Creative Evolution

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H. Holt, 1911 - Evolution - 407 pages

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Page 14 - ... the present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.
Page 135 - The cardinal error which, from Aristotle onwards, has vitiated most of the philosophies of nature, is to see in vegetative, instinctive, and rational life, three successive degrees of the development of one and the same tendency, whereas they are three divergent directions of an activity which has split up as it grew.
Page 249 - In reality, life is a movement, materiality is the inverse movement, and each of these two movements is simple, the matter which forms a world being an undivided flux, and undivided also the life that runs through it, cutting out in it living beings all along the track. Of these two currents, the second runs counter to the first, but the first obtains, all the same, something from the second.
Page xiii - It thus obtains a symbolism which is convenient, perhaps even necessary to positive science, but not a direct vision of its object. On the other hand, a theory of knowledge which does not replace the intellect in the general evolution of life will teach us neither how the frames of knowledge have been constructed nor how we can enlarge or go beyond them. It is necessary that these two inquiries, theory of knowledge and theory of life, should join each other, and, by a circular process, push each...
Page 100 - Each of us, glancing back over his history, will find that his childpersonality, though indivisible, united in itself divers persons which could remain blended just because they were in their nascent state: this indecision, so charged with promise, is one of the greatest charms of childhood. But these interwoven personalities become incompatible in course of growth, and, as each of us can live but one life, a choice must perforce be made. We choose in reality without ceasing; without ceasing, also,...
Page 38 - If this be true, it is no less certain that the existing world lay potentially in the cosmic vapour, and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the properties of the molecules of that vapour, have predicted, say the state of the fauna of Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the vapour of the breath on a cold winter's day .... The teleological and the mechanical views of nature are not, necessarily, mutually exclusive.
Page 165 - We may easily find their origin in the natural obstinacy with which we treat the living like the lifeless and think all reality, however fluid, under the form of the sharply defined solid. We are at ease only in the discontinuous, in the immobile, in the dead. The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life.
Page 254 - ... should be reflected in his mind — that he should be a god, too, though a puny one? So far as he knows his own powers, so far as he knows those of the Infinite, so far as he is a creator, his method mirrors that of his Creator. The vital impulse is finite, it cannot overcome all obstacles. The movement it starts is sometimes turned aside, sometimes divided, always opposed, and the evolution of the organized world is the unrolling of this conflict.
Page 30 - Anything that is irreducible and irreversible in the successive moments of a history eludes science. To get a notion of this irreducibility and irreversibility, we must break with scientific habits which are adapted to the fundamental requirements of thought, we must do violence to the mind, go counter to the natural bent of the intellect. But that is just the function of philosophy.
Page 99 - Life is tendency, and the essence of a tendency is to develop in the form of a sheaf creating, by its very growth, divergent directions among which its impetus is divided.

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