Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Monday, September 12, 2005

S.K.Maitra

Nowhere has Spencer stated that life as it emerges causes a transformation of matter, or mind when it appears leads to a complete change of the nature of matter and life. Not only has he not stated this, but he has not been able even to maintain perfect continuity of evolution in the transition from life to mind. He has left a veil of mystery surrounding each of these transitions, and so far as he has done this, his place is with the Emergent Evolutionists, although to do justice to him, it must be said that Spencer would have been the last man to bless the theory of emergent evolution. [ 98]

There is…the optimism which was in vogue in the 19th century, chiefly under the influence of Darwin and Spencer, which believed in the progressive adjustment of the individual to his environment, leading ultimately to the annulment of all conflict between the two, as the goal of evolution. [313]

The Darwin-Spencerian theory of evolution was perfectly naturalistic…Spencer, however, most illogically claimed that the higher from the point of view of evolution must also be looked upon as higher from the point of view of the spirit. This was, in fact, his main contention in his ethical and sociological works, though he gave absolutely no convincing reason why we should accept this contention. [32-33]

Evolution must be a movement towards a goal. If it is merely a mechanical movement without any purpose, then…it cannot be called evolution. This is the lesson we learn from the system of Herbert Spencer. If evolution means merely the adaptation of the organism to a rigid physical universe, then there can be no talk of any moral or social evolution. Yet Herbert Spencer extended the idea of evolution to the social and moral domain. And how did he do it? By surreptitiously substituting for a purely physical environment a social or moral environment.

But this he had no right to do , for the environment contemplated by him and in relation to which he formulated his principle of evolution is purely physical, and there is no passage from this physical to moral or social environment. But Herbert Spencer felt that with a purely physical environment there could be no talk of any progress, and as he was particularly anxious to prove that evolution meant progress, he cleverly substituted for the physical environment a moral and social one. [35]

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