Editore: Forgotten Books
Formato: PDF
Testo in en
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Dimensioni: 7,28 MB
  • EAN: 9780243830046
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The first is that brier-patch Philosophy was writ ten during a storm of controversy concerning the habits and mental powers of animals, a storm that broke most unexpectedly over my small corner and spread swiftly through the country. On one side were nature students, learners with the eyes of youth and the zest of explorers, who had discovered and reported many traits of wild birds and beasts that had never before appeared in books. On the other side were more-or-less professional naturalists, who denied the alleged traits on the ground that they were contrary to nature and implied mental abilities such as no mere animal ever possessed. Incidentally these old defenders of truth called the young explorers of truth bad names. Scientists also are human, like the saints; their scientific differences are commonly attended by very unscientific language. That unhappy storm is long since passed, and some who were engaged in it are gone to their reward. Peace be unto them! One good result was that many were led to observe more closely for themselves, and these discovered that certain animal habits that had been doubted or denied were not only true but oh vions to anyone who would put himself in the right place and attitude to see. Another result was to indicate that those who assume to be our authorities in natural history have still something to learn, and that they must change their method of study if they would enlarge their knowledge. To hunt an animal for sport, to collect his skin and bones for a museum, to cage him for experimentation, to decide from book or formula or preconceived notion what he can or cannot do, — all such methods result in superficial knowledge of the animal body and gross ignorance of the animal mind. The one way to learn about any wild creature is to live peaceably in his natural en vironment, and there to observe him with friendly eyes as a shy stranger who is somehow akin to you, — one who travels his road of destiny a little blindly, as you travel yours, and who has, like you, the two everlasting mysteries of life and individuality in his keeping.