The master of destiny - biography of the brain - PDF by Frederick Tilney

The master of destiny; biography of the brain

The master of destiny
The master of destiny 



Race after race of man has appeared on this earth, lasted but a short period, and then met disaster and extinction. Our modern race is of this series. We have reason to believe that it differs in quality from its forerunners chiefly in its cerebral endowment. 

That its progress from animalhood to civilization is due to this endowment, is not questioned, for its victory over the environment,
its ascendency over all other animals is plainly due to its superior brainpower. 

did this race originate? Like all the other races preceding it? 

Or by some aberrant, instantaneous freak of creation? How did it acquire its characteristic brain? As the bird its wings, as the elephant its trunk, as the camel its hump, or by a divine act of separate and unique creation? 

Those who maintain the quarrel over man's origin are not those who have familiarized themselves with the history of the world and its creatures; they are not the astronomers, the geologists, the biologists, the anthropologists or the archaeologists. 

They are clearly those who prefer believing to thinking, the traditionalists, good men mayhap but not necessarily wise. In the earlier days of science (it is only four or five hundred years old), its devoted labourers were persecuted by Church and State. 

They had to give respectful attention to criticism or else perish by fire and sword. But, as we have advanced slowly from religious persecution and the auto-da-fe to mere intolerant and wordy remonstrance, the scientist has paid but scant attention to these quarrels. He feels that as they are not of his making, neither are they his concern. Perhaps he is not quite right there. 

To be sure, he is criticized, not wisely but too well, and for the most part not quite fairly. We have criticized him for an assumed lack of reverence, but even more for his obvious indifference to our criticism. 

This has justice in it for, though his indifference to criticism may be excused, the ignorance upon which this criticism is founded should be his first concern, for the man of science is the teacher and ignorance is his very opportunity. Heretofore, however, he has seen his opportunity too narrowly, for he has been content to teach only the few embryo scientists apprenticed to his own particular field. He has not until very lately, realized that his hard-won knowledge is far more needed and therefore far more owed to those who are most ignorant of it, in short, to the great mass of men and women outside the scientific world. 

"You are irreligious," said his critics. "You have been weighed and found wanting in that devotional attitude we find essential to humanity. You do not even listen to our reproaches. You are irreverent!" For the most part, there has been no answer. The men of science have been strangely preoccupied with their own business of finding out all they can of their fellow man, of his nature, his origin, his difficulties, his dangers, and of his predictable future, all in the faith that such knowledge will ultimately benefit mankind. 

Now at length one of them has made a rejoinder to these protests. He admits that he has been preoccupied, especially so in the past twenty years, with laborious but fascinating research into just these questions so vitally concerning his fellow man. He admits that he had not thought his scientific gleanings would interest any but scientists, but he denies irreverence and insists that neither he nor any other who spends his life in studying man and his place in nature could lack reverence. He cannot find himself entirely in accord with any of the eleven surviving religions which guide the lives of many men today. 

The twelve extinct religions of the past also leave him unsatisfied. Nevertheless, he worships devoutly, though in a temple transcending in significance and beauty any wrought by the hand of man. His devotion is no mere lip service expressive of the self-protective instinct, but one that takes form in labour.

 Despite disappointment and hardship, he has per- severed through years in that labour, with the single object of gaining a deeper understanding of man and his place in nature. It is now our turn to admit error and ask if we may not share in the fruits of his research — even though our understanding has thus far been alien to his field of labour, even though our path has not led us to his temple, even though we have not been aware of his devotion. We urge him to speak to us, not as to scientists, but as to his fellow-creatures, fellow citizens and fellow sufferers. We urge him to speak to us plainly, believing that whatsoever has value in human knowledge may be simply told. 

Contents


I. PRIMITIVE ANCESTORS i
Origin and Early Days of the Brain
11. ANCESTORS BEFORE THE APES 24
The Brain from Fish to Man
III. MAN IN THE MAKING 51
Human Progress from Prehistoric to Modern Times
IV. EDEN OR EVOLUTION 85
Genesis and the Origin of Species
V. BIRTHPLACE AND EARLY BEGINNINGS
OF MAN 107
Influences of Forest and Plain on Brain Development
VI. DAWN OF THE PRIMATE BRAIN 129
The Lowest of the Monkey Kind
VII. ON THE WAY UPWARD 152
Brains of the Old World Monkeys
VIII. MANLIKE TENDENCIES 168
Brains of Gibbon and Orang-Outang
IX. HUMAN IN MINIATURE 186
The Brain of the Chimpanzee
X. ALMOST HUMAN 212
The Brain of the Gorilla
XL HUMAN AT LAST 239
The Brain of Prehistoric Man
XII IMPLEMENTS OF HUMAN SUCCESS 267
How the Hand, Foot, and Brain Led the Way
to Humanity
XIII ESTIMATES AND VALUES 301
Assets and Liabilities of the Human Brain
XIV. THE FINAL TEST OF THE BRAIN 330
World Cooperation and Recivilization
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the book details :
  • Author: Frederick Tilney
  • Publication date: 1930
  • Company: Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran & company, inc

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