GENERAL EPISTEMOLOG1CAL 103
The presence or absence of the decrement or its steepness and the intensity of the excitation during transmission depends on the specific character of the protoplasm, and varies from individual to individual, and in different regions and under different conditions varies in one individual.
Thus, we see that a living cell has a necessary relationship with the environment and with external energies because of its limiting surface. The difference between the 'inside of the skin' and the 'outside of the skin' establishes the organism-as-a-whole. The interplay between the inside and the outside is structural and supplies the energies which activate the organism. The membrane formation is mostly not dependent upon the constitution of any particular protoplasm, but is rather a general reaction of all protoplasm to environmental influences.
The evidence we have seems to show that in all protoplasm in which we find no specialized conducting paths a certain decrement appears, so that the effectiveness of transmission is limited. In a primitive non-differentiated protoplasm different points further removed from (B) will show different degrees of excitatory changes decreasing from (B). At a certain point the transmission may cease altogether.
The result, then, becomes an excitation-transmission gradient of greater or lesser length, the different levels of which represent various degrees or intensities of excitation.
The primary region of excitation (B) is physiologically more affected and dominant over the other regions to which the excitation is transmitted, because it has more effect upon them than they have upon it. The effect of such conditions gives rise to a temporary structural organismal pattern. The region of primary excitation (B) becomes the dominant region, and the other regions become subordinate to it.
The potentiality for the excitation and the transmission was structurally present in the protoplasm, but this could not produce the pattern which resulted from the external excitation. We see that the action of the external factor was necessary for the realization of the definite physiological pattern whose potentialities were in the protoplasm.
These new excitation-transmission patterns exhibit all the characteristics of new structural patterns in the protoplasmic mass. They determine localized differences at different points, (C), (D), (E),. These differences and relations with the dominant region (B) constitute a physiological axis with (B) at one pole. This new pattern constitutes a new structural integration, which is a joint phenomenon of the potentialities of the protoplasm and the environmental action. This relation is of a functional and not merely of a 'plus' character. Child shows that