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Southern Branch 
of the 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Form L 1 


This book is DUE on the last date stamped below 

SEP 2 g 192) 
JUN 7 i<fc 


JAN 2'- 1930, 

29 t< 


Form L-9-15m-8,'26 








M.D., F.R.C.S., F.R.S., ETC. 




first Published in 1921 


Page 3 line 5 from bottom, for rater read rarer 

41 ,, 10, for predominately re&d. predmninantly 
,, 121 ,, 13, for hystoirlal read hyxte.roidal 

131 ,, 10 from bottom, for aniwo-acidx read amino-acida 
,, 198 ,, 1, iorcha nc/e aasuredly read change, assured fi/ 
, 2t6 , 7 from bottom, for Spring read Summer 





AS I read over the manuscript pages of these essays, 
by my friend Morley Roberts, there came back to me 
the memory of a night in London, when I set out from a 
scientific meeting to guide a provincial colleague to his 
hotel through streets obliterated by a blinding November 
fog. The way was familiar to me, yet in the end the 
stranger from the country proved the better guide, for it 
was he who ultimately took us straight to our destination. 
By the mere use of his map-fed imagination my friend had 
mastered the details of London better than I had done after 
years of residence. Imagination with him had turned the 
dry and dusty maps, plans, contour-lines and guide books of 
a great city he had never seen into a living reality, in which 
he could find his way with confidence, and even offer help 
to befogged citizens. In these essays by Mr. Morley Roberts 
we have a parallel case. He has not lived, toiled, and 
earned a livelihood in any one of the multitude of quarters 
into which the bewildering City of Modern Science is 
sharply divided. Yet by the sheer force of his imagination, 
one which is at once intimate, intuitive, accurate, and vivid 


he has absorbed the atmosphere of the place, become 
familiar with its inhabitants, their ways of thought, and 
their industries to a degree which is rare among even the 
most experienced natives of this great city. Had he been 
merely an intelligent visitor to their strange dwelling-place, 
one who had wandered through its docklands, its business 
quarters, its Smithfields, its Covent Gardens, its Mayfairs, 
its Kensingtons, and its Hampsteads, and reported faith- 
fully in these essays what he had heard and seen, then he 
would have accomplished a rare feat. But he has done more 
than this ; he is a serious student who has made frequent 
journeys to the city of science in search of explanations to 
the riddles of life, and has brought back suggestions and 
answers which should obtain the ear of all thinking people, 
and which deserve the closest scrutiny from men of science. 
I look on these essays as a contribution to knowledge of an 
altogether new kind. The man who suggests the most 
likely path to truth stands next in the hierarchy of great- 
ness to him who actually finds it. 

How is it possible, the reader of these essays may well 
ask, that one who has been known these thirty years past 
to a wide circle of readers as a writer of fiction, can know 
anything concerning the secrets of life and of disease with 
which men of science are not already familiar ? The 
explanation is not far to seek. As a writer of true fiction 
it was Mr. Morley Roberts' business to study human 
nature and human action, and to grasp the conditions, 
under which millions of individuals might be massed in 
communities, and yet remain free and happy. In the 
body of the healthy living animal, where billions of vital 


units are massed together in ordered harmony, Nature has 
accomplished this miracle. What was more natural, then, 
than that an author endowed with a vast share of 'intel- 
lectual curiosity and gifted with the diagnostic acumen of 
the born physician should seek for a solution of his diffi- 
culties in the workshops of men of science ? He went to 
them at first as a student of sociology in search of facts 
which would help him to understand the laws which should 
regulate the conduct of human beings living under the 
ever-changing conditions of our modern civilization. But in 
time it began to dawn upon him, as he watched the labours 
of the men who are striving to unveil the mysteries of living 
matter physiologists, pathologists, psychologists, em- 
bryologists, bacteriologists, biochemists, anthropologists, 
zoologists, and botanists that the student of sociology 
had at least as much to give as to receive. He found that 
the problems which face the students of that most marvel- 
lous of living organized communities the healthy human 
body the problems of disease and of health, of malignancy, 
immunity, inhibition, heredity, cell division, evolution, 
growth, repair and old age had their parallels and analogues 
in organized human societies. He therefore commenced 
to ascertain how far the obscure phenomena of biology 
could be elucidated by applying the explanations which are 
familiar to students of social phenomena. Thus it comes 
about that in these essays we have records of a unique 
kind records made by a layman after years of hard think- 
ing and close observation which he now places before his 
professional brethren with a skilled pen, a rare wealth of 
apt simile, using always the diffident and modest language 


of the real searcher after truth. No one who loves that 
search will lay this book down unrewarded. 

Men who have grown grey in those quarters of the City 
of Science, which are devoted to the service of medicine, 
are accustomed to the visits of strangers of diverse types. 
They have seen chemists like Pasteur and Lavoisier, and 
clergymen like Stephen Hales and Priestley, force their 
ways into their workshops, ultimately revolutionizing 
their industries. They are also familiar with the newly 
fledged student of first-aid, who breaks his way through the 
circle of spectators surrounding a street accident, and 
brushing aside the skilled surgeon, takes charge of the case. 
Occasionally, too, they come across those visitors who, letting 
their imagination rise on untrammelled wing, picture for 
them a future full of marvels. In Morley Roberts we have a 
visitor of a new kind one who compels his imagination 
when in flight to observe the laws of gravity, time, and space. 
Nay, so like a native does this visitor carry himself, that for 
several years there were many besides myself that had no 
suspicion that Morley Roberts, the erudite writer on medical 
and allied problems, was the same Morley Roberts who is 
known in Bohemia as an artist of noted skill with pen 
and brush. In these essays he has earned for himself the 
freedom of the City of Realities or Science. 

With one last word my privileged task of introducing 
the reader to these essays is finished. Their author has 
drawn large drafts on the Bank of Science ; I, for one, am 
willing to endorse his bills. 



THE questions discussed in this book arose originally as 
side-issues in the prosecution of studies for a much 
larger book, to be entitled Social Physiology and Pathology, 
in which I meant to deal with the health and diseases 
of social organisms, as well as with the laws underlying 
political energy as it seeks blindly to adapt societies to a 
changing environment. I had mapped out a work, more, 
I own, than was sufficient for a lifetime, in which inquiry 
was to be made in the order and failure of order in societies, 
their well-being and their disorders, and finally discovered 
that such labour demanded a considerable knowledge of 
several sciences, especially that of pathology, so that true 
distinctions could be drawn between fatally morbid pro- 
cesses and those morbid states which foreshadowed, and 
indeed foretold, new social variations. In spite of the un- 
happy fact that statesmen and politicians of all kinds 
ignore science, it seemed to me that such a book might at 
last prove useful even to them if its trend were understood, 
and its doctrines appreciated, by a few critics. Yet, finding 
that those who undertake unprofessional work must at 
least subscribe to the first of the monastic vows, I put the 
project aside with regret, although I believe that much 
of this short volume will indicate to those interested in the 


complex phenomena of sociology many conclusions as to 
social diagnosis which only extended labour could make 
quite clear. Although I cannot carry out the labour 
originally proposed, such investigations as I have been 
able to make may throw a useful light on the funda- 
mental principles of social adaptation, and also discover and 
illuminate a number of vexed questions in biology. It 
would be ungrateful of me if I did not acknowledge that 
the impulse to attempt such a task sprang, not, as might 
possibly be imagined, from the work of Herbert Spencer, 
but from a little-known book by a great physician, who 
never received his full meed of appreciation as a teacher. 
I refer to the late Dr. Henry Gawen Sutton, once a colleague 
of Sir Andrew Clark's at the London Hospital, whose 
Lectures on Pathology, taken down by an ardent student, 
contain a sounder criticism of life and more real wisdom 
than a library of metaphysical treatises. His pathology 
may, indeed, be out of date, but the knowledge that has 
passed him by has not yet reached the height of his vision, 
since his intuition, though sometimes curiously and 
roughly phrased, often condensed into five words the life- 
time's thinking of a true philosopher. 

It is generally supposed that any one who is outside 
the circle of professional investigation, and attempts to 
enter it with no credentials, does so at the peril of entire 
neglect if not of contumely. On this point I can only say, 
and I do so with gratitude, that the encouragement received 
from most of those best qualified to speak upon the subjects 
treated has been most generous, while the exceptions to the 
general rule are so few that the very fact of their existence 


accentuates the kindly and helpful attitude of the great 
majority. Even in the cases where I have ventured to 
differ from high authorities on obscure points which are 
still unsettled, I have found them ready to listen and 
eager to discover the possible value of any suggestion. 

To subjects purely scientific I have thought it worth 
while to add a short paper, originally published in Folk- 
lore, which deals with the Thargelian Pharmakos. The 
etymology and significance of the word Pharmakos, 
and its relations to magic medicine, are very obscure, and 
any possible elucidation of its meaning should be of interest 
to such modern descendants of the ancient therapeutic 
magicians as practise medicine with more modesty as 
well as with more success. I cannot refrain from stating 
here that the friend mentioned in the paper, to whom I 
owed the knowledge of the existence of the Turkic word 
vourmak, was the late Mr. Max Montesole, whose vast stores 
of linguistic learning were always open to those who could 
not aspire to equal his own, and whose death no one who 
knew him will cease to deplore. With this acknowledgment 
of gratitude I wish to combine my sincerest thanks for help 
and encouragement to such men of science, who are 
happily still at work, as Professor W. M. Bayliss, Professor 
E. W. MacBride, Professor J. T. Cunningham, Professor 
Marcus Hartog, Dr. Chalmers Mitchell, and Professor 
Benjamin Moore, while for help given me upon special 
points I desire to add to these the names of Sir John Bland- 
Sutton, Dr. Lambert Lack, and Mr. Sampson Handley. In 
saying so much I by no means imply that what I ventured 
to put forward always met with acceptance. On the 


contrary, as may easily be imagined, it often encountered 
severe, if kindly, criticism, from which I derived the greatest 
benefit, even though it did not in some cases wholly convince 
me. Last of all, but assuredly not least, I must thank 
Professor Arthur Keith, whose almost unequalled general 
knowledge has ever been at the service of all interested in 
science, while his openness of mind and his readiness to 
consider fresh views, whether orthodox or the reverse, are 
as well known as they are remarkable and exemplary. 





AUTHOR'S PREFACE . . . . .be 



II. MALIGNANCY . . . . . .27 












INDEX . . . . . . 279 




THE general method of investigation, suggestion, 
and proof used in this volume was originally 
adopted as a means of studying social disorders and dis- 
eases, for if society is an organism at all, on whatever 
plane of development, it must be liable to disease, and 
possess a physiology not remote from that seen at work 
in other organisms of a lowly type. As the work progressed 
many side-issues presented themselves, and it was seen that 
if the notion of developmental diseases in man and other 
animals had their analogues in society, by which we could 
learn the nature of, and possible remedies for, social 
disorders, these should present real analogies with bodily 
morbid states. Such analogies certainly seemed highly 
suggestive in the physiology of both kinds of organisms. 
If, for instance, even the casual study of cerebral physio- 
logy and neurology threw a light, however dim and un- 
certain, upon the nature of politics and the methods by 
which a national organism is directed during normal or 
abnormal circumstances ; if the nature of the tropisms or 
instincts of an animal, even of a high type, showed real 


resemblances to the instincts of a race ; if the higher associa- 
tion centres, or " intellect," dealing with doubtful issues 
over the pyramidal tract, showed a marked likeness to the 
methods of trial and error necessary in investigating the 
entirely unknown, it seemed quite probable that obscure 
phenomena of " volition," instinct, and intellect could also 
be approached with the light held up to us by social pheno- 
mena themselves. On advancing further, it even appeared 
possible, with such a conception to work by, that organic 
diseases, especially those of development, might in a 
measure be elucidated by the careful study of social pheno- 
mena presenting somewhat similar errors of growth and 
failures of order. It may, indeed, be said that this method 
of working up from sociological phenomena, to those seen 
in more advanced and orderly sciences, promises even better 
results than the reverse process. By it we advance from 
phenomena among which we live and act, and of which 
we are a part, to those rendered obscure by their very 
approach to economy of energy and perfection of machinery. 
Whether we understand society or not, we can at least 
draw some simple conclusions as to the ways in which 
it works, and if it is granted, as a temporary hypothesis, 
that the principles of organization are similar throughout 
nature, it is obvious investigation may show that the 
assumption is justified by the light thrown upon subjects 
with which we are less familiar. It seems certain that 
sufficient use has not been made of these weapons of 

To criticize accepted methods is to run counter both to 
class and individual prejudices. This is true in science as 
in politics, for to the conservatism which revolts against 
change, there is added the fear that a new orientation of 
thought may so discount accepted values as to disturb the 


position attained by the orthodox. Nevertheless, from 
time to time there arises the necessity of revising not only 
accepted doctrines, but also the methods by which they 
are reached. It seems as if such an hour had now come 
round, for in many of the sciences the accumulation of facts 
long ago passed reasonable limits, while those who have an 
insatiable passion for their collection display little energy 
in putting them into order. Moreover, they appear to 
resent, or at the least to deprecate, any such attempt on 
the part of others. According to many " now " is never the 
accepted time for a new hypothesis, although true method 
is the application and adaptation of the whole apparatus of 
reasoning to any given problem. Little has been done to 
elucidate it, but it surely implies the use of every weapon of 
analysis in order to avoid all possible waste of available 
energy. For any advance in thought implies an intelligent 
logical use of foresight and surmise, and without them 
science must become at last a mere rubbish heap. Over- 
insistence on facts and perpetual discouragement of think- 
ing atrophy the imagination, without which the most 
diligent seeker after truth must presently perish in the pit 
he has digged for himself. Such resemble a man who 
makes bricks, and resents the architect and builder using 
them. This revolt against acknowledged logical methods 
has sometimes had its justification, but with the general 
progress of knowledge the life of a radically unsound hypo- 
thesis is usually a very short one. If Herbert Spencer's 
idea of a tragedy was a hypothesis killed by a fact, such 
tragedies must grow rater if it is recognized that know- 
ledge is only knowledge, and a fact only a fact, when both 
agree with what is certain in other sciences, and contradict 
no general principles. 

The evil results of extreme specialism, combined with a 


refusal to appeal to such principles, can be seen in almost 
every branch of scientific work. In private a professor of 
pathology may, and too often does, pour scorn upon the 
labours of the physiologist, which looks much as if he 
believed that the right method of teaching shipbuilding 
was to study wrecks upon the beach. Again, the physio- 
logist, aware though he be of the pathologist's failing, 
is yet apt to take a similar view as regards biology, while 
the biologist himself, whose work should necessitate an 
appreciation of all that appertains to all life, completes the 
vicious circle by ignoring what has been done by students of 
disease. So much cannot be denied by those even slightly 
acquainted with scientific, and especially medical, habits of 
thought. And yet, in spite of this, there are those who 
know that science cannot be so divided, and that none, who 
aspires to more than a hodman's work, is properly equipped 
without a general knowledge of all the sciences related to 
his own. This may seem a hard saying ; but it proposes 
no more than should be attainable by those with imagina- 
tion and intellectual curiosity, and it admits, even pre- 
supposes, that he must be as ignorant of special details in 
such sciences as his fellow- workers must be of his own. 

It is by co-ordination of knowledge that advances are 
made. Yet it is common to sneer at the very word " co- 
ordination." It may be true that the solitary pioneer, or 
specialist, not seldom hits upon precious facts. But he 
more often shares the fate of the ignorant prospector who, 
by ignoring geology, wastes his labour and dies in a wilder- 
ness where no gold can be found. The proper method for 
any scientific man is to employ all knowledge whatsoever, 
in order to attain such a degree of insight into the value 
of others' observations as well as his own as to be able to 
use and test both. To grasp general conclusions in what 


we know, and to ignore them in what we are ignorant of, is 
intellectual anarchism. 

It may be said that every one admits that general 
laws apply in all things, and that to insist on the fact is 
both otiose and absurd. A belief, however, may produce 
small results if it is not put into practice. Every one, of 
course, recognizes that nothing whatever occurs anywhere 
which can contradict the laws of energetics. And yet 
vitalism flourishes. Almost all will agree that chemistry 
is capable of becoming in time an exact science, and while 
yet inexact, has general laws which some day must be shown 
to exist, even in the realm of what those, who wish to avoid 
the connotational pitfalls of the word " mind," may be 
permitted to call " mentation." But, nevertheless, many 
are prone to argue that conclusions reached in sociology, 
for instance, can have no meaning for a physiologist, 
biologist, chemist, or physicist. Though general laws are 
in action through all nature, their opinion is that any 
argument founded upon them is an argument from analogy, 
and a mere illustration. Resting, as they believe securely, 
on the absurd dictum that it is dangerous to argue from 
analogy, they refuse to draw any conclusion, even a ten- 
tative one, by its use, being ignorant of the value placed 
on such reasoning by a logician like John Stuart Mill, and 
forgetful that analogy is pure, if incomplete, induction. 
For it can only be built on facts. 

The bulk of this book was written, and the suggested 
methods employed, before I became aware that in one place, 
at least, Herbert Spencer had suggested a way in which 
sociological problems might give clues to the elucidation 
of physiological problems. I may, perhaps, be excused for 
not having read his paper on " Transcendental Physiology " 
till lately. Indeed, a great deal of his physiological know- 


ledge seems inadequate even for his day, and perhaps shows 
signs that the facts, or supposed facts, were found for him 
by assistants, and never properly considered. Whether this 
is true or not, he did suggest that we might not only work 
forward from the economy of the animal to the social 
organism, but that, in selected cases, analogies drawn from 
the body politic might sometimes be used to elucidate 
physiological problems. He says : " Hints may be ex- 
pected if nothing more. And thus we venture to think 
that the Inductive Method, usually employed alone by 
most physiologists, may not only derive important assist- 
ance from the Deductive Method, but may further be 
supplemented by the Sociological Method." He does not 
seem to have suggested elsewhere that much more than 
hints were to be looked for, or that the method might be 
employed not only in physiology, but also in biology and 
pathology. In no place can I find it said that it might 
prove of assistance in discovering how general principles 
worked in any science whatsoever, if each problem were 
worked backwards and forwards from one science to 

There is no need to go deeply into the question of ana- 
logical reasoning. It is sufficient to point out that, used 
with caution, it is the most rapidly fruitful form of all 
ratiocination. Maine called it, "in the study of juris- 
prudence, the most valuable of instruments," even when he 
uttered a caution against its premature employment. 
For any aseful analogy must show sufficient points of com- 
mon likeness between two sets of observed facts to suggest 
that a general law rules in both. A true analogy is not 
merely a fanciful likeness, such as may be made out of one 
point. Although Mill wrote : " There is no analogy, however 
faint, which may not be of the utmost value in suggesting 


experiments or observations that may lead to more general 
conclusions," there is no need to push it to an absurd 
extreme, as Herbert Spencer himself did, when he endorsed 
Liebig's comparison of blood corpuscles, as a circulating 
medium, to money. But from one point of likeness we may 
proceed to two or three, or as many as we will, until there 
is complete identity in all essentials. To dismiss an 
analogy, in which there are many points of resemblance, as 
pure fancy is unwise, to say the least of it, since it stimulates 
the imagination in the liveliest way. Most advances in 
thought are made by the imaginative, who yet hold steadily 
to the view that the most ingenious hypothesis cannot 
become theory unless it is in accordance with the greater 
general laws of the more inclusive sciences, and at last 
enables us to prophesy about unknown phenomena, and 
to put into order disconnected facts. Used in this way 
the discovery of suggestive analogies is the parent of real 
progress, and it ought not to be necessary to say so. If it 
were not necessary we should see the method used, and 
students, young or old, would not be so greatly burdened 
with mere isolated observations. 

If, then, we admit that general laws are everywhere the 
same in their working, however much obscured by the com- 
plexities of the less inclusive sciences, and allow that 
analogies tried by such laws are a legitimate field for the 
scientific imagination, we must conclude that observed 
sequences in one science ought to be discoverable in all 
others. And if certain sequences are clear in one and 
obscure in another, while there are still sufficient points of 
likeness to suggest a like kind of explanation in the obscure 
set, we may legitimately conclude that we are face to face 
with the same general laws. 

To illustrate such points is not altogether easy, since 


their comprehension depends entirely upon a fairly adequate 
apparatus in more sciences than one. This is not common, 
and the very possession of such knowledge seems to render 
its owner suspect in the eyes of the exclusive specialist. 
It is easy for him to show that upon recondite and very 
special points no one but himself can be sufficiently 
informed. But when we reflect that on these very points 
few specialists agree, though they are at one on many 
general principles, we can afford to discount such criticism. 
It is illegitimate to call any one a sciolist because he is not 
conversant with every obscure and debatable point, since 
the real weakness of the sciolist is eagerness to insist on 
small points, and to fail in the grasp of great ones. Without 
demanding of men of science any general philosophical 
theory, we may still ask them to admit that it is the greatest 
privilege of any worker, when surveying the whole field of 
knowledge, to discern in it real likenesses. It has been 
said that the highest type of intellect is that which discovers 
likenesses, while the second order is apt to insist upon 
differences. If this is so it must be admitted that the highest 
type is not common. To hold the balance between rash 
generalization and a refusal to generalize at all is not easy, 
and it may be supposed that the qualities which enable 
any one to do so can seldom be found in those deeply 
committed to specialism. Yet the ranging of phenomena 
under superior headings, which is real " explanation," cannot 
be achieved unless likenesses are seen where none appear 
on the surface. The history of science shows that any 
new discovery or generalization has usually been met with 
hostility by the best informed on special facts. If the work 
of Harvey had been dependent for acceptance on the vote 
of specialists it would assuredly have been rejected And 
if it is now said that the phenomena seen in any society, 


considered as a closed system or organism, can throw light 
upon special points of physiology, pathology, and biology, 
or even on debatable points in physics, such a statement 
will not easily meet with assent. But the fact remains 
that those who reject it still admit that the laws of physics 
rule everywhere, and that the doctrines of energetics can be 
seen in whatever place work is being done. To admit so 
much, and refuse to see that in all phenomena there must be 
discoverable essential points of likeness, is a contradiction. 
And to say, even if there are real likenesses which enable 
us to use such a method as a key to discovery, that the 
time is not yet come, or the knowledge acquired, for such 
an organon to be used, is simply an assertion without 
proof. To go on merely accumulating facts, and we must 
remember that no " fact " is a fact until it is made part 
of a whole, is after all labourer's work, and within the power 
of any one with diligence. We may reflect curiously on the 
truth that the national neglect of science is again repeated 
by many men of science themselves when they refuse to 
recognize the place of fresh thought in their work, or, by 
reason of their conservatism, place more than reasonable 
difficulties in the way of those who try to co-ordinate their 

The logical method here advocated, if it has its dangers, 
is of peculiar suggestiveness. To apply observations in a 
well-known science to one in a state of less order, of which 
the genera] laws seem still unknown, requires, it would 
seem, less skill than the art of selecting certain points in 
the obscurer study, which show that some general law is at 
work, and using them to solve problems in the more 
advanced science. To put this as clearly as possible, it 
may be said that while sociologists need find no difficulty 
in applying with success the analogies of bodily disorders, 


pathologists, without a special logical apparatus, will easily 
go astray in using social phenomena as a guide to the ex- 
planation of disease. But used with care, the method may 
have great results. We are not confined to applying it to 
physiology alone, nor need we seek real analogies in nothing 
else than the social organism. If we get rid of the artificial 
barriers between all the sciences, we can use biology to ex- 
plain pathology and pathology to explain biology, provided 
nothing assumed contradicts chemical or physical general- 
izations. Such a process of regression may seem as obscure 
as it will appear unsound to the over-cautious, but it is 
possible that those who are weary of the prevalent method 
of seeking to explain the facts of any science within its 
own boundaries, such as is seen in bacteriologists without 
any zeal for colloidal chemistry, will, perhaps, be inclined to 
welcome any extension of Spencer's suggestion. To choose 
short illustrations is not easy, and the best I know are 
supplied in the body of this book. In this place I shall 
endeavour to use the method more as a means of suggestion 
than a method of proof, and shall apply it briefly to mitosis, 
budding, the nature of the cell-nucleus, and to other 
problems of heredity. 

When dealing so briefly with the inter-relations of the 
sciences, it is impossible to do more than make suggestions. 
Yet, even at length, it would not always be easy to show 
the pathologist that he should recognize what help physio- 
logy may give him. I have been assured by a very 
great physiologist that his notion of pathology was that 
it tended to death, and need not be taken into account. He 
had not considered the possible value of repair in evolution, 
in spite of the obvious truth that in all branches of life, 
thought, and mechanical invention, breakdowns lead to 
new contrivances. The biologist, too, may refuse, and indeed 


does refuse, to consider the possibility of social phenomena 
throwing light upon the problems of heredity mentioned 
above, and the transmission of acquired or altered char- 
acteristics. It is now orthodox in biology to adopt a 
modified Weismannism, and no one would be more dis- 
inclined to ask whether, in the evolution of societies and 
their heredity, we can find anything to support or under- 
mine the germ-plasm theory, than an orthodox believer. 
Nor would he allow us to ask whether there are sociological 
phenomena which suggest that altered characteristics can 
be transmitted. Before answering, or attempting to answer, 
either question as an example of method, it may be pointed 
out that, even with the example of J. T. Cunningham's work 
on hormones before them, most of the unorthodox biolo- 
gists are almost as neglectful of the help in the'elucidation of 
evolutionary problems given them by physiologists, who 
have worked on the secretions and catalytic functions 
of the endocrines, as their orthodox brethren. In speaking 
thus of the biologist it must not be assumed that he alone 
is indifferent to other work. The orthodox school of psycho- 
logists, directly descended from the introspectional philo- 
sopher and the theologian, are equally opposed to the bio- 
logical school of sociologists. We can, in fact, find no school 
without such " idols." In attempting what is, perhaps, 
the vain attempt of their destruction, the most simple 
example I can choose to illustrate the method advocated is 
what I believe to be a real analogy between the problems 
of heredity in biology and sociology. I may therefore 
be permitted to use a portion of an unfinished paper on 
" The Possible Mechanism of Transmission," with a view 
to demonstrating anew the obvious fact that, since general 
laws do obtain in the universe, their particular application 
in all cases must have essential points of resemblance. 


The function of the endocrine glands, in their relation 
to general heredity, has been studied far too little. It is 
true that Keith has explained popularly their probable 
r61e with regard to racial types, but generally speaking 
the hasty generalization of Weismann, upheld by many 
whose record with regard to the dangers of premature 
hypothesis might, perhaps, have safeguarded them, has been 
a deadening influence upon biological speculation. And, 
indeed, even those who have studied environment in the 
belief that direct adaptation occurs, have been too apt to 
speak of its influence in general terms, rather than to 
inquire into the means by which it modifies an organism. 
There seems to be no biologist who has properly grasped the 
whole possibilities of catalysts as " tools " or instruments 
by which the functions associated with protoplasm can 
be activated, increased and, in certain cases, inhibited, or 
has laid stress on the way in which all that they " create " 
can once more give rise to other like but more complex 
instruments. Instead of regarding protoplasm as modified 
by the tools it employs, we hear of different kinds of pro- 
toplasm. The very expression is an unverified hypothesis, 
and ignores all that has been done on catalytic action by 
the physiologists. Such assumptions differ very little 
from those made by the vitalists who explain life by vitalism, 
and vitalism by life. But when it is seen that proto- 
plasm may, and actually does, alter in accordance with the 
non-living organic tools it uses, just as races differ in accord- 
ance with their " tools " or catalysts, it seems obvious 
enough that varying organic phenomena follow each other 
in accordance with the original catalytic tools employed, 
which, in due order, are specialized by embryonic or highly 
adapted glands such as the endocrines. For, as some may 
be lost, so new ones can be acquired, and some again can 


be modified in changing internal or external environments. 
Without the help of chemistry and physiology such a con- 
ception could hardly have been reached, though a realistic, 
not verbal, interpretation of Weismannism might have led 
to the view that " determinants " were catalytic in nature. 
Since we now recognize such a morphogenetic character of 
catalysts and hormones, we need assume no other instru- 
ments until it is shown definitely that they do not and 
cannot satisfy the equation of life. If biologists had not 
ignored pathology by following Darwin's lead blindly when 
he assumed, without a shadow of proof, that unfavourable 
variations must be without effect on evolution, they might 
have inquired eagerly into the causes of disease, and have 
found that much of it must inevitably be attributed to 
factors, or the want of them, originally taken up from the 
environment. The simplest example is, perhaps, that of 
iron, and the latest recognized that of accessory food factors, 
fat or water soluble. 

If then the success or failure of morphogenesis is to be 
attributed to such " tools " employed in a particular ener- 
gizing field of the environment, it is easy to imagine, and 
even to prove, that they must go over in the sperm or egg- 
cell, or be re-acquired from the yolk, or from the parent 
during gestation. Darwin's pangenes can thus be trans- 
lated into the language of hereditary morphogenetic 

Such a statement leads to an inquiry concerning the 
nucleus of a cell. To what extent do biologists believe that 
it is alive ? They write of the nucleo-plasm as if it were, 
but all the physical phenomena of mitosis suggest that it is 
not of the complex molecular structure furnished with 
reversible catalysts dominating and directing anabolic and 
catabolic processes which we call " life," but that it is com- 


posed of chemical substances, which are determinants of 
future morphogenesis. Such a view is in keeping with 
Darwin's pangenes, and does not contradict Hartog's 
physical mito-kinetic interpretation of the mitotic cell- 

If, then, by following the suggestions of chemistry and 
physiology, rather than by relying purely on limited experi- 
ment and the microscope, we finally rid biology of the view 
that there is true nucleo-plasm, and proceed on the assump- 
tion that the nucleus is a varying vacuole, or " tool-shop," 
and food store-house in which catalysts, or determinants, 
or activators, are kept, and from which they may be drawn 
by various physical causes, use is being made of at least 
three sciences, or four if we include physics, and we seem 
on a path likely to lead to result. At least we shall not 
ignore the environment, since it is, and must be, the field 
from which all morphogenetic materials were originally 
drawn, however complex they appear when used, com- 
bined, and specialized by special organs, themselves the 
earlier results of similar catalysts working in the embryo. 

Yet another science may be used to help towards a 
possible demonstration. An illustration is not a proof, 
but, as suggested before, when it contains a larger number 
of points of likeness it ceases to be a mere illustration. 
The observed phenomena then seem peculiarly related to 
each other, and if the illustration deals with familiar 
phenomena the previously inexplicable problem may have 
an intense light thrown upon it. It was such considerations, 
combined with the scientific postulate that all biologic 
phenomena, on whatever plane of development, follow the 
same laws, which led me to seek in sociology and social 
life some real illustrations of budding and mitosis, being 
convinced that if found, they would be of a similar nature. 


It seemed to me that such biologic parallels were to be 
discovered in the phenomena of colonization, especially in 
examples of definite emigration parties in different vessels. 
The departure of a portion of the community carrying its 
own tools and weapons is obviously a real illustration of 
budding, and indicates far more than, on a casual view, is 
seen upon the surface. Provided the new environment is 
not very different from the old one, the new civilization will 
follow closely on that of the old. But when the environ- 
ment changes, as new materials are discovered, the form will 
and must change. A colonial " bud " which discovers iron 
and makes weapons and tools from it will, in accordance 
with its environment, and the stresses of life, become either 
an agricultural, a hunting, or a fighting people. If tools 
are catalysts, and catalysts are tools, we are surely in posses- 
sion of some hint as to the mechanism of the transmission 
of altered and acquired characteristics, and all the allied 
sciences have lent their aid to the conception. 

It is, however, in another illustration that we can best 
discern the meaning and mechanism of mitosis. What can 
be a better illustration of an extruded zygote than a ship 
carrying a party of males and females, and furnished with 
all the tools familiar to the mother-country in order to 
cope with what is expected to furnish a suitable, and fairly 
like, environment ? In such a vessel we have the human 
protoplasm (on its plane probably no more complex than a 
" unit of life "), and a definite provision of tools and weapons 
for carrying on the communal life of the new unit. On 
arrival at its destination we observe at once the influence of 
the environment. It may be deadly, the " cell " may die, it 
maybe wrecked, or it may never proceed to further develop- 
ment and division. But supposing "the environment is 
good, the new community, with the help of its tools, will 


repeat in all essentials the life- history of the parent. If, 
on the other hand, it is not so like the mother-country in 
agricultural prospects, but more fruitful in game, we should 
get a hunting community. The iron ploughs would be 
turned into spears. Furthermore, we must remark that 
the nature of the new organism depends very largely on 
what was in the ship, and its nature. If unfertilized, i.e, 
without men, it must either die or get fertilized by native 
males. In that case the " tools," or catalysts of both 
parties would be utilized according to the common ability 
of both. There would arise a different species, and a 
further budding or colonization would carry away a new 
set of morphogenetic materials. 

Provided, however, that the ship was " fertilized," an 
iron or wooden ship might develop two different kinds of 
civilization, especially if they were wrecked, and the tools 
of mitotic material lost. But without disaster a state would 
develop in accordance with its tools and seeds and weapons. 
There is no need to be led away from the physical side of 
the problem to that complex of physics and bio-chemistry 
which we call psychology. The knowledge and traditions 
of the colonists are its protoplasmic character, which again 
has been determined, and is, the result of long ages of other 
tools. That is to say, the character is the tools used plus 
the protoplasmic energy. 

On this analysis we see how transmission of un- 
altered characters takes place, and even the Wies- 
mannists may agree. But, furthermore, we observe that 
race characteristics and habits and customs are modified 
by the environment, and that a new metal, a new 
cereal or root or fruit, may not only bring about 
modifications, but be transmitted. Some real thing, 
tool or catalyst, is transmitted and carried away 


when further budding or mitosis occurs. Without push- 
ing these examples to extremes, it is worth showing 
that phenomena, strictly and curiously analogous with 
mitosis may occur. If a new colony gets too big for its 
environment, and is " determined " (that is, driven by cir- 
cumstances to enforced behaviour) to divide, what then 
happens ? Stock is taken of the weapons, the tools, the 
food. It is conceivable that all the tools must be assembled 
and divided. We should in such a case get something like 
a mitotic pattern. It would be rude and rough compared 
with patterns in cells, just as cell patterns are probably 
rude and rough compared with an experimental electro- 
static pattern of mito-kinesis, where pure physical pheno- 
mena are seen undisturbed. And yet it would be pattern 
in so far as it was a new special order. Some celestial 
observer, with a powerful microscope, would see peculiar 
phenomena of arrangement and division, not to be under- 
stood or even guessed at until actual division occurred. 
The human " plasm " would divide : the " nuclear " 
matter would be parted, and there would presently be two 
organisms where there had previously been but one. 

And once more the environment would play its part. 
Some new discovery might make a new race. After genera- 
tions it is conceivable that such a race, furnished with all 
sorts of acquired means and methods, might find its 
ancestors as barbarian as we find many primitive races 
and, in its turn, would send forth colonies to acquire 
further characteristics, or to lose those which it pos- 
sessed, and revert to the savage or embryonic state. 

If, as Mill declared, an analogy is an incomplete 
induction, its incompleteness can be compensated 
for by the discovery of other analogies, so that in 
the end we approach, and may practically reach, com- 


plete induction. I am little concerned with the techni- 
cal logic of this or any other argument, since school 
logic is but the skeleton of living reasoning. Live 
reasoning is the art of persuasion, and usually consists in 
the choice of examples which reinforce each other so that 
a contradictory conclusion seems improbable. The view 
taken as to the functions in development of catalysts, 
or tools, organic or inorganic, can obviously be supported 
by the reverse phenomena of involution, disease, and death. 
If growth depends on the embryonic possession, and later 
differentiation or acquirement of catalysts, old age and 
decay as obviously depend on an increasing failure to manu- 
facture, acquire, or use them. According to Child, if I 
interpret him rightly, degeneration commences at birth, or 
even earlier. As shown by the decreasing heart-rate, 
there is a gradual slackening of metabolism possibly due to 
the strain on the organism of manufacturing its own com- 
plex catalysts, and dealing with its own food. Little by 
little the strain increases, until the organism shows signs 
of failure, and there is a loss of catalytic balance with 
concomitant loss of activity. We have to account for the 
diversion of available energy, and to say no more than that 
it fails naturally is no explanation. Opotherapy, or the 
exhibition of activating or inhibiting drugs, may prolong 
the drama ; but the end comes when the body can no longer 
be spurred on by what it makes or ingests. 

There is also in the phenomena of a serious or fatal 
disease an inverted parallelism to those of growth and life. 
Infection, or " shock," whatever that may be, affects the 
functions of every tissue and gland, and many classic cases 
of " fever " may be mapped out by symptoms caused, not 
by the infection, but by prematurely vitiated secretions, 
and the consequent loss of catalytic power to deal with the 


disease, with nutriment itself, or with excretions. It seems, 
then, that in birth, life, disease, and death itself, what we 
witness is the use, acquisition, or failure and gradual loss of 
" acquirements." 

When we consider that in all inductive arguments what- 
ever we can only attain a high degree of probability, a 
proposition put very clearly by Jevons, it assuredly seems 
that catalysts can be acquired, as they can even more 
certainly be lost. Such a theory is not only of value in 
biology and the ordinary course of practical medicine, but 
may probably be employed with advantage in the study of 
the origins of disease lately commenced at St. Andrews by 
Mackenzie. His research will undoubtedly deal with the 
future effect on the youthful organism of the passing ail- 
ments of children, the lasting results of early innutrition 
or want of food factors, and into the probability of such 
disorders as periodontitis having early undiscovered 
stages which affect the whole metabolic or catabolic 
machinery of the patient. It should not be forgotten that 
studies of this kind were suggested by Galton. If con- 
sidered analogical reasoning should thus tend to support 
the intuition and clinical knowledge of the physician it 
cannot be disdained. It is obvious, and should need no 
proof, that the imagination, controlled by knowledge, is an 
integral part of the logic of discovery. It is the Mount 
Pisgah of science. 

Since I hope to have shown with some plausibility that 
such obscure phenomena as mitosis and the vexed question 
of transmission of acquired and altered characteristics can 
be illustrated, and made clearer by the examples just given, 
and since such considerations threw light on the nature of 
a cell-nucleus, and enabled us to think of it as a store-house, 
while we look on catalysts as tools picked up on the 


path of evolution to enable protoplasm to do better and 
quicker work, it seems at last that such problems as 
variations of all kinds, healthy or morbid, may really find 
solutions in the study of sociology as a mixed biological, 
physiological, and pathological science. And since all 
developmental diseases are truly variations from the average 
or normal type, it looks as if in the future such a study might 
enable the pathologist to discern the real nature of malig- 
nancy, and all the disorders connected with the endocrine 
organs, which are the regulators of development and orderly 
growth. No study of any science coming finally under the 
inclusive head of biology can leave us in doubt of the 
entire interdependence of all parts of an organism, 
however much such interdependence is masked during 
normal or static conditions. But when there is a grave 
state of disorder these relations become obvious. It is 
so in a " body," and it is so in a state. 

During the late condition of Europe such phenomena 
were to be seen very clearly. Variation after variation 
followed on stress, and as the nations responded to the strain 
put upon them, it was seen how energy was diverted from 
its normal channels and poured, regardless of economic 
considerations, into new and enlarged growths of offensive 
organs. There is no need to labour these points. It must 
have been obvious to every one that we were then (as we 
are now) in the presence of biological factors dealing with 
variation, and likely to present, if kept in unrestrained 
action, all the phenomena of developmental disease. For 
the essence of all development is symbiotic equilibrium, 
balance, and symmetry. Without, in this place, applying 
biology any further to the study of the social organism, it 
may be asked whether such phenomena do not enable us 
to grasp, if not in detail, at least in their broad outlines, the 


nature of the bodily disorders we know as developmental. 
For all such disorders are either failures of growth or over- 
growth, and at the back of them is the hierarchy of the 
glandular system, each member of which is like a State 
department claiming so much energy, money, and men, as a 
contribution towards the active production of the necessary 
organs, or tools, by which a nation meets the stresses of 
the environment by increased growth on one line or new 
growth on another. The functions of stress, failure, and 
repair, which are as relevant to societies as to animals, 
are considered in another part of this book. 

Thinking upon such lines, and bearing in mind the fact 
that during abnormal stress there is a tendency to reju- 
venescence, marked by the jettison of old ideas, old men, 
and even of the most sacred customs, since by such a jetti- 
son the activity of a cell's or State's protoplasm is thereby 
increased just as it is hindered by the reverse process 
we reach the conception that such a process can be over- 
done, and a state of protoplasmic activity attained which is 
embryonic, or anarchic. No observer of war phenomena 
can have failed to observe the tendency to weakness in 
central control, accompanied, and indeed measured, as it 
was by the increased and violent activity of various depart- 
ments of State responding according to the nature of the 
stresses laid upon them. If central (or shall I say glan- 
dular ?) control by inhibition had broken down, we should 
have seen phenomena on a parallel with those of malignant 
tissues. Perpetual stimulation or irritation by itself tends 
to overgrowth of the bodily or social tissue or organ in- 
volved ; but when such a tendency is not controlled by other 
tissues or organs, there is a tendency to invasiveness or 
destructive parasitism. Such observations seem to show 
that carcinomas and allied phenomena have their analogues 


in a social body, and preclude us from thinking of them by 
themselves, or attributing them to special, rather than to 
general, causes. It is, moreover, impossible not to notice 
the connection beween such phenomena and the doctrines of 
energetics. When only so much free energy is to be shared 
among co-partners, its over-consumption by one implies 
not only over-activity in one place, but starvation in 
another, with a resulting loss of balance. 

Such particular consideration of certain unsolved 
problems leads directly to an analysis of any organism as a 
whole, and as interdependent parts. When taken as a 
whole, it can once again be regarded as part of a wider, more 
inclusive organism ; but to regard it on any plane as com- 
posed of parts, forces upon us the fact that they exist in 
symbiosis as separate cell states. Symbiosis is, however, 
usually construed as mutual help, and this is only a partial 
statement of the facts, unless the organism is static in 
static circumstances, that is, unless it is perfectly " adapted " 
to an unchanging environment. Such a condition is ideal 
" anarchism," a state of affairs in which each unit functions 
freely according to its nature, and in no way interferes with 
other units, since it lacks any qualities, or secretions, which 
exercise irritating or depressing functions on its neighbours. 
Such a form of life, while ideally possible, has probably 
never been attained, and ordinary symbiotic equilibrium is 
only reached practically in organisms of which the parts are 
not only helpful among each other, but are actually ' ' hostile ' ' 
in other ways. The use of the word " hostile " is, of 
course, no more than verbal shorthand to express the fact 
that each part has its own work, and in many cases its own 
frontiers, or limiting membrane. This is a rough state- 
ment of the biological conception of any organism, and we 
can only conceive equilibrium in such a symbiotic com- 


munity as a result reached by, and in spite of, internal 
stresses. In such an organism each part is excited or 
inhibited, or both, by the secretions of the other parts. 
Any secretion is an excretion, but these excretions have 
found their uses, either as activators or catalysts, or as 
direct depressants or inhibitors. That the biological 
conception is universally true of all organisms is suggested 
not only in biology proper, but by the hostility, open or 
subdued, which characterizes classes in society, and it 
suggests, and in many cases supplies, a real key to the com- 
prehension of developmental disease. As was suggested 
above, it throws a light upon the effects of diseases other 
than developmental, since death frequently occurs from 
an indirect effect on parts of the organism, some of which are 
destroyed, and others stimulated. When recovery occurs, 
it often happens that the grave disturbance of a violent 
infection is found to have disturbed the symbiotic life of 
the organism, and by reducing some part, or gland, to partial 
impotence, either by excitation or inhibition, leads to later 
failures of development or to lethal overgrowth. We can 
thus imagine a slight organic " social " disturbance in a 
human being leading directly to acromegaly or other 
disorders of the pituitary, or to myxcedema, Graves' 
Disease, and all the possible effects of hypo- or hyper- 

In carrying the analogical method so far, I am well aware 
that it will be said that such suggestions are without 
foundation, that they are true but unimportant, or that 
they are important and that every one knew them long ago. 
But I have been more impressed by a single fact than I 
shall be by all such criticisms combined. When I suggested 
to an eminent pathologist that, without a considerable 
knowledge of biology, very much of pathology could not be 


properly understood or explained, he replied, possibly not 
without humour, that he had no time for the course of study 
I was so good as to map out for him. I accepted the rebuke 
in good part, but could not help thinking what a lamentable 
thing it was for scientific discovery that each worker in 
any particular branch of research apparently hastened to 
forget the very nature of explanation, which is the intro- 
duction of order in all forms of knowledge, and the arrange- 
ment of every fact under the headings of more inclusive 
sciences, so that each phenomenon can be seen from all 
possible points of view. 

It was before remarked that there is much well-founded 
complaint of the neglect of science in England ; but the truth 
is that none neglect it like many scientific men who might 
be supposed to know better. It is not only so in the 
sciences directly connected with medicine, but in all others. 
In no psychology whatsoever can any recognition of the 
valuable work done by Robertson Smith, Tylor, and Fraser 
be observed. While the introspective philosopher digs in 
the morasses of his own mind, and with each shovelful 
proclaims some individual accident or hasty explanation as 
a universal truth, the more advanced experimentalist in 
mentation relies mainly upon the compilation of statistics. 
But both alike ignore the light thrown upon the workings of 
the brains of our far-off ancestors, as seen in thought crystal- 
lizing into custom, myth, and ritual. The very logicians, 
who ex hypothesi are exponents of reason, prefer, so it seems, 
to dally in the ruined schools of mediaeval philosophy, 
rather than study the natural logic of the mind of man as 
shown in every branch of folk-lore. There has been little 
endeavour, or none that has met with favour, to analyse the 
natural hostility of group to group, such as is seen exempli- 
fied in " the tribal spirit," into its constituents, nor has it 


been recognized that in every organism, or even manu- 
factured mechanism, the facts of hostile symbiosis are 
fundamental. Only thus can we link the very passions 
of politics and all strife to proved law. In another place I 
have endeavoured, as far as possible, to use anthropology 
as a key not only to unlock past history, and to elucidate 
possible factors of human progress, but to show that certain 
conditions were the true parents of all the enlarged animal 
instincts and powers of inference seen in the modern human 
brain. It is easy to fail, but it is a duty to try, and while 
endeavouring to map out the ancient paths of evolution, we 
must surely avail ourselves of every scientific lamp however 

If the rough suggestions of this paper carry any weight, 
and suggest reflections upon method, it will certainly be 
admitted that students have rarely taken sufficient ad- 
vantage of the truth, that not only is evolution going on all 
around them in every phenomenon they observe, but that 
processes vitally similar to those they seek to explain are 
this day occurring in the great social organism of which they 
are a part. Without hope of moving those in whom evolu- 
tion has done its work, and involution has begun, it may be 
said that to seek to solve the problems of heredity without 
taking serious notice of the fact that societies give birth to 
and bud off from other societies, and to rely mainly on 
microscopic research when great macroscopic phenomena of 
the same kind are within arm's-length of the worker, appears 
almost ridiculous. If Lyell worked on the hypothesis that 
the observed daily changes in the surface of the earth, 
though due only to causes that seemed too slight to consider, 
might account for the world as we see it, and even help to 
prophesy results in future ages, we may say that in all we 
observe or experience are keys to the problems which other 


sciences than geology seek to solve. For it may be repeated, 
even again, that general laws are indeed general, and that 
each special case is but that universal clad in its peculiar 
garment of individual particulars. Necessary as the study 
of these may be to some special application in life, it is by 
putting them aside, and by divesting truth of its accidents 
by the use of the generalizing imagination, that the greatest 
results can be attained. The very evolution of the brain 
itself has placed in our hands the mighty powers of surmise 
and expectation, while experience has given us, when we 
consider in the broadest spirit all that has been achieved, 
a guide by which we can hope to direct our steps aright. 


CHILD, C. M. " Senescence and Rejuvenescence." 

CUNNINGHAM, J. T. " Heredity of Secondary Sexual Charac- 
ters in Relation to Hormones," Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 

GALTON, Sir FRANCIS. " Enquiries into Human Faculty." 

HARTOG, MARCUS. "True Mechanism of Mitosis," Leipzig, 1914. 

JEVONS, W. S. " Elementary Lessons in Logic," 1880. 

KEITH, ARTHUR. " Differentiation of Mankind into Racial 
Types," Address, Brit, Assoc., 1919. 

MAINE, Sir H. G. "Ancient Law" (Pollock ed.), 1905. 

MILL, J. S. " System of Logic," 1886. 

SPENCER, HERBERT. " Transcendental Physiology," Essays, 
1901, vol. i. 



"P)EFORE trying to show how a general biological 
-D and sociological principle can assist the investigator 
of malignancy, I may say that it was the form of it 
known as X-ray cancer which led me to attempt a co- 
ordination of the many apparently unrelated facts con- 
nected with it. To one not unfamiliar with speculation 
from the time of Durante and Cohnheim, it seemed remark- 
able that such a new aspect of the problem did not lead 
the medical profession to discard theories formed before 
X-rays were known. For, in the welter of conflicting 
opinions as to the causes of cancer, it was at least certain 
that here were agents which not only might, but, if suffi- 
ciently applied, must in the end produce it. It seemed to 
me then, as it seems now, that when such were discovered 
all arguments as to the part played by " rests," or irritation, 
or an acquired bad habit of tissues (Adami), or some 
unknown infection, protozoal or bacillary, were partly 
beside the point. Those martyrs to science, the early 
radiologists, must have died in vain if no one recognizes 
the high importance of the facts to which their agonies 
bore witness. That radiologists, so far as I am aware, 
have not seen the full value of X-ray dermatitis and 
malignancy in cancer theory is, I can only suppose, due 

to the immense calls upon their time and the peculiar 



interest of their daily work. But among them orthodoxy 
has scarcely had time to rear its head, and those who have 
seen tissues increase or rarefy almost under their own eyes 
will probably regard with suspicion a hypothetic unique 
infection, let us say, which has the remarkable power of 
causing the proliferation of vigorous invasive tissue. Any 
theory of malignancy which does not co-ordinate their 
work with all relevant physiological and pathological 
facts cannot be a true one. But, by taking their labours 
into account, and linking them with certain physiological 
and pathological phenomena, it is, I think, possible to 
show that a fresh general view may reveal its true nature. 
If it is then seen that there is no invariable single ante- 
cedent to malignancy, it must be admitted that there are 
many exciting " causes" of which X-rays are but one. If 
such is the case, it follows logically that it is in the tissues 
concerned, their nature and relationship, that the true 
cause must be found. Those who have learnt by bitter 
experience how to upset, and happily more often to restore, 
somatic equilibrium, will be most ready to admit this 
conclusion. Dynamite may be detonated in many ways, 
but the scientific cause of the explosion is not the man 
with the match, or the motive which led to its use, though 
these may be causes in law or psychology, or even the 
fulminate cap, but its inherent molecular instability. Per- 
haps the most valuable work done of late is that which 
shows the means and methods by which an unstable 
organism is kept in equilibrium, and an explanation of 
malignancy must take it into account. 

It is, however, not common for investigators to work 
under the influence of general ideas which cannot easily 
be shown to have strict relevance to their objects. Though 
to avoid this prevents the concoction of fantastic views^ 


it is certain that too strong a revulsion against theory 
tends to atrophy the imagination, which is the most powerful 
weapon of analysis. If our hypotheses and experiments 
are always closely related to the particular matter in hand, 
we learn to distrust unduly the tentative inductions we owe 
to those who do not fear to put forward provisional results 
which seem to have no immediate bearing on investigation. 
Thus we do not commonly speak of an organism as a 
republic of cells, or a federation of organs, and though this 
seems unprofitable to many, we do so with advantage, since 
it helps to clarify our ideas on general metabolism. The 
conception is even more useful when it tends to show that 
symbiosis is not only found in groups or societies, but in 
those close cell-systems to which we commonly restrict the 
term " individual." The more such ideas are studied the 
more fruitful they become, though progress has not so far 
advanced but that it is commonly taken for granted that the 
essence of symbiotic life is mutual or inter-organic help. 
We ignore the fact that when two individuals, and definite 
cell-colonies may with advantage be called such, preserve 
individuality, there is in their relations a certain real, if 
subdued, hostility. Mutual help, even if indirect, un- 
doubtedly exists, but how easily their relationship may 
become one of parasite and host all zoologists are aware. 
There is often a great reluctance to admit that what is true 
of an organism as commonly conceived, is also true of 
loosely knit human societies, and that the converse is not 
mere fancy. But when we observe that this fundamental 
reserve hostility is in fact self-protection in those political 
federations which help each member even while they 
provide against encroachment on the part of others, or of 
the federal authorities, and then compare such observations 
with organic life, it may not, to those with scientific imagina- 


tion, seem far-fetched to declare that the phenomena of 
zoological and political symbiosis are intimately related, 
and alike biological. Even in the healthy there is always 
armed neutrality of tissues, and at any time there may come 
a breakdown leading to warfare in the human body. Such 
a conception helps us to see that, whatever the waste in 
material, the methods by which life is built up, from 
the apparently simple amoeba to the hugest empire, 
are marvellously economical so economical, indeed, 
as to suggest that life could be constructed only in 
one way. 

Whether such views are regarded as commonplaces or 
extravagances every political student will recognize as 
true the statement of fundamental inter-state hostility, 
while every biologist or physiologist knows that balance 
between opposing forces in the organism is a sine qua non 
of its existence. To such a degree is this carried in health, 
that every definite organ now appears to rule and to be 
ruled, to control and to be controlled. The regulators of 
metabolism are also the regulators of growth, and all alike 
appear conditioned by the chemical messengers of their 
environment. This is known to be true of the ductless 
glands, and as we learn more of their functions we may 
presently infer that all glands, ductless or not, have several 
functions, and go on to suspect that every portion of the 
whole body influences every other part, either for good or 
evil. What was help may become refusal of aid, and what 
was due inhibition may exhibit itself as destructive. If 
we carry these general views with us, and seek for light, 
not only in the lesser laboratory, but in the great laboratory 
of life all round us in which ceaseless experiment is carried 
on, we may presently be able to infer from the theory of 
hostile symbiosis the real nature of malignancy, and to 


suggest certain paths of inquiry and experiment with the 
view to discovering a cure. 

However much remains to be learnt of the glandular 
system, it is known that the tissues respond or fail to re- 
spond, and that characteristics are moulded in one way 
or another, in accordance with the presence or absence, 
the hypertrophy or atrophy, of these glands. When 
sex is once determined the genital glands dominate 
growth ; testes are more frequently correlated with larger, 
ovaries with lesser, size. Ovariotomy allows undeveloped 
male homologues greater opportunities ; early castration by 
preventing differentiation preserves female characteristics. 
If growth and size are mainly determined by the pituitary 
and thyroid, emasculation appears to permit the pituitary 
to exercise a greater influence on the legs, since the 
eunuch's are longer than normal. Among the unsolved 
problems of these organs is the phenomenon known as 
unilateral acromegaly ; but the very fact that it occurs, and 
that perfect symmetry is rare, shows how remarkably a 
hormone, or regulators which Gley has named " harmo- 
zones," can work or be inhibited. It seems that the 
tissues are moulded according to the stimulation they 
receive from secretions of which the chemical constitu- 
tion may presently be as well known as that of adrenalin, 
which exercises so powerful an influence on the blood- 
pressure. A bone may be a function of many variables; 
but one is a gland placed beside the brain. It seems prob- 
able that the parathyroids influence the growth of nervous 
tissue, since they control the irregular discharges of motor 
nerves, and we yet learn that some forms of epilepsy are due 
to hypo-parathyroidism. Thus not only growth, but much 
normal behaviour, is ruled by what Bland-Sutton well calls 
a glandular pantheon. That this is obviously so may 


reasonably lead to the inference that interacting stimula- 
tion and regulation is a function of all tissues, and that this 
is the method of growth and order in every animal what- 
soever. All cases of excessive or defective growth must 
be classed as the result of stimulation, or the want of it, as 
surely as we see atrophy follow a failure of function or 
hypertrophy on its excess. But if this is generally true of 
all the obviously controlled tissues, it may easily enough 
be true of those which are regulated we know not how, 
and, if that be granted for the sake of discussion, it seems 
possible not only to class all cases of malignancy, but 
to suggest possible means of combating it by other than 
surgical means. 

That some method should be adopted for clearing up the 
confusion of theory seems obvious when the battle-ground 
of the cancer authorities and specialists is surveyed without 
prejudice. Unless there is definite reason for coming to 
other conclusions, it is usually safest to work on the principle 
that earnest and able workers are rarely entirely wrong. 
That the constitutional view of cancer, held by Paget, 
though undoubtedly " humoral," and therefore suspect, 
is still advocated by some is not surprising when it takes 
the form of " predisposition," if the word is interpreted in 
the light of modern physiology and heredity. To go no 
further than to speak of the cancerous diathesis, after the 
more ancient manner, is however a denial of explanation. 
The theory of infection may also have something to com- 
mend itself, if it is only on the ground that infections 
may stimulate a latent proclivity, though to declare that 
malignancy is due to a special pathogenic organism is to 
ask us to believe that every form of it has its own special 
bacillus or protozoon, or that a single one can exhibit its 
potentialities in a thousand shapes, while it is necessary to 


ignore other very definite phenomena which can with 
difficulty be brought into line with such views. Moreover, 
few pathologists will admit that what is seen in cancers has 
any great likeness to those diseases definitely traced to 
infection. For such a theory to be complete explanation, it 
would be necessary to class all inflammatory hyperplasias 
with malignant overgrowth. It is, of course, impossible to 
deal with all that has been said in support of the infection 
theory, which at the moment seems the orthodox view ; but, 
so far as I have yet discovered, no exposition of it can be 
reconciled with the complete pathology and histology of 
these disorders. 1 All the evidence alleged to support it can 
be interpreted as irritation tending to upset metabolic 
balance, and the conclusions drawn from it are not com- 
patible with X-ray cancer, or with the physiological and 
pathological phenomena at the base of chorion-epithelioma. 
Such an explanation will, I feel sure, be found a super- 
fluous luxury, and as such to be dispensed with by the 
economic philosopher. There are also workers who seem 
satisfied with the notion that the phenomena in question 
are due to loss of function in some cells, and increase of 
function in others. This is no doubt true, but, again, 
that is the very thing which needs to be explained. 
We are often told that irritation is the cause of cancer, 
and the mere statement seems to be considered ex- 
planation. This is not the case for, though irritation is 
often followed by cancer, all that is proved is that in some 
of the organisms concerned resistance to irritation is 
weakened, whereas in others it is maintained. Not every 
clay-pipe smoker, even with syphilis, or every burnt 
Kangri-user in Kashmir, or every chimney sweep, or pitch 
or paraffin worker, gets cancer. We wish to know why 

1 See Appendix A. The Infection Theory of Cancer. 


these differences exist, and we shall then be able to class 
malignancy among other phenomena of normal and 
abnormal growth. The attribution of malignancy to foods 
is possibly not without value, if it leads to a diet which is 
not irritating to the intestinal canal, and the fact that 
salmon or trout fry, when fed abnormally on hog's liver, may, 
it seems, suffer from an overgrowth of thyroidal tissue, which 
later may become malignant, is of importance ; but we are 
still as far as ever from the knowledge of causes which leads 
to explanatory classification. It appears that all these 
views are true as far as they go. If it can be shown that 
they all point in one direction, we should not be far from 
the truth. 

There are, however, other theories to be taken into 
account, which appear of greater value, since they are more 
than re-statement, and seek explanation in the nature and 
functions of the very tissues which become abnormal. 
Such endeavours take into consideration not only pathology, 
but physiology as well. If it is said, by the way, that there 
is no greater hindrance to scientific advance than the 
separation of physiology and pathology, few, who are not 
specialists in either branch of learning, will be found to 
deny it. The opinions, for they are little more, of Thiersch 
and Waldeyer, have at any rate the advantage of contact 
with the physiological side of the problem. Thiersch 
held that with advancing age the connective tissue ceased 
to be able to hold the epithelium in check. It was a 
brilliant guess, but it failed to account for carcinomas in the 
young, nor does it in any way explain sarcomas. Yet 
how near the truth it was may possibly be shown later, 
though, according to Bainbridge, the modern view of the 
function of epithelium during development is that it 
determines the character of the connective tissue, and 


that cancer cells mould or determine connective tissue " to 
their requirements." This may mean much or nothing, 
for I confess to having seen few such loose statements. 
Waldeyer's opinion was more complicated than Thiersch's, 
and fuller of assumptions. He held that the epithelium 
was weakened and, being pressed on by the connective 
tissue, was in parts isolated, and thereby in some inexplic- 
able way liable to transformation into cancer cells. Since 
this transformation is the problem, we should be no further 
advanced if insistance on the material of change were not 
distinctly useful. Durante and Cohnheim, also, seem to 
have been in favour of the theory that the epithelium and 
connective tissue directly influenced each other; but 
Cohnheim was led away by the sequestration or " cell- 
rest " theory which is due to him. Modern research seems 
to support his opinion that tumours are frequently to be 
attributed to such causes ; but the malignity of some and 
the benignity of others is still to be explained. It is absurd 
to suppose that embryonic " rests " always occupy the 
sites of tumours started by irritation, and Cohnheim himself 
excepted certain cases where that seems the immediate 
cause of malignancy. Ribbert held that such " rests " can 
be created post-natally, and that epithelium, when cut off 
from its ordinary physiological control, can proliferate 
malignantly. Implantation tumours by themselves are suffi- 
cient disproof of this view. Adami attributes cancer to an 
acquired " habit of growth." The cells devote themselves 
to mitosis. After what I have said I need not add that 
this is merely re-description. It deals with " how ? " 
not with " why ? " Green attributes cancer largely to the 
influence of the combustion products of coal or peat, with 
a high percentage of sulphur, as well as to low-lying valleys. 
While such may be contributory factors to a loss of sym- 


biotic equilibrium, they certainly do not " explain " 
malignancy. For it cannot be too frequently insisted on 
that true explanation is the classification of phenomena 
under some more inclusive law. Observations, however 
useful they may prove as regards prevention, are not 
explanation. For instance, if it be true that atrophy of 
the thyroid is common, or almost invariable, in cancer, we 
are not much further advanced in explanation, although in 
certain cases, say those of familial proneness to malignant 
disease, such an observation might be useful. 

The sole general results which I am able to extract 
from the argumentative confusion of the subject is that 
epithelium and connective tissue somehow or other possess 
the capacity of invasive aberrancy under long-continued 
irritation. This may be no more than a re-statement, but 
it suggests that the only hope of explanation lies in the 
discovery of the reasons for tissue stability or instability. 
Is there any reason for supposing that instability or in- 
vasiveness is in certain conditions a physiological quality in 
epithelium ? That connective-tissue cells are capable of 
reparative work of an invasive order we know already. It 
seems that the reply to the question about epithelium is 
ready to hand. Bland-Sutton was, perhaps, on the very 
verge of a possible explanation of cancer when he declared 
that in the normal action of the trophoblasts of the 
fertilized ovum could be seen the physiological type of the 
invasive action of epithelium. In chorion-epithelioma 
such a physiological type becomes pathological. This 
dictum implicitly asserts that where the trophoblastic 
action becomes malignant, there is a loss of balance ; the 
multi-nuclear cap of the villus is not inhibited by the normal 
uterine reactions which usually prevent such invasion. 
What is it in the normal uterus which does inhibit it ? 


We are not going beyond what is known of repair if we say 
that the reaction tissues are mainly connective. In the 
normal gravid uterus the erosive action of the trophoblast 
is thus in all probability stayed by a connective-tissue 
reaction. Yet this erosive action is malignancy. Cells in 
contact with the trophoblast dissolve are, as it were, 
digested. As the larva of the blow-fly dissolves dead cells, 
so the trophoblast cap dissolves live uterine cells, by some 
chemical product, some cytolitic secretion. In normal 
gestation such action is neutralized sooner or later, and 
since malignant epithelium, when active, pierces connective 
tissues as if they did not exist, the reaction which stays 
its course in the uterine wall must be more than mere 
fibrous growth. We seem compelled to assume that some 
cells can neutralize malignant cytolitic action by their 
products, and thus restore physiological balance. The 
resumption of pathological action in chorion-epithelioma 
comes on in the period of involution, when all the uterine 
tissues lose their activity. It seems hardly too much to 
say that the secretions or cell-products of the active con- 
nective tissue are those which inhibit, or fail to inhibit, 
the alien epithelium. H. B. Spencer, after quoting Sir 
John Williams, who stated that pregnancy had no influence 
in causing benign ovarian tumours to become malignant, and 
that in old women such are rare, goes on to say that the 
cause of this rarity cannot at present be stated. A light 
is, however, thrown upon these facts if it is remembered 
that during gestation and the retrocedence of the aged 
ovary there is great connective-tissue activity. 

If the implications of the argument are clear, it will be 
seen that the conclusion to be drawn tentatively is that in 
such reactions lies hidden the mystery of malignancy. 
It will, perhaps, be objected that the multi-nuclear cap of the 

S 7 5 1 u 


trophoblast is in a sense of alien origin, whereas ordinary 
malignant growths are autochthonous. In this very fact 
of partial alien origin lies support of the view suggested. It 
is more than conceivable that the male element in the 
zygote is here the earliest possible origin of malignant 
energy. It would not be wholly surprising if future investi- 
gation traced such cases to the peculiar energy of some 
spermatozoa. The ease with which a sperm-cell enters the 
unfertilized ovum might be a measure of the likelihood of 
chorion-epithelioma, provided that the resistance of the 
ovum were a measure of the general tissue resistance of the 
maternal organism. But even granting that the alien, or 
partially alien, origin of the trophoblast renders malignancy 
more likely than with ordinary somatic tissues, it may be 
replied, on the lines adopted at the beginning of this paper, 
that all such tissues are, in spite of their symbiotic life, 
fundamentally alien and hostile. A breakdown in their 
relations as established by evolution may, and in many 
forms of disease does, occur. By the study of the glan- 
dular system the interdependence of all tissues is inferred. 
There is, also, undoubtedly self -protection. ' Thus far 
and no farther " is embryological law. With deficient 
inhibition we see this law abrogated. For in a new environ- 
ment we may see any variation. Thus the polymorphism 
of malignant epithelial cells described by E. H. Kettle is 
just what might be expected on the loss of normal control. 
The whole body is a group of organs and tissues which are 
not always harmonious, and the behaviour of malignant or 
benign aberrant tissue is by no means a phenomenon 
standing by itself. Probably all tissues might become 
malignant if they were as capable of free and rapid pro- 
liferation as connective tissue and epithelium. Invasiveness 
is natural to embryonic tissues. But have not embryo- 


legists been apt to regard the cessation of invasion at 
a given stage as a " natural " fact, i.e. just the result to be 
expected of that kind of cell or tissue ? But to cease 
growing means either a failure of energy or inhibition, and 
growth must be analysed into excitation and inhibition. 
In a very true sense " malignancy " or invasiveness is char- 
acteristic of all growing tissue. It is not a wild illustration 
to point out that in society we are all potential criminals at 
the mercy of excitation and inhibition, nor otiose to observe 
that the liability to crime on the part of aliens in this or any 
country is due to unaccustomed stimulation and the lack 
of former inhibitions. Such criminality is an analogue of 
malignancy. I owe to Professor Keith the suggestion that 
the negro in the United States is even a better example. 
The negro community there is as much a transplanted tissue 
as a cancer metastasis, it tends to spread, excites violent 
reactions, and might conceivably prove definitely malignant. 
I am aware that the remark may excite ridicule ; but it can 
be pointed out that the reaction against the immigrant 
negro in the north is comparatively slight, and that when 
trouble occurs it is very frequently due to the presence of a 
Southerner who, by his previous contact with the race, 
has been "sensitized " so as to react violently. Without 
desiring to push the analogy to its farthest extreme, it is 
obvious that a large negrine irruption tends to break up and 
push apart previous social bonds and regulations. I do 
not see how it can be denied that such illustrations help 
us to understand the more obscure somatic phenomena. 

It must be quite obvious by now that the views here 
advocated link the general theory of malignancy to the 
doctrine of the endocrine organs, that glandular hierarchy 
or pantheon which rules growth and metabolism. When 
we observe that the absence of a particular secretion limits 


growth, or that its undue increase makes such growth abnor- 
mally large, we are assuredly dealing with phenomena 
closely connected with the existence of epithelial or con- 
nective-tissue neoplasms. In both sets of phenomena the 
root fact is failure of proliferation or its excess. If we delve 
deeply enough into causes it will not seem absurd to put 
cancers and giantism or acromegaly into related sub-classes. 
That the latter are due to abnormal glandular activity we 
know. With normal pituitary influence no overgrowth 
occurs. Connective-tissue proliferation ceases at a point 
when the glandular system becomes balanced. This is 
obviously the case with what we see in repair of normal 
epithelium and connective tissue. When the epithelium is 
stripped away, and the underlying structures damaged, the 
connective-tissue cells proliferate rapidly. As the young 
epithelial cells invade the edges of the wound the under- 
lying cells become fibrous and deep scar- tissue. Excessive 
and unhealthy granulations only arise when the epithelium 
does not do its work. Histologically there is a great like- 
ness between round-celled sarcoma and granulation tissue, 
and, after all, granulation is no more than connective- 
tissue cell proliferation growing outwards into a wound 
where normal tissues are wanting. A sarcoma might 
almost be called inverted ingrowing granulations . That the 
varied phenomena of malignancy exceed in variety those 
attributable to merely defective or hypertrophied glands 
is only what might be expected. Such glands are highly 
specialized epithelium with very definite work. The 
general epithelium of the body is much less differentiated 
and nearer the embryonic type. It is found practically 
everywhere. Connective tissue is the somatic network; 
in no part is it absent. It exhibits a remarkable capacity 
for many forms of rapid specialization, and may be looked 


on as highly unstable because of these very qualities. But 
its instability is obviously a function of many variables. 
From the universal presence of these two tissues we infer 
that normally there is nothing in the organism which 
inhibits the existence of either in any part. They can grow 
anywhere, and if aberrancy occurs at all it is in them we 
should look for it, if they did not, in some analogous to the 
action of the endocrines, inhibit each other's undue growth. 
The age incidence of sarcoma and carcinoma suggests most 
forcibly that they do so. Sarcoma is predominately a 
disease of youth, though it may be found at any age. It may 
develop in utero. Repair is most active when it is com- 
monest, and epithelium is most delicate. Epithelium 
reaches a peculiar state of activity, as shown by its 
products and conduct, at a later age in which connective- 
tissue activity is lessened and repair slackens. It is a period 
in which persons of failing metabolism tend to accumulate 
toxic products in the connective tissue which depress and 
inhibit its activity. It is the age of cancer. When cancer 
occurs in the adolescent there is frequently a history of 
heredity. That the unbalanced should breed unbalanced 
offspring is not surprising. The cancer house and the 
cancer valley are unhealthy, most low-lying. From a defec- 
tive environment we do not expect tissue health or balance, 
i.e. the normal influence of one tissue on another in a 
federated system. It is by no means necessary that such 
influences must be exerted by definite glands. Every glan- 
dular secretion is but a specialized form of some unknown 
epithelial product. Snake venom arises in a specialized 
salivary gland ; the secretion of the salivary gland in 
embryonic epithelial cells. Epithelium as the parent tissue 
of the true glands must have its own unspecialized secre- 
tion, which is poured into the circulation and exerts its 


influence everywhere. We can hardly go wrong if we 
say that every cell in the body influences every other cell, 
and that those which are in an immense majority have 
much power. Newton's law of gravity might almost be 
translated into a somatic law, even if some physiological 
Einstein presently corrected it. 

It is, therefore, by no means mere guesswork to assume 
that the relations of epithelium and connective tissue are the 
essence of the cancer problem. Quite independent of their 
cross action in repair we actually see in atrophic " scirrhus " 
of the mamma that this slowly developing cancer is sur- 
rounded by more or less dense strands of fibrous tissue, and 
is often known as withering or contracting cancer. Patients 
may live for twenty years or more with this variety of the 
disease. In old age the connective tissue appears to give 
way, and the few imprisoned anarchic epithelial cells may 
resume their invasive qualities. It was such cancers 
which showed the older physicians that there were attempts 
at repair in malignancy ; but they attributed its arrest to 
mere mechanical action, a view not tenable when we 
consider the great erosive effect of really wild epithelium. 
Handley has shown that in melanotic cancer at a later stage 
of permeation, there is inflammation accompanied by 
round-celled infiltration and fibrous growths, while in 
Paget's Disease there is peri-lymphatic fibrosis. From the 
experiments in vitro of Champy, much can be learnt as to 
the relations of these tissues. He demonstrated that when 
renal tissue was grown in a nutritive plasm it showed, 
after nine hours, new tubules of a primitive order, while 
still further away from the original section the epithelial 
cells did not form tubules, and were of a simple embryonic 
type. This can only be attributed to loss of control by 
normal inhibitions. When the same worker cultivated 


simpler epithelium and connective tissue together, the 
epithelial cells retained their characteristics; but when 
they spread and grew apart from the connective tissue they 
lost their usual order and appearance, and were no longer 
true epithelium. Only one inference can be made. It is 
that these tissues are to each other controlling environment. 
Bayliss says in commenting on this, " It seems that cells, 
when they have taken special functions in the organism, are 
normally prevented by some means from continuing their 
primitive multiplication, and that when this influence which 
restrains their growth is removed, they start afresh and 
produce simple embryonic tissue. There is significance in 
these facts in connection with the formation of malignant 
tissues." Assuredly nothing could be truer and, working 
with the analogy of the endocrines, we are forced to 
conclude that like effects are produced by like causes. 
The " influence " at work must be some product of the 
connective tissue. In an unstable organism any depressing 
factor inhibiting the activity of that tissue, such as un- 
eliminated katabolic toxins accumulating in the lymphatics 
and connective tissue generally, may end in allowing the 
explosive epithelium to break out into embryonic activity. 
Such instability has many analogues in pathology. 

If it be granted that these facts are of importance, it 
seems that it is by using them, and by following the indica- 
tions afforded us by chorion-epithelioma and X-ray cancer 
that we are likely to solve the problem. No doubt it may 
seem strange to bracket such diseases, but if it be found 
that two disorders so different in origin point the same way 
we cannot be far from the truth. In X-rays we have an 
exciting cause of epithelial overgrowth which not only 
may, but if sufficiently applied, must produce malignancy. 
The symptoms of X-ray dermatitis are those of profound 


irritation, epithelial overgrowth, attempts at repair, which 
in mild cases succeed and in severe ones fail disastrously, 
leaving the skin in epithelial anarchy. It is cracked and 
fissured in every direction, heaped up in one place and 
broken down in another, until it becomes a picture of dis- 
order rarely seen even in the domain of dermatology. Such 
an exhibition of ineffective energy spent at the surface in 
vain efforts at repair makes it less surprising that what we 
may call the potential of the deep epithelial layers of the epi- 
dermis becomes abnormally kinetic. It may be said that the 
cells of that layer grow malignant because they find existence 
impossible in their normal position. It seems certain that 
in large doses the effect of the rays on connective tissue is 
depressing : they are, at any rate, totally unable at the last 
to resist, either by mechanical or chemical means, the push 
of the escaping epithelium. It is stated by Darier and 
Wolbarth that in X-ray dermatitis there is hypertrophy of 
the epidermis, and pronounced degeneration of the corium, 
the most marked result being, as I anticipated before 
I was aware of the actual facts, the rarefaction of the sub- 
epidermal portion. I may also mention the work of 
Lazarus-Barlow and his co-workers at the Middlesex 
Hospital. He points out that in certain conditions the 
influence of radium rays is one of stimulation. In experi- 
ments on rats, which produced what can only be described 
as squamous-cell cancer, it is especially to be noted that 
there was degeneration of the subjacent connective tissue, 
which even extended to bone and cartilage. Obviously 
radium was here used in time quantities, which carried 
stimulation into degeneration. These changes are, I may 
perhaps venture to say, only such as could have been pre- 
dicted, and I did in fact predict them before being aware 
of his resiilts. The same can be said of those obtained 


lately by Russ and his colleagues with regard to lympho- 
cytosis, leucopenia, and immunity. They add immensely 
to the value of their work by pointing out that a large 
lymphocyte count is not by itself sufficient to procure or 
preserve immunity. If the general connective tissue and 
its catalysts are not active this is to be expected. These 
catalysts, immune bodies, or anti-bodies, are almost 
certainly connective-tissue cell products. Russ, indeed, 
says there is some as yet undetermined relationship between 
the number of lymphocytes and the occurrence of immunity. 
But if cancer actually depends on the weakening of con- 
nective-tissue cells of all kinds, the relationship is no longer 
undetermined. We have a real explanation why large 
doses of X-rays, which are more or less fatal to lymphocytes, 
destroy immunity, and we get a clue to the reason for 
small or stimulating doses conferring it on susceptible 
animals. Hernaman-Johnson states definitely that clinical 
observation and microscopic research show that carcinoma 
is favourably influenced as the result of this dual action. 
Mathematically speaking, the good influence of small doses 
acts as a " couple," the peccant tissue is inhibited, and 
the limiting or resisting tissue is stimulated to activity. 
With such phenomena before us there is no need to posit 
some unknown cause. In all explanation it is illicit to 
import the unknown when the known can be made to 
account for the facts. If radium and X-rays, according 
to their dosage and application, can cause different effects 
in both tissues, and by restoring or impairing them produce 
amelioration or further destruction, the case for infection 
falls to the ground. It is also said by Knox that the 
curative effect of radium depends in many cases on the 
Becquerel rays stimulating the connective tissue and pro- 
ducing fibrosis. Under the battery which brings about 


these results it can hardly be thought that any specific 
cancer protozoon continues to live. Those who believe 
in the infection theory must take up the position that the 
agent is everywhere in the body or the environment ready 
to infect the patient in the so-called pre-cancerous stage 
of X-ray malignancy. Such a hypothesis is a multi- 
plication of causes. The only true pre-cancerous stage is 
seen when the underlying connective tissue weakens or 
rarefies. This is assuredly the case in leucoplakia, although 
I have not so far been able to see sections proving it. 
The destructive powers of the X-rays on connective 
tissues, in combination with the resistance of the skin, 
are sufficient to account for the results. In what other 
way can we interpret the conclusions reached by J. B. 
Murphy and Sturm ? These workers found that the 
entire lymphoid tissue of the body could be destroyed 
in from seven to twenty-one days by repeated small doses 
of X-rays. In such a condition the theory of this paper 
would infer that an immense reduction of organic resist- 
ance followed. What do we find ? First, there is a greatly 
lessened resistance to alien implants ; second, a lowered 
resistance to cancer grafts ; third, the destruction of 
acquired immunity to cancer ; and, fourth, a lowered 
resistance to the tubercle bacillus and other infective agents. 
Murphy, however, remarks that the chief objection to 
accepting the lymphatics as a great factor of resistance to 
cancer growth is that the lymph nodes are common points 
for metastatic growths. This appears to be no such 
objection as he imagines since the very existence of the 
primary focus is in all probability due to general loss of tone 
of all connective-tissue cells, stationary or wandering, 
highly evolved or semi-embryonic. I draw the con- 
clusion with confidence that, as with chorion-epithelioma, 


where infection is negatived by the whole of the pheno- 
mena of ovum and uterine interaction, X-ray malignancy 
and allied phenomena point straight to the conclusion 
that the explanation of cancer lies in the relations of epithe- 
lium and connective tissue; that benignity is a normal 
reaction and malignity a failure ; that irritation is only a 
means by which the normal reactions of these tissues are 
destroyed ; and that infections are only causes so far as they 
excite or depress and thereby destroy the balance of tissues 
which exercise outside control by their mechanical nature 
and products. I have so far found no theory but the one 
here advocated that reconciles all these phenomena, and 
it is a fact that it enabled me to prophesy many observa- 
tions quite unknown to me at one period of investigation. 
Conclusions of this kind are necessarily as relevant to 
sarcoma as to carcinoma. The immense activity of con- 
nective tissue in youth suggests that it might at any age get 
out of hand. Fowls seem specially liable to it. Luckily 
they mostly die young. An aged fowl, which should be 
liable to carcinoma, is a rare object. As a domestic 
animal which, owing to the caprice of breeders, is in a 
peculiarly fluent condition, it is particularly liable to loss 
of balance. Uterine or mammary cancer is rare in bitches, 
a fact very properly attributed to their commonly dying 
before involution sets in. It may also be due to their 
habits, since they are not so much exposed to sexual stimuli 
as human beings, who only practice continence during the 
oestrus. It is said that castrated animals are more liable 
to malignant diseases than others. They have been thrown 
out of normal balance by operation. The peculiar deadli- 
ness of sarcoma seems natural enough if we remember that 
it is to connective tissue that all repair is due. It is a 
case of " quis custodiet ? " when the guardian tissue 


becomes anarchic. Whatever influence epithelium may 
have upon it, epithelial tissue cells cannot surround, or 
attempt to encapsule, aberrant connective tissue, for as 
soon as they proliferate freely they are themselves malignant. 
It|seems to me that these views make it easy to under- 
stand why a healed gastric or other ulcer may become the 
originating point of cancer. That there is ever an ulcer 
at all shows that connective-tissue reactions are weak. 
When such an ulcer heals there is scar tissue with epithelium 
already some stages on the way to embryonic epithelium. 
Ex hypothesi, the underlying fibrous tissue is not very 
resistant, and when the irritation continues which first 
caused the ulcer the over-stimulated and already partly 
wild epithelium proliferates, and is not properly inhibited. 
Given such conditions, carcinoma can be predicted. The 
results are no longer a puzzle. 

That benign tumours should often become malignant 
is, according to the theory advocated, just what might 
be expected. With senescence there is in the whole body 
an increase of static elements as compared with the 
cytoplasm ; a tendency to rigidity, and a loss of the federal 
unity of the body which we call health. There is less 
response to regulative stimulation or inhibition, and less or 
more of the normal hormones to respond to. The result 
should naturally be an increase in the autonomy of separated 
parts, and the increasing dominance of any tissue which 
is in excess. That the chief tendency of malignancy is 
towards carcinoma, is what we should expect at an age 
when epithelium in any case tends to become rampant, 
but that a benign connective-tissue tumour, in which the 
epithelial portions are at a minimum, should at last break 
bounds is by no means surprising. When thinking upon 
such lines, and dealing with phenomena of senescence, it is 


a not uninteresting speculation if we venture to attribute to 
a temporary rejuvenescence the partial cures or allevia- 
tions of symptoms often found when a new empirical remedy 
is tried in inoperable cases. To inspire hope by whatever 
means is a function of the physician and, to do so is, in the 
language of the physicists, to free energy. The hopeless 
patient, when concentred on his symptoms and his feelings, 
is doubly the host of a parasite, his energy is bound within 
a narrow circle, his horizon of life contracted to a mere 
point. As a result his functions fail : he eliminates 
less and less toxin, the static elements increase till the cyto- 
plasm of his whole organism is as unable to cope with its 
work as his cerebral cytoplasm is to face the general situa- 
tion. If he is afforded hope in any way whatsoever the 
engine works again : there is at least a temporary rejuven- 
escence, and the partially freed tissues tend to resume their 
functions. At such a stage the progress of a tumour ma^ 
be arrested by the renewed action of connective tissue or 
epithelium, or of the general regulative metabolism of the 
whole body. 

Though cancer " cures " may thus exercise a favourable, 
if brief, influence on those who suffer, their number and 
character bear bitter witness to the confusion of the whole 
subject. In theory I have been unable to find any general 
principle at work. If it were not that in looking back 
upon the past of pathology it is seen that most advances 
have been made rather by trial and error, than by any 
great grasp of the human mind, those who are not wedded 
to one particular theory might indeed feel hopeless. Amid 
the din of battle, the confusion and the shouting, it is hard 
to discover order. Yet to those who are somewhat with- 
drawn from the arena, facts do sometimes emerge which 
seem of real relevance. The long-known occasional cure 


of cancer due to erysipelas is one of them, and the very 
failure of Coley's fluid, composed of the toxins of 5. ery- 
sipelatosus and B. prodigiosus, to fulfil the hopes of its 
inventor, may, if considered in a proper light, be of the 
greatest assistance. That these toxins, without the acute 
attack, fail of their purpose, suggests very forcibly that it is 
not such toxins which inhibit the growth of the aberrant 
tissue, but that it is overcome by the immense reactions of 
the connective tissue which result in the cure of the acute 
infection. So far as Coley's fluid excites the connective 
tissue, so far it may possibly do good. Such a view is 
greatly strengthened by the experiments of Ehrlich and 
Apolant, if they can be regarded as authenticated. This 
is, I think, thought by many not to be the case ; but their 
results fall in so completely with the views advocated in this 
paper, that I find it impossible to disregard them. That a 
transplanted mouse carcinoma should in certain cases 
produce sarcoma seemed to some impossible ; and to some a 
proof that the transplanted tissue was really sarcomatous. 
Yet if it is granted for the moment that epithelium and con- 
nective tissue live in symbiotic hostility, such a phenomenon 
is by no means so surprising as it looks. It is but re- 
action overbalancing itself. On continued transplantation 
with one strain it is said that the connective tissue overcame 
the epithelium, till it at last consisted of scattered cells only, 
so that finally the graft was a pure sarcoma. In another 
strain this " power to induce sarcoma " was lost, and the 
tumour remained epithelial in character. The phrase 
" power to induce sarcoma " is, to say the least of it, 
unhappy. By the phenomenon, if correctly reported, we 
have to understand that the host's connective tissue did not 
react. No explanation of these observations is to be found 
in any theory but that of the action and reaction of the two 


tissues concerned. When their balance is upset, one pro- 
liferates abnormally. Anything that throws the organism 
out of gear is a possible factor of malignancy, and that is the 
reason why, with the increase of wealth, a new and highly 
varied environment, which tends to produce variation, 
makes for the increase of such disease. 

If the value of a theory depends on the aid it gives in 
explanation, the one here advocated certainly helps to 
make it clearer why some forms of malignancy are more 
deadly and liable to metastasis than others. So far there 
has been no real explanation of the fact that the forms of 
it which deviate most widely from the tissue of origin are 
most rapid and destructive. It has remained an observa- 
tion, and to say this extreme aberrancy from type 
renders it more deadly is only to repeat in another 
form what has been said before. But if it is under- 
stood that the immediate and total somatic environ- 
ment determine cell character, it is obvious that extreme 
aberrancy implies that the determining tissues generally 
are weakened to an extreme degree, and that any 
cancer growth or embolus will nowhere meet with much 
resistance. That environment has definite results is well 
known. In speaking of the relatively more deadly femoral 
sarcoma, as compared with a similar tumour in the tibia, 
Bland-Sutton says : " This would appear to indicate that 
the two tumours, though structurally alike, really have 
different causes, yet these are facts which lead us to 
suppose that variations in tissue actually constitute a 
different environment." He adds that echinococcus disease 
is the only condition which supports this view. Yet surely 
in studying all diseases we are compelled to come to the 
conclusion that different reactions, in different patients, with 
the same disorder, can only be due to their bodies consti- 


tuting a different environment. Further investigation will 
almost certainly show that there is some reaction differ- 
ence in the region of the femur when compared with that 
of the tibia. The comparative immunity of joints from a 
burrowing sarcoma supports the view that some tissues have 
a more powerful resistance than others. It may be that the 
great resistance of cartilage is due to its lack of channels ; 
but it is far more likely that it is due to the cell products 
of its closely arranged cells. In studying the various types 
of malignancy we cannot but be struck by the varying 
amounts of normal, or fairly normal, connective tissue 
about them. That the small, round-celled sarcoma should 
be more deadly than most of the other varieties is what 
would be expected from the scantiness of the still growing or 
surviving stroma. Such varieties as are more difficult to 
distinguish from normal cells seem obviously those in 
which the whole of the normal inhibition of the environ- 
ment has not been overcome. These are points in which a 
considerable knowledge of biology might be of assistance to 

While it is impossible to deal here in detail with every 
kind of tumour, something may be said of embryomas and 
their malignant forms. Obscure and difficult as the subject 
is, there seems reason to believe that when it is understood 
many of the basal problems of biology will be solved with 
it. That they are due to some ovum, or embryonic ovarian 
tissue, developing parthenogenetically, seems more than 
likely. Shattock's remarkable paper on these tumours 
supports the view that embryonic ova may be fertilized by 
errant spermatozoa ; but there are many reasons for coming 
to the conclusion that an embryonic " rest " may develop 
without such assistance. Such views do not account for 
infantile feminine or testicular embryomas. It is more 


likely that any epithelium in regions where reproductive 
processes commence may, under some abnormal stimula- 
tion, develop incompletely determined epithelial products 
or rudimentary organs. The prodigious fertilit}' of em- 
bryomas in such products suggests that the imperfect 
parent tissue is doing its best to be normal, if the phrase is 
permissible ; but that such a result is impossible, owing to 
the necessary lack of normal excitation and inhibition, 
i.e. of the usual environment. That a simple product of 
epithelium, such as hair, may be perfect is not surprising. 
The epithelium from which it grows is practically the only 
environmental stimulus it requires. That teeth, on the 
other hand, are rudimentary, misshaped, and monstrous, 
may be regarded as the result of their lacking a normal 
environment. That embryomas are frequently very 
deadly is what may be expected from the possibilities of 
the unspecialized tissues from which they originate. The 
study of interaction of the various tissues should include 
far more than the endocrine organs, since it is more 
than likely to solve the problems of heredity, as well 
as those of malignant growth. The divisions between 
physiology, pathology, and biology are responsible in a 
very large measure for the slowness with which they 
all advance. 

It follows from all these considerations that it must 
not be supposed that reaction against one kind of over- 
growth or the other is due entirely to the tissues principally 
concerned. Such a view would be a partial denial of the 
entire independence of the whole organic federation. 
There is reason to suppose that the blood-stream is hostile 
to intrusive epithelium. Small cancerous emboli excite 
thrombosis, and are sometimes buried, and perhaps 
destroyed, in a blood clot in which lymphocytes are 


probably very prominent. The erosive agent of the 
chorionic villus is in its multi-nuclear cap, or giant cell, 
sometimes without warrant called a plasmodium. Pro- 
perly speaking a plasmodium consists of fused cells, and 
there is reason to suppose that a giant cell is one which 
accumulates nuclear material without normal fission. 
If we regard the nucleus not as a " director," which is a 
common psychological fallacy, but as a workshop con- 
taining the non-living tools, weapons, or catalysts, by 
which the cytoplasm works, it is easy to understand that 
when there is active use and much waste of such tools, 
mitosis does not occur. In normal gestation, when uterine 
reaction is complete and erosion ceases, there is probably 
no longer any multi-nucleated cell, for where such are 
found pathological conditions exist. If we knew when 
such a cell is again formed in fragments of the decidua 
we should be able to point to the very moment when 
chorion-epithelioma starts. It begins when the uterus 
has involuted, and is no longer in its highly developed 
and vascular form. I say highly vascular because, as 
remarked before, it seems that the blood plasm itself 
exerts a direct inhibitory influence on malignant cells. 
When considering this aspect of the problem I came, 
independently of any suggestion, to the conclusion that 
in some carcinomatous conditions I should expect to 
find multi-nuclear epithelial cells, closely resembling the 
cap of the trophoblast. This inference was confirmed 
by Mr. Sampson Handley, who told me, not at all to my 
surprise, that whereas no such cells are formed at the 
distal part of a carcinoma while still advancing in the 
lymphatics, they are to be found as soon as the growth 
comes in contact with the blood. This implies that there 
is a new reaction in the growth, and such a reaction seems 


obviously due to the inhibiting action of the blood-stream 
and the catalysts it carries. 

If these conclusions are of any weight, and it is allowed 
that malignancy is a failure of developmental machinery, 
we are impelled to ask if there is any one gland in the 
human body, for instance, which, on the principles of 
interactions between epithelium and connective tissue, 
may be more to blame than another. The thyroid is 
suspect since it is frequently in a morbid condition in 
malignant states ; but no proof has been adduced of its 
responsibility. There are, moreover, much greater 
reasons for suspecting another gland, directly responsible 
for definite under- or overgrowth, such as the pituitary 
body, since its direct connection with bone development 
is now admitted on all hands. But if the pituitary can 
determine infantilism, gigantism, and acromegaly by over- 
growth or failure of bone-growth, and growth in all tissues 
generally, it is hardly extravagant to suggest that it may 
be directly responsible for bone sarcomas. If this is true 
we might then call sarcoma of the bones " local explosive 
osteomegalies." If there is such a thing as anarchy 
among the osteoblasts and osteoclasts, in which each under 
abnormal stimulation functioned regardless of normal 
inhibitions, we should expect such phenomena as we 
see in femoral sarcoma. It is at least a possible explana- 
tion to suggest that the deadly character of such a sarcoma 
is due to a breakdown in a bone exposed, perhaps, to 
greater single stresses than any in the body. But if the 
pituitary can influence one form of connective tissue, 
however highly specialized, it may equally influence 
other forms. From one point of view, the beginnings 
of all late sarcomas, not only those of bone, might be 
regarded as cases of overdone repair, while those of early 


life might be looked on as the result of over-stimulated 
activities in cases which under other conditions might 
have been the subjects of gigantism. Any glandular 
secretion may very conceivably have abnormal local 
effects. But, if early or late hyper-pituitarism has relation 
to sarcomas, hypo-pituitarism may equally well result 
at any time of life in under-inhibition of epithelium, a 
state, according to the theory here supported, which 
seems a necessary preliminary to cancer. 

While I offer these views with the greatest diffidence, 
I may remark that though their acceptance might lead to 
further discoveries, and even to cure, their rejection would 
by no means invalidate my conclusions as to the relations 
of the two great tissues concerned. A breakdown of one 
or the other may conceivably be determined by any dis- 
order of one or more of the endocrine glands. Such sug- 
gestions may, at any rate, lead to definite observations of 
the pituitary being made in fatal cases of malignancy, a 
thing, so far as I know, which has not been done. If 
any changes in it could be detected, they might offer a 
rational basis for therapeutics, though it is highly probable 
that a morbid secretion without visible change might be 
responsible for invasive tissues. 

To put aside such speculations for a moment, and return 
to the general aspect of the problem, it must be owned that 
the confusion in theory is more than equalled by that in 
experimental therapeutics. Outside of surgery, which with 
radiology seems to present the patient with his only chance 
of prolonged life, most attempts at cure appear quackery, or 
empiricism run mad. Preparations of all kinds of tissues 
have been injected, and the results discredit optimism 
itself. Yet if it is agreed that the fundamental principles 
of life are inter-organic stimulation and inhibition, and that 


want of order is the result of failure in metabolic regulators, 
such views lead at once to considered experiment The 
arguments used to establish this theory may be deemed 
insufficient as proof yet, if they lead to trial, verification 
may follow. Such trials should be directed to assisting the 
reaction of all connective tissue in cases of carcinoma, and 
that of epithelium in those of sarcoma. How this can best 
be done is for the physiologist, radiologist, and pathologist 
to determine ; but even if the suggestions as to the pituitary 
prove to be without foundation, it may be suggested that 
after the excision of a carcinoma efforts should be made to 
irritate or stimulate the connective tissue in the neighbour- 
hood of the removed focus. We know now that this may be 
done by radiation, while the injection of doses of epithelial 
juices might assist the process. Since many forms of 
cell proliferation are inhibited by their own products, it 
is not unlikely that aberrant epithelium may be rendered 
inactive by injections of healthy epithelial products, or by 
prepared and filtered cancer juice. With sarcoma similar 
trials might be made, and in the meantime, while such 
experiments are in progress, on operated or inoperable cases, 
it should be the task of the physiologist or bio-chemist to 
separate from epithelium and connective tissue the chemical 
compound, or complex of compounds, by which they exer- 
cise their direct influence. Difficult as such a task may 
prove, the labour might well be worth undertaking, when we 
consider its possible results. In any case, much might be 
learned by the further study of normal epithelium and con- 
nective tissue in nutrient media, while they are subjected 
to X-rays or radium, or both, or to the influences of various 
endocrine secretions or toxins. Malignant tissues in vitro 
should be observed under similar conditions. We might 
then learn how and why certain epithelial cells become 


multi-nuclear, and whether such can be inhibited by the 
products of connective tissue, or of lymphocytes or 
lymphoid tissue. Even if little were learnt, a result I 
refuse to contemplate, the result would be that one field 
of research had been worked out on scientific lines. Such 
research, however, would almost certainly suggest that 
these diseases are indeed diseases of development, and must 
be combated by rendering the organism stable rather than 
by seeking any single cure, although it is by no means 
impossible that some simple and direct cure may be found. 
If it were discovered that some drug or drugs could 
stimulate or inhibit epithelial and connective-tissue 
growth the results might be of the greatest service. 

If the results provisionally arrived at are summarized, 
it may be said that : 

1. The general biological conception of the organism 
as a federation of organs and tissues, living in symbiosis, and 
yet fundamentally hostile, or " selfish," is helpful in the 
study of disease. 

2. If atrophy or hypertrophy of the endocrines accounts 
for certain disorders, the failure of normal relations between 
less specialized tissues may account for others. 

3. Order does not exist without control, and the essence 
of malignancy is lack of control. 

4. There is reason to suppose that epithelium and 
connective tissue influence and control each other, and that 
their failure to do so is the real cause of malignancy. 

5. Irritation, including the effects of infection, acts by 
destroying such balanced action. 

6. The phenomena observed in the chorionic tropho- 
blast, in chorion-epithelioma, in X-ray dermatitis and 
cancer as well as the experimental growth of the two tissues 
liable to malignancy, support the view of this relation- 


ship between epithelium and connective tissue, and suggest 
that a morbid condition of the pituitary may be a funda- 
mental cause of the disease. 

7. Malignancy is thus brought into relation with the 
phenomena of growth, and can be classed with develop- 
mental diseases, such as those due to endocrine atrophy 
or hypertrophy. 

8. Research should be directed to the discovery of the 
tissue products or secretions by which epithelium and 
connective tissue preserve their individuality and prevent 
reversion in each other. 


ADAMI, J. G. " Medical Sidelights on Evolution," 1919. 
BAINBRIDGE, W. S. " Cancer Problem," New York, 1914. 
BAYLISS, W. M. " Principles of General Physiology," 1915. 
BLAND-SUTTON, Sir JOHN. " Tumours," 1918, Lecture III., 

Chem.Journ., vol. xxx. pp. 186-208. 
BUTLIN, Sir H. " Unicellula Cancri," 1912. 
DARIER and WOLBARTH. Quoted by Hartzell, M. B., " Diseases 

of the Skin," 1917. 
ERLICH, P., and APOLANT, H. " Mouse-Tumours," Berlin Klin. 

Woche, July 1905. 

GREEN, C. E. " Cancer Problem," 1919. 
HANDLEY, SAMPSON. "Melanotic Sarcoma," Hunterian Lecture, 

1907, Lancet, London, 1905, vol. i. p. 909 ; ibid., 1907, 

vol. i. p. 930; "Paget's Disease," Brit. Journ. of Surgery, 

vol. vii. No. 26, 1919. 
HERNAMAN- JOHNSON, F. " Comparative Value of X-rays and 

Radium in Malignant Disease," Aberdeen, B.M.A. 
KETTLE, E. H. "Pathology of Tumours," 1916; Path. Sect., 

R.S.M., April 15, 1919. 
KNOX, ROBERT. " Radiology," 1918. 
MURPHY, J. B., and STURM, E. Journ. Exper. Med., Jan. 

1919, iii. 
PAGET, Sir JAMES. " Lectures on Surgical Pathology," 1853. 


Russ, SYDNEY, and CHAMBERS, H. " Exper. Studies with Small 
Doses of X-rays," Lancet, London, April 26, 1909. 

SHATTOCK, S. G. " Ovarian Teratomata," Lancet, London, 
1918, vol. i. p. 479. 

SPENCER, HERBERT B. " Lettsomian Lecture," Brit. Med. 
Journ., London, Feb. 21, 1920. 



dissatisfaction with much orthodox biological 
A opinion is growing can hardly be denied. Not a 
little of this feeling is due to the fact that what is often 
given as explanation cannot be resolved into factors 
capable of appreciation, and, possibly, of measurement by 
the intellect. The theory has to be accepted as more or 
less a matter of faith, and the very definite relations of 
biology to the allied sciences are almost entirely ignored. 
If the views advanced in the previous chapters carry any 
weight, this alone is sufficient to account for discontent. 
Where there is a general tendency to rely on authority, 
speculation is discouraged, for orthodoxy everywhere 
rests on the native conservatism of man, and even the 
revolutionary is at last capable of fatigue. As a 
result, tentative hypotheses offered by the great leaders 
tend to become objects of worship, and among their 
less enterprising followers there arises a more or less fervent 
conviction that, however unsatisfactory they appear now, 
they will presently become demonstration. Thus the 
theory of the germ-plasm, even in its later modified form, 
seems held too dogmatically by many : the " nature " of 

1 V. " The Function of Pathological States in Evolution," Zool. 
Soc. Proc. 1918. The paper has been added to and altered. 


inherited living matter accounts for every organ as it 
appears ; while all changes are due to obscure variations 
of an advantageous kind which give the survivors in the 
struggle a better chance. On analysis, such opinions do 
not seem truly scientific, for the " nature " of the germ- 
plasm can barely be distinguished from the directing 
entelechy of Driesch, and if the Weismannian cloud of 
ids and biophors is now somewhat condensed, the magic 
determinant still remains in a concealed vitalism which is 
exactly analogous, as regards the organism, to pantheism 
as regards the universe. Nor, if we are told with certainty 
that altered characteristics are not transmitted, is the 
theory of small advantageous variations much more 
satisfactory, if we know neither how they come, nor how 
they are inherited. To say so much must not be regarded 
as treating with disrespect its great author, without whom 
we might still be wandering in the barren field of teleology. 
To regard these theories as hasty and, perhaps, un- 
sound explanations is not to accept without scrutiny 
the theory of the transmission of acquired, or modified, 
characteristics. Though this is a view that can be 
defended on the physico-chemical grounds of catalysts 
which are measurable determinants of a really scientific 
order, experiments to prove the fact must take a very 
long time, and we are compelled to rely on other methods 
of proof. That the experiments of Tower and Kammerer, 
for instance, suggest the transmission of modifications 
cannot be denied. Such as oppose the general view that 
the environment has thus an inheritable moulding influence 
on the organism, seem to reply that those are only rare 
and doubtful cases, whereas the theory of inherited 
advantageous variations, whether continuous or dis- 
continuous, can be made responsible for the whole of the 


phenomena. As the conclusion is gradually being 
strengthened that large variations of a Mendelian character 
deal with other characteristics than those which are racial, 
all who rely on inherited spontaneous variations are forced 
back on the Darwinian view that small variations can 
gradually, if of an advantageous kind, convert one species 
into two or more, and that all living characteristics, or 
organs themselves, are due to such a cumulative effect. 
It is, of course, inferred and definitely stated by Darwin, 
that any variation in the least degree injurious would 
inevitably be destroyed. It is this statement I propose 
to examine, and for the purpose of such an inquiry it 
must be clearly understood what is meant by the word 
" disadvantageous " or injurious. 

At first sight nothing seems clearer. Why should we 
doubt that any functional or organic failure is a handicap 
in the biological race ? By functional trouble, of which 
the cause is not obvious, we mean some hindrance, which 
may be recovered from, to normal or physiological action. 
It is due to factors which, for the most part, are unknown. 
We do not doubt that there is a failure somewhere, which, 
as regards certain cells, might be called organic, but often 
we cannot do more than guess where the actual failure 
occurs. In that advanced disorder of function which has 
visible lesions, and destruction or irremediable alteration 
of the individual parts of the machine, there is undoubted 
organic disease. Can anything seem more certain than 
the conclusion that any organism which fails in the estab- 
lished functions of its species is as a fact severely handi- 
capped, that the variation is disadvantageous, and cannot 
possibly be transmitted either directly or by survival? 
There are, however, some reasons for believing that this 
inference is inaccurate, and that the function of disease 


in evolution is of much greater importance than that of 
mere elimination. But pathology has very naturally 
been neglected as a study by biologists. On the views 
generally held, it has seemed sufficient to recognize that 
disease destroyed organisms which obviously left offspring, 
if it left them at all, that were handicapped even more 
heavily than their parents. It has been understood that 
their elimination was only a matter of time, and that neither 
their virtues nor their failures could influence the race. 

If there is one thing more than another which has 
struck me when attempting to study these questions, it 
is that too many men of science appear to believe that 
any serious investigation of other branches than their 
own is for them a waste of time. In no case is this more 
common than in that of the biologist, who yet, by the 
very name and nature of his task, should include in his 
apparatus a considerable knowledge of everything which 
deals with the organic, and even inorganic, world. Science, 
however, is kept in more or less water-tight compartments, 
and it seems left to the mathematician to hold the opinion 
that his own branch of learning has, somehow or another, 
deep relations with all things, including life itself. Even 
by him it does not seem to have been pointed out that 
in things living and non-living certain principles of con- 
struction rule alike. However much they were wedded 
to mechanico-physical explanations, biologists have 
assuredly often ignored the fact that any organism is 
construction, and knowing little of the laws of construc- 
tion have ignored basal facts familiar to every architect 
or even every artisan. It was reserved for Wolff, in 
formulating his law of bone-growth and reaction to stress, 
to propound a principle more far-reaching than he recog- 
nized, when he showed that living bone, reacting to normal 


or abnormal stimulation, can be proved to develop in 
accordance with the principles of engineering and archi- 
tecture, although he apparently laid far too little stress 
on the action of muscle in bone transformation. This 
law may, I feel assured, be extended to every living tissue, 
and in such an extension will be found the key to many 
phenomena still awaiting explanation. 

To one who holds this view, the work lately done by 
Starling on the Law of the Heart, which shows that the 
force with which the heart contracts is directly propor- 
tional to the length of the muscular fibres at the end of 
the preceding diastole, is by no means surprising. It 
is indeed on a par with the conclusions of Wolff as regards 
bone, and might, I believe, have been deduced from it or 
from the form I suggest, provided it is understood that each 
varying tissue has its own acquired typical reaction. 

If, then, it can be shown that disease has had a pro- 
found effect upon the evolution of all organisms, and 
that analogous results are found in every kind of human 
constructive effort in such numbers as to suggest as a law 
that all great variational developments result, not from 
the happy-go-lucky aggregation of small advantageous 
variation, or from discontinuous variation, whether of a 
Mendelian character or not, but rather from partial failure 
and repair, we seem to be in sight of a general principle of 
profound importance. If this principle proves sound, it 
is obvious that immense labour has been spent by biolo- 
gists endeavouring to explain life without seeking help 
from other workers. Though they may show some general 
knowledge of the cell, and even special knowledge of the 
reproductive cells, I find few who appear to have studied 
general embryology, to speak only of one branch of physio- 
logy. On the other hand, many physiologists and 


pathologists have done good work in some branches of 
evolutionary theory. Bland-Sutton, in his fruitful little 
book Evolution and Disease, pointed out that, " Pathology is 
only a department of Biology, and it is important to bear 
this in mind in studying disease." It is true that he went 
little further than to show that what is pathological in one 
organism may be physiological in another, and that many 
diseases are reversions, that is, failure in normal growth. 
Yet this greatly needed to be shown, and it is not to be 
expected of a great pathologist and surgeon, and, per- 
haps, the less the greater he is in his own branches of work, 
that he should attempt tasks from which many of the 
biologists themselves seemed to shrink. Claude Bernard 
made similar remarks as to pathology. It is to be re- 
gretted that a stumbling-block was placed in the path 
of progress by Darwin's hopeless dictum as to the explana- 
tion of variation, just as another was by Huxley when he 
declared consciousness an insoluble problem. In every 
science great discoverers have too often delayed progress 
as much by authoritative unsound opinion as they have 
advanced it. Every Bible is first a book of revolution, and 
then a refuge for reaction. Yet no man can possibly know 
all he should know for the purposes of his own work. 
This fact affords the only justification for those, who 
cannot pretend to profound knowledge in any special line, 
attempting to solve problems which by their nature are 
beyond the specialist. They may have been able to grasp 
in a measure the general conclusions of each science, and 
by a happy, perhaps accidental, combination, show at least 
part of the forest to those more particularly occupied with 
the trees themselves, or the flora of the undergrowth. 

It is remarkable that hitherto no one seems to have made 
the observation that reaction to an actual, or threatened, 


breakdown is one of the basal laws of all construction 
and organization. Yet none can read engineering without 
observing that all development has followed such lines. 
As new stresses are introduced, failure is threatened, and 
steps are taken to obviate disaster. What is a patch on one 
engine becomes organic in the next. Since waste of energy 
can be looked on as pathological, we observe the reaction 
in the engineer against such failures, as the atmospheric 
engine is succeeded by improved forms ending in the quad- 
ruple expansion engine. Many other instances could be 
adduced in general or special engineering evolution ; but 
the best illustration of the facts which need elucidation 
can perhaps be found in Gothic architecture. If such a 
demonstration of this general principle can be made it 
will go far to obviate the objection, very likely to be urged, 
that what occurs in human construction has no relevance 
to the living organism, especially if it can be suggested 
forcibly that human intelligence is in itself a reaction, 
and that the law obtains in developments of all kinds. 
It is, indeed, not going too far to declare that there is no 
real qualitative difference between the cytoplasm of a test- 
bearing protozoon as it elaborates its peculiar envelope 
and the general cerebral protoplasm of a human com- 
munity constructing some great edifice. That trial and 
error are at the base of evolution is indeed implied in 
the current teaching as to variation, and its extension to 
intellectual processes will surprise no worker who has had 
to deal experimentally with the unknown. We may expect, 
but never know, where to look for failure till we see it. 
When it is seen we can do our best, as reacting agents, to 
remedy it. Having said so much, and leaving aside 
the wider implications of such views, we may turn to such 
a problem of construction as the evolution of a cathedral, 


in the hope that it may throw a light on other than archi- 
tectural puzzles : merely observing, on the way, that 
no general principle yet discovered is confined in its appli- 
cation to one branch of knowledge. Having once found it, 
our task is to employ it as a weapon of further analysis. 

It is more or less a commonplace that function creates 
structure, however Lamarckian that may sound, and in 
the case of architecture of a religious order the function 
which constructs is public worship. In fine climates the 
necessary structure is often a roofless temple. In tropical 
climates a flat roof may be needed as a protection against 
the sun. In temperate climates a walled enclosure is 
insufficient, and a flat-roofed structure cannot keep out 
rain effectually or bear heavy snow. Thus arose the 
pointed or sloping roof. But it has been said that " Gothic 
architecture is not a style. It is a fight." The arch is a 
mighty warrior. It gives and receives thrusts. The sloping 
roof partakes of the same nature. Need created it, and the 
nature of materials and the positional energy we call gravity 
caused thrusts which endangered the simple walls of the 
building, walls at first meant to support nothing but flat 
roofs probably covered with brush or the like material. To 
build stronger walls might have occurred to the primitive 
architect, but as the danger was immediate, he probably 
at once shored those in existence, and then built others 
at a right angle to act as buttresses. In the meantime 
the worshippers increased in numbers, and it is indulging in 
no flight of fancy to suppose the later builder saw that if 
the new external walls were roofed over, and doorways 
cut into the main building, there would be an immediate 
increase of space by the creation of chapels. Such a series 
of embryonic additional walled spaces, with further door- 
ways in them leading to each other, obviously gave him the 


aisles. The flying buttresses, which are such a feature in 
great Gothic architecture had, I can only suppose, a like 
origin. They were originally buttress walls carried up to 
the roof. At some period a genius, already acquainted with 
arcuated structure, saw that if the inside of these walls 
was cut away, they would still take a heavy thrust and 
lighten the rest of the building. If, however, on being 
converted into such slender stone shores they showed signs 
of yielding, what could be easier than to pile some of the 
removed material upon the base of the flying arch, and 
thus create the beginning of the pinnacle ? Though an 
architect might develop such a rough statement, he would 
be the first to admit that it represents in few words much 
of the evolution of a church : that is, he would own the 
structure sprang from need, and that each new need 
caused a constructional failure which, when strengthened 
and corrected, was the cause of further structure. He 
would further tell us that all good ornament is organic ; 
that it springs naturally from the work already done, being 
in its origin just the little more needed to give a margin 
of safety, though on it later are exercised the aesthetic 
faculties of man, which are again a response to the need 
of full satisfaction for the instinct of workmanship. 
Human ornament is in fact strongly homologous, if we may 
use that word here, with the beauty of very energetic 
birds, who carry out by virtue of their free energy the 
extension of structures and colours already existing in their 
less brilliant forms. That, however, is by the way. The 
main fact we are concerned with is that the building as a 
whole is evolved through trial and error, through failure 
and repair, through a threatened structure to a more com- 
plete and adequate one for increased function. In a word, 
the great origin of structure was failure after failure duly 


compensated for. Is there any reason for believing that 
variation in the structure of living organisms follows 
exactly the same principle ? Are we entitled to say that 
the mammal, for instance, with all its complexity, is the 
result of infinite ages of functional failure or disease which 
was met by processes of repair and reaction ? In a word, 
can we speak of the evolutionary value of disease, of im- 
paired function, of disadvantageous variations ? It seems 
possible to do so, if what is true of one structure is roughly 
true of another. 

It may seem absurd to talk of the value of dis- 
advantageous variation; but it is no more absurd than 
to imply that all variation is advantageous because it is 
perpetuated. What is useful at one period may be harmful 
at another, and embryologists thoroughly understand that 
developments useful in foetal or larval life may open up 
many dangers for the adult. The real point to be con- 
sidered is whether organisms as a species do not vary and 
run great, even largely destructive, risks by an increased 
pressure of function which, in the few that finally react, or 
whose descendants react, to such stress, results at last in 
structure that is advantageous as altered. The given 
variation in itself may be a failure of what was normal 
function in the species, and we should therefore as patho- 
logists or physiologists speak of it as a disease ; but if 
the few that recover become a new species, a mended race, 
it is no longer disease. After many generations it may be 
truly advantageous to individuals. Have such processes 
occurred in the evolution of organisms, as they undoubtedly 
have in the arts and social progress, where we often observe 
political failure of organization result in ad hoc reaction 
which leads to a changed social form ? I have no doubt 
that they do, and many organs in mammals, to speak only 


of them, show it. It is, in fact, a universal principle. As 
beavers patch up a dam when it yields or threatens to give 
way, so tissues, organs, and societies react to threatened 
disaster. In no tissue is this clearer than in bone. It 
is true that Wolff's law only deals directly with mechanical 
stresses, since it runs : " Every change in the form and 
position of the bones or their function is accompanied 
by certain definite changes in their internal architecture, 
and by equally definite secondary alterations of their 
external conformation in accordance with mathematical 
law " ; but I hope to show reasons for concluding that 
such a law may be stated in more general terms, and 
applied to every tissue and organ, provided we add, as 
suggested before, that the more complex the tissue or the 
organ the greater the liability of failure, and that each 
tissue reacts in a typical way. 

It is unnecessary to go into details of osteogenesis and 
morphology. It has been recognized by engineers that the 
head of the femur is formed exactly in accordance with 
mechanical law. Had any of them been required to design 
a structure fit for undergoing the stresses borne by the femur 
in its development and af ter-life, he would have sketched a 
figure extremely like it, not only in its general shape, but 
in the trabeculae which support the bone in every direc- 
tion where extra stresses are applied by normal function. 
The important point to note is the fact that femoral 
development follows stress in individual development, 
from which we must draw the conclusion that it followed 
stress during evolution, not that its value for complex 
function was gradually increased by chance or " spon- 
taneous " variation, unless we attribute to " spontaneous " 
a meaning which Darwin never gave it, seeing that he 
denied knowing how variation arose. All the variations 


were definite responses, and it is easy to infer that before 
response became rapid and easy every kind of disaster and 
disablement must have occurred to those subjected to 
reaction-provoking stresses. The very process of adapta- 
tion (and on these lines "adaptation" is no longer a 
mystic word) implies long periods of disordered function 
and poor structural response even in those who survived 
after repair. But now bone is so plastic and fluent that 
when it is grafted the osteoblasts and osteoclasts use and 
shape it according to the form of the main bone of which 
it becomes a part. For, according to Keith, Wolff's law 
may be more simply expressed if we say : " Osteoblasts at 
all times build and unbuild according to the stresses to 
which they are subjected." 

When we speak of repair it may be noted that the 
treatises on this subject are strictly limited in their 
purview. They mostly follow Hunter, a vitally important 
figure in the history of pathology, and indeed of all medical 
science, who, however, lacked the apparatus of knowledge 
now at every one's disposal. We learn a great deal about 
the repair of wounds and fractures : of the functions of 
the fibroblasts or of the wandering cells of the blood- 
stream, and are told, lately, much of regeneration ; but of 
the evolutionary value of organized exudations we hear 
little or nothing. Nor has it been suggested that it is to 
this and analogous processes that much new structure is due. 
That this is so is strikingly apparent, as I shall attempt 
to show, in many organs of a highly specialized type. In 
no structure, perhaps, is the process so clearly seen as 
in the mammalian heart, which is a perfect museum of 
evolutionary failures and dislocations, compensated for by 
an extraordinary complication of patched-up tissues and 
altered muscle in which, perhaps, one tissue takes on 


the functions of another, and some evolutionary rem- 
nants long survive without function. I was, indeed, first 
led to take this general view of the variational value of 
pathological conditions by observing that the heart, when 
laid open from any aspect, powerfully suggested an 
organized or cured aneurism. By this I do not mean 
that it is now in any way aneurismal, or that the heart is 
descended from such a large and definite breakdown. The 
view put forward is that the complex machinery of the 
chorda tendinece, the columnce carnece, the papillares 
musculi, the moderator band and the valves generally, 
gives it the appearance of a repaired organ, and inevitably 
suggests that, during its evolution, fibrosis and the reactions 
of stressed tissues moulded and re-moulded it on the 
general lines of mechanical construction, breakdown, and 
repair. Many must have made the same observations, 
even if they have not come to similar conclusions. The 
anatomist and pathologist perhaps know their subjects 
too well, and are necessarily greatly dominated by current 
theory. The general adaptation of the heart to the work 
it performs may well delight the anatomist as he studies 
its machinery. His main business is not evolution. The 
pathologist, on the other hand, observing its many failures, 
is scarcely likely to discern that by failure itself may come 
eventual perfection, and while the physiologist considers 
its functions rather than its apparatus, he studies it as it 
is, not as it was. In each case the observer may not see the 
forest for the trees. Yet when we look at the partially 
repaired aneurism with its fibrous growths, and turn to the 
opened heart, the essential likeness of the chorda tendinece, 
for all their definite functions, to the rude fibres of an 
aneurism, is obvious. Is such a likeness an accident of 
evolution and pathology, or are we to consider the heart 


as much an organized dilatation sac of the whole fused 
circulatory canal as the cured aneurism is of a part of it ? 
It is in embryology that we seek for confirmation of what 
is suggested by anatomy. But even anatomy alone offers 
powerful proof of the view that the heart, as we know it, 
is the latest result of repeated failures of the circulatory 
canal under strain, and of the repairs effected by the stressed 
tissues in their response to changed and abnormal stimuli, 
just as bone alters under its particular stresses. During 
embryological life there is found in the heart a small patch 
of non-functioning muscle in the anterior segment of the 
mitral valve. Its presence is intelligible if we consider 
it a relic of a disrupted and repaired organ. The muscles 
of the heart are obviously homologous with those of the 
arteries. Yet they have become striated although they are, 
of course, still involuntary. Non-striated muscle is the 
earliest in evolution. It seems that the increased func- 
tioning of the cardiac muscle has converted it into its 
striated form, so that it resembles skeletal muscles, which 
are much more active than non-striated muscle. The 
whole histology of cardiac muscle probably represents the 
result of great strains. Structures such as the disks or 
bands of Ebarth are found nowhere else, and may be the 
result of peculiar stress. There are even portions of muscle 
which no longer perform muscular functions. Their 
fibres do not contract, but serve instead to conduct 
stimuli as if they were nervous tissue. All tissue is con- 
ductive, but the Bundle of His, with its Purkinje fibres, 
which carries the impulse from the auricle to the ventricle, 
transmits messages at ten or twelve times the normal 
muscular rate. When it fails there is heart-block. In 
the embryo the valves arise from the cardiac walls, and are 
composed of muscular tissue, which by the action of fibro. 


blasts gradually become non-muscular. This must have 
been originally a pathological process. It is a reversion, 
a degeneration made use of. We observe analogous, or 
shall I say homologous ? results in the hypertrophied heart. 
The normal male heart weighs about eleven ounces. In 
some cases of aortic stenosis it may weigh over thirty ounces. 
In such hypertrophied muscle are often found fibrous 
tissues which probably represent the connective tissue of 
muscular fibres which have atrophied from overstrain. The 
attachments of the mitral valve are less muscular and more 
fibrous than those of the tricuspid. The greater elasticity 
of the tricuspid papillares musculi and the annular muscles 
of the base of the ventricle thus allows an overfull right 
ventricle, which is so much less powerful than the left, 
to be relieved by the temporary functional incompetence 
of the tricuspid valve. In the reptile with a functioning 
foramen the valves are purely mechanical, as pressure is 
relieved by the patent orifice. The fossa ovalis in the 
mammal is a remnant of the early communication between 
the auricles. In a large number of normal hearts there is 
a small valvular passage yet remaining in the left margin 
of the fossa. None of these phenomena seem capable of 
explanation as the result of spontaneous variations 
arising from some theoretic instability of the organism. 
To argue that they are is to give biologic mystics a chance. 
It appears obvious from all these facts taken together 
that cardiac evolution has been a series of caused varia- 
tions due to increased and varying stresses, which acted 
not only as a moulding force on the shape and musculature 
of the heart, but on all its appendages. In the muscle of 
the ventricular walls with its extraordinary complexity of 
layers and interlaced fibres lies powerful evidence of such 
reactions. In both ventricles there are seven muscular 


layers, while in the arteries there seems but one. In the 
left ventricle these layers are obviously thicker and stronger 
than in the less stressed right cavity. But how did the 
ventricular cavities acquire more layers than the arteries ? 
No new muscle fibres arise after birth, and yet there is 
obvious reason for believing that stress can be responded 
to by increase of muscle fibre during evolution. In the 
gravid uterus the smooth fibres of the wall increase 
to eleven times their normal length, and are from two to 
five times as broad. So far as we know there cannot be 
new fibres in it. But in evolution new fibres are un- 
doubtedly found. In the arteries, the fibres of non-striated 
muscle in the tunica media are for the most part circular, 
but they appear to have more or less longitudinal branches 
which interlock with like branches of the neighbouring 
fibres. One of the most prominent features of an in- 
dividual aneurism is the thinning out, and sometimes the 
disappearance, of the tunica media. The muscle fibres in 
such cases are completely broken down, and if the aneurism 
is repaired in individuals the work is done mostly by an 
increase of the connective-tissue elements. The process 
is said by some to be a reparatory endarteritis, in which 
the tissues of the adventitia proliferate actively. But the 
evolutionary process has obviously taken the path of 
increase and reactive proliferation of the muscular elements 
of the media. 

Without attempting a task of which I am incapable and 
endeavouring to elucidate the problem of the origin of 
circulatory systems in a primary vascular sponge-work, 
through which the fluids of the primitive organism were 
propelled by contractile tissue, it may be noted that the 
columns and chordce rise from such a sponge-work which, 
at an early embryonic period, fills the primitive ventricle. 


To interpret such an origin and their present functions it 
seems they must be looked on as reaction products found 
useful when the chambers of the heart arose as dilatations 
of the primitive tube. Such dilatations were probably, 
I would even say certainly, failures of the walls. The 
incomplete pathological disaster of a repaired aneurism 
helps us to understand such evolutionary failure and repair 
as enabled the evolving heart to endure greater stresses, 
and be once more repaired. It may be added that the 
sponge-work of the evolving primary ventricle is strictly 
analogous to the vascular spongy tissues seen in the male 
organ. Every pathologist will admit that such a structure 
may be logically compared with a vascular aneurism. 
The path laid down by pathology is trodden by physiology. 
It follows that during evolution there must have been an 
immense destruction of organisms whose circulating canals 
did not react, and numbers which retained their unaltered 
" specific " characters. The same process goes on to-day. 
Though many die of cardiac disease, it may be that much 
youthful functional trouble, and even more serious adult 
disorders, are even now re-moulding the heart. No organ 
is perfect ; if it does not degenerate it progresses. Though 
such processes are " disease," it by no means follows that 
they will be destructive, any more than that the functional 
incapacity of the tricuspid valves in athletes, which 
probably precedes what is known as " second wind," is 
anything now but a cardiac safety-valve. 

As we learn more of the heart and its latent capacities 
we may, perhaps, say with the late Dr. H. G. Button, " we 
trust nature too little, to say the least of it." But there are, 
of course, great difficulties to overcome before we can hope 
to understand how the cardiac musculature has altered, 
and may still be changing by the addition of new fibres. 


As yet, little is known of myogenesis. Like a neuron, a 
muscle cell seems to last a lifetime, and though both may 
degenererate or die, neither proliferates after the early 
period of development. But whatever their histogenesis, 
new fibres do appear in evolution. Harvey did not refuse 
to believe in the validity of his own conclusions, because 
he lived before Leeuwenhoek. With considerable hesita- 
tion I venture to suggest that morphogenetic stress is at 
its height during foetal development. The child in utero 
has not, perhaps, the calm and happy life commonly 
attributed to it. On the contrary, it probably leads a 
strenuous existence, and if it inherits a new weakness this 
is shown just where and when new stresses find plastic 
embryonic tissues to respond to them. If such a specu- 
lation is sound it accounts for many phenomena. But in 
any case, whatever the machinery of inheritance and 
evolutionary repair, it is certain that new fibres arise where 
they are needed. 1 The origin of the cremaster muscle as a 
lately evolved support for the testis certainly strengthens 
this view. Hunter could not account for its appearance 
during embryonic life, when the testis occupies its original 
position, and the cremaster serves no purpose. In the 
testiconda such a muscle is not found. It must obviously 
have arisen as the result of stress during the evolutionary 
descent of the testis, and cannot be accounted for except 
by such stresses and foetal hormonic influences. 

If such views in any way represent the biological 
history of the heart, it is obvious that many of the opinions 
of variation usually held are without foundation. Every 
variation is definitely caused ; it is in no sense accidental 
or spontaneous ; it may not even be at once advantageous 
to the individual ; on the contrary, it may be a severe 

1 See Appendix B. The Peroneus Tertius. 


handicap which puts greater general stress on all who 
experience it, though such stresses fall short of those which 
cause death. Variations of this order may only be advan- 
tageous to the whole species as a continuing race. They 
may destroy, and doubtless have destroyed, individuals 
without number at an earlier age than the usual life-period 
of the unvaried type. We may possibly imagine a part of 
humanity, now responding to stresses which make the 
heart do more work and fail earlier, displaying such energy 
during their shorter life as to displace those with a normal 
cardiac mechanism which survives to the average age of 
man. It is to be inferred from these considerations that 
the structure of an organism is not a congeries of minute 
fortuitous advantageous variations, nor the gradual 
massing of details in an orthogenetic line, nor the result of 
large discontinuous variations due to chromosomatic 
inheritance, but a complex of definite reactions to definite 
stresses. The true theory of living structure is that its 
growth is neither casual nor foreseen, but that it is what we 
may call, in political language, the " opportunism " of the 
organism as a whole. Every advance is a forced, even a 
desperate, experiment. Life, like a hypothesis or a dam, 
is built up by stopping leaks. 

The evolution of the stomach seems to have followed 
the lines suggested for cardiac development. From the 
physiological point of view, an intestinal tube which be- 
comes dilated cannot be considered anything but patho- 
logical. It has failed under the stresses on it, but the 
organism which reacted turned a weak dilatation sac into 
a strong permanent food pouch. The results to the reacting 
organisms were many. The ingested food became tem- 
porarily static, was more thoroughly dealt with, and the 
organism was not continually feeding. Its whole available 


energy was not devoted to nutrition ; it had time at its 
disposal, and could develop other functions leading to 
further structures. That the mammalian stomach is 
such an organized failure is suggested forcibly by the 
musculature. In the small intestine this is composed of 
two layers of fibres, circular and longitudinal. In the 
stomach it is made of three sets, an inmost layer of oblique 
fibres being added. This oblique layer is obviously a 
later growth and, as would be expected on the lines laid 
down as to disaster and repair, its strongest fibres are 
found supporting the greater curvature or dilatation of 
the stomach. When speaking of these muscle fibres, it 
is, of course, understood that they not only resisted the 
passive strains of ingested food, but also exercised their 
active basal function of contractility as well. This later 
oblique layer is naturally less well developed than the 
longitudinal and circular fibres. Other oblique fibres are 
formed about the pylorus, where they form the sphincter. 
I suggest that these oblique muscle fibres arose at points of 
strain, under intense stimulation. The dilated pouch has 
reacted in accordance with mechanical law, just as the 
heart did with its more complex arrangement of oblique 
fibres woven into a structure capable of giving in the left 
ventricle a thrust of over fifty pounds. The reacting 
organism is no fool of a mechanic either in its bones or its 
muscles, and these phenomena are additional reasons for 
extending Wolff's law to all tissues if it is understood that, 
while bone responds to gravitational and compressional 
stresses, and to the tensile stress of muscle, the fibres of 
muscle produce the very stresses to which they respond 
by increase of bulk and strength. If protoplasm did not 
so react there would be no problems to solve. 

Such views on the mammalian gastric apparatus are so 


obviously supported by the embryology of the organ that 
there is no need to go into details beyond noticing that 
in the fourth week there comes the first dorsal bulging in 
the foregut. But if evolution is still proceeding, is it 
absurd to suggest that the common symptom of a general 
disturbance of health known as dilated stomach may be a 
pathological process actually in the process of becoming 
physiological ? According to some physicians, few modern 
stomachs do not suffer at times from an amount of 
dilatation which is pathological ; i.e. the gastric mus- 
culature fails to react correctly. The stomach may yet 
be such a functioning dilatation pouch as to enable the 
human race to do with no more than one meal a day, or 
even less. Our descendants will have all the more time 
for work. This by no means implies that the empty 
stomach should be any larger than it is now in healthy 
subjects. Before the invention of X-rays the gastric 
apparatus was always pictured in text-books as usually 
seen on the post-mortem table. The dead stomach was 
shown as the portrait of the live one : the weakened pouch 
of the sick man as that of the live and healthy subject. 
But nowadays it is known that such extreme dilatation is 
natural only when a large meal has been taken. When the 
healthy stomach has emptied itself it has contracted so 
that it nearly resumes its ancient cylindrical character 
and then goes into a state of rest or relaxation. With 
further development it might hold still more, and yet react 
in the same way. The suggestion that functional failure 
or disease, which becomes organic and destructive in many, 
may, in reacting and surviving organisms, alter their outlook 
on life and all their activities, seems to me powerfully 
reinforced by these considerations. The disadvantageous 
variation does work, and finally improves the race. It 


is a big subject, not to be enlarged on here ; but there still 
remains much work to be done as to the indirect influences 
of diseases, infections, and otherwise, upon physical and 
cerebral development. It may be suggested that the 
acuity of sensation and perception of those affected, but 
not disabled, by tuberculosis and the slow acquisition of 
immunity, may have modified human character to a 
marked degree. 

It can even be shown that disadvantageous variations 
actually become permanent racial characters. We may 
consider hernias. During the processes of evolution, a 
mammalian hernia seems to have occurred almost univer- 
sally, and to have established itself as normally physio- 
logical. The tunica vaginalis of the testis is actually part 
of the original peritoneal sac, as can be seen in the embryo. 
This was, of course, observed by John Hunter. During 
foetal life it is separated from the parent sac. In whatever 
sense we now call such a change physiological, it seems 
impossible to regard it as originally anything but patho- 
logical. I certainly do not know how we can describe the 
scrotum as anything else than the coverings of an evolu- 
tionary hernial sac, which is not only of no advantage, but 
a positive danger to most male animals. This view has been 
supported by Bramann. In some, the pigs for instance, 
the testicles do not descend into an external pouch, but 
are supported and protected by the normal skin tissues, 
not by a thinned and delicate integument of later develop- 
ment like the scrotum, a tissue still scantily supplied 
with the non-striated muscular fibres which might have 
reinforced it, and are, perhaps, now developing slowly. 
When we consider the rarity of muscular fibres in human 
skin tissues in comparison with those of animals, their 
greater frequency in the scrotum and perinaeum suggests 


that they are a reaction product, a forced revival of the 
primitive panniculus. They act in the dartos, or deeper 
layers of the scrotal dermis, at right angles to the rugse, 
and are something of a support. The pink colour of this 
structure is due to the presence of these muscular fibres. 
They are not connected in any way. with the cremaster 
muscle, and therefore are not affected by the cremasteric 
reflex. In many senses the descent of the testes cannot 
be called advantageous. It causes a weak spot, recognized 
as such by men and animals. The Japanese wrestlers 
are said to be trained from earliest youth to return 
the testes into the inguinal canals. If the translation 
of the testis from a safe place to an exposed one has had 
any good results, they have been indirect and only 
discoverable, though not yet discovered, over long periods 
during which the change must have been disastrous to 
many. To argue that they were advantageous to begin 
with is to destroy the authority of reason. It is true 
that at the present stage of human development an un- 
descended testis rarely produces normal spermatozoa. But 
to argue that the testes descended because the rise of 
intra-abdominal pressure produced conditions incompatible 
with racial continuance seems to ignore physical causation 
in favour of a partially teleological explanation. It cannot 
be argued that their present situation was always the best, 
or that their early position was disadvantageous in face 
of the fact that in elephants, seals, and walruses the testes 
remain undescended, and that the boar's are at least in- 
conspicuous and protected by normal skin tissues. As a 
rough partial illustration, it may be said that though an 
emigrant's descendants might do badly in his native village, 
it does not follow that they might not have functioned 
there successfully if their parent had not left it. 


It may seem an undue extension of the view that 
pathology has played an immense part in evolution, if it is 
suggested that it was upon pathological conditions that the 
very existence of the Metazoa depended. There can be 
no doubt that they originated from some protozoon by a 
failure of normal physiological fission. We see here how 
theories of disease may be modified according to the point 
of view taken. From that, shall I say, of a protozoan 
Hippocrates or Hunter nothing can be more obvious than 
that a failure of mitosis would be a calamity, the birth of 
a monster, of Siamese twins, among the normally con- 
stituted unicellular organisms. It is still in the processes 
of reproduction that we find the strongest evidence of the 
part played by disease. 

When considering such problems in this light, it seems 
somewhat difficult to account for the satisfaction of 
many with the theory of small cumulative advantageous 
variations. What ground is there for imagining such 
machinery could result in a complex series of adaptations 
such as the uterus, and what we may call its habits and 
customs in dealing with the embryo from the entrance of 
the ovum till birth ? Even those who adapt to their 
own ideas some theory of large discontinuous variation 
will, in the end, be compelled to attribute the uterine growth 
and functions to a mystic power or virtue in the original 
germ. They may follow some philosophers, and " unpack " 
powers out of a conjurer's bag without telling us how 
they got there. Yet if we regard the uterus as the result 
of tissue reactions under abnormal stimuli, being guided 
in research by the processes seen every day in disease, the 
variations, whether small or large, continuous or discon- 
tinuous, assume an aspect neither fanciful nor mystical, 
and our need for biological faith is reduced to a decent 


scientific minimum. To say so much is not to deny that 
small variations may finish, or polish, a rough incomplete 
adaptation. From an eolith to the perfection of Chellean 
art may be such a process, but the first eolith was no small 

The fact that the embryo acts upon the maternal 
organism as a parasite against which the mother has to 
be protected, is commonly recognized, but I have not seen 
the obvious conclusion drawn that the whole history of 
the mammal must have been due originally to a pathological 
accident in some one or more of their ancestors. The 
mammalian animal still lays eggs, but they are not ex- 
truded. When such retention first took place, it must 
have been due to an accidental pathological delay of the 
travelling ovum, owing perhaps to catarrh of the tube. 
Even now the mother has to be rendered immune to the 
products of the offspring. Many of the phenomena of early 
gestation are those of immunization, in some cases a very 
slow process, as is shown in human beings by vomiting and 
malaise. It has, moreover, not been clearly or generally 
recognized, except by pathologists, that the very methods 
by which the ovum attaches itself to the uterine wall are, so 
far as the hostess is concerned, actually pathological and 
bordering on the malignant. Yet they have resulted in a 
series of protective reactions which save the parent and 
permit the growth of the parasite. The method by which 
the ovum becomes partially buried in the tissues is obviously 
of a destructive kind, and curiously analogous to the 
malignant processes seen in chorion-epithelioma. Bland- 
Sutton remarks, "This disease is instructive because the 
erosive action of the trophoblast is the physiological type 
of the invasiveness so characteristic of many varieties of 
cancer." It must, I think, be added, that it is the balance 


established by reaction which makes the trophoblastic 
action physiological. 1 

That the influence of the ovum on the undeveloped tube 
must have been of an exceedingly dangerous character is 
now seen in tubal pregnancies during which the chorionic 
villi frequently penetrate the wall of the tube, which does 
not react as powerfully as the uterus. Such a process in 
the uterus, which is itself a tubal dilatation, is now normal, 
because these villi, the earlier nutrition roots or organs of 
the parasite, are prevented from injuring the uterine wall 
irrevocably by the transformation of the reactive uterine 
decidua and the chorionic villi and the allantois of the 
foetus into the combined temporary organ known as the 
placenta. It may be noted that the non-placental mammals 
are less exposed to the destructive and toxic effects of their 
offspring, as they are born at an earlier stage than in the case 
of the deciduate mammals. The marsupial foetus is about 
half an inch in length when transferred to the milk-pouch. 
It is impossible to look at the placenta without recognizing 
that it is what we may call a compromise growth, one which 
serves the embryo without destroying the parent hostess. 
That all mammals are not yet fully armed against any 
morbid alteration of function in the penetrating chorionic 
villi is seen, as suggested above, in chorion-epithelioma, 
where the energy of the villi trophoblasts leads to a 
malignant overgrowth of the epithelial elements, which the 
maternal tissues fail to inhibit. The hydatid mole, which 
does not as a rule become malignant, is a case where 
such inhibition has been sufficient. These phenomena 
establish on a firm foundation the view that the uterus and 
its reactions during gestation are definite protective pro- 
cesses or variations springing originally from a purely 

1 See Chapter II., Malignancy. 


pathological accident in some ancestors of the mammalians. 
However complex the embryology of the uterus and its 
appendages, the broad facts are compatible with this 
view, which is strengthened by the later parasitic history 
of the offspring after birth. The mammae appear to be a 
compromise between the needs of the infant and the pro- 
tection of the mother ; it has been suggested that they 
originated in sore or tender spots on the epithelium most 
exposed to the assaults of the parasite. Whether this is 
true or not, the growth of the nipple is a complex variation 
depending on the mechanical action of sucking with a 
reaction proliferation of the epithelial elements of the 
sweat and sebaceous glands, and an increased blood-supply 
as special maternal protection against oral infection. It 
seems to me that few stronger instances can be found of 
the fact that the development of many organs, if not all 
of them, is the result of direct reactions or adaptations, 
which are in the nature of repair to tissues otherwise likely 
to suffer disastrously. 

It is large macroscopic results of this order which enable 
us to reason about other finer reactions, and even help us 
to link to the general process those of a microscopic and 
ultra-microscopic character which we class under " im- 
munity." Such phenomena are reactions under stress 
which, by the provocation of catalysts, influence life. If, 
indeed, much of human character is similar reaction, 
perfect or imperfect, to the infections to which the race has 
been and still is exposed, psychology itself must at last be 
classed as the result of physical reactions a conclusion 
fully in accord with the work of Pavlov on conditioned 

If any further illustration of the conclusions so far 
suggested is necessary, it may be found in the fixation of 


the mesentery, and the changes undergone during its 
development. It has often been pointed out that the 
embryonic processes by which it is made secure are 
histologically those of plastic organized exudations, i.e. 
those which have been invaded by fibroblasts. These 
attachments do not come about at the same period of 
foetal development, and it seems of significance when we 
note that the mesentery of the small gut has an oblique 
attachment, to the posterior abdominal wall from the 
duodenum to the right iliac fossa, only found in animals 
which have assumed the upright posture. This comes 
into existence as late as the fourth or fifth month of 
foetal development. Before this band formed there must 
have been a great series of disasters, for even now the 
last part of the mesentery to become attached to the 
abdominal wall, that is, the angle between the ileum 
and ascending colon, sometimes remains free. A volvulus 
may easily form there by rotation of the ileo-colic 
loop. The whole history suggests a series of lymph 
effusions, caused by pathological states, some of which 
were sorted out by the lethal process of natural selection, 
the remainder surviving and leaving offspring with the 
liability to organize the effusion in the safe way. The 
pathology of those cases, in which what are known as Lane's 
Kinks can be found, is obviously of a similar character. 
The stasis of the affected bowel causes lymph effusion, and 
the formation of bands which are morphologically homo- 
logous with the early attachment of the mesentery. In 
Keith's paper, " Nature of Peritoneal Adhesions," I find 
noted the normal loose network of connective-tissue bands 
between the elephant's lung and the pleura. This is a 
physiological development of evolutionary adhesions, and 
clearly supports the pathological development of many 


large variations. With regard to mesenteric bands the 
same worker says : "In securing a proper fixation of the 
abdominal viscera Nature calls to her aid processes which 
are usually regarded as pathological." In this passage 
" Nature " can obviously be translated into a series of 
modifiable and transmissible phenomena. 

After reviewing phenomena such as these, the conclusion 
seems inevitable that single small favourable variations 
have not done the whole work of evolution. They may 
play their part as correlated changes ; but they then take 
their place in a series of which the causes can be recognized. 
In combination with reasonable views of use and disuse, and 
of increased or decreased blood-supply, they may, perhaps, 
be held to explain such phenomena as the delicate 
co-aptation of some cardiac valves. Their place in the 
explanation of the phenomena of mimicry seems obvious. 
But though they may help us to comprehend how tissues 
become finished structures, if they are combined with the 
results of functional energy, they yield no hint as to great 
or decisive developments, and the mechanism involved in 
them. If the reasons adduced for the thesis laid down carry 
any weight, it is obvious that many, if not most, of the 
really decisive variations in all internal structure depended, 
and still depend, not on variations which can be called 
favourable, but on those that for the major portion of the 
organisms involved are directly disastrous ; not on varia- 
tions which are small, but on those which are big 
enough to be appreciable as the cause of immense 
functional and structural results ; not on changes 
which can in any sense be called spontaneous, by 
which we may suppose are meant those no cause can 
be assigned to, but on variations, which, though they 
occurred ages ago, were obviously due to the very 


same causes that the pathologist can demonstrate to be 
working at the present day. Only such organisms as 
respond by direct reactions in a manner that finally turns 
out to be useful, or at the very least compatible with life 
and reproduction, are able to survive. The whole of 
growth and development thus becomes largely a function 
of effective morphogenetic repair to organic failure and 

Though this is not the place to deal at length with the 
vexed question of transmission of modifications, it may 
be remarked that the foregoing arguments seem to imply 
that such alterations, as a matter of fact, are inherited. I 
think some progress can be made if we simply assume 
provisionally that organisms do tend to repeat them- 
selves, and that it is unlikeness rather than likeness which 
requires explanation. We know that gross unlikeness is 
almost always due to a lack or excess of some internal 
secretion, hormone, or enzyme, and from this it may be 
inferred that likeness is due to such catalytic machinery 
coming over in the zygote, and to each differentiation 
producing anew its own peculiar products which stimulate 
or inhibit further growth and differentiation. Some 
time ago I was struck by a remark of Starling's, that each 
new organism seemed a fresh " creation." He gave this 
up on account of the difficulty he found in the " time 
element " of the problem ; but I venture to think he was 
right in his surmise. 1 There is a growing body of opinion 
in support of this view, as the names of Cunningham, 
MacBride, Dendy, and Bourne seem to bear witness. We 
must certainly take into account these hormonic regulators 
of metabolism, and if we accept the view that hyper- 
thyroidism is the direct cause of the phenomena seen in 

1 See Chapter VII., Heredity and Environment. 


Graves' Disease, just as hyper- or hypo-pituitarism causes 
giantism or infantilism in children, while a later overgrowth 
of the gland causes acromegaly, I see no difficulty in accept- 
ing the hypothesis that growth is determined, i.e. stimulated 
or finally inhibited, by non-living catalysts or secretions 
not necessarily confined to the endocrine organs. In this 
way a bridge may perhaps be built between the orthodox 
Weismannian and the Lamarckian. Growth and character 
are caused by determinants ; but these are not parts of the 
cytoplasm itself, they are the machinery by and through 
which living matter acts. The organism is not built 
up by special protoplasm, or by entelechies, or by any 
mysterious elan creatif. It arises from the definite influence 
of definite catalysts originating, in an orderly sequence, 
as the organs become differentiated, while the individual 
is as a whole exposed in an infinite progression to the 
internal and external stimuli of a like but slowly changing 
environment to which it reacts. The factors which did 
the work are working now. 

To recapitulate the tentative conclusions arrived at, 
it may be suggested that : 

1. Mechanical reaction to stress is a general law of all 

2. Morbid conditions in many cases give rise to repair 
which becomes physiological. 

3. Such repairs lead to new functions, new stresses, 
further morbid states, and further repair. 

4. These factors are some of the main causes of specific 
and generic differences. 

5. In all probability transmission of changes caused 
in the way indicated takes place by a morphogenetic reply 
in utero to increased functional stresses. 

6. As it is a narrow view to assume that pathology 


in all cases tends to death, the study of pathology and 
general physiology should be part of the preparation of 
the biologist. 


BAYLISS, W. M. " Principles of General Physiology," 1918. 
BLAND-SUTTON, Sir JOHN. (i) "Tumours," 1918 ; (2) "Evolu- 
tion and Disease." 
BRAMANN. " Descensus Testiculorum," His. Arch., 1884, 

pp. 310-40. 
HUNTER, JOHN. "Works" (ed. Owen), vol. iv., " Descent of 

Testis," p. i. 

KAMMERER. P. v. MacBride's paper, infra. 
KEITH, ARTHUR. " Nature of Peritoneal Adhesions," Lancet, 

London, 1914, p. 362; "Menders of the Maimed," 1919. 
LEWIS, T. " Mechanism of the Heart Beat," 1911. 
MACBRIDE, E. W. " Are Acquired Characters Inherited ? " 

Trans. S.E. Union of Scientific Societies, 1917. 
STARLING, E. H. (i) " Physiology " ; (2) " Law of the Heart," 


SUTTON, H. G. " Lectures on Pathology." 
WOLFF, JULIUS. " Law of Bone Transformation," Acad. Science, 

Berlin, 1892. 



THE history of science records the birth, life, and 
death of many conceptions, which, although they 
seemed to reconcile contradictions triumphantly, in the 
end did but serve to show how hypotheses can rise to the 
rank of theories, and yet finally be disposed of by some stray 
fact. Just as some conqueror in his hour of victory falls 
to a chance bullet, so they succumb at last. They may for 
the time be " true " ; they serve, that is, as a temporary 
shelter or clearing house for contradictory observations, 
and thus produce the semblance of order. Deep within 
them there may be even some hint of real explanation. 
It was so with the ancient view of the arteries, to which the 
very word bears witness. They were, indeed, air vessels 
even if the observations leading to such a conclusion were 

1 An abstract of this paper was printed in The British Medical Journal, 
September 14, 1918, and since re-writing and developing it, I note that 
R. M. M'Nair Wilson (" Meaning of Tachycardia," ibid., January 17, 
1920) practically adopts Luciani's view, with which I was not acquainted, 
that the vagus is " a nerve of diastole," and adds, " this nerve would 
seem not to be inhibitor in the narrow sense, but rather to act by in- 
creasing the filling time in response, no doubt, to stimulation from the 
cortex." Although I do not wholly agree with this in all its implications, 
yet as I have expressed doubts as to whether tachycardia is to be attri- 
buted to disturbance of the pace-maker itself, it is of interest to me to 
note that Wilson holds the view that it is due to a compensating accelera- 
tion when the ventricular systole cannot get rid of the diastolic intake. 
This, I imagine, is also the opinion of T. Lewis, who states that tachycardia 
does not originate in the pace-maker. 



incomplete. So, too, with Phlogiston, which was both false 
and true, and passed away as explanation when the actual 
nature of combustion was discovered. Many such con- 
ceptions must exist now, and possibly among them may be 
reckoned some orthodox conceptions of physiology. 

It is a mark of false but useful theory that in the end 
it raises more questions than it disposes of. In its 
explanation other hypotheses are built up which contradict 
each other, while none can be found to reconcile them. But 
if the original conception is held obstinately, even further 
observations are tortured into supporting it. In such 
cases free speculation and criticism may play a useful part. 

If there is any physiological subject in which speculation 
of all kinds is allowable on such grounds it is, perhaps, 
Inhibition. There are facts of observation in abundance, as 
any text-book of physiology proves, while the hypotheses, 
sometimes misnamed theories, which seek to explain 
them are both difficult and contradictory. It seemed to 
me, when considering the subject, that the function of 
the cardiac vagus, in which, according to accepted views, 
inhibition means not only cessation of action in some 
muscles, but the actual weakening of the whole heart, 
might form a key, if not to unlock the mysteries of inhibition, 
at the least to show some possible flaws in accepted opinion. 
It appeared likely that not only had results obtained 
in the laboratory, often of a pathological or traumatic 
origin, not been compared with normal physiological action, 
but that few inquirers had sought for analogies in other 
organisms by which inhibition and its action could be 
understood. It certainly appeared as if some clue were 
needed to the problem, so far without real explanation, as 
to the manner in which the vagus centre could "put the 
heart out of action," and yet increase the action of the 


intestine. In saying so it has not been forgotten that 
inhibition is admitted by most to be no more than a 
covering word for various observations. Such a covering 
word, however, tends to obtain illegitimate sanctions by 
continued use, and if it is asked to shelter not only mere 
physiological stoppage of action, as when a muscle is thrown 
out of gear, but also a pathological process in which the 
subject may die of cardiac failure, a better one must 
surely be sought. 

In the first place, it may be asked whether inhibition, 
in any case, is a safe word to employ, even if the facts 
observed are found to support the general notion. Nothing 
is clearer than that the use of a word, which is, as it were, 
sanctified by special employment in other connections 
than those of science, needs the closest examination. The 
connotation of the term as commonly employed is purely 
"psychological," that is to say, it is a "portmanteau" 
word for the interruptions of functions by " forbiddance," 
or obvious and useful shorthand for a complex of con- 
ditioned reflexes which, on being excited, repress certain 
actions by turning energy in other directions. For we 
cannot suppose that an "inhibited " clergyman does not 
in some way employ his energy on paths previously little 
used or not used at all. Just as spoken words are sound 
signals which excite reflex action, so the bishop's written 
words of inhibition, when they stop a certain function, 
set others in action, whether it be over emotional tracts 
of indignation, surprise, or anger, or over carefully con- 
sidered remonstrance worked out by " volition " over the 
pyramidal tract in motor reactions which produce an answer 
and demand investigation. Yet using the common verbal 
shorthand, we say the clergyman has been "inhibited" by 
the bishop, as if some direct influence, not to be analysed 


into historic ecclesiastical tradition and custom, has pro- 
duced mere inability, and reduced the inhibited to temporary 
paralysis. Taking the word into science has produced 
similar results since some eminent physiologists have used 
the very word "influence " of the supposed vagus action 
on the heart. They would doubtless own that they, too, 
employed the word as shorthand ; but if, as I think the 
facts show, all sorts of inhibition, save those due to the 
pathological conditions vaguely summed up as "shock," 
are the result of substituted excitational actions, direct 
or upon other paths, there is no more need to use the 
word as opposed to excitation than there is to say that 
work is inhibited by the sound of the dinner-bell. What 
really happens in such a case is the conditioned reflex- 
closing of some synapses of the brain, and the easy opening 
of others leading to the reflex instinctive satisfactions of 

The answer to these questions seems to depend upon 
the processes which take place in one muscle when its anta- 
gonist is stimulated. There are probably few more difficult 
subjects in physiology than that of contractile tissue ; but 
to say that when a muscle goes out of action it is "in- 
hibited," surely takes us no further, since it is only putting 
into obscure words what we already know. It was the 
belief that the action of the stimulated cardiac vagus was 
excitatory of some really active process which led me to 
inquire whether inhibition in the sense of weakening ever 
occurred save in pathological cases, for, if it did not, it 
seemed to follow inevitably that the relaxation of a muscle 
was in some way a positive process in which there was some 
substituted action, not a time of rest. For a muscle's time 
of rest should be the refractory period. At first it seemed as 
if the facts could be explained, if not by a process of 


" drainage," at least by the deduction that a muscle " went 
out of action " owing to the fact that it sent no afferent, 
and received no answering efferent messages. Yet as I 
believed that there was a definitely active process shown 
in the diastole on normal physiological stimulation, it at 
last seemed certain that muscle-lengthening was not at all 
an inhibitory but an exciting process. It did not seem 
legitimate to say that lengthening took place " naturally," 
even if the word was interpreted as implying local processes 
of communicated strains, and cessation of strains, acting 
directly as kinds of primitive reflexes. What then is the 
action of muscle when lengthening ? As there are de- 
formations of the muscle cells in contraction, why should 
there not be active deformation in its opposite ? Such 
deformations must depend on physico-chemical factors 
such as surface tension and osmosis. If a muscle cell 
alters its shape when stimulated to contract, we can 
imagine its molecules ranged in a column of two, 
" forming fours," and closing up. In the opposite 
process the column of two molecules will become a 
column of single ones. Thus relaxation becomes a 
positive lengthening process of active deformation. If 
there are no special muscles of diastole in the heart acted 
on directly by the vagus as a motor nerve, some such 
process must account for the active diastole. It was 
a long time after some of these considerations occurred 
to me that a real explanation of cardiac negative pressure 
seemed possible. 

We find it, however, stated authoritatively that 
stimulation of the cardiac vagus is followed, not by the 
mere throwing out of action of another muscle, but by 
a slowing of the rate, a diminution of the energy, and a 
slackening in the rate of conduction of the Bundle of His and 


of the whole heart. The vagus fibres are thus conceived 
as actually depressant fibres, while the accelerator (or aug- 
mentor) acts, it is said, in exactly the opposite way. Since 
such views are founded on observations first made by the 
Webers, which cannot be placed in the category of ordinary 
reflex inhibition with substituted action, some further 
examination of the deductions drawn may surely be 
made with a view of determining whether the cardiac 
vagus really plays the part assigned to it, and whether 
the view stated above can throw light not only upon 
ordinary " inhibition," but on the real nature of the cardiac 

Although there is great reluctance on the part of physio- 
logists to acknowledge that experiments, however great 
their value, are often misleading, it is just as true to say so 
as to say that what happens in vitro is not always repeated 
in vivo. If it were, practical medicine would be less 
uncertain than it is. But just as the living organism with 
its unmeasured complexities thwarts and disappoints both 
physician and pharmacologist, so the animal experimented 
on, in conditions which are pathological and unnatural from 
the very beginning, cannot always show, and cannot be 
expected to show, the reactions due to natural stimuli when 
subjected, probably under conditions of trauma, to stimuli 
with which evolution has not made it acquainted. To say 
so much is not to urge any vital objection to experiment, 
but merely to caution those who, when they obtain interest- 
ing results, believe they are physiological. If in general a 
negative effect obtained by nerve stimulation requires 
explanation, how much more is needed to make it credible 
that evolution has contrived, by the mechanism of the 
cardiac vagus, a means not only of weakening the organism, 
but of actually bringing about its death ? 


When any man dies of sudden heart failure without 
cardiac disease or degeneration it is commonly attributed 
to "shock." Whatever "shock" may be, and something 
relevant to the subject may be urged later, it is usually 
brought about by violent stimulation of an unusual kind, 
such as severe trauma with its concomitant results. It is 
obvious that the heart, especially in delicately balanced 
organisms, is subject to continual fluctuations in its rate 
and energy. In it any excitatory, or depressant, stimuli 
bring about reflex cardiac results, in which, doubtless, the 
vagus is often implicated. In a minor degree they, too, 
may often be said to suffer from shock, for in that con- 
dition the state of the circulation is a major factor. If 
they are depressed there is weakening and slowing of the 
heart, a possible accumulation of blood in the abdominal 
veins, or even some loss of the fluid constituents of the blood 
by failure of osmotic balance, such as seen in undoubted 
traumatic shock (Bayliss), temporary anaemia of the brain, 
collapse, and possibly loss of consciousness. Such results, 
although they may upon occasion save the life of those 
who suffer from them, are undoubtedly dangerous, and in 
that sense pathological. It seems possible, then, that the 
equivalent or allied phenomena seen in animals, when the 
cut vagus is stimulated artificially, may be of a similar 
kind, and that any physiological deductions as to the 
action of the cardiac vagus are, to say the least, some- 
what hasty. 

Since shock has been of late the subject of much re- 
search, and of especially valuable practical work by 
Bayliss, something at least is known of its nature. Judg- 
ing, however, from recent notices of it in medical journals, 
it is to be observed that the main symptoms of severe, or 
possibly lethal, shock only are dilated upon. The influence 


of damaged muscle products, and the loss of blood fluid 
through the walls of the veins and arteries, are certainly, 
as it seems, the principal phenomena of the drama ; but 
since all physiological phenomena can only be conceived 
as verging gradually into pathological forms, and as we 
cannot understand pathology, except as divergence from 
useful function or structure, it inevitably follows that 
stimulation itself can be so accentuated that it becomes, 
firstly, excessive, secondly, abnormal, and at last crosses 
the vague border-line and becomes pathological. So, from 
the psychological, or complex cerebral point of view, we 
see the varying results of mild and severe surprise, mere 
fright, or excessive terror exciting more and more violent 
motor reactions or producing collapse, paralysis of all 
effort, total unconsciousness, or even death. There is 
therefore no need whatever to confine the use of the word 
shock to extreme phenomena. Anything which interrupts 
normal function, whether by vaso-motor means, by the 
excitation of some glands, or by producing synaptic 
block, or its exact opposite, may be ranked under its 

In accordance with what is laid down elsewhere, some- 
thing more may be learnt of these phenomena if any 
mechanical, biological, or social analogies can be discovered. 
Incidentally such an inquiry should throw some light, 
however dim, upon inhibition itself. When a social 
" shock," such as a great national calamity, is experienced, 
what are the phenomena observed ? The outstanding fact 
is that every one's attention is diverted from his task, 
and that for a time, longer or shorter according to circum- 
stances, work ceases, or is greatly slackened. In certain 
factories, for instance, in which the energy used is 
supplied by machinery, the engineer might even stop it 


altogether. It may be remarked, by the way, that in 
such a case energy would be stored in the boilers if the fires 
were not drawn or neglected. Such a storage of energy 
may be seen during temporary slowing of a physiological 
process, such as at first follows on vagal stimulation of the 
intestine. If the social shock is not too great, some- 
thing of the same result follows. If the work in hand is 
very necessary, it is probably returned to with greater 
vigour after the pause. Or it is diverted to functions 
still more necessary in the new circumstances. But when 
such a shock is very great, it is not followed by physio- 
logical renewed action, nor is it diverted. Action is entirely 
"inhibited," and energy is wasted. How is that energy 
wasted ? Energy must do work. What then is done ? 
It was said by a great physician that unity was health, and 
separation disease. He spoke truly, for with separation 
in any organism there is waste of energy. Nothing gets 
done. In a social organism there follows on great shock a 
degree of disintegration, with concomitant anger, argument, 
recrimination, so that energy is wasted in mere social heat 
instead of used in combined directed labour. Shock, then, 
is plainly a disruptive phenomenon, whether seen in a 
social or animal unit. In the animal no organ works well 
and none works with another. Secretions, hormones, cata- 
lysts, and the whole machinery of life are altered. The 
nervous system ceases to function rightly ; tone, nervous 
or muscular, is lowered, the blood accumulates in the 
splanchic area, the veins lose their serum. Instead of real 
symbiosis there is a dead indifference if the psychological 
phrase may be allowed : the fundamental hostility at the 
bottom of symbiosis may cease its powerful action. It is 
almost as if in a wrecked ship all hands broke into the 
spirit room, for in the shocked organism excretion is inter- 


fered with, and there is no cell unpoisoned, unintoxicated. 
Such effects of wasted, or undirected, energy may be seen in 
special cases to which the word shock cannot be employed. 
In the failing heart auricular fibrillation is the untimed 
contractions of disorganized fibres. It is the same with 
cardiac flutter. In a racing boat , when exhaustion overtakes 
the crew, they do not pull together. Unable any longer to 
receive the rhythmic stimulus of stroke, each man's 
reaction time or personal equation masters him. And 
each man's differs. The boat slows and, perhaps, finally 
stops. " The crew went to pieces." It is so with utter 
exhaustion. It is so in shock. And undoubtedly the 
liability to such complete disruption increases as the 
organism becomes higher, and the degree of interdepen- 
dence of the organs increases. In the most developed 
nervous types the heart seems the first organ to feel shock 
of any kind. Something or another has " gone to pieces " ; 
some function has been interrupted, whether by a disin- 
tegrative process in cells leading to an interruption of revers- 
ible reactions of colloids, or by some other failure. The 
processes by which energy is stored and released in 
muscle are as obscure as they are remarkable, and it is 
possible that cardiac shock may be found at last to be the 
result of an abnormal colloidal process depending upon an 
excessive " trigger action " of the cardiac vagus. 

For many reasons it seems impossible to accept un- 
reservedly the physiological doctrine that stimulation of a 
nerve is but "trigger action" to the muscle it sets going, 
and that no more energy passes over from the end-plate 
than an amount so small as not to be measurable. If some 
of the conclusions as to nervous action were not called 
in question by other accepted, or partially accepted, views, 
it might seem hazardous to make such an assertion. 


But assuredly Wrightson's Theory of Hearing, which has 
able advocates, throws doubt on many accepted opinions. 
Moreover, those who have had the doubtful advantage of 
receiving a severe and unexpected electric shock with a 
powerful muscular reaction which, as it seems, might in 
some cases tear away a ligament or even snap a bone, will 
have suspicions of the " trigger " doctrine. If the function 
of the vagus is not to produce some kind of excitation, the 
phrase " trigger action " does not apply. " Trigger action " 
in a gun is a measurable amount of energy, and so is the 
energy in the cartridge. And in ordinary cases, where 
the gun and the cartridge are what we may call " physio- 
logical," that is, in such a state that the normal hammer 
fall produces the normal explosion, an abnormally powerful 
hammer impact will produce no more powder energy than a 
merely adequate one. Yet if a powerful nerve excitation 
occurs, there is more than a normal explosion of muscle 
energy. In this case, if the nerve acts as a whole, more 
energy does " go over," for, if in ordinary conditions 
only a few fibres are affected, with the stronger stimulation 
all may be called into play. In either case the facts suggest 
that more energetic stimulation does cause greater, or even 
disastrous effects, showing that " trigger action " is not a 
sound analogy. It is therefore easy to understand how it 
is that abnormal vagal stimulation results in " shock " 
or disintegrating action. There seem more analogies 
between electric and nervous phenomena than the usual 
nerve theories allow. For if in electric " flex," composed 
of a large number of very fine wires, some of these fibres 
are cut, the lamp does not light, whereas, if more volts are 
applied to the unaltered wire, "shock" results, and the 
incandescent filaments fuse. It should be remembered 
that action resulting in shock is not an entity, totus, teres 


atque rotundus, it is a function of the two variables stimulus, 
and the condition of the stimulated organism. It may be 
little or more and more. The further it is considered the 
more justifiable it appears to regard it as a stimulus pro- 
ducing pathological effects, and such views are in keeping 
with the notion that the vagus normally is not " depressor," 
but, being a most delicate adjustment agent, can easily 
become such. We can certainly imagine that its action is 
depressing if all the vagus fibres are excited at once, which 
probably never happens in physiological conditions. So 
very rarely can all the fibres of the biceps be excited 
together. There are nearly a thousand fibres in its trunk. 
If the violent tonic spasm, produced by strong electric 
stimulation, excites them all together the phenomenon is 
explicable. Otherwise we must assume, as said above, 
what no physiologist seems to believe, that energy does 
really pass over from the end-plate into the muscle itself. 

If then shock be a complex of such phenomena, and 
if it is hard to conceive that evolution has made physio- 
logical stimulation of the vagus a means of destruction, 
it necessarily follows that its experimental stimulation, 
leading to weakening and failure of the heart, is essentially 
pathological, and that from what occurs no legitimate 
physiological deductions can be drawn. The Webers 
discovered an interesting fact ; but all they noted 
must be classed as pathological or traumatic. Doubt is 
thus thrown upon the view that the vagus can weaken a 
muscle in one place and stimulate it in another. Nothing 
will co-ordinate the facts but some proof, or suggestion 
of proof, that the vagus exerts both on heart muscle and 
smooth muscle an " influence " which helps both to 
function better. 

What then is the real function of the cardiac vagus ? 


When it is considered that every act of breathing and every 
change of posture send vagus messages to the heart, it 
seems obvious that the nerve fibres are adapted to control 
the heart's action, and enable it to do its work. Such 
messages are truly physiological, and cannot be measured 
in electrical language. But though they cannot be so 
measured, the changes induced are of definite advantage 
to the organism, and indicate one of the most delicate 
adaptations to gravity, or slight efforts, to be found in the 
mammalian body. Vagal or youthful irregularity of the 
heart is doubtless of a similar kind. In this kind of cardiac 
arrhythmia, still frequently mistaken by some medical 
men for serious disease, the heart slows after every inspira- 
tion, while, if the patient holds his breath, the irregularity 
tends to disappear. Though it is now known, owing to the 
work of Mackenzie, that it has no pathological significance 
whatsoever, it certainly has a physiological signification 
as showing to what immeasurably small stimuli the normal 
heart can and does respond. It may eventually be found 
that, though the slowing occurs during expiration, the 
vagal stimulation is experienced during inspiration, when 
the lungs expand. In a pathological case, the mere act of 
swallowing stimulates the vagus, and produces heart-block 
a few seconds later. The more these facts are considered 
the less likely does it seem that a tied-up animal, with a cut 
vagus electrically stimulated, can be held to show pheno- 
mena on a cardiogram which are remotely relevant to 
normal vagal action. Moreover, even when pressure over 
the vagus is applied at the neck and slowing results, there 
is no evidence to prove that the result is directly due to 
the pressure, since it is, on these general lines, far more 
likely to be due to the partial interruption of the circulation, 
and a vagal attempt at vaso-motor readjustment. 


From such considerations it follows that an inquiry 
must be made as to how the vagus acts on the heart physio- 
logically, and what its real functions are. Such a question 
leads to a fresh study of the heart's mechanism, and the rdle 
played by the augmentor as well as the vagus. Even if 
the notion that the vagus normally weakens the heart be 
put aside as contradicting the whole course of evolution, 
and if the facts can be otherwise explained when it does 
happen to have that effect, it may, at least, be admitted 
that it certainly slows the heart on stimulation, just as 
the augmentor or accelerator fibres quicken it. But 
reasonable slowness of action by no means implies weaken- 
ing or fatigue. The heart can be slowed in many ways, 
by the toxins of fatigue or disease, by high blood-pressure, 
by a depletion of the higher centres owing to vaso-motor 
action (Mackenzie) ; but if it is slowed physiologically, it 
must be for advantageous action, and what is seen in ex- 
periment is, at least, partially irrelevant, even if the whole 
of the phenomena, when understood, can be linked together. 
Following the method hitherto adopted, we may seek for 
illustrations of slowing in something that resembles an 
organism, and try to discover why it happens, and what it 
effects. Let such an organism or individual be a University 
eight. In a well-trained crew the endeavour of the trainer 
has been to get a long, slow, " well-pulled-through " action ; 
but when the crew become tired they are apt to accelerate 
the stroke, and make it short and " snatchy." It is found 
that more power is obtained by the long and slow stroke, 
and when the coxswain or the stroke oar think it time to 
quicken, both are well aware the reserve power of the crew 
is being drawn upon. When the slower rate is maintained, 
" inhibition " is the inhibition of the accelerator, not 
inhibition of the strength of the crew. By inhibiting 


rapidity and the waste of unregulated energy, power is 
conserved. Quite legitimately we may regard stroke as 
the pace-maker, and cox as central control. If in the heart 
we regard " inhibition " by the vagus as inhibition of 
the accelerators themselves, we obtain a physiological view 
of the whole cardiac drama, which, in fact, puts it into 
line with the muscular phenomena of reciprocal innerva- 
tion. I am aware that physiologists, dominated by what 
they observe in the laboratory, maintain that such an 
illustration does not illustrate, as they say the heart's force 
is really weakened. But the objections to this are many 
more than those already mentioned. All the facts of 
mechanics and physics are against it. When an engine is 
stopped or slowed, it is not weakened. On the contrary, 
it is strengthened, i.e. energy accumulates, and the boiler 
pressure rises. Questions of energetics also arise, for if, 
as physiologists say, the nerve only pulls the trigger, 
what action occurs in the heart muscle as it slows ? Does 
it waste its energy under normal stimulation, postural, 
inspiratory, or expiratory ? And if its energy is wasted, 
what becomes of it, and how does its free energy become 
bound energy ? It seems, having got so far, that no effort 
has been made to ascertain whether the real function of 
the vagus, as regards the brain itself, is not to control the 
accelerator centre, and the action of the accelerator centre 
to modify vagus action. Such an opinion might, I think, 
correlate and explain many of the observed phenomena, 
and it would certainly bring them into line with those seen 
in engines of all kinds, while it does not contradict direct 
cardiac action. 

It still remains, even if these views are allowed to have 
any force, to ask in what way the vagus actually influences 
the heart ? If it slows it, not to weaken it, but to allow it 


time to recuperate and gather energy, just as the vagus 
when acting on an intestine has at first a slowing, " in- 
hibitory " effect upon it, on what in the heart does the 
vagus act ? Such a question leads to the consideration of 
the diastolic mechanism, which seems so obscure that no 
information whatever is to be obtained on the subject. 
After consulting all books within my reach, the utmost I 
have gathered is that the diastole is "an elastic rebound," 
in some way connected with the columnce carnece. On 
applying personally to certain authorities I was told it was 
" a vital process." But so is the whole of life. The answer 
answered nothing. We know that there is negative pres- 
sure in the heart during diastole, so the old theory of the 
passive diastole cannot stand. There are few, if any, 
elastic connective-tissue fibres in the ventricle, whatever 
there may be in the septum or the base. Is then the 
diastole after all a muscular process in the sense that 
certain layers contract ? One of our greatest authorities 
tells me that there are no reasons for supposing that this is 
so. The whole of the muscle layers seem adapted only for 
the systole. It is true that in the systolic contraction there 
appear to be torsion strains. If we adopt the view that 
skeletal muscles are all systems, and that a single muscle 
cannot exist, it is perhaps conceivable that certain layers of 
cardiac muscle are stretched during the systolic torsion 
contraction, and that the diastolic rebound is thus muscular. 
Yet if the view is accepted that the mere lengthening of a 
muscle is a positive and active process, and a change in 
molecular order, which in some cases can do work, this 
somewhat unlikely hypothesis can be dispensed with. We 
have merely to inquire why in ordinary cases a lengthened 
muscle is said to be relaxed, and why the positive cardiac 
diastole, capable of producing a negative pressure, which 


according to Stefani is increased by vagal excitations, 
must obviously in some sense be unrelaxed. Because an 
inactive voluntary muscle appears soft it by no means 
follows that the lengthened cells are themselves so. They 
have merely ceased to pull on their origin and insertion. 
One fibre is not attached to another, and in contraction 
what we observe is the general tensile strain. But in the 
heart this condition of loose muscle fibre does not exist. 
According to Schafer cardiac fibres differ greatly from 
voluntary fibres : " their striations are less distinct ; they 
have no sarcolemma ; they branch and unite with neigh- 
bouring fibres, and their nuclei lie in the centre of the 
fibres." Of these differences, and here I follow a brilliant 
suggestion of Keith's, the really important one is that 
" they branch and unite with neighbouring fibres." If the 
diastolic muscle action really does work, the fibres cannot 
slacken and bend as in voluntary muscle. They form an 
actual network, an interdigitated or branched growth- 
mechanism, and must move together. Excitation is not 
transmitted from fibre to fibre in skeletal muscle, but it 
does so pass in cardiac as in smooth muscle, and all the 
cells are excited in waves. It is obvious that these millions 
of short columnar cells, each with its restraining connections, 
have to act as a body, cell with cell, fibre with fibre, and 
layer with layer, since the layers are so much part of each 
other that anatomists differ as to their number. In such a 
formation we have a most remarkable and unique engine, 
very different indeed from the fibres of voluntary muscle 
isolated in their sarcolemma, and a rough illustration of 
its mechanism may be afforded by comparing it with what 
we see in the instrument known as a " lazy tongs," in which 
interdependent, interbranched, and hinged lozenges are 
shortened or lengthened at the user's will, while in either 


state the whole tool remains more or less rigid. On 
receiving stimulation in a normal condition of the myo- 
cardium it is assuredly a case of " all or nothing," for a fibre 
cannot really move by itself, although in the pathological 
state of fibrillation there are useless unco-ordinated 
twitches. Even if I were qualified to enter into the whole 
question of muscular action, and most assuredly I am not, to 
do so would be unnecessary in this question of the diastole. 
It is sufficient to note that there appears a fairly general 
consensus of opinion that contraction is due to surface 
action, and that, though oxygen is needed for the energy 
which restores potential, combustion takes no part in the 
actual work done. We are here, however, not concerned 
with contraction, but with elongation, and, though it is diffi- 
cult to understand in what way osmosis plays a part, it is 
known that in muscle action there is movement of water 
(Bayliss), and that fatigued muscle readily absorbs it. It 
may, perhaps, be said that during contraction the water is 
expelled into " lakes " in the interstices of the network 
of cells, that during the refractory period the oxidative 
processes which restore lactic acid take place, and that 
elongation is osmotic expansion. Thus contraction has an 
outflow and elongation an inflow, which, it may be suggested, 
puts the whole process on a par with vaso-constrictor 
and vaso-dilator phenomena. If this is so it seems 
perfectly legitimate to regard the muscle cells as complex 
sets of reversible hydraulic presses, and to infer that, 
though apparently less powerful than contraction, length- 
ening of muscle is a process exactly analogous to vaso- 
dilatation. That this process may be increased by normal 
stimulation of the vagus centre can hardly be doubted, 
and when it is said that the vaso-dilator centre is not yet 
discovered, though known to exist since vaso-dilator 


nerves leave the cranial system, it seems as if the actual 
facts had been obscured by hasty theories of inhibition, 
and that the portion of the bulb where the vagus arises is 
the actual centre which is still looked for. We might, then, 
assume that vagus action is the same as positive vaso- 
dilatation, however much the phenomena are obscured in the 
intestine or elsewhere by subsidiary controlling mechanisms, 
such as are probably found in Auerbach's plexus, and 
infer that the whole action of the heart is but specialized 
vaso-constriction and dilatation by an ancestral motor 
nerve and its later subordinate ganglia. It might even 
be said that the Keith-Flack node is the Auerbach plexus 
of the heart. If this is so, vaso-dilatation is everywhere 
caused by a positive elongation of a muscular ring, which 
pushes outwards while held in position by neighbouring 
tissues ; the cell-lengthening being caused by osmosis. 
When we deal, not with such small muscular systems as an 
intestinal or arterial coat, but with a larger connected 
mass of systems such as cardiac muscle, it is not more 
difficult, or so it seems to me, to understand how a negative 
pressure comes about in the ventricle than in a pump. In 
fact, the heart in more senses than one is a double pump, for 
it not only expels blood but draws it in. On further experi- 
ment it may be found that even the auricles have a feeble 
aspiratory power. I find myself totally unable to credit 
any other view since the heart, when removed from an 
animal and kept in a nutrient Ringer's solution, con- 
tinues to expand and contract actively. Very many 
years ago I was much impressed by observing the heart of 
a pelagic shark, of the genus Carcharias, beating in the 
open air of a hot tropical day. I held it in my hand, and 
found some pressure needed to keep it closed. On opening 
my fingers it followed them, and went on beating. I put 


it down upon the deck, and placed a coin upon it. The 
heart continually raised and lowered the piece of money. 
When it was raised the heart was widely expanded and 
semi-transparent. As the organ contracted to a mere 
knot it lost its transparency. But the point is that the 
detached heart, even in hot, dry air, for very many minutes 
actually did work. I have been assured that I may have 
mistaken the systole for the diastole. I do not see how this 
can be. Ignorant as I was of physiology, I could still 
observe the time of its greatest expansion when it raised 
the weight put upon it. In spite of our ignorance of the 
exact mechanism it seems impossible not to think that there 
are direct diastolic agents, and that it is they which are 
governed and regulated by the vagus. It should come 
into play, especially when the heart is irritable and shows 
a tendency to rely upon acceleration rather than the 
"long pulled- through stroke" permitted by an adequate 
diastolic action. Such action would tend to keep the blood- 
pressure normal, and increase the coronary blood-supply. 
It thus becomes easy to understand an efferent cranial 
nerve acting not as a simple motor nerve, but as part of the 
autonomic sympathetic system, and it puts vagal cardiac 
action into line with its positive effects on intestinal move- 
ments. It is not too much to say that the physiological 
stimulus affecting the vagus probably depends on an 
increased irritability in the medulla, consequent on a 
lessened blood-supply, which reflexly exerts its influence on 
the vagal centre. The whole drama of the heart, indepen- 
dently of its automatic action, thus depends for stress and 
change on the regulating effects of vagus and accelerator. 
The accelerator, indeed, seems a better term than Gaskell's 
" augmentor," for its chief role appears to be that of over- 
coming the inertia of the " pace-maker," and urging the 


heart to increased rapidity of action until the vagus once 
more controls it. So the accelerator replies to a rapid 
stress, the vagus to a continued one. Tachycardia as a 
morbid condition is probably not always due to abnormal 
alterations in the ' ' pace-maker. ' ' When the organism grows 
weak, and the blood-pressure falls, the cerebral arteries 
and coronary system can only be kept going by increased 
rapidity, which makes up for the small volume of blood 
sent into the aorta at each ventricular contraction. Every 
one who has observed tired and worried workers, forced to 
continue by urgent stimuli, has seen them go through such 
stages. A man who works under pressure with a shovel 
increases his rapidity and decreases his load. Seamen 
tend under similar circumstances to take short ineffective 
pulls on the gear at which they are hauling, and are apt 
to do it in silence without the " pace-maker " of a rhythmic 
song. I may be exposing myself to the ridicule of the 
unobservant if I liken to vagus action the mate's voice 
urging them to use their strength more rhythmically and 
conservatively. But every worker who has toiled under 
stress will be able to recall analogies in his own experience 
which strengthen such an illustration. 

It appears, then, as if the vagus and accelerator fibres 
had no function of very great importance in health, rest, and 
easy normal conditions, although without doubt they make 
minor corrections in the cardiac mechanism at all times. 
The necessity of explaining " inhibition " in the heart thus 
seems only to exist in the laboratory, in the casualty 
ward, or on the operating table. Then the conditions are 
pathological ; the cases are cases of "shock," if shock is 
disruption of united organic action with concomitant effects 
upon the organs by which stability is assured. Such an 
explanation seems in accord with what is known of the 


vaso-motor system as it responds reflexly to the needs of 
the somatic cells, or to emotions conditioned by adrenalin 
and other glandular products. But the chief point is that 
there is no real contradiction in such a view between the 
cardiac and intestinal vagus action. Both tend to increase 
the working power of the organ they control. Moreover, 
if these arguments have any weight, such is assuredly 
increased by the fact that the phenomena accompanying 
the therapeutic action of digitalis no longer contradict vagus 
action, but show that the drug actually assists it to work 
when normal control breaks down and the degenerate 
heart is under the influence of the accelerators, or a flurried 
irregular stimulus of the pace-maker, with concomitant 
irregular muscle fibre discharges, such as are seen in 
auricular fibrillation. It is true that pharmacologists assert 
that the action of digitalis differs from vagus influence. 
This is only natural since they are apt to bolt their physio- 
logy whole, as it is given them by specialists in that 
science. So indeed the physiologist himself, with regard to 
drug action, leans with too much faith on the pharmacologist. 
As was once remarked to me by an eminent professor, 
there is scarcely a drug known to medicine which would 
not take a lifetime to study properly. Certainly clinicians 
would agree. Cushny says that the inhibitory action of the 
vagus tends to render tone less complete, and to produce 
weaker contractions than digitalis. This is in accordance 
with orthodox opinion. But the evidence is not convincing. 
What is of weight is the result of the experiments with this 
particular cardiac drug. Even if ancient accepted experi- 
ments, drawn from the text-books or the practice of the 
physiological laboratories, are repeated, they are of no 
more importance than the original ones founded, as I have 
endeavoured to show, on unphysiological lines. To repeat, 


and keep on repeating, that a normal stimulus can have a 
direct weakening effect does not convince those desirous 
of examining the problem afresh. It may be recalled, 
perhaps, not without advantage, that many single experi- 
ments, or even dicta of authoritative ancient physicians, 
are as duly repeated from one text-book to another as 
wrong definitions in some big dictionary are copied in its 
successors. In any case the physiologists and pharma- 
cologists speak not as physicians, most of whom, I imagine, 
are under the impression that digitalis in therapeutic doses 
aids vagus action, slows the pulse, obtains a better diastole 
directly, and allows the heart pause sufficient time to gather 
up its energy and increase its general tone and its hasmic 
output with relief to all the symptoms which called for its 
assistance. When the heart has been thus helped the 
accelerator is no longer irritated into increasing the heart- 
rate, the pace-maker is restored to its normal action, 
and once more dominates the irregular discharges of the 
degenerate myocardium. To say, as the students of drugs 
say, that the symptoms in the second, or poisonous, stage 
of digitalis are like vagus action, and that cardiac work is 
therefore less well done, is to mix true observations with 
false. At the least it seems to imply that digitalis then 
acts through and on the vagus nerve, whereas its thera- 
peutic action suggests that what it does is to increase the 
working capacity of the cardiac muscle by modifying its 
irritability and allowing it time to recuperate, thereby 
permitting normal vagus action to continue. It thus 
assists the complex reversible reactions which enable 
muscle to work at all. If larger doses stop action directly, 
or prevent the muscle cells from being supplied with 
necessary proteins, or with fuel, it is in such cases that the 
word " inhibition " seems truly applicable, for poisonous 


doses of digitalis no doubt slow or stop recuperative 
cardiac processes as well as many others. 

In such conceptions there is no mystery, and no neces- 
sity for the hypothesis that the vagus, acting as a trigger, 
releases some particular compound which weakens the 
heart. If in 1906 Shenington used the expression "in- 
hibition, whatever that essentially may be," it is far more 
likely that its nature will be discovered by resort to what 
we know already, than to such unevolutionary notions of 
"weakening." It seems that H. O. Thomas, who was not 
only interested in bone surgery, came to the conclusion 
that "inhibition is the suspension of life, not the action of 
special nerves." That he meant by the "suspension of 
life " some reflexly caused cessation of action is literally 
certain. He actually writes in 1883 : "In proof that 
mechanical irritation of this nerve (vagus) induces a con- 
dition of shock, we have the accepted fact that atropine 
protects the nerve from the shock consequent on mechanical 
disturbance. I have not yet met with any evidence which 
proves the existence of any inhibiting nerve fibres in this or 
any other nerve." In these views it seems, according to 
Rushbrooke, that Thomas followed Joseph Lister, also of 
Liverpool, who wrote on the subject in 1859. Although 
most, if not all, modern physiologists are certain that 
inhibition exists, and that it is centrally caused, it seems 
that the doctrine cannot be looked on as established. If 
physiology is to make secure its final " passage to physics," 
which physiologists, who do not resort to vitalism, are 
working for, some means must surely be found to reconcile 
the contradictions in cardiac and intestinal vagal action. 
Perhaps some of the dissatisfaction with current theory can 
be obviated by means of a different terminology, in which 
the "lessened action" of reciprocal innervation, that seen 


in the preliminary pauses of intestinal activity, and the 
peculiar phenomena observed in the heart, are not classed 
together under one word of very doubtful connotations. 

It is, of course, stated, perhaps almost with violence, 
that inhibition and inhibitory nerves exist, that the evi- 
dence for them is overwhelming. Certainly the observa- 
tions show that action ceases at times very suddenly. 
Activity is cut short, and a muscle with contrary action 
comes into play. Bell's " muscular sense " consisted, I 
take it, not only in central messages, but in an infinite 
series of reflexes. So with Duchenne's " articular sense," 
the loss of which, in his opinion, gave rise to locomotor 
ataxia. It is barely conceivable that the paths of all 
such delicate reflexes are known. Since the nerve cells 
are not so distantly related to muscle cells, which are 
peculiarly conductive, it can be imagined that many 
muscular reflexes occur even without nerves, while few 
neurologists, I imagine, will be ready to declare that the 
whole nervous anatomy of the body is now and for 
ever mapped out. These fields should be explored before 
resorting to a rough-and-ready statement of central " in- 
hibition " in every case of suddenly arrested action. Such 
arrests take place under conscious, if instinctively recog- 
nized, stimuli ; but since the constant course of evolution is 
devolution and " short-circuiting," following the laws of 
energetics, the naturally simpler view should be taken. 
If so, in every case of inhibition some short-circuiting reflex 
should be looked for, if the mere cessation of afferent sensory 
messages will not account for the phenomena. It seems 
as if inhibition had become a physiological Mesopotamia a 
very comforting word. Certainly mystery after mystery has 
been crammed into it, and once established as " explana- 
tion " the endeavour is to explain it, with what results the 


text-books show. In things "psychological " there are 
few physiologists who have not welcomed Pavlov's " condi- 
tioned reflexes." By their considered use mysterious and 
misleading words, with a hundred different meanings, may 
be avoided. " Consciousness " itself, that Pandora's box of 
scientific, no less than metaphysical, disaster, at last gives 
way, and discloses itself as reflex adaptational machinery. 
It is time that the word inhibition should yield to the 
same key, for positive reflexes, however conditioned and 
complex, which should be capable of resolution into 
physical reactions, obviously rule living action of all 
kinds. Certainly in physiology we have not yet reached 
ultimate postulates or axioms, and no hypothesis should 
include definite contradictions, especially when we have 
to say " whatever it essentially may be." 

In looking for explanation the human " mind " searches 
for rest : the brain seeks automatically for the shorter paths 
of cerebral activity that we call generalizations. There is 
something profoundly satisfying in such processes, and they 
can certainly be ranged under the laws of energetics. The 
brain has less work to do, and a complex series of opening 
and closing synapses is freed from continual irritation. 
The flood of " thought," or energy, has found a short direct 
channel, while all other possible paths are cut out. They 
are, in fact, "inhibited"; synapses close; energy does 
not act that way. Such a view by no means implies an 
acceptance of M'Dougall's " drainage " theory of inhibition, 
although something can be said for it. All it means is that 
there is substituted action. It is probably so in every case 
of inhibition. On a previous page I sought for some homely 
illustrations and analogies for cardiac vagal action. These 
can also be found for the phenomena in which lessened 
action takes place in other muscles than those of the heart. 


There are " organisms " of the social kind in continuous 
activity, with no complete pause, not even such a pause 
as that of the heart. Such an organism is a ship at sea. 
When one watch comes on deck the other goes off. From 
the time of leaving one port to reaching another this con- 
tinues. There is no moment at which part of the crew is 
not in " tone," ready for action, or in actual work. A ship 
has been evolved ; it has grown up, it has its reactions, 
which we call sea customs. Although the two " watches " 
or parts of the crew are separate, and usually possessed of a 
certain jealousy or " hostility " to each other, they are con- 
nected by innumerable bonds of habit and custom. When 
one goes on deck in fine weather the other is " inhibited." 
Does such inhibition arise centrally ? Although it may do 
so in some cases it is mostly a pure reflex phenomenon. 
One activity replaces the other automatically. It seems 
to me that such a case supplies more than a hint for what is 
known as " reciprocal innervation." When two muscles 
have been evolved together, fulfilling opposite functions, 
it is impossible not to imagine definite relations and con- 
nections between them. The very activity of one implies 
the inactivity of the other. And the actions of decerebrate 
animals prove it. That the central system in a ship ensures 
denote direction of the whole ship we know, but in the lower 
functions excitations and inhibitions proceed automatically, 
and it is of physiological interest to note that overmuch 
central interference with such functions produces symptoms 
which rapidly tend to become pathological. It is well 
understood at sea that " central " interference is only 
justifiable in abnormal conditions. Thus so long as the 
crew function normally no officer enters the fo'c'sle except 
on stated occasions of inspection. If he did it would 
be greatly resented. Perpetual unevolutionary stimuli 


produce mutinies at sea, revolutions and anarchy on 

Another illustration of real " inhibition " will be familiar 
to all physicians and surgeons. A nervous patient visits, 
say, a urologist, and finds that his cystic reflexes are tem- 
porarily paralysed. Their action is partly reflex, partly 
" volitional," or under central control. The sphincter and 
cystic muscles are antagonistic. The surgeon observes the 
condition of the patient and, whether he knows it or not, 
a little thought must make him aware that the patient's 
whole field of reactive consciousness is occupied by a con- 
viction of inability. To encourage him vocally would be 
worse than useless, since the less the patient thinks the 
better. So he turns his back, which is already a help, and 
sets a tap running. Relieved from the reactions caused 
by observation, the patient's volitional tracts are freed while 
the running water sets up a series of conditioned reflexes 
which relax the sphincter and permit the cystic muscles to 
act. So between stimulus and inhibition there is a long 
series of substituted actions. Such a conclusion is greatly 
reinforced by the possible opposite effect of the surgeon's 
action. If the patient knows the trick that is being played 
upon him there may be increased inhibition, which means 
that his energy is turned into directions which do not help, 
but actually hinder, the operation desired. In every case 
it will be found that substituted action takes place, and that 
no inhibition is direct. 

It will probably be said that such simple illustrations 
have no real relevance to such an obscure subject as 
inhibition. Whether this is true or not the fact remains 
that this paper is only meant to be suggestively critical of 
views which do nc seem on the face of them to be sound. 
Students, even the acutest, brought up in the light, or 


shadow, of certain doctrines, are naturally apt to find on 
every hand confirmation of the accepted. This is not so 
only in theology. It is a common human weakness. The 
justification of criticism lies in the acknowledged con- 
fusion of the subject, due, almost certainly, to inadequate 
definitions and the confounding of several subjects under 
a heading of the very dimmest connotation. It seems that 
we cannot use the word rightfully even as a temporary 
" explanation " of vagal action, although we may employ 
it properly in the interruption of conditioned reflexes where 
we get cases of substituted action which are as clearly 
seen on examination as the surprising physical results 
of apomorphine on a hystoidal patient. To believe that 
stimulation, or excitation of a nerve, dissipates energy, for 
that is what weakening means, is impossible. It has been 
said that the process is no more than the interruption of 
the storing of energy. How this can occur physiologically 
is hard to see. It is a mere assumption, and in any case 
it would not be " weakening." Regulation is not done by 
enfeeblement in any class of organism except in patho- 
logical states. That the heart is always being regulated 
even in easy unstressed conditions is obvious. But I have 
discovered that it is more regulated than is generally 
known. Judging from cardiograms of all known kinds it 
would be said that healthy heart-beats were of equal force. 
This may be so practically, but it is not so actually. By 
means of a liquid column in a small tube, actuated directly 
from the radial artery, and thrown upon a screen with a 
magnification of the moving liquid until it is, say, ten feet 
long, it can be seen that few successive beats are equal, and 
that the dicrotic notch, whether great or small, is perpetu- 
ally varying. All muscle fibres do not do equal work at 
all times. Interdependence and regulation are the ruling 


factors of all functions, and we may expect them in every 
nervous mechanism. What occurs abnormally is often the 
roughest guide to the normal. But, if it is taken as normal, 
physiology pays the penalty in confusion, even though it 
should always regard pathology as its nearest relative an 
erring sister. 

When it is remembered that no science can explain 
itself, and that knowledge is a patterned web woven out of 
all the sciences, it also seems that biology, and the whole 
course of evolution, might be more frequently referred to in 
physiological work than is usual. It was suggested above 
that reciprocal innervation may thus be looked on as a 
biological evolutionary process, a case in which muscles 
grew up together as interdependent organs in which alter- 
nate actions, however now regulated, were a sine qua non 
of their existence. Knowing as we do the moulding 
effects of stresses on bone, and the facts that the sclero- 
blasts of sponges settle and work about non-vibrating 
points, biology and physics may work together even in 
such problems, and suggest that quasi-nervous effects may 
be produced in muscle, not only by alternate stretching and 
contraction, but also by stresses communicated through 
and by bone and other cells. Thus, quite independent of 
so-called inhibitory fibres, a sudden powerful contraction 
of one muscle might throw another out of action by giving 
such intensely sensitive cells a signal of positive relaxation. 
It is not so long ago that the rhythmic action of opposed 
muscles was supposed to be due to direct innervation, not 
to alternate reflex contraction and stretching. It seems at 
times as if more was attributed to nervous action than is 
actually due to it. 

It has been objected to some of these views that 
excitation and inhibition are simple concepts, even if we 


say with Sherrington, " whatever they essentially may be," 
and that they are opposed just as warming and cooling may 
be. But what happens as regards energy when water 
cools is known, as it is in the rise and fall of electric 
potential. What happens to muscle energy in " inhibition " 
we do not know, if the usual views of cardiac weakening 
and the depressing functions of the vagus are held. A 
complex chemical process at the end-plate must be posited, 
and of that there seems no evidence. To call in the nervous 
system to produce weakening toxins or the like, even by 
intensifying cellular catabolism, appears too great an 
assumption to make when there is a much simpler ex- 
planation at hand. Many of the cardiograms shown as 
proofs of cardiac inhibition seem wrongly interpreted. It 
is, perhaps, not too presumptuous to say that their inter- 
pretation is an extremely difficult art, and that even among 
the most expert cardiologists there are at times great 
differences in opinion. Having worked for months on the 
subject with a disciple of our greatest cardiologist I shall, 
perhaps, be pardoned for suggesting that the most eminent 
physiologists may err in such a special branch of learning. 
I have seen cardiograms showing the " weakening " of the 
heart in which the amplitude of the beats was distinctly 
increased, and the interval between them lengthened when 
the theory of inhibition required pathological slowing and 
decrease of amplitude. Such results undoubtedly occur in 
extreme vagal stimulation ; but this is only what would 
be expected on the views expressed in this place. But to 
get better systoles and diastoles is not weakening. It is 
also said that under vagal stimulation the conducting power 
of the Bundle of His is " impaired." The evidence of this is 
merely that the heart is generally slower. Such a state- 
ment is a mere re-statement of an assertion. That the 


heart is sometimes unexcitable by a direct stimulus when 
under vagal stimulation is just what would be expected 
if the vagus is a controller and regulator until it conveys a 
shock. So to say that the accelerator improves conduction 
means no more than to say the whole heart is stimulated. 
It is, again, a mere re-statement of an observation. 
The truth seems to be that the accepted doctrine of the 
heart is full of verbal logical fallacies. To declare that 
" inhibition " causes lessened action is only to say that 
lessened action occurs because it is somehow not so strong 
in action as it was. We observe it, but to attribute it to 
" inhibition " is to repeat the error of the bacteriologists 
who attribute agglutinations to mystic " agglutinins," and 
make an observation into a cause. If it is said that by 
inhibition a cause is not meant, but that the word enables 
us to link phenomena together, the question at once arises 
whether they are not falsely linked. We cannot truly 
oppose it to excitation, which after all is one of the purest 
examples of a " cause " in physiology, for, whether its 
nature is understood or not, we can bring an infinite number 
of legitimate analogies to illustrate it. And, biologically, it 
is seen that in any organism real inhibition is effected by 
means of secretions which are very definite agents. Accord- 
ing to P. F. Herring, feeding rats with thyroid causes not 
only forced positive changes, such as a three-fold enlarge- 
ment of the heart, and doubled weight of adrenals, but 
negative ones such as a smaller thyroid. The gland is 
not needed, is thrown out of action, and " inhibited " by 
definite loss of function. No analogies can help out " inhi- 
bition "if in all cessations or stoppages or weakening of 
action we find substituted processes of direct action by 
definite agents. When it is said, as has been said to me, 
that a pure analogy of true inhibition is when a labourer 


drops his tools on hearing the dinner-bell, it may be answered 
that here we have a direct conditioned reflex over- 
coming excitation which has been slackened in effect by 
real exhaustion of energy. A true analogy for such 
" inhibitions " as are seen in intestinal action, even 
though little will be known of that until the Auerbach 
and Meissner plexuses are fully understood, is a 
labourer pausing, taking in oxygen, and gathering up 
energy for a big task. For on stimulating the intestinal 
vagus the graphs show a preliminary slowing, and then 
ampler, more effective movements. 

That the inhibition theory is held firmly, even obstin- 
ately, is no proof of its truth. Phlogiston was satisfactory 
to many, and so apparently was " bad air " as a cause of 
malaria. And yet Varro l in 36 B.C. actually attributed the 
disease to minute animals. Columella even spoke of 
mosquitoes as "armed with dangerous stings," animalia 
infestis aculeis armata. It was necessary to wait nearly 
two thousand years to get this verified by Ross and 
Manson. It may be recollected that hundreds of years 
ago an English physician was practically ruined by 
attributing many diseases to invisibly small living agents. 
Humoralists and solidists would be alike against him. 
Von Uexkiill said that the object of science was not 
truth but order, not having reached the pragmatic con- 
ception that real order is truth; but it does not seem 
that the theories of inhibition have provided either. 


BAYLISS, W. M. (i) "Principles of General Physiology," 1915 ; 
(2) " Cardiac Vagus," Brit. Med. Journ., London, Sept. 28, 

1 See Appendix C, " Varro." 


BELL, CHARLES." The Hand," 1883. 

COLUMELLA. Vol. i. p. 5. 

CUSHNY, A. R. "Text-Book of Pharmacology." 

DUCHENNE, G. B. A. "Physiologic des Mouvements," 1867. 

HERRING, P. F. " Thyroid Feeding of Rats," Quar. Jonrn. 
Exp. Physiol., London, 1917, vol. xi. 

LISTER, JOSEPH. Proc. Royal Soc., 1859, pp. 367-80. 

LUCIANI, L. " Human Physiology," 1911. 

M'DoucALL, W. "Physiological Psychology." 

MACKENZIE, Sir J. "Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart Affec- 
tions," 1916. 

ROBERTS, MORLEY. " The Function of the Cardiac Vagus," 
Brit. Med. Journ., London, Sept. 14, 1918. 

SCHAFER, E. A. " Essentials of Histology." 

STEFANI. v. Luciani, supra, " Mechanism of the Heart." 

THOMAS, H. O. "Nerve Inhibition," 1883. 

VARRO, MARCUS TERENTIUS, 116-27 B.C. " De Re Rustica," 
Book I. cap. xii. 

WEBER, E. " Muskelbewegung," 1846. 

WILSON, R. M. M'NAIR. "Tachycardia," Brit. Med. Journ., 
London, Jan. 17, 1920. 



WHEN the late Sir William Osier jested at the expense 
of the new school of theorizing biologists who 
strive to perpetuate in peculiar neologisms highly doubtful 
microscopic observations, he drew a caricature of their 
specialized language, which had considerable merit. But 
while he fought against specialism run mad hi verbal 
constructions, which at once simulate knowledge and 
obscure it, he might just as well have taken his examples 
from the armoury of certain bacteriologists. If, in the 
phenomena of mitosis, " the idiosphaerosome differentiates 
into an idiocrytosome and an idiocalyptosome, both 
surrounded by the idiosphserotheca," such a passage is 
assuredly not more curious to observe than many which 
cram a hundred Greek and Latin derivatives and hybrids 
into a bacteriological " explanation." Although any 
science seems liable to fall into the practical fallacy of 
thinking a thing can be explained without reference or 
relation to others, bacteriology appears least immune to 
this logical disorder of thought. But since explanation 
consists in the classification of observations with regard 

1 (For abstract of this paper, and for Professor Benjamin Moore's 
comments, see British Medical Journal, December 8, 1917, and December 
22, 1917.) 



to more widely operating causes, or, as Mach says, in 
showing that any given phenomenon is the unequivocal 
function of its variables, what has to be demonstrated is 
that those variables belong to recognized classes of factors. 
We cannot explain life by saying that it is living, or a 
bacteriologist by asserting that he is bacteriological. 

It is due to such habits of thought, which now appear 
to be confirmed, that there are fewer subjects coming under 
the heads of general physiology and biochemistry in a 
greater state of confusion than " immunity." This result 
may, perhaps, be due to a false belief in the profundity 
of the Teutonic mind which, as Benjamin Moore pointed 
out, when commenting on an original communication of 
mine in the British Medical Journal, had seized upon 
French work, and fogged it in its best later manner. 
It is indeed to Weismann and Ehrlich that the 
worst results can be directly attributed, for just as the 
biologist explained heredity by saying that it happened 
owing to the nature of the organism, that is, to its ids, 
determinants, and biophors, and the like, so Ehrlich in his 
side-chain theory invented a marvellous verbal machinery 
of immunization, every word of which contained a " cir- 
culus in definiendo." To the practical English worker, 
who usually distrusts the theoretic intellect, as if a general 
idea were a proof of original sin unless it comes to him from 
abroad, this scheme was a godsend. It appeared to save 
thought, and instead of examining it critically he has 
patched it up with new words as they seemed to be wanted, 
just as the Ptolemaic astronomy added eccentric to 
eccentric and epicycle to epicycle in order to represent 
the planetary motions. And yet the whole theory is 
obviously false. To this every modern physiologist would 
subscribe, seeing that it depends for its validity on the 


supposition that life itself is the result of giant molecules. 
It is, of course, wrong to infer that particular statements 
are not true if rightly interpreted. "Antigens" certainly 
produce specific " antibodies " as definite responses to the 
chemical nature of the " antigen " ; but there is no reason 
why this should not have been expressed in terms imply- 
ing that any foreign or hostile elements introduced into an 
organism tended to produce definite reactions of a pro- 
tective nature. To invent or to lead to the invention of a 
jargon containing such words as haptophore, ergophore, 
complementophilogen, amboceptors, agglutinins, precipi- 
tins, bacteriolysins, opsonins, syntoxoid, and so on, which 
again bred other equally futile words of the same kind, 
was but to stultify real explanation, and to cloud percep- 
tion of the actual facts. When all this was hung upon the 
giant molecule, a mere guess of Verworn's, the structure 
naturally enough came to the ground. But, though the 
whole theory of side-chains, except so far as they are 
mere chemical phenomena, has been discredited, there are 
yet able bacteriologists who continue to teach it as if Ehrlich 
were accepted gospel. On my inquiring why they did so, 
when they knew that the theory was no longer held by any 
physiologist, two or three well-known men replied that it 
was useful to students as a framework on which to hang 
facts. To this it might be objected that, though a hat-rack 
is useful to hang hats on, yet it is not the place to hang 
hundredweights, and that when the hat-rack has the 
additional disadvantage of being an imaginary one, there 
will be more than common difficulties in the way of useful 
arrangement. A compound may, perhaps, be cleared of 
cobras by a mongoose ; but no competent zoologist will 
employ the " imaginary mongoose " of fable at the task. 
To teach what is not true merely as mnemonics is to 


ignore the truth that any fact falsely classified is not only a 
danger in practice but leads to false views with regard to 
other sciences, to say nothing of the distrust of the teacher 
evoked in the intelligent student who does not swallow 
what is offered to him without producing an " anti- 
body " to the professional " antigen." For such a student 
may have acquired some smattering of colloids, and have 
actually begun to see, as Moore wrote, that the pioneer 
work of the French "had been burdened with the intoler- 
able weight of a useless philosophy of jangling terms for 
a type of reaction well known in colloidal chemistry." 
It will probably be found that a dictionary containing the 
common terms of chemistry and biochemistry is fully 
sufficient for the reactions even of complicated colloids. 
An obscure reaction is not explained by attributing it to an 
imaginary substance with the very "qualities which are the 
subject of investigation. To invent one is to fall into the 
error which Moliere satirized. To say all this is not to 
belittle the magnificent practical results achieved by 

That the results of the search into the actual nature of 
immunity have apparently been so barren and so con- 
fusing, is, however, not due to want of suggestions which 
might really work for simplicity. Yet, so far as I am aware, 
Moore and Whitley's paper on a simple theory of immune 
reactions has by no means had the attention it deserved. 
Roughly speaking, their note put forward the view that 
immune bodies were to be classed with catalysts ; the 
substrate being the cell or bacterium to be dissolved, or the 
toxin to be rendered inert, the "complement" various 
bodies with which the toxin became chemically united, and 
the immune body, or " antibody," the catalyst which 
insured such chemical combination or dissolution, and 


rendered the pathogenic cells or toxins harmless. Such a 
process is obviously exactly similar to those which occur 
with enzymes acting on any given substrate in the presence 
of a combining body : so tyrosinase breaks up tyrosin, and 
causes it to combine with the oxygen yielded by peroxide 
bodies. A similar process occurs with the ordinary hydro- 
lytic enzymes, as when fats, carbohydrates, and proteins 
combine with water in the presence of their specific enzymes, 
such as steapsin, amylopsin, and trypsin. It may, how- 
ever, be further suggested that all these actions are 
really immunizing actions, and that, instead of immune 
bodies being classed among enzymes, the latter should be 
classed generally among immune bodies, and both among 
catalysts, the difference between the first two classes 
being that enzymes dealing with food are a gradual 
result of evolution, and that what are usually called 
immune bodies are special ad hoc reaction complexes 
of a similar order depending on the general powers of 
reaction in the body tissues. 

It is obvious that foods when not broken up are either 
poisons or something which cannot be used, and must 
be excreted. Thus proteins injected into the blood-stream 
are haemolytic. To be endured or used they must be 
broken up into animo-acids. What particular quality it 
is in them which makes them " antigens " is obscure ; 
but it will certainly be found eventually that it is due 
in all cases to their " poisonous " (i.e. disturbing) action, 
since they are wholly out of their evolutionary place. 
It is said that there is no absolute relation between toxicity 
and defensive reaction ; but this is only to state the obvious 
fact that the organism is not armed at all points, and may 
be destroyed before it can react, or that it is already 
supplied with general immune catalysts which deal easily 


with some invasions and fail with others. It has only 
been through an immense period of evolution that the 
proteins and other food elements have come to stimulate 
the production of specific enzymes or catalysts, and it is 
within every clinician's knowledge that in certain condi- 
tions of health these necessary reactions do not occur. 
When that is so nutrition fails, and food becomes a poison. 
If this is correct, and it cannot be doubted, nutrition 
must be regarded as an actual process of real immuniza- 
tion, in which secondary and simpler products are used 
by the organism as food. Although I came to these 
conclusions before I was aware of their work, it appears 
that Abderhalden and Weinland hold views of this kind. 
Weinland states that the subcutaneous injection of cane- 
sugar produced or elicited invertin. Abderhalden's work 
on the production of gestational immunity has exceptional 
value in that it throws some light on the inhibition of 
the invasive action of the chorionic villi on the uterine 
wall, and thereby on cancer also, as I have suggested else- 
where. In the earlier stages of evolution, in all cell life 
now, and that of the intestinal absorption cells, the in- 
gestion of foods is due to purely physical causes, i.e. 
causes which are not sufficiently obscure to be labelled 
" psychic " when they should be regarded as conditioned 
reflexes. Like and dislike, choice and rejection, had, 
and have (as regards cells), no long path to depend on. 
Such reactions are not even simple reflexes. They depend 
entirely on surface tension, on the nature of the cell envelope 
and the body with which it comes in contact. It may 
be assumed that primitive cells which certainly possessed 
low and scanty reaction powers took in all things which 
their physical nature did not reject. Some were innocuous, 
and some were at once ejected. Some were harmful, 


and destroyed the organism in which they found them- 
selves. Others were harmful as they stood, but by pro- 
ducing a reaction body they were broken up and rendered 
harmless. Others, again, were not only rendered harmless 
but actually useful : i.e. they became foods because 
they provoked a definite catalyst which hydrolyzed them. 
Like and dislike of foods in the highly developed organism 
are thus conditioned protective reflexes which defend 
the body from all but foods selected through evolution. 
Nutrition thus clearly falls under the head of immunity. 
J. B. Farmer remarks that they are evidently closely 
related. The sole real difference is that, in what is now 
called immunization, the substrate is probably not em- 
ployed usefully, though it remains possible that in some 
cases destroyed pathogenic bacteria may actually be 
used by the body they attack. In any case it is a possi- 
bility of evolution for bacteria to become gradually a 
factor of further growth. Such phenomena may have 
occurred already, as it is at least possible that the colon 
is partly a function of the bacteria that inhabit it, and 
that some dead bacteria may be converted into food after 
their parasitic free existence. 

Nutrition being then a case of immunity, we must 
infer that food itself originally produces ad hoc catalysts, 
of an order similar to those produced by toxins. Enzymes 
very rarely exist without the presence of their substrate. 
The organism has a specialized method of producing them 
on definite stimulation. Thus trypsin only appears on 
trypsinogen coming into contact with enterokinaze, 
though it would be better to say that when certain 
colloidal reactions of pancreatic origin take place in the 
presence of the latter trypsin is formed. Lactase cannot 
be found in a meat-fed dog till some days after it is given 


milk. Before such a reaction occurs the whole of the 
food products in the milk are not utilized. The com- 
plementary or combining bodies in oxidation and hydro- 
lytic processes are O and H 2 O, and in all enzyme action 
there is a natural " complement." In the production of 
special immunities due to infection it is difficult to discover 
the combining body, although in most acute infections 
it may be lipoid in nature, as is certainly suggested by the 
rapid consumption of fats in fevers. Yet in diseases such 
as typhoid, in which emaciation is not rapid, this does 
not appear to be the case. The combining body in this 
case may not be a lipoid but an albumenoid, and perhaps 
the special one found in Peyer's Patches, where ulceration 
takes place, is most exposed to be used as complement. 
In many cases of sudden and extreme weakness with a 
high febrile reaction, it may be suggested that the infection 
is proteolytic. It thus appears as if future treatment 
may not only include the provocation of the special catalyst, 
but the early supply of a definite complement by injection 
or in the food. In most infections it is probable that 
what can be most easily spared goes first. It is possible 
that the combining body is always what the bacteria 
would naturally feed on, which may serve to explain 
latent periods and the slow onset of fever in many cases. 

What, then, is the action of the catalyst ? It must 
be that it builds up in the bacterium a stable compound, 
and so destroys the labile organism that takes in com- 
plement as food, or that it neutralizes the toxins as they 
are produced. Or it may so completely alter the combin- 
ing body that the bacterium starves. As regards " free 
toxins," the catalyst fulfils an obvious function by its 
usual machinery. I suggest that the greatest function 
of the many attributed to the phagocytes is not their 


ingestive powers, but their capacity of being used as 
" complement " or a combining body. If sufficient of 
their lipoids or proteins, say, is used up, they die and 
become pus : if not, they survive and destroy the bacteria 
which were attracted to them, and probably redigest the 
lipoid complement taken up. In any case, the entrance 
of the bacterium or toxin into the so-called phagocyte 
is probably pathological. They may recover or perish. 
If they die it is because they are used up in yielding parts 
of themselves to the hostile cell. Every cell envelope 
has lipoid substances in it ; but the phagocytes that cannot 
yield any more from the outside yield it from within and 
are destroyed. Even if that is not the cause of their 
death, they may die from toxins entering into chemical 
or molecular union with the lipoids of the membrane, 
which is rendered functionless. If these suggestions have 
any foundation, the leucocytes generally have another 
rdle in defence than that commonly stated. And we 
may infer that the substrate " seeks " them and their 
lipoids under the influence of the special catalyst, rather 
than that they " seek " the substrate. If this is so, 
opsonins do not exist, and the phenomena they are supposed 
to explain represent the fact that the easiest reached 
" complement " is found by the tropisms of the bacteria 
and the polynuclears. The leucocytes are the cheapest 
sacrifice the body can make. 

There seems plenty of evidence that enzymes and all 
catalysts appear only when the organism is stimulated by 
the particular substrate with which they deal. There are, 
however, according to Bayliss, cases in which their par- 
ticular substrate is wanting. For instance, it seems that 
lactase is found in almonds, as adrenalin is found in the 
skin of the toad. We say, then, that it is an accidental 


product of metabolism, though in one sense all such are 
accidental. They may, however, have been provoked 
by early embryonic substrates, and possibly subserve some 
function. Onslow showed the skins of some coloured 
rabbits contained a peroxidase, the cause of the colour. 
The " adaptation " of the organism to any substrate part 
of its environment must have been accidental to begin 
with. Some cells had the power of response, and others 
lacked it. This was so in the early stages of evolution, 
and the same remains true now in every case of recovery 
or death when an infection occurs. Protective, continued, 
and successful reaction is adaptation. There are striking 
analogies between such reactions, and those provoked by 
drugs such as the metals. What for instance is the action 
of arsenic ? It combines with the " complement " it 
finds, and thus kills the epithelial cells which, according to 
Filehne, are then digested. But killing a cell is combining 
with it or part of it. Arsenic in lethal quantities is such 
a protoplasm poison that there can be no swift reaction 
process resulting in a catalyst which builds it up into a 
harmless stable compound. In small continuous doses it 
appears to produce fats, i.e. possibly a superabundance of 
complement. Complement is thus a common bodily 
product, not anything specially manufactured by specific 
reactions, and therefore immunization must in many 
cases mean a stimulation of the cells which produce com- 
plement naturally. Immunity to arsenic, then, is most 
likely due in great part to an increased production of 
lipoids. But tolerance is immunity. Immunization is 
thus a process as normal as digestion, save that all the 
products are finally extruded as useless. The processes 
leading to cure are of the same order. To give a homely 
illustration we may say that if there is disturbance at a 


meeting the disturbers are the substrate : the chairman 
who orders them to be thrown out the provoked catalyst, 
and those who act on his advice the complement. We may 
even note that the " complement " not unseldom goes to 
hospital in combination with the " toxin." In such cases 
immunization is the operation of a body of stewards 
capable of immediate and skilled combination. It is 
worth notice, since it has frequently been suggested that 
all living action is based on the same principles, that the 
stewards are free amoeboid wandering bodies ; while the 
audience of cells of the temporary organic body we call a 
" meeting " stay where they are, unless there is a violent 
destructive reaction. In what we commonly call an 
organism the white cells, being capable of rapid reproduc- 
tion, and not stationary portions of basal functioning organs, 
can be destroyed and replaced. Part of their normal 
function is to die, as it is of soldiers in war. Adequate 
military preparation is expectant immunity in a nation, 
and an organized police force means the same in a society. 
Again, it can be repeated that much light may be thrown 
on many obscure physiological problems by observation 
of the simple social processes taking place before our 
eyes. On these lines we get wholly away from Ehrlich, 
and perceive that, if enzymes, etc., are immune bodies, 
immune bodies in their turn may be classed with the factors 
of digestion among catalysts generally. 

What do we mean when we speak of the bactericidal 
qualities of the blood ? Undoubtedly the blood-plasm, 
when healthy, destroys or incapacitates invaders. But 
what is the mechanism by which it does so, and among 
what phenomena are we to class such mechanistic re- 
actions ? I am unable to conceive that they can be any 
other type than that which is characteristic of life generally. 


There must be activating catalysts. If that is so blood 
may not be truly bactericidal until it is invaded, and only 
then if it is healthy, i.e. if it possesses normal powers of 
reaction. Such views account for the high mortality 
among the very healthy in some disorders, while the sickly 
person who is, perhaps, half-poisoned by an excess of many 
provoked catalysts is prepared, at least partially, for any 
kind of invasion. The organism, too, has to deal with, 
destroy, or utilize its own products. Each organ must 
deal with its own excreta, with the excreta of its neighbour 
colonies, and for these purposes reacts on their stimula- 
tion. Its reactions with invaders must employ like 
machinery. Life itself depends on immunization which is 
active warfare. 

Immunity, however, does not always seem to be merely 
a matter of the increase of the blood's bactericidal qualities, 
to whatever catalysts that may be due, but to local con- 
ditions. How else can relapses be explained ? For 
instance, there are the relapses of typhoid fever. When the 
fastigium has been reached and passed, and when on any 
theory a defence should have been acquired, the tempera- 
ture again rises, and there is another attack. In the same 
way a catarrh of the lungs may disappear after a due 
reaction period, and another patch will occur. Such facts, 
though they do not negative the ordinary views of im- 
munity suggested above, at least show that prolonged 
febrile reactions do not always produce complete temporary 
immunity : the most probable explanation being that the 
local lesions in these cases are external, as the bowel, 
say, in typhoid is properly external, and are with diffi- 
culty exposed to the immunizing agents, owing to local 
swellings and stasis, or to the incomplete response of the 
weakened organism in the production of the combining 


body. The catalyst may in that case be present in abund- 
ance ; but it has nothing to work with, and the substrate 
flourishes on tissues which would not be attacked if the 
normal complement were present. In some cases cata- 
lytic actions may themselves prove harmful. It is perfectly 
possible that the obscure and dangerous phenomena of 
anaphylaxis are due to a sudden action of a reversible 
catalyst breaking down what was before built up, and 
again setting toxins free. That the immunizing reactions 
are permanently reversible if a disassociation factor such 
as acid (Morgenroth and Ascher) or alkali (Sachs) is intro- 
duced, now seems certain. These workers are quoted 
by Browning (Brit. Med. Journ., Dec. 6, 1915). 

Such conclusions certainly reinforce the suggestion that 
in all infections an effort should be made to determine 
with exactitude the natural combining body used in the 
body's defence, and that this should be supplied in abund- 
ance by feeding or injection. On the views expressed the 
lipoids or other combining bodies found normally in the 
organism would then be spared, since it is only reasonable 
that a free lipoid, etc., would be dealt with rather than 
a fixed lipoid, say in the cell envelope. While vaccines 
may provoke the catalyst, they cannot always provoke the 
" complement," although when we consider some drugs 
(and tolerance of drugs, as has been said, no doubt comes 
under the head of immunity) they may do so indirectly. 
Though arsenic when used as a drug is often useful, its 
value may not always depend on its bactericidal qualities, 
but on its encouragement of lipoid manufacture. 

Thus finally we see that nutrition itself is but a case 
of immunity, and, instead of immunity being infinitely 
complex, on a general view it is no more than an example 
of the fact that living protoplasm develops machinery 


to deal with the assaults it undergoes ; in some cases 
changing and making use of what it ingests, in others 
altering bodies which cannot be used, but may be made 

The points of the likeness between a catalyst and 
an engine or tool are many. It is something made, a 
reaction to needs. It works and remains the same. It 
only wears out gradually. It makes a long process short, 
a difficult one easy. It can build up and break down. 
Such qualities can be seen in a sociological example if 
we take two living communities, or societies combining 
for a common purpose, for then combinations will result 
which have the most remarkable likeness to such catalysts, 
and exhibit biological phenomena which throw a light 
on the reason that enzyme bodies have reversible re- 
actions. We may, for instance, suppose that a botanical 
and a zoological society find it necessary for purposes of 
existence to take a common house. It is obvious that 
we have here a symbiotic but not necessarily a symphilic 
community, and it is equally obvious that both original 
purposes must be served, or the whole structure fails. To 
carry on work some of the individuals must represent the 
others, and this common secretarial office remains as a 
formed reaction body or engine for getting the work done. 
When one society is most active at any given time its 
action may be regarded as synthetic so far as it is con- 
cerned, and the process implies a temporary displacement 
or breaking down of the others. When this is over the 
reverse action takes place. But all the time the formed 
reaction or joint secretarial body remains. An enzyme 
can thus be compared with the common alternative 
executive of at least a double body which has different 
internal but common external ends. However extravagant 


such a homely illustration may appear it probably repre- 
sents actual biochemical facts ; for it shows how two 
molecules living in hostile symbiosis must affect each 
other and produce reaction bodies which are highly complex, 
and represent in turn the energies of each molecule. Such 
a view affords a reasonable ground of explanation for the 
reversible reactions of catalysts themselves. Without such 
reactions it is not easy to follow the possible ways of growth. 

It will not seem absurd to some if it is said that these 
likenesses are to be found at the bottom of all growth, 
whether of atoms or nations, and that they are part of a 
universal law which may be expressed thus : All life and 
growth is fundamentally the forced result of a symbiosis 
of differing bodies in which hostile energies become the 
common, mutual, and reciprocal internal stimuli of the 
conjoint individual. This includes all living things from 
the two molecules (or more), each with a catalyst, which 
probably make up the simplest form of life. 

To summarize the views expressed it may be said that 
(i) To understand immunity it must include all processes 
of nutrition. (2) All unsplit ingested bodies are " poison- 
ous " or rejected as neutral and useless. (3) Enzymes 
are the catalysts which build up for storage or break 
down for use. (4) Immune bodies in infections are pro- 
voked catalysts dealing more or less well with the sub- 
strate bacterium, or toxin. (5) Poisons, metallic or 
alkaloid, etc., when tolerance is established, have pro- 
voked a catalyst to deal with them. (6) " Complement " 
is not a fixed quantity, but the special or general com- 
bining body used by the catalyst and the substrate. 
(7) Many of the difficulties experienced by bacteriologists 
in reaching satisfactory conclusions on immunity are due 
to their neglect of colloidal chemistry. 


It certainly appears that the terms employed in general 
physiology should be sufficient for bacteriology, and 
observers of fresh phenomena ought to be chary of coining 
new words. Their hasty multiplication usually implies 
some additional hypothesis. It is characteristic of a 
false explanation to require an increasing number of 
sub-hypotheses while a real one abolishes a multitude of 
superfluous terms, and, displaying a phenomenon as the 
function of known variables, by such a disclosure becomes 
essentially a simplification. 


ABDERHALDEN, EMIL. " Biological Reactions in Pregnancy," 
Brit. Med. Journ., London, Jan. 24, 1914, p. 207. 

BAYLISS, M. W. " Principles of General Physiology," 1915. 

BROWNING. Brit. Med. Journ., London, June 2, 1915. 

FARMER, J. B. "Plant Life," 1913. 

MOORE, B., and WHITLEY. Biochem. Journ., 1907, London, 
vol. iv. p. 165. 

MOORE, B. Brit. Med. Journ., London, Dec. 22, 1917. 

MORGENROTH and ASHER. v. Browning, ibid., Feb. 6, 1915. 

ONSLOW, H. Proc. Royal Soc., 1915, Book xxxix. p. 36. 

ROBERTS, MORLEY. Brit. Med. Journ., London, Dec. 8, 1917. 

SACHS. v. Browning, ibid., Feb. 6, 1915. 

VERWORN, MAX. " Die Biogenhypoithese," Jena. 

WEINLAND. Brit. Med. Journ., London, Jan. 24, 1914, p. 207. 



WE speak very commonly of the romance of science, 
and in its every branch, however recondite 
and apparently remote from human interest, there is that 
sense of adventure which makes its votaries thrill with 
expectation. The search for a principle which may 
throw light upon almost palpable obscurity is not unlike 
the work of the explorer who climbs a peak in order to 
discover a way through the unknown. Not only the 
traveller stands " silent upon a peak in Darien." But 
to discover a new general law, or even to extend one, is 
far more than such a distant prospect. It is to camp 
in the wilderness and gather strength for the morrow's 
task. In the world of geography what is known is known, 
and cannot be forgotten. The time must come when 
the explorer's work will be done. But science is limitless, 
and so is human history, for there is not only the future 
which must become at last a tale that is told, but also 
the illimitable field of the past still as little unmapped as 
the fabled Africa of the mediaeval cartographer. It is, 
indeed, but a dim and faded palimpsest, or some inscrip- 
tion in an unknown tongue, of which we know but a few 
words, that may prove keys by which it may be deciphered. 
What of the march of power and intellect in man it may 

reveal we can only guess, though we may surmise from 



human experiences and our own nature that it must 
contain terrible passages, which some, perhaps, would 
fear to look upon. 

In the study of anthropology there is, perhaps, the 
most legitimate field for the constructive imagination. 
So much may be seen in the realm of history, the brief 
portion of the story of man with which we are partially 
acquainted. A history without imagination is but a false 
and dusty record, a sketch in black and white of what was 
once a glowing fresco. The shelves of libraries are full 
of such dead documents, and only occasionally does the 
reader light upon a work, or even a passage in a work, 
to which the realizing imagination has given a sense of 
motion and life. Such a passage is to be found in Pro- 
fessor Murray's Rise of the Greek Epic, when he describes 
vividly, and with convincing power, the probably course 
and conduct of an early migration in the ^Egean Sea. 
It is a matter for regret that even anthropology, with all 
its immense implications, should exhibit much of that 
restricting tendency of scientific men to confine themselves 
to special rather than general fields. Yet just as its study 
throws light upon the conduct and behaviour of living races, 
so many special studies, that, perhaps, of Pelasgian myth 
or history, may help to solve the mysteries of the un- 
historic past. Even if it does not do so directly, it will 
show specialists that to ignore the imagination is to deprive 
themselves of the most powerful weapon in the whole 
armoury of research. If in the course of some daring and 
slenderly based speculations their rash author makes one 
possible suggestion, he is as much justified as the poet who 
writes but one memorable line. In such a fluctuant, 
inchoate branch of learning, it cannot be said that know- 
ledge has yet reached the period when theory is held to be 


dangerous, which is, I must suppose, the time when the 
supporters of some particular view wish to see every one's 
energy consumed in the search for facts to uphold it. 
But, to alter the phrase of the Master of Trinity, none is 
infallible, even the oldest, who not unnaturally are apt 
to regard their settled opinions with the greatest respect. 
A new hypothesis, or a new application of an ancient 
one, is, however, in its way as much a fact as bones in a 
tumulus, and may perhaps do work as important as the 
Piltdown skull. 

Among the curiosities of the human intellect is its 
great reluctance to acknowledge anything now regarded 
with moral reprobation as once normal to mankind. The 
tendency of all races to place the Golden Age in the past, 
which is the result of a dread of change, since any alteration 
may bring disaster, and must cause temporary disorder, 
acts thus as a forgotten complex even in science. In spite 
of some authorities having recognized the probability that 
all races have passed through a stage of cannibalism, 
many others of equal or greater prestige appear to regard 
the notion with horror. 

It is objectionable to their moral feelings, and, although 
it is the first duty of the scientific thinker to clear his 
mind of prejudice, some are obviously unable to do so. 
Accordingly one very great authority practically asserts, 
not without feeling, that horror of incest is a primary feeling 
in man, an abstract notion thus preceding experience a 
totally impossible position to occupy in any "science" 
but theology. As it happens I myself encountered this 
moral feeling with regard to cannibalism, when in an essay, 
published in an obscure journal more than twenty-five 
years ago, I attributed to it very great and important 
evolutionary results. It is true that no notice of an 


immature paper was taken by any authority, a fact I by 
no means resented, although hardly then fully aware 
that any variation in thought, like a variation in the 
physical conformation of an individual, is more likely to be 
swamped than perpetuated. Since then, in discussing the 
view suggested, I have found the moral complex showing 
itself, at times with almost theological ardour, even in 
the instructed. They seemed willing to agree with 
M'Cullough and others that a stage of cannibalism might 
have been universal, or nearly universal; but to view it 
as a powerful factor of progress and human advance was 
something not easy to masticate, much less to swallow. 
Yet some reason may possibly be shown for believing that 
cannibalism, combined with war for a special purpose, can 
help us to account for many problems yet unsolved. Even 
a very simple suggestion sometimes acts as a catalyst, 
and hastens mental reactions. It may often help to 
neutralize moral prejudice, and increase in some measure 
the number of those who have learnt to adopt Spinoza's 
attitude towards humanity. Man's acts, his very per- 
turbations of "spirit," are to be studied as we study 

If such views are not refused a hearing it may be sug- 
gested that they will throw some light upon the develop- 
ment of man as an intellectual animal. And if it is assumed, 
as certainly seems likely, that Keith is right in tracing back- 
ward to Pleistocene times the modern type of skull, it 
should help to fill up the gap in development between 
that type and such as Piltdown man. For if the modern 
skull goes back so far, and the Piltdown type is so late, the 
very stability of the modern type suggests that there must 
have been a period, long in years or centuries, but short by 
the geologic clock, in which man became immensely 


plastic and changed with relative rapidity. The evidence 
seems quite ample which tends to prove great stability 
of type after the middle or late Pleistocene era, and such 
stability shows to all who believe in environmental in- 
fluence, or in natural selection, that since then there has 
been no great fundamental change of moulding factors. 
Some, indeed, imagine that what is called civilization has 
been such a factor. This is practically assumed by 
most who hold that " modern " man is historically modern. 
But, as any change seems great to individuals who are 
disturbed, it is natural for most to come rapidly to the 
conclusion that great past political and social changes may 
have had, and perhaps must have had, an evolutionary 
effect even if comparatively recent. Yet as most changes 
are now but new orientations in thought, which do not 
lead to the destruction of established physical types, 
and as such factors of selection as ill-health, defective 
mentation, and so forth, have continually operated from the 
dawn of life, no vital factors can be discovered working at 
the present time which suggest the new and rapid evolution 
of a cranial type. If such factors worked, one or more of 
them must have disappeared. Since the ancient complex 
of imagination, fear and regret has ceased to picture the 
happy golden ages of the past as a restful paradise compared 
with the dim uncertain paths of the future, even the most 
conservative only employ their imagination in construct- 
ing ideal scenes in a blissful state of ordered feudalism, and 
for very many it has become a habit to picture them- 
selves as the apex and acme of possible mankind. So 
indeed it was in the past, for even if the poets of Greece 
and Rome looked backward to the Saturnia regna, as 
the tribes of Central Australia do to Alcheringa, they 
would yet maintain that they had reached a summit of 


civilization from which only a descent was possible. Man- 
kind thus tends naturally to believe that great attainment, 
even if fabulous peace has passed away, is their own work, 
and the work of their immediate ancestors. It follows 
that there is a natural prejudice against admitting that, in 
all human powers and attributes of brain, man's remote 
ancestors were his equals, even though they lacked his 
present knowledge. To get rid of such predispositions is 
part of the task of science, if it would solve the problem as 
to the factors which were at work at the time of man's 
greatest cranial plasticity. 

While it is not difficult to believe that Mousterian man 
possessed an average cerebral capacity more than equal to 
that found now, some find it hard to credit such brains 
with imagination and powers of logical thought. Yet Fraser 
has shown that many who are called the lowest savages 
reason with perfect logic, even if they argue from un- 
examined and illicit premisses. It ill befits the average 
man of the present day to cast a stone at them, since 
the subjection of his own major premisses to critical 
examination invariably causes him much uneasiness. 
Even the greatest are at times subject to the same 
weakness. Ancient man was always reasoning and, 
since pure logic has nothing to do with the truth or false- 
hood of propositions, but only with their agreement, there 
is no reason to suppose that a school logic of merit might 
not have been composed from a study of the ratio- 
cinative processes of the earliest modern type of brain 
known to us. We may, indeed, analyse further, and in 
so doing discover that logic is to be found in even lower 
human types, or in the animals themselves. A cat who 
smells a mouse, and takes means to catch it, is using 
direct inference. Moreover, in considering the evolution 


of the imagination and intellect we are apt, according 
to Keith's views, to think that when we make great dis- 
coveries they must be relatively greater than those dis- 
covered in the past. Yet it may be doubted if Napier 
of Merchistoun made a greater discovery than the un- 
known genius who first counted on his fingers. It is at 
least certain that, though logarithms lessen labour, they 
have not lessened it to the millionth extent that finger 
reckoning, and all that has flowed from it, including 
logarithms themselves, have since achieved. To learn 
how to make fire was a greater discovery than any 
made by Watt, while the inventors of the wheel or the 
wedge must have been men of the very highest capacity. 
The same may be said of the arts, for the discovery 
that an outline represented in some magical way a real 
animal or a person, whether it was found out by some 
savage boy outlining a shadow, cast by the camp- 
fire, on a neighbouring rock, or by some primeval 
master, was an effort of much more amazing originality 
than a masterpiece by Rembrandt or Rubens. We 
cannot, perhaps unjustly, attribute most, or even many, 
of such inventions to a Piltdown brain. The question 
is then how it came about that relatives, close or far 
removed, of Homo Eoanthropus gave rise, within a com- 
paratively short period of time, to the later and still 
prevalent type, capable of the highest intellectual efforts. 
A solution of the problem may, perhaps, be found in 
cannibalism as the chief factor, if it first gave rise to 
organized war and the development of weapons, such as 
made the best period of Chellean art a time of master- 
pieces in flint. 

It is certainly justifiable to assume that some such 
factor is needed for explanation. If the missing link 


is not so much a typ^of man as a missing page of human 
history, of which the previous and following parts show 
immense changes, we are equally within our rights 
in filling up the lacuna by the use of an adequate 
hypothesis as we should be in supplying to a tragic 
play a missing scene which, to render later acts possible, 
must have contained a murder. In such a mutilated 
script there is a strict parallel to what was probably 
the most tragic part of human history. The play 
would perpetually suggest the action of the missing 
portion, and so, in later and modern history, and in the 
instincts of man, we have hints, and more than hints, 
that obscene tribal survivals represent historic universal 
truth, even if nothing is said here of cave remains, skulls, 
or bones, which are the island peaks of the submerged 
continent of anthropology. 

If such deep seas cover that lost land they may yet 
be sounded, and, as it were, dredged, so that in the end, 
by actual evidence and logical inference combined, the 
unknown may be mapped out. If we judge from what 
remains in those savage customs which offer the best 
means of deduction, we get lines pointing in definite 
directions. If more than one line indicates the same 
solution, the inferential value of both is much in- 
creased. Such a method is similar to that by which 
bee-hunters seek the tree -hive where they look for 
honey. By the observation of the flight of the insects 
on their homeward path they obtain lines of triangula- 
tion which are a sure guide. As regards the early 
history of man one such line may be, perhaps, found in 
Atkinson's Primal Law the repository of views too 
much neglected. From a study of " avoidance " in 
forms well known to him, its author at least deduced 


something of the nature and origin of the primal family, 
its laws and customs. He pictures the savage ape-like 
ancestor of man as the father and husband of all his 
female children, as well as of the stolen women who bore 
them. An immense and overpowering sex jealousy 
led to the extrusion of the male offspring when they 
reached the age of puberty. Such sons broke into the 
sanctity of the family circle dominated by some other 
ancestor of man, and set up for themselves. Incest at 
that time was not intercourse between father and 
daughter, but between brother and sister, son and aunt, 
or mother, and the penalty assigned and exacted for 
ages was death. According to Atkinson, and here I 
by no means follow him, such a system was probably 
broken down when the patriarch grew old by the ex- 
ceptional influence of some " wife " who retained great 
maternal love for her latest grown-up male child. It 
seems that other more widely operating and less 
abstract motives can be shown, which must have exerted 
their influence on the husband and father of the camp 
and all its members. 

It is now some fifteen years ago since I deduced from 
certain social phenomena, which I propose to indicate, 
a particular theory of the family and the two-class 
tribe. This I submitted to the late Sir Laurence Gomme 
and Dr. Haddon. After some consideration they re- 
ferred me to Atkinson's paper, reprinted in Lang's Social 
Origins, as they were of opinion that my views had been 
largely anticipated by him. I discovered this to be a 
fact, and for a short time experienced those feelings of 
indignation natural in one who believes himself a 
pioneer, and finds a camp pitched on what he thought 
an unknown territory. Such feelings did not last long. 


When a hypothesis is immediately verifiable, and dis- 
covery is anticipated by others, there is little ..or no 
compensation. If Adams had been forestalled by Lever- 
rier in the discovery of Uranus by long months or 
years, and the planet had actually been found for the 
more fortunate mathematician, the sense of disap- 
pointment must have been acute. But in my own case 
no such verification was at hand, and I was quite aware 
from the attitude of those who advised me, and my own 
knowledge of theory, that Atkinson's views were thought 
of little value. Naturally they did not seem so to me, 
for while he had deduced his theory from the facts of the 
social phenomenon, known as " avoidance," of which 
the last remnants are to be found tabulated in the 
ecclesiastical Table of Affinities, I had come to the same 
conclusion by a deduction from opposed and anta- 
gonistic phenomena, the existence of which his views 
helped to explain. For if he drew his premisses from 
savage life and " avoidance," I drew my own from 
certain facts observed by myself, and even now observ- 
able by all, in modern society whether in England 
or elsewhere, facts not of avoidance, but of a peculiar form 
of jealousy, which seemed to me an obvious survival of 
ancient instinct. 

It is a truth, known to almost all wives and to women 
generally, whether they have observed it in their own 
husbands and fathers, or in those of others, that some- 
thing more than an over-exigent desire to ensure their 
female children being comfortably and suitably settled, 
prevents many men from welcoming suitors for their 
daughters. And I may say here that the deductions 
I draw from this are probably seldom known to the 
fathers themselves. To act instinctively without the 


knowledge of the why or wherefore is common enough, 
and the origin of many surprising facts can be explained 
by certain developments in modern psychological theory 
and practice. Not a few men object to the presence 
of other men in their house, especially when they are 
not present, even when all thoughts of purely marital 
jealousy are wanting. They even object to the " party," 
that feminine function which tends to lead to love 
affairs. But the main fact is that the resistance such 
show to the marriage of their daughters cannot be ex- 
plained on acknowledged social principles. The young 
people may exhibit every sign of true affection, the 
suitor may be of good character, even of high social 
standing, and yet the father will raise every imaginable 
objection, and put every conceivable obstacle in the way 
of the desired marriage. In many cases I have known 
the young men forbidden the house on the mere ground, 
the last the father had, that he did not like the man, 
whom he slandered in the bosom of his family without 
being aware he was precipitating flight and an elopement, 
which is the modern form of marriage by capture. There 
are cases, well known in later literary history, in which, 
after furious struggles, this result has occurred, and in 
biographies we see the parent's resistance put down to 
anything but its real cause. That is said to have been 
his great affection for his daughter, her necessity in the 
house, her father's need of companionship, or the needs 
of her mother ; but never in any instance to deep-seated 
sex jealousy of instinctive origin. Without relating in 
any detail my own observations and experiences in this 
matter, I may say that on making inquiry of many men 
with daughters, quite a number of them owned that they 
had seen in others what I had seen, and a few, who had 


been accustomed to the analysis of motive in various 
branches of medicine, actually admitted that they had 
felt the very emotions of sex jealousy I have indicated 
as yet existing in modern society. Moreover, on consult- 
ing a lady, herself no mean anthropologist, she declared 
the phenomenon, whether understood or not, was known 
to all women by experience or report, and that it was 
not infrequently hinted at in private feminine conversa- 
tion. The more observations I have made the more I 
have been convinced that the facts are as stated, and it 
was from the hypothesis that even now large numbers of 
men, without any desire of possession apparent to them- 
selves, are sexually jealous as to their female children, 
that I deduced the same conclusion that Atkinson had 
reached by the opposed but complementary hypothesis 
of avoidance. It may here be remarked that the common 
sex coldness between members of the same family is thus 
not due to being brought up together, as commonly 
supposed, but that it is the last result of the system of 
avoidance become instinctive in boys and girls by long 
ages of inheritance, in which the penalty of infraction of 
parental law was death. Such a conclusion, it may be 
remarked, is against the view that the young men sought 
their wives at any time in the camp from which they 
had been extruded. 

It should, however, be made quite clear that these 
ancient surviving instincts are not so vocal or so clamour- 
ous as to speak clearly in those who now retain them. 
The most jealous parent of the kind may not have the 
slightest notion of the reasons moving him. As far as 
each successive suitor is concerned, it is to him a case of 
" Dr. Fell," and there is an end of it. But many are 
distinctly conscious of the facts, though such conscious- 


ness is in many cases sedulously hidden, even if acknow- 
ledged, as I have reason to believe, in the confessional 
or the physician's consulting room. I know that such 
an analysis, however supported, is as little likely to meet 
with approval as the suggestion that cannibalism itself 
is responsible for much of our mental make-up. The 
reception of the idea, even by many of those who might 
be supposed to view all things in the " dry light " of 
the Freudian psycho-analysis, has been almost one of 
tumultuous opposition, although the light that Freud 
casts, both on normal and abnormal cerebration, has been 
of the utmost value. It may, I think, hold a lamp even 
in anthropology, and it is possible that certain conclusions 
drawn by its aid in the matter now discussed may 
strengthen the growing belief in it as a weapon of dis- 
covery. According to the views expressed in other 
places, it is far more than probable that what proves of 
value in individual psychology will aid to unravel the 
tangled web of racial subconsciousness in which the in- 
stincts have their root. Few are now totally ignorant of 
Freud's work in the analysis of the subconscious mind. 
However they may look upon it, or upon some of the 
extravagances of its more indiscreet advocates, not 
many can be found to deny that the hypothesis of hidden 
complexes, by which is meant a series of cerebral reflex 
arcs still in a state of subconscious tone and capable of 
producing peculiar effects, has exerted an immense in- 
fluence on the theory of conscious mentation, or mental 
action. An early impression, although forgotten, or dis- 
sociated from the general web of memory, since a memory 
can only be the repeated passage of impulses over many 
definite synapses, may condition for better or worse the 
whole life of the individual to whom the incident has 


happened. It has not, however, been general to attribute 
good rather than evil, health rather than disease, to such 
unconscious memories. But kindly, or thoughtful, or 
unselfish acts may leave their mark in the same way, 
and a sound early education is, perhaps, no more than 
the excitation of such useful complexes. More is 
definitely known, however, of the evil effects of painful 
forgotten incidents which often yield to psycho-analysis. 
By a skilful use of morbid symptoms, shown in myriad 
forms, the operator may link up the past with the present, 
and demonstrate to the patient the trifling origin of his 
ills. To do so seems to be the drainage of what we may 
call figuratively a mental abscess. I am not aware that 
any one has suggested that the human brain or mind, 
the depository of the racial subconsciousness of man, 
must show in its very constitution similar phenomena. 
There must be human deep-seated hidden complexes 
determining thought and action, and showing, if we could 
read them aright, through what avenues our ancestors 
have passed. When some hidden complex, which might 
have worked morbid results, has been sublimated, as the 
psycho-analysts call the process, the hidden repressed 
energy makes a healthy path for itself in the brain, and 
lifts up such things as repressed sex feelings into devo- 
tion, altruism, and even self-sacrifice. Such must have 
been part of the method by which the racial type of brain 
has been developed, and so certain do I regard this that 
I think it might have been possible to deduce from racial 
history, folk-lore, and even written history, the very theory 
of psycho-analysis itself. Myth and legend often enough 
are sublimations, but in the deep melancholy, or unmiti- 
gated brutality of some races, may be detected ancient 
influences not so fortunate in their issue. Reversion to 


ancient type in the masses of a race, a subject not remote 
from us, is rendered easier to understand. For in their 
brains lie quiescent the memory and actual cerebral 
machinery which once more may be set working by some 
great stimulus. War could not be the passionate relief 
in action that it is to many, if its memories were not 
graven deep even in the peaceful. So now, perhaps, in 
the night-horrors of children or their elders, there may 
be some dim relic of ancestral fear, which many childish 
tales partially awaken. Such a view is in tone with the 
general purpose of this paper. The ogre or giant who 
eats children is thus a reality to them, for their ancestors 
dwelt for unnumbered centuries among such fearful 
possibilities. The very character of women, with their 
powerful, but half-hidden, insistence on success, could 
thus perhaps be traced, without the idea seeming over- 
fantastic, to the times of ancient famine when their 
children had, perhaps, to fear most their natural pro- 
tector, even, it may be, the mother herself. It is, indeed, 
far from unlikely that it was the women who urged on 
their father and husband to the capture and slaughter 
of his enemies, and his own fear, as I hope to show, may 
be held up as the one great cause of his sullen co-operation 
with his sons in such expeditions, enforced and enjoined 
upon him, though it may have been, by some favourite 
woman who was apprehensive of disaster to her young 

To return from these relevant deductions to the 
parental jealousy complex still showing itself in modern 
times, it seems that many such ancient social states must 
have perpetuated themselves in mental complexes which 
still influence human action. They are but examples 
of the ceaseless working of energy ever and ever in weaker 


but more delicate structures. So, in the growth of the 
nervous system, embryonic cells, capable of development 
into muscle cells which use great energy, were, if we may 
use the metaphor in physiology, sublimated into nerve 
cells, which consume so little that it cannot be measured 
by any means yet known to us. But, just as we know 
that neurons arose from ruder and more energy-con- 
suming structures, we can infer that, though the finer 
and more delicate instincts of modern man were developed 
from rude and brutal ones, they still retain marks of their 
origin. Nor need we be surprised to find even now in 
such a lowly organism as society, which lies far down 
the developmental scale, obvious or gross indications of 
their origin. With this support, and the coincidence of 
Atkinson's views with those otherwise deduced, some 
progress may be made in the consideration of the con- 
ditions and factors which changed the ancient typical 
family of the father, his wives and daughters, and the 
children of both, into the tribe. In such an investigation 
it will not be necessary to go into later developments, 
such as matriarchy, which were probably due to special, 
perhaps local, causes. 

It is the common accepted opinion that tribes grew 
directly from the family which co-operated as an ever- 
enlarging unit, and afterwards subdivided. Such a view 
as much ignores the political phenomena of history, even 
of to-day, as it does the many sidelights which ancient 
custom throws upon the processes in question. When 
any opinion is based upon little evidence it often turns 
out that the effect is mistaken for the cause, or the cause 
for the effect. It may, perhaps, be shown that some- 
thing like this has occurred in the conclusions based upon 
the classificatory system of relationship and inter-tribal 


customs, known chiefly to us by what is seen among the 
Australian aborigines. In order to show as clearly as 
possible what the orthodox view seems to be, I may quote 
Frazer (Folklore in the Old Testament). After speaking 
of the exogamous classes of a tribe as always two, four, 
or eight, but never an odd number, he says : " This 
suggests, what all the evidence tends to confirm, that these 
various groups have been produced by the deliberate 
and repeated bisection of a community, first into two, 
then into four, and finally into eight exogamous and 
intermarrying groups or classes, for no one, so far as I 
know, has yet ventured to maintain that society is subject 
to a physical law, in virtue of which communities, like 
crystals, tend automatically and unconsciously to in- 
tegrate or disintegrate, along rigid mathematical lines, 
into exactly symmetrical units. . . . The evidence points 
to the conclusion that the dual organization or division 
of a community into two exogamous and intermarrying 
classes was introduced for the purpose of preventing the 
marriage of brothers with sisters." 

Leaving aside for a moment the concluding sentence 
of this judgment with the remark that it might just as 
well be argued that the Table of Affinities was introduced 
to prevent the marriage of a deceased wife's sister to her 
brother-in-law, and noting that abstract ideas, such as 
incest, must follow, not precede, practice grown into 
rigid " moral " custom, it may be remarked that if the 
inheritance of Mendelian characters follows exactly upon 
the laws of probability, we may reasonably assume that 
physical laws, however altered from their primal sim- 
plicity, rule in all departments or planes of life. The 
words " deliberate and repeated " in the above paragraph 
certainly call for scrutiny. As we observe that all political 


integration, or its opposite, follows inevitably upon causes 
which can be analysed into physical elements, racial, 
geographical, or economic, and that the element of 
deliberate purpose imagined to exist in politicians is the 
final result of the thrust of the energy behind them which 
they voice, it seems hardly likely that such action can be 
attributed to the prehistoric tribes of Australia. As I 
happen to know them I am far from underrating their 
intelligence, which, taking into consideration their con- 
ditions, is far higher than is generally supposed; but to 
believe them capable of performing such a moral and 
political feat as Frazer suggests is to outrage all prob- 
ability. Communities are certainly not like crystals, 
and the importation of such a simile is in the nature of a 
rhetorical argument, which assumes in an opponent opinions 
to which he would never subscribe. But quite indepen- 
dent of any conclusion which, as its basis, takes for granted 
the facts of division, and then argues that it must have 
been deliberate, there is the ignored hypothesis that 
division never took place at all, but that what did occur 
was aggregation or integration. Since I put aside as 
untenable on the face of it, in view of our knowledge of 
the working of the human brain shown in the descent 
and progression of abstract notions, the theory that 
incest, as horrible or even undesirable on some real or 
fancied ground of eugenics or innate morality, can have 
anything to do with such phenomena, and that therefore 
division is much more than exceedingly unlikely, we are 
forced to consider whether, on a totally opposite hypothesis, 
political integration did not take place for reasons which 
may be discovered, or at least suggested, by considering 
facts it explains, or by parallels in the history of our own 
or other countries. Such facts and such parallels are 


easily discoverable, and as regards the last any European 
war has shown that pressure of circumstances tends to 
integration, often temporary, but sometimes permanent. 
An alliance, in the face of danger between races often 
deeply opposed through the operation of racial, geo- 
graphical, or economic factors, if both are exposed to a 
common danger, is obviously of common occurrence. 
In such conditions ancient differences are hastily com- 
posed, compromised, or postponed, and a united front is 
shown to the enemy. These facts are too common and 
intelligible to need insistence ; but it may be pointed out 
that on final analysis the like are in all essentials ex- 
hibited in the enforced behaviour of animals. The dogs 
of a village which are usually hostile to each other will 
unite to attack an invading dog. Groups of cattle which 
never graze together will ring round a centre and oppose 
together a prowling beast of prey. Many more instances 
might be cited; but the study of history itself is more 
than sufficient to show that union is never voluntary, but 
always enforced, while the fundamental hostility of groups 
is still seen even in English village communities, which 
fight when they meet, or enliven their hours of ease with 
jests at the expense of their neighbours, though they 
become, upon national stress, patriots and friends. But 
as there is no need to labour this point, it may be asked 
whether the hypothesis that the classificatory system of 
relationship and marriage, remnants of which are visible 
in all nations, cannot be explained by enforced integration 
rather than by division. Such an explanation will enable 
us to understand and classify many hitherto inexplicable 
and obscure phenomena in tribal organization, custom, 
and morality. 

Since anthropologists, or those interested in anthro- 


pology, must be more or less familiar with the facts of 
cannibalism, there is no need to enter into a prolonged 
enumeration of its phenomena which are not yet co- 
ordinated. In preference to otiose repetition I shall 
therefore examine a few of the more remarkable customs 
connected with anthropophagism, for, if any solution can 
be obtained of them, many, if not all, of the remaining 
details will fall into their place automatically. Premising, 
then, that it is admitted there is sufficient evidence to 
assume provisionally that cannibalism is a stage through 
which early mankind has passed, it may be asked how it is 
that in certain Australian tribes, such as the Binbinga, 
the two classes eat, not their own, but each other's dead. 
In many other cases, according to Spencer and Gillen, it is 
suspected that the same custom obtains. It seems, how- 
ever, as might have been prophesied, that those who are 
eaten are never, or very rarely, of the same totems as those 
who eat them. Such a custom is totally unintelligible on 
the division theory, and remains, as it were, a mere morbid 
degeneration such as some see in all cannibalism. Although 
many variations in man-eating must inevitably occur as 
totemism and tribal organization decay, what is to be 
sought is the origin of this peculiar custom, and if any 
hypothesis suggests it, the explanation should have solid 

If the original patriarchal family was such, or nearly 
such, as Atkinson pictured it, and as I myself drew it, it 
can be seen how the single one-class, and single-totemed, 
group came into being. As said before, there is no need 
to follow Atkinson in his hypothesis that maternal love 
overcame the hostility of the brutal father and chief, for 
in such times and conditions as those which made the 
environment of nascent mankind, it is safer to infer that 


the changes were the result of stress of circumstance rather 
than of instincts, however beautiful, which in all primitive 
peoples tend to exert less and less power as the offspring 
become able to take care of themselves. In conditions, 
which even for the partially protected female were such 
as must have employed all her energy to live, they would 
have had little force. 

Although the explanation of the past by what occurs 
now is sound in all sciences, such an instrument of discovery, 
when it uses not permanent physical causes, like those 
seen in geology, but evolved and evolving multiform factors 
such as the instincts, needs some caution. While the 
purely self-regarding and brutal instincts still seen in 
many must even so be regarded as modified favourably 
during social evolution, it may be assumed that the more 
altruistic were in their origin less worthy of admiration 
than they seem now. It is therefore more probable that 
outside stress, rather than maternally introduced modi- 
fications, conditioned the changes by which the sons were 
permitted to stay in some sort of growing communion 
with their parents, although avoidance was still strict, and 
exogamy, or marriage by capture, from other nascent 
groups or tribes, absolutely obligatory. 

With the existence of families in such proximity as 
permitted wife capture it follows that, owing to the very 
custom of capture, some kind of relationship should have 
grown up. Even if the capture of wives were associated 
at other times with the capture of prisoners, or carrying off 
the dead for food, there would assuredly be intervals of 
peace and comparative amity in seasons of plentiful game. 
Although such friendly relations must have been slight 
they would certainly be stronger than those with other 
and remoter groups with whom no intermarriage was 


possible, and who were at all times regarded purely as 
enemies. It is very interesting to note that though Maine 
obviously knew nothing of the Australian classificatory 
system he yet remarks : " The history of political ideas 
begins, in fact, with the assumption that kinship in blood 
is the sole possible ground of community in political 
functions ; nor is there any of those subversions of feeling 
which we term emphatically revolutions, so startling and 
so complete as the change which is accomplished when 
some other principle, such as that, for instance, of local 
contiguity, establishes itself for the first time as a basis 
of common political action. . . . The earliest and most 
extensively employed of legal fictions was that which per- 
mitted family relations to be established artificially, and 
there is none to which I conceive mankind to be more 
deeply indebted " (H. S. Maine, Ancient Law, 1905, 
pp. 129, 130). It may be noted, of course, that the two 
groups, which I conceive as becoming one tribe under 
external pressure, are locally contiguous and obviously 
blood relations, however bitterly hostile. If during a period 
of scarcity, distant and dreaded foes made an incursion 
into territory in which the less hostile groups were situated, 
there would be the strongest motive possible for at least a 
temporary alliance. If it is objected that the inter-group 
relations of marriage would not compensate for the hatred 
aroused by cannibalism, it must be remembered, ex hypo- 
thesi, that this was a state of things perfectly customary, 
and not in any sense outrageous. There was then no such 
thing as a moral horror of the practice. If such an alliance 
took place, and was partially successful, it would tend to 
continue, especially if the remodelling stress of the more 
hated foe still remained as fear " in being." It is natural 
enough to deduce from this that such a state of things 


would necessarily alter cannibalism between the allied 
groups, while necessity, combined with customary habit, 
would end in the practice of eating each other's dead, 
rather than in a continuance of former customs. On this 
hypothesis such habits as those of the Binbinga are per- 
fectly intelligible ; it is seen how they came about, and, 
by customary inertia, were continued. Although there is 
no necessity to enter into the vexed question of totemism, 
it may be assumed that in each familial group there was 
already some such name badge, whatever its origin and 
whatever it may have developed into later, when magic, 
myth, and tradition moulded and welded the tribe into its 
later form. There would be then a tribe of two classes, 
mutually exogamous, each class with a totem. And if 
such a hypothesis is admitted as possible, then on further 
pressure of war, induced as war practically always is by 
economic conditions, however much disguised in modern 
times, the transition from a two-class tribe to a four- or 
eight-class tribe actually explains itself. There would be 
in the latter case eight totem classes, whose ancient law 
sanctioned intermarriage with one other totem class only, 
while any intercourse between the rest of the classes, though 
at first conditioned mainly by jealousy, would gradually 
become tribal morality, and a safeguard to tribal unity. 

On this hypothesis there is no compulsion to posit 
advanced abstract notions as a driving force, a conception 
contrary to logic and the nature of language as well as to 
the established fact that progression is from the concrete 
to the abstract, and not vice versa. Moreover such a theory, 
for if it unravels the meaning of so difficult a case as that 
of the Binbinga it becomes more than a hypothesis, is in 
accordance with processes to-day, while it explains modern 
sex morality as the last, but assuredly not enduring, 


remains of a tremendous and rigid code whose sanction 
was not merely the fear of slander or social ostracism, 
but that of death. 

However disagreeable the conclusion may seem to many, 
even the positive evidence obtainable is suggestive of 
universal cannibalism. The fact that it still exists in 
many quarters of the globe, and may be returned to any- 
where under stress, vastly strengthens such evidence. 
Abhorrent as it is to the modern mind, no one knows what 
he will do on occasions of which he has no experience. I 
once camped in the Selkirks, in British Columbia, with 
an old prospector known as the Man-Eater, because, when 
snowed-up and starving in the mountains, he had dug up 
his partner's frozen body, which he had previously buried. 
The potential cannibal may in fact exist in the most re- 
fined, and it is not illegitimate to conclude that the habit 
was once universal, and resulted in continued economic 
war. To such factors may be attributed the continual 
coalescence of many hostile tribes, who compromised 
again and yet again with enemy after enemy, and in the 
process established the earlier real societies, the germs of 
nations and of races. The unknown is still the horrible, 
and it was better to make friends with tribes near at hand 
whose customs were at least familiar, than to be conquered 
by dreadful far-off people, who might overthrow law and 
lay morality in the dust. What morals, indeed, were to be 
expected from such ? Magic itself might be in danger ! 

From a purely physiological point of view it may be 
suggested that as character is modified or intensified by 
special foods, containing special catalysts or toxins which 
act as determinants, a custom like cannibalism may have 
altered human character itself by ensuring a common 
average stock of such determining elements. We are 


even yet wholly ignorant of the evolutionary effects of 
acute diseases which are recovered from ; but it cannot 
be imagined they have none. Their toxins by eventually 
producing immunity must certainly be a factor of change 
in a race, as they must be factors in the after life of the 
individual. It may be said that when tuberculosis was 
first active as a destructive and modifying agent, prob- 
ably at the beginning of the pastoral ages when man 
first domesticated cattle, a very powerful factor of physical 
and cerebral change was introduced. If that is even 
remotely possible, it cannot be believed that cannibalism 
had not many obscure side effects, over and above that 
of intensifying the struggle for existence. 

Organized war in itself, though it is a subject which 
has employed so many minds, has rarely been considered 
as a very ancient factor in evolution. We may take it for 
granted that it did not originate in the mere love of fighting. 
The joy of conflict is assuredly a by-product of superfluous 
energy, and even now much rarer than is assumed in 
romance. Yet if the temporary sullen alliance of some 
early prehistoric men, in periods possibly late Miocene 
in date, was the very beginning of tribal unity, and if their 
joint efforts procured success against a common enemy 
of both, we are entitled to call such an expedition the 
very beginning of organized war, as distinguished from 
solitary hunting, and the origin of immense evolutionary 
changes. So far as I am aware, though man's intellectual 
advance has been frequently attributed to his hunting 
proclivities, as calling forth qualities advantageous to 
him who was successful, and thus aiding his survival, 
while inter-tribal warfare is no doubt recognized as a factor 
of his progress, the reasons usually assigned for such war- 
fare are the tolerably obvious ones still displayed among 


savage peoples as regards hunting areas. A French writer, 
Toussenel, who has discoursed on the part played by dogs 
as co-hunters with man, has, indeed, attributed the origin of 
cannibalism to a by-effect of the chase. He says (L 'Esprit 
des Betes, 1847) : " U est evident que 1'anthropophagie 
est nee d'une excessive fringale combinee avec 1'habitude 
du regime du viande. II arriva que deux hordes de chas- 
seurs se recontrerent a la poursuite du meme animal, un 
jour que la proie etait rare and que la faim mugissait dans 
leur entrailles, et il eut guerre entre elles. On se battit, 
on se tua et les cadavres de vaincus remplacerent natur- 
ellement au foyers des vainqueurs les cadavres du gibier 
absent." Such opinions may, perhaps, be somewhat 
suggestive, but the attribution of cannibalism to the merest 
accident is most certainly not sound. Toussenel thought 
that it followed tribal organization and hunting in parties ; 
but such organization has to be accounted for, not assumed 
as natural. Nor can we take it for granted that warfare 
arose of itself without some very definite and powerful 
cause among our very early ancestors, for though social 
animals fight among themselves, they never organize 
against other groups of the same species. Real organiza- 
tion for warfare, therefore, seems peculiar to man and some 
ants who have reached a very high stage as societies with 
great differentiation of function. Although imagination 
has a great part to play in speculation, when explanation 
is wanting and data are necessarily few such hypotheses 
as are invented must at least account for fundamental 
facts, and the view that tribal organization preceded 
cannibalism practically leaves out of account such pheno- 
mena as those of the Binbinga and others, which were 
probably as unknown to Toussenel as they seem to be to 
many modern writers on allied subjects. 


It has been argued by Harry Campbell and others, 
as I myself argued twenty-five years ago, that inter-tribal 
warfare, in which all members of the tribe were engaged, 
must have meant the rapid elimination of fools and the 
unfit ; but so far it seems that it has not been pointed out 
that the acts of war, whether tactical or strategic, tend 
to develop all the logical and mental faculties of man. 
Every human faculty has assuredly been called into exist- 
ence by the stimulation of the environment. It does not 
follow that every stimulation has brought out power to 
deal directly with the situation. But it has certainly 
developed powers of avoiding possible evil results, thus 
moulding the race in another way. Certainly no faculty 
can be conceived existing without need unless there is 
in existence excess energy not wanted for self- or race- 
preservation. For there are undoubtedly developments 
not in themselves really useful. We cannot logically 
attribute the gorgeous colouring of the Trochilidas purely 
to sex selection, when we see the less gorgeous species still 
highly adorned. We are forced to look on such super- 
coloration as the result of excess energy in birds already 
so energetic as to be almost beyond the ordinary accidents 
of bird life, while they live on the most assimilable form 
of carbohydrate. Such excess of adornment may in the 
end become harmful to them, as it has done since debauched 
destructive energy in rich women has demanded their 
sacrifice for adornment. But if all useful faculties in 
man, or any animal, must have been developed by the 
stimulation of the environment we can, I think, conceive 
no such stimulation as that of individual, group, and tribal 
warfare for the purpose of obtaining the food which is the 
most nourishing, and the most easily digestible of all. 
Since it has already been humanized, it calls for less energy 


to transform it into body-building or energizing factors. 
The very belief that eating other warriors gave the vic- 
torious their qualities, may easily enough have developed 
from the fact that such a meal showed a marked difference 
in results from those experienced with other foods. But 
the main point to bear in mind is that warfare with objects 
of this kind in view must have had not only very definite 
results in cerebral growth, but also very rapid ones. After 
a long period in which man was, perhaps, little more 
developed than Pithecantheopus erectus, such enforced 
organization, in groups which could develop subordina- 
tion, and respect for ability in leaders, with the rapid 
concomitant destruction of less plastic anthropoid stocks 
of all kinds, must have resulted not only in the elimination 
of most of the ground apes, while the monkeys were able 
to preserve themselves, but also in a period of rapid pro- 
gression in adaptability and cerebral development. Races 
may have arisen perfectly capable of slow progression 
to a status even higher than that of modern man, but if 
they lacked the enforced cohesion of those who had eaten 
up their hunting areas, and were finally driven into united 
internecine warfare to obtain food, or prisoners who could 
be slaves or food as necessity dictated, they would have 
had no more chance against intrusive voracious hordes 
with gross simian characteristics than Greece had against 
the armies of Philip. There are even suggestions in what 
we know of early human history which point, however 
vaguely, towards such unrecorded tragedies. 

Among them, perhaps, may be reckoned that of the 
disappearance of such a species of humanity as Neander- 
thal man. His brain capacity of about 1600 c.c. ; while 
that of modern man is, say, 1400 c.c., is even more superior 
than it seems to that of the average European of the 


present time, as his average height was less (5' 4"). His 
inferior stature may, perhaps, have been compensated 
for by greater weight, so that the portion of the brain 
devoted entirely to bodily functions, and not to intellectual 
qualities, may be rather more than that indicated. Yet 
here was a species of man, distinct from our own type by 
the possession of simian characters which are not ours, and 
the absence of some which we still retain, who had a 
greater brain than the average modern man. According 
to Keith, the teeth of this species are of the taurodont 
type seen in herbivorous or graminivorous animals. " On 
the evidence of the teeth and palate one is inclined to 
regard Neanderthal man as specially adapted to live on 
a rough vegetable diet. . . . His skill as a flint artizan 
shows that his abilities were not of a low order. He had 
fire at his command, he buried his dead, he had a dis- 
tinctive and highly evolved form of culture." In spite 
of this culture, and the structure of the teeth, it is said 
that he was also a hunter, which is held to be proved by 
the remains found in the Krapina cave. He has indeed 
been accused of cannibalism, as split human bones were 
found with other scattered Neanderthal bones and teeth. 
The evidence is assuredly not altogether convincing, but 
it excites speculation, especially as the implements, though 
not typically Mousterian, certainly suggest that culture. 
May it not be said that if cannibalism there was, it must 
be ascribed, not to a typically vegetarian race, but to 
the contemporary ancestors of modern man, who have 
descendants practising it ? In any case, whether such 
a hypothesis is regarded as mere fancy or real suggestion, 
the fact remains that a powerful and highly cultured 
race, which was obviously graminivorous and had prob- 
ably reached the agricultural stage, with a cranial capacity 


not possessed by every philosopher of the present day, 
has vanished from the face of the earth, leaving no 
descendants and few traces of his existence. Such a 
problem cannot be disposed of easily. At the least it 
must excite the suspicion that his place was occupied by 
the ancestors of those who at one stage of civilization 
practised cannibalism, and in all devoted infinite energy 
to organized warfare. Vegetarianism is not likely to 
have been practised by those with teeth not peculiarly 
or typically adapted to such food, and it therefore seems 
quite possible that Neanderthal man was wiped out by 
swarms of a less advanced but more military race of 
cannibals. These speculations have at any rate the 
support afforded by such factors of evolution being in 
action even now, and if the hypothesis is correct, they 
must have been operating from a date some time after 
the anthropoid stock had divided into the lost species 
and that which even yet exists and, in many parts of the 
earth, still indulges in man-eating. 

When considering the past effects of war upon the 
human races it may be urged that the typical soldier, 
even now, is the finest type of all-round man. This 
will no doubt seem a hard saying to those morbid 
intellectuals who overrate conscious mentation. Never- 
theless, many who are prejudiced by the possession of 
an under-exercised body, and an over-exercised cerebral 
cortex, will probably agree that the all-round type of able 
and athletic man is the finest form of humanity. Not 
a few of those who belong to the higher intellectual order 
must often lament their own overgrowths and correlated 
incapacities when they contemplate his simple, healthy, 
and beautiful efficiency. It may be i~ne that progress 
did not stop when fighting ceased to be the greatest factor 


in evolution, although, judging from the evidence it looks 
as if changes were more socially structural than cerebral. 
Yet even now we can say that the best officers in a good 
modern army belong to a fine order of compact, sufficient 
intellect. War still requires that equal balance of the 
body and brain which characterizes them, although they 
may want some qualities which in themselves are scarcely 
more than prophetic of possible future race characteristics. 
It is not necessary to go deeply into cerebral physio- 
logy or psychology to see that war required the develop- 
ment of all the main faculties characterizing the human 
brain. There is no common faculty useful in life which 
is not necessary to the soldier considered only as such. 
War is a great intellectual and bodily game, in which the 
incomplete man goes under. The soldier has to reason, 
and must reason rapidly, his intuitions must outrun the 
processes of formal thought. To say so by no means 
implies that he should be acquainted with the syllogistic 
skeleton of human reasoning. Men argued in natural 
moods before scholastic logic, as they still argue without 
having heard of it. The early warriors organized brain 
tracts which grasped more and more factors in the en- 
vironment ; their skill and their salvation depended on 
new and ready response to new or old stimuli. Such 
brain faculties are capable of being developed and organized 
in a measure by hunting, but hunting alone, as we under- 
stand it, could not have put the last fine edge upon the 
brain as a weapon, nor would it have eliminated with any 
rapidity the small-brained races which were incapable 
of swift variation. Nothing but war would have been 
so likely to bring out all those qualities which reward 
skill, quickness, endurance, foresight, and the concentra- 
tion of endeavour with the crown of victory and the 


inheritance of the earth. Thus it does not seem a vain 
imagination or a mere unsupported hypothesis to consider 
the early warrior's brain as the type from which all our 
still unstable new developments have naturally grown. 
The savage who was most a savage, who was the fiercest, 
the most ruthless, who was most endowed with cunning, 
and who yet had a faint sense of loyalty within his brain, 
which made him capable of being led or leading in his 
turn, was the true fountain of progress, of knowledge, and 
ultimately of those finer cortical growths which some 
metaphysicians and all religionists prefer to call " the 
soul." We must look to the lowest man-eating tribes 
who yet remain if we wish to see ourselves somewhat as 
we were when mankind first rose from the Miocene abyss. 

Though these conclusions are disagreeable to many, 
while others think that it is straining an hypothesis beyond 
the limits of elasticity to reach them, it must be remembered 
that like objections are still urged against conclusions, as 
to the formation of human individual and racial cerebral 
characteristics, reached in psycho-analysis. These militate 
against curious concepts, such as Free Will, which are 
peculiarly dear to many, while they show that the origin 
of some of the sublimer feelings lies deep in the savage 
passions of self-regarding instincts. To attribute every- 
thing to cannibalism, without complete analysis of the 
way it operated, would be indeed a strain, but if it can be 
shown with plausibility that out of the practice of war 
there sprang, whether on Darwinian grounds purely, 
or on those which suggest that direct environmental 
adaptation can be inherited, such higher attributes of man 
as foresight, caution, subordination, respect for leader- 
ship, and other's mental endowments, while the whole 
basis of the organizing tribes substituted reason, which is 


the power of balancing possibilities, for purely savage 
instinctive action, we have a right, not only to conclude 
that cannibalism was an immense, even the greatest, 
factor of early evolution, but that we are no more justified 
in regarding it with peculiar disfavour than if we dis- 
covered with horror that the singular energy in doing 
good of some saintly woman had its origin in frustrate, 
sublimated sexual passion. 

Moreover, if the conclusions arrived at in the chapter 
on the function of Repair in Evolution have any weight, 
we are forced to assume that such phenomena as failure 
and repair leading to favourable variation must occur 
in the realm of anthropology as well as in pathology and 
physiology. The more the theory is examined the more 
universal will be seen its operation, so that at last it seems 
legitimate to draw the conclusion that physiology in the 
sense of perfected action and reaction is an ideal of living 
structure, and no sooner seen that lost, while a morbid 
or semi-morbid condition due to over-stress and the 
reactions of repair, is the true norm in evolution. If this is 
so, and few capable of taking a scientific and philosophical 
view of society as now seen in the melting-pot of change, 
disaster, repair, and again disaster and new trials and errors 
as modifications take place under internal and external 
stresses and stimuli, will be found to deny it, we may take 
it for granted that the still vaster modifications of various 
species of humanity in the ages of geologic time must have 
exhibited like phenomena on a lower plane, in which the 
furious self-regarding instincts had not yet been changed, 
or only partly changed, into some of the higher attributes 
of man. When in imagination we regard such possible 
factors at work, the picture seems one of unmitigated 
misery, or social disease and disorder. Yet even then there 


were working factors making blindly for balance and sym- 
metry, for easy action rather than difficult, for peace 
rather than war. Indeed, the most appalling comment 
to be made on such a state of nascent society is not that 
it was so peculiarly dreadful, or that it puts a strain on 
the imagination to conceive it, but that after long ages we 
see similar factors but little altered still at their work. 
Peace conferences have their ancient analogues and, as 
great diplomatists argued round Pliocene camp-fires, 
so, when Paris itself lies under the sea, other diplomatists 
will even then debate on ancient premisses, while 
idealistic, contemporary historians throw doubts on the 
recorded savagery of extinct Europeans. 

If the whole of this volume were not in the nature of 
a plea for the use of the imagination in science, so long as 
it is controlled by ascertained results in allied branches 
of learning, I might have hesitated to use such arguments 
or illustrations. But when there are problems to solve, 
in which few if any direct observations can be made, and 
in which documents are rare, it is necessary to employ 
some such method as that known in mathematics as the 
Inverse Problem of Perturbations. Uninterpreted altera- 
tions in the orbit of one or more planets lead to the dis- 
covery of another almost beyond the reach of the telescope. 
If, indeed, Neptune had never been seen, the facts as to 
its orbit and distance from the sun would have been almost 
certain. Such a case presents striking analogies with 
investigation into prehistoric times. We observe the 
inexplicable present, and infer an adequate cause. If the 
present view suggested no more than a possible explana- 
tion of the remarkable change from such as Pithecanth- 
ropus to the modern type of brain which, following 
Keith, I believe to be of very early origin, it would, at 


least be something. Yet Keith himself says : " Can we 
conceive that, in the stretch of time between the end of 
the Pliocene and the middle of the Pleistocene, even allow- 
ing two or three hundred thousand years for that space, 
the brain of Pithecanthropus could have evolved into the 
modern human form ? I cannot conceive such a rapid 
rate of evolution." While by no means of the opinion that 
Pithecanthropus was a human ancestor, for it appears 
far more likely that he was a collateral survival if pro- 
perly dated, it seems to me that by the operation of the 
combined factors suggested such a rapid change might, 
and indeed must, have taken place. If there is one thing 
more sure than another, it is that stability of type 
indicates a more or less stable environment. From the 
historic view changes may be rapid, while from the physio- 
logical and anthropological standpoint they seem too 
negligible to be considered moulding influences. That 
very ancient types still survive is not really a relevant 
argument against a rapid critical period of change, unless 
we can show that such a static condition has continued 
through immense physical changes of the environment. 
The partially obsolete Darwinian view of a slow aggregation 
of minute advantageous spontaneous variations seems still 
partly responsible for the opinion that change must neces- 
sarily be slow. But in many states of matter they are often 
rapid, and it cannot be shown definitely that evolution is 
steady and continuous. Like the colloids of protoplasm, 
on which all life finally depends, it seems to have critical 
periods. Colloidal substances are easily influenced by 
obscure stimuli. The origin of life as a sudden rise in the 
organization of matter may have depended on a partic- 
ular instance of ionization or the powerful influence of a 
rare accidental catalyst. Planck's very theory of Quanta 


itself suggests sudden steps in all phenomena what- 
soever, and in the presence of such a protoplasmic cerebral 
tool, or catalyst, as the early discovery of cannibalism, I 
find no difficulty whatever in considering it as the last 
great cause of a sudden critical change in man. Alien as 
such methods of thought may seem to pure specialists in 
anthropology, they may prove suggestive to those of the 
opinion that analogous phenomena are found in all planes 
of evolutionary progress. Universal cannibalism must at 
the least be accepted, if accepted at all, as a possible instru- 
ment of rapid critical change, seeing that both as an elimi- 
nant and an integrator no more powerful machinery can be 
imagined. To say that its discovery as a motive for tribal 
integration may have been the work of some solitary old 
male genius, or the visionary [glimpse, by some extruded 
exceptionally endowed youth, of a means of common 
safety, imparted by him to his young brother and thence 
to his mother, who urged it on her man whose savage 
passions were already failing, may seem extravagant, but 
the notion will not appear so absurd if we remember that 
the thought of a relatively lofty brain is often the heritage 
of the best in succeeding generations, the common property 
of the herd in those that succeed, and that in the end it 
may be indistingishable from criminal and atavistic con- 
cepts. It may, and must, have been an infraction of 
custom, but, though for the ordinary man in any era there 
is little to choose between the habitual criminal and the 
habitual genius, necessity reinforced the suggestion, and 
made havoc of established law. Yet such new co-ordination 
would not be carried to its logical conclusion without the 
revolt of the more conservative element. It is, indeed, 
a peculiar and somewhat melancholy commentary on the 
perpetually recurring phenomena of social and human 


advance to view in imagination many a rigid and ethically- 
set incestuous solitary male retiring indignantly before 
the flood of immoral innovation into the darkest backwoods 
of the primeval forest. Had he been capable of such 
reasoning, he would have regarded the processes which led to 
progress and the evolution of the brain man now possesses 
as essentially anarchic, morbid, and diseased, just as the 
over-conservative mind of modern times regards the rise 
of new powers and processes in social polity as tending to 
the death of the organism of which it is a static and satisfied 
part. It is, then, no fanciful analogy which suggests that 
politics are but a chapter in anthropology, and that the 
processes seen in both are mutually illuminating. We may 
infer that as such new forces exhaust themselves in altered 
or adapted or entirely new structures, which in their turn 
must pass away, cannibalism itself died out among the races 
we call civilized when organization had reached such a 
pitch that the labours of pastoralism or agriculture pro- 
mised earlier and better results than predatory war. A 
balance of power, continually upset and restored, came into 
existence, and the developing germ of international law 
or custom took on new forms. We can thus conceive 
Grotius and his followers as the lineal descendants of the 
first ancient inter-group messengers, or at the least derived 
from the calmer philosophers at the first peace conference 

ever held about some long-extinguished camp-fire over 
which the retreating ice of successive glacial epochs has 
poured its floods. 

It seems not altogether impossible that this hypothesis 
may be confirmed by the aid of another branch of science. 
Some years ago it was suggested by an eminent zoologist, 
one of the few to whom knowledge has not meant special- 
ism, that the evolution of Tcenia solium supported such 


views. Since it can hardly be supposed that this parasite 
has reached its present perfect adaptation within the 
period which has elapsed since the domestication of the 
pig, which implies a settled or, certainly, less migratory 
state of civilization, it follows that the cystic form of 
Tcenia must have alternated with the adult form in the 
one other form of life in which such a stage is possible, 
that is to say, in man himself. As I have not applied myself 
to the study of helminthology it was impossible for me to 
say whether this view was sound or not, and as the 
advocate of the hypothesis did not reprint the paper, I 
had an application made to him for his considered opinion. 
When this was not vouchsafed I requested information 
from a well-known helminthologist, who replied that he 
himself knew nothing of the subject, and therefore referred 
me to another authority, who in his turn gave me the 
name of yet another, who finally referred me to the first. 
It seems that, whatever is known of these parasites, 
their evolution has not yet been properly considered, 
and it may yet appear that it proves the universal and 
long-continued practice of anthropophagy. 

On recapitulating the arguments advanced, though 
each one separately may appear unconvincing and even 
capable of rebuttal, it seems that when viewed together 
they amount to much more than might have been 
expected. Even a partial enumeration of the points 
discussed may suggest reasonable explanation of the 
following difficulties : 

1. The classificatory system of relationship. 

2. The custom of avoidance and the sex-coldness 
among brothers and sisters. 

3. The not uncommon modern phenomenon of 
parental jealousy. 


4. The widespread modern practice of cannibalism 
in all its various forms, food-seeking, honorific, and re- 
ligious, etc. etc. 

5. The peculiar practice of endo-anthropophagy which 
consists in each class of a tribe eating the dead of the 
other class. 

6. The rapid change in cranial form and capacity 
during a comparatively short time. 

7. The development of the basal logical faculties of 

8. The disappearance of a big-brained and probably 
agricultural species of humanity such as Neanderthal 
man, and the facts observed at Krapina. 

9. The evolutionary functions of war. 

10. The nature of hidden racial complexes strictly 
analogous with those observed in individuals. 


CAMPBELL, HARRY. " Biological Aspects of Warfare," Lancet, 
London, Sept. 15, 1917 ; and " Man's Mental Evolution, 
Past and Future," ibid., London, 1913. 

FRASER, Sir J. G. "Totemism and Exogamy." 

KEITH, ARTHUR. "Antiquity of Man," 1916. 

MAINE, Sir H. S. "Ancient Law" (ed. Pollock), 1903. 

SPENCER and GILLEN. " Native Tribes of Central Australia." 

TOUSSENEL. "L'Esprit des Betes," 1847. 



IN science one of the most successful Teutonic warriors 
appears to be Weismann, who imposed his yoke 
on the larger part of the biological world. They would 
still seem happy under it, even if uneasy at times, and, 
perhaps, more doubtful than they appear. It is the duty 
of the orthodox to disclaim doubt and to profess belief 
with fervency. This is especially binding upon those who 
occupy the pulpit : if the priests of neo-Darwinians, 
that cult purified of pangenes, use, and disuse, and the 
transmission of acquired characteristics, showed hesita- 
tion and ceased to preach dogmatics, their reputations 
would be ruined, and the congregation become a lost 
flock. Too little stress is laid on the vices of orthodoxy 
for, not only does it make men blind, it makes them cling 
to untenable positions. It would be more than terrible 
to discover that theirs was the worship of no translated 
but a vanished god. For did not Zeus himself die, and 
is he not buried in Crete ? 

I do not propose in a short chapter to deal with the 
whole case for the transmission of acquired or altered 
characteristics, either on its theoretic or experimental 
side. But it has already been suggested in this book that 
to neglect relative speculation, that is to say, speculation 

dealing with like phenomena on different planes of life, 



is to put aside a powerful weapon of analysis, and there 
are, or so it seems to me, reasons for believing that some 
purely theoretic criticisms of the germ-plasm hypothesis 
may help to show where it is true and where false. In 
any case the orthodox can hardly complain of the use of 
theory since Weismannism, however its characteristics 
have been altered and transmitted, is still almost purely 
theoretical, being supported chiefly by the argument that 
no other view accounts for everything. This is, how- 
ever, a theological rather than a scientific argument, 
for the inclusive and complete hypothesis is dear to the 
ecclesiastic mind. 

It can, perhaps, be remarked that orthodox biologists 
do not avail themselves of all biological resources. In 
discussion the salient fact emerges that they rely mainly 
on cytology for practical support. But since cytology 
is dependent on the microscope, a valuable but increas- 
ingly hazardous tool of research as higher powers are 
used, the more observations are extended the more un- 
certain are the conclusions reached. Among few of the 
pure school of neo-Darwinians do we see the biological 
conception of the organism properly considered, nor do 
the devotees of cell -structure and the ever-enlarging 
ritual of the chromosomes seem to reflect that every cell 
they observe in situ or in the dark field is after all a uni- 
cellular organism. When it is so considered, since any 
organism is a definite spatially related set of colonial 
organisms, it might even seem that Weismann himself 
had given his whole case away by admitting that uni- 
cellular organisms could and did acquire and transmit 
acquired or altered characteristics. 

It may be repeated, moreover, that biologists how- 
ever learned in cytology and the pure literature of their 


own subject, for the most part ignore all the related 
sciences. With regard to pathology I have endeavoured 
in some measure to make good this omission in the 
remarks on Repair in Evolution, and although it is obvious 
that the conclusions reached there are not likely to be 
greeted with enthusiasm by those who hold the germ- 
plasm theory, I shall not now lay any great stress upon 
them. In this place it may be more pertinent to turn 
to general histology, a subject which so far seems little 
known to those engaged in biological study. For 
nearly all work upon heredity appears to begin 
with, and to be founded upon, a consideration of the 
perfect gametes, and to proceed with elaborate accounts 
of their reduction, maturation, and fusion in the zygote 
without taking into full account the tissue history of the 
organs in which they arise. In saying so much the in- 
sistence on germinal epithelium is not overlooked, for 
nowhere have I been able to discover why it is called 
" germinal," except from the fact that in the higher 
organisms the sperm and egg cells descend from epithe- 
lium. Although in many of the lower kinds they 
spring from blood cells, or other cells, this fact is inter- 
preted by Weismannians as the pressing of germ cells 
into general service, a view which is an outrage on logic. 
It may be suggested that the tissue history of the 
colony of epithelial cells in which they develop must 
discover one very important fact, which is that they 
have a special environment, and that when they are 
" born," that is to say when they leave it for another, 
the second or third place they occupy, though still an 
environment, is less and less special as the growing cell 
itself specializes. It seems to be forgotten that among 
mammalians the offspring is at the least " born " three 


times, once when extruded from the Graafian follicle, 
once when it throws in its lot with the sperm cell and 
makes common stock of its energy and chromosomatic 
tools, and again when extruded by the uterus after a 
prolonged period of parasitism. With a properly and 
naturally nourished infant the number of births may 
be said to reach four when it is weaned. Far too much 
criticism is made of direct adaptation to environment 
in the adult organism, and far too little study given to 
pre-embryonic and embryonic stages, even by most of 
the advocates of such adaptation. 

As mitigating to some extent the fairly obvious 
biological ignorance of histology, it must be admitted 
that very little seems known of the histology of the 
ovaries and the ova, the testes and the spermatoza, for 
Schafer disposes of the subject in a few lines, and other 
authorities are equally brief. Something may be found 
in Wilson, and Weismann himself dealt with it in- 
effectively. As his theory rendered it unimportant, 
this is not a matter for wonder. The ovarian tissues 
and the history of the oocytes seem less known than 
that of the testes, although in this last case much 
remains to be cleared up. It is a fact that both sperm cell 
and ovum develop, not from any more obviously special 
tissue than epithelium, but very often from epithelioid 
cells which have not taken on the full character of epi- 
thelium. To deal first with the testis, we may say with 
Schafer and Brown, that the sperm cells are developed 
from the small spermatoblasts which form the inner 
stratum of the seminal epithelium, and that these them- 
selves are formed by division from the spermatogenic 
or mother cell of the second layer. It seems probable 
that these descend from the lining epithelium. Thus 


we have a definite descent of the sperm cell in at 
least four stages : (i) Division of living epithelium cell 
into two cells, one of which becomes a spermatogen and 
passes into the second layer, while the other does not 
migrate, but enlarges and becomes a sustentacular 
cell, apparently connected with the nutrition of the 
spermatozoa when fully formed and during conversion. 
(2) Division of the spermatogen. (3) Further division 
and resulting daughter cells are converted into spermato- 
blasts. (4) Growth and elongation of spermatoblasts 
into spermatozoa. 

In the ovaries similar processes appear to take 
place by which the follicles are developed from lining 
epithelium. Some of the cells develop into ova, and 
are thus direct descendants of epithelium. So far it 
seems that there is no reason whatsoever to be found 
in any of the processes for assuming that germ-plasm 
in the narrow sense exists at all. The succeeding 
phenomena can be accounted for without any great 
exercise of faith if we consider such processes as de- 
pendent on the cell's energy and the catalysts, or tools, 
brought over in the oocyte and sperm cell, or derived 
later by the zygote from the tissues and blood-stream 
of the maternal parent. For during the most important 
part of the reproductive cell's life, that spent in the 
originating tissue, it was a unicellular organism acquir- 
ing the characteristics which under other conditions 
develop and diverge. If such a view is accepted the 
great determining period of the reproductive cell is its 
early testicular or ovarian history, not that of its 
later embryonic life. During the first state we can 
easily imagine the epithelioid cell acquiring freely the 
activators, catalysts, or similar hormones, which direct 


operations in the adult organism. To say that it contains 
germ-plasm is to assume something without real proof, 
and no observations of germ-tracks, or theories of 
germinal epithelium as ultimate facts, can invalidate 
the conclusion that, as the function and form of the 
adult are determined by definite agents, so the functions 
and form of the free oocyte, sperm cell, or zygote, are 
thus determined from moment to moment of its develop- 
ment. Such a view takes into account the law of 
parsimony, which requires us to posit no unknown 
factors where known ones can be seen producing similar 

Pure early theoretic Weismannism has no doubt been 
modified and diluted. So has early theology. We are 
no longer required to assent to a cloud of biophors, a 
hierarchy of determinants, and a whole angelology of ids 
as a sine qua non to biological salvation, though it may 
possibly be shown that the dilution of the theory has not 
allowed for the truth in it, if it is considered rather as an 
illustration than as true theory. But still sufficient of the 
suggested machinery remains to enable the neo-Darwinian 
to believe that all change is due to minute germinal varia- 
tions in the chromosomes, though no one of them has yet 
acknowledged that such variations are variations in definite 
tools, as even Weismann himself might have acknowledged 
if as much had been known of the endocrines in his time 
as is known now. Disguise it as they may, the whole theory 
as held is concealed vitalism and a circulus in definiendo. 
If the germ-plasm is an ultimate fact not resolvable into 
recognizable scientific factors it is absurd to call the theory 
scientific, unless it is asserted that " nature " and " life " 
are scientific words instead of verbal shorthand. Nothing, 
indeed, can be described as scientific explanation which 


cannot in the end show phenomena as the result of known 
factors. Thus ultimate explanation is not explanation 
at all. We cannot yet resolve final physical laws, and 
therefore ultimate physics can only be called descriptive. 
It is true the phenomena may in the end be ranged under 
mathematical conceptions ; but mathematical reasoning is 
not science in the strict sense. It is abstract illustration 
of theoretic possibilities, and thus akin to pure logic. The 
theory of Weismann, if it has any foundation, must be 
capable of resolution, and may not be looked on as a quasi- 
mathematical or purely verbal illustration of possible 
mechanism. The effort of the neo-Darwinians to dispense 
with his terminology is, indeed, not sound. What they 
should have done, and what remains to be done, is to see 
if his terms will bear translation into measurable factors. 
This, I think, can be achieved but, if it can, the " nature " 
of the germ-plasm will disappear and theoretic deter- 
minants must disclose themselves as hormones, enzymes, 
catalysts, and successively formed internal secretions, by 
which each early cell-change or later embryonic or adult 
development is actually determined. As held, the theory is 
but a form of the " Absolute " conditioned purely by natural 
selection. It may appeal to some philosophers, and to those 
whose tendency is to short-circuit explanation by the hasty 
use of final definitions ; but it might at least give pause to 
its adherents to observe that anatomists, physiologists, 
palaeontologists, and many others work habitually on the 
theory that, whatever the mechanism, modifications can 
be transmitted. It is true they may agree with the orthodox 
biologist that in such cases the nuclear contents of the 
reproductive cells are altered ; but they would certainly 
add that such an alteration must be in the nature of an 
addition, subtraction, or new combination of substances of 


a catalytic or determining nature. And if this is correct 
it follows, from all we know of iron-using bacteria to the 
latest hypo- or hyperthyroidal patient, that these sub- 
stances, however simple or complex, can be added or taken 
away, and that in the food, or in successive metabolic 
states resulting from its use, new catalysts may be formed, 
combined or changed, as they can be by environmental 
stimuli such as light. When saying so much it should be 
added that I am aware of the work done, which, in certain 
cases, shows, or seems to show, that there is an early 
isolation of a germ-cell, ex hypothesi, containing the unim- 
pressionable "germ-plasm." Yet whatever may be found 
with regard to the embryo of a shark, or any of the cases 
held to prove such early specialization, the facts are 
insufficient on which to found a general law. They afford 
no explanation of budding or repair, or the cases in which 
" germ-cells " are wandering amoeboid bodies, and even 
blood-cells, or of the so-called germinal epithelium itself. 
To speak, as is often done, of specificity of detail as being 
determined wholly by chromosomatic facts, without re- 
solving the magic of " specificity" into definite " tools," is 
surely idle. It is concealed vitalism. Nor do we really 
learn much when we are told that in certain cases germ- 
cells do not arise from ccelomic epithelium, but that they 
migrate from special germ-areas into the gonad, since there 
are so many different ways in which such specialization 

To show that the natural tendency of the physiologist is 
to accept such a view as transmission Starling may be 
quoted. His work on hormones, done in conjunction with 
Bayliss, shows that he has a great appreciation of the power 
of certain secretions to influence in the profoundest degree 
digestive and metabolic processes. The possibility of 


prostate secretion tabloids curing chronic mastitis may be 
mentioned (Lane). Since few biologists concern them- 
selves as much as they should with physiology, and not at 
all with pathology, which is just as necessary a part of 
their proper apparatus, it may be pointed out that some 
internal secretions have such observable effects in the 
minutest proportions. That it becomes intelligible how the 
minute parathyroids, four of which weigh two grains, 
have such great physiological effects as to make certain 
they are real determinants. According to Schafer, a strip 
of intestinal muscle is affected by adrenalin in a solution 
of i in 20,000,000 and a strip of coronary artery by i in 
50,000,000. Pysemsky and Kravkov state that the effect 
of one part in 250,000,000 could be detected when per- 
fusing a rabbit's ear with Ringer's solution. Such results 
may at least suggest that an almost infinitely small pro- 
portion of an inorganic catalyst or organic secretion, 
whether coming over in an egg or sperm cell, or taken in 
later from the parental host, might be a determinant of 
immense capacity. No doubt such ideas as these moved 
Starling to the statement that " cell-division in the organism 
might be spoken of as the evolution of a new kind of cell, 
but that the change takes place within the development 
of the multicellular parent, or host, instead of occupying 
a long space of time and involving the destruction of 
countless individuals as when a change of type occurs 
gradually in a unicellular organism." Now, independent 
of the fact that we have no evidence that a unicellular 
organism may not change as quickly, or even more quickly, 
when transferred to water with different saline constituents, 
as an Alpine flower when transferred to the warm lowlands, 
and even positive evidence that it can so change (J. Loeb), 
it may be remarked that about seven months from im- 


pregnation is sufficient for a new human being to become 
viable. That delivery usually takes place at nine is due 
no doubt to the average size of the pelvic ring. Yet the 
maternal organism took many millions of years to become 
what it is now if some anthropologists are right in thinking 
man, as man, dates back at least 1,500,000 years. If the 
evolution of such a high metazoan from a unicellular 
organism took only ten million years, which seems an im- 
possibly short time, similar changes are actually repeated 

in about six months, say of the time of 


evolution. On what grounds then can we assert that 
some undifferentiated protoplasmic units cannot become 
developed oocytes during the time from birth to puberty ? 
The simpler spermatozoa, also developing from un- 
specialized epithelioid tissue, come even earlier to 
maturity, as they may be found active in infants. Time 
does not seem the essence of the contract, for the whole 
physiological theory of living matter is practically based 
on what is known and measurable, the activating and 
accelerating qualities of catalysts. Without going to 
the philosophers or metaphysicians, to Kant or Einstein, 
for instruction as to the relativity or physical nature 
of the time concept, we can recognize that it is at least 
purely relative in physiology and biology. The whole 
of evolution, as of education, is the discovery of short 
cuts, and in this the Principle of Least Action is at work. 
Free energy perpetually adopts the shortest path to become 
bound. Common sense itself is that principle in social 
work. Little by little the organism as it evolved picked 
up and transmitted by successive experiment, by trial 
and error, activators which hastened processes. Time, 
therefore, in the sense that Starling used it, does not seem 


to be an essential factor. His instincts, and his knowledge 
of activating principles and processes, appear to have led 
him right after all. Activating elements are supplied 
fully developed by the parents who took uncounted 
ages to acquire them. There is no reason whatsoever 
for not endorsing Starling's almost wistful statement, 
although in some moment of doubt he rejected it at last. 
If the elements themselves show that in a like temperature- 
environment they stay the same, and change when it 
changes, and yet go back when it again alters, no more 
is asked by any advocate of transmission. We may even 
say, as I have suggested elsewhere, 1 that the whole course 
of evolution suggests that what we have to discover is not 
why child is like parent but why, in certain cases, it is 
unlike, being sure as we pass to the investigation that some 
internal or external environmental cause is at the bottom 
of the alteration. Belogolovy bred ova of the frog 
Pelobates in the parental body cavity. Their " deter- 
minants " determined nothing as the ova became para- 
sitic and presented highly abnormal characteristics, not 
Pelobatic at all. Such considerations may no doubt 
be dismissed as purely theoretical, or even excursions of 
the fancy ; but if it is noted that the greatest weakness 
to which all scientific men are liable is the natural tendency 
to take the easiest path, and ignore general principles, 
they may not seem so much out of place. The easiest 
path at a given time is not always the right one. We 
may get very doubtful adaptation to facts, for energy 
over the pyramidal tract does not work with the same 
certainty as adrenalin. 

If the orthodox school could give any hint as to how 
a variation is to be explained, and what it is that is changed 

1 Vide Repair in Evolution. 


in the germ-plasm or the chromosomes, they would be 
compelled to come down to the earth and stand on the 
firm ground of chemical or biochemical action. Once 
there they might be led to admit at last that any steady 
external stimulus may alter one cell, and that if so it may 
alter many, or that the accidental acquisition of some 
metal or salt may end in its being a permanent tool in the 
armoury of the whole organism. Their very insistence 
on germinal qualities and intra-germinal " struggle " and 
selection is sound so far as it goes ; but they cannot be 
allowed to remain juggling with such factors without 
telling us in what the struggle consists, and what weapons 
or tools are used, or at the very least without taking 
into consideration what other sciences can supply them 
with. It is a sound principle, and certainly one I have 
always tried to bear in mind, that no body of earnest 
workers can be altogether wrong. Even the Hering- 
Semon " mnemes " and Samuel Butler's " memory " can 
now be translated into biochemical factors. If in one 
sense a " mneme " seemed to mean no more than that 
an altered thing was no longer what it was, we may still 
turn the word into measurable factors. The experience 
of the cell is in its education, its acquisition of new tools, 
and " memory " is but the due repetition of phenomena 
when like causes and catalysts are in action in like tissues. 
The desired bridge between those who assert and those 
who deny transmission must in the end be found by 
building on factors which admit the basal doctrines of 
both. It may be admitted that the " germ-plasm," or 
reproductive cell with all the tools in its nucleus or 
scattered as granules among the great society of its 
molecular units, changes for the most part with great 
difficulty. It is a conservative social organism. But 


change it does, and in the end changes must be due to 
the whole of the environment. Exactly the same may be 
said of the social organism. Few who take a philo- 
sophical view of history would deny that the most salient 
fact about man is really his conservatism. They might 
even adopt the terminology of the biologists, and say his 
germ-plasm altered not at all. Yet on further reflection 
they would admit that a similar " victory over nature," 
as occurs when a cell gets hold of a new tool, occurs when 
man learns to use steam or electricity. From one point 
of view, with a short time-element, social change seems 
rapid. From another it appears slow. We may say 
that any organ is elastic or rigid, just as we please, 
according to the point of view we happen to take at the 

As I have pointed out in other places, the obscurity 
of cellular phenomena is probably greatly increased by 
the assumption that the nucleus is " alive," that is, 
composed of protoplasm. 1 There seems no evidence for 
this beyond the fact that it contains nucleins, the whole 
chemistry of which was worked out by Emil Fischer 
(Bayliss). These nucleins are compounds of a protein 
with nucleic acid. Many enzymes deal with their meta- 
bolism, and it is far more probable that they are the 
reserve food protein of the living protoplasm than part 
of that much more obscure and complex protein engine. 
Certainly it seems that a far clearer notion of a cell's 
activities is reached if we conceive it as a social aggregate 
of protoplasmic units, however complex they may be, 
with a storehouse of food and tools or working catalytic 
bodies, than if we regard the varying moving nucleus as 
a live part of it. When a test-bearing protozoon has 

1 Vide Method in Science. 


its test pierced the nucleus moves up to the breach and 
repairs it. Such a process mimics purposed action, and, 
indeed, is purposed action if, as certainly may be done, 
we analyse all purpose into complexes of tropisms. The 
probable causes of the nuclear movements are the negative 
tropisms of the protoplasmic elements. They are repelled 
by the salts of the water, in which the cell lives, and from 
which the test protects them, and gradually thrust for- 
ward the non-living nucleus which contains the catalysts 
or tools which can hasten the deposition of such con- 
stituents of the cell wall as are needed for repair. The 
process is exactly similar to that of an expert with tools 
being thrust and drawn into the position in which he 
can use them to make good the result of some accident 
which requires instant attention. These views are sup- 
ported by the work of Haberlandt. 

This conception of a nuclear tool-house and store- 
house brings the cell as a social organism into line with 
those we more commonly call social, and if the generaliza- 
tion is made that living action of all kinds, in the cell, a 
tissue, an organ, an animal, a social body, or an " in- 
dividual " such as a nation, is of a like nature, it may be 
inferred that it is not so much on the actual protoplasm 
itself as on the acquired tools, and what is made by them, 
that differences of form and action depend. The same 
protoplasmic energy engine makes a muscle cell or a 
neuron. The notion of different kinds or grades of proto- 
plasm appears to be without foundation. That of a 
sperm cell or a hepatic cell is probably just the same and, 
if Child (Senescence and Rejuvenescence) is right, it may 
surely be inferred that an increase of protoplasmic 
activity depends on new tools, the increase of old ones, 
or the loss of those once useful which have ceased to be 


so, while its decrease follows on the retention of what is no 
longer needed or effective a highly conservative pro- 
ceeding. The conservative tendency to retain property 
of all kinds is thus seen in the very cell, and a house 
crowded with useless lumber has its true analogue in a 
so-called senescent cell, which has become static and rigid 
with a morbid " sense of property." Old age is truly 
hindrance and poisoning, not necessarily any alteration 
of protoplasmic units, whatever they may be. 

To some it may seem an unjustifiable inference, but 
the conclusions reached in this way tend to show that 
every determinant, late or early, is a definite tool or engine. 
England is not the same country that it was when wood 
was used instead of coal. It changed with great rapidity 
when the use of steam became common. Electricity 
has till greater possibilities of change. But we cannot 
assert that the brains of the modern business man are 
better than those of the Athenians, or that Watt and 
Stephenson were greater geniuses than men's early ancestor 
who first made a wheel, or the one who discovered that 
watrr poured on the early rude axle acted as a cooling 
age-it and lubricant. The reason of the rapid advance 
of the Americans in material civilization was their adapta- 
tion of the English tools into an organism less cumbered 
with static elements. Vested interests discover them- 
selves as slowers of metabolism, and as obstacles to new 
construction, the result of new tools which can be acquired 
and transmitted. Germ-plasm on this view is just the 
same as any other plasm, and if the nee-Darwinians 
insist that practically, that is, in any given time, it does 
not alter, no one will have any quarrel with them. But 
those who believe that cell is a social aggregate using tools 
as much as an animal or a society, and that the same laws 


rule all organic growth and change assuredly, cannot accept 
the view that Natural Selection and germinal accidents 
are the sole causes of variation. Such conclusions imply 
entirely different laws for similar aggregates, and have 
an unholy resemblance to vitalism, the conception of 
entelechies, or to Driesch's rudimentary psychoids, surely 
the most humorous extravagance since Hartzoeker's 

It has not been my intention in this paper to point to 
the strong evidence in favour of transmission of acquisi- 
tions. 1 Cunningham, MacBride, Kammerer, and others 
can take care of themselves, and have presented many 
enigmas to those who would solve them on the principle 
of the continuity of germ-plasm. To those, however, 
who have read the chapter on Repair in Evolution it will 
be obvious that the evidence brought forward there must 
be rebutted, distorted, or rejected, without consideration 
of the general laws of mechanical or other construction, 
if the theory that variations are due to the phenomena 
of fertilization is to have the remotest chance of survival. 
I may, however, remark that further reading and con- 
sideration have confirmed me in the view that variational 
repair takes place during embryonic growth owing to 
increased functional activity due to relative changes of 
catalytic elements in the parent. To those with the 
smallest knowledge of histology the phenomena of muscle 
growth alone are sufficient to prove this, unless they are 
content to believe that small minute variation can con- 
struct such a wonderful though obviously repaired organ 
as the heart. Organ-forming substances there undoubtedly 
are, but they must finally be translated into chemical or 
biochemical agents, probably of a discoverable kind, 

1 See Appendix B. The Peroneus Tertius. 


which influence all forms of growth. Thus even Lewis's 
experiment of transplanting the optic vesicle, with the 
result of a transformation of the skin above it into a 
rudimentary lens, will probably be finally explained as the 
evolutionary possession by the vesicle of a catalytic secre- 
tion activated by light which alters the form and structure 
of the epithelial cells in close contact with it. We can 
conceive no organ-forming substance to construct the 
heart ; but it is easy enough to regard it as a progressively 
formed functional adaptation to stresses imposed upon it 
during embryonic growth in which it is, to use Starling's 
words, " a new creation." Von Nageli and Hertwig 
pointed out with each stage in growth the internal environ- 
mental complexity increases. But such complexity uses 
an increasing complexity of tools, for just as mere increase 
of numbers in a factory without new instruments does 
not necessarily result in new differentiations among the 
workers or different structural developments in the build- 
ings, so in the animal organism mere increase in bulk does 
not imply increasing complexity. The most important 
variables in all growth, structure, and function are the 
" tools " used, and the engines made of them, and the 
illustrations of the phenomena of budding and mitosis 
given in Method in Science are probably far more than 
illustrations of the way in which organisms in a changing 
environment acquire the tools which change function 
and change structure and can be transmitted, just as they 
can be lost in another environment. 

It seems, then, as if Weismann occupies the position 
of a mathematician who works out a set of equations in 
which a, b, x, and y obviously represent no more than 
possible theoretic factors leading to a conclusion which 
is afterwards found to be near the mark as soon as the 


letters employed are translated into physical agents. 
So far Weismann was right. But living processes work 
out like complex mathematical equations. The Binomial 
Theorem may be in (x+y) n in one sense, but so was Keat's 
" Ode to the Nightingale " in the alphabet. It is common 
among mathematicians to say such and such an equation 
" naturally becomes " such and such, or takes another 
form from which yet another can be deduced. This 
" naturally becomes " is intelligible to another mathe- 
matician, but the unlearned require the insertion of the 
steps omitted to perceive that the change is logical. The 
orthodox theory omits the links, and does not turn its 
prime equation into things. There is a likeness between 
such algebraic processes, and those which take place in the 
living organism, for we find that if certain tools are used 
in ovarian or embryonic stages they " naturally become " 
varied in action, and though we may know little more of 
a chromosomatic tool than we do of a or b in the original 
equation, we perceive that in conjunction with other 
activators it changes into adrenalin, thyroidin, secretin, 
or some other regulative or directive hormone. Moreover, 
as in mathematical reasoning we may introduce a new 
variable while the constant remains the same, so it is with 
the organism. The constant is protoplasm. Not all 
organisms use iron. There are some which use manganese. 
At some period a descendant of the ancestral amoeba 
of the mammal picked up iron and used it. It is employed 
in varying quantities. As evolution progressed internal 
secretion after internal secretion came into existence, 
determining living action. Without adrenalin the 
mammal could not meet danger quickly. But it is 
as absurd to argue that the mere potentiality of 
adrenalin is a determinant in the chromosome as 


it would be to argue that the possession of a fleet 
is determined by the " nature " of an embryonic tribe 
which has not yet seen the sea. Environment and func- 
tion cannot be ignored. A fleet does not grow up by 
minute advantageous " spontaneous " variations. It is an 
acquired tool, and itself determines further historic evolu- 
tion. The " constant " in germ-plasm is the nature of 
protoplasm : its infinite variability, as shown in all forms 
of life, is a variability which is further and further con- 
stricted into more and more definite lines by definite 
constructions, until at last in a static environment stasis 
is reached. Yet the discovery of another tool, a new 
means of short-circuiting labour, may again set the static 
organism upon a voyage of discovery among the potentia- 
lities of life. With change of function, which should in- 
clude the phenomena of regeneration and reduction, comes 
morphallaxis. Without it there is none. Death itself is an 
acquired characteristic. If the organism were not perpetu- 
ally preyed on by other organisms, which by parasitism and 
poisoning divert or hinder energy, inhibit, or over-activate, 
metabolism through the induction of changes in the endo- 
crines, and destroy tissue functions generally, it is con- 
ceivable that such a characteristic as death might be 
lost, and that any body, however highly developed, might 
resume the long-abandoned characteristics of unicellular 
organisms, and again become practically immortal. 


BAYLISS and STARLING. " Mechanism of Pancreatic Secre- 
tion," Journ. Physiol., London, p. 28. 

BELOGOLOVY, G. A. " Nouvcaux Memoires," Soc. Imp. 
Naiuralistcs de Moscow, 1916. 

BUTLER, SAMUEL. " Unconscious Memory." 


CH ILD, C. M. " Senescence and Rejuvenescence," Chicago, 1915. 
FISCHER, EMIL. " Untersuchingen in der Puringruppe, 1907 ; 

v. Bayliss, " Principles of General Physiology," 1915. 
HABERLANDT, G. " Ueber die Beziehungen zwischen Functionen 

und Lage des Zelkerns," 1877. 
LANE, Sir A. Lancet, London, Oct. 9, 1918. 
LOEB, JACQUES. "The Organism as a Whole," 1916. 
OLIVER, G., and SCHAFER, E. A. " Physiological Effects of 

Extracts of Supra-renal Capsules," Journ. PhysioL, London, 

PYSEMSKY and KRAVKOV. " Adrenalin and Ear of Rabbit," 

Russky Vratch, vol. xi. p. 264. 
SCHAFER, E. A. " The Endocrine Organs," 1916. 
WEISMANN, A. "The Germ Plasm," London, 1893. 
WILSON. "The Cell." 


THE comparative study of the sciences, upon which I 
have insisted, I trust not unduly, may not be only 
of value where pure science is concerned, but may also 
prove of immense service in many of the arts of life. The 
conception of hostile symbiosis is of such obvious relevance 
in politics that what was an art can at once be converted 
into a section of biology. Moreover, this and allied con- 
ceptions tending to show the vital analogies in all con- 
struction may be employed generally in education, and 
especially in medicine, in which narrowness of outlook 
is especially dangerous. For knowledge of one kind may, 
and indeed must, act as a catalyst on thought with regard 
to another. It seemed to me when first considering the 
subject of this chapter, which may, perhaps, seem not strictly 
connected with these that precede it, that anthropology, 
upon which light can be thrown by general biology, physi- 
ology and pathology, might prove of the greatest value, if 
taught intelligently and with due appreciation of its wide 
bearings, to all students of the human brain and body. It 
thus appeared to me that a very simple subject which was 

1 Although never read, this paper was written as an address to a 
Balneological Society, and therefore may retain some indication of its 
origin. For most of the facts I am, of course, indebted to The Golden 
Bough, the mightiest storehouse of co-ordinated knowledge in the English, 
or any other, language. 


still obscure might illustrate this better than abstract 
reasoning, if the processes involved in its study showed in 
what ways the brain is apt to work, and how purely 
magical concepts may lead to useful discovery. If we 
learn how our remote ancestors thought, we shall discern, 
perhaps with humility, that we are their true descendants, 
and that modern life with all its advantages, even the 
modern balneologist and the very household bath itself, is 
still a subject for the anthropologist. 

Although very few of us are like the Japanese maid 
who is said to have apologized to her European mistress 
for not taking more than three hot baths during a 
busy day, to most educated men bathing seems a natural, 
almost an instinctive process. They would be uncom- 
fortable now if anything went wrong with the morning 
bath, as it is apt to do when the coal supply fails. Such 
discomfort, however, is soon cured by compulsory absti- 
nence, for my own experience has taught me that after 
three days want of washing little discomfort is felt by the 
average man. On two occasions in my life, once at sea 
coming up to the Falkland Islands from the Horn in very 
heavy weather, and once in the Australian bush when there 
was a drought, I was unable for a fortnight at a time to do 
so much as wash my face. The feeling of discomfort dis- 
appeared on the second or third day, and I seemed ready 
to do without washing for the rest of my life. 

The truth is that cleanliness is not natural to mankind. 
Most parents know from their own experience that to 
teach a child to persevere with soap and water is the most 
arduous task that falls to a mother or a nurse. Washing 
thus appears to be anything but the result of instinct, 
since it is not so much as an easily acquired habit. Un- 
luckily for the vast body of the population in our civil- 


ization it is not even economically possible. Those who 
have read the books of George Gissing may remember 
that he answered the assertion that the poor might at 
least be clean by exclaiming, with bitter truth, that 
cleanliness was an expensive luxury. Among many of 
the agricultural and pastoral peasantry of Britain a man is 
washed all over twice, or at most three times, in his life : 
once when he is born, once when he is married, though 
this is not universal, and once when he is dead. Yet 
bathing before marriage in many cases is practically a 
magic ceremony, and since magic dates from the remotest 
period it might be supposed to remain as ritual. There is 
no doubt that the washing of children at birth was also 
anciently purificatory. The role that blood, especially the 
blood of women, has played in the history of lustration is 
very remarkable. That the corpse is also washed after 
death is, of course, also the remains of a ceremony of puri- 
fication. But if it is a fact that washing in its origin was 
due to religion and magic, as seems certain, how did it 
begin at all ? It may seem absurd to ask such a question ; 
but the more we know of anthropology, which is but the 
study of man in the making, the more it is seen that all 
apparently natural processes must have had a beginning, 
and require an explanation. It has often been observed 
that even the instincts themselves are not perfect, and 
require experience and education. One of the very deepest 
and most ancient, that of sex, is certainly not least in need 
of it. One need not read Havelock Ellis to discover so 
much, seeing that many of those engaged in obstetrical prac- 
tice have assisted at deliveries in which the infant in the 
act of birth destroyed the unbroken hymen. Education 
is not only needed with the sexual instinct ; but, if Horace 
Fletcher and Doctor Chittenden and Sir Michael Foster 


were right, it is the same with some of the obscure reflexes 
connected with eating. The reflex which prevents, or 
should prevent premature deglutition, is outraged by all, 
especially when they enjoy the pleasures of conversation 
and the table at the same time. I do not know whether it 
has ever been noticed, even by the observers I have named, 
that this particular reflex only comes naturally into play 
when savage methods of feeding are indulged in, that is to 
say, when the mouth is crammed with food and swallowing 
in the ordinary sense is actually impossible. If we decide 
to re-educate this particular reflex Fletcher advised us to 
work over long paths to restore its efficacy ; that is, to 
attend voluntarily to mastication. It may, however, be 
pointed out that if a child is not interfered with by a 
polite mother it will fill its mouth so full that deglutition 
without thorough mastication is impossible. The natural 
instinct will lead the child to use and preserve its teeth 
and its digestion. The pleasant, but physiologically 
damnable, habit of cheerful conversation at meal-times 
should be corrected. There are, however, no instincts 
which lead the young to bathing, and such reflex actions as 
are connected with it are, among the simple, merely those 
of repulsion. The instincts of mankind are really against 
it. What then was its origin, seeing the common dislike 
and even horror of water displayed by those unaccustomed 
to it, and the comparative ease with which even the most 
cleanly under pressure learn to do without it ? I think it 
will not be so difficult to find how it arose and branched 
into purification and therapeutics if we delve into the far 
past with the help of anthropology. 

The first thing that one learns in dealing with primitive 
man is, that although he was logical, his premisses partook 
of the simplicity seen in children, even the most intelligent, 


as they learn how to deal with the world before them. 
What seems perfectly natural now was by no means 
natural to primeval man. How indeed could it be when 
their great working hypothesis of life was that some innate 
power or some governing spirit was at the bottom of every- 
thing ? Before animism, in the sense that all things had 
souls, was a current belief, the primitive mind seems to 
have regarded all nature as self-moving like themselves. 
For the notion of spirit is a late abstract notion. But when 
a power or a spirit, good or bad, had to be managed, it is 
perfectly obvious that water itself, that strange triple- 
natured liquid, should have become the subject of magic. 
Long ages before Thales, humanity had recognized that it 
was in many ways the basis of life. They attributed to it 
remarkable qualities, and when the Hebrews spoke of it as 
"living" water we should do the nature of language 
wrong if we considered the adjective was employed merely 
as a metaphor. To us it seems natural if we are by a river 
or a pool in hot weather to strip ourselves and plunge into 
it. But this is by no means the attitude of many savages 
even at the present day, and in the far-off beginning of time 
to do so obviously risked placing the bather at the mercy 
of the naturally untrustworthy fluid or, later, of the spirit 
which lived in and moved all water. 

Among savages nothing answers to our conception of 
the natural. Disease is not natural. It, like death itself, 
is the work of an enemy. It is the result of the evil 
machinations of those who hate men or a man. But all 
evil is not wrought by spirits or magicians. Even now 
there are material agencies of a horrible kind. In Australia 
there are no dangerous wild beasts ; but the fearful mind 
of man invented them. Terror is infectious ; the abori- 
gines have made many white converts. When I was 


working in the bush I was often entertained with vivid 
accounts of the Bunyip, that imaginary dreadful animal 
which, as I was told, is at least as big as a horse, and is 
often to be heard roaring at midnight in deep water-holes 
or rivers. Although I was then young, and had not any 
conception of anthropology or, indeed, of psychology as 
more than words, I was much struck by the fact that a 
large number of uneducated white men were easily led 
to believe in the existence of this creature. They were 
highly superstitious, and superstition is the imperfect 
functioning of ancient organic belief. If then even death 
is not natural to the mind of primitive man, and if he 
attributed self-acting malignancy to natural agents, it 
seems perfectly obvious that drowning was to him the 
result of a deliberate act on the part of evil water, and 
later, of that water's malignant spirit. No one will need 
to be reminded of the legend of the Lorelei, which is but 
a romantic survival of the early beliefs of man connected 
with streams and water. Even at the present day, in 
many of the rivers of Germany, to bathe at a particular 
time during St. John's Day at midsummer is an exception- 
ally rash and dangerous proceeding. These beliefs are 
found along the Necker and the Saale. St. John himself 
has really become a river god, or has taken the place of 
one and is, as Frazer tells us, especially greedy at Cologne, 
where he requires fourteen victims, seven of whom must 
be drowned in the river, and seven more who must break 
their necks by climbing. This second sacrifice shows 
that St. John has also replaced a tree spirit. 

We should entirely misconceive the evolution of 
ancient thought if we considered all this was nothing 
but a result of the romantic imagination. It is hardly 
going too far to say that there is nothing romantic, 


however beautiful if may seem, which has not directly 
descended from the darkest superstition. In a short 
space it may be hard to convince the incredulous that 
bathing was wholly unnatural to primitive man, but 
they may, at least, admit that there is sufficient reason 
for suspecting that, however necessary water might be 
in the dawn of humanity, and perhaps because it was so 
necessary, it was looked upon as highly dangerous. How 
then did bathing and washing arise if this was the case ? 
It is not straining logic to infer that both were the result 
of the very power of water which was feared, for to the 
untrained imagination the very things most to be dreaded, 
if managed by a skilful wizard, become the most efficacious 
aids to health or success in life. All members of the medical 
profession still represent the great magical element in the 
human mind as distinguished from the essentially religious, 
and may be said to take somewhat similar views as regards 
drugs as the early magician took with regard to the em- 
ployment of dangerous natural agents or evil spirits. 
Those who prescribe arsenic, prussic acid, and many 
dangerous alkaloids, should certainly be able to understand 
the attitude of the early magician or medicine man who, 
having discovered the powers of a given spirit, or the 
vehicle in which it inhered, proceeded to employ it in 
definitely arranged doses of ritual. Among magicians 
there were also such differences of opinion and practice 
as are seen in modern medicine, for although bathing in 
many parts of Europe is forbidden, or regarded as daring 
on Midsummer Day, yet in certain places, especially in 
Sweden, to bathe on the night between Midsummer Eve 
and Midsummer Day is especially healthy and curative. 
So some physicians uphold Nauheim, others denounce 
it and all its pretensions. It is certainly held in Sweden 


that on this particular night water has extraordinary 
magical therapeutic qualities. In the old days such a 
midnight bath was especially supposed to strengthen the 
legs. It may, then, surely be taken for granted that wash- 
ing was originally an unnatural and special process. It 
should not be difficult to show doctors that it is still as 
hard to convert the uneducated on this point as on that 
of ventilation, since, as students, they have had to attend 
their due number of outside midwifery cases. What then 
was the reason for washing, and how did bathing and 
swimming become a custom ? We may say definitely that 
all contact with water, except that used for drinking, and 
perhaps even that, was definitely purificatory or medicinal 
or magical. Even the still surviving " grace before meat " 
is probably a protective incantation. But long before 
such ideas arose primitive man held that all natural agencies 
were infinitely suggestible. He hypnotized them with 
ritual, and they did what they were told to do if the rite 
was properly performed. Balneologists may therefore 
look upon themselves as recognized descendants of those 
ancient practitioners who employed powerful and dangerous 
waters in early magical therapeutics. 

The history of evolution, as read in the scanty but 
pregnant documents of anthropology, is difficult to decipher. 
It resembles an organism which shows obscurely by rudi- 
mentary and dwindling mechanisms the processes of past 
growth. Yet some things are sure. In the million or 
two million years of the life of man the animistic and pre- 
animistic periods cannot be divided. Both theories survive 
still, and if animism is perishing, and the magician's view 
is crescent once more with the advance of science not 
falsely so-called, it will take immense eras of time before 
it becomes dominant. It is, therefore, not inconsistent 



with facts to mix " spirit " with water pure and simple, 
when these problems are dealt with. Some of the beliefs 
of existing, or lately existing, savage races show this con- 
fusion plainly, and the highest authorities do not always 
find it possible to distinguish between 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 
B.C. Whatever the evidence was the truth would still be 
a matter of doubt, for even what happened yesterday 
may be a matter of conflict to-day. Yet we cannot scorn 
evidence which is written in the very nature of the human 

Sacred wells are found all over the world. It is obvious 
that they are now sacred because they are inhabited by 
powerful spirits, or presided over by conquering saints who 
displaced their predecessors ; but it must be remembered 
that spirit is no more than a hypothesis to account for 
the powers and actions of any given thing, seeing that 
according to savage theory nothing can happen, as we say, 
" of itself." To such a degree has the belief in the magical 
efficacy and danger of water been impressed on man- 
kind, that many people appear to have instincts concern- 
ing it or, if not instincts, certain semi-instinctive nervous 
affections which, without any particular reason or, so 
far as can be discovered, without any definite cause, 
become affections resembling phobias. If it is possible 
to discover by analysis in psycho-therapeutics the deeply 
hidden underlying cause of many nervous affections, it 
may be that some disciple of Freud might be able to prove 
to me that my own dread of deep or hidden running 
waters is not instinctive but curable by discovery. Never- 
theless, at the age of four or five, I had a peculiar horror 
of wells. Even now I cannot approach a deep or dark 
one without mental disturbance. This is not due to the 
fear of depth or the mere possibility of losing my life by 


falling into it. When a seaman, I had no fear of going 
aloft, and when climbing in the Alps in later life I have 
been suspended by a rope over a precipice three thousand 
feet in depth without any sense of alarm. But even now, 
hidden running water affects me with fear, and I recollect 
that when, as a boy of twelve, I read a story in which 
murdered people were disposed of by being dropped 
through a trap-door in the floor of a house situated over 
a running stream I was deeply, and possibly permanently, 
affected. Such phobias, whether instinctive or the result 
of sunk and forgotten stimuli, are not infrequent. It 
seems possible that there is some instinct in man with 
regard to water, its dangers, its evil or beneficent effects, 
and that this instinct is against bathing, not for it. 

Among savages, as we might reasonably expect, water 
cannot only achieve miracles, but is also liable to be 
affected by the conduct of men and, especially, the con- 
duct of women. The savage ideas with regard to men- 
struation are familiar to all. Some remnants of it, as 
we know, still exist among civilized races ; but in certain 
parts of the world a woman in that condition is obliged 
to purify herself in other ways than by bathing, for if 
she did bathe she would destroy the fish and dry up the 
river. By the stern reasoning of the uncultivated early 
mind contagious magic of this sort is carried to odd but, 
in its way, logical extremes. Such a woman in many 
places is forbidden to eat fish. This particular taboo is 
only found among races where fish is of importance. In 
most cases the use of water for purification seems to be 
imperative. If menstruation is dangerous and deadly, 
childbirth, in many cases, is still more so, and a mis- 
carriage or a still-born child is something that requires 
more rites and more water than any other feminine 


phenomenon. Among some African tribes a concealed 
miscarriage seems to be more deadly than anything, and 
a woman who has procured abortion can kill a man by 
lying with him. The medicine man makes a great deal 
of this, as we can guess. Earth from the spot upon which 
she has buried the child has to be put into the river, 
while the place itself is sprinkled with water, and she has 
to wash for several days with water in which earth has 
been mingled. After that we shall all have rain again. 
From examples of this kind, and many others to be found 
in Frazer's Golden Bough, it may be inferred that much 
of the use of water is sympathetic magic to get rain, 
while it must be remembered that any unseemly and 
wrong act of man or woman may not only dry up the 
springs, but the very sky. There are, of course, many 
means of ensuring rain. Twins are especially powerful 
in this branch of medicine, and can readily be obtained 
by physicians. On ancient principles it might be argued 
that there would be little danger of drought if obstet- 
ricians, meteorologists, and balneologists worked in com- 
bination, although, in many cases among certain tribes 
twins are regarded as a highly dangerous and abnormal 
product : they are even killed in order to get rid of them. 
Since water is so dangerous and powerful, washing 
of any kind often appears to be something of a ceremony. 
It is not therefore wonderful that washing the head, the 
most important part of the body, is a very serious matter 
among many races, even those called civilized. Among 
the poor a bath of any kind appears to be an ordeal, not 
a luxury. In Siam one observer knew a native preacher 
who washed his head monthly. The whole process took 
three days, one for preparation, one for the tremendous 
act, and the third for recovery. In old days the King 


of Persia had his head washed once a year. Roman 
ladies washed their heads every thirteenth of August 
upon Diana's day. It is probable that the rareness of 
such an act and such a choice of time show that there was 
magic in the ceremony. It was believed by the early 
Greeks that Juno bathed once a year for the especial 
purpose of restoring her virginity. Even if the legend 
is poetic, it must have been founded on some ancient 
belief. It is, perhaps, regrettable that, even among the 
poets, there appears to be no reference to Jove's reflec- 
tions on the subject. Bathing is a common act with many 
tribes before hunting. The Kyaks of Burmah bathe by 
day and night for eight days before they hunt the panther, 
and naturally enough bathe afterwards to get rid of the 
panther's influence and avenging spirit. Bathing as a 
rain charm is even now found in many parts of Europe, 
especially in Russia. It is instructive to notice that in 
many cases the most effectual charm is to throw some- 
body into the water. This appears an obvious relic of 
the time when human beings were sacrificed to rivers, 
streams, and the sky which gives rain. In Armenia the 
charm consists in throwing the priest's wife into the 
water. In the Islands of Celebes in Melanesia a priest 
bathes in order to procure rain. It is a common thing 
to drench the lame, blind, and infirm, with water. This 
certainly brings rain and, if the wet and afflicted victim 
curses with great vigour, no doubt the water hears the 
better, and the charm is all the more effective. For, 
god or no god, it is highly intelligent, and not only 
intelligent, but both kindly and savage. 

It appears sometimes possible to insult a spring or 
outrage a river and procure floods. In the Canary 
Islands the Guanche priestesses used to beat the sea 


with rods when there was a drought. This was very 
efficacious, for it rose up in waves which probably 
caused the winds which brought clouds and rain. If 
man's native capacity for putting the cart before the 
horse, which is still the chief stumbling-block to science, 
be considered, this should surprise no one. In 
Sumatra and other eastern islands, when rain is needed, 
crowds of women go into pools and splash each other. 
When we see a number of boys doing this in our own 
country they are no doubt likely to cause a great deal 
of rain, for the ritual is very powerful. All we have to 
do to bring rain is to treat water in the right way. That 
is the essence of magic, for the water knows all about it, 
and perhaps occasionally confides in a special medicine 
man what the real trick is which will compel him to 
increase his floods. However intelligent the water may 
be, careful study will make man its master. Bathing 
before marriage among the Greeks was a magic fer- 
tilizing ceremony, for water is necessary to the growth 
of all the fruits of the earth. At Troy, down to 
classical times, maidens about to marry bathed in the 
Scamander, familiar to us in the Iliad, and said to 
the river god, " Scamander, take my virginity." As 
Frazer points out, this sometimes led to young men 
bathing at the same time, and if there were any untoward 
results they were fathered on the river god. In this 
way demi-gods seems to have arisen easily enough, since 
a river or a stream is a very powerful deity, and, like 
most other gods, gets his best effects through his 
generative powers. There are signs of this in all 
religions, though the notion may be highly sublimated. 
It was common in many cases for women to be given 
to the river, or sacrificed in it, for if he could be 


afforded the opportunity of fertilizing them he would 
be all the more powerful in fertilizing the earth. It may 
be that there are still gods about some of those springs 
which are held to cure sterility and impotence, at Orezza 
it may be, and perhaps at Buxton, Wildbad, and Gastein. 
There some magical balneologists call confidently on the 
radium emanation which must have been a powerful 
water spirit even in earlier times. There may be a sub- 
stratum of truth in the most extravagant magic or myth. 
It was said above that, in some senses, nothing that 
we can do is really natural. If then bathing was 
originally unnatural and dangerous, especially to those 
who could not swim, and found water and water spirits 
deadly, it remains to be shown how superstition of all 
kinds led by devious paths to washing, to purification 
and fertilizing purposes, and hence by slow degrees to 
medicinal uses, and finally to purposes of cleanliness. 
Primitive man never washed to be clean, he washed to get 
rid of some influence and, in spite of his ignorance and 
his mistaken magical views, there is, in many of these 
savage customs, essential Tightness, almost scientific 
accuracy. If the method of trial and error, handled 
intelligently, is the main source of most advances in 
knowledge, magic often hits the actual truth. In Mexico 
the Huichol Indians during a drought take water from 
a sacred spring and carry it a long distance to the sea. 
Water from the sea is carried and put into the spring. 
Now, why is this done ? Is it possible that no one sees 
the reason at once ? The water in its alien surround- 
ings will obviously be uneasy and uncomfortable and 
rise in vapour. What can be more natural than that ? 
The water tries to get home, but both clouds of expat- 
riated vapour meet in the heavens, cause clouds, and 


fall as rain. Here actual facts are mixed with pure 
animism and magic, for sea and river renew each other 
in a perpetual cycle. It is difficult to get away from 
proper magic. With knowledge man can do any- 
thing. By killing a so-called heaven bird the Zulus 
make the very sky weep. 

Of course many ceremonies for rain are properly 
religious, not magical. They appeal humbly to the 
ear of gods. This, however, is a late and a degenerate 
plan. It is much better to be a sturdy magician, and 
get the best of the many powers of water or of nature 
by manly personal efforts. But enough has been said 
to show that the savage mind, even of to-day, does not 
regard water merely as a useful liquid. The physicists 
say it is a mixture of hydrol, dihydrol, and trihydrol, and 
they assert, moreover, that trihydrol or ice must exist 
even in steam. This may be wonderful, but primitive 
man knew long ago that water was a very dangerous 
and wonderful fluid, capable of pulling the leg of any one 
who swam in it. He knew it could even talk and 
converse. Even now those of us who are not magicians 
can fish a running stream and hear it utter faint lost 
words, although they do not understand what it says, 
and cannot control it. With a real magician it has to 
behave, but as there were few thoroughly instructed 
magicians, even in the most ancient times, not many 
will insist that primitive man went for his morning dip 
as a matter of course. Water had to be watched and 
learnt. It was best for a bather to take a magician with 
him when he swam. For some people it is even now 
best to take one when bathing in the sea, or he may be 
sent for to try artificial respiration. It may be said 
that nothing whatever comes by nature. All assurance 


in the face of any dangerous phenomenon is acquired 
with danger and difficulty. Habit and customs arise by 
disaster and repair, for both are, in essence, construction. 

It can now be perceived how all these mixed and 
mingled ceremonies for magic purification by water 
gradually crystallized into habits. Little by little 
results occurred which were not foreseen either by 
initiate or hierophant. People gradually get ."> like 
water. Among some races swimming seems on the way 
to become truly instinctive. Any great progress of 
man has almost always arisen through accident or as a 
side-effect. All doctors are or should be professors of 
sanitation ; and cleanliness, however it arises, has good 
results. In parts of the Pacific sanitary science may 
be said to have arisen from the practice of malignant 
sorcerers burning nahak or food refuse belonging to some 
one in the community. By contagious magic anything 
with which a man has been in contact is part of himself ; 
it can therefore be hurt or tortured, and the man himself 
will be ill. Certain malignants who understood this 
used to go about villages and pick up little bits of some 
discarded orange or banana skin. They were burnt with 
ceremonies, and those who were ill sent presents to the 
sorcerer to stop his enchantments. As a result people 
were careful to be clean. When I was in Apia I 
remember quite well that it seemed remarkably well kept. 
So sanitary science arrives blindfold. It was created by 
a desire to avoid the possible evil of magic, while bathing 
comes no doubt out of people's desire to use its good 
effects of purification. The loss of magic may be a 
disaster. It is for men of science to bring it back 
purified as by water. 

If living water, with all its senses and powers of 


magic, and the later water gods, must be reckoned 
dangerous in the sea and deep rivers and pools, it is 
naturally enough regarded as holy and beneficent, though 
very delicate in its taste, in hot, dry countries. Rivers 
are obviously capable of fertilizing the whole country. 
By their fertilizing influences the feminine land pro- 
duces fruit. If that is so, why should they not fertilize 
women ? In the East many rivers are capable of actual 
procreation as I pointed out before. Women there- 
fore who are barren take to bathing in order to obtain 
offspring. If there are sturdy guardians of the sacred 
water they may possibly help a little at times. The 
virtue of wells, which leads to washing and bathing as 
a cure for barrenness, is known even in England and 
Scotland. In Northumberland there is a sulphur spring 
which used to work wonders in this way, and may be 
effective still for all I know. It is highly probable that 
chalybeate springs, such as Orezza in Corsica, gained 
this reputation justly in the case of the anaemic. Since 
religion took part in the ritual of life the priesthood, 
the later clergy even, have done their best with pagan 
beliefs, and therefore many of those old efficacious pagan 
wells became the property of saints. Not only magic but 
religion also works wonders. When they act hand in hand 
something is bound to happen. In India sterility is, of 
course, caused by evil spirits. In some places if a surgeon 
were to cure sterility by special surgical methods, he 
might actually find himself deified locally, just as General 
Nicholson, who died so nobly at Delhi, was deified 
on the frontier. It is quite possible that a quasi-deifi- 
cation or apotheosis takes place nowadays with some 
popular doctors. In other forms the human mind works 
as it did of old. 


The views dimly adumbrated suggest that all bath- 
ing, medicinal or purificatory, is due to the original fear 
of and belief in the living nature of water, and that the 
reputation of all old baths or bathing, now held to be 
curative, was originally due to magic, is strongly sup- 
ported by certain facts I observed while in British 
Columbia. Although there are comparatively few Indians 
nowadays in the dry belt about Kamloops, those 
of the Thompson Indians who still exist retain many 
or most of the beliefs of their ancestors. I was 
acquainted with few of them, but while working some 
miles from Kamloops I discovered among the brush when 
I went fishing some edifices looking like teepees or little 
wigwams by the side of the stream. They were con- 
structed of sticks running up to a point at the top, teepee 
shape, and were big enough to contain a man sitting 
in a crouching position. Just under him a hollow was 
scraped. On inquiry an Indian woman told me that 
they were Indian sweat-houses or, as they are other- 
wise named, keekwillie holes, usually contracted by 
whites into kegly, which by itself means " low." She 
told me that as far as she was aware they were used for 
medicinal purposes, and I have no doubt that in this 
she was correct but, as I have discovered since, and 
some of the evidence is to be found in The Golden Bough, 
they were not originally constructed for any such pur- 
pose. The way they were used was this. A man or 
woman got inside them in a crouching position. Water 
was poured into the hole above which the patient sat, 
a rug or buffalo robe was draped over the entrance, 
while the squaws outside heated stones in a fire, and 
when they were red-hot rolled them into the water. 
That a like bath in certain cases of arthritis, or so- 


called rheumatic affections, may do good is certain; 
but it is quite impossible to believe that such a mode 
of healing was discovered except through generations 
of trial and error undertaken for other purposes. The 
original reason of such a ceremony arose from the desire 
to free widows or widowers from the probable results of 
contact with death. They required purification, and for 
this purpose they sweated for hours, and then were 
plunged, or plunged themselves, into the neighbouring 
creek, after which they rubbed themselves with small 
branches of spruce which had been stuck into the 
ground close to the little teepee. There is no more 
striking instance of the way in which magic at purificatory 
ceremonies might easily have become measures of pure 
therapeutics. Such a complete series of vaso-motor 
and peripheral stimuli may well have helped to cure 
grief. No real anthropologist will fall into the modern 
error of believing grief " natural." It is due, as the 
fathers of man knew only too well, to the actual influences 
emanating from the dead, or their active spirits. In 
view of such facts I think it may legitimately be in- 
ferred that curative baths of every kind began by the 
practice of magic, and that all such processes were re- 
inforced gradually, as magic gave way to religion, by 
religious purificatory methods. These same Thompson 
River Indians were accustomed if they touched the dead 
to bathe instantly, or as soon as possible afterwards. 
Where these keekwillie holes do not exist widows and 
widowers were still obliged to bathe. Bereaved persons, 
even in modern times, are also compelled to pass four 
times through a patch of wild rose bushes in order to 
rid themselves of the ghost. Not only this, but it 
is still customary among these people to cut branches 


of the thorny rose bushes and put them in their bed or 
blankets in order to prevent the spirit returning to its 
old night quarters. 

When the light that is thrown upon the natural 
working of the human mind is considered, it seems that 
the study of anthropology might well be made part, 
even if a late part, of the training undergone by the 
student of medicine. The old-fashioned psychology 
founded on introspection, which depends for the imaginary 
validity of its conclusions on the understanding of 
words, though still taught, might be dispensed with to 
the advantage of all concerned. Words alone, as 
progress is made from one verbal statement to another, 
inevitably lead to wrong conclusions by the very 
logical processes that they imply. It was for this reason, 
this double use among men of science of their own ter- 
minology and the psychological use of words with all 
their possibilities of error, that led to experiments on 
conditioned reflexes. Such work tends to show that 
all intellectual labour is, in its essence and in actual 
method, a series of reflexes responding to the peculiar 
environment of the worker. The study of anthropology 
may have very far-reaching results on the knowledge 
not only of ancient practices, but also on the conception 
of the brain as a mechanism. In all the branches of 
magic touched on, the fact is seen that mentation acts 
with astounding regularity, by way of definite irresist- 
ible reflexes following upon certain definite stimuli. Time 
and time again, in far distant places between which 
there has been no possibility of communication, new but 
similar practices arise. This cannot be explained on any 
theory but that of the human brain reacting definitely 
on like stimuli. There is no distinction to be drawn 


between chemical reaction in one part of the world and 
the other, provided that the temperature, and perhaps the 
barometric pressure, are alike. But a study of anthro- 
pology must lead to the influence that the biochemical 
reactions of the brain, the complexities of which we have 
simplified unduly by calling them " the mind," are, if we 
take into consideration the infinitely greater complexities 
of cerebration, upon the same level of certainty as mere 
chemical reactions. If this is so, anthropology itself will 
be of the greatest assistance in understanding the why and 
wherefore of all human cerebral development. One science 
helps another, for it carries a lamp ; but when these lamps 
help each other the light may indeed be great. 

Frazer has himself pointed out with much force that 
many of the soundest customs of humanity have sprung 
out of magic. But if it is true that all human progress, 
like scientific progress, depends on hypothesis and trial and 
error, hit or miss, no one need be surprised to learn that in 
many cases practices have arisen from magic which were, 
or might be, deadly to the race which practised them. 
Although it may be said that the whole essence of immunity 
lies in the phrase, " a hair of the dog that bit you," there 
are ways of taking the hair which may be destructive. 
In a cholera epidemic in Egypt some forty years ago, or 
perhaps more, a peculiarly holy man died of that disease. 
It was obviously necessary to wash his sacred body. It 
was therefore taken to a neighbouring pool and duly cleansed 
by his ardent followers and admirers. It will not surprise 
even those who have hitherto taken no interest in magic if 
it is suggested that so holy a man by his contact with the 
water must have given it virtues of his own. This, at any 
rate, was obvious to his followers, for, procuring utensils of 
various kinds, they bottled a portion of this holy water and 


took it home and drank it. The results, from a medical 
point of view, were deadly. Perhaps from the religious 
standpoint they were held to be efficacious when his trans- 
lated followers j oined their leader in Paradise. It is possible 
to conceive that many tribes in the history of the world 
when they made a miss in their experiments did not re- 
cognize it, and by repeating it wiped themselves out. 
A fool is rewarded according to his folly, and wisdom is only 
the recognition of results. 

Something was said above about the general views 
held on animism, or the savage theory which imagines all 
things whatsoever have their moving spirits. This is 
not a primitive belief, for the idea of spirit is an abstract 
notion. Before the evolving human brain was capable 
of such an abstraction, man no doubt held the view that 
all things like themselves were alive. So deeply rooted is 
animism in the human mind that its last faint remains can 
be seen in many men of scientific eminence who cannot rid 
themselves of the theory of vitalism. The savage vitalistic, 
or animistic, view was a simplifying hypothesis, and like 
all unverified hypotheses led to extraordinary results, not 
all of them without danger. But many were certainly 
sound. All tabooed and unclean foods are held by anthro- 
pologists to have been originally sacred. They were living 
gods. This is undoubtedly the case with the pig, and in 
those cases where its once sacred totem qualities have 
degenerated into dislike and a taboo, such a degeneration 
in hot countries may have been for the good of the race. 
It may even be said that it would have been better if 
some of the notions of the Eskimos had survived among 
other races. Among them it is forbidden to mingle differ- 
ent and various flesh foods in one full stomach. The 
gods and goddesses of the different animals would be 


offended by the alien contact. Such views are dietetically 
valuable. In the same way the taboos concerning mourners 
and the insistence on ritual washing are obviously whole- 
some and scientific, as every bacteriologist would admit. 

The whole story of the gradual evolution of medical 
theory and practice from magic and religion is one of un- 
surpassed interest which might well engage the life and 
energies of any student. To such it would soon seem clear 
that magic in its best and worst senses still exists in 
medicine. It has not been got rid of by the decay and 
passage of the older theory of signatures. But, even if 
drugs are still exhibited on the merest grounds of tradition, 
the fine magical qualities of human influence and sug- 
gestion are every day better recognized, and therefore no 
physician need look with contempt on his spiritual an- 
cestors or even on his savage colleagues in far-off countries. 
It would be as wrong to do so as to scorn Hippocrates, 
Aristotle, or Galen because they did not know what are 
commonplaces to a first year's student. There is no 
new method of discovery and no real increase in the powers 
of logic. Those who seek truth are no more than an 
army marching in the dark led by the dimmest sense of 
orientation. When that is reached which seems an insuper- 
able obstacle their battalions hurl themselves against it, 
and if one man finds a weak spot and overcomes the diffi- 
culty he becomes a leader and is presently called a genius. 
Such geniuses whose names and graves were forgotten a 
million years ago helped to bring man through great 
darkness, but not to any resting-place. It should be con- 
solatory to every worker to remember that, even if he 
has not the great and happy fortune to light a new lamp 
in the world, his very errors and failures assist his fellows 
and all mankind to avoid like disasters in the time to come. 



IT may seem desirable to develop shortly what was said 
in the last chapter on the subject of psychology. It 
is a common and useful trick of the theologian to assert 
that the physico-chemical view of " mental " action is 
rapidly decaying. Such writers greet with enthusiasm 
any popular and ignorant reaction, even though a similar 
movement, if it militated against the loose hypothetical 
explanations they favour, would be greeted with contempt. 
Instead of yielding ground to the religious philosopher, those 
who advocate so-called " materialism " are daily taking 
positions from the introspectionists, and nothing but ignor- 
ance of physiological advance permits them to believe 
otherwise. The warfare in the body as construction 
proceeds has its true analogues in the modification of theory. 
It is true that certain leaders of thought have been carried 
away by their instincts, but this is due to the fact that 
many men of the highest eminence are only partially 
educated. To think on the lines of one science alone is to 
remain at the mercy of uncorrected traditional ideas in 
many departments of thought. Such lack real mental 
immunity. It therefore follows that not every man 
of science has the scientific mind which takes for 
granted the possibility of arranging all phenomena 
whatsoever in ultimate order. With the region be- 


yond 'phenomena such a mind has no real concern : 
noumena may be left as a playground for those who like 
to waste their energy in those arrangements of words 
which are dignified by the devotees of theological and 
metaphysical jigsaw puzzles with the high-sounding name 
of the " Philosophy of the Absolute." So far as the 
problems of space and time are concerned they may be 
dealt with by mathematicians, and what is said of them by 
philosophers, with no knowledge of science, can be safely 
ignored. Yet, owing to early influences, even men highly 
endowed with the scientific spirit are apt in their haste 
to give away to the enemy positions which afterwards 
have to be recaptured at great cost. This has certainly 
been the case with " the mystery of consciousness." 
The many hundreds of years partially wasted in the 
verbal gymnastics of the schoolmen and their modern 
congeners and descendants have naturally left their 
mark. That they were not wholly a waste may be ad- 
mitted, since reasoning accurately even on empty major 
premisses is a great mental exercise ; but so far as the 
conclusions drawn became more than mere logical divi- 
dends their effect has been harmful. To free the mind 
from early impressions is never wholly possible, and the 
assumptions of the nursery may partially determine the 
mental action of the wisest, just as ancient instincts in a 
race produce effects of which the cause may be totally 
unknown. As a result it not unfrequently happens that 
consciousness is admitted to be an ultimate mystery, 
although every reaction of the brain points clearly to 
the fact that it is but a definite, though highly delicate, 
response to the internal and external environment. 
Huxley himself, being then, no doubt, under the influence 
of theories of mental and physical parallelism, incautiously 


admitted that the problems connected with it were im- 
possible, or unlikely, to be solved. A very slight study 
of the history of science reveals, however, that the prob- 
lems which are incapable of solution frequently receive it 
before the ink of the incredulous is dry, or, at least, before 
it fades. 

There is no need to go into the work done on cerebral 
organization and construction. The names of Hunter, 
Willis, Horsley, Hughlings Jackson, Gaskell, Head, and 
Ferrier, to speak of but few, are sufficient witnesses 
to the labour bestowed upon the brain. With regard, 
however, to the special phenomena lumped together by 
the use of the word " consciousness," it may, perhaps, be 
admitted that Pavlov did, at the very least, just as useful 
work. He reduced such obscurities as " states of con- 
sciousness " into multiplex, or conditioned, reflexes, and 
showed that the nomenclature of most psychologists was 
at once otiose and misleading. It is too seldom observed 
that the mysteries of " mind " are no more than the result 
of ignoring physiology and the almost ineradicable in- 
stinct of man to consider that a word represents a simple 
thing. As soon, however, as " mental states " are resolved 
into reflexes among some of the 10,000,000,000 cortical 
neurons it becomes obvious that the word " mind " is no 
more than shorthand for neuronal action and interaction 
when influenced from the outside or by internal stimuli. 
There is no such thing known in " consciousness " as the 
brain acting as a whole. The cells may be, and probably 
are always, in a state of tone, for they would otherwise 
degenerate ; but very few of them can produce motor 
reactions, of any kind, at the same time. Those reflexes 
result in action, even the action of " thought," which are 
stimulated to discharge, or at the least, excited to a state 


of tone almost sufficient to result in discharge. Tonus 
being a state of readiness for activity, all nerves stimulated 
by conduction from the discharging neurons may raise 
verbal centres to a condition near to a like discharge. In 
such cases we have verbal thinking, i.e. impulse not dis- 
charged over motor tracts leading to speech. These 
relations of raised or lowered tone, of inhibition or ex- 
citation, are obviously neuronal functions, and all 
" thought " is the impulse towards discharge in reactions, 
forced, useful, or pleasant, under definite stimuli exciting 
complex reflex arcs. 

Such views, it seems, are easily grasped when we deal 
with the lower animals, but many find it difficult to believe 
that the poet's " consciousness " when he writes a poem 
is in fact a reaction to his internal and external environ- 
ment, and that the poem is truly as much a reaction 
product as the bark of a dog or the spring of a tiger. 
There is, however, no real gap discoverable between the 
reflex responses of an amoeba, whose irritability as proto- 
plasm is of the same order, though less specialized, as 
that of a neuron, and all the spinal and cerebral reflexes 
of a genius. Such reflexes are, however, more and more 
complex and " conditioned," i.e. dependent on other 
reflexes and much more easily inhibited. In such a case 
inhibition probably means no more than a failure of 
some synapse to act, while excitation which results in 
such original graphic verbal reactions as a poem is the 
functioning of new nerve dendrons hitherto not joined 
up, and fresh combinations of older ones which have 
functioned before. 

Certainly the case for such conclusions has been of 
late immeasurably strengthened by Pavlov. This physio- 
logist was led to make his experiments by finding that 


the moment even physiologists touched " mental " 
phenomena they adopted another language than that 
used in their own work. He found by experiments on 
the salivary glands that reflex excitations could be made 
to depend on linked reflex excitations that is, by reflexes 
conditioned by other reflexes. A dog's glands can be 
educated to act not only by the presentation of food but 
on the excitation of them by the sound of a bell. A bell 
of a few more or less vibrations fails to produce salivary 
action. A time factor can be introduced and the glands 
made to act five minutes, say, after the bell is struck. 
At each introduction of a new element into the linked 
reflexes the process is more and more " conditioned," and 
more and more easily interrupted by some accidental or 
purposed stimulation. This complex of reflexes becomes 
at last " intelligence." 

It is commonly said that reflexes are nervous units. 
It is, however, sounder to regard the real nervous, or 
cerebral, or " mental " unit as the native irritability of 
the cell. If this is so the rise from reaction in the cell to 
a simple reflex, and from that to reflexes conditioned by 
others, and further to the most complex set of reflexes 
imaginable in the highest brain, should show no break. 
That we are unable to foretell the reaction in the cases 
of high reflex combinations goes for nothing. It is, 
indeed, our incapacity to do so which shows the nature 
of words. They are sound signals which produce or tend 
to produce reactions, thus becoming, on this analysis, links 
in reflex reactions. Their motor products depend entirely 
on the nature and quality of the organism concerned. 
Thus to mention the word " faery " in a mixed gathering 
may produce a " fairy " story from one and induce 
another to quote " perilous seas and faery lands forlorn." 


If then such compound conditioned reflexes are the 
cortical apparatus for keeping in touch with the environ- 
ment, with all its excitations and inhibitions, presented 
to it at the moment, it is reflexly forced upon us to declare 
that " consciousness " is the massed sensations of the 
thinker, or such a complex of them as may be most strongly 
stimulated. Since " memory " is nothing but the estab- 
lishment of nervous tracts, and the act of memory a stimu- 
lation passing over a particular synapse formerly opened 
up, we can understand how " self -awareness," which is 
really " memory," consists of a set of opened tracts which 
stimulate other tracts, possibly motor ones, which finally 
may pass into reflexly induced speech or writing. " Self- 
awareness " thus sinks away from us on acting. That 
pointed and consecutive speech, dealing with the situa- 
tion, may occur reflexly, is obvious to those who have 
seen operations performed under light anaesthesia in 
which the reflexes are not abolished. The patient may 
feel pain and abuse the surgeon in the vilest language. 
The good public speaker is one who forgets himself, ceases 
to be inhibited by fears as to his success, speaks over 
short paths rather than long ones, and loses " self-aware- 
ness " in semi-automatic or reflex emotional or logical 
utterance. What he says is rapid adaptation to his 

The difficulty experienced, even by some men of 
scientific training, in accepting such views of " conscious- 
ness " as are suggested above, is undoubtedly a reflex 
cerebral state, induced in early life by the stimulation 
or inhibition of words or repeated sound signals which 
have established regularly working reflexes. They have 
been taught to respond to these in a certain way, i.e. 
their education has opened up tracts of nervous discharge 


which prevent further analysis by inhibiting the opening 
of fresh neuronal paths. This is a phenomenon known 
to psychiatrists as " resistance." But though " re- 
sistance " to fresh stimulation taught in the shape of 
combinations of word signs or sound symbols is frequently 
accompanied with dislike of the " idea," by which we 
must understand a new set of reactions, it may be with- 
out any such dislike, and may represent only a temporary 
incapacity, under the weak stimulation of an inadequate 
verbal presentment of convincing analysis, to establish 
new nervous connections. The difficulties of dealing 
satisfactorily to all with such a subject, and the right 
way to attempt it, may be suggested by considering that 
the very word " convincing " just used is obviously 
shorthand or a symbol for the reflex opening of fresh 
neuronal paths which offer great synaptic resistance. 
Such views explain the physiological reasons that it is so 
difficult to convince the old. In them synaptic resistance 
tends to become synaptic block. The opposed pheno- 
menon is observed in fixed ideas, and in mania, where 
over certain tracts there are what may be called " fused " 
synapses in which the gemmules for pathological reasons 
do not retract until exhaustion occurs. I suggest, then, 
that when a man like Huxley, a very powerful stimulator, 
asserts consciousness to be a mystery, such an asser- 
tion is likely to inhibit speculation on the part of others, 
such inhibition taking the form of saying, " if a brain 
like Huxley's found it so, is it likely that I should ever 
get to understand it ? " It must, however, be remembered 
that the whole history of science might be mapped out 
in a series of statements as too " impenetrable mysteries " 
which have proved themselves capable of easy solution. 
I remember being much struck by the objection of an 


otherwise capable man of science to a view of my own, 
which was afterwards proved by experiment to be correct, 
on the ground that if it were true it would have been 
found out before. 

The resistance or dislike to the analysis of conscious- 
ness into combined conditioned reflexes seems particu- 
larly strong where it deals with the emotions. To analyse 
a religious attitude into reflex correspondence with an 
imaginary or constructed environment, such construction 
being in fact the co-ordination of rigid nervous tracts, 
is regarded as "materialism," or a gross incapacity for 
taking "spiritual" views. Such opinions, however, are 
not worth combating, as they are usually held by those 
without physiological knowledge. But those who merely 
regard consciousness as a mystery, probably not capable 
of solution, often find similar difficulties. They may say, 
for instance, that though emotion and volition have their 
concomitants in molecular changes in brain matter, no 
material qualities, such as weight and occupancy of space, 
can be predicated of them. An emotion, however, is 
only a "mental" entity till it is discovered to be nervous 
discharges over certain short circuits in the brain through 
which the motor impulses of instincts have passed during 
long stages of evolution, all such discharges being accom- 
panied by vaso-motor phenomena. 

If this is so, and no physiologist will deny it, space 
and position, vascular dilation and contraction, and the 
possible measurement of nervous discharges across resist- 
ing synapses can actually be predicated of the highest 
emotions. An emotion is thus no entity, it is not a thing 
properly to be described in a word, though it may be 
designated by such a symbol and act as such in a reflex 
chain of suggestion : it is, in fact a very complex bodily 


and cerebral state, easily distinguished from a purely 
"intellectual" state, which is a cortical process not going 
on over ancient instinctive paths, but over the pyramidal 
tract, through the cells of Betz, without as a rule any 
vaso-motor disturbances. Such disturbances, however, 
often follow upon intellectual discovery as the results 
of attainment and, to speak in terms of energetics, of 
energy suddenly freed. Kepler's emotion on being " freed ' ' 
by his great discovery is a good example. 

However little such an analysis may commend itself 
to the more ancient psychologist who lives in a world 
of words, it is certain that it is only upon such lines that 
scientific explanation can proceed. It enables the physio- 
logist to do work without being confused by the necessity 
of defining terms relative to consciousness about which 
no two philosophers are at one. So far as science is 
concerned it may be taken for granted that cerebral re- 
sponse to the internal and external environment, acting 
reflexly to excitation and inhibition, is not correlated 
with consciousness, but is actually consciousness itself, 
including the subconscious and unconscious : the sub- 
conscious being tracts in nervous tone which may easily 
discharge themselves in motor reactions at any time if 
normally stimulated, while the unconscious consists of 
other tracts only resulting directly in motor reactions 
under abnormal excitation or pathological conditions. 



IT may be that some of you were alarmed by the word 
" Psychology " appearing in the title of a lecture 
which you had orders to attend. Possibly it opened up 
to you the prospect of illimitable boredom. I own that 
it is a subject which, with very little care, can be made both 
boring and obscure. Many writers when dealing with 
the mind obtain the two results with ease. But straight- 
forward psychology is not metaphysical word- juggling, 
and I hope to make what I have to say as clear as orders 
should be made by those who issue them. Psychology 
is nothing more than the way our minds work, and I should 
like you to remember that the word " mind " is just useful 
shorthand for the working of the brain. All of us have 
some notion of what affects us or leaves us cold. We 
respond to stimulation, we act or refuse to act. You 
know what you like and what you dislike. Perhaps you 
even know why you are here at all. Certainly you would 
not have been at a lecturer's mercy if you had not been 
moved by your minds, your brains, towards common 
national ends. Many different reasons may have in- 

1 Lecture delivered at Purfleet Camp to the members of the O.T.C. 
(Capt. B. C. Lake, O.C.) and the officers of the 7th Reserve Brigade. 1915. 
Although it is not an integral portion of this book I have given it a place 
for reasons which will possibly be obvious to those interested alike in 

science and in psychology, now rapidly becoming a science. 



fluenced you, but on the whole I take it that what moved 
you most was a sense of duty combined with a desire for 
the splendid natural activity of a military life. Yet behind 
all your feelings there was something else, something bigger 
and something which, though really obscure, is not beyond 

j comprehension. Most of us in life do things, and believe 
we can say why. We use our intellect to make apologies 
for our own actions, and sometimes succeed in the task to 
our own satisfaction. And still we may wonder in our 
hearts whether there was not some instinct in us that 

' was the real motive power. Again, many of you must 
have felt the heavy weight of our economic civilization, 
and to become a soldier is, in a way, to get back to nature. 
You therefore come here to be trained, and to learn to 
train others, in the very ancient organization called an 
army. Busy as you may be, you should be free from many 
of the worries besetting those who are all " on their own." 
Discipline and control may obstruct some activities, but 
they leave others free. Young men especially like change. 
Here you certainly get it, sometimes to your surprise. 
Besides these reasons for your actions there is the other 
reason which I hope presently to make plain. As a hint, 
it may be said that, though in some ways you are now 
more yourselves than you ever seemed, in another and a 
very strange and not unpleasing way you are less. You 
will exercise powers you never had yet, and will be re- 
strained in ways you would once have resented fiercely. 

Let me phrase it plainly. You arc here as grist for 
the military mill. You have to go through the machine. 
The reason of many of the processes through which you 
are put are probably obscure to you. Some seem a little 
absurd, some too severe, some, perhaps, totally unintel- 
ligible. You wonder why you are being trained in such 


a way, and why it takes so long. Yet, though you may 
have found many of your experiences exasperating, the 
experience of others has shown them to be just what is 
needed. Your very exasperation is part of your course. 
You have to control it. Being put under arrest has helped 
to make many things clear to those who can learn. Not 
all of your superiors know the deep mental, or cerebral, 
side of the processes of training and organization but, 
since an army is a continuing live organism, they have 
tradition, military history, and their own experience in 
the making of a company or battalion, which show them 
that certain results follow on the adoption of particular 
methods. We all use words and phrases of which the 
real meaning may be unknown to us. We often employ 
the French phrase, and speak of esprit de corps as the end 
and aim of training. The " spirit," as we say, makes 
the body live and makes it one. This is shorthand, but 
it is true. Every soldier knows it, but not every one could 
tell us why, even if he has p.s.c. after his name. If our 
methods are right our reasons may not matter. But as 
no methods are perfect, even when moulded by age-long 
tradition, knowledge of underlying causes may help to 
improve them. 

I spoke of an army as an organism. It exists as a 
body, it has members, tools, a brain, a nervous system, 
and all are used to ensure that certain effects are produced. 
An army, too, can suffer and rejoice. It can become irre- 
sistible by continued success ; it can suffer panic, and it 
can die. These words are not mere illustrations. You 
and your officers and men are living parts of a living thing, 
even though the staff may never trouble to look upon an 
army in that light. They may not be so self-conscious. 
Perhaps that is all the better for them. It is best not to 


think of ourselves. Note well then when a part of an army 
begins to think only of itself, and by itself, there is danger 
of disaster, perhaps of dissolution. A healthy man never 
thinks about himself as parts. Only sick people do that. 
When all things work together easily that is health. Your 
officers know this is true of a company or a battalion, and 
of themselves. If the nervous system is out of hand, the 
whole body goes to pieces. They are the nervous system 
of the part they command, just as the Headquarters 
Staff is of the whole. It is well to know this, but not to 
brood on it. Knowledge should sink in and become 
wisdom a proved instinct. If the Staff knows this prac- 
tically it will work all the better, with greater certainty. 
If there is friction and separation at Headquarters the 
whole body suffers. 

Now, although the training and organization of an 
army make a special branch of study, all organized bodies 
can be analysed by similar methods. At first it may 
seem difficult for you to understand that there is a real 
resemblance, a true analogy, between the workings of a 
committee or corporation of any kind and an army. 
Nevertheless it is true that an army is something very 
different from the individuals who compose it, just as a 
committee or any corporate body is different from its 
members. An organized body with a head and subor- 
dinates will do things which none of its members would 
or could attempt. Motives affect it differently. The whole 
is another thing than the units. If the motives and 
stimuli affecting it are of a high and noble order this 
organized body will move instinctively towards great 
things that might not have moved its members singly. 
Their better instincts are appealed to. They would be 
ashamed to show they think of themselves. In such an 


atmosphere a mean man may become generous. When 
he has gone away he may be himself again, and contemplate 
the counterfoil in his cheque-book with rueful astonish- 
ment. If the motives moving such a body are not high 
but, let us say, purely financial, it may, on the other hand, 
do things which come to be regarded by the very men who 
voted for them as utterly detestable from their individual 
point of view. Conceivably such a corporation might 
discharge an old servant without pension, and the very 
man who moved the resolution might possibly support him 
afterwards. For such reasons, however shortly and roughly 
presented to you, we may infer that any organized body 
is a real organism because it acts differently from its units, 
and has different motives and different ends. Purely 
individual training is useless for bringing out the qualities 
and powers for which such a body has been created. 

Such considerations as these have a great application to 
your physical training. Many of you thought you were 
well and strong when you came here. Perhaps you know 
now that you were neither. You have found out what 
health is. It is being all one, it is forgetting you have parts, 
since all things in you work together. A breakdown in 
your health might mean a breakdown months hence in 
the moral health of a platoon, and a disaster. Your 
physical well-being is essential not only to yourselves. 
There are glands in your body which give you courage 
in emergencies. If the adrenal glands fail you might be 
cowards. When training reaches a high pitch and you 
feel the strain of it you will remember that a greater strain 
must come on you later. That is why an army is trained 
severely and the incapable are weeded out. A breakdown 
of one may mean the breakdown of many. In the face 
of difficulty we need to be well and strong, and cheerful 


companions. Thus we give out encouragement as a gland 
may yield powerful stimulation in danger. 

You will see then that the beginnings of organization 
exist in all of us : in the whole human race. We are 
gregarious, unless we are ill ; we commonly associate 
together for ends that appeal to us ; we form clubs and 
societies. It is in our nature to do so. Without desire 
of common action there could be no social life and no pro- 
gress. Altruism, or thought for others, exists in us all, 
though perhaps only as a seed : we are always prepared 
to make some kind of sacrifice for common ends. We 
cannot live alone. 

Many of you here have been Public School boys. 
English schoolmasters maintain that the chief end of a 
school is not direct preparation for actual life but the pro- 
duction of character. How far they succeed I should not 
like to say in this place, but so far as they do it is 
because the boys are trained to work in teams and 
taught to sacrifice their ease and leisure, and even their 
hopes of distinction, to the honour and glory of their 
school. So the essential thing is not mere production of 
what is commonly called an upright character. Such a 
person may be incapable of working with others. What is 
wanted is the production of a character as a fit part of an 
organization which can subdue all self-regarding instincts 
and impulses. If a young cricketer is a sound member of 
his school, being turned down for the First Eleven may, 
indeed, be bitter, but if he recognizes it as just he takes it, 
as we say, like a man. For to be " like a man " is a great 
thing. It implies endurance, courage, self-restraint. Such 
a boy learns to trust in the judgment of others who have 
proved themselves, and he knows that loud revolt is not 
playing the game. Submission of this order is necessary 


to all of us, but most of all to soldiers. We see that in a 
good school there are all the rough essentials of organ- 
ization and training. It is a corporate body, and the boys 
when at school are different from what they are at home. 
They think differently and feel differently, and that means 
they are different. Thus parents and schoolmasters may 
have very different opinions of the same boy, and what is 
more, the parent may be right if his son chooses some more 
solitary profession, while the master may be right if the 
boy goes into the army or navy. Many of you, no doubt, 
remember the sense of loyalty to your own school which 
grew up in spite of the brutality of a few of your fellows, 
and also in spite of the peculiar hostility which you felt 
towards some, if not all, the masters. And yet, if they 
were at all decent, you would have been ready to maintain 
they were better " beasts " than those of any other school. 
This feeling of semi-hostility between the trainer and the 
trained is, perhaps, essential for good results. It implies 
resisting stuff in those who are being moulded and organized. 
With good tools you can forge anything out of steel, but not 
much can be made of putty. 

Possibly you now begin to recognize some strange 
resemblance between your own feelings as officers in train- 
ing with those you had as a schoolboy. Day by day you 
are learning to suppress that part of yourself which for ever 
contends you have the right to do exactly as you please. 
You do not go about insisting on your rights. It is not 
good form to do so, and that means it does not really pay 
any one to be selfish. Perhaps, too, you have begun to 
see why you must be young to be trained. The very old 
are mostly set and rigid, and cannot easily rid them- 
selves of ancient ideas. At any school a boy who has not 
been trained to obedience at home has a hard time before 


he learns that somebody a year his senior is not only 
likely to tell him to do a thing but to see that it gets done. 
In training for the army there is, of course, a great advance 
of thought over a school, for you come here duly prepared 
to surrender your personalities or part of them. But 
even so it is in many cases a very difficult process. You 
recognize that it is necessary, but perhaps you do not see the 
mental side of things which makes it necessary. Yet to 
know why makes all things easy. I dare say you have 
already compared in your minds the curious semi-hostility 
there often is between the combatant branches and the 
Staff of an army with that between schoolmasters and their 
pupils of which I spoke just now. The masters initiate 
and carry on a process of limiting natural freedom. The 
resulting hostility, or armed neutrality, is, in its way, a 
good thing. It inspires action and emulation. When a 
thing is inevitable, if it can be turned to good so much the 
better. Obstacles balking fools the wise make pivots of 
victory. Since the Staff of the army is the brain of the 
army it is obviously different in its functions from those 
who do the active work. When an officer with red tabs 
on his uniform and a red band round his cap comes to the 
trenches, looks at them, makes a few casual remarks, 
goes away again, and you are presently told that every- 
thing done has been done wrong and has to be done again, 
there is, of course, a kind of revolt against it. Sometimes 
you may say bitterly that the Staff has not got to do the 
work. But possibly you may recognize as a compensation 
that it could not do your work if it tried. I am sure that it 
could not after it has been trained on its own special lines 
for any length of time. But you must remember that this 
partial incapacity is a sacrifice to efficiency in the organ- 
ization to which you all belong. The Staff make their 


sacrifices in the same way as the combatant branches make 
theirs. They give up a portion of themselves for the bene- 
fit of the army. It is a curious fact, with which many of you 
are probably not acquainted, that, though most of the cells 
of the body are capable of reproducing themselves and do 
constantly reproduce themselves throughout the life of 
man, the nerve cells are incapable of reproduction. The 
nerve cells and the whole brain composed of them, with 
which you begin your life, you carry to the grave. This 
may be a heavy burden to some unlucky people, but if you 
think a minute it emphasizes amazingly the necessity of 
training the nerve cells of the brain and whole nervous 
system at an early stage of their career, and it shows us 
why we should endeavour to keep them elastic. The man 
who keeps his mind fresh through life is the man who is 
interested in everything and is never stale or satisfied, for 
he gives his nerve cells all kinds of work and keeps them in 
training. But if he belongs to a highly specialized branch, 
such as the Staff of an army, he must necessarily sacrifice, 
or partially atrophy, much of his capabilities and capacities 
for the definite ends of the body to which he belongs. If the 
chief nerve cells and the main nervous system of the army 
do this they must be very different from those of you who 
are to be, if I may put it so, the nerve endings in the mus- 
cular portions of the army organization. Those on the 
Staff have much more to take into account, and above all 
things must avoid being affected by the corporate enthu- 
siasm which enables a battalion or a company or even 
a platoon to be carried away by the passion of the fight. 
If, therefore, the Staff keeps itself aloof from these passions, 
as indeed it must, it often seems cold and alien from those 
who do the actual work. For efficiency all must sacrifice 
something of their individuality. All their nervous power 


must be turned towards the common ends for which they 
have been trained. Our individuality depends largely on 
the points in which we are, or believe ourselves to be, 
different from other men. But when working together for 
common objects we cannot insist upon our differences. 
If we do insist upon them nothing can be done. I have seen 
this happen dozens of times in badly organized committees. 
Agreement on common ends, touched with mass emotion and 
mass feeling, is the true basis of organization. 

I do not suppose that many of you have made a study 
of what is called the psychology of crowds. Many years 
ago I began to work on the subject, and to my great 
annoyance a very able Frenchman, Gustave Le Bon, 
published a book called Psychologie des Foules. My only 
consolation is that he probably did it better than I should 
have done. It is brilliant and suggestive. If you pursue 
studies of this order you will find that there is such a thing 
as natural partial organization of individuals without 
preparation and without a real nervous system. When 
in crowds, you have sometimes found yourselves carried 
away without knowing the reason. You have perhaps 
shouted in a manner totally at variance with your common 
habits, you may have been ready to assault people or to 
break the law in the most enthusiastic way. I remember 
many years ago, when I was ill and thought exercise would 
do me good, going out for a long walk on one of the days 
of the Epsom Spring Meeting. It will perhaps be hard 
for me to convince you that I came out on Epsom Downs 
without knowing where I was. When I found out and 
saw the big crowd in the distance I walked towards it. 
I was gloomy and dyspeptic. I never cared much for 
racing ; I had never attended a big race meeting in my 
life. But I said to myself that as I was there I might 


as well see what they were doing. Bit by bit I edged my 
way into the crowd and presently forgot I was ill, and 
began to take an interest in things. I asked the man 
next to me what race was to be run and, obviously showing 
great surprise at my ignorance, he answered that it was 
the Oaks. And he told me that the name of the favourite 
was Geheimniss. Presently the race was started, and 
soon the crowd rose up with a roar as the horses came 
round Tattenham Corner into the straight. Now do not 
forget that I had not a penny on the result, and had never 
seen a race before, and did not know the name of a single 
mare in it until I was told. Yet when they came up the 
straight, and the crowd began to shout, and the whole 
of the people in the Grand Stand opposite rose to their 
feet, to my utter amazement I found myself shouting at 
the top of my voice, " Geheimniss wins, Geheimniss wins ! " 
Somebody near me, on the other hand, having probably 
put money on another animal, shouted, " So-and-so wins, 
So-and-so wins ! " whereupon I turned upon him furiously 
and said, "No, damn you, Geheimniss wins ! " And she 
did win. Then the crowd broke up and I drifted out of 
it and went off by myself wondering what had happened 
to me. I know now that I had been caught by the massed 
enthusiasm of the crowd and made one of a very peculiar 
racing organism an organism, by the way, not of a high 

Here I think I might quote a short passage out of 
something I wrote many years ago : 

" A crowd is not human, as we understand human 
individuality. It's not bestial, not reptilian. But it's 
all three human, bestial, and reptilian .... A crowd 
is a flood of life, a giant mass of deadly forces ; it has no 
very clear foresight ; it takes the present only ; it has no 


conscience. A man in a crowd can commit crimes and 
come out without knowing he has done so. It's a new 
organism, a creature not in the books. Drag one of its 
parts out, knock him down and cool him, and see him 
come back slowly to humanity again, I've seen it. The 
psychology of a crowd is the psychology of a pure in- 
stinctive. A madman may act as a crowd acts ; he's 
gone down to the raging level of a mass. The hot average 
of an angry number is a devilish thing." 

Some day those of you who remain in the army may 
be called upon to Jo the most disagreeable duty of a 
soldier, which is to act in civil disorder. Then you may 
unluckily learn the nature of a savage crowd. Instinctively 
you will recognize that it is an organism, and see that it 
has a strength of passion single in aim. You will endeavour 
to split it up, to keep it moving ceaselessly lest it should 
get set and act. We may be thankful to know that these 
very qualities and passions directed and trained and 
organized can give us the army which we need. 

In the crowd considered as a simple organism a single 
thought almost always dominates. It cannot, as a rule, 
be a lofty or ennobling thought, for without much training 
a mass of people are rarely capable of being moved by 
fine motives. Therefore you need not be surprised when 
you recognize the fact that an organized crowd in action 
is often a destructive organism. You may see the same 
in strikes where the nervous system of a trades union 
fails to control a badly organized body of men. Of course 
in every crowd there are the rudiments of a nervous 
system : somebody springs to the front and becomes a 
ringleader. If he speaks, and speaks successfully, he 
always represents what the others want and usually puts 
it in a few words. What we are accustomed to call con- 


temptuously an agitator is nothing more nor less than a 
possible part of the inchoate nervous system of a new 
body. By the time it is properly organized we usually 
cease to call the leaders abusive names, and if they keep 
a firm nervous control over their numbers we are prepared 
to do them more or less honour. 

I think we may now say that, when we have specific 
training for specific and definite purposes, we must have 
a union of organized ideas, a common end, and a nervous 
system. I dare say you have often been bored to tears, 
almost to extinction, by some of the training through 
which you have been put. This I know to be especially 
true of the men who are, or will be, under your command, 
when they are going through the long early stages of their 
drill. Although on general principles it is not essential 
to explain definitely to most recruits the whole purpose 
of their training, I think the time comes when the men 
should be given some of the real reasons why they have to 
do things which weary them. Sometimes you will hear 
a private declare he wishes he had not joined the army, 
because he has been " forming fours " for twelve months 
at a time. He cannot understand why he and the battalion 
to which he belongs are not yet considered ready for 
the Front. He will add that when he gets there he does 
not suppose he will be kept " forming fours," and he 
cannot understand why he should learn it anyhow. He 
does not know that till it bores him in some measure it 
has not become instinctive. And it has to be instinctive, 
because only so can his nervous system learn to respond 
rapidly to orders. Perhaps it is in some ways the same 
with you. Possibly you wondered why you were put 
through so much drill or why you had less than recruits. 
It was not because you were more intelligent, but because 


as the last ends of the battalion's nervous system you had 
to preserve more individuality than your men. Possibly 
in certain cases you might explain to them why you are 
drilling them why you want so much to get them to act 
together, to act with rapidity, to act instinctively or even 
like a reflex. And a reflex action, I may remind you, is 
one that has a short path. It is not pondered over by the 
intellect ; it is done more than instinctively, it is entirely 
a decentralized action for which no reference need be 
made to the higher brain. Rapid reflex action to the 
stimulus of an order are the essential results of all good 
training. When there is no time for reasoning, when 
action is absolutely necessary, nobody must stop to think. 
But in a properly trained and organized body of men, 
whether it be large or small, the thinking has been done, 
the men have learnt to obey ; while the officers have learnt 
not only to obey but to understand what is wanted almost 
before the order reaches them. They L adapted to 
their new environment. You have, of course, already 
been instructed that when you get into the firing line, 
and are in command of a platoon or a company, and the 
order is given to advance, it is your place to lead. Prob- 
ably it is true that the best leaders are those who, on 
such occasions, are out of the trenches themselves before 
they give the order. Now if this is so, it is what we should 
expect from the very nature of the organism I have been 
trying to describe. As you see, the platoon leader or the 
company leader is essentially the nervous portion of the 
platoon or company. But, as you must know, when a 
nervous impulse comes from the brain it is obvious the 
nerve is in action before the muscles react. So when 
you get the order, or the time comes for you to move, 
you necessarily do so before your men. Where you go 


they will follow if they have been properly trained and 
are in good condition. I may suggest to you here that 
the phrase " shaken troops " means, in very many cases, 
that the nervous system of that particular portion of 
the organism has itself been shaken and broken up. So 
long as the nervous system of the body keeps its power 
of reaction to a stimulus, so long will the muscles move. 
If the nerve fibre which moves a muscle is disintegrated 
or gets paralysed the muscle will not stir. If a nerve 
end is wholly tired out the impulse is not carried over 
until it is repaired by rest. We know, however, by physical 
experiments that, after a muscle thus ceases to contract, 
it will work again if stimulated directly by an electric 
battery. From this we see that it was the end of a nerve 
which temporarily broke down, and that the muscle cells 
still keep their contractility. You may therefore learn 
from this the high responsibility that rests on you to keep 
absolutely fit in mind and body, for the fitter you are 
the longer you will be able to transmit energy and carry 
out the orders you receive. In most cases you need not 
doubt that if you have men who will not move when you 
order them, the fault lies either with you as a leader or 
with the training of the men before or since you took 
them over. But be readier to blame yourselves than 
others. Of course you will see, on the theories I have 
just suggested to you (and remember I have no time to 
do more than make suggestions), that much depends on 
the quality of the nerves and the quality of the reacting 
muscles, on the quality of the officers and the quality of 
the troops. It sometimes happens in war, as you must 
know, that the men who will not move for one officer will 
for another, and that on desperate occasions the Com- 
manding Officer himself may have to come into the firing 


line and take the place of the Company Officer. This 
may remind you of what I have just said of a muscle 
being directly stimulated by electricity. I can give you 
a curious example of this which happened at sea in a 
merchant ship. Organization in such a vessel is always 
rough and ready, but still it is organization. In very 
bad weather, when going aloft is highly dangerous, the 
men sometimes will not move for the second mate, whose 
duty it is to lead them when they are ordered aloft. In 
this particular case they refused to follow him. It was 
blowing a hurricane, and it was necessary to cut away 
a topsail rather than stow it, because to have started a 
sheet would probably have brought the topmast about 
their ears. When they refused to follow the second 
mate the mate attempted to lead them. One or two made 
a motion to follow him, and were actually dragged back 
by the others. Then the old skipper, a white-haired man 
of over sixty, came down from the poop, and without a 
word climbed on the rail. Just as he was about to put 
his foot on the ratlines the men with one accord rushed 
after him, pulled him down, and went aloft themselves. 
You see they succumbed to the greater stimulus when they 
had failed to move for the less. 

Perhaps I may venture here to say something to you 
about the men who will be under your command. They 
will become much to you and you will be much to them 
if you have in you the power of command, which is the 
nervous force of organization. There are many ways of 
doing things. With men the means are love and fear. 
Your men should love you, and they will probably express 
it by saying, " Oh, the officer's all right ! " You can, 
of course, if you have the power in you, make them fear 
you. That is one way of working, but if you make them 


love you they will fear you too. We fear those most 
we love most. If any of you who are bachelors doubt 
this, ask those among you who are married. Well, there 
is something to add to this. Many a local success has 
been gained in war by the rage of men at the loss of a 
beloved leader. But I have never heard of one gained 
because a man they feared and hated went down in battle. 
Remembering that all of you make up an organization, 
you will each in your own way reach out to your men 
and grapple them to you. In chemistry an atom is said 
to have much valency or little or none, and its valency 
is its power of hooking on to other atoms and making 
a big organized molecule. Might I say to you, get as much 
valency as you can ? You may develop it by learning 
to help, by sympathy, by understanding. There are 
chemical compounds called paraffins, and the word 
etymologically means " little affinity." Paraffins are 
compounds of satisfied valency : perhaps we might say 
they are fatly self-satisfied. They cannot hook on to 
anything. Do not be paraffin officers : take your men 
into your grasp. You will get some of their best qualities, 
and you will give them some of yours. In a very deep 
way you will become like them and they like you. 

I do not know whether you have yet noticed, perhaps 
as young men still being trained you have had little or 
no chance to notice it, that under common impulses men 
do get strangely alike. Probably there are officers here 
who have seen this. A single dominating emotion so 
prints itself on the faces of an organized body that the 
common differences almost disappear. You do not 
notice the individual members of a crowd if they are 
moved by any vast passion. What you notice is the 
passion itself, and it is often quite appalling. But such 


a passion, when it has been properly excited by the 
actions and words of a leader, will occasionally come 
back as a renewed stimulus with a tremendous force on 
that very leader himself. I do not know whether you 
remember a resounding phrase about a great traditional 
poet and the people for whom he sang. It was : " What 
they sent up to him in vapour he returned to them in 

May I then say once more that it is your work so to 
train your men and yourselves that, when the hour of 
stress comes, you will not only help them and lead them, 
but will also receive from them the unsuspected but 
mighty stimulation which comes from the undivided 
strength of a real organism devoted to one high end, 
the well-being and honour and glory of our country ? 



YEARS ago I began to wonder why the Greek 
scapegoat or outcast of the festival of the 
Thargelia was called a Pharmakos. I could not under- 
stand what connection there could be between the Greek 
words <poip(A<x,x,ov and (pappuxtvu and the scapegoat that 
many have called the Human Medicine. However, the 
matter passed out of my mind till I got a copy of the 
second edition of The Rise of the Greek Epic, and there 
Professor Murray's remarks in Appendix A brought the 
matter back to me. Professor Murray seemed to believe 
it was probably a foreign word, and, noting the long a 
in the Ionic, suggested that in Attic the a was short 
from analogy with <pap j o/a#oi'. This seemed to imply 
that he regarded Pharmakos, the scapegoat, as differently 
derived from <pap^a*ov, the drug. Nevertheless, on page 34 
of the Greek Epic he speaks of the Pharmakos as Human 
Medicine, which to my mind is a very late interpretation 
of the word. It certainly is a difficult problem to con- 
nect Pharmakos with a word for a drug or a man who 
used a drug, a pharmacist or physician. But following 
the clue which suggested a foreign origin, I sought for 
some other word in the same area which might suggest 
where it came from. I now believe that the original word 

1 The Pharmakos, " Folk-Lore," vol. xxvii. 2, pp. 218-224. Vide Preface. 



and the two original roots which make it up came from 
the Turkic family of speech. For there is to be found 
in the Turkic tongues in various forms what looks like the 
very word itself. In Turkish itself it is spelt vourmak, 
which means " to beat." In this word vour is the root, 
which means " beat," and mak or, rather, mag, is the 
original root, both in the Turkic and Aryan families, 
which means " make." That mak is common to these 
two groups seems tolerably certain, though how it came 
to be in both nobody knows. We certainly cannot con- 
nect the Turkic with the Aryan group, and yet the root 
mak is very widely spread. Thus vourmak means literally 
" to make blows " or "to whip." It is odd that it is 
seldom employed in any Turkic tongue to mean beating 
with a stick or whip. In that case the root dyon is more 
commonly used. When we remember that in the Greek 
Ritual the Pharmakos was beaten with agnus castus, 
with squills and other flowers, that must have some signi- 
ficance. We may note that vourmak, " to beat," may 
just as often have the termination mek when the Turkish 
laws of euphony demand it. One of the Turkish sub- 
stantival gerunds of vourmak is vourour or vfirfir, which 
seems to be, curiously enough, the exact philological 
equivalent of the Latin verber, a thong or whip, which is 
apparently an oddly reduplicated form. From this it 
seems the real meaning of Pharmakos is just a beaten or 
whipped person, and at last, by a later process of semantics, 
one who has been driven out with blows. Whether one 
is justified in bringing in Latin in this case is a matter 
of question, but it is certainly interesting to note that 
the reduplicated root in verber and verberare and in verbero 
(one who deserves a flogging) has in some ways a look as 
if it did not belong to the Latin tongue, but was an importa- 


tion as in the Greek. It is certainly suggestive of the 
root vour or phar. I note in the old Etymologicon of Voss 
he says as regards verbera, " sed cum Salmasio dicamus 
verber esse ab seolico jSep-ryp pro Sgpryp." Of course, 
no stress can be laid on this or on Voss. An interesting 
analogy is also to be found in the Greek (jttuariyiott, a 

According to this view, <pup[Act%v&>, " I give drugs or 
poisons," is, naturally, from the same roots. Its very 
existence implies an early medicine man, a Shaman, 
some one equivalent to those found with all their 
ritual among the Africans and Central Asians. Thus 
<papjO/axug/v means, as it would with early races, " to 
drive out evil spirits with a whip, or with blows." Such 
a connotation is, on my theory, earlier than " to give 
poisons," but one knows that the ritual of the savage 
cure largely consists in driving out the spirit of disease 
or witchcraft by noisy incantations or by actual physical 
ill-usage of the patient. If I am right, it is curious to 
consider that our word " pharmacist " has for its early 
meaning exactly that of the ancient medicine man or 

There is another interesting point connected with 
Pharmakos which I have not seen mentioned. All over 
the East the word farma^ion is used with the meaning 
of an outlaw, and quite commonly with that of a cunning 
blood-drinking enemy of religion, a man who is a satanist 
or devil-worshipper. Of course, by a sort of meiosis it 
seems sometimes to mean a mere scoundrel, just as by a 
kind of hypokorisma the equally interesting word epikouros 
is used in Northern Africa, where this verbal descendant 
of the name of the great philosopher has come to mean 
an enemy of Islam, a Christian, and an atheist or a 


scoundrel. This is somewhat on a par with the use of the 
word " Atheists " for the Christians at the time of Julian 
the Apostate. There does not seem to me any doubt 
whatever that farmagion is actually the same word as 
Pharmakos. It is used in Turkey and Asia Minor, and 
as far east as Afghanistan. It may be that the ancestors 
of the Greeks borrowed it originally from some Turkic 
race, and returned it again to the Mahommedans with a 
fuller connotation. 

Oddly enough, the word farmagion has, since its re- 
adoption by Eastern races, taken on a new meaning. It 
now often means " a freemason," one who is looked upon 
by the orthodox as an outcast and a scoundrel, a sufi and 
one highly irreligious. Not being a freemason myself, I 
know nothing of its ritual, but, so far as I can learn, 
members of this society, or those who are really instructed 
in its ritual and doctrines, regard their common name 
as one very uncertain in its etymology. Its present or 
common meaning is undoubtedly false philology. Our 
word freemason is, of course, a translation from the French 
franc-mason, but to my mind " franc " is nothing but a 
metathesized form of the vour of vourmak and the phar 
of Pharmakos with an added euphonic nasal. Thus, it is 
only by a later verbal accident that the " ma?on " was 
turned into " mason," and connected with masonry and 
building. Probably, then, it is actually the same root as 
the mak of vourmak or farmafion. The early societies and 
secret orders of the East (the East, as might be expected, 
being full of secret orders) have linked themselves on to 
masonry as the last surviving order which used their secret 
marks. Probably, to begin with, these marks had no rela- 
tion to building. It seems then that etymologically the 
freemasons are no more than a band of " pharmakoi." 


To go back to the actual Pharmakos, one may note that 
Professor Murray is strongly of opinion that he was never 
killed, but only beaten. This is certainly borne out by 
my suggested etymology, although, of course, the very 
word Pharmakos may only have come into use when the 
ritual had been modified and humanized. It is interesting 
to note that there are two small islands off the coast of 
Attica, not far from Salamis and in the Bay of Eleusis, 
which were known in classical times as Pharmacussse. 
On one of them used to be shown the Temple of Circe. 
There is another island on the coast of Asia Minor called 
Pharmacusa, where, according to Plutarch, Caesar was 
taken prisoner by pirates when he was a young man. I 
cannot help thinking that in both cases these islands might 
practically be translated into English as Outcast Island 
or Islands. That is to say, they were originally refuges 
for wandering scoundrels, pirates, and the like, those who 
harried the settled mainland, and were looked upon as the 
Britons looked upon the Danes, and as the mainlanders 
looked upon some of the islanders at the time of the 
Migrations of which Professor Murray gives such a fine 
imaginative picture. There also is another island in the 
Bay of lassus which is, I believe, still called Farmako. 
It is possible, of course, that such a name sprang from 
the fact that these islands were inhabited by survivors 
of the primitive tribes who were always apt to be looked 
upon as magicians. 

Naturally enough, during the course of time there 
have been many attempts to discover the root meaning 
of Pharmakos, and I cannot help thinking that some 
of the later attempts are little better than those of the 
scholiast and grammarians. For instance, Eustathius 
derives pharmakon from (p'spetv u,%Qo<; when used in a 


bad sense, and from <pgp/v oixog when used in a good 
one. One does not always, even nowadays, get much 
help from those who ought to know. When my theory 
was submitted to one well-known Orientalist he said 
that the older or classical form of vourmak was ourmak. 
He was, of course, wrong. He was an authority on the 
Semitic languages, but evidently knew little of Turkish. 
It is impossible to speak of it as an old form when all 
existing Turkish documents, being in the Arabian char- 
acter, must necessarily be subsequent to the eighth 
century, when the Turks of the Khanates were endowed 
simultaneously with Islam and the Persi-Arabic alphabet. 
Nor do I understand how he could have thought ourmak 
could have been degraded into the popular form vourmak. 
According to all philologic knowledge, any degradation 
would have been in the opposite direction. It may be 
noted that as there is no Arabic character to represent the 
v sound the Turks use the wau for this purpose. There 
are, in fact, hundreds of words in Turkish beginning with 
a v sound and thousands in which the v is incorporated. 
They are all represented by the Arabic wau. 

In this paper I have not troubled to speak about the 
actual meaning of the Pharmakos ceremony. Professor 
Murray seems wedded to the belief that it was in every 
case a mimema. On the other hand, Sir James Frazer 
is equally certain that even in civilized Greece the Thar- 
gelian rites took darker forms than the mere expulsion of 
this quasi-religious outcast when he was beaten with agnus 
castus or squills and expelled from the city. Certainly, 
the derivation which I offer seems on the surface to support 
Professor Murray's contention. But the general body of 
anthropological lore on this subject points steadily to 
darker customs which may have been resurrected in 


classical Greece during the times of abnormal wrath on 
the part of the gods or in times of scarcity, if the Phar- 
makos represented, as he often must have done, the spirit 
of winter. 

It would, of course, be interesting to get some early 
references to the use of farmapion, but it is very difficult 
to trace any Oriental expression before mediaeval times. 
One has to remember that using the pen was, in its way, a 
solemn rite. Up to the tenth century every sheet of 
writing was headed among the Mahommedans, " In the 
Name of Allah, the Compassionate and Most Merciful " ; 
and is still in all literary work. An Orientalist friend of 
mine to whom I have referred asks, " How, with such 
a headline, would a pious scribe dare to refer to a blood- 
drinking satanic farmafion ? Such a combination might 
have made some dreadful formula capable of shooting 
the writer into the infinities of the wth dimension of space." 
Such an attitude of mind is especially characteristic of 
the Oriental. Although magic was utterly condemned by 
Mahomet, it was believed in none the less because he 
condemned it as a practice, and it is still believed in. 
My friend tells me that the word has been used for a long 
.time in the traditional comments on a portion of the ritual 
of a secret society into which he was initiated in an obscure 
town on the Tigris. The actual early papyrus was totally 
indecipherable and belonged to no known language. 
Indeed, those who held these documents, which had 
probably been transcribed many times by men who did not 
understand the script, were of the romantic opinion that 
the original was to be referred to the era of Khamurabi, 
although the comments were probably not older than 
the eighth century A.D. Of course, such a statement as 
this is not evidence without further support. And yet, if 


the derivation of Pharmakos is what I have suggested, the 
use of the word certainly goes back beyond all historic 
times. Assuredly farmafion must be a very ancient word, 
and the horror of the orthodox Islamite for it is natural 
enough. We may compare the Catholic Church and 
its views of Freemasonry. There were political reasons 
for this, but the Church has a deep-seated jealousy and 
dislike and even fear of secret societies. 

While considering this subject I have come across some 
who actually declared that we might start the history of 
the word from Odyssey ix. 393. That is certainly of to-day 
compared with its real history, for even Hipponax of the 
sixth century B.C. had to explain it. And when this 
passage in the Odyssey uses (pappoiffffetv in the sense of to 
" temper," how is it possible for us to look on mere temper- 
ing as a primitive meaning when we know what we do of 
the whole body of Wayland Smith legends ? A smith was 
always a magician in the old times. Of course, the 
scholiast interprets the word in this passage as "harden- 
ing." As a matter of fact, it was probably " curing." 
What a magic sorcerer or smith did was to cure the iron 
of its native softness and bewitch it, almost certainly 
with incantations and ritual, as he plunged it into the 
tempering medium. We might even say that he drove 
out the devil of softness. Wherever there is an element 
of magic in a word one expects that to be primary. The 
expression (pappciffasiv -/oCwov, " to temper or strengthen 
brass," cannot be primary. One needs some imagination 
to deal with words like this. One of the weaknesses of 
the common dictionary is its habit of putting the usually 
accepted meaning first and the original meaning after- 
wards. So, when one looks at Liddell and Scott one sees 
means, to begin with, " to medicate," and 


secondly, "to enchant or bewitch by the use of potions." 
The word certainly goes back to the ages of magic ritual, 
and back again to the very expulsion of Jonahs, people 
who had no luck and brought ill luck, probably before 
magic itself was practised. It is a natural animal instinct 
to turn out those who seem to bring ill fortune, even 
if there is no piacular element in such an expulsion. 
Animals often expel some of their kind. We may compare 
rooks and elephants and even cattle, who kill a wounded 
member of the herd when his loud lowing might possibly 
bring them into danger. 

Of course, it is exceedingly hard to say, when we con- 
sider what a linguistic whirlpool Asia Minor has always 
been, what was the actual origin of this particular word. 
It might not originally be Turkic. There is a strange 
tendency among certain people to attribute everything 
unknown to the Hittites, but, as no one seems to know 
what Hittite is, that is very little use to the investigator. 
Vourmak may not, of course, be Turkic at all, although it is 
a living word in the living Turkish language at the present 



IT was obviously impossible to discuss in the text 
all the theories of cancer in detail, but as I under- 
stand that some think the paper less than just to the case 
presented by those who support the infection theory, 
something more may be said of it. It was, perhaps, too 
much to infer without a more special examination that 
the parasitic hypothesis of malignancy is only explaining 
one mystery by another. The real objection to this 
hypothesis is that even if it were found to be a fact that 
an infection precedes all malignant growth, it would remain 
a mere observation and not an explanation. What we 
want to know is why invasive cell-proliferation takes place, 
and whether excessive cell-growth is peculiar to such 
diseases, or can be found in others. Any bacteriological 
explanation of malignancy must classify the phenomena 
among those which are recognized as being symptomatic 
of infection. So far this has not been done, and a pro- 
visional assumption that the imagined infective agent 
is so different from all others as to be able to produce the 
phenomena in question exhibits many of the marks of 
vitalism, i.e. it invests the agent with the unexplained 
power of producing what we desire to explain. Logically 
an unknown entity capable of causing the effects in 

question must not be propounded as a cause if any evidence 



can be brought to show that known causes can produce 
them. If so they can be classed. If they are unique 
phenomena in infection they obviously cannot be classed. 
But as overgrowth is not a unique phenomenon among 
developmental diseases, and as we know that it can be 
caused, or inhibited, by chemical cell-products, we are 
entitled to declare that infection, if a cause, is a secondary 
one, and that the real cause lies among the phenomena of 
growth as much as acromegaly and other disorders due 
to unregulated stimulation of organic tissues. 

It is impossible to argue clearly upon so complex a 
subject unless the nature of explanation is really under- 
stood. We need but ask any one to " explain " explana- 
tion to find how few have clear ideas on the subject. 
According to the logicians a partial comparison is not 
explanation. The phenomena of one science are only to 
be regarded as explained when they can be classed among 
the observed sequences, or so-called laws, of a more 
inclusive science. Therefore the pathological phenomena 
of malignancy must be capable of classification with regard 
to physiological phenomena as we must regard patho- 
logical facts as deviations from the average or normal 
tissue. In the paper I endeavoured to range the facts 
under physiological and biological laws, since biology 
includes physiology and pathology. However unsuc- 
cessful the attempt may have been, it is obvious that it 
was not made without reason or without results, whereas 
the attempt to range them under the observed sequences 
of bacteriology fails in vital particulars, and leaves us 
just where we were, that is, in presence of a possible 
infective agent which is hypothetically given the qualities 
that produce the effects with none of the known signs of 
infectivity. For until a malignant growth becomes really 


infected it is, so far as its cells are concerned, obviously 
in riotous health, and although symbiotic alliance occurs in 
lower organisms such as Convoluta roscoffenis the sym- 
biosis is not intracellular, as the infective, microbic, or 
protozoal theory of cancer demands. 

Moreover, even if a special infection hypothesis were 
proved to be correct, we should still have to seek the cause 
of the tissues acting as they did when affected by, or in 
symbiosis with, the pathogenic agent. Till that is under- 
stood we are still in the dark, and the particular organism 
which causes disaster remains no more than a secondary 
or exciting cause. It is, therefore, strictly logical to 
range all infection causes as irritative, or irritative and 
weakening, agents, whether they be one or many. Lambert 
Lack teaches that periodontitis is a common cause of 
tongue cancer, by which he means that its toxic products 
acting in combination with other irritation and syphilis 
in some way urge the epithelium into revolt. Such a 
view is logically sound. It is stated by Peyton Rous 
that fowl sarcoma can be reproduced by the injection of 
a filtered extract of the original malignant growth. It 
is therefore inferred by some authorities that the repro- 
duced disease is due to a filter-passing organism. So long, 
however, as such a filter-passer cannot be cultivated, or 
shown to exist by other methods, it is only legitimate to 
infer that such a phenomenon must be ranged among 
those caused by irritative agents or toxins pulling the 
trigger of an unstable tissue. Moreover, even if the sus- 
pected filter-passer is proved to exist, the only logical 
inference to be drawn is that an infective organism can 
excite sarcomatous overgrowth in the fowl's tissue just 
as other irritative agents can produce carcinoma. The 
evidence takes us no further than irritation. Even if it 


were proved that a sterilized injection of this sarcomatous 
growth failed to reproduce the original disease, it would 
still be far from proved that more than irritation was 
needed to cause it. It is, indeed, quite probable that the 
toxins of the injection, if not broken up by the process 
of sterilization, might still produce the sarcoma by abnormal 
stimulation of the connective tissues, a view in accordance 
with those suggested in the paper. If malignancy were 
caused by the suggested agents we should expect like 
results to be found in more cases than this. I suggest 
that such experiments in aged fowls might produce 
carcinoma, not sarcoma. 

Certain results obtained by Bashford with regard to 
the immunization of mice to mouse-cancer by the injection 
of mouse skin, need further elucidation. I am not sure 
whether pure epithelial products were injected, or whether 
connective tissue was used with it. According to the 
developmental theory it may be suggested that if epithelium 
was used alone, mouse-cancer might more properly be called 
a sarcoma. But in any case it remains very suggestive 
that animal tissues, whose action must be in the nature of 
the products of the endocrine organs, do produce inhibitory 
effects. It is, perhaps, the more surprising that the work 
of Shattock, Seligmann, and Dudgeon, when they attempted 
to produce chondromatous growths by grafting foetal 
bones, did not lead them in the direction of the develop- 
mental view rather than in that of parasitism or infection. 
Their statements as to restraining bodies, or " corpora 
cohibentia " are strictly parallel with the doctrine of the 
endocrines which obviously inhibit as well as stimulate. 
They state that " the cartilage of the body (like each of 
the other tissues) tends, we may assume, per se, to grow 
indefinitely and without limitation. But against this 


inherent endeavour, each of the other tissues, other than 
the cartilage, furnishes a restraining substance, and co- 
ordinates its growth with the rest." If this is true, and 
few will nowadays be found to doubt that it represents, 
at any rate partially, the actual machinery through which 
ordered growth is obtained, it follows inevitably that the 
want of a particular restraining body should result in the 
disorderly growth of some tissue specially apt to pro- 
liferate. Such are epithelium and connective tissue, the 
agents of malignancy, and in view of the whole of the 
phenomena of malignant disaster and repair it is perfectly 
legitimate to infer that these two tissues are those which 
react most powerfully upon each other. 

Other experiments by Shattock and Dudgeon are of 
great interest and value, and at first sight may seem to 
support the parasitic theory. Mice fed with mouse-cancer 
appear to have developed, (i) a round-celled sarcoma, (z) 
an invasive epithelioma of the mediastinal glands, (3) an 
invasive endothelioma. Such results are, however, by 
no means convincing. Abnormal results from highly 
abnormal foods are what might be expected, on the general 
theory of physiological balance. Salmon and trout fry 
fed upon pig's liver develop a thyroidal overgrowth which 
later may become malignant, and the ingestion of foods, 
carrying stimulating or inhibiting products or both, should 
on the developmental view have abnormal results. It 
has been said that excessive thyroidal medication is in 
some cases followed by cancer. Moreover, the statement 
by the two workers above mentioned really supports the 
developmental view. They say " the first striking thing 
is that the tumours of the three mice have not the same 
histological character, and that none can be viewed as 
having resulted from the growth of implanted cells." If, 


however, such tumours resulted from a definite parasite, 
we should look for a repetition of the original histological 
structure. From the point of view of endocrine action, 
however, nothing is more likely than that the subjects of 
the experiment should break down in different ways. One 
mouse cannot have the exact resistance of another, nor 
could we look for the same results in all of them any more 
than we should expect soot carcinoma in every chimney, 

It must be insisted on that the developmental theory 
of cancer is as definitely against cancer propagation by 
transplantation of cells from one patient to another as it 
is against a definite cancer parasite. When Shattock 
endorses Paget's view that malignancies in families is not 
due to such causes it is impossible not to agree. But 
such an agreement by no means reduces us to the necessity 
of admitting infection. A family with inherited tissue 
instability, if exposed to conditions likely to decrease 
health and further impair tissue balance, may experience 
any form of malignant growth. Quite independent of 
such diseases families can be found in which one member 
is hyperthyroidal, another an athyroidal dwarf, and an- 
other myxcedematous. That families subject to malignant 
disease die of various forms of it is distinctly against 

It is argued that some of the phenomena of radium 
and X-ray malignancy imply a second factor, probably, 
or at least possibly, a parasite. But in X-ray cancer 
nothing more appears to be needed than the disturbing 
effects of the rays themselves. It is difficult to suppose 
that any organism is always infected with an organism 
ready to display its activities on X-ray excitation ; a 
supposition which is necessary as such rays, if sufficiently 


applied, always produce malignancy. With regard to 
radium, I understand that Lazarus-Barlow claims to have 
produced by it a " pre-cancerous " growth in rats and 
rabbits. These altered tissues were only slightly invasive, 
and when the radium action was stopped they resumed 
their normal character. It is held by some that this 
proves the necessity of a second factor which may be 
parasitic, but the strictly logical view is simply that the 
organism recovered, i.e. that the normal tissue inhibitions 
were restored, and that the altered tissues resumed their 
ancient functions. Since we know that, even in obvious 
cancer, attempts of the organism to cure it succeed for 
long periods, it is illegitimate to infer that an artificially 
produced morbid state of possible malignancy in a healthy 
subject may not revert to a normal condition when the 
disturbing influence is removed. 

With regard to the difference between benign and 
malignant tumours, which some think are such as to divide 
them entirely into classes of wholly different causation, 
it may be said that much late work does not support this 
view. The fact that so many benign growths at last be- 
come malignant, and that in others the dividing line is 
so obscure that the histologist and pathologist are doubtful 
as to their character, obviously suggests that a further 
want of inhibition or the increase of some undue stimula- 
tion may end in malignancy. A few authorities argue 
that even benign tumours are parasitic in their origin. 
All that is necessary to say of this is that such a theory 
of causation appears superfluous. 

Perhaps the best defence of the parasitic theory is 
that of D'Este Emery (Tumours, 1916). It is well 
argued, and likely to convince those who are already 
inclined to take the view supported. Many of the 


arguments, however, will not bear critical examination. 
Emery and C. P. White seem to think that a continu- 
ously progressing proliferation of malignant tissue de- 
mands a continuously increasing irritant. This is surely 
fallacious. If there is any loss of balance in a body or 
any other structure, less and less power is needed to 
cause destruction. The Leaning Tower of Pisa should 
take less to overthrow it now than when it was built. 
If the theory of organic restraint has any basis at all, 
and no one can deny that it is very firmly based, any 
such disaster as malignancy may be compared to a breach 
made in a dam. To remove the highest part will 
take much labour, but as water begins to flow potential 
energy becomes kinetic, and the whole dam goes. In 
malignancy we need not posit an increasing power, for 
what we see in most cases is a decreasing resistance, as 
every pathologist recognizes that there is attempted 
repair in cancer, even though it mostly fails. Emery 
also says, "if growth is very rapid, the innermost layer 
of the epithelium may find it easier to grow downward 
into the tissues than up." The italics are mine. The 
developmental or hostile symbiotic view explains such 
a fact. Indeed it shows that the necessary preliminary 
to such downward growth is a failure of the connective 
tissues which is plainly demonstrated by the pheno- 
mena accompanying excessive radiation. With irri- 
tated reacting epithelium it is not "may" but " must." 
According to D'Este Emery malignant cells frequently 
act as phagocytes, which suggests they have some power 
of movement. This is surely a forced interpretation 
of the destructive nature of malignant cells. That 
they erode tissue, and even " eat away bone " 
(Bland-Sutton) is true enough. But we do not call 


the erosive action of the chorionic trophoblast phago- 
cytic, and, as is said in my paper, Handley states that the 
multinuclear cell of cancer appears when met with resist- 
ance such as the blood possesses. That the cells " move " 
is true, but their movement, which can be measured, is 
the thrust of growth, and room is obtained for that by 
the cell catalyst and mechanical pressure. 

Emery's views upon X-ray phenomena are to be 
found in less than a dozen lines. He remarks that the 
cracks seen in X-ray dermatitis are portals of infection. 
Such infections as entert hat way are, however, those 
which can be proved to be known agents, and the theory 
ignores the facts that long before cancer is recognizable 
there is, underlying the irritated epithelium, the true 
pre-cancerous stage of rarified connective-tissue elements. 
Would the author affirm that continually sterilized hands 
exposed for long periods to X-rays would not become 
malignant ? 

The argument based upon cage infection does not 
carry much weight. Captive animals are already in an 
unnatural condition. It is notorious that their general 
powers of resistance, and especially their powers of 
repair, are weakened. If many of them break down with 
malignant disease, what is the most that can be logically 
inferred ? It is that in bad conditions and poor health 
some infection, if it is an infection, may cause irrita- 
tion and malignancy. But no one ever denied that 
infections can be irritative causes of epithelial over- 

Another argument is that malignant tissue growing 
alongside normal epithelium shows that the latter has a 
power of resistance. It is difficult to see what is in- 
ferred from this. It is to be expected from all the 


phenomena that to begin with there should be a local 
breakdown of balance at the point of irritation, and 
the spread of it into normal epithelium which does 
not immediately revolt is no more surprising than that 
a social riot, in which the police have been over- 
powered, should spread, and yet be repelled for a time 
in areas where they are still strong, and the inhabitants 
have not been excited to disorder. It is no vain 
metaphor to suggest that in the body politic the police 
greatly resemble the wandering connective-tissue cells 
of any organism. 

In conclusion, it may be repeated, and even in- 
sisted on, that only the developmental and endocrine 
theory shows any reason whatsoever for the basal facts 
of malignancy, that is, for the actual undue prolifer- 
tion of tissue cells, their tendency to revert to an em- 
bryonic character, and their power to spread beyond 
normal boundaries, while the biological conception of the 
organism as a federation of cell-colonies working in a 
harmony, which is the result of "constraining bodies," 
throws a brilliant light on invasiveness as the result of 
a failure in such inhibitions. 


EMERY D'EsTE. " Tumours," 1916. 

SHATTOCK and DUDGEON. " Feeding Experiments with Mouse- 
cancer," Proc. Royal Soc. Med., vol. x. p. 35, 1916-17. 



IT seems as if the peroneus terlius, a muscle only 
found in the human organism as a special portion 
of the mechanism for preserving the structure of the 
foot from damage in orthogrades, is a key case for the 
opponents of transmission. This muscle is a lesser 
opponent of the tibialis anticus, which is found well 
developed in simians not using, or only rarely using, 
the upright posture. It must, then, have come into 
existence at a late period of evolution. This is em- 
phasized by the fact, that a few fibres of the tertius are 
occasionally found in the gorilla. Is such a direct 
adaptation to be attributed to germinal variations, that 
is to say, to accident, if we hold that the germ- 
plasm does not respond magically to new needs ? To me 
this seems much more than unlikely. A new muscle 
has arisen at a special point of strain as a part of the 
set of muscles preserving the arch of the foot and, 
as we see from pathology, it is not yet doing its work 
with complete success. It is still imperfect. If such 
a muscle is not a direct adaptation to new stresses 
words have ceased to have any meaning. To say that 
a single muscle cell or fibre arose from a " spontaneous " 
germinal variation, and was found advantageous, is to 
make a mockery of mechanism. But if it is assumed 


that continual stress can produce such a muscle reaction 
we may infer that continued strain would reinforce it. 
We can, in fact, prophesy that in time such continued 
stresses will secure adequate response. We must also 
infer that, when a set of muscles is used in a new position, 
as was the case when the upright posture was adopted, 
opposing muscles are no longer properly counterbalanced. 
Some new muscle is called for. It is obvious that such 
new strain must be repeated in embryo if the muscle 
is to increase, since new muscles fibres do not come into 
existence later. As the embryonic tibialis anticus begins 
to exert a pull, these stresses are felt by yet undifferenti- 
ated cells, the parents of muscle cells, which are capable 
of becoming muscle if so stressed. Without such em- 
bryonic strains the tissues would have altered in some 
other manner. If language is not to be tortured into 
something which serves no function, we must come to 
the conclusion that new stresses are repeated during 
development, and exert a morphogenetic influence upon 
the undifferentiated tissues. If this is so transmission is 
no longer guesswork. 


AS this passage seems little known I have tran- 
scribed it here, although it is an uncertain, and 
perhaps corrupt, text. 

De Re Rustica. Book i., chap. xii. " Sin cogare 
secundum flumen sedificare, curandum ne adversam earn 
(villam) ponas : hieme enim fiet vehementer frigida et 
aestate non salubris. Animadvertum etiam, siqua 
erunt loca palustria, et propter easdem caussas, et quod 
(arescunt) crescunt animalia qusedam minuta, quae non 
possunt oculi consequi, et per aera intus in corpus per 
os et nares perveniunt atque efficiunt difficiles morbos." 

Fundanius, " Quid potero " inquit, " facere si istius 
modi mi fundus hereditati obvenerit, quominus pesti- 
lentia noceat ? " 

" Istuc vel ego possum respondere," inquit Agrius : 
" vendas quot assitus possis, aut, si nequeas, relinquas. 
. . . Praetera quod a sole toto die illustratur, salubrior 
est et bestiolae siquse prope nascuntur et inferuntur, aut 
efflantur aut aritudine cito pereunt." 

" But if you must build beside a river you must take 
care that you do not put the house to face it : for in 
winter it will be excessively cold, and in summer un- 
healthy. For the same reasons you have to be on your 



guard against marshy places, and also because (as they 
dry) minute animals are engendered there which cannot 
be detected by the eyes, and these borne by the air get 
into the body through mouth and nostrils, and cause 
diseases difficult to get rid of." 

Fundanius said : " What should I do to avoid the evil 
of infection if I were to inherit an estate of that kind ? " 

" I can tell you that," replied Agrius. " Sell it for 
what you can get, and if you can't sell, leave it. ... 
Besides, the house is healthier for being shone upon all 
day, and if any animalcules breed and are carried there, 
they are either blown away or quickly perish through 
the dryness (of the air)." 


Abderhalden, Emil. on immunity, 132. 
Acquired characteristics, death itself 

acquired, 19, 201. 
Accelerator fibres, 106 seq. 
Acromegaly, 23, 40. 

unilateral, 31. 

Adami, J. G., habit of tissues, 27, 35. 
Adaptation, a process of repair, 72. 
Adrenalin, and cowardice, 241. 

effect on intestine, 191. 

in danger, 200. 

Alcheringa and the Golden Age, 147. 
Alliances, forced, 161. 
Analogy, incomplete induction, 5, 6, 

. X 7- 

discovery of analogies in science, 7- 
Anaphylaxis, suggested explanation of, 

Aneurisms and the heart, 73. 

repair of, 76. 

Animism and vitalism, 224. 
Anthropology, as mental training, 204, 


neglect of by psychologists, 24. 
Aortic stenosis, heart weight in, 75. 
Apolant, H., on mouse cancer, 50. 
Arches, stress, failure and repair of, 68. 
Army as an organism, 239. 
Arsenic, as a provoker of lipoid, 136. 
Atkinson, Primal Law of, 150. 
Auerbach's Plexus, in. 
Avoidance, 150, 152, 154. 

Bacteria, iron-using, 190. 

manganese-using, 200. 
Bacteriology, nomenclature of, 129. 
Bainbridge, W. S., on cancer, 34. 
Balance, in construction, 30. 
Balneology and water-spirits, 2IO. 
Bashford, cancer and immunity, 268. 
Bathing, not natural, 204. 

to get rid of spirits, 216. 
Bayliss, Prof. \V. M., "accidental" 
enzymes, 135. 

shock, 99. 

water movement in muscle, 1 10. 

Becquerel rays, 45. 

Bell, Charles, muscular sense, 117. 

Belogolovy, G. A., Frog Pelobates, 


Benign growths, 271. 
Bernard, Claude, on disease and 

biology, 66. 
Betz, cells of, 235. 
Biceps, fibres of, 104. 
Binbinga, and necrophagy, 162, 165. 
Biologic conceptions of organisms, 22. 
Biologic parallels, use of, 15. 
Birth in mammalians, 185. 
Bitches, mammary cancer in, 47. 
Bland-Sutton, Sir J., cancer erosion, 

chorionic trophoblast, 36, 85. 

femoral sarcoma, 51. 

glandular pantheon, 31. 

pathology and biology, 66. 
Blood and cancer, 53. 

in history of lustration, 205. 
Blood-cells, as germ-cells, 185. 
Bourne, Prof. G. C., advocate of trans- 
mission, 90. 

Bramann, on the scrotum, 82. 
Breakdown and repair, 67. 
Browning on immunity, 139. 
Budding and emigration, 15. 
Bundle of His, rate of conduction, 97. 
Bunyip, 208. 
Butler, S., Unconscious Memory, 194. 

Cage cancer, 273. 

Campbell, Dr. Harry, inter-tribal 

warfare, 169. 
Cancer, theories of, 32 seq. 

and cartilage, 269. 

and castration, 47. 

and gastric ulcers, 48. 

atruphic, 42. 

cage, 273. 

cells, as phagocytes, 272. 

cells, polymorphism of, 38. 

constitutional theory, 32. 

developmental disease, a, 58. 



Cancer, familial, 270. 

foods, 34. 

houses, 41. 

infection, 18, 32, 265 seq. 

irritation, 36. 

multi-nucleated cell in, 273. 

repair in, 272. 

social analogues for, 21. 

suggestions for research, 57. 

Thiersch on, 34, 35. 

transplantation of, 270. 

Waldeyer on, 34, 35. 
Cannibalism, 157. 

M'Cullough on, 146. 

modern necrophagy, 1 66. 

moral reprobation of, 145, 

once universal, 178. 

Spencer and Gillen, 162. 

Toussenel on, 168. 
Carcharias, shark's heart, III. 
Carcinoma. See Cancer. 
Cardiac vagus and inhibition, 94, 96, 

113 ?., 119, 125. 
Cardiograms, interpretation of, 123. 
Cartilage and cancer, 269. 
Castration and cancer, 47. 
Catalysts, loss of, in disease, 19- 

and manganese, 200. 

as tools, 12, 199. 

in old age, 19. 

new combinations in, 190. 
Cathedral, principles of evolution seen 

in, 69. 
Causes, real and false, 267. 

irritation as "cause," 267. 
Cell, senescent, 197. 

a great social aggregate using tools, 


Champy, tissue growth in vitro, 42. 
Character and disease, 82. 
Chellean art, 149. 
Child, C. M., on early degeneration, 


Senescence and f!ejuvenesence, 196. 
Cholera and holy water, 224. 
Chorion-epithelioma, 33, 54, 86. 
Chromosomes and variation, 188. 

Catalytic tools in, 1 86. 
Classificatory system, 158 seq. 

origin of, 158, 161, 165. 
Cleanliness not natural, 204. 
Coley's Fluid, reasons of usual failure 

of, 50. 

Colloidal chemistry, neglect of, 141. 
Colour produced by peroxidases, 136. 
Cohnheim, "rests "in cancer, 27, 35. 
Columella on dangerous insects, 125. 

Committees, mentality of, 240. 
Complexes, hidden racial, 155. 

as myth, 156. 
Conditioned reflexes in inhibition, 95. 

See Pavlov. 
Connective tissue, influence of, on 

epithelium, 43. 
and malignity, 40. 
Consciousness, adaptational response, 


as reflex, 1 1 8. 

mystery of, 228. 

nature of, 232. 
Conservatism in cells, 194. 
Construction principles of universal, 


Co-ordination of knowledge, 4. 
Corpora cohibentia, 268. 
Corporations, mentality of, 240. 
Cortex, number of neurons, 229. 
Cowardice an adrenal failure, 241. 
Cremaster, the result of stress and 

repair, 78. 

Crowds, nature of, 246 seq. 
Cunningham, Prof. J. T. , advocate of 
transmission, 90, 198. 

work on hormones, II. 
Cures, cancer, use of, 49. 
Cushny, Prof. A. R., on digitalis, 114. 

Darier and Wolbarth, 44. 
Darwin, Charles, pangenes determin- 
ants, 13. 

origin of variations, 66. 

spontaneous variations, Ji. 

unfavourable variations, 13. 
Death an acquired characteristic, 201. 
Death-rate and provoked immunity, 


Dendy, Prof. A., advocate of trans- 
mission, 90. 

Dental disease and mastication, 206. 
Dermatitis, X-ray, 43. 
Determinants, catalytic, 13. 

determining nothing, 193. 

hormones, etc., 91. 
Development, embryonic and pre- 

embryonic, 186. 
Diastole, active nature of, 97. 

negative pressure of, 1 08. 

"rebound "of, 108. 
Dicrotism, 121. 

Dietetics and food-taboos, 224. 
Digitalis, action of, 114 saj. 

Cushny on, 1 14. 

poisonous stage, 115. 
Dilatation, cardiac, in evolution, 77. 



Disasters, and repair as reaction to, 

Disease, function of, in evolution, 64, 


morphogenetic factor, 90. 

organic and functional, 63. 
Discovery and freed energy, 235. 
Drainage, nerve, 97. 
Driesch, entelechy of, 62. 

rudimentary psychoids, 198. 
Duchenne, articular sense, 117. 
Durante, in history of cancer, 27, 35- 

Ebarth, bands of, 74. 

Ehrlich, P., on mouse cancer, 50. 

side-chain theory, 128. 
Einstein, 42. 
Elephant, lung of, 88. 
Ellis, Mr. Havelock, 205. 
Embryo a parasite, 85. 
Embryomas, 52. 

Embryonic tissue, invasiveness of, 38. 
Emery, Dr. D'Este, on tumours, 271 seq. 
Emigration as budding, 15. 

in ships, 15. 

Emotions, highest, physiology of, 234. 
End -plates and energy, 104. 
Energetics, universal working of, 9. 
Entelechy of Driesch, 62. 
Environment, internal, 199. 

and stability of type, 177. 
Enzymes as immune bodies, 131. 

nature and working of, 149. 
Epikouros, in N. Africa, 257 
Epilepsy, 31. 
Epithelium, germinal, 185. 

influence on connective tissue, 43. 

parent tissue of true glands, 41. 

universality of, in organism, 40. 
Erysipelas and cancer, 50. 
Evolution, continuous, 77. 

rate of, 177. 

undiscovered factors of, 147. 
Exogamy, Frazer on, 1 59. 
Explanation, nature of, 8, 24, 128, 189, 

Exudations, in evolution, 72. 

Failure, a means of progress, 65, 8l. 

and repair in evolution, 175. 
Farmaij'ion, 257 seq, 
Farmer, Prof. J. B., nutrition and 

immunity, 133. 
Femoral sarcoma, 51. 
Ferrier, Sir David, work on brain, 229. 
Fibrillation, auricular, 102. 
Filehne on action of arsenic, 136. 

Filter passers, in sarcoma, 267. 

Fleets as organs, 201. 

Fletcher, Horace, swallowing reflexes, 


Fcetal bones, grafts of, 268. 
Food, factors accessory, as " tools," 13. 

as poison, 131. 

taboos, and dietetics, 224. 
Fossa ovalis in mammal, 75. 
Fowls and sarcoma, 47, 267. 
Frazer, Sir J. G. classificatory system, 

Psyches Task, 223. 

on savage logic, 148. 

Thargelian Rites, 260. 

work by, 24. 

Freemason, origin of word, 258. 
Freud and racial complexes, 155. 
Function and structure, 68. 

Gallon, Sir F., eugenics and disease, 19. 
Gaskell, W. H., and the augmentor 
fibres, 112. 

work on brain, 229. 
Gastric ulcers and malignancy, 48. 
Germ-cells, cases of early isolation, 

185, 190. 
Germ-plasm, the "constant" in, 201. 

theory of, 61. 

Germ -tracks of little importance, 188. 
Germinal epithelium, 185. 
Gestational immunity, 85. 

Abderhalden, Emil, on, 132. 
Giant cells, nature of nuclei, 54. 
Giant molecules, 129. 
Glands, ductless, as regulators, 30. 
Gley, harmozones of, 31. 
Gomme, Sir Lawrence, 151. 
Gorilla, evolving perottens tertius in, 


Gothic architecture, stresses and failures 
in, 67. 

Granulations and sarcoma, 40. 

Graphs, reading of, 123. 

Graves' Disease, 23. 

Green, C. E. , cancer and smoke pro- 
ducts, 35. 

Grief, a "spirit" attack, 221. 

Growth, due to many agents, 91. 

Guanche rain charms, 214. 

Haberlandt, G., views of cell change, 


Haddon, Dr., 151. 
Hundley, Mr. Sampson, multinuclear 

cancer cells and blood, 54- 
Ilartog, Prof. Marcus, on mitosis, 14. 



Harvey, William, circulation of blood, 

Head, Dr. Henry, work on brain, 229. 
Heart, and aneurisms, 73. 

and organ-forming substances, 199. 

cardiac flutter, 102. 

columnse carnere, etc., 73- 

continued avolution of, 77. 

fibrillation, auricular, 102. 

moulding of, 75. 

muscular fibres in, 75- 

new fibres arising in embryo, 78. 
Heart-block, 74- 
Hernaman-Johnson, Dr. F., cancer and 

X-rays, 45. 

Herring, P. F., thyroid feeding, 124. 
His, Bundle of, 74. 

conducting power, 123. 
Histology and heredity, 185. 
Homo Eoanthropus, 149. 
Ilorsley, Sir Victor, work on brain, 

Hostile symbiosis, in organisms, 25. 

in school and army, 244. 
Human flesh as iood, 169. 
Hunter, John, cremaster, 78. 

on repair, 72. 

tunica vaginalis, 82. 

work of, 229. 

Hunting and cannibalism, 168. 
Huxley, T. H., on consciousness, 66, 

as stimulator, 233 

Hydalid mole and reaction against, 86. 
Hydraulic presses and cardiac muscle, 


Hymen, 205. 
llypcrpituitarism, in malignancy, 56. 

Imagination, use of, in science, 26, 144. 
Immune bodies as catalysts, 130. 
Immunity, as basis of life, 139. 

by provoked catalysts, 132. 

gestational, 85, 132. 

mental, 227. 
Immunization, a normal process, 136. 

social illustrations of, 136. 
Incest and exogamy, 145, 157, i$9- 
Indians, Thompson River, 220. 
Individual, any "closed system" an, 


Induction, value of, 19. 
Infection theory of cancer, 32, 46, 

265, seq, 
Inhibition, 94. 

and substituted action, 125. 
k as " influence," 96. 

Inhibition, by cardiac vagus, a shock 
effect, 113. 

Cushny, A. R., on, 114. 

illustrations of, 119. 

Lister, Joseph, on, 116. 

Thomas, H. O., on, 116. 
Internal secretions, power of, 191. 
Invasiveness and embryonic tissues, 38. 
Irregularity of heart, youthful, 105. 

Jackson, Dr. Hughlings, on mind and 

brain, 229. 

Japanese wrestlers and testes, 83. 
Jealousy, modern paternal, 152. 
Jevons, W. S., inductions only probable, 

Joints, comparative immunity from 

malignancy, 52. 

Kammerer, experimental transmission, 

62, 198. 

Kangri cancer, 33. 
Keekwillie holes, 220. 
Keith, Prof. Arthur, on discoveries, 
relative greatness of, 149. 

heart muscle, 109. 

hormones and racial types, 12. 

modern skull, 146. 

negro in U.S.A., 39. 

peritoneal adhesions, 88. 

rate of evolution, 177. 

Wolff's Law re-stated, 7 2 - 
Keith-Flack node, in. 
Kettle, E. H., polymorphisms of cancer 

cells, 38. 
Knox, Dr. Robert, Becquerel rays and 

fibrosis, 45. 

Knowledge as catalytic, 202. 
Krapina and Neanderthal man, 171. 

Laboratory results, fallacies of, 94, 98. 

Lack, Dr. Lambert, on periodontilis, 

Lactase in dogs, 133. 

Lang, Andrew, Social Origins, 151. 

Language of bacteriologists, 129. 

Laws, general nature of, J. 

Lazarus-Barlow, influence of radiation, 

Lazy tongs and heart muscle, 109. 

Least Action, Principle of, in Evolu- 
tion, 192. 

Le Bon, Gustave, Psychologic des Foules, 

Leucoplakia, failure of connective 
tissue in, 46. 

Life, economy of construction, 30. 



Life and growth, law of, 141. 
Likeness and unlikeness, 8. 

in parents and offspring, 193. 
Lipoids, as complement, 134. 

and phagocytes, 135. 
Lister, Joseph, on inhibition, 1 16. 
Logic of discovery, 9. 

of savages, Frazer on, 148. 
Luciani on cardiac vagus, 93. 
Lyell, Sir Charles, 25. 
Lymph nodes and metastatic growths, 

Lymphoid tissue, functions of, 46. 

MacBride, Prof. E. W., advocate of 

transmission, 90, 198. 
M'Dougall, W., drainage theory, 118. 
Mach, E., on explanation, 128. 
Mackenzie, Sir J., origins of disease, 

slowing of heart, 106, 

youthful irregularity of heart, 105. 
Maine, Sir H. S., local contiguity, 
effect of, 164. 

study of jurisprudence, analogy 

in, 6. 
Malignancy, conclusions as to, 58. 

a failure of balance, 47. 

and the endocrines, 39. 

no single cause in, 28. 

social analogues, 21, 39. 
Mamma?, origin of, 87. 
Mammalians "born" three times, 


Mastication, 206. 
Mastitis, chronic, and prostatic tablets, 


Materialism, 227. 
Mathematical reasoning, 189. 
Mathematics and biological factors, 


Medicine, ancient and modern, 225. 
Memory, 232. 
Mesentery, fixation of, 88. 
Metabolism, social, 197 
Metazoa, pathological origin of, 84. 
Method, logical, of discovery, 9. 
Mendelian variations, 63. 
Midsummer Day, 209. 
Mill, J, S., on analogy, 5, 6, 17. 
Mimicry, small variations in, 89. 
Mind, biochemical reactions of, 223. 

the primitive, 207. 
Mitosis in a colony, 1 7. 
Mitral valve, anatomy of, 74. 
Mnemes of Ilering-Scmun, 194. 
Moderator band, 73. 

Moore, Prof. B., French bacteriological 
work, 130. 

and Whitley, on immunity, 130. 

on the Teutonic mind, 128. 
Morality and the past, 145. 
Morgenroth and Ascher, reversible im- 
mune reactions, 139. 
Morphogenetic repair in evolution, 90. 
Multinucleated cells in cancer, 54. 
Murphy, J. B., destruction of lymphoid 

tissue, 46. 

Murray, Prof. Gilbert, on Greek migra- 
tion, 144. 

on the Pharmakos, 255, 260. 
Muscle action, independence of, 122. 

and nerve, 257- 

cardiac, 75, 109. 

deformation processes, 97. 

gastric, origin of, 80. 

in scrotum, 83. 

origin of, 76. 

refractory period of, 96. 
Myxcedema, 23. 

Nageli, Von, on internal environment, 


Nahak, 218. 

Napier of Merchistoun, 149. 
Natural Selection and variation, 198. 
Naturalness an unknown concept among 

savage races, 207. 

Neanderthal man, brain capacity of, 

and Krapina, 171. 

disappearance of, 170. 

teeth of, 171. 

Necrophagy, 162, 165, 166. 
Neo-Darwinians and orthodoxy, 183. 
Nerves and trigger action, 102. 
Neurons, cortical, number of, 229. 

life of, 245. 

Non-placentals and the fetus, 86. 
Nuclear contents and transmission, 


Nucleins, 195. 
Nucleus, "life" in, 195. 

as work- and tool-shop, 14, 54, 194, 

of test-bearing protozoon, 196. 
Nutrition a case of immunity, 139. 

Old age, 197. 

Onslow on rabbits' colour peroxidases, 


Oocytes, 186. 

Opportunism of stressed organisms, 79. 
Opsoriins, non-existence of, 135. 



Optic vesicle, Lewis's experiment, 199. 
Organ-forming substances, 198. 
Organisms, biologic conception of, 184. 

as republics, 29. 
Orthodoxy in science, 184. 
Osier, Sir William, on scientific neo- 
logisms, 127. 

Osmosis in cardiac muscle, 97. 
Osteomegalies, 55. 

Pace-maker, inertia and the vagus, 113. 
Paget, Sir J., constitutional theory of 

cancer, 32. 

Paget's Disease, fibrosis in, 42. 
Panniculus, primitive, muscle fibres in 

scrotum, 83. 

Paraffins and mental valencies, 253. 
Parasite (supposed) of cancer, 270. 

in X-ray cancer, 270. 
Parathyroids, 31, 191. 
Parsimony, law of, in science, 188. 
Pathological variations, 64. 
Pathologists and the sociological 

method, 10. 
Pavlov, J. P., conditioned reflexes, 87, 

118, 222, 229, 231. 
Pelobates bred in parental body cavity, 


Peritoneal adhesions, 88. 

Peroneus tertius, fibres of, in gorilla, 

and transmission, 275. 

Peyer's Patches in typhoid, 134. 

Phagocytes and lipoids, 135. 

Physical laws, ultimate, 189. 

Physician as magician, 209. 

Piltdown man, 146. 

Pithecanthropus erectus, 177. 

Pituitary, possible function of, in sar- 
coma, 55. 
and growth, 31. 

Placenta, a compromise growth, 86 

Planck, theory of Quanta and critical 
periods, 177. 

Politics, modern, a chapter in anthro- 
pology, 179. 

Politics and physiology, I. 

Pre-cancerous stages, 46. 

Pre-embryonic cell-history, 186. 

Primal Law, by Atkinson, 150. 

Proliferation in malignancy, 38. 

Proof and illustration, 14. 

Prostate and chronic mastitis, 191. 

Protoplasm and " tools," 12. 

Protozoan tests and nucleus, 196. 

Provoked catalysts, 133. 

Psycho-analysis, Freudian, 155. 

Psychoids, rudimentary, 198. 
Psychologic des foules, 246. 
Pyramidal tract and long paths, 232. 
Pysemsky on adrenalin effects, 191. 
Public schools, training in, 242 seq. 

Racial types, Keith on, 12. 
Radiology as factor of discovery, 27. 
Radium in cancer, 45. 
Rain-makers, 213. 
Reciprocal innervation, 107. 
Reflex response to orders, 250. 
Reflexes, conditioned, 87, 118, 222, 

229, 231. 

Rejuvenescence in malignancy, 49. 
Repair in evolution, 10, 65. 

general laws of, 71. 

as cause of variation, 198. 
Reproductive cell, important stages of, 


Republics in organisms, 29. 
"Resistance" to fresh stimulation, 

Rests of Cohnheim, 27. 

of Ribbert, 35, 140. 
Reversible reactions, social illustration 

of, 140. 

Ribbert, post-natal "rests," 35. 
Rise of the Greek Epic, 144. 
Round-celled sarcoma, 52. 
Rous, Peyton, fowl sarcoma, 267. 
Rushbrooke, Prof., re J. Lister, 

Russ, Dr. Sydney, on lymphocytosis in 

cancer, 45. 

Sachs on reversible immune reactions, 


St. John's Day, 208. 
Salmon, malignancy in, 34. 
Sanitation and magic, 218. 
Sarcoma, deadliness of round-celled, 

and granulations, 40. 

disease of youth, 41. 

femoral, 57. 

filter-passers in, 267. 

in fowls, 47, 267. 

induction of so-called, 5- 

in old age, 55. 

round-celled and granulation tissue, 


Scar-tissue, 48. 
Science, comparative study of, 203. 

and explanation, 10. 

narrow views of, 64. 

national neglect of, 9. 



Schafer, Prof. E. A., adrenalin and in- 
testinal muscle, 191. 

cardiac muscle fibres, 109. 

histology of ova and sperm-cells, 186. 
Scrotum, a badly repaired failure, 82. 

of the boar, 82. 

Second wind and the tricuspid, 77. 
Senescence, C. M. Child's work, 196. 

loss of catalytic tools, 197. 

nature of, 48. 
Shaken troops, 251. 
Shark, heart of, in. 
Shattock, S. G., on embryomas, 52. 

and co-workers, cancer experiments, 

268, 269. 

Sherrington, O. S., on inhibition, 116. 
Ship as zygote, 1 5. 
Shock, nature of, IOO. 

results of, 99. 

social analogies, ioo, 105. 
Skull, modern, in Pleistocene times, 

changes in, 147. 
Smith, Robertson, 24. 
Social analogies for shock, 100, 105. 
Social and nuclear changes, 195. 
"Social" disturbances in organisms, 

Societies as "closed systems," or 

organisms, 9. 
Sociology, physiological method in, 

2, 6. 
Soldiers, and intellect evolved by war, 


Specialism, abuse of, 3. 
Specificity, either "tools," or magic, 

Spencer and Gillen on inter-class tribal 

necrophagy, 162. 
Spencer, Herbert, Sociological Method, 


"Transcendental Physiology," 5. 
Spencer, Dr. H.B., on ovarian tumours, 


Spermatoblasts, descent of, 186. 
Sperm-cells, development of, 187. 

in malignancy, 38. 
Spinoza, reference to, 146. 
Sponge-work, primary vascular, in 

primitive ventricle, 76. 
Spontaneous variations, 71. 
Stability of type, 177. 
Staff of army, 240. 

Starling, Prof. E. II., on cell division 
and time element, 90, 193, 196. 

hormones. 191. 

Law of the Heart, 65. 

Starling, Prof. E. H., on organisms as 

"new creations," 90. 
Static elements in civilization, 197. 
Stefani, on cardiac vagus, 109. 
Sterility and bathing, 219. 
Stomach, dilatation and repair of, 80. 

evolution of, 79, 80. 
Strain and muscle evolution, 275. 
Stress, reaction to, a principle of con- 
struction, 67. 

Structure, main factors of, 91. 
Substrates and enzymes, 133. 
Surface tension in muscle, 97. 
Sutton, Dr. H. G., 77. 
Symbiosis, hostile, 29, 101. 

and reversible reactions, 140. 

key to malignancy, 30, 32. 

political, 30. 

training, use in, 244. 
Synapse, "fused" in manias, 233. 
Synaptic blocks, 233. 

Tachycardia, meaning of, 93. 
Tcenia solium and cannibalism, 179. 
Testes and growth, 31. 

tunica vag-tnah'sof, 82. 
Testiconda, and cremaster muscle, 


Thargelian Festival, Frazer on, 260. 
Theologians and reaction, 227. 
Thiersch on cancer, 34, 35. 
Thinking as neuronal tonus, 230. 
Thomas, H. O., on inhibition, 116. 
Thompson River Indians, 220. 
Thought, possibility of measurement, 

Time, relativity of, in reproduction, 


Tolerance as immunity, 136. 
Tools, catalytic, 12 

and organic complexity, 199. 

and protoplasm, 12. 

chromosomatic in germ-cell, 186. 
Toussenel on cannibalism, 168. 
Tower and transmission, 62. 
Toxicity of foods, 131. 
Transmission, mechanism of, II. 

by tool-adoption, 16. 

use of, by men of science, 189. 
Trial and error in evolution, 67. 
Tribal spirit, 24. 
Tribes, subdivision of, 158. 
Tricuspid valve, functional incompet- 
ence of, 75, 77. 

and second wind, 77. 
Trigger action of nerves, 102. 
Trochilida?, colour in, 169. 



Trophoblasts, erosive action of, 37. 

in gestation, 54. 
Trypsin, origin of, 133. 
Tubal dilatation, 8l. 

pregnancies, 86. 
Tuberculosis, origin of human, 167. 

possible influence on human charac- 
ter, 82. 

Tylor, E. B., 24. 
Typhoid, 134. 

relapse in, 138. 

Uexkiill, J. Von., on science and order, 

Uterus, evolutionary history of, 85 

a tubal dilatation repaired, 86. 

Vagus, cardiac, as "depressant," 98. 
as part of autonomic, 1 12. 
real function of, 105, 107. 
intestinal and cardiac, 112. 
Variation as characteristics, cause of, 


definitely caused, 78. 
during embryonic life, 198. 
minute, 62, 188. 
social, in late war, 20. 
unfavourable, 13, 63, 70. 
Varro, M. T., on malaria, 125. 

De Re Rustica, 277. 
Vaso-dilator centre the vagus centre, 

Vegetarians and Neanderthal man, 

171, 172. 
Verworn, Max, and the giant molecule, 


Vested interests as slowers of meta- 
bolism, 197. 
Vourmak, Turkic word, 256. 

Waldeyer on cancer, 34, 35. 
War, a factor in evolution, 20, 167. 
Warfare, in the body, 30. 
and hunting, 168. 
and immunity, 138. 
and variation, 2. 
Washing at birth, 205. 
Water, and menstruous women, 212. 
nature of, 207. 
spirits and saints, 208. 
Weakening by vagus, 121. 
Weber brothers, 104. 
Weinland, Ernst, on cane-sugar and 

invertin, 132. 

Weismann, A., and modern endocrino- 
logy, 1 88. 

as pure theorist, 200. 
translation of his terms into known 

factors, 189. 

Weismannism modified, II. 
Wells, sacred, 211. 
Williams, Sir John, pregnancies and 

ovarian tumours, 37. 
Wilson, germ-cell histology, 186. 
Wilson, R. N. M'Nair, meaning of 

tachycardia, 93. 

Wolff, Julius, on bone-growth, 64, 65. 
Wolffs Law, 71. 

re-stated by Keith, 72. 
Words, sound signals to reflexes, 231. 
Wrightson, Sir T. , Theory of Hearing, 


Writing as graphic verbal reactions, 

X-ray cancer, 27 seq., 273. 
dermatitis, 43. 

Youthful cardiac arrhythmia, 105. 
Zygote, combined catalysts of, 187. 





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