Volltext: Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development

48 Inquiries into Human ; Faculty 
animals possess a want of self-reliance in a marked degree ; 
that the conditions of the lives of these animals have made 
a want of self-reliance a necessity to them, and that by the 
law of natural selection the gregarious instincts and their 
accompanying slavish aptitudes have gradually become 
evolved. Then I shall argue that our remote ancestors 
have lived under parallel conditions, and that other causes 
peculiar to human society have acted up to the present day 
in the same direction, and that we have inherited the 
gregarious instincts and slavish aptitudes which have been 
needed under past circumstances, although in our advanc¬ 
ing civilisation they are becoming of more harm than good 
to our race. 
It was my fortune, in earlier life, to gain an intimate 
knowledge of certain classes of gregarious animals. The 
urgent need of the camel for the close companionship of 
his fellows was a never-exhausted topic of curious admira¬ 
tion to me during tedious days of travel across many North 
African deserts. I also happened to hear and read a great 
deal about the still more marked gregarious instincts of the 
llama ; but the social animal into whose psychology I am 
conscious of having penetrated most thoroughly is the ox of 
the wild parts of western South Africa. It is necessary to 
insist upon the epithet “ wild,” because an ox of tamed 
parentage has different natural instincts ; for instance, an 
English ox is far less gregarious than those I am about to 
describe, and affords a proportionately less valuable illustra¬ 
tion to my argument. The oxen of which I speak belonged 
to the Damaras, and none of the ancestry of these cattle 
had ever been broken to harness. They were watched from 
a distance during the day, as they roamed about the open 
country, and at night they were driven with cries to en¬ 
closures, into which they rushed much like a body of 
terrified wild animals driven by huntsmen into a trap. 
Their scared temper was such as to make it impossible 
to lay hold of them by other means than by driving the 
whole herd into a clump, and lassoing the leg of the 
animal it was desired to seize, and throwing him to the 
ground with dexterous force. With oxen and cows of this 
description, whose nature is no doubt shared by the bulls, 
I spent more than a year in the closest companionship.


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