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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

THE UNIQUENESS OF  MAN
became normal and of major importance. According to Menddian
laws, such crosses generate much excess variability by producing new
recombinations. Man is thus more variable than other species for
two reasons. First, because migration has recaptured for the single
interbreeding group divergences of a magnitude that in animals
would escape into the isolation of separate species; and secondly,
because the resultant crossing has generated recombinations which
both quantitatively and qualitatively are on a far bigger scale than is
supplied by the internal variability of even the numerically most
abundant animal species.
We may contrast this with the state of a flairs among ants, the
dominant insect group. The ant type is more varied than the human
type; but it has achieved this variability by intense divergent evolu-
tion. Several thousand species of ants are known, and the number is
being added to each year with the increase of biological exploration.
Ways of life among ants are divided among different sub-types, each
rigidly confined to its own methods. Thus even if ants were capable
of accumulating experience, there could exist no single world-wide
ant tradition. The fact that the human type comprises but one
biological species is a consequence of his capacity for tradition, and
also permits his exploitation of that unique capacity to the utmost.
Let us remind ourselves that superposed upon this purely biological
or genetic variability is the even greater amount of variability due to
differences of upbringing, profession, and personal tastes. The final
result is a degree of variation that would be staggering if it were not
so familiar. It would be fair to say that, in respect to mind and
outlook, individual human beings are separated by differences as
profound as those which distinguish the major groups of the animal
kingdom. The difference between a somewhat subnormal member
of a savage tribe and a Beethoven or a Newton is assuredly compar-
able in extent with that between a sponge and a higher mammal
Leaving aside such vertical differences, the lateral difference between
the mind of, say, a distinguished general or engineer of extrovert type
and of an introvert genius in mathematics or religious mysticism is no
less than that between an insect and a vertebrate, This enormous
range of individual variation in human minds often leads to mis-
understanding and even mutual incomprehensibility; but it also
provides the necessary basis for fruitful division of labour in human
society.
Another biological peculiarity of man is the uniqueness of his
evolutionary history. Writers have 'indulged their speculative fancy
by imagining other organisms endowed with speech and conceptual