Integral Yoga, Evolution and The Next Species

Part Two

Philosophical Theories of Evolution

Henri Bergson

Henri Bergson (1859-1941) developed the theory that there is something more in evolution than merely mechanical urge. He pointed out that the molluscs in the order of evolution proceed by steady steps to develop an eye, which resembles the eye developed by the independent line of vertebrates. How does it happen, he asked, that similar effects appear in two independent lines of evolution, if they were purely accidental? He pointed out that the two developments must have been governed by a common vital impulse to this useful end. He is inclined to attribute a 'rudiment of choice' to the species which, traveling by different paths, reach the same goal. Given a new situation, the 'urge' (élan vital), common to all members, impels them to lead it by a new method. According to Bergson, it is the inner urge, or life-force, or an upward drive that incites the whole species in a definite direction. The striving of the organism is a creative effort to which evolution is due.10

Herbert Spencer

Among the alternative explanations of the evolutionary process, we may also refer to Herbert Spencer (1820-1903),

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