Term Paper: Man Did Evolve

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Man Did Evolve

Man is a creature who lives in what is known as the Universe. The Universe is made up of a large number of varied materials that interact with each other at all times and thus make up the shape and the size of the Universe as such. The human being, in his need to establish his position in this universe, undergoes biological as well as evolutionary changes at all times. The process known as Evolution helps the Human understand him and the ongoing process in the nature of things that has been responsible for his creation and his evolution through the ages. (the Evolution of the Human)

Charles Darwin was one of the foremost theorists of the process of Evolution and there is no person interested in Philosophy and the evolution of man who has not heard or read about Darwin somewhere. Charles Darwin was born in the year 1809 in Shrewsbury, England to Robert Waring Darwin, a physician, and Susannah Wedgwood Darwin. Since he had demonstrated a talent for and interest in entomology ever since he was a small child, and he was interested in the concept of the Evolution of Man, he visited several places that interested him and undertook the study of several different species of animals and birds and fish to find out how different species could adapt to the changing environment around them. (Darwin and Evolution)

By the year 1844, he wrote down his theory that all species are not 'immutable' or in other words that all species are not unassailable. With the collaboration of Sir Charles Lyell, Darwin put across his ideas to the scientific community, and the idea was that in the manner that when men selectively breed certain types of species, cattle, for example, they will inevitably exaggerate minor variations in them, Nature also selects variations in the same way, wherein only the most successful and hardened variations are allowed to reproduce because of the struggle over extremely limited resources that would, at one point in time, be exhausted. Therefore the diversity of nature would be permitted, and this theory was named 'natural selection'. (Darwin and Evolution)

The theory meant that the environment played an important role in the reproductive success of a group of several different organisms with different hereditary characteristics. In essence, the various factors that stop or curtail the reproductive success of these organisms decrease from one generation to the next, and this ensures that those organisms enjoy better reproductive success over successive generations, and would have adapted to the changes in the environment at the time. Therefore, the process of selection becomes stabilized, and so adaptation becomes easier. (Natural Selection)

It was in the year 1859 that Charles Darwin published his book 'The Origin of the Species'. This was a book that literally 'shook the world'. The book detailed the theory of natural selection that had been arrived at earlier, that stated that man as a species underwent a process of selection for the purpose of reproduction, and generation after generation adapted to the changes in the environment by improving their species, and this meant that each subsequent generation would possess those features that would help them to adapt better for survival, meaning that Man was continually evolving and getting better with each successive generation, and this in essence was what was meant by the theory of Evolution of Man. (Darwin, Charles Robert: Encyclopedia)

Another concept introduced by Darwin at this time was the theory that all related organisms are actually descendants of the same ancestors. He also stated that the Earth was in fact not a static object but was actually evolving all the time. The theories of Darwin were attacked by scientists and by religious heads. Scientists were of the opinion that Darwin could not in fact prove his theory of variation and could not explain how these variations originated and how they could be passed on from one generation to the next. Religious heads, on the other hand, furiously questioned Darwin's theory of evolution as they felt that all living things had in fact evolved by natural processes, and that human beings were being placed at the same level as that of animals, and this would not be tolerated since it was in direct opposition to theological concepts of the evolution of mankind. (Darwin, Charles Robert: Encyclopedia) Human Evolution, taken in ordinary terms, is the process by which humans have changed from the ape-like creatures that they once used to be into the human figures, as we know them today, through a process of continuous change and adaptation to the environment. (Human Evolution)

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the nineteenth century who, like Darwin theorized on the idea of the evolution of man. In fact, he defied the very foundations on which morality and Christianity were based by bringing forth the theory that life and creativity and other aspects of the life of a human being are all enmeshed in the real world, and not in some world beyond all those concepts. In other words, his theory is one of 'self-affirmation' wherein the very doctrines of life's forces and energies can be questioned by man, however socially relevant or prevalent those concepts may have been at that time of life. Friedrich Nietzsche was born in the year 1844 in the town of Rocken bei Lutzen. He published one of his first books in the year 1872, entitled 'The Birth of Tragedy, Out of the Spirit of Music', a treatise on Greek culture. (Friedrich Nietzsche: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Friedrich Nietzsche had, by this time started to believe in the rationale that non-rational forces exist at the very basis of all creativity and also of reality and these forces had led to the eruption of a wild and sometimes amoral 'Dionysian' energy in the ancient Greek culture. This energy, he stated was in essence a healthy and creative force that was subdued by the 'Apollonian' forces of maintaining a severe and strict sobriety and of thinking extremely logically at all times. He was of the opinion that European culture had been dominated, over the centuries, by the Apollonian ways of thought, and that it was time for a 'rebirth' based on the Dionysian concepts of the release of spontaneous and wild energies towards the fulfillment of a goal, and which was, without doubt, the 'Ultimate Truth'. The German spirit, he stated, must therefore act as the potential redeemer of European culture. (Friedrich Nietzsche: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

However, the most important and definitely the most significant of all the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche was the concept of the 'overman', also known as the 'Ubermensch' in German, mentioned in his book 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'. He explains how he feels that man must progress above the level of being just a 'human-all-too-human' and go on to more and beret ideals in life. This was a thought that can be seen in almost all of Friedrich Nietzsche's works. An 'overman' as seen in the book, must be someone who would be able to take enough risks for the betterment and enhancement of the entire human race, as opposed to the 'last man' who selfishly chooses his own comfort and well being over that of humanity in general. Therefore the overman must be an individual who can and will live his life among others and be able to establish what is right and what is wrong while living among them, all the time being aware of the fact that such values are not pre-given to anyone. (Nietzsche's ideas of an Overman and life from his point-of-view)

In this way an overman will be able to exert an influence over the others among whom he lives because he will be the one person who can develop his own values and standards of living independent of the others' who operate on a basic 'herd instinct' most of the time. An overman will therefore live his life with an expectation of the present, where nothing in the past and the present can be equal to the present life that he is living, rather than living his life with no sort of inner and deeper meaning, everyday. An overman will be able to, according to Nietzsche, affect history indefinitely, as he will be capable of entering the minds of other people in the world and affect their thought processes through this entry, like for example, Napoleon, who was able to change the very order of the entire length and breadth of Europe by his actions. The idea of the 'will-to-power' created by Friedrich Nietzsche is another of his theories on human kind that states that the will to power is the underlying force behind the way in which a human being thinks and acts and behaves in a constant struggle to quench his own desires in this world. (Nietzsche's ideas of an Overman and life from his point-of-view)

Some of the philosophies of life as presented by Nietzsche stem… [END OF PREVIEW]

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