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April 1962

Dormant Human Potential

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Study Program in Human Health and the Ecology of Man, and the Department of Medicine (Neurology), Cornell Medical Center-New York Hospital.

Arch Neurol. 1962;6(4):261-263. doi:10.1001/archneur.1962.00450220003002

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Why has man's development been so late in starting and so uneven, with long quiet periods, and times of sudden, unanticipated, and rapid growth in one direction or another? In one era, moral concepts are rapidly developed, in another, penetrating religious discoveries, another period shows esthetic flowering, still another, mathematical analysis, another, our own brilliant technological expansion. Furthermore, at least some of these directions have little value for survival.

A hint as to answers is contained in recent formulations about genetic potential, by Sinnott, the distinguished botanist. He bases his inferences on lifelong experience with plant genetics and the environmental factors that modify the unfolding of germ plasm and growth of tissue. Sinnott suggests that there may be an unseen evolutionary progression in some organisms that is not the direct result of selective competition. Of particular interest are those instances of organisms grown under conditions to which, in all probability,

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