Page 62 – 63 / 1941 – 42

Left Hand Page

‘The Chunkel’ (draft), ‘Protoplasm and Personality’

In the beginning was protoplasm, and protoplasmic was without form and void. And the protoplasm having inherent personality, a microcosm in the microcosm, it struggled upwards to its eschatological destiny. “Pause in your effusions” you say and “define your terms.” What is this individualistic protoplasm?” “Proto” as you learned at school, equals “first” and plasma means “form”. From which you deduce that the literal etymology is “First-form”. Protoplasm is primeval matter, that is, animal cell-matter. Spenser following Huxley would say that there was primitive, simple, protoplasmic-cell that could and presumably did propagate itself into the multifarious genera, species and varieties as classified by biologists and botanists universally. This form of matter was in the Yesterday of bio-generation swirling in nebulous star-dust in the inconceivably distant past Spenser tells us – there was a casual disturbance in the either and by no ostensible fiat of mind a concourse of atoms fortuitously conglomerating inadvertently retained the requisite positive and negative charges of electricity to become living matter. “Life” says Sir Arthur Keith, “is electricity”. This idea of soul is “current” to-day. Soul or ego is, by these postulates, a circuit of protons and electrons in endless procession. This brings us to our second definition. Personality in the entity of the characteristics of a complete homo-sapien. Can you agree to regard the personality of Man, the miracle as a sort of super-instinct differing only in degree from the teeming myriads that organize an ant-hill? However, be that as it may, our notorious speck of protoplasm as an eventuality of the titanic [unknown] of space-time, became an amoeba, (Greek for ‘one that changes’). This obliging amoeba after aeons of “selection” differentiates itself into the varied species of fauna and flora. Then follows further natural selection’, and the amoeba makes what we can but hope is only its penultimate change and becomes genus homo. Thus the onus has been thrust upon the innocent amoeba either to become a tadpole and then a frog and hop, or an orang-utan, then a man and fly. There must inevitably be, you will agree, in this single-cell animal [unknown] the makings of a man or mammoth. If this sparked-speck turns towards human natures then implied and instinct in this evolving protoplasmic molecule, is Professor, Peasant, Priest or Potantate, ridiculous or sublime. This, of

Right Hand Page

‘The Chunkel’ (draft), ‘Protoplasm and Personality’ (Cont.) ‘Persiflage’ cartoon by George Sprod

[…] course, brings us back to personality, for, village idiot or Einstein he harks back to primitive matter. In spite of the anatomical fact that the tissues of the human body are completely renewed every seven years; our problem is: Can you find personality inherent in protoplasm, as the title of this thesis implies? You take your microscope and agree that you can. Here is your primitive cell, study it! You have your forty-eight chromosomes (coloured bodies) with which are inextricably bound up the genes. They are corpuscular molecules postulated to explain the propyls of our inherent factors of heredity. In popular language the chromosomes and of course, the genes, differ according to the species. Incidentally those of a mule are sterile. Our genes are like strings of minute beads, each sex has of a cell. Each bead ‘on the string’ governs a characteristic of its species; colour of eyes, intelligence-quotient etc. If the gene governing one quality is deficient in one parent, but present in the other, there is no great loan to the embryo, but if, for instance, the genes of mental acumen on the strings of both sexes are absent or impaired then idiocy results. You can, and should see your future wife’s genes and compare that with your own. On seeing all you should sink sentiment and be firm for posterity’s sake. “Falling in love” is nonsense, you fall into sense. Ergo, – there may be no sex in soul, but what could have more potential ego than protoplasm? This amoebic molecule is actually a genius, for he is able not only to function miraculously but by inherent personality on mind can govern and interpret those faculties. For instance, in order to appreciate the colour of a red rose the retina of the eye must vibrate 400 billion of times a second, and before the men or women in us can exclaim “Sweet violet!” the protoplasmic cells concerned must oscillate 700 billions of times. Yet in the past three thousand years we have only had about one billion of seconds. “PERSIFLAGE”