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“happiness decidedly prevails”

(Books, History, Nonfiction) Permanent link

“But passing over the endless beautiful adaptations which we everywhere meet with, it may be asked how can the generally beneficent arrangement of the world be accounted for?...According to my judgment, happiness decidedly prevails, though this would be very difficult to prove” (p. 393)

An optimistic, cheerful Darwin? Does this square with what we normally think of the old man with the scowl under his beard? Wasn't his world a world of suffering, survival of the fittest, and extinction?

I always find it refreshing when I read primary accounts of famous historical figures, especially controversial ones, because the real person and the person of history can be different people indeed! It makes me think of the feeling in the Origin, full of exclamation points and adjectives like “beautiful,” “splendid,” and “great.”


Evolutionary Writings

Posted by Matt Smith at 04/06/2011 08:16:18 AM