan, it ought to manifest a greater harmony the further it advances, just as the house shows better and better the idea of the architect as stone is set upon stone. If, on the contrary, the unity of life is to be found solely in the impetus that pushes it along the road of time, the harmony is not in front, but behind. The unity is derived from a vis a tergo: it is given at the start as an impulsion, not placed at the end as an attraction. In communicating itself, the impetus splits up more and more. Life, in proportion to its progress, is scattered in manifestations which undoubtedly owe to their common origin the fact that they are complementary to each other in certain aspects, but which are none the less mutually incompatible and antagonistic. So the discord between species will go on increasing. Indeed, we have as yet only indicated the essential cause of it. We have supposed, for the sake of simplicity, that each species received the impulsion in order to pass it on to others, and that,

(104) in every direction in which life evolves, the propagation is in a straight line. But, as a matter of fact, there are species which are arrested; there are some that retrogress. Evolution is not only a movement forward; in many cases we observe a marking-time, and still more often a deviation or turning back. It must be so, as we shall show further on, and the same causes that divide the evolution movement often cause life to be diverted from itself, hypnotized by the form it has just brought forth. Thence results an increasing disorder. No doubt there is progress, if progress mean a continual advance in the general direction determined by a first impulsion; but this progress is accomplished only on the two or three great lines of evolution on which forms ever more and more complex, ever more and more high, appear; between these lines run a crowd of minor paths in which, on the contrary, deviations, arrests, and set-backs, are multiplied. The philosopher, who begins by laying down as a principle that each detail is connected with some general plan of the whole, goes from one disappointment to another as soon as he comes to examine the facts; and, as he had put everything in the same rank, he finds that, as the result of not allowing for accident, he must regard everything as accidental. For accident, then, an allowance must first be made, and a very liberal allowance. We must recognize that all is not coherent in nature. By so doing, we shall be led to ascertain the centres around which the incoherence crystallizes. This crystallization itself will clarify the rest; the main directions will appear, in which life is moving whilst developing the original impulse. True, we shall not witness the detailed accomplishment of a plan. Nature is more and better than a plan in course of realization. A plan is a term assigned to a labor: it closes the future whose form it indicates. Before the evolution of life, on

(105) the contrary, the portals of the future remain wide open. It is a creation that goes on for ever in virtue of an initial movement. This movement constitutes the unity of the organized world -- a prolific unity, of an infinite richness, superior to any that the intellect could dream of, for the intellect is only one of its aspects or products.

But it is easier to define the method than to apply it. The complete interpretation of the evolution movement in the past, as we conceive it, would be possible only if the history of the development of the organized world were entirely known. Such is far from being the case. The genealogies proposed for the different species are generally questionable. They vary with their authors, with the theoretic views inspiring them, and raise discussions to which the present state of science does not admit of a final settlement. But a comparison of the different solutions shows that the controversy bears less on the main lines of the movement than on matters of detail; and so, by following the main lines as closely as possible, we shall be sure of not going astray. Moreover, they alone are important to us; for we do not aim, like the naturalist, at finding the order of succession of different species, but only at defining the principal directions of their evolution. And not all of these directions have the same interest for us: what concerns us particularly is the path that leads to man. We shall therefore not lose sight of the fact, in following one direction and another, that our main business is to determine the relation of man to the animal kingdom, find the, place of the animal kingdom itself in the organized world as a whole.

To begin with the second point, let us say that no definite characteristic distinguishes the plant from the animal. Attempts to define the two kingdoms strictly have always

(106) come to naught. There is not a single property of vegetable life that is not found, in some degree, in certain animals; not a single characteristic feature of the animal that has not been seen in certain species or at certain moments in the vegetable world. Naturally, therefore, biologists enamored of clean-cut concepts have regarded the distinction between the two kingdoms as artificial. They would be right, if definition in this case must be made, as in the mathematical and physical sciences, according to certain statical attributes which belong to the object defined and are not found in any other. Very different, in our opinion, is the kind of definition which befits the sciences of life. There is no manifestation of life which does not contain, in a rudimentary state-either latent or potential,-- the essential characters of most other manifestations. The difference is in the proportions. But this very difference of proportion will suffice to define the group, if we can establish that it is not accidental, and that the group as it evolves, tends more and more to emphasize these particular characters. In a word, the group must not be defined by the possession of certain characters, but by its tendency to emphasize them. From this point of view, taking tendencies rather than states into account, we find that vegetables and animals may be precisely defined and distinguished, and that they correspond to two divergent developments of life.

This divergence is shown, first, in the method of alimentation. We know that the vegetable derives directly from the air and water and soil the elements necessary to maintain life, especially carbon and nitrogen, which it takes in mineral form. The animal, on the contrary, cannot assimilate these elements unless they have already been fixed for it in organic substances by plants, or by animals which directly or indirectly owe them to plants;

(107) so that ultimately the vegetable nourishes the animal. True, this law allows of many exceptions among vegetables. We do not hesitate to class amongst vegetables the Drosera, the Dionaea, the Pinguicula, which are insectivorous plants. On the other hand, the fungi, which occupy so considerable a place in the vegetable world, feed like animals: whether they are ferments, saprophytes or parasites, it is to already formed organic substances that they owe their nourishment. It is therefore impossible to draw from this difference any static definition such as would automatically settle in any particular case the question whether we are dealing with a plant or an animal. But the difference may provide the beginning of a dynamic definition of the two kingdoms, in that it marks the two divergent directions in which vegetables and animals have taken their course. It is a remarkable fact that the fungi, which nature has spread all over the earth in such extraordinary profusion, have not been able to evolve. Organically they do not rise above tissues which, in the higher vegetables, are formed in the embryonic sac of the ovary, and precede the germinative development of the new individual.[2] They might be called the abortive children of the vegetable world. Their different species are like so many blind alleys, as if, by renouncing the mode of alimentation custom ary amongst vegetables, they had been brought to a stand still on the highway of vegetable evolution. As to the Drosera, the Dionaea, and insectivorous plants in general, they are fed by their roots, like other plants; they too fix, by their green parts, the carbon of the carbonic acid in the atmosphere. Their faculty of capturing, absorbing and digesting insects must have arisen late, in quite exceptional cases where the soil was too poor to furnish sufficient nourishment. In a general way, then, if we attach less im-

(108) -portance to the presence of special characters than to their tendency to develop, and if we regard as essential that tendency along which evolution has been able to continue indefinitely, we may say that vegetables are distinguished from animals by their power of creating organic matter out of mineral elements which they draw directly from the air and earth and water. But now we come to another difference, deeper than this, though not unconnected with it.

The animal, being unable to fix directly the carbon and nitrogen which are everywhere to be found, has to seek for its nourishment vegetables which have already fixed these elements, or animals which have taken them from the vegetable kingdom. So the animal must be able to move. From the amoeba, which thrusts out its pseudopodia at random to seize the organic matter scattered in a drop of water, up to the higher animals which have sense-organs with which to recognize their prey, locomotor organs to go and seize it, and a nervous system to coordinate their movements with their sensations, animal life is characterized, in its general direction, by mobility in space. In its most rudimentary form, the animal is a tiny mass of protoplasm enveloped at most in a thin albuminous pellicle which allows full freedom for change of shape and movement. The vegetable cell, on the contrary, is surrounded by a membrane of cellulose, which condemns it to immobility. And, from the bottom to the top of the vegetable kingdom, there are the same habits growing more and more sedentary, the plant having no need to move, and finding around it, in the air and water and soil in which it is placed, the mineral elements it can appropriate directly. It is true that phenomena of movement are seen in plants. Darwin has written a well-known work on the movements of climbing plants. He studied also the contrivances of certain in-

(109) -sectivorous plants, such as the Drosera. and the Dionaea, to seize their prey. The leaf-movements of the acacia, the sensitive plant, etc., are well known. Moreover, the circulation of the vegetable protoplasm within its sheath bears witness to its relationship to the protoplasm of animals, whilst in a large number of animal species (generally parasites) phenomena of fixation, analogous to those of vegetables, can be observed.[3] Here, again, it would be a mistake to claim that fixity and mobility are the two characters which enable us to decide, by simple inspection alone, whether we have before us a plant or an animal. But fixity, in the animal, generally seems like a torpor into which the species has fallen, a refusal to evolve further in a certain direction; it is closely akin to parasitism and is accompanied by features that recall those of vegetable life. On the other hand, the movements of vegetables have neither the frequency nor the variety of those of animals. Generally, they involve only part of the organism and scarcely ever extend to the whole. In the exceptional cases in which a vague spontaneity appears in vegetables, it is as if we beheld the accidental awakening of an activity normally asleep. In short, although both mobility and fixity exist in the vegetable as in the animal world, the balance is clearly in favor of fixity in the one case and of mobility in the other. These two opposite tendencies are so plainly directive of the two evolutions that the two kingdoms might almost be defined by them. But fixity and mobility, again, are only superficial signs of tendencies that are still deeper.

Between mobility and consciousness there is- an obvious relationship. No doubt, the consciousness of the higher organisms seems bound up with certain cerebral arrange-

(110) -ments. The more the nervous system develops, the more numerous and more precise become the movements among which it can choose; the clearer, also, is the consciousness that accompanies them. But neither this mobility nor this choice nor consequently this consciousness involves as a necessary condition the presence of a nervous system; the latter has only canalized in definite directions, and brought up to a higher degree of intensity, a rudimentary and vague activity, diffused throughout the mass of the organized substance. The lower we descend in the animal series, the more the nervous centres are simplified, and the more, too, they separate from each other, till finally the nervous elements disappear, merged in the mass of a less differentiated organism. But it is the same with all the other apparatus, with all the other anatomical elements; and it would be as absurd to refuse consciousness to an animal because it has no brain as to declare it incapable of nourishing itself because it has no stomach. The truth is that the nervous system arises, like the other systems, from a division of labor. It does not create the function, it only brings it to a higher degree of intensity and precision by giving it the double form of reflex and voluntary activity. To accomplish a true reflex movement, a whole mechanism is necessary, set up in the spinal cord or the medulla. To choose voluntarily between several definite courses of action, cerebral centres are necessary, that is, crossways from which paths start, leading to motor mechanisms of diverse form but equal precision. But where nervous elements are not yet canalized, still less concentrated into a system, there is something from which, by a kind of splitting, both the reflex and the voluntary will arise, something which has neither the mechanical precision of the former nor the intelligent hesitations of the latter, but which, partaking of

(111) both it may be infinitesimally, is a reaction simply undecided, and therefore vaguely conscious. This amounts to saying that the humblest organism is conscious in proportion to its power to move freely. Is consciousness here, in relation to movement, the effect or the cause? In one sense it is the cause, since it has to direct locomotion. But in another sense it is the effect, for it is the motor activity that maintains it, and, once this activity disappears, consciousness dies away or rather falls asleep. In crustaceans such as the rhizocephala, which must formerly have shown a more differentiated structure, fixity and parasitism accompany the degeneration and almost complete disappearance of the nervous system. Since, in such a case, the progress of organization must have localized all the conscious activity in nervous centres, we may conjecture that consciousness is even weaker in animals of this kind than in organisms much less differentiated, which have never had nervous centres but have remained mobile.

How then could the plant, which is fixed in the earth and finds its food on the spot, have developed in the direction of conscious activity? The membrane of cellulose, in which the protoplasm wraps itself up, not only prevents the simplest vegetable organism from moving, but screens it also, in some measure, from those outer stimuli which act on the sensibility of the animal as irritants and prevent it from going to sleep. [4] The plant is therefore unconscious. Here again, however, we must beware of radical distinctions. " Unconscious " and " conscious " are not two labels which can be mechanically fastened, the, one on every vegetable cell, the other on all animals. While consciousness sleeps in the animal which has degenerated into a motionless parasite, it probably awakens in the vegetable that has

(112) regained liberty of movement, and awakens in just the degree to which the vegetable has reconquered this liberty. Nevertheless, consciousness and unconsciousness mark the directions in which the two kingdoms have developed, in this sense, that to find the best specimens of consciousness in the animal we must ascend to the highest representatives of the series, whereas, to find probable cases of vegetable consciousness, we must descend as low as possible in the scale of plants-down to the zoospores of the algae, for instance, and, more generally, to those unicellular organisms which may be said to hesitate between the vegetable form and animality. From this standpoint, and in this measure, we should define the animal by sensibility and awakened consciousness, the vegetable by consciousness asleep and by insensibility.

To sum up, the vegetable manufactures organic substances directly with mineral substances; as a rule, this aptitude enables it to dispense with movement and so with feeling. Animals, which are obliged to go in search of their food, have evolved in the direction of locomotor activity, and consequently of a consciousness more and more distinct, more and more ample.

Now, it seems to us most probable that the animal cell and the vegetable cell are derived from a common stock, and that the first living organisms oscillated between the vegetable and animal form, participating in both at once. Indeed, we have just seen that the characteristic tendencies of the evolution of the two kingdoms, although divergent, coexist even now, both in the plant and in the animal. The proportion alone differs. Ordinarily, one of the two tendencies covers or crushes down the other, but in exceptional circumstances the suppressed one starts up and regains the place it had lost. The

(113) mobility and consciousness of the vegetable cell are not so sound asleep that they cannot rouse themselves when circumstances permit or demand it; and, on the other hand, the evolution of the animal kingdom has always been retarded, or stopped, or dragged back, by the tendency it has kept toward the vegetative life. However full, however overflowing the activity of an animal species may appear, torpor and unconsciousness are always lying in wait for it. It keeps up its rôle only by effort, at the price of fatigue. Along the route on which the animal has evolved, there have been numberless shortcomings and cases of decay, generally associated with parasitic habits; they are so many shuntings on to the vegetative life. Thus, everything bears out the belief that vegetable and animal are descended from a common ancestor which united the tendencies of both in a rudimentary state.

But the two tendencies mutually implied in this rudimentary form became dissociated as they grew. Hence the world of plants with its fixity and insensibility, hence the animals with their mobility and consciousness. There is no need, in order to explain this dividing into two, to bring in any mysterious force. It is enough to point out that the living being leans naturally toward what is most convenient to it, and that vegetables and animals have chosen two different kinds of convenience in the way of procuring the carbon and nitrogen they need. Vegetables continually and mechanically draw these elements from an environment that continually provides it. Animals, by action that is discontinuous, concentrated in certain moments, and conscious, go to find. these bodies in organisms that have already fixed them. They are two different ways of being industrious, or perhaps we may prefer to say, of being idle. For this very reason we doubt whether nervous elements, however rudimentary, will ever be found

(114) in the plant. What corresponds in it to the directing will of the animal is, we believe, the direction in which it bends the energy of the solar radiation when it uses it to break the connection of the carbon with the oxygen in carbonic acid. What corresponds in it to the sensibility of the animal is the impressionability, quite of its kind, of its chlorophyl light. Now, a nervous system being pre-eminently a mechanism which serves as intermediary between sensations and volitions, the true "nervous system" of the plant seems to be the mechanism or rather chemicism sui generis which serves as intermediary between the impressionability of its chlorophyl to light and the producina of starch: which amounts to saying that the plant can have no nervous elements, and that the same impetus that has led the animal to give itself nerves and nerve centres must have ended, in the plant, in the chlorophyllian function.[5]

This first glance over the organized world will enable us to ascertain more precisely what unites the two kingdoms, and also what separates them.

Suppose, as we suggested in the preceding chapter, that at the root of life there is an effort to engraft on to the necessity of physical forces the largest possible amount of indetermination. This effort cannot result in the creation of energy, or, if it does, the quantity created does not belong to the order of magnitude apprehended

(115) by our senses and instruments of measurement, our experience and science. All that the effort can do, then, is to make the best of a pre-existing energy which it finds at its disposal. Now, it finds only one way of succeeding in this, namely, to secure such an accumulation of potential energy from matter, that it can get, at any moment, the amount of work it needs for its action, simply by pulling a trigger. The effort itself possesses only that power of releasing. But the work of releasing, although always the same and always smaller than any given quantity, will be the more effective the heavier the weight it makes fall and the greater the height-or, in other words, the greater the sum of potential energy accumulated and disposable. As a matter of fact, the principal source of energy usable on the surface of our planet is the sun. So the problem was this: to obtain from the sun that it should partially and provisionally suspend, here and there, on the surface of the earth, its continual outpour of usable energy, and store a certain quantity of it, in the form of unused energy, in appropriate reservoirs, whence it could be drawn at the desired moment, at the desired spot, in the desired direction. The substances forming the food of animals are just such reservoirs. Made of very complex molecules holding a considerable amount of chemical energy in the potential state, they are like explosives which only need a spark to set free the energy stored within them. Now, it is probable that life tended at the beginning to compass at one and the same time both the manufacture of the explosive and the explosion by which it is utilized. In this case the same organism that had directly stored the energy of the solar radiation would have expended it in free movements in space. And for that reason we must presume that the first living beings sought on the one hand to accumulate, without

(116) ceasing, energy borrowed from the sun, and on the other hand to expend it, in a discontinuous and explosive way, in movements of locomotion. Even to-day, perhaps, a chlorophyl-bearing Infusorian such as the Euglena may symbolize this primordial tendency of life, though in a mean form, incapable of evolving. Is the divergent development of the two kingdoms related to what one may call the oblivion of each kingdom as regards one of the two halves of the programme? Or rather, which is more likely, was the very nature of the matter, that life found confronting it on our planet, opposed to the possibility of the two tendencies evolving very far together in the same organism? What is certain is that the vegetable has trended principally in the first direction and the animal in the second. But if, from the very first, in making the explosive, nature had for object the explosion, then it is the evolution of the animal, rather than that of the vegetable, that indicates, on the whole, the fundamental direction of life.

The "harmony" of the two kingdoms, the complementary characters they display, might then be due to the fact that they develop two tendencies which at first were fused in one. The more the single original tendency grows, the harder it finds it to keep united in the same living being those two elements which in the rudimentary state implied each other. Hence a parting in two, hence two divergent evolutions; hence also two series of characters opposed in certain points, complementary in others, but, whether opposed or complementary, always preserving an appearance of kinship. While the animal evolved, not without accidents along the way, toward a freer and freer expenditure of discontinuous energy, the plant perfected rather its system of accumulation without moving. We shall not dwell on this second point. Suffice it to

(117) say that the plant must have been greatly benefited, in its turn, by a new division, analogous to that between plants and animals. While the primitive vegetable cell had to fix by itself both its carbon and its nitrogen, it became able almost to give up the second of these two functions as soon as microscopic vegetables came forward which leaned in this direction exclusively, and even specialized diversely in this still complicated business. The microbes that fix the nitrogen of the air and those which convert the ammoniacal compounds into nitrous ones, and these again into nitrates, have, by the same splitting up of a tendency primitively one, rendered to the whole vegetable world the same kind of service as the vegetables in general have rendered to animals. If a special kingdom were to be made for these microscopic vegetables, it might be said that in the microbes of the soil, the vegetables and the animals, we have before us the analysis, carried out by the matter that life found at its disposal on our planet, of all that life contained, at the outset, in a state of reciprocal implication. Is this, properly speaking, a "division of labor"? These words do not give the exact idea of evolution, such as we conceive it. Wherever there is division of labor, there is association and also convergence of effort. Now, the evolution we are speaking of is never achieved by means of association, but by dissociation; it never tends toward convergence, but toward divergence of efforts. The harmony between terms that are mutually complementary in certain points is not, in our opinion, produced, in course of progress, by a reciprocal adaptation; on the contrary, it is complete only at the start. It arises from an original identity, from the fact that the evolutionary process, splaying out like a sheaf, sunders, in proportion to their simultaneous growth, terms which at first completed each other so well that they coalesced.


Now, the elements into which a tendency splits up are far from possessing the same importance, or, above all, the same power to evolve. We have just distinguished three different kingdoms, if one may so express it, in the organized world. While the first comprises only microorganisms which have remained in the rudimentary state, animals and vegetables have taken their flight toward very lofty fortunes. Such, indeed, is generally the case when a tendency divides. Among the divergent developments to which it gives rise, some go on indefinitely, others come more or less quickly to the end of their tether. These latter do not issue directly from the primitive tendency, but from one of the elements into which it has divided; they are residual developments made and left behind on the way by some truly elementary tendency which continues to evolve. Now, these truly elementary tendencies, we think, bear a mark by which they may be recognized.

This mark is like a trace, still visible in each, of what was in the original tendency of which they represent the elementary directions. The elements of a tendency are not like objects set beside each other in space and mutually exclusive, but rather like psychic states, each of which, although it be itself to begin with, yet partakes of others, and so virtually includes in itself the whole personality to which it belongs. There is no real manifestation of life, we said, that does not show us, in a rudimentary or latent state, the characters of other manifestations. Conversely, when we meet, on one line of evolution, a recollection, so to speak, of what is devoloped along other lines, we must conclude that we have before us dissociated elements of one and the same original tendency. In this sense, vegetables and animals represent the two great divergent developments of life. Though the plant is

(119) distinguished from the animal by fixity and insensibility, movement and consciousness sleep in it as recollections which may waken. But, beside these normally sleeping recollections, there are others awake and active, just those, namely, whose activity does not obstruct the development of the elementary tendency itself. We may then formulate this law: When a tendency splits up in the course of its development, each of the special tendencies which thus arise tries to preserve and develop everything in the primitive tendency that is not incompatible with the work for which it is specialized. This explains precisely the fact we dwelt on in the preceding chapter, viz., the formation of identical complex mechanisms on independent lines of evolution. Certain deep-seated analogies between the animal and the vegetable have probably no other cause: sexual generation is perhaps only a luxury for the plant, but to the animal it was a necessity, and the plant must have been driven to it by the same impetus which impelled the animal thereto, a primitive, original impetus, anterior to the separation of the two kingdoms. The same may be said of the tendency of the vegetable towards a growing complexity. This tendency is essential to the animal kingdom, ever tormented by the need of more and more extended and effective action. But the vegetable, condemned to fixity and insensibility, exhibits the same tendency only because it received at the outset the same impulsion. Recent experiments show that it varies at random when the period of "mutation" arrives; whereas the animal must have evolved, we believe, in much more definite directions. But we will not dwell further on this original doubling of the modes of life. Let us come to the evolution of animals, in which we are more particularly interested.


What constitutes animality, we said, is the faculty of utilizing a releasing mechanism for the conversion of as much stored-up potential energy as possible into "explosive" actions. In the beginning the explosion is haphazard, and does not choose its direction. Thus the amoeba thrusts out its pseudopodic prolongations in all directions at once. But, as we rise in the animal scale, the form of the body itself is observed to indicate a certain number of very definite directions along which the energy travels. These directions are marked by so many chains of nervous elements. Now, the nervous element has gradually emerged from the barely differentiated mass of organized tissue. It may, therefore, be surmised that in the nervous element, as soon as it appears, and also in its appendages, the faculty of suddenly freeing the gradually stored-up energy is concentrated. No doubt, every living cell expends energy without ceasing, in order to maintain its equilibrium. The vegetable cell, torpid from the start, is entirely absorbed in this work of maintenance alone, as if it took for end what must at first have been only a means. But, in the animal, all points to action, that is, to the utilization of energy for movements from place to place. True, every animal cell expends a good deal-often the whole--of the energy at its disposal in keeping itself alive; but the organism as a whole tries to attract as much energy as possible to those points where the locomotive movements are effected. So that where a nervous system exists, with its complementary senseorgans and motor apparatus, everything should happen as if the rest of the body had, as its essential function, to prepare for these and pass on to them, at the moment required, that force which they are to liberate by a sort of explosion.

The part played by food amongst the higher animals

(121) is, indeed, extremely complex. In the first place it serves to repair tissues, then it provides the animal with the heat necessary to render it as independent as possible of changes in external temperature. Thus it preserves, supports, and maintains the organism in which the nervous system is set and on which the nervous elements have to live. But these nervous elements would have no reason for existence if the organism did not pass to them, and especially to the muscles they control, a certain energy to expend; and it may even be conjectured that there, in the main, is the essential and ultimate destination of food. This does not mean that the greater part of the food is used in this work. A state may have to make enormous expenditure to secure the return of taxes, and the sum which it will have to dispose of, after deducting the cost of collection, will perhaps be very small: that sum is, none the less, the reason for the tax and for all that has been spent to obtain its return. So it is with the energy which the animal demands of its food.

Many facts seem to indicate that the nervous and muscular elements stand in this relation towards the rest of the organism. Glance first at the distribution of alimentary substances among the different elements of the living body. These substances fall into two classes, one the quaternary or albuminoid, the other the ternary, including the carbohydrates and the fats. The. albuminoids are properly plastic, destined to repair the tissues although, owing to the carbon they contain, they are capable of providing energy on occasion. But the function of supplying energy has devolved more particularly on the second class of substances: these, being deposited in the cell rather than forming part of its substance, convey to it, in the form of chemical potential, an expansive energy that may be directly converted into either

(122) movement or heat. In short, the chief function of the albuminoids is to repair the machine, while the function of the other class of substances is to supply power. It is natural that the albuminoids should have no specially allotted destination, since every part of the machine has to be maintained. But not so with the other substances. The carbohydrates are distributed very unequally, and this inequality of distribution seems to us in the highest degree instructive.

Conveyed by the arterial blood in the form of glucose, these substances are deposited, in the form of glycogen, in the different cells forming the tissues. We know that one of the principal functions of the liver is to maintain at a constant level the quantity of glucose held by the blood, by means of the reserves of glycogen secreted by the hepatic cells. Now, in this circulation of glucose and accumulation of glycogen, it is easy to see that the effect is as if the whole effort of the organism were directed towards providing with potential energy the elements of both the muscular and the nervous tissues. The organism proceeds differently in the two cases, but it arrives at the same result. In the first case, it provides the muscle-cell with a large reserve deposited in advance: the quantity of glycogen contained in the muscles is, indeed, enormous in comparison with what is found in the other tissues. In the nervous tissue, on the contrary, the reserve is small (the nervous elements, whose function is merely to liberate the potential energy stored in the muscle, never have to furnish much work at one time); Nit the remarkable thing is that this reserve is restored by the blood at the very moment that it is expended, so that the nerve is instantly recharged with potential energy. Muscular tissue and nervous tissue are, therefore, both privileged, the one in that it is stocked with a large reserve of energy,

(123) the other in that it is always served at the instant it is in need and to the exact extent of its requirements.

More particularly, it is from the sensori-motor system that the call for glycogen, the potential energy, comes, as if the rest of the organism were simply there in order to transmit force to the nervous system and to the muscles which the nerves control. True, when we think of the part played by the nervous system (even the sensori-motor system) as regulator of the organic life, it may well be asked whether, in this exchange of good offices between it and the rest of the body, the nervous system is indeed a master that the body serves. But we shall already incline to this hypothesis when we consider, even in the static state only, the distribution of potential energy among the tissues; and we shall be entirely convinced of it when we reflect upon the conditions in which the energy is expended and restored. For suppose the sensorimotor system is a system like the others, of the same rank as the others. Borne by the whole of the organism, it will wait until an excess of chemical potential is supplied to it before it performs any work. In other words, it is the production of glycogen which will regulate the consumption by the nerves and muscles. On the contrary, if the sensori-motor system is the actual master, the duration and extent of its action will be independent, to a certain extent at least, of the reserve of glycogen that it holds, and even of that contained in the whole of the organism. It will perform work, and the other tissues will have to arrange as they can to supply it with potential energy. Now, this is precisely what does take place, a-, is shown in particular by the experiments of Morat and Dufourt.[6] While the glycogenic function of the liver depends on the action of the excitory nerves which control it, the

(124) action of these nerves is subordinated to the action of those which stimulate the locomotor muscles-in this sense, that the muscles begin by expending without calculation, thus consuming glycogen, impoverishing the blood of its glucose, and finally causing the liver, which has had to pour into the impoverished blood some of its reserve of glycogen, to manufacture a fresh supply. From the sensori-motor system, then, everything starts; on that system everything converges; and we may say, without metaphor, that the rest of the organism is at its service.

Consider again what happens in a prolonged fast. It is a remarkable fact that in animals that have died of hunger the brain is found to be almost unimpaired, while the other organs have lost more or less of their weight and their cells have undergone profound changes.[7] It seems as though the rest of the body had sustained the nervous system to the last extremity, treating itself simply as the means of which the nervous system is the end.

To sum up: if we agree, in short, to understand by "the sensori-motor system" the cerebro-spinal nervous system together with the sensorial apparatus in which it is prolonged and the locomotor muscles it controls, we may say that a higher organism is essentially a sensorimotor system installed on systems of digestion, respiration, circulation, secretion, etc., whose function it is to repair, cleanse and protect it, to create an unvarying internal environment for it, and above all to pass it potential

(125) energy to convert into locomotive movement.[8] It is true that the more the nervous function is perfected, the more must the functions required to maintain it develop, and the more exacting, consequently, they become for themselves. As the nervous activity has emerged from the protoplasmic mass in which it was almost drowned, it has had to summon around itself activities of all kinds for its support. These could only be developed on other activities, which again implied others, and so on indefinitely. Thus it is that the complexity of functioning of the higher organisms goes on to infinity. The study of one of these organisms therefore takes us round in a circle, as if everything was a means to everything else. But the circle has a centre, none the less , and that is the system of nervous elements stretching between the sensory organs and the motor apparatus.

We will not dwell here on a point we have treated at length in a former work. Let us merely recall that the progress of the nervous system has been effected both in the direction of a more precise adaptation of movements and in that of a greater latitude left to the living being to choose between them. These two tendencies may appear antagonistic, and indeed they are so; but a nervous chain, even in its most rudimentary form, successfully reconciles them. On the one hand, it marks a well-de-

(126) -fined track between one point of the periphery and another, the one sensory, the other motor. It has therefore canalized an activity which was originally diffused in the protoplasmic mass. But, on the other hand, the elements that compose it are probably discontinuous; at any rate, even supposing they anastomose, they exhibit a functional discontinuity, for each of them ends in a kind of crossroad where probably the nervous current may choose its course. From the humblest Monera to the best endowed insects, and up to the most intelligent vertebrates, the progress realized has been above all a progress of the nervous system, coupled at every stage with all the new constructions and complications of mechanism that this progress required. As we foreshadowed in the beginning of this work, the role of life is to insert some indetermination into matter. Indeterminate, i.e. unforeseeable, are the forms it creates in the course of its evolution. More and more indeterminate also, more and more free, is the activity to which these forms serve as the vehicle. A nervous system, with neurones placed end to end in such wise that, at the extremity of each, manifold ways open in which manifold questions present themselves, is a veritable reservoir of indetermination. That the main energy of the vital impulse has been spent in creating apparatus of this kind is, we believe, what a glance over the organized world as a whole easily shows. But concerning the vital impulse itself a few explanations are necessary.

It must not he forgotten that the force which is evolving throughout the organized world is a limited force, which is always seeking to transcend itself and always remains inadequate to the work it would fain produce. The errors and puerilities of radical finalism are due to the misapprehension of this point. It has represented

(127) the whole of the living world as a construction, and a construction analogous to a human work. All the pieces have been arranged with a view to the best possible functioning of the machine. Each species has its reason for existence, its part to play, its allotted place; and all join together, as it were, in a musical concert, wherein the seeming discords are really meant to bring out a fundamental harmony. In short, all goes on in nature as in the works of human genius, where, though the result may be trifling, there is at least perfect adequacy between the object made and the work of making it.

Nothing of the kind in the evolution of life. There, the disproportion is striking between the work and the result. From the bottom to the top of the organized world we do indeed find one great effort; but most often this effort turns short, sometimes paralyzed by contrary forces, sometimes diverted from what it should do by what it does, absorbed by the form it is engaged in taking, hypnotized by it as by a mirror. Even in its most perfect works, though it seems to have triumphed over external resistances and also over its own, it is at the mercy of the materiality which it has had to assume. It is what each of us may experience in himself. Our freedom, in the very movements by which it is affirmed, creates the growing habits that will stifle it if it fails to renew itself by a constant effort: it is dogged by automatism. The most living thought becomes frigid in the formula that expresses it. The word turns against the idea.

The letter kills the spirit. And our most ardent, enthusiasm, as soon as it is externalized into action, is so naturally congealed into the cold calculation of interest or vanity, the one takes so easily the shape of the other, that we might confuse them together, doubt our own sincerity,

(128) deny goodness and love, if we did not know that the dead retain for a time the features of the living.

The profound cause of this discordance lies in an irremediable difference of rhythm. Life in general is mobility itself; particular manifestations of life accept this mobility reluctantly, and constantly lag behind. It is always going ahead; they want to mark time. Evolution in general would fain go on in a straight line; each special evolution is a kind of circle. Like eddies of dust raised by the wind as it passes, the living turn upon themselves, borne up by the great blast of life. They are therefore relatively stable, and counterfeit immobility so well that we treat each of them as a thing rather than as a progress, forgetting that the very permanence of their form is only the outline of a movement. At times, however, in a fleeting vision, the invisible breath that bears them is materialized before our eyes. We have this sudden illumination before certain forms of maternal love, so striking, and in most animals so touching, observable even in the solicitude of the plant for its seed. This love, in which some have seen the great mystery of life, may possibly deliver us life's secret. It shows us each generation leaning over the generation that shall follow. It allows us a glimpse of the fact that the living being is above all a thoroughfare, and that the essence of life is in the movement by which life is transmitted.

This contrast between life in general, and the forms in which it is manifested, has everywhere the same character It might be said that life tends toward the utmost possible action, but that each species prefers to contribute the slightest possible effort. Regarded in what constitutes its true essence, namely, as a transition from species to species, life is a continually growing action. But each of the species, through which life passes, aims

(129) only at its own convenience. It goes for that which demands the least labor. Absorbed in the form it is about to take, it falls into a partial sleep, in which it ignores almost all the rest of life; it fashions itself so as to take the greatest possible advantage of its immediate environment with the least possible trouble. Accordingly, the act by which life goes forward to thecreation of a new form, and the act by which this form is shaped, are two different and often antagonistic movements. The first is continuous with the second, but cannot continue in it without being drawn aside from its direction, as would happen to a man leaping, if, in order to clear the obstacle, he had to turn his eyes from it and look at himself all the while.

Living forms are, by their very definition, forms that are able to live. In whatever way the adaptation of the organism to its circumstances is explained, it has necessarily been sufficient, since the species has subsisted. In this sense, each of the successive species that paleontology and zoology describes was a success carried off by life. But we get a very different impression when we refer each species to the movement that has left it behind on its way, instead of to the conditions into which it has been set. Often this movement has turned aside; very often, too, it has stopped short; what was to have been a thoroughfare has become a terminus. From this new point of view, failure seems the rule, success exceptional and always imperfect. We shall see that, of the four main directions along which animal life bent its course, two have led to blind alleys, and, in the other two, the effort has generally been out of proportion to the result.

Documents are lacking to reconstruct this history in detail, but we can make out its main lines. We have already said that animals and vegetables must have

(130) separated soon from their common stock, the vegetable falling asleep in immobility, the animal, on the contrary, becoming more and more awake and marching on to the conquest of a nervous system. Probably the effort of the animal kingdom resulted in creating organisms still very simple, but endowed with a certain freedom of action, and, above all, with a shape so undecided that it could lend itself to any future determination. These animals may have resembled some of our worms, but with this difference, however, that the worms living today, to which they could be compared, are but the empty and fixed examples of infinitely plastic forms, pregnant with an unlimited future, the common stock of the echinoderms, molluscs, arthropods, and vertebrates.

One danger lay in wait for them, one obstacle which might have stopped the soaring course of animal life. There is one peculiarity with which we cannot help being struck when glancing over the fauna of primitive times, namely, the imprisonment of the animal in a more or less solid sheath, which must have obstructed and often even paralyzed its movements. The molluscs of that time had a shell more universally than those of to-day. The arthropods in general were provided with a carapace; most of them were crustaceans. The more ancient fishes had a bony sheath of extreme hardness.[9] The explanation of this general fact should be sought, we believe, in a tendency of soft organisms to defend themselves against one another by making themselves, as far as possible, undevourable. Each species, in the act by which it comes into being, trends towards that which is most expedient. Just as among primitive organisms there were some that turned towards animal life by re-

(131) -fusing to manufacture organic out of inorganic material and taking organic substances ready made from organisms that had turned toward the vegetative life, so, among the animal species themselves, many contrived to live at the expense of other animals. For an organism that is animal, that is to say mobile, can avail itself of its mobility to go in search of defenseless animals, and feed on them quite as well as on vegetables. So, the more species became mobile, the more they became voracious and dangerous to one another. Hence a sudden arrest of the entire animal world in its progress towards higher and higher mobility; for the hard and calcareous skin of the echinoderm, the shell of the mollusc, the carapace of the crustacean and the ganoid breast-plate of the ancient fishes probably all originated in a common effort of the animal species to protect themselves against hostile species. But this breast-plate, behind which the animal took shelter, constrained it in its movements and sometimes fixed it in one place. If the vegetable renounced consciousness in wrapping itself in a cellulose membrane, the animal that shut itself up in a citadel or in armor condemned itself to a partial slumber. In this torpor the echinoderms and even the molluscs live to-day. Probably arthropods and vertebrates were threatened with it too. They escaped, however, and to this fortunate circumstance is due the expansion of the highest forms of life.

In two directions, in fact, we see the impulse of life to movement getting the upper hand again. The fishes exchanged their ganoid breast-plate for scales. Long before that, the insects had appeared, also disencumbered of the breast-plate that had protected their ancestors. Both supplemented the insufficiency of their protective covering by an agility that enabled them to escape their enemies, and also to assume the offensive, to choose the

(132) place and the moment of encounter. We see a progress of the same kind in the evolution of human armaments. The first impulse is to seek shelter; the second, which is the better, is to become as supple as possible for flight and above all for attack-attack being the most effective means of defense. So the heavy hoplite was supplanted by the legionary; the knight, clad in armor, had to give place to the light free-moving infantryman; and in a general way, in the evolution of life, just as in the evolution of human societies and of individual destinies, the greatest successes have been for those who have accepted the heaviest risks. 

Evidently, then, it was to the animal's interest to make itself more mobile. As we said when speaking of adaptation in general, any transformation of a species can be explained by its own particular interest. This will give the immediate cause of the variation, but often only the most superficial cause. The profound cause is the impulse which thrust life into the world, which made it divide into vegetables and animals, which shunted the animal on to suppleness of form, and which, at a certain moment, in the animal kingdom threatened with torpor, secured that, on some points at least, it should rouse itself up and move forward.

On the two paths along which the vertebrates and arthropods have separately evolved, development (apart from retrogressions connected with parasitism or any other cause) has consisted above all in the progress of the sensori-motor nervous system. Mobility and suppleness were sought for, and also-through many experimental attempts, and not without a tendency to excess of substance and brute force at the start-variety of movements. But this quest itself took place in divergent directions. A glance at the nervous system of the arthro-

(133) -pods and that of the vertebrates shows us the difference. In the arthropods, the body is formed of a series more or less long of rings set together; motor activity is thus distributed amongst a varying-sometimes a considerable -number of appendages, each of which has its special function. In the vertebrates, activity is concentrated in two pairs of members only, and these organs perform functions which depend much less strictly on their form.[10] The independence becomes complete in man, whose hand is capable of any kind of work.

That, at least, is what we see. But behind what is seen there is what may be surmised-two powers, immanent in life and originally intermingled, which were bound to part company in course of growth.

To define these powers, we must consider, in the evolution both of the arthropods and the vertebrates, the species which mark the culminating point of each. How is this point to be determined? Here again, to aim at geometrical precision will lead us astray. There is no single simple sign by which we can recognize that one species is more advanced than another on the same line of evolution. There are manifold characters, that must be compared and weighed in each particular case, in order to ascertain to what extent they are essential or accidental and how far they must be taken into account.

It is unquestionable, for example, that success is the most general criterion of superiority, the two terms being, up to a certain point, synonymous. By success must be understood, so far as, the living being is concerned, an aptitude to develop in the most diverse environments, through the greatest possible variety of obstacles, so as to cover the widest possible extent of ground. A species

(134) which claims the entire earth for its domain is truly a dominating and consequently superior species. Such is the human species, which represents the culminating point of the evolution of the vertebrates. But such also are, in the series of the articulate, the insects and in particular certain hymenoptera. It has been said of the ants that, as man is lord of the soil, they are lords of the sub-soil.

On the other hand, a group of species that has appeared late may be a group of degenerates; but, for that, some special cause of retrogression must have intervened. By right, this group should be superior to the group from which it is derived, since it would correspond to a more advanced stage of evolution. Now man is probably the latest comer of the vertebrates;[11] and in the insect series no species is later than the hymenoptera, unless it be the lepidoptera, which are probably degenerates, living parasitically on flowering plants.

So, by different ways, we are led to the same conclusion. The evolution of the arthropods reaches its culminating point in the insect, and in particular in the hymenoptera, as that of the vertebrates in man. Now, since instinct is nowhere so developed as in the insect world, and in no group of insects so marvelously as in the hymenoptera, it may be said that the whole evolution of the animal kingdom, apart from retrogressions towards vegetative life, has taken place on two divergent paths, one of which led to instinct and the other to intelligence.


Vegetative torpor, instinct, and intelligence-these, then, are the elements that coincided in the vital impulsion common to plants and animals, and which, in the course of a development in which they were made manifest in the most unforeseen forms, have been dissociated by the very fact of their growth. The cardinal error which, from Aristotle onwards, has vitiated most of the philosophies of nature, is to see in vegetative, instinctive and rational life, three successive degrees of the development of one and the same tendency, whereas they are three divergent directions of an activity that has split up as it grew. The difference between them is not a difference of intensity, nor, more generally, of degree, but of kind.

It is important to investigate this point. We have seen in the case of vegetable and animal life how they are at once mutually complementary and mutually antagonistic. Now we must show that intelligence and instinct also are opposite and complementary. But let us first explain why we are generally led to regard them as activities of which one is superior to the other and based upon it, whereas in reality they are not things of the same order: they have not succeeded one another, nor can we assign to them different grades.

It is because intelligence and instinct, having originally been interpenetrating, retain something of their common origin. Neither is ever found in a pure state. We said that in the plant the consciousness and mobility of the animal, which lie dormant, can be awakened; and that the animal lives under the constant menace of being drawn aside to the vegetative life. The two tendencies -that of the plant and that of the animal--were so thoroughly interpenetrating, to begin with, -- that there has never been a complete severance between them: they

(136) haunt each other continually; everywhere we find them mingled; it is the proportion that differs. So with intelligence and instinct. There is no intelligence in which some traces of instinct are not to be discovered, more especially no instinct that is not surrounded with a fringe of intelligence. It is this fringe of intelligence that has been the cause of so many misunderstandings. From the fact that instinct is always more or less intelligent, it has been concluded that instinct and intelligence are things of the same kind, that there is only a difference of complexity or perfection between them, and, above all, that one of the two is expressible in terms of the other. In reality, they accompany each other only because they are complementary, and they are complementary only because they are different, what is instinctive in instinct being opposite to what is intelligent in intelligence.

We are bound to dwell on this point. It is one of the utmost importance.

Let us say at the outset that the distinctions we are going to make will be too sharply drawn, just, because we wish to define in instinct what is instinctive, and in intelligence what is intelligent, whereas all concrete instinct is mingled with intelligence, as all real intelligence is penetrated by instinct. Moreover, neither intelligence nor instinct lends itself to rigid definition: they are tendencies, and not things. Also, it must not be forgotten that in the present chapter we are considering intelligence and instinct as going out of life which deposits them along its course. Now the life manifested by an organism is, in our view, a certain effort to obtain certain things from the material world. No wonder, therefore, if it is the diversity of this effort that strikes us in instinct and intelligence, and if we see in these two modes of psychical activity, above all else, two different methods of action on inert matter.

(137) This rather narrow view of them has the advantage of giving us an objective means of distinguishing them. In return, however, it gives us, of intelligence in general and of instinct in general, only the mean position above and below which both constantly oscillate. For that reason the reader must expect to see in what follows only a diagrammatic drawing, in which the respective outlines of intelligence and instinct are sharper than they should be, and in which the shading-off which comes from the indecision of each and from their reciprocal encroachment on one another is neglected. In a matter so obscure, we cannot strive too hard for clearness. It will always be easy afterwards to soften the outlines and to correct what is too geometrical in the drawing-in short, to replace the rigidity of a diagram by the suppleness of life.

To what date is it agreed to ascribe the appearance of man on the earth? To the period when the first weapons, the first tools, ere made. The memorable quarrel over the discovery of Boucher de Perthes in the quarry of Moulin-Quignon is not forgotten. The question was whether real hatchets had been found or merely bits of flint accidentally broken. But that, supposing they were hatchets, we were indeed in the presence of intelligence, and more particularly of human intelligence, no one doubted for an instant. Now let us open a collection of anecdotes on the intelligence of animals: we shall see that besides many acts explicable by imitation or by the automatic association of images, there are some that we do not hesitate to call intelligent: foremost among them are those that bear witness to some idea of manufacture, whether the animal life succeeds in fashioning a crude instrument or uses for its profit an object made by man. The animals that rank immediately after man in

(138) the matter of intelligence, the apes and elephants, are those that can use an artificial instrument occasionally. Below, but not very far from them, come those that recognize a constructed object: for example, the fox, which knows quite well that a trap is a trap. No doubt, there is intelligence wherever there is inference; but inference, which consists in an inflection of past experience in the direction of present experience, is already a beginning of invention. Invention becomes complete when it is materialized in a manufactured instrument. Towards that achievement the intelligence of animals tends as towards an ideal. And though, ordinarily, it does not yet succeed in fashioning artificial objects and in making use of them, it is preparing for this by the very variations which it performs on the instincts furnished by nature. As regards human intelligence, it has not been sufficiently noted that mechanical invention has been from the first its essential feature, that even to-day our social life gravitates around the manufacture and use of artificial instruments, that the inventions which strew the road of progress have also traced its direction. This we hardly realize, because it takes us longer to change ourselves than to change our tools. Our individual and even social habits survive a good while the circumstances for which they were made, so that the ultimate effects of an invention are not observed until its novelty is already out of sight. A century has elapsed since the invention of the steamengine, and we are only just beginning to feel the depths of the shock it gave us. But the revolution it has effected in industry has nevertheless upset human relations altogether. New ideas are arising, new feelings are on the way to flower. In thousands of years, when, seen from the distance, only the broad lines of the present age will still be visible, our wars and our revolutions will count for

(139) little, even supposing they are remembered at all; but the steam-engine, and the procession of inventions of every kind that accompanied it, will perhaps be spoken of as we speak of the bronze or of the chipped stone of pre-historic times: it will serve to define an age.[12] If we could rid ourselves of all pride, if, to define our species, we kept strictly to what the historic and the prehistoric periods show us to be the constant characteristic of man and of intelligence, we should say not Homo sapiens, but Homo faber. In short, intelligence, considered in what seems to be its original feature, is the faculty of manufacturing artificial objects, especially tools to make tools, and of indefinitely varying the manufacture.

Now, does an unintelligent animal also possess tools or machines? Yes, certainly, but here the instrument forms a part of the body that uses it; and, corresponding to this instrument, there is an instinct that knows how to use it. True, it cannot be maintained that all instincts consist in a natural ability to use an inborn mechanism. Such a definition would not apply to the instincts which Romanes called "secondary"; and more than one "primary" instinct would not come under it. But this definition, like that which we have provisionally given of intelligence, determines at least the ideal limit toward which the very numerous forms of instinct are traveling. Indeed, it has often been pointed out that most instincts are only the continuance, or rather the consummation, of the work of organization itself. Where does the activity of instinct begin? and where does that of nature end? We cannot tell. In the metamorphoses of the larva into the nymph and into the perfect insect, metamorphoses that

(140) often require appropriate action and a kind of initiative on the part of the larva, there is no sharp line of demarcation between the instinct of the animal and the organizing work of living matter. We may say, as we will, either that instinct organizes the instruments it is about to use, or that the process of organization is continued in the instinct that has to use the organ. The most marvelous instincts of the insect do nothing but develop its special structure into movements: indeed , where social life divides the labor among different individuals, and thus allots them different instincts, a corresponding difference of structure is observed: the polymorphism of ants, bees, wasps and certain pseudoneuroptera is well known. Thus, if we consider only those typical cases in which the complete triumph of intelligence and of instinct is seen, we find this essential difference between them: instinct perfected is a faculty of using and even of constructing organized instruments; intelligence perfected is the faculty of making and using unorganized instruments.

The advantages and drawbacks of these two modes of activity are obvious. Instinct finds the appropriate instrument at hand: this instrument, which makes and repairs itself, which presents, like all the works of nature, an infinite complexity of detail combined with a marvelous simplicity of function, does at once, when required, what it is called upon to do, without difficulty and with a perfection that is often wonderful. In return, it retains an almost invariable structure, since a modification of it involves a modification of the species. Instinct is therefore necessarily specialized, being nothing but the utilization of a specific instrument for a specific object. The instrument constructed intelligently, on the contrary, is an imperfect instrument. It costs an effort. It is generally troublesome to handle. But, as it is made of

(141) unorganized matter, it can take any form whatsoever, serve any purpose, free the living being from every new difficulty that arises and bestow on it an unlimited number of powers. Whilst it is inferior to the natural instrument for the satisfaction of immediate wants, its advantage over it is the greater, the less urgent the need. Above all, it reacts on the nature of the being that constructs it; for in calling on him to exercise a new function, it confers on him, so to speak, a richer organization, being an artificial organ by which the natural organism is extended. For every need that it satisfies, it creates a new need; and so, instead of closing, like instinct, the round of action within which the animal tends to move automatically, it lays open to activity an unlimited field into which it is driven further and further, and made more and more free. But this advantage of intelligence over instinct only appears at a late stage, when intelligence, having raised construction to a higher degree, proceeds to construct constructive machinery. At the outset, the advantages and drawbacks of the artificial instrument and of the natural instrument balance so well that it is hard to foretell which of the two will secure to the living being the greater empire over nature.

We may surmise that they began by being implied in each other, that the original psychical activity included both at once, and that, if we went far enough back into the past, we should find instincts more nearly approaching intelligence than those of our insects, intelligence nearer to instinct than that of our vertebrates, intelligence and instinct being, in this elementary condition, prisoners of a matter which they are not yet able to control. If the force immanent in life were an unlimited force, it might perhaps have developed instinct and intelligence together, and to any extent, in the same organisms. But everything seems

(142) to indicate that this force is limited, and that it soon exhausts itself in its very manifestation. It is hard for it to go far in several directions at once: it must choose. Now) it has the choice between two modes of acting on the material world: it can either effect this action directly by creating an organized instrument to work with; or else it can effect it indirectly through an organism which, instead of possessing the required instrument naturally, will itself construct it by fashioning inorganic matter. Hence intelligence and instinct, which diverge more and more as they develop, but which never entirely separate from each other. On the one hand, the most perfect instinct of the insect is accompanied by gleams of intelligence, if only in the choice of place, time and materials of construction: the bees, for example, when by exception they build in the open air, invent new and really intelligent arrangements to adapt themselves to such new conditions.[13] But, on the other hand, intelligence has even more need of instinct than instinct has of intelligence; for the power to give shape to crude matter involves already a superior degree of organization, a degree to which the animal could not have risen, save on the wings of instinct. So, while nature has frankly evolved in the direction of instinct in the arthropods, we observe in almost all the vertebrates the striving after rather than the expansion of intelligence. It is instinct still which forms the basis of their psychical activity; but intelligence is there, and would fain supersede it. Intelligence does not yet succeed in inventing instruments; but at least it tries to, by performing as many variations as possible on the instinct which it would like to dispense with. It gains complete self-possession only in man, and this triumph

(143) is attested by the very insufficiency of the natural means at man's disposal for defense against his enemies, against cold and hunger. This insufficiency, when we strive to fathom its significance, acquires the value of a prehistoric document; it is the final leave-taking between intelligence and instinct. But it is no less true that nature must have hesitated between two modes of psychical activity-one assured of immediate success, but limited in its effects; the other hazardous, but whose conquests, if it should reach independence, might be extended indefinitely. Here again, then, the greatest success was achieved on the side of the greatest risk. Instinct and intelligence therefore represent two divergent solutions, equally fitting, of one and the same problem.

There ensue, it is true, profound differences of internal structure between instinct and intelligence. We shall dwell only on those that concern our present study. Let us say, then, that instinct and intelligence imply two radically different kinds of knowledge. But some explanations are first of all necessary on the subject of consciousness in general.

It has been asked how far instinct is conscious. Our reply is that there are a vast number of differences and degrees, that instinct is more or less conscious in certain cases, unconscious in others. The plant, as we shall see, has instincts; it is not likely that these are accompanied by feeling. Even in the animal there is hardly any complex instinct that is not unconscious in some part at least of its exercise. But here we must point out a difference, not often noticed, between two kinds of unconsciousness, viz., that in which consciousness is absent, and that in which consciousness is nullified. Both are equal to zero, but in one case the zero expresses the fact that there is nothing, in the other that we have two equal quantities of opposite

(144) sign which compensate and neutralize each other. The unconsciousness of a falling stone is of the former kind: the stone has no feeling of its fall. Is it the same with the unconsciousness of instinct, in the extreme cases in which instinct is unconscious? When we mechanically perform an habitual action, when the somnambulist automatically acts his dream, unconsciousness may be absolute; but this is merely due to the fact that the representation of the act is held in check by the performance of the act itself, which resembles the idea so perfectly, and fits it so exactly, that consciousness is unable to find room between them. Representation is stopped up by action. The proof of this is, that if the accomplishment of the act is arrested or thwarted by an obstacle, consciousness may reappear. It was there, but neutralized by the action which fulfiled and thereby filled the representation. The obstacle creates nothing positive; it simply makes a void, removes a stopper. This inadequacy of act to representation is precisely what we here call consciousness.

If we examine this point more closely, we shall find that consciousness is the light that plays around the zone of possible actions or potential activity which surrounds the action really performed by the living being. It signifies hesitation or choice. Where many equally possible actions are indicated without there being any real action (as in a deliberation that has not come to an end), consciousness is intense. Where the action performed is the only action possible (as in activity of the somnambulistic or more generally automatic kind), consciousness is reduced to nothing. Representation and knowledge. exist none the less in the case if we find a whole series of systematized movements the last of which is already prefigured in the first, and if, besides, consciousness can flash out of them at the shock of an obstacle. From this point

(145) of view, the consciousness of a living being may be defined as an arithmetical difference between potential and real activity. It measures the interval between representation and action.

It may be inferred from this that intelligence is likely to point towards consciousness, and instinct towards unconsciousness. For, where the implement to be used is organized by nature, the material furnished by nature, and the result to be obtained willed by nature, there is little left to choice; the consciousnesss (sic) inherent in the representation is therefore counterbalanced, whenever it tends to disengage itself, by the performance of the act, identical with the representation, which forms its counterweight. Where consciousness appears, it does not so much light up the instinct itself as the thwartings to which instinct is subject; it is the deficit of instinct, the distance, between the act and the idea, that becomes consciousness so that consciousness, here, is only an accident. Essentially, consciousness only emphasizes the starting. point of instinct, the point at which the whole series of automatic movements is released. Deficit, on the contrary, is the normal state of intelligence. Laboring under difficulties is its very essence. Its original function being to construct unorganized instruments, it must, in spite of numberless difficulties, choose for this work the place and the time, the form and the matter. And it can never satisfy itself entirely, because every new satisfaction creates new needs. In short, while instinct and intelligence both involve knowledge, this knowledge is rather acted and unconscious in the case of instinct, thought and conscious in the case of intelligence. But, it is a difference rather of degree than of kind. So long as consciousness is all we are concerned with, we close our eyes to what is, from the psychological point of view, the cardinal difference between instinct and intelligence.


In order to get at this essential difference we must, without stopping at the more or less brilliant light which illumines these two modes of internal activity, go straight to the two objects, profoundly different from each other, upon which instinct and intelligence are directed.

When the horse-fly lays its eggs on the legs or shoulders of the horse, it acts as if it knew that its larva has to develop in the horse's stomach and that the horse, in licking itself, will convey the larva into its digestive tract. When a paralyzing wasp stings its victim on just those points where the nervous centres lie, so as to render it motionless without killing it, it acts like a learned entomologist and a skilful surgeon rolled into one. But what shall we say of the little beetle, the Sitaris, whose story is so often quoted? This insect lays its eggs at the entrance of the underground passages dug by a kind of bee, the Anthophora. Its larva, after long waiting, springs upon the male Anthophora as it goes out of the passage, clings to it, and remains attached until the "nuptial flight," when it seizes the opportunity to pass from the male to the female, and quietly waits until it lays its eggs. It then leaps on the egg, which serves as a support for it in the honey, devours the egg in a few days, and, resting on the shell, undergoes its first metamorphosis. Organized now to float on the honey, it consumes this provision of nourishment, and becomes a nymph, then a perfect insect. Everything happens as if the larva of the Sitaris, from the moment it was hatched, knew that the male Anthophora, would first emerge from the passage; that the nuptial flight would give it the means of conveying itself to the female, who would take it to a store of honey sufficient to feed it after its transformation; that, until this transformation, it could gradually eat the egg of the Anthophora, in such a way that it could at the same time feed itself, maintain itself at the surface

(147) of the honey, and also suppress the rival that otherwise would have come out of the egg. And equally all this happens as if the Sitaris itself knew that its larva would know all these things. The knowledge, if knowledge there be, is only implicit. It is reflected outwardly in exact movements instead of being reflected inwardly in consciousness. It is none the less true that the behavior of the insect involves, or rather evolves, the idea of definite things existing or being produced in definite points of space and time, which the insect knows without having learned them.

Now, if we look at intelligence from the same point of view, we find that it also knows certain things without having learned them. But the knowledge in the two cases is of a very different order. We must be careful here not to revive again the old philosophical dispute on the subject of innate ideas. So we will confine ourselves to the point on which every one is agreed, to wit, that the young child understands immediately things that the animal will never understand, and that in this sense intelligence, like instinct, is an inherited function, therefore an innate one. But this innate intelligence, although it is a faculty of knowing, knows no object in particular. When the new-born babe seeks for the first time its mother's breast, so showing that it has knowledge (unconscious, no doubt) of a thing it has never seen, we say, just because the innate knowledge is in this case of a definite object, that it belongs to instinct and not to intelligence. Intelligence does not then imply the innate knowledge of any object. Arid yet, if intelligence knows nothing by nature, it has nothing innate. What, then, if it be ignorant of all things, can it know? Besides things, there are relations. The new-born child, so far as intelligent, knows neither definite objects nor a definite property of any object;

(148) but when, a little later on, he will hear an epithet being applied to a substantive, he will immediately understand what it means. The relation of attribute to subject is therefore seized by him naturally, and the same might be said of the general relation expressed by the verb, a relation so immediately conceived by the mind that language can leave it to be understood, as is instanced in rudimentary languages which have no verb. Intelligence, therefore, naturally makes use of relations of like with like, of content to container, of cause to effect, etc., which are implied in every phrase in which there is a subject, an attribute and a verb, expressed or understood. May one say that it has innate knowledge of each of these relations in particular? It is for logicians to discover whether they are so many irreducible relations, or whether they can be resolved into relations still more general. But, in whatever way we make the analysis of thought, we always end with one or several general categories, of which the mind possesses innate knowledge since it makes a natural use of them. Let us say, therefore, that whatever, in instinct and intelligence, is innate knowledge, bears in the first case on things and in the second on relations.

Philosophers distinguish between the matter of our knowledge and its form. The matter is what is given by the perceptive faculties taken in the elementary state. The form is the totality of the relations set up between these materials in order to constitute a systematic knowledge. Can the form, without matter, be an object of knowledge? Yes, without doubt, provided that this knowledge is not like a thing we possess so much as like a habit we have contracted,-- a direction rather than a state: it is if we will, a certain natural bent of attention. The schoolboy, who knows that the master is going to dictate a fraction to him, draws a line before he knows

(149) what numerator and what denominator are to come; he therefore has present to his mind the general relation between the two terms although he does not know either of them; he knows the form without the matter. So is it, prior to experience, with the categories into which our experience comes to be inserted. Let us adopt then words sanctioned by usage, and give the distinction between intelligence and instinct this more precise formula: Intelligence, in so far as it is innate, is the knowledge of a form; instinct implies the knowledge of a matter.

From this second point of view, which is that of knowledge instead of action, the force immanent in life in general appears to us again as a limited principle, in which originally two different and even divergent modes of knowing coexisted and intermingled. The first gets at definite objects immediately, in their materiality itself. It says, "This is what is." The second gets at no object in particular; it is only a natural power of relating an object to an object, or a part to a part, or an aspect to an aspect-in short, of drawing conclusions when in possession of the premisses, of proceeding from what has been learnt to what is still unknown. It does not say, "This is;" it says only that " if the conditions are such, such will be the conditioned." In short, the first kind of knowledge, the instinctive, would be formulated in what philosophers call categorical propositions, while the second kind, the intellectual, would always be expressed hypothetically. Of these two faculties, the former seems, at first, much preferable to the other. And it would be so, in truth, if it extended to an endless number of objects. But, in fact, it applies only to one special object, and indeed only to a restricted part of that object. Of this, at least, its knowledge is intimate and full; not explicit, but implied in the accomplished action. The intellectual faculty, on the

(150) contrary, possesses naturally only an external and empty knowledge; but it has thereby the advantage of supplying a frame in which an infinity of objects may find room in turn. It is as if the force evolving in living forms, being a limited force, had had to choose between two kinds of limitation in the field of natural or innate knowledge, one applying to the extension of knowledge, the other to its intension. In the first case, the knowledge may be packed and full, but it will then be confined to one specific object; in the second, it is no longer limited by its object, but that is because it contains nothing, being only a form without matter. The two tendencies, at first implied in each other, had to separate in order to grow. They both went to seek their fortune in the world, and turned out to be instinct and intelligence.

Such, then, are the two divergent modes of knowledge by which intelligence and instinct must be defined, from the standpoint of knowledge rather than that of action. But knowledge and action are here only two aspects of one and the same faculty. It is easy to see, indeed, that the second definition is only a new form of the first.

If instinct is, above all, the faculty of using an organized natural instrument, it must involve innate knowledge (potential or unconscious, it is true), both of this instrument and of the object to which it is applied. Instinct is therefore innate knowledge of a thing. But intelligence is the faculty of constructing unorganized-that is to say artificial-instruments. If, on its account, nature gives up endowing the living being with the instruments that may serve him , it is in order that the living being may be able to vary his construction according to circumstances. The essential function of intelligence is therefore to see the way out of a difficulty in any circumstances whatever, to find what is most suitable, what answers. best the question

(151) asked. Hence it bean. essentially on the relations between a given situation and the means of utilizing it. What is innate in intellect, therefore, is the tendency to establish relations, and this tendency implies the natural knowledge of certain very general relations, a kind of stuff that the activity of each particular intellect will cut up into more special relations. Where activity is directed toward manufacture, therefore, knowledge necessarily bears on relations. But this entirely formal knowledge of intelligence has an immense advantage over the material knowledge of instinct. A form, just because it is empty, may be filled at will with any number of things in turn, even with those that are of no use. So that a formal knowledge is not limited to what is practically useful, although it is in view of practical utility that it has made its appearance in the world. An intelligent being bears within himself the means to transcend his own nature.

He transcends himself, however, less than he wishes, less also than he imagines himself to do. The purely formal character of intelligence deprives it of the ballast necessary to enable it to settle itself on the objects that are of the most powerful interest to speculation. Instinct, on the contrary, has the desired materiality, but it is incapable of going so far in quest of its object; it does not speculate. Here we reach the point that most concerns our present inquiry. The difference that we shall now proceed to denote between instinct and intelligence is what the whole of this analysis was meant to bring out. We formulate it thus: There are things that intelligence alone is able to seek, but which, by Itself, it will never find. These things instinct alone could find; but it will never seek them.

It is necessary here to consider some preliminary details that concern the mechanism of intelligence. We

(152) have said that the function of intelligence is to establish relations. Let us determine more precisely the nature of these relations. On this point we are bound to be either vague or arbitrary so long as we see in the intellect a faculty intended for pure speculation. We are then reduced to taking the general frames of the understanding for something absolute, irreducible and inexplicable. The understanding must have fallen from heaven with its form, as each of us is born with his face. This form may be defined, of course, but that is all; there is no asking why it is what it is rather than anything else. Thus, it will be said that the function of the intellect is essentially unification, that the common object of all its operations is to introduce a certain unity into the diversity of phenomena, and so forth. But, in the first place, " unification" is a vague term, less clear than "relation" or even "thought," and says nothing more. And, moreover, it might be asked if the function of intelligence is not to divide even more than to unite. Finally, if the intellect proceeds as it does because it wishes to unite, and if it seeks unification simply because it has need of unifying, the whole of our knowledge becomes relative to certain requirements of the mind that probably might have been entirely different from what they are: for an intellect differently shaped, knowledge would have been different. Intellect being no longer dependent on anything, everything becomes dependent on it; and so, having placed the understanding too high, we end by putting too low the knowledge it gives us. Knowledge becomes relative, as soon as the intellect is made a kind of absolute.-We regard the human intellect, on the contrary, as relative to the needs of action. Postulate action, and the very form of the intellect can be deduced from it. This form is therefore neither irreducible nor inexplicable. And, precisely because it is not independent,

(153) knowledge cannot be said to depend on it: knowledge ceases to be a product of the intellect and becomes, in a certain sense, part and parcel of reality.

Philosophers will reply that action takes place in an ordered world, that this order is itself thought, and that we beg the question when we explain the intellect by action, which presupposes it. They would be right if our point of view in the present chapter was to be our final one. We should then be dupes of an illusion like that of Spencer, who believed that the intellect is sufficiently explained as the impression left on us by the general characters of matter: as if the order inherent in matter were not intelligence itself! But we reserve for the next chapter the question up to what point and with what method philosophy can attempt a real genesis of the intellect at the same time as of matter. For the moment, the problem that engages our attention is of a psychological order. We are asking what is the portion of the material world to which our intellect is specially adapted. To reply to this question, there is no need to choose a system of philosophy: it is enough to take tip the point of view of common sense.

Let us start, then, from action, and lay down that the intellect aims, first of all, at constructing. This fabrication is exercised exclusively on inert matter, in this sense, that even if it makes use of organized material, it treats it as inert, without troubling about the life which animated it. And of inert matter itself, fabrication deals only with the solid; the rest escapes by its very fluidity. If, therefore, the tendency of the intellect is to fabricate, we may expect to find that whatever is fluid in the real will escape it in part, and whatever is life in the living will escape it altogether. Our intelligence, as it leaves the hands of nature, has for its chief object the unorganized solid.

When we pass in review the intellectual functions,

(154) we see that the intellect is never quite at its ease, never entirely at home, except when it is working upon inert matter, more particularly upon solids. What is the most general property of the material world? It is extended: it presents to us objects external to other objects, and, in these objects, parts external to parts. No doubt, it is useful to us, in view of our ulterior manipulation, to regard each object as divisible into parts arbitrarily cut up, each part being again divisible as we like, and so on ad infinitum. But it is above all necessary, for our present manipulation, to regard the real object in hand, or the real elements into which we have resolved it, as provisionally final, and to treat them as so many units. To this possibility of decomposing matter as much as we please, and in any way we please, we allude when we speak of the continuity of material extension; but this continuity, as we see it, is nothing else but our ability, an ability that matter allows to us to choose the mode of discontinuity we shall find in it. It is always, in fact, the mode of discontinuity once chosen that appears to us as the actually real one and that which fixes our attention, just because it rules our action. Thus discontinuity is thought for itself; it is thinkable in itself; we form an idea of it by a positive act of our mind; while the intellectual representation of continuity is negative, being, at bottom, only the refusal of our mind, before any actually given system of decomposition, to regard it as the only possible one. Of the discontinuous alone does the intellect form a clear idea.

On the other hand, the objects we act on are certainly mobile, objects, but the important thing for as to know is whither the mobile object is going and where it is at any moment of its passage. In other words, our interest is directed, before all, to its actual or future positions, and not to the progress by which it passes from one position

(155) to another, progress which is the movement itself. In our actions, which are systematized movements, what we fix our mind on is the end or meaning of the movement, its design as a whole--in a word, the immobile plan of its execution. That which really moves in action interests us only so far as the whole can be advanced, retarded, or stopped by any incident that may happen on the way. From mobility itself our intellect turns aside, because it has nothing to gain in dealing with it. If the intellect were meant for pure theorizing, it would take its place within movement, for movement is reality itself, and immobility is always only apparent or relative. But the intellect is meant for something altogether different. Unless it does violence to itself, it takes the opposite course; it always starts from immobility, as if this were the ultimate reality: when it tries to form an idea of movement, it does so by constructing movement out of immobilities put together. This operation, whose illegitimacy and danger in the field of speculation we shall show later on (it leads to dead-locks, and creates artificially insoluble philosophical problems), is easily justified when we refer it to its proper goal. Intelligence, in its natural state, aims at a practically useful end. When it substitutes for movement immobilities put together, it does not pretend to reconstitute the movement such as it actually is; it merely replaces it with a practical equivalent. It is the philosophers who are mistaken when they import into the domain of speculation a method of thinking which is made for action. But of this more anon. Suffice it now to say that to the stable and unchangeable our intellect is attached by 'virtue of its natural disposition. Of immobility alone does the intellect form a clear idea.

Now, fabricating consists in carving out the form of an object in matter. What is the most important is

(156) the form to be obtained. As to the matter, we choose that which is most convenient; but, in order to choose it, that is to say, in order to go and seek it among many others, we must have tried, in imagination at least, to endow every kind of matter with the form of the object conceived. In other words, an intelligence which aims at fabricating is an intelligence which never stops at the actual form of things nor regards it as final, but, on the contrary, looks upon all matter as if it were carvable at will. Plato compares the good dialectician to the skilful cook who carves the animal without breaking its bones, by following the articulations marked out by nature.[14] An intelligence which always proceeded thus would really be an intelligence turned toward speculation. But action, and in particular fabrication, requires the opposite mental tendency: it makes us consider every actual form of things, even the form of natural things, as artificial and provisional; it makes our thought efface from the object perceived, even though organized and living, the lines that outwardly mark its inward structure; in short, it makes us regard its matter as indifferent to its form. The whole of matter is made to appear to our thought as an immense piece of cloth in which we can cut out what we will and sew it together again as we please. Let us note, in passing, that it is this power that we affirm when we say that there is a space, that is to say, a homogeneous and empty medium, infinite and infinitely divisible, lending itself indifferently to any mode of decomposition whatsoever. A medium of this kind is never perceived; it is only conceived. What is perceived is extension colored, resistant, divided according to the lines which mark out the boundaries of real bodies or of their real elements. But when we think of our power over this matter, that is to say,

(157) of our faculty of decomposing and recomposing it as we please, we project the whole of these possible decompositions and recompositions behind real extension in the form of a homogeneous space, empty and indifferent, which is supposed to underlie it. This space is therefore, preeminently, the plan of our possible action on things, although, indeed, things have a natural tendency, as we shall explain further on, to enter into a frame of this kind. It is a view taken by mind. The animal has probably no idea of it, even when, like us, it perceives extended things. It is an idea that symbolizes the tendency of the human intellect to fabrication. But this point must not detain us now. Suffice it to say that the intellect is characterized by the unlimited power of decomposing according to any law and of recomposing into any system.

We have now enumerated a few of the essential features of human intelligence. But we have hitherto considered the individual in isolation, without taking account of social life. In reality, man is a being who lives in society. If it be true that the human intellect aims at fabrication, we must add that, for that as well as for other purposes, it is associated with other intellects. Now, it is difficult to imagine a society whose members do not communicate by signs. Insect societies probably have a language, and this language must be adapted, like that of man, to the necessities of life in common. By language community of action is made possible. But the requirements of joint action are not at all the same in a colony of ants and in a human society. In insect societies there is generally polymorphism, the subdivision of labor is natural, and each individual is riveted by its structure to the function it performs. In any case, these societies are based on instinct, and consequently on certain actions or fabrications that are more or less dependent on the form of the organs. So if the ants,

(158) for instance, have a language, the signs which compose it must be very limited in number, and each of them, once the species is formed, must remain invariably attached to a certain object or a certain operation: the sign is adherent to the thing signified. In human society, on the contrary, fabrication and action are of variable form, and, moreover, each individual must learn his part, because he is not preordained to it by his structure. So a language is required which makes it possible to be always passing from what is known to what is yet to be known. There must be a language whose signs-which cannot be infinite in number -- are extensible to an infinity of things. This tendency of the sign to transfer itself from one object to another is characteristic of human language. It is observable in the little child as soon as he begins to speak. Immediately and naturally he extends the meaning of the words he learns, availing himself of the most accidental connection or the most distant analogy to detach and transfer elsewhere the sign that had been associated in his hearing with a particular object. "Anything can designate anything;" such is the latent principle of infantine language. This tendency has been wrongly confused with the faculty of generalizing. The animals themselves generalize; and, moreover, a sign-even an instinctive sign-always to some degree represents a genus. But what characterizes the signs of human language is not so much their generality as their mobility. The instinctive sign is adherent, the intelligent sign is mobile.

Now, this mobility of words, that makes them able to pass from one thing to another, has enabled them to be extended from things to ideas. Certainly, language would not have given the faculty of reflecting to an intelligence entirely externalized and incapable of turn-

(159) -ing homeward. An intelligence which reflects is one that originally had a surplus of energy to spend, over and above practically useful efforts. It is a consciousness that has virtually reconquered itself. But still the virtual has to become actual. Without language, intelligence would probably have remained riveted to the material objects which it was interested in considering. It would have lived in a state of somnambulism, outside itself, hypnotized on its own work. Language has greatly contributed to its liberation. The word, made to pass from one thing to another, is, in fact, by nature transferable and free. It can therefore be extended, not only from one perceived thing to another, but even from a perceived thing to a recollection of that thing, from the precise recollection to a more fleeting image, and finally from an image fleeting, though still pictured, to the picturing of the act by which the image is pictured, that is to say, to the idea. Thus is revealed to the intelligence, hitherto always turned outwards, a whole internal world-the spectacle of its own workings. It required only this opportunity, at length offered by language. It profits by the fact that the word is an external thing, which the intelligence can catch hold of and cling to, and at the same time an immaterial thing, by means of which the intelligence can penetrate even to the inwardness of its own work. Its first business was indeed to make instruments, but this fabrication is possible only by the employment of certain means which are not cut to the exact measure of their object, but go beyond it and thus allow intelligence a supplementarythat is to say disinterested work. From the moment that the intellect, reflecting upon its own doings, perceives itself as a creator of ideas, as a faculty of representation in general, there is no object of which it may not wish to have the idea, even though that object be without direct re-

(160) -lation to practical action. That is why we said there are things that intellect alone can seek. Intellect, alone, indeed, troubles itself about theory; and its theory would fain embrace everything-not only inanimate matter, over which it has a natural hold, but even life and thought.

By what means, what instruments, in short by what method it will approach these problems, we can easily guess. Originally, it was fashioned to the form of matter. Language itself, which has enabled it to extend its field of operations, is made to designate things, and nought but things: it is only because the word is mobile, because it flies from one thing to another, that the intellect was sure to take it, sooner or later, on the wing, while it was not settled on anything, and apply it to an object which is not a thing and which, concealed till then, awaited the coming of the word to pass from darkness to light. But the word, by covering up this object, again converts it into a thing. So intelligence, even when it no longer operates upon its own object, follows habits it has contracted in that operation: it applies forms that are indeed those of unorganized matter. It is made for this kind of work. With this kind of work alone is it fully satisfied. And that is what intelligence expresses by saying that thus only it arrives at distinctness and clearness.

It must, therefore, in order to think itself clearly and distinctly, perceive itself under the form of discontinuity. Concepts, in fact, are outside each other, like objects in space; and they have the same stability as such objects, on which they have been modeled. Taken together, they constitute an "intelligible world," that resembles the world of solids in its essential characters, but whose elements are lighter, more diaphanous, easier for the intellect to deal with than the image of concrete things:

(161) they are not, indeed, the perception itself of things, but the representation of the act by which the intellect is fixed on them. They are, therefore, not images, but symbols. Our logic is the complete set of rules that must be followed in using symbols. As these symbols are derived from the consideration of solids, as the rules for combining these symbols hardly do more than express the most general relations among solids, our logic triumphs in that science which takes the solidity of bodies for its object, that is, in geometry. Logic and geometry engender each other, as we shall see a little further on. It is from the extension of a certain natural geometry, suggested by the most general and immediately perceived properties of solids, that natural logic has arisen; then from this natural logic, in its turn, has sprung scientific geometry, which extends further and further the knowledge of the external properties of solids.[15] Geometry and logic are strictly applicable to matter; in it they are at home, and in it they can proceed quite alone. But, outside this domain, pure reasoning needs to be supervised by common sense, which is an altogether different thing.

Thus, all the elementary forces of the intellect tend to transform matter into an instrument of action, that is, in the etymological sense of the word, into an organ. Life, not content with producing organisms, would fain give them as an appendage inorganic matter itself, converted into an immense organ by the industry of the living being. Such is the initial task it assigns to intelligence. That is why the intellect always behaves as if it were fascinated by the contemplation of inert matter, -it, is life looking outward, putting itself outside itself, adopting the ways of unorganized nature in principle, in order to direct them in fact. Hence its bewilderment when it

(162) turns to the living and is confronted with organization. It does what it can, it resolves the organized into the unorganized, for it cannot, without reversing its natural direction and twisting about on itself, think true continuity, real mobility, reciprocal penetration-in a word, that creative evolution which is life.

Consider continuity. The aspect of life that is accessible to our intellect-as indeed to our senses, of which our intellect is the extension--is that which offers a hold to our action. Now, to modify an object, we have to perceive it as divisible and discontinuous. From the point of view of positive science, an incomparable progress was realized when the organized tissues were resolved into cells. The study of the cell, in its turn, has shown it to be an organism whose complexity seems to grow, the more thoroughly it is examined. The more science advances, the more it sees the number grow of heterogeneous elements which are placed together, outside each other, to make up a living being. Does science thus get any nearer to life? Does it not, on the contrary, find that what is really life in the living seems to recede with every step by which it pushes further the detail of the parts combined? There is indeed already among scientists a tendency to regard the substance of the organism as continuous, and the cell as an artificial entity.[16] But, supposing this view were finally to prevail, it could only lead, on deeper study, to some other mode of analyzing of the living being, and so to a new discontinuity-although less removed, perhaps, from the real continuity of life. The truth is that this continuity cannot be thought by the intellect while it follows its natural movement. It implies at once the multiplicity of elements and the interpenetration of all by all, two conditions that can hardly be reconciled

(163) in the field in which our industry, and consequently our intellect, is engaged.

Just as we separate in space, we fix in time. The intellect is not made to think evolution, in the proper sense of the word-that is to say, the continuity of a change that is pure mobility. We shall not dwell here on this point, which we propose to study in a special chapter. Suffice it to say that the intellect represents becoming as a series of states, each of which is homogeneous with itself and consequently does not change. Is our attention called to the internal change of one of these states? At once we decompose it into another series of states which, reunited, will be supposed to make up this internal modification. Each of these new states must be invariable, or else their internal change, if we are forced to notice it, must be resolved again into a fresh series of invariable states, and so on to infinity. Here again, thinking consists in reconstituting, and, naturally, it is with given elements, and consequently with stable elements, that we reconstitute. So that, though we may do our best to imitate the mobility of becoming by an addition that is ever going on, becoming itself slips through our fingers just when we think we are holding it tight.

Precisely because it is always trying to reconstitute, and to reconstitute with what is given, the intellect lets what is new in each moment of a history escape. It does not admit the unforeseeable. It rejects all creation. That definite antecedents bring forth a definite consequent, calculable as a function of them, is what satisfies our intellect. That a definite end calls forth definite means to attain it, is what we also understand. In both cases we have to do with the known which is combined with the known, in short, with the old which is repeated. Our intellect is there at its ease; and, whatever be the object,

(164) it will abstract, separate, eliminate, so as to substitute for the object itself, if necessary, an approximate equivalent in which things will happen in this way. But that each instant is a fresh endowment, that the new is ever upspringing, that the form just come into existence (although, when once produced, it may be regarded as an effect determined by its causes) could never have been foreseenbecause the causes here, unique in their kind, are part of the effect, have come into existence with it, and are determined by it as much as they determine it-all this we can feel within ourselves and also divine, by sympathy, outside ourselves, but we cannot think it, in the strict sense of the word, nor express it in terms of pure understanding. No wonder at that: we must remember what our intellect is meant for. The causality it seeks and finds everywhere expresses the very mechanism of our industry, in which we go on recomposing the same whole with the same parts, repeating the same movements to obtain the same result. The finality it understands best is the finality of our industry, in which we work on a model given in advance, that is to say, old or composed of elements already known. As to invention properly so called, which is, however, the point of departure of industry itself, our intellect does not succeed in grasping it in its upspringing, that is to say, in its indivisibility, nor in its fervor, that is to say, in its creativeness. Explaining it always consists in resolving it, it the unforeseeable and new, into elements old or known, arranged in a different order. The intellect can no more admit complete novelty than real becoming; that is to say, here again it lets an essential aspect of life escape, as if it were not intended to think such an object.

All our analyses bring us to this conclusion. But it is hardly necessary to go into such long details concerning the mechanism of intellectual working; it is enough to

(165) consider the results. We see that the intellect, so skilful in dealing with the inert, is awkward the moment it touches the living. Whether it wants to treat the life of the body or the life of the mind, it proceeds with the rigor, the stiffness and the brutality of an instrument not designed for such use. The history of hygiene or of pedagogy teaches us much in this matter. When we think of the cardinal, urgent and constant need we have to preserve our bodies and to raise our souls, of the special facilities given to each of us, in this field, to experiment continually on ourselves and on others, of the palpable injury by which the wrongness of a medical or pedagogical practise is both made manifest and punished at once, we are amazed at the stupidity and especially at the persistence of errors. We may easily find their origin in the natural obstinacy with which we treat the living like the lifeless and think all reality, however fluid, under the form of the sharply defined solid. We are at ease only in the discontinuous, in the immobile, in the dead. The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life.

Instinct, on the contrary, is molded on the very form of life. While intelligence treats everything mechanically, instinct proceeds, so to speak, organically. If the consciousness that slumbers in it should awake, if it were wound up into knowledge instead of being wound off into action, if we could ask and it could reply, it would give up to us the most intimate secrets of life. For it only carries out further the work by which life organizes matter-- so that, we cannot, say, as has often been shown, where organization ends and where instinct begins. When the little chick is breaking its shell with a peck of its beak, it is acting by instinct, and yet it does but carry on the movement which has borne it through embryonic life.

(166) Inversely, in the course of embryonic life itself (especially when the embryo lives freely in the form of a larva), many of the acts accomplished must be referred to instinct. The most essential of the primary instincts are really, therefore, vital processes. The potential consciousness that accompanies them is generally actualized only at the outset of the act, and leaves the rest of the process to go on by itself. It would only have to expand more widely, and then dive into its own depth completely, to be one with the generative force of life.

When we see in a living body thousands of cells working together to a common end, dividing the task between them, living each for itself at the same time as for the others, preserving itself, feeding itself, reproducing itself, responding to the menace of danger by appropriate defensive reactions, how can we help thinking of so many instincts? And yet these are the natural functions of the cell, the constitutive elements of its vitality. On the other hand, when we see the bees of a hive forming a system so strictly organized that no individual can live apart from the others beyond a certain time, even though furnished with food and shelter, how can we help recognizing that the hive is really, and not metaphorically, a single organism, of which each bee is a cell united to the others by invisible bonds? The instinct that animates the bee is indistinguishable, then, from the force that animates the cell, or is only a prolongation of that force. In extreme cases like this, instinct coincides with the work of organization.

Of course there are degrees of perfection in the same instinct. Between the humble-bee, and the honey-bee, for instance, the distance is great; and we pass from one to the other through a great number of intermediaries, which correspond to so many complications of the social life. But the same diversity is found in the functioning

(167) of histological elements belonging to different tissues more or less akin. In both cases there are manifold variations on one and the same theme. The constancy of the theme is manifest, however, and the 'variations only fit it to the diversity of the circumstances.

Now, in both cases, in the instinct of the animal and in the vital properties of the cell, the same knowledge and the same ignorance are shown. All goes on as if the cell knew, of the other cells, what concerns itself; as if the animal knew, of the other animals, what it can utilize-all else remaining in shade. It seems as if life, as soon as it has become bound up in a species, is cut off from the rest of its own work, save at one or two points that are of vital concern to the species just arisen. Is it not plain that life goes to work here exactly like consciousness, exactly like memory? We trail behind us, unawares, the whole of our past; but our memory pours into the present only the odd recollection or two that in some way complete our present situation. Thus the instinctive knowledge which one species possesses of another on a certain particular point has its root in the 'very unity of life, which is, to use the expression of an ancient philosopher, a " whole sympathetic to itself." It is impossible to consider some of the special instincts of the animal and of the plant, evidently arisen in extraordinary circumstances, without relating them to those recollections, seemingly forgotten, which spring up suddenly under the pressure of an urgent need.

No doubt many secondary instincts, and also many 'Varieties of primary instinct, admit of a scientific explanation. Yet it is doubtful whether science, with its present methods of explanation, will ever succeed in analyzing instinct completely. The reason is that instinct and intelligence are two divergent developments

(168) of one and the same principle, which in the one case remains within itself, in the other steps out of itself and becomes absorbed in the utilization of inert matter. This gradual divergence testifies to a radical incompatibility, and points to the fact that it is impossible for intelligence to re-absorb instinct. That which is instinctive in instinct cannot be expressed in terms of intelligence, nor, consequently, can it be analyzed.

A man born blind, who had lived among others born blind, could not be made to believe in the possibility of perceiving a distant object without first perceiving all the objects in between. Yet vision performs this miracle. In a certain sense the blind man is right, since vision, having its origin in the stimulation of the retina, by the vibrations of the light, is nothing else, in fact, but a retinal touch. Such is indeed the scientific explanation, for the function of science is just to express all perceptions in terms of touch. But we have shown elsewhere that the philosophical explanation of perception (if it may still be called an explanation) must be of another kind.[17] Now instinct also is a knowledge at a distance. It has the same relation to intelligence that vision has to touch. Science cannot do otherwise than express it in terms of intelligence; but in so doing it constructs an imitation of instinct rat-her than penetrates within it.

Any one can convince himself of this by studying the ingenious theories of evolutionist biology. They may be reduced to two types, which are often intermingled. One type, following the principles of neo-Darwinism, regards instinct as a sum of accidental differences preserved by selection: such and such a useful behavior, naturally adopted by the individual in virtue of an accidental predisposition of the germ, has been transmitted from germ

(169) to germ, waiting for chance to add fresh improvements to it by the same method. The other type regards instinct as lapsed intelligence: the action, found useful by the species or by certain of its representatives, is supposed to have engendered a habit, which, by hereditary transmission, has become an instinct. Of these two types of theory, the first has the advantage of being able to bring in hereditary transmission without raising grave objection; for the accidental modification which it places at the origin of the instinct is not supposed to have been acquired by the individual, but to have been inherent in the germ. But, on the other hand, it is absolutely incapable of explaining instincts as sagacious as those of most insects. These instincts surely could not have attained, all at once, their present degree of complexity; they have probably evolved; but, in a hypothesis like that of the neo-Darwinians, the evolution of instinct could have come to pass only by the progressive addition of new pieces which, in some way, by happy accidents, came to fit into the old. Now it is evident that, in most cases, instinct could not have perfected itself by simple accretion: each new piece really requires, if all is not to be spoiled, a complete recasting of the whole. How could mere chance work a recasting of the kind? I agree that an accidental modification of the germ may be passed on hereditarily, and may somehow wait for fresh accidental modifications to come and complicate it. I agree also that natural selection may eliminate all those of the more complicated forms of instinct that are not fit to survive. Still, in order that the life of the instinct may evolve, complication-, fit to survive have to be produced. Now they will be produced only if, in certain cases, the addition of a new element brings about the correlative change of all the old elements. No one will maintain that chance could perform such a

(170) miracle: in one form or another we shall appeal to intelligence. We shall suppose that it is by an effort, more or less conscious, that the living being develops a higher instinct. But then we shall have to admit that an acquired habit can become hereditary, and that it does so regularly enough to ensure an evolution. The thing is doubtful, to put it mildly. Even if we could refer the instincts of animals to habits intelligently acquired and hereditarily transmitted, it is not clear how this sort of explanation could be extended to the vegetable world, where effort is never intelligent, even supposing it is sometimes conscious. And yet, when we see with what sureness and precision climbing plants use their tendrils, what marvelously combined manoeuvres the orchids perform to procure their fertilization by means of insects,[18] how can we help thinking that these are so many instincts?

This is not saying that the theory of the neo-Darwinians must be altogether rejected, any more than that of the neo-Lamarkians. The first are probably right in holding that evolution takes place from germ to germ rather than from individual to individual; the second are right in saying that at the origin of instinct there is an effort (although it is something quite different, we believe, from an intelligent effort). But the former are probably wrong when they make the evolution of instinct an accidental evolution, and the latter when they regard the effort from which instinct proceeds as an individual effort. The effort by which a species modifies its instinct, and modifies itself as well, must be a much deeper thing, dependent solely neither on circumstances nor on individuals. It is not purely accidental, although accident has a large place in it; and it does not depend solely on the initia-

(171) -tive of individuals, although individuals collaborate in it. Compare the different forms of the same instinct in different species of hymenoptera. The impression derived is not always that of an increasing complexity made of elements that have been added together one after the other. Nor does it suggest the idea of steps up a ladder. Rather do we think, in many cases at least, of the circumference of a circle, from different points of which these different varieties have started, all facing the same centre all making an effort in that direction, but each approaching it only to the extent of its means, and to the extent also to which this central point has been illumined for it. In other words, instinct is everywhere complete, but it is more or less simplified, and, above all, simplified differently. On the other hand, in cases where we do get the impression of an ascending scale, as if one and the same instinct had gone on complicating itself more and more in one direction and along a straight line, the species which are thus arranged by their instincts into a linear series are by no means always akin. Thus, the comparative study, in recent years, of the social instinct in the different apidae proves that the instinct of the meliponines is intermediary in complexity between the still rudimentary tendency of the humble bees and the consummate science of the true bees; yet there can be no kinship between the bees and the meliponines.[19] Most likely, the degree of complexity of these different societies has nothing to do with any greater or smaller number of added elements - We seem rather to be before a musical theme, which had first been transposed, the theme as a whole, into a certain number of tones. and on which, still the whole theme, different variations had been played, some very simple, others very skilful.

(172) As to the original theme, it is everywhere and nowhere. It is in vain that we try to express it in terms of any idea: it must have been, originally, felt rather than thought. We get the same impression before the paralyzing instinct of certain wasps. We know that the different species of hymenoptera, that have this paralyzing instinct lay their eggs in spiders, beetles or caterpillars, which, having first been subjected by the wasp to a skilful surgical operation, will go on living motionless a certain number of days, and thus provide the larvae with fresh meat. In the sting which they give to the nerve-centres of their victim, in order to destroy its power of moving without killing it, these different species of hymenoptera take into account, so to speak, the different species of prey they respectively attack. The Scolia, which attacks a larva of the rosebeetle, stings it in one point only, but in this point the motor ganglia are concentrated, and those ganglia alone: the stinging of other ganglia might cause death and putrefaction, which it must avoid.[20] The yellow-winged Sphex, which has chosen the cricket for its 'victim, knows that the cricket has three nerve-centres which serve its three pairs of legs-or at least it acts as if it know this. It stings the insect first under the neck, then behind the prothorax, and then where the thorax joins the abdomen.[21] The Ammophila Hirsuta gives nine successive strokes of its sting upon nine nerve-centres of its caterpillar, and then seizes the head and squeezes it in its mandibles, enough to cause paralysis without death.[22] The general theme is "the necessity of paralyzing without killing"; the variations are subordinated to the structure of the victim oil which they, are played. No doubt the operation is not

(173) always perfect. It has recently been shown that the Arnmophila sometimes kills the caterpillar instead of paralyzing it, that sometimes also it paralyzes it incompletely.[23] But, because instinct is, like intelligence, fallible, because it also shows individual deviations, it does not at all follow that the instinct of the Ammophila has been acquired, as has been claimed, by tentative intelligent experiments. Even supposing that the Ammophila has come in course of time to recognize, one after another, by tentative experiment, the points of its victim which must be stung to render it motionless, and also the special treatment that must be inflicted on the head to bring about paralysis without death, how can we imagine that elements so special of a knowledge so precise have been regularly transmitted, one by one, by heredity? If, in all our present experience, there were a single indisputable example of a transmission of this kind, the inheritance of acquired characters would be questioned by no one. As a matter of fact, the hereditary transmission of a contracted habit is effected in an irregular and far from precise manner, supposing it is ever really effected at all.

But the whole difficulty comes from our desire to express the knowledge of the hymenoptera in terms of intelligence. It is this that compels us to compare the Ammophila with the entomologist, who knows the caterpillar as he knows everything else--from the outside, and without having on his part a special or vital interest. The Ammophila, we imagine, must learn, one by one, like the entomologist, the positions of the nerve-centres of the caterpillar-must acquire at least the practical knowledge of these positions by trying the effects of its sting. But there is no need for such a view if we suppose a sympathy (in the etymological sense of the word) between

(174) the Ammophila and its victim, which teaches it from within, so to say, concerning the vulnerability of the caterpillar. This feeling of vulnerability might owe nothing to outward perception, but result from the mere presence together of the Ammophila and the caterpillar, considered no longer as two organisms, but as two activities. It would express, in a concrete form, the relation of the one to the other. Certainly, a scientific theory cannot appeal to considerations of this kind. It must not put action before organization, sympathy before perception and knowledge. But, once more, either philosophy has nothing to see here, or its role begins where that of science ends.

Whether it makes instinct a "compound reflex," or a habit formed intelligently that has become automatism, or a sum of small accidental advantages accumulated and fixed by selection, in every case science claims to resolve instinct completely either into intelligent actions, or into mechanisms built up piece by piece like those combined by our intelligence. I agree indeed that science is here within its function. It gives us, in default of a real analysis of the object, a translation of this object in terms of intelligence. But is it not plain that science itself invites philosophy to consider things in another way? If our biology was still that of Aristotle, if it regarded the series of living beings as unilinear, if it showed us the whole of life evolving towards intelligence and passing, to that end, through sensibility and instinct, we should be right, we, the intelligent beings, in turning back towards the earlier and consequently inferior manifestations of life and in claiming to fit them, without deforming them, into the molds of our understanding. But one of the clearest results of biology has been to show that evolution has taken place along divergent lines. It is at the extremity of two of these lines-the two principal-that we find

(175) intelligence and instinct in forms almost pure. Why, then, should instinct be resolvable into intelligent elements? Why, even, into terms entirely intelligible? Is it not obvious that to think here of the intelligent, or of the absolutely intelligible, is to go back to the Aristotelian theory of nature? No doubt it is better to go back to that than to stop short before instinct as before an unfathomable mystery. But, though instinct is not within the domain of intelligence, it is not situated beyond the limits of mind. In the phenomena of feeling, in unreflecting sympathy and antipathy, we experience in ourselves-though under a much vaguer form, and one too much penetrated with intelligence-something of what must happen in the consciousness of an insect acting by instinct. Evolution does but sunder, in order to develop them to the end, elements which, at their origin, interpenetrated each other. More precisely, intelligence is, before anything else, the faculty of relating one point of space to another, one material object to another; it applies to all things, but remains outside them; and of a deep cause it perceives only the effects spread out side by side. Whatever be the force that is at work in the genesis of the nervous system of the caterpillar, to our eyes and our intelligence it is only a juxtaposition of nerves and nervous centres. It is true that we thus get the whole outer effect of it. The Ammophila, no doubt, discerns but a very little of that force, just what concerns itself; but at least it discerns it from within, quite otherwise than by a process of knowledge-by an intuition (lived rather than represented), which is probably like what we call divining sympathy.

A very significant fact is the swing to and fro of scientific theories of instinct, from regarding it as intelligent to regarding it as simply intelligible, or, shall I say, between likening it to an intelligence " lapsed" and reducing it

(176) to a pure mechanism.[24] Each of these systems of explanation triumphs in its criticism of the other, the first when it shows us that instinct cannot be a mere reflex, the other when it declares that instinct is something different from intelligence, even fallen into unconsciousness. What can this mean but that they are two symbolisms, equally acceptable in certain respects, and, in other respects, equally inadequate to their object? The concrete explanation, no longer scientific, but metaphysical, must be sought along quite another path, not in the direction of intelligence, but in that of " sympathy."

Instinct is sympathy. If this sympathy could extend its object and also reflect upon itself, it would give us the key to vital operations-just as intelligence, developed and disciplined, guides us into matter. For-we cannot too often repeat it-intelligence and instinct are turned in opposite directions, the former towards inert matter, the latter towards life. Intelligence, by means of science, which is its work, will deliver up to us more and more completely the secret of physical operations; of life it brings us, and moreover only claims to bring us, a translation in terms of inertia. It goes all round life, taking from outside the greatest possible number of views of it, drawing it into itself instead of entering into it. But it is to the very inwardness of life that intuition leads us-by intuition I mean instinct that has become disinterested, self-conscious, capable of reflecting upon its object and of enlarging it indefinitely.

That an effort of this kind is not, impossible, is proved

(177) by the existence in man of an aesthetic faculty along with normal perception. Our eye perceives the features of the living being, merely as assembled, not as mutually organized. The intention of life, the simple movement that runs through the lines, that binds them together and gives them significance, escapes it. This intention is just what the artist tries to regain, in placing himself back within the object by a kind of sympathy, in breaking down, by an effort of intuition, the barrier that space puts up between him and his model. It is true that this aesthetic intuition, like external perception, only attains the individual. But we can conceive an inquiry turned in the same direction as art, which would take life in general for its object, just as physical science, in following to the end the direction pointed out by external perception, prolongs the individual facts into general laws. No doubt this philosophy will never obtain a knowledge of its object comparable to that which science has of its own. Intelligence remains the luminous nucleus around which instinct, even enlarged and purified into intuition, forms only a vague nebulosity. But, in default of knowledge properly so called, reserved to pure intelligence, intuition may enable us to grasp what it is that intelligence fails to give us, and indicate the means of supplementing it. On the one hand, it will utilize the mechanism of intelligence itself to show how intellectual molds cease to be strictly applicable; and on the other hand, by its own work, it will suggest to us the vague feeling, if nothing more, of what must take the place of intellectual molds. Thus, intuition may bring the intellect to recognize that life does not quite go into the category of the many nor yet into that of the one; that neither mechanical causality nor finality can give a sufficient interpretation of the vital process. Then, by the sympathetic communication which

(178) it establishes between us and the rest of the living, by the expansion of our consciousness which it brings about, it introduces us into life's own domain, which is reciprocal interpenetration, endlessly continued creation. But, though it thereby transcends intelligence, it is from intelligence that has come the push that has made it rise to the point it has reached. Without intelligence, it would have remained in the form of instinct, riveted to the special object of its practical interest, and turned outward by it into movements of locomotion.

How theory of knowledge must take account of these two faculties, intellect and intuition, and how also, for want of establishing a sufficiently clear distinction between them, it becomes involved in inextricable difficulties, creating phantoms of ideas to which there cling phantoms of problems, we shall endeavor to show a little further on. We shall see that the problem of knowledge, from this point of view, is one with the metaphysical problem, and that both one and the other depend upon experience. On the one hand, indeed, if intelligence is charged with matter and instinct with life, we must squeeze them both in order to get the double essence from them; metaphysics is therefore &pendent upon theory of knowledge. But, on the other hand, if consciousness has thus split up into intuition and intelligence, it is because of the need it had to apply itself to matter at the same time as it had to follow the stream of life. The double form of consciousness is then due to the double form of the real, and theory of knowledge must be dependent upon metaphysics. In fact, each of these two lines of thought leads to the other; they form a circle, and there can be no other centre to the circle but the empirical study of evolution. It is only in seeing consciousness run through matter, lose itself there and find itself there again, divide and reconstitute

(179) itself, that we shall form an idea of the mutual opposition of the two terms, as also, perhaps, of their common origin. But, on the other hand, by dwelling on this opposition of the two elements and on this identity of origin, perhaps we shall bring out more clearly the meaning of evolution itself.

Such will be the aim of our next chapter. But the facts that we have just noticed must have already suggested to us the idea that life is connected either with consciousness or with something that resembles it.

Throughout the whole extent of the animal kingdom, we have said, consciousness seems proportionate to the living being's power of choice. It lights up the zone of potentialities that surrounds the act. It fills the interval between what is done and what might be done. Looked at from without, we may regard it as a simple aid to action, a light that action kindles, a momentary spark flying up from the friction of real action against possible actions. But we must also point out that things would go on in just the same way if consciousness, instead of being the effect, were the cause. We might suppose that consciousness, even in the most rudimentary animal, covers by right an enormous field, but is compressed in fact in a kind of vise: each advance of the nervous centres, by giving the organism a choice between a larger number of actions, calls forth the potentialities that are capable of surrounding the real, thus opening the vise wider and allowing consciousness to pass more freely. In this second hypothesis, as in the first, consciousness is still the instrument of action; but it is even more true to say that action is the instrument of consciousness; for the complicating of action with action, and the opposing of action to action, are for the imprisoned consciousness the only possible means to set itself free. How, then, shall we choose between the two hypotheses?

(180) If the first is true, consciousness must express exactly, at each instant, the state of the brain; there is strict parallelism (so far as intelligible) between the psychical and the cerebral state. On the second hypothesis, on the contrary, there is indeed solidarity and interdependence between the brain and consciousness, but not parallelism: the more complicated the brain becomes, thus giving the organism greater choice of possible actions, the more does consciousness outrun its physical concomitant. Thus, the recollection of the same spectacle probably modifies in the same way a dog's brain and a man's brain, if the perception has been the same; yet the recollection must be very different in the man's consciousness from what it is in the dog's. In the dog, the recollection remains the captive of perception; it is brought back to consciousness only when an analogous perception recalls it by reproducing the same spectacle, and then it is manifested by the recognition, acted rather than thought, of the present perception much more than by an actual reappearance of the recollection itself. Man, on the contrary, is capable of calling up the recollection at will, at any moment, independently of the present perception. He is not limited to playing his past life again; he represents and dreams it. The local modification of the brain to which the recollection is attached being the same in each case, the psychological difference between the two recollections cannot have its ground in a particular difference of detail between the two cerebral mechanisms, but in the difference between the two brains taken each as a whole. The more complex of the two, in putting a greater number of mechanisms in opposition to one another, has enabled consciousness to disengage itself from the restraint of one and all and to reach independence. That things do happen in this way, that the second of the two hypotheses is that which must

(181) be chosen, is what we have tried to prove, in a former work, by the study of facts that best bring into relief the relation of the conscious state to the cerebral state, the facts of normal and pathological recognition, in particular the forms of aphasia.[25] But it could have been proved by pure reasoning, before even it was evidenced by facts. We have shown on what self-contradictory postulate, on what confusion of two mutually incompatible symbolisms, the hypothesis of equivalence between the cerebral state and the psychic state rests.[26]

The evolution of life, looked at from this point, receives a clearer meaning, although it cannot be subsumed under any actual idea. It is as if a broad current of consciousness had penetrated matter, loaded, as all consciousness is, with an enormous multiplicity of interwoven potentialities. It has carried matter along to organization, but its movement has been at once infinitely retarded and infinitely divided. On the one hand, indeed, consciousness has had to fall asleep, like the chrysalis in the envelope in which it is preparing for itself wings; and, on the other hand, the manifold tendencies it contained have been distributed among divergent series of organisms which, moreover, express these tendencies outwardly in movements rather than internally in representations. In the course of this evolution, while some beings have fallen more and more asleep, others have more and more completely awakened, and the torpor of some has served the activity of others. But the waking could be effected in two different ways. Life, that is to say consciousness launched into matter, fixed its attention either on its own movement or on the matter it was passing through; and it has thus

(182) been turned either in the direction of intuition or in that of intellect. Intuition, at first sight, seems far preferable to intellect, since in it life and consciousness remain within themselves. But a glance at the evolution of living beings shows us that intuition could not go very far. On the side of intuition, consciousness found itself so restricted by its envelope that intuition had to shrink into instinct, that is, to embrace only the very small portion of life that interested it; and this it embraces only in the dark, touching it while hardly seeing it. On this side, the horizon was soon shut out. On the contrary, consciousness, in shaping itself into intelligence, that is to say in concentrating itself at first on matter, seems to externalize itself in relation to itself; but, just because it adapts itself thereby to objects from without, it succeeds in moving among them and in evading the barriers they oppose to it, thus opening to itself an unlimited field. Once freed, moreover, it can turn inwards on itself, and awaken the potentialities of intuition which still slumber within it.

From this point of view, not only does consciousness appear as the motive principle of evolution, but also, among conscious beings themselves, man comes to occupy a privileged place. Between him and the animals the difference is no longer one of degree, but of kind. We shall show how this conclusion is arrived at in our next chapter. Let us now show how the preceding analyses suggest it.

A noteworthy fact is the extraordinary disproportion between the consequences of an invention and the invention itself. We have said that intelligence is modeled on matter and that it aims in the first place at fabrication. But does it fabricate in order to fabricate or does it not pursue involuntarily, and even unconsciously, something entirely different? Fabricating consists in shaping matter, in making it supple and in bending it, in converting it into

(183) an instrument in order to become master of it. It is this mastery that profits humanity, much more even than the material result of the invention itself. Though we derive an immediate advantage from the thing made, as an intelligent animal might do, and though this advantage be all the inventor sought, it is a slight matter compared with the new ideas and new feelings that the invention may give rise to in every direction, as if the essential part of the effect were to raise us above ourselves and enlarge our horizon. Between the effect and the cause the disproportion is so great that it is difficult to regard the cause as producer of its effect. It releases it, whilst settling, indeed, its direction. Everything happens as though the grip of intelligence on matter were, in its main intention, to let something pass that matter is holding back.

SThe same impression arises when we compare the brain of man with that of the animals. The difference at first appears to be only a difference of size and complexity. But, judging by function, there must be something else besides. In the animal, the motor mechanisms that the brain succeeds in setting up, or, in other words, the habits contracted voluntarily, have no other object nor effect than the accomplishment of the movements marked out in these habits, stored in these mechanisms. But, in man, the motor habit may have a second result, out of proportion to the first: it can hold other motor habits in check, and thereby, in overcoming automatism, set consciousness free. We know what vast regions in the human brain language occupies. The cerebral mechanisms that correspond to the words have this in particular, that they can be made to grapple with other mechanisms, those, for instance, that correspond to the things themselves, or even be made to grapple with one another. Meanwhile consciousness, which would have been dragged down and

(184) drowned in the accomplishment of the act, is restored and set free. [27]

The difference must therefore be more radical than a superficial examination would lead us to suppose. It is the difference between a mechanism which engages the attention and a mechanism from which it can be diverted. The primitive steam-engine, as Newcomen conceived it, required the presence of a person exclusively employed to turn on and off the taps, either to let the steam into the cylinder or to throw the cold spray into it in order to condense the steam. It is said that a boy employed on this work, and very tired of having to do it, got the idea of tying the handles of the taps, with cords, to the beam of the engine. Then the machine opened and closed the taps itself; it worked all alone. Now, if an observer had compared the structure of this second machine with that of the first without taking into account the two boys left to watch over them, he would have found only a slight difference of complexity. That is, indeed, all we can perceive when we look only at the machines. But if we cast a glance at the two boys, we shall see that whilst one is wholly taken up by the watching, the other is free to go and play as he chooses, and that, from this point of view, the difference between the two machines is radical, the first holding the attention captive, the second setting it at liberty. A difference of the same kind, we think, would be found between the brain of an animal and the human brain.

If, now, we should wish to express this in terms of

(185) finality, we should have to say that consciousness, after having been obliged, in order to set itself free, to divide organization into two complementary parts, -vegetables on one hand and animals on the other, has sought an issue in the double direction of instinct and of intelligence. It has not found it with instinct, and it has not obtained it on the side of intelligence except by a sudden leap from the animal to man. So that, in the last analysis, man might be considered the reason for the existence of the entire organization of life on our planet. But this would be only a manner of speaking. There is, in reality, only a current of existence and the opposing current; thence proceeds the whole evolution of life. We must now grasp more closely the opposition of these two currents. Perhaps we shall thus discover for them a common source. By this we shall also, no doubt, penetrate the most obscure regions of metaphysics. However, as the two directions we have to follow are clearly marked, in intelligence on the one hand, in instinct and intuition on the other, we are not afraid of straying. A survey of the evolution of life suggests to us a certain conception of knowledge, and also a certain metaphysics, which imply each other. Once made clear, this metaphysics and this critique may throw some light, in their turn, on evolution as a whole.


  1. This view of adaptation has been noted by M. F. Marin in a remarkable article on the origin of species, "L'Origine des espèces" (Revue scientifique, Nov. 1901, p. 580).
  2. De Saporta and Marion, L'Evolution des cryptogames, 1881, p. 37.
  3. On fixation and parasitism in general, see the work of Houssay, La Forme et la vie, Paris, 1900, pp. 721-807.
  4. Cope, op. cit. p. 76.
  5. Just as the plant, in certain cases, recovers the faculty of moving actively which slumbers in it, so the animal, in exceptional circumstances, can replace itself in the conditions of the vegetative life and develop in itself an equivalent of the chlorophyllian function. It appears, indeed, from recent experiments of Mania von Linden, that the chrysalides and the caterpillars of certain lepidoptera, under the influence of light, fix the carbon of the carbonic acid contained in the atmosphere (M. von Linden, " l'Assimilation de l'acide carbonique par les chrysalides de Lépidoptères, " C. R. de la Soc. de biologie, 1905, pp. 692 ff.).
  6. Archives de physiologic, 1892.
  7. De Manacéine, " Quelques observations expérimentales sur l'influence de l'insomnie absolue" (Arch. ital. de biologie, t. xxi., 1894, pp. 322 ff.). Recently, analogous observations have been made on a man who died of inanition after a fast of thirty-five days. See, on this subject, in the Année biologique of 1898, p. 338, the résumé of an article (in Russian) by Tarakevitch and Stchasny.
  8. Cuvier said: " The nervous system is, at bottom, the whole animal; the other systems are there only to serve it." ("Sur un nouveau rapprochement à établir entre les classes qui composent le regne animal," Arch. du Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Paris, 1812, pp. 73-84.) Of course, it would be necessary to apply a great many restrictions to this formula-for example, to allow for the cases of degradation and retrogression in which the nervous system passes into the background. And, moreover, with the nervous system must be included the sensorial apparatus on the one hand and the motor on the other, between which it acts as intermediary. Cf.Foster,art. "Physiology,'! in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Edinburgh, 1885, p. 17.
  9. See, on these different points, the work of Gaudry, Essai de paléontologie philosophique, Paris, 1896, pp. 14-16 and 78-79.
  10. See, on this subject, Shaler, The Individual, New York, 1900, pp. 118-125.
  11. This point is disputed by M. René Quinton, who regards the carnivorous and ruminant mammals, as well as certain birds, as subsequent too man (R. Quinton, L'Eau de mer milieu organique, Paris, 1904, p. 435). We may say here that our general conclusions, although very different from M. Quinton's, are not irreconcilable with them; for if evolution has really been such as we represent it, the vertebrates must have made an effort to maintain themselves in the most favorable conditions of activity--the very conditions, indeed, which life had chosen in the beginning.
  12. M. Paul Lacombe has laid great stress on the important influence that great inventions have exercised on the evolution of humanity (P. Lacombe, De I'histoire considérée comme science, Paris, 1894. See, in particular, pp. 168-247).
  13. Bouvier, "La Nidification des abeilles à l'air libre" (C. R. de l'Ac. des sciences, 7 mai 1906).
  14. Plato, Phaearus, 265 E.
  15. We shall return to these points in the next chapter.
  16. We shall return to this point in chapter iii., p. 259.
  17. Matière et mémoire, chap. i.
  18. See the two works of Darwin, Climbing Plants and The Ferilization of Orchids by Insects.
  19. Buttel-Reepen, "Die phylogenetische Entstehung des Bienenstaates" (Biol. Centralblatt, xxiii. 1903), p. 108 in particular.
  20. Fabre, Souvenirs entomologiques, 3' série, Paris, 1890, pp. 1-69.
  21. Fabre, Souvenirs entomologiques, 1re série, 3e édition, Paris, 1894, pp. 93 ff.
  22. Fabre, Nouveaux souvenirs entomologiques, Paris, 1882, pp. 14 ff.
  23. Peckham, Wasps, Solitary and Social, Westminster, 1905, pp. 28 ff.
  24. See, in particular, among recent works, Bethe, "Durfen wir den Ameisen und Bienen psychische Qualitaten zuschreiben?" (Arch. 1. d. ges. Physiologie, 1898), and Forel, "Un Aperçu de psychologie comparée" (Année psychologique, 1895).
  25. Matière et mémoire, chaps. ii. and iii.
  26. "Le Paralogisme psycho-physiologique" (Revue de métaphysiques, Nov. 1904).
  27. A geologist whom we have already had occasion to cite, N. 8. Shaler, well says that I when we come to man, it seems as if we find the ancient subjection of mind to body abolished, and the intellectual parts develop with an extraordinary rapidity, the structure of the body remaining identical in essentials" (Shaler, The Interpretation of Nature, Boston, 1899, p. 187).

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