As will be more fully shown toward the close of this chapter (infra, p. 81), nature's
processes are not teleologic but genetic. The cause not only always precedes the
effect, but it immediately precedes it. The effect is in immediate proximity to the cause.
The changes take place by differentials, and all advance is through differentiation.
Differentiation is distinguished from variation in that the changes are necessarily
produced by means of differences too minute to be severally taken account of. It is a
molecular process. The motion of one molecule is directly imparted to others. The
single effect is imperceptible; but multiplication and repetition, number and time,
accomplish the results observed. An initial motion inhering in the primary form of
matter(1*) is therefore the sole source of all causation and the true “first cause.”
The wholly unconscious and unintelligent character of nature's processes may be
safely concluded from their genetic stamp. Intelligence works quite otherwise. The
inseparable characteristic of conscious action is that it is teleological. Cause and effect
are remote from each other. Means are adapted to distant ends. The chain of causal
impulses connecting antecedents with consequents is not direct. The advantages are
proportioned to the interval. The more remote the effect from the cause, the greater
may the disproportion be made between the cause and the effect. Such causes are called
“final causes," and the same amount of energy expended in them may be made to
multiply the effect to almost any required degree. Nature never employs the "final
cause" but only the "efficient cause." But the tendency to organization which has
existed on this planet for a vast period, in connection with the increasing adaptation of
the conditions now found upon its surface from the time when it assumed a cooled
exterior to the present time, has gradually evolved a class of forms called animals, in
which the remarkable quality denominated consciousness (vol. i, pp. 366, 376) is
manifested. This quality exhibits all conceivable degrees, from that seen in the monad
to that found in enlightened man, and throughout this series the capacity for
teleological action has steadily and uniformly kept pace with the degree of intelligence.
We are therefore forced to conclude that consciousness and intelligence are products
of organization; that organized beings are, as it were, devices for the concentration and
intensification of molecular activities (vol. i, pp. 324, 354); and that mind and thought
are among the necessary products of such concentrated and intensified activities - the
properties of matter thus organized. The "soul of truth," therefore, in the belief that the
universe possesses consciousness, intelligence, and mind, consists in the fact that the
primary activities of diffused matter - activities which are never divorced from it....
A simple mechanical device is often sufficient to convert a highly injurious element
into a remarkably beneficial one, and, by here repressing a harmful influence
and there creating a useful one, increasingly high degrees
of correspondence may be attained,
and more and more perfect conditions of existence brought about.
In the control of nature as in its study, there are no arbitrary limitations.
The right is always co-extensive with the power, and only a false,
unnatural view of the case can
erect any other barrier to man's invasion of nature's domain.
Such are some of the most general relations subsisting between man and nature,
without a clear conception of which no basis can exist for the science of Dynamic
From these general considerations we may now pass to others of a more special
Lamarck seems to have been the first clearly to recognize and systematically to
formulate the laws of the interdependence and mutual relations of living organisms and
their surrounding influences. The latter factor he characterizes in various ways and
denotes by several appropriate terms. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire had used the expression
monde ambiant, to which Lamarck adds that of milieu,(1*) giving it a wide sense
A WIDE WIDE SENSE
of that special application of this faculty
called ingenuity, or genius, from which all the other intellectual manifestations are
The incentive to the exercise of this faculty has been unsatisfied desires. The result of
the successive inventions has been to satisfy those desires.