Cornhill Magazine,  2 (1860), 313–25.

Physiological Riddles. III.—Living Forms  [3/4]

[James Hinton]


Essay, Serial

Relevant illustrations:

wdct. [14]


Wonder, Physiology, Design, Natural Law, Theology of Nature, Discovery, Popularization, Neurology, Creation, Romanticism, Imagination, Force, Physiological Chemistry, Organicism

People mentioned:

Francis Bacon (1st Viscount St Alban) , Herbert Spencer , George Rainey , John W Draper

Publications cited:

Spencer 1859

    Celebrating the wonder and mystery of 'nature's inmost being' (313), Hinton advises that the study of the 'unity of the vital and other laws', and of 'the organic and inorganic worlds', leads to a higher appreciation of the Creation because it prevents us from putting 'asunder in our thought what God has joined together' (314). The main determinant of organic form, he contends, is 'the resistance of the structures which surround the growing organism'. This is 'the simple means employed by the Creator for bringing into being the marvels of the organic world' (319). Organic bodies develop in accordance with the 'universal law' of taking 'the direction of least resistance' (320), and invariably assume a 'spiral form' which is 'a general characteristic both of the vegetable and animal creation'. This is illustrated by a passage from John Ruskin's 'recent volume' of Modern Painters. (321)


Hinton 1862

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