54 The Germs of Srewhon unconscious of these operations because it has done them a very large number of times already. A man may do a thing by a fluke once, but to say that a foetus can perform so difficult an operation as the growth of a pair of eyes put of pure protoplasm without knowing how to do it, and with- out ever having done it before, is to contradict all human experience. Ipso facto that it does it, it knows how to do it, and ipso facto that it knows how to do it, it has done it before. Its unconsciousness (or speedy loss of memory) is simply the result of over-knowledge, not of under-knowledge. It knows so well and has done it so often that its power of self-analysis is gone. If it knew what it was doing, or was conscious of its own act in oxidising its blood after birth, I should suspect that it had not done it so often before; as it is I am confident that it must have done it more often—much more often—than any act which we perform consciously during our whole lives. 4. When, then, did it do it ? Clearly when last it was an impregnate ovum or some still lower form of life which resulted in that impregnate ovum. 5. How is it, then, that it has not gained perceptible experience ? Simply because a single repetition makes little or no difference; but go back 20,000 repetitions and you will find that it has gained in experience and modified its per- formance very materially. 6. But how about the identity ? What is identity ? Identity of matter ? Surely no. There is no identity of matter between me as I now am, and me as an impregnate ovum. Continuity of existence ? Then there is . identity between me as an impregnate ovum and my father and mother as impregnate ova. Drop out my father's and mother's lives between the dates of their being impregnate ova and the moment when I became an impregnate ovum. See the ova only and consider the second ovum as the first two ova's means not of reproducing themselves but of con- tinuing themselves—repeating themselves—the intermediate lives being nothing but, as it were, a long potato shoot from one eye to the place where it will grow its next tuber. 7. Given a single creature capable of reproducing itself and it must go on reproducing itself for ever, for it would not reproduce itself, unless it reproduced a creature that was going to reproduce itself, and so on ad infinitum.