Agassiz, Louis – Essay on Classification – The unity of plan in otherwise highly diversified types
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
ESSAY ON CLASSIFICATION By LOUIS AGASSIZ
UNITY OF PLAN IN OTHERWISE HIGHLY DIVERSIFIED TYPES
Nothing is more striking throughout the animal and vegetable kingdoms than the unity of plan in the structure of the most diversified types.
From pole to pole, in every longitude, mammalia, birds, reptiles, and fishes exhibit one and the same plan of structure, involving abstract conceptions of the highest order, far transcending the broadest generalizations of man, for it is only after the most laborious investigations man has arrived at an imperfect understanding of this plan.
Other plans, equally wonderful, may be traced in Articulata, in Mollusks, in Radiata,- and in the various types of plants. And yet the logical connection, these beautiful harmonies, this infinite diversity in unity are represented by some as the result of forces exhibiting no trace of intelligence, no power of thinking, no faculty of combination, no knowledge of time and space.
If there is anything which places man above all other beings in nature, it is precisely the circumstance that he possesses those noble attributes without which, in their most exalted excellence and perfection, not one of these general traits of relationship so characteristic of the great types of the animal and vegetable kingdoms can be understood or even perceived.
How, then, could these relations have been devised without similar powers?
If all these relations are almost beyond the reach of the mental powers of man, and if man himself is part and parcel of the whole system, how could this system have been called into existence if there does not exist One Supreme Intelligence as the Author of all things?
The source of the experienceAgassiz, Louis
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