Our Social Heritage

Our Social Heritage

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Our Social Heritage

Our Social Heritage

Read FREE!

Excerpt

MEN, like all other animals, are enabled to exist in their present numbers by a combination of "nature" and "nurture."

Our nature consists of those facts of structure and instinct which are inherited by the biological process of begetting and birth. We inherit biologically, for instance, the viscera by which we digest certain kinds of food, and the instincts which make us desire them; a skin which resists bacterial infection, and an instinct to brush away a fly before he pierces our skin; a highly complex nervous system, and an instinctive impulse to think.

The nature of all animals empowers and impels them to acquire, after birth, the structural modifications and nervous and muscular habits and memories which constitute their nurture. Men are mammalian vertebrates, and nurture plays a much larger part in the lives of mammals than it does in the lives of invertebrates like the insects, or of lower vertebrates like the fishes or reptiles. The nature of a higher mammal is, indeed, a strongly outlined sketch, the details of which are filled in after birth by his nurture.

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