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The Breath of Life

The Breath of Life by John Burroughs
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Whether the evolution of the human mind from the animal was by insensible gradations, or by a few sudden leaps, who knows? The animal brain began to increase in size in Tertiary times, and seems to have done so suddenly, but the geologic ages were so long that a change in one hundred thousand years would seem sudden. "The brains of some species increase one hundred per cent." The mammal brain greatly outstripped the reptile brain. Was Nature getting ready for man?

The air begins at once to act chemically upon the blood in the lungs of the newly born, and the gastric juices to act chemically upon the food as soon as there is any in the stomach of the newly born, and breathing and swallowing are both mechanical acts; but what is it that breathes and swallows, and profits by it? a machine?

Maybe the development of life, and its upward tendency toward higher and higher forms, is in some way the result of the ripening of the earth, its long steeping in the sea of sidereal influences. The earth is not alone, it is not like a single apple on a tree; there are many apples on the tree, and there are many trees in the orchard.

The Floating Press; January 1915
ISBN 9781775411024
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Title: The Breath of Life
Author: John Burroughs
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