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Chapter III. Sleep and Death


Another view would find no satisfaction in such an interpretation. It would assert that even in the manifested world nothing happens in definite places or surroundings without our having to presuppose causes for the event in question. Even though in many cases such causes have not yet been investigated, they are there. An Alpine flower does not grow in the lowlands. Its nature has something which associates it with Alpine regions. Just so must there be something in a man which determines his birth in a certain environment. Causes belonging to the physical world alone are not sufficient to account for this. To a more profound thinker such an explanation appears in somewhat the same light as when one has dealt another a blow, the motive for which is not attributed to the feelings of the one but is to be explained by the physical mechanism of the hand. Any explanation of abilities and talents solely by “heredity” is to such a viewpoint equally unsatisfactory. It is true one may say: “See how certain talents are inherited in families.” During two and a half centuries musical talents were inherited by members of the Bach family. Eight mathematicians sprang from the Bernoulli family, to some of whom quite different occupations were assigned in their childhood; but the inherited talents always drove them to the family vocation. It may be further pointed out how, by an exact investigation of the line of ancestry of a person in one way or another the gifts of this person have shown themselves in the forefathers, and only represent the sum of inherited talents. Whoever holds the latter of the two views above indicated will be sure not to let such facts pass unnoticed, but to him they cannot mean the same as they do to one who relies for his interpretation on the events of the world of sense alone. The former will point out that inherited talents can no more of themselves, combine into a complete personality than can the metal parts of a watch fit themselves together. And if objection is made that the co-operation of the parents may possibly produce the combination of talents,—that this as it were, takes the place