« AnteriorContinuar »
many respects) it is easy to form and collect this Axiom, that the organs of the senses, and the bodies that procure reflections to the senses, a like nature.
And again, the understanding being thus admonished, easily rises to a still higher and more noble Axiom; viz. that there is no difference between the consents, or sympathies of bodies endowed with sense, and those of inanimate bodies without sense, only that in the former an animal spirit is added to the body so disposed, but is wanting in the latter, whence as many conformities as there are among inanimate bodies, so many senses there might be in animals, provided there were organs, or perforations in the animal body, for the animal spirit to act upon the parts rightly disposed, as upon a proper instrument.
And conversely, as many senses as there are in animals, so many motions there may be in bodies inanimate, where the animal spirit. is wanting; though there must, of necessity, be many more motions in inanimate bodies, than there are senses in animate bodies, because of the small number of the organs of sense.
And of this we have a manifest example in pains ; for, as there are numerous kinds of pains in animals, and, as it were, different characteristics thereof, there being one pain of burning, another of freezing, another of pricking, another of squeezing, another of stretching, &c. it is certain that all these, with regard to the motion, exist in bodies inanimate, as they do in animate bodies; for example, in wood, or stone, when burnt, froze, pricked, cut, bent, bruised, &c. though there be no sense attending them in these inanimate bodies, for want of the animal spirit*.
Again, the roots and branches of plants, though this may seem strange, are conformable instances; for every vegetable swells, and thrusts out its parts towards the circumference, as well upwards as downwards, and the difference betwixt the roots and the branches is no more than this, that the root is contained in the earth, but the branch exposed to the air and sun.
For if a young thriving branch of a tree be bent down into any parcel of earth, though it does not reach to the ground, it will soon become a. root; and again, if earth be laid on the top of a plant, and be so pressed down by a stone, or other hard substance, that the plant cannot grow upwards, it will shoot out branches downwards, into the airt.
See the Sylva Sylvarum, under the article Spirits, &c.
See the experiments upon Vegetation, in the Philosophical Transactions, French Memoirs, and the Aathor's Sylva Sylvarum.
The gums of trees, and most gems of the rock, are also conformable instances, both of them being no other than exudations, and percolations of juices *. For gums are but the transuded juices of trees, and gems the transuded juices of stones; whence the clearness and transparency of them both are procured, by means of a curious and exquisite percolation. And hence it is, that the hairs and furs of animals are not of such beautiful and vivid colours as many feathers of birds ;- viz. because the juices are not so subtily strained through the direct skins of beasts, as through the substance of the quill in birds.
The scrotum also in male animals, and the matrix in the female, are conformable instances, so that the noble structure which distinguishes the sexes in land animals, seems to be nothing more than a difference as to external and internal; because, by a greater force in heat suppose, the genital parts in the male sex are thrust outwards, whilst the heat is too feeble in females, to effect such an extrusion; whence those parts in them come to be contained within.
Among conformable instances also come the fins of fish, the feet of quadrupeds, and the feet and wings of fowl, to which Aristotle adds the
* See the article Percolation, in the Sylva Sylvarum.sehing four wreaths of serpents* ; so that in the structure of the universe, the motion of living creatures seems generally performed by quadruple limbs, or flexures.
Again, the teeth in terrestrial animals, and the beaks in birds, are conformable instances, which shew, that in all perfect animals, a certain hard substance flows to the head t.
It seems also no absurd similitude, of confor mity, that man should resemble an inverted plant, the root of the nerves and animal faculties residing in the head, and the seminal parts being seated below, if we do not take in the ex* tremities of the legs and arms; but in a plant, the root, which answers to the head in a man, is regularly placed below, and the seeds abovef.
But this precept cannot be too frequently inculcated, that the procedure and method of man
Are there but four wreaths made in the progressive motions of snakes, vipers, &c. ? Consider also the motion of caterpillars, worms,
&c. + See the Sylva Sylvarum, under the articles Bones and Teeth.
# Animals likewise appear to resemble inverted plants in another respect, viz. in having their roots within, whilst plants have them without; for the lacteal veins in animals nearly correspond with the fibres of the roots in plants, so that animals seem nourished from within themselves, as plants are from withoat.
kind in their enquiries and endeavours to collect a natural history, must be entirely altered from the method at present in use : for men's curiosity and diligence have been hitherto principally employed in observing the variety of things, and explaining the precise differences of animals, vegetables and fossils, the greatest part of which variety and differences are rather the sport of nature, than matters of any considerable and solid use to the sciences. Such things, indeed, serve for delight, and sometimes contribute to practice, but afford little or no true information, or thorough insight into nature; human indus try, therefore, must be bent upon enquiring into, and observing the similitudes and analogies, of things, as well in their wholes as in their parts; for these are what unite nature *, and begin to build
the sciences. But here a severe and rigid caution must be used, that those instances only be received for conformable and proportional, which (as we all along require t) denote real physical likenesses and resemblances; that is, such as are true, substantial, and actually lodged and seated in nature, not such as are accidental and showy,
See above, Part II. Sect. I. Aph. 3.1 + See Part II. Aph. 1, 4, 5, 20, &c. Se also hercafter, Aph. 33. ad finem.