Evolution: The Ages and Tomorrow

Evolution: The Ages and Tomorrow

Evolution: The Ages and Tomorrow

Evolution: The Ages and Tomorrow

Excerpt

A knowledge of evolution is necessary to any understanding of the natural world and, above all, of man and his position in that world. For man, in his mind and moral life, as well as in his body, is a product of the evolutionary process and can be understood only in the light of its principles.

We learn of one aspect of man when we trace the evolution of his mind. The account of this development proceeds from the vague awareness of unicellular creatures, past the blind alleys of instinct which find their furthest extension in the social insects, to the intricate nervous system and complex mind of modern man. We know more about ourselves, too, when we learn that physical fitness was not the sole determinant of survival. Cooperativeness, or Darwin's "mutual aid," developed simultaneously with physical fitness and has been an equally important factor in determining which of nature's myriad experiments were successful. Even the simplest creatures benefit from association with their fellows, and all animals exhibit some form of social organization. Social cooperativeness, with the techniques of transmitting experience which it eventually developed, evolves slowly to its expression in man's civilizations and his moral life, and is absolutely essential to high-level consciousness and intellect.

Man is the first creature equipped to gain sufficient understanding to influence his own evolution. As soon as that fact is realized, a knowledge of the evolutionary forces that have formed him assumes the highest priority. Through a knowledge of evolution man may properly cen-

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