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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Vibrations                     71

already pre-existing in the parental bodies, and that the
communication of the characteristics of these rhythms de-
termines at once the physical and psychical development of
the individual in a course as nearly like that of the parents
as changed surroundings will allow.

For, according to my Life and Habit theory, everything
in connection with embryonic development is referred to
memory, and this involves that the thing remembering should
have been present and an actor in the development which it
is supposed to remember ; but we have just settled that the
germs which unite to form any individual, and which when
united proceed to develop according to what I suppose to
be their memory of their previous developments, were not
participators in any previous development and cannot there-
fore remember it. They cannot remember even a single
development, much less can they remember that infinite
series of developments the recollection and epitomisation of
which is a sine qua non for the unconsciousness which we
note in normal development. I see no way of getting out of
this difficulty so convenient as to say that a memory is the
reproduction and recurrence of a rhythm communicated
directly or indirectly from one substance to another, and that
where a certain rhythm exists there is a certain stock of
memories, whether the actual matter in which the rhythm
now subsists was present with the matter in which it arose
or not.

There is another little difficulty in the question whether
the matter that I suppose introduced into the parents1
bodies during their life-histories, and that goes to form the
germs that afterwards become their offspring, is living or
non-living. If living, then it has its own memories and life-
histories which must be cancelled and undone before the
assimilation and the becoming imbued with new rhythms can
be complete. That is to say it must become as near non-
living as anything can become.

Sooner or later, then, we get this introduced matter to be
non-living (as we may call it) and the puzzle is how to get
it living again. For we strenuously deny equivocal generation.
When matter is living we contend that it can only have been
begotten of other like living matter; we deny that it can
have become living from non-living. Here, however, within