ページの画像
PDF
ePub

will last, when the lustre of all that once sparkled and dazzled has passed away.

The true object of instruction is not to know much, but to know well; and half learning is a false knowledge, a hundred times more dangerous than ignorance.

OF

THE MANIFESTATION OF WILL

IN THE INSECT TRIBES.

Try with any walking insect, it will move, not as you choose, but as it likes. Check it in one path, and, unless through fear it pauses, it will take another; it will not go in the course or to the point you wish, if left to itself or without a positive compulsion. I have often tried and watched them, and have been satisfied, that as far as concerns themselves, and all constraining force withheld, they have as much free agency, spontaneous motion, and freedom of will, as I have ; and use these qualities as independently, and with as much self-choice and determination, as I do so. There is nothing like overruling, confining, and automatical agency or compulsion about them. Their motions exhibit continual changes of will and self-choosing action. They show me that they have as clear and just a perception of things as I have. The fly knows the treacle,—the wasp, the sugar, —the bee, his hive and honey,the caterpillar, the herb he likes, as well as we do. If driven away,

they return to the thing they desire. The bee does not go to a leaf instead of the flower, nor to a stone instead of a tree. They perceive what they want to be the thing they want or like, and they move towards it accordingly. In this conduct they judge as rightly about it as we should do, and act as consciously towards it. The more we study the actions of insects, with reference to their nature and purposes, we shall find that they habitually act with as much proper judgment concerning them, as our mind in their bodies would do. As far as I have observed and can anticipate, they act as I should act if I were in their frames, and had their wants and wishes, and were under the same circumstances and situation. If we were ants or bees, what could we do better than they do? The instances of wasps and others reducing the weight or shape of their prey, to enable them to carry it, are instances of both reasoning and judgment; so is that of the beetles' undermining the stake to get at the toad, which it held above their reach; so is that of the humble bees' piercing the side of the calyx, or flower cup, to get at the honey, when they cannot reach the nectarium, or honey cup, by going within it. No human parent could exert more reasoning and affectionate foresight for the benefit of the child that was about to be born,

« 前へ次へ »