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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 rôle
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
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 to a pure mechanism.[74] 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

* * * * *

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 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 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
dependent 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 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? 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 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.[75] 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.[76]

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
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 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.

The 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 drowned
in the accomplishment of the act, is restored and set free.[77]

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 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.


[Footnote 51: 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).]

[Footnote 52: De Saporta and Marion, _L'Évolution des cryptogames_,
1881, p. 37.]

[Footnote 53: On fixation and parasitism in general, see the work of
Houssay, _La Forme et la vie_, Paris, 1900, pp. 721-807.]

[Footnote 54: Cope, _op. cit._ p. 76.]

[Footnote 55: 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 Maria 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.).]

[Footnote 56: _Archives de physiologie_, 1892.]

[Footnote 57: 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.]

[Footnote 58: 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.]

[Footnote 59: See, on these different points, the work of Gaudry, _Essai
de paléontologie philosophique_, Paris, 1896, pp. 14-16 and 78-79.]

[Footnote 60: See, on this subject, Shaler, _The Individual_, New York,
1900, pp. 118-125.]

[Footnote 61: This point is disputed by M. René Quinton, who regards the
carnivorous and ruminant mammals, as well as certain birds, as
subsequent to 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

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