Happy Birthday!!!!! No, no, not me – and if it happens to be yours…accept the greeting!
In truth…the “Happy Birthday” was meant for Charles Darwin who, had we – the human race – evolved socially and medically more than belligerently and bellicosely, might have celebrated his 200th birthday last Tuesday and been the subject of interviews, specials, news reports and endless parties.
Now – I have written about Darwin before – (http://www.weeklyramble.com/index.php/weblog/more/monkeys_and_the_fruit_fly/ and http://www.weeklyramble.com/index.php/weblog/more/more_revoevo2/) – and no doubt will again – because 150 years after he published “On the Origin of the Species,” after years of being ignored by many in the scientific world and reviled by many in the religious world, it seems clear that his insight was extraordinary and only now are we actually able to catch up with his deep and thoughtful views on where our world is going.
Not that he was always right – for example, he didn’t know about DNA, nor did he know about plate tectonics and, therefore, his views on inheritance and population dispersion – for example – are not relevant.
Yet his knowledge and pursuit of understanding were as broad as they were deep, which according to Robert J. Richards of the University of Chicago, “allowed him to see things that others perhaps didn’t”:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” I have quoted this Darwinism before and its meaning is clear to me as we face the economic and technological challenges of our era. And, if you had a chance to read the article I referenced above, it would seem that Darwin’s intellectual process in solving problems worked along those lines.
I have also stumbled upon another Darwinism that is consistent with his body of work that I find to be worth sharing as well: “A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.” Frankly, I find this to be near religious thought.
Yet, for today’s Ramble, I was struck by another thought that Darwin expressed and, if I may be allowed to project a bit, it seems to me that he must’ve begun by speaking to himself with this one and we can learn by extension.
Listen to this:
We must, however, acknowledge as it seems to me, that a man with all his noble qualities…still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
Humility. Modesty. Lack of arrogance. But note – “noble qualities” – Darwin is not postulating meekness or Uriah Heep-like –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uriah_Heep_(David_Copperfield) obsequiousness – on the contrary!
It seems to me that he is simply admonishing us to remember from “whence we came….”
My sense is that if we remember our origins (religious, biological, other…) our ability to change intensifies and the rest, as they say, is evolution….
And some more reading on Darwin – I found it fascinating that every digital magazine (online and print) featured old Charles…