True Civilisation (1863), Chapter II, self-preservation
91. Before we begin to probe the festering mass now called “civilization,” let us prepare ourselves with all the spirit of forbearance which the case allows, that we need not add any unnecessary pangs to the already exhausted and dying patient.
92.” I know,” says B., ” that you do not admit analogies as proof, but is there not some indication of the Divine Law in the large fishes eating up the little ones, and in spiders spinning webs to entrap flies? Is not this the work of the Deity, who is all perfection, and can we hope to alter these things permanently for the better?
93.Ans. Are we willing to admit from the first glance at analogies that the law for fishes and insects is also the law for cultivated, civilized man!
94.Cultivation is as much the law for man as primitive crudity is. But suppose we admit that the same law governs men, fishes, and insects — What is that law which is inherent and indestructible in all? It is the instinct of self-preservation. Fishes and insects would not perhaps eat each other raw and alive, if, like man, they had the means of preparation and cooking; nor would they run the risk, nor take the trouble of pursuing each other in continuous warfare, if, like men, they had more safe or expeditious modes of preserving their existence. It is our particular privilege to have an abundance of superior modes, and it is only for want of the appreciation of them, or when cut off from them by casualties that we are driven to the level of fishes and spiders. Although we cannot tall: at all without resorting to analogies to illustrate our meaning, nothing is more likely to lead us astray when they are too readily accepted as parallels.
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