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Inquiries into Human Faculty
It would appear that every wild animal has had its chance of being
domesticated, that those few which fulfilled the above conditions were
domesticated long ago, but that the large remainder, who fail sometimes
in only one small particular, are destined to perpetual wildness so long as
their race continues. As civilisation extends they are doomed to be
gradually destroyed off the face of the earth as useless consumers of
cultivated produce. I infer that slight differences in natural dispositions of
human races may in one case lead irresistibly to some particular career,
and in another case may make that career an impossibility.
There is nothing as yet observed in the order of events to make us
doubt that the universe is bound together in space and time, as a single
entity, and there is a concurrence of many observed facts to induce us to
accept that view. We may, therefore, not unreasonably profess faith in a
common and mysterious whole, and of the laborious advance, under many
restrictions, of that infinitely small part of it which falls under our
observation, but which is in itself enormously large, and behind which lies
the awful mystery of the origin of all existence.
The conditions that direct the order of the whole of the living world
around us, are marked by their persistence in improving the birthright of
successive generations. They determine, at much cost of individual
comfort, that each plant and animal shall, on the general average, be
endowed at its birth with more suitable natural faculties than those of its
representative in the preceding generation. They ensure, in short, that the
inborn qualities of the terrestrial tenantry shall become steadily better
adapted to their homes and to their mutual needs. This effect, be it
understood, is not only favourable to the animals who live long enough to
become parents, but is also favourable to those who perish in earlier life,
because even they are on the whole better off during their brief career than
if they had been born still less adapted to the conditions of their existence.
If we summon before our imagination in a single mighty host, the whole
number of living - things from the earliest date at which Previous page Top Next page