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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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120          III. NON-ELEMENTALISTIC STRUCTURES
of radiant energy produced or effective, which we have not yet the instruments to record. Experiments suggest such a possibility. Thus, for instance, the apex of a certain rapidly growing vegetable or animal tissue emits some sort of invisible radiation which stimulates the growth of living tissue with which it is not in contact. The tip of a turnip or onion root, if placed at right angles to another root, at a distance of a quarter of an inch, so stimulates the growth of the latter that the increase of the number of cells, on its side nearest the point of stimulation, is as high as seventy per cent. These radiations accelerate the growth of some bacteria. Other examples could be given.22
A classical example of the effect left on protoplasm by energetic factors is given by Bovie.23
As yet, we have not assumed that the protoplasm of plants also shows lasting structural and functional results of stimulation, some sort of 'learning' or 'habit-formation' characteristics. But such is the case; and further experimentation along these lines will help greatly to understand the mechanism of 'mental' processes in ourselves.
If we take the seed of a plant, for instance, of a squash, and keep it in a moist tropism chamber in the dark, it will grow a root. When the root is about one inch long, we begin our experiment. Originally, under
the influence of gravitation, the root grows vertically downwards (A). If we rotate the tropism chamber 90° so that the root is horizontal (B), the root will soon bend downwards under the influence of positive geotrop-ism. But the bending does not occur at once. There is a latent period - in the case of the squash seed, about ten minutes - after which pause the root is bent downwards. When we have determined this latent period for a given seedling, we then rotate the chamber to the positions (B), (C), (A), (B), (C)., just within the 'time' limit before the bending would occur. We repeat such procedure several times. When we set the root again in its vertical downward position (A), we notice that the" root, without any more changes of position, will wag backwards and forward with the period as was used in the experiment. This unexpected behaviour will last for several days. It shows that the alternating stimulus of gravitation, as applied to the root, has produced some structural changes in the protoplasm which persist for a comparatively long period after the stimulus has ceased to act. It be-