Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Evolution

"Someone ought to do it, but why should I? Someone ought to do it, so why not I? Between these two sentences lie whole centuries of moral evolution." - Pierre de Bérulle

"For most Americans the sexual revolution was not a vast national orgy of swingers. There was never widespread approval of adultery or promiscuity. The revolution - evolution is a better word - appeared rather as a massive questioning of the double standard and the sexual constraints we grew up with." - Ellen Goodman

"Nothing impedes our evolution more surely than our inability to forgive." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Our purpose is to consciously, deliberately evolve toward a wise, more liberated and luminous state of being. Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit to it is to admit that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial. Our mission is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy." - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"Life itself is the expression of evolution... Everything that exists is merely matter in motion. In the same way, perfection is always a temporary relative motion. Humanity is relative... We are at such a low expression of consciousness that we have not yet seriously studied ourselves... Development is circular... Everything is constantly moving at higher, faster, more refined, complex levels of being... We will be here as quantitative motion until we reach a state of motion that is qualitative, revolutionary. Then we will be somewhere else!" - Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones

"You have to live on twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality. All depends on that. Your happiness - the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friends! - depends on that!" - Arnold Bennett, fully Enoch Thomas Arnold Bennett

"All life, animal and vegetable, seems in its essence like an effort to accumulate energy and then to let it flow into flexible channels, changeable in shape, at the end of which it will accomplish infinitely varied kinds of work. That is what the vital impetus, passing through matter, would fain do all at once. It would succeed, no doubt, if its power were unlimited, or if some reinforcement could come to it from without. But the impetus is finite, and it has been given once for all. 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." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Love means that the adults be genuinely concerned with the evolution of the true nature of the child. Children are not able to respond to a love which tries to fashion them according to the concept of the adult, no matter how good the latter's intention may be." - Gotthard Booth

"Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin... I want you all to treasure death and suffering more than life and to appreciate their cleansing and purifying character. Death which is an Eternal verity is revolution, as birth and after is slow and steady evolution. Death is as necessary for man's growth as life itself... All fear is a sign of want of faith... Hate the sin and love the sinner." -

"Nothing is constant but change! All existence is a perpetual flux of "being and becoming"! That is the broad lesson of the evolution of the world... The belief in the freedom of the will is inconsistent with the truth of evolution. Modern philosophy shows clearly that the will is never really free in man or animal, but determined by the organization of the brain; and that in turn acquires its individual character by the laws of heredity and the influence of environment." - Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel

"Any careful study of living things, whether wolves, bears or man, reminds one of the same direct truth; also of the clarity of the fact that evolution itself is obviously not some process of drowning being clutching at straws and climbing from suffering and trail and virtual expiration to tenuous, momentary survival. Rather, evolution has been a matter of days well-lived, chameleon strength, energy, zappy sex, sunshine stored up, inventiveness, competitiveness, and the whole fun of busy brain cells." - Edward Hoagland, fully Edward Morley Hoagland

"Man is going to evolve. It is our destiny. As in any evolution, parts of us will die in order for other parts to be born. Choosing at each moment the feelings, attitudes and values - acceptance, cooperation, caring, loving, forgiving - that will be the building blocks of the emerging reality is what it means to choose to evolve. At each moment we can choose to behave as natives of this new reality and co-creators in our evolution." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Things as they are are changed when we demonstrate a new reality. A very small change in perception can result in a change in behavior and, cumulatively, in a very large change in cultural patterns. Our purpose and destiny are encoded within us. But they do not automatically propel us to the next act in our day, let alone the next stage in our evolution. Our Fourth Instinct allows us to see that next stage, and our free will enables us to act on it so that it can become a reality." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Change challenges, relieves, frustrates, threatens, saddens or exhilarates us. Mainly it forces us to grow. It is the mechanism through which nature ensures evolution and the way God calls us home. It scares away our illusions about ourselves and others." - Gloria D. Karpinski

"Your physical body is merely a shell around you to protect the soul of energy. When that falls away, the real you, the divine spark of life, moves on into infinite timelessness in the cycle of evolution." - Elizabeth Klarer

"The developmental destiny of the human - evolution. The aim is movement into ever greater reality." - Stuart Litvak and A. Wayne Senzee

"Our own role in evolution is transient and expendable in the context of the rich layer of interliving beings forming the planet's surface... Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking." - Lynn Margulis

"Evolution is not a force but a process, not a cause but a law." - John Morley, 1st Viscount Morely of Blackburn, Lord Morley

"Man's great power of thinking, remembering, and communicating are responsible for the evolution of civilization." -

"Salvation and justice are not to be found in revolution, but in evolution through concord. Violence has ever achieved only destruction, not construction; the kindling of passions, not their pacification; the accumulation of hate and destruction, not the reconciliation of the contending parties; and it has reduced men and parties to the difficult task of building slowly after sad experience on the ruins of discord." - Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti NULL

"Metaphysically, the world has three levels: physical, spiritual and mystical. We find life’s meaning at each level. What gives life meaning is sharing - sharing bread, babies, moments, death, celebrations. It is recognizing that there is no separation between human beings or between human beings and the evolution of the world. Subconsciously and consciously, we are constantly expressing the fact that we are divine." - Naima Jody Sherwood

"A species does not live within its environment; it interacts with it. Over a period of time a species can interact so violently that the changes it catalyzes can cause it to change dramatically--even to die out. Scientists estimate that 90% of the life forms that have inhabited our planet are now extinct. From the earliest single-cell life form to the human animal, all have interacted with the environment. All have created problems for themselves. All have been agents of evolutionary change. All have experienced evolution through cataclysm." - Richard Smolowe, fully Richard Edward Smolowe

"In short, human society is a product of evolution. It is created by natural selection and environmental pressures which bring individuals together in a special and powerful way, but it requires no physical change or mutation. It is a composition of ideas and beliefs - a new and essentially psychic phenomenon. A kind of supermind." - Lyall Watson

"Our personal question about our life’s purpose may very well be the tip as well as the foundation of the collective iceberg – part of the much larger question of where do we go from here? If we consider these individual longings in light of systems thinking, perhaps we can see them, not as isolated, narcissistic musings, but as equivalent to the DNA of our soul, the generative driver of evolution itself." - Carol Adrienne

"Love rests on the preservation of our species; art is our instinctive instrument for the preservation of the individual, of the unique man, woman and child, and the means of evolution of us all into something able and worthy of survival on the living earth." - Earle Birney, fully Earle Alfred Birney

"Punctuated equilibria [is] the abrupt appearance of life everywhere in the fossil record… suggest evolution has taken place in major creative episodes in different times and place, but with huge periods of stability in between. New species, then, have formed in those episodes during thousands rather than millions of years. This is often called the “lucky monster” theory." - Joe Boot

"This is the essence of the problem faced by evolutionists wanting to engage ethical questions. The evolutionary humanist is pressed to an inescapable conclusion: There are no absolute moral standards, and morality is merely the result of an interplay between evolution, tradition, and social convention, which can be altered, updated, and changed depending on the situation... diminished responsibility." - Joe Boot

"Sin is an affair of the will. It is not “a vestige of our animal inheritance.” That trivial notion comes from an unexamined, too-quickly swallowed doctrine of evolution. Why blame the brute creation? No self-respecting wolf would be guilty of our modern wars." - George Arthur Buttrick

"For mankind as a whole, a possession infinitely more valuable than individual life is our genetic heritage, our link with past and future. Shaped through long eons of evolution, our genes not only make us what we are, but hold in their minute beings the future – be it one of promise or threat. Yet genetic deterioration through manmade [chemical and radioactive] agents is the menace of our time, “the last and greatest danger to our civilization.”" - Rachel Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson

"The whole of evolution is, in reality, a process of self-realizing a moral purpose; the correlation of mind and brain is just the phenomenal aspect of the real correlation of our mind with the divine power which sustains us." - George Alonzo Coe

"Evolution, with the advent of conscious man, ceases to rule by outer law; it becomes the inner law of man’s being and can only advance through his volition… Man must fight to prepare the advent of the spiritual being he is destined to become." - L. Francis Edmunds

"Man is no longer to be regarded as an isolated unity lost in cosmic solitudes, because a universal will to live converges and is harmonized in him. Man is no longer to be seen as a static centre of the world… but as the axis and the leading shoot of evolution." - L. Francis Edmunds

"The chromosome reproduces itself exactly and exactly once, building itself up from materials around it, mostly proteins. Nothing similar has been known to occur outside living matter, though regarded chemically, the DNA molecule is not fundamentally different from any other large molecule. Clearly then, some other principle prevails in living nature… Consider the DNA molecule… the main constituent of the chromosomes, with its 10,000 links, in which four different types occur in various arrangements… and assuming 32 links of the chain contain 8 of each type we get for the odds of a particular arrangement 1:1017 That is, one to a hundred thousand billion… the inevitable conclusion sis that whatever evolution may depend on, it certainly does not depend on chance." - L. Francis Edmunds

"Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and regression, of evolution and dissolution." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Enlightenment is therefore a progressive realization and does not represent a finished product, or a final end, or the completion of the evolution of spiritual possibility." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"If practically everything in one’s life depends on the evolution of the level of one’s consciousness, it would seem that, aside from the mere survival needs, developing the level of consciousness would eclipse all other endeavors in importance. That would seem to be so, but that has to be integrated into the overall context of one’s life. Endeavors and activities can remain the same but need to be recontextualized and repositioned within a spiritual framework. To spiritualize one’s life, it is necessary only to shift one’s motive. To constantly be aware of one’s actual motive tends to bring up positionality and the pairs of opposites, such as gain versus service or love versus greed." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"Spiritual goals tend to become increasingly important and integrity becomes the yardstick of happiness. This leads to the evolution of consciousness in which the ultimate goal becomes the perfection of one’s relationship with God." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"The evolution of consciousness requires a wide range of opportunities and a playing field that affords almost unlimited options for development. If human life represents a learning process, then society is the ideal school that affords an extremely wide range of options for numerous levels of consciousness to develop, progress, define, identify, and grasp endless subtleties as well as learn more gross lessons. The ego is extremely tenacious and therefore often seems to require extreme conditions before it lets go of a positionality. It often takes the collective experience of millions of people over many centuries to learn even what appears upon examination to be a simple and obvious truth, namely, that peace is better than war or love is better than hate." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"Man is in process of becoming the perfected being whom God is seeking to create. However, this is not taking place – it is important to add – by a natural and inevitable evolution, but through a hazardous adventure in individual freedom." - John Hick, fully John Harwood Hick

"Evolution trends toward complexity and intelligence, not toward humans. There is nothing inevitable or sacrosanct about our current dominance on this planet" - David Hockey

"The process of evolution can only be described as the gradual insertion of more and more freedom into matter." - T. E. Hulme, fully Thomas Ernest Hulme

"`Mind’ and `matter’ appear as two aspects of our unitary mind-bodies. There is no separate supernatural realm: all phenomena are part of one natural process of evolution. There is no basic cleavage between science and religion; they are both organs of evolving humanity… This earth is one of the rare spots in the cosmos where mind has flowered. Man is a product of nearly three billion years of evolution, in whose person the evolutionary process has at last become conscious of itself and its possibilities. Whether he likes it or not, he is responsible for the whole further evolution of our planet." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"Biology… has thus revealed man’s place in nature. Hs is the highest form of life produced by the evolutionary process on this planet, the latest dominant type, and the only organism capable of further advance or progress. Whether he knows it or not, whether he wishes it or not, he is now the main agency for the further evolution of the earth and its inhabitants. In other words, his destiny is to realize new possibilities for the whole terrestrial sector of the cosmic process, to be the instrument of further evolutionary progress on this planet." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"If the self-conception of novelty is the basic wonder of the universe, this eliciting of mind from the potentialities of world-stuff, and its intensification and increasing importance during evolution is the basic wonder of life." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"Social evolution is a resultant of the interaction of two wholly distinct factors: the individual… bearing all the power of initiative and origination in his hands; and, second, the social environment, with its power of adopting or rejecting both him and his gifts. Both factors are essential to change. The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community." - William James

"Like all evolution in nature, the slow evolution of society is followed from time to time by periods of accelerated evolution which are called revolutions." - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"In ourselves we harbor the intuition of another evolution, of other possibilities of life." - Abellatif Laâbi

"The next great advance in the evolution of civilization cannot take place until war is abolished." - Douglas MacArthur

"The future belongs to those who fuse intelligence with faith, and who with courage and determination grope their way forward from chance to choice, from blind adaptation to creative evolution." - Charles Edward Merriam