But we may as well assume the presence of vital units in the case of dynamical aggregates, as for Professor Bastian to insist upon crystalline units in the case of statical aggregates or crystals.
This is like the unhappy persons who live, if they can be said to live, in the statical chair; who are ever feeling their pulse, and who do not judge of health by the aptitude of the body to perform its functions, but by their ideas of what ought to be the true balance between the several secretions. Is a committee of Cornwall, &c., thronged, and the others deserted? No.
When it assumed its liquid form, and arranged itself freely according to its specific gravity, the centre of gravity of the earth must have been effectively changed. All who have studied the present statical condition of the earth's crust will readily admit that such a change might produce greater volcanic outbursts than any known to history.
Now, the former, depending as they do on the synchronous conjunction of other events outside the sphere of scientific estimation, are from their very character incalculable; but the latter, though assuming many forms, always result from the over-great preponderance of any single element to the detriment of the others, the rational law lying at the base of all varieties of political changes being that stability can result only from the statical equilibrium produced by the counteraction of opposing parts, since the more simple a constitution is the more it is insecure.
If approached from the dynamical or living side of the underlying substratum, it is the beginning of the comparatively stable equilibrium which we call brute matter; if from the statical side, that is to say, from that of brute matter, it is the beginning of that dynamical state which we associate with life; it is the last of ego and first of non ego, or vice versa, as the case may be; it is the ground whereon the two meet and are neither wholly one nor wholly the other, but a whirling mass of contradictions such as attends all fusion.
If the present is a key to the past in interpreting geological history, should not the same be true of this history of life? It was inevitable that problems of life should come to the front, and that the study of life from the dynamical standpoint, rather than a statical, should ensue. Modern biology was the child of historical geology.
Speaking broadly, when Western social ideas meet Indian, the conflict is between the rights of the individual as in Western civilisation, and the rights of the community or society as in the Indian. India stands for the statical social forces, modern Europe for the dynamical and individualistic.
Nor did the ancients know anything of the doctrine of averages or of crucial instances, both of which methods have proved of such importance in modern criticism, the one adding a most important proof of the statical elements of history, and exemplifying the influences of all physical surroundings on the life of man; the other, as in the single instance of the Moulin Quignon skull, serving to create a whole new science of prehistoric archaeology and to bring us back to a time when man was coeval with the stone age, the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros.
But this indication may be preceded, or at all events followed, by a confirmation of a purely statical kind; for, in politics as in mechanics, the communication of motion from one object to another proves a connection between them.
Everywhere the statical unit forms, the dynamical unit grows; the one aggregates, the other assimilates; the one solidifies, the other opens up into living tissue; the one rests in the embrace of eternal silence, the other breaks the adamantine doors, and makes nature resonant with praise.